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RIP
July 10, 2019

Emmy Award-winning actor Rip Torn, whose career spanned seven decades and included a lauded stint on The Larry Sanders Show, died on Tuesday. He was 88.

Torn's publicist confirmed his death to The Associated Press, and said he was surrounded by family when he died. Born Elmore Rual Torn in Texas, he started using the name "Rip" as a boy, and despite being pressured by other actors and managers to go by his birth name, he refused. Trained at the Actors Studio, Torn inspired his cousin, Sissy Spacek, to get into acting.

He appeared on television, in movies, and on Broadway, and was also a political activist, speaking out against racial segregation in the 1960s. On TV, Torn played everyone from Walt Whitman to Richard Nixon to Ulysses S. Grant. While starring on The Larry Sanders Show in the 1990s, he earned six consecutive Emmy nominations for best supporting actor in a comedy series, winning in 1996. He had a reputation for being hard to work with, but he downplayed it, telling The New York Times in 2006 that's what people say about "all the guys that are tremendous actors." Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2019

Ross Perot, a billionaire pioneer in the computer services industry and a two-time independent candidate for U.S. president, died on Tuesday after a five-month battle with leukemia, The Dallas Morning News reports. He was 89.

Perot, who was born into depression-era poverty, became one the richest people in United States after founding Electronic Data Systems Corp.

In 1992, Perot ran for president as an independent against incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush and his Democratic challenger Bill Clinton. Clinton eventually won the election, but Perot garnered a shocking 19 percent of the popular vote — at the time, it had been 80 years since a third-party candidate performed so well in a presidential election. Perot ran again in 1996, albeit with less success.

Perot was known for 30-minute paid infomercials in which he produced "scary economic charts" that aided his campaign, the Morning News reports.

While he received flak from Republicans for costing Bush the presidency in '92, his son Ross Perot Jr. said the campaign was never about personal gain. "He was a businessman, frustrated by what's going on, and wanted to help fix the country," the younger Perot said of his father.

No third party candidate has since achieved what Perot did in his first go-round, but his legacy lives on in every election cycle. Read more at The Dallas Morning News. Tim O'Donnell

July 7, 2019

Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce, best known for his roles in Jessie and the Descendants franchise, died on Saturday, his family confirmed to ABC News. He was 20.

A spokesman for Boyce's family said the actor "passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated. The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him."

Boyce appeared in his first movie, Mirrors, at age 9, and played Adam Sandler's son in Grown Ups. On Sunday, Sandler tweeted that Boyce was "too sweet. Too funny. Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around." He added: "Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken." Boyce was set to co-star in the new HBO series Mrs. Fletcher, and was active with several charities, recently raising $30,000 for the Thirst Project to build wells in Swaziland. Catherine Garcia

July 2, 2019

Lee Iacocca, the auto industry leader known for helping develop the Ford Mustang in 1964 and rescuing Chrysler in the 1980s, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 94.

The son of Italian immigrants, Lido Anthony Iacocca was born Oct. 15, 1924, in Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lehigh University, Iacocca began working at the Ford Motor Company in 1946, and made history when he helped create the Mustang; Ford sold a record 418,812 Mustangs during the model's first year. He became president of Ford in 1970, before being fired by Henry Ford II in 1978.

He took over Chrysler while it was on the brink of bankruptcy, and turned the company around. With Iacocca at the helm, Chrysler introduced the minivan, and he appeared in the company's commercials, saying, "If you can find a better car, buy it." Also a best-selling author, Iacocca was approached several times and asked if he would consider running for president or senator, but always said he was too blunt for politics. He is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren. Catherine Garcia

July 1, 2019

Tyler Skaggs, a 27-year-old pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, died on Monday, the franchise announced. There was no immediate word on the cause of his death.

Skaggs was reportedly with the Angels, who were preparing for a road series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The team released a statement on the news.

Skaggs had just pitched on Saturday in Anaheim against the Oakland Athletics. Monday's game between the Angels and the Rangers has been postponed. Tim O'Donnell

June 24, 2019

An unidentified U.S. service member was found dead near Ajo, Arizona, on Sunday, according to a statement from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, home of U.S. Northern Command. It is the second such death this month. On June 1, U.S. Army PFC Steven Hodges was found dead near Nogales. Both service members were assigned to the Southwest Border Support Mission, President Trump's deployment of several thousand active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Both deaths are under investigation, but foul play isn't suspected in either case.

Hodges had been assigned to "Task Force Red Lion," a mobile surveillance operation, with the 1st "Tomahawk" Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, part of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. His body was found on federal land, but few other details have been reported. It is also unclear what the unidentified service member was doing when he died. Ajo is the nearest community to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where the Department of Homeland Security plans to build new border fencing.

Other than hanging razor wire through border towns and spending the summer painting border fencing near Calexico, California, to improve its "aesthetic appearance," it's not clear what U.S. troops are doing at the U.S. border. In Arizona, the Tucson Sentinel reports, "the weather has been hot and dry: temperatures in Arizona's west deserts peaked at about 98 degrees on Sunday, with humidity below 10 percent." Peter Weber

June 23, 2019

Best-selling romance novelist and journalist Judith Krantz died Saturday at her home in Los Angeles of natural causes, her publicist announced Sunday. She was 91.

Krantz penned the best-sellers Scruples, I'll Take Manhattan, and Princess Daisy, with her work translated into more than 50 languages. She wrote her first novel at age 50, after a successful career as a journalist, and went on to sell over 80 million books. Several of her novels were also turned into television miniseries.

A graduate of Wellesley College, Krantz first worked as a fashion editor for Good Housekeeping and writer for Cosmopolitan. Her books focused on characters who lived lavish lifestyles, and her debut, Scruples, was on The New York Times Best Sellers list for more than a year. Her husband of over 50 years, producer Steve Krantz, died in 2007. Catherine Garcia

June 6, 2019

Dr. John, the Grammy winner whose eclectic music was inspired by everything from his hometown of New Orleans to voodoo to his grandfather's vaudeville past, died Thursday from a heart attack. He was 77.

"Dr. John was a true Louisiana legend," Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said in a statement. "He showed the world Louisiana's rich musical heritage, and his passion for music has left a mark on the industry unlike any other." Born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., he grew up playing the piano, before switching to the guitar; in 1960, he was shot in the finger and went back to the piano.

After a stint in federal prison on drug charges, he moved to Los Angeles and became a studio musician, recording with Sonny and Cher, Canned Heat, and Frank Zappa. He took on the Dr. John persona in the late 1960s, when he began releasing his solo work. His albums Gris-Gris and Dr. John's Gumbo both appear on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 best albums, and he also sang the theme song for Blossom and the jingle for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Dr. John was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Catherine Garcia

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