Raul Hector Castro, 98, Arizona's only Hispanic governor and an American ambassador to three countries, died Friday.

Family spokesman James Garcia said Castro died in his sleep in San Diego, where he was in hospice care.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Castro "lived a full life of exemplary service to Arizona and its people."

Castro was a self-made man, the embodiment of the American dream. He overcame poverty and discrimination to graduate from college and launch a successful career in politics and diplomacy.

Growing up on the U.S.-Mexico border near Douglas, Ariz., Castro saw discrimination around him.

He set out to beat the odds. When he couldn't get a job as a teacher — schools didn't hire educators of Mexican descent back then — he became a drifter for a while, working as a farm hand and boxing here and there.

He landed a job with the U.S. Consulate in the border city of Agua Prieta, Mexico. After five years, a senior official told him he was doing a great job but had no future in the foreign service. Castro quit and moved to Tucson.

A law school dean at the University of Arizona told Castro he wouldn't be accepted because Castro couldn't afford to quit a job teaching Spanish.

Undeterred, Castro went to the university president, who convinced the dean to give Castro an opportunity. He excelled and went on to be elected the first Hispanic county attorney and later the first Hispanic judge in Pima County Superior Court.

Born June 12, 1916, in Cananea, Mexico, Castro grew up in Arizona and graduated from Douglas High School. He was the second-youngest in a family with 12 children. His father was a union leader forced out of Mexico for organizing a mine strike.

His father died when Castro was 12, and his mother became a midwife.

Education was the best way out, Castro determined.

He went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to three Latin American countries under three U.S. presidents. Lyndon Johnson sent him to El Salvador and to Bolivia, and he stayed for a short time under Richard Nixon before returning to Arizona and making the first of two bids for governor. His statewide races were two of the closest gubernatorial elections in state history.

Castro was governor for two years before President Jimmy Carter appointed him ambassador to Argentina.

Richard Dysart, 86, an actor whose quiet air of authority helped him play presidents, generals, corporate executives and his best-known character, senior partner Leland McKenzie of "L.A. Law," has died.

Dysart's death Sunday at his Santa Monica home was caused by cancer, said his wife, Kathryn Jacobi Dysart.

While Dysart was a veteran of the Broadway stage and had appeared in many movies, he didn't land his trademark role until he was in his late 50s. "L.A. Law," a legal drama, ran from 1986 to 1994 with a cast that included Harry Hamlin, Corbin Bernsen and Jimmy Smits.

Dysart's character was a voice of calm and probity amid office rivalries and brutal courtroom battles.

Dysart's work on "L.A. Law" brought him a 1992 Emmy for best supporting actor.

Born in Brighton, Mass., on March 30, 1929, he grew up in Maine, where as a boy he was entranced with radio. When he was 16, he narrated the farm report on an Augusta, Maine, radio station.

Dysart studied speech communications at Emerson College in Boston, leaving as an undergraduate for a four-year stint in the Air Force. After returning for his bachelor's and master's degrees, he headed for New York.

In films, he appeared as a U.S. secretary of defense in "Meteor" (1979) and as the ill-fated captain Ernst Lehmann in "Hindenburg" (1975). In the 1987 film "Wall Street," he played a chief executive.

In addition to Kathryn, his wife since 1987, Dysart's survivors include stepson Arie and two grandchildren.

News services