George Randolph Hearst Jr., 84, chairman of the board of Hearst Corp., died June 25 at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., of complications following a stroke.
The oldest grandson of the late William Randolph Hearst, George Hearst Jr., had been deeply involved with the activities of Hearst Corp. since 1948 and served as a director for more than 53 years. He also was president of the Hearst Foundation and a director of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
He served on the staff of the San Francisco Examiner, as publisher of the Los Angeles Examiner, as business manager and publisher of the Los Angeles Evening Herald Express, and as vice president of Hearst Corp.
Hearst also enlisted in the Naval Air Corps during World War II and then in the Army during the Korean War.
Hearst Corp. owns 15 daily newspapers and a long list of magazines.
Gad Beck, 88, whose dangerous life as a half-Jewish gay man in the capital of Nazi Germany during World War II represents one of the 20th century's more unusual stories of human survival, died June 24 at a senior citizens home in Berlin.
Beck was a leader among Jews who dodged the Nazis in Berlin, the heart of the Third Reich, and who took risks to help others trying to do the same.
He published a firsthand account: "An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin," written with Frank Heibert. The autobiography, published in 1999, embraced both the historic tragedy and the daily details of his precarious existence. Beck's ability to remain alive at a time of constant danger involved forged papers, false identities and the good will of many people.
His narrative struck reviewers as a monument to determination, endurance and nerve.
Barry Becher, 71, the co-creator of the classic over-the-top Ginsu knife commercials of the 1970s, and who, with his business partner Ed Valenti, helped develop television infomercial marketing, died June 22 at a hospital in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
He had complications from surgery for kidney cancer. Becher (pronounced BESH-er) owned a couple of transmission franchises in Rhode Island when he and Valenti, a TV advertising executive, teamed up to sell knives, kitchenware, jewelry and drip-free paintbrushes through two-minute TV ads.
All of their products sold for an amazing, low, low price, and viewers were urged to "order now" because "operators are standing by."
But wait, there's more!
With their homespun commercials, Becher and Valenti built a demand for items people didn't realize they needed. They also were among the first TV advertisers to use 800 numbers.
John Caulfield, 83, a security operative who was responsible for wiretaps and other so-called "dirty tricks" of the Nixon White House died June 17 in Vero Beach, Fla.
Caulfield was a burly onetime New York City cop who entered the orbit of Richard Nixon as a chief of security during the 1968 presidential campaign. After Nixon was elected, Caulfield assumed a vaguely defined role as a White House staff assistant, with responsibilities that ranged from bodyguard to collector of intelligence.
He was linked to several operations that skirted beyond the edge of legality, including wiretapping and pressure on the Internal Revenue Service. But Caulfield was best known as the White House official who extended an offer of clemency, cash and future employment to James McCord if McCord, a convicted Watergate burglar, refused to testify against members of Nixon's inner circle.