Although Nick B. Williams Jr., 75, would carve out a distinguished career as an editor and foreign correspondent at the Los Angeles Times, he first had to overcome the "junior" at the end of his name. He joined the newspaper in the late 1960s when his father, Nick Williams Sr., was editor of the Times, and a highly regarded one at that.
"When Nick junior was added to the staff, a number of people -- cynics mainly -- said, 'He's the editor's son. What the hell is he going to do?' Turns out, if they had waited 20 minutes, they would have found out he was a terrific editor and a terrific reporter," said George Cotliar, a former managing editor.
Williams, who was a foreign correspondent in Southeast Asia and the Middle East in the 1980s and 1990s, died Wednesday at a Gainesville, Texas, nursing home of complications from Alzheimer's disease, said his daughter Nan of Flat Top, Tenn.
After starting out on the Metro copy desk at the Times, Williams became an editor on the national and foreign desks in the 1970s and 1980s. He also served as deputy editor of the editorial pages before retiring in 2002. "He was just a marvelous and popular editor," said Robert Gibson, the Times foreign editor when Williams joined the department.
Mark O'Donnell, 58, who won a Tony Award in 2003 as co-author of the book for the Broadway musical "Hairspray" and was nominated for another in 2008 for "Cry-Baby," died on Monday in Manhattan. He collapsed and died suddenly, and the cause of death has not yet been determined, his agent, Jack Tantleff, said. "Hairspray" was an adaptation of the 1988 film by the iconoclastic John Waters. O'Donnell wrote the text of the play with Thomas Meehan.