Chris Lighty, an influential manager of hip-hop stars like 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Missy Elliott and Diddy, was found dead last week at his home in the Bronx, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 44. One of the most powerful figures in the hip-hop business, Lighty helped establish the genre as a major commercial force -- complete with huge record deals and commercial tie-ins -- during its peak in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Alan M. Kriegsman, a critic for the Washington Post whose fervid prose style earned the first Pulitzer Prize for dance coverage and who chronicled an era of surging popular enthusiasm for dance in forms ranging from classical ballet to break dancing, died Aug. 31 of heart ailments at his home in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 84. Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov called Kriegsman "very much a propagandist of art."
Dr. R. Palmer Beasley, an epidemiologist and infectious-disease expert, used his curiosity about the world and its people to discover the link between the hepatitis B virus and liver cancer -- proof that a virus could cause a human cancer, and a finding that ultimately led to vaccinations that saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Beasley died Aug. 25 at his home in Houston from pancreatic cancer. He was 76.
Shulamith Firestone, whose 1970 book "The Dialectic of Sex" became a feminist classic with its calls for a drastic rethinking of women's roles in the bearing and raising of children, was found dead last week in her New York City apartment. She was 67. Firestone preached freedom from "the tyranny of the biological family," envisioning a world in which fetuses were developed in artificial wombs.
Kurt Maetzig, a pioneering figure in East Germany's socialist film industry after World War II who became one of the country's most respected directors, not least for compelling Germans to acknowledge their Nazi past, died Aug. 8 at his home in Germany. He was 101. Maetzig was a founder of East Germany's main film studio at the close of World War II.