Don Oberdorfer, 84, a former Washington Post diplomatic correspondent who chronicled international news from the Vietnam War to the fall of the Soviet Union, earning a reputation as one of the most insightful reporters on his globe-spanning beat, died July 23 in Washington. He had Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Laura Oberdorfer.
Oberdorfer spent 25 years with the Post, beginning in 1968, when he was hired away from the Knight Newspapers chain by Benjamin Bradlee.
Oberdorfer’s years of reportage filled an uncounted number of broadsheet pages and half a dozen books that made him known particularly as an expert in Asian affairs.
After retiring from the Post in 1993, he taught at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and chaired its U.S.-Korea Institute. His 1997 book, “The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History,” was regarded as a seminal work on the Korean Peninsula.
Donald Oberdorfer Jr. was born in Atlanta on May 28, 1931. He was a 1952 graduate of Princeton University, where he studied political science and led the campus newspaper. He served with the Army in Korea shortly after the armistice ending the Korean War and used his mustering-out pay to take a trip around the world, including to Pakistan, where he contracted polio.
George Coe, 86, a film, stage and television actor who earned an Oscar nomination for his single picture as a director — the 1968 short feature “De Duva (The Dove),” a mock-Swedish-inflected sendup of Ingmar Bergman that has endured as a cult favorite — died July 18 in Santa Monica, Calif.
Coe, whose half-century-long career encompassed roles on Broadway; in movies like “The Stepford Wives,” “French Postcards” and “Kramer vs. Kramer”; and — in a seminal if seldom-remembered achievement — in the original cast of “Saturday Night Live,” served for more than a decade on the Screen Actors Guild board.
In “De Duva,” of which Coe was a director, producer and star, he out-Bergmaned Bergman. About 14 minutes long and shot in brooding black and white in the woods of upstate New York, the film features Coe, in heavy age makeup, as a professor looking back on his love for his comely sister, Inga.
“De Duva” was nominated for an Academy Award for best live-action short subject and proved wildly popular on college campuses.
George Julian Cohen was born on May 10, 1929, in New York, and reared on Long Island. He adopted the surname Coe early in his career.
The Rev. Owen Chadwick, 99, an educator and prolific historian of Christianity whose works encompassed sweeping narratives, like his two-volume history of the Victorian church, as well as incisive biographies and vivid pictures of rural church life, died July 17 at his home in Cambridge, England.
Chadwick was an ordained Anglican priest. Long associated with Cambridge University, he was master of Selwyn College there for nearly 30 years, beginning in the mid-1950s, and Regius professor of modern history from 1968.
After publishing “John Cassian: A Study in Primitive Monasticism” (1950), about the monk and theologian who brought the ideas of Egyptian monasticism to the West in the fifth century, Chadwick turned out a long series of histories remarkable for their variety, authority and engaging style.
Chadwick was inspired not only by great doctrinal disputes but also by the day-to-day rounds of church life in rural outposts. Characteristically, he produced both “The Victorian Church,” a magisterial history published in two volumes, in 1966 and 1971, and “Victorian Miniature” (1961), the account of a feuding country squire and parson, each of whom kept a diary.
William Owen Chadwick was born on May 20, 1916, in London. He was knighted in 1982 and became a member of the Order of Merit the following year.