Deaths Elsewhere |

Philip Clapp, environmental activist

Philip Clapp, a veteran U.S. environmental activist who helped bring high-powered business lobbying to issues such as climate change, has died. He was 54.

Clapp, a resident of Washington, D.C., died Wednesday while visiting Amsterdam, according to a statement from the Pew Charitable Trust. It did not give a cause of death.

Pew's president, Rebecca Rimel, praised Clapp as a master of framing complex scientific issues in a way that resonates with policymakers and the public.

Clapp worked for more than a decade on Capitol Hill after graduating from Harvard. He was a Democratic staff member of the U.S. House Budget Committee, where he directed the environmental task force.

He also headed the legislative practice of a large Washington law firm and was a consultant on mergers and acquisitions to investment banking firms.

In 1994, he founded and directed the National Environmental Trust, a nonprofit public relations firm funded by large foundations to campaign for water and air quality, endangered species and the protection of the forests and oceans. Associated Press

James Crumley, inspired generation of crime writers

James Crumley, a crime novelist whose hardened detectives worked cases in dingy Montana bars and other rough hangouts around Big Sky Country, has died after years of poor health. He was 68.

Crumley died Wednesday at a hospital in Missoula, where the former Texan made his home, said William Kittredge, a longtime friend and writer.

Crumley was perhaps best known for “The Last Good Kiss,” which Men's Journal last year ranked No. 12 among its Top 15 Thrillers of All Time. The book takes readers into the life of C.W. Sughrue, a Montana investigator who works in a topless bar, is hired to track down an author and ends up searching for a girl missing in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district.

Crumley wrote “hard-boiled detective” books but made them poetic, said Kittredge, who taught in the University of Montana writing program for 29 years. Crumley joined UM's English faculty soon after he earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1966.

Besides “The Last Good Kiss,” his books include “One Count to Cadence,” “The Wrong Case,” “Dancing Bear” and “The Mexican Tree Duck,” all published by Random House. Viking published “The Right Madness” in 2005. Chatham's Clark City Press published a Crumley anthology, “The Muddy Fork and Other Things: Short Fiction and Nonfiction,” in 1991. Associated Press

Mauricio Kagel, Argentinian composer

Mauricio Kagel, the Argentine-born composer whose experimental body of work also ranged into theater, has died. He was 76.

The C.F. Peters musical publishing house said Kagel died late Wednesday or early Thursday in Cologne, Germany, following a long illness.

Kagel was born in Buenos Aires on Dec. 24, 1931, into a Jewish family of German-Russian origin.

A self-taught composer who learned to play instruments including the piano, organ and cello, he studied literature and philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires and at age 18, became an adviser to an avant-garde group, Agrupacion Nueva Musica.

In 1955, he rose to become a director at the Argentine capital's Teatro Colon.

Two years later, he went on a student grant to Germany, where he settled – working in chamber and electronic music. His musical theater piece “Sur Scene” – first performed in 1960 – established a genre of “instrumental theater” that became a prominent part of his work.

Kagel was known for a humorous approach to art, with works such as “Fantasie fuer Orgel and Obligati,” which included a toilet flush as an instrument. Associated Press