Deaths |

Dina Cocea, ‘queen

of Romanian theater'

Dina Cocea, one of Romania's best-known actresses, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, a director said. One theater critic mourned the loss of “the queen of Romanian theater.” She was 95.

Cocea, who performed on the stage and in movies for more than 50 years, died at Floreasca hospital, where she had been admitted several days earlier with a pulmonary infection, said Ion Caramitru, director of the National Theater.

Her career as an actress included many Romanian productions, spanning from the nation's communist past right up through the Romanian detective movie “Attack in the Library,” which premiered in 1993.

On Tuesday, shortly after her death, Romanian theater expert Ion Tobosaru remembered Cocea as “the queen of Romanian theater,” and his statement was carried across the country by the media. Associated Press

Gerard Damiano, director of ‘Deep Throat'

Gerard Damiano, director of the pioneering pornographic film that lent its name to the Watergate whistleblower known as “Deep Throat,” has died. He was 80.

Damiano died Saturday at a Fort Myers hospital, his son, Gerard Damiano Jr., said. He had suffered a stroke in September.

Damiano's “Deep Throat” was a box office success that helped launch the modern hard-core adult entertainment industry. Shot in six days for just $25,000, the 1972 flick became a cultural must-see for Americans who had just lived through the sexual liberation of the 1960s.

The film's title also became associated with one of the most famous anonymous sources in journalism. While investigating the Watergate scandal, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used it as a nickname for their source, former FBI official Mark Felt.

Damiano worked as a hairdresser, spent time in the Navy and directed several adult films.

After “Deep Throat” opened in Times Square, attention from media critics and outraged conservatives — including repeated legal challenges — helped turn it into a hit. Associated Press

Tony Hillerman,

mystery writer

Tony Hillerman, the critically acclaimed author whose best-selling series of mystery novels featuring two Navajo tribal policemen provided insight into the native people and culture of the Southwest, has died. He was 83.

Hillerman, who had been in declining health in recent years, died Sunday of pulmonary failure at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., said his daughter, Anne Hillerman.

Beginning with “The Blessing Way,” published in 1970 and introducing Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police, Hillerman wrote 18 novels featuring Leaphorn and younger officer Jim Chee. The novels were set in the sprawling Navajo region of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

The longtime Albuquerque resident, whose novels were known for their blend of contemporary crime and traditional tribal beliefs and customs, remained something of a cult favorite until his 1986 novel “Skinwalkers” propelled him onto best-seller lists and his mysteries, including “A Thief of Time,” sold millions of copies.

Hillerman, whose novels have been published in more than 30 languages, received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1991. In 2005, he received the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement for having “reinvented the mystery novel as a venue for the exploration and celebration of Native American history, culture and identity.” Los Angeles Times