Milestones

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RESIGNED. CARL MCCALL, 67, from the New York Stock Exchange (N.Y.S.E.) board, on which he served as chairman of the compensation committee; eight days after N.Y.S.E. chairman Richard Grasso stepped down following criticism of his excessive $140 million pay package; in New York City. McCall had publicly defended Grasso but was reportedly angered to learn of an additional $48 million due Grasso, despite having signed a new contract extension approving it.

RETIRED. REBECCA LOBO, 29, Olympic gold medalist turned star original player for the New York Liberty who helped launch the WNBA and is credited with sparking a rise in the popularity of women's basketball; after a series of play-stopping knee injuries; in Uncasville, Conn.


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OVERTURNED. The conviction of AMINA LAWAL, 32, a Nigerian single mother; of adultery, a crime for which she was sentenced to death by stoning; by an Islamic appeals court; in Katsina, Nigeria. Lawal, whose sentence provoked international criticism and heightened tensions between the country's Christians and Muslims, would have been the first woman to be stoned to death since 12 states adopted Shari'a, or strict Islamic law, starting in 1999.

DIED. EDWARD SAID, 67, Columbia University literary critic and the most prominent advocate for Palestinian independence in the U.S.; of leukemia; in New York City. A fierce critic of Israel and U.S. Middle East policy, the Jerusalem-born author and scholar advocated a single, binational state for "dispossessed" Palestinians. Though he repudiated terrorism generally, he drew ire for his refusal to condemn specific violent acts by Palestinians. The author of the influential study Orientalism, which argued that Westerners distorted and demeaned Middle Eastern culture by stereotyping, Said lived most of his life in the U.S., married a Quaker and for a time reviewed music for the Nation, acknowledging that he often felt like an outsider living "two quite separate lives."

DIED. HERB GARDNER, 68, Tony-winning playwright; after a long battle with lung disease; in New York City. His biggest success, A Thousand Clowns, in 1962, told the story of Murray Burns (played by Jason Robards Jr.), a nonconformist ex-writer for children's TV who fights to keep custody of his nephew. Gardner also wrote I'm Not Rappaport, a 1985 hit about a pair of endearingly cantankerous octogenarians.

DIED. GORDON JUMP, 71, TV actor best known as the bumbling boss of a radio station in the 1978-82 sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and later as the lonely, restless Maytag repairman, replacing Jesse White in one of TV's longest-running ad campaigns; of complications from pulmonary fibrosis; in Los Angeles.

DIED. DONALD O'CONNOR, 78, rubber-limbed actor-dancer who brought an irrepressible vaudeville energy to films and TV; of heart failure; in Los Angeles. Born to vaudeville folk, he played straight man to a talking mule in six popular Francis movies and won an Emmy for an early TV series. In the Make 'em Laugh number in Singin' in the Rain, he made mock love to a cloth dummy, did backflips off a wall and then hurtled through it — still smiling — in the greatest comic dance solo in film history.

DIED. FRANCO MODIGLIANI, 85, Italian-born Nobel-prizewinning economist and professor at M.I.T.; in Cambridge, Mass. A Jew who fled Mussolini's regime in 1938, he was best known for his influential ideas on the way people save money. His theories helped countries come up with pension and retirement systems.

DIED. GEORGE PLIMPTON, 76, man of letters; in New York City. Although he wrote and edited more than 30 books, Plimpton also found time to lead one of the more interesting lives of the 20th century. As editor of The Paris Review, he championed the works of Philip Roth and Jack Kerouac. As a participatory journalist, he pitched to Willie Mays and tried out for the Detroit Lions, an experience he described in Paper Lion, among the finest sports books ever written. Plimpton also guest-starred on The Simpsons, danced at Truman Capote's Black and White Ball and witnessed the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Though he loved to play the underdog, he never lost his dignity or his twinkly-eyed patrician charm. -- By Lev Grossman

DIED. ROBERT PALMER, 54, natty Brit-rock eminence of the '80s; of a heart attack; in Paris. In his crisp, sexy videos for Addicted to Love and Simply Irresistible, leggy ladies struck poses while a fuzzy bass line growled under Palmer's knowing vocals. And there stood the star in jacket and tie, like an investment banker unwinding on karaoke night. He would rather be remembered for adapting a world of musical styles to the R. and B. he grew up loving. But for a legion of fans, Palmer will always fit his own ironic self-description: the James Bond of boogie. -- By Richard Corliss