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HANNAH BEECHDIED. AL HIRT,76, ebullient Dixieland trumpeter, whose vibrant music personified the bonhomie of his native Louisiana; in New Orleans. Although the portly, Grammy-winning musician gained fame for his stratospheric jazz solos, his elegant rendition of Handel's Ave Maria won effusive accolades from classical critics as well.DIED. ARTHUR BOYD,78, Expressionist Australian painter, whose dramatic landscapes reflected the dispossession of the Aborigines and the moral chaos of the Vietnam War; in Melbourne. First exhibited in London in 1960, where he was dubbed the antipodean Chagall, Boyd juxtaposed romantic and surreal imagery on his canvases to create a rich and textured style all his own, forcefully expressed in his Bride series and the tour-de-force The Mining Town.DIED. MICHAEL MORRIS,84, amicable Irishman, whose tumultuous tenure as head of the International Olympic Committee spanned the aftermath of the 1972 Munich massacre and the 1980 Moscow boycott; in Dublin. With the Olympics increasingly mired in political controversy--whether as anti-apartheid protesting ground or cold-war proxy battle--Morris, who became Lord Killanin, had little time to effect badly needed financial reforms. But he did succeed in his treasured goal of bringing China back to the Games.DIED. ALF RAMSEY,79, legendary English soccer manager, who led his 1966 national team to the only World Cup victory the football-mad nation has ever enjoyed; in Ipswich, England. Knighted for his singular feat, Sir Alf remained a gentlemanly presence in a sport increasingly marred by hooliganism and boastful exhibitionism.KILLED. JILL DANDO,37, effervescent BBC TV journalist, who co-anchored Britain's popular Crimewatch and Holiday programs, by an unknown gunman; outside her home in London. Dando's good looks, professional manner and uncontroversial image endeared her to British viewers. News of her shooting knocked coverage of Kosovo and nail bombings in London off the nation's front pages.DEFECTION ANNOUNCED.OfLAZARO DE BETANCOURT,senior bodyguard for Cuban leader Fidel Castro; in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The first known member of Castro's exclusive security team to defect in 40 years, de Betancourt showed up at the U.S. Embassy on April 17 and requested asylum.RETIRED. JOHN ELWAY,38, swaggering American football quarterback, whose torrid throwing arm was balanced by his cool confidence; from the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Having played a remarkable 16 seasons for Denver, the Hall of Fame-bound slinger leaves the sport as the winningest quarterback in American football history, with an unparalleled ability to turn a seemingly lost game into a last-minute victory.
JUST A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR The Merck Manual has long been an important physician's reference book. The 1899 manual, though, rereleased as a companion to its new centennial edition, makes one wonder what folks will think of our medical practices in 100 years. Some of the alarming advice: for alcoholism, slowly suck an orange. For an earache, pour hot as it can be borne water in the ear. Drink a cup of coffee to help combat insomnia, and administer electric shocks to cut short a hysteria attack. Bleeding from a jugular vein will help with acute bronchitis, and morphine suppositories can alleviate vomiting during pregnancy. And for acne? Arsenic, of course.
NO FAT LADIES, EITHER Disney recently asked Elton John and Tim Rice to update Aida, the opera about an Egyptian's doomed love for an Ethiopian slave. They did more than just lighten the tone. While Verdi has Egyptians making garlands for soldiers, John and Rice have the Spice Girls singing about panties.Verdi: Weave the lotus and the laurel/ into a crown for the victors! Let a soft cloud of flowers/ veil the steel of their arms.

John: Overwear, underwear, anytime, anywhere ... That in negligee or formal/ I am anything but normal. That dress has always been my strongest suit.