Milestones: Nov. 9, 1981

  • Share
  • Read Later

DIED. Harold Patrick ("Pete") Reiser, 62, former mesmerizing Brooklyn Dodger whose bid for superstardom was dashed by repeated injuries, most of which occurred when he crashed into outfield walls while chasing flyballs; of a respiratory illness; in Palm Springs, Calif. In 1941, his first full season, Reiser at 22 led the National League in batting (.343), slugging (.558), runs scored (117), total bases (299) and triples (17). The next year, "Pistol Pete" was smoking along at a .380 clip when he crashed into a centerfield wall while running after a line drive. He knocked himself unconscious, and by the end of the season his batting average dropped to .310. In 1947 he again crashed into an outfield wall, with such force that a Roman Catholic priest administered last rites as Reiser sprawled unconscious in his team's clubhouse. Though he recovered, headaches and dizzy spells from eleven collisions drove him from the game in 1952.

DIED. Edith Head, eightyish, Hollywood costume designer who once described her job as "a cross between camouflage and reconstruction" and who won a record eight Academy Awards (for The Heiress, All About Eve, Samson and Delilah, A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Facts of Life and The Sting); in Los Angeles. Her first job for a studio was draping garlands over elephants in a Cecil B. De-Mille circus film. She notched her first Oscar for dressing Olivia de Havilland as a spinster in The Heiress in 1949. Prim and priggish-looking in her bangs and tortoise-shell glasses, Head costumed actors for more than 1,000 movies and created some fashion trends, including a minor 1930s craze after she wrapped Dorothy Lamour in a sarong for Jungle Princess.

DIED. Ariel Durant, 83, Russian immigrant who as a 15-year-old student in 1913 married her American high school teacher, Will Durant, later collaborating with him on the eleven-volume magnum opus The Story of Civilization, and sharing with him the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for Rousseau and Revolution, No. 10 in their series; in Hollywood, Calif. Durant worked unofficially as a researcher and collaborator on the first six volumes of the series, but her name appeared as a coauthor on the last five, as well as on their jointly written A Dual Autobiography.

DIED. Waiter Hinton, 92, co-pilot and last survivor of the six-man crew that flew the first plane across the Atlantic Ocean in 1919, eight years before Charles A. Lindbergh made the first solo flight; in Pompano Beach, Fla. Hinton was a Navy lieutenant on the NC4 (Navy-Curtiss) flying boat that crossed the Atlantic from Rockaway, N. Y., to Plymouth, England. As a civilian, Hinton later made the first flight between New York City and Rio de Janeiro.