- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

Claude William Black Jr.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ The Rev. Claude William Black Jr., an influential civil rights advocate in San Antonio, has died. He was 92.

Black died Friday night after a lengthy illness, said his grandson Taj Matthews.

He was pastor emeritus of Mount Zion First Baptist Church, the largest African-American church in the city.

Black served on the San Antonio City Council in the 1970s and was its first black mayor pro-tem.

He was among religious leaders who fought against segregation and helped integrate San Antonio’s parks, swimming pools and department store lunch counter.

Black also became an associate of Martin Luther King, A. Phillip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the San Antonio Express-News reported online Saturday.

He was appointed a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging by President Clinton. During the Johnson administration, he was a delegate to the White House Conference on Civil Rights.

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Bill Davidson

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Bill Davidson, the Detroit Pistons’ Hall of Fame owner and noted philanthropist, has died. He was 86.

Davidson died Friday at his Bloomfield Hills home with family at his side, team spokesman Matt Dobek said. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.

Davidson, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September, also owned the WNBA’s Detroit Shock and Palace Sports & Entertainment, comprising The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre.

Davidson was chairman and president of Guardian Industries Corp., a major manufacturer of glass products for the construction and automotive industries and fiberglass insulation products. He also was an honored philanthropist, giving away more than $80 million in the 1990s alone.

Spurned in his bids to buy the NFL’s Detroit Lions and NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, Davidson became majority owner of the Pistons in 1974 and acquired the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning in 1999, spending lavishly on both teams.

The Lightning and the Pistons won the NHL and NBA titles eight days apart in June 2004, making Davidson the first owner of concurrent champions in major North American team sports. Under Davidson, the Pistons also won NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. The Shock had won the WNBA championship eight months earlier, and did so again in 2006.

Davidson sold the Lightning last year.

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Alan W. Livingston

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Alan W. Livingston, the music executive who created Bozo the Clown and signed the Beatles during his tenure as president of Capitol Records, has died. He was 91.

Livingston died Friday of age-related causes in his Beverly Hills home, said his stepdaughter Jennifer Lerner.

Livingston began his multifaceted career in show business as a writer and producer of children’s read-along record albums for Capitol Records. He came up with the Bozo the Clown character for the 1946 album “Bozo at the Circus,” which became a hit and spawned a cottage industry of merchandise and the television series featuring the wing-haired clown.

When he moved into executive positions at Capitol Records in the early 1950s, Livingston signed Frank Sinatra, then at a low point in his career, and introduced him to arranger Nelson Riddle. Together, the pair produced “I’ve Got the World on a String” and “Young At Heart,” which led to Sinatra’s comeback.

Livingston left the record label in the late 1950s to work in television, where he produced the western series “Bonanza.” He returned to Capitol Records as president in the 1960s, when he signed the Beach Boys and Steve Miller and the Band.

When Livingston heard the Beatles song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” he agreed to release the single and brought the Fab Four to the United States in 1964 to promote it. Capitol, which was partly owned by the Beatles’ record company EMI in the United Kingdom, earlier had rejected the group’s initial hit singles as unsuitable for the American market.

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