- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

Glenn Marlin Sundby

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Glenn Marlin Sundby, an acrobat who co-founded USA Gymnastics and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, died Wednesday. He was 87.

Sundby had been in failing health the past year and was admitted last week to Tri-City Hospital in Vista, Calif., USA Gymnastics said.

A high school gymnast, Sundby created a traveling acrobatic act with George Wayne Long that became the Wayne-Marlin Trio when Sundby’s sister, Dolores, joined in 1945. Four years later, Sundby drew national attention by walking down the steps of the Washington Monument on his hands.

In 1962, Sundby helped found the U.S. Gymnastics Federation _ now USA Gymnastics _ and served as its vice president. He also co-founded the U.S. Sports Acrobatics Federation and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Sundby started what is now “International Gymnast,” the sport’s leading publication, in 1957.


Betsy Blair

LONDON (AP) _ Betsy Blair, the Oscar-nominated actress and teenage bride of Gene Kelly, has died. She was 85.

Blair died last Friday in London after battling cancer, Mark Searle, whose company published a 2003 autobiography of Blair, said Thursday.

The New Jersey-born Blair and Kelly married in 1941 and moved to Hollywood, where he became a major star. She would later marry film director Karel Reisz.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Blair took parts in “The Guilt of Janet Ames,” and “A Double Life.” But her movie career stalled after her enthusiasm for leftist causes landed her on Hollywood’s blacklist.

Following a part in “Kind Lady” in 1951, Blair struggled to win new movie roles for several years, focusing instead on caring for the couple’s daughter, Kerry.

Blair’s most famous role was in the 1955 movie “Marty,” where she played a dowdy school teacher who captures the heart of a lonely Italian-American butcher. Blair was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actress but didn’t win.


Gianni Giansanti

ROME (AP) _ Gianni Giansanti, an award-winning Italian photographer who snapped candid portraits of Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimages, has died. He was 52.

Giansanti died Wednesday in Rome after battling bone cancer, his studio assistant, Ada Masella, said.

Giansanti was a 21-year-old freelancer just breaking into photography during the years of Italian domestic terrorism when he shot the 1978 image that for many captured the horror of that era _ the bullet-riddled body of Aldo Moro, the kidnapped former Italian Christian Democrat premier, in the truck of a parked car.

He furnished a black-and-white photo of the scene to The Associated Press, which transmitted it around the world. His photos of the body helped him early in his career to work on contract for the Sygma photo agency.

Giansanti’s career seemed linked to the life of Polish-born John Paul II, who was elected pontiff in 1978 and was credited with helping bring down Soviet-bloc communism.

But he also covered some of Pope Benedict XVI’s overseas trips, including his last papal pilgrimage in Brazil in 2007, Massella said.

Awards included a World Press Photo first prize in 1988 for reportage on a day in the life of John Paul.

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