Actress Deborah Raffin dies at 59
BY Wire reports
Friday, November 23, 2012
11/23/12 at 4:21 AM
LOS ANGELES - Deborah Raffin, an actress who ran a successful audiobook company with the help of her celebrity friends, has died. She was 59.
Raffin died Wednesday of leukemia at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, her brother, William, told the Los Angeles Times. She was diagnosed with the blood cancer about a year ago.
Raffin, the daughter of 20th Century Fox contract player Trudy Marshall, had roles in movies such as "Forty Carats" and "Once Is Not Enough." She also starred in television miniseries, most notably playing actress Brooke Hayward in "Haywire" and a businesswoman in "Noble House," based on the James Clavell saga set in Hong Kong.
She and her then-husband, music producer Michael Viner, launched Dove Books-on-Tape in the mid-1980s, which blossomed into a multimillion-dollar business. The company's first best-seller was Stephen Hawking's opus on the cosmos titled "A Brief History of Time."
Raffin's job was getting celebrities to provide voices for some of the books. Among them were the nonfiction best-sellers "Anatomy of an Illness" and "The Healing Heart," both by Norman Cousins and read by Jason Robards Jr. and William Conrad, respectively.
Raffin also compiled celebrities' Christmas anecdotes for a 1990 book, "Sharing Christmas," which raised money for groups serving the homeless. It included stories from Margaret Thatcher, Kermit the Frog and Mother Teresa.
Raffin and Viner sold the company in 1997 and the couple divorced eight years later. Viner died of cancer in 2009.
Raffin is survived by her two siblings, William and Judy Holston; and a daughter, Taylor Rose Viner.
Phoebe Hearst Cooke, philanthropist, dies at 85
LOS ANGELES - Phoebe Hearst Cooke, who was a granddaughter of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst and used one of the nation's biggest fortunes to support a variety of philanthropic causes, has died. She was 85.
Cooke, who had pneumonia, died Sunday in a Templeton, Calif., hospital, according to a statement from the Hearst Corp., the media company she served as a director for 36 years.
Her twin brother, George Randolph Hearst Jr., who was a former publisher of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, died in June after a stroke.
A fixture on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, Cooke had personal assets recently estimated by the magazine at $1.9 billion.
Although her flamboyant grandfather built a newspaper dynasty, Cooke was not a particularly public figure. An ardent horsewoman, she was best known as a rancher who gave extensively to equestrian organizations. She retired from the Hearst board in 1998.
Cooke was born July 13, 1927, in San Francisco to George Randolph Hearst and his wife, Blanche. Her father was a Hearst executive and the eldest of five sons of William Randolph Hearst, who was known as W.R. to a family that included 15 grandchildren.
A former California horse racing commissioner, she was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's Hall of Fame in 1996, along with her husband, Amory J. "Jack" Cooke, who managed the Hearst family's ranching operations.
Australian author Bryce Courtenay dies at 79
CANBERRA, Australia - Australian best-selling author Bryce Courtenay has died of stomach cancer. He was 79.
His publisher, Penguin Group, said Friday that the South African-born writer died at his family home in the Australian capital Canberra late Thursday surrounded by his family and pets.
Courtenay had a successful career in advertising before writing his first novel, "The Power of One," which was published in 1989 when he was 56. The story became a movie starring Morgan Freeman. His 21st novel, "Jack of Diamonds," was published this month.
Original Print Headline: Actress, audiobooks producer Deborah Raffin dies at 59