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Publication: Dead End
Steve Irwin, Astrid Varnay

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@@@         DEAD END - Friday, September 8, 2006         @@@
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"Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the 
grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun." Bishop Hall

Welcome to another edition of Dead End.

We lost a man this week who risked his life doing what he 
loved. Steve Irwin, Australia's internationally renowned 
"Crocodile Hunter," was killed while filming a documentary 
underwater on the Great Barrier Reef. We also mourn the loss 
of Rocco Petrone, who helped develop the Saturn rocket for 
the U.S. Apollo space missions. Petrone was also the director 
of launch operations at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, 
where he oversaw all phases of the program and was responsible 
for every spacecraft component used in it. We also remember 
a star of 1940s and 1950s radio, television and Broadway - 
John Conte - and internationally acclaimed soprano Astrid 

P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in the 
new Dead End forum. Check it out here...

Dead End Forum



Australia's internationally renowned "Crocodile Hunter," 
Steve Irwin was killed Monday by a stingray barb to the 
heart as he was filming underwater. Irwin, 44, was struck in 
shallow waters as he was filming a documentary on the Great
Barrier Reef called "Ocean's Deadliest", The Australian 
reported. His crew pulled him aboard his research vessel, 
Croc One, summoned a rescue helicopter and sped to a meeting 
point 30 minutes away as they performed CPR on him, reports 
said. Prime Minister John Howard said he was "shocked and 
distressed by Steve Irwin's sudden, untimely and freakish 
death," the BBC reported. The Melbourne-born naturalist's 
"Crocodile Hunter" program was first broadcast in Australia 
in 1992 and is shown around the world on the Discovery cable 
network. Irwin is survived by his U.S.-born wife, Terri, 
daughter Bindi, 8, and three-year-old son Bob.

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Rocco Petrone, who helped develop the Saturn rocket for the 
U.S. Apollo space missions, died at his California home at 
age 80. The former Army engineer, who came on loan to the 
U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, later 
became the director of launch operations at the Kennedy 
Space Center in Florida, where he oversaw all phases of the 
program and was responsible for every spacecraft component 
used in it, reports The Los Angeles Times. Petrone died last 
week at his home in Palos Verdes Estates from complications 
of heart disease. Petrone also headed the Marshall Space 
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.  In that role, he led the 
team that rescued the 1973 Skylab mission after it was 
damaged during liftoff. Petrone had advised against the Jan. 
28, 1986, launch of the shuttle Challenger, which ended in 
a disaster, the Times said. Besides his wife of 50 years, 
Petrone is survived by four children, a brother, and a half-


Star of 1940s and 1950s radio, television and Broadway, John 
Conte, who later owned a successful television station, died 
in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at 90. In the 1940s, he was a 
regular on the "Burns and Allen" show with George Burns and 
Gracie Allen. Conte also acted in Broadway shows, including 
"Allegro," a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, and "Arms and 
the Girl." In the 1950s, Conte appeared on Sid Caesar's "Your
Show of Shows" and hosted "The Matinee Theatre," a one-hour 
drama, through the 1950s. In the 1960s, he had guest appear-
ances on "Bonanza," "Perry Mason" and other shows. He and 
his wife, Sirpuhe Philibosian, started an NBC affiliate, 
KMIR, in 1968, which they ran successfully and sold in 
1999. He is survived by Sirpuhe, son Christopher, and step-
daughters Louise Danelian and Joyce Stein, as well as six 

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Internationally acclaimed soprano Astrid Varnay has died in 
Munich, Germany from a pericardial infection at the age of 
88. Varnay was 23 when she got her first starring role at 
the Met -- by attrition in 1943. Five other sopranos were 
unable to perform, so she was the last minute substitute in 
the role of Sieglinde in Wilhelm Richard Wagner's "Die 
Walkure," the Times said. Another illness six days later saw 
her step into the role of Wagner's Brunnhilde -- and a star 
was born. Varnay moved to Munich in the 1950s and focused on 
performing in Europe with occasional returns to the stage 
that launched her career. She created a stir in the early 
1960s by switching from soprano to mezzo-soprano -- which 
shifted her out of the spotlight and into smaller, more 
character driven roles.

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Notable deaths this week in history...

In 1966, Margaret Sanger, the leader of the birth control 
campaign, died of arteriosclerosis. She was 82.

In 1976, the father of the Chinese Revolution, Mao Tse-tung, 
died at the age of 82.

In 1978, legendary rock musician Keith Moon, who played 
drums for the classic rock band The Who, died of an overdose. 
He was 32.

In 1997, Mother Teresa, the sister who found the Missionaries 
of Charity to serve the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, 
died at the age of 87.

          GopherCentral's Question of the Week

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