WASHINGTON (AP) — Richard Darman, a former White House budget director who helped persuade former President George H.W. Bush to renege on his no new taxes pledge, has died. He was 64.
Darman died Friday in Washington after battling leukemia for several months, according to a statement issued by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a longtime friend.
Darman was chief architect of a compromise designed to reduce the federal budget deficit. Although it drew praise from many economic analysts, the plan included tax increases that broke Bush's 1988 election promise, "Read my lips, no new taxes!"
Although the change of policy is partly blamed for Bush's re-election defeat to Bill Clinton, it contributed to balancing the federal budgets in the late 1990s.
Darman began his government career in 1971 as a deputy assistant secretary in the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He later held high-level posts in the Defense, Justice and Commerce departments. He served as a top aide to Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who lost his job in the "Saturday Night Massacre" during the Watergate scandal.
He was deputy chief of staff to President Reagan while Baker was running the staff. Baker became his mentor, which helped Darman survive in the Bush White House. When Baker switched jobs to become Treasury secretary, Darman went with him, becoming deputy Treasury secretary.
Along with his jobs in many federal agencies, Darman taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
BERLIN (AP) — Erich Kaestner, a German believed to have been the country's last World War I veteran, has died. He was 107.
Kaestner, whose death almost went unnoticed in a nation that doesn't track its remaining veterans, died Jan. 1 in a nursing home in Cologne, his son said.
He had just graduated from high school in 1918 when he entered the army. Following training, he was sent to the Western Front to fight in France but was never sent to the front lines.
Kaestner rejoined the military in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II, serving as a first lieutenant in ground support for the Luftwaffe, primarily in France.
Following the end of the war in 1945, Kaestner became a judge in Hanover.
For his work as a jurist, he received Lower Saxony's Merit Cross, 1st Class. He was also honored by Germany's president for his 75-year marriage to his wife, Maria, shortly before her death in 2003 at age 102.
Though Die Welt, Der Spiegel and the local Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung all said Kaestner was the last German veteran of World War I, it was not possible to confirm that status directly.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — Dan Martin, a guitar vendor whose clientele included Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Eddie Van Halen, has died. He was 57.
Martin died Dec. 21, his sister said. The cause of death was not immediately known. His sister said he had been hospitalized for about two weeks before he died and had suffered from congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Martin developed what friends called an ability to find the perfect instruments for some of the world's most famed guitarists.
He operated two guitar shops and made frequent trips to New York and Los Angeles.
Starting in high school, Martin would work on guitars in the family basement.
Martin later worked as a roadie with the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and the Band, Foghat, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stevie Wonder and more.
It was during that time that he bought and sold guitars, making the contacts that led to his first shop, The St. Charles Guitar Exchange. Later he operated Empire Guitars.
Rupert F. Richardson
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Civil rights leader Rupert F. Richardson, who served as national president of the NAACP, has died. She was 78.
Richardson collapsed and died Thursday as she was decorating a Baton Rouge home she had recently moved into, her son told The (Baton Rouge) Advocate. An official cause of death has not been announced.
With the NAACP, Richardson led efforts to widen the organization's scope of civil rights to include human rights and economic parity. From 1992 to 1995, she served nationally as the group's president and was named president emeritus following that term.
Prior to that, she served eight years as vice president and also had a 16-year tenure as president of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, which created the Rupert F. Richardson Presidential Award in her honor.
In the late 1990s, Richardson served under then-Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bobby Jindal, who is now governor.
She chaired the NAACP's National Health Committee, working to reduce HIV/AIDS cases, and started her own health care consulting firm in 1994 after retiring as Louisiana's deputy assistant secretary for alcohol and drug abuse. She also worked at the state level in the areas of health planning, mental health, employment and substance abuse.
In addition, Richardson served as a member of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, the Louisiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the advisory board of the LSU School of Social Welfare and the Governor's Council for Drug Free Schools.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Christian Brando, the troubled eldest son of the late famed actor Marlon Brando, has died from pneumonia at a Los Angeles hospital, an attorney said Saturday. He was 49.
Brando died Saturday morning at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, said David Seeley, an attorney representing Marlon Brando's estate.
Seeley said Brando was taken to the hospital on Jan. 11. There are no funeral plans yet scheduled, he added.
"This is a sad and difficult time for the family," Seeley said.
Born May 11, 1958, the younger Brando had small roles in a handful of movies, including 1968's "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!" but he was better known for his brushes with the law.
He spent five years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in 1990 for killing his sister's boyfriend, Dag Drollet, at the Brando family's estate.
Brando said he accidentally shot Drollet as they struggled for a gun during an argument over whether Drollet, 26, had beaten Brando's pregnant half-sister, Cheyenne.
Cheyenne, who later gave birth to Drollet's son, committed suicide in 1995 after losing custody. She was 25.
Brando's ex-wife, Deborah Brando, sued him for domestic violence in 2005. She claimed that shortly after their 2004 marriage, Brando repeatedly beat her and threatened to kill her in the presence of her teenage daughter.
Brando countersued, alleging that his ex-wife broke into his home and beat him because he wanted to annul their marriage only 10 weeks after exchanging vows.
The lawsuits were settled last year on undisclosed terms.
Brando was charged Jan. 10, 2005, with two counts of spousal abuse and he pleaded guilty. He was placed on three years' probation and ordered to drug and alcohol rehabilitation as well as a spousal-abuse prevention program.
Brando also was the one-time lover of Bonnie Lee Bakley, who was shot to death in 2001. At one time, Bakley claimed Brando had fathered her child but tests showed it belonged to actor Robert Blake, whom she later married.
Blake was tried for her murder and acquitted but later ordered to pay $30 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. During that civil case, Blake's lawyer suggested Brando was the killer.
Brando, who had denied any involvement, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the stand during the trial.
Seeley said Brando was not married at the time of his death and did not leave any children.