RIP: Ten fascinating people the world lost this week

Even in death, Chavez will loom large in Venezuela.
Even in death, Chavez will loom large in Venezuela.
Image: AP Photo / Ariana Cubillos
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  1. Hugo Chavez — The ex-paratroop commander who ruled Venezuela for 14 years as a fiery populist. 58.
  2. John Wilpers — The last surviving member of the US Army intelligence team that captured Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo after World War II. After hearing a gunshot, the team forced their way into Tojo’s suburban house finding him “lying on a couch, his white shirt stained in blood from a bullet in his chest. The physician standing nearby, intending to help Tojo die, refused Lieutenant Wilpers’s order to give Tojo medical help. The officers quickly found another doctor and had Tojo removed to an Army hospital, where he recovered. Later tried for war crimes, Tojo was executed in 1948,” the New York Times reported.
  3. Rajasulochana — Veteran Indian actress and classical dancer who, as popular film star in the 1950s and 1960s, was known for her classy portrayals of well-bred women. 78.
  4. Menahem Froman — A rabbi, settler and Israeli peace activist who was the driving force for Eretz Shalom (Hebrew for “Land of Peace”), an organization for Israeli settlers that advocates discussion and coexistence with Palestinian neighbors. 68.
  5. Tom Connors — Canadian singer songwriter whose staunch patriotism and infectious melodies made him an icon in his home country. Also, he wrote “the Hockey Song.” 77.
  6. Haseeb Ahsan — Pakistan off-spinner, who also headed Pakistan’s 1987 cricket World Cup organizing committee. 73.
  7. Nathan Safferstein —  US counterintelligence agent who worked on the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb. He wrote his name on Little Boy, the A-bomb which leveled Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945. “We had that feeling right from day one that this was the instrument that was going to end this war,” he said. 92.
  8. Dirk Coetzee — A former police captain and member of the Apartheid-era Vlakplaas death squad in South Africa that murdered activists opposed to white minority rule. He later switched loyalties to the anti-Apartheid movement, provided information on the murders of prominent activists and was granted amnesty for his crimes. 57.
  9. Gladys Ryan — Irish anti-fluoridation crusader who argued that fluoride’s addition to the water supply was unconstitutional. She took her fight to Ireland’s Supreme Court in 1965 and lost. Fluoride remains in the water supply to the present day. 91.
  10. William Moody — Known by his ghoulish sobriquet Paul Bearer, Moody was a longtime fixture of the US professional wrestling world, where he was best known as the urn-carrying manager of the Undertaker. Moody actually was a licensed funeral director and embalmer. 58.