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The Kremlin’s bête noire, Schwarzenegger’s mentor, Swinging London’s top cat burglar: This weeks’ notable deaths

AP Photo / Sang Tan
Berezovsky parries with the press after losing a high-profile court battle to fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich, last August.
By Matt Phillips
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Boris A. Berezovsky, 67 — Oligarch-turned-Kremlin critic. The former mathematician prospered after the collapse of the Soviet Union, by parlaying his holdings in the automobile business into an empire that spanned industries including oil, aluminum and media. His fortunes declined sharply in recent years, after losing a $5.1 billion lawsuit against a former business partner. The circumstances of his death, initially seen as suicide, remain murky. A postmortem ruled that his death was “consistent with hanging” but investigators say it is too early to rule out another person’s involvement.

Shahnaz Nazli, 41 — A teacher at a girls’ school in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area between Peshawar and the Afghan border. She was killed in a drive-by shooting by unknown gunmen on a motorbike some 200 meters from the school, as a campaign of violence aimed at suppressing girls’ education continues.

Joe Weider, 93 — Pioneer of the body-building industry, who developed a multi-million-dollar fitness magazine empire and discovered and mentored a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. Weider even helped Schwarzenegger “land his first movie role in the 1969 film ‘Hercules in New York,’ by telling producers the Austrian weightlifter was a German Shakespearean actor — ‘even though I barely spoke English,’ the former governor said in his statement,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Peter Scott, 82 — Infamous British cat-burglar who, during his heyday, prowled the smarter environs of London, and while impeccably dressed, scaled drainpipes to gain access to the homes of the rich and famous. Victims included Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh and Lauren Bacall. He reckoned he stole some £30 million in furs, artwork and jewels during his career, including a £200,000 necklace from Sophia Loren. He described his victims as “upper-class prats chattering in monosyllables.”

Richard Griffiths, 65 — British stage and screen actor best known for playing Harry Potter’s mean-spirited muggle uncle Vernon Dursley in the film adaptations of the popular children’s literature saga.

Soraya Jiménez, 35 — The first Mexican woman to win a gold medal, for weight-lifting at the 2000 games in Sydney. She died of a heart attack.

Robert Zildjian, 89 — Founder of Sabian, one of the world’s biggest makers of cymbals, and a member of the Zildjian cymbal-making dynasty, which traces its musical manufacturing roots 15 generations back to 17th-century Istanbul. He started Sabian after losing a legal battle with his brother over the family business, which their Armenian immigrant father had founded near Boston in 1928, itself in competition with the original family business in Turkey.

Hjalmar Andersen, 90 — Norwegian speed-skating legend who took three gold medals in the 1952 games in Oslo. Known simply as “Hjallis” he was long considered a national hero. There are statues dedicated to him in three Norwegian cities.

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