Coup leader briefly declared
himself Soviet president
Gennady Yanayev, 73, a leader of the abortive 1991 Soviet coup who briefly declared himself president replacing Mikhail Gorbachev, died Friday in Moscow after an unspecified lengthy illness, Russia's Communist Party announced.
In one of the indelible images of the rebellion that hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yanayev's hands shook visibly as he announced that he was taking over as president. Yanayev was later quoted by a newspaper as saying he was drunk when he signed the decree elevating himself from the vice presidency.
Yanayev was one of 12 members of the so-called State Emergency Committee that announced Gorbachev was being replaced on Aug. 19, 1991. Gorbachev was on a short holiday in the Crimea at the time.
Tank divisions rolled into Moscow to enforce the power grab but crowds of civilians, emboldened by the loosening of strictures under Gorbachev's perestroika policies, turned out to defy them and erected barricades around the parliament building.
The coup collapsed in just two days, but it fatally weakened the already-unraveling Soviet Union, which was dissolved four months later.
Yanayev and his fellow plotters were arrested and jailed after the coup collapsed, but he and the others were released in 1993 and received amnesty a year later. After his release, he taught history at a Russian tourism academy and was a consultant to the state committee on invalids and veterans of government service.
Geoffrey Burgon, 69, the British composer whose soundtrack for the television production of "Brideshead Revisited" became a hit recording, died Tuesday after a short illness, according to an announcement from his London publisher, Chester Music.
Burgon also contributed to the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian" and produced music for "Dr. Who," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and other TV productions.
Burgon's score for the TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel "Brides-head Revisited" sold 100,000 copies.
The composer first gained attention in 1976 when his "Requiedem" was performed at the Three Choirs Festival in western England.
Burgon won an Ivor Novello award for British music writing in 1979 for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which included a memorable version of the "Nunc Dimittis," and another in 1981 for "Brideshead." More recently he won awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for his music for "The Forsyte Saga" and "Longitude."
Other works included church music, settings of words by John Donne and St. John of the Cross, a concerto for pianist Joanna MacGregor in 1997 and an opera, "Hard Times," based on the Charles Dickens novel.
Born July 15, 1941, in Hampshire, England, Burgon entered the Guildhall School of Music intending to study trumpet, but he later switched to composing.
Pitcher beat Koufax's Dodgers
in Game 5 of 1959 World Series
Former major league pitcher Bob Shaw, 77, who defeated Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in Game 5 of the first World Series played in Los Angeles, died Thursday, said a spokeswoman for the Taylor & Modeen Funeral Home in Jupiter, Fla. No cause was given.
He started Game 2 of the World Series and lost 4-3. But he pitched a gem in Game 5 in front of a record crowd of 92,706 at the Coliseum. Shaw gave up nine hits but no runs, pitching into the eighth inning. The White Sox won, 1-0, with Koufax taking the loss.
The Dodgers won the series, however, in six games.
Robert John Shaw was born June 29, 1933, in the Bronx, N.Y. He also pitched for the Tigers, Athletics, Braves, Giants, Mets and Cubs, retiring after the 1967 season.
— Times staff and wire reports