PASSINGS: Karen McCarthy, Norman Wisdom

Karen McCarthy

Congresswoman resigned amid allegations


Former five-term U.S. Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.), 63, who resigned amid allegations that she misused her staff and campaign funds for personal gain, died Tuesday at a nursing home in northeast Kansas, said Robert Kalkofen, manager of McGilley Midtown Chapel in Kansas City. She had Alzheimer's disease.

McCarthy had been living in a nursing home in suburban Kansas since spring 2009. A family statement at the time said she had bipolar disorder, which had gone undiagnosed for a decade.

McCarthy, who was among a dozen Democrats dubbed the "lucky 13" when they won amid the 1994 GOP landslide, announced in late 2003 that she would not seek a sixth term.

In March 2003, she fell on an escalator in a House office building and cut her head. The next day, McCarthy said she was an alcoholic and left for a month's stay at an Arizona rehabilitation center.

Among the allegations were that she misused campaign funds for trips to the Grammy Awards. She announced her resignation under pressure in December 2003.

The House ethics committee ultimately found that McCarthy had misused campaign funds for one Grammys trip but decided not to act against her.

McCarthy was born in Haverhill, Mass., on March 18, 1947. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 1969 and an MBA from the University of Missouri in 1976.

Norman Wisdom

British comedian excelled at slapstick

British comedian and actor Norman Wisdom, 95, died Monday at a nursing home on the Isle of Man, his family said. He had suffered from a series of strokes in recent months.

Wisdom specialized in family-friendly slapstick in the 1950s and '60s. He was known for his roles as a clumsy underdog battling against adversity.

He also acted in Broadway in the 1960s, when he was nominated for a Tony Award for his work in the comedy "Walking Happy," which played in Los Angeles in 1967.

His films included

(1953) and "The Night They Raided Minsky's" (1968), which he made in Hollywood. His later career was largely in television.

-- Times staff and wire reports