PASSINGS: Angus Maddison, Patricia Rico, Michael Pataki, Don Guest, Ron Fimrite

Angus Maddison

Economist studied wealth differences between nations

Angus Maddison, 83, an economist whose research revealed the causes of wealth differences between nations, died April 24 in Thourotte, France, according to an announcement from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, where he was professor emeritus of economic sociology. No cause of death was given.

Maddison's research quantified national growth for long time spans, in some cases from the year 1 A.D. The author of more than 20 books, Maddison also studied economic policy and development issues, as well as social policy and labor markets, at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He served as a policy advisor for Ghana and Pakistan, and gave advice to leaders of nations such as Brazil, Japan and the former Soviet Union.

Maddison was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, in 1926. He attended the universities of Cambridge in England, McGill in Montreal and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Patricia Rico

Women's track and field figure

Patricia Rico, 76, president of USA Track and Field, the sport's governing body in this country, from 1996 to 2000, died Sunday of respiratory failure, the organization announced.

Rico, a New York native and a resident of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., spent more than 50 years in the athletics community. She played a key role in restructuring America's governing body for track and field in the late 1990s, and current USATF President Stephanie Hightower also credited Rico with championing equality for female athletes.

Rico competed in discus in the 1960 U.S. Olympic Trials. After retiring from competition, she co-founded Track Mirror, the first American publication for women's athletics.

Michael Pataki

Veteran character actor

Michael Pataki, 72, a veteran character actor, died April 16 of cancer at his home in North Hollywood, said longtime friend Phil McKeon.

Pataki's film credits include "Rocky IV," "Easy Rider" and "The Onion Field." His television roles included "Playhouse 90," "McCloud" and "Star Trek."

He was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and attended USC.

Don Guest

Production manager became a producer

Don Guest, 75, a longtime production manager who became a producer of films that included "Paris, Texas" and "At Close Range," died April 23 in Tours, France, where he had lived for the last nine years, said his friend Beverly Walker. Guest had recently suffered a fall, but the specific cause of death was not given.

As a production manager, Guest earned credits on such films as "Zabriskie Point" (1970), "The Last Picture Show" (1971), "The Getaway" (1972), "Breakheart Pass" (1975) and "The Osterman Weekend" (1983).

He moved into the producer's role in the late 1970s. He was among the producers of "Paris, Texas," written by Sam Shepard and directed by Wim Wenders and the winner of the Golden Palm for best film at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.

An Oklahoma native, Guest moved with his family to Los Angeles in the 1940s.

Ron Fimrite, a longtime columnist and writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and Sports Illustrated, died Friday at his San Francisco home of cancer, said his son, Peter. He was 79.

-- Times staff and wire reports

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