PASSINGS: Gerard Smith, Barton K. Boyd, Mary Robbins, Susan Covel

Gerard Smith

Bassist-keyboardist for TV on the Radio


Gerard Smith, bassist-keyboardist for the Brooklyn-based art-rock group TV on the Radio, died Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer, the band announced on its website. He was 36.

Although he "acted like this accidental musician, the visual artist who got dragged into a friend's band, he was very serious about TV on the Radio," Charles Aaron, music editor of Spin magazine, said in a statement.

He "was adamant about not letting people define them as 'black rock,' " Aaron said.

Smith, like the band's other members, had a background in visual arts as well as music. He grew up in

Long Island

, N.Y., and was performing in the

New York

subways in 2005 when frontman

Tunde Adebimpe

recruited him for TV on the Radio.

The group is known for an eclectic style that encompasses elements of electronic, alternative rock and funk.

"There's not a moment when the band isn't reading or writing or doodling or drawing, or coming up with new ideas," Smith said in a 2006 interview with the Australian newspaper the Age. "They're all extreme bibliophiles, and I think you can hear that."

Smith contributed to the 2006 album "Return to Cookie Mountain" and the 2008 follow-up "Dear Science."

He was unable, however, to join the band on tour in March to promote its latest album, "Nine Types of Light." The band has canceled its next few tour dates.


Barton K. Boyd

Former head of Disney's consumer products unit

Barton K. "Bo" Boyd, 68, a merchandise buyer for


Main Street who rose to become chairman of Disney Consumer Products, died of heart failure April 13 at his home in Mesquite, Nev., said his wife, Vickie.

When he was promoted to chairman of consumer products in 1997, he had been president of the unit since 1985.

Boyd had built a division that operated on six continents and was "underpinned by scores of innovative programs in licensing and retailing,"

Michael D. Eisner

, then chief executive of the

Walt Disney Co.

, said in a 1997 company release.

Under Boyd's watch, the first Disney Store outside of the company's theme parks opened, in Glendale, in 1987. Within a decade, there were more than 600 stand-alone outlets around the world. Four years after Boyd retired in 2000, Disney sold the chain, but bought back part of it in 2008.

Born in

Laguna Beach

on Dec. 6, 1942, Boyd was one of five children of Robert and Doris Boyd. His father owned

Bob Boyd

's French Restaurant and other Laguna Beach dining establishments.

He started working at Disneyland in 1968, when he was 25. Three years later, he moved to

Walt Disney

World in


and held a number of executive retailing positions before returning to Disneyland in 1976 as corporate vice president of retail merchandise.

A father of six, Boyd moved to Mesquite from Laguna Beach after he retired.

Mary Robbins,

who sang professionally in the 1950s and was the mother of actor

Tim Robbins

, died of a heart arrhythmia Sunday at her home in Mexico, her son said. Her husband, Gil Robbins of the folk group the Highwaymen, died April 5. She was 78.

Susan Covel,

who with her late husband was a major donor to UCLA, died April 12, confirmed Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries. UCLA named Covel Commons at the Sunset Village campus housing area in honor of Covel and her husband, Dr. Mitchel Covel. She was 91.

-- Los Angeles Times staff reports