PASSINGS: Steve Bridges, Ronnie Montrose, Edna Milton Chadwell, Carl Q. Christol, Tina Strobos, Terri Dial


Steve Bridges

Impersonator of George W. Bush

Steve Bridges, 48, a comic actor and impersonator who was best known for his mimicry of President George W. Bush and appeared alongside the chief executive at the 2006 White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, was found dead Saturday at his home in Los Angeles.


Bridges had recently returned home from China, where he had been performing, said his brother Phillip. He appeared to have died of natural causes, but an autopsy is scheduled. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said foul play was not suspected.

Born in Dallas on May 22, 1963, Bridges began doing impersonations as a child, starting with the Three Stooges. “Anything I saw on TV, I imitated,” he told Larry King in a CNN interview in 2006.

A regular on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” Bridges was invited to the White House to meet President Bush in 2003. According to Bridges, Bush said, “I tell you: You see a videotape where someone looks like you, acts like you, talks like you — that’s weird.”

Then in 2006 the two performed a comic bit together at the annual White House Correspondents dinner.

“I try to become that person in a funny way,” Bridges told the Washington Post in 2006. “I try to act like him, from the mannerisms to the phraseology.”

He also described undergoing a process lasting more than two hours to have makeup and prosthetics applied to complete the illusion.

Besides George W. Bush, Bridges also impersonated former President Clinton, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other public figures.

Ronnie Montrose

Guitarist launched Sammy Hagar’s career

Ronnie Montrose, 64, a hard rock guitarist who was a session musician for Van Morrison and others before forming the band Montrose and launching Sammy Hagar’s singing career, died Saturday at his home in Millbrae, Calif. He had prostate cancer, according to his booking agent, Jim Douglas.

Born in San Francisco on Nov. 29, 1947, Montrose grew up in Denver and taught himself to play guitar as a teenager. He returned to San Francisco in 1968 and began playing professionally.

He was hired to play mostly acoustic guitar on Morrison’s albums “Tupelo Honey” (1971) and “St. Dominic’s Preview” (1972) and also worked as a sideman for Boz Scaggs, the Pointer Sisters and Herbie Hancock.

With the Edgar Winter Group he played on the 1973 album “They Only Come Out at Night,” featuring the singles “Free Ride” and “Frankenstein.”

Later that year Montrose formed his band featuring Hagar on lead vocals. The group’s debut album yielded hits in “Rock Candy” and “Bad Motor Scooter.” Hagar left the group after a second album was released and went on to a successful career as a solo artist and with Van Halen.

The band Montrose broke up in 1976 and the guitarist went on to record albums on his own and with a new band, Gamma.

Carl Q. Christol

USC expert on space law

Carl Q. Christol, 98, a scholar who taught political science at USC for decades and wrote about international space law, died Feb. 22 of natural causes at his home in Santa Barbara, the university announced.

His books “The Modern International Law of Outer Space” (1982) and “Space Law: Past, Present and Future” (1991), which consider the relationship between space activities and international and national laws, are considered essential works in the field, according to USC.

Carl Quimby Christol was born June 28, 1913, in Gallup, S.D., and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Dakota, a doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Yale. He served in the Army during World War II.

He arrived at USC in 1949 and for a time served as chairman of the political science department. He retired in 1987 and took emeritus status in 1990.

Edna Milton Chadwell

Famous brothel’s last owner

Edna Milton Chadwell, 84, the last madam of the infamous Texas brothel that inspired the movie and Broadway show “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” died Feb. 25 in Phoenix. A nephew, Robert Kleffman, said she had been hospitalized since a car accident in October.

An Oklahoma native, Chadwell began working as a prostitute at the Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange, Texas, in 1952, Kleffman said. Within three years, she had become the manager. In 1962, she bought the establishment from Jessie Williams, commonly known as Miss Jessie, and ran it until it was shut down in 1973 after a TV story.

After the television report, Texas’ governor ordered police to shut down the Chicken Ranch, and a short time later Chadwell moved to Arizona, where she remained until she died.

Chadwell didn’t often talk about her years at the brothel, Kleffman said, but sometimes would answer questions if prompted. She wasn’t ashamed of the work she did there, he said, but also didn’t appreciate the notoriety.

She also did not like the movie that made the Chicken Ranch famous.

“The only thing in the movie that was correct was that there was a whorehouse,” Kleffman said his aunt would often say.

Tina Strobos

Helped hide 100 Jews from Nazis

Tina Strobos, 91, who helped hide more than 100 Jews in her Amsterdam home during the Holocaust, died Feb. 27 at a retirement home in Rye, N.Y., her family said. She had cancer.

During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Strobos and her mother took Jews into their Amsterdam rooming house and then led them to other hiding places. She also doctored passports for them and stashed guns stolen from the Germans.

Donna Cohen, director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center in Purchase, N.Y., said none of the Jews whom Strobos helped were ever captured.

Born in Amsterdam in 1920, Strobos completed her medical degree after World War II and practiced psychiatry after coming to the United States in 1951.

Her name is inscribed at the Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

Terri Dial

Banker dubbed ‘human cyclone’

Terri Dial, 62, whose work on the reshaping of Citigroup Inc. in 2008 culminated a three-decade banking career that made her a much-watched woman in business, died Tuesday at a Miami hospice, a family spokeswoman said. She had pancreatic cancer.

In 27 years at Wells Fargo & Co., Dial rose from teller to executive vice president and head of the San Francisco-based company’s California banks and business banking. London-based Lloyds TSB Group hired her in 2005 to run its consumer banking. In 2008, as Vikram Pandit began assembling a new team to lead Citigroup from the ruins of financial crisis, he chose Dial to head its North American consumer banking unit.

Forbes magazine in 2009 included Dial on its annual list of the 100 most powerful women. On American Banker magazine’s 2009 list of “women to watch,” she was No. 10.

Dial, dubbed the “human cyclone,” didn’t shy away from being seen as a role model for women aiming for the boardroom.

“Women will work themselves to death in the belief that if they do more and more, that will get them ahead, when it isn’t so,” she told the Wall Street Journal in 2004 for an article on why some women find it a struggle to advance. “They think, ‘If I do the work, my bosses will see it and reward me.’”

Instead, women need to engage in self-promotion, which they are reluctant to do, she said.

Dial stepped down from her Citigroup post in January 2010 and became a senior advisor.

Teresa Arlene Dial was born Oct. 30, 1949, in Miami. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1971.

Times staff and wire reports