PASSINGS: Lee Freeman, Betty Lou Keim, Menachem Porush, Thomas Michael Eggers, Judith Paige Mitchell

Lee Freeman was an original member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock from the days when the band was called Thee Sixpence. He played rhythm guitar, sang and wrote lyrics.

Lee Freeman

‘60s band had No. 1 hit

Lee Freeman, 60, a member of the 1960s’ band Strawberry Alarm Clock, famous for its flower-power anthem that became a No. 1 hit in 1967, died of cancer Feb. 14 at his home in the Bay Area, his brother, Doug, said in an e-mail.

Freeman, who played rhythm guitar, sang and wrote lyrics, was an original member of the band, which was called Thee Sixpence when it was formed in 1966. None of the band members wanted to sing lead on “Incense and Peppermints,” intended to be released on the B-side of a single, so a friend on hand for the recording session volunteered.

The group also supplied music for the film “Psych-Out” in which it also appeared.

Freeman, born Nov. 8, 1949, in Burbank, continued to play with the band during reunions.

Betty Lou Keim

Actress known for rebel roles

Betty Lou Keim, 71, an actress who made her name in the 1950s playing rebellious teenagers, including Frank Sinatra’s out-of-control niece in the film “Some Came Running,” died Jan. 27 at her Chatsworth home, said a spokeswoman for Mt. Sinai Memorial Park. Keim had lung cancer.

She was born Sept. 27, 1938, in Malden, Mass., to choreographer Buster Keim and his wife, Dorothy.

At 7, Keim debuted on Broadway in “Strange Fruit” and four years later appeared in the Johnny Mer- cer musical “Texas Li’l Darlin.’ ”

In 1955, she portrayed a daughter who has trouble communicating with her divorced mother, played by Patricia Neal, in “A Roomful of Roses.” When the Broadway play was made into the film “Teenage Rebel,” Keim reprised the role opposite Ginger Rogers.

“When I walked on the set of ‘Teenage Rebel,’ the crew would hiss and boo, so mean was my character,” she later said.

Her films include “These Wilder Years” (1956) and “The Wayward Bus” (1957).

On TV, she was a teenage daughter in the 1953 sitcom “My Son Jeep” and a regular on the western “The Deputy” from 1959 to 1960.

After marrying actor Warren Berlinger in 1960, Keim retired from acting and raised four children.

Menachem Porush

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi

Menachem Porush, 93, a well-known Israeli rabbi and longtime leader of one of the most influential ultra-Orthodox parties in parliament, died Sunday in Jerusalem. The cause was not announced.

Porush served for more than 30 years in Israel’s parliament, acting twice as deputy labor minister. He was known for leading the minority ultra-Orthodox Jewish community’s efforts to slow secularization in Israel, leading epic battles for legislation to enforce strict Jewish laws that sparked charges from critics of “religious coercion.”

The Jerusalem-born Porush also founded several religious education centers for ultra-Orthodox children.

During his three decades in public life, Porush led many high-profile campaigns, including a drive to close a main road passing through Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities on the Jewish Sabbath and a mass demonstration against the Israeli Supreme Court in 1999 after that body issued rulings allowing some shops to stay open on Saturdays and for non-Orthodox rabbis to preside over conversions to Judaism.

Porush, who was affiliated with the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, retired from politics in 1994.

Thomas Michael Eggers, 61, a former aide to retired Rep. Ronald Packard (R-Oceanside) who was elected to Dana Point’s first City Council and later served as the city’s mayor, died Feb. 16 of a heart attack at his home in San Juan Capistrano, longtime friend Phillip Schwartze said.

Judith Paige Mitchell, 77, a New Orleans-born novelist who explored Southern themes in “A Wilderness of Monkeys,” “Love Is Not a Safe Country” and “The Covenant,” and who later became a writer and executive producer on TV movies, miniseries and episodic series, notably “The Client,” died Feb. 10 at her home in Los Angeles, family spokesman Mark Bisgeier said. She had cancer.

-- times staff and wire reports