Henry 'Butch' Stone

Singer and sax player

Henry "Butch" Stone, 96, a big-band singer and saxophonist who had a long association with Les Brown and his Band of Renown, died May 19 at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Woodland Hills, according to a friend, songwriter and band leader Van Alexander.

A native of New York City, Stone learned baritone saxophone as a boy and played in his high school band and dance orchestra for four years. He also sang with the orchestra.

In the 1930s, he played with the Frank Reysen Orchestra and Alexander's orchestra, singing humorous numbers and playing the saxophone.

In 1941, Stone joined Brown's band. His signature comic song at that time was "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," which was arranged for him by Alexander in the late 1930s. Stone worked with the Brown band well into the 1990s.

That band was a fixture on Bob Hope's overseas tours to entertain American military personnel, and Stone participated in at least 18 holiday tours.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Shirley.

Richard Lewis

Producer of TV dramas in the '50s

Richard Lewis, 89, a TV producer who brought to the small screen such 1950s series as "Wagon Train" and "M Squad," died Monday of complications from melanoma at his home in Somers, N.Y., according to his son Jeffrey.

As a producer and executive producer for Revue Productions and then Universal Television, Lewis worked on "M Squad," a police drama starring Lee Marvin that ran from 1957 to 1960, and "Wagon Train," a western anthology featuring Ward Bond and John McIntire that aired from 1957 to 1965.

He also produced the pilot episode of "Leave It to Beaver" in 1957 and worked on such anthology TV series as "General Electric Theater," "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre" and "Studio 57."

Lewis was among a group of TV executives who testified in 1961 about the depiction of violence on TV before a Senate subcommittee investigating juvenile delinquency.

According to contemporary news reports, Lewis defended the Revue TV programs and drew parallels with ancient Greek tragedies and Shakespeare's plays, saying children "would sooner emulate the hero who wins than the villain who loses."

Lewis was born in New York City on Jan. 2, 1920. After graduating from Yale University in 1940, he got his start working on radio programs before moving to television.

Daniel Carasso

Builder of global yogurt company

Daniel Carasso, 103, the man who pioneered yogurt in America in the early 1940s and headed the French food manufacturer Group Danone, where he was still honorary chairman, died May 17 at his home in Paris.

Carasso was born in Thessalonika, Greece, in 1905. His father, Isaac, started selling yogurt with cultures from France's Pasteur Institute in pharmacies and on doctor's recommendations in Spain after World War I. He created the name Danone from his son's Catalan nickname, Danon.

Daniel Carasso studied business in Marseille and later attended the Pasteur Institute. In 1929, he established the Societe Parisienne du Yoghourt in Paris' 18th Arrondissement.

The arrival of the Germans in Paris in 1940 led him to flee to the United States. Along with two partners, Carasso bought a Greek yogurt company in the Bronx and started selling unflavored yogurt under the name Dannon.

After the war, Carasso returned to Europe and restarted Danone. He aggressively expanded the business, merging it with the cheese company Gervais in 1967 and a few years later with the bottle maker BSN.

BSN-Gervais Danone bought the American Dannon brand from Beatrice Foods in 1981 and changed its name to Groupe Danone two years later. Carasso made the company a global entity by expanding its reach to South America, Mexico and North Africa.

-- times staff and wire reports