PASSINGS: Frank Tripucka, Reiko Douglas, A.C. Crispin, Rep. E. Clay Shaw

Frank Tripucka

Broncos quarterback in first AFL season


Frank Tripucka, 85, who quarterbacked the Denver Broncos in their inaugural AFL season and later allowed his No. 18 to be unretired so Peyton Manning could wear it, died Thursday in Woodland Park, N.J., the Broncos announced. His family said he had congestive heart failure.

A former standout at Notre Dame, Tripucka played for the Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals and Dallas Texans in the NFL and for Saskatchewan and Ottawa in Canada. He was brought in as a Bronco coach before the 1960 season, but it became obvious he was Denver’s best option at quarterback. Tripucka threw for 3,038 yards and 24 touchdowns that season. He also tossed the first touchdown pass in American Football League history.


His number was one of three retired by the Broncos, but Tripucka gladly gave Manning permission to wear it when he joined the team in 2012.

Born Dec. 8, 1927, in Bloomfield, N.J., Tripucka was voted All-America honors in 1948, when his Notre Dame team finished 9-0-1, the tie coming against USC.

After retiring from football, Tripucka became a beer distributor in New Jersey. His son Kelly played basketball at Notre Dame and in the NBA.

Reiko Douglas


Popular TV talk show guest in the 1960s and ‘70s

Reiko Douglas, 77, a Japanese-born entertainer who with her comedy-writer husband, Jack Douglas, was a frequent guest and foil for TV talk show hosts such as Jack Paar and Merv Griffin, died Monday of lung cancer at West Hills Hospital, said family spokesman Alan Eichler.

Born Reiko Hashimoto in Kanazawa, Japan, on Sept. 2, 1936, she studied acrobatic dancing in her teens and performed with the Tokyo Can-Can Girls on Japanese television before adding singing to her act.

Reiko Douglas: In the Sept. 13 LATExtra section, a brief obituary of Reiko Douglas, who with her comedy-writer husband Jack Douglas was a fixture on TV talk shows in the 1960s and ‘70s, said that she was 46 years younger than he was. She was 28 years younger. —

She moved to the United States in 1955 and performed in Hawaii and Chicago before landing in Los Angeles, where she opened for Jack Douglas at a club on La Cienega Boulevard. Despite a major age difference — she was 46 years his junior — they were married in 1960 and settled in New York.


Reiko Douglas: An obituary in the Sept. 13 LATExtra section on Reiko Douglas, who with her comedy-writer husband Jack Douglas was a fixture on TV talk shows in the 1960s and ’70s, erred in saying she was 46 years younger than he was. She was 28 years younger.

In 1961, she made her first appearance on the Paar show with her husband, who wrote for the talk-show host. She came on stage wearing a traditional Japanese kimono and spoke poor English, which became a comic asset. She went on to make nearly 100 appearances with Paar and became a popular guest on shows hosted by Griffin, Mike Douglas, David Frost and Johnny Carson.

“A highlight of Reiko’s appearances,” Eichler noted, “was ‘The President’s Song,’ written by her husband, in which she triumphantly sang the name of every U.S. President from George Washington up to the present.”

Her life with her husband and their two children provided material for his humor books, which include “Benedict Arnold Slept Here” and “Going Nuts in Brazil.” She continued to perform for some years after he died in 1989 at the age of 80.

A.C. Crispin

Author of ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Star Wars’ tie-in novels

A.C. Crispin, 63, a science fiction and fantasy author who wrote bestselling tie-in novels for the “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” franchises, died Sept. 6 after a two-year battle with cancer, according to an announcement from the publisher Tor Books.

Her novels fleshed out the lineage, life stories and personal growth of popular on-screen characters in movies and TV series, delving into the character of Spock’s father Sarek from “Star Trek” and the early lives of Hans Solo of “Star Wars” and the pirate Jack Sparrow of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.

Her first “Star Trek” tie-in book, “Yesterday’s Son,” stemmed from a visit to a Trek convention in 1976. Crispin also co-authored an original series, “StarBridge,” about an academy in outer space.

In 1998, Crispin and Victoria Strauss co-founded a watchdog committee called Writer Beware. The group tips off authors to online literary scams via agents, publishers and contests.

Over the years, Crispin helped reveal hundreds of such cases, delivering court testimony and working with law enforcement to send several people to prison.

She was born Ann Carol Tickell on April 5, 1950, in Stamford, Conn. The daughter of a Navy officer, Crispin earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland in 1972.

For several years after college, Crispin worked for the U.S. Census Bureau as a technical writer and computer programmer. She turned fiction writing into a full-time job in 1983.

A resident of Hughesville, Md., she regularly ran writing workshops at science fiction conventions, and taught classes at several colleges.

Rep. E. Clay Shaw

Florida Republican backed welfare reform

Former Rep. E. Clay Shaw, 74, a Florida Republican who spent 26 years in Washington battling for varied issues, including free trade, Everglades restoration and welfare reform, died Tuesday at a Fort Lauderdale hospital, his family announced. He had lung cancer.

Shaw, who represented a South Florida district, rode into office with President Reagan in 1980 and survived spirited challenges to his seat over three decades before losing to a Democratic wave in 2006.

One of Shaw’s signature moments was his role in 1996 in sponsoring and helping shepherd a contentious bill backed by then-President Clinton to reform the nation’s welfare system. Shaw’s political career was derailed a decade later by attacks by his Democratic opponent over Medicare, the federal healthcare program for the elderly.

During his lengthy career in Congress, Shaw also led an effort to eliminate Social Security earning penalties for working seniors and pushed through federal legislation to help restore the Everglades.

Eugene Clay Shaw Jr. was born in Miami on April 19, 1939, and earned a law degree from Stetson University and an MBA from the University of Alabama. He was elected mayor of Fort Lauderdale in 1975.

--Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports