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Today's obituaries

Irish playwright Brian Friel, famed for 'Lughnasa,' dies

Brian Friel distrusted the reliability of mere facts. Ireland's greatest playwright of his generation, who died Friday at the age of 86, spent much of his life trying to convey the deeper truths of our existence — of a world filled with compelling fictions constructed by people, families and whole nations.

Obituary: Don Rosen started the Coats for Kids program to keep kids warm

Thirty years ago, a woman unable to buy a winter coat for her child stopped at Pilgrim Cleaners and asked if any had been left behind. Pilgrim’s president, Don …

Former US Rep. Don Edwards, champion of civil rights, dies

Former U.S. Rep. Don Edwards of California, a fierce champion of civil rights and the environment during his three decades in Washington, died at the age of 100.

Longtime Wisconsin union leader Marty Beil dies at 68

Marty Beil, the burly and sometimes brusque leader of the Wisconsin state employee labor union for 30 years, has died. He was 68.

'Towering Inferno' director John Guillermin dies at 89

John Guillermin, a veteran British director best known for bringing to life big budget adventure films like "The Towering Inferno" and the 1976 "King Kong" has died. He was 89.

Relative: Leon Varjian, known UW prankster, dies at 64

Leon Varjian, who came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1970s to study in "the graduate school of fun" and ended up masterminding such famous pranks as the 1,000 plastic pink flamingoes on Bascom Hill and the Statue of Liberty head on frozen Lake Mendota, has died at age 64, a relative said.

Impersonator who voiced Lincoln Memorial recordings dies

An Abraham Lincoln impersonator whose voice stood for the 16th president's at the Lincoln Memorial and Gettysburg ceremonies has died.

Leading jazz alto saxophonist Phil Woods dies at age 83

Phil Woods, a leading alto saxophonist in mainstream jazz for more than 60 years whose piercing solos could also be heard on hit records by Billy Joel and Paul Simon, has died. He was 83.

Frankie Ford, who sang 'Sea Cruise,' dies at age 76

Frankie Ford, a rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues singer whose 1959 hit "Sea Cruise" brought him international fame when he was 19, is dead at the age of 76.