The man circus hype billed as the Greatest Wild Animal Trainer of All Time has retired. German-born Gunther Gebel-Williams, 55 (right), who gave 11,697 performances over 22 years and who trained the first white tiger, hung up his whip with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus upon completing a two-year, 88-city farewell tour with a final show in Pittsburgh on Nov. 18. "I want to go out at the peak of my career," Gebel-Williams said, as he presented his animal-trainer son, Mark Oliver, 20, with new cowboy boots, the better to follow in Dad's footsteps.
With two broken legs, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood, 43 (above), won't be doing "Jumping Jack Flash" anytime soon. Wood was a passenger in a BMW when his wife, Jo, 35, who was at the wheel, crashed on a highway about 70 miles from London on the night of Nov. 12. Jo and the couple's two children, Leah, 12, and Tyrone, 7, suffered minor injuries. Wood, in what police later termed a "foolhardy" act, got out in the dark to direct traffic around their disabled car and was struck by another vehicle. En route by stretcher from one hospital to another, Wood was seen cheerfully swigging a Guinness allegedly prescribed by doctors and insisting, "I'm feeling fine."...
Fellow rock guitarist David Crosby, 49, will also be off his feet for a while. The former Byrd and a Crosby, Stills and Nash co-founder broke his left leg, ankle, knee and shoulder when his Harley Davidson skidded near his Encino, Calif., home on Nov. 17. Crosby told police he lost control when his motorcycle's throttle stuck. He was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear, police said.
Malcolm Muggeridge, 87, the acerbic British writer and TV personality who served as one of his nation's leading intellectual-social gadflies, died Nov. 14 in a nursing home in England. In his books, magazine pieces and on TV panel shows, Muggeridge enthusiastically skewered established British institutions, once dismissing the monarchy as "a royal soap opera." Yet in later life, he defended traditional Christianity and authored the 1975 PBS series/A Third Testament "I don't think he set out to be controversial, but he told the truth about a lot of things, and that always annoys people," said Richard Ingrams, Muggeridge's biographer....
And Jean-Pierre Bosze, 13, died at his home in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on Nov. 19 of leukemia. The boy's battle with the disease made headlines when his father sued the mother of Jean-Pierre's 3-year-old twin half-siblings to have tests done to see if their bone marrow matched that of their fatally ill half-brother. The courts ruled that the twins could not be made to take the test.
Hollywood character actor Dave Willock, 81 (below, in 1944), whose face has been seen by almost everyone but whose name was known to few, died Nov. 12 in Woodland Hills, Calif., of complications from a stroke. The versatile, vaudeville-trained actor proved he could portray just about anybody by playing the cab driver, soda jerk, handyman, song-and-dance man, bellhop, reporter and sundry military types in more than 200 films and many TV shows. Willock had the added distinction of being a Frank Sinatra look-alike.
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