Obituaries in the news

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By The Associated Press

John Alvin

RHINEBECK, N.Y. (AP) -- Illustrator John Alvin, who created the posters for more than 120 movies including "Blazing Saddles," "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," and "The Lion King," has died. He was 59.

Alvin died Wednesday of a heart attack, according to the president of Linda Jones Enterprises in Irvine, Calif., one of several galleries representing Alvin's work.

Alvin's career began in 1974 with his creation of the movie poster for Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles." That successful campaign led to work on numerous other Brooks films including "Young Frankenstein."

Alvin produced many special works for Lucasfilm's Star Wars phenomenon, including the Star Wars Tenth Anniversary poster, highly coveted by collectors. Some of his most famous work was done for science fiction and fantasy film series such as "Alien," "Jurassic Park," the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Harry Potter."

He also produced posters and promotional artwork for numerous Disney movies, including "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid," "Pinocchio," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

As other forms of movie promotion and advertising became more important than posters in recent years, Alvin had begun to focus more on creating interpretive art about movies rather than advertising.


Ron Leavitt

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ron Leavitt, who co-created the sitcom "Married With Children," has died Sunday. He was 60.

Leavitt died of lung cancer at his Sherman Oaks home surrounded by his children, said his fiance, the model and actress Jessica Hahn.

Leavitt was best known for teaming up with Michael G. Moye to create "Married With Children," a sitcom about the luckless shoe salesman Al Bundy and his dysfunctional family.

"Married With Children" ran on the Fox network from 1987 to 1997 and became the network's second-longest running sitcom behind "The Simpsons." Leavitt served as the show's executive producer and helped write nearly 150 episodes.

Leavitt broke into television in the 1970s writing episodes of "Busting Loose," "Happy Days," "Laverne he Bad News Bears." In the 1980s, Leavitt had a stint as a producer of "The Jeffersons."