Accused of running a Washington prostitution ring for 13 years, the woman known best as the "D.C. Madam" took her own life when faced with the prospect of a prison sentence of up to 55 years. Deborah Jeane Palfrey was convicted on April 15 of charges associated with what she called a sexual-fantasy service and what prosecutors alleged was a cover for a prostitution ring that counted many high-profile politicians among its clientele. In the 1990s, Palfrey was incarcerated for her links to another prostitution circuit and vowed never to return to prison. Author Dan Moldea, whom Palfrey contacted about writing a book, told TIME, "She wasn't going to let it happen to her again." Palfrey would have been sentenced on July 24. She was 52.
Facing a year in prison in 1959 for marrying across racial lines, Mildred Jeter Loving, a black woman, and her white husband Richard Loving decided to fight the legal system in their home state of Virginia. In 1967 the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Justices ruled unanimously against the Virginia decision. Chief Justice Earl Warren dismissed such laws as "repugnant" to the Constitution. In words that seem prescient today, Loving said in 1965, "We are not marrying the state. The law should allow a person to marry anyone he wants." She was 68.
The second prime minister of Spain following the death of dictator Francisco Franco, Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo got off to a rocky start when his inauguration was interrupted by an 18-hour military coup on Feb. 23, 1981. Thanks to a television address by King Juan Carlos imploring soldiers to accept the democratic constitution, the coup fell apart. Calvo Sotelo went on to negotiate Spain's entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his nearly two years as Prime Minister. He was 82.
It was a coin flip that decided whose name would come first when brothers-in-law Irvine Robbins and Burton Baskin combined their ice cream shops to found Baskin-Robbins, now a global chain with more than 5,800 franchises. Newly out of the military, Robbins opened his first store in Glendale, Calif., in 1945 with money that he'd saved from his Bar Mitzvah. Throughout his career, he was an adept salesman, never missing an opportunity; for the Beatles' 1964 arrival in the U.S., Robbins created the flavor Beatle Nut in just five days. He was 90.
General manager of the Dodgers through eight World Series, four championships and a relocation from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Los Angeles, Buzzie Bavasi was a fixture in American baseball. Born Emil, Bavasi earned the nickname Buzzie for his high energy, which sustained him in a career that spanned nearly five decades and three major league baseball clubs. Known for his sense of humor, Bavasi also had an enduring passion for the game and maintained that the best way to size up a player was to evaluate his character in addition to his skills. "Get to know the players," he advised later Dodgers manager Fred Claire. "Nothing will serve you better." He was 92.
In compositions often as dependent on the placement of instruments as on the musical notes played, composer Henry Brant was forever redefining his art. For many pieces, he had different sections of the orchestra play from different parts of concert halls. He wrote others for large ensembles of a single instrument, as with 1979's Orbits, which calls for 80 trombones. Brant found inspiration in all corners of his life--from his musician father, who was a professional violinist, to his world travels. His Pulitzer Prize-winning 2001 composition, Ice Field, was inspired by a childhood trip aboard an ocean liner navigating through icebergs. He was 94.
His irreverent cartoon maid, Hazel, first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1943 but later took on a life of her own as a synonym for live-in household maids. Cartoonist and animator Ted Key flaunted his playful imagination with several other notable characters, including Mr. Peabody, a professorial dog, and Sherman, his boy sidekick, who traveled through time together on Rocky and His Friends. He was 95.