DIED The first African American to serve as executive director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), Gene Upshaw held the post for 25 years. An outstanding offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, Upshaw was selected seven times for the Pro Bowl and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. When he was director of the NFLPA, his experience on the field gave him a unique understanding of player dynamics and helped him craft significant union agreements--including the game-changing introduction of free agency. He died of pancreatic cancer at age 63.
From the distinctive cymbal crashes that punctuate Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer to the chugging beat of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, the work of drummer Buddy Harman can be heard on some 18,000 recordings. The Nashville native took to the drums at a very early age, following in the footsteps of his mother, who played percussion in the family band. Over the course of his nearly half-century career, he mastered a wide variety of styles. He became a fixture in Nashville, accompanying everyone from Elvis Presley and Tammy Wynette to Dolly Parton. He was 79.
An East German lawyer with a marked ability for negotiation, Wolfgang Vogel became known during the Cold War as the point person for anyone who wanted to cross the Berlin Wall--in either direction. Over three decades he helped more than 200,000 people leave East Germany, including American pilot Gary Powers, whose release he infamously arranged in exchange for Soviet spy Rudolph Ivanovich Abel. Though Vogel considered himself a humanitarian, his reputation was tarnished after the Cold War ended and he was convicted of blackmail. Upon appeal, he was cleared--and his benevolent reputation restored. He was 82.