EmptyHarriet Burns, the first woman hired by Walt Disney Imagineering in a creative capacity, died July 25 at USC University Hospital in Los Angeles of complications from heart surgery. She was 79.
Burns, who became an Imagineer in the mid-'50s, helped design and build prototypes for theme park attractions as well as products featured at the New York World's Fair in 1964. She worked at Disney for 31 years and in 2000 was honored as a Disney Legend, which "acknowledges and honors the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney magic."
In 1955, the San Antonio native began at Walt Disney Prods. on the TV series "The Mickey Mouse Club," where she was a prop and set designer. She shared space with Fred Joerger, a model builder for WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering), who was working on models for Disneyland, and she became an Imagineer soon afterward.
Burns worked with men in the model shop, wielding saws, lathes and sanders. "It was the 1950s," she said. "I wore color-coordinated dresses, high heels and gloves to work. Girls didn't wear slacks back then, although I carried a pair in a little sack, just in case I had to climb into high places."
For Disneyland, Burns helped create the models for Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn, painted underwater figures and set pieces for the Submarine Voyage and worked as a figure finisher for Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. For the World's Fair, she helped design Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress.
Youssef Chahine, one of Egypt's most lauded movie directors whose films often went on Fellini-esque flights of fancy and tackled social ills and Islamic fundamentalism, died July 20 in Cairo. He was 82.
His death came about four weeks after he fell into a coma following a brain hemorrhage.
Chahine's eclectic work made him one of the few Egyptian directors to gain an audience abroad, particularly in Europe and France, where he won a lifetime achievement award in 1997 at the Festival de Cannes.
Claudio Guzman, who produced "Villa Alegre," one of the nation's first bicultural Spanish-English educational TV programs for children, died July 26 of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 80.
Guzman had directed more than 30 episodes of NBC's "I Dream of Jeannie" when he helped create "Villa Alegre," a half-hour show in the tradition of "Sesame Street." The program premiered in 1973 on PBS and aired until about 1980 on more than 230 U.S. stations.
Guzman directed nearly 30 TV shows, including several episodes of "The Patty Duke Show" in the mid-'60s. He was married for eight years to Anna Maria Alberghetti, an Italian-born actress and operatic singer.
Bob Harris, a Hollywood costume supervisor and designer who worked for nearly three decades, died July 8 of an aneurysm in Westwood. He was 65.
Harris worked on films including "The Runner Stumbles," "Ten" and "Predator" and TV series including "Hill Street Blues." He spent a decade at Paramount, including a stint as executive director of production services from 1994-97.
Joe LoCicero, a writer and entertainment publicist, died June 24 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 44.
LoCicero had his own publicity and marketing firm called Chartreuse Cake with a roster of clients that included Paramount Television, Warner Bros. Television, the Disney Channel, Sony Pictures Television, the Discovery Channel and Hallmark.
As a sitcom writer, LoCicero's credits include "Solo en America" and the series pilot for "Tug of War," both for Telemundo. In 1999, he and his wife, Lori, collaborated on "Real Doll," an independent film they wrote and produced.