Obituaries for July 2, 2010

Composer Allyn Ferguson, Kiss manager Bill Aucoin die

Bill Aucoin, who discovered Kiss and helped build the rock group into a musical and merchandising juggernaut, died June 28 at Aventura (Fla.) Hospital and Medical Center of complications from prostate cancer surgery. He was 66.

A former television cinematographer, Aucoin met Kissin 1973 in New York and helped transform the makeup-wearing, fire-breathing quartet into a moneymaking machine. He financed the band's first tour on his personal American Express card when money was tight, but he was well rewarded when the band's popularity exploded in 1975 with the hit live version of "Rock and Roll All Nite."

"He was the fifth Kiss," said drummer Peter Criss, who had Aucoin serve as the best man at his second wedding. "If it wasn't for Bill, there would be no Kiss."

After parting with Kiss during the early 1980s, Aucoin managed Billy Squier and Billy Idol.

Tom Ruffino, a Warner Bros. Records executive for three decades, died June 25 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., of kidney disease. He was 70.

Ruffino joined the label's international department in 1969 after stints with Columbia Records Prods., a disc manufacturer and Liberty Records. He eventually became senior vp international at Warner Bros., heading the department until his retirement in 1999.

Ruffino is survived by his wife, Bunny; daughter, Michelle Zugbaum; son, Tony; and five grandchildren. A service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Mortuary in Westlake, Calif.

Park Yong-ha, a popular South Korean actor and singer, killed himself June 30 in Seoul, apparently in distress over career pressures while caring for his terminally ill father, police said. He was 33.

Park was believed to have "impulsively" hanged himself with the electric cord of his camcorder at his home hours after he returned intoxicated.

Park debuted in the late 1990s and starred in the 2002 television drama "Winter Sonata," which drummed up a following in Japan and Southeast Asia. He held several concerts in Japan and released eight CD albums there.

Allyn Ferguson, an Emmy-winning composer who co-wrote the themes for the 1970s TV shows "Charlie's Angels" and "Barney Miller," died June 23 at his home in Westlake Village, Calif. He was 85.

Ferguson wrote scores for dozens of TV episodes during the 1970s and 1980s but might be best known for the "Charlie's Angels" and "Barney Miller" themes he co-wrote with Jack Elliott.

He received eight Emmy nominations, winning the award for music composition in 1985 for scoring an adaptation of the classic novel "Camille."

It was one of several literary adaptations that Ferguson scored for producer Norman Rosemont.

Ferguson conducted and was musical co-director for the Academy Awards, Emmys and the Grammys.