E.L. Doctorow, James Rothenberg, Theodore Bikel: Obits This Week

E. L. Doctorow
Writer E. L. Doctorow at his apartment in New York on Jan. 10, 2014. Photographer: Melanie Burford/Prime for The Washington Post

This week’s notable deaths included the critically acclaimed author of “Ragtime,” the investment executive who oversaw what once was the world’s largest stock fund, and a U.S. actor who starred on stage in “Fiddler on the Roof” and earned an Oscar nomination for work in film. Below are summaries of these and other obituaries.

E. L. Doctorow, 84. Writer who experimented with narrative storytelling techniques to illuminate the American experience in novels such as “Ragtime,” in 1975, and “Billy Bathgate,” in 1989. He started out as a book editor in the late 1950s, becoming head of Dial Press, where he worked with authors such as Norman Mailer and James Baldwin. Died July 21 in Manhattan of complications from lung cancer.

James Rothenberg, 69. Chairman of Capital Group Cos., a Los Angeles-based mutual fund firm that manages $1.25 trillion. During his tenure, the company grew into the biggest mutual fund family until overtaken by Vanguard Group Inc. in 2007. He was also chairman of Harvard Management Co., which invests the university’s $36.4 billion endowment. Died July 21 of a heart attack.

Theodore Bikel, 91. Vienna-born actor best known for playing Tevye the milkman in “Fiddler on the Roof” in thousands of performances. His starring stage role as Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” made him a Tony Award finalist and his portrayal of a Southern sheriff in the 1958 movie “The Defiant Ones” earned an Academy Award nomination. A folk singer, he recorded more than 20 albums. Died July 21 of natural causes at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Richard Leone, 75. Former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. After resigning in 1994, he complained that the agency lost its independence because professionals had been replaced by political appointees. At age 33, he was New Jersey’s youngest state treasurer. Died July 16 in Hopewell, New Jersey, of complications from prostate cancer.

Jules Bianchi, 25. Formula One race car driver. Died July 17 at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Nice, France, of a brain injury suffered more than nine months earlier in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.

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