HOUSTON (AP) – Oil field firefighter Paul N. “Red” Adair, who was instrumental in capping Kuwaiti oil wells set ablaze by Iraq and was immortalized by John Wayne in a movie based on his life, died Saturday of natural causes, his daughter said. He was 89.

Adair revolutionized the science of snuffing and controlling wells spewing high-pressure jets of oil and gas, using explosives, water cannons, bulldozers, drilling mud and concrete.

His daring and his reputation for having never met a blowout he couldn’t cap earned him the nickname “Hellfighter.” That inspired the title of the 1968 John Wayne movie based on his life, “The Hellfighters.”

He founded Red Adair Co. Inc. in 1959 and is credited with battling more than 2,000 land and offshore oil well fires, including the hundreds of wells set afire when the Iraqi army retreated from Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

He proudly spent his 76th birthday in Kuwait clad in his trademark red overalls, swinging valves into place atop out-of-control wells.

Adair, who retired in 1994 and sold his company, was instrumental in expediting the shipment of crucial supplies and equipment to Kuwait.

by testifying before the Gulf Pollution Task Force and meeting with then-President George H.W. Bush about the logistics of the firefighting operation.

Adair’s teams were among the first of 27 teams from 16 countries that spent eight months capping 732 Kuwaiti wells. His expertise helped greatly shorten an operation that had been expected to last three to five years, saving millions of barrels of oil and stopping an intercontinental air pollution disaster.

Adair boasted that none of his employees ever suffered a serious injury fighting hundreds of dangerous well fires around the world.



Philip Holzman

BOSTON (AP) – Philip Holzman, a psychologist who studied the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia, died June 1 of a stroke following surgery, his son said. He was 82.

Holzman studied the eye movements of schizophrenic patients and found that they, like healthy relatives, sometimes had difficulty following moving objects. His observations provided a window into the disease’s genetic origins.

In an interview with the American Psychological Association last year, Holzman said he believed schizophrenia is “broader than the psychotic phenomena and includes many behaviors that occur in unaffected relatives of the patients.”

He was named a professor at Harvard University in 1977, and founded the McLean Hospital Psychology Research Laboratory in Belmont, Mass., the same year. He became a professor emeritus in 1992.

He received his doctorate from the University of Kansas in 1952.

Before his appointment to Harvard, Holzman held positions as a professor at the University of Chicago and as a supervisory psychoanalyst at the Topeka Psychoanalytic Institute.

He was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1979.

He won the American Psychological Foundation’s Alexander Gralnick research award in 2001.



James Mattox Moudy

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – James Mattox Moudy, chancellor emeritus of Texas Christian University, died Friday, said a spokesman at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole Funeral Home. He was 88.

Moudy was the first alumnus and native Texan to hold the highest post of the privately endowed, church-affiliated university.

TCU grew in size and stature during Moudy’s term as chancellor, which lasted from 1965 to 1979. He was instrumental in advancing the school’s graduate programs and is credited with establishing six research-oriented doctoral programs.

Moudy graduated from TCU in 1943, then attended the Army’s chaplains school at Harvard University. During World War II, Moudy served 19 months in Europe with hospital and infantry units of the 102nd Infantry Division.

Moudy returned to TCU in 1957 to serve as dean of the graduate school. He was named vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1962 and was executive vice chancellor from 1964 to 1965.



Dimitris Papamichail

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Actor Dimitris Papamichail, who began his career in Greek drama and gained fame portraying working-class characters in dozens of movies, died of a heart attack Sunday. He was 70.

Papamichail died while vacationing at his summer home in Porto Heli in the Peloponnese, doctors at the nearby Kranidi hospital said.

Born in Athens, Papamichail studied at the Drama School of the National Theater before making his first appearance at the ancient theater of Epidavros at age 21. He married actress Aliki Vougiouklaki, with whom he costarred in many films in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1997, Papamichail retired from the stage to teach drama at a new stage school founded by veteran actor Vasilis Diamantopoulos.



Geraldine Peroni

NEW YORK (AP) – Geraldine Peroni, a film editor who frequently worked with director Robert Altman and was nominated for an Academy Award for his 1992 film “The Player,” died Tuesday, her sister said. She was 51.

Her death was ruled a suicide by the city medical examiner’s office, but her family was disputing that finding.

Peroni worked on eight Altman films, beginning with “Vincent & Theo” in 1990. She also edited “Short Cuts,” “Pret-a-Porter,” “Kansas City,” “Gingerbread Man,” “Dr. T and the Women” and “The Company.”

“She made my work so easy,” Altman told the Los Angeles Times. “She reads me better than anybody had ever read me, and, consequently, she did the work; I didn’t have to.”

Among Peroni’s other editing or co-editing credits were “The Safety of Objects,” “Jesus’ Son” and “Cradle Will Rock.”

AP-ES-08-08-04 2009EDT



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.