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Originally published Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Willie B. is a star again

Critters Willie B. is a star again For decades, one of Atlanta's most famous residents lived in a cage and mostly ate bananas. Now Willie B., a...

Critters

Willie B. is a star again

For decades, one of Atlanta's most famous residents lived in a cage and mostly ate bananas. Now Willie B., a gorilla who died eight years ago, has become the posthumous star of a TV documentary. The production explores how the ape — who spent much of his life in a dingy, cramped space — helped inspire officials to modernize what is known nowadays as Zoo Atlanta. The film airs this weekend in Atlanta and eventually in nearly 100 other markets.

Tributes

Lear, Angelou honored

TV producer Norman Lear and author Maya Angelou will be the 2008 recipients of the Marian Anderson Award, which honors artists whose leadership benefits humanity. They are to accept their honors, each with an accompanying $100,000 honorarium, in Philadelphia on Nov. 17.

Passages

Lou Teicher, 83, half of the piano duo Ferrante & Teicher, whose hit recordings of movie themes and love songs made them easy-listening mainstays, died on Sunday in Highlands, N.C., from heart failure.

Robert Maheu, 90, who was a powerful aide to reclusive tycoon Howard Hughes and whose cloak-and-dagger exploits included involvement in a CIA and Mafia plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, died Monday at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas. He had cancer and heart ailments.

Nicola Rescigno, 92, the co-founder of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Dallas Opera and who conducted at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera and Vienna State Opera, died Monday in Viterbo, Italy of complications after heart failure and breathing problems.

Geoff Ballard, 76, a Canadian who developed the world's first hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered, zero-emission transit bus and an entrepreneur Time magazine once named one of its "Heroes for the Planet," died Saturday in Vancouver, B.C.

Today in History

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1890: Murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair as he was put to death at Auburn State Prison in New York.

1926: Gertrude Ederle of New York became the first woman to swim the English Channel, arriving in Kingsdown, England, from France in 14 1/2 hours.

1945: The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, resulting in an estimated 140,000 deaths in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.

1965: President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

1978: Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo at 80.

Today's Birthdays

Actor-director Peter Bonerz, 70. Actress Catherine Hicks, 57. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, 38. Singer Geri Halliwell, 36. Actress Soleil Moon Frye, 32.

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