Richard Egbert

BOSTON (AP) _ Richard Egbert, the prominent New England criminal defense lawyer whose famous clients included Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran and Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, has died. He was 61.

Egbert's wife, Shannon McAuliffe, said he died of a suspected heart attack while on vacation in upstate New York.

Egbert was known for his commanding courtroom presence and aggressive cross-examinations. With his raspy, baritone voice and confident stride, he would "take over the courtroom," said Tom Drechsler, a Boston defense attorney who worked with Egbert.

Egbert spoke frequently in interviews about the rights of the accused and the need for defense attorneys to keep overzealous prosecutors in check.

He represented people from all walks of life, including mobsters, politicians and judges.

His prominent clients included Finneran, who was accused of lying about his role in a redistricting plan, and Cianci, who was accused of corruption.

Egbert was sometimes criticized for his abrasive style and penchant for humiliating witnesses during cross-examination, but even prosecutors who went up against him gave him credit for his zealous defense of his clients.


Randy Pausch

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Randy Pausch, who after confronted with incurable cancer devised a last lecture that became an Internet sensation, a best-selling book and a celebration of a life spent achieving his dreams, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch died of cancer at his home in Chesapeake, Va., said Jeffrey Zaslow, the Wall Street Journal writer who co-wrote Pausch's book "The Last Lecture."

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2006. A year later, he gave the popular 76-minute speech titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams."

A professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, Pausch was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research and became known on campus for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

His book was published in April and leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists, where it remained this week.

Pausch said he dictated the book to Zaslow by cell phone.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon previously called "The Last Lecture," where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. In Pausch's case, the popular professor really was facing death _ and he talked about what his childhood dreams had taught him about life.

His message and story were so powerful they landed him on "Oprah" and other TV shows.

Born in 1960, Pausch received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon. He taught at the University of Virginia from 1988 to 1997, when he came to Carnegie Mellon.


Frank Schweihs

CHICAGO (AP) _ Frank "The German" Schweihs, reputedly one of Chicago's most feared mob enforcers, has died while awaiting trial on charges he took part in a conspiracy that included numerous organized crime murders. He was 78.

Schweihs, who had cancer, died Wednesday night after he was taken from the federal government's Metropolitan Correctional Center to Thorek Memorial Hospital, authorities said. He had been in federal custody for more than two years.

Prosecutors said Schweihs was responsible for killing two people: a Phoenix man who mobsters deemed a potential federal witness and a suburban Chicago businessman who had evidence that might have sent another mobster to prison.

Star witness Nicholas Calabrese, brother of one of the defendants, testified Schweihs came up with the idea of using an Uzi submachine gun to murder Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, the Chicago mob's longtime man in Las Vegas.

Spilotro was the inspiration for the Joe Pesci character in the movie "Casino."

Calabrese said the Schweihs plan called for gunning down Spilotro, his brother Michael and defense attorney Oscar Goodman. The plan fell through.

Federal law enforcement officials said Schweihs specialized in beatings and murders, and they had hoped to put him in prison for life. His trial was scheduled to begin on Oct. 28.

Prosecutors had hoped to try Schweihs along with five others in a landmark mob conspiracy trial last fall, but he was deemed too ill to take part.


Barbara Ann Teer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Barbara Ann Teer, who founded the National Black Theater in Harlem, has died. She was 71.

Teer's daughter, Sade Lythcott, said her mother died Monday in Harlem of natural causes.

Teer was a dancer and actress who appeared in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. After growing tired of being offered stereotypical roles by white producers, she became an advocate for black artists and black culture.

In 1968, Teer founded the National Black Theater, which produces shows, lectures, workshops, classes and exhibits.

A native of East St. Louis, Ill., she moved to New York City after earning a bachelor's in dance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.