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OBITUARIES (Click on More to view all articles): ARTISTDirect's Marc Benesch Dies & Met Opera Star Jerome Hines, 81, Dies

Marc Benesch, ARTISTdirect executive VP of promotion, died at his Studio City home on February 1. He was 50. Services were held at noon February 4 in Los Angeles.

He is survived by his wife Donna and daughter Megan.

A trust has been set up for his daughter. Checks should be made out to: Megan Benesch Educational Trust Account, and mailed to:Megan Benesch Educational Trust Account, c/o HSBC, 445 North Bedford Drive, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, Attn: David Seinfeld.

Benesch joined ARTISTdirect in November 2001. Prior to that he headed promotion departments at TVT, Priority, Interscope and Columbia Records. Among his repertoire of artists were Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Beastie Boys, New
Kids on the Block, Dr. Dre, the Wallflowers, Nine Inch Nails and 2Pac.

Met Opera Star Jerome Hines, 81, Dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Bass vocalist Jerome Hines, who spent 41 years performing at the Metropolitan Opera, more than any other principal singer in its history, has died. He was 81.

Hines died Tuesday.

In a career that spanned more than six decades, Hines was known for his rich timbre, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed.

At the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" and Mozart's "Don Giovanni," and Colline in Puccini's "La Boheme."

Altogether, he gave 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits.

At 6-foot-6 with an athletic build, he towered over other performers on stage.

Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, "I Am the Way," about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.

Early in his life, Hines studied opera while also studying chemistry, math and physics at the University of California, and he worked briefly as a chemist before his singing career took off.

An appearance in "H.M.S. Pinafore" with a small California company in 1940 led to a debut at the San Francisco Opera as Monterone in "Rigoletto" the following year, and he left chemistry behind.

He debuted at the Met in 1946 as the Officer in "Boris Godunov," eventually playing Boris, which he cited as his favorite role.

Whitney Houston's Father Dies

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — John Houston, the father of singer Whitney Houston and a theatrical manager since the early days of rhythm and blues, died Sunday after a lengthy battle with diabetes and heart disease, a family spokeswoman said.

Houston died at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, said Nancy Seltzer. She said Houston's health had been deteriorating for several years, and that he had been in and out of the hospital a number of times recently.

"The entire family is greatly saddened by the loss of someone they all loved so much," Seltzer said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

Well before his daughter's rise to fame, Houston managed the career of her mother and his ex-wife, Cissy Houston. She sang with The Sweet Inspirations, a backing vocal group to artists including Aretha Franklin.

Seltzer said Houston was an uncompromising manager who, for example, insisted while the South was still segregated that his wife and other black clients stay in first-class, white hotels.

"He was a pioneer in rhythm and blues," Seltzer said.

In recent months, relations between Houston and his daughter, who has acknowledged having drug problems, took an especially awkward turn, when his company, John Houston Entertainment LLC, sued her for $100 million. The suit sought compensation for helping to get a marijuana charge against her dismissed and for getting her a new record contract.

The father made a public appeal to his daughter in an interview with the syndicated news magazine "Celebrity Justice" on Dec. 6, in which he addressed his daughter directly, saying, "You get your act together, honey, and you pay me the money that you owe me. If you do that, you haven't got a lawsuit."

Houston was born in Trenton and New Jersey was still his home when he died, Seltzer said. His theatrical management agency was based in Newark, the city where his daughter, who now lives in Mendham, N.J., was born.

In addition to Whitney, Houston is also survived by two sons, Gary and Michael.