PASSINGS: James McLure, Joseph Flom, Harry Fogle, Tommy Bell, John Robinson
James McLure

Playwright who wrote 'Lone Star'

James McLure, 59, a playwright and actor best known for his two one-act plays that reached Broadway, died Feb. 17 from cancer at his home in Marina del Rey, said his sister, Jenny Schroeder.

McLure's plays "Lone Star," set behind a small-town Texas bar, and "Pvt. Wars," the story of three young Vietnam veterans in a hospital, were produced on Broadway in 1979.

"I'm part of the Vietnam generation," McLure told the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch in 1994. "My plays are a combination of autobiography and people I've known."

In a 1984 Times review of an expanded version of "Pvt. Wars" at the Zephyr Theatre in West Hollywood, critic Lawrence Christon noted McLure's "extraordinary delicacy … to suggest how irreparably these men have been wounded, and not altogether physically."

James Miller McLure Jr. was born Aug. 5, 1951, in Alexandria, La., the second of three children of Mary and James McLure. He grew up in Shreveport, La., and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he started writing "Lone Star" for use in an acting class.

McLure's other plays included "Laundry and Bourbon" and "The Day They Shot John Lennon." His "Wild Oats," a Wild West adaptation of an 18th century farce by John O'Keefe, was performed at the Mark Taper Forum in 1984.

Joseph Flom

Expert in corporate takeovers

Joseph Flom, 87, a corporate lawyer and architect of the modern mergers-and-acquisitions business, died Wednesday, according to an announcement by his New York-based firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The cause was heart failure.

Flom was "a giant in the takeover field, perhaps the single most important force in the game during the 1970s and 1980s," Robert Slater wrote in his 1999 book, "The Titans of Takeover."

So feared was he "that arbitragers were eager to know which side Joe Flom was on whenever a takeover was announced," Slater wrote. Some firms even paid him a retainer to make sure he wouldn't end up challenging them, a practice that became known as the "Joe Flom protection policy."

Flom helped orchestrate Ron Perelman's 1985 takeover of Revlon and ABC's sale to Capital Cities. In 2005, he advised May Department Stores Co. in its $11-billion merger with Federated Department Stores Inc. Three years later, Flom advised Anheuser-Busch Cos. when it was bought for $52 billion by the Belgian brewer InBev NV.

Flom, along with Martin Lipton of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, pioneered legal maneuvers in hostile takeovers in the 1980s. Lipton typically worked defense and Flom often worked offense.

Joseph Harold Flom was born on Dec. 21, 1923, in Baltimore, the son of a union organizer and a housewife from Russia. He was raised in Brooklyn and attended City College of New York before enlisting in the U.S. Army.

Flom never completed his undergraduate studies. He was accepted at Harvard Law School, which he attended under the G.I. Bill, and served as editor of the Law Review before graduating in 1948 and joining Skadden Arps as its first associate. He specialized in mergers and proxy contests when few major law firms did.

Harry Fogle

Last surviving worker on Bay Area bridges