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Philipp Jung

Philipp C. Jung, a set designer for theater, opera and dance productions, died Dec. 10 at age 43.

Jung died at General Hospital in San Luis Obispo, where he had lived the past two years while teaching theater design at California Polytechnic Institute.

The hospital would not disclose the cause of death but per published reports, friends said Jung died of AIDS complications.

Among Jung’s best-known work were the set designs for Broadway’s “Eastern Standard,””Mastergate” and “Closer Than Ever.”

He also worked in New York on “Major Barbara,””The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and “The Madwoman of Central Park West,” and on productions in Boston and Santa Fe, N.M.

Born June 10, 1949, in Cleveland, he graduated from Yale School of Drama and studied in London.

Survived by his mother, Wanda, and a sister, both of Parma, Ohio.

A funeral mass was scheduled in Parma with burial in North Olmsted, Ohio. A memorial service is planned later in San Luis Obispo.

Vilma Banky

The March 18, 1991, death of silent screen actress Vilma Banky, about 90, has just been revealed. When the Hungarian-born Banky fell ill about 10 years ago, she became embittered that no one visited her and she decreed that no notice be made of her death.

Word of Banky’s death began appearing in publications this fall. Yet her passing went largely unnoticed until late last week, when her attorney Robert Vossler, following an inquiry from The Associated Press, confirmed she died in the St. John of God Convalescent Hospital in L.A.

Banky reigned as a top film star of the 1920s, playing opposite Rudolph Valentino and Ronald Colman until the advent of talkies ended her career.

A beauty known as “the Hungarian Rhapsody,” she appeared in Hungarian, Austrian and French films in the early 1920s before Samuel Goldwyn discovered her in 1925. With an eye toward what fan magazines would like, Goldwyn said the only English she knew was “lamb chops and pineapple.”

He cast Banky opposite Colman in “The Dark Angel,” a smash hit. The New York Times praised her acting, calling her “so exquisite that one is not in the least surprised that she is never forgotten by (Colman).”

She made three more films with him, including “The Winning of Barbara Worth.” She went on to star opposite Valentino in “The Eagle” and “The Son of the Sheik, ” the idol’s last movies before his death in 1926.

When talkies took over in 1929, Banky appeared in “This Is Heaven,” cast as a Hungarian immigrant who works as a pancake-flipping cook. But audiences had trouble understanding her accent, and the movie flopped.

Banky was married to actor Rod La Rocque for 42 years.

Unlike other silent-era stars who died in destitution, Banky and La Rocque endowed an education foundation for children, now worth more than $ 1 million.

She left $ 600,000 to two daughters of her sister, who stayed in Hungary, Vossler said. But Banky’s insistence that none of the bequest go to taxes has held up the settlement, he said.

The hospital listed Banky’s birthdate as Jan. 2, 1901, but reference books range from 1898 to 1903.

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