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America through the eyes of two American-Americans

John du Pont, 72

John E. du Pont, an heir to the DuPont Co. chemical fortune who was known as a generous if eccentric patron of amateur wrestling before he inexplicably shot and killed Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz in 1996, died Dec. 9. He was 72.

He called the wrestlers he supported "Team Foxcatcher" and envisioned them filling the roster of the 1996 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. They lived and trained at the 14,000-square-foot facility he built on his property in Pennsylvania.

On Jan. 26, 1996, Mr. du Pont drove to the guesthouse where Schultz was living with his wife and two children. The heir fired three shots from a .38-caliber handgun out the window of his Lincoln Town Car. Schultz lay in the driveway, dying in his wife's arms.

Among other things: he drove 2 brand new Lincoln Town Cars into a pond back-to-back, believed he was the Dalai Lama of the United States, had razor wire installed in his walls, evicted all three black wrestlers from his property, blew up a family of foxes, and founded and ran the Villanova wrestling program in 1986 only to have it dismantled two years later on the grounds that he fired an assistant head coach for not wanting to be his gay lover.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Don Meredith, 72

The original Tony Romo, Meredith was the original Dallas Cowboy signing a personal services contract on Nov. 28, 1959, two months before the franchise officially gained admittance into the NFL. He was a two-time All-American at SMU and played for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1968. He led the Cowboys to the 1966 and 1967 NFL title games, both defeats to the Green Bay Packers, but he abruptly retired from pro football at age 31.

He was also on Monday Night Football for a decade and lived in an adobe in Santa Fe since 1982.

Goodbye, Dandy Don. The party's over.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Alex Franco, 91

The Rev. Alex Franco, who performed thousands of weddings at his Albertson Wedding Chapel in Los Angeles, has died. He was 91. "On a weekday you can walk in here and be married in 20 minutes," Franco told the Dallas Morning News in 1988. "On weekends, we are busier, we need a little notice."

Our own Seth Romatelli once attended a wedding at Mr. Franco's chapel on April Fool's Day, 1999. As he and his friends poured liquor into styrofoam cups in the parking lot, they ribbed the Israeli groom who had no concept of April Fool's Day, despite living in America for years. To his recollection, the service was beautiful. The couple has since divorced.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Sparky Anderson, 76

The Great Sparky Anderson has died at the age of 76. Sparky's Reds bested Seth's hometown nine for Baseball's World Series in 1975. As Seth recalls, "He was 41 at the time, but looked like he was 70." He went on to win 2 more World Series titles (1 each in Cincinnati and Detroit) and became the first manager in Major League Baseball to win the title in both the American and National Leagues.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Seth Clips Vol. 04

Filed under: Seth's Corner

Bob Guccione, 79

The poor man's Hugh Hefner died Wednesday, Oct. 20th, at a hospital in Plano, Texas. He was 79.

Guccione lost much of his personal fortune on bad investments and risky ventures. Probably his best-known business failure was a $17.5-million investment in the 1979 production of the X-rated film "Caligula." Distributors shunned the film, with its graphic scenes of lesbianism and incest. However, it eventually became General Media's most popular DVD.

His management style even sparked a rift with his own son, Bob Guccione Jr. In 1985, the publisher helped his son launch the music magazine Spin, with Bob Jr. serving as editor and publisher. After just two years, the two clashed over the direction of the magazine and the elder Guccione decided to shut it down, forcing his son to secure outside funding. According to Axl Rose, the younger Guccione was also pissed because his dad got more pussy than him.

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Filed under: Obituaries
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