LOS ANGELES — Buck Henry, “The Graduate” co-writer who as screenwriter, character actor, “Saturday Night Live” host and cherished talk-show and party guest became an all-around cultural superstar of the 1960s and 70s, has died. He was 89.

Henry’s wife, Irene Ramp, said his death Wednesday in Los Angeles was due to a heart attack.

Henry, who also co-created the TV spy spoof “Get Smart” with Mel Brooks and others, managed to pull off the rare Hollywood coup of screenwriter-as-celebrity, partly through inserting himself in his films in small-but-memorable roles.

In “The Graduate,” Mike Nichols’ classic 1967 film that made a star of Dustin Hoffman, Henry and Calder Willingham adapted the script from the Charles Webb novel about a young man who has an affair with one of his parents’ friends. Henry created a role for himself as the room clerk at the hotel who spooks a young Dustin Hoffman with the unintended double entendre, “Are you here for an affair, sir?” “What?” Benjamin says, nervously. “The Singleman party, sir?” Henry responds.

Ancient runestone may reveal climate worries

Stockholm — The writing on a famous Viking-era runestone may reflect fears of an approaching climate disaster in 9th century Scandinavia, according to new research by a team of Swedish academics.

The Rok stone, located near Lake Vattern in central Sweden, carries what is believed to be the longest known runic inscription in the world. It consists of more than 700 runes, the letters of old Germanic language alphabets.

Researchers have long thought the 5-ton, roughly 8-feet tall stone was raised as a memorial to a dead son and the writing on it related heroic tales of Viking kings.

But four Swedish academics who teamed up to interpret the inscription postulated in a paper published this week that several passages dealt with a natural threat.

A reference on the stone to the “death of the sun nine generations ago” could refer to the extreme climate cooling in the years 535-536 that caused worldwide crop failures.

Two coyote attacks reported in Chicago

CHICAGO — Authorities on Thursday were on the hunt for coyotes in downtown Chicago after two reported attacks, including one where passers-by said they had to pull a wild canine off of a 6-year-old boy who was bitten in the head.

The reported attacks come amid an increase in sightings of coyotes in the nation’s third-largest city.

Officials were confident the animal who attacked the boy was a coyote, based on witness interviews, Kelley Gandurski, executive director of the Chicago Animal Care and Control, told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

If true, it would mark the first time in the state a coyote has attacked a human, according to a wildlife biologist with the Urban Coyote Research Project.

“The last several times that this occurred, people reported the same thing, that they were bitten by a coyote, and days and weeks later it turned out through DNA analysis of the victim’s clothing it was, in fact, dogs and not coyotes,” said Anchor.

— Wire Reports

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