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Derya Arbas

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Turkish actress Derya Arbas, who starred in seven films, was found dead Tuesday in her West Hollywood apartment shortly after returning from a trip to Istanbul. She was 35.

Miss Arbas, whose given name is Derya Zerrin Berti, was found by Los Angeles County sheriff ' s deputies and paramedics responding to calls from her relatives and friends.

" At this stage of the investigation, we don ' t think there was any foul play, " said sheriff ' s Sgt. Alec MacArthur, who is investigating Miss Arbas ' death.

Friends close to Miss Arbas said she died of a heart attack and noted that her family has a history of heart trouble. Mrs. Arbas was in Turkey for the funeral of her grandfather, Avni Arbas, a famous Turkish painter.

" She was jet-lagged, really tired, " said her friend Grace Jang, who had picked up Miss Arbas from Los Angeles International Airport. " She just buried her grandfather and kept a bedside vigil for days on end. Naturally, she looked exhausted. "

Miss Arbas is the daughter of Zerrin Arbas, a former Turkish beauty queen and actress, and Dehl Berti, an American Indian actor who died in 1991 of a heart attack, said her aunt, Elaine Koenig. Her parents divorced when she was an infant and Miss Arbas grew up in Southern California with Berti, his second wife, and her two half brothers.

She had dual U.S. and Turkish citizenship and split her time between both countries.

" She was living out here, but would always go back for a couple of TV shows, " said Stann Nakazono, a Los Angeles filmmaker who cast her in the English-language independent film " Hang Your Dog in the Wind. "

Miss Arbas was a member of the Screen Actors Guild but was not pursuing an acting career, Jang said. She was writing several books and making a living by taking studio photographs.

Miss Arbas is survived by her mother and two half-brothers, Thane and Sanh Berti.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Oct. 27, 2003
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