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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, September 12, 2009

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Army Archerd, gossip columnist for ‘Variety’Larry Gelbart, comedy writer best known for TV’s ‘M*A*S*H’Juan Almeida Bosque, Castro cohortGertrude Baines, world’s oldest personRay Barrett, Australian actor who became star in EnglandFrank Batten Sr., created Weather ChannelLou (‘Lulu’) Bender, ‘30s Columbia U basketball playerFrancis Betters, fly fisherman and guideThabet bin Laden, younger brother of Osama bin LadenAage Bohr, Nobel Prize-winning physicistMike Bongiorno, Italian TV quiz show hostNorman Borlaug, father of ‘green revolution’Juanita Brooks, New Orleans blues and jazz singerJerry Burchfield, helped to create huge mural, ‘The Tell’Jim Carroll, poet and punk musicianFinn M. W. Caspersen, former CEO of Beneficial Corp.Frank Coghlan Jr., silent-movie child actorPierre Cossette, ‘father of Grammys’Eric Davidson, Canadian blinded by Halifax ExplosionMichael Davison, PA to actor Nicholas CageGeorge Eckstein, TV writer and producerJohn T. Elson, former religion editor at ‘Time’Richard Fogel, cofounder of Bay City News ServiceGerhart Friedlander, nuclear scientistEdward Gelsthorpe, marketing whizRabbi Alfred Gottschalk, ordained first female rabbisBob Greenberg, recording executiveSam Hinton, San Diego folk singer and songwriterChristopher G. Kelly, fund-raiser and adviser to former Illinois Gov. BlagojevichJack Kramer, ‘40s tennis championJames Krenov, California cabinetmakerHattie Lee Lafayette, Michigan supercentenarianFelicia Lee, porn actress and modelErich Lehmann, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of statisticsJohn Martini, New Jersey killerJohn Merino, Ecuadorean security officialRobert H Miller, former Kansas upreme Court Chief JusticeFred Mills, Grammy-nominated Canadian Brass trumpeterZakes Mokae, South African actorGertrude Noone, world’s oldest military veteranDanny Pang, financier accused of Ponzi schemeJim Pouillon, antiabortion activistChristian Poveda, Spanish documentary filmmakerBeth Rickey, exposed Nazi ties of former KKK leader David DukeWilly Ronis, photographer of Paris street lifeAmanda Ross, estranged girlfriend of former Kentucky legislatorRobert Searcy, former Tuskegee AirmanFred Sherman, former Philadelphia radio business commentatorBill Sparkman, Kentucky census workerCrystal Lee Sutton, inspiration for 1979 filmWilliam Trombley, former ‘LA Times’ education journalistMurph Wolman, retired publisher of ‘Wisconsin State Journal’

Art and Literature

Jerry Burchfield (62) photographer who helped to document the evolution of two Orange County landmarks. Burchfield co-owned (1973-87) BC Space Gallery in Laguna Beach with Mark Chamberlain. In 1974, the two began photographing Laguna Canyon, taking photos the length of Laguna Canyon Road, which they combined with others’ photos into a huge mural they called The Tell. In 2002, they started photographing the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, closed as an active base in 1999 and destined to be a park. Burchfield died of colon cancer in Orange, California on September 11, 2009.

Jim Carroll (60) poet and punk rocker who chronicled his wild teen years in The Basketball Diaries (1978), made into a 1995 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In the ‘70s, Carroll was a fixture of the burgeoning downtown New York art scene. He also published several poetry collections, while his 1980 album, Catholic Boy, has been hailed as a landmark punk record. He died of a heart attack in New York City on September 11, 2009.

Willy Ronis (99) last of the great postwar French photographers best known for shots of Paris life. Lovers, nudes, and scenes from Paris streets were the mainstay of Ronis’s photographs in an award-winning career that began in the ‘30s. He died of kidney failure after being on dialysis for some time, in Paris, France on September 12, 2009.

Business and Science

Thabet bin Laden (49) businessman and younger brother of al-Qaeda terror mastermind leader Osama bin Laden, one of 54 children born to Mohammed bin Laden, a poor Yemeni immigrant who started the family contracting business in the ‘30s that grew into a multimillion-dollar construction empire. The bin Laden family disavowed any links with the fugitive terror suspect in 1994, when Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship after he called for the overthrow of the royal family. Thabet bin Laden died in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on September 12, 2009.

Aage Bohr (87) Danish nuclear physics professor and Nobel laureate like his father, Niels Bohr (d. 1962). Aage Bohr was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1975; his father, a colleague and close friend of Albert Einstein, was awarded the Nobel in physics for nuclear research in 1922. Both father and son worked in the US on the Manhattan Project, which built the atomic bomb, in the early ‘40s. Aage Bohr died in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 8, 2009.

Norman Borlaug (95) agricultural scientist, father of the "green revolution” who won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to high-yield crop varieties and for bringing other agricultural innovations to the developing world. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives. A distinguished professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, Borlaug died of cancer in Dallas, Texas on September 12, 2009.

Finn M. W. Caspersen (67) former chairman and chief executive of the financial services firm Beneficial Corp. and a major philanthropist and political donor in New Jersey politics. Police found Caspersen’s body on the grounds of the Shelter Harbor Golf Club in Westerly, Rhode Island after being asked to check on him by a concerned family member. He died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound on September 7, 2009.

Gerhart Friedlander (93) German-born veteran of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb and a pioneer of nuclear chemistry who later exploited the first particle accelerators to do major research as head of the chemistry department at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Friedlander died of heart disease in South Setauket, New York on September 6, 2009.

Edward Gelsthorpe (88) marketing genius who put consumer products like Ban roll-on deodorant, Cran-Apple, and Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce on drugstore and supermarket shelves. Gelsthorpe died in East Dennis, Massachusetts on September 12, 2009.

Danny Pang (42) Orange County (Calif.) financier accused by US securities regulators of perpetrating a massive Ponzi scheme on mainly Taiwanese investors. A Taiwanese immigrant, Pang was accused of bilking investors in his $4 billion firm by falsely portraying returns as coming from investments in time-share real estate and life insurance policies of seniors. His case had been set to go to trial next week but was delayed until August 2010. He died of a heart ailment in Newport Beach, California on September 12, 2009.


James Krenov (88) cabinetmaker who wrote five books about his craft and his reverence for the subtleties of wood. Krenov was founder of the fine woodworking program at the College of the Redwoods, one of the most influential programs of its kind in the country. He died in Fort Bragg, California on September 9, 2009.

Erich Lehmann (91) professor emeritus of statistics at UC Berkeley known for his texts Testing Statistical Hypotheses (1959) and Theory of Point Estimation (1983). Lehmann died in Berkeley, California on September 12, 2009.

Christian Poveda (52) French-born Spanish filmmaker whose controversial documentary film La Vida Loca (2008) followed the violent Mara 18 street gang. Poveda first went to El Salvador as a photographer in the ‘80s to cover its civil war but later returned in the ‘90s to focus on the brutality and desperation of the impoverished Central American country’s street gangs. He witnessed at least seven murders, three of which became subjects of his critically acclaimed film, shown at festivals in the US, Mexico, Spain, Cuba, and El Salvador. He was found shot to death in his car after an apparent ambush beside a rural road near San Salvador, El Salvador on September 9, 2009.

William Trombley (80) veteran journalist and education analyst who wrote for Life magazine and the Los Angeles Times during a 50-year career. At the Times, where he was a reporter for nearly 30 years starting in 1964, Trombley was known for reshaping the paper’s coverage of higher education. He had respiratory and other health problems and died after a heart attack in Davis, California on September 6, 2009.

News and Entertainment

Army Archerd (87) popular showbiz gossip columnist whose column for the entertainment trade publication Daily Variety kept tabs on Hollywood for more than 50 years. Archerd also was a greeter-interviewer at the Academy Awards. He died of mesothelioma, a lung cancer tied to asbestos exposure, the result of his time spent in shipyards while serving in the US Navy during World War II, in Los Angeles, California on September 8, 2009.

Ray Barrett (82) veteran Australian actor who became a star of British TV in the ‘60s. Barrett moved to England in the late ‘50s and starred in the long-running British TV series The Troubleshooters in the ‘60s. He did a wide range of acting work in the UK for almost 20 years, including voices for the iconic puppet TV series Thunderbirds, before he returned to Australia in the mid-‘70s. He died in a hospital after a fall at his home in Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia on September 8, 2009.

Frank Batten Sr. (82) retired chairman of privately held Landmark Communications and a former board chairman (1982-87) of the Associated Press who built a communications empire that spanned newspapers and cable TV and created The Weather Channel. Batten died in Norfolk, Virginia on September 10, 2009.

Mike Bongiorno (85) New York-born Italian TV host who popularized quiz shows for generations of Italians and became a symbol of national TV. Bongiorno appeared on RAI state TV on its first day of programming in the early ‘50s and later hosted a series of successful quiz shows—many of them adaptations of US shows—for over 20 years. He died of a heart attack in Monte Carlo, Monaco on September 8, 2009.

Juanita Brooks (55) New Orleans blues and jazz singer who performed at popular clubs in her hometown and all over the world. Brooks was recovering from recent back surgery when she died overnight in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 9–10, 2009.

Frank Coghlan Jr. (93) silent-movie child actor who played young Billy Batson, a comic-book character who transformed into Captain Marvel by uttering the magical word "Shazam!” in the landmark 1941 movie serial Adventures of Captain Marvel. Coghlan died in his sleep in Saugus, California on September 7, 2009.

Pierre Cossette (85) Grammy Awards and TV producer known as the "father of the Grammy Awards." Canadian-born Cossette was the man responsible for bringing the Grammy Awards to national TV in 1971. He was also instrumental in establishing the annual Latin Grammys in a 60-year career that included work on The Andy Williams Show, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show, and The Glen Campbell Music Show in the ‘60s. Cossette produced the annual telecast of the Grammy Awards—the recording industry’s highest honors—for 35 years before retiring in 2005. He died of congestive heart failure in Montreal, Canada on September 11, 2009.

Michael Davison (49) personal assistant to screen actor Nicholas Cage who had worked with the star in Los Angeles and around the world on the recent feature films Next, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Bangkok Dangerous, and others. Davison was considered one of the most experienced and respected personal assistants in the Hollywood entertainment industry. He died of injuries suffered in a freak two-vehicle accident when a canoe broke loose from a trailer and crashed through the windshield of his car on a vacation in Kona, Hawaii on September 6, 2009.

George Eckstein (81) TV writer and producer who cowrote the historic final episode of The Fugitive TV series in the ‘60s and produced the acclaimed Steven Spielberg-directed TV-movie Duel in the ‘70s. Eckstein died of lung cancer in Brentwood, California on September 12, 2009.

Richard Fogel (86) cofounder of San Francisco’s Bay City News Service, a regional wire service that now serves about 100 print, radio, and TV outlets in the San Francisco Bay area. Fogel died in Thousand Oaks, California on September 9, 2009.

Larry Gelbart (81) award-winning comedy writer whose wit helped to create such hits as Broadway’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962; with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), the film Tootsie (1982; Oscar nomination), and TV’s M*A*S*H (1972-83). Gelbart won a Tony for AFTHOTWTTF and an Emmy for M*A*S*H and was nominated for two Oscars, the other for Oh, God! (1977), starring George Burns. He died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California on September 11, 2009.

Bob Greenberg (75) longtime music industry executive who held key positions at several record labels including Atlantic, Warner Bros., MGM/UA, and Mirage. Greenberg died a day after suffering a stroke, in West Hills, California on September 11, 2009.

Sam Hinton (92) folk singer, songwriter, naturalist, and San Diego civic treasure who delighted school children and folk-festival audiences for decades. Hinton died of a series of old-age ailments including congestive heart failure, in Albany in northern California where, in failing health, he had moved in 2007, on September 10, 2009.

Felicia Lee (31) porn actress and model who appeared in several X-rated movies and photo shoots in numerous magazines and calendars under the stage name Felicia Tang. Lee’s credits in a few mainstream movies include appearances in Rush Hour 2 and The Fast & the Furious and in the soft-core feature Hotel Decadence. She was found mutilated and strangled in her apartment in Monrovia, California on September 11, 2009. Police arrested former preacher and reality TV contestant Brian Lee Randone (45) for her murder.

Fred Mills (74) University of Georgia music professor, a 1992 Grammy nominee who recorded more than 40 albums as a trumpeter with the Canadian Brass quintet and performed with several orchestras. Mills was killed in a car crash while driving to his Athens, Georgia home from Atlanta’s airport after an overseas trip, in Walton County, about 45 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 7, 2009.

Zakes Mokae (75) Tony-winning South African actor whose partnership with his countryman, playwright Athol Fugard, in plays like The Blood Knot, Boesman & Lena, and Master Harold ... & the Boys, brought the brutality of apartheid to the attention of a world audience. Mokae had previously received diagnoses of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. He died of complications from a stroke he suffered on May 6, in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 11, 2009.

Fred Sherman (85) economist and former business commentator on the syndicated Philadelphia news format radio station KYW Newsradio (1060 AM), perhaps best known for his distinctive nasal tone and his sign-off signature, "This is Fred Sherrrrrman.” Sherman also was on WPEN Radio  (905 AM) with The Money Show and delivered weekly reports on NBC10’s Sunday morning news during a career that spanned more than 25 years. He died from injuries suffered in a recent car accident, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania on September 12, 2009.

Crystal Lee Sutton (68) former textile worker whose fight to unionize Southern textile plants with low pay and poor conditions was dramatized in the film Norma Rae (1979). Actress Sally Field portrayed a character based on Sutton in the movie and won a best-actress Oscar. Sutton died of brain cancer in Burlington, North Carolina on September 11, 2009.

Martin (Murph) Wolman (90) retired publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal who started out selling newspapers on the streets of Madison when he was a boy. Wolman began as a copy boy in 1932, even before he graduated from high school, and moved up to reporter, business manager, and general manager, becoming publisher in 1968. He died in Boulder, Colorado on September 12, 2009.

Politics and Military

Juan Almeida Bosque (82) comrade-in-arms of former Cuban President Fidel Castro since the start of his guerrilla struggle more than 50 years ago. Almeida Bosque was one of several Cuban vice presidents and was among only three surviving rebel leaders (the others are brothers Fidel and Raul Castro, now president) who still bore the honorary title "Commander of the Revolution." He died of a heart attack in Havana, Cuba on September 11, 2009.

Christopher G. Kelly (51) former chief fund-raiser for ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich who raised millions of dollars for the governor’s campaigns and was among his closest advisers. Kelly was due to report Sept. 18 to start serving a three-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to tax fraud charges that included writing off thousands of dollars in gambling debts as business expenses. He was found Sept. 11 in a lumberyard parking lot in Country Club Hills, a town just southwest of Chicago, apparently suffering from an overdose of salicylate, a drug used in anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications such as aspirin. He died the next day in a hospital in Chicago, Illinois on September 12, 2009.

John Merino (42) decorated Air Force colonel in charge of security for Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa who worked tirelessly for the government and coordinated security operations for the Union of South American Nations during the recent inauguration ceremony for Correa’s second term. Merino died of swine flu (H1N1 virus) he had contracted about a month ago, in Quito, Ecuador on September 6, 2009.

Gertrude Noone (110) former 44-year-old insurance policy clerk for Travelers in Hartford, Conn. in 1943 when she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps. At her death Noone was the oldest known living military veteran in the world. She died in Milford, Connecticut on September 10, 2009.

Elizabeth (Beth) Rickey (53) Republican researcher who in 1989 helped to refute former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s claims that he had renounced neo-Nazi ties. Rickey exposed the fact that Duke’s office was selling books advocating Nazism and questioning whether the Holocaust occurred. She had been in ill health for years, with ailments including Crohn’s disease. She died at a hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 12, 2009.

Amanda Ross (29) daughter of  former Buffalo Trace Area Development District (BTADD) executive director Terrell Ross and estranged girlfriend of former Kentucky state GOP lawmaker Steve Nunn (56). Ross had been involved in an abusive relationship with the late former Kentucky governor Louie B. Nunn’s troubled son, a former gubernatorial candidate who resigned his statehouse post after being put on administrative leave earlier this year when he confessed to assaulting his former fiancée. Ross was found shot to death in a parking lot outside her condominium in downtown Lexington, Kentucky on September 11, 2009. Police later took Nunn into custody in connection with the shooting.

Robert Searcy (88) member of the all-black group of World War II servicemen known as the Tuskegee Airmen and a longtime resident of Los Angeles. Searcy died of colon cancer while visiting relatives in Atlanta, Georgia on September 7, 2009.

Society and Religion

Gertrude Baines (115) woman who lived to be the world’s oldest person on a steady diet of crisp bacon, fried chicken, and ice cream. Baines claimed the title of the world’s oldest living person when a 115-year-old woman, Maria de Jesus, died in Portugal in January. Baines died in her sleep, apparently from a heart attack, in Los Angeles, California on September 11, 2009.

Eric Davidson (94) retired auto mechanic who was 2 years old when he became legally blind from shattered glass in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, considered one of the world’s largest man-made accidental explosions at the time. The blast killed 1,600 people and injured more than 9,000 others after two cargo ships collided in the Halifax harbor on Dec. 6, 1917. Davidson died in Berwick, Nova Scotia, Canada on September 9, 2009.

John T. Elson (78) former religion editor at Time magazine whose cover story, “Is God Dead?,” caused a national uproar in April 1966. The issue gave Time its biggest newsstand sales in more than 20 years and brought 3,500 letters to the editor, the most in its history to that point. It remains a testimony to the social changes transforming the US in the ‘60s. Elson died in New York City on September 7, 2009.

Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk (79) former president and chancellor emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the seminary for Reform Judaism in the US. Gottschalk emigrated with his parents from Nazi Germany in the late ‘30s to New York. He was affiliated with the school (1959-2000) and ordained the first female rabbis in both the US and Israel. He died from complications after an automobile accident late in 2008, in Cincinnati, Ohio on September 12, 2009.

Hattie Lee Lafayette (112) supercentenarian, believed to be the second-oldest person in Michigan and the 20th-oldest verified person in the world. Lafayette was among more than 25 longest-lived people listed by the California-based Gerontology Research Group, which verifies and documents supercentenarians (age 110 and older). She died in Albion, Michigan on September 10, 2009.

John Martini (79) suspected New Jersey serial killer formerly on death row for the 1989 kidnapping and murder of wealthy North Jersey businessman Irving Flax. Martini was one of only nine former death-row inmates given life sentences in 2007, when state legislators abolished the death penalty. He died in prison in Trenton, New Jersey on September 10, 2009.

Robert H. Miller (90) former Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice (1988-90). Miller died in Topeka, Kansas on September 10, 2009.

Jim Pouillon (63) antiabortion activist well known for his pro-life activities in Owosso, Mich., where he often protested in very visible areas in front of a local high school and several other organizations with large graphic antiabortion signs every other week. Pouillon was shot and killed outside the high school during an apparent double shooting incident in Owosso, Michigan on September 11, 2009. Authorities later arrested Harlan James Drake (33) in connection with the shootings.

Bill Sparkman (51) Kentucky census worker who told a friend he intended to kill himself and make it look like murder. Sparkman, who mistakenly thought he had a recurrence of lymphoma, had taken out two accidental life insurance policies totaling $600,000 that would not pay in case of suicide. He was found naked, bound, and hanging from a tree near Hoskins Cemetery in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Winchester, Kentucky on September 12, 2009.


Lou (Lulu) Bender (99) all-American basketball player at Columbia University whose spectacular play during the Depression helped to popularize the game and make Madison Square Garden a magnet for college basketball. Bender later became a trial lawyer, specializing in the defense of those accused of criminal tax evasion. He died of cancer in Longboat Key, Florida on September 10, 2009.

Francis Betters (78) fly fisherman known for his lifelong knowledge of the rivers of the Adirondack Mountains and his long ownership of a fishing shop there, the Adirondack Sport Shop in Wilmington, NY, northeast of Lake Placid. Betters went to his shop every day, building fly rods, making trout flies (shown above is his Ausable Wulff, named after the Ausable River, the region’s greatest trout stream), writing Adirondack-infused books and articles, and providing customers with instruction, fishing guides, advice, and encouragement for almost 50 years. He died of heart failure in Jay, New York on September 6, 2009.

Jack Kramer (88) tennis champion in the ‘40s and ‘50s and a promoter of the sport for more than 60 years. Kramer won the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 1947 and the men’s US Championships, forerunner of the US Open, in ‘46–47 and was No. 1 player in the world for much of the late ‘40s. He died of complications from a soft-tissue cancer diagnosed in July, in Los Angeles, California on September 12, 2009.

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