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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 20, 2010

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Lawrencia (‘Bambi’) Bembenek, former Playboy bunny convicted of murderFreddy Beras Goico, Dominican Republic TV comedianHelen Boehm, ‘Princess of Porcelain’Roxana Briban, Romanian opera singerPat Burns, winning hockey coachPaul Calello, chairman of Credit Suisse Group in ManhattanIsabelle Caro, anorexic French model and actressLew Carpenter, running backBritton Chance, pioneering biophysicistRonni Chasen, Hollywood publicistLarry Evans, chess championFred Goldhaber, first teacher at NYC school for gaysChalmers Johnson, scholar of East Asian economyEd (‘Spanky’) Kirkpatrick, outfielder with five baseball teamsSamuel Kunz, former Nazi camp guard charged with killing thousandsW. Howard Lester, former chairman of Williams-SonomaMarvin Levin, Sacramento developer who fought legislative corruptionFrank W. Lewis, writer of crossword puzzlesBetty Jean Lifton, advocate of open adoptionRob Lytle, all-American running backBrian G. Marsden, astronomer who tracked comets and asteroidsDanny McDevitt, Brooklyn Dodgers pitcherDonald Nyrop, led Northwest AirlinesHugh Prather, self-help authorWes Santee, track starWilliam Self, TV producerHans Tischler, musicologist

Art and Literature

Hugh Prather (72) self-help author whose first book, Notes to Myself (1970), sold more than five million copies and inspired the long-running Saturday Night Live segment "Deep Thoughts." Prather died in his hot tub, apparently of a heart attack, in Tucson, Arizona on November 15, 2010.

Business and Science

Helen Boehm (89) self-made businesswoman known as the Princess of Porcelain for her company’s elaborate sculptures, which have graced the coffee tables of royalty and heads of state for 60 years. With her husband, Edward (d. 1969), Boehm founded the company, known early on as E. M. Boehm Studios, in 1950; it was sold in 2003. Boehm had been ill with cancer and Parkinson’s disease for some time and died in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 15, 2010.

Paul Calello (49) chairman of the investment bank at Credit Suisse Group in Manhattan who helped to navigate the Swiss bank through the financial crisis. Calello held numerous leadership roles at the bank, including a stint as chief executive of its Asian business. He died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Brooklyn, New York on November 16, 2010.

Britton Chance (97) biophysicist who did pioneering research on how living organisms produce and manage energy and helped to develop diagnostic tools, like one for the detection of breast cancer. Chance was also a world-class yachtsman and won an Olympic gold medal in sailing in 1952. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 16, 2010.

W. Howard Lester (75) chairman emeritus of gourmet-cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc., owner of the Pottery Barn chain. During his time as chief executive (1978-2001) and later as chairman, Lester took Williams-Sonoma public and expanded it to 600 stores and more than $3.4 billion in sales. He died of cancer in Indian Wells, California on November 15, 2010.

Brian G. Marsden (73) astronomer, a comet and asteroid tracker who stood guard to protect the Earth from collisions with interplanetary rocks and other remnants of the solar system’s creation. Director emeritus of the Minor Planet Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Marsden died of cancer in Burlington, Massachusetts on November 18, 2010.

Donald Nyrop (98) business executive who led Northwest Airlines for 25 years (1954-79) and built it from a safety-challenged regional airline into a globe-spanning carrier focused on safety and frugality. Nyrop died in Edina, Minnesota on November 16, 2010.


Fred Goldhaber (63) first and, for four years (1985-89), the only teacher at the Harvey Milk School (named for the gay-rights advocate and San Francisco city supervisor killed in 1978) in Manhattan, the first school in the country to provide a haven for gay and lesbian students. Goldhaber had lived with AIDS for nearly 30 years. He died of liver cancer in Jersey City, New Jersey on November 15, 2010.

Chalmers Johnson (79) influential scholar of East Asia’s political economy whose seminal writings forced a reevaluation of both the Chinese Revolution and the Japanese "economic miracle." Johnson died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis in Cardiff-by-the Sea, California on November 20, 2010.

Hans Tischler (95) Vienna-born musicologist, an authority on medieval French music. Tischler earned the first US doctorate in musicology from Yale University in 1942 and was later a professor of musicology at Indiana University (1965-85). He died in Bloomington, Indiana on November 18, 2010.

News and Entertainment

Freddy Beras Goico (69) actor and comedian considered the most influential TV figure in his native Dominican Republic. Beras underwent surgery in New York earlier this year. He was hospitalized in the Dominican Republic on Nov. 2 and flown to New York City on Nov. 4, where he died of pancreatic cancer two weeks later, on November 18, 2010.

Roxana Briban (39) Romanian opera singer who sang in Bucharest, Berlin, and Bangkok during a 10-year career. Briban had sunk into depression after the Bucharest National Opera severed her contract in 2009. Her body was found in the bathtub with her wrists slit, an apparent suicide in Bucharest, Romania on November 20, 2010.

Isabelle Caro (28) French actress and model whose emaciated image appeared in a shocking Italian ad campaign against anorexia and whose disorder and career were followed by others suffering from eating disorders. Caro died in Paris after returning to France from a job in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2010.

Ronni Chasen (64) well-known Hollywood publicist. Chasen was found dead in her Mercedes Benz after being shot five times by an unknown assailant while driving home after attending a film premiere, in Beverly Hills, California on November 16, 2010. On Jan. 20, 2011, Beverly Hills police said that the final ballistics report confirms previous findings that a gun used in 43-year-old Harold Martin Smith’s suicide on Dec. 1 was the same one used to fatally shoot publicist Chasen on Nov. 16. Investigators believe Smith, who had a long criminal record, shot Chasen in an attempted robbery.

Frank W. Lewis (98) writer of quirky cryptic crossword puzzles for The Nation for more than 60 years (1947-2009). Lewis died of heart failure in Plymouth, Massachusetts on November 18, 2010.

William Self (89) producer and TV executive in charge of TV production at 20th Century-Fox during the ‘60s and early ‘70s when its list of successful shows included Peyton Place, Batman, and M*A*S*H. Self suffered a heart attack on Nov. 11 and died four days later in Los Angeles, California, on November 15, 2010.

Politics and Military

Samuel Kunz (89) one of the world’s most-wanted Nazi suspects, under indictment on allegations that he was involved in killing hundreds of thousands of Jews while a guard at the Belzec concentration camp in occupied Poland during World War II. Kunz died before he could be brought to trial, in his hometown near Bonn, Germany on November 18, 2010.

Marvin Levin (76) Sacramento developer who alerted the FBI to corruption in the California Legislature in the ‘80s and for three years (1985-88) played a pivotal role in the ensuing sting operation. Levin died in Tamarac, Florida on November 19, 2010.

Society and Religion

Lawrencia (Bambi) Bembenek (52) former Playboy bunny and Milwaukee police officer whose conviction for the murder of her husband’s ex-wife and escape from prison became tabloid and TV-movie fodder and a cause célèbre for supporters who insisted on her innocence, as she herself always did. Bembenek died of liver failure in Portland, Oregon on November 20, 2010.

Betty Jean Lifton (84) writer, adoptee, and adoption-reform advocate whose books—condemnations of the secrecy that traditionally surrounded adoption—became lifelines for adoptees throughout the world. Lifton lectured widely about the potential psychological effects of adoption. She died of pneumonia in Boston, Massachusetts on November 19, 2010.


Pat Burns (58) former NHL coach who led the New Jersey Devils to their third Stanley Cup title in 2003 when the Devils beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in seven games. Burns also coached Boston, Toronto, and Montreal, twice leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals. The first coach to win three Jack Adams Awards as the NHL’s top coach, he died of cancer in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada on November 19, 2010.

Lew Carpenter (78) running back who played on three NFL title teams in a 10-year playing career. Carpenter was a member of the Detroit Lions’ 1953 NFL championship team and spent the ‘57 and ‘58 seasons with Cleveland before playing five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He died in Texas on November 14, 2010.

Larry Evans (78) five-time US chess champion and prolific writer who helped Bobby Fischer to win the world championship in 1972. A chess grandmaster, Evans was best known for his writing; he had a syndicated chess column for decades and wrote more than 20 books on the game. He died of complications from gall bladder surgery, in Reno, Nevada on November 15, 2010.

Ed (Spanky) Kirkpatrick (66) former outfielder for five clubs (Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Milwaukee Brewers) during parts of 16 major league seasons (1962-77). In 1981, an auto accident left Kirkpatrick in a coma for nearly six months and in a wheelchair, partially paralyzed, for the rest of his life. He died of throat cancer on November 15, 2010.

Rob Lytle (56) all-American running back at Michigan who scored a touchdown in the 1978 Super Bowl as a Denver Broncos rookie. Lytle died of a heart attack eight days after his 56th birthday, in Fremont, Ohio on November 20, 2010.

Danny McDevitt (78) left-handed pitcher who won the Brooklyn Dodgers’ final game at Ebbets Field in 1957, a 2-0 shutout. McDevitt struck out nine Pittsburgh Pirates, four in a row, on his way to a complete-game victory in that last home game on Sept. 24, 1957, by the last major league team to represent Brooklyn. He died two days after his 78th birthday in Covington, Georgia on November 20, 2010.

Wes Santee (78) record-setting ‘50s track star who never ran the sub-4-minute mile expected of him and whose running career was ended by a suspension for accepting too much expense money. Santee died of cancer in Eureka, Kansas on November 14, 2010.

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