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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 24, 2011

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Robert Ader, experimental psychologistDoe Avedon, model and actressSean Bonniwell, lead singer of Music MachineMargaret Runyan Castañeda, ex-wife of countercultural authorHenry E. Catto Jr., GOP officialJohn Chamberlain, scrap metal sculptorCheetah, Tarzan’s chimpBettye Danoff, founding member of LPGADenise Darcel, French-born actressWilliam Duell, character actor on stage, film, and TVJacob E. (‘Jack’) Goldman, Xerox physicistEvelyn Handler, first woman president of Brandeis UBob Hare, ran Beat Generation coffeehouseVaclav Havel, former president of Czech RepublicJohannes Heesters, Dutch-born German entertainerWarren Hellman, bluegrass investorRalph MacDonald, Grammy-winning percussionist and composerYoshimitsu Morita, Japanese film directorRobert G. Morvillo, white-collar criminal defense attorneyWerner Otto, German mail-order executiveJames Ramseur, shot in 1984 NYC subway shootingLynn Samuels, radio talk-show hostDon Sharp, horror film director

Art and Literature

Margaret Runyan Castañeda (90) ex-wife of Carlos Castañeda (d. 1998), countercultural author of The Teachings of Don Juan (1968), a best-seller recounting Castañeda’s peyote-fueled adventures with a Mexican shaman who reportedly guided him to a fantasy realm. Margaret Castañeda died of a heart attack in Glendale, Arizona on December 24, 2011.

John Chamberlain (84) sculptor who made art out of auto scrap metal from fenders, fins, bumpers, and hoods. Chamberlain died in New York City on December 21, 2011.

Business and Science

Robert Ader (79) experimental psychologist at the University of Rochester, among the first scientists to show how mental processes influence the body’s immune system, a finding that changed modern medicine. Ader died after a long illness and complications from a fracture suffered in a fall, in Pittsford, New York on December 20, 2011.

Jacob E. (Jack) Goldman (90) physicist who as Xerox’s chief scientist founded the company’s Palo Alto Research Center, which invented the modern personal computer in the ‘70s. But Goldman said later that Xerox lost momentum in the industry by failing to take risks. He died of congestive heart failure in Westport, Connecticut on December 20, 2011.

Bob Hare (80) proprietor (1958-63) of the Insomniac, a Hermosa Beach (Calif.) coffeehouse that attracted members of the Beat Generation like poet Allen Ginsburg, comedian Lenny Bruce, and folk and blues musicians. Hare later expanded it to include an art gallery and book and record departments. In 1963 the city seized it through eminent domain and turned it into a parking lot. Hare died in Glendora, California on December 19, 2011.

Warren Hellman (77) Wall Street investor, president of Lehman Brothers, whose passion for bluegrass inspired him to create Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a free, three-day San Francisco music festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people every year. Hellman died of leukemia in San Francisco, California on December 18, 2011.

Werner Otto (102) founder of the mail-order company that bears his name and a prominent figure in West Germany’s post-World War II economic resurgence. Otto died in Berlin, Germany on December 21, 2011.


Evelyn Handler (78) cell biologist who, as the first woman to serve as president (1983-91) of Brandeis University, set off a debate over the school’s Jewish identity when she secularized some campus traditions in hopes of attracting more non-Jewish students. Handler was struck and killed by a car while crossing a street in Bedford, New Hampshire on December 23, 2011.

News and Entertainment

Doe Avedon (86) model, actress, and young muse and wife (1944-49) of fashion photographer Richard Avedon (d. 2004). Their story inspired the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Doe Avedon died of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California on December 18, 2011.

Sean Bonniwell (71) lead singer and chief songwriter of the short-lived Los Angeles garage-rock band the Music Machine, whose single "Talk Talk” reached No. 15 on the Billboard singles chart in 1966. Bonniwell died of lung cancer in Visalia, California on December 20, 2011.

Cheetah the Chimp (80) male chimpanzee reported to have appeared (1932-34) in the first two Tarzan movies starring US Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, shown above with Maureen O’Sullivan, who played Jane in six of them (1932-42). Chimpanzees live an average of 35-45 years in captivity. Guinness World Records cited Cheetah as the world’s oldest nonhuman primate. He died of kidney failure in Palm Harbor, Florida on December 24, 2011.

Denise Darcel (87) French-born actress known for vampy roles in such films as Thunder in the Pines (1948) and Vera Cruz (1954). Darcel died of complications from emergency surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm, in Los Angeles, California on December 23, 2011.

William Duell (88) character actor whose understated comic flair brightened Broadway shows, TV series, and Hollywood films. Perhaps Duell’s best-known roles were as Andrew McNair, Continental Congress custodian in the musical 1776 (Broadway 1969; film ‘72), and Sefelt, epileptic inmate in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). In the early ‘80s he had a regular role as Johnny, a snitch, on TV’s Police Squad! He died of respiratory failure in New York City on December 22, 2011.

Johannes Heesters (108) Dutch-born entertainer who made his name performing in Adolf Hitler’s Germany and was dogged later in his long career by controversy over his Nazi-era past. Heesters died in the southern city of Starnberg, Germany on December 24, 2011.

Ralph MacDonald (67) Grammy-winning percussionist and composer whose understated Afro-Caribbean rhythms were known as "the ghost” behind the hit records of a multitude of ‘70s and ’80s pop stars. MacDonald was also a cowriter on the hit songs "Where Is the Love?” and "Just the Two of Us." He died of lung cancer in Stamford, Connecticut on December 18, 2011.

Yoshimitsu Morita (61) director whose films, like Family Game (1983), depicted the absurdity and vulnerability of everyday life in conformist Japan. Morita died of acute liver failure in Tokyo, Japan on December 20, 2011.

Lynn Samuels (69) New York radio talk-show host whose political opinions and unrestrained New York accent made her an unmistakable voice in the male-dominated world of political talk radio. Samuels was found dead at her apartment in Woodside, Queens, New York by the police who investigated after she failed to show up for a scheduled 10 a.m. show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, on December 24, 2011.

Don Sharp (89) Australian film director who in the mid-‘60s revived Britain’s Hammer Films, notorious for horror features. Hammer fans contend that Sharp’s Kiss of the Vampire (1963) is one of the greatest Gothic horror movies ever made. He died on December 18, 2011.

Politics and Military

Henry E. Catto Jr. (81) Texan who served four Republican presidents (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and the first Bush) in high-profile jobs including director of the US Information Agency, chief Pentagon spokesman, and ambassador to Britain and El Salvador. Catto died of leukemia in San Antonio, Texas on December 18, 2011.

Vaclav Havel (75) dissident Czechoslovakian playwright who in 1989 led the charge to peacefully bring down 40 years of Communist repression. Havel was his country’s first democratically elected president (1989-2003), leading it through the early challenges of democracy and its peaceful 1993 breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. A former chain smoker, he had a history of chronic respiratory problems and died in the northern Czech Republic on December 18, 2011.

Society and Religion

Robert G. Morvillo (73) New York trial lawyer who pioneered the practice of white-collar criminal defense and whose client list included celebrities, politicians, and billionaire businessmen, most notably domestic maven Martha Stewart, convicted of illegal stock trading in 2004. Morvillo died in his sleep while recovering from recent surgery, in Rockville Centre, New York on December 24, 2011.

James Ramseur (45) one of four teenagers shot by Bernhard H. Goetz, the so-called subway vigilante, in one of the most highly charged and widely publicized criminal cases of the ‘80s. Ramseur later served 21 years in prison for rape. His body was found in a Bronx, New York motel room on December 22, 2011, the 27th anniversary of the shooting; his death was being investigated as a drug overdose and a possible suicide.


Bettye Danoff (88) Texas golfer, one of 13 founding members of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA) Tour in 1950 and the first grandmother to play the tour. Danoff won four straight Dallas Women’s Golf Association Championships (1945-48), the women’s division of the Texas PGA (1945-46), and the Texas Women’s Amateur (1947-48). She died in McKinney, Texas on December 22, 2011.

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