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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, September 3, 2016

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Gene Wilder, actor who starred in Mel Brooks's film comediesHubbard Alexander, position coach with Miami and DallasDolores Atiyeh, widow of former Oregon governorBinyamin Ben Eliezer, Israeli politicianBonnie Fairchild Bryan, former Nevada first ladyVera Caslavska, Czech Olympic gymnastGriffin Dalianis, veterans' advocate from New HampshireAnna Dewdney, author and illustrator of 'Llama Llama' series of children's booksDee Dowis, former USAF quarterbackJohn Drummond, former South Carolina state legislatorDan Dryden, South Dakota state legislatorBetty Jane France, 'first lady of NASCAR'Harry Fujiwara, former wrestler and managerJuan Gabriel, Mexican superstar singer and songwriterJerry Heller, cofounder of Ruthless RecordsFred Hellerman, right, with The Weavers, clockwise from bottom, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger, and Lee HaysJoe Hicks, LA-based black conservative punditJohn Hofstetter, stage and TV actorNamon O'Neal Hoggle, last of three defendants in 1965 Alabama beating deathSam Iacobellis, Rockwell International engineerIslam Karimov, president of UzbekistanPhilip Kingsley, British authority on hair careNathan Lyons, photographer and curatorLen Maddocks, Australia's oldest surviving cricketerLeslie H. Martinson, prolific TV directorMargrit Biever Mondavi, widow of wine pioneer Robert MondaviDabney Montgomery, former Tuskegee Airman and civil rights marcherJon Polito, ubiquitous character actorMarc Riboud, French photojournalistB. Daniel Riley, former Maryland state delegate and schoolteacherVertamae Smart-Grosvenor, NPR commentatorJoe Sutter, chief designer of Boeing 747 jetlinerFrank Wyle, aerospace innovatorNora York, singer who mixed musical genres

Art and Literature

Anna Dewdney (50) best-selling children’s book author and illustrator who gained fame with her series of Llama Llama stories. Dewdney started in the ‘90s as illustrator of The Peppermint Race by Dian Curtis Regan and other children’s books. She had her greatest success with the series that began with the 2005 launch of Llama Llama Red Pajama. That story of Baby Llama’s difficulties getting to sleep at bedtime was a hit with critics and readers alike; it began a series of stories that grew to more than 10 titles with more than 10 million copies. Dewdney died in Chester, Vermont after a 15-month battle with brain cancer, on September 3, 2016.

Nathan Lyons (86) photographer of urban street life who helped to elevate contemporary photography to its current status as a major branch of the fine arts and an important field of study through his work as curator, teacher, writer, and editor. Lyons’ work was exhibited in galleries and major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, and he published several photo collections, but his main influence was as an organizer. As a director and curator at the George Eastman House in Rochester in the ‘60s, he showcased the work of other art photographers. In 1969, after leaving the Eastman House, Lyons created the Visual Studies Workshop, which offered graduate classes in the theory, history, and practice of photography to dozens of future photographers, teachers, and curators. He died of pneumonia in Rochester, New York on August 31, 2016.

Business and Science

Sam Iacobellis (87) engineer and manager at Rockwell International who, on orders from President Ronald Reagan, oversaw the manufacture of 100 B-1 bombers in just six years in the early '80s, below budget and on schedule. Although the bomber was criticized at home, the Russians were in awe of the B-1, designed to fly a few hundred feet off the ground near the speed of sound, and were unable to duplicate its capabilities. Iacobellis died of a stroke in San Luis Obispo, California on September 3, 2016.

Philip Kingsley (86) British-born authority on healthy hair and scalp who started a clinic in London in 1957, opened another in Midtown Manhattan in ’77, and boasted of an A-list clientele, including Audrey Hepburn, Laurence Olivier, Jane Fonda, Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Candice Bergen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Sienna Miller, Blaine and Ivana Trump, and British royalty. Kingsley also published four books on hair care and wrote regular advice columns for “Style,” the magazine of the Sunday Times of London. He died of a stroke in London England on September 3, 2016.

Margrit Biever Mondavi (91) widow of California wine pioneer Robert G. Mondavi (d. 2008) who was the company's cultural affairs director for decades. Margrit Mondavi founded the winery's Summer Music Festival in 1969 as a benefit for the local symphony. Over the years it has drawn performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, and Tony Bennett. A winter classical music series was created later to benefit local music organizations. Mondavi also introduced cooking classes that evolved into a “Great Chefs” series at the winery. The couple endowed arts centers and schools and a local opera house. Margrit Mondavi died in Napa, California on September 2, 2016.

Joe Sutter (95) aeronautical engineer whose team of 4,500 engineers took just 29 months to design and build the first jumbo Boeing 747 jetliner, creating a late-20th-century airborne answer to the luxury ocean liner. Placed in service in 1970, the 747 transformed commercial aviation and shrank the world for millions of passengers by traveling faster and farther than other, conventional jetliners without having to refuel. Sutter took a temporary job at Boeing after World War II and stayed for 40 years. He retired as executive vice president of commercial airplane engineering and product development in 1986. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia and died in Bremerton, Washington on August 30, 2016.

Frank Wyle (97) aerospace innovator who launched Wyle Laboratories—the first independent laboratory to test airplane components and systems—cofounded the Craft & Folk Art Museum, served on numerous councils and boards, including for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and KPFK radio, and established a 4,000-acre cattle ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The grandfather of actor Noah Wyle, Frank Wyle died at his ranch on August 29, 2016.

News and Entertainment

Harry Fujiwara (82) former star wrestler and manager. Fujiwara starred as a tag team champion in the ring before shifting into a bad guy manager role in the ‘80s. “Magnificent” Don Muraco, Yokozuna, and George (“The Animal”) Steele were among those he managed. He was known for his trademark tactic of throwing salt into the eyes of opponents. Fujiwara was inducted into the World Wide Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2007. He died in Clarksville, Tennessee on August 28, 2016.

Juan Gabriel (66) superstar Mexican songwriter and singer, an icon in the Latin music world. Juan Gabriel was Mexico’s leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist. His ballads about love and heartbreak and bouncy mariachi tunes became hymns throughout Latin America and Spain and with Spanish speakers in the US. His top hits included “Hasta Que Te Conoci” (“Until I Met You”) and “Amor Eterno” (“Eternal Love”); his hit “Querida” (“Dear”) topped Mexico’s charts for a whole year. Juan Gabriel died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California on August 28, 2016.

Jerry Heller (75) music manager who helped to introduce NWA to the masses. Heller cofounded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, which released NWA’s seminal album Straight Outta Compton in 1988, launching the West Coast gangsta rap movement. Ruthless was also behind such artists as J. J. Fad, Michel'le, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Actor Paul Giamatti played the veteran music manager in the 2015 hit film Straight Outta Compton. Heller sued the film's producers for defamation after its release, claiming it portrayed him as a villain. He died in Thousand Oaks, California after suffering a heart attack while driving, on September 2, 2016.

Fred Hellerman (89) founding member and last survivor of the influential folk music quartet The Weavers, formed in the late ‘40s by Hellerman along with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Ronnie Gilbert. They helped to popularize folk music in the US with recordings including “Goodnight Irene” and “On Top of Old Smoky.” The group disbanded after they were blacklisted by anti-Communists in the early ‘50s but performed again into the ‘60s, then at a reunion concert at Carnegie Hall in 1980. Hellerman also produced Arlo Guthire's 1967 record, Alice's Restaurant, and worked with several artists over his career as a composer, arranger, and songwriter. He died in Weston, Connecticut on September 1, 2016.

John Hofstetter (69) actor, painter, and musician best known for playing the steady stage manager on Murphy Brown. A New York native who studied drama at Cornell University, Hostetter was an experienced stage actor who later appeared in dozens of films and TV programs. His credits also included Matlock, Family Ties, and The Golden Girls. In recent years he recorded several albums, painted, and ran an art gallery. He died of cancer in Port Orange, Florida on September 2, 2016.

Leslie H. Martinson (101) director whose long list of credits reads like a history of prime-time TV through the postwar decades and beyond. Martinson directed a few feature films; probably the best known is PT 109 (1963), about the wartime exploits of John F. Kennedy, played by Cliff Robertson. But from the early ‘50s through the ‘80s, TV was Martinson's primary medium. A partial list of his credits includes, from the ’50s, the live drama series General Electric Theater and Chevron Theater, the sitcom Topper, the drama The Millionaire, and the westerns The Roy Rogers Show and Tales of Wells Fargo. In the ’60s he directed episodes of Surfside 6, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, The Roaring ‘20s, 77 Sunset Strip, No Time for Sergeants, Run for Your Life, Batman, Mister Roberts, Mission: Impossible, and The Green Hornet. His output in the ’70s included Ironside, Love, American Style, The Brady Bunch, Room 222, Mannix, The Six-Million-Dollar Man, Barnaby Jones, Wonder Woman, and Dallas. Martinson wound up his TV career in the ’80s with, among others, Eight Is Enough, Quincy, ME, CHiPs, Fantasy Island, and Diff'rent Strokes. He died in Beverly Hills, California on September 3, 2016.

Jon Polito (65) raspy-voiced character actor whose many credits ranged from Homicide: Life on the Street and Modern Family to the Coen Brothers films Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski. A native of Philadelphia, Polito was among the busiest TV and movie actors of the past 30 years, averaging several projects a year since the mid-‘80s. He worked right to the end of his life. He was being treated for multiple myeloma when he died in Duarte, California on September 1, 2016.

Marc Riboud (93) French photojournalist whose career of more than 60 years sent him to turbulent places throughout Asia and Africa in the ‘50s and ’60s. But Riboud may be best remembered for two photographs taken in the developed world. The first, from 1953, is of a workman poised in overalls between a lattice of girders while painting the Eiffel Tower—one hand raising a paintbrush, one leg bent in a seemingly Chaplinesque attitude. The second, from 1967, is of a young woman presenting a flower to bayonet-wielding members of the National Guard during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration at the Pentagon. Both images were published in Life magazine during the golden age of photojournalism. A protégé of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Riboud died of Alzheimer’s disease in Paris, France on August 30, 2016.

Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor (79) former National Public Radio commentator best known for extolling the virtues of the Gullah food and culture of her native South Carolina. Smart-Grosvenor was heard on NPR for 30 years starting in 1980, where she treated listeners to hundreds of reports, primarily on food, culture, and travel but on social issues as well. Her first major credential as a culinary anthropologist was her book Vibration Cooking or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl (1970), often described as an autobiographical cookbook. She had an aneurysm in 2009, which effectively ended her broadcasting career. Smart-Grosvenor died in the Bronx, New York on September 3, 2016.

Gene Wilder (83) actor who brought his comedic touch to such roles as the neurotic accountant in The Producers, the candy man in the children’s favorite Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and the mad scientist of Young Frankenstein. Wilder started his acting career on the stage, but millions knew him from his work in the movies, especially his collaborations with Mel Brooks on The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. The last film—with Wilder playing a California-born descendant of the mad scientist, insisting that his name is pronounced “Frahn-ken-SHTEEN”—was cowritten by Brooks and Wilder and earned the pair an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay. Wilder also starred with Richard Pryor (d. 2005) in four zany comedies: Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Another You. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2013 but kept the condition private. He died in Stamford, Connecticut on August 28, 2016.

Nora York (60) singer and performer who intrigued audiences with mashups of jazz, rock, and other genres. York sang with a voice that was by turns mournful, yearning, and powerful, adapting the work of musicians like the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus, Joe Simon, Stravinsky, George Gershwin, and Fats Waller. She died of pancreatic cancer in New York City on September 3, 2016.

Politics and Military

Dolores Atiyeh (92) widow of former Oregon Gov. Vic Atiyeh. The Atiyehs had been married for 70 years when the ex-governor died in 2014. As Oregon’s First Lady, Dolores Atiyeh was involved in numerous charitable, historic, and arts organizations and was a leading force in the passage of a mandatory children’s immunization bill during the 1981 legislative session. She also worked for the passage of a 1983 bill that required mandatory seat belt restraints for children 5 years old and younger. She died in Portland, Oregon on August 29, 2016.

Binyamin Ben Eliezer (80) veteran Israeli politician who held several top government posts and often served as a bridge to the Arab world. Known affectionately by his original Arabic first name, “Fuad,” Ben Eliezer was a prominent member of the dovish Labor party and served in senior ministerial positions including defense, trade, and communications. He held the defense post at a particularly difficult time, at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in 2001–02. In Israel he was known for his friendly demeanor, good relations with politicians across the spectrum, and a reputation as a backroom negotiator. In 2015 he was indicted for allegedly misusing funds. He died in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 28, 2016.

Bonnie Fairchild Bryan (77) former Nevada first lady. Bonnie Bryan was married for 54 years to Richard Bryan, a Democrat who was governor from 1983–89 and later represented Nevada in the US Senate from 1989–2001. Bonnie Bryan died of leukemia in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 30, 2016.

Griffin Dalianis (73) New Hanpshire's former civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army and husband of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Dalianis. As civilian aide from 2002–12, Griffin Dalianis provided feedback to Army leaders on public attitudes, issues, and concerns and gave support to New Hampshire soldiers and their families. He led the state's Veterans Advisory Committee for 10 years and worked on a Veterans Administration committee during President George W. Bush's administration. A US Air Force veteran, Dalianis was an advocate for homeless and disabled veterans. He died in Nashua, New Hampshire on September 1, 2016.

John Drummond (96) South Carolina state senator who spent 40 years representing the area around Greenwood. Drummond was a World War II veteran who got the nickname “Bulldog” in the state Senate because of his iron will but would fight when he thought he needed to, challenging Sen. Rembert Dennis to a fistfight early in his career. The Democrat from Ninety Six was majority leader for four years in the late ‘90s before Republicans won a majority. Drummond flew planes in World War II and survived 10 months in a German prisoner-of-war camp. He won election to the South Carolina House in 1965 and the Senate in ’67. He died in Ninety Six, South Carolina on September 3, 2016.

Dan Dryden (72) South Dakota Republican state representative. A retired school business manager, Dryden had been a member of the state House since 2011 representing District 34, which encompasses a portion of Rapid City. An expert in school finance, he was vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He died in Rapid City, South Dakota on August 30, 2016.

Joe Hicks (75) Los Angeles-based community activist whose views as a black conservative were solicited often by the media. In recent years Hicks had become a familiar right-wing pundit in debates over the high-profile shooting deaths of blacks at the hands of police officers. He cautioned against racial distrust, argued there were legitimate reasons why black communities draw police attention, and was ambivalent about the Black Lives Matter movement. Hicks died in Santa Monica, California of complications after a routine hernia operation, on August 28, 2016.

Islam Karimov (78) president of Uzbekistan who led the Central Asian country with an iron hand since its independence in 1989. Karimov ran an authoritarian government where media freedom and human rights have been harshly repressed, and he cultivated no apparent successor. His death raises concerns that Uzbekistan could face prolonged infighting among clans over leadership claims, something its Islamic radical movement could exploit. He was reported to have been hospitalized last week with a brain hemorrhage and died in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 2, 2016.

Dabney Montgomery (93) member of the all-black Tuskegee Airmen in World War II who later marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Montgomery was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. The soles of his shoes and the tie he wore on the famous 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march with King will be part of the permanent collection at the new National Museum of African-American History & Culture in Washington, DC when it opens on September 24. Montgomery was a ground crewman with the Tuskegee Airmen in southern Italy during the war. He died in New York City on September 3, 2016.

B. Daniel Riley (70) former Maryland state delegate. Riley was a Democrat who represented Harford County from 1999–2003. His district included parts of Cecil and Harford counties from 2007–11. He lived in Edgewood and worked as a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Magnolia Middle School. Riley also served on a citizen advisory commission formed in 1993 to explore alternative methods for disposing of mustard gas at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He died in Edgewood, Maryland on August 31, 2016.

Society and Religion

Namon O'Neal Hoggle (81) last surviving defendant accused of bludgeoning a minister to death in 1965—a killing that galvanized the civil rights movement in the South and emboldened Congress to bar racial discrimination in voting. Hoggle, his brother, and a third defendant were acquitted by an all-white jury in the beating of Rev. James J. Reeb, a white Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston, who had joined Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in trying a voting rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. One of the oldest auto dealers in Selma, Hoggle died there on August 30, 2016.


Hubbard Alexander (77) Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin’s position coach with the Miami Hurricanes and the Dallas Cowboys. Alexander came to the Cowboys with Jimmy Johnson as receivers coach when new Dallas owner Jerry Jones lured Johnson away from the Hurricanes to be head coach in 1989. After 10 seasons with the Hurricanes, Alexander spent nine seasons with the Cowboys before stints with Minnesota and New Orleans. He also coached at Vanderbilt before joining the staff at Miami. He was on the staff for two national titles with Miami and three Super Bowls with the Cowboys. Alexander died in Frisco, Texas on August 28, 2016.

Vera Caslavska (74) seven-time Olympic gymnastics gold medalist who stood up against the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Caslavska claimed her first Olympic medal—a silver—at the 1960 Rome Games, Her golden era began in 1964 when she won three Olympic golds in Tokyo—in the vault, the individual all-round, and the balance beam. In 1968 she became an outspoken supporter of Alexander Dubcek's liberal reforms meant to lead toward democratization of Communist Czechoslovakia, an era known as the Prague Spring. She underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2015 and later had chemotherapy treatment. She died in Prague, Czech Republic on August 30, 2016.

Dee Dowis (48) former US Air Force standout option quarterback. As a 153-pound sophomore in 1987, Dowis began running coach Fisher DeBerry's triple-option offense. He graduated as the academy's career leading rusher and finished sixth in the 1989 Heisman Trophy voting. During that season, Dowis rushed for 1,286 yards and 18 touchdowns while throwing for 1,285 yards and seven touchdowns, leading the Falcons to the Liberty Bowl. He was working as a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company in South Carolina when he was killed in a two-vehicle accident near Buford, Georgia, outside Atlanta, on August 29, 2016.

Betty Jane France (78) longtime Daytona Beach community leader considered by many the first lady of NASCAR. France was executive vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR and chair of the NASCAR Foundation. She was the widow of Bill France Jr. (d. 2007), son of NASCAR founder Bill France. Their son, Brian France, is chairman and chief executive of NASCAR, and their daughter, Lesa France Kennedy, is CEO of International Speedway Corp. Betty Jane France was a champion of health care for children, helping to establish the “Speediatrics” children's care unit at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach and at Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was created in her honor in 2011. She died in Daytona Beach, Florida on August 29, 2016.

Len Maddocks (90) former wicketkeeper who played seven test matches for Australia between 1954–56. Maddocks was Australia's oldest surviving cricketer; he also managed the Australian team on its 1977 tour of England. He played 112 first-class matches, representing Victoria and Tasmania states. He died in Melbourne, Australia on September 1, 2016.

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