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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 26, 2016

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Fidel Castro, longtime Cuban dictatorFlorence Henderson, star of stage, film, and TVBernardo Alvarez, Venezuelan ambassador to USErich Bloch, helped to develop IBM mainframe computerRalph Branca, Brooklyn Dodgers pitcherAl Brodax, TV cartoon producer who made 'Yellow Submarine'Edgar ('Dooky') Chase Jr., owner of historic New Orleans restaurantEric Ellsworth, Utah state trooperJoe Esposito, Elvis Presley's right-hand manRose Evansky, inventor of blow-dry hair styling for womenHarry Flournoy Jr., 1966 basketball cocaptain at Texas Western ULt. Gen. James F. Fretterd, former head of Maryland National GuardRon Glass, actor who played detective on 'Barney Miller'David Hamilton, British photographer of young girlsPeter Hintze, German politicianStan Huntsman, US Olympic track coachPeggy Kirk Bell, pioneering woman golferDr. Burton J. Lee 3rd, White House physician under Pres. George H. W. BushDr. James ('Doc') McClellan, Maryland veterinarian and state legislatorNancy Meehan, modern dancer and choreographerRussell Oberlin, 20th century countertenorPauline Oliveros, composer and musicianJoe Resnick, longtime AP sports reporter in Los AngelesRichard Rogers, US federal judge in KansasAndrew Sachs, actor on 'Fawlty Towers'Debra Saunders-White, North Carolina college chancellorRabbi Ben Zion Shenker, composer of Hasidic prayer melodiesMary Smith, mother of Cowboys running back Emmitt SmithConstantine Stephanopoulos, former president of GreecePeter Sumner, only Australian actor in 'Star Wars'William Trevor, Irish novelist, playwright, and short-story writerFritz Weaver, stage and TV actor

Art and Literature

David Hamilton (83) British photographer whose images of prepubescent girls blurred the line between art and pornography. Beginning with Bilitis (1977), Hamilton directed five erotic movies that largely centered on blossoming sexuality in flower-crowned girls. The films were shot in the soft-focus style that also defined his photographs for fashion and advertising assignments in the ‘60s and ’70s and for more than two dozen books. He was found dead in his Paris, France apartment one week after a former model accused him of raping her in 1987 when she was 13, on November 25, 2016. Police said the cause appeared to be suicide, but their investigation was continuing.

William Trevor (88) Irish novelist and playwright, a master of short stories that often explored life's disappointments. Trevor set his tales mainly in his native Ireland or in England, where he had lived since 1952. He won one of Britain's top literary prizes, the Whitbread, three times and was short-listed four times for the Booker Prize, most recently in 2002 for The Story of Lucy Gault, and was a perennial object of speculation as a potential Nobel literature laureate. He died in Devon, England on November 20, 2016.

Business and Science

Erich Bloch (91) computer programmer who helped to develop the IBM mainframe computer that, more than any other machine, propelled the world into the digital age, then shepherded the Internet into broader use as director of the National Science Foundation. After arriving in the US in 1948 as a Jewish refugee orphaned by the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, Bloch went to work for IBM in '52. In 1964 he made his signal achievement at the company when he transformed computing by introducing the System/360, the foundation for the modern concept of an operating system that could host a variety of computer programs. The system enabled IBM to dominate the computer market for 25 years and provided the technology that now lets consumers bypass bank tellers with ATMs and make travel reservations from home. Bloch died of Alzheimer’s disease in Washington, DC on November 25, 2016.

Edgar ('Dooky') Chase Jr. (88) New Orleans restaurateur, musician, and civic leader. Chase and his wife, chef Leah Chase, had been married for 70 years. For decades, Leah Chase has been a fixture and mainstay of the family restaurant named for Dooky Chase's father, which opened in 1939 as a street corner stand selling sandwiches and lottery tickets and moved in ‘41 to its current location on Orleans Avenue. The younger Chase delivered sandwiches for the shop but later played trumpet in his own jazz band, the Dooky Chase Orchestra. After the band's last performance in 1949, Chase became an entertainment promoter and hosted Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, and Nat (“King”) Cole at the restaurant. Dooky Chase Jr. died in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 22, 2016.

Rose Evansky (94) British hairdresser who liberated women from the prison of the head-encasing domed hair dryer when she invented blow-dry styling at her London salon in the early ‘60s. A Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, Evansky set up as a hairstylist soon after World War II. She opened a small shop in Hendon, a London suburb, and did so well that, in 1954, moved to Mayfair, where the city’s elite paid top money for up-to-date styling. One day in 1962, after she saw a barber in a nearby shop dry a man's hair with a brush and a hand-held dryer, inspiration struck—why not for women? She died in East Sussex, England on November 21, 2016.

Dr. Burton J. Lee 3rd (86) cancer specialist and White House doctor who found that President George H. W. Bush had an overactive thyroid after he was hospitalized for heart palpitations. Lee gave up his roster of some 1,500 patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York in 1989, not only to minister to the president’s medical care but also to informally expand the role of White House physician by advising him on public health policy. He had previously been the only practicing physician on Ronald Reagan’s presidential commission on AIDS. He died of bladder cancer in Vero Beach, Florida on November 25, 2016.


Debra Saunders-White (59) chancellor of North Carolina Central University, the first woman to serve full-time in that role. Saunders-White became chancellor in 2013 and improved the classroom and campus experience through the Eagle Excellence campaign. She previously worked at the US Department of Education and other schools including Hampton University in Virginia. She took a medical leave in August, months after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Under her watch, the school was named 2016 HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) of the year by HBCU Digest. Saunders-White died of cancer in Durham, North Carolina on November 26, 2016.


Richard Rogers (94) decorated US war veteran who served in both chambers of the Kansas Legislature before spending 40 years as a federal judge. Rogers served four years in the Kansas House of Representatives and eight years in the state Senate, where he was chamber president in 1975. President Gerald Ford appointed Rogers in August 1975 to a US District Court judgeship based in Topeka. He was named a senior US District judge in 1989 and took inactive status in 2015 while continuing to serve the court as a consultant. He died in Topeka, Kansas on November 25, 2016.

News and Entertainment

Al Brodax (90) TV producer who delivered a psychedelic classic when he turned the Beatles song “Yellow Submarine” into an animated film in 1968. In the ‘60s, Brodax ran the motion picture and TV division of King Features Syndicate, where he produced hundreds of “Popeye” cartoons for TV. Quick to see the cartoon potential of the Beatles, he sold their manager, Brian Epstein, on the idea of an animated series. The Beatles ran on Saturday mornings on ABC from 1965–69, attracting huge audiences. When “Yellow Submarine” climbed the charts in 1966, Brodax proposed an animated film. The Beatles did not like The Beatles, but an animated film, Brodax argued, would require virtually no participation by them. He died in Danbury, Connecticut on November 24, 2016.

Joe Esposito (78) Elvis Presley’s right-hand man, close friend, and road manager for nearly 20 years. Esposito met Presley in 1959, when both men were serving at an Army base in Friedberg, in what was then West Germany. They became fast friends, and Presley asked Esposito to work for him after they left the Army. Detail-oriented and dependable, Esposito became an invaluable assistant, organizing Presley’s daily life and reading lines back and forth on film sets. After Elvis's death in 1977, Esposito did his best to keep the Presley flame burning. He frequently appeared at Presley conventions and was a consultant on numerous documentaries, notably the 1981 film This Is Elvis and the 2005 CBS special Elvis by the Presleys. In Elvis: The Movie, a 1979 TV film, he was played by Joe Mantegna opposite Kurt Russell as Presley. Esposito died of dementia in Calabasas, California on November 23, 2016.

Ron Glass (71) character actor best known for his role as the gregarious, sometimes sardonic detective Ron Harris in the long-running cop comedy Barney Miller. Although best known for that show, Glass appeared in dozens of other shows in a TV and film career dating to the early ‘70s. He portrayed Derrial Book, the spiritual shepherd with a cloudy past on the 2002 science fiction series Firefly and in its ‘05 film sequel Serenity. He was Felix Unger opposite Desmond Wilson's Oscar Madison on The New Odd Couple, an ‘80s reboot of the original Broadway comedy, film, and TV series that cast black actors in the lead roles of Unger's prissy neat freak forced to share an apartment with slovenly friend Madison. Glass was also the voice of Randy Carmichael, the genial neighbor and father of four children on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series Rugrats and its spinoff, All Grown Up. He died of respiratory failure in Los Angeles, California on November 25, 2016.

Florence Henderson (82) actress and singer. For viewers who came of age during The Brady Bunch years (1969–74), Henderson, as Carol Brady, became everyone's mom. She was partly old-school TV mom, as perfectly groomed and poised as Harriet Nelson on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet or Barbara Billingsley's June Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver, both of ‘50s–'60s vintage. But Henderson's own sass, warmth, and strength made Carol Brady the right surrogate mom for the changing ‘70s, and fans of the show who watched her preside with screen husband Robert Reed (d. 1992) over one of TV’s first blended families knew it. She was already a Broadway star when the show began, having originated the title role in the musical Fanny (1954), and later played Maria in a road production of The Sound of Music. She was Nellie Forbush in a revival of South Pacific and made her movie debut in 1970 in Song of Norway, with music by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Henderson was the first woman to host The Tonight Show for vacationing Johnny Carson. A 2010 contestant on Dancing with the Stars, she made her last public appearance on November 21 at a taping of the show, where she cheered on Maureen McCormick, who played her eldest daughter on The Brady Bunch, as a contestant this season. Florence Henderson died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California on November 24, 2016.

Nancy Meehan (85) creative choreographer and dancer whose plotless works on nature themes found a place amid opposing trends in experimental dance after the ‘60s. Meehan performed with her company in San Francisco before going to New York, where she joined the Erick Hawkins Dance Co. A tall, striking dancer who combined sensuous grace with nuanced force, Meehan came to notice as a leading soloist in the Hawkins troupe from 1961–70. She took naturally to Hawkins’ new fluid dance idiom and shared his inspiration from Japanese theater and aesthetics. Nancy Meehan died of pneumonia in New York City on November 23, 2016.

Russell Oberlin (88) one of the 20th century’s most celebrated countertenors, whose voice was famed for a robustness that belied the heights to which it could ascend. Ideally possessed of a haunting, otherworldly beauty, the voice of a countertenor is comparable in range to that of an alto. Today, countertenors—among them David Daniels, Drew Minter, and Derek Lee Ragin—are legion on opera stages, in recital halls, and on recordings. But in the mid-20th century there were just two of international repute: English countertenor Alfred Deller and Oberlin. Both men were credited with helping to spur the modern renaissance of the countertenor and the corresponding early-music revival of the postwar years. Oberlin died in New York City on November 25, 2016.

Pauline Oliveros (84) composer who tried to enhance sensory perception through what she called “deep listening.” Early in her career in the ‘60s, Oliveros adopted cutting-edge technologies, working with magnetic tape and prototype synthesizers at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Already active as an improviser, she approached electronic music with a performer’s instincts, taking up the accordion as her principal instrument. From 2001 she was distinguished research professor of music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Oliveros died in Kingston, New York on November 24, 2016.

Andrew Sachs (86) comic actor known primarily for his role as the well-intentioned but somewhat dim character of Manuel on the ‘70s British TV comedy, Fawlty Towers. Actor John Cleese played Basil Fawlty alongside Sachs, a German-born British actor, who made the role of the bumbling Spanish waiter with the massive moustache all his own. Sachs died of vascular dementia in London, England on November 23, 2016.

Peter Sumner (74) Australian actor who had a small but memorable part as an officer on the Death Star in Star Wars. Sumner worked only two days on the 1977 film, playing Lt. Pol Treidum. While the name might not ring a bell for casual fans, his line, “TK-421, do you copy?” likely will. It was enough to make Sumner a fan convention mainstay. He was also the only Australian actor to appear in the film. Sumner also appeared in Tony Richardson's Ned Kelly, and on the children's show Play School and other Australian series like Spyforce and Heartbreak High. He died in New South Wales, Australia on November 22, 2016.

Fritz Weaver (90) stage and TV actor who won a Tony in 1970 for his part in the drama, Child's Play. In a more than 60-year career, Weaver turned in bit parts on various TV series including The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, Magnum, PI, and Law & Order. He also played an Air Force colonel who becomes increasingly unstable as the nation faces a nuclear crisis in the 1964 movie Fail Safe and was nominated for an Emmy for his starring turn as the patriarch of a Jewish family in the '78 NBC miniseries Holocaust. Weaver died in New York City on November 26, 2016.

Politics and Military

Bernardo Alvarez (60) longtime Venezuelan ambassador (2003–10) to the US who led Hugo Chavez's diplomats in defending his country's Socialist revolution to skeptical foreign governments. Although Alvarez's tenure coincided with a period of deep strain in relations between the two countries, US officials had long seen in the former Caracas college professor a pragmatic conduit they credited with preventing ties between the countries from deteriorating even further. He died in Caracas, Venezuela on November 24, 2016.

Fidel Castro (90) Cuban who led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism, and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his 50 years of rule in Cuba. Castro's reign over the island nation 90 miles from Florida was marked by the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in '62 that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Castro outlasted a crippling US trade embargo and dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots. He overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico, and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades he was a source of inspiration and support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa, even as Cubans who fled to exile loathed him with equal measure. His commitment to socialism was unwavering, although his power finally began to fade in mid-2006 when a gastrointestinal ailment forced him to hand over the presidency to his younger brother Raul in ‘08, provisionally at first, then permanently. Fidel Castro died in Havana, Cuba on November 25, 2016.

Eric Ellsworth (32) Utah state trooper. Ellsworth was struck by a car driven by a 16-year-old girl after he stepped out of his patrol vehicle to warn a truck driver about sagging power lines. He died at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah five days after being hit late on November 18 while attempting to slow traffic in Garlan, Box Elder County, because of a problem with a power line, on November 23, 2016.

Lt. Gen. James F. Fretterd (86) retired officer who headed the Maryland National Guard for 16 years. Fretterd served in the Maryland National Guard for 52 years, from 1951 to his retirement in 2003, and was its head, as adjutant general, from '87–2003. He died in Federalsburg, Maryland on November 26, 2016.

Peter Hintze (66) deputy speaker of Germany's Parliament who was close to Chancellor Angela Merkel. During a six-year stint as the party's general secretary, responsible for day-to-day political strategy, Hintze organized election campaigns for then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1994 and ’98. He served Merkel as a deputy minister in the early ‘90s when she was minister for women and families. After the Christian Democrats returned to government in 2005, he was a deputy economy minister and the government's coordinator for aviation policy. Hintze, who had been suffering from cancer, died in Berlin, Germany on November 26, 2016.

Dr. James ('Doc') McClellan (90) former Maryland state delegate who played a large role in Frederick and Washington County politics from the ‘70s through the ‘90s. The Frederick veterinarian was a Democrat who represented parts of Frederick and Washington counties in the House of Delegates from his election in 1978 until he retired in ’94. McClellan served four years as a Frederick city alderman before running for state office. He also served two terms on the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. He died near Frederick, Maryland on November 26, 2016.

Constantine Stephanopoulos (90) former president of Greece from 1995–2005, serving the two full terms allowed by the Constitution. Although the office is largely ceremonial, Stephanopoulos won wide popularity with his modesty and lack of bombast. A conservative, he got along well with politicians across the spectrum, especially moderate Socialist Costas Simitis, who was prime minister from 1996–2004. Stephanopoulos entered a hospital November 17 with pneumonia, and his condition deteriorated rapidly. His doctors released a statement November 19 saying he was suffering from multiple organ failure and was not responding to treatment. He died the next day in Athens, Greece, on November 20, 2016.

Society and Religion

Rabbi Ben Zion Shenker (91) regarded as perhaps the leading composer of Hasidic prayer melodies, whose music flavored the religious life of Orthodox Jews and influenced popular klezmer bands. Shenker was the foremost composer and singer of the Modzitzer Hasidim, a Polish-rooted Hasidic sect known for melodies composed for the texts of Sabbath and holiday prayers, and for humming at moments of spiritual expression. He composed more than 500 melodies, and they have been recorded not only by him but also by other musicians, including violinist Itzhak Perlman, klezmer clarinetist and bluegrass mandolinist Andy Statman, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Shenker died of a heart ailment in Brooklyn, New York on November 20, 2016.


Ralph Branca (90) baseball player whose career was defined by that one high-and-inside fastball. The Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher gave up Bobby Thomson’s famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” that still echoes more than 60 years later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. Branca was a three-time All-Star and spent 12 seasons in the majors. Brought in from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning during the deciding Game 3 of the National League pennant playoff in 1951, he gave up a three-run homer to Thomson that gave the rival New York Giants a stunning 5-4 victory. Branca died in Rye, New York on November 23, 2016.

Harry Flournoy Jr. (72) captain of the first college basketball team to win the national championship with five black starting players, in 1966. Flournoy and Orsten Artis were cocaptains of the Texas Western Miners under Coach Don Haskins. Their championship run, capped by a victory over the all-white University of Kentucky team in the title game, was the basis for the book and film Glory Road (2006), in which Mehcad Brooks played Flournoy and Josh Lucas played Haskins. Flournoy helped to guide the team to a 28-1 record in the 1965–66 season, averaging 8.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game. But he played only 6 minutes in the championship game—was forced to the bench when he injured a knee. He died of kidney failure in Atlanta, Georgia on November 26, 2016. Texas Western is now known as the University of Texas/El Paso.

Stan Huntsman (84) former US Olympic track coach whose men's team won seven gold medals in the 1988 Games in Seoul. Huntsman was head coach at Texas when he was picked to helm the 1988 Olympic team that included sprinter Carl Lewis. He spent 39 years as a college track and field coach, including stops at Ohio and Tennessee, and was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2004. He coached 41 NCAA champions and four NCAA championship relay teams. Huntsman was also an assistant US Olympic coach at the 1976 and ‘80 games. He died in Austin, Texas on November 23, 2016.

Peggy Kirk Bell (95) top amateur golfer in the ‘40s and ’50s who later became a respected instructor and an advocate for women’s golf. Kirk Bell—who competed as Peggy Kirk before she married Warren Bell, a former professional basketball player, in 1953—was one of the top amateurs in women’s golf in the years before the Ladies Professional Golf Association was formed. Kirk and Babe Didrikson Zaharias were among the association’s charter members. Kirk won the Ohio Women’s Amateur Championship three times, the 1949 Titleholders Championship (by two shots over Patty Berg), and the ‘49 North & South Women’s Amateur Championship. She also played on the 1950 Curtis Cup team. She died in Southern Pines, North Carolina on November 23, 2016.

Joe Resnick (62) correspondent who covered Los Angeles sports for the Associated Press for more than 30 years. Resnick was a constant presence at all professional and college sports in the LA area. His first love was baseball, and there weren't many Dodgers or Angels games played without his being in the press box. He free-lanced for many of the nation's largest newspapers, worked at Hollywood Park and for Fox Sports, and was a press volunteer at the LA Olympics. He died of cancer in Downey, California on November 20, 2016.

Mary Smith (??) mother of Emmitt Smith, former Dallas Cowboys running back and NFL Hall of Famer. Mary Smith died in Dallas, Texas, where she was visiting her son and his family for the Thanksgiving holiday, on November 26, 2016.

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