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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 6, 2017

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Tony Alamo, street preacher imprisoned for sexual abusePrince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, older brother of Saudi Arabia's King SalmanRichard Basciano, owner of last pornographic business in New York's Times SquareWilliam J. Baumol, economist who explained cost diseaseTillis Mitchell Brett, Alabama developerLucy Casado, proprietor of landmark LA restaurantDeborah ('Big Red') Cotton, New Orleans writer and cultural advocateMiriam Gannon, foster mother to more than 70 childrenC. Jackson Grayson, headed Nixon's price control programNajah Hafeez, Syrian comedianBruce Hampton, singer, guitarist, songwriter, and bandleaderSteven Holcomb, Olympic bobsledderHeinz Kessler, former East German defense ministerAdolph Kiefer, champion swimmer, America's oldest living Olympic gold medalist in any sportToby Kimball, basketball standoutDaliah Lavi, Israeli actress in '60s spy-movie spoofsJune LeBell, one of first women to host radio classical music showMarilyn Lewis, creator of gourmet hamburgerMike Lowry, former governor of Washington stateNora Mae Lyng, cocreator and star of 'Forbidden Broadway'Mario Maglieri, owner of two LA live music clubsSam Mele, big league outfielder who later managed Minnesota TwinsAnne Morrissy Merick, pioneering female war correspondentGustave Newman, NYC defense attorney of white-collar crimeGeorge H. Niederauer, retired archbishop of San FranciscoA. R. Penck, German figurative painterT. Gary Rogers, longtime co-owner of Dreyer's Grand Ice CreamLeonard Ross, Wyoming man who lived in cabin he built by handMin Badahur Sherchan, formerly oldest person to scale Mount EverestEdwin Sherin, stage and TV directorUeli Steck, Swiss mountain climberJean Stein, author and editorCasey Thomas, Oakland Athletics 2016 draft pickCol. Leo K. Thorsness, Medal of Honor recipientStanley Weston, idea man behind GI Joe action figure

Art and Literature

A. R. Penck (77) German artist whose work featuring primitive depictions of people and animals is recognized as an important example of the new figurative style in Europe. Penck was expelled by the Communist government in 1980, and the division of Germany frequently was featured as a theme in his work. He died in Zürich, Switzerland on May 2, 2017.

Jean Stein (83) literary editor and author known for producing oral histories on topics as different as the life of an Andy Warhol follower and the dastardly intrigues of early Hollywood. Random House published Stein’s most recent book, West of Eden: An American Place, which tracked the development of Hollywood and southern California through the lives of five powerful Los Angeles families, such as the Warners and the Dohenys—individuals for whom roadways and movie studios have been named. It also included a section on Stein's own family: her father, Jules Stein, was cofounder of Music Corp. of America. Jean Stein jumped to her death from the 15th floor of a Manhattan tower on April 30, 2017.

Business and Science

Richard Basciano (91) former boxer who fended off decades of legal challenges to preserve Show World as the last outpost of his vast New York pornographic empire, allowing him to reign for a time as the only surviving Times Square sultan of smut. Basciano made millions from the quarters his customers deposited for peep shows and more interactive forms of entertainment. While the Internet and the availability of low-priced, high-quality videos and DVDs were bad for his business, the long-delayed redevelopment of Times Square eventually made Basciano’s property more valuable than pornography. He reaped a windfall estimated at $14 million in the late ‘90s when his Times Square properties were condemned for new office buildings and refurbished entertainment venues. Show World, which continued to operate in a sanitized version at the foot of two 12-story buildings at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, itself is worth millions for the land alone. Basciano died in New York City on May 1, 2017.

Tillis Mitchell Brett (82) developer who helped to build the tourist industry on Alabama's coast. Brett was one of the founders of Brett/Robinson, known for its Phoenix condominiums along the beach and around Perdido Bay in Baldwin County. He was the original broker for Brett/Robinson, overseeing the sale of more than 3,400 Phoenix condominium units. The Auburn University graduate was involved in the development of more than 1,000 acres of land and around 30 subdivisions, mostly in Saraland near Mobile. He suffered a medical emergency and died at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama on May 6, 2017.

Lucy Casado (91) matriarch and gatekeeper of the landmark Hollywood restaurant Lucy’s El Adobe Café—a home away from home for musicians, politicians, and those looking for either. Casado was a comforting maternal figure to those who began arriving at the restaurant in the early ‘60s when it was a one-room cafe with cheap Mexican comfort food, healthy margaritas, and a welcoming, no-need-to-rush vibe. It was where Jerry Brown met Linda Ronstadt when the future governor was merely a college school board trustee and fame had yet to fully encircle the singer. Jackson Browne found solitude there, and future Eagles frontman Don Henley came in with regularity. Casado had been battling cancer when she died in Los Angeles, California on May 2, 2017.

C. Jackson Grayson (93) business school dean named by President Richard M. Nixon in 1971 to oversee the US's first peacetime price control program. Runaway inflation had reached nearly 6 per cent over all and even double digits for some goods. Nixon imposed a brief wage and price freeze, followed by voluntary guidelines of 5.5 per cent a year for pay and 2.5 per cent for prices. Grayson was dean of the business school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas when Nixon named him chairman of the panel. He left the post in 1973 and returned to SMU. Grayson died in Houston, Texas on May 4, 2017.

Marilyn Lewis (87) considered by many the creator of the gourmet, customizable hamburger. Lewis launched the iconic Hamburger Hamlet restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1950 along with her actor husband, Harry, then expanded it into a nationwide chain known for upscale burger toppings, long before that became the trendy thing to do. The couple’s colorful relationship was central to Lewis’s memoir, “Marilyn, Are You Sure You Can Cook?” He Asked. The title referred to Harry’s fleeting skepticism before signing the first Hamburger Hamlet lease. Harry Lewis died in 2013 at age 93; Marilyn Lewis died on May 3, 2017.

Mario Maglieri (93) unofficial scion of the Sunset Strip. Maglieri lorded over that realm the longest and witnessed the rise and evolution of the storied West Hollywood live-music hub. He owned two of the most enduring clubs in the neighborhood, the Whisky-a-Go-Go and the Rainbow Bar & Grill, and fed musicians including Led Zeppelin, Cypress Hill, Guns N’ Roses, Motorhead, and hundreds more, while helping hundreds of others to land onstage. When the Rainbow opened in 1972, Elton John played the launch party. John Belushi ate his last meal at the Rainbow before overdosing at the Chateau Marmont. A Los Angeles Times profile from 1993 described Maglieri talking world politics with John Lennon and buying Janis Joplin one of her last bottles of Southern Comfort. He died in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 2017.

T. Gary Rogers (74) co-owner of the Dreyer's ice cream company for 40 years. Rogers and his business partner, William Cronk, bought Oakland-based Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream in 1977. Rogers became chairman and chief executive, and they built the company into a major ice cream brand, with 9,000 employees churning out more than 3 million gallons a year. The company came up with new flavors, such as Cookies 'N Cream, and pioneered reduced-fat ice cream. It was sold to Nestle in 2002. Rogers also served terms as chairman of the Safeway and Levis Strauss companies and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He died in Oakland, California while playing tennis, on May 2, 2017.

Stanley Weston (84) Barbie was already the doll of choice in America when it dawned on Weston that young boys—more interested in weaponry and combat than fashion and glamour, he figured—ought to have an equal. So GI Joe came marching into the toy stores, an action figure attired in any branch of the service that could be twisted into a variety of ready-for-action poses. Whether a Marine or an Army soldier, the figures were similar—white, male, and with a pink combat scar across the cheek. The toy hit the shelves as American troops were flowing into Vietnam and quickly became a best-seller. But Weston, who had sold his concept for the war toy to a toy company that later became Hasbro, reaped few of the financial rewards. He died in Los Angeles, California on May 1, 2017.


William J. Baumol (95) one of the preeminent economists of the 20th century. Baumol, who taught for decades at both Princeton and New York universities, identified what has come to be known as Baumol’s cost disease. That so-called affliction is actually a critically important economic insight that explains why the cost of services, like haircuts and college educations, rises faster than the cost of goods, like T-shirts. In 1965 Baumol began explaining how technological advances raise productivity and naturally push up wages as workers are able to produce more goods, from hammers to coffee cups, at lower cost. But those same increases in productivity do not apply to labor-intensive activities like concert performances, doctor examinations, college lectures, soccer matches, and oil changes. Baumol died in New York City on May 4, 2017.


Gustave Newman (90) criminal defense lawyer in a host of headline-grabbing cases who cajoled skeptical juries and cowed hostile witnesses with his booming baritone. A lion of New York's white-collar criminal defense bar, Newman achieved one of his greatest courtroom successes in 1993 when, after a contentious five-month trial, he managed to win the acquittal of Robert A. Altman, a Washington lawyer who, with Clark M. Clifford, a former US defense secretary, had been accused in a scandal involving global money laundering and illegal transfer of capital. The episode, involving the Bank of Credit & Commerce International, cost depositors an estimated $12 million. Newman died in New York City on May 1, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Deborah ('Big Red') Cotton (52) writer and cultural advocate who moved to New Orleans in 2005 just before Hurricane Katrina struck. For years Cotton covered New Orleans' street culture for Gambit Weekly, documenting the city's uniqueness. She was among 20 people wounded during a 2013 Mother's Day parade in New Orleans. She lost a kidney and gall bladder, half her stomach, and parts of her intestines and pancreas from one of the bullets sprayed as the Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club was leading its annual neighborhood Mother's Day parade in 2013 in New Orleans' 7th Ward. Cotton died from complications of that shooting, in New Orleans, Louisiana, almost four years later, on May 2, 2017.

Najah Hafeez (84) one of Syria’s top comedians. Hafeez was also known by her acting name, Fatoum Hees Bees, and played major roles since the ‘70s alongside Syria's Duraid Lahham, one of the Arab world's most prominent comedians. Hafeez shot to fame after her role in Hotel Sah el-Nom, a 1974 TV series. She died in Damascus, Syria on May 6, 2017.

Bruce Hampton (70) singer, guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader known for his energetic, eccentric style and widely regarded as the granddaddy of the jam-band scene. Hampton for years called himself “colonel” before officially adding the abbreviated title to his name in 2000. He first gained attention in the late ‘60s and early ’70s as leader of the Hampton Grease Band. His last concert, in honor of his 70th birthday and billed as “Hampton 70: A Celebration of Col. Bruce Hampton,” was coming to a close at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia with an encore performance of the song “Turn On Your Love Light” when he collapsed. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died the next day, on May 1, 2017.

Daliah Lavi (74) Israeli actress who transitioned from serious parts in foreign cinema and in dramatic films like Lord Jim to light-hearted turns in ‘60s spy-movie spoofs like Casino Royale. Lavi, who spoke several languages, became an actress as a teenager while studying ballet in Sweden. Her first movie was a 1955 Swedish adaptation of August Strindberg’s novel The People of Hemso. She later played a reporter in the German thriller The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), the romantic lead flogged in Mario Bava’s lurid Italian horror film The Whip & the Body (1963), and Cunégonde to Jean-Pierre Cassel’s Candide in a 1960 French film adaptation of Voltaire’s novel. Lavi died in Asheville, North Carolina on May 3, 2017.

June LeBell (73) professional concert soprano who became one of the first women to be hired as a staff announcer and interviewer in the male-dominated realm of commercial classical music radio broadcasting. LeBell produced, wrote, and hosted programs on WQXR in New York for nearly 30 years beginning in 1973. She was 29 when she joined WQXR, an FM station then owned by the New York Times Co., becoming what the station described as its first full-time female host and the first woman on the staff of any major commercial classical radio station. She died of ovarian cancer in Sarasota, Florida one day after her 73rd birthday, on April 30, 2017.

Nora Mae Lyng (66) brassy actress and singer who collaborated with Gerard Alessandrini to create and star in Forbidden Broadway, that campy, saucy, and enduring off-Broadway sendup of legitimate theater. Lyng eventually made it to Broadway herself, but her most durable claim to fame was as the inspiration for Forbidden Broadway, which formally opened in 1982 and developed a cult following as it reemerged for decades in various incarnations in New York and other cities around the world. Lyng died of breast cancer in New York City on May 4, 2017.

Anne Morrissy Merick (83) US war correspondent who successfully fought for equal treatment of female reporters during the Vietnam War. ABC had assigned Morrissy Merick to cover the war in 1967 when US commander Gen. William Westmoreland ordered that female reporters could not spend the night in the field with the troops. That made it impossible for the female reporters to go on most combat missions because there would be no way for them to return to the base at night. Morrissy Merick and Overseas Weekly editor Ann Bryan Mariano organized the half-dozen female reporters covering the war to challenge Westmoreland's order. They appealed to the Defense Department, which overrode Westmoreland. Morrissy Merick died of dementia in Naples, Florida on May 2, 2017.

Edwin Sherin (87) stage and TV director who directed James Earl Jones on Broadway in The Great White Hope and enjoyed a successful career in TV, most notably as a director and executive producer of Law & Order. Sherin started out as an actor in the mid-‘50s, appearing in productions at the Phoenix Theater in New York, where John Houseman was producing director, and as a member of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. He also acted in dozens of TV productions, including plays presented by Omnibus, Playhouse 90, and Studio One, during TV's Golden Age. The husband of actress Jane Alexander, Sherin turned to directing in the ‘60s. He died in Lockeport, Nova Scotia, Canada on May 4, 2017.

Politics and Military

Prince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (93) older brother to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. Prince Mishaal had been head of the Allegiance Council, the body established to formalize the succession process in the kingdom. The council is stacked with the sons and prominent grandsons of Saudi Arabia's founder, the late King Abdulaziz, who vote in secret to pick the king and crown prince from among themselves. The Saudi throne has for decades passed among his sons. Prince Mishaal had served as defense minister twice in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. He died in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 3, 2017.

Heinz Kessler (97) former East German defense minister (1985–89) later convicted of incitement to manslaughter for upholding the shoot-to-kill policy at the Communist country's border. Kessler became a member of the Communist party's politburo in 1986. His promotion to minister and general followed a long career in the senior ranks of the military and as a deputy defense minister. In January 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he was kicked out of the party along with others from the hardline Communist era. In 1993 he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. An estimated 700–800 people died at East Germany's heavily fortified border with the West before it was opened in late 1989. Kessler died in Berlin, Germany on May 2, 2017.

Mike Lowry (78) former Washington state governor, a Democrat who served in Congress for 10 years. Elected to one term as governor in 1992, Lowry was a leading Democrat critic of President Ronald Reagan's economic policies, even when they were wildly popular, and fought against the arms buildup and restrictions on abortions. Long an advocate of international trade that became crucial to the state, he was credited with saving the Export-Import Bank's direct loan program. He was on the House Budget Committee and worked on wilderness and marine sanctuary legislation and other issues. He died in Olympia, Washington of complications from a stroke, on May 1, 2017.

Col. Leo K. Thorsness (85) one of the most highly decorated American airmen of the Vietnam War and a belated recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroism on a mission that took place 11 days before he was shot down and taken prisoner. Thorsness was brutalized during his six years of captivity at the notorious North Vietnamese prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, where he was a cellmate of John McCain’s. Thorsness died in Jacksonville, Florida on May 2, 2017.

Society and Religion

Tony Alamo (82) one-time street preacher whose ministry grew into a multimillion-dollar network of businesses and property before he was convicted in Arkansas of sexually abusing young girls he considered his wives. Alamo was once known for designing elaborately decorated jackets for celebrities including Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. The disgraced preacher was convicted in 2009 on charges that he took underage girls across state lines for sex, including a 9-year-old. Sentenced to the maximum term of 175 years, Alamo died at a federal prison hospital in Butner, North Carolina on May 2, 2017.

Miriam Gannon (82) Massachusetts woman who became a foster mother to more than 70 children. Gannon and her husband were attending Sunday Mass in the ‘60s when the priest pleaded for foster homes for children. The Gannons answered that call and over the years adopted nearly two dozen of their foster children and became legal guardians to many more. Many of the children had disabilities. Matthew Gannon expanded their home from four bedrooms to eight to accommodate everyone, complete with an elevator and wheelchair-accessible areas. Miriam Gannon died of lymphoma in Braintree, Massachusetts on May 5, 2017.

George H. Niederauer (80) retired eighth San Francisco archbishop who helped to lead a contentious and successful 2008 California ballot measure to ban gay marriage. Niederauer gained notoriety during the campaign to pass Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriages. He was credited with persuading leaders of the Mormon church to join the effort and donate $20 million to the campaign. He said at the time that religious leaders have a constitutional right to speak on public policy and that Catholic bishops have a responsibility to teach church beliefs on marriage and family. A federal court overturned the marriage ban in 2010. In 2013 the ruling was upheld by the US Supreme Court. Niederauer died of lung cancer in San Rafael, California on May 2, 2017.

Leonard Ross (107) Wyoming man who lived in a cabin he built by hand in Jackson Hole. Ross turned 107 on January 11. He celebrated his final birthday at his home, pulling down his oxygen mask to blow out the candles on his cake. The Ross family has a history of living long. Ross's mother lived to 104, grandfather made it to 97, his father lived into his 90s, and his brother to 101. Leonard Ross's health had been declining almost daily over about the last week. He died in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on May 2, 2017.


Steven Holcomb (37) three-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist, and five-time world champion bobsledder from Utah. Holcomb's signature moment came at the 2010 Vancouver Games when he piloted his four-man sled to a win that snapped a 62-year gold-medal drought for the US in bobsled's signature race. He also drove to bronze medals in both two- and four-man events at the Sochi Games in 2014 and was expected to be part of the ‘18 US Olympic team headed to the Pyeongchang Games. He won 60 World Cup medals in his career, 10 more at the world championships and three in the Olympics, making him one of the most decorated bobsled pilots in the world. Holcomb was found dead in his room at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York on May 6, 2017. It was believed that he died in his sleep.

Adolph Kiefer (98) 100-meter backstroke champion at the 1936 Berlin Games who was America's oldest living Olympic gold medalist in any sport. Kiefer became an Olympic champion as a 17-year-old in an Olympic-record time that stood for 20 years. He was also the first man to break 1 minute in the 100 backstroke, doing so as a high school swimmer in Illinois. He later competed for the University of Texas. Kiefer started a swimming equipment company in 1947 with his wife Joyce that invented several performance and safety products, such as the first nylon swimsuit, used by the US Olympic team, and a patent for the first design of the nonturbulent racing lane line. He died in Wadsworth, Illinois, about 50 miles north of Chicago, on May 5, 2017.

Toby Kimball (74) basketball player who starred for the University of Connecticut (1962–65), averaging 18.4 points and 17.9 rebounds, and played for nine seasons in the NBA. The 6-foot-8 forward led the school to three Yankee Conference championships and three NCAA Tournament berths, including a regional final in 1964. Kimball was a third-round pick of Boston in the 1965 NBA draft. After playing a year in Italy and helping his team to a European championship, he joined the Celtics, his hometown team. He also played for San Diego, Milwaukee, Kansas City-Omaha, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, averaging 6.1 points and 6.8 rebounds in 571 games before retiring in 1975. Kimball died from an inflammatory lung disease in La Jolla, California on May 2, 2017.

Sam Mele (95) former big league outfielder who later managed the Minnesota Twins to a team-record 102 wins in a season. Mele made his major league debut with the Red Sox in 1947 and, after he was done managing, worked 25 years for them as a scout and in other roles. He played 10 seasons in the majors, batting .267 with 80 home runs and 544 runs batted in for the Red Sox, Washington, the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. He hit .302 as a rookie and in 1951 tied for the American League in doubles with 36. In 1965 Mele guided the Twins to their first pennant, going 102-60. He was the nephew of former big leaguers Tony and Al Cuccinello. Mele died in Quincy, Massachusetts on May 1, 2017.

Min Badahur Sherchan (85) mountain climber attempting to regain his title as the oldest person to scale Mount Everest. Sherchan had first scaled Everest in May 2008 when he was 76—at the time becoming the oldest climber to reach the top. But his record was broken in 2013 by 80-year-old Japanese Yuichiro Miura. Sherchan died at the Everest base camp in Nepal on May 6, 2017.

Ueli Steck (40) mountain climber nicknamed “the Swiss Machine” for his rapid ascents of some of the world’s most imposing peaks. Steck said in a video published on YouTube earlier in April that after scaling Nuptse he would follow part of a route up Everest pioneered by American mountaineers Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld in 1963, which had yet to be successfully repeated. He was then planning to traverse peaks, from Everest, the world’s highest mountain, to Lhotse, its fourth highest; that transfer had been completed only once before. Steck was killed in an accident at a camp near Mount Everest on April 30, 2017.

Casey Thomas (24) Oakland Athletics 2016 draft pick. The son of As pro scout Tom Thomas, Casey Thomas was a 34th-round draft pick in 2016 and was currently with the organization in extended spring training. He batted .258 with 18 runs batted in, in 37 games in 2016 in rookie ball with the Arizona League. His was the second death of an As minor leaguer in as many years: Triple-A pitcher Sean Murphy died April 25, 2016 from a heart muscle disease. Thomas died unexpectedly in Phoenix, Arizona on May 2, 2017.

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