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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, February 24, 2018

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Nanette Fabray, musical star of 'Band Wagon,' with Fred Astaire and Jack BuchananRev. Billy Graham, Christian evangelistKalman Aron, portraitist who survived HolocaustSonja Bata, collector of shoesJudy Blame, British jewelry designer, fashion stylist, and art directorDr. Günter Blobel, Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologistJohn Boyd, milliner to British royaltyEmma Chambers, British actress on 'Vicar of Dibley'Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Washington arts patron and civil rights activistEnsa Cosby, daughter of comedian Bill CosbyMax Desfor, Pulitzer-winning AP photographerLewis Gilbert, director of three James Bond thrillersJack Hamilton, California Angels pitcher who injured Boston's Tony ConigliaroSridevi, Bollywood actressGeorge S. Kaufman, real estate magnate who helped to revive NYC film productionDon Leahy, Nebraska college athletic directorDidier Lockwood, French jazz violinistBud Luckey, creator of Woody character in 'Toy Story'Idrissa Ouedraogo, African filmmakerLee Harris Pomeroy, NYC architectCliff Russell, Detroit radio talk show hostEido Tai Shimano, disgraced Japanese BuddhistRichard E. Taylor, Stanford physicistOscar Juiio Vian, archbishop of Guatemala CityRichard Weinstein, architect who helped to redefine urban planningBarbara Wersba, author of candid books for young adultsDr. Charles Wilson, pioneering neurosurgeon

Art and Literature

Kalman Aron (93) artist who began drawing pencil and crayon portraits of his family in Latvia when he was 3. A child prodigy, Kalman mounted his first one-boy gallery show when he was 7. He was commissioned to paint the official portrait of the Latvian prime minister when he was 13. He enrolled at an academy of fine arts in Riga, the capital, at 15. Then, in 1941, when he was 16, the Germans invaded, and his parents, who were Jewish, were murdered. But Aron's artistic talent spared his life. Over the next four years he survived seven Nazi concentration camps by swapping sketches of his captors and their families for scraps of food. He lived to become a prominent American portraitist. Aron died in Santa Monica, California on February 24, 2018.

Judy Blame (58) British punk figure, born Christopher Stuart Barnes, who rechristened and reimagined himself in his own image, a jewelry designer, fashion stylist, and art director who emerged from London's '80s club scene. Blame was largely self-taught and in a class by himself. Lured to London by the promise of punk, he arrived in time for its decline and came into his own in the clubs of Soho, then a gritty neighborhood. Working as a coat-check boy at the gay club Heaven in Charing Cross, he came to his adopted moniker. “Judy” was bestowed upon him by glam rock designer Antony Price in a camp homage to Judy Garland; and “Blame,” for his habit of giving patrons whichever of the coats in his care he thought would best suit them—often not the ones they had come in with. Judy Blame died of cancer in London, England, eight days after his 58th birthday, on February 20, 2018.

Peggy Cooper Cafritz (70) arts patron, civil rights activist, and educator. Cooper Cafritz was a voracious collector and champion of African and African-American artists, including Jacob Lawrence, Kara Walker, El Anatsui, Kerry James Marshall, and Kehinde Wiley, whose unconventional portrait of President Barack Obama, as a seated figure amid greenery, was unveiled this month. She amassed one of the country's largest private collections of black art. Cooper Cafritz also collected people, surrounding herself with politicians, artists, celebrities, potential donors for her many causes, and children. She fostered and mentored countless young people. She died of pneumonia in Washington, DC on February 18, 2018.

Bud Luckey (83) Oscar-nominated animator who crafted hand-drawn, two-dimensional characters for more than 30 years before using new digital tools to create Woody, the pull-string star of Pixar's Toy Story (1995). Before that, Luckey animated the original Alvin & the Chipmunks TV series, collaborated with “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz on advertisements for Dolly Madison snack cakes, and devised entire segments for Sesame Street, in which his hillbilly-fiddler character Donnie Budd introduced young viewers to the numbers 2 through 6. Luckey suffered a stroke in 2013 and died in Newtown, Connecticut on February 24, 2018.

Lee Harris Pomeroy (85) architect whose touch is visible around New York—in the subway stations he redesigned, the Fulton Mall he helped to plan in Brooklyn, and the limestone-sheathed Swiss Bank Tower he devised to fit in with nearby landmarks like Rockefeller Center and the flagship store of Saks Fifth Avenue. Although Pomeroy designed projects around the world, among them the Binhai International Convention & Exhibition Center in Tianjin, China, he was probably best known for his work in the city where he lived. Pomeroy died in New York City on February 18, 2018.

Richard Weinstein (85) architect who helped to redefine urban planning in New York and Los Angeles by combining private profit with public benefit to make cities more livable. Recruited to New York City government in the late '60s by the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay, Weinstein joined several like-minded young colleagues in a new Urban Design Group within the Department of City Planning. Their goal was to tailor zoning regulations to a neighborhood's unique form, function, and features rather than impose generic rules by rote. Weinstein moved to California in 1985 and became dean of the School of Architecture & Urban Planning at UCLA. He held that post until 1995 and was a professor emeritus until 2008. As dean he incorporated computer technology and robotics into the curriculum. He died of Parkinson's disease in Santa Monica, California on February 24, 2018.

Barbara Wersba (85) author whose candid books for young adults were among the first to explore topics like alcoholism and same-sex relationships. Wersba began writing in the ‘60s, and her work reflected the era’s new realism in literature for younger readers with stories no longer confined to intact nuclear families and sanitized events like prom nights. Some of her frank themes generated criticism; others generated praise. Her Tunes for a Small Harmonica was a National Book Award finalist in 1977, and the American Library Association honored her novels, including The Carnival in My Mind (1982) and Whistle Me Home (1997). Wersba died in Englewood, New Jersey on February 18, 2018.

Business and Science

Sonja Bata (91) collector of shoes from all over the world. Two weeks before her death, Bata added one last pair of 18th-century heels to her collection of more than 13,000 shoes—a trove, spanning 4,500 years of history, that is on permanent display at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. It also chronicles a personal history—of a life spent traveling the world with her husband, Thomas Bata (died in 2008), who led his family's Czech shoe manufacturing and retail business, the Bata Shoe Co., onto an international stage. Sonja Bata died in Toronto, Canada on February 20, 2018.

Dr. Günter Blobel (81) molecular biologist who was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that proteins in any living cell have virtual ZIP codes that guide them to where they can help to regulate body tissues, organs, and chemistry. Because all diseases have a molecular basis, medical experts say, Blobel's achievement was a fundamental step on the road to improved health, holding out the promise of understanding the mechanisms behind cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's disease, leukemia, schizophrenia, the virus that causes AIDS, and other immune-system deficiencies, hereditary conditions, and cellular aberrations, including cancers. Blobel died of cancer in New York City on February 18, 2018.

John Boyd (92) London milliner who helped to turn Lady Diana Spencer, later Diana, Princess of Wales, into a global fashion icon. It was Boyd who provided her with the pink tricorn hat she wore after her wedding and on her way to her honeymoon—a chapeau later copied by milliners across the world and credited with rebooting a stagnant industry. Princess Diana (died in 1997) became one of the world’s most photographed people, bringing global attention to Boyd and his hats. He died in Brighton, England on February 20, 2018.

George S. Kaufman (89) real estate magnate whose transformation of a derelict movie studio in Astoria, Queens helped to revive film and TV production in New York. In 1982 Kaufman, scion of a century-old New York real estate family, led a group of investors in rescuing the Queens complex, which had opened in 1920 as the home of what became Paramount Pictures. He developed the site into 500,000 square feet of studios, production facilities, offices, service space, and a backlot, drawing TV and movie producers eager to film in New York. The Cosby Show, Sesame Street, Orange Is the New Black, Nurse Jackie, and the police procedural Blue Bloods have been among the TV shows to use the studios. Movies filmed in part there include Goodfellas, Angels in America, The Wiz, and the 2009 remake of The Taking of Pelham 123. Kaufman died of heart failure in Palm Beach, Florida on February 20, 2018.

Richard E. Taylor (88) Canadian-born experimental physicist who shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for the discovery of quarks, one of the fundamental particles in the universe. That discovery, in the late '60s, was a ground-shaking event in physics. It paved the way for the development of the Standard Model, the classification system for all known elementary particles and forces. A longtime Stanford University research physicist, Taylor died in Stanford, California on February 22, 2018.

Dr. Charles Wilson (88) pioneering San Francisco neurosurgeon who used operating rooms like stages, sometimes performing as many as eight surgeries a day, all while building a leading brain tumor research center. During more than 30 years at UCSF Medical Center, Wilson worked on parallel tracks: In the operating room and in his research center, where he and colleagues sought to advance the treatment of glioblastomas and other tumors. He died of heart disease in Greenbrae, California on February 24, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Emma Chambers (53) British actress known for her roles on The Vicar of Dibley TV series and in the romantic comedy Notting Hill. Chambers was well known in Britain for her role as Alice Tinker on the long-running Vicar of Dibley comedy. She also had a long career in a variety of TV and film roles. She died in England on February 21, 2018.

Ensa Cosby (44) daughter of comedian Bill Cosby who spoke out on behalf of her father before his trial in 2017 on charges of drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in '04. Cosby pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free on bail ahead of a retrial scheduled for April 2. His first trial ended in 2017 with a hung jury. Ensa and her sister Erinn recorded statements before their father's first trial that were broadcast on the New York hip-hop radio station Power 105. Ensa maintained that her father was innocent of the charges and that racism had played a role in the scandal. She died of kidney disease in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts on February 23, 2018.

Max Desfor (104) former Associated Press photographer whose photo of hundreds of Korean War refugees crawling across a damaged bridge in 1950 helped to win him a Pulitzer Prize. Desfor volunteered to cover the Korean War for the news service when the North invaded the South in June 1950. He parachuted into North Korea with US troops and retreated with them after forces from the North, joined by the Chinese, pushed south. He was in a Jeep near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang when he spotted a bridge that had been hit by bombing along the Taedong River. Thousands of refugees were lined up on the north bank waiting their turn to cross the river. Desfor died in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he'd been living in his retirement, on February 19, 2018.

Nanette Fabray (97) actress, singer, and dancer who became a star in Broadway musicals, on TV as Sid Caesar's comic foil, and in such hit movies as The Band Wagon. Fabray was just 3 when she launched her career as Vaudeville singer-dancer Baby Nanette. She later starred on Broadway in such musicals as Bloomer Girl, High-Button Shoes, and Mr. President, playing first lady to Robert Ryan's commander-in-chief. Love Life, a 1948 show with songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Kurt Weill, won her a Tony in '49 as best actress in a musical. MGM brought her to Hollywood to costar with Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, and Jack Buchanan in the 1953 film The Band Wagon. That Betty Comden and Adolph Green musical features such classic numbers as “Triplets,” in which Fabray, Astaire, and Buchanan dress up as babies. Her later TV roles included that of Bonnie Franklin's mother on the hit '80s sitcom One Day at a Time, and in the '90s Fabray played mother to Shelley Fabares, her real-life niece, on the hit sitcom Coach. Nanette Fabray died in Palos Verdes. California on February 22, 2018.

Lewis Gilbert (97) British film director whose dozens of movies included three James Bond thrillers—You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker—and the Swinging London classic Alfie. The British Film Institute's filmography lists 33 features directed by Gilbert between 1947-2002, making him one of the most prolific British filmmakers. But, he acknowledged, most people remembered him for his Agent 007 thrillers. He died in Monaco on February 23, 2018.

Sridevi Kapoor (54) Bollywood's leading lady of the '80s and '90s who redefined stardom for actresses in India. The actress was described as the first female superstar in India's male-dominated film industry. Sridevi used one name onscreen, like many leading ladies of her generation, and was known for her comic timing and her dancing skills, a great asset in the song-and-dance melodramas that are a staple of mainstream Indian cinema. The wife of film producer Boney Kapoor, she was in Dubai to attend a wedding when she died of cardiac arrest on February 24, 2018.

Didier Lockwood (62) French jazz violinist whose career spanned more than 40 years and the world's most prestigious festivals and concert halls. As a composer and an improviser while performing, Lockwood enjoyed crossing musical genres, from jazz-rock to classical. He was known for experimenting with different sounds on the electric violin. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in Paris, France, a day after performing there, on February 18, 2018.

Idrissa Ouedraogo (64) African filmmaker. Ouedraogo produced more than 40 films including Tilai, which won the Grand Prix at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. In 1993 his film Samba Traore was featured at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear prize. Ouedraogo also had served on the jury at the Ouagadougou film festival known as FESPACO. He died in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on February 18, 2018.

Cliff Russell (61) Detroit radio host whose talk show focused on issues affecting the city's black residents. Russell played basketball at the University of Texas/El Paso before transferring to Wayne State University. In 1994 he became a spokesman for Mayor Dennis Archer and, in 2002, head of the communications office of the Detroit Tigers. More recently he called University of Detroit Mercy basketball games on the radio and hosted his self-titled show. He died of a heart attack in Chicago, Illinois on February 18, 2018.

Society and Religion

Rev. Billy Graham (99) theologian who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history. More than anyone else, Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Catholicism in the US. His leadership summits and crusades in more than 185 countries and territories forged powerful global links among conservative Christians and threw a lifeline to believers in the Communist-controlled Eastern bloc. Dubbed America's pastor, he was a confidant to US presidents from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan gave Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia, and other ailments, died in Montreat, North Carolina on February 21, 2018.

Eido Tai Shimano (85) abbot, or head spiritual teacher, of the Zen Studies Society in New York who established a substantial following for his branch of Japanese Buddhism, only to resign in a sex scandal. Shimano helped to fuel interest in Zen Buddhism in New York and beyond in the '60s and '70s, a time of alternative lifestyles and spiritual searching. But years later it was found that he had also been having sex with several women who had come to him to be taught, revelations that raised ethical questions that roiled Western Buddhism. Although Shimano continued to have devoted followers after the scandal broke in 2010, he became a pariah to many. He died in Gifu, Japan after giving a lesson at a junior college, on February 18, 2018.

Oscar Julio Vian (70) Roman Catholic archbishop of Guatemala City and an outspoken critic of corruption in the Central American nation. Guatemala has seen a string of graft scandals implicating several top officials in recent years, and Vian was particularly vocal in accusing the corrupt of being bad citizens and demanding justice. In 2017 he opposed changes to the penal code made by lawmakers seeking to protect themselves from accusations of illegal campaign financing. Vian was educated in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1976 and was named bishop in the northern Guatemalan department of Peten in '96. He also taught in El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama. He died of cancer in Guatemala City, Guatemala on February 24, 2018.


Jack Hamilton (79) whose errant inside pitch damaged the eyesight of Boston's Tony Conigliaro (died in 1998) in 1967 and caused a premature end to the career of the Red Sox star. Signed by St. Louis ahead of the 1957 season, Hamilton was selected by Philadelphia in a minor league draft after the '60 season. He pitched in the major leagues from 1962-69 and was 32-40 with a 4.53 earned run average in 65 starts and 153 relief appearances for the Phillies (1962-63), Detroit (1964-65), the New York Mets (1966-67), the California Angels (1967-68), Cleveland (1969), and the Chicago White Sox (1969). He went 9-12 as a rookie, leading the National League in walks with 107 and wild pitches with 22. Hamilton was traded from the Mets to the Angels in June 1967 and had won eight of his first 10 decisions overall that year going into a start at Boston's Fenway Park on August 18, 1967. He threw a pitch in the fourth inning that fractured Conigliaro's left cheekbone, dislocated his jaw, and left him with retina damage and blurred vision. An All-Star who at 22 became the youngest American League player to reach 100 home runs, Conigliaro had helped to put the Red Sox in position to win their first pennant since 1946. Hamilton died in Branson, Missouri on February 22, 2018.

Don Leahy (88) retired athletic director at the University of Nebraska in Omaha and Creighton University. Leahy was UNO's athletic director from 1974-85 and again from '94-97 and was the driving force behind the Mavericks' starting a Division I hockey program in '97. He was Creighton's athletic director from 1985-90. Leahy played quarterback for Marquette University and appeared in the 1951 Blue-Gray Game. He was head football coach at Omaha Creighton Prep for 17 years, winning eight state championships before leaving in 1972. He died of cancer in Omaha, Nebraska on February 23, 2018.

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