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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, March 31, 2018

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Armand Arabian, California Supreme Court justiceStéphane Audran, French film actressSamuel Belzberg, Canadian corporate raiderLinda Brown, central figure in landmark desegregation caseRobert t. Buck, art historian who revived Brooklyn MuseumKak Channthy, Cambodian rock singerAnna Chennault, widow of WWII Flying Tigers leaderIvor Guest, British lawyer who studied dance historyDrue Heinz, publisher and philanthropistDr. James F. Holland, pioneer in chemotherapyLee Holley, cartoonist of 'Ponytail'Herbert Kaiser, US diplomatSheila Link, authority on firearms and outdoor survivalPeter Munk, founder of Barrick GoldKeith Murdoch, New Zealand rugby playerWilliam Prochnau, journalist and authorStephen Reinhardt, judge on US 9th Circuit Court of AppealsMel Rosen, Olympic track and field coachAnita Shreve, best-selling novelistRusty Staub, NY Mets sluggerMarcia A. Thompson, advocate for arts and humanitiesMichael Tree, founding member of Guarneri String QuartetLa Wilson, assemblage artist

Art and Literature

Robert T. Buck (79) art historian who revived the Brooklyn Museum’s original ambitions of being as celebrated in Manhattan as it was around the world. When he arrived in Brooklyn in 1983 from Buffalo, where he had run the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for 10 years, Buck was hailed as an outlander who was devoted to 20th-century art. As the new director, he soon began harnessing the excitement generated by the Brooklyn Bridge centennial jubilee that year to kindle a renaissance at what was then a sleepy institution in the shadow of the great museums of Manhattan and often overlooked by fellow New Yorkers. Buck died of lung cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 30, 2018.

Lee Holley (85) cartoonist who created an idyllic picture of postwar American teenage life through “Ponytail,” a syndicated cartoon panel and Sunday comic strip that appeared in hundreds of newspapers around the world. Holley was an assistant and ghost illustrator for Hank Ketcham’s “Dennis the Menace” comics in 1960 when he conjured up “Ponytail.” In single- and multipanel comics he depicted a lanky teenage girl immersed in postwar suburban life: cruising in hot rods to drive-in movie theaters and burger joints, attending school football games, negotiating with teachers (about completing her homework), and managing diplomatic concerns with her parents (like the size of her allowance). Drawing on his own adolescent years, Holley recognized a growing interest in teen humor comics at the time, perhaps best exemplified by the “Emmy Lou” and “Penny” strips and the “Archie” comic book franchise. An amateur pilot, Holley was flying his single-engine plane when it crashed at the Marina, California municipal airport, about 10 miles north of Monterey, on March 26, 2018.

Anita Shreve (71) best-selling novelist who explored how women responded to crises past and present in her native New England in favorites such as The Pilot’s Wife, Testimony, and The Weight of Water. Shreve’s novels sold millions of copies, especially after Oprah Winfrey chose The Pilot's Wife for her book club in 1999. Shreve, who had been battling cancer, announced her illness in 2017 on Facebook, writing that a “medical emergency” would prevent her from touring for what became her last novel, The Stars Are Fire. She died in Newfields, New Hampshire on March 29, 2018.

La Wilson (93) assemblage artist who took ordinary objects—from dice, plastic forks, and alphabet blocks to bullet casings, fake guns, and jewelry—and arranged them in boxes, giving them new life. Wilson did not plan her elaborate constructions, which hinted at Surrealism and Modernism; did not explain their meaning (if they had any—left that up to the observer); and did not say why she chose particular items and arranged them as she did in boxes and other containers. Her works currently sell for about $5,000 each. Wilson died in Hudson, Ohio of complications from two recent strokes, on March 30, 2018.


Business and Science

Samuel Belzberg (89) corporate raider of the ‘80s who perfected the practice known as greenmail to build one of Canada’s foremost family dynasties, then reinvented himself as a successful private-equity investor. Apart from his business career, Belzberg, who lived in Vancouver, was widely known for his philanthropy devoted to Jewish causes, among them the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to Holocaust research and education. Belzberg was its founding chairman. He died of a stroke in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on March 30, 2018.

Drue Heinz (103) philanthropist who championed Anglo-American authors and founded a publishing house. Heinz cofounded Ecco Press, which republished out-of-print books of outstanding merit and was publisher of the Paris Review from 1993–2008. She also sat on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and the American Academy in Rome. She died in Lasswade, Scotland on March 30, 2018.

Dr. James F. Holland (92) pioneer in the field of chemotherapy. Holland shared the prestigious Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 1972. He was a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology and was instrumental in efforts that helped to attain an 80 per cent survival rate for children with a once-incurable form of leukemia. He died of respiratory failure in Scarsdale, New York on March 27, 2018.

Peter Munk (90) Barrick Gold founder. Munk founded Barrick in 1983 and built it into the world’s largest gold mining company. He was also one of Canada’s most significant philanthropists and donated nearly $300 million, including a $100 million donation to the Toronto General Hospital, which remains the largest single gift ever made to a Canadian hospital. Munk also created the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and founded the Munk debates. He was born in Budapest in 1927 and fled Hungary with his family in ‘44 when Nazi Germany invaded. He died in Toronto, Canada on March 28, 2018.


Law

Armand Arabian (83) former Los Angeles prosecutor and judge who rose through the ranks to serve on the California Supreme Court. The son of Armenian immigrants, Arabian served on the state’s highest court from 1990–96. An appointee of former Gov. George Deukmejian, he was part of a conservative majority on the court after the ouster of the late Chief Justice Rose Bird and two colleagues. Arabian was a strong supporter of the death penalty and a prolific producer of court opinions. He stood out for his legal writing, which was unusually lively and often punctuated with literary allusions. After announcing his retirement from the court at age 60, he said he most wanted to be remembered as a jurist for his work on behalf of rape victims. He broke legal ground as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in 1973 when he refused to tell a jury in a rape trial to consider the victim’s testimony with caution. Arabian died in his sleep in the San Fernando Valley of California on March 28, 2018.

Linda Brown (75) when she was a girl in Kansas, Brown’s father tried to enroll her in an all-white school in Topeka. He and several other black families were turned away, sparking the Brown v. Board of Education case that challenged segregation in public schools. A 1954 decision by the US Supreme Court followed, striking down racial segregation in schools and cementing Linda Brown’s place in history as a central figure in the landmark case. She died in Topeka, Kansas on March 25, 2018.

Stephen Reinhardt (87) liberal stalwart on the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Reinhardt was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and later became the sixth longest-serving judge on the court. He made headlines in 2017 after he took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, writing in an opinion that an administration order to deport a man was “inhumane.” Reinhardt was married to Ramona Ripston, former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of southern California. He died of a heart attack during a visit to a dermatologist in Los Angeles, California on March 29, 2018.


News and Entertainment

Stéphane Audran (85) French actress who served up one of cinema’s most sumptuous meals as the title character in the 1987 film Babette’s Feast. Although that was her best-known movie internationally—it won the Oscar for best foreign-language film in 1988—Audran by then had been famous for decades in France, most notably for her work in the films of director Claude Chabrol, to whom she was married from 1964–80. Her first film with him, and her fourth overall, was Les Cousins (1959), and many others followed. Another career high point was Luis Buñuel’s comedy The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), another winner of the best foreign-language film Oscar, in which she played one of a group of cultured guests at a dinner party that turns increasingly surreal. Audran died in France on March 27, 2018.

Kak Channthy (38) lead singer and songwriter of the Cambodian Space Project, a band inspired by Cambodia's rock scene of the ‘60s, widely considered the country's golden age before the Khmer Rouge eradicated all traces of modern culture and music. The Cambodian Space Project helped to usher in a revival of the ‘60s rock scene, taking on the mantle of great Cambodian singers of the gilded era including Ros Serey Sothea, Pan Ron, and Sinn Sisamouth, all of whom died during the genocide that lasted from 1975–79. The band is one of the few Cambodian rock bands to make it overseas. Most recently, Channthy started a side project, Channthy Cha Cha, which led her to play local shows in Cambodia. Dubbed the Cambodian Amy Winehouse, she was killed in a car crash when the tuk-tuk she was traveling in was struck by a car in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on March 27, 2018.

Ivor Guest (97) British lawyer by training whose extensive research into ballet from 1750–1900 transformed the study of dance history. In books, biographies, monographs, and program notes, Guest became one of the foremost authorities on dance in the Napoleonic and Victorian eras and notably on the Paris Opera Ballet. He was also credited with contributing to the creation of one of the best-loved 20th-century ballets, Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée (1960). Guest died in London, England on March 30, 2018.

William Prochnau (80) journalist and author who wrote a critically acclaimed book, Once Upon a Distant War, about a handful of skeptical reporters whose early warnings that the US wasn’t winning in Vietnam went unheeded. Prochnau was a reporter for the Washington Post and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, where his article “Adventures in the Ransom Trade” was the basis for the movie Proof of Life (2000), a kidnapping thriller starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe. His novel Trinity’s Child inspired the script of By Dawn’s Early Light (1990), an apocalyptic Cold War movie starring James Earl Jones. Prochnau often said he was proudest of his own reportage from Vietnam for the Seattle Times in the mid-‘60s—work that apparently earned him a spot on President Richard M. Nixon’s expanded enemies list. Prochnau died of coronary artery disease in Washington on March 28, 2018.

Marcia A. Thompson (94) unsung advocate for the arts and humanities whose grants inspired struggling cultural organizations to become better performers financially. Thompson was instrumental in establishing the National Arts Stabilization Fund, a consortium of private and corporate philanthropies within the Ford Foundation. The fund grew out of her collaboration, beginning in the late ‘50s, with a Ford vice president, W. McNeil Lowry, to create incentives for symphonies, ballet companies, theaters, and other arts groups to liquidate their deficits and build working capital reserves. The model’s disciplined, businesslike approach inspired Congress to subsidize the National Endowments for the Arts & the Humanities. Thompson died in New York City on March 29, 2018.

Michael Tree (84) founding member of the Guarneri String Quartet, the long-lived group that helped to rekindle interest in chamber music in the ‘60s and ‘70s and continued to perform until 2009. A violist, Tree founded the Guarneri in 1964 with two friends he had studied with at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley, along with cellist David Soyer. With only one change in the lineup—Peter Wiley replaced Soyer, who was 10 years older than the others, in 2001—the group performed and recorded for the next 45 years, appearing all over the world and introducing countless concertgoers to the beauties of a well-played quartet. The four men quickly became stars on the classical music circuit. Tree died of Parkinson’s disease in New York City on March 30, 2018.


Politics and Military

Anna Chennault (94) Chinese-born Republican fund-raiser and anti-Communist lobbyist who dabbled in foreign intrigue after the death of her husband, Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault (died in 1958), renowned leader of the Flying Tigers in China and Burma in World War II. Anna Chennault was one of the most visible private citizens in Washington: a vice president of the Flying Tiger Line, her husband’s postwar cargo operation; a writer of novels, poetry, and nonfiction books; a Voice of America broadcaster; and the center of a social whirl at her Watergate penthouse that drew in cabinet members, congressmen, diplomats, foreign dignitaries, and journalists. But among other hidden Chennault affairs, historians say, in an embarrassing situation of international intrigue and presidential politics that generated heated debate for years, Anna Chennault was recorded on an FBI wiretap helping to sabotage a peace initiative during the Vietnam War to promote Nixon’s victory over Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election. She died in Washington, DC of complications from a stroke she suffered last December, on March 30, 2018.

Herbert Kaiser (94) American diplomat who in 1971 was doing a tour of duty in South Africa when he developed melanoma. Kaiser noticed that, being white, he received excellent medical attention from a white doctor, while the country’s nonwhite population was chronically underserved by the health system, in part because few medical professionals were people of color. In 1985, after he had retired from the State Department, Kaiser and his wife, Joy, founded Medical Education for South African Blacks, a nonprofit organization that provided financial and other support to students of color seeking health careers. By the time the Kaisers’ organization disbanded in 2007, it had helped some 10,000 South Africans of color to receive training as doctors, nurses, midwives, and more. Kaiser died of heart failure in Palo Alto, California on March 30, 2018.


Sports

Sheila Link (94) former college music major and bass player who transformed her life to pursue altogether different passions—firearms and the outdoors—becoming a noted authority on both. As a sportswoman, hunter, and raconteur, Link channeled her enthusiasms into leading gun-safety workshops and survival expeditions, along with writing books and magazine articles, including a column in Women & Guns magazine. She was the first woman elected to the Outdoor Writers Association of America and was later its president. She died of pneumonia in Palm Desert, California on March 30, 2018.

Keith Murdoch (74) All Blacks prop who fled New Zealand after being sent home from a tour in Britain. Murdoch was the first All Black to be sent home from an overseas tour when he was expelled from the 1972 British tour for punching a security guard at a hotel in Cardiff. The incident occurred on the morning after a 19-16 test win over Wales in which Murdoch scored a try. Some teammates thought his punishment was too severe for an offense they believed was partially provoked. But according to reports, he punched the guard when he was refused entry to a bar that had just closed. Players and other observers later claimed British rugby authorities put pressure on All Blacks manager Ernie Todd to send Murdoch home. Angry and unprepared to face the media in New Zealand, Murdoch left his return flight in Australia and disappeared into the Western Australian outback, where he spent the rest of his life. He died in Australia on March 30, 2018.

Mel Rosen (90) former Auburn and Olympic track and field coach. Rosen was the Tigers' head coach from 1963–91 before leaving to coach the US men's team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He led the team to eight gold medals, including five Olympic records and three world records. A three-time NCAA coach of the year, Rosen led Auburn to five Southeastern Conference championships; coached seven Olympians, 143 All-Americans, and eight NCAA champions. He was a member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, the US Track Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Rosen died in Auburn, Alabama on March 25, 2018.

Rusty Staub (73) former New York Mets slugger. Staub was a six-time All-Star and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four different teams. The orange-haired outfielder became a huge hit with fans in the US and Canada during a career spanning 23 seasons. Staub played from 1963–85 and finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. Affectionately dubbed “Le Grand Orange” in Montreal, he broke into the majors as a teenager with Houston, lasted into his 40s with the Mets, and spent decades doing charity work in the New York City area. Staub died in West Palm Beach, Florida, hours before the start of the 2018 baseball season, on March 29, 2018.


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