Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hold pointer over photo for person's name. Click on photo to go to brief obit.
Click on name to return to picture.

Barbara Bush, wife and mother of former US presidentsHarry Anderson, magician and actor on 'Night Court'Tim ('Avicii') Bergling, Swedish disk jockey and music producerEarle Bruce, Ohio State football coach who followed Woody HayesJoan Chase, award-winning authorR. Lee Ermey, actor who played military tough guysMarcia Hafif, artist known for  monochromatic paintingsBeatrix Hamburg, researcher in child development and psychologyCarl Kasell, NPR radio newscasterJoan Konner, TV executive,, producer, and documentarianJean McFaddin, Macy's events planner who organized Thanksgiving Day parades and moreRichard Oldenburg, former director of Museum of Modern ArtNelson Pereira dos Santos, Brazilian film directorVel Phillips, Wisconsin civil rights pioneerSergio Pitol, Mexican authorBruno Sammartino, pro wrestling championVittorio Taviani, half of Italian team of award-winning film directorsVerne Troyer, actor who played 'Mini-Me' in Austin Powers filmsCharles J. Zwick, President Johnson's budget director

Art and Literature

Joan Chase (81) author whose first book was published when she was 46 and attracted awards and accolades. Chase’s first novel, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia (1983), inspired positive reviews, earned a spot on the New York Times “Book Review’s” list of the top books of the year, and won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. She suffered from Parkinson’s and Lewy Body diseases and died in Needham, Massachusetts on April 17, 2018.

Marcia Hafif (88) artist best known for monochromatic paintings that explored the intersection of color, brush stroke, surface, and light. In a career that spanned some 60 years, Hafif exhibited throughout Europe and the US, experimenting with Pop Art, video, text-based works, and more. But beginning in the ‘70s, much of her focus was on monochromatic painting. She died on April 17, 2018.

Richard Oldenburg (84) longtime director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York who oversaw blockbuster exhibitions of Picasso, Matisse, and Cézanne and a transformative expansion that doubled its exhibition space in the ‘80s. Oldenburg—whose older brother is Pop Art sculptor Claes Oldenburg—was a publishing executive when the MoMA hired him to run its publications department in 1969. The job allowed him to work closely with curators and artists on catalogues and books, an experience that proved critical when the board of trustees named him director in 1972. Retiring in 1993, Oldenburg died in New York City on April 17, 2018.

Sergio Pitol (85) Mexican author, essayist, and translator and winner of the most prestigious award for literature in the Spanish-speaking world. Pitol was known for such works as Mephisto’s Waltz and his Trilogy of Memory, which included “The Art of Flight,” ?The Journey,” and “The Magician of Vienna.” He won Spanish literature’s prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2005 and was awarded Mexico’s National Literature Prize in 1983 and the Juan Rulfo Latin American and Caribbean Prize in ’99. He died in Xalapa, Veracruz state, Mexico on April 19, 2018.

Business and Science

Beatrix Hamburg (94) after breaking racial barriers at two major colleges, Hamburg became an important researcher in child development and psychology, working on subjects like school violence and peer counseling for students. She was the first self-identifying black woman to graduate from Vassar College, in 1944, and in ‘48 she became the first black woman to graduate from Yale Medical School. Her lengthy professional résumé included professorships at Stanford’s School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Along with her husband, David Hamburg, she was a DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar at Weill Cornell Medical College, also in New York. Beatrix Hamburg’s research focused on young people and the importance of examining their needs and psychological development in the modern age. She died of Alzheimer's disease in Washington, DC on April 15, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Harry Anderson (65) actor best known for playing an off-the-wall judge working the night shift at a Manhattan courtroom on the TV comedy series Night Court. Anderson played Judge Harry T. Stone, a young jurist who professed his love for singer Mel Tormé, actress Jean Harlow, magic tricks, and his collection of art-deco ties. Anderson also starred in the series Dave’s World and appeared on Cheers as con man Harry (“The Hat”) Gittes. He prided himself on being both a magician and an actor. He was found dead at his home in Asheville, North Carolina on April 16, 2018.

Tim ('Avicii') Bergling (28) Swedish disk jockey and electronic dance music producer who rose to fame under the stage name Avicii. Bergling became famous with his 2011 hit “Levels” and was part of a wave of electronic dance music deejays who achieved pop-star levels of prominence. His songs have been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards for best dance recording, in 2012 and ‘13, and his best-known song, “Wake Me Up,” reached the No. 4 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Avicii also released two albums: the platinum True (2013) and Stories (2015). He had suffered acute pancreatitis, in part owing to excessive drinking, and had his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014. He was found dead in Muscat, the capital of Oman, a popular vacation destination on the Arabian Peninsula, where he was visiting friends, on April 20, 2018.

R. Lee Ermey (74) former US Marine who made a career in Hollywood playing hard-nosed military men like Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987). The Kansas native was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his memorable performance in that film, in which he immortalized lines such as: “What is your major malfunction?” Ermey served 11 years in the Marine Corps and spent 14 months in Vietnam, then in Okinawa, Japan, where he became a staff sergeant. His first film credit was as a helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, quickly followed by a part in The Boys in Company C (1978) as a drill instructor. He raked in more than 60 credits in film and on TV across his long career in the industry, often playing authority figures in everything from Se7en to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Ermey died of pneumonia-related complications in Santa Monica, California on April 15, 2018.

Carl Kasell (84) radio newscaster, a signature voice of NPR who brought his gravitas to Morning Edition and later his wit to Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me! Kasell’s radio career spanned 50 years, starting as a morning disk jockey and newscaster at WGBR-AM in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He spent 10 years at radio station WAVA in Arlington, Virginia, going from morning anchor to news director, and was a newscaster for 30 years on Morning Edition until 2009. He then became official judge and scorekeeper of the Chicago-based show Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me! in 1998. Kasell joined NPR as a part-time employee in 1975 for Weekend All Things Considered, then announced the news on the first broadcast of Morning Edition in ‘79 alongside host Bob Edwards. He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease in Potomac, Maryland on April 17, 2018.

Joan Konner (87) award-winning TV executive, producer, and documentarian who became the first woman to lead the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Konner got a late start professionally, graduating from Columbia’s journalism school herself in 1961 when she was 30, almost 10 years after she had earned her bachelor’s degree. By 1977 she was executive producer for national news and public affairs for WNET/13, the public broadcasting station of metropolitan New York. From the early ‘80s until she left for Columbia in 1988, she was executive producer of Bill Moyers Journal, then president and executive producer of Moyers’ production company, Public Affairs Television. Among the acclaimed documentaries they produced was the six-part Joseph Campbell & the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (1987–88). Konner died of leukemia in New York City on April 18, 2018.

Jean McFaddin (75) Macy’s events planner for 24 years (1977–2001) who created magical Thanksgiving Day parades in Manhattan, a children’s in-store Santaland at Christmastime, exquisite flower shows every spring, and spectacular fireworks on the Fourth of July. McFaddin was charged with creating iconic giant balloon characters and assembling a Thanksgiving Day lineup of stars, floats, bands, clowns, and blizzards of confetti to spark the wonder of millions of children watching on TV and lining the parade route from the Museum of Natural History, down Central Park West and Broadway, to Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square. She died of cancer in New York City on April 18, 2018.

Nelson Pereira dos Santos (89) Brazilian director instrumental in elevating the cinema of his country, often despite government repression and lack of financial support. Pereira dos Santos, who began making feature films in the ‘50s, was among the founders of the Cinema Novo movement, which sought to transform Brazil’s filmmaking from low comedies and Hollywood imitations to something that reflected the realities of Brazilian life. His first major film, Rio 40 Graus (Rio 40 Degrees, also sometimes translated as Rio 100 Degrees), released in 1955, told the story of three boys who sell peanuts to survive, and emphasized the problem of poverty. Pereira dos Santos died of pneumonia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 21, 2018.

Bruno Sammartino (82) professional wrestling’s ultimate good guy. The son of Italian immigrants, Sammartino fled the Nazis as a child and built a career beating a string of bad guys that thrilled fans and made him reign as the conscientious champ for more than 10 years. Before the flash of The Hulkster, the electricity of The Rock, and the foul-mouth of Stone Cold, all Sammartino required to become wrestling’s biggest box office draw was a pair of tights, boots, and an honest promo that made fans believe in the most illegitimate of sports. He had been hospitalized for two months when he died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 18, 2018.

Vittorio Taviani (88) Italian film director who with his younger brother Paolo (86) created masterpieces of the Italian cinema that claimed top honors at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals. The Taviani brothers were in their early 80s when they won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012 for the documentary Caesar Must Die, which showed inmates of a high-security prison staging the Shakespearean tragedy. Vittorio Taviani died in Rome, Italy on April 15, 2018.

Verne Troyer (49) actor who played Dr. Evil’s small, silent sidekick “Mini-Me” in the Austin Powers movie franchise. Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon after starring alongside Mike Myers as “Mini-Me,” the tiny, hairless clone of villain Dr. Evil in two of the three Austin Powers films. He appeared in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). in which “Mini-Me” switches sides and becomes a miniature version of Powers. Both hero and villain were played by Myers, who also put Troyer in his 2008 film The Love Guru. Troyer also played banker goblin Griphook in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and appeared on dozens of TV shows including Boston Public, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and MADtv. He died in Los Angeles, California on April 21, 2018.

Politics and Military

Barbara Bush (92) former US first lady and mother of a president whose plain-spoken manner and lack of pretense made her more popular at times than her husband, President George H. W. Bush. Barbara Bush brought a grandmotherly style to buttoned-down Washington, often appearing in her trademark fake pearl chokers and displaying no vanity about her white hair and wrinkles. The Bushes, who were married January 6, 1945, had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history, and as the mother of President George W. Bush, Barbara Bush was one of only two first ladies who had a child who was elected president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams. Barbara Bush died in Houston, Texas on April 17, 2018.

Vel Phillips (94) civil rights pioneer who helped to lead open housing marches in Milwaukee in the ‘60s and was the first black person elected to a Wisconsin statewide office. Phillips blazed a trail for minorities and women as the first black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin law school. She was also the first woman and first black elected to the Milwaukee Common Council, where she kept introducing an ordinance to outlaw housing discrimination every 90 days for seven years until it was finally adopted in 1968. After leaving the Common Council in 1971, she was appointed first female judge in Milwaukee County and first black judge in Wisconsin. In 1978 Phillips made history as the first woman and first minority elected Wisconsin Secretary of State, a job she held until ’83. She died while in hospice care in Mequon, Wisconsin on April 17, 2018.

Charles .J. Zwick (91) President Lyndon B. Johnson’s last budget director, who helped to engineer the only federal surplus posted within a span of nearly 40 years. In 1968 Zwick faced a clamor among congressional conservatives for cutbacks in Great Society social-welfare programs. But he also had to contend with Johnson’s demands to safeguard that agenda and relieve the continuing budgetary pressures imposed by the Vietnam War. Zwick managed to reconcile those competing forces with an income tax surcharge. He died of cancer in Coral Gables, Florida on April 20, 2018.


Earle Bruce (87) took on the unenviable task of following his mentor, Woody Hayes, as Ohio State’s head football coach, then compiled an impressive record of his own beginning in 1979. Bruce had a record of 81-26-1 as head coach at Ohio from 1979–87. He was hired after Hayes, who coached Ohio State for 28 seasons, was fired for punching a Clemson player in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Bruce was never quite embraced by Buckeyes fans the way Hayes had been, but he never lost his passion for Ohio State football. He died of Alzheimer's disease in Columbus, Ohio on April 20, 2018.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top