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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 12, 2018

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Will Alsop, whimsical British architectAnne V. Coates, film editor who won Oscar for 'Lawrence of Arabia'Daniel Cohen, children's book author and father of 1988 Pan Am disaster victimGeorge Deukmejian, former governor of CaliforniaPhilip George, designer of restaurant interiorsDavid Goodall, Australian biologistJosh Greenfeld, Oscar-nominated screenwriterHarold Guskin, acting coachGeoffrey Hendricks, Fluxus artistScott Hutchison, singer with Frightened RabbitTessa Jowell, former British culture secretaryPer Kirkeby, Danish artistChuck Knox, three-time NFL coach of yearMatt Marks, composer and musician with chamber orchestra Alarm Will SoundPeter Mayer, publisher of reprinted editions of best-sellersCapt. Ernest L. Medina, US Army officer acquitted in My Lai massacreErmanno Olmi, Italian film directorAdam Parfrey, publisher of cult booksPierre Rissient, behind-the-scenes figure at Cannes Film FestivalCharlie Russell, Canadian naturalist who studied bearsLara Saint Paul, singer turned aerobic dancerGayle Shepherd, second from left, with her sisters Judith, Mary Lou, and MarthaCharles Steger Jr., former president of Virginia TechEvgeni Vasiukov, Russian chess grandmaster

Art and Literature

Will Alsop (70) British architect whose exuberant buildings enliven cities on both sides of the Atlantic. Alsop cited 20th-century modernists Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe among his influences. His buildings include the green, copper-clad Peckham Library in London, which won the Stirling Prize for architecture; London’s futuristic North Greenwich Underground station; and the Sharp Centre at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto. He is shown above in front of his Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto. He died in London, England on May 12, 2018.

Daniel Cohen (82) children’s book author who sought justice for his 20-year-old daughter and the 269 other victims of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Theodora Cohen, known as Theo, was a Syracuse University student flying home from a semester in London when a bomb exploded at 31,000 feet on December 21, 1988. The bombing killed all 259 passengers and crew members and 11 other people on the ground. Theo was Cohen's only child. Daniel Cohen wrote nearly 200 books, nearly all for children and teenagers—about ghosts, UFOs, the occult, ESP, vampires, werewolves, conspiracies, cloning, weather, and the human genome. He suffered a stroke in 2009 that left him unable to speak. He died of sepsis in Cape May, New Jersey on May 6, 2018.

Geoffrey Hendricks (86) artist who was part of the boundary-stretching Fluxus movement and taught at Rutgers University for 47 years. Hendricks was known for paintings of the sky, which he would render on traditional canvases and assorted other surfaces. But, like other Fluxus artists, he went far beyond the boundaries of painting. The Fluxus movement, which emerged in the ‘50s, defined art in terms of experiences and objects, and Hendricks was a fearless explorer in the art-as-performance world. He performed headstands all over the world—standing on his head for extended periods, perhaps painted blue or with signage dangling from his feet. Suffering from congestive heart failure and prostate cancer, he died in New York City on May 12, 2018.

Per Kirkeby (79) Danish artist who trained as a geologist before turning to painting quasi-abstract landscapes often characterized as Neo-Expressionist. Besides painting, Kirkeby worked in sculpture, drawing, and printmaking; wrote and directed films; and constructed permanent outdoor installations from brick. He also published numerous books of poetry and essays on art, designed sets and costumes for New York City Ballet productions of Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet, and had credits for visual effects on three films by Danish director Lars von Trier. Kirkeby died in Copenhagen, Denmark after a series of strokes, on May 9, 2018.

Business and Science

Philip George (94) designer of the interiors of some of Manhattan’s most star-studded restaurants who oversaw a short-lived but indelible Moscow culinary landmark—the site in 1959 of the impromptu Cold War “kitchen debate” between then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev. George’s several career paths converged in his preoccupation with imagery: How foreigners in Southeast Asia and post-World War II Europe regarded the US in the global competition against communism; how airline passengers perceived Braniff’s jelly-bean-colored fleet of planes; and whether diners preferred the elegant, quiet aura of Le Bernardin in Midtown Manhattan or, downtown, the cacophony of the Big Kitchen at the original World Trade Center. He died in Cuernavaca, Mexico on May 10, 2018.

David Goodall (104) Australian biologist who drew international attention to his right-to-die case. Goodall ended his life in Switzerland. Exit International, the group that helped him to carry out his wish, said the scientist was declared dead in Liestal, a town outside the city of Basel, where he had traveled to take advantage of Switzerland’s assisted-suicide laws. His quality of life had deteriorated over the last year. He cited a lack of mobility, doctor’s restrictions, and an Australian law prohibiting him from taking his own life among his complaints, but he was not ill. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, where the procedure is available for anyone who acknowledges in writing that they are taking their lives willingly—without being forced. Goodall died on May 10, 2018.

Peter Mayer (82) leading mainstream and independent publisher of the past 50 years who acquired such million-selling books as Up the Down Staircase and Jonathan Livingston Seagull and was known for his innovative and volatile style. Mayer was a London native and Columbia University graduate who broke into book publishing in the early ‘60s. At Avon Books he demonstrated a knack for finding unexpected best-sellers, especially during an era when different companies often released a book’s hardcover and paperback editions. He died in New York City of complications related to amyloidosis, on May 11, 2018.

Adam Parfrey (61) publisher of Joseph Goebbels’ only novel, screeds by the Unabomber and Charles Manson, and books on taboo topics like cannibals, Satanists, necrophiliacs, and pedophiles. Much of Parfrey’s catalogue appealed to a modest but loyal following of conspiracists, cultists, and paranoiacs. Most of his titles were published under two imprints with telltale names: first Amok Press and later Feral House. Parfrey could also claim credit for several breakout books, some of which inspired TV shows and films with their own cult followings, including director Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. Parfrey’s first major publishing venture for Amok, which began in 1987, was the first English translation of Michael, the only novel by Goebbels, written in 1929 before he became Hitler’s propaganda minister. Parfrey died in Seattle, Washington after a series of strokes, on May 10, 2018.

Charlie Russell (76) Canadian naturalist who researched grizzly bears by living among them and argued for a view of the animals based on coexistence rather than fear. Russell was outspoken in his belief that the view most people—including many of his fellow naturalists—held of the bear was wrong. He died of complications after surgery, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on May 7, 2018.


Charles Steger Jr. (70) former Virginia Tech president who led the institution through a period of great change and faced both criticism and praise for his leadership during a 2007 mass shooting. During his time as the university’s 15th president, from 2000–14, Virginia Tech increased its enrollment, raised more than $1 billion in private funding, formed a school of biomedical engineering, created a public-private school of medicine, and joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. Steger also led the university in the aftermath of the April 16, 2007 massacre, when gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 faculty members and students. It was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. Steger died in Blacksburg, Virginia on May 6, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Anne V. Coates (92) English surgical nurse who forsook her calling to perform surgery on some of the best-known motion pictures of the 20th century, earning an Oscar for film editing in 1963. One of the most celebrated film editors of her era, Coates won an Oscar for her work on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), the drama directed by David Lean and starring Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. In a 60-year career that took her from England to Hollywood, Coates worked with some of the best-known directors of her time, including, besides Lean, Michael Powell, Milos Forman (who died last month), and Sidney Lumet, receiving four more Oscar nominations along the way. She died in Woodland Hills, California on May 8, 2018.

Josh Greenfeld (90) Oscar-nominated screenwriter also acclaimed for three books about his autistic son. In the early ‘70s, when people with developmental disabilities were still often hidden away, Greenfeld helped to articulate their needs with A Child Called Noah (1972). It detailed the challenges his family faced in raising his younger son, Noah, who, born in 1966, was nonverbal and difficult to control. Greenfeld shared an Oscar nomination with Paul Mazursky for the screenplay for Harry & Tonto (1974), a movie about a road trip taken by a man and his cat for which Art Carney won a best-actor Oscar. Greenfeld wrote two more books about his son: A Place for Noah (1978) and A Client Called Noah (1987). His books helped other families in the same situation to realize that they could and should speak up and become their own best advocates. He died of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California on May 11, 2018.

Harold Guskin (76) acting coach who encouraged students like Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, and James Gandolfini to emphasize the words of the script over any analysis of their characters’ motivation. “Actors are about feelings, imagination, and improvisation,” Guskin wrote in How to Stop Acting (2003), a book that laid out his principles and techniques. He learned in 2008 that he had primary progressive aphasia, a rare form of dementia. He died from a pulmonary embolism in Park Ridge, New Jersey on May 10, 2018.

Scott Hutchison (36) singer with the indie rock band Frightened Rabbit. The band was founded by Hutchison and his drummer brother Grant more than 10 years ago and has released several albums. Hutchison was reported missing May 9 after leaving a hotel in South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, Scotland. Police said his body was found two days later at the nearby Port Edgar marina. They did not disclose the cause of his death, but Hutchison had spoken about his struggles with depression, and after his disappearance his family said they worried he was in a “fragile state.” He was found dead on May 11, 2018.

Matt Marks (38) composer and musician at the epicenter of a diverse community of open-minded artists as a founding member of the contemporary chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound. As a performer, Marks was known best as a French horn player for Alarm Will Sound, of which he was an integral member. The ensemble has been critically praised and is known for its unusual stylistic breadth and commitment to innovation. When the group ventured into theatrical concerts and multimedia events, Marks rose to the occasion as a singer, an actor, and a keyboardist. He died unexpectedly of heart failure after a performance in St. Louis, Missouri on May 11, 2018.

Ermanno Olmi (86) Italian cinematic giant who won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival for his depiction of 19th-century Italian farm life in L’Albero degli Zoccoli (The Tree of Wooden Clogs), which won the 1978 Palme d’Or prize. In 2008 Olmi was honored with a Career Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. He also directed several operas for the La Scala opera house in Milan. Olmi died in Asiago, Italy on May 7, 2018.

Pierre Rissient (81) behind-the-scenes figure at the Cannes Film Festival and an influential shaper of cinematic trends and directors’ careers for 50 years. Rissient filled roles that no one could easily define but that all agreed were vital: scouting movies for Cannes, advising directors, making introductions, cultivating journalists. He was among the first to recognize that Clint Eastwood could do more than merely act in spaghetti westerns. He saw early that Jane Campion was a director worthy of attention and helped to put her 1993 film, The Piano, in position to win the Palme d’Or, the top prize at Cannes. Rissient died of sudden thrombosis in Paris, France on May 6, 2018.

Lara Saint Paul (73) singer who, inspired by actress Jane Fonda, kindled an aerobic fitness craze in Italy in the ‘80s. Saint Paul—born in Eritrea, in northern Africa, which at the time was an Italian colony—made her public debut at an Italian music festival when she was only 16 and rocketed to stardom after performing a duet there with Louis Armstrong when she was in her early 20s. She later recorded, toured, and presented TV specials featuring leading American and Italian entertainers. In the early ‘80s, borrowing a page from Fonda, Saint Paul produced a wildly successful aerobics video of her own, along with an album and a book. Italians all over were soon copying her pulse-raising moves to a dance-music beat. Her album Aerobic Dance was certified gold in Italy. Saint Paul died in Casalecchio di Reno, Italy, near Bologna, on May 8, 2018.

Gayle Shepherd (81) member of the vocal quartet the Shepherd Sisters, best known for the 1957 hit “Alone (Why Must I Be Alone?).” The second youngest of eight siblings, Gayle Shepherd grew up singing in church in Middletown, Ohio. With two sisters, Martha (died 1992) and Mary Lou, she performed locally as the Shepherd Sisters beginning when they were teenagers, with Gayle often singing lead. Their group had its breakthrough in the mid-‘50s performing on the variety show Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, which pitted young musicians against one another. They had a harmonious style typical of the popular girl groups of the '50s and ’60s. They added a fourth sister, Judith (died 2009), to the group in 1957 and released their biggest hit, the upbeat “Alone,” which reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year. Gayle Shepherd died of dementia in Allentown, Pennsylvania on May 7, 2018.

Politics and Military

George Deukmejian (89) two-term California governor whose antispending credo earned him the nickname “The Iron Duke.” The Republican spent 30 years in California politics as an assemblyman, senator, state attorney general, and governor. He was elected as the state’s 35th governor in 1982 when a massive absentee voting campaign edged him just ahead of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. As governor from 1983–91, Deukmejian ran a law-and-order administration, expanding the state prison system, bringing the left-leaning California Supreme Court to the center, and supporting tough anticrime legislation. He made his opposition to new taxes and increased government spending a focus of his political career. Deukmejian died in Long Beach, California on May 8, 2018.

Tessa Jowell (70) former British culture secretary who played a key role in securing the 2012 London Olympics and used her own cancer diagnosis to campaign for better treatment. Jowell, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017, remained a member of the House of Lords and used the platform to call for improved information sharing and better access to medical care. She died in Warwickshire, England on May 12, 2018.

Capt. Ernest L. Medina (81) US Army captain who was accused of overall responsibility for the March 1968 mass killings of unarmed South Vietnamese men, women, and children by troops he commanded in what became known as the My Lai massacre but was acquitted at a court-martial. On March 16, 1968, six weeks after North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces launched the Tet offensive, wide-ranging attacks that stunned the American military command in the Vietnam War, Medina and the three platoons of his infantry company entered the village of My Lai in South Vietnam’s south central coast region. What happened over the hours that followed became one of the darkest chapters of American military history. An Army inquiry ultimately determined that 347 civilians were killed that day—shot, bayoneted, or blasted with grenades. Medina died in Peshtigo, Wisconsin on May 8, 2018.


Chuck Knox (86) former NFL coach who took the Los Angeles Rams to three straight National Football Conference championship games and led the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills. Called “Ground Chuck” for his run-first offenses, Knox was NFL coach of the year in 1973, ’80, and ‘84, winning the award with all three teams he coached. He went 186-147-1 during 22 seasons as an NFL head coach, including two stints with the Rams. He won five straight NFC West titles from 1973–77 and returned in ‘92 for the franchise’s final three seasons in LA before its move to St. Louis. Knox left the Rams in 1978 for the Buffalo Bills. After five seasons he took over the Seahawks in 1983 and immediately led the franchise to its first playoff berth and the American Football Conference title game. He spent nine seasons with Seattle. Knox died of dementia on May 12, 2018.

Evgeni Vasiukov (85) Russian chess grandmaster, among the world’s best players for more than 15 years, who won tournaments in five different decades but whose career was eclipsed by brilliant contemporaries in a Soviet Union stocked with talent. On the official ranking lists compiled by the World Chess Federation, Vasiukov was tied for No. 17 in January 1976. But those rankings have existed only since 1970, which was after his peak. According to Chess Metrics, a widely respected website that has compiled retroactive rankings going back more than 200 years, Vasiukov was No. 11 in the world between August and October 1962. He died in Moscow, Russia on May 10, 2018.

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