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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 19, 2018

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Joseph Campanella, versatile and ubiquitous TV actorMargot Kidder, actress most famous for playing Lois Lane in 'Superman' moviesTom Wolfe, colorful journalist and novelistGlenn Branca, pioneering composerDoug Ford, oldest surviving Masters championFrank McCulloch, last reporter to interview Howard HughesTom Murphy, Irish playwrightLeah Napolin, adapted short story into Broadway play 'Yentl'Lucian Pintilie, Romanian stage and film directorRichard Pipes, author of historical books on RussiaMary Sansone, Brooklyn political godmotherMichael L. Slive, Southeastern Conference commissioner

Art and Literature

Tom Wolfe (88) innovative journalist and novelist whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts, and Manhattan’s moneyed status-seekers in works like The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, The Right Stuff, and Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe's stylized writing was a fusillade of exclamation points, italics, and improbable words. An ingenious phrase maker, he helped to brand such expressions as “radical chic” for rich liberals’ fascination with revolutionaries; and the “Me” generation, defining the self-absorbed baby boomers of the ‘70s. He died of an infection in New York City on May 14, 2018.


Richard Pipes (94) author of a series of historical works on Russia, the Russian Revolution, and the Bolshevik regime, and a top adviser to the Reagan administration on Soviet and eastern European policy. Pipes, who spent his entire academic career at Harvard, took his place in the front rank of Russian historians with the publication of Russia Under the Old Regime (1974). But he achieved much wider renown as a public intellectual deeply skeptical about the American policy of détente with the Soviet Union. In 1976 he led a group of military and foreign-policy experts in a pessimistic analysis of Soviet military strategy and foreign policy. The group’s report, commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency as a counterweight to an analysis generated by its own experts, helped to galvanize conservative opposition to arms-control talks and accommodation with the Soviet Union, and it set the stage for President Ronald Reagan’s policy of challenging Soviet foreign policy and seeking to undermine its hold over eastern Europe. Pipes died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 17, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Glenn Branca (69) composer who began his musical life playing with influential Downtown rock bands in New York in the ‘70s. But Branca's musical curiosity led him to create a hybrid style—blending classical, rock, and avant-garde elements—that laid the foundation for much of today’s genre-crossing new music. His compositions often used massed amplified guitars of various kinds—soprano, alto, tenor, and bass—to give his sound the same breadth as that of an orchestra. Branca died of throat cancer in New York City on May 13, 2018.

Joseph Campanella (93) actor whose TV career began in the ‘50s on anthology series and continued for decades on shows like Mannix, The Bold Ones, and One Day at a Time. Tall and lean, with wavy hair, Campanella played doctors, lawyers, criminals, cops, and judges, including one named Judge Joseph Camp on the TV show The Practice from 1998–2001. He starred on The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, with Burl Ives and James Farentino, and The Doctors & the Nurses with Michael Tolan. He was a regular on the first season of Mannix, the long-running detective series starring Mike Connors, but left in 1968 when he was told his role would be reduced. Campanella found his stride as a frequent guest star. He was a crafty criminal suspected of planning a prison break in a 1966 episode of The FBI, a cattleman on Gunsmoke in '68, and Mary Richards’ hard-to-forget ex-boyfriend on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in '73. And in eight episodes of the sitcom One Day at a Time, from 1976–82, he played the ex-husband of Ann Romano, the single mother character played by Bonnie Franklin. His brother Frank, also an actor, died in 2006. Joseph Campanella died of Parkinson's disease in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on May 16, 2018.

Margot Kidder (69) Canadian actress who starred as a salty and cynical Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve (died 2004) in the Superman film franchise of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Superman (1978) was a superhero blockbuster 20 years before comic book movies became the norm at the top of the box office. Kidder, as ace reporter Lane, was a sexually savvy adult who played off the boyish, farm-raised charm of Reeve’s Clark Kent, although her dogged journalism constantly got her into dangerous scrapes that required old-fashioned rescues. She had many of the movies’ most memorable lines, including “You’ve got me?! Who’s got you?!” when she first encountered the costumed hero as she and a helicopter plunged from the top of a Metropolis building. Kidder died in her sleep in Livingston, Montana on May 13, 2018.

Frank McCulloch (98) journalist who covered the Vietnam War from the front lines and later worked as editor for newspapers across the US, including as a onetime managing editor of the Los Angeles Times. McCulloch covered crime, sports, and politics for the Reno Evening Gazette starting in the late ‘40s and later was Saigon bureau chief for the Time-Life News Service during the Vietnam War. He was the last reporter to interview Howard Hughes when, in 1958, the reclusive billionaire took him on a flight in one of his new planes. McCulloch died in Santa Rosa, California on May 14, 2018.

Tom Murphy (83) Irish playwright known for dark tales. Murphy wrote dozens of plays across 50 years. He ranked with Brian Friel as one of Ireland’s greatest contemporary playwrights, although he was not as well known internationally, partly because he ventured into more difficult emotional terrain. His first full-length play, A Whistle in the Dark, had its premiere in London in 1961 after having been rejected by the Abbey Theater of Dublin. The play was about a family of Irishmen in Coventry, England, awash in rivalries and resentments. Murphy died of heart failure in Dublin, Ireland on May 15, 2018.

Leah Napolin (83) with very little playwriting experience, Napolin adapted an Isaac Bashevis Singer short story, “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy,” into the play Yentl, earning a Broadway run that became a symbol for the second-wave feminist movement in the mid-‘70s. Later made into a 1983 movie starring Barbra Streisand, the story involved a young Jewish woman taking control of her own life by disguising herself as a man so that she can be allowed to study the Talmud. Napolin died of breast cancer in Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York on May 13, 2018.

Lucian Pintilie (84) Romanian stage and film director who clashed with the Communist authorities in his home country and was forced to leave. Pintilie was a provocateur by the standards of Communist Romania, incurring the wrath of Nicolae Ceausescu, the country’s leader from the mid-‘60s until his overthrow and execution in 1989. Eventually Pintilie left the country, working in France, the US, and elsewhere until after the fall of communism. His stage productions were often innovative—for a 1988 production of The Cherry Orchard at Arena Stage in Washington, he had the temerity to restore a scene that playwright Anton Chekhov had cut—and his films are considered precursors to the acclaimed Romanian New Wave cinema of the 21st century. Pintilie died in Bucharest, Romania on May 16, 2018.

Politics and Military

Mary Sansone (101) Brooklyn social worker who created a community service organization that bridged racial and ethnic barriers, defied the Mafia, and befriended supportive politicians. As Sansone evolved into a local folk hero and political godmother, the single-family rowhouse in Borough Park that she bought with her husband some 70 years ago became a Mecca for candidates, to whom she dispensed grass-roots wisdom as they came courting her. She delivered votes, campaign contributions, and her coveted endorsement, and winning candidates returned the favor with moral support for her organization, the Congress of Italian-American Organizations, a statewide social service federation known by the acronym CIAO (pronounced “chow,” like the informal Italian greeting). Sansone died in Brooklyn, New York on May 14, 2018.


Doug Ford (95) oldest surviving Masters champion who won 19 times on the Professional Golfers Association Tour and was the player of the year in 1957. Ford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 for a career when prize money was so small that he earned most of his cash gambling during practice rounds. His best year was 1957, when his three victories included the Masters. He was runner-up twice, had 22 top 10s, and earned $45,379. Ford won the 1955 PGA Championship by beating Cary Middlecoff, then won the Masters in ‘57 with a stirring comeback. He died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on May 14, 2018.

Michael L. Slive (77) commissioner of the Southeastern Conference who was instrumental in turning it into arguably the most prominent college sports conference in the US. Slive, who became commissioner in 2002, was a champion for the four-team College Football Playoff implemented in 2014. He also considered it an important part of his legacy that, in 2003, Mississippi State made Sylvester Croom the first black head football coach in the conference’s history. Slive died in Birmingham, Alabama on May 16, 2018.

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