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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 2, 2018

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Paul D. Boyer, Nobel-winning molecular biologistElla Brennan, New Orleans restaurateur and mentor of chefsEddy Clearwater, Chicago bluesmanJill Ker Conway, first woman president of Smith CollegeSerge Dassault, French aviation and arms industrialistBob Fuss, CBS radio reporterBarbara Kafka, food columnist and cookbook authorBruce Kison, World Series-winning pitcherFred Kovaleski, tennis star and CIA spyConnie Kurtz, gay-rights activistStewart Lupton, singer/songwriter with ’90s band Jonathan Fire*EaterNick Meglin, longtime top editor at 'Mad' magazineMalcolm Morley, pioneer artist in PhotorealismRussell Nype, two-time Tony-winning singer and actorJoe Pintauro, priest turned playwrightIrving Sandler, art criticDr. Jens Christian Skou, Danish researcherLt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, combat veteran and military analystDick Tuck, Democrat prankster who needled RepublicansMel Weinberg, con man in ABSCAM sting

Art and Literature

Malcolm Morley (86) artist who helped to foster Photorealism in the ‘60s, then did the same in the late ’70s for the more sensuous style of painting known as Neo-Expressionism. Morley was a skilled and prolific painter with an exploratory spirit, moving through an assortment of styles and techniques after discovering art in an unusual place: prison, where he landed as a teenager on burglary convictions. By the mid-‘60s he was established in New York arts circles, working in a Photorealist style (preferred the term “superrealist”), often making his paintings from images on postcards of cruise ships. He died in Bellport, New York on June 1, 2018.

Irving Sandler (92) New York art critic who drew on his extensive relationships with living artists to compile authoritative histories of Abstract Expressionism and the artistic movements that followed. Sandler haunted the galleries along East 10th Street, the hub of avant-garde activity in the ‘50s and '60s, and spent evenings at the Cedar Tavern, once the unofficial headquarters of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He came to know the principal figures in the art world of the time and eventually spent long hours interviewing them in their studios, getting them to think out loud about their work. He died of cancer in New York City on June 2, 2018.

Business and Science

Paul D. Boyer (99) molecular biologist who shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to understanding the way all organisms get energy from their environments and process it to sustain life and fuel their activities. A professor emeritus at UCLA, where he taught chemistry and conducted research for more than 50 years, Boyer devoted his career to the study of enzymes, those mysterious proteins that power biochemical processes in the cells of plants and animals. Building on the earlier work of other scientists and his own decades of research, he deciphered the mechanics of the enzyme ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the link in every cell that acts like a tiny motor, chemically capturing energy from its surroundings and releasing it as mechanical energy for life to run on. He died in Los Angeles, California on June 2, 2018.

Ella Brennan (92) couldn’t cook but played a major role in putting New Orleans on the world’s culinary map. Brennan was credited with creating nouvelle Creole cuisine, was the matriarch of a family that owns nearly two dozen restaurants—more if you count every outlet of a local pizza and po’-boy chain—and, at Commander’s Palace, cultivated many of the city’s top chefs, including Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Brennan won the James Beard Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2009. She died in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 31, 2018.

Serge Dassault (93) French business executive, a top aviation and arms industrialist, and one of France’s richest men. Dassault was especially known for the development of France’s Mirage jet fighters and for equipping the French Air Force and other militaries through global sales. He was chairman and chief executive of the Dassault Group and president of honor of Dassault Aviation, which he once led. He died of a “cardiac deficiency” in his Paris, France office on the Champs-Elysees, on May 28, 2018.

Barbara Kafka (84) food columnist and cookbook author who horrified American epicures by publishing recipes that used the microwave oven and the food processor as respectable tools for home cooking. Kafka crowned her career with two Lifetime Achievement Awards and the Cookbook Hall of Fame Award from the James Beard Foundation. She died of Parkinson's disease in New York City on June 1, 2018.

Dr. Jens Christian Skou (99) Danish researcher whose discovery of a vital mechanism in the body’s cells earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997. Skou was best known for a discovery he made in 1957 while studying the leg nerves of shore crabs. It led him to conclude that an enzyme in the body serves as a kind of pump that regulates the amount of potassium and sodium ions inside cells. That movement of ions is the basis for many of the body’s functions, like nerve impulses, muscle contractions, and digestion. Skou's findings formed a cornerstone of the present-day understanding of how the body works, and scientists have since studied the pump for the role it plays in a variety of diseases. Skou died in Aarhus, Denmark on May 28, 2018.


Jill Ker Conway (83) first woman president of Smith College in Massachusetts. A native of Australia, Conway was named president of the women’s liberal arts college in Northampton in 1975. During her 10-year presidency, she spearheaded new programs and oversaw a near tripling of the school’s endowment. After she left Smith, Conway wrote three best-selling memoirs, including A Woman’s Education. She was a visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 2011. Conway died in Boston, Massachusetts on June 1, 2018.


Mel Weinberg (93) con artist whose greatest hustle was the FBI’s 1978–79 ABSCAM sting, using phony Arab sheikhs, a yacht in Florida, and suitcases of money to snare a US senator, six congressmen, and other public officials for influence peddling. A convicted swindler with a Runyonesque persona, Weinberg, facing prison for fraud, traded his criminal savvy for probation and became a principal orchestrator and actor in the two-year operation code-named ABSCAM. The operation videotaped politicians and others taking bribes from federal agents posing as oil-rich Arabs seeking favors on immigration problems and investment projects. The case was the most spectacular corruption scandal of its era. Breaking publicly in 1980, it spawned almost daily revelations of self-incriminating conversations and exchanges of cash. In the 2013 movie American Hustle, based on the case, Weinberg was played by Christian Bale. He died in Titusville, Florida on May 30, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Eddy Clearwater (83) Chicago bluesman lauded for his guitar playing and flamboyant showmanship. Known as “The Chief,” Clearwater was born Edward Harrington, a self-taught guitarist from Birmingham who performed with gospel music groups, including the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. After moving to Chicago in 1950, Clearwater drifted into the blues, making a name for himself as Guitar Eddy. After he added a rock-‘n’-roll element to his guitar playing, his then-manager came up with the name Clear Waters as a play on blues legend Muddy Waters. The name eventually evolved into Eddy Clearwater. His 2003 album, Rock ‘N’ Roll City, was nominated for a Grammy Award as best traditional blues album. Clearwater died of heart failure in Skokie, Illinois on June 1, 2018.

Bob Fuss (64) longtime CBS News radio reporter. Fuss covered every presidential election from 1980–2012 for CBS Radio but also was a fixture on the entertainment beat, covering 15 straight Oscar ceremonies. He graduated from Stanford University at age 19 and got his big break covering the Patty Hearst kidnapping as a radio free-lancer. Birth defects left Fuss walking with crutches, but he still skied and snorkeled. He titled his memoir, Kidnapped by Nuns, after a group of well-meaning nuns mistakenly herded him into a group of disabled people waiting for the Pope’s blessing. Fuss died of a rare form of leukemia in Falls Church, Virginia on May 27, 2018.

Stewart Lupton (43) singer-songwriter whose short-lived ’90s band Jonathan Fire*Eater fell short of major-label rock stardom but inspired a wave of New York acts in the early 2000s. Jonathan Fire*Eater, with Lupton as its frontman, released only two albums and a few demos and EPs before its demise in 1998. Yet the band’s post-punk sound, propelled by an organ and Lupton’s wails, helped to plant the seed of the New York rock revival that brought the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, and LCD Soundsystem to global acclaim. Jonathan Fire*Eater was known primarily for its chaotic live shows in dingy bars and clubs. Lupton died in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 27, 2018.

Nick Meglin (82) top editor at Mad magazine who for many years was chief barometer of whether the publication’s silly and satirical humor had gone too far—or not far enough. Meglin spent nearly 50 years (1985–2004) at Mad, from its early heyday as an outrageous force in American culture to an era when it struggled for relevance amid the rise of increasingly daring humor outlets, like National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, and The Onion, many of whose writers had been influenced by Mad. He died of a heart attack in Durham, North Carolina on June 2, 2018.

Russell Nype (98) singer and actor who won two Tony Awards in the ‘50s, one for a role alongside Elaine Stritch in Goldilocks and another for his part in the original Broadway production of Call Me Madam. The latter included a rousing, show-stopping duet, “You're Just in Love,” with Ethel Merman. Nype lost the 1953 movie role to Donald O'Connor. He continued acting into the ‘90s and singing until recent years. Call Me Madam, a comedy about the American ambassador to a fictional European country, was loosely based on the career of Perle Mesta, US ambassador to Luxembourg (1949–53), with music by Irving Berlin. Nype died in West Palm Beach, Florida on May 27, 2018.

Joe Pintauro (87) former priest who made a career switch to playwright. Pintauro's works were staged by the Circle Repertory Company in New York and numerous regional theaters. His plays addressed a broad range of topical subjects, including the AIDS crisis, pederasty in the priesthood, and suburban sprawl. In 1992 his Men’s Lives was the first mainstage production of the new Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York, and dealt with a controversy right outside the theater’s doors: the tension between sport fishermen and the baymen who continued to struggle to make a living with traditional fishing methods. It was a work whose themes might have resonated anyplace where coal miners, shoemakers, or autoworkers were being put out of work by forces beyond their control. Pintauro died of prostate cancer in Sag Harbor, New York on May 29, 2018.

Politics and Military

Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor (89) Marine combat veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars who forged a second career as a military analyst and coauthor of three books taking a highly critical view of American policy in the wars with Iraq. After leading infantrymen in two wars and serving as a senior commander at Marine headquarters at the Pentagon, Trainor was military correspondent for the New York Times from 1986–90 and later an analyst for ABC News and NBC News. In their trilogy of books, published from 1995–2012, Trainor and Michael R. Gordon, chief military correspondent for the Times, drew on classified documents; interviews with military personnel, American officials, Iraqi officials, and their rivals; oral histories; and the authors’ own visits to battle sites. The final book, The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama (2012), analyzed American intervention in Iraq. Trainor died of cancer in Potomac Falls, Virginia on June 2, 2018.

Dick Tuck (94) Democrat prankster-at-large who bedeviled Barry M. Goldwater, Richard M. Nixon, and other Republicans with bad-news fortune cookies, a comely spy, a treacherous little old lady, and other campaign-trail tomfoolery. Long retired as a Democrat National Committee consultant, strategist, and advance man, Tuck was a master of political shenanigans, starting in California in the ‘50s and needling GOP rivals for decades. Dogged by Tuck for most of his political life, Nixon can be heard on Oval Office tapes enviously praising Tuck exploits over his own team’s crude (and illegal) dirty tricks. Tuck died in Tucson, Arizona on May 28, 2018.

Society and Religion

Connie Kurtz (81) gay-rights activist who sued New York City for domestic-partner benefits in the ‘80s. Kurtz met Ruth Berman in the late ‘50s when both were married to men. Both had teenage children when they left their marriages and became a couple in the ‘70s. Berman was working as a school guidance counselor at a high school in Brooklyn when the two women were plaintiffs in a 1988 lawsuit seeking domestic-partner benefits from the New York City Board of Education. The lawsuit prompted the city to offer health-care coverage to all registered domestic partners in 1994. Kurtz and Berman’s highly public coming-out included a 1988 appearance on The Phil Donahue Show. Kurtz died of liver cancer in West Palm Beach, Florida on May 27, 2018.


Bruce Kison (68) pitcher who helped the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the World Series in 1971 and ‘79 and later spent 30 years in player development and scouting roles. Kison won Game 4 of the 1971 World Series—the first night game in World Series history—when he threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief against Baltimore as a rookie, allowing only a bloop double to Paul Blair. Kison started and lost the 1979 opener against the Orioles, getting just one out and giving up five runs. He had a 5-1 record and 1.98 earned run average in 10 postseason appearances, including four starts. After retiring as a player, he was a bullpen coach for Kansas City from 1992–93 and the Royals' pitching coach from ‘94–98. He had been diagnosed with renal cancer in February and died in Bradenton, Florida on June 2, 2018.

Fred Kovaleski (93) international tennis star whose career became his cover in the ‘50s while he was working as a spy for the CIA. Kovaleski was well into his career on the tennis circuit, having played at Wimbledon and in tournaments abroad and in the US, when he joined the CIA in 1951 and began training in spycraft at Camp Peary, near Williamsburg, Virginia. Within three years his ability to play tennis and speak Russian became essential when Yuri Rastvorov, a KGB lieutenant colonel and avid tennis player, defected to the US. Rastvorov—a major espionage asset who revealed important information about the KGB and the Soviet government—defected in Tokyo and was taken to a CIA safe house in Potomac, Maryland, where agents interrogated him for hours every day for months. Kovaleski, his handler, did not participate in the interrogations, but at night they talked, and the information he gleaned went into his reports. Kovaleski died of prostate cancer in New York City on May 27, 2018.

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