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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 30, 2018

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Constance Adams, architect of space accommodationsMiriam Bockman, only woman to lead NY County DemocratsDr. Arvid Carlsson, Swedish Nobel Prize winnerDr. Price M. Cobbs, coauthor of book on '60s race relationsSteve Ditko, cocreator of 'Spiderman'Richard Elden, journalist turned investment managerHarlan Ellison, sci-fi author of books, TV, and filmDavid Goldblatt, South African photographerRichard Benjamin Harrison, co-owner of 'Pawn Stars' pawn shopFrank Heart, early computer engineerDan Ingram, longtime radio disk jockeyJoe Jackson, father of Jackson FiveDr. William McBride, among first to sound alarm about thalidomideLiliane Montevecchi, Tony-winning actress, singer, and dancerMichelle Musler, NY Knicks superfanDerrick O'Connor, Irish character actorRalph Paige, advocate for black farmersEugene Pitt, lead singer of Jive FivePhil Rodgers, champion golfer and golf instructorPatricia Schiller, lawyer turned sex educator and counselorKathy Shaw, Massachusetts religion reporterIrena Szewinska, champion Olympic sprinterAnne Tolstoi Wallach, advertising executive and novelist

Art and Literature

Steve Ditko (90) Marvel Comics artist who gave the world the webs and red-and-blue shape of “Spider-Man” and the other-worldly shimmer of “Doctor Strange.” Along with writer Stan Lee, Ditko introduced Peter Parker and his alter-ego “Spider-Man” in 1962 in an issue of Amazing Fantasy. A year later, Ditko introduced surgeon-turned-metaphysical superhero “Doctor Strange.” “Spider-Man” later became arguably the most indispensable and recognizable character in the Marvel universe, and “Doctor Strange” a member of its permanent pantheon. The adventures of both have been turned into blockbuster films, and both had essential roles in the recent Avengers: Infinity War. Ditko was found dead in his New York City apartment on June 29, 2018.

Harlan Ellison (84) pugnacious author of A Boy & His Dog and countless other stories that blasted society with their nightmarish, sometimes darkly humorous scenarios. During a career that spanned more than 50 years, Ellison wrote some 50 books and more than 1,400 articles, essays, TV scripts (his 1967 Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” was one of the series’ darkest and most brilliant), and screenplays. Although best known for his science fiction, which won nearly a dozen Nebula and Hugo awards, Ellison’s work covered virtually every type of writing from mysteries to comic books to newspaper columns. He was known as much for his attitude as his writing—described himself once as “bellicose.” His targets were anyone or anything that offended him, from TV producers to his own audience. He died in his sleep in Los Angeles, California on June 27, 2018.

David Goldblatt (87) South African photographer who for decades chronicled the fallout of white minority rule in his country. Goldblatt's images were shown in media and museums around the world. He used his cameras to explore apartheid and its impact on daily lives, photographing blacks and whites in quiet ways that highlighted the state-backed system of racial repression, in contrast to news photography that focused on events making international headlines. Apartheid ended with all-race elections in 1994 that propelled Nelson Mandela to the presidency. Goldblatt died in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 25, 2018.

Anne Tolstoi Wallach (89) woman who rose to the executive ranks in the male-dominated Manhattan advertising world, then wrote a much-discussed best-seller about a fictional woman who does the same. Wallach shook up the publishing industry in 1981 with Women’s Work, her debut novel, which had brought an $850,000 advance from the New American Library publishing house, a staggering figure (the equivalent of about $2.4 million today) for a first-time novelist. She used her new-found prominence to draw attention to issues of concern to women in the workplace, like maternity leave. At the advertising agency where she worked in the ‘50s, women had to use their vacation time for childbirth. Wallach died of Parkinson's disease in New York City on June 27, 2018.


Business and Science

Constance Adams (53) architect who gave up designing skyscrapers to develop structures that would help travelers to live with reasonable comfort on the International Space Station, Mars, or the moon. Adams had been interviewing for an architectural job in Houston in 1996 when she took a tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The tour aroused her curiosity and led to 20 years of work that challenged her to create living facilities for humans in the rarefied environment of space. She died of colorectal cancer in Houston, Texas on June 25, 2018.

Dr. Arvid Carlsson (95) Swedish scientist whose discoveries about the brain led to the development of drugs for Parkinson’s disease and earned him a Nobel Prize. When Carlsson started his research in the ‘50s, dopamine, a chemical in the brain, was thought to have little significance. He discovered that it was, in fact, an important neurotransmitter—a brain chemical that passes signals from one neuron to the next. Carlsson died in Gotheburg, Sweden on June 29, 2018.

Richard Elden (84) journalist-turned-investment manager, an early investor in several notable hedge funds. Elden founded Grosvenor Partners (now GCM Grosvenor), considered the first American fund-of-funds, in 1971. The preceding two years, while Elden was working as an analyst for the Chicago brokerage and investment bank A. G. Becker & Co., had been rough for the stock market, and Elden had become intrigued by the notion that high returns—with relatively low exposure to the ups and downs of the broader market—could be made available by using strategies that involved nonstock investments in options markets. He died of metastatic melanoma in Chicago, Illinois on June 27, 2018.

Richard Benjamin Harrison (77) Pawn Stars patriarch, known as “The Old Man” on the History Channel reality show. The Navy veteran opened the Gold & Silver Pawn store in Las Vegas with his son, Rick. Pawn Stars premiered in 2009 and features the Harrisons interacting with customers who are trying to sell or pawn objects that often are unusual or have historic value. Harrison died of Parkinson’s disease in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 25, 2018.

Frank Heart (89) engineer who oversaw development of the first routing computer for the Arpanet, precursor to the Internet. In 1969 Heart led a small team of talented young engineers in building the Interface Message Processor (IMP), a computer whose special function was to switch data among the computers on the Arpanet. To this day, many of the principles Heart emphasized—reliability, error resistance, and the capacity for self-correction—remain central to the Internet’s robustness. Data networking was so new that Heart and his team had no choice but to invent technology as they went. Heart died of melanoma in Lexington, Massachusetts on June 24, 2018.

Dr. William McBride (91) among the first doctors to sound an alarm about thalidomide, the sedative found to cause birth defects, but whose later career was marred by accusations of falsified research results and other misconduct. In the spring of 1961 McBride, an obstetrician, delivered a baby at Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, who had malformed arms and other problems. Within a few weeks he had delivered two more. In a letter published in the medical journal The Lancet that December, he noted that what seemed to connect the patients was a drug he had prescribed for morning sickness, thalidomide (known in Australia as Distaval). The drug was quickly banned or pulled from the market in one country after another. McBride died in Australia on June 27, 2018.

Patricia Schiller (104) lawyer who was volunteering at the Legal Aid Society in Washington in the late ‘50s when she realized that litigation wasn’t really what many of the warring couples she was assisting needed. What they needed, Schiller thought, was counseling. That insight led her to a striking career change: She went back to college, earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and became a leading voice in sex education and counseling. In 1967 she was the principal founder of the first accrediting organization in the US for professionals in that field, the American Association of Sex Educators & Counselors (later expanded to the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors & Therapists). Schiller died in Palm Beach, Florida on June 29, 2018.


News and Entertainment

Dan Ingram (83) popular radio disk jockey whose wisecracks and double entendres rippled through the air at rock-’n’-roll stations in New York from the early ‘60s to the early 21st century. Ingram preceded the era of shock jocks, but he was a quick-thinking, somewhat bawdy jester who mocked songs, singers, sponsors, and the weather at WABC-AM, a powerful Top 40 station that grew in the ’60s with the popularity of the Beatles, the Motown stable of artists, and others. Later, at WCBS-FM, the groundbreaking oldies station, he continued his comedy while reviving the music he had played decades earlier. Ingram had received a diagnosis of Parkinsonian syndrome in 2014. He died after choking on a piece of steak in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 24, 2018.

Joe Jackson (89) father of the Jackson Five and four more children. Joe once had his own dreams of success. He tried to be a boxer, then played guitar with a group called The Falcons. But he realized early on that there was an overwhelming pool of musical talent in his children, particularly a little bright-eyed boy named Michael. Joe Jackson channeled his ambition through them, creating one of the greatest pop vocal groups, the Jackson Five, and launched the career of one of entertainment’s greatest legends in Michael Jackson (died 2009), and another superstar talent, daughter Janet. Yet the legacy of Joe Jackson was steeped not only in the brilliant guidance of his children into the world’s premiere entertainment dynasty, but the iron fist with which he did it. Michael described beatings with the switch of a tree branch and a fear so great of his father that he would sometimes vomit at the sight of him. Joe Jackson died of pancreatic cancer in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 27, 2018.

Liliane Montevecchi (85) French-born actress, singer, and dancer who won a Tony Award for her show-stopping role as the producer in Nine. Montevecchi was 50 and a runaway from American film and TV when she was cast in Nine, the 1982 Broadway musical drama about a film director’s midlife crisis, based on the Federico Fellini film 8½. The role of the movie producer had been written for a man, but the character was reworked so Montevecchi, who didn’t fit anywhere else in the show, could be cast. In “Folies Bergère,” her big number, she reveled in the joys of the good old days of show business, stopped to chat flirtatiously with audience members, and ended up gloriously wrapped in a 30-foot-long black feather boa. She died of cancer in New York City on June 29, 2018.

Derrick O'Connor (77) Irish character actor who appeared in three Terry Gilliam films and played a memorable villain, a murderous South African security official, in Lethal Weapon 2, the second film in the action franchise starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. O’Connor had roles in Gilliam’s Jabberwocky (1977), Time Bandits (1981), and Brazil (1985). His notable American TV appearances include Alias, Carnivale, Monk, and Murder, She Wrote. In Britain and Australia he was best known for starring roles on Stringer, Fox, The Sweeney, and Knockback. Living in the US since 1990, he died of pneumonia near Santa Barbara, California on June 29, 2018.

Eugene Pitt (80) lead singer of the Jive Five, a doo-wop group that reached the Top 10 in 1961 with “My True Story” and endured long past doo-wop’s heyday by mingling their sound with later genres like funk, disco, and soul. Pitt formed the Jive Five in the late ‘50s with four friends with whom he sang on the streets of Brooklyn. Like many young vocalists of the era, they sang doo-wop, the romantic, harmonic brand of pop music that became popular alongside early rock ’n’ roll and contributed to the sound of soul. He died of diabetes in Newberry, South Carolina on June 29, 2018.


Politics and Military

Miriam Bockman (86) only woman to head the New York County Democrat organization and first member of the party’s reform wing to do so. Bockman was elected county leader in late September 1977 as a political ally of Edward I. Koch when he defeated the incumbent, Abraham D. Beame, for the Democrat mayoral nomination before winning the office in the general election. Bockmam's agenda as part of the party’s reform wing was to get more committee members and voters to choose nominees for political, public, and judicial seats rather than having those decisions made by a few bosses meeting in closed rooms. But the party apparatus she inherited from Frank G. Rossetti, a Beame supporter, was a shadow of the centuries-old Manhattan machine known as Tammany Hall, which had been ruled by illustrious figures like Aaron Burr, Boss Tweed, and Carmine G. De Sapio. Bockman died of cancer in New York City on June 25, 2018.

Ralph Paige (74) advocate for black farmers who fought to save their land and to win them financial compensation for what they contended were years of government discrimination. For 30 years beginning in 1985, Paige led the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, an advocacy organization for black farmers that grew out of the civil rights movement. In that leadership role he helped to organize black farmers and others in the Southeast into economic cooperatives, educated them on how best to retain their land, and became their spokesman. Paige died of congestive heart failure in Atlanta, Georgia on June 28, 2018.


Society and Religion

Dr. Price M. Cobbs (89) in a 1968 book written with Dr. William H. Grier, Dr. Cobbs sought to define the deep-seated anger felt by many black Americans and to identify it as a legacy of slavery. Cobbs and Grier, both psychiatrists, had opened a clinic in San Francisco in the mid-‘60s and had begun to notice patterns in the problems and experiences of their patients. The result was Black Rage, published a few months after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and in the midst of a decade marked by rioting in Newark, Detroit, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Grier died in 2015. Cobbs had traveled to Philadelphia for a grandson’s high school graduation when he died in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania on June 25, 2018.

Kathy Shaw (72) journalist who investigated allegations of sexual abuse by clergymen and compiled a national register of misconduct accusations so that the public could grasp the dimensions of the crisis. By surveying thousands of cases and posting them on a blog called “Abuse Tracker,” Shaw played a meaningful if largely unheralded role in helping fellow journalists and victims of abuse. As a religion reporter for the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette, she was credited in 2003 with bringing into view a confidential 1962 Vatican document that mandated complete secrecy by church leaders in dealing with cases of sexual abuse by priests and bishops. Advocates for victims of abuse said that the edict had shielded clergy from prosecution and contributed to cover-ups. Shaw died of pneumonia in Worcester, Massachusetts on June 24, 2018.


Sports

Michelle Musler (81) whose 40-year devotion to the New York Knicks in a seat behind the team’s bench made her one of the most recognizable mainstays at Madison Square Garden. Then an executive for the Xerox Corp., Musler became a season-ticket holder at the Garden after the Knicks’s second and last championship season, 1972–73. She eventually was sitting within arm’s reach of the players and coaches. She became one of the team’s most identifiable fans not associated with the entertainment industry, well known to many courtside spectators, Knicks employees, and reporters who covered the team. Articles about her appeared in the New York newspapers, detailing the lengths to which she went not to miss important games. Musler died of cancer in Stamford, Connecticut on June 28, 2018.

Phil Rodgers (80) five-time winner on the Professional Golfers Association Tour who became one of golf’s top instructors. Rodgers developed into one of the top young players in the ‘50s under Paul Runyan at La Jolla Country Club, winning a National Collegiate Athletic Association title at Houston. He won the 1962 Los Angeles Open for his first PGA Tour title, closing with a 62 for a nine-shot victory. That also was the pro debut of Jack Nicklaus; they were rivals and friends, and Nicklaus later leaned on Rodgers for help with his short game. Nicklaus gave Rodgers credit for his US Open and PGA Championship victories in 1980. Rodgers won all five of his PGA Tour events in his 20s, including two close calls in the majors. He was at 2-under par with six holes to play in the 1962 US Open at Oakmont and made three bogeys to finish two shots out of a playoff, which Nicklaus won over Arnold Palmer. Rodgers died of leukemia near San Diego, California on June 26, 2018.

Irena Szewinska (72) Polish sprinter who dominated women’s athletics for 20 years, winning seven Olympic medals, and later became a member of the International Olympic Committee. Szewinska competed in five Olympics, winning gold medals in the 400-meter relay in 1964, in the 200 meter in ’68, and the 400 meter in ’76. She was also a 10-time world record holder in the 100, 200, and 400 meter races. She died of cancer in Warsaw, Poland on June 29, 2018.


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