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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, July 7, 2018

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Henry Butler, blind jazz pianist and singerJean-Louis, Cardinal Tauran, Vatican diplomatAlan Diaz, AP photojournalistMax Fuchs, US Jewish WWII veteran who sang cantorial music at service on German battlefieldLouis Gignac, French hair stylistJeremy Gold, actuary who warned of pension disasterDr. Kimishige Ishizaka, immunologist who studied allergiesAlan Johnson, choreographer for Mel Brooks's filmsClaude Lanzmann, French film directorAlan Longmuir, founding member of Bay City RollersDame Gillian Lynne, British dancer and choreographerRobby Müller, Dutch cinematographerDr. Alan S. Rabson, cancer pathologistEd Schultz, radio news and talk show hostHerbert Sperling, convicted drug dealerBill Watrous, tromboniist

Business and Science

Louis Gignac (89) French hair stylist, the Louis in New York's Louis-Guy D Salon in the '60s and '70s. Gignac became one of the most sought-after hair stylists in the city, cultivating a luxurious environment at his salon on Manhattan’s East Side and attracting socialites and celebrities like Gloria Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Catherine Deneuve. He also styled women’s hair for magazine spreads in Glamour and Mademoiselle and collected his advice in a book, Everything You Need to Know to Have Great-Looking Hair (1981). Gignac later ran a salon with his second wife in Miami Beach, Florida, where he died of pancreatic cancer on July 7, 2018.

Jeremy Gold (75) actuary who more than 25 years ago warned of the financial debacles now slowly playing out among the cities and states that sponsor pension plans for their teachers, police officers, bus drivers, and other workers. In 1985 Gold became one of the first American actuaries to work on Wall Street, straying from the profession’s typical career track in insurance and consulting. It was the heyday of the corporate raid, when high rollers like Carl Icahn and T. Boone Pickens were buying up companies, firing the managers, turning everything upside down, and reveling in the shareholder value they claimed to have created. Often the raiders went after companies with pension funds. They said the funds held far more money than they needed, grabbed what they said was the surplus, and used it to finance their takeovers. When the dust settled, the money was gone, and workers’ hopes for a decent retirement were dashed. Gold died in New York City of myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia on July 6, 2018.

Dr. Kimishige Ishizaka (92) immunologist whose experimental work—including transforming himself into a human pin cushion—identified the antibodies that trigger wheezing, itching, rashes, and other allergic reactions. By developing a better understanding of what causes severe allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals, Ishizaka and his wife, Teruko Ishizaka, a research immunologist, laid the groundwork in the mid-‘60s for advances in monitoring, treating, and preventing such conditions as asthma, hay fever, and drug and food allergies. At the time they were working at the Children’s Asthma Research Institute & Hospital (now National Jewish Health) in Denver, Colorado, where Dr. Ishizaka eventually became chief of immunology. He died in Yamagata, Japan on July 6, 2018.

Dr. Alan S. Rabson (92) pathologist who helped to define the field of cancer pathology, figured out why shingles and recurrent cold sores occur, and helped to lead the National Cancer Institute into new eras over several decades. Besides his scientific and administrative achievements, what made Rabson stand out were his kindness, his empathy, his geniality, and his willingness to help anyone with a cancer diagnosis who was seeking advice or a referral to an oncologist. Rabson died of vascular disease in Skillman, New Jersey on July 4, 2018.


Herbert Sperling (79) convicted drug dealer from Hell’s Kitchen accused of ordering the execution of Vincent C. Papa, a fellow mobster who masterminded the brazen theft of 400 pounds of “French Connection” heroin and cocaine from a police vault. Sperling was among the first defendants to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole after federal judges were empowered to impose that penalty in the early ‘70s in response to what was viewed as a national crisis over narcotics crime and addiction. He spent nearly three-fourths of his life behind bars, including the last 45 years since his arrest in 1973 and subsequent conviction on drug-trafficking charges. Sperling died near Ayer, Massachusetts on July 3, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Henry Butler (69) jazz pianist who carried the traditions of New Orleans to the brink of the avant-garde. Butler was born in New Orleans in 1948 and grew up in the Calliope housing projects there, which were torn down after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Glaucoma left him blind in infancy. Still, as an adult he was acclaimed as a member of a New Orleans piano pantheon alongside Jelly Roll Morton, James Booker, Tuts Washington, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, and Dr. John. He was also a bluesy singer who often used New Orleans standards as springboards for improvisation. He died of metastatic colon cancer in the Bronx, New York on July 2, 2018.

Alan Diaz (71) retired Associated Press photojournalist whose photo of a terrified 6-year-old Cuban boy named Elian Gonzalez earned him the Pulitzer Prize. Diaz’s iconic image shows an armed US immigration agent confronting the boy in the Little Havana home where he lived with relatives after being found floating off the Florida coast. The AP hired Diaz as a staff photographer two months after the raid, kicking off a 17-year-career. Within months of starting, he was taking photos of hanging chads during the Florida recount for the 2000 presidential election. In 2001 he flew to New York just days after 9/11, when planes were allowed back in the sky, to help document the recovery. He was in Florida for the 2004 and ‘05 hurricane seasons, when storm after storm caused billions in damage across the Southeastern US. More recently he rushed to Orlando in 2016 to cover another tragedy, a shooting at a gay nightclub that left 49 people dead. Diaz died in Miami, Florida on July 3, 2018.

Alan Johnson (81) choreographer renowned for his campy movie collaborations with Mel Brooks on the “Springtime for Hitler” goose-steppers-and-showgirls extravaganza in The Producers and the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” tap dance in Young Frankenstein. Johnson had danced in the original Broadway production of West Side Story and began his career as a choreographer when he started working with Brooks, best known at the time for his work with Carl Reiner on the 2000-Year-Old Man records, who was developing The Producers, about a producer who schemes with his accountant to create a Broadway flop and steal the money invested in it by unsuspecting old women. The show they choose —Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf & Eva at Berchtesgaden—is the film’s musical showpiece, a tasteless parody of ‘30s musicals with Nazis singing and dancing and chorines wearing outsize beer steins and pretzels on their heads. Johnson died of Parkinson's disease in Los Angeles, California on July 7, 2018.

Claude Lanzmann (92) French director whose 9½-hour masterpiece Shoah bore unflinching witness to the Holocaust through the testimonies of Jewish victims, German executioners, and Polish bystanders. The power of Shoah, filmed in the ‘70s during Lanzmann’s trips to the barren Polish landscapes where the slaughter of Jews was planned and executed, was in viewing the Holocaust as an event in the present rather than as history. It contained no archival footage, no musical score—just the landscape, trains, and recounted memories. Lanzmann was 59 when the movie, his second, came out in 1985. It defined the Holocaust for those who saw it and defined him as a filmmaker. He died in Paris, France on July 5, 2018.

Alan Longmuir (70) founding member of the Scottish pop group the Bay City Rollers, which enjoyed huge commercial success in the ‘70s. The Bay City Rollers, known for their tartan outfits and their upbeat, catchy tunes like “Bye Bye Baby” and “Shang-a-Lang,” had a fanatical teenage following and sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Although they were always bigger in Britain, they also had seven Top 40 singles in the US, including “Saturday Night,” which reached No. 1 in 1975. Longmuir died in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 2, 2018.

Dame Gillian Lynne (92) British dancer and choreographer who worked closely for many years with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber on some of his most famous works. Lynne’s many credits included the phenomenally successful Cats and Phantom of the Opera. In June, Lloyd Webber renamed his New London Theatre the Gillian Lynne Theatre, making it the first in London’s theater district named after a woman. Lynne received many honors for her decades of theatrical work and was made a dame in 2014. She died of pneumonia in London, England on July 1, 2018.

Robby Müller (78) Dutch cinematographer whose inventive use of lighting and artful approach to composition were consistent elements of films by directors like Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch. Although Müller’s role was to enhance the vision of directors, his use of natural light and long wide shots—and his disdain for what he called “camera acrobatics”—established him as a cinematographic auteur. Müller’s closest collaborator was Wenders, with whom he made 12 feature films, including The American Friend (1977), with Dennis Hopper, and Paris, Texas (1984), with Harry Dean Stanton. Müller died of vascular dementia in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on July 3, 2018.

Ed Schultz (64) veteran broadcasting personality whose career took him from quarterbacking at a Minnesota college to national radio and TV, including hosting a show on MSNBC. Schultz anchored News with Ed Schultz, the flagship show on RT America, a Russian-funded station formerly known as Russia Today. He also hosted The Ed Show on MSNBC from 2009–15. He started out as a conservative radio talk show host but was a fiery liberal by the time he took his show into national syndication in 2004. Schultz died of heart problems in Washington, DC on July 5, 2018.

Bill Watrous (79) musician whose crisp playing made him one of the world’s most respected trombonists. Watrous was heard often on studio recordings by artists like Quincy Jones, Prince, and Frank Sinatra. But over a nearly 50-year career as a bandleader, he also released more than a dozen albums under his own name. For a time in the ‘70s he led a jazz-rock big band, Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, which released two albums on Columbia Records. Watrous’s professional career began in the ‘60s, when he played in ensembles led by trumpeter Billy Butterfield and trombonist Kai Winding and contributed to albums by the likes of Woody Herman, Wes Montgomery, Milton Nascimento, and Chick Corea. He died in Los Angeles, California on July 3, 2018.

Society and Religion

Jean-Louis, Cardinal Tauran (75) Vatican diplomat and expert in interfaith relations who announced the election of Pope Francis to the world in 2013 with the famous phrase, “Habemus papam (we have a pope).” Tauran served in various Vatican embassies before being named chief Vatican archivist, foreign minister, then prefect of the Vatican office of interfaith relations. He died in Vatican City, Italy on July 5, 2018.

Max Fuchs (96) rifleman in the US's First Infantry Division when it came ashore at Omaha Beach, the bloodiest sector of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, on the morning of June 6, 1944. Four months later, Fuchs fought with the division in the battle for Aachen, which became the first German city to fall to the Allies in World War II. And on October 29 of that year, Pvt. Fuchs—who had attended a yeshiva and sang cantorial music in a choir while growing up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—sang the traditional Sabbath hymns at a hugely emotional open-air service on the Aachen battlefield before some 50 fellow Jewish soldiers. After the war he studied cantorial music under the GI Bill and was cantor at the Bayside Jewish Center in Queens for 39 years while working as a diamond cutter in Midtown Manhattan’s jewelry district. He died in New York City on July 3, 2018.

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