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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 25, 2018

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John McCain in high school, as PoW, and as US senatorTed Achilles, Oregon businessman who worked to improve Afghanistan educationGeorge Andrie, former Dallas Cowboys defensive endKhaira Arby, Malian singer and songwriterHenry Arnhold, German banker and philanthropistUri Avnery, Israeli journalist and peace activistHenry Bawnik, survivor of Holocaust and moreAndre Blay, father of home videoMaria Isabel Chorobik de Mariani, cofounder of Argentine human rights groupDr. Elizabeth Connell, leader in women's reproductive healthRuth Finley, publisher of Finley's Fashion CalendarTom Frost, rock climberBarbara Harris, actress in original 'Freaky Friday'Russ Heath, comic book artistLeslie ('Lazy Lester') Johnson, singer and musician of 'swamp blues'Ed King, guitarist for Lynyrd SkynyrdRobin Leach, TV host of 'Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous'Jeff Lowe, mountain climberHanna Mina, Syrian novelistBran Murray, British actorKrishna Reddy, Indian printmaker, sculptor, and teacherMartin Shubik, Yale economistConstance Sutton, feminist and anthropologistGeorge Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning classical composerRev. Robert W. Wood, clergyman who urged churches to welcome gaysDavid Yallop, investigative journalistCraig Zadan, coproducer of live TV musicals

Art and Literature

Russ Heath (91) prolific comic book artist known for viscerally illustrated combat stories—and for either inspiring or being outright copied by Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (died 1997). Heath was a versatile artist who began his career shortly after World War II and was still drawing into the 21st century, having worked on series for comics publishers like DC and EC and for magazines like Playboy and National Lampoon. Although his work included fantasy, he was especially known for his drawings of tanks, planes, soldiers, and other real-life subjects. He bought helmets and uniforms from Army surplus stores to use as references and sometimes built models before drawing a piece of machinery. Heath died of cancer in Long Beach, California on August 23, 2018.

Hanna Mina (94) Syrian writer who chronicled the lives of the poor and oppressed in dozens of books as one of the first Arab novelists to employ social realism. Mina’s career spanned 50 years, and several of his works were adapted for film and TV, but only two, Sun on a Cloudy Day (1973) and Fragments of Memory (1993), were translated into English. He died in Damascus, Syria on August 21, 3018.

Krishna Reddy (93) master printmaker, sculptor, and teacher who played an important role in the shaping of Modernist art in India. Reddy belonged to a generation of artists who gained international recognition after India’s independence from England in 1947. Like many of his Indian colleagues, he was knowledgeable about developments in contemporary European art but was working in new directions—demonstrating, for example, that Abstract art was not, as is still often assumed, a Western invention but has distinctive sources and forms in other cultures. Reddy died in New York City on August 22, 2018.

Business and Science

Henry Arnhold (98) last member of a generation of prominent German Jewish bankers who escaped Nazi persecution, reestablished their family business in the New World, and later helped to rebuild Dresden after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Arnhold was the patriarch of the Arnhold family, which ran an investment bank and brokerage firm and later an investment management company overseeing more than $100 billion in assets. He was also a philanthropist who funded scholarships at the New School, underwrote programs for PBS-TV, and gave tens of millions of dollars each year to helping refugees, the environment, and the arts. He died of a heart attack in New York City on August 23, 2018.

Dr. Elizabeth Connell (92) Massachusetts obstetrician and gynecologist who had a longtime commitment to raising awareness about family planning and contraception. A mother of six, Connell was a proponent of improving women’s reproductive health for more than 50 years. As a scientist, she conducted research on methods of contraception, including early testing of birth control pills. She served on the editorial board of a prestigious journal in her field and wrote three books on contraception. As a social activist, she helped to open a women’s health clinic in East Harlem in the ‘60s that is still active today as part of New York's public hospital system, and she argued in favor of legalizing abortion well before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. She died of congestive heart failure in Framingham, Massachusetts on August 20, 2018.

Ruth Finley (98) brought order to the fashion world for nearly 70 years by publishing a biweekly calendar that mapped out the schedules of designers’ shows in New York and helped them to avoid conflicts with rivals. With its pink pages and darker pink (or red) covers, Finley’s Fashion Calendar was the essential guide to the showrooms, department stores, theaters, and lofts where designers long introduced new collections. Decades later, as New York Fashion Week transformed and consolidated the industry, she was still at work, scheduling the hundreds of shows that were staged at Bryant Park and Lincoln Center. Finley died of respiratory failure in New York City on August 25, 2018.


Ted Achilles (82) retired businessman who helped to found an innovative boarding school for girls in Kabul, a potentially dangerous undertaking in a country still rife with Taliban militants violently opposed to teaching girls. Achilles moved to Afghanistan soon after the US invaded in 2001. He wanted to help Afghans and came to believe that the best way to do so was through education. Afghanistan’s educational system continues to face serious challenges, including just getting children into a classroom. A UNICEF report in June estimated that 3.7 million Afghan children, nearly 44 per cent of the school-age population, do not attend school. Achilles spent more than 10 years working to improve that situation. He died of prostate cancer in Portland, Oregon on August 21, 2018.

Martin Shubik (92) economist whose visions of a computerized world and pioneering applications of game theory to everyday life enlivened what has been described as the dismal science. Shubik taught at the Yale School of Management. As early as the mid-‘60s, he was predicting that “computing machines” would become standard in homes and schools by 1990 and that “society would fall to bits of its own weight” without them. Shubik died in Branford, Connecticut of inclusion body myositis, an inflammatory muscle disease, on August 22, 2018.

Constance Sutton (92) anthropologist who brought a feminist perspective to the field and a special focus on the migration and cultural evolution of Afro-Caribbean people, challenging whether male dominance in societies was universal. Sutton was the first chairwoman of the anthropology department at New York University's Bronx campus in the ‘70s. As a teacher, researcher, and role model, she had influence well beyond the campus. In the ‘60s she led campaigns against unspoken barriers that kept black prospective tenants from renting west of Broadway in Washington Heights. She also sought to remove hurdles for women in academia in general and anthropology in particular. Sutton died of a stroke and cancer in New York City on August 23, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Khaira Arby (58) Malian singer and songwriter known as the “Nightingale of Timbuktu” and the “Diva of the Desert.” Arby was a celebrated singer and recording artist from a nation that has produced several musicians with global reach, among them guitarist and songwriter Ali Farka Touré, with whom Arby performed in concert. Her most popular album was Timbuktu Tarab, released in 2010. She frequently performed at the annual Festival au Désert in Mali, which attracted tourists from all over the world and Western rock stars like Bono of U2 and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, before the event was suspended in recent years because of continuing violent unrest. Arby also toured internationally, drawing fans with genre-crossing music that mixed Malian rhythms from multiple traditions with funk, psychedelia, reggae, and electric blues. She died of heart problems in Bamako, Mali’s capital, on August 19, 2018.

Uri Avnery (94) Israeli journalist and peace activist, one of the first to openly advocate a Palestinian state. For decades Avnery was a symbol of the Israeli peace camp. A member of Israel's founding generation, he fought in the pre-state Irgun underground militia. After independence, he became a publisher, member of Parliament, author, and activist. In the 1982 Lebanon War, Avnery famously sneaked into Beirut to talk to Israel’s then-nemesis, Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat. Avnery challenged successive Israeli governments in arguing that a Palestinian state was the only way to secure peace for a democratic Israel with a Jewish majority. He died in Tel Aviv, Israel after suffering a stroke, on August 20, 2018.

Andre Blay (81) father of home video whose innovative idea of marketing Hollywood movies on videocassettes sparked an entertainment industry bonanza and a revolution in TV viewing. Once Hollywood studios, moviegoers, and couch potatoes began catching on to the phenomenon in the late ‘70s, Blay’s merchandising breakthrough created a new revenue stream that helped to revive the film industry. It also created a vast market for goods ranging from video recorders to the obligatory popcorn that viewers could microwave at home. The relatively high initial retail price of movies on videocassettes also prompted an unexpected proliferation of video rental stores, from neighborhood businesses to sprawling chains like Blockbuster. Blay redefined the term “home movie” with a product that lasted just long enough to make him a multimillionaire. He died of pneumonia in Bonita Springs, Florida on August 24, 2018.

Barbara Harris (83) Tony Award-winning actress whose comic-neurotic charms lit up the Broadway stage and helped her to steal films including Nashville, Freaky Friday, and A Thousand Clowns. Harris played the mother who switched bodies with Jodie Foster in the original Freaky Friday (1976), the same year she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, Family Plot. But it was Robert Altman’s 1975 Nashville that became her best-known film with her memorable performance of “It Don’t Worry Me” in front of a shell-shocked crowd after the violent climax. She was one of the performers in the historic first cast of Chicago’s Second City improvisational theater and won her Tony as best actress in a musical for The Apple Tree (1966). Harris died of lung cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona on August 21, 2018.

Leslie ('Lazy Lester') Johnson (85) singer, harmonica player, and guitarist from Louisiana whose country- and Cajun-tinged sound made him an architect of the style known as swamp blues. With a nickname derived from his easygoing vocal style, “Lazy Lester” recorded influential songs like “I’m a Lover, Not a Fighter” for the Excello label in the ‘50s and ’60s. He helped to shape swamp blues, a subgenre that incorporates zydeco, Cajun, country, and other influences, both in his recordings as a bandleader and while playing harmonica, guitar, and percussion in sessions with swamp-blues stars like Lightnin’ Slim and Slim Harpo. He died of cancer in Paradise, California on August 22, 2018.

Ed King (68) former guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd who helped to write several of the group’s hits including “Sweet Home Alabama.” King joined the band in 1972 and was part of its first three albums with its distinct three-guitar sound. He was credited on several of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s songs, including “Saturday Night Special” and “Workin’ for MCA,” and his voice can be heard providing the opening count on “Sweet Home Alabama.” The song was a response to Neil Young’s songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama,” which focused on the Southern white man’s rise on the back of slavery. The song is now considered a Southern anthem played often at sporting events and was used for a time on Alabama license plates. King died of cancer in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22, 2018.

Robin Leach (76) veteran TV host who thrilled viewers with the perks of celebrity through Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. The British-born Leach, who had been working as a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, made a name for himself stateside on the syndicated TV series from 1984–95, always signing off with the catch-phrase, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.” He had been hospitalized after a stroke in November 2017 and died after suffering a second stroke while in hospice care in Las Vegas, Nevada, five days before his 77th birthday, on August 24, 2018.

Brian Murray (80) British-born actor who made his first Broadway appearance in 1965 in the Bill Naughton comedy All in Good Time and his last one 46 years later in The Importance of Being Earnest. Murray was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in England before making his mark in New York. His best-known Broadway role was Rosencrantz in the 1967 Broadway premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, based on two minor characters in Hamlet. He also became known late in his career for some memorable stage pairings with Marian Seldes (died 2014), including in Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby (2001). Murray died in New York City on August 20, 2018.

George Walker (96) classical composer who broke barriers during a long and distinguished career, including, in 1996, becoming the first black composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. Also a music professor at several institutions, Walker composed more than 90 works, and his pieces were performed by symphony orchestras all over the US and abroad. He died of a kidney ailment in Montclair, New Jersey on August 23, 2018.

David Yallop (81) British investigative journalist who wrote popular books about true crime and conspiracy, including a best-seller asserting that Pope John Paul I was murdered as part of a complex Vatican plot. Yallop’s books railed against what he saw as corruption and miscarriages of justice. They often stirred up controversy because of their explosive allegations, based on what some critics saw as inadequate evidence or vaguely sourced reporting. In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I (1984) was perhaps the most controversial of all. It delved into the death of John Paul I, who was found dead at 65 in his chambers on September 28, 1978, only 33 days after assuming the papacy. Yallop died of pneumonia in London, England on August 23, 2018.

Craig Zadan (69) showman who helped to engineer a revival of Broadway musicals on TV with live NBC broadcasts of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, Hairspray, and The Wiz. Zadan and his producing partner, Neil Meron, were executive producers of the film version of Chicago, which won the Oscar for best picture in 2003. They staged Broadway revivals of the musicals Promises, Promises (2010) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011). They produced Smash, a TV series about the making of a Broadway musical seen in 2012–13 on NBC. They also produced the Oscar telecasts in 2013–15. In all, their productions won six Oscars, 17 Emmys, five Golden Globes, and two Peabody Awards. Their last major show together (scene above) was a live version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Jesus Christ Superstar, broadcast this year on Easter Sunday. Starring John Legend and Sara Bareilles, it was staged as a concert—as the composers originally conceived it—before an audience at the Marcy Armory in Brooklyn. Zadan died in Los Angeles, California of complications a week after shoulder replacement surgery, on August 21, 2018.

Politics and Military

Maria Isabel Chorobik de Mariani (95) one of the founders of Argentina’s leading human rights group, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. Chorobik de Mariani was instrumental in founding the group that for decades has been searching for children who were stolen from people who were killed or forcibly “disappeared” during Argentina’s 1976–83 dictatorship. Two former dictators were eventually convicted along with others of systematically kidnapping children. Jorge Rafael Videla died in prison in 2013; Reynaldo Bignone, who was serving time under house arrest, died earlier this year. During the dictatorship, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo marched weekly at Buenos Aires’ main square to demand the return of their loved ones. Chorobik de Mariani is shown above holding a photo of her murdered daughter; she never found her granddaughter, kidnapped at age 3 months in 1976. Chorobik de Mariani died in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 13 days after suffering a stroke, on August 20, 2018.

John McCain (81) US senator from Arizona, a war hero who became the Republican Party's standard-bearer in the 2008 election. In 1967, McCain’s plane was shot down on a bombing mission over North Vietnam. He was severely injured and spent more than five years as a prisoner of war. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and the Senate in ’86. A conservative on most issues, he pushed for campaign finance reform and the effort to account for those missing in Vietnam. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, then won it in ’08. But McCain and running mate Sarah Palin lost to Barack Obama. John McCain died of brain cancer in Arizona, four days short of his 82nd birthday, on August 25, 2018.

Society and Religion

Henry Bawnik (92) was 15 when he was rounded up with others in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland during the summer of 1941. He survived hunger, desperation, and beatings as he was moved from Gutenbrunn to Auschwitz and from Füurstengrube to Dora-Mittelbau. But Bawnik came closest to dying at the hands of the British in the final days of the war in Europe. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, and the Germans were within days of surrendering to the Allies when Bawnik and hundreds of other evacuated prisoners of Dora-Mittelbau found themselves on the northern Baltic coast of Germany. There, they and an estimated 10,000 other prisoners from German camps were boarding three ships in the Bay of Lübeck: the Deutschland, the Thielbek, and the Cap Arcona; none were believed seaworthy. On the afternoon of May 3, with Bawnik on the jammed top deck of the Cap Arcona, a squadron of RAF Typhoon fighters bombed the ships, believing that top-ranking SS officers were fleeing on them. The pilots had not received intelligence from the RAF that would have canceled the attack. Yet Bawnik survived. He clung to a rope on a side of the Cap Arcona that was not yet ablaze, and a fellow prisoner later pulled him to safety. With the attack over and the ship sinking, he and other survivors were plucked from the water by rescuers in small boats and ferried to safety. Bawnik survived another 73 years, mostly in the US as a construction worker and the owner of dry-cleaning businesses. He died of a stroke in Buffalo, New York on August 20, 2018.

Rev. Robert W. Wood (95) pastor who urged Christian clergymen in a 1960 book to welcome gay men and women to their churches in a time of widespread prejudice against them and later marched in early gay-rights protests. Wood’s book Christ & the Homosexual was a rare plea by a gay clergyman for equality at a time when local and state laws criminalized the sexual acts of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people and churchmen condemned homosexuality from their pulpits. Wood was a United Church of Christ minister in Spring Valley, New York when he decided to write the book. He was reluctant at first, believing there were others more qualified. But when no one else wrote such a book, he borrowed against his life insurance policy to pay for the publication of a few thousand copies by a vanity press. Blending social science and cultural analysis with his experiences ministering to closeted gay men, Wood made a powerful appeal for the full acceptance of gay people by churches and American society. He died in Concord, New Hampshire on August 19, 2018.


George Andrie (78) former Dallas Cowboys defensive end who scored a touchdown in the Ice Bowl game against Green Bay in 1967. Andrie was among the former players who sued the NFL over claims that the league knew repeated head blows could lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease. Experts have linked CTE to dementia, among other conditions. Andrie was part of the “Doomsday Defense” that included Hall of Famer Bob Lilly and fellow starters Willie Townes and Jethro Pugh. He led the Cowboys in sacks four straight seasons from 1964–67 and was an All-Pro in ’69. That was the last of his five straight Pro Bowls, a record for a Dallas defensive end. He died of dementia in Woodway, Texas on August 21, 2018.

Tom Frost (82) rock climber who made daring first ascents up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park and designed climbing hardware to protect rock from being gouged and scarred. Frost made his mark in Yosemite during what climbers call the park’s golden age, in the ‘60s, when a loose confederation of them forged new routes up rock faces like El Capitan, a 3,000-foot-tall granite monolith and proving ground for rock climbers. He was a regular at Camp 4, a bare-bones site near Yosemite Lodge that climbers have long used as a base camp, and made first ascents with noted climbers like Royal Robbins, who also advanced the cause of what is known as clean climbing. Frost, who was trained as a mechanical engineer, designed equipment with Yvon Chouinard, a world-class climber who founded the gear and apparel company Patagonia. Frost also photographed his ascents, and many climbers consider his pictures from the ‘60s inspirational. He died of prostate cancer in Oakdale, California on the same day as his former climbing partner, alpinist Jeff Lowe, on August 24, 2018.

Jeff Lowe (67) mountain climber who tackled and conquered routes that seemed impossible to other climbers. Lowe challenged the world’s tallest peaks and trickiest ascents until illness in the last few years made climbing impossible. He helped to improve climbing technology and apparel by designing and testing new gear for Lowe Alpine Systems, a company founded by his brothers, Greg and Mike, also mountain climbers. Jeff Lowe died in Fort Collins, Colorado of pneumonia and a degenerative disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, on August 24, 2018.

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