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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, September 22, 2018

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Perry Miller Adato, award-winning documentarianUno the Beagle, 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show championGeta Bratescu, Romanian artistJon Burge, former Chicago police commanderDavid DiChiera, used opera to help revitalize DetroitMel Elfin, journalist who helmed 'US New's' college rankingsAnne Russ Federman, last of three daughters of NYC's Russ & DaughtersInge Feltrinelli, photojournalist and publisher, shown with author Ernest Hemingway in 1953Lois S. Gray, educator in labor relationsKatherine Hoover, classical flutist and composerStephen Jeffreys, British playwrightDr. Lois Jovanovic, did pioneering research on diabetes and pregnancyJudith Kazantzis, British feminist poetGeorge Kolombatovich, Columbia University fencing coachMarilyn Lloyd, US congresswoman from TennesseeMarceline Loridan-Ivens, French filmmaker and writerDavid Wong Louie, Asian-American authorLawrence Martin-Bittman, Cold War Czech spyBig Jay McNeely, early rock saxophonistAnnette Michelson, scholar and critic of cinema studiesArthur Mitchell, founding director of Dance Theater of HarlemTran Dai Quang, president of VietnamRobert Venturi, postmodern architectHenry Wessel Jr., photographer of American West

Art and Literature

Geta Bratescu (92) Romanian artist who made experimental, often humorous works even during the most oppressive years of communism and of Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime but remained largely unknown outside Romania until she was in her 80s. Bratescu, who worked in collage, film, installation, and assorted other forms, found herself sought after by curators late in life after a few high-profile exhibitions, including solo shows at the Tate Liverpool in England in 2015 and the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Germany in ’16. In 2017 she represented Romania at the Venice Biennale. She died in Bucharest, Romania on September 19, 2018.

Judith Kazantzis (78) before she found her voice as a feminist poet, Kazantzis, who grew up in one of Britain’s most prominent literary families, began writing as an escape from the humdrum life of a housewife. She published 12 collections of poetry, numerous essays, and a novel, Of Love & Terror (2002). Her writing explored themes like the power relations between men and women and the abuses of power against the weak, and when it was first published in the ‘70s, it resonated with an emerging new feminism—one that was giving a platform to women to express their repressed anger toward patriarchy, find a place in the literary establishment, and, perhaps more important, connect with one another. Kazantzis died on September 18, 2018.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens (90) French filmmaker and writer who explored the long-term anguish of surviving Nazi death camps and challenged her compatriots about their attitudes toward Jews. One of Loridan-Ivens' last books, But You Did Not Come Back, explored not only the past and her experience of the Birkenau camp but also France’s enduring reluctance to confront its more negative views of Jews. She died of heart disease in Paris, France on September 18, 2018.

David Wong Louie (63) American writer who drew on his experiences as the son of Chinese immigrants to create stories that explored identity, alienation, and acceptance. Louie published only one novel, The Barbarians Are Coming (2000), and one short-story collection, Pangs of Love (1991), but his work won awards and acclaim. He died of throat cancer in Venice, California on September 19, 2018.

Annette Michelson (95) cofounder of the arts journal October whose essays on film helped to establish cinema studies as a discipline and influenced generations of students, critics, and scholars. Michelson was a New Yorker who steeped herself in the intellectual ferment of Paris in the ‘50s and early ’60s before returning to teach at New York University and write articles for Artforum and, beginning in 1976, for October. She wrote much-admired essays on Soviet filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein (the journal October was named in part for his late ‘20s silent movie, October: Ten Days That Shook the World) and championed avant-garde and experimental films at a time when they were not receiving much critical attention. Michelson, who had dementia, died in New York City on September 17, 2018.

Robert Venturi (93) Philadelphia architect who rejected austere modern design and instead ushered in postmodern complexity with the dictum “Less is a bore.” Venturi remained active well into his 80s at Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, the architectural firm he founded in the ‘60s; it’s now known as VSBA Architects + Planners. Unlike the spare aesthetic of modernists like Mies van der Rohe (whose credo was “Less is more”), Venturi’s work celebrated complexity and even inconsistency in design. He encouraged architects and consumers to enjoy “messy vitality” in architecture—whether whimsical, sarcastic, humorous, or honky-tonk. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 18, 2018.

Henry Wessel Jr. (76) photographer of the American West who captured not so much its grandeur as its small moments of daily life—the roadside novelty, the trimmed (or untrimmed) shrubbery, the man in a business suit on an empty beach. Wessel, whose work is ranked alongside that of the most admired artists of his generation, worked in a classic documentary tradition for nearly 50 years, photographing the world as he happened upon it. He had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer but died of pulmonary fibrosis in Point Richmond, California on September 21, 2018.


Business and Science

Anne Russ Federman (97) last of three daughters with whom Joel Russ (died 1961) shared the name of his Lower East Side emporium of herring, lox, and other delicacies, Russ & Daughters. Russ, a Jewish immigrant from Galicia in what is now Poland, started out in the food business by peddling mushrooms and herring from a pushcart on Hester and Orchard Streets. He opened Russ’s Cut Rate Appetizers in 1914, moved to Houston Street in ’20, and enlisted his daughters as partners in '33. Russ & Daughters is now combined with a cafe around the corner, another at the Jewish Museum uptown on Fifth Avenue, and a booming catering and online ordering business. It remains among the last of the neighborhood’s so-called appetizing stores. Anne's granddaughter, Niki Federman, now owns and runs the business with a cousin, Josh Russ Tupper. Anne Federman died of heart failure in Pembroke Pines, Florida on September 20, 2018.

Inge Feltrinelli (87) in 1953, Ernest Hemingway’s German publisher sent young photojournalist Inge Schönthal to Cuba to discuss a new translation of the writer’s books. Schönthal had been looking for a way to meet Hemingway and had asked the publisher for help. She ended up staying with the author and his fourth wife, former war reporter Mary Welsh, for over two weeks. It was during that stay that Schönthal—wno later married Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli—staged one of her best-known photographs: a portrait of Hemingway and herself, wearing a strapless bathing suit and laughing as she held onto a large marlin’s bill. She later photographed many other artists, celebrities, and public figures, including Allen Ginsberg, Gary Cooper, John F. Kennedy, Elia Kazan, Sophia Loren, and Anna Magnani and became one of Italy’s most prominent publishers in her own right. Inge Feltrinelli died in Milan, Italy on September 18, 2018.

Dr. Lois Jovanovic (71) redeemed a childhood pledge when she pioneered a medical procedure that enabled more women with diabetes to deliver healthy babies. Jovanovic, who had herself been treated for diabetes since giving birth decades ago, had been chief executive and chief scientific officer for 17 years at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara. In her first research study, during a fellowship at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical College, Jovanovic demonstrated as early as 1980 that women with Type 1 diabetes could produce healthy babies if their blood sugar levels were monitored during pregnancy and maintained at a normal level. Her research also led to the development of precision insulin infusion devices and prototypes for an artificial pancreas. Her death in Santa Barbara, California on September 18, 2018 was not believed to be related to her Type 1 diabetes.


Education

Mel Elfin (89) longtime Washington bureau chief for Newsweek who moved to the rival US News & World Report in 1986 and helped to build its college rankings feature into a major educational franchise. For Elfin, overseeing US News’s college rankings posed a challenge that differed from working at Newsweek, where he covered President Richard M. Nixon’s groundbreaking trip to China and developed a strong stable of reporters during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. Now, at US News, he was dealing with college presidents, educational data, and algorithms. Elfin died of Alzheimer’s disease in Washington, DC on September 22, 2018.

Lois S. Gray (94) professor and mentor who for 70 years guided college-trained women, immigrants, and members of racial and ethnic minority groups into the ranks of American organized labor. Gray joined the School of Industrial & Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1946, barely a year after it was founded. She started out as a member of the extension faculty, which reached out to employees and would-be union leaders to educate them in collective bargaining, job training, and other programs intended to improve workplace conditions. Over the next 57 years she directed the school’s first extension office, in Buffalo, and its metropolitan district office in New York City. As a researcher, author, and editor of several books and as a member of New York State employment and training task forces, Gray kept abreast of the latest technological, competitive, and political challenges facing both labor and management. She died in New York City on September 20, 2018.


Law

Jon Burge (70) former Chicago police commander accused of torturing suspects in his South Side police district. Burge was never prosecuted for the alleged crimes. He led a “midnight crew” of rogue detectives accused of torturing more than 100 suspects, mostly black men, from 1972–91 to secure confessions. His alleged victims were shocked with cattle prods, smothered with typewriter covers, and had guns shoved in their mouths. Burge was fired in 1993 and sentenced to prison in 2011 for lying in a civil case about his actions. It was too late to charge him criminally on the torture charges. In 2015 the city of Chicago agreed to pay $5.5 million in reparations to 57 Burge victims. The price tag for all Burge-related cases has been estimated at about $132 million. The allegations against Burge and his men even helped to shape Illinois’s debate over the death penalty. Then-Gov. George Ryan released four condemned men from death row in 2003 after Burge was said to have extracted confessions from them using torture. The allegations eventually led to a moratorium on executions in Illinois; the state officially abolished the death penalty in 2011. Burge died of cancer in Hillsborough County, Florida on September 19, 2018.


News and Entertainment

Perry Miller Adato (97) began her award-winning career as a documentary director in the late ‘60s, when relatively few women were in the field, and later made films about Georgia O’Keeffe, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, and other cultural figures. Adato, whose first film was Dylan Thomas: The World I Breathe (1968), was known for her vivid storytelling, which used onscreen and offscreen voices, photographs, and scenes from plays—techniques that have since become commonplace in documentaries. Her Dylan Thomas film won an Emmy Award for outstanding cultural documentary. Georgia O’Keeffe (1977) brought her a Directors Guild of America Award, the first for a documentary by a woman. She won a total of four DGA Awards. Adato died in Westport, Connecticut on September 16, 2018.

David DiChiera (83) pianist and composer who championed opera’s role in reviving downtown Detroit and directed several opera organizations nationwide. DiChiera founded Michigan Opera Theatre in 1971 and was its longtime general director. In 1993 he bought a dilapidated former movie and vaudeville theater that was transformed into the Detroit Opera House. It opened in 1996 with performances by opera stars Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland. The $75 million renovation sparked significant development downtown, including two sports stadiums. DiChiera died of pancreatic cancer in Detroit, Michigan on September 18, 2018.

Katherine Hoover (80) composer and flutist who wrote not only for her instrument but also for strings, piano, woodwinds, full orchestra, and voice. Hoover began writing music in earnest in the early ‘70s, a time when few women were having success in the male-dominated world of classical composing, and she was still creating new works into the 2010s. Her best-known work was probably “Kokopeli” (1990), a piece for flute that was inspired, as were several of her other compositions, by American Indian music and culture. She died of a stroke in New York City on September 21, 2018.

Stephen Jeffreys (68) British playwright who looked to the past for some of his best-known works, notably The Libertine, about a hedonistic 17th-century earl, a vehicle for both John Malkovich and Johnny Depp. Among Jeffreys’ works were a play, Lost Land, about ethnic tension in Hungary during World War I; an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times made to be performed by four actors; and the screenplay for the 2013 film Diana, starring Naomi Watts as the Princess of Wales. For The Libertine, an eyebrow-raising work that had its premiere in 1994 at the University of Warwick in England, then moved to the Royal Court Theater in London, Jeffreys drew on the life of John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, who was himself a writer and known for his pleasure-seeking ways. Jeffreys died of a brain tumor in London, England on September 17, 2018.

Big Jay McNeely (91) musician whose wailing tenor saxophone and outrageous stage antics helped to define the sound of early rock-’n’-roll. Hailed as the King of the Honkers, McNeely was at the forefront of a group of post-bop saxophonists who, in the late ‘40s, abandoned jazz for the gutbucket pleasures of rhythm and blues. In the process he played a pivotal role in establishing the saxophone—before the electric guitar supplanted it—as the featured instrument among soloists at the dawn of rock-’n’-roll. Best known for his acrobatics and daring in performance, McNeely whipped up crowds by reeling off rapid sequences of screaming notes while lying on his back and kicking his legs in the air. At other times he would jump down off the stage and blow his horn while strutting his way through the audience. McNeely died of advanced prostate cancer in Moreno Valley, California on September 16, 2018.

Arthur Mitchell (84) dancer with the New York City Ballet in the ‘50s and ’60s and founding director of the groundbreaking Dance Theater of Harlem. The first black ballet dancer to achieve international stardom, Mitchell was one of the most popular dancers with NYC Ballet, where he danced from 1956–68 and displayed a dazzling presence, superlative artistry, and powerful sense of self. That charisma served him well as director of Dance Theater of Harlem, the nation’s first major black classical company, as it navigated its way through severe financial problems in recent decades and complex aesthetic questions about the relationship of black contemporary dancers to an 18th-century European art form. Mitchell died of heart failure in New York City on September 19, 2018.


Politics and Military

Marilyn Lloyd (89) first Tennessee woman elected to a full term in Congress. The Chattanooga Democrat represented Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District for 10 terms, from 1975 until she retired in ’95, and never lost a House election. In 1979 Lloyd helped to pass House legislation to complete the Tellico Dam, and in '89 she became the first woman to chair the Congressional Textile Caucus, where she supported textile quotas so American producers would be more competitive against those overseas. She died of pneumonia in Hixson, Tennessee on September 19, 2018.

Lawrence Martin-Bittman (87) Cold War spy for Czechoslovakia who specialized in running disinformation schemes to roil the West and, after defecting in 1968 to the US, taught the perils of propaganda to journalism students. Martin-Bittman joined the Czech intelligence service out of university in 1954 as tensions between the US and the Soviet Union were rising. The Czech service, which collaborated with others in the Soviet-dominated Eastern bloc, was deeply involved in forgeries, like taking the signatures of US diplomats from Christmas cards and using them on faked documents detailing supposed American conspiracies worldwide, and political sabotage, like setting up a brothel with the Soviets to trap West German politicians in compromising positions. As a spy, Martin-Bittman operated from Berlin and Vienna, elite espionage postings during the Cold War on both sides. He died in Rockport, Massachusetts on September 18, 2018.

Tran Dai Quang (61) Vietnamese president, that country’s No. 2 after the ruling Communist Party's leader. Quang hosted US President Donald Trump during his first state visit to the Communist country in 2017, when Trump attended a summit of Pacific Rim leaders. Quang had reportedly contracted a rare and toxic virus since July 2017 and had traveled to Japan six times for treatment. He died at a military hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam on September 21, 2018.


Sports

Uno the Beagle (13) beagle who won the 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. No beagle had ever won the prestigious Westminster dog show until Uno barked his way to the prized silver bowl in 2008. He was clearly the crowd favorite, and fans exulted when he was chosen, giving the champ a standing ovation. Uno soon was the first Westminster winner to visit the White House; he also rode in a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, took part in first-pitch ceremonies at Busch Stadium and Miller Park, and even had his own bobblehead. He spent years traveling and was welcomed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and hospitals across the country as a certified therapy dog. Uno was in good health until the last month or so, when cancer advanced. He died in Austin, Texas on September 20, 2018.

George Kolombatovich (72) coached Columbia University fencers to five National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships and taught sword fighting to cast members of Otello, Carmen, and Don Giovanni at the Metropolitan Opera. Kolombatovich—whose first lessons came from his father, Oscar, a Yugoslavian-born fencing master—spent 32 years as head coach or cohead coach of the Columbia fencing team. During that time Columbia’s program became one of the country’s strongest. About 150 of its fencers became All-Americans, 17 won NCAA titles, and several qualified for the Olympics. The Columbia Lion fencers thrived in New York, long an epicenter of the sport in the US. Kolombatovich died in Sarasota, Florida from complications of pneumonia, principally acute respiratory distress syndrome, on September 19, 2018.


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