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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 17, 2018

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Roy Clark, cohost of 'Hee Haw'Blanche Burton-Lyles, classical pianist mentored by singer Marian AndersonNancy Cappello, special education teacherFernando del Paso, Mexican novelist and poetPablo Ferro, graphic designer who revolutionized film creditsAndrew Fitzgerald, last survivor of heroic Coast Guard crewJerry Frankel, dress manufacturer turned Tony-winning Broadway producerLucho Gatica, Chilean singerWilliam Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriterIrwin Hollander, artist and lithographerCaroline Rose Hunt, Texas oil heiressStan Lee, revolutionized comic book industry with Marvel superheroesJane Maas, real-life Peggy Olson of 'Mad Men'Katherine MacGregor, played Harriet Oleson on 'Little House on the Prairie'Donald McCaig, author of historical novelsZhores A. Medvedev, Russian scientist and dissidentMichael O'Neal, New York restaurateur and brother of actor Patrick O'NealCyril Pahinui, Hawaiian guitaristDavid Pearson, NASCAR's 'Silver Fox'Douglas Rain, Shakespearean actor who gave voice to computer HAL in '2001: A Space Odyssey'Robert Rainwater, New York Public Library curator and art historianTommy Rowles, legendary bartender at NYC's Bemelmans BarAldyr Schlee, Brazilian journalist who designed Brazil's soccer team uniformMary Kay Stearns, actress on early TV sitcomH. Peter Stern, cofounder of Storm King Art Center

Art and Literature

Fernando del Paso (83) honored Mexican novelist and poet. Del Paso was best known for his historical novel News from the Empire, about the brief reign of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico. He was awarded Spain’s prestigious Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 2016 and numerous other honors throughout his career. His works included poetry, essays, plays, and children’s literature. He also was a diplomat and was known in his later years for his flowing white mane of hair and flamboyant suits. He had been director of the library at the University of Guadalajara. Del Paso had suffered a long string of health issues, including strokes, tumors, and open-heart surgery. He died in Guadalajara, Mexico on November 14, 2018.

Pablo Ferro (83) Cuban-born graphic designer who, with quick cuts, hand lettering, and a bundle of innovative ideas, jolted the often drab world of movies’ opening credits. Ferro burst into the film business in 1964 with his attention-getting title sequence for Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb, Stanley Kubrick’s nuclear-age black comedy. Ferro's hand-lettered titles, full of incongruous sizes (the gigantic “A” in “A STANLEY KUBRICK PRODUCTION” dwarfed the other words), appeared over footage of aircraft refueling in midflight. Dozens of films followed, many of them Oscar contenders, including Philadelphia (1993) and Good Will Hunting (1997). Ferro died of pneumonia in Sedona, Arizona on November 16, 2018.

Irwin Hollander (90) artist and master printer who persuaded Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, and other Abstract Expressionist painters to try their hands at lithography in his East Village workshop. Starting out as a hopeful young artist who became a commercial lithographer to survive, Hollander was part of the revival of fine art printing and lithography that took hold in the US around 1960. He was best known for convincing De Kooning and Motherwell that their styles would adapt well to lithography. In both cases the results were celebrated. Several of the De Kooning lithographs that Hollander published in 1971 were first exhibited that year in their own show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Hollander suffered a stroke several years ago and had continuing heart problems. He died in Brooklyn, New York on November 16, 2018.

Stan Lee (95) creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic book and helped to make billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the Incredible Hulk. As top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book. He revived the industry in the ‘60s by offering the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, even philosophy. Millions responded to the mix of realistic fantasy, and many of his characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, and X-Men became stars of blockbuster films. Recent projects he helped to make possible range from the films Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, and Guardians of the Galaxy to such TV series as Agents of SHIELD and Daredevil. Lee was recognizable to his fans, having had cameos in many Marvel films and TV projects, often delivering his trademark motto, “Excelsior!” He considered the comic-book medium an art form, and he was prolific: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years. Lee died in Los Angeles, California on November 12, 2018.

Donald McCaig (78) author who found success with historical novels, books about Border collies, and two authorized follow-ups to Gone with the Wind. McCaig was well known to listeners of the NPR program All Things Considered for his homespun dispatches about life on his 280-acre farm in the Allegheny Mountains, where he and his wife raised sheep. The Border collies they used to work the flock inspired a string of fiction and nonfiction books, notably the novels Nop’s Trials (1984) and Nop’s Hope (1994). His 1998 Civil War novel, Jacob’s Ladder, was praised for its authenticity; and in 2007 he became only the second novelist to be allowed by the protective estate of Margaret Mitchell to write a follow-up to her Gone with the Wind, producing the best-seller Rhett Butler’s People. McCaig died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart problems in Highland County, Virginia on November 11, 2018.

Robert Rainwater (75) curator and art historian who oversaw a vast expansion of the New York Public Library's holdings in modern and contemporary prints, artist-made books, and printed ephemera from the ‘70s onward. Throughout his 37-year career at the library—including 20 as first chief librarian of the Wallach Division, which combined the library’s holdings in art, prints, and photographs—Rainwater worked on acquisitions, exhibitions, and public programs, including a series of interviews with artists organized with Printed Matter, a nonprofit distributor dedicated to artist’s books and related publications. His first exhibition was “Women Printmakers” (1973), which brought to light a long-neglected gift to the library of about 800 prints by female artists from the 16th–19th centuries. Rainwater died of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in New York City on November 13, 2018,

H. Peter Stern (90) cofounder of Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York who developed it into a prestigious outdoor sculpture museum with modern and contemporary works arrayed over a vast pastoral landscape. Stern had originally envisioned a more modest affair. His father-in-law, Ralph Ogden (died 1974), and he—owners of a business that manufactured metal fasteners for construction and home use—had at first planned an indoor museum to exhibit paintings of the Hudson River School. The museum was to have been housed in a chateau that was part of an estate—about 50 miles north of New York City, near West Point—that Ogden’s foundation acquired in 1958. But Ogden became enamored of sculpture, and his ambition turned to showcasing large contemporary works outside, on the estate's grounds. Storm King Art Center, named for a nearby mountain on the west bank of the Hudson River, opened in 1960. Stern died in New York City of Alzheimer’s disease and hydrocephalus, or excess fluid on the brain, on November 12, 2018.

Business and Science

Caroline Rose Hunt (95) Texas oil heiress who quietly diversified her investments and became one of the nation’s wealthiest women in the ‘80s after two billionaire brothers tried to corner the world’s silver market and lost fortunes when the price collapsed. Unassuming, gracious, caring more about raising her children and tomatoes than about market strategies, Caroline Hunt was content to let advisers manage her affairs as her brothers Nelson Bunker Hunt, known as Bunker, and William Herbert Hunt, known as Herbert, corralled a third to half of the world’s deliverable silver in a dizzying 1980 roller-coaster ride. While her brothers hemorrhaged money and plunged into years of lawsuits, fines, damage claims, and bankruptcy proceedings, Caroline Hunt, who inherited about $600 million, enlarged her portfolio of oil, gas, timber, and real estate to $1.3 billion by venturing successfully into apparel, charter helicopter and small-plane services, shopping centers, office complexes, and luxury hotels in the US, Europe, and Asia. She died in Dallas, Texas on November 13, 2018.

Jane Maas (86) although neither mad nor a man, Maas became a trailblazer in the male-driven advertising industry of the ‘60s and ’70s. As a senior vice president at Wells Rich Greene, Maas was widely credited with shepherding one of the most successful tourism campaigns ever—“I Love New York”—which the agency devised for the New York Department of Commerce to help resuscitate the city and state in the late ‘70s. Maas was also described as the first woman to head a major preexisting New York advertising agency, Muller Jordan Weissmail. She died of lung cancer in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina on November 16, 2018.

Zhores A. Medvedev (93) Soviet biologist, writer, and dissident who was declared insane, confined to a mental institution, and stripped of his citizenship in the ‘70s after attacking a Stalinist pseudoscience. With his twin brother, historian Roy Medvedev, physicist Andrei D. Sakharov, author Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, and others, Medvedev was a central figure in the seething intellectual dissidence that exposed, largely through underground literature known as samizdat, the repression of ideas, science, and human rights in the Soviet Union. He played a large role in discrediting the doctrines of Stalin’s director of biology, Trofim D. Lysenko, who was behind a pseudoscience known as Lysenkoism. Medvedev also gave the world shocking accounts of the Soviet practice of committing political dissenters to mental institutions, campaigned for greater freedoms for Soviet scientists and writers to study and travel abroad, and exposed a 1957 nuclear disaster in the Urals, one of the worst of the nuclear age. He was an authority on biochemistry, gerontology, and molecular evolution and wrote many scientific papers and biographies of Soviet leaders and dissidents, and books on the hazards of nuclear power. He died of a heart attack in London, England one day after his 93rd birthday, on November 15, 2018.

Michael O'Neal (82) New York restaurateur who, with his actor brother, Patrick (died 1994), upgraded the Irish bar into an American bistro that attracted singles and celebrities. The O’Neal brothers owned two restaurants near Lincoln Center: The Ginger Man, whose name was inspired by J. P. Donleavy’s novel and play about a roguish barfly, portrayed Off-Broadway at the time by Patrick, and O’Neal’s Baloon, distinguished by its enclosed sidewalk cafe and its name (an imaginative spelling to comply with an obscure State Liquor Authority ban on the word “saloon”). It was immortalized as the place where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton meet for their last lunch in the 1977 movie Annie Hall. The brothers also owned the Landmark Tavern, one of the oldest continually operating establishments in New York, on 11th Avenue and West 46th Street in Midtown. In a 60-year career, Michael O’Neal ran a dozen more Manhattan restaurants as well, among them the Boat Basin Cafe, along the Hudson River on the western end of 79th Street, and the Ballfields Cafe, a popular spot south of the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. He died of multiple myeloma in New York City on November 12, 2018.

Tommy Rowles (78) for 53 years Rowles asked, “What are you having?” to the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Paul McCartney, and anyone else who bellied up to the bar he presided over. Some of them ordered a Tommy Rowles. After he had worked there for a while, a rum-and-cognac concoction named for him was added to the drink menu. The place was Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Rowles worked there until he retired in 2012. On the job at Bemelmans Bar, known for its murals by artist Ludwig Bemelmans and its little tables with their little lights, Rowles mixed and poured for the famous and the influential. But whatever secrets they confided, he kept; his guiding principle was that what happened at Bemelmans stayed at Bemelmans. Rowles died of dementia in New York City on November 11, 2018.


Nancy Cappello (66) special education teacher who, when she learned she had breast cancer and that mammography could not find it, turned her misfortune into a tireless campaign that led 36 states to require fuller disclosure to women about their mammogram results and the limitations of the test. Cappello's illness—breast cancer that was not diagnosed until it had reached an advanced stage and required chemotherapy—was exactly what she had spent more than 10 years trying to help other women avoid. She died in Waterbury, Connecticut of an infection related to myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood cancer caused by the chemotherapy and radiation she received in 2004, on November 15, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Blanche Burton-Lyles (85) concert pianist who was mentored by pioneering opera singer Marian Anderson (died 1993). Burton-Lyles was born and raised in Philadelphia and learned classical piano at age 3. The Marian Anderson Historical Society says she was the first black woman pianist to perform at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She was 14 at the time. Anderson gave Burton-Lyles a recommendation for early admission to the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1954 she became the first black woman pianist to graduate from the institute and later toured internationally before teaching music. She committed herself to preserving Anderson's legacy by establishing a society in her name and turned the opera singer's Philadelphia home into a museum. Burton-Lyles died of heart failure in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 12, 2018.

Roy Clark (85) country singer and multi-instrumentalist best known as a longtime host of Hee Haw, the TV variety show that brought country music to millions of households each week. Clark was a genial banjo-wielding presence on Hee Haw for the show’s entire run of more than 20 years, serving as an ambassador for country music and the culture that defined it. Most memorable, perhaps, was his role on the show’s weekly “pickin’ and grinnin’” segment with his cohost, singer and guitarist Buck Owens (died 2006). A variant of the old “Arkansas Traveler” routine—a vaudeville set piece that interspersed humor with music—the segment featured the two men trading winking rural-themed jokes, to the amusement of an audience that included many urban and suburban viewers living outside the South. Clark died of pneumonia in Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 15, 2018.

Jerry Frankel (88) parlayed his success as a dress manufacturer in Dallas into a second act as a prolific producer of Broadway shows, nine of which earned him Tony Awards. The musical Jekyll & Hyde (1997) was Frankel's first show as a Broadway producer. In all, he produced 53 Broadway plays and musicals in collaboration with various partners. Over the next 14 years, Frankel won Tonys—along with other producers whose names, like his, were listed above the shows’ titles—for best musical (Spring Awakening); best play (August: Osage County and All the Way); musical revival (Hair, La Cage Aux Folles, and The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess); and revivals of Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. His other productions included the 2016 revival of Fiddler on the Roof and, in 2015, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two and Something Rotten! His last show was Come from Away, a musical about the dozens of planes diverted to Newfoundland after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; it won a Drama Desk Award for outstanding musical in 2017. Frankel died of bladder cancer in New York City on November 17, 2018.

Lucho Gatica (90) Chilean singer whose crooning earned him renown throughout the Spanish-speaking world as “the king of bolero.” Gatica helped to revive bolero, a style of romantic balladry that had originated in Cuba in the late 19th century, as a mid-20th-century pop craze. In the process he became a heartthrob who dominated pop radio stations throughout the ‘50s and ’60s and a leading man in the thriving Mexican film industry. Gatica, whose style was marked by a semioperatic flair and languorous phrasing, recorded more than 800 songs, including the international hits “El Reloj,” “Contigo en la Distancia,” and an authoritative rendition of “Bésame Mucho.” He died in Mexico City, Mexico, where he had lived for more than 50 years, on November 13, 2018.

William Goldman (87) Oscar-winning screenwriter and Hollywood wise man who won Academy Awards for Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men and summed up the mystery of making a box office hit by declaring, “Nobody knows anything.” Goldman, who also converted his novels Marathon Man, Magic, and The Princess Bride into screenplays, clearly knew more than most about what the audience wanted, despite his famous and oft-repeated proclamation. He wrote a litany of box-office hits, was an in-demand script doctor, and carved some of the most indelible phrases in cinema history into the American consciousness. He died in New York City of colon cancer and pneumonia on November 16, 2018.

Katherine MacGregor (93) actress who played petty, gossiping Harriet Oleson on the long-running TV series Little House on the Prairie. While nasty Nellie Oleson (played by Alison Arngrim) was the character viewers most loved to hate on Little House, seen on NBC from 1974–83, her cruel, greedy mother, Harriet, was just as awful, never missing a chance at small-town social climbing or petty backbiting. The Olesons stood in contrast to the warm, loving members of the Ingalls family, who were the show’s focus and often the Olesons’ targets. MacGregor remained with the show for its entire run, as did Michael Landon, the show’s star, who died in 1991 at 54, and Melissa Gilbert, who played young Laura Ingalls. MacGregor died in Los Angeles, California on November 13, 2018.

Cyril Pahinui (68) nationally recognized Hawaiian guitarist and singer who preserved and extended the tradition of slack-key guitar—kiho’alu in Hawaiian—a fingerpicking style that arose in the 19th century as guitars, which had been introduced to Hawaii by Mexican and Spanish cowboys, were integrated into local traditions. It was named for Hawaiian retunings of the guitar, which lowered the pitch of some strings—by loosening or slackening them—to produce consonant open chords, bringing out the instrument’s resonance. Slack-key guitar grew into its own instrumental tradition, with soloists picking multilayered bass lines, chords, and melodies. Dozens of tunings appeared in isolated local styles as Pacific islands music absorbed elements of ragtime, country, jazz, and rock. Guitarists like Pahinui also accompanied their own singing. Pahinui had been hospitalized since 2016 for a collapsed lung, pneumonia, and other conditions. He died in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 17, 2018.

Douglas Rain (90) Canadian actor who played some of Shakespeare's most intriguing characters onstage but perhaps was best known for the creepily calm voice of the computer HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Rain’s roles at Stratford included playing Claudio in Measure for Measure in 1954, Malvolio in Twelfth Night in ‘57, Edgar in King Lear in ’64, and Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 1 in ‘58, a play and a role he returned to in ‘65 and eventually took on the title role in ’66. But it was the voice of the artificially intelligent HAL 9000—forerunner of today’s Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home—where Rain entered the public’s consciousness. He died in St. Marys, Ontario, Canada on November 11, 2018.

Mary Kay Stearns (93) with her husband, Johnny, Mary Kay Stearns starred in Mary Kay & Johnny, a very early TV sitcom that set the stage for better-known marital fare like I Love Lucy. Mary Kay Jones was a theater actress in 1945 when she met her future husband, who, a year after their wedding, talked a New York garment maker into sponsoring a show that the Stearnses would create about a fictional couple not unlike them. What resulted was Mary Kay & Johnny, which was broadcast live without an audience beginning on the DuMont Network that November. It later moved to NBC, then to CBS, then back to NBC before ending in 1950. The show, which at various points in its run was 15 minutes or a half-hour long, told gently humorous tales of the fictional Johnny, a banker, and Mary Kay, a homemaker. Johnny (died 2001), who wrote the episodes, often drew from the couple’s lives for inspiration. They later moved to the West Coast, where Johnny became a TV producer and Mary Kay left the business to raise a family. She died in Newport Beach, California on November 17, 2018.

Politics and Military

Andrew Fitzgerald (87) last surviving member of a Coast Guard crew that took a lifeboat out into the Atlantic in a raging blizzard in 1952 and rescued 32 of 33 merchant seamen clinging to the remains of a tanker that had split in two off Cape Cod. It is often called the greatest small-boat rescue in the history of the Coast Guard, a feat of seamanship and courage in a 36-foot engine-driven lifeboat that made international headlines and has been celebrated in books, magazines, documentaries, and a Disney film, The Finest Hours (2016). Fitzgerald left the Coast Guard months after the rescue and spent most of his life as an equipment salesman in Colorado. He died in Aurora, Colorado on November 15, 2018.


David Pearson (83) hailed as NASCAR’s Silver Fox for his cunning behind the wheel, which propelled him to three top-series championships and acclaim as perhaps the most brilliant driver in the history of stock-car racing. Over 27 racing seasons Pearson won 105 times, second only to Richard Petty’s 200 while driving in less than half as many events. He entered the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2011 as a member of its second class of inductees. Pearson was prematurely gray, but he became the Silver Fox mainly for his ability to sit back in the pack, then find just the right moment to overtake the leaders. He died in Spartanburg, South Carolina on November 12, 2018.

Aldyr Schlee (83) Brazilian journalist who designed his country’s soccer uniform. Schlee created the yellow shirt and blue shorts kit for a contest organized by newspaper Correio da Manha in 1953. He won the contest and received about $5,000 in prize money. The competition to dress Brazil in new colors was made to expunge the memory of losing the 1950 World Cup final at home to Uruguay, replacing the white shirt and blue shorts kit. Curiously, Schlee said in an interview with GloboEsporte in 2007 that he was a fan of Uruguay. Brazil played the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland and reached the quarterfinals wearing the colors designed by Schlee and has kept them ever since. Schlee would have turned 84 on November 22. He died of skin cancer in Pelotas, Brazil on November 15, 2018.

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