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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 18, 2019

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Tim Conway on 'The Carol Burnett Show' with Vicki Lawrence and BurnettDoris Day, singer and film actressHerman Wouk, author of 'The Caine Mutiny' and 'Winds of War'Lutz Bacher, Conceptual artist, shown with her work 'Magic Mountain'Dr. Leonard Bailey, pioneering transplant surgeonUnita Blackwell, first black woman mayor in MississippiJune Dobbs Butts, sex researcher and therapistStanton T. Friedman, physicist turned ufologistGeorgie Anne Geyer, reporter and syndicated columnistDale Greig, Scottish cross-country runnerBob Hawke, Australian prime ministerGeorge L. Kelling, criminologist who advanced 'broken windows' theoryAndré Lurton, headed Bordeaux wine family dynastyI. M. Pei, Chinese architectAlice M. Rivlin, US government economistCardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, Christian patriarch of LebanonSammy Shore, actor and standup comicGenevieve Waite, '60s actress, singer, and model

Art and Literature

Lutz Bacher (75) American Conceptual artist who, early in her career, adopted her fictional, masculine-sounding name and thereafter refused to reveal personal details about her life. Over the years Bacher gave out a variety of birth dates but did not disclose where she was born or provide any information about her family or educational background. All that was generally known was that she began making art in the San Francisco Bay Area in the ‘70s, when Conceptualism had succeeded Minimalism as the influential new art movement. She died of a heart attack in New York City on May 14, 2019.

I. M. Pei (102) Chinese archiect who, in a career that spanned decades and entire continents, became one of the most distinguished architects of his time, his work on public display from Paris to West Los Angeles. Pei, who won the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1983, had a client list that was a who's who of 20th-century notables, including French President François Mitterrand for the Louvre, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and art collector and philanthropist Paul Mellon for the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. As head of a prestigious architectural firm based in New York, Pei oversaw dozens of well-known projects, including the now-widely admired 60-story John Hancock Tower in Boston designed by partner Henry N. Cobb, a project that threatened to ruin the firm when its windows began popping out and crashing to the ground. Pei died in New York City on May 16, 2019.

Herman Wouk (103) prize-winning, million-selling author never quite in fashion. Wouk was a religious Jew among secular peers, a respecter of authority in a field of rebels. He didn’t brag like Norman Mailer and was spared the demons driving the madness of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. After a Pulitzer early in his career for The Caine Mutiny, he was mostly ignored by awards committees and was often excluded from anthologies of Jewish literature. But Wouk was a success in ways that resonated with critics and readers, and with himself. He created at least one immortal fictional character, the unstable Captain Queeg of The Caine Mutiny. He was praised for the uncanniness of his historical detail in The Winds of War and other books. He was among the first modern Jewish writers who appealed to the general public and had an enviably large readership that stayed with him through several long novels, many of which dramatized the conflicts between faith and assimilation. He died in Palm Springs, California, 10 days shy of his 104th birthday, on May 17, 2019.

Business and Science

Dr. Leonard Bailey (76) surgeon who opened new doors in medicine when he transplanted a baboon heart into an infant girl but then endured withering criticism for harvesting an organ from an animal to help save the life of a human. Bailey’s decision to transplant the baboon’s walnut-size heart into a 12-day-old infant known only as “Baby Fae” drew international attention and—to some in the medical community—offered a future where there would always be an unlimited supply of animal organs to help save the lives of human patients. But the moral and ethical questions of using animals as a virtual supermarket for hearts, livers, and kidneys were so weighty that cross-species transplants failed to become the norm. Although the child died 21 days later, the surgery was seen as a pioneering step in medicine and infant-to-infant heart transplants became an accepted procedure. For Bailey, the 1984 surgery established him an a leading authority on heart transplants, a small-town doctor suddenly known internationally as a skilled and daring surgeon. He died of cancer in Loma Linda, California on May 12, 2019.

June Dobbs Butts (90) sex researcher and therapist who argued for greater frankness among blacks about issues that were often considered taboo. Butts was by many accounts the first black to train and practice at William Masters and Virginia Johnson’s famed institute in St. Louis, and she brought their uninhibited view of sex therapy to black patients in the ‘70s. She advocated honest discussion of topics like masturbation, bisexuality, and gender reassignment. She hosted a short-lived radio call-in show in Washington, DC and wrote articles for magazines like Jet and Ebony and a column, “Our Sexual Health,” for Essence in the late ‘70s. Butts died in Johns Creek, Georgia a few days after suffering a stroke, on May 13, 2019.

Stanton T. Friedman (84) whose conviction that extraterrestrials have arrived on Earth led him to leave his career as a nuclear physicist to lecture widely about alien visitations. Friedman had worked for major corporations on projects like rockets and compact nuclear plants for space when he left the world of established science to become a prominent voice in the study of unidentified flying objects, or ufology, a field embraced by many but viewed by many more with skepticism. He died of a heart attack at Toronto (Canada) Pearson Airport on his way home to Fredericton, New Brunswick, from a speaking engagement in Columbus, Ohio on May 13, 2019.

André Lurton (94) senior member of a Bordeaux wine family dynasty and one of the region’s leading entrepreneurs. Among Lurton, his younger siblings—Lucien, Dominique, and Simone—and assorted members of the next generation, the family owned more than 20 chateaus, more than 3,000 acres of vineyards, and properties in the south of France, Portugal, Spain, South America, and Australia. André Lurton’s company, Vignobles André Lurton, was one of Bordeaux’s largest. Family members have also managed some of Bordeaux’s most illustrious estates. André Lurton died in Grézillac, France on May 16, 2019.


George L. Kelling (83) criminologist whose “broken windows” theory revolutionized urban policing and helped to make sprawling cities like Los Angeles safer but stoked criticism that it also invited police abuse. A former social worker, Kelling's famous 1982 Atlantic magazine article “Broken Windows: The Police & Neighborhood Safety,” cowritten with James Q. Wilson, had wide-ranging influence. Kelling was celebrated for having helped to tame urban crime and blight. William S. Bratton, former LAPD chief and two-time New York police commissioner, used his concepts when he tried to restore order in LA, a city left battered by rioting, the Rodney King beating, and the racial tensions whipped up by the O. J. Simpson murder trial. But the broken windows theory—that disorderly conditions in neighborhoods signaled that no one cared and led to more serious crimes—put the poor, the homeless, and the downtrodden at risk of being abused by police. Kelling died of cancer in Hanover, New Hampshire on May 15, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Tim Conway (85) second banana to comedienne Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard McHale’s Navy, and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for Spongebob Squarepants. A native of Ohio, Conway credited his Midwestern roots for putting him on the right path to laughs, with his deadpan expression and innocent, simple-minded demeanor. Those qualities probably contributed to Conway’s wide popularity on The Carol Burnett Show, which he joined in 1975 after years as a frequent guest. The show aired on CBS from 1967–78 and had a short summer stint on ABC in ‘79. The ensemble cast surrounding the red-headed star included Harvey Korman (died 2008), Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner. While America was laughing at Conway, so were his costars: Burnett and Korman were often caught by the camera trying not to crack up during his performances. The short, nondescript Conway and the tall, imposing Korman were a physical mismatch made in comedy heaven. Conway died in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2019.

Doris Day (97) blonde actress and singer whose comedic roles opposite the likes of Rock Hudson and Cary Grant made her one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the ‘50s and ’60s and a symbol of wholesome American womanhood. In more recent years, Day had been an animal rights advocate. With her lilting voice, fresh-faced beauty, and glowing smile, Day was a top box-office draw and recording artist known for comedies such as Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink, and songs like “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much. Over time she became more than a name above the title, standing for the era’s ideal of innocence and G-rated love. The running joke, attributed to both Groucho Marx and actor-composer Oscar Levant, was that they had known Day “before she was a virgin.” Day herself was no Doris Day, by choice and by hard luck. Her 1976 tell-all book, Doris Day: Her Own Story, chronicled her money troubles and three failed marriages. She died of pneumonia in Carmel Valley, California on May 13, 2019.

Georgie Anne Geyer (84) reporter and syndicated columnist who, at a time when most foreign correspondents were men, interviewed Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein, was embedded with leftist guerrillas in Guatemala, and covered trouble spots all over the globe. Early in her career Geyer joined the Chicago Daily News, where one of her colleagues was Mike Royko (died 1997), soon to be a famed columnist. As Royko noted in his introduction to Geyer’s Buying the Night Flight: The Autobiography of a Woman Foreign Correspondent (1983), it was a time when a woman in the reporting ranks was likely to be called “our gal” and assigned to the society or education beats. Geyer died in Washington, DC on May 15, 2019.

Sammy Shore (92) actor and standup comedian who cofounded the Comedy Store. Shore’s nearly 70-year career stretched from the “Borscht Belt” summer resorts of New York's Catskill Mountains to Las Vegas to the studios of Hollywood. He was the father of actor-comedian Pauly Shore. The elder Shore began his career doing standup with Shecky Greene. Elvis Presley chose Shore as the opening act for his comeback tour, and the comedian opened for many others, including Tony Orlando, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Ann-Margret, Connie Stevens, Bobby Darin, and Glen Campbell. In 1972 Shore, his first wife Mitzi, and writing partner Rudy Deluca founded the world-famous Los Angeles comedy club, the Comedy Store. Shore also appeared in several films, including The Bellboy with Jerry Lewis and Mel Brooks’s Life Stinks and History of the World Part 1. He also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and was a guest on the Tony Orlando and Pointer Sisters’ TV shows, and on Redd Foxx’s Sanford & Son. Shore died in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 18, 2019.

Genevieve Waite (71) South African actress, singer, and model who became a quintessential face and voice of the ‘60s when, for a brief time, she seemed as famous as Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, or other fixtures of the era. Married to John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas for 16 years and first cast as South Africa’s answer to supermodel Twiggy, Waite was likely best known for her starring role in the swinging ’60s film Joanna and a 1974 album, Romance Is on the Rise, produced by Phillips. She was both his collaborator and muse. The mother of actors Tamerlane and Bijou Phillips, Waite died in Los Angeles, California on May 18, 2019.

Politics and Military

Unita Blackwell (86) outspoken civil rights activist born to sharecroppers in the segregated South who rose to become the first black woman to win a mayor's race in Mississippi. From 1976–2001 Blackwell was mayor of Mayersville, a town of about 500. She developed a utility district to provide water and sewage services. Under her leadership, the town also paved streets and worked to improve housing. She died in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on May 13, 2019.

Bob Hawke (89) Australia’s longest-serving Labor Party prime minister whose charisma and powers of persuasion earned him near-folk hero status among many Australians. The former union leader dedicated much of his political career to trade union issues and was widely regarded as a man of his people. Hawke had a down-to-earth attitude, a passion for sports, and legendary status among beer lovers—for once drinking himself into the record books. He won four terms as prime minister, serving from 1983–91 before being ousted by his own center-left party when the economy soured. Only two other prime ministers served Australia longer, and both were members of the conservative Liberal Party. Hawke died in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2019.

Alice M. Rivlin (88) economist who had a guiding hand in national economic affairs for decades, playing a foundational role with the Congressional Budget Office and serving as budget director, a cabinet-level post, under President Bill Clinton. Rivlin bounced back and forth between the Washington think tank the Brookings Institution and top government posts, among them vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Board under Alan Greenspan. She volunteered to help nurse the near-bankrupt District of Columbia government back to health in the ‘90s by running its Financial Management Assistance Authority. In that post she was said to wield more power than the mayor and the City Council combined. But it was her tenure as founding director of the Congressional Budget Office that established her as one of Washington’s most influential economists. She was widely credited with shaping the CBO into an authoritative and nonpartisan fiscal analyst, the first to provide Congress with reliable and impartial data on the fiscal consequences of a broad range of proposed legislation. She died in Washington, DC on May 14, 2019.

Society and Religion

Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir (98) former patriarch of Lebanon’s Maronite Christian church, spiritual leader of Lebanon’s largest Christian community through some of the worst days of the country’s 1975–90 civil war. Sfeir was an outspoken and feisty personality who also played a key role in shaping the country’s postwar politics. Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East, a third of its 4 million people, with Maronite Catholics being the largest sect. Lebanon is the only Arab country with a Christian head of state. Sfeir was one of the most prominent and high-ranking Christian leaders in the mostly Muslim Middle East. He was remembered mostly for spearheading an opposition movement calling for the withdrawal of thousands of Syrian forces from Lebanon in the ‘90s and for brokering a historic reconciliation in the Chouf mountains between Lebanon’s Maronites and members of the Druze sect in August 2001. He died in a Beirut, Lebanon hospital two weeks after he was admitted suffering from a chest infection, on May 12, 2019.


Dale Greig (81) Scottish champion cross-country runner who ran the Isle of Wight Marathon in 1964. Not only was it her first marathon; she was also entering what had been an exclusively male preserve. Women were all but excluded from running the 26-mile 385-yard race because track authorities believed they were too weak to endure it. There was no women’s Olympic marathon until 1984. Race organizers on the Isle of Wight were sympathetic enough to let Greig run, but they required her to start 4 minutes before the 67 men in the field. They also sent an ambulance behind her in case she faltered or collapsed. Her mother, Anna, also followed in a car. Greig was nervous but survived the day’s rigors—unlike 19 of the men, who did not finish. Running in the 80-degree heat on a hilly course, she completed the race in 3 hours 27 minutes 25 seconds. That was eventually recorded as a world best time for a woman on a certified course by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body of track and field. Greig died in Paisley, Scotland on May 12, 2019.

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