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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 29, 2019

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Luis Alvarez, former NYC police detective, a First Responder on 9/11Ben Barenholtz, first to show midnight moviesDave Bartholomew, New Orleans trumpeter who cowrote early rock with Fats DominoKen Behring, former owner of Seattle SeahawksPaul Benjamin, film, TV, and stage actorBeth Chapman, costarred with husband on 'Dog the Bounty Hunter'Billy Drago, character actor best known for playing villainsGary Duncan, guitarist with Quicksilver Messenger ServiceSteve Dunleavy, tabloid reporterStewart Greene, creative ad executiveMin Hogg, founding editor of 'The World of Interiors' magazineBarbara Hunt McLanahan, leader of arts organizationsSpiro Malas, operatic bass who starred in Broadway revivalJanne E. Nolan, expert on international affairs and arms controlManuel L. Real, longest-serving federal judgeGeorge Rosenkranz, chemist, pioneer in birth control developmentIsabel Sarli, star of Argentine sexploitation filmsWhitney North Seymour Jr., former US attorneyRobert Therrien, sculptor of giant objectsMax Wright, actor who played father on 'ALF'

Art and Literature

Min Hogg (80) British founding editor of The World of Interiors magazine, that chronicle of old-world bohemianism. Hogg had been working as a fashion editor and a photographer’s agent when she answered an ad in 1981 seeking someone to edit a decorating magazine. She got the job. Interiors, as the publication was first called, was a fledgling operation in an office above a florist’s shop, and it was Hogg’s job to supply the furniture and the editorial copy. After six months Condé Nast bought a half interest in the magazine and changed its title to The World of Interiors. It bought it outright in 1988. Hogg was committed to producing a magazine about idiosyncratic interiors—a squatter’s stable, an Irish castle, a Finnish egg farm—rather than sleekly decorated spaces. There were no how-to articles or tips on decorating with sheets. She died of cancer in London, England on June 24, 2019.

Barbara Hunt McLanahan (55) leader of a series of arts organizations who championed diversity, out-of-the-mainstream work, and alternative paths for artists to sell and display their efforts. Hunt McLanahan was executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan, where she oversaw programs that both introduced children to art and artists and encouraged them to try their own art-making. But that was just the latest stop in a career that included leading Visual AIDS, an organization that uses art to encourage dialogue about AIDS and supports HIV-positive artists, and the nonprofit Manhattan gallery and arts organization Artists Space. She also curated exhibitions and served on the boards of arts organizations, including the Camargo Foundation, a residential center in France devoted to the arts and humanities. Hunt McLanahan died of pancreatic cancer in New York City on June 25, 2019.

Robert Therrien (71) Los Angeles sculptor whose monumental versions of everyday objects revealed hidden truths about the nature of memory. Therrien’s work played on adult remembrances of what it meant to be small and vulnerable. He began making his name in the ‘70s and ’80s with wall reliefs and modestly sized sculptures of keyholes and other recognizable motifs, and his career took off in 1985 when he was in the Whitney Biennial. Another big break came in 1986 when the newly built Museum of Contemporary Art in LA featured six true-to-life re-creations of his studio on Pico Boulevard as part of its opening exhibition. Therrien’s stature in LA and beyond continued to grow, culminating in 2000 when the LA County Museum of Art staged an exhibition of his work spanning the preceding 10 years. He died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on June 24, 2019.


Business and Science

Stewart Greene (91) advertising executive whose creativity made airplanes sexy and indigestion entertaining. Greene was a founder of Wells Rich Greene, a small agency whose commercials, seen during prime time when almost all eyes were on one of the three broadcast networks, contributed to the transformation of TV advertising in the ‘60s. Greene first made his mark as a creative director at the agency Jack Tinker & Partners, where he was in charge of the art department. There he met Mary Wells Lawrence (then known as Mary Wells) and Dick Rich. The three left Tinker in 1966 to start Wells Rich Greene, nabbing high-profile clients like Procter & Gamble, Samsonite, American Motors, and the City of New York, for which they developed the “I Love New York” campaign. By 1971 their company was billing its clients $120 million a year (about $758 million in today’s dollars). Greene suffered from lung cancer but died of cardiac arrest in Lloyd Harbor, Long Island, New York on June 29, 2019.

George Rosenkranz (102) chemist who, with two colleagues, altered human reproductive history in a Mexico City lab in 1951 by synthesizing the key ingredient in what became the oral contraceptive known as “the pill.” Besides a seminal contribution to birth-control science, Rosenkranz’s team achieved the first practical synthesis of cortisone, the drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and reduce painful inflammation in muscles and joints. He was also a world-class contract bridge champion whose wife was kidnapped during a tournament in Washington in 1984 and ransomed for $1 million. A Hungarian Jew and Swiss-trained chemical engineer who fled fascism as World War II engulfed Europe, Rosenkranz took refuge in Cuba and after the war became research director of Syntex, a pharmaceutical lab in Mexico. There, in a scientific backwater, he assembled a small group of chemists who laid the groundwork for revolutionary advances in steroid hormone drugs. He died in Atheron, California on June 23, 2019.


Law

Manuel L. Real (95) judge who ordered the desegregation of a prominent Los Angeles County school district and approved an unpopular but mandatory busing plan to achieve integration in the classroom. Real was the nation’s longest-serving active federal judge. His 1970 decision to order Pasadena Unified School District to desegregate its schools was the first federal case of its kind on the West Coast and one of the few outside the Deep South. His decision came two years after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and as the civil rights movement in America was reaching a boil. At the time Pasadena was deeply segregated along racial and economic lines, and the city’s schools reflected that. The busing plan was met with protests, and enrollment in the school district, which then included schools in Altadena and other unincorporated communities, plunged as parents steered their children to private schools or other districts. But with time, enrollment bounced back and Real’s ruling was hailed by many as a forward-looking decision. He died on June 26, 2019.

Whitney North Seymour Jr. (95) lawyer who battled graft as President Richard M. Nixon’s US attorney in Manhattan in the ‘70s and as a special prosecutor later won a perjury case against a former senior aide to President Ronald Reagan. Prominent in New York civic, social, and legal circles, the son of a lawyer who championed unpopular causes and served in the Hoover administration, Seymour was elected to two terms in the New York State Senate in the ‘60s, although his political career fizzled with losses in a race for Congress in 1968 and a run for the US Senate in ’82. But he made his name as a prosecutor. From 1970–73 he was US attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Justice Department’s most prestigious outpost, which at that time included Manhattan, the Bronx, and nine upstate counties. Seymour won convictions of Wall Street felons, organized crime leaders and narcotics traffickers, and high-profile corruption cases. He died in Torrington, Connecticut on June 29, 2019.


News and Entertainment

Ben Barenholtz (83) film distributor who started the midnight-movie phenomenon at his Manhattan theater in the ‘70s. Barenholtz had been running the Elgin Theater in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan as a repertory and art-film house for two years when he decided, in late 1970, to show El Topo, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s bloody Spanish-language western, at midnight on Sundays through Thursdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Something about the film—which had its US premiere at the Elgin on December 18, 1970—suggested to Barenholtz that it would appeal to a young audience eager for a new type of late-night movie experience in a run-down theater where marijuana smoking was condoned. He was right; with little advertising but strong word of mouth, crowds soon filled the Elgin’s nearly 600 seats during the film’s exclusive run. Soon other theaters began to copy Barenholtz’s formula—most notably the Waverly in Greenwich Village—which showed George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at midnight in 1971. Barenholtz died in Prague, Czech Republic, where he had been living since last year, on June 27, 2019.

Dave Bartholomew (100) giant of New Orleans music and a rock-‘n’-roll pioneer who with Fats Domino (died 2017) cowrote and produced such classics as “Ain’t That a Shame,” “I’m Walkin’,” and “Let the Four Winds Blow.” A trumpet player since childhood and a bandleader and arranger before World War II, Bartholomew befriended Domino in the late ‘40s and collaborated with the singer-piano player on dozens of hits that captured Domino’s good-natured appeal, making him one of rock’s first stars and New Orleans a center for popular music. Throughout the ‘50s and into the ‘60s, virtually anyone recording in New Orleans ended up performing Bartholomew songs or working with him in the studio. “Ain’t That A Shame” and “I’m Walkin’” were among Domino’s many top 10 hits, with worldwide sales for Domino eventually surpassing 60 million records. Bartholomew died in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 23, 2019.

Paul Benjamin (84) film, TV, and theater actor who often appeared in dramas about the black American experience. Benjamin was probably best known as M. L., one of the three “corner men,” street-corner philosophers who gathered daily under a beach umbrella, in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). One of his relatively few starring roles was as leader of a bank heist in the crime drama Across 110th Street (1972). His screen career, which lasted close to 50 years, also included roles in John Singleton's Rosewood (1997), the story of a town-wide massacre of blacks in ‘20s Florida; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979), the TV adaptation of poet Maya Angelou’s memoir; Leadbelly (1976), Gordon Parks’s biography of the blues musician; Robert Townsend’s music-group drama The Five Heartbeats (1991); the TV movie Judge Horton & the Scottsboro Boys (1976); Hoodlum (1997), about Harlem gangsters between the wars; and the 1985 true-crime miniseries The Atlanta Child Murders. Benjamin died in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2019.

Beth Chapman (51) costarred with her husband on the Dog the Bounty Hunter reality TV show and later spoke out against some bail reform measures as a leader of a national bail agents’ organization. Born Alice Elizabeth Smith in Denver, Colorado, Chapman had lived in Honolulu since 1989. In 2006 she and Duane Chapman, self-proclaimed world’s best bounty hunter, married during a sunset ceremony at a Big Island resort after being together for 16 years. The wedding was featured in an episode of the A&E series Dog the Bounty Hunter, which followed the duo’s exploits in apprehending people who have evaded arrest warrants. Beth Chapman died in Honolulu, Hawaii after an almost two-year battle with cancer, on June 26, 2019.

Billy Drago (73) character actor best known for playing villains. Besides starring opposite Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, and Andy Garcia in Brian De Palma's gangster classic The Untouchables—in which he played Frank Nitti—Drago appeared in the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider. He portrayed Deputy Mather in the 1985 motion picture, which featured Eastwood as The Preacher and Michael Moriarty as Hull Barret. More recently Drago starred in the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes and appeared in Masters of Horror that same year. The actor admitted he didn't intend to appear in so many horror movies and was simply on the lookout for interesting roles throughout his career. He died of a stroke in Los Angeles, California on June 24, 2019.

Gary Duncan (72) guitarist, singer, and songwriter best known for his work with Quicksilver Messenger Service, one of the leading bands in San Francisco's psychedelic heyday. Duncan’s jazz-rooted improvisations and his intricate interplay with guitarist John Cipollina were crucial elements in Quicksilver Messenger Service’s eclectic chemistry. Although Cipollina, who died in 1989, was nominally lead guitarist and Duncan played rhythm, they constantly traded and blurred those roles. Duncan fell on June 19, suffered a seizure and multiple cardiac arrests, and never regained consciousness. He died 10 days later in Woodland, California on June 29, 2019.

Steve Dunleavy (81) reporter and columnist for the New York Post who helped to define the tabloid’s modern style. Dunleavy was born in Sydney, Australia and began his journalism career at The Sun, where his father worked as a photographer. He did stints at a variety of newspapers, including the Daily Mirror and the South China Morning Post, before arriving in New York in 1966, where he eventually joined the New York Post in 1977 shortly after Rupert Murdoch bought the tabloid. Dunleavy also helped to create the TV newsmagazine program A Current Affair and was the model for actor Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. The epitome of a hard-charging, hard-drinking tabloid reporter, Dunleavy earned one of his better-known scoops by sneaking into a hospital dressed in clothes that looked like hospital scrubs to interview the family of one of “Son of Sam” serial killer David Berkowitz’s victims. He died in Island Park, Long Island, New York on June 24, 2019.

Spiro Malas (86) bass whose career in supporting roles at New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera blossomed, after decades, into an acclaimed Broadway star turn in The Most Happy Fella. With a resonant voice and sly comic timing, Malas was an operatic company man, well regarded as the kind of often nameless innkeeper, police commissioner, mayor, landlord, tutor, or army officer who lends scenes color and moves plots forward. He was part of the landmark City Opera production and subsequent recording of Handel’s Julius Caesar that cemented Beverly Sills’s celebrity in 1966, and he toured with and recorded alongside Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. But it was as the lovelorn Everyman grape farmer Tony Esposito in a 1992 Broadway revival of The Most Happy Fella— the '56 musical considered by many as composer Frank Loesser’s masterpiece—that Malas, who was nearly 60 at the time, was able to come fully into his own. He died in New York City on June 23, 2019.

Isabel Sarli (89) popular star of sexploitation films in Argentina during the ‘60s and ’70s and a bane of censors. Sarli became an instant sex symbol in her feature film debut, in El Trueno Entre las Hojas (Thunder Among the Leaves) in 1958, when she became the first woman to appear fully nude in a mainstream Argentine movie. She did so in a scene in which she frolics in a swimming hole, and it became the talk of Argentina. People lined up at movie theaters to see the film. But by Sarli's account, she had not intended to cause such a sensation. She had been tricked, she said, by the director, Armando Bo (died 1981), who told her that she would be filmed from a distance. Nevertheless, the two proceeded to make 27 more movies together, some appearing internationally, including in the US. The movies often pushed the limits of what could be allowed onscreen, and several were removed from theaters after a prosecutor brought charges against Sarli and Bo. Sarli had been hospitalized with a urinary tract infection when she died of cardiac arrest in San Isidro, a suburb of Buenos Aires, Artentina, on June 25, 2019.

Max Wright (75) actor who relished his time onstage but was best known for his role as a stern father who forms an unlikely friendship with a furry extraterrestrial on the offbeat NBC sitcom ALF (1986–90). On ALF (the initials stood for Alien Life Form), a back-talking, pointy-eared alien from the planet Melmac crash-lands at the house of Willie Tanner, Wright’s character. Before Alf’s arrival, Tanner had lived a rather mundane life in a quiet suburban household. His children persuade him to let Alf stay, but the creature’s presence causes constant conflict. Tanner prefers predictability; Alf frequently disrupts it. Although Tanner rarely approves of Alf’s mischievous tendencies, the two eventually become friends. The series was a hit and has remained popular in reruns, but Wright said he never liked playing a supporting role to a puppet that had all the good lines. It took three people to handle Alf’s mechanics, which led to many extra hours on the set for each episode. Wright died of cancer in Englewood, New Jersey on June 26, 2019.


Politics and Military

Luis Alvarez (53) former New York police detective, a leader in the fight for the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund. Alvarez appeared with former Daily Show host Jon Stewart earlier this month to plead with Congress to extend the compensation fund. He entered hospice care days later. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016. Alvarez blamed his illness on the three months he spent in the rubble of the World Trade Center’s twin towers after the 2001 terrorist attack. He died in Rockville Centre, New York on June 29, 2019.

Janne E. Nolan (67) expert on international affairs and arms-control issues who advised politicians and diplomats and lamented the reluctance of skeptics to speak out against policies they believed to be wrong. Nolan, who stood out as a woman in a field dominated by men, acquired her expertise through decades of scholarship and membership in numerous research organizations. She held various teaching positions and wrote nine books, including Tyranny of Consensus: Discourse & Dissent in American National Security Policy (2013). By “tyranny of consensus,” Nolan meant a kind of governmental ethos that derives from the unwillingness of officials to voice concerns about a policy that they thought mistaken, or even potentially disastrous, once it had been generally adopted and had acquired its own momentum. Nolan died of cancer in Washington, DC on June 26, 2019.


Sports

Ken Behring (91) California-based real estate developer and philanthropist who owned the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, a turbulent time for the franchise marked by largely mediocre seasons and Behring’s unsuccessful quest to move the team to southern California. While in his 20s, Behring owned a highly successful auto dealership in Wisconsin, then embarked on lucrative residential real estate ventures. He joined with a partner in buying the Seahawks in 1988 for a reported $80 million from an ownership group controlled by the Nordstrom department-store family. The Seahawks hit bottom in 1992 when they finished with a 2-14 record. The NFL opposed a move by the Seahawks, and the team stayed put. But Behring sold the team in 1997 for $194 million to Paul Allen, a Seattle native and cofounder of Microsoft. Behring died in Blackhawk, a large planned development he built in Contra Costa County, California, on June 25, 2019.


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