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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, July 20, 2019

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Yuliya Amano, Japanese diplomatFrancesco Saverio Borrelli, Italian prosecutorDaniel Callahan, pioneering bioethicistAndrea Camilleri, Italian author of crime novelsMortimer Caplin, former IRS commissionerJohnny Clegg, South African musicianGen. H. M. Ershad, former dictator of BangladeshElijah ('Pumpsie') Green, first black player with Boston Red SoxRutger Hauer, Dutch actorDavid Hedison, actor who starred in 'The Fly'Agnes Heller, Hungarian philosopher and dissidentGeorge Hodgman, author and editorRev. Ben Kinchlow, cohost of '700 Club'L. Bruce Laingen, highest-ranking US official held hostage by Iran in 1979-81Yao Li, Chinese singerHenry Lozano, LA political mediatorAngus McQueen, head of NRA's ad agencyMarisa Merz, Italian artistCesar Pelli, Argentine-American architectEdith Perez, LA lawyer and police commission presidentPitchai Rajagopal, Indian restaurateur convicted of murderHugh Southern, cofounder of Broadway's TKTS discount ticket-selling boothsJohn Paul Stevens,retired Supreme Court justiceDr. John Tanton, Michigan ophthalmologist and anti-immigration activistPernell ('Sweet Pea') Whitaker, boxing championMarylou Whitney, thoroughbred breeder and owner

Art and Literature

Andrea Camilleri (93) author, creator of the best-selling Commissario Montalbano series about a likable but brooding small-town Sicilian police chief who mixes humanity with pragmatism to solve crimes. Camilleri’s books—most set in his native Sicily—sold some 25 million copies in Italy, where literary best-sellers are usually measured by the tens of thousands. He had legions of readers overseas, too, thanks to the enduring popularity of his character, police chief Salvo Montalbano. Italian state TV versions of the series were so popular that even repeats consistently snagged the highest audience ratings. The shows were also exported to Latin America, Australia, and across Europe. Camilleri was hospitalized in June with heart problems and complications from a broken thigh bone. He died in Rome, Italy on July 17, 2019.

Agnes Heller (90) Hungarian philosopher and dissident who repeatedly found herself unwelcome in her own country. A prolific writer in multiple languages, Heller explored Marxism, ethics, modernity, and everyday life. Her own life included losing her father in the Holocaust, falling into official disfavor after the Hungarian uprising of 1956, and, most recently, speaking out against Viktor Orban, Hungary's right-wing prime minister. Heller died while vacationing on Lake Balaton in western Hungary. She had been staying at the summer resort of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the town of Balatonalmadi. She had gone for a swim, a favorite activity, when her body was found floating in the lake. The police ruled out the possibility of a crime, on July 19, 2019.

George Hodgman (60) book and magazine editor who had his own moment as a literary cause célèbre in 2015 when he published Bettyville, a memoir about caring for his aging mother that also delved into his growing up gay in a Midwestern town. As a top editor at Henry Holt & Co., then at Houghton Mifflin, Hodgman shepherded numerous best-selling and award-winning books into print. But in 2011 he lost his job in a reshuffling at Houghton Mifflin. It turned out to be his own ticket to the best-seller list. He went to see his widowed mother, Betty, in Paris, Missouri, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City, a visit he expected to last two weeks. The two weeks became two months, then a commitment to stay with her as she grappled with dementia. Betty Hodgman died in 2015. George Hodgman was thought to have committed suicide in New York City on July 20, 2019.

Marisa Merz (93) artist identified early in her career with the Italian avant-garde movement Arte Povera (Poor Art)—the only woman among its main members—before branching out into a wide range of mediums across more than 50 years. Merz was an artistic explorer, working in clay, paint, and ink and in nontraditional materials. She also ventured into performance and installation art and the written word. In the ‘60s she made large aluminum hangings and other striking sculptures. In the ‘70s she turned to creating small heads of clay and drawings and paintings of female faces. Her first solo New York show, at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in 1994, included about 50 crocheted squares of copper wire. Early on Merz was largely overshadowed by her husband, Mario Merz, who died in 2003, and the other men of Arte Povera, a movement that started in Italy as a reaction to establishment institutions and whose members liked to use found objects and other nontraditional materials. Merz died in Turin, Italy on July 19, 2019.

Cesar Pelli (92) architect renowned for designing some of the world’s tallest buildings. Pelli was an Argentine-American whose work ranged from skyscrapers in Malaysia and New York to an arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After growing up in Depression-era Argentina, Pelli rose to the literal heights of the architectural world. At 1,483 feet (452 meters) tall, his Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, are among the tallest buildings on the planet. A former dean of the Yale School of Architecture, Pelli saw his field as “an eminently social art,” as he told a magazine interviewer in 2012. Besides the Petronas Towers, his buildings include Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, Los Angeles's colorful Pacific Design Center, and Brookfield Place, a downtown Manhattan skyscraper complex. He died in New Haven, Connecticut on July 19, 2019.

Hugh Southern (87) British-born Southern was acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts during the culture wars of the ‘80s and, briefly, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. But perhaps his most lasting legacy stems from an earlier stint as executive director of the Theater Development Fund, a nonprofit organization in New York that supports the performing arts. While there, Southern helped to establish the TKTS booth in Times Square, where over the years millions of theatergoers have bought discounted same-day tickets to some of the most heralded shows both on and off Broadway. He died of pneumonia and congestive heart failure in Leesburg, Virginia on July 15, 2019.


Business and Science

Angus McQueen (74) whose Oklahoma City advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen, was a principal architect of the National Rifle Association's modern image until the firm had a remarkable falling-out with the gun group this year. McQueen’s death came amid a legal fight between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen that would have not long ago been considered inconceivable. The two organizations had been so close for nearly 40 years that some of the most recognized faces associated with the NRA, including its former spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, and its former president, Oliver L. North, were actually on Ackerman’s payroll, not the NRA’s. But an NRA lawsuit this year against Ackerman over its billing practices led to infighting within the gun organization and threatened the leadership of its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, who had been a friend and longtime client of McQueen’s. Angus McQueen died of lung cancer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 16, 2019.

Pitchai Rajagopal (71) founder of Saravana Bhavan, one of the largest south Indian vegetarian restaurant chains in the world. Rajagopal died in India as he was facing life in prison in the murder of a man over a woman’s affections. He had been expected to begin his sentence this month before he was hospitalized. But even after his first conviction, in 2004, his company had continued to expand, and his employees had remained loyal to him. Saravana Bhavan now has 127 restaurants in 24 countries, employing about 5,000 people. Court documents in his murder case said Rajagopal had wanted to marry the daughter of one of his assistant managers but was spurned by her. The woman soon eloped with another man, but Rajagopal was said to have continued to send her gifts. In 2001, after several attempts to separate the couple, associates of Rajagopal forced the man into a car and drove off. His body was found in a resort town in the Western Ghats mountain range. He had been strangled. Rajagopal was convicted of culpable homicide by a Chennai (formerly Madras) court in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the term was suspended on medical grounds. In 2009 an Indian high court upgraded the conviction to murder, and the sentence was changed to life in prison. Rajagopal spent the rest of his life trying to avoid prison until India's Supreme Court rejected his final appeal this month. He died of cardiac arrest in Chennai, India on July 18, 2019.


Law

Francesco Saverio Borrelli (89) former prosecutor whose landmark anticorruption investigation in the early ‘90s helped to sweep away Italy’s ruling class and transform its politics. Borrelli, who served in the Italian judiciary for 47 years, became a national symbol of the rule of law during the vast anticorruption investigation known as Mani Pulite, or Clean Hands, which he led from 1992–94. The investigation led to 1,281 convictions and the indictment of a former prime minister, Bettino Craxi, who fled the country. It put an end to Italy's First Republic, the political order that took power after the fall of Fascism. Borrelli died of cancer in Milan, Italy on July 20, 2019.

Edith Perez (64) daughter of migrant farmworkers who became the first Latina partner at one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and was president of the Los Angeles Police Commission during tumultuous times in the city. Perez was appointed to the LA Police Commission in 1995—several years after the Rodney King beating—by Mayor Richard Riordan. During her four-year tenure, she pushed for numerous police reforms and worked to improve community policing, and she championed a language policy that would improve interactions between officers and people who spoke little or no English. Perez was with Latham & Watkins, where she worked for more than 25 years. She was the first Latina to become a partner at the law firm and was responsible for hundreds of finance, commercial real estate, corporate, and international transactions for the firm’s numerous Fortune 500 clients before retiring in 2011 as an equity partner. She died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 2019.

Edith Perez (64) daughter of migrant farmworkers who became the first Latina partner at one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and was president of the Los Angeles Police Commission during tumultuous times in the city. Perez was appointed to the LA Police Commission in 1995—several years after the Rodney King beating—by Mayor Richard Riordan. During her four-year tenure, Perez pushed for numerous police reforms and worked to improve community policing, and she championed a language policy that would improve interactions between officers and people who spoke little or no English. Perez was with Latham & Watkins, where she worked for more than 25 years. She was the first Latina to become a partner at the law firm and was responsible for hundreds of finance, commercial real estate, corporate, and international transactions for the firm’s numerous Fortune 500 clients before retiring in 2011 as an equity partner. She died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 2019.

Edith Perez (64) daughter of migrant farmworkers who became the first Latina partner at one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and was president of the Los Angeles Police Commission during tumultuous times in the city. Perez was appointed to the LA Police Commission in 1995—several years after the Rodney King beating—by Mayor Richard Riordan. During her four-year tenure, Perez pushed for numerous police reforms and worked to improve community policing, and she championed a language policy that would improve interactions between officers and people who spoke little or no English. Perez was with Latham & Watkins, where she worked for more than 25 years. She was the first Latina to become a partner at the law firm and was responsible for hundreds of finance, commercial real estate, corporate, and international transactions for the firm’s numerous Fortune 500 clients before retiring in 2011 as an equity partner. She died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 2019.

John Paul Stevens (99) independent-thinking, Republican-nominated justice who unexpectedly emerged as the Supreme Court’s leading liberal. During nearly 35 years on the court, Stevens stood for the freedom and dignity of individuals, be they students or immigrants or prisoners. He acted to limit the death penalty, squelch official prayer in schools, establish gay rights, promote racial equality, and preserve legal abortion. He protected the rights of crime suspects and illegal immigrants facing deportation. He influenced fellow justices to give foreign terrorism suspects held for years at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base the right to plead for their release in US courts. Stevens served more than twice the average tenure for a justice and was only the second to mark his 90th birthday on the high court. From his appointment by President Gerald Ford in 1975 through his retirement in June 2010, he shaped decisions that touched countless aspects of American life. He died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one day after suffering a stroke, on July 16, 2019.


News and Entertainment

Johnny Clegg (66) South African musician who performed in defiance of racial barriers imposed under the country’s apartheid system decades ago and celebrated its new democracy under Nelson Mandela (died 2013). Clegg’s multiracial bands during South Africa's white minority rule attracted an international following. He crafted hits inspired by Zulu and township harmonies, folk music, and other influences. One of his best-known songs was “Asimbonanga,” which means “We’ve never seen him” in Zulu. It refers to South Africans during apartheid when images of the then-imprisoned Mandela were banned. Mandela was released in 1990 after 27 years in prison and became South Africa’s first black president in all-race elections in ’94. Clegg died of pancreatic cancer in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 16, 2019.

Rutger Hauer (75) Dutch film actor who specialized in menacing roles, including a memorable turn as a murderous android in Blade Runner opposite Harrison Ford. Hauer’s roles included a terrorist in Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone, Cardinal Roark in Sin City, and an evil corporate executive in Batman Begins. He was in the big-budget 1985 fantasy Ladyhawke, portrayed a menacing hitchhiker who’s picked up by a murderer in the Mojave Desert in The Hitcher, and won a supporting-actor Golden Globe award in ‘88 for Escape from Sobibor. In Blade Runner, he played the murderous replicant Roy Batty on a desperate quest to prolong his artificially shortened life in postapocalyptic, 21st-century Los Angeles. Hauer died in Beetsterzwaag, the Netherlands on July 19, 2019.

David Hedison (92) actor who starred in the original science-fiction classic The Fly and appeared in two James Bond films. Hedison portrayed Capt. Lee Crane in the long-running sci-fi TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Spencer Harrison on the daytime series Another World. He played scientist Andre Delambre, who turned into an insect in the 1958 film The Fly, and played CIA agent Felix Leiter in the Bond films To Live & Let Die and Licence to Kill. The Providence, Rhode Island native began his career under the name Al Hedison. In 1959 he took his middle name David after signing a contract with 20th Century-Fox. His family said the actor entertained friends and family with a positive attitude and “wicked” sense of humor. He died in Los Angeles, California on July 18, 2019.

Yao Li (96) singer in Shanghai in the midst of war in the ‘30s and ’40s whose music remained popular after she moved to Hong Kong when China turned Communist. Yao was called “the silver voice” in Shanghai, her music influenced by jazz and Chinese folk. She was not famous well beyond Asia, but at least two of her songs made an impact in the US. An English-language version of one of her hits, “Rose, Rose, I Love You” (1940), was recorded by American singer Frankie Laine in 1951 and rose to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2018, “Ren Sheng Jiu Shi Xi” (or “Life Is Just a Play”), which she released in Hong Kong in 1959, was used on the soundtrack of Jon M. Chu’s romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians (2018), a movie about a New Yorker who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s wealthy family. Yao was long referred to as one of the seven great singing stars of Shanghai. She died in Hong Kong on July 19, 2019.


Politics and Military

Yukiya Amano (72) Japanese diplomat who led the International Atomic Energy Agency for 10 years and was extensively involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and the cleanup of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Amano, who had wide experience in disarmament, nonproliferation diplomacy, and nuclear energy issues, had been chief of the key United Nations agency that regulates nuclear use worldwide since 2009. His death came at a time of increasing concerns and escalating tensions over Iran’s nuclear program after US President Donald Trump left a 2015 deal with world powers that restricted Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. Amano was heavily involved in the years-long negotiations that led to the landmark Iran nuclear deal. As head of the IAEA, he also dealt with the aftermath of Japan’s devastating 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, where three reactors went into meltdowns after a tsunami. He died on July 18, 2019.

Mortimer Caplin (103) as Internal Revenue commissioner in the early ‘60s, Caplin was credited with making taxpaying more tolerable for the majority of Americans who do so voluntarily and tougher for the rest to avoid or evade. Caplin pursued tax cheats who were costing the government billions of dollars. He persuaded Congress, despite the opposition of corporate America, to require that expenses of more than $25 be itemized if they were claimed as tax deductions. He also introduced a centralized computer system—known as the Martinsburg Monster, for the city in West Virginia where it was located—to audit returns swiftly and equitably. Revenue and compliance increased as a result. So did the government’s take from illegal gambling and other illicit enterprises after the IRS joined forces with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to battle organized crime. Caplin died in Chevy Chase, Maryland on July 15, 2019.

Gen. H. M. Ershad (89) military dictator of Bangladesh for most of the ‘80s. Ershad assumed power as military chief in 1982 and declared himself president in ’83. He later created the Jatiya Party and was elected in 1986, although his victory was marred by charges of vote fraud. While in office, Ershad suspended the country’s constitution and Parliament and cracked down on his political opponents. He amended the constitution by declaring Islam the state religion in 1988. After his ouster, he was arrested in 1991 on more than two dozen charges. He was acquitted of many of them but convicted of corruption and imprisoned for six years. Ershad had several health problems, including infections in his lungs and kidneys, and was hospitalized on June 26. He died in Dhaka, the nation’s capital, on July 14, 2019.

L. Bruce Laingen (96) highest-ranking American official held in Iran during the 444-day hostage ordeal that began there in November 1979. A career diplomat, Laingen had been in Iran less than five months when militant students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 hostages, mostly diplomats and staff members. Laingen was not there at the time, but he too was detained, at the Foreign Ministry elsewhere in the city. A few hostages were soon released. But most, including Laingen, were held for more than a year before being released on January 20, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president of the US. It was a period of high drama and high tension that included a failed rescue attempt that left eight American servicemen dead. Laingen died of Parkinson’s disease in Bethesda, Maryland on July 15, 2019.

Henry Lozano (85) Los Angeles political insider who spent much of his career aiding, counseling, and influencing LA Latino politics and politicians. As a mediator and an advocate, Lozano advised many of the prominent Latinos and Latinas of his day at the start of their political careers, including Xavier Becerra, Edward Roybal, and Gloria Molina. He died in Whittier, California on July 15, 2019.


Society and Religion

Daniel Callahan (88) pioneering bioethicist who grappled with issues presented by medical advances like organ transplants, prenatal diagnoses, and artificial respirators. A leading liberal Roman Catholic thinker who eventually left the church, Callahan cofounded the Hastings Center in Hastings-on-Hudson, north of New York, in 1969. The center calls itself the first research institute in the world devoted to bioethics, a field that examines moral uncertainties in medicine, health care, and the life sciences. Before he helped to establish that field, Callahan edited Commonweal, the liberal Catholic magazine, from 1961–68. He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Dobbs Ferry, New York, three days before his 89th birthday, on July 16, 2019.

Rev. Ben Kinchlow (82) Methodist minister’s son who belatedly became a believer and preached to a global congregation as a host of The 700 Club (with his fellow TV evangelist Pat Robertson). Kinchlow became a regular cohost and sidekick on the program and executive vice president of the CBN network. He hosted CBN’s Straight Talk program on TV and its Taking It to the Streets on radio and directed the network’s Operation Blessing food and shelter relief program and its counseling services. He cohosted from 1975–88 and again from ‘92–96 and founded Americans for Israel to promote mutual understanding between Christians and Jews. By his own account Kinchlow was a black nationalist firebrand and a philanderer before he became a born-again Christian in his mid-30s, in the early ‘70s. He later founded a youth ministry and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Killeen, Texas, about 75 miles north of Austin. He died in Virginia on July 18, 2019.

Dr. John Tanton (85) small-town ophthalmologist who founded or fostered the US's leading anti-immigration groups—like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which he started 40 years ago with the aim of reducing the number of immigrants to the US. Tanton also started groups dedicated to making English the official language of the US and a publishing arm that put out the journal The Social Contract and books by leading opponents of immigration. Over the years the groups have lobbied on Capitol Hill for greater enforcement at the southwestern border, a reduction in legal immigration, and sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants. Tanton's nonprofit US Inc., based in Petoskey, Michigan, helped to fund the Remembrance Project, which sought out grieving family members whose loved ones had been killed by illegal aliens. Tanton died of Parkinson’s disease in Petoskey, Michigan on July 16, 2019.


Sports

Elijah ('Pumpsie') Green (85) former Boston Red Sox infielder, first black player on the last major league team to field one. A light-hitting second baseman and shortstop, Green brought baseball’s segregation era to an end of sorts when he entered a game against the Chicago White Sox as a pinch-runner for Vic Wertz on July 21, 1959—more than a dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Green joined the team on a road trip and had played nine games before taking the field at Fenway Park for the first time. He said earlier this year in an interview with NESN, the Red Sox TV network, that he remembered receiving a standing ovation when he came to the plate, batting leadoff. He died in San Leandro, California on July 17, 2019.

Pernell ('Sweet Pea') Whitaker (55) Olympic gold medalist and four-division champion regarded as one of the greatest defensive fighters ever. Sweet Pea was Whitaker’s nickname, and it fit perfectly. He was a master of hitting and not getting hit back, a southpaw who rarely gave an opponent an opportunity to land a clean shot. He won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles—one of nine US boxing champions that year—and made his pro debut on national TV. He advanced quickly and was fighting for a major title by his 17th fight, a loss to José Luis Ramirez that he avenged the next year. But Whitaker was also known as the victim of one of the worst decisions in boxing, a draw that allowed Julio Cesar Chavez to remain unbeaten in their welterweight showdown before a crowd of more than 60,000 at the Alamodome in San Antonio in 1993. In 1997 Whitaker was on the losing end of another difficult decision against Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas, a fight many ringsiders thought he had won. The former fighter was hit by a car and killed in Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 14, 2019.

Marylou Whitney (93) thoroughbred breeder and owner whose family helped to keep Saratoga Race Course open in the ‘70s. Whitney became the first woman in 80 years to own and breed a Kentucky Oaks winner in 2003 with Birdstone, a filly trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito. In 2004 Birdstone won the Belmont Stakes, spoiling Smarty Jones’s Triple Crown bid, and the Travers, Saratoga’s signature race. Whitney’s stable had over 190 winners starting in 2000 and into the current year. Before opening her own stable in 1992, Whitney teamed with her husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney (died 1992), to race horses. They won the Travers in 1960 with Tompion and again in ‘68 with Chompion. C. V. Whitney cofounded the National Museum of Racing and Pan American Airlines in 1958. In the ‘70s the couple helped to convince the New York Racing Association to keep Saratoga open when wagering and attendance sagged. Their efforts and long-term vision paid off, with Saratoga’s summer meet attracting more than one million fans annually. Marylou Whitney died in Saratoga Springs, New York on July 19, 2019.


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