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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 5, 2019

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Diahann Carroll, Oscar-nominated actress and singerMartin Bernheimer, longtime music critic for 'LA Times'Bill Bidwill, owner of Arizona CardinalsHarold Bloom, literary critic and Yale professorLee Botts, environmentalistVictoria Braithwaite, biology professorMarshall Efron, TV actor and humoristWayne Fitzgerald, designer of movie and TV title sequencesDana Fradon, 'New Yorker' cartoonistDiogo Freitas do Amaral, Portuguese politicianMarcello Giordani, operatic tenorPhilip Gips, graphic artist of movie postersKarel Gott, Czech pop singerJonathan Gradess, lawyer who fought for New York's poor defendantsRichard Jackson, publisher and author of children's literatureBruce LeFavour, chef of California cuisineStephen Lucasik, US physicistDeborah Marrow, former director of Getty FoundationJohn Mbiti, Kenyan theologianJessye Norman, opera starMichael James ('Busbee') Ryan, songwriter and recording producerKim Shattuck, rock singer, guitarist, and songwriterSally Soames, British photojournalistDr. Bjorn Thorbjarnarson, surgeon who treated Andy WarholBeverly Watkins, blues guitaristLarry Willis, jazz pianistMatthew Wong, self-taught painter

Art and Literature

Harold Bloom (89) literary critic and Yale professor whose The Anxiety of Influence and regard for literature’s old masters made him a popular author and standard-bearer of Western civilization amid modern trends. Bloom wrote more than 20 books and prided himself on making scholarly topics accessible to the general reader. While he frequently bemoaned the decline of literary standards, he appeared on best-seller lists with such works as The Western Canon and The Book of J, was a guest on Good Morning America and other TV programs, and was a National Book Award finalist and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters. A readers’ poll commissioned by the Modern Library ranked The Western Canon at No. 58 on a list of the 20th century’s best nonfiction English-language books. Bloom died in New Haven, Connecticut on October 4, 2019.

Dana Fradon (97) cartoonist whose sophisticated and occasionally absurd lampoons of businessmen, politicians, and lawyers helped to define the New Yorker’s postwar comic voice. Fradon drew nearly 1,400 cartoons in his 50 years at the New Yorker—a run that began under the magazine’s founding editor, Harold Ross, and ended under current editor David Remnick. Like many New Yorker cartoonists, Fradon cast a wide and whimsical net on American society. Some of his most memorable work focused on mocking the pomposity and dubious ethics of powerful men. In the cartoon shown above, instead of “All for one and one for all,” Fradon's Three Musketeers pledge: “Every man for himself!” Fradon died of liver cancer in Woodstock, New York on October 3, 2019.

Philip Gips (88) graphic artist who created many celebrated movie posters, including those for Rosemary’s Baby and Alien, which hinted at the terror audiences would experience but gave away nothing of the films’ plots. Starting in the ‘60s, Gips created a succession of posters with imagery that captured the essence of the movies they advertised. He designed a macabre look for the poster of Rosemary’s Baby (1968), a horror story about a young woman (played by Mia Farrow) who believes that her odd neighbors in the Manhattan apartment building where she and her husband (John Cassavetes) live are Satanists who have impregnated her with a demon child. The poster depicts a baby carriage propped on a rocky ridge, silhouetted against an image of Farrow, in profile, staring into the sky. Gips died in White Plains, New York of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia on October 3, 2019.

Richard Jackson (84) editor who published books by Judy Blume, Paula Fox, Virginia Hamilton, and other award-winning authors that broadened the scope of children’s literature, then late in life became a children’s author himself. Jackson won some acclaim in recent years as the author of In Plain Sight (2016) and other children’s books, but it was his work as an editor beginning in the ‘60s that changed the landscape of literature for young people. At a time when many people still thought of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries as the height of sophistication for young readers, he published authors who wrote about bullying, race, sexuality, and adolescent angst of all kinds. He often found himself defending the books he published against complaints from librarians, school boards, and parents who deemed them too strong. Blume was a frequent target of such objections. Jackson published his first Blume title, Iggie’s House, about what happens when a black family moves into a white neighborhood, in 1970. Soon after came one of Blume’s best-known titles, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Jackson died in Towson, Maryland of multiple myeloma with bone metastasis, on October 2, 2019.

Deborah Marrow (70) as director of the Getty Foundation, Marrow oversaw about $28 million in grants that made possible the influential and popular Pacific Standard Time exhibitions throughout the Los Angeles region, and during her tenure the foundation gave nearly 8,000 grants in 180-plus countries—more than $415 million in funding. But it was a local internship program—the Getty’s Multicultural Undergraduate Internship, aimed at increasing staff diversity and changing the face of arts leadership in LA County—that made Marrow most proud. She retired in 2018 after more than 30 years at the Getty. She became director of the Getty Grant Program in 1989, overseeing wide-ranging, global grant-making efforts. In 2004 she became director of the grant program’s successor, the Getty Foundation. Marrow died in Santa Monica, California on October 1, 2019.

Sally Soames (82) British photojournalist who prided herself on establishing a personal connection with the politicians, actors, writers, artists, and others she photographed. Known chiefly for her portraits, Soames, a rare woman in the testosterone-fueled world of Fleet Street newspapering, was a purist. She shot exclusively in black and white, considering color a “vulgarity,” and relied as much as she could on natural light. The results were celebrated portraits of prominent people of the second half of the 20th century—Margaret Thatcher, Sean Connery, Rudolf Nureyev, Margaret Atwood, Rupert Murdoch, Alec Guinness, and Andy Warhol among them. The National Portrait Gallery in London holds 17 of her portraits; the Victoria & Albert Museum has two (Nureyev and Lord Denning, longtime English judge). Soames had been in failing health, with declining mobility, for many years; she died in London, England on October 5, 2019.

Matthew Wong (35) promising self-taught painter whose landscapes, forest scenes, and still lifes were just beginning to command attention and critical acclaim. Wong’s story was unconventional, even remarkable, in the art world. He had been painting and drawing seriously only since 2013, but his striking canvases led critics to invoke Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Milton Avery, Vincent van Gogh, and other familiar painters as they assessed his work and tried to describe its visual impact. A solo show at Karma on East Second Street in Manhattan in 2018 drew raves. Wong was on the autism spectrum, had Tourette’s syndrome, and had grappled with depression since childhood. He committed suicide in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 2, 2019.


Business and Science

Victoria Braithwaite (52) British professor of fisheries and biology. In two scholarly papers, Braithwaite and her colleagues attracted public attention with their reports that fish could feel pain because they had neural cells called nociceptors, analogous to cells in humans that transmit pain; that those cells react to injuries; and that fish exposed to unpleasant stimuli—vinegar added to their water, for example—acted differently from fish not similarly exposed. In the book Do Fish Feel Pain? (2010), she discussed those findings and argued that fish should be accorded the same protections commonly applied to birds and mammals, like humane slaughter. Later joining the faculty at Penn State, Braithwaite died of pancreatic cancer in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania on September 30, 2019.

Bruce LeFavour (84) self-taught US cook who, on nothing more than three years in Europe and an appreciation of perfect ingredients, helped to craft the early California cuisine movement. LeFavour's education in French food began in the late ‘50s when he left Dartmouth for the Army and was stationed in France. He later opened three restaurants across the US. His first, in 1965, was in Aspen, where he developed a version of nouvelle cuisine before either the cooking style or the ski town had caught on among the nation’s elite. He opened his last in northern California in 1981 during a decade that saw Wolfgang Puck, Mark Peel, and a host of other chefs refine the notion of a thoughtful but casual culinary approach based on California’s ingredients. It was a movement that Alice Waters began when she opened Chez Panisse in 1971. All LeFavour's restaurants were off the beaten track. His health had been declining since he had a stroke in 2015. He died in Port Townsend, Washington on October 4, 2019.

Stephen Lucasik (88) physicist who oversaw crucial work on US national security and computer networking as director of the Defense Department’s research division in the late ‘60s and early ’70s. Lukasik spent eight years at the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as ARPA, a period when great strides were made in detecting and controlling weapons of mass destruction—particularly nuclear devices—and in computer networking and artificial intelligence. His work at ARPA helped to spur the growth of a worldwide network of seismographs to detect nuclear explosions, helping to plant the seeds for what became the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996. He was an ardent champion of using advanced technology to promote national defense, including the Arpanet, precursor to the Internet, which was built during his tenure as ARPA director. In a 1991 interview with the University of Minnesota’s Charles Babbage Institute, Lukasik said that one of his major goals was to transfer ARPA’s work to the military services. He died in Fairfax, Virginia on October 3, 2019.

Dr. Bjorn Thorbjarnarson (98) New York surgeon who famously treated the shah of Iran and Andy Warhol before becoming a central figure in a widely publicized lawsuit over Warhol’s death after surgery in 1987. Thorbjarnarson was one of the foremost experts on surgeries of the biliary tract—involving the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts—when he was called to remove Warhol’s infected gallbladder in 1987 at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where he worked for virtually his entire career. Thorbjarnarson completed the operation on Warhol without incident, and Warhol seemed stable as he recovered in a private hospital room. But his condition deteriorated overnight, and he died in the early hours of February 22 at age 58. The hospital settled with Warhol's estate a few weeks after the trial began. Bjorn Thorbjarnarson died in Warren, New Jersey on October 4, 2019.

Dr. Bjorn Thorbjarnarson (98) New York surgeon who famously treated the shah of Iran and Andy Warhol before becoming a central figure in a widely publicized lawsuit over Warhol’s death after surgery in 1987. Thorbjarnarson was one of the foremost experts on surgeries of the biliary tract—involving the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts—when he was called to remove Warhol’s infected gallbladder in 1987 at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where he worked for virtually his entire career. Thorbjarnarson completed the operation on Warhol without incident, and Warhol seemed stable as he recovered in a private hospital room. But his condition deteriorated overnight, and he died in the early hours of February 22 at age 58. The hospital settled with Warhol's estate a few weeks after the trial began. Bjorn Thorbjarnarson died in Warren, New Jersey on October 4, 2019.


Law

Jonathan Gradess (72) death penalty opponent who for nearly 40 years fought for New York's poor defendants by winning legal safeguards for them from the Legislature and guiding the lawyers working on their behalf. From 1978 until he retired in 2017, Gradess was executive director of the nonprofit New York State Defenders Association, established in 1967 to help implement the benchmark rulings by the US Supreme Court in Gideon vs Wainwright and other cases that granted poor defendants a constitutional right to counsel. A membership association, the group lobbies for legislation and changes in criminal justice procedures. It also monitors rulings that affect defendants, including immigrants and veterans. Its Public Defense Backup Center in Albany, which is under contract with New York State, provides training, technical assistance, and legal advice to criminal defense lawyers and management support to local assigned-counsel and public defender offices in each county. Gradess died of pancreatic cancer near Albany, New York, five weeks after learning he had the disease, on October 2, 2019.


News and Entertainment

Martin Bernheimer (83): former Los Angeles Times music critic and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Bernheimer was renowned internationally for the strong opinions he expressed in his reviews combined with a wit and personality that often provoked strong responses from his readers, both positive and negative. During his 30 years with the Times, he received ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award in 1974 and ‘78 for outstanding service to music and journalism before being awarded the Pulitzer for criticism in ’82. He died in New York City after a long battle with sarcoma, one day after his 83rd birthday, on September 29, 2019.

Diahann Carroll (84) Oscar-nominated actress and singer who won critical acclaim as the first black woman to star in a nonservant role on the TV series Julia. During her long career, Carroll earned a Tony Award for the Richard Rodgers musical No Strings and an Oscar nomination for best actress for Claudine (1974). But she was perhaps best known for her pioneering work on Julia, on which she played Julia Baker, a nurse whose husband had been killed in Vietnam, in the groundbreaking sitcom that aired from 1968–71. Although she was not the first black woman to star in her own TV show (Ethel Waters played a maid in the ‘50s series Beulah), she was the first to star as someone other than a servant. NBC executives were wary about putting Julia on the network during the racial unrest of the ‘60s, but it was an immediate hit. Carroll appeared often in plays previously considered exclusive territory for white actresses: Same Time Next Year, Agnes of God, and Sunset Boulevard (as faded star Norma Desmond, the role played by Gloria Swanson in the 1950 film). Her most celebrated marriage was in 1987, to singer Vic Damone (died 2018), and the two appeared together in nightclubs. But they separated in 1991 and divorced several years later. Carroll died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on October 4, 2019.

Marshall Efron (81) actor and humorist, a core figure on two of the quirkiest TV shows of the ‘70s, The Great American Dream Machine and the children’s program Marshall Efron’s Illustrated, Simplified & Painless Sunday School. At a time when Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Marcus Welby, MD were among TV’s top-rated shows, Efron entered the viewing public’s consciousness as a parody of a consumer affairs reporter on The Great American Dream Machine, a series that premiered in January 1971 on PBS, then newly formed and still known as the Public Broadcasting Service. It was a mix of short comic films, cartoons, musical acts, humorous sketches, investigative journalism, and opinion pieces, and Efron, 5-feet-5 and weighing more than 200 pounds, cut a distinctive figure on it. He died of cardiac arrest in Englewood, New Jersey on September 30, 2019.

Wayne Fitzgerald (89) designer of movie and TV title sequences. Fitzgerald believed that movie title sequences could be more than just “book covers,” as he once described it, and he parlayed that concept into a 50-year career designing title sequences for more than 500 movies, including The Searchers, The Music Man (shown above), The Graduate, the Godfather series, Chinatown, and The Deer Hunter. He also designed title sequences for scores of TV shows, including Cheyenne, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Dallas, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and the political slugfest from the ‘80s, The McLaughlin Group. Fitzgerald focused on the budding art of crafting opening credits that set the mood and tone of films and thus generated audience intrigue and expectation. He was part of a small cadre of title designers (others included Saul Bass, Friz Freleng, and Maurice Binder) who pioneered that new concept of film openings. He died on Whidbey Island, Washington on September 30, 2019.

Marcello Giordani (56) Sicilian tenor renowned for a voice of beauty and heft that made him a star at the world’s top opera houses. In an era when the Three Tenors waned in the ‘90s and 2000s, Giordani was sought after in lyric and later heavier roles. Giordani made his professional debut as the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto at Spoleto, Italy in 1986 and sang his first performance at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme in ’88. His American debut followed as Nadir in Bizet’s Les Pecheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers) at the Portland Opera during the 1988–89 season, and he made his first appearance at the Vienna State Opera in ‘92 as the Italian Singer in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. He died from a heart attack after lunch at his home in Monte Tauro, a suburb of Augusta in Sicily, and could not be revived, on October 5, 2019.

Karel Gott (80) Czech pop singer who became a star behind the Iron Curtain. Gott released some 300 albums starting in the ‘60s and sold tens of millions of copies in his country, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere in the Communist world. But he was also a rare example of a pop singer from eastern Europe whose music became popular in some western European countries, especially in West Germany. “The golden voice from Prague,” as Gott was called in that country, had one of the biggest hits there with “Maya the Bee” (“Die Biene Maja” in German), the title song from a ‘70s cartoon TV series. He recently announced that he had acute leukemia. Gott died in Prague, Czech Republic on October 1, 2019.

Jessye Norman (74) international opera star whose passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and the Kennedy Center Honor. Norman was a trailblazing performer and one of the rare black singers to attain worldwide stardom in the opera world, performing at such revered houses as La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera and singing title roles in works like Carmen, Aïda, and more. Norman sang the works of Wagner but was not limited to opera or classical music, performing songs by Duke Ellington and others as well. She died in New York City from septic shock and multiorgan failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she suffered in 2015, on September 30, 2019.

Michael James ('Busbee') Ryan (43) Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer best known for his work with country singer Maren Morris. Busbee was highly valued as a studio collaborator in Nashville, where he maintained creative relationships with Morris, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, and Carly Pearce, among others. Yet his productions typically went beyond country’s standard sound to embrace aspects of pop and soul music. On Urban’s Ripcord album, from 2016, he brought a slick disco groove to “The Fighter,” a duet with Carrie Underwood, and helped to arrange unlikely cameos by Pitbull and Chic’s Nile Rodgers on “Sun Don’t Let Me Down.” Lady Antebellum’s “You Look Good,” which he cowrote and produced, had horns and snappy funk drums. Busbee’s range was perhaps best captured on Morris’s 2016 major-label debut, Hero, which set the singer’s low, bluesy voice against hip-hop beats. Busbee had been reportedly diagnosed over the summer with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, and died on September 29, 2019.

Kim Shattuck (56) singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the Muffs and other pop-punk bands. Shattuck made music that combined bubble-gum melodies with roaring guitars. Her lyrics could be tender, but she concealed her vulnerability behind a sneering veneer and was widely acclaimed for having one of the greatest screams in rock ’n’ roll—a loud yowl that sometimes expressed joy and sometimes just punctuated a chord change. Shattuck died in Los Angeles of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on October 2, 2019.

Beverly Watkins (80) rare woman among blues guitarists, who cleaned homes when music did not pay her enough and did not record her first solo album until she was 60. Watkins called her music lowdown stomping blues and complemented it with crowd-pleasing antics into her 70s—playing her electric guitar on her back and behind her head, sliding across the stage. When she sang, it was often with a growl. Often billed as Beverly (“Guitar”) Watkins, she followed in the footsteps of women like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a gospel singer whose brilliant electric guitar playing helped to influence rock ’n’ roll, and blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter Memphis Minnie. But even in the 21st century, after having worked since the late ‘50s with rhythm-and-blues star Piano Red, and with bands like Leroy Redding & the Houserockers and Eddie Tigner’s Ink Spots, Watkins stood out. She died in Atlanta, Georgia of a heart attack preceded by a stroke, on October 1, 2019.

Larry Willis (76) jazz pianist who crossed genres over a 50-year career. Willis became a trusted accompanist for figures like bebop-and-beyond saxophonist Jackie McLean, South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, and eclectic composer and arranger Carla Bley. He played in the jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears and later in Jerry Gonzalez’s Fort Apache Band, a pioneering Latin-jazz ensemble. Ultimately he took part in sessions for hundreds of albums, including nearly two dozen of his own. Immersed in a thriving New York music scene, he worked with some of jazz’s most prominent figures before branching out into Latin music, fusion, and occasionally free jazz. Willis died of a pulmonary hemorrhage in Baltimore, Maryland on September 29, 2019.


Politics and Military

Lee Botts (91) was 8 years old, a child of northwest Oklahoma and already a keen observer of the region’s violent dust storms when, in the depths of the Depression, she got her first lesson in taking sensible measures to fix environmental damage. With her grandfather, she rode out to a pasture to inspect a row of drought-resistant trees that he had planted to halt erosion. They found that the trees, together forming what was called a shelterbelt, were, supported by a federal New Deal soil conservation program, growing just fine. The lesson stayed with her, Botts later said, arousing in her a passion to help protect the earth and kindling a 70-year career in environmentalism. She became a writer, a grass-roots organizer, an educator, and a municipal and federal government official whose work touched practically every drop of water and every mile of shoreline in the Great Lakes basin while educating tens of thousands of people in its ecology. Botts died of dementia in Oak Park, Illinois on October 5, 2019.

Diogo Freitas do Amaral (78) conservative politician who played a leading role in cementing democracy in Portugal after the so-called Carnation Revolution in 1974 and was later president of the United Nations General Assembly. Freitas do Amaral was a founder and first leader of the Christian Democratic Party, formed barely three months after an army coup on April 25, 1974. The coup leaders ousted a dictatorship that had been set up in the ‘30s by António Salazar and promised to introduce parliamentary democracy. But although they had the support of most of the population, their ambitions were slowed by political turmoil. The coup, in which almost no shots were fired, became known as the Carnation Revolution after a restaurant worker and pacifist, Celeste Caeiro, offered carnations to the soldiers as civilians took to the streets to celebrate. Freitas do Amaral’s party helped to balance the far-left fervor, led by the Portuguese Communist Party, that surged after the dictatorship's ouster. He played a central role in helping to steer Portugal away from its radical course in the post-revolution years, which coincided with the Cold War and triggered fears in western Europe and the US that the country, a member of NATO, might align with Moscow. Freitas do Amaral died in Cascais, Portugal, a coastal resort town outside Lisbon, on October 3, 2019.


Society and Religion

John Mbiti (87) Christian theologian from Kenya who helped to debunk ideas that traditional African religions were primitive, giving them equal weight with major world faiths. In his book African Religions & Philosophy (1969), a result of his field work in Africa, Mbiti described tribal and national religions in Africa that lacked sacred texts like the Bible but that nonetheless lived deeply in people’s hearts and minds, in rituals and oral histories, and through priests, elders, and kings. He disputed characterizations of African religions as anti-Christian at best and practiced by savages at worst—labels that had been used to justify imperialism and slavery. African religions, he said, were as deeply rooted, and as legitimate, as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. Mbiti died in Burgdorf, Switzerland on October 5, 2019.


Sports

Bill Bidwill (88) owned one of the oldest franchises in professional football but rarely talked about it. Bidwill would much rather tell stories about growing up in Chicago, his days in the Navy, or the great restaurants in St. Louis than about the current state of his Arizona Cardinals, a franchise that struggled for decades before making a stunning run to the Super Bowl after the 2008 season. Bidwill was reviled by fans at times for what they perceived as his penny-pinching ways. But privately he was an extremely charitable man, distributing money to many local causes, usually done quietly with no publicity. Charitable contributions also were made through the Cardinals Foundation, formed shortly after the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988. Bidwill ignored critics as the team went 50 years without a playoff victory before making it as a wild card team in 1998 and upsetting the Cowboys in Dallas. He died in Phoenix, Arizona on October 2, 2019.


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