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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 12, 2019

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Ginger Baker, rock drummer with CreamDr. C. Wayne Bardin, helped to develop long-acting contraceptivesSam Bobrick, playwright and creator of TV's 'Saved by the Bell'Sheldon Breiner, scientific entrepreneurDorothea Buck, German sculptor and art teacherE. A. Carmean Jr., museum curator and modern art expertCiaran Carson, Irish poet, translator, and flutistCarlos Celdran, Philippine cultural activist and performance artistEd Cray, LA journalist and authorFrancis S. Currey, one of three living WWII Medal of Honor recipientsSara Danius, first woman to head Swedish Academy, which awards Nobel PrizeGeorgette Elgey, author of 6-volume history of postwar FranceWoodie Flowers, MIT mechanical engineering professorRobert Forster, Oscar-nominated film and TV character actorJill Freedman, NYC street photographerAndrés Gimeno, Spanish tennis championJohn Giorno, poet and artistRobert Goelet, NYC civic leader, naturalist, and philanthropistKadri Gopalnath, Indian saxophonistSamuel Hynes, WWII pilot, scholar, and authorMasaichi Kaneda, Japanese baseball starDu Tu Le, Vietnamese authorAlexie Leonov, Soviet cosmonaut who first walked in spaceSamuel Mayerson, lawyer who prosecuted Patty HearstEmilio Nicolas Sr., revolutionized Spanish-language TV in USKaren Pendleton, former MouseketeerDr. Paul Polak, psychiatrist turned entrepreneurJames Stern, clergyman and activistStephen C. Swid, businessman and investorRip Taylor, TV comedian

Art and Literature

Dorothea Buck (102) in March 1936, a week before Hitler’s troops reoccupied the Rhineland, violating the treaty that a defeated Germany had signed to end World War I, Buck, the 19-year-old daughter of a German pastor, was so traumatized by the prospect of another European war that she had to be hospitalized. Ruled schizophrenic, she was sterilized under the Nazi-era “hereditary health law” protocols, imposed to prevent so-called genetic impurities from being transmitted to future generations of Caucasians whom the Germans considered Aryan. For nine months she was confined to an asylum, which disciplined her by dousing her with cold water and subjected her to medical abuses camouflaged as curatives. When she was released, she was barred from marrying and denied a career as a kindergarten teacher. Even after the war, when she had become a sculptor and an art teacher, Buck suffered from poor treatment during two more hospitalizations. Finally, after her last psychotic episode, in 1959, she transformed herself from a full-time sculptor into a crusader for more humane psychiatric therapies—writing about the subject, giving lectures, holding seminars, and helping to start organizations to protect the mentally ill. She died in Hamburg, Germany on October 9, 2019.

E. A. Carmean Jr. (74) museum curator and director and modern art expert who, responding to a higher calling midway through his career, entered a seminary and became an Episcopal canon. Carmean, whose primary area of expertise was European and American modernism, worked at several national museums. He was founding curator of the department of 20th-century art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He joined the gallery in 1974 after only three years at another museum. At the time the National Gallery was preparing for an expansion. Carmean worked with the gallery’s director, J. Carter Brown; its chief patron, Paul Mellon; and architect I. M. Pei to finalize plans for the massive triangular-shaped East Building that holds its modern and contemporary collection. Carmean was instrumental in commissioning five large works that became familiar presences in the new wing’s atrium, by Alexander Calder, Joan Mirò, Robert Motherwell, Henry Moore, and Anthony Caro. He died of cancer in Washington, DC on October 12, 2019.

Ciaran Carson (70) Irish poet whose poetry and prose captured the heritage of Northern Ireland, especially his native Belfast. Also a translator and flutist, Carson was perhaps best known as a poet, and his most acclaimed collection may have been Belfast Confetti (1989). He died of lung cancer in Belfast, Ireland, three days short of his 71st birthday. on October 6, 2019.

Sara Danius (57) first woman to lead the Swedish institution that awards the Nobel Prize in literature. Danius was elected to a lifetime position on the Swedish Academy’s board in 2013 and became the body’s first female permanent secretary in '15. The Stockholm University professor published a book in 2018 about singer-songwriter Bob Dylan after playing a central role in the Swedish Academy’s decision to make him a Nobel laureate in ’16. Danius resigned as head of the prestigious institution in early 2018 after an internal dispute grew into a sexual misconduct and financial crime scandal that brought criticism from the Nobel Foundation’s board. Danius wasn’t accused of personal wrongdoing. The Swedish Academy didn’t award the literature prize in 2018, so it named two winners—one for ‘18 and one for ‘19—on October 17, ’19. Danius, a literary scholar, critic, and author, died of breast cancer in Stockholm, Sweden on October 12, 2019.

Jill Freedman (79) hard-living photographer who immersed herself for months at a time in the lives of street cops, firefighters, circus performers, and other groups she felt were misunderstood. Lots of people dream of running away and joining the circus, but Freedman actually did it and created a body of images that captured the solitude and weirdness of the American road. In seven books and numerous gallery exhibitions and journalism assignments, she specialized in finding people on the rough margins of American life, rendering them as noble but not necessarily heroic. Even when her subjects were freakish or odd, Freedman never traded in oddity for its own sake. Viewers might laugh with the characters but not at them. A chain smoker who liked to drink—she noted that the Lion’s Head bar in Greenwich Village closed at 5 a.m.—Freedman found her stride in New York when the city was still mostly seedy, living her life and work as if she were auditioning for a role in one of her photos. She died of cancer in New York City on October 9, 2019.

John Giorno (82) poet who turned to art and mass media to shake poetry loose from the page and embed it more deeply in the fabric of everyday life. Giorno played an important role early in his life as a muse and lover of other artists, among them Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, who created his 1963 film Sleep by focusing a movie camera on Giorno’s sleeping body for more than five hours. But Giorno’s lasting contribution to art came through his experiments in the circulation and political potential of poetry, which he felt had been unjustly overshadowed by other genres of expression. In 2002 he founded Giorno Poetry Systems, a nonprofit foundation, to promote his work and that of his peers. And in 2006 he started Dial-a-Poem, a mass-communication system for cutting-edge poets and political oratory. Millions of people dialed in, hearing verse recited by poets like Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Peter Schjeldahl, and Ron Padgett, later joined by dozens of other poets and groups like the Black Panthers. Giorno died of a heart attack in New York City on October 11, 2019.

Samuel Hynes (95) self-described Midwestern yokel who soared as a heroic fighter pilot in World War II and returned, sobered by combat, to flourish as a scholar, teacher, literary critic, and popular author. Hynes’s books Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War II Aviator (1988), a memoir, and The Soldiers’ Tale: Bearing Witness to Modern War (1997), a study of memoirs, diaries, and other writing about war, took civilians to body-strewn battlefields and rat-infested trenches to answer the question, “What was it like?” Hynes died of congestive heart failure in Princeton, New Jersey on October 9, 2019.

Du Tu Le (77) literary figure in Vietnam and in the cities and towns across America where Vietnamese refugees and immigrants settled after the fall of Saigon. Although he grew up in what then was North Vietnam, Le was best associated with the south, which eventually fell to Communist forces at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. He wrote of love and loss, of loyalty and separation, of longing and, ultimately, death. Born in 1942 in Ha Nam, a province in northern Vietnam, he started writing poetry early—in 1954, the year his parents moved the family to the south after the signing of the Geneva Accords and his homeland was split into two countries. Le, who also trained as a journalist and took up art later in life, had suffered from colon cancer, but the disease had been in remission for years. He died in his sleep in Garden Grove, California on October 7, 2019.

Business and Science

Dr. C. Wayne Bardin (85) researcher in reproductive physiology who was instrumental in the development of long-acting contraceptive methods—like Norplant, Jadelle, and Mirena—used by millions of women around the world. An endocrinologist working for the nonprofit research organization the Population Council, Bardin oversaw clinical trials in the mid-‘90s that led to the approval of mifepristone, or RU-486, a synthetic steroid used as part of the so-called “abortion pill” to terminate a pregnancy. When he joined the Population Council in the late ‘70s, the birth-control pill had been around for nearly 20 years, but it provided only short-term contraception; women had to remember to take it regularly. Long-acting contraceptives, like intrauterine devices, or IUDs, developed in the early 1900s, were difficult to insert and remove and could have severe side effects. One IUD, the Dalkon Shield, was linked in the ‘70s to pelvic inflammatory disease and even death, casting a shadow over the entire market. Bardin invested in new “bench to bedside” research—where the results of laboratory work are used directly on patients—to develop better contraceptive drugs and delivery systems. He died in New York City on October 10, 2019.

Sheldon Breiner (82) geophysicist, inventor, and serial entrepreneur who started a company called Geometrics in 1969 that built sophisticated magnetometers, which measure magnetic fields, then discovered how to use them to detect objects—like sunken ships, a lost city, and colossal stone heads buried underground—by observing the way the objects affect the magnetic fields that surround them. Breiner also started a firm that helped oil companies to assess the amount of oil left in wells. He died in Portola Valley, California, near Palo Alto, on October 9, 2019.

Woodie Flowers (75) mechanical engineering professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who promoted a hands-on learning philosophy that reshaped engineering and design education and turned him into a minor celebrity. The original source of Flowers’ renown was an undergraduate course at MIT with the title 2.70 Introduction to Design, which he started teaching in the ‘70s. He began the course by handing students what he called “creativity kits”—a grab bag of random parts like paper clips, screws, bolts, and wire. He then had them form teams and instructed them to spend the semester, with him as their guide, designing robotic devices that, if successful, would be able to complete a specific task of Flowers’ choosing, like placing square pegs in a round hole. At semester’s end, the teams competed before an audience to determine whose device best solved the problem. The event became immensely popular, attracting huge crowds and ultimately the attention of PBS, which broadcast it for several years on the series Discover: The World of Science. Flowers later hosted a popular PBS series of his own, Scientific American Frontiers (1990–93). He died in Boston, Massachusetts of a sudden acute illness after aorta surgery, on October 11, 2019.

Alexei Leonov (85) Soviet cosmonaut who became the first human to walk in space 54 years ago—and nearly didn’t make it back into his space capsule. Leonov—described by the Russian Space Agency as Cosmonaut No. 11—was an icon both in his country and in the US. He was such a legend that the late science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke named a Soviet spaceship after him in his 2010 sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Leonov staked his place in space history on March 18, 1965, when he exited his Voskhod 2 space capsule secured by a tether. But his spacesuit inflated so much in the vacuum of space that he could not get back into the spacecraft and had to open a valve to vent oxygen from his suit to be able to fit through the hatch. Leonov’s 12-minute spacewalk preceded the first US spacewalk, by Ed White, by less than three months. He died in Moscow, Russia on October 11, 2019.

Dr. Paul Polak (86) former psychiatrist who became an entrepreneur and an inventor with a focus on helping the world’s poorest people to create profitable small businesses. In an era when foreign aid is largely based on charity, Polak instead advocated training people to earn livings by selling their neighbors basic necessities like clean water, charcoal, a ride in a donkey cart, or enough electricity to charge a cellphone. Although the nonprofit companies he created did accept donations, their purpose was to help poor people make money. His target market was the 700 million people around the world surviving on less than $2 a day, and he traveled all over the world seeking them out. His most successful project was in foot-powered treadle pumps to pull water out of the ground. Beginning in 1982 he sold millions for about $25 each in Bangladesh and India. The company he created for the project, iDE for International Development Enterprises, now operates in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Polak died of heart failure in Denver, Colorado on October 10, 2019.

Stephen C. Swid (78) investor and businessman whose varied career included deals for furniture and carpeting companies, an independent film distributor, and the “21” Club, but became best known for transforming Sesac, once an obscure licensing organization, into an influential force in the music industry. After starting his career as a Wall Street analyst and money manager in the ‘60s, Swid teamed with a partner to take over a series of businesses that put them on the map as aggressive young investors. In 1985 they paid $21 million for the “21” Club, a watering hole for the city’s power-broker elite. By 1986 Swid had split from his partner and was looking for new deals when he learned that CBS Inc. was selling its music publishing division, CBS Songs, which controlled the copyrights to about 250,000 songs, including classics like “Over the Rainbow” and “New York, New York.” Joining with two music executives, Swid led the purchase of CBS Songs for $125 million. The three formed a new company, SBK Entertainment World, and in early 1989, little more than two years after the CBS deal closed, they sold it to the conglomerate Thorn-EMI for $337 million. It was the highest price that had ever been paid for a music publisher. Swid died of frontal temporal lobe degeneration in New York City on October 6, 2019.


Georgette Elgey (90) French journalist, editor, and historian best known for her 6-volume history of France in the years after World War II, a project that took her nearly 50 years to complete. Elgey had started her career as a journalist, but she found more fulfillment in researching and writing about France’s Fourth Republic, an era that lasted from 1946–58. She started the project in the early ‘60s and worked on it into the 21st century. The first volume appeared in 1965, the final one in 2012. Elgey’s Histoire de la IVe République explored a period marked as much by promise as by uncertainty. France experienced strong economic growth in the immediate postwar years under the Marshall Plan, the American effort to put a ravaged Europe back on its feet, and rebuilt its relations with Germany, a reconciliation that led to the formation of the European Union. But it was also a time of intense political instability, fueled in part by decolonization and the war for independence in Algeria. Over a 12-year period, 24 separate governments controlled France. Elgey died in Paris, France on October 8, 2019.


Samuel Mayerson (97) prosecutor who took newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst to court for shooting up a southern California sporting goods store in 1974—then successfully argued for probation, not prison, for the kidnap victim turned terrorist. Mayerson later had a decades-long career as a judge. Although best known for the Hearst case, he also prosecuted and, later as judge, presided over hundreds of criminal cases during a legal career that spanned more than 60 years. A legal expert known for having little patience for attorneys who entered his courtroom unprepared, Mayerson was widely praised and well liked for his fairness. He died in Rancho Palos Verde, California on October 7, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Ginger Baker (80) volatile drummer for Cream and other bands who wielded blues power and jazz finesse and helped to shatter boundaries of time, tempo, and style in popular music. With blazing eyes, orange-red hair, and a temperament to match, the London native ranked with The Who’s Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as the embodiment of musical and personal fury. Using twin bass drums, Baker fashioned a pounding style that inspired and intimidated countless musicians. Rolling Stone magazine once ranked him the third-greatest rock drummer of all time, behind Moon and Bonham. Baker had contempt for Moon and others he dismissed as “bashers” without style or background. Baker and his many admirers saw him as a rounded, sophisticated musician—an arranger, composer, and student of the craft, absorbing sounds from around the world. He died in England on October 6, 2019.

Sam Bobrick (87) created the NBC high school sitcom Saved by the Bell, and his play Norman, Is That You? reached audiences around the world after it fizzled on Broadway in 1970. Bobrick was already a TV stalwart, having written for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Andy Griffith Show, and Get Smart when, in 1988, he created and wrote the pilot for Good Morning, Miss Bliss, a Disney Channel show about a teacher in Indianapolis, played by Hayley Mills, and some of her students. After Miss Bliss was canceled a year later, NBC picked up the show, retained some of the cast (but not Mills), retitled it Saved by the Bell, and moved its setting to California. The show followed a group of teenagers who were mentored, and sometimes disciplined, by a principal played by Dennis Haskins. The cast included Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies, Mario Lopez, and Elizabeth Berkley. Bobrick died in Los Angeles, California two days after having a stroke, on October 11, 2019.

Carlos Celdran (46) Philippine cultural activist and performance artist who received national attention for his dramatic protest against the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on reproductive health. In 2010 Celdran interrupted a Mass at the Manila Cathedral, dressed as José Rizal, an author considered a national hero after being executed by the Spanish in 1896 for leading a peaceful revolt against the colonial government. Celdran carried a large sign that read “DAMASO”—a reference to Father Damaso, a character from one of Rizal’s novels who symbolized corruption in the church. In attendance were leaders of the church, whom he criticized for their role in blocking the passage of a reproductive health bill that would have helped the country’s poorest women to gain access to contraceptives. Celdran died in Spain, where he had been living in exile, on October 8, 2019.

Ed Cray (86) longtime Los Angeles journalist and author who wrote about famous Americans like Chief Justice Earl Warren and California serial killer Juan Corona. Over a decades-long teaching career at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Cray inspired a generation of future journalists, helping many to land jobs at newspapers and TV and radio stations. During print journalism’s golden era over 40 years starting in the ‘60s, he wrote 500 free-lance articles and reviews for the country’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Washington Post and the New York Times. He was a longtime contributor to the Los Angeles Times. He wrote 18 books, including biographies of Depression-era folk singer Woody Guthrie and Warren. His Guthrie biography, Ramblin’ Man: The Life & Times of Woody Guthrie, was the source material for the 2006 PBS American Masters documentary on the singer. In Chief Justice, Cray interviewed 45 of Warren’s former law clerks and won the American Bar Association's award for best law book. He died of congestive heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease in Palo Alto, California on October 8, 219.

Robert Forster (78) handsome character actor who got a career resurgence and an Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997). Forster quite literally stumbled into acting when in college, intending to be a lawyer, he followed a fellow female student he was trying to talk to into an auditorium where Bye Bye Birdie auditions were being held. He was cast in that show, that fellow student became his first wife (with whom he had three daughters), and it started him on a new trajectory as an actor. Forster soon made his film debut in the 1967 John Huston film Reflections in a Golden Eye, which starred Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. He later starred in Haskell Wexler’s documentary-style Chicago classic Medium Cool and the TV detective series Banyon. He worked consistently throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s in mostly forgettable B-movies—ultimately appearing in over 100 films. It was Quentin Tarantino’s film Jackie Brown that put him back on the map. He most recently appeared on TV as Tim Allen’s father on Last Man Standing. Forster died of brain cancer in Los Angeles, California on October 11, 2019.

Kadri Gopalnath (69) was a youngster growing up in a village in southern India when he first heard the alto saxophone at a performance by the Mysore Palace Band, a holdover from the years of British rule that mixed Indian and European repertoire. The saxophone’s sound struck Kadri as different from the drone of the nadhaswaram, the traditional double-reed instrument his father played every day at the local temple and that Kadri had been learning. His father pulled together money and sent away for a saxophone. But rather than learn traditional Western repertoire, Kadri set about inserting the ragas (harmonic modes) and gamakams (ornaments and slurs) of classical south Indian music into saxophone playing. His main strategy was to adapt the vocal inflections of Indian singers to the instrument, although his sound always suggested the nadhaswaram’s pinched tone. He eventually became one of the most prominent classical musicians in India and the first to show on a grand scale how the saxophone, despite its Western tuning, could be a real asset in Carnatic music, not just a novelty. His renown spread across the globe thanks to numerous albums and frequent appearances at festivals in Europe and the Americas. Gopalnath died in Mangalore, India on October 11, 2019.

Emilio Nicolas Sr. (88) native of Mexico who helped to revolutionize Spanish-language TV in the US and was involved in creating the network that became Univision. Nicolas died in San Antonio, Texas on October 12, 2019.

Karen Pendleton (73) child performer who charmed young baby boomers in the ‘50s as one of the original Mouseketeers on Walt Disney’s TV series The Mickey Mouse Club. Pendleton was 9 when the show made its debut in October 1955, shortly after Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California. A tiny girl with long, curly blonde hair, Karen could dance adeptly thanks to lessons she had been taking since she was 3. She joined Annette Funicello, Sharon Baird, Cubby O’Brien, Darlene Gillespie, and the other Mouseketeers—all of whom went by just one name and wore mouse ears—on a show that featured singing and dancing, educational segments, and episodic serials. Funicello, the Mouseketeer who had the most prominent entertainment career, died in 2013. In 1983 Pendleton was a passenger in a car accident that injured her spinal cord and left her paralyzed from the waist down. She died of a heart attack in Fresno, California on October 6, 2019.

Rip Taylor (88) mustachioed comedian with a fondness for throwing confetti who became a TV game show mainstay in the ‘70s. Taylor did not have a direct line into show business. He was born in Washington, DC and first worked as a congressional page before serving in the Army during the Korean War, where he started performing standup. His ascent began with spots on The Ed Sullivan Show, where he was known as the “crying comedian.” But the moniker predated his TV stints and went back to his time performing in the Catskills. In his over 50 years in entertainment, Taylor made over 2,000 guest star appearances on shows like The Monkees, The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Hollywood Squares, and The Gong Show. He died in Beverly Hills, California on October 6, 2019.

Politics and Military

Francis S. Currey (94) US World War II veteran who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle of the Bulge. Currey was a “true American hero” who knocked out an enemy tank, drove back enemy troops, and rescued five American soldiers who had been pinned down under fire in the Belgian town of Malmedy on December 21, 1944. He was one of three living WWII Medal of Honor recipients. The town of Malmedy in the Ardennes region of Belgium is remembered for one of the most notorious war crimes against American prisoners in WWII. More than 80 unresisting GIs were shot to death on the town’s outskirts by members of a German SS armored division soon after their surrender on the second day of the Battle of the Bulge, a surprise counterattack by the Germans, bringing huge Allied casualties. Four days after what became known as the Malmedy massacre, Currey, a lanky 19-year-old Army private in the 30th Infantry Division, carried out an extraordinary feat to repulse an onslaught by the First SS Panzer Division a few miles from where its members had committed the massacre. He died in Selkirk, New York, near Albany, on October 8, 2019.

Society and Religion

Robert Goelet (96) civic leader, naturalist, and philanthropist whose marriage merged two families that date to 17th-century New Amsterdam and made the couple stewards of Gardiners Island, a sanctuary off the tip of Long Island. The scion of a real estate dynasty, Goelet was 52 when he married Alexandra Gardiner Creel in 1976. Under a trust from her aunt, she held Gardiners Island jointly with her uncle Robert David Lion Gardiner, and when he died in 2004, the Goelets took full possession of it—all 3,300 acres, 40 times the size of Central Park, complete with 27 miles of coastline, lush white pine and oak forests, colonial buildings, a 200-year-old windmill, a family cemetery, and more ospreys than people. The couple maintained the island as a bird sanctuary while restoring its colonial buildings and natural habitat. Goelet died in New York City on October 8, 2019.

James Stern (55) black activist who took control of one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups—and vowed to dismantle it. A minister with a.colorful past, Stern made news earlier this year by seeming to wrangle control of a Michigan neo-Nazi group away from far-right extremists in hopes of turning it to nobler ends. He died of cancer in Moreno Valley, California on October 11, 2019.


Andrés Gimeno (82) Spanish tennis player who became the oldest man to win the French Open in the professional era. Gimeno was 34 years and 301 days old when he won the French Open in 1972, beating Patrick Proisy in the final. He had made the Australian Open final three years earlier but lost to Rod Laver. Gimeno died of cancer in Barcelona, Spain on October 9, 2019.

Masaichi Kaneda (86) Japanese baseball great who started each of the thousands of innings he pitched during his illustrious career in Japan the same way: He walked to the mound, dropped his glove, grabbed the rosin bag, tossed it a few times, dropped it, then picked up his glove. Then he walked to second base, where he threw the first of eight warm-up pitches to the catcher. After each throw he moved a few steps closer to the mound, until by the eighth pitch he was standing on it. Kaneda was among the best at his craft—the winningest pitcher in the history of Japanese professional baseball, the only one in Japan to win 400 games. In the American major leagues, only two pitchers have won more: Cy Young, with 511, and Walter Johnson, with 417. Kaneda was the all-time leader in Japan in strikeouts, with 4,490, and innings pitched, with 5,526. He won 20 or more games in 14 consecutive seasons and pitched two no-hitters, including a perfect game. He died in Tokyo, Japan of acute cholangitis, an inflammation of the bile duct tract, on October 6, 2019.

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