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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 19, 2019

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Alicia Alonso, Cuban ballerinaMichael Armstrong, helped to expose corruption in NYPDHildegard Bachert, art dealerScotty Bowers, Hollywood 'fixer'Kate Braverman, poet, novelist, and short-story writerEd Clark, expressionist painterElijah E. Cummings, Maryland congressmanJennifer Davis, South African antiapartheid leader in USDr. Bernard Fisher, transformed treatment of breast cancerLeyna Gabriele, operatic sopranoMark Hurd, business executiveCharles Jencks, landscape and building architectChoi Jin-ri ('Sulli'), South Korean pop starSophia Kokosalaki, Greek fashion designerMarta Kurtag, classical pianist and teacher, with her husband, composer Gyorgy KurtagBill Macy, with Bea Arthur on sitcom 'Maude'William G. Milliken, Michigan’s longest-serving governorRobert Provine, expert on laughterBeverly Sackler, co-owner of drug company Purdue PharmaRay Santos, Latin jazz saxophonistJohn T. Tate, Harvard mathematicianHuang Yong Ping, Chinese conceptual artist

Art and Literature

Hildegard Bachert (98) fled the Nazis as a teenager and joined a New York art gallery where, over a 78-year career, she helped to introduce and popularize the works of German and Austrian Expressionists and the folk art of Grandma Moses. Bachert first worked at the gallery as a secretary. She became codirector with Jane Kallir, director of the Galerie St. Etienne in Manhattan (which Kallir's grandfather, Otto Kallir, founded in 1939), after the elder Kallir’s death in ’78 and remained in that position until 2018. Bachert was prominent in the art world for decades among early- and mid-20th-century Francophile arbiters of Modernism. Working with Kallir, she championed the careers of virtually unknown Expressionists, both men and women. She died in Brattleboro, Vermont on October 17, 2019.

Scotty Bowers (96) self-described Hollywood “fixer” whose memoir offered sensational accounts of the sex lives of such celebrities as Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. A native of Ottawa, Illinois, Bowers was a Marine who served in the Pacific during World War II and moved to Los Angeles after the war ended. He found work in 1946 at a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard and later said his life changed when actor Walter Pidgeon drove up in a “shiny” Lincoln two-door coupe and asked, “What are you doing for the rest of the day?”, Bowers wrote in Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood & the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars (2012). He switched jobs from gas attendant to bartender and was welcomed into the Hollywood underground and party scene. He kept planned assignations in his head, not on paper, and managed to avoid both vice squads and the tabloids in a pre-TMZ world. In Full Service he told some of the industry’s most shocking stories since Kenneth Anger’s notorious Hollywood Babylon. Bowers died in Los Angeles, California on October 13, 2019.

Kate Braverman (70) poet, novelist, and short-story writer whose work was fueled by a sprawling Los Angeles. Braverman wrote about extreme female protagonists and her oscillating love and loathing for the city that raised her: LA inspired much of her writing. She published several books of poetry and countless short stories, including “Mrs. Jordan’s Summer Vacation,” which won the Editor’s Choice Raymond Carver Short-Story Award, and “Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta,” which earned her an O’Henry Award in 1992. Her book Frantic Transmissions to & from Los Angeles: An Accidental Memoir, won the 2006 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. Braverman was perhaps best known for her novel Lithium for Medea. The 1979 work is about dysfunctional families, addiction, and toxic love affairs. Braverman wrote it while she was addicted to cocaine, she told the LA Times in 2006. She died in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 13, 2019.

Ed Clark (93) black expressionist painter who used a broom and bold colors to capture the natural world and to convey emotions about the racial injustice of the ‘60s, earning him international acclaim. Clark was known for his experimentation with vibrant colors, paint application, and medium—was among the first artists to use a shaped canvas—over a career that spanned 70 years. His works are in the collections of some of the most prestigious arts museums in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture in Washington, and the Art Institute of Chicago, the city where he trained. His art is also part of a permanent collection at the US Embassy in Cameroon. Clark earned recognition for his technique of pushing a broom across the canvas, which allowed him to bring energy, sweep, and movement to his work. He died in Detroit, Michigan on October 18, 2019.

Charles Jencks (80) whose writing on architecture helped to define the field after Modernism and put his ideas into practice both in memorable landscape architecture and in overseeing the creation of Maggie’s Centers, buildings specifically designed for cancer patients. Jencks was an architectural historian who, with a landmark book, put himself at the forefront of the debate over what architecture should do. He had little use for Modernism, the style emphasizing geometric forms and rational use of space and eschewing ornamentation, which had dominated the first three-quarters of the 20th century. Instead he advocated “radical eclecticism”—he believed architecture should reflect the environment, should embrace symbolism and metaphor, and should celebrate distinct styles and merge different influences. As a landscape architect, he created intriguing, whimsical gardens, walkways, and parks in Scotland, England, Italy, China, South Korea, and elsewhere, many of them with science-based themes. Jencks died of cancer in London, England on October 13, 2019.

Huang Yong Ping (65) conceptual artist and pioneering figure of China’s post-Cultural Revolution avant-garde, whose controversial work often depicted the world as a Darwinian power struggle. Huang was a conceptualist with a powerful visual imagination. In some sense he was also a contemporary version of the scholar-artist of Chinese tradition. A wide reader in philosophy, European and non-European, he infused his art with his learning and wisdom. He kept a sharp eye on the political world around him and held it to moral account, often using images gleaned from nature—snakes, insects, turtles—to comment on human behavior. Shown above is his sculpture of a sea monster, called “Wu Zei,” a 2010 artwork originally constructed for the oceanographic museum of Monaco. Huang died of a brain hemorrhage in Paris, France on October 19, 2019.


Business and Science

Dr. Bernard Fisher (101) University of Pittsburgh surgeon whose research transformed the way breast cancer is treated, bringing an end to the routine use of the debilitating radical mastectomy. Fisher’s research, which began in the late ‘50s and spanned 40 years, showed that early-stage cancers could be treated with simpler surgeries and that treatment with chemotherapy or hormonal drugs could extend patients’ lives. In a radical mastectomy, the breast, the lymph nodes under the armpit, the chest muscle, and, in some cases, ribs are removed. Fisher prevailed against fierce resistance from academic surgeons, who believed more surgery was always better for patients, while withstanding allegations of scientific misconduct that nearly derailed his career. Through dozens of clinical trials involving thousands of patients, he brought the scientific process to bear on medical decision making, which, he said, had too long relied on anecdotes, opinions, and untested theories passed down through generations of physicians. He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 16, 2019.

Mark Hurd (62) Oracle co-chief executive who led two Silicon Valley giants. During his career Hurd ran both Oracle and computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard. He joined Oracle as copresident in 2010 a month after leaving HP. He resigned from HP after accusations of sexual harassment by a female contract worker. In that pre-MeToo era, Hurd’s departure from HP was a significant Silicon Valley drama. An investigation found that while he didn’t violate sexual harassment policies, he submitted inaccurate expense reports connected to outings with his accuser. Hurd said he didn’t try to conceal his dinners with the contractor after events she helped to organize. He settled with the contractor in 2010. HP’s stock price more than doubled during his five-year stint as CEO, adding about $50 billion to the company’s market value. Hurd died in the San Francisco Bay area while on medical leave from Oracle, on October 18, 2019.

Sophia Kokosalaki (47) widely admired London-based clothing designer who drew on her Greek heritage in highlighting classical silhouettes and artful drapery. Over more than 20 years Kokosalaki became one of the most prominent Greek designers of her generation, respected by such star peers as Alexander McQueen and Kim Jones for her balancing a cutting-edge feminine look with ancient Greek, Minoan, and Byzantine motifs. She had earlier been a forerunner of a new wave of European fashion designers who moved to London to study, then stayed to set up their businesses. Kokosalaki died in London, England on October 13, 2019.

Beverly Sackler (95) one of the owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. Sackler was the widow of Raymond Sackler, one of the brothers who bought the drug company Purdue Frederick in 1952. The company later became Purdue Pharma. Beverly Sackler, who lived in Connecticut, was on its board for decades. Nearly 2,700 lawsuits blame the company for helping to spark the opioid crisis. Hundreds also blame family members, including Beverly Sackler. Purdue has proposed to settle them in a deal that would require the family to give up company ownership and pay at least $3 billion. Beverly Sackler died in Greenwich, Connecticut on October 14, 2019.

John T. Tate (94) Harvard mathematician who explained many fundamental ideas in the theory of numbers, many of which now bear his name, and won the 2010 Abel Prize, a top math award modeled after the Nobels. Number theory is, in large part, the study of finding solutions to equations that cast insight into the fundamental properties of integers. But instead of solving equations one by one, theorists like Tate look for underlying patterns in similar equations and develop tools to tackle them. Tate died in Lexington, Massachusetts on October 16, 2019.


Education

Robert Provine (76) scholar of laughter who took his methods out into the world and, through a series of studies and popular books, helped to create the modern science of humor. Provine made his career choice in 1990, at a time when theories explaining laughter’s purpose were still not fully formed. People laughed for a variety of reasons, it was thought: in response to the folly of others, as an expression of superiority; to release aggressive or sexual tension; or to register upended expectations—say, ordering a “small” cola and receiving a supersize half-gallon cup. Provine measured the different sounds of laughter, its varying cadences and loudness, its presence in primates. With a team of graduate students, he lurked for hours at shopping malls, student unions, and other public spaces, recording and evaluating some 1,200 pre-laughter comments. They found that, contrary to common wisdom, laughter is rarely a response to jokes, stories, or a prank. In a 2000 book, Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, Provine spelled out a broader theory of laughter’s function—as a social signal that bonds people and sets the tone for group gatherings. He died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Baltimore, Maryland on October 17, 2019.


Law

Michael Armstrong (86) chief counsel to the Knapp Commission in the early ‘70s whose pursuit of crooked cops was credited with exposing an ingrained culture of corruption in the New York Police Department. Armstrong and the investigators and prosecutors he enlisted to root out police corruption succeeded by penetrating the blue wall that had concealed systemic bribe-taking in police ranks. That code had led officers to overlook or even join in illegal activities—including the theft of cash and narcotics seized in drug raids—while complicit department brass saw no evil. Elected officials, too, ignored warnings, fearing a political backlash from police unions. The commission was appointed by Mayor John V. Lindsay after the New York Times published a series of articles by David Burnham prompted in large part by two police whistleblowers, Frank Serpico and David Durk. The two reached out to the Times after neither high-ranking police officials nor City Hall had responded to their complaints. Led by Whitman Knapp, who in 1972 was appointed a US District Court judge, the panel revealed that corruption was by no means limited to the rotten apples Armstrong and his colleagues had caught in the act and persuaded to testify. Armstrong died in New York City of uveal melanoma, a cancer of the eye, on October 17, 2019.


News and Entertainment

Alicia Alonso (98) Cuban dancer who overcame near-blindness to become a charismatic ballerina of unusual range and power and helped to found what became, with Fidel Castro’s support, the National Ballet of Cuba. Cuban-born Alonso, who continued to dance into her 70s, was an admired star of American Ballet Theater and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1957, in the depths of the Cold War, she became the first ballerina from the Western Hemisphere to appear as a guest artist in the Soviet Union. She was striking onstage, with strong features, wavy black hair, and a grand manner that could burst into flamboyance during curtain calls. Famed for her interpretations of the classics, especially Giselle, Alonso was also at home in contemporary works. When she danced with Igor Youskevitch, audiences cheered one of the great partnerships of 20th-century ballet. What made her long career all the more remarkable were her chronic visual problems. Alonso died in Havana, Cuba on October 17, 2019.

Leyna Gabriele (95) lyric coloratura soprano who played the title role in the first production of the rags-to-riches-to-rags opera The Ballad of Baby Doe. Gabriele was believed to be the first singer to whom Douglas Moore gave the Baby Doe lyrics to audition as he was composing it at Columbia University. Dolores Wilson played the title role in the work’s world premiere in Central City, Colorado in 1956. Gabriele starred as Baby Doe on the second night and in many subsequent performances that season. The opera’s libretto, by John Latouche, was based on the real-life romance between silver magnate Horace Tabor and Elizabeth McCourt, known as Baby Doe, the estranged wife of a failed miner. Tabor lost his fortune and died in 1899. Baby Doe became a penniless recluse whose frozen body was found in 1935 near Tabor’s once-booming Matchless Mine. Gabriele was also well known in New York as co-owner, with her husband, Vito Pisa (died 1966), of Chez Vito, a Manhattan supper club where Hungarian violinists and singers, Gabriele included, serenaded diners. She died in Tarrytown, New York on October 14, 2019.

Choi Jin-ri ('Sulli') (25) South Korean pop star and actress known for her feminist voice and outspokenness that was rare among female entertainers in deeply conservative South Korea. Sulli began her singing career in 2009 as a member of the girl band “f(x)” and acted in numerous TV dramas and movies. She recently appeared on a TV show and spoke out against online backlash she received over her lifestyle. She was found dead at her home south of Seoul on October 14, 2019 after her manager went to her home in Seongnam because she didn’t answer phone calls for hours. There were no signs of foul play, and police did not find a suicide note. Security camera footage at Sulli’s home showed no signs of an intrusion.

Marta Kurtag (92) Hungarian pianist and teacher who shared a 72-year collaboration with her husband, composer Gyorgy Kurtag, influencing his work and joining him in dual recitals that acquired a legendary reputation in their later years. Marta played an influential role in Hungarian musical life as a piano teacher—first at the Bela Bartok College of Music in Budapest, from 1953–63, then, after ‘72, on the faculty of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Hungary’s conservatory, from which she had graduated in ’52. She had a solo career of her own in eastern Europe. Marta Kurtag died in Budapest, Hungary on October 17, 2019.

Bill Macy (97) character actor whose hangdog expression was a perfect match for his role as long-suffering foil to Bea Arthur’s (died 2009) unyielding feminist on the daring ‘70s sitcom Maude. The stint as Walter Findlay on the CBS sitcom that aired from 1972–78 was Macy’s highest profile in a long stage, film, and TV career. He made dozens of guest appearances on series including Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, and ER. Maude was a spinoff from the landmark sitcom All in the Family from producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. Staunch liberal Maude’s sharp exchanges with conservative Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor; died 2001) were so entertaining that Lear fashioned a series around her. Macy died in Los Angeles, California on October 17, 2019,

Ray Santos (90) played saxophone with the biggest stars in Latin jazz and later wrote arrangements renowned for their economy and clarity. In the ‘50s and ’60s, if you were at the Palladium or one of the other nightclubs in New York where Latin jazz was played and elegant dancers tried the newest Cuban-inspired steps, you might have heard Santos. He was a mainstay in bands led by luminaries like Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodriguez, often called mambo’s Big Three. He wrote arrangements for Chico O’Farrill, Mario Bauzá, Noro Morales, Celia Cruz, and Eddie Palmieri and played tenor saxophone on Machito’s Afro-Cuban jazz album Kenya (1958), which featured Cannonball Adderley on alto. In 1992 Santos arranged many of the songs for the soundtrack of the film The Mambo Kings and arranged Linda Ronstadt’s album of Latin pop songs, Frenesi (1992), which won a Grammy Award for best tropical Latin album. He died of congestive heart failure in the Bronx, New York on October 17, 2019.


Politics and Military

Elijah E Cummings (68) Maryland congressman, a sharecropper’s son who rose to become a civil rights champion and chairman of one of the US House committees leading an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Cummings was a formidable orator who advocated for the poor in his black-majority district, which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore and more well-to-do suburbs. As chairman of the House Oversight & Reform Committee, he led investigations of the president’s government dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to Trump’s family members serving in the White House. He died in Baltimore, Maryland of complications from longstanding health problems, on October 17, 2019.

William G. Milliken (97) Michigan’s longest-serving governor who established a record of environmental conservation and bipartisan cooperation that made him popular among both Republicans and Democrats. The Republican was promoted to governor from lieutenant governor in 1969 when Gov. George Romney resigned to join President Richard Nixon’s administration. Milliken later won three elections but didn’t run again in 1982, retiring from politics after 14 years as Michigan’s chief executive. He was a moderate Republican who occasionally crossed swords with members of his own party but was popular with big-city Democrats, especially Coleman Young, Detroit's first black mayor. Milliken died in Traverse City, Michigan on October 18, 2019.


Society and Religion

Jennifer Davis (85) came to the US from South Africa and helped to galvanize the divestment and sanctions campaign to undermine apartheid. For nearly 20 years, from 1981–2000, Davis was executive director of the American Committee on Africa, a New York-based organization that brought together diverse opponents of the strict racial segregation imposed by her country’s white regime. She mustered the political and economic power of college students, religious congregations, organized labor, and members of corporate, pension fund, and philanthropic boards to boycott South African products and unload their stock holdings in American companies profiting from apartheid. Her approach differed from the principles originally promoted by Rev. Leon H. Sullivan and adopted by some American companies in 1977. Those guidelines called for companies with investments in South Africa to treat workers there in the same way they treated workers in the US. Davis called the guidelines “an exercise in triviality.” She suffered a brain hemorrhage while visiting a friend in Montclair, New Jersey on October 15, 2019.


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