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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 14, 2019

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Danny Aiello, tough-guy character actorRené Auberjonois, familiar character actorDalton Baldwin, pianist, recording artist, and recital accompanistPhil Brigandi, Orange County archivist and historianFrederick B. Dent, Nixon defenderJoseph Fallek, NYC police officer turned defense lawyerPete Frates, inspired ALS ice bucket challengeMarie Fredriksson, female half of Swedish pop duo RoxetteRichard G. Hatcher, former mayor of Gary, IndianaLarry Heinemann, Vietnam veteran and prize-winning novelistKen Heyman, photographerAnna Karina, French New Wave actressGershon Kingsley, composer of electronic musicWiliam Luce, author of one-character playsYuri Luzhkov, former mayor of MoscowMichael Lawrence Marrow ('Phase 2'), graffiti artist and writerDon McDonagh, dance critic and biographerWilliam S. McFeely, Civil War historianPhilip McKeon, surrounded by cast of 'Alice'Rosa Porto, founder of Porto's Bakery & Café chainFelix G. Rohatyn, helped to save NYC from financial ruinElisabeth Sifton, book editor and publisherPeter Snell, champion runnerCaroll Spinney, whole-body puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on 'Sesame Street'May Stevens, activist artistRandy Suess, early computer hobbyistDiane Terman Felenstein, publicist turned financial adviserScott Timberg, LA journalist and authorPaul A. Volcker, Reagan's Federal Reserve chairmanKim Woo-Choong, South Korean businessmanJuice WRLD, rapper

Art and Literature

Larry Heinemann (75) Vietnam veteran who drew on his war experiences in two well-received novels—one of which, Paco’s Story (1986), startled the literary world when it won the National Book Award for fiction in 1987. The book was an unexpected winner not only because Heinemann was not well known—he had published only one previous novel—but also because of the competition it beat out. Other nominees that year included Beloved by Toni Morrison (which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction a few months later) and The Counterlife by Philip Roth (which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction). It had been widely expected that one of them would win the National Book Award. Heinemann died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Bryan, Texas on December 11, 2019.

Ken Heyman (89) photographer who worked with cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, shot scores of assignments for Life magazine, collaborated with President Lyndon B. Johnson, and sought new ways of seeing the world. Heyman first accompanied Mead on a trip to Bali in 1957, and he took the photographs for Family, a 1965 collaboration in which the two examined families around the world in images and text. In 1966 Heyman collaborated with Johnson on This America: A Portrait of a Nation, a book intended to illustrate Johnson’s “Great Society” initiatives. Heyman died in New York City on December 10, 2019.

Michael Lawrence Marrow ('Phase 2') (64) in the early ‘70s, Phase 2 was one of the most prolific, inventive, and emulated New York graffiti writers and later in his career produced early hip-hop’s most innovative fliers. In the South Bronx at the dawn of the ‘70s, all the creative components that would coalesce into what became widely known as hip-hop were beginning to take shape. At the center of them all was Phase 2, a talent who first made his mark as a writer of graffiti—although he hated the term. He died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in the Bronx, New York on December 12, 2019.

Elisabeth Sifton (80) book editor and publisher who fine-tuned manuscripts by many of the 20th century’s literary lions. Sifton was also an author in her own right, affirming in a memoir that it was her father, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who had popularized what became known as the Serenity Prayer, which begins, “God give us grace to accept with serenity that which we cannot change.” Since the prayer began circulating during World War II, various theories have emerged about its derivation—did Niebuhr actually write it or cobble it together from historic precedents?—and about its precise wording. Sifton made it her mission to demystify both questions. She died of metastatic breast cancer in New York City on December 13, 2019.

May Stevens (95) painter who for more than 60 years devoted her art to political causes like the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. Stevens was part of a generation of activist artists, which also included her husband, Rudolf Baranik, and their close friends Leon Golub and Nancy Spero. Through the rise of Minimalism and Conceptualism, those artists adhered to an older tradition of expressive painting and to a belief in the value of art as an instrument of progressive politics and personal liberation. Stevens died of Alzheimer’s disease in Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 9, 2019,


Business and Science

Frederick B. Dent (97) South Carolina textile manufacturer who in the mid-‘70s was President Richard M. Nixon’s secretary of commerce and President Gerald R. Ford’s special representative for US trade negotiations. A businessman who advocated free trade and an end to most protectionist tariffs, Dent was commerce secretary from 1973–75, bridging the Nixon and Ford administrations. He became Ford’s trade representative, with cabinet and ambassadorial rank, from 1975–77, when the Republicans surrendered the White House to the Democrats and President Jimmy Carter. As the Watergate crisis deepened, Dent emerged as a defender of the president. Speaking to business groups, in congressional hearings, and even on missions abroad, he remained faithful to the last and often accused the press of inflating the Watergate affair. He died in Spartanburg, South Carolina on December 10, 2019.

Rosa Porto (89) baker and Cuban émigré who founded Porto’s Bakery & Café chain in southern California with her family. Porto came from Manzanillo, Cuba. After Fidel Castro took power on the island in 1959, Porto lost her job as a manager at a cigar distributor, and her husband, Raul, was sent to a labor camp. Rosa, who had grown up learning the recipes of her Spanish-born mother, supported her family by making and selling brandy-soaked sponge cakes, although Castro’s regime forbade private citizens from owning businesses. After years on a wait list, the family was allowed to leave Cuba in the early ‘70s. They arrived flat broke in Los Angeles, where Raul got a job as a janitor and Rosa baked and sold cakes from home for neighbors and fellow Cuban immigrants. With a small loan, the family opened a bakery in 1976 on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park and moved to a larger location on Brand Boulevard in Glendale in ’82. The bakery became famous for Cuban cakes and pastries, meat pies, potato balls, empanadas, and guava-and-cheese strudels. Rosa Porto died on December 13, 2019.

Felix G. Rohatyn (91) financier and government adviser credited with helping to save New York from ruin during the ‘70s as chairman of the agency that oversaw the city’s finances. Born in Vienna in 1928, Rohatyn fled Nazi-occupied France with his family in ‘40 and arrived in the US in ’42. After rising to prominence with the banking firm Lazard, formerly Lazard Freres, Rohatyn was named chairman of the state-appointed Municipal Assistance Corp. in 1975. The position, which he held until 1993, gave him power over taxes and spending in the nation’s largest city that was unusual for someone who did not hold elected office. As chairman of the agency, Rohatyn pushed the financially strapped city to make reforms including a municipal wage freeze and charging tuition at the formerly free City University of New York. He wrote in the agency’s annual report that the alternative to such cutbacks, which were criticized by many New Yorkers, was bankruptcy. Rohatyn died in New York City on December 14, 2019.

Randy Suess (74) computer hobbyist who helped to build the first online bulletin board, before the rise of the Internet, messaging apps, and social media. In late January 1978, Suess was part of an early home computer club called the Chicago Area Computer Hobbyists’ Exchange, or CACHE. With another club member, an IBM engineer named Ward Christensen, he had been discussing an idea for a new kind of computer messaging system but hadn’t had the time to explore it. Then a blizzard hit the Great Lakes region, covering Chicago in more than 40 inches of snow. As the city shut down, Christensen and Suess decided they finally had enough time to build their new system. The idea was to build a central computer that club members could connect to, using their own computers and telephone lines. Two weeks later their system, called Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS, was up and running, and the club was trading messages about meetings, new ideas, and new projects. In the late ‘70s and into the ’80s, as word of their system spread through trade magazines and word of mouth, hobbyists across the country built their own online bulletin boards, offering everything from real-time chat rooms to video games. Those grass-roots services were the forerunners of globe-spanning social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Suess died in Chicago, Illinois on December 10, 2019.

Diane Terman Felenstein (79) represented celebrities as a publicist before gaining renown herself with a best-selling financial advice guide for women. Terman Felenstein had been running her own public relations company when her interest in personal finance was sparked. She read an article about the Beardstown Ladies, a group of women in their 60s and 70s who had formed an investment club, named after their Illinois town, and written two best-selling books about their stock-market returns. The Beardstown Ladies focused on picking stocks, but for Terman Felenstein, what resonated was the idea that women should be knowledgeable about finances to help safeguard their futures. In 1996 she and a few dozen female acquaintances started a club to educate themselves on investments, stock picking, insurance, estate planning, and other financial matters. They called it the 008-Investment Club, a reference to eight as a “power number” in numerology linked to financial fortune. In 1997 she and another club member, Marilyn Crockett, published The Money Club: How We Taught Ourselves the Secret to a Secure Financial Future—and How You Can, Too (with Dale Burg). It encouraged women nationwide to take a bigger role in guiding their family finances, and it was a hit. Terman Felenstein died of ovarian cancer in New York City on December 8, 2019.

Kim Woo-choong (82) disgraced founder of the now-collapsed Daewoo business group whose rise and fall symbolized South Korea’s rapid economic growth in the ‘70s. Kim started as a textile salesman and built Daewoo Corp. in 1967. The company grew into South Korea’s second-largest business empire, producing everything from clothes to cars, ships, TV sets, refrigerators, and other electronics. Often dubbed by local media as the “Kim Woo-choong myth,” his rise represented South Korea’s explosive economic development engineered by then-authoritarian leader Park Chung-hee, who nurtured a small number of conglomerates like Daewoo with cheap loans and tax benefits during his 1961–79 rule. in 1999 Daewoo collapsed, resulting in the country’s largest corporate bankruptcy. In 2006 Kim was convicted of accounting fraud, illegal financing, and diverting funds out of the country, but his prison sentence was ultimately suspended. He died of pneumonia in Suwon, just south of Seoul, South Korea on December 9, 2019.


Education

Phil Brigandi (60) archivist and historian who for more than 40 years recorded Orange County’s stories in books and articles. Beginning in 1975, Brigandi chronicled the histories of his hometown of Orange and of Riverside and San Diego counties, joining the Orange Community Historical Society’s board of directors at 19, the youngest board member ever. At 23 he became a member of the Orange County Historical Commission. Over the years he covered people, agriculture, the Santa Ana winds, businesses, newspapers, and the Southern Pacific, Orange County’s first railroad. He died in Orange, California from complications of a heart attack he had suffered days earlier, on December 12, 2019.

William S. McFeely (89) historian who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Ulysses S. Grant but was also well known for advancing the field of black history. McFeely also wrote an acclaimed biography of Frederick Douglass and Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard & the Freedmen (1968), a study of the Freedmen’s Bureau, set up by the US government at the end of the Civil War to oversee the welfare of freed slaves, and the man who ran it. Those books and other writings established him as a leading interpreter of Reconstruction, the pivotal period after the Civil War. A former professor at Yale University and dean of the history faculty at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, McFeely died in Sleepy Hollow, New York of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, on December 11, 2019.


Law

Joseph Fallek (93) former New York police officer-turned-lawyer who pursued a high-profile career defending officers accused of misconduct. Fallek became the defense lawyer of choice for many law enforcement personnel who became entangled in allegations of bribery and other misdeeds after the Knapp Commission hearings into police corruption in the early ‘70s. As general counsel of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, he reminded its members in a union newsletter that when officers are accused of crimes, as the title of his article put it, “The District Attorney Is Not Your Friend.” He urged them not to waive their rights against self-incrimination during investigations and resisted efforts by police brass to override a rule requiring investigators to wait 48 hours before questioning officers accused of misconduct. Fallek died of heart failure in Roslyn, New York on December 9, 2019.


News and Entertainment

Danny Aiello (86) blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included roles in Fort Apache, the Bronx, Moonstruck, and Once Upon a Time in America and his Oscar-nominated performance as a pizza man in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Recognizable, if not famous, for his burly build and husky voice, Aiello was an ex-union president who broke into acting in his 30s and remained a dependable player for decades, whether vicious or cuddly or some of each. His breakthrough, ironically, was as the hapless lover dumped by Cher in Norman Jewison’s hit comedy Moonstruck. His character's disillusion contributed to the laughter, and although he wasn’t nominated for a supporting-role Oscar (Cher and Olympia Dukakis won in their categories), Aiello was inundated with movie offers. He died in New York City on December 12, 2019.

René Auberjonois (79) actor best known for his roles on the TV shows Benson and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his part in the 1970 film M*A*S*H playing Father Mulcahy. Auberjonois worked constantly as a character actor in several golden ages, from the theater of the ‘60s to the cinema renaissance of the ‘70s to the prime period of network TV in the ‘80s and ‘90s. For film fans of the ‘70s, he was Father John Mulcahy, the military chaplain who played straight man to the doctors’ antics in M*A*S*H. It was his first significant film role and the first of several for director Robert Altman. For sitcom watchers of the ‘80s, Auberjonois was Clayton Runnymede Endicott 3rd, highbrow chief of staff at a governor’s mansion on Benson, the ABC series whose title character was a butler played by Robert Guillaume. And for science fiction fans of the ‘90s and convention-goers ever since, he was Odo, the shape-shifting Changeling and head of space-station security on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Auberjonois was also a regular on the ABC law-firm dramedy Boston Legal from 2004–08. He died of metastatic lung cancer in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2019.

Dalton Baldwin (87) American pianist and recording artist acclaimed for nearly 60 years as a recital accompanist to major singers, including Elly Ameling, Jessye Norman, and especially French baritone Gérard Souzay. Baldwin had performed on five continents and made more than 100 recordings over his career. Like many of his colleagues, he preferred to be called simply a pianist, but critics insisted that he was no mere accompanist. While consistently praising the refinement, sensitivity, and technical command of his playing, they routinely described him as an equal partner to the singers he performed with. Baldwin died in Kunming, in the Yunnan Province of China. He had recently completed three weeks of performances and coaching sessions with students in Japan and was returning from a short trip to Myanmar to visit Buddhist temples when he collapsed on a flight to Tokyo. The plane made an emergency landing in Kunming, where he was taken to a hospital and died, on December 12, 2019.

Marie Fredriksson (61) female half of the Swedish pop duo Roxette. Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986. The two released their first album that same year and achieved international success in the late ‘80s and ‘90s with hits including “The Look” and “It Must Have Been Love.” They achieved international success with their albums Look Sharp! (1988) and Joyride (1991) and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The pair sold 80 million records worldwide and embarked on world tours. They were Sweden’s best-known band since ABBA in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002. She underwent aggressive treatment that took its toll but ultimately was successful. But she was left blind in one eye, with limited hearing and mobility, and was unable to read or write. She was also unable to speak for a considerable time after her treatment. Over the years she was able to make a gradual return to the world stage. She died on December 9, 2019.

Anna Karina (79) French New Wave actress who became an icon of the cinema in the ‘60s and was the muse of director Jean-Luc Godard. Karina made seven films with Godard, her partner at the time, including the 1961 Une Femme Est Une Femme (A Woman Is a Woman), in which she played a femme fatale. For that, she received the best actress award at the Berlin Film Festival. Other cult Godard movies starring Karina included the 1962 Vivre Sa Vie (Live Your Life) and the ‘65 Pierrot Le Fou. Karina captured filmgoers with her large blue doe eyes and acting and singing talents. The French New Wave broke with traditional cinematic conventions to create a fresh approach to making movies, in keeping with the free-spirited times. Born in Denmark, Karina initially modeled and sang in cabarets before coming to France. She was reportedly discovered, and renamed, by Coco Chanel, then discovered by Godard. She died of cancer in Paris, France on December 14, 2019.

Gershon Kingsley (97) composer who brought electronic sounds into popular music and wrote the instrumental hit “Pop Corn.” Kingsley was an early convert to the Moog synthesizer in the ‘60s. He used it to create music for commercials and to orchestrate perky melodies—most notably “Pop Corn,” originally released on Kingsley’s 1969 album Music to Moog By. It became a best-seller and was remade (usually retitled “Popcorn”) in hundreds of versions: by Kraftwerk, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Aphex Twin, and the Muppets, among others. A 1972 version of “Popcorn” by Hot Butter made the song an international hit, and a 2005 remake for the animated character Crazy Frog became a major hit in Europe. Kingsley wrote a concerto for four Moogs, plus musicals, operas, oratorios, cantatas, movie soundtracks, and a rock version of Jewish Sabbath services. He died in New York City on December 10, 2019.

William Luce (88) late-blooming playwright. In his 40s Luce turned from a musical career to writing one-character plays about poet Emily Dickinson, Danish author Isak Dinesen, playwright Lillian Hellman, and actor John Barrymore—all of which were produced on Broadway. The Belle of Amherst, Luce’s play about the reclusive Dickinson, reflected his love of her poetry, which he first read in high school, and his fascination with the letters she wrote to friends. Luce died of Alzheimer’s disease in Green Valley, Arizona, near Tucson, on December 10, 2019.

Don McDonagh (87) supporter of experimental choreographers as a dance critic and author of critical biographies of George Balanchine and Martha Graham. From 1967–78, McDonagh was one of the first critics to support dancemaker Twyla Tharp when she began showing her early, provocative conceptual work in the mid-‘60s. His other books include The Complete Guide to Modern Dance (1976), an introduction to the art form; and The Rise & Fall & Rise of Modern Dance (1970). His book Martha Graham: A Biography was published in 1973. McDonagh died of cancer in New York City on December 10, 2019.

Philip McKeon (55) child actor featured as the son of Linda Lavin’s Alice Hyatt on the ‘80s CBS sitcom Alice. McKeon played Tommy Hyatt on Alice from 1976–85. His most recent acting role was in the video Ghoulies IV (1994). McKeon had worked for 10 years in the news department of a Los Angeles radio station before moving to Texas around 2014 to better care for his family. He settled in the central Texas hill country town of Wimberley, about 30 miles southwest of Austin, where he hosted a local radio show. His sister is Nancy McKeon, best known for playing Jo Polniaczek on the ‘80s NBC sitcom The Facts of Life. Philip McKeon died in Texas on December 10, 2019.

Caroll Spinney (85) actor who for nearly 50 years was Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, the anonymous whole-body puppeteer who, since the 1969 inception of the public TV show that has nurtured untold millions of children, portrayed the canary-yellow giant bird and the misanthropic, furry-green bellyacher in the trash can outside 123 Sesame Street. Spinney also performed his characters in live concerts around the world and at the White House many times and was featured in films and documentaries and on record albums. He had suffered for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions. He died in Woodstock, Connecticut on December 8, 2019.

Scott Timberg (50) journalist and author whose cultural appetites fueled his career in Los Angeles and led him to question the future of the arts in the Internet age. Timberg worked as an LA Times reporter for six years before writing Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class, a 2015 book that examined how digital technology and economic polarization were damaging American cultural life. The book was energized by the author’s enthusiasm for the arts, from the poetry of W. H. Auden to vintage guitars, but its roots were in Timberg’s own career reversals. The Times laid him off amid budget cuts in 2008, and the Timberg family had to sell their home. Timberg committed suicide in Los Angeles, California on December 10, 2019.

Juice WRLD (21) rapper (born Jarad A. Higgins) who was named top new artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in May. WRLD launched his career on SoundCloud before he rose to the top of the charts with the Sting-sampled hit “Lucid Dreams.” He died after a “medical emergency” at Chicago’s Midway International Airport. He was pronounced dead at a hospital around 3:15 a.m. on December 8, 2019 and taken to the Cook County medical examiner’s office several hours later. Chicago police launched a death investigation after announcing there were no signs of foul play.


Politics and Military

Richard G. Hatcher (86) former mayor of Gary, Indiana who became one of the first black mayors of a big US city when he was elected in 1967. Hatcher had to overcome opposition from the local Democrat machine to become mayor of what was then Indiana’s second-largest city in a surprise victory in 1967. He served five terms. He became the political face of Gary and a political force for blacks after his groundbreaking election. He organized the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary and was chairman of Jesse Jackson’s Democrat presidential campaign in 1984 and vice chairman in ’88. Hatcher died in Chicago, Illinois on December 13, 2019.

Yuri Luzhkov (83) mayor of Moscow for 18 years and one of the founders of Russia’s ruling United Russia party, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longtime political platform. A chemical engineer, Luzhkov ventured into politics in his early 40s and started working with the Moscow city council in 1977. In 1991 he was appointed deputy mayor of Moscow and a year later elected mayor. During his tenure, Moscow grew richer and bigger. Luzhkov frequently said that he brought the city back to life after years of post-Soviet poverty and squalor. At the same time he was widely criticized for the grandiose architectural style he encouraged and large-scale corruption. In 2010 Luzhkov was dismissed from his post by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The former mayor died in Munich, Germany, where he was undergoing heart surgery, on December 10, 2019.

Paul A. Volcker (92) US Federal Reserve chairman in the early ‘80s. Volcker elevated interest rates to historic highs and triggered a recession as the price of quashing double-digit inflation. He took charge of the Fed in August 1979 when the US economy was sinking into runaway inflation. Consumer prices skyrocketed 13 in 1979, then by the same amount again in ’80. Working to bring prices under control, Volcker raised the Fed’s benchmark interest rate from 11 per cent to a record 20 per cent by late 1980 to try to slow the economy’s growth and thereby shrink inflation. Those high interest rates made it so expensive for people and companies to borrow that the economy weakened steadily. By January 1980 a recession had begun; it lasted six months. A deeper and more painful downturn took hold in July 1981. That one lasted for 18 months and sent unemployment up to 10.8 per cent in November and December 1982, the highest level since the Great Depression. In the midst of it, Volcker was vilified by the public for having triggered a recession to curb runaway price increases. By 1984, the pain of the recession he helped to cause eventually produced the desired results: inflation receded. Volcker died in New York City on December 8, 2019.


Sports

Pete Frates (34) former college baseball player whose battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) helped to inspire the ALS ice bucket challenge that has raised more than $200 million worldwide. The ice bucket challenge began in 2014 when pro golfer Chris Kennedy challenged his wife’s cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the New York Yankees great who suffered from it. ALS patient Pat Quinn, of Yonkers, New York, picked up on it and started its spread, but when Frates and his family got involved, the phenomenon exploded on social media. The process was simple: take a bucket of ice water, dump it over your head, post a video on social media, and challenge others to do the same or make a donation to charity. Most people did both. Thousands of people participated, including celebrities, sports stars, and politicians—even Donald Trump before his election and cartoon character Homer Simpson. Online videos were viewed millions of times. Frates died in Beverly, Massachusetts on December 9, 2019.

Peter Snell (80) New Zealand runner, a three-time Olympic champion and world mile record-holder. Regarded as one of the greatest middle-distance runners, Snell won the 800 meters at the 1960 Rome Olympics at age 21 and the 800–1,500 double at the ‘64 Tokyo Games. He was the first man since 1920 to win the 800 and 1,500 at the same Olympics. No male athlete has done so since. Snell also won two Commonwealth Games gold medals in the 880 yards and mile at Perth in 1962. He twice held the mile world record and held world records in the 800 meters, 880 yards, 1,000 meters, and the 4x1-mile relay. He died suddenly in Dallas, Texas on December 12, 2019.


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