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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, January 11, 2020

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Sultan Qaboos bin Said of OmanGladys Bourdain, mother of chef Anthony BourdainNelson Bryant, US outdoor writerHarold Burson, retired PR manEdd Byrnes, played Kookie on '77 Sunset Strip'Ed Filipowski, public relations executiveBetty Pat Gatliff, forensic sculptorHarry Hains, Australian actorCliff Hall, society photographer and inventorBuck Henry, screenwriter, character actor, and TV show hostSilvio Horta, TV producer of 'Ugly Betty'Peter Kirstein, British computer scientistMatty Maher, owner of NYC's oldest Irish pubSylvia Jukes Morris, biographer of Clare Boothe LuceIvan Passer, Czech film directorNeil Peart, drummer for Canadian band RushGeorge Perles, football coachEdward Wedbush, cofounded LA stock brokerage firmElizabeth Wurtzel, author of 'Prozac Nation'

Art and Literature

Betty Pat Gatliff (89) forensic sculptor who helped law enforcement to identify scores of people who went missing or had been murdered by reconstructing their faces. Gatliff’s skills and intimate understanding of facial architecture led many police departments, coroners, and medical examiners to send her the skulls of people whose faces—their visual identities—had decomposed or been rendered unrecognizable by acts of violence. Gatliff advanced the field of facial reconstruction well before the advent of modern forensics and TV shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Over more than 40 years, first as a government employee, then as a free-lancer, she sculpted about 300 faces and produced an estimated 70 per cent rate of identification. In 1983 she reconstructed the face of Tutankhamen on a plaster casting of a skull made from radiographs of his mummy, at the request of an orthopedic surgeon curious about the pharaoh. Gatliff died of a stroke in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on January 5, 2020.

Sylvia Jukes Morris (84) British biographer, most famously the author of a two-volume biography of Clare Boothe Luce (died 1987), onetime managing editor of Vanity Fair, a playwright (The Women, 1936), a war correspondent for Life magazine, a congresswoman, an ambassador to Rome, and wife of Henry Luce, who founded Time Inc. Morris was a prodigious researcher. She spent 33 years on the Luce biography, examining 460,000 items at the Library of Congress and uncovering several facts different from what Luce had put forth in the public record. Sylvia Morris and her husband, Edmund (died 2019), were both biographers. Edmund Morris wrote biographies on Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Thomas Edison, among others. Sylvia Morris died in Shropshire, England on January 5, 2020.

Elizabeth Wurtzel (52) whose confessions of her struggles with addiction and depression in the best-selling Prozac Nation made her a voice and a target for an anxious generation. The book was published in 1994 when Wurtzel was in her mid-20s and set off a debate that lasted for much of her life. Critics praised her for her candor but accused her of self-pity and self-indulgence, vices she fully acknowledged. She wrote of growing up in a home torn by divorce, of cutting herself when she was in her early teens, and of spending her adolescence in a storm of tears, drugs, bad love affairs, and family fights. She died of cancer in New York City on January 7, 2020.


Business and Science

Harold Burson (98) one of the US's most celebrated public relations men, a founder of the giant Burson-Marsteller agency who broke ground not only by enhancing corporate images but also by helping clients to soften the blows of potentially ruinous crises, including a Tylenol-tampering case that panicked Americans in 1982 and the ‘84 toxic gas leak that killed thousands in Bhopal, India, considered the world’s worst industrial disaster. Although the field was often criticized, to Burson, PR was a profession that used the arts of persuasion for corporations and governments to publicize facts, not lies, for worthy social, political, and commercial goals—and, by the way, to make the clients look better. He died of complications from a fall in November, in Memphis, Tennessee on January 10, 2020.

Ed Filipowski (58) public relations executive who became one of the fashion industry’s most influential behind-the-scenes players through his work with companies like Gucci, Versace, and Marc Jacobs. In an industry of large personalities, Filipowski blended into the scenery. But over the course of 30 years, he and his main partner, Julie Mannion, established a worldwide footprint for their firm, KCD. They organized fashion shows for Prada, turned mere store openings for Chanel into celebrity-fueled media bonanzas, and handled PR for John Galliano during his largely successful comeback at Maison Margiela, after he had been fired from Dior for making anti-Semitic remarks. Filipowski died in New York City of complications from a recent operation, on January 10, 2020.

Cliff Hall (94) society photographer who worked for more than 25 years at the Los Angeles Sentinel, documenting the successes of the black community during an era of racial tensions and the rise of the black middle class. Also an inventor, Hall's most famous creation, a sports car, could have addressed two issues in LA—making driving more fun and building wealth for black residents—if it had only been mass-produced. Louis Corwin, a Beverly Hills businessman, invested $100,000 in Hall’s idea: a fun, zippy car that the average worker could afford. Hall named the sports car the Corwin Getaway. Finished in 1969, the prototype resembled other sports cars—including the Pontiac Fiero and the Fiat X1/9—produced more than 10 years later. But Hall never found the money to move the car into mass production. He died in Loma Linda, California on January 5, 2020.

Peter Kirstein (86) British computer scientist widely recognized as the father of the European Internet. Kirstein created his pivotal role in computer networking the old-fashioned way: through human connections. In 1982 his ties to American scientists working in the new field of computer networks led him to adopt their standards in his own London research lab. Those standards were called Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, which enable different computer networks to share information. Kirstein embraced TCP/IP despite competing protocols being put forward at the time by international standards groups. He died of a brain tumor in London, England on January 8, 2020.

Matty Maher (80) patriarch of only the third family to own the dive bar McSorley’s Old Ale House since it opened in the East Village of Manhattan in the mid-19th century. Maher began by tending bar at the saloon in 1964 as an Irish immigrant. He graduated to manager as the beer hall, surrounded by neighborhood blight near the Bowery, tottered at the brink of bankruptcy. He survived the loss of a gender discrimination case in 1970 that forced McSorley’s to delete the last two words of its durable slogan vowing “Good Ale, Raw Onions, & No Ladies,” and endured a Health Department ordinance that, while it banned smoking, had the unintended consequence, Maher said, of encouraging customers to drink more. Maher died of lung cancer in Queens, New York on January 11, 2020.

Edward Wedbush (87) cofounded his namesake stock brokerage 65 years ago when the Dow Jones industrial average totaled less than 500 and its members included such now-defunct companies as F. W. Woolworth Co. and Bethlehem Steel Corp. But Wedbush & Co. weathered financial industry consolidation, recessions, and stock market busts to remain one of the last remaining full-service, fully independent brokerages headquartered in southern California by the time its cofounder stepped down in 2018 as president of the Los.Angeles company, now called Wedbush Securities. Wedbush died in Rancho Santa Fe, California after a long illness that left him debilitated, on January 5, 2020.


News and Entertainment

Gladys Bourdain (85) copy editor who helped to kick-start the writing career of her son Anthony (committed suicide in 2018), the chef who became a world-famous memoirist and TV host. Gladys Bourdain began her career at the New York Times in 1984 and worked there until 2008, developing a reputation as a strict grammarian on the culture and metropolitan desks. She also wrote for outlets like Opera News and Musical America. Anthony Bourdain became a hard-living chef, and in the late ‘90s he wrote an article chronicling the seamier secrets of life in the restaurant business. He was struggling to publish it in 1999 when his mother mentioned to him that she knew a Times reporter, Esther Fein, who was married to David Remnick, new editor of the New Yorker magazine. Fein persuaded Remnick to read the article, and the New Yorker published it under the title “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.” Bourdain later said he had a book deal in a matter of days after that. He wrote Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000), an unflinching look at the food service industry that became a No. 1 Times best-seller. The book’s success propelled him from the kitchen onto TV as host of No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Gladys Bourdain died in the Bronx, New York on January 10, 2020.

Edd Byrnes (87) actor who played cool kid Kookie on the hit TV show 77 Sunset Strip (1958–64), about a private detective agency. Byrnes scored a gold record with a song about his character’s hair-combing obsession and later appeared in the movie Grease. Sunset Strip made him a teen idol who at the height of his popularity received 15,000 fan letters a week. But Byrnes chafed under a contract that cost him the chance of several roles in movies such as Ocean’s Eleven. He walked off the TV show in the second season, demanding a bigger part and better pay, and didn’t return until 1960, when Kookie had become a partner in the detective agency. In the 1978 John Travolta movie Grease, he played Vince Fontaine, suave host of the National Bandstand TV dance show. Byrnes died of a stroke in Santa Monica, California on January 8, 2020.

Harry Hains (27) Australian actor who made brief appearances on the TV series American Horror Story, The OA, and Sneaky Pete. Hains, son of V actress and singer Jane Badler, also starred in and produced the 2015 romance The Surface and was set to appear in the science fiction miniseries Xtra Life and a thriller titled Klowns. He died after struggling with mental illness and addiction, on January 7, 2020.

Buck Henry (89) The Graduate cowriter who as screenwriter, character actor, Saturday Night Live host, and talk-show and party guest became an all-around cultural superstar of the ‘60s and '70s. Henry, who also cocreated the TV spy spoof Get Smart with Mel Brooks and others, managed to pull off the rare Hollywood coup of screenwriter-as-celebrity, partly through inserting himself in his films in small-but-memorable roles. In The Graduate, Mike Nichols’ classic 1967 film that made a star of Dustin Hoffman, Henry and Calder Willingham adapted the script from the Charles Webb novel about a young man who has an affair with one of his parents’ friends. His script got Henry the first of his two Oscar nominations. He also wrote Nichols’ follow-up film Catch-22, the Barbara Streisand comedies The Owl & the Pussycat and What’s Up, Doc, and director Gus Van Sant’s 1995 film To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix. Henry died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California on January 8, 2020.

Silvio Horta (45) award-winning TV producer acclaimed for creating the hit series Ugly Betty. The Cuban-American producer and screenwriter was credited for breaking ground for Latinos and gays in Hollywood with a show about a Mexican-American woman who arrives for her first day working at a New York fashion magazine in a poncho. The sitcom, also produced by actress Salma Hayek, made actress America Ferrera a star. In 2007 Ugly Betty won a Golden Globe for best TV series in the musical or comedy category. Although he brimmed with talent, Horta had struggled with addiction and depression. He was found at a hotel in Miami, Florida, where investigators believe he died by suicide on January 7, 2020.

Ivan Passer (86) leading filmmaker of the Czech New Wave who with Milos Forman fled Soviet-controlled Prague and forged a celebrated career in Hollywood. Passer and Forman met as boys at a boarding school in Czechoslovakia in the years after World War II. After reuniting at the Prague Film Academy, their collaboration and friendship became central to the Czech New Wave in the ‘60s, a period when avant-garde auteurs took international cinema by storm with depictions of life behind the Iron Curtain. Passer cowrote several of Forman’s first films, including the Oscar-nominated Loves of a Blonde, about a young woman seeking romance in small-town Czechoslovakia, and The Fireman’s Ball, a satire of eastern European communism that was banned in their home country but also nominated for an Oscar. Passer made his directorial debut with Intimate Lighting (1965), a comic film about a cellist visiting provincial Czechoslovakia. It, too, was banned by the Communist Party. He died of pulmonary issues in Reno, Nevada on January 9, 2020.

Neil Peart (67) drummer and lyricist for the Canadian band Rush. Peart placed fourth on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time, just behind Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, and John Bonham. But Peart’s percussion skills were matched by his skill with lyrics as Rush composed song after song that explored the human condition or conjured up mysterious realms beyond the humdrum life of the band’s heyday in the ‘70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Peart was precise, deliberate, and skilled behind his drum kit, but his lyrics helped to set Rush apart from other rock bands. Rush was a power trio that rock had never quite seen before, with the guitar work of Alex Lifeson; the bass, keyboards, and vocals of Geddy Lee; and the drumming of Peart. The band still finds airplay today with anthems like “The Spirit of Radio” and “Tom Sawyer”—perhaps its best-known song—and “Subdivisions,” with its searing assessment of early ’80s life in cookie-cutter housing tracts. Peart died of brain cancer in Santa Monica, California on January 7, 2020.


Politics and Military

Sultan Qaboos bin Said (79) Sultan of Oman, the Mideast’s longest-ruling monarch, who seized power in a 1970 palace coup and pulled his Arabian sultanate into the 20th century while carefully balancing diplomatic ties between adversaries Iran and the US. The British-educated sultan reformed a nation that had only three schools and harsh laws banning electricity, radios, eyeglasses, and even umbrellas when he took the throne. Under his reign, Oman became known as a welcoming tourist destination and a key Mideast player, helping the US to free captives in Iran and Yemen and even hosting visits by Israeli officials while pushing back on their occupation of land that Palestinians want for a future state. Bin Said had been receiving treatment for cancer in Europe since 2014. He died in Oman on January 11, 2020.


Sports

Nelson Bryant (96) whose columns in the New York Times for nearly 40 years chronicled his love affair with fishing, hunting, and outdoor life and made him dean of outdoor writers in America. Bryant’s often poetic, first-person accounts took readers to many places but perhaps none more so than the mythical past, when boys went fishing with their fathers, watched rainbow trout hover above the pebbles in a brook, and learned that patience, cultivated during hours in a duck blind, was more than a virtue. His insights appealed to many readers who had never set foot in woods or a stream. Bryant died in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on Martha’s Vineyard, on January 11, 2020

George Perles (85) coached Michigan State to a Rose Bowl victory in 1988 and was a key defensive assistant for the dominant Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the ‘70s. Perles played football at Michigan State and later was an assistant coach, head coach, athletic director, and member of the school’s governing body. Michigan State hired him in 1983 to revive its beleaguered football program. He did just that, winning Big Ten titles in 1987 and ‘90 and coaching the school in seven bowl games. He helped the Spartans to beat USC, 20-17, on January 1, 1988, for their first Rose Bowl win in three-plus decades. Perles was an assistant coach for the Spartans before he was hired away in 1972 to coach the Steelers’ defensive line. Later he was defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for a team that won four NFL championships in six years. He died of Parkinson’s disease in East Lansing, Michigan on January 7, 2020.


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