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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, March 21, 2020

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Stuart Whitman, versatile actorAileen Baviera, Philippine expert on ChinaMichael Broadbent, British wine authoritySuzy Delair, French actress and singerMarguerite Derrida, French psychoanalystGerald Freedman, Broadway stage directorAirickca Gordon-Taylor, relative of Emmett TillVittorio Gregotti, Italian architectMaggie Griffin, mother of comedian Kathy GriffinDr. Catherine Hamlin, Australian obstetrician and gynecologistRichard Hanna, former US congressman from New YorkWolf Kahn, landscape artistSol Kerzner, resort developer, at Atlantis, the Palm, his resort in DubaiRonald W. Lewis, owner of New Orleans museumEduard Limonov, Russian author and political activistAurlus Mabele, Congolese singerRay Mantilla, percussionist and bandleaderJeremy Marre, British filmmakerRoger Mayweather, world champion boxerJulia Miles, stage directorMerry Norris, LA art consultantKenny Rogers, country singerLorenzo Sanz, former president of Spanish soccer clubBoris Stankovic, FIBA executiveHellmut Stern, Jewish violinist who played with Berlin PhilharmonicLyle Waggoner, announcer and comic foil on 'Carol Burnett Show'Alfred M. Worden, Apollo 15 astronaut

Art and Literature

Vittorio Gregotti (92) Italian modernist architect, theorist, and city planner whose monumental projects included opera houses, arenas—like Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, above—and even an entire suburb. Gregotti’s buildings, and many of those designed by his firm, Gregotti Associatti International, combined a reverence for older architectural styles with an embrace of the new. His large-scale constructions, which often housed cultural and athletic organizations, typically conveyed a sense of grandeur but nevertheless complemented rather than eclipsed their often antique surroundings. Perhaps the best example of Gregotti’s approach was his renovation of Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, which was built for an exhibition in 1929 and fell into disrepair after hosting the Mediterranean Games in ’55. Gregotti chose to preserve the original walls and towers of the stadium—on Montjuïc, the hill overlooking Barcelona—while completely revamping the interior. He was infected by the coronavirus and died of pneumonia in Milan, Italy, on March 15, 2020.

Wolf Kahn (92) landscape painter who applied vibrant, adventurous colors to scenes of dense forests and foggy mornings, quiet brooks and solitary barns. Kahn, who divided his time between New York and Brattleboro, Vermont, was part of a family of artists. His mother-in-law, who died in 1971, was painter Alice Trumbull Mason, and his wife was Emily Mason, whose abstract paintings made striking use of color. Mason, whom he married in 1957, died in 2019. Kahn, who emigrated from Germany as a child, studied with influential artist and teacher Hans Hofmann, who had himself emigrated from Germany, and in 1952 he was among several former Hofmann students who organized the Hansa Gallery, a cooperative named for their teacher. Kahn had his first solo show there in 1953, a collection of indoor and outdoor scenes. He died of congestive heart failure in New York City on March 15, 2020.

Merry Norris (80) art consultant who helped to reshape the artistic and architectural landscape of Los Angeles as president of the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission and was a key founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Commission has final design authority over all projects on or over city property. It long had a reputation for passivity, but Norris transformed it into an activist board that raised the standards for public design. She died of pneumonia unrelated to the coronavirus (tested negative for COVID-19) on March 16, 2020.

Business and Science

Michael Broadbent (92) British wine authority who codified the practice of tasting and describing wine while, as head of Christie’s wine department for many years, virtually created the modern wine auction. Broadbent was an author and wine columnist whose most important works, The Pocket Guide to Wine Tasting, first published in 1968, and The Great Vintage Wine Book (1980), have appeared in many editions and languages. Tasting was an effort to organize and articulate the various components that go into tasting, describing, and judging a wine. Broadbent set out a method that gave structure to tasting. He outlined the importance of every element, from the time of day, to his preferred glassware, to the order of wines, and even to the lighting in the room. He died in Berkshire, England on March 17, 2020.

Marguerite Derrida (87) French psychoanalyst and translator of important works in her field. Derrida, widow of French philosopher Jacques Derrida (died 2004), trained at the Psychoanalytic Society of Paris and worked as a clinician but was also known for translations into French, including that of books by Melanie Klein, Austrian-British psychoanalyst who specialized in children. Marguerite Derrida died of the coronavirus in Paris, France on March 21, 2020.

Dr. Catherine Hamlin (96) Australian obstetrician and gynecologist who devoted her life to treating Ethiopian women with a devastating childbearing injury and helped to develop pioneering techniques to treat it. Responding to an ad, Hamlin arrived in Ethiopia with her husband, Dr. Reginald Hamlin (died 1993), also a physician, in 1959 to work at a hospital in Addis Ababa. But what started as a three-year stint turned into a 60-year-long mission in which the two doctors worked closely with women who had a childbearing injury known as obstetric fistula. The condition is caused when prolonged labor opens a hole in the birth canal, leaving many women incontinent. For Ethiopian women, the injury often led to their being rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities. When the Hamlins arrived in Ethiopia, there was little to no treatment available for such patients anywhere in the country. Poring through medical books, journals, and drawings of operations by other experts, the couple developed surgical techniques that are still used in hospitals today. Dr. Catherine Hamlin died in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, on March 18, 2020.

Sol Kerzner (84) tycoon and developer of luxurious hotels, casinos, and resorts who used ethnic division in his native South Africa to profit by circumventing the social and sexual strictures of apartheid. Kerzner’s rise was often depicted as a poor-boy-makes-good story, from beginnings in a blue-collar neighborhood of Johannesburg to membership in an international group of tycoons. His empire stretched from the US to China by way of the Bahamas, Morocco, Mauritius, Dubai, and elsewhere. In the ‘90s he was labeled a South African version of Donald J. Trump. But for all his international profile, Kerzner was most closely associated with Sun City, a gaudy hotel, casino, and golf complex with a 6,000-seat arena located about 90 miles from Johannesburg. He died of cancer in Cape Town, South Africa on March 20, 2020.


Aileen Baviera (60) as a young university graduate in the Philippines, Baviera was among the first foreigners to receive a Chinese government scholarship to study in Beijing. She arrived in 1981, five years after the end of the Cultural Revolution and just as the country was beginning to open up. It was at the start of a 40-year academic career in which she became a formidable expert on China and one of the Philippines’ leading scholars. She was a professor at the University of the Philippines, where for several years she was dean of its Asian Center. The university praised her as “the country’s foremost Sinologist” and said she was much sought after for her expertise on China and its long-running dispute with the Philippines over the South China Sea. Baviera died of the coronavirus in Manila, the Philippines, on March 21, 2020.

Airickca Gordon-Taylor (50) relative of Emmett Till who spent her life educating others about the black teenage lynching victim’s legacy through her foundation. Gordon-Taylor called herself Till’s cousin but considered herself a surrogate daughter to his mother, whom she lived with for a time. In 2009 Gordon-Taylor named her foundation after Till’s mother, calling it the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation. Its mission is to honor her and her only son. Emmett Till was killed in 1955 while visiting relatives in Mississippi, his body found weighted down in the Tallahatchie River. His mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago, where they lived, so the public could see the mutilated corpse. An all-white jury acquitted two white men in the killing. Till’s death helped to energize the civil rights movement. Gordon-Taylor’s work included youth empowerment, such as teaching young people oratory skills, and civil rights issues. Most recently she advocated in Washington, DC for an antilynching bill named after Till. She had kidney problems for decades, including two transplants. She died in Chicago, Illinois on March 21, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Suzy Delair (102) French film actress and music-hall singer best known for her ‘40s thrillers directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, her starring role in Laurel & Hardy’s last movie, Atoll K (1950), and her screen persona. Delair was most closely identified with Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Clouzot’s police melodrama about a flirtatious singer, her jealous husband, and a murder investigation. She died in Paris, France on March 15, 2020.

Gerald Freedman (92) stage director responsible for countless plays, operas, and musicals, including the original Hair in 1967 and more than a dozen Broadway productions. Freedman influenced generations of actors in 21 years as dean of the drama school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and was a pivotal figure in New York theater for decades. He was a trusted assistant to Jerome Robbins when Robbins was directing the Broadway hits Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, and Gypsy in the ‘50s, then worked closely with Joseph Papp for years, serving as artistic director of Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival and inaugurating the performance space now known as the Public Theater with Hair. In the ‘70s Freedman directed productions by the Acting Company, the troupe founded in 1972 by John Houseman and Margot Harley, and from ‘66–89 he directed several New York City Opera productions. He died of kidney failure in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on March 17, 2020.

Maggie Griffin 99) mother of comedian Kathy Griffin who inspired many of the jokes in her famous daughter’s standup routines. Maggie was a frequent presence on her daughter’s reality show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, in the early 2000s. Maggie was a churchgoing, wine-loving, elfin woman who adored conservative Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. Her daughter, on the other hand, is a liberal comedian given to profanity. Maggie Griffin died of dementia on March 17, 2020.

Ronald W. Lewis (68) whose museum in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans preserved the performance traditions and rich street culture of its black population. The House of Dance & Feathers, as Lewis named his cultural institution, was a treasure-trove of local history focused on the Lower Ninth Ward and the Mardi Gras Indians, who dress in feathers, bangles, and dazzling hand-sewn costumes as they dance through the city’s black neighborhoods on special occasions. The museum, about the size of a trailer and located in Lewis’s backyard on Tupelo Street, was packed floor to ceiling with costumes, parade ephemera, photographs, and memorabilia from black social clubs. Lewis spent his entire life in the Lower Ninth Ward, a working-class black neighborhood, except for a difficult year in which he lived in nearby Thibodaux, Louisiana after being displaced in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. He had bypass surgery in 2019 and had been well until he contracted the coronavirus. He died in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 20, 2020.

Aurlus Mabele (66) Congolese singer called “the king of soukous,” the energetic dance hall music that blends traditional African and Caribbean rhythms with pop and soul. Mabele rose to fame across Africa in the ‘70s and ’80s with his up-tempo hits and high-wattage performances highlighted by spectacular dance moves. In his early 20s he founded the musical group Les Ndimbola Lokole in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, gaining popularity with recordings of songs like “Waka Waka” and “Zebola.” After moving to France in the ‘80s, he helped to start the band Loketo, which means “hips” in Lingala, the language spoken in parts of both the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The band thrived on developing and playing soukous, a modern variation of the Congolese rumba music. As Mabele’s band Loketo gained fame, the genre took hold in dance halls around the world, including in France. Before breaking up in the ‘90s, the band recorded songs like “Extra Ball,” “Douce Isabelle,” and “Choc a Distance” and sold millions of albums worldwide. Mabele died in Paris, France on March 19, 2020.

Ray Mantilla (85) percussionist and bandleader whose career spanned 60 years and a variety of styles in jazz, Latin music, and beyond. Mantilla was adept at a range of instruments—particularly the congas and timbales. He tended to use a full suite of congas, sometimes four at once, each differently tuned, together forming a drum kit of its own. He was 44 and almost 25 years into his professional career when he released his first album as a leader, Mantilla (1978). He had come up as a fan of the major mid-20th-century Latin bandleaders and was well versed in the fundamentals of Afro-Cuban percussion. By his mid-20s he found himself enamored of jazz and shifted in that direction. He eventually explored a fusion of the two worlds in the bands he led while taking on a diverse body of work as a side musician. He played on hundreds of recordings throughout his life, including We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, Herbie Mann’s At the Vlllage Gate, Charles Mingus’s Cumbia & Jazz Fusion, and even I Am Gloria Gaynor, by the disco star. Over the latter half of his career, Mantilla released nine discs under his own name. He died of lymphoma in New York City on March 21, 2020.

Jeremy Marre (76) English filmmaker who documented music from across the world. Marre established his reputation in the ‘70s and ’80s with Beats of the Heart, a 14-part series of hour-long documentaries initially shown on British TV and later on public TV in the US. With a minimal camera and sound crew, he visited Jamaican dance halls, Brazilian favelas, Appalachian churches, Egyptian temples, South African workers’ hostels, and Bollywood soundstages to film music and musicians on home turf. The series presented music as inseparable from historical, economic, political, spiritual, and cultural pressures, documenting musical events that most outsiders would not know about or even be allowed to attend. Marre died of stomach cancer in London, England on March 15, 2020.

Julia Miles (90) stage director who dedicated her career to ensuring that women playwrights and directors had a stage of their own. Miles was working as an assistant director of the nonprofit American Place Theater in the mid-‘70s when she noticed that few of the plays the company produced were written by women. Resolving to do something about the gender disparity, Miles began Women’s Project, now known as WP Theater, in 1978 with a grant from the Ford Foundation, at first staging productions in the American Place Theater’s basement. That basement and WP’s later homes became incubators for young talent and welcoming places for artists trying to bring new perspectives to the theater. Miles died in Ridgefield, Connecticut on March 18, 2020.

Kenny Rogers (81) Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country, and pop with such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream” and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” on records and on TV. The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys, and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ’70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before he retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer. He died in Sandy Springs, Georgia on March 20, 2020.

Hellmut Stern (91) fled Germany with his family as a child to escape the Nazis, then returned years later to join the Berlin Philharmonic as a violinist and later became a leading member of the orchestra. Admired as much for his life story as for his musicianship, Stern was a member of one of the world’s most illustrious orchestras for more than 30 years. For most of that time, the Philharmonic was led by conductor Herbert von Karajan (died 1989), one of the towering maestros of the 20th century. Stern rose to become the equivalent of associate concertmaster and served several terms as a member of the orchestra’s leadership committee. He had Parkinson’s disease in his later years and died in Berlin, Germany on March 21, 2020.

Lyle Waggoner (84) actor who used his good looks to comic effect on The Carol Burnett Show, partnered with a superhero on Wonder Woman, and was the first centerfold for Playgirl magazine. A household name in the ‘70s, Waggoner later became a successful entrepreneur. He built a behind-the-scenes business that provides custom trailers that keep stars comfortable during production breaks. Playing on his surname, he called it Star Waggons. In the mid-‘60s, Waggoner was appearing in run-of-the-mill movies and was a finalist to play Batman in the campy TV series that eventually starred Adam West. Then he was called to audition for Burnett’s variety show. The actress-comedian recalled that she wanted an announcer for the show who could do more than introduce the commercials. He had to also be good-looking, so she could do her ugly-duckling, romance-besotted character with him, and funny, so he could contribute laughs. Waggoner died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on March 17, 2020.

Stuart Whitman (92) lead and character actor who appeared in hundreds of film and TV productions and received an Oscar nomination as a pedophile in the 1961 drama The Mark. Whitman was a steady presence in Westerns, war movies, and other action films. His credits included The Longest Day, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Sound & the Fury, and Ten North Frederick. On TV he starred in the short-lived series Cimarron Strip and appeared on Murder, She Wrote, The Streets of San Francisco, and The FBI. His greatest acclaim came for The Mark, although he was not the original choice for that role: Richard Burton dropped out at the last minute. Whitman started out as a Hollywood extra, appearing without credit in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Brigadoon, and other movies. He died in Montecito, California on March 16, 2020.

Politics and Military

Richard Hanna (69) former US congressman, a moderate Republican from upstate New York who broke with his party in 2016 over supporting then-candidate Donald Trump. Hanna had already announced his pending retirement when he spoke out in August 2016 about his decision to vote for Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Trump, whom he described as “deeply flawed,” in the November 2016 election. Hanna was first elected to Congress in 2010 to represent New York State's 22nd Congressional District, which includes Oneida and Utica and runs down to the Pennsylvania border. He split with the more conservative outlook of his party on other issues as well, including same-sex marriage, abortion access, and women’s rights. Hanna died of cancer near Utica, New York on March 15, 2020.

Eduard Limonov (77) Russian author and political activist known for his controversial writings. Limonov emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1974 and moved to New York and later Paris. He became famous after the publication of his first and best-known autobiographic novel, It’s Me, Eddie, describing his depression and escapades in New York. Publishers shunned the book for its graphic language and crude sexual scenes for several years until it was finally printed in Paris. Limonov’s political views evolved from anti-Soviet to gradual leftist, and after his return to Russia in 1991 he founded the National Bolshevik Party, a nationalistic leftist group opposing the Kremlin. He died in Moscow, Russia on March 17, 2020.

Betty Williams (76) grass-roots activist who shared the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize as a founder of a protest movement that mobilized tens of thousands of people to demand an end to the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles. An office receptionist from West Belfast, Williams witnessed an incident on August 10, 1976, in which an Irish Republican Army gunman swerved his car onto a pavement, killing three children from one family and seriously injuring their mother, who later took her own life. The gunman had himself just been shot, fatally, by pursuing British soldiers. Shocked, Williams quickly organized a petition to protest the continuing violence, collecting thousands of signatures in her district, Andersonstown. Days later she joined with the dead children’s aunt, Mairead Corrigan, and journalist Ciaran McKeown to form a mass protest movement, initially known as the Peace Women and later called the Peace People. Their grass-roots movement galvanized mass protests in Northern Ireland and Britain demanding an end to the violence. Williams died of pneumonia in Belfast, Ireland on March 17, 2020.

Alfred M. Worden (88) Apollo 15 astronaut who circled the moon alone in 1971 while his two crewmates test-drove the first lunar rover. Worden flew to the moon in 1971 along with David Scott and Jim Irwin. As command module pilot, he remained in lunar orbit aboard the Endeavour while Scott and Irwin descended to the surface and tried out NASA’s first moon buggy. Scott is one of four moonwalkers still alive; Irwin died in 1991. Once his crewmates were back on board and headed home, Worden performed the first deep-space spacewalk—nearly 200,000 miles from Earth. He inspected the service module’s science instrument bay and retrieved film. His foray outside lasted just 38 minutes. Worden died in his sleep in Houston, Texas on March 17, 2020.


Roger Mayweather (58) former world champion boxer who also trained his nephew, Floyd Mayweather Jr. The elder Mayweather, whose nickname was “Black Mamba,” held titles at 130 and 140 pounds in a pro career that spanned 72 fights. He fought such names as Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker and was 59-13 with 35 knockouts in an 18-year career that began in 1981. He was a colorful figure in the boxing world, winning titles but gaining more notoriety later as a trainer for his nephew. Roger was in the corner for some of Floyd’s biggest fights. He had been ill with diabetes and other long-term health issues when he died on March 17, 2020.

Lorenzo Sanz (76) former president of Real Madrid (1995–2000) who helped to return the Spanish soccer club to victory in Europe’s top competition after more than 30 years. Sanz was credited with ending the club’s 32-year wait for another victory in what is now the European Champions League, which Real Madrid won in ‘98 by beating Juventus in the final in Amsterdam. In 2000 Real Madrid won the competition again, beating Valencia in Paris. The team also won one league title, a Spanish Super Cup, and an Intercontinental Cup under Sanz. In 2000 he narrowly lost an election battle and was replaced as the club’s president by Florentino Pérez, a construction tycoon who still leads the club. Sanz was the most prominent person to have died from the coronavirus in Spain, the European country worst hit after Italy. He reportedly had tried to battle the fever at home for eight days before finally going to the hospital because he didn’t want to burden a Spanish health system already strained by the number of coronavirus patients. He entered a Madrid hospital on March 17 with a fever, tested positive for the virus, and had kidney failure. The Madrid region has been the epicenter of the coronavirus in Spain, accounting for about 60 per cent of the 1,750 people who have died from the outbreak across the country. Sanz died there on March 21, 2020.

Boris Stankovic (94) former longtime International Basketball Federation secretary general responsible for bringing NBA players to the Olympics. Stankovic was at the helm of FIBA from 1976–2002 and was a member of the International Olympic Committee. He was credited with working toward building bridges between East and West during the Cold War and working closely with then-NBA Commissioner David Stern in the late ‘80s and early ’90s to bring world basketball into the modern era. That resulted in American professional players participating in the top-level national team competitions, starting at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Stankovic died in Belgrade, Serbia on March 20, 2020.

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