Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, July 4, 2020

Hold pointer over photo for person's name. Click on photo to go to brief obit.
Click on name to return to picture.

Hugh Downs, second-most familiar TV broadcasterCarl Reiner, Emmy-winning comedy writer, with son, actor and director Rob ReinerRudolfo Anaya, Latino novelistJoe Bugel, Washington Redskins offensive coachEarl Cameron, trailblazing British actorGay Culverhouse, champion of former football players with brain disordersHachalu Hundessa, Ethiopian singer, songwriter, and activistSaroj Khan, Bollywood choreographerJohnny Mandel, Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer, arranger, and musicianRev. Georg Ratzinger, older brother of former Pope Benedict XVI

Art and Literature

Rudolfo Anaya (82) writer who helped to launch the ‘70s Chicano Literature Movement with his novel Bless Me, Ultima, a book celebrated by Latinos. Literary critics said Anaya’s World War II-era novel about a young Mexican-American boy’s relationship with an older curandera, or healer, influenced a generation of Latino writers because of its imagery and cultural references that were rare at the time of its 1972 publication. The book’s release coincided with the growing and militant Chicano movement that stressed cultural pride over assimilation. Anaya wrote several novels, including a mystery series featuring Mexican-American detective Sonny Baca. The author died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 28, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Earl Cameron (102) one of the first black actors to perform in mainstream British films who played supporting roles to entertainment icons such as James Bond and the title character in Doctor Who before appearing in the United Nations thriller The Interpreter in his 80s. Cameron stumbled into acting as a way to earn money during World War II and kept at it with repertory theater roles. His break into movies also broke barriers for British cinema. He was cast in one of the starring roles in Pool of London, a 1951 crime noir movie and the first British film to feature an interracial relationship. He worked steadily throughout the ‘50s, sometimes in stereotyped roles such as a witch doctor and a murderous rebel leader in British Kenya, and sometimes in roles designed to confound stereotypes, such as his portrayal of a doctor in Simba, a 1955 film that also dealt with the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. He earned his 007 stripes in the fourth James Bond film, Thunderball, in 1965, playing an intelligence operative in the Bahamas. Cameron died in Warwickshire, England on July 3, 2020.

Hugh Downs (99) broadcaster who became one of TV’s most familiar faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game, and talk shows. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Downs as having logged more hours in front of the camera than any TV personality until Regis Philbin passed him in 2004. Downs worked on NBC’s Today and Tonight shows and the game show Concentration. He cohosted the ABC magazine show 20/20 with Barbara Walters and the PBS series Over Easy and Live from Lincoln Center. He died of natural causes in Scottsdale, Arizona on July 1, 2020.

Hachalu Hundessa (34) Ethiopian singer, songwriter, and activist. Hundessa was known for political songs that provided support for the ethnic Oromo group’s fight against repression and a soundtrack for antigovernment protests. He was shot dead in the Gelan Condominiums area of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. He was taken to a hospital after the attack but died later of his wounds. It was not immediately known who was responsible for the shooting. His killing risked heightening tensions in a nation taking tentative steps toward establishing a multiparty democracy. Hundessa died on June 29, 2020.

Saroj Khan (71) top Bollywood choreographer. Khan choreographed more than 2,000 songs in her career spanning more than 40 years. Leading Bollywood actresses including Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi danced to some of the most popular songs Khan produced. She started an acting career at age 3 in a Bollywood film but later shifted to choreography and got her break in 1974. She created some of Bollywood’s most popular film songs and won acclaim for songs in the movies Mr. India, Chandni, Beta, Tezaab, and Gulab Gang. The three-time National Award winner was hospitalized June 27 after she complained of breathlessness. She tested negative for COVID-19 but died of cardiac arrest in Mumbai, India on July 3, 2020.

Johnny Mandel (94) Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer, arranger, and musician who worked on albums by Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, and many others and whose songwriting credits included “The Shadow of Your Smile” and the theme from the film and TV show M*A*S*H. Mandel was among the last of the great songwriters to emerge in the pre-rock ‘n’ roll era, his career dating back to the ‘40s, and he enjoyed a long and diverse career. He played trombone and trumpet with such big band and jazz artists as Jimmy Dorsey and Count Basie and spent two years in the ‘50s arranging music for Sid Caesar’s landmark TV sketch program Your Show of Shows. Mandel collaborated on songs with Johnny Mercer, Paul Williams, and the husband-and-wife team Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Artists recording his material ranged from Marvin Gaye to Stan Getz to Barbra Streisand. Mandel died of a cardiac ailment in Ojai, California on June 29, 2020.

Carl Reiner (98) comedy writer, actor, and director who broke through as a “second banana” to Sid Caesar and rose to comedy’s front ranks as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show and straight man to Mel Brooks’s “2000-Year-Old Man” skit. Reiner appeared on the small and silver screens, in Caesar’s ‘50s troupe; as comic Alan Brady on The Dick Van Dyke Show; and in such films as The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Films he directed included Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver; All of Me, with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin; and the 1970 comedy Where’s Poppa? Many fans remember him for The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–66), one of the most popular TV series of all time and a model of ensemble playing, physical comedy, and timeless, good-natured wit. It starred Van Dyke as a TV comedy writer working for a demanding, eccentric boss (Reiner) and living with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in her first major TV role) and young son in suburban New Rochelle, New York. Reiner later said it was about his own life when he worked on Caesar's show, Your Show of Shows. He died in Beverly Hills, California on June 29, 2020.

Society and Religion

Rev. Georg Ratzinger (96) older brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI who earned renown in his own right as a director of an acclaimed German boys’ choir. Ordained on the same day as his brother, Georg Ratzinger proved to be a talented musician and oversaw the recording of numerous masterpieces and concert tours around the world by the Regensburger Domspatzen, a storied choir that traces its history back to the 10th century. But his reputation was tarnished as he apologized for using corporal punishment to discipline boys amid a wider investigation into sexual and physical abuse in the Church. He remained extremely close to his brother throughout his career, expressing dismay when Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope that the stress would affect his health and that they would no longer spend so much time together. Georg’s death came just over a week after Benedict made a four-day visit to Regensburg, Germany to be with his ailing brother, on July 1, 2020.


Joe Bugel (80) former Washington Redskins offensive assistant, architect of the ”Hogs,” the team’s renowned group of linemen. Bugel served 32 years as a coach in the NFL, including head coaching stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals. But he was best known for his time with Washington, where he was offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for coach Joe Gibbs. Bugel, who was with Washington from 1981–89 and 2004–09, won two Super Bowls and coached icons like Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Mark May, Jeff Bostic, and George Starke. Besides his offensive line duties, Bugel also was the team’s offensive coordinator throughout the ‘80s. He died on June 28, 2020.

Gay Culverhouse (73) put aside her career focusing on special education and child psychiatry to join the family business, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, and championed the cause of former professional football players debilitated by dementia and other health issues. Culverhouse navigated the league’s male-dominated world as a team president, then devoted her energy to fighting on behalf of players with brain disorders. She died in Fernandina Beach, Florida of myelofibrosis, a type of chronic leukemia that inhibits the production of red blood cells, on July 1, 2020.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top