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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 3, 2020

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Mac Davis, country music singer and songwriterBob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals pitcherHelen Reddy, Australian singerSheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, emir of KuwaitMark Andrews, longtime US congressman and senator from North DakotaSteve Barnes, personal injury lawyerTimothy Ray Brown, first person cured of HIVThomas Jefferson Byrd, actor in Spike Lee moviesWilliam Danforth, longtime chancellor of Washington University in St. LouisLou Johnson, baseball sluggerJoaquín Salvador ('Quino') Lavado, Argentine cartoonistScott Lilienfeld, psychologist who studied psychopathsDerek Mahon, Irish poetYuri Orlov, Soviet physicist and former CommunistDomenic Parisi, Nixon's last barberRon Perranoski, LA Dodgers left-handed aceSister Ardeth Platte, antinuclear activistMurray Schisgal, playwright and screenwriterJaswant Singh, Indian politicianMaynard Solomon, biographer of classical composers

Art and Literature

Joaquín Salvador ('Quino') Lavado (88) Argentine cartoonist better known as “Quino” whose satirical comic strip about a socially conscious girl named Mafalda with a loathing for soup found fans across Latin America, Europe, and beyond. Quino’s “Mafalda” comic strip was first published in 1964, and the humorist maintained a dedicated following throughout his career even after he moved onto other projects, skewering social convention through ordinary characters who endured absurdity, exploitation, authoritarianism, and their own limitations. Quino died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 30, 2020.

Derek Mahon (78) Northern Ireland-born poet whose verse brought consolation to many during the coronavirus pandemic. One of Mahon’s poems, “Everything Is Going to Be All Right,” gained new fame when it was read at the end of Ireland’s main news program in March as the coronavirus outbreak took hold. His poetry combined classical allusion and everyday detail and explored history, conflict, and personal demons. Some, including “A Disused Shed in County Wexford,” are among Ireland’s best-known verses. He died in Kinsale, southwest Ireland, on October 1, 2020.

Maynard Solomon (90) musicologist and record producer best known for biographies of Beethoven and Mozart and a hotly debated scholarly article on Schubert’s sexuality. Solomon’s 1977 biography of Beethoven, later revised and reissued, offered meticulously researched accounts of the composer’s life and mostly nontechnical discussions of his compositions. The book delved into psychological speculations on the composer’s life, including the young Beethoven’s relationship with his bullying, alcoholic father and his fantasies of having been born illegitimate and of having royal blood. Solomon also discussed Beethoven’s ultimately successful attempt later in life to wrest legal guardianship of his young nephew, Karl, from his widowed sister-in-law, a woman Beethoven thought immoral. Solomon died of Lewy body dementia in New York City on September 28, 2020.


Business and Science

Timothy Ray Brown (54) made history as “the Berlin patient,” the first person known to be cured of HIV infection. Brown was working in Berlin as a translator when he was diagnosed with HIV, then later leukemia. Transplants are known to be an effective treatment for the blood cancer, but his doctor, Dr. Gero Huetter, wanted to try to cure the HIV infection as well by using a donor with a rare gene mutation that gives natural resistance to the AIDS virus. Brown’s first transplant in 2007 was only partly successful: his HIV seemed to be gone, but his leukemia was not. He had a second transplant from the same donor in 2008, and that one seemed to work. But his cancer returned in 2019. He died in Palm Springs, California on September 29, 2020.

Scott Lilienfeld (59) expert in personality disorders who stirred controversy in his own field, questioning the science behind many of psychology’s conceits, therapies, and tools. Lilienfeld’s career, most of it spent at Emory University in Atlanta, proceeded on two tracks: one that sought to deepen the understanding of so-called psychopathic behavior, the other to expose the many faces of pseudoscience in psychology. Psychopathy is characterized by superficial charm, grandiosity, pathological lying, and a lack of empathy. Descriptions of the syndrome were rooted in research in the criminal justice system, where psychopaths often end up. In the early ‘90s, Lilienfeld worked to deepen and clarify the definition. In a series of papers he anchored a team of psychologists who identified three underlying personality features that psychopaths share, whether they commit illegal acts or not: fearless dominance, meanness, and impulsivity. The psychopath does what he or she wants, without anxiety, regret, or regard for the suffering of others. Lilienfeld died of pancreatic cancer in Atlanta, Georgia on September 30, 2020.

Yuri Orlov (96) Soviet physicist and disillusioned former Communist who publicly held Moscow accountable for failing to protect the rights of dissidents and was imprisoned and exiled for his own apostasy. Orlov was released from Siberia in 1986 in a prisoner exchange before his 12-year term in a labor camp and exile expired. He was banished from the Soviet Union and came to the US, where he pursued his scientific research and human rights advocacy and, beginning in 1987, taught physics and government at Cornell University. He became a US citizen in 1993. A Communist Party member since college, Orlov began having doubts about the party on the basis of a growing foreboding under Stalin over what he later described as “slavery without private property.” He died in Ithaca, New York on September 27, 2020.

Domenic Parisi (76) Sicilian barber who immigrated to New Jersey. Parisi opened his own barbershop with a friend, Domenic & Pietro's, in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ in 1970. The shop emerged as a neighborhood institution and transformed Parisi into a local celebrity when he became Richard M. Nixon’s barber, cutting the former president’s hair twice a month for the last nine years of his life. Nixon (died 1994) became a steady customer around 1985, after he moved from California—first to Saddle River, then to Park Ridge, NJ. Parisi died of the coronavirus in Hackensack, New Jersey on October 2, 2020.


Education

William Danforth (94) member of a prominent St. Louis family who oversaw Washington University’s rise to national prominence during his 24-year career as chancellor. Danforth was the older brother of John Danforth, who served three terms as a Republican senator and later was ambassador to the United Nations. His late brother, Donald, was president of Ralston Purina, the company founded by the brothers’ grandfather. William Danforth opted out of a career with the family company and earned a medical degree from Harvard. He became an instructor at Washington University, eventually moving up to president of the medical school, vice chancellor, and, in 1971, chancellor, a post he held until retiring in 1995. The university’s reputation blossomed during his tenure and became recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in higher education. Danforth died in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue, Missouri on September 30, 2020.


Law

Steve Barnes (61) personal injury attorney whose law firm Cellino & Barnes was known on two coasts for its catchy TV jingle. Cellino & Barnes began as a small firm in Buffalo but became well known in New York City and beyond for its advertising on billboards and on TV. Its old-time jingle, in which the law firm’s phone number was put to song, has been the subject of a sketch on Saturday Night Live and other late-night TV jokes for years. Broadway actors in 2018 posted viral videos of themselves singing the jingle in what was dubbed the “Cellino & Barnes Challenge.” The law firm’s principal lawyers, Barnes and Cellino, appeared together in the ads but had a falling-out in recent years and battled each other in court. Barnes was killed in a small plane crash in western New York State. A registered pilot, he died along with his niece, Elizabeth Barnes. The single-engine Socata TBM-700 was destined for Buffalo when it crashed in a wooded area near Pembroke, New York as it neared the end of a flight from Manchester, New Hampshire. Neighbors described the plane making a loud, whining noise, then dropping into a wooded area and exploding, on October 2, 2020.


News and Entertainment

Thomas Jefferson Byrd (70) actor known for his roles in Spike Lee films. Also a stage actor, Byrd was nominated in 2003 for a Tony for his performance in the Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, costarring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton. Byrd was found dead in Atlanta, Georgia. Police found him unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds in his back. Responding paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene on the city’s southwest side, where he lived, on October 3, 2020.

Mac Davis (78) country star who launched his career crafting the Elvis Presley hits “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Ghetto,” and whose own hits include “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me.” Davis had a long and varied career in music for decades as a writer, singer, actor, and TV host. He was inspired by fellow Lubbock, Texas native Buddy Holly, but it was Elvis who gave him his first musical big break. Davis worked as a staff songwriter in Los Angeles for Nancy Sinatra’s publishing company when in 1968 Presley cut “A Little Less Conversation.” Although it had a little success at the time, the song became a bigger hit after Presley’s death, covered by more than 30 artists, and became Davis’s most licensed TV soundtrack song. It reached the top of the United Kingdom charts in 2002 after it was used in a Nike commercial and was featured in the hit movie Ocean’s 11. Davis also helped to craft the song “Memories” that was a cornerstone of Elvis’s big 1968 comeback TV special. Mac Davis died in Nashville, Tennessee after heart surgery, on September 29, 2020.

Helen Reddy (78) shot to stardom in the ‘70s with her feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits. The Australian-born singer enjoyed a prolific career, appearing in Airport 1975 as a singing nun and scoring several hits, including “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar, “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady,” “Delta Dawn,” “Angie Baby,” and “You & Me Against the World.” Reddy’s version of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” in 1971 launched a decade-long string of Top 40 hits, three of which reached No. 1. In 1973 she won the best female vocal pop performance Grammy Award for “I Am Woman.” She died in Los Angeles, California on September 29, 2020.

Murray Schisgal (93) playwright and screenwriter who took his offbeat brand of humor to Broadway in the Tony Award-winning comedy Luv and to Hollywood in the hit farce Tootsie. Over a 60-year career in theater, Schisgal employed elements from the theater of the absurd—like flooding dialogue with clichés and presenting fantastic situations as probable—to write about such domestic themes as marriage, sex, family, loneliness, and failure. His first Broadway success, Luv, opened in 1964 with Eli Wallach, Ann Jackson, and Alan Arkin in the original cast. It ran for 902 performances, won three Tony Awards (including one for Mike Nichols’ direction), and earned Schisgal nominations for best play and best author of a play. He died in Port Chester, New York on October 1, 2020.


Politics and Military

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (91) ruler of Kuwait who drew on his decades as the oil-rich nation’s top diplomat to push for closer ties to Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War and solutions to other regional crises. In a Middle East full of elderly rulers, Sheikh Sabah stood out for his efforts at pushing for diplomacy to resolve a bitter dispute among Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day. His 2006 ascension in Kuwait, a staunch US ally since the American-led war that expelled occupying Iraqi troops, came after parliament voted unanimously to oust his predecessor, ailing Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, just nine days into his rule. Yet as Kuwait’s ruling emir, he struggled with internal political disputes, the fallout of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, and seesawing crude oil prices that chewed into a national budget providing cradle-to-grave subsidies. Sheikh Sabah died on September 29, 2020.

Mark Andrews (94) represented North Dakota in Congress for 24 years. Appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Hjalmar Nygaard in 1963, Andrews, a Republican, served eight more terms in the US House before being elected to the US Senate in 1980. His first try for statewide office, his 1962 run for governor against popular Democrat incumbent William Guy, was unsuccessful. A year later he was elected to the US House in a special election after Nygaard died in office. From that point on Andrews was considered virtually unbeatable, winning elections with large margins. In his 1980 race for the US Senate, he received 70 per cent of the vote against Democrat businessman Kent Johanneson. Andrews surprised some Republicans with his criticism of some of President Ronald Reagan’s economic policies. He was one of seven Republicans who voted against Reagan’s fiscal 1984 budget. He was particularly critical of budget deficits, routine equipment purchased through military procurement, and the lack of warranties on military purchases. He died in Fargo, North Dakota on October 3, 2020.

Jaswant Singh (82) veteran Indian politician who was defense, finance, and external affairs minister during his career. Singh initially was an officer in the Indian army but resigned in the ‘60s to pursue a career in politics. He was among the founding members of the current Hindu nationalist ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. He was a lawmaker in India’s Parliament nine times and was minister for defense, finance, and external affairs when BJP came to power in 1998–2004. In 2009 Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of India’s archrival Pakistan, in his book Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence. Singh was later let back in but distanced himself from the party in 2014 and unsuccessfully stood for election as an independent candidate. He was hospitalized on June 25 for multiple ailments and died of cardiac arrest in New Delhi, India on September 27, 2020.


Society and Religion

Sister Ardeth Platte (84) Dominican nun and antinuclear activist who spent years behind bars for her beliefs and was the inspiration for a character on Orange Is the New Black, the Netflix series about life in a women’s prison. With Sister Carol Gilbert, her roommate and longtime collaborator, Sister Ardeth drew national attention in the fall of 2002 when they were both arrested, along with another Dominican nun, Sister Jackie Hudson, for breaking into a nuclear missile site in Colorado. Clad in white hazmat suits marked with the words “Disarmament Specialists,” they used bolt cutters to snip the chain-link fence that surrounded the missile field, then made the sign of a cross on a silo lid using their own blood. Found guilty of sabotage, the three were fined and sentenced to prison terms. Sister Ardeth, who had the longest arrest record, drew the longest sentence: 41 months in a Connecticut prison. She died in her sleep in Washington, DC on September 30, 2020.


Sports

Bob Gibson (84) Hall of Famer St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who won a record seven consecutive World Series starts and set a modern standard for excellence when he finished the 1968 season with a 1.12 earned run average. Gibson’s death came on the 52nd anniversary of perhaps his most overpowering performance, when he struck out a World Series record 17 batters in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series against Detroit. One of baseball’s most uncompromising competitors, the two-time Cy Young Award winner spent his entire 17-year career with St. Louis and was named the World Series Most Valuable Player in their 1964 and ’67 championship seasons. He was voted the National League's MVP and shut down opponents so well that baseball changed the rules for fear it would happen again. At his peak, Gibson may have been the most talented all-around starter in history, a nine-time Gold Glove winner who roamed wide to snatch up grounders and a strong hitter who twice hit five home runs in a single season and batted .303 in 1970, when he also won his second Cy Young Award. Gibson died of pancreatic cancer in Omaha, Nebraska on October 2, 2020.

Lou Johnson (86) was nicknamed “Sweet Lou” upon joining the Dodgers because of his infectious smile. Johnson hit a key home run for the victorious Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series and scored the only run in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game that same year. He played 17 seasons in professional baseball, including eight years in the majors with the Chicago Cubs (1960, '68), California Angels (1961, ‘69), Milwaukee Braves (1962), Dodgers (1965–67), and Cleveland Indians (1968). He hit .258 with 48 homers and 232 runs batted in, in 677 games. Johnson died in Los Angeles, California a day after his 86th birthday, on September 30, 2020.

Ron Perranoski (84) left-handed ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen who helped them to win a pair of World Series championships in the ‘60s. Perranoski played in the major leagues from 1961–73 for the Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and California Angels. He had a career record of 79-74 with 178 saves and a 2.79 earned run average. He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1958 and was traded to the Dodgers in '60 for Don Zimmer. Known as “Perry,” Perranoski was the ace of the Dodgers’ bullpen from 1963–66. His best year with the Dodgers came in 1963, when he won 16-3 as a full-time reliever and earned a save in relief of Johnny Podres in Game 2 of the World Series against the Yankees. He had 21 saves to go with a 1.67 ERA. The Dodgers swept the Yankees in four games. In the 1965 World Series, Perranoski made two relief appearances. He died in Vero Beach, Florida on October 2, 2020.


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