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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, January 9, 2021

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Tommy Lasorda, former manager of LA DodgersMichael Apted, British director of 'Up' filmsRenie Bardeau, Disneyland photographerLee Breuer, avant-garde theater directorEric Jerome Dickey, prolific novelistSandra Hutchens, trailblazing Orange County sheriffWilliam H. Kobin, former president and CEO of public TV station KCETTom LaBonge, LA city councilmanChristopher Little, British literary agent behind 'Harry Potter' seriesGerry Marsden & the Pacemakers, '60s British vocal quartetVed Mehta, longtime writer for 'New Yorker' and autobiographerJohn Muckler, former coach of Edmonton Oilers champion hockey teamGeorge Regas, longtime rector of All Saints Church in PasadenaDeborha Rhode, Stanford Law School professorTanya Roberts, TV and film actressAlbert Roux, second of two brothers, both celebrated French chefsDonald ('Dee') Rowe, men's basketball coach at UConnAlbor Ruiz, Cuban-born journalistSandra Scully, wife of Dodgers broadcaster Vin ScullyBarbara Shelley, queen of British horror movies, with Christopher Lee in 'Dracula'Gregory Sierra, left, actor known for TV role on 'Barney Miller,' with star Hal LindenGordon Stewart, founder of Sandals ResortsKim Tschang-Yeul, South Korean painterRay Vega, restaurateur and businessmanMartinus J. Veltman, Dutch theoretical physicist

Art and Literature

Renie Bardeau (86) photographer credited with documenting Disneyland, archiving the amusement park’s evolution for nearly 40 years beginning in 1959. Bardeau was a mentor to many and a Disneyland celebrity to diehard Disney fans, some of whom own an autographed copy of his famed “Footsteps,” a candid black-and-white photo of Walt Disney walking in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in 1964. Bardeau started his photography career when he was 12. The native Arizonan earned a Boy Scout merit badge for his work and later took photos for his high school yearbook and campus newspaper. He joined the Navy after high school and became an aviation photographer aboard the aircraft carrier Midway during the close of the Korean War. He later enrolled in college, intending to pursue a career in advertising. To earn money between semesters, he took a photography summer job at Disneyland. That 1959 part-time summer gig was the beginning of his legacy. Bardeau died of kidney failure in Glendale, Arizona after having contracted COVID-19, on January 4, 2021.

Eric Jerome Dickey (59) best-selling author of Milk in My Coffee, Friends & Lovers, and several other influential works. Throughout his career, Dickey wrote dozens of novels, including his final project, The Son of Mr. Suleman, which hits shelves on April 20. After his short story “Thirteen” was published in the 1994 collection River Crossings: Voices of the Diaspora: An Anthology on the International Black Experience, Dickey wrote a host of works centering on the experiences of contemporary black characters. His 29 novels entertained millions of readers with quick pacing, a conversational style, and fluency in genres ranging from crime to romance. He died in Los Angeles, California after battling cancer, on January 3, 2021.

Christopher Little (79) as a struggling literary agent, Little took a chance on a book submission about teenage wizards—even though he once disdained children’s fiction as a money-loser—and built it into the most successful literary empire in history on the strength of its lead character, Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was an unpublished, unemployed single mother in Edinburgh in 1995 when she sent Little the first three chapters of her first book after finding his name in a directory of literary agents. Knowing nothing about the business, she picked him because his name made him sound like a character from a children’s book. Little submitted the manuscript for Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone to 12 publishers. He received 12 rejections in response before selling it for £2,500, or about $3,400 (the equivalent of about $5,800 today). It was a meager amount, but his genius was in the details: He sold only the rights to publish it in Britain and the Commonwealth, and he asked for high royalties. The book was a hit in Britain, and Little sold the US rights for just over $100,000 and, soon after that, the film rights for $1.8 million. He died of cancer in London, England on January 7, 2021.

Ved Mehta (86) longtime writer for the New Yorker whose best-known work, spanning a dozen volumes, explored the history of modern India through his own autobiography. Associated with the magazine for more than 30 years—much of his magnum opus began as articles in its pages—Mehta was widely considered the 20th-century writer most responsible for introducing American readers to India. Besides his multivolume memoir, published in book form between 1972–2004, his more than two dozen books included volumes on India, among them Walking the Indian Streets (1960), Portrait of India (1970), and Mahatma Gandhi & His Apostles (1977), besides explorations of philosophy, theology, and linguistics. Mehta died of Parkinson’s disease in New York City on January 9, 2021.

Kim Tschang-Yeul (91) devoted 50 years to creating luminous paintings of water drops that are informed by the trauma of war and Eastern philosophy. Rendered with meticulous care, Kim’s drops can seem to sit miraculously atop his raw canvases or be in the midst of gliding down them, leaving a trail of moisture. They glimmer with light and cast shadows, and while vividly present, they are always on the verge of vaporizing. They made Kim one of the most celebrated Korean artists of his time. Kim died in Seoul, South Korea on January 5, 2021.


Business and Science

Albert Roux (85) French-born chef whose London restaurant Le Gavroche was the first in Britain to earn three Michelin stars. Roux and his brother, Michel, who died in 2020, brought fine dining to a new level in London with the opening of Le Gavroche in 1967 on Lower Sloane Street in Chelsea. It was named after a character in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables, a young boy whose name has become synonymous with the word “urchin.” Le Gavroche was the only restaurant to offer classic French cooking in London at the time. It was also the first restaurant in Britain to be awarded one, two, then three Michelin stars, and it was the first Michelin-rated restaurant to offer a set-price lunch. It was awarded its third Michelin star in 1982. Albert Roux died in London, England on January 4, 2021.

Gordon Stewart (79) bought a rundown beachfront hotel in his native Jamaica and built it into a chain of all-inclusive resorts as founder of Sandals Resorts International. Stewart began his resorts business in 1981, when he took the money he had made selling air-conditioning units in Jamaica and invested it in developing a hotel on the island’s North Coast. Named Sandals Montego Bay, it became the flagship resort of a chain of luxury vacation destinations. Sandals now operates 15 resorts, including six in Jamaica. Stewart established Sandals Resorts International with a couples-oriented focus before branching out with the more family-oriented Beaches Resorts. That business was in the process of expanding in St. Vincent and on the Dutch island of Curaçao at his death in Miami, Florida on January 4, 2021.

Ray Vega (86) for decades Vega made the rounds in the brick-lined dining room of Casa Vega restaurant in Sherman Oaks, dressed sharply in a sweater vest. He often hosted Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, George Clooney, Al Pacino, and other actors and studio executives and helped to introduce and popularize Mexican food in the San Fernando Valley. Besides running Casa Vega, in 1978 he was given the opportunity to run the dining hall at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He left his older sister Frances in charge of Casa Vega and moved his family to Las Vegas. Thus began the start of a decades-long career in the distribution business in Nevada under the name Vega Enterprise. The corporation included vending, distribution, and wholesale companies that supplied vending machines and products to US Air Force bases, casinos, and 7-Elevens. In the ’80s he started Vega Bar & Concessions, which sold liquor and bar supplies. Between the late ’70s and the ’90s, Vega Enterprise was grossing more than $60 million a year. Vega received many awards, but his most meaningful was his appointment as honorary consul general for Mexico to the state of Nevada in 1996. He had been battling dementia and Parkinson’s disease for the past 15 years but died of COVID-19 in Los Angeles, California on January 9, 2021.

Martinus J. Veltman (89) Dutch theoretical physicist awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999 for work that explained the structure of some of the fundamental forces in the universe, helping to lay the groundwork for the development of the Standard Model, the backbone of quantum physics. There are four known fundamental forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force that bonds subatomic particles together, and the weak force that is responsible for particle decay. Since the discovery of the last two forces in the first half of the 20th century, physicists have looked for a unified theory that could account for the existence of all four. Working with a graduate student of his, Gerardus ’t Hooft, Veltman set out to solve the problem. They used a technique called renormalization. To perform the calculations, Veltman and ’t Hooft used a computer program that Veltman had written called Schoonschip, which is Dutch for “to clean or clear things up.” Veltman and ’t Hooft were successful in solving the problems with the electroweak theory, establishing that electromagnetism and the weak force are, in fact, manifestations of the same force at high energy levels. Veltman died in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, on January 4, 2021


Law

Sandra Hutchens (65) rose through the ranks of law enforcement when it was considered a “boys club” and was Orange County sheriff for 10 years. Hutchens had battled breast cancer for part of her Orange County tenure and used her health crisis to help educate the public. She squeezed in treatments between meetings, donned a wig, and pledged that the disease would not affect her work. Hutchens was considered a trailblazer for women in police management and a role model to many, although her tenure as sheriff was not without controversy and several high-profile scandals. Among them were serious allegations of abuse in the jails and improper handling of jailhouse informants. Hutchens died of breast cancer in Temecula, California on January 4, 2021.

Deborah Rhode (68) law professor who transformed the field of legal ethics from little more than a crib sheet for passing the bar exam into a morally rigorous investigation into how lawyers should serve the public. With 30 books and some 200 law review articles to her name, Rhode, who spent over 40 years teaching at Stanford, was by far the most-cited scholar in legal ethics, with a work ethic that astounded even her hard-charging colleagues. Rhode criticized the American Bar Association, which she believed was too focused on barriers to entry that undermined innovation and kept legal fees high. Such was her intellectual standing that in 2014 the association nevertheless gave her its Outstanding Scholar Award. Rhode was equally concerned with issues of gender and the legal profession, a subject she knew well from personal experience. As one of a handful of women at Yale Law School in the mid-‘70s and later as only the second woman to receive tenure at Stanford Law School, she found herself constantly harassed, demeaned, and excluded by colleagues. She died in Stanford, California on January 8, 2021.


News and Entertainment

Michael Apted (79) British director of the Up documentary series and films as diverse as the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. Apted’s legacy is perhaps best defined by the nine Up films, which followed the lives of 14 economically diverse British children from ages 7 to 63. The project started in 1964 with Seven Up!, the brainchild of the late Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond. Apted was a researcher on the first film and took over as director seven years later, continuing to check in with the subjects every seven years. He credited the late film critic Roger Ebert for bringing the series to the attention of American audiences. The ambitious project earned him an Institutional Peabody Award in 2012 and had the honor of being satirized by The Simpsons in a 2007 episode. The last film, 63 Up, came out in 2019. Apted died in Los Angeles, California on January 7, 2021.

Lee Breuer (83) stage director who over 50 years on New York's downtown theater scene mixed genres in experimental productions, often with Mabou Mines, the avant-garde troupe he helped to found. An outsider who refused his only Tony Award nomination—for his biggest hit and only Broadway show, the Sophocles adaptation The Gospel at Colonus—Breuer flourished in the scrappier realm of Off-Off-Broadway even as the scale of his works and ambitions took him to larger stages, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and the Comédie-Française in Paris. He died in Brooklyn Heights, New York of advanced kidney disease and metastatic lung cancer, on January 3, 2021.

William H. Kobin (91) broadcast journalism pioneer who was president and chief executive of KCET during its glory days by turning the debt-ridden public TV station into an essential educational and cultural institution in southern California. Kobin, who worked in public TV for 50 years, was KCET’s president from 1983–96 and made important contributions to the local station during his tenure. He was credited with “discovering” broadcast legend Bill Moyers—his proudest accomplishment—and putting Tennessee native Huell Howser and the Loud family of Santa Barbara on the small screen in California’s Gold and the reality TV series An American Family, respectively. Other notable programs he helped to launch included Puzzle Place, Storytime, The Astronomers, and the public-affairs program Life & Times, all enabled by major commitments and large production grants from local companies and charities. When he joined KCET-TV Channel 28 in 1983, he turned a poorly managed station with a $3.6 million debt into one of the country’s largest public TV stations. Kobin died of Parkinson’s disease in Brentwood, California on January 8, 2021.

Gerry Marsden (78) lead singer of the ‘60s British group Gerry & the Pacemakers that had such hits as “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and the song that became the anthem of the Liverpool Football Club, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Marsden was lead singer of the band that found fame on the Merseybeat scene in the ‘60s. Although another Liverpool band—The Beatles—reached superstardom, Marsden was best known for his band’s rendition of the song from Carousel, a 1945 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical that became a feature film in ’56. The Pacemakers’ cover version was released in October 1963 and became the band’s third No. 1 hit on the British singles chart. It was adopted by fans of the soccer club Liverpool and is sung with passion before each home game of the 19-time English champion—before coronavirus restrictions meant many matches being played in empty stadiums. Marsden died after a short illness related to a heart infection but in no way connected with COVID-19, on January 3, 2021.

Tanya Roberts (65) actress known for roles on That ‘70s Show, Charlie’s Angels, and the James Bond franchise. In 1985 Roberts starred as geologist and Bond girl Stacey Sutton opposite Roger Moore in A View to a Kill before a new generation recognized her as Midge Pinciotti—mother of Laura Prepon’s Donna—on the hit sitcom That ’70s Show. Roberts' other credits included adventure flicks The Beastmaster and Hearts & Armour and the hit TV series Charlie’s Angels, on which she replaced Shelley Hack as Angel Julie Rogers alongside Jaclyn Smith’s Kelly Garrett and Cheryl Ladd’s Kris Munroe. In 1984 Roberts played the title character in John Guillermin’s Sheena, a female take on the Tarzan myth adapted from comic books of the same title. After falsely reporting that Roberts had died earlier on January 4, her longtime representative, Mike Pingel, corrected the mistake, confirming to the Associated Press that she was alive and in “dire” condition. Roberts died of a urinary tract infection that spread to her kidneys, gallbladder, liver, and finally her bloodstream, on January 4, 2021.

Albor Ruiz (80) Cuban-born journalist whose columns for the Daily News, El Diario, and Al Día News advocated for Latino immigrants and demanded that the US lift its longstanding trade embargo against his homeland. Ruiz reached his largest readership at the New York Daily News, where for 23 years he was an editorial writer; editor of its short-lived bilingual spinoff, El Daily News; and a columnist who wrote with passion about immigration, politics, education, housing, art, literature, and racism. Focusing largely on the borough of Queens and its enormous range of nationalities, Ruiz wrote often about Latinos. He died of pneumonia in Homestead, Florida on January 8, 2021.

Barbara Shelley (88) sometimes British actress Shelley was the victim. By the end of the movie Blood of the Vampire (1958), the Victorian character she played—her brocade bodice properly ripped—was in chains in a mad scientist’s basement laboratory. She was at Christopher Lee’s mercy in Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), although before the end she had fangs of her own. Sometimes she was an innocent bystander. In Village of the Damned (1960) she was impregnated by mysterious extraterrestrial rays and had a son—a beautiful, emotionless blond child whose glowing eyes could kill. Sometimes she was the monster, although in Cat Girl (1957) it wasn’t her fault that a centuries-old family curse turned her into a man-eating leopard. Most of Shelley's best-known pictures were for Hammer Films, the London studio responsible for horror classics including The Mummy and The Curse of Frankenstein. She played almost 100 other roles in movies and on TV, appearing on Doctor Who, The Saint, The Avengers, and EastEnders. Shelley, the queen of camp in British horror films for 10 years, had spent two weeks in December in a hospital, where she contracted Covid-19. It was successfully treated, but after going home she died of “underlying issues” in London, England on January 4, 2021.

Gregory Sierra (83) actor who had memorable roles in the ‘70s sitcoms Barney Miller and Sanford & Son. Sierra’s breakthrough came in 1972 when he played Fred G. Sanford’s neighbor, Julio Fuentes, on Sanford & Son. He also attracted attention for playing Sgt. Miguel (“Chano”) Amanguale on Barney Miller, which launched in 1975. His other TV credits include All in the Family, Soap, Miami Vice, Zorro & Son, Hawaii Five-O, Hill Street Blues, and more. He appeared in films such as Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, Honey I Blew Up the Kid, and The Other Side of the Wind, released in 2018 after more than 40 years in development. Sierra died after battling cancer in Laguna Woods, California on January 4, 2021.


Politics and Military

Tom LaBonge (67) former Los Angeles city councilman who adored LA. The 39-year veteran of City Hall regularly asked Angelenos to name their favorite LA buildings. He handed out calendars featuring his photographs of the city and loaves of pumpkin bread baked by local nuns. He was a champion of Griffith Park, hiking there every day, and worked to expand its size by hundreds of acres. When voters considered breaking up the city into two or three pieces, LaBonge made clear he was opposed. He served on the City Council from 2001–15. He was well known for his love of the city’s history, its landmarks, its public spaces, and its people—and his eagerness to celebrate all those things. He frequented Pink’s Hot Dogs on La Brea Avenue and Philippe’s in Chinatown and had a bottomless wealth of city trivia. For much of his time in office, he could be seen driving around the city in his Ford Crown Victoria, climbing out to regale constituents and tourists alike. He died in Silver Lake, California on January 7, 2021.


Society and Religion

George Regas (90) longtime rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena and pioneering crusader for progressive causes who opposed the Vietnam War and embraced gay marriage. When Regas, a native of Tennessee who was raised in the Greek Orthodox church, arrived in Pasadena in 1967, All Saints was a far cry from the liberal bastion it later became. Regas was 37 when he took the helm at All Saints and was not afraid to cause a stir. After he preached an anti-Vietnam War sermon in 1971, some parishioners launched a failed attempt to oust him. Years later, as rector emeritus, his pacifist beliefs again attracted attention, that time from the Internal Revenue Service. In a 2004 sermon that imagined Jesus debating presidential candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry, Regas toed the line between expressing his religious values and political campaigning, an act that would jeopardize the church’s tax-exempt status. He died in Pasadena, California from an infection not related to the coronavirus, on January 9, 2021.


Sports

Tommy Lasorda (93) former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the oldest living baseball Hall of Famer. Lasorda spent 71 years in the Dodgers organization, starting as a player when the team was still based in Brooklyn. He later coached, then became its best-known manager for 21 years in LA, leading the franchise to two World Series championships. After stepping down in 1996, he became an ambassador for the sport he loved. He had just returned home two days earlier after being hospitalized since November 8 with heart issues. He died after suffering a heart attack in Fullerton, California on January 7, 2021.

John Muckler (86) joined with Glen Sather as architects of the Edmonton Oilers’ five Stanley Cup championships from 1984–90 and held coaching or senior executive posts with four other National Hockey League teams. Muckler joined the Oilers in 1982 as an assistant coach under Sather, who was also the team’s general manager. Muckler was later cohead coach with Sather and was promoted to sole head coach for the 1989–90 season, when Sather concentrated on general manager duties and Edmonton captured its fifth Stanley Cup. Wayne Gretzky played on the first four Oiler teams to take the Stanley Cup before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in August 1988. The Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1984, ‘85, ‘87, ’88. and ’90. Muckler was known for his keen sense of strategy, essentially the hockey equivalent of football’s Xs and Os. He taught his players how to get into the best possible spots on the ice and diagnosed opponents’ weaknesses. Muckler had recently had a heart attack and subsequent surgery and had then been treated for Covid-19. He died in Buffalo, New York on January 4, 2021.

Donald ('Dee') Rowe (91) revered figure at the University of Connecticut for 50 years as men’s basketball coach and athletics department fundraiser. Rowe coached the Huskies for eight seasons, compiling a 120-88 record as he guided the team twice to the National Invitational Tournament and once to the NCAA men’s tournament, in 1976. After defeating Hofstra in the first round of that tournament, Connecticut lost, 93-79, to Rutgers. After the 1976–77 season, when he led the Huskies to a 17-10 record, Rowe retired because of pancreatitis. Within a year he started as the athletics department’s fundraiser. He died of Covid-19 in Storrs, Connecticut on January 9, 2021 but had also received a diagnosis of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Sandra Scully (76) wife of legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. Sandra Hunt married Scully in November 1973. Scully retired from broadcasting in 2016 at age 88 after calling Dodgers games for 67 seasons. Sandra frequently accompanied her husband for games at Dodger Stadium and was in the booth for his final home game in September 2016. Vin and Sandra exchanged a high-five after Charlie Culberson hit a walkoff home run to give the Dodgers the win. Sandra had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive nervous system disease that causes loss of muscle control, for several years. She died in Los Angeles, California on January 3, 2021.


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