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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 14, 2019

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René Auberjonois, familiar character actorPete Frates, inspired ALS ice bucket challengeMarie Fredriksson, female half of Swedish pop duo RoxetteYuri Lushkov, former mayor of MoscowPhilip McKeon, surrounded by cast of 'Alice'Caroll Spinney, whole-body puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on 'Sesame Street'Paul A. Volcker, Reagan's Federal Reserve chairmanKim Woo-Choong, South Korean businessmanJuice WRLD, rapper

Business and Science

Kim Woo-choong (82) disgraced founder of the now-collapsed Daewoo business group whose rise and fall symbolized South Korea’s rapid economic growth in the ‘70s. Kim started as a textile salesman and built Daewoo Corp. in 1967. The company grew into South Korea’s second-largest business empire, producing everything from clothes to cars, ships, TV sets, refrigerators, and other electronics. Often dubbed by local media as the “Kim Woo-choong myth,” his rise represented South Korea’s explosive economic development engineered by then-authoritarian leader Park Chung-hee, who nurtured a small number of conglomerates like Daewoo with cheap loans and tax benefits during his 1961–79 rule. in 1999 Daewoo collapsed, resulting in the country’s largest corporate bankruptcy. In 2006 Kim was convicted of accounting fraud, illegal financing, and diverting funds out of the country, but his prison sentence was ultimately suspended. He died of pneumonia in Suwon, just south of Seoul, South Korea on December 9, 2019.

News and Entertainment

René Auberjonois (79) actor best known for his roles on the TV shows Benson and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his part in the 1970 film M*A*S*H playing Father Mulcahy. Auberjonois worked constantly as a character actor in several golden ages, from the theater of the ‘60s to the cinema renaissance of the ‘70s to the prime period of network TV in the ‘80s and ‘90s. For film fans of the ‘70s, he was Father John Mulcahy, the military chaplain who played straight man to the doctors’ antics in M*A*S*H. It was his first significant film role and the first of several for director Robert Altman. For sitcom watchers of the ‘80s, Auberjonois was Clayton Runnymede Endicott 3rd, highbrow chief of staff at a governor’s mansion on Benson, the ABC series whose title character was a butler played by Robert Guillaume. And for science fiction fans of the ‘90s and convention-goers ever since, he was Odo, the shape-shifting Changeling and head of space-station security on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Auberjonois was also a regular on the ABC law-firm dramedy Boston Legal from 2004–08. He died of metastatic lung cancer in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2019.

Marie Fredriksson (61) female half of the Swedish pop duo Roxette. Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986. The two released their first album that same year and achieved international success in the late ‘80s and ‘90s with hits including “The Look” and “It Must Have Been Love.” They achieved international success with their albums Look Sharp! (1988) and Joyride (1991) and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The pair sold 80 million records worldwide and embarked on world tours. They were Sweden’s best-known band since ABBA in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002. She underwent aggressive treatment that took its toll but ultimately was successful. But she was left blind in one eye, with limited hearing and mobility, and was unable to read or write. She was also unable to speak for a considerable time after her treatment. Over the years she was able to make a gradual return to the world stage. She died on December 9, 2019.

Philip McKeon (55) child actor featured as the son of Linda Lavin’s Alice Hyatt on the ‘80s CBS sitcom Alice. McKeon played Tommy Hyatt on Alice from 1976–85. His most recent acting role was in the video Ghoulies IV (1994). McKeon had worked for 10 years in the news department of a Los Angeles radio station before moving to Texas around 2014 to better care for his family. He settled in the central Texas hill country town of Wimberley, about 30 miles southwest of Austin, where he hosted a local radio show. His sister is Nancy McKeon, best known for playing Jo Polniaczek on the ‘80s NBC sitcom The Facts of Life. Philip McKeon died in Texas on December 10, 2019.

Caroll Spinney (85) actor who for nearly 50 years was Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, the anonymous whole-body puppeteer who, since the 1969 inception of the public TV show that has nurtured untold millions of children, portrayed the canary-yellow giant bird and the misanthropic, furry-green bellyacher in the trash can outside 123 Sesame Street. Spinney also performed his characters in live concerts around the world and at the White House many times and was featured in films and documentaries and on record albums. He had suffered for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions. He died in Woodstock, Connecticut on December 8, 2019.

Juice WRLD (21) rapper (born Jarad A. Higgins) who was named top new artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in May. WRLD launched his career on SoundCloud before he rose to the top of the charts with the Sting-sampled hit “Lucid Dreams.” He died after a “medical emergency” at Chicago’s Midway International Airport. He was pronounced dead at a hospital around 3:15 a.m. on December 8, 2019 and taken to the Cook County medical examiner’s office several hours later. Chicago police launched a death investigation after announcing there were no signs of foul play.

Politics and Military

Yuri Lushkov (83) mayor of Moscow for 18 years and one of the founders of Russia’s ruling United Russia party, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longtime political platform. A chemical engineer, Luzhkov ventured into politics in his early 40s and started working with the Moscow city council in 1977. In 1991 he was appointed deputy mayor of Moscow and a year later elected mayor. During his tenure, Moscow grew richer and bigger. Luzhkov frequently said that he brought the city back to life after years of post-Soviet poverty and squalor. At the same time he was widely criticized for the grandiose architectural style he encouraged and large-scale corruption. In 2010 Luzhkov was dismissed from his post by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The former mayor died in Munich, Germany, where he was undergoing heart surgery, on December 10, 2019.

Paul A. Volcker (92) US Federal Reserve chairman in the early ‘80s. Volcker elevated interest rates to historic highs and triggered a recession as the price of quashing double-digit inflation. He took charge of the Fed in August 1979 when the US economy was sinking into runaway inflation. Consumer prices skyrocketed 13 in 1979, then by the same amount again in ’80. Working to bring prices under control, Volcker raised the Fed’s benchmark interest rate from 11 per cent to a record 20 per cent by late 1980 to try to slow the economy’s growth and thereby shrink inflation. Those high interest rates made it so expensive for people and companies to borrow that the economy weakened steadily. By January 1980 a recession had begun; it lasted six months. A deeper and more painful downturn took hold in July 1981. That one lasted for 18 months and sent unemployment up to 10.8 per cent in November and December 1982, the highest level since the Great Depression. In the midst of it, Volcker was vilified by the public for having triggered a recession to curb runaway price increases. By 1984, the pain of the recession he helped to cause eventually produced the desired results: inflation receded. Volcker died in New York City on December 8, 2019.


Pete Frates (34) former college baseball player whose battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) helped to inspire the ALS ice bucket challenge that has raised more than $200 million worldwide. The ice bucket challenge began in 2014 when pro golfer Chris Kennedy challenged his wife’s cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the New York Yankees great who suffered from it. ALS patient Pat Quinn, of Yonkers, New York, picked up on it and started its spread, but when Frates and his family got involved, the phenomenon exploded on social media. The process was simple: take a bucket of ice water, dump it over your head, post a video on social media, and challenge others to do the same or make a donation to charity. Most people did both. Thousands of people participated, including celebrities, sports stars, and politicians—even Donald Trump before his election and cartoon character Homer Simpson. Online videos were viewed millions of times. Frates died in Beverly, Massachusetts on December 9, 2019.

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