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Life In Legacy - Week ending November 10, 2007

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Norman Mailer, macho US novelistJudy Arnold, theatrical producerPekka-Eric Auvinen, Finnish school shooterHerbert Barrett, business manager of classical music starsEnzo Biagi, veteran Italian journalistHilda Braid, British actress on EastEndersCharlie Brailer, former LA radio news anchorHobart Brown, cofounder of Kinetic Sculpture RaceThelma Garcia Buchholdt, former Alaska state legislatorStephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao, Japanese cardinal who headed Vatican officeBarbara Cesar, owner of Syncro Aircraft InteriorsLaraine Day, '40s movie actressEarl Dodge, six-time Prohibition Party Presidential candidateJohn Firor, environmental scholarRowan Ford, missing Missouri girlClara Fox, advocate of subsidized housing for poorGeorge W. George, theatrical producerSalome Gluecksohn-Waelsch, German geneticistBruce Gordon, former Disney ImagineerJohn E. Grenier, helped to break Alabama Democrat stronghold in the '60sMitchell Harding, LA radio personalityAugustus F. Hawkins, California's first black congressmanJim Hawthorne, outrageous postwar LA late-night radio DJ and TV talk-show hostLuis Herrera Campins, former president of VenezuelaScooter Herring, former Allman Bros. Band road managerRita Hillman, art collector and philanthropistDr. R. Scott Hitt, AIDS specialistBill Hosokawa, former Denver Post editorJack Kuney, early TV producer and directorNils Liedholm, Swedish soccer coach in ItalyJoseph Lynn, student who killed himself on campusRabbi Shlomo Matusof, leader of Chabad-Lubavitch educational activities in MoroccoFred W. McDarrah, Village Voice photographerMarie-Rose Mueller, one of the oldest persons in the USJohn Noble, American held prisoner by Soviets in Cold WarGeorge Osmond, father of Donny and MarieFrancine Parker, director of Vietnam-era documentaryJodi Christine Parrack, missing Michigan girlDan Puckett, bodybuilderRev. Philip Alphonsus Smith, former president of Providence CollegePaul Soloway, bridge championJim Stagg, Chicago disk jockeyHank Thompson, honky-tonk country singerRev. Chad Varah, British clergymanPeter Viertel, author and screenwriterDonda West, mother of rapper Kanye West

Art and Literature

Norman Mailer (84) two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, a dominant presence on the US literary scene for 70 years. In more than 40 books (beginning with The Naked & the Dead [1948]) and a stream of essays, Mailer provoked and enraged readers with his strident views on US political life and the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Over the years he built and nurtured an image as pugnacious, street-wise, and high-living. He drank, fought, smoked pot, married six times, and stabbed his second wife, almost fatally, during a drunken party. He had nine children, made a bid to become mayor of New York, produced five forgettable films, dabbled in journalism, flew gliders, challenged professional boxers, was banned from a Manhattan YWHA for reciting obscene poetry, feuded publicly with writer Gore Vidal, and crusaded against women's lib. Despite his lifelong ambition to write the Great American Novel, both his Pulitzers were for reality-based books: Armies of the Night (1968), an account of the 1967 peace march on the Pentagon, and The Executioner's Song (1979), the life and death of petty Utah criminal Gary Gilmore. Mailer had undergone lung surgery in October. He died of acute renal failure in New York City on November 10, 2007.

Business and Science

Barbara Cesar (56) businesswoman who with her late husband Ed (d. 2002) designed, built, and refurbished the luxury interiors of privately owned airplanes. The Cesars formed Syncro Aviation and Syncro Aircraft Interiors in 1983. The company, now based at Van Nuys Airport, creates custom-designed interiors for airplanes owned by royalty, celebrities, and entrepreneurs. Barbara Cesar died of complications after minor surgery, in Burbank, California on November 9, 2007.

John Firor (80) environmental scholar and former director of the National Center of Atmospheric Research, an early voice linking climate change and human activity. Firor became director of the center, in Boulder, Colo., in 1968 and was named executive director in '74. While there, he called attention to the importance of human impact on the environment when such a connection was still considered a fairly radical idea. He died of Alzheimer's disease in Pullman, Washington on November 5, 2007.

Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch (100) geneticist who had fled Nazi Germany to pursue her studies and whose later research in New York shed light on fundamental questions of development in mammals. Gluecksohn-Waelsch was a professor emerita of molecular genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. In 1993, she won the National Medal of Science for her work in developmental genetics. She died in New York City on November 7, 2007.


Rita Hillman (95) philanthropist and art collector who used the proceeds from the sale of Picasso's Mother & Child to support the education of hundreds of nurses. Hillman was president of the Alex Hillman Family Foundation, named for her late husband, with whom she amassed a collection of 19th- and 20th-century European art, including works by Matisse, Braque, Miro, Manet, Renoir, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Alex Hillman (d. 1968) had been president of Hillman Periodicals, which for 30 years starting in the late '30s published comic books, true crime magazines, and the general-interest magazine Pageant. In 1989, Rita Hillman sold the Picasso painting at auction for $17 million. With part of the proceeds, her foundation started the Hillman/Penn Nursing Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The program provides scholarships for students willing to work at a New York hospital for two years after graduation. She died in New York City on November 8, 2007.

Rev. Philip A. Smith (74) president of the Roman Catholic Providence College for more than 10 years (1994-2005). Smith was also a philosophy professor there until his death. He was credited with overseeing $110 million in new construction and infrastructure improvements, including the creation of a new performing arts center and chapel. He was hospitalized the preceding week for routine surgery and died in Providence, Rhode Island on November 4, 2007.

News and Entertainment

Judy Arnold (68) theatrical producer who got her start in Los Angeles and moved on to Broadway and London's West End. Among Arnold's many productions in LA were several at the Tiffany Theatre, including Give 'Em Hell, Harry with Jason Alexander; We Interrupt This Program with Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Garry Marshall, Laraine Newman, and Julia Sweeney; and The Disputation. Arnold took the comedy Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks from the Geffen Playhouse to Broadway in 2003, then on to London. Her AD Productions was also credited for the musical Bombay Dreams, which ran for 10 months on Broadway in 2004. She died of a heart attack in Encino, California on November 10, 2007.

Herbert Barrett (97) leading business manager who oversaw the careers of prominent singers and musicians, particularly in classical music, for more than 50 years in New York and helped to organize the first Great Performers series at Lincoln Center in 1965. Barrett's clients included baritone Sherrill Milnes, sopranos Grace Bumbry and Eileen Farrell, mezzo sopranos Jennie Tourel and Shirley Verrett, violinist Joseph Szigeti, pianists John Browning and Martha Argerich, jazz pianist Billy Taylor, and sitarist Ravi Shankar. Barrett died of heart failure in New York City on November 5, 2007.

Enzo Biagi (87) veteran Italian newspaper and TV journalist and prolific author whose straightforward writing style stood out in a country where journalistic writing is often dense and convoluted. Biagi had heart trouble for years. He was sleeping peacefully when he died in Rome, Italy on November 6, 2007.

Hilda Braid (78) British actress who specialized in slightly scatty elderly women and was best known to TV audiences as "Nana" Moon, grandmother of Queen Vic landlord Alfie (Shane Richie) on EastEnders. During her time on the BBC soap (2002-05), plotlines included Nana being jilted at the altar by her conman fiancé Wilfred Atkins (Dudley Sutton), and working through a wish list of "things I want to do before I die" after being diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. When cast members who played her family eventually left the show, Nana was killed off by an aneurysm. Braid died in Brighton, England on November 6, 2007.

Charlie Brailer (74) former radio broadcaster on KFWB-AM 980 in Los Angeles (1969-93). Brailer came to the all-news station as executive producer. In the early to mid-'70s he was a reporter and interviewer on KFWB's nighttime News Line program and later became a morning anchorman. He received a heart transplant in 2000. He died of advanced lung disease in Lancaster, California on November 7, 2007.

Laraine Day (87) movie actress best remembered for her portrayal of Lew Ayres's fiancée in a series of '40s Dr. Kildare movies. Day appeared in nearly 50 films including the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Foreign Correspondent (1940), followed by, among others, Mr. Lucky, The Story of Dr. Wassell, My Dear Secretary, and The High & the Mighty. In 1951 she became one of TV's first female talk-show hosts on The Laraine Day Show. She wrote the memoir Day with Giants (1951) about life with baseball manager Leo Durocher, to whom she was married (1947-60), and was sometimes called "The First Lady of Baseball." Durocher died in 1991, and Day was present in '94 when he was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. She died in Ivins, Utah, where she had moved earlier in the year after the death of her husband of 47 years, producer Michel Grilikhes, on November 10, 2007.

George W. George (87) film and theatrical producer whose credits include the acclaimed film My Dinner with Andre (1981) and a run of successful Broadway productions. George was a son of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, best known for his whimsical depictions of machines that perform simple tasks in amusingly complex ways. George died of Parkinson's disease in New York City on November 7, 2007.

Bruce Gordon (56) former longtime Disney Imagineer involved in the creation of numerous Disney theme park attractions around the world who also wrote or cowrote an array of Disney-related books. Gordon launched his career at Walt Disney Imagineering as a model designer in 1980. When he left his position as a project director in 2005, he was show producer for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, which opened at Disneyland in ’07. He died in Glendale, California on November 6, 2007.

Mitchell Harding (79) former Los Angeles-area public-radio personality who cocreated an influential science fiction program on KPFK-FM (90.7) known as Hour 25, read the news on-air at KCRW-FM (89.9), and worked behind the scenes on many programs. Harding died in Santa Monica, California on November 9, 2007.

Jim Hawthorne (88) wacky and wildly inventive Los Angeles radio and TV personality who turned traditional post-World War II broadcasting on its ear. Hawthorne came to fame in 1947 on Pasadena radio station KXLA (now KRLA). Listeners to his nighttime show never knew what to expect from the comically outrageous and unpredictable Hawthorne. In the early '50s, he proved as innovative on TV as he had been on radio, with a late-evening TV talk show on KLAC-TV (1950-52; now KCOP-TV Channel 13). He died of congestive heart disease in Santa Barbara, California on November 6, 2007.

John C. ("Scooter") Herring (67) former Allman Brothers Band road manager whose drug conviction in the '70s contributed to the band's breakup. Federal prosecutors went after Herring during the '70s, charging that he helped to supply singer and keyboardist Gregg Allman with cocaine. To avoid criminal charges, Allman testified against Herring and gave details of his own drug use. In 1976, Herring was convicted of five drug offenses and was sentenced to 75 years in prison. Considering Allman's testimony a betrayal, the band broke up. Herring's conviction was later overturned by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and he ended up serving 30 months. He died in Macon, Georgia on November 10, 2007.

Bill Hosokawa (92) former Denver Post editor and reporter. During 38 years at the Post, Hosokawa held several positions, including war correspondent in Korea and Vietnam, columnist, editor of the Sunday magazine, and editorial page editor. He was among thousands of Japanese-Americans forced from their homes and into internment camps by the government during World War II. He died in Sequim, Washington on November 9, 2007.

Ayuna Kamal (15) daughter of popular Malaysian actor Mustafa Kamal Daud and his former wife, film producer Yong Rahiman. Ayuna Kamal had suffered many internal injuries and been on life support for three weeks after allegedly falling from her 13th floor apartment on October 21. She died of those injuries from the fall at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 7, 2007.

Jack Kuney (88) producer and director of some of early TV's most widely praised shows. Kuney was known in particular as a producer of The Play of the Week, a drama anthology broadcast in the late '50s and early '60s by New York's WNTA-TV, Channel 13. Among the plays Kuney produced for the program were Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, starring Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel, and archy & mehitabel, a musical by George Kleinsinger, Joe Darion, and Mel Brooks, based on the World War I-era newspaper column by Don Marquis about a poetic cockroach and his feline muse. Kuney died of heart failure in Bradenton, Florida on November 7, 2007.

Fred W. McDarrah (81) Village Voice photographer who chronicled some of New York's most important cultural and political events over more than 30 years at the alternative weekly. McDarrah was there when the Stonewall riots erupted in 1969, marking the beginning of the gay rights movement, and when Robert F. Kennedy toured a Lower East Side slum. He captured images of Beat generation writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and photographed Andy Warhol, Norman Mailer, and Bob Dylan. McDarrah died a day after celebrating his 81st birthday and 47th wedding anniversary, in Greenwich Village, New York on November 6, 2007.

George Osmond (90) father of Donny and Marie Osmond and patriarch of the family's singing group, The Osmond Brothers. George Osmond and his wife Olive (d. 2004) raised nine children, many of whom became singing stars. George worked in real estate and insurance sales and was once postmaster for the city of Ogden, Utah. He gave up his work to manage the singing careers of his children. Because he had not been ill, Osmond likely died from natural causes incident to his age, in Provo, Utah on November 6, 2007.

Francine Parker (81) director best known for the film FTA, a documentary with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland that chronicles a tour of antiwar entertainers during the Vietnam era and was inexplicably pulled from theaters within a week of its 1972 release. The documentary had shrunk a weeks-long tour of military bases in the Pacific into a 90-minute film that devoted about as much screen time to the revue's audience—disillusioned servicemen—as it did to the entertainers' sharply critical political satire. FTA stood for Free the Army—or something more profane—among thousands of soldiers who saw the show despite the military's opposition. Parker died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California on November 8, 2007.

Jim Stagg (72) Chicago disk jockey in the heyday of Top 40 radio who toured with The Beatles and interviewed scores of legendary musicians. Stagg was a longtime (1963-75) fixture on WCFL-AM where the shows Stagg Line and Stagg's Starbeat attracted legions of teenage listeners. He died of esophageal cancer in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois on November 6, 2007.

Hank Thompson (82) country singer and bandleader who mixed honky-tonk and Western swing on such hits as "A Six-Pack to Go" and "The Wild Side of Life." Thompson churned out a string of top-10 country hits during a decades-long career. He died of lung cancer just days after canceling a tour and announcing his retirement, in the Fort Worth suburb of Keller, Texas on November 6, 2007.

Peter Viertel (86) noted author and screenwriter best known for his books chronicling episodes in the lives of novelist Ernest Hemingway and film director John Huston. The author of at least nine novels and 11 feature films, Viertel turned his experience as on-scene script doctor for the movie The African Queen (1951) into grist for a novel about the making of a very similar movie in Africa, White Hunter, Black Heart (1953). The novel, in turn, became a 1990 Clint Eastwood movie of the same title, for which Viertel helped to write the screenplay. Preceded in death by his wife, British actress Deborah Kerr (d. Oct. 16), by less than three weeks, Viertel died of lymphoma in Marbella, Spain on November 4, 2007.

Donda West (58) mother of rapper Kanye West and former chairwoman of Chicago State University's English department. Donda West was known for the strong bond she shared with her son, who often spoke of his close relationship with the mother who raised him alone after her husband left when Kanye was 3. Donda was chairwoman of the Kanye West Foundation, an educational nonprofit that works to decrease dropout rates and improve literacy. She died of complications from a cosmetic surgical procedure, in Los Angeles, California on November 10, 2007.

Politics and Military

Thelma Garcia Buchholdt (73) lawyer and former member of the Alaska state legislature who wrote a book about the history of the state's Filipino community. Born in 1934 in the Philippines, Buchholdt "achieved a political first," according to the 2004 edition of Everything You Need to Know About Asian-American History, when she was elected in '74 to represent a predominantly white district in the Alaska House of Representatives. She published the book Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958 (1996) and made a documentary on the subject. She died of pancreatic cancer in Anchorage, Alaska on November 5, 2007.

Earl Dodge (74) six-time Prohibition Party Presidential candidate. Dodge mounted 13 campaigns across nearly every level of government, beginning with a 1969 run for City Council in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a Prohibitionist, he also ran for vice president, governor of Colorado, senator from Kansas, and University of Colorado regent, but never won a race. He collapsed and died at Denver International Airport while en route to Pennsylvania on business, on November 7, 2007.

John E. Grenier (77) Birmingham attorney, a cornerstone of the modern Republican Party in Alabama. Grenier shook up Alabama politics because he recruited serious Republican candidates to run for the US Senate and House at a time when the Democrat primary was considered the election in Alabama. In 1964, Grenier organized delegates for Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater and directed his campaign in the South. Riding Goldwater's coattails, the GOP elected five congressmen in Alabama, ending decades of all-Democrat representation. Grenier died of cancer in Houston, Texas on November 6, 2007.

Augustus F. Hawkins (100) California's first black congressman who helped to form the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. A Democrat, Hawkins represented South Los Angeles for more than half a century, first starting off in the state Legislature in 1935, then getting elected to the US House of Representatives in '62. He sponsored the equal employment section of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act that created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He died in Bethesda, Maryland on November 10, 2007.

Luis Herrera Campins (82) former president (1979-84) of Venezuela, part of a generation of political leaders who helped to end 10 years of dictatorship and usher in democracy in '50s Venezuela. Herrera underwent surgery in 2005 for an abdominal aneurysm that led to a kidney infection and other complications. He died in Caracas, Venezuela on November 9, 2007.

Dr. R. Scott Hitt (49) AIDS specialist and the first openly gay person to head a Presidential advisory board. Hitt was chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV & AIDS during President Bill Clinton's administration in the '90s. He criticized the Clinton administration for its reluctance to fund needle exchange programs, which he said were proven to prevent the spread of HIV. Hitt died of colon cancer in West Hollywood, California on November 8, 2007.

John Noble (84) Detroit native who languished for nearly 10 years in Soviet penal labor camps after World War II and spent the rest of the Cold War lecturing and writing about his captivity. Noble's gulag ordeal—including four years in the Vorkuta coal mine and prison complex near the Arctic Circle—began in 1945 when he was swept up by Soviet forces in Germany at the end of WWII. In 1938, the teenage Noble had gone to Dresden to help his German-born father revive a camera factory. At war's end, they were captured by Soviet troops occupying the city. Noble's mother and a brother were released, and his father spent seven years in detention. Noble's fate remained a mystery until 1953, when he managed to smuggle a postcard to a distant relative. The Soviets for years denied knowing anything about Noble. Under pressure from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he was released to US authorities in Berlin in January 1955. He died of a heart attack in Dresden, Germany on November 10, 2007.

Society and Religion

Pekka-Eric Auvinen (18) student at Finland's Jokela High School who shot and killed seven students and the headmistress and wounded 12 others during an apparent rampage, in the first fatal school shooting in the country since 1989. Investigators believed Auvinen had posted his plans on a video, entitled Jokela High School Massacre, broadcast on the popular web site YouTube. He died shortly after fatally shooting himself in the head in Tuusula, Finland on November 7, 2007.

Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao (77) Japanese cardinal who headed the Vatican's office for migrants for eight years. Hamao was bishop of Yokohama for nearly 20 years before being appointed president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant Peoples in 1998. He was made a cardinal in 2003 and retired from his Vatican job in '06. He died in Tokyo, Japan on November 8, 2007.

Rowan Ford (9) Missouri girl reported missing on November 3 after her mother returned home early from a night shift at Wal-Mart and later discovered that her daughter was gone. The girl's stepfather, David Spears (24), told authorities he and two male friends were with Rowan the night before until they went out and later returned home around midnight but did not check on her. Rowan was found dead in a cave on private land about 10 miles south of her hometown, Stella, Missouri, on November 9, 2007. Update: Spears and one of his friends, Chris Collings (24), were arrested November 9 in connection with the child's death.

Clara Fox (90) advocate of subsidized housing for poor and moderate-income people and founder of the Settlement Housing Fund, a nonprofit organization that now houses 2,200 families in 44 buildings in New York. Fox formed the Settlement Housing Fund in 1969 by bringing together housing experts from 35 settlement houses, the neighborhood agencies created in the first decades of the 20th century to aid newly arriving immigrants. She died of kidney failure in New York City on November 9, 2007.

Joseph Lynn (13) student at John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, Lousiana who fatally shot himself on his school campus just minutes before classes started on Nov. 5. Investigators believed there had been no other problems involving guns, and no other students were in danger. Lynn died a day later, in River Ridge, Louisiana on November 6, 2007.

Rabbi Shlomo Matusof (91) leader of Chabad-Lubavitch educational activities in Morocco for decades. Matusof spent time in Germany and France before he was assigned in late 1950 to go to Morocco by the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Matusof died of liver failure while attending the five-day International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries, in New York City on November 10, 2007.

Marie-Rose Mueller (111) supercentenarian and the second-oldest person in Connecticut, behind fellow Hungarian immigrant, 112-year-old Elizabeth Stefan. Known by locals as Muzzy, Mueller became one of the 50 oldest verified living people in the world at her death in Stratford, Connecticut on November 5, 2007.

Jodi Christine Parrack (11) missing Michigan girl, reportedly last seen earlier in the day riding a silver bicycle with her friends near a cemetery. A search for the girl began after her mother reported her missing to authorities just hours after her disappearance. Parrack was found dead in a cemetery five hours after she vanished, in Constantine Township, Michigan on November 8, 2007.

Rev. Chad Varah (95) British clergyman who founded the Samaritans charity to offer counseling and emotional support to people contemplating suicide. Varah started the Samaritans in 1954; the organization now counts 202 branches across Britain and Ireland, and its international arm, Befrienders Worldwide, has 401 volunteer centers in 38 countries. Varah died in Basingstoke, England on November 8, 2007.


Hobart Brown (74) gallery owner and artist who parlayed a bet with a friend over who could build a better human-powered vehicle into a hobby enjoyed worldwide. The friend, Shaye Harty, is now president of the nonprofit group that organizes the Kinetic Sculpture Race, a three-day competition cofounded by Brown that features wacky wheeled contraptions. Brown, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, retired from racing several years ago and had been in declining health since suffering a stroke in May. He died of pneumonia in Fortuna, California on November 7, 2007.

Nils Liedholm (85) Swedish soccer star who became a title-winning soccer coach in Italy. Liedholm made 23 international appearances for Sweden and scored 11 goals, helping his country to win the gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics. He made 359 appearances for AC Milan (1949-61), scoring 81 goals; his team won four Italian championships (1951, '55, '57, '59). After retiring, Liedholm moved into coaching and picked up the nickname "Il Barone" ("The Baron"). He guided AS Roma for 12 seasons and Milan for eight, winning five trophies, including two league titles—in 1979 with Milan and in '83 with Roma. He died in the northern village of Cuccaro Monferrato, Italy on November 5, 2007.

Dan Puckett (22) heavyweight bodybuilder ranked No. 1 at the 2006 NPC Teen & Collegiate National Championships. Puckett had also made several video appearances. He was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment by his roommate, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on November 7, 2007.

Paul Soloway (66) five-time world bridge champion and holder of the largest collection of master points. Soloway won five Bermuda Bowl world-team titles with four different partners and twice placed second. He also won silver medals in two World Team Olympiads. In North America he won nearly 30 national titles, including nine Spingolds, six Vanderbilts, and five Reisingers. At his death, he had 65,511.92 master points, more than 6,000 ahead of the holder of second place. He suffered from diabetes but died of an infection in Seattle, Washington on November 5, 2007.

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