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Life In Legacy - Week ending December 4, 2010

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Leslie Nielsen, serious actor turned comedianSebastian (‘Lefty’) Adler, art museum directorBella Akhmadulina, Russian poetHelen Boatwright, soprano soloistJoe Cerrell, California Democrat political consultantSamuel T. Cohen, physicist who invented neutron bombHugues Cuénod, Swiss tenorJohn D’Agostino, comic book artistPierre de Beaumont, founder of BrookstoneHillard (‘Hilly’) Elkins, talent manager and producerFrank S. Emi, Japanese-American interneeCardinal Michele Giordano, retired archbishop of Naples, ItalyRichard Goldman, environmental philanthropistGarry Gross, photographerPeter Hofmann, versatile German tenorChane’t Johnson, actress and producerElaine Kaufman, owner of famous NYC restaurantRabbi Bernard King, Orange County interfaith pioneerVirginia Knight, widow of California governorAl Masini, Hollywood TV producerVladimir Maslachenko, Soviet soccer goalkeeper and TV commentatorSri Daya Mata, leader of US Hindu groupGil McDougald, NY Yankees starMario Monicelli, Italian film director and screenwriterSteven N. Posner, corporate raiderRon Santo, Chicago Cubs player and broadcasterStephen J. Solarz, NY congressman

Art and Literature

Sebastian (Lefty) Adler (78) director for 10 years (1973-83) of what is now the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (then in La Jolla) who elevated that institution’s reputation by building a collection both hip and up to date. Adler died in Temple City, California on November 29, 2010.

Bella Akhmadulina (73) poet whose verses have been described as among the best in contemporary Russian literature. Akhmadulina published her first poems in 1955 and quickly won nationwide popularity. She died of a heart condition in Peredelkino, just outside the capital of Moscow, Russia on November 29, 2010.

John D'Agostino (81) cartoonist whose work in comic books ranged from Archie & Jughead to the Incredible Hulk and GI Joe, among others. D’Agostino died of bone cancer in Ansonia, 
Connecticut on November 28, 2010.

Garry Gross (73) fashion photographer for 30 years best known for controversial photos of an unclothed 10-year-old Brooke Shields. In recent years Gross had focused his cameras on dogs. He died in New York City on November 30, 2010.

Business and Science

Samuel T. Cohen (89) US physicist who invented the small tactical nuclear weapon known as the neutron bomb, a controversial device designed to kill enemy troops with subatomic particles but leave battlefields and cities relatively intact. Cohen promoted the neutron bomb for much of his life but failed to persuade the US to integrate the device into its tactical nuclear arsenal. He died of stomach cancer in Los Angeles, California on November 28, 2010.

Pierre de Beaumont (95) founder of Brookstone, the gadget-and-gift retailer that is a familiar presence in American shopping malls. De Beaumont died in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts on December 4, 2010.

Elaine Kaufman (81) restaurateur whose East Side establishment, Elaine’s, became a haven for show business and literary notables from its opening in 1963. Kaufman died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary hypertension, in New York City on December 3, 2010.

Steven N. Posner (67) corporate raider who with his father, Victor (d. 2002), a master of the hostile takeover, was caught up in a major case that led to the 1984 convictions of Ivan F. Boesky and Michael R. Milken on charges of conspiracy to gain control of the Fischbach Corp., an electrical contracting company. Steven Posner was killed in a high-speed boat collision on Biscayne Bay, Florida on November 29, 2010.

News and Entertainment

Helen Boatwright (94) soprano soloist who championed the performance of American song and recorded the first full-length album of songs by composer Charles Ives. Boatwright died two weeks after her 94th birthday, near Jamesville, New York on December 1, 2010.

Hugues Cuénod (108) Swiss tenor who dazzled critics in his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1987, not only because he sang extremely well but also because he was nearly 85, the oldest person to sing there before or since. Cuénod died in Vevey, Switzerland on December 3, 2010.

Hillard (Hilly) Elkins (81) talent manager and producer who brought the nude musical Oh! Calcutta! to Broadway and the ‘60s counterculture tale Alice’s Restaurant to the screen. An ex-husband of actress Claire Bloom, Elkins died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 2010.

Peter Hofmann (66) German tenor who became famous for his performances of Richard Wagner operas. Starting in 1990, Hofmann starred 300 times in the German version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Phantom of the Opera, performed in Hamburg. He also hosted a TV show in Germany and performed Elvis Presley songs on a tour across Europe. Hofmann had Parkinson’s disease and stopped performing in 1999. He died of pneumonia in Bavaria on November 30, 2010.

Chane't Johnson (34) actress who appeared in guest roles on TV series including LAX, Brothers, Monk, Day Break, Life, and Big Love. Johnson also produced the short film First (2007). She died of a heart attack in Hollywood, California on December 2, 2010.

Al Masini (80) Hollywood producer who created Entertainment Tonight, Star Search, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Solid Gold, and numerous other TV shows. Masini died in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 29, 2010.

Mario Monicelli (95) Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter considered one of the fathers of the Italian comedy of the ‘40-‘60s. Monicelli was nominated for Oscar’s best foreign language film for Casanova ‘70 (1965) and I Compagni (1963). He was recently hospitalized for pancreatic problems, and his condition appeared terminal. He leaped to his death from a fifth-story hospital window in Rome, Italy on November 29, 2010.

Leslie Nielsen (84) handsome Canadian-born actor who went from serious drama to inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in Airplane! (1980) and accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in the three The Naked Gun comedies (1988-94). Nielsen went to Hollywood in the mid-‘50s after performing in 150 live TV dramas in New York. His best-known film roles included the spaceship captain in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956), the wealthy Southern aristocrat in Tammy & the Bachelor (1957; with Debbie Reynolds), and an ocean liner captain faced with disaster in The Poseidon Adventure (1972). In the ‘60s and ‘70s, as his hair turned white, Nielsen played serious military men, government leaders, and even a mob boss, appearing in crime dramas, westerns, and the occasional horror movie. Then came the low-budget, big money-making disaster-movie parody Airplane! Critics and audiences alike praised Nielsen’s deadpan comic delivery, and his career was reborn. He died of pneumonia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 28, 2010.

Politics and Military

Joe Cerrell (75) political consultant who over several decades helped to steer successful Democrat campaigns for both the Presidency and top offices in California. Cerrell died of pneumonia in Camarillo, California on December 3, 2010.

Frank S. Emi (94) Japanese-American held in a Wyoming detention camp after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, one of seven internees who opposed a US government order in ‘44 to draft them. They formed the Fair Play Committee, a group that dared to ask how internees could be ordered to fight for freedom and democracy abroad when they were denied it at home. The last surviving leader of the group, Emi died in West Covina, California on December 1, 2010.

Virginia Knight (92) former first lady of California who moved into the governor’s mansion in 1954 as the bride of Governor Goodwin Knight (1953-59; d. 1970) and was an early proponent of turning the residence into a museum. Virginia Knight died in Hancock Park, California on November 29, 2010.

Stephen J. Solarz (70) former US congressman (D-NY, 1974-92), a foreign affairs expert who in 1986 revealed the extravagance of Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, including her 3,000 pairs of shoes. Solarz died of esophageal cancer in Washington, DC on November 29, 2010.

Society and Religion

Cardinal Michele Giordano (80) retired archbishop of Naples (1987-2006) acquitted in 2000 of charges of loan sharking and supplying $800,000 in church money to an illegal lending operation run by his brother. Giordano died in Naples, Italy on December 2, 2010.

Richard Goldman (90) San Francisco philanthropist who created the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize to reward grass roots activism around the world. Launched in 1989, the $150,000 Goldman Prize is awarded annually to six people "…who chose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment." Goldman died in San Francisco, California on November 29, 2010.

Rabbi Bernard King (72) pioneer in interfaith work in Orange County, Calif. King was founding rabbi at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, which started in Newport Beach as Harbor Reform Temple. He led the congregation for 32 years, increasing the temple from 50 families to about 650 before he retired in 2001. He died of liver cancer in Lake Forest, California on November 29, 2010.

Sri Daya Mata (96) leader (since 1955) of one of the most influential Hindu groups in the US, the Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, based in Los Angeles, and an ardent advocate of the healing power of meditation. Born Faye Wright in Salt Lake City, Sri Daya Mata died at the group’s retreat for nuns in Los Angeles, California on November 30, 2010.


Vladimir Maslachenko (74) former Soviet international soccer goalkeeper who later became a coach and TV commentator. Maslachenko died of a stroke in Moscow, Russia on November 28, 2010.

Gil McDougald (82) American League Rookie of the Year in 1951 and a versatile member of dominant New York Yankees teams for 10 seasons. McDougald played second and third base and shortstop, was an All-Star in five seasons, and played on five World Series championship teams (1951-60). He died of prostate cancer in Wall Township, New Jersey on November 28, 2010.

Ron Santo (70) one of the greatest players in Chicago Cubs history never to gain induction into the Hall of Fame, and a longtime WGN radio announcer whose devotion to the perennial losers was legendary. Santo was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 18 and later lost both legs. He died of bladder cancer in Arizona on December 2, 2010.

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