IN REMEMBRANCE: 9-30-2012

EUGENE GENOVESE, HISTORIAN OF THE SOUTH

United Press International

Eugene D. Genovese at a “teach-in” at Rutgers in 1966. A year earlier he enraged politicians by saying at a similar event that he would welcome a Vietcong victory.

By

Published: September 29, 2012

  • Eugene D. Genovese, a prizewinning historian who challenged conventional thinking on slavery in the American South by stressing its paternalism as he traveled a personal intellectual journey from Marxism to conservative Catholicism, died on Wednesday at his home in Atlanta. He was 82.
Harriet Maziar Leibowitz

Mr. Genovese in 1995.

His friend William J. Hungeling confirmed the death without giving a cause.

Mr. Genovese enthusiastically melded politics and academia even as his politics changed. A member of the Communist Party at 15, he had remained firmly on the left when, in 1965, speaking to students, he inflamed politicians by saying he would welcome a Vietcong victory in the Vietnam War.

By the 1980s, however, he had rejected Communism and liberal politics. In 1998 he helped form the Historical Society to combat what he saw as the “totalitarian assault” of political correctness and ideologically tinged research. He also came to support conservative Republicans like Pat Buchanan.

“I never gave a damn what people thought of me,” he said in an interview with The Star-Ledger of Newark in 1996. “And I still don’t.”

Mr. Genovese’s greatest influence, however, was quieter, devolving from his insights into the politics and culture of the antebellum South, expressed in more than a dozen books. Several were written with his wife, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, a noted scholar of women’s studies whose own political transformation, from Marxist-leaning feminist to social conservative, paralleled her husband’s.

Praised for his meticulous research, Mr. Genovese argued that slave life in the pre-Civil War South was not one of continuous cruelty and degradation. Rather, he described a system of “paternalism” in which slaves had compelled their owners to recognize their humanity. This, he said, allowed the slaves to preserve their self-respect as well as their aspirations for freedom while enabling their owners to continue to profit from their labor.

The book in which he articulated this view most completely was “Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made,” which in 1975 won the Bancroft Prize for American history writing. The historian Edward L. Ayers, writing in The New Republic in 1994, called it “the best book ever written about American slavery.”

But others criticized the book as being weak in its analysis of the economics of the period and took issue with its view that a paternalistic relationship was peculiar to slavery in the United States. Some said that the buying and selling of slaves could hardly be considered paternalistic; parents do not normally sell their children, the historian Eric Foner wrote in 1982.

More broadly, Mr. Genovese was accused of playing down the truth that slavery, by definition, demonstrates the cruelest kind of racism. Mr. Genovese repeatedly felt compelled to assert that his books were not an apology for slavery. In subsequent books, Mr. Genovese praised intellectual life in the antebellum South, particularly its tradition of cooperative conservatism, which he saw as kinder than capitalism in the North. He cited statistics showing Southern whites, even those from disadvantaged families, were more apt to go to college than Northern whites. He argued Southerners preferred broader ownership on property and more constraints on the marketplace.

He called the Civil War the War for Southern Independence. He castigated those who saw the slaveholding South “as the citadel of the Devil.”

“The fact is the South embodies much that’s at the core of Western civilization,” Mr. Genovese said in an interview with The New York Times in 1998. “If it has become at times the embodiment of the worst of that tradition, it has also embodied the best.”

The son of a dockworker, Eugene Dominick Genovese was born on May 19, 1930, in Brooklyn and never lost the accent. His membership in the Communist Party lasted five years, ending when he was expelled at 20 for “having zigged when I was supposed to zag,” he said. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, then served 10 months in the Army before being discharged because of his Communist past.

In his 20s, he earned a master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia (and started pronouncing his name the Italian way, “jen-o-VAY-zay”). He then began a professorial career that took him to more than a dozen colleges, including the University of Rochester, the University of Cambridge in England and four universities in Georgia: Emory University, Georgia State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia. He was president of the Organization of American Historians from 1978 to 1979.

In April 1965, as a professor at Rutgers in New Jersey, Mr. Genovese spoke at a “teach-in” against the escalating violence in Vietnam. Saying he was a Marxist (but no longer a member of the Communist Party), he proclaimed: “I do not fear or regret the impending Vietcong victory in Vietnam. I welcome it.”

His remarks created a firestorm. Richard M. Nixon, then out of office and living in New York, denounced him, and the Republican candidate for governor of New Jersey, Wayne Dumont, demanded his dismissal. Bumper stickers saying “Rid Rutgers of Reds” popped up.

Mr. Genovese insisted that he did not mean to say that he hoped American servicemen would be killed, and the state educational authorities defended him. But he soon left Rutgers to teach at Sir George Williams University in Montreal (since merged into Concordia University).

In the 1990s, he and Ms. Fox-Genovese converted to Roman Catholicism and were remarried in the church 26 years after their first wedding. She died in 2007. Mr. Genovese left no immediate survivors.

Mr. Genovese came to believe that religion should be taught in public schools, and opposed abortion on demand and special laws to protect homosexuals. He believed pornography should be banned. But Mr. Genovese did not affiliate himself with any segment of the political right. He said he felt uncomfortable around conservatives who believed that unfettered markets solve all problems.

“if somebody wants to disorder the world and give me political power,” he said, “they’ll find out how conservative I’m not.”

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ANDY WILLIAMS, CROONER OF ‘MOON RIVER’

By

Published: September 26, 2012

  • Andy Williams, the affable, boyishly handsome crooner who defined both easy listening and wholesome, easygoing charm for many American pop music fans in the 1960s, most notably with his signature song, “Moon River,” died on Tuesday night at his home in Branson, Mo. He was 84.

Associated Press

Andy Williams in 1961.                            More Photos »

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The cause was complications of cancer, his publicist, Paul Shefrin, said. Mr. Williams, who had continued to perform until last year, announced in November that he had bladder cancer.

“Moon River” was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and Audrey Hepburn introduced it in the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” but it was Mr. Williams who made the song indisputably his own when he sang it at the 1962 Academy Awards ceremony and titled a subsequent album after it. When he built a theater in Branson, he named it the Andy Williams Moon River Theater.

“Moon River” became the theme song for his musical-variety television series “The Andy Williams Show,” which, along with his family-oriented Christmas TV specials, made him a household name.

“The Andy Williams Show” ran on NBC from 1962 to 1971 and won three Emmy Awards for outstanding variety series. But its run also coincided with the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s, and with a lineup of well-scrubbed acts like the Osmond Brothers (whom Mr. Williams introduced to national television) and established performers like Judy Garland and Bobby Darin, the show, at least to many members of a younger, more rebellious generation, was hopelessly square — the sort of entertainment their parents would watch.

Despite that image, “The Andy Williams Show” was not oblivious to the cultural moment. Its guests also included rising rock acts like Elton John and the Mamas and the Papas, and its offbeat comedy skits, featuring characters like the relentless Cookie Bear and the Walking Suitcase, predated similar absurdism on David Letterman’s and Conan O’Brien’s talk shows by decades.

Mr. Williams’s Christmas specials, on the other hand, were entirely anodyne and decidedly homey, featuring carols and crew-neck sweaters, sleigh bells and fake snow, and a stage filled with family members, including his wife, the telegenic French chanteuse Claudine Longet, and their three children. The Osmonds were regular guests, as were his older brothers, Bob, Don and Dick, who with Mr. Williams had formed the Williams Brothers, the singing act in which he got his start in show business.

Although Mr. Williams’s fame came from television, movie themes were among his best-known recordings, including those from “Love Story,” “Charade,” “The Way We Were” and “Days of Wine and Roses.” Decades after he had stopped recording regularly, his old hits continued to turn up on movie soundtracks: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” in “Bad Santa,” for instance, and his version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” in “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

Mr. Williams earned 18 gold and 3 platinum albums and was nominated for Grammy Awards five times, but he never had a gold single. (His version of “Moon River” was not released as a single, although versions by Mr. Mancini and Jerry Butler reached the Top 20.) His biggest hit single — and his only No. 1 — was “Butterfly,” an uncharacteristically rocklike 1957 number for which he was instructed to imitate Elvis Presley.

His more mellow hits included “Canadian Sunset,” “The Hawaiian Wedding Song,” “Lonely Street,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Are You Sincere?” He continued to record into the 1970s.

Mr. Williams was close friends with Senator Robert F. Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, and sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Kennedy’s funeral in 1968, but he considered himself a Republican. By 2009 he had become an outspoken one. “Obama is following Marxist theory,” he told The Radio Times, a British magazine. “He’s taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.”

For 21 years, until 1988, Mr. Williams was the host of a namesake golf tournament in San Diego. He also collected art — works by Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Henry Moore — and in 1987 was named to Arts & Antiques magazine’s list of 100 top American collectors.

Howard Andrew Williams was born on Dec. 3, 1927, in Wall Lake, Iowa, a small town northwest of Des Moines. His father, Jay, a railroad company mail clerk who later went into the real estate and insurance businesses, and his mother, the former Florence Finley, had one daughter and five sons, Andy being the fourth.

He and his older brothers began singing in their local Presbyterian church’s choir, which their father directed. When Andy was 6, the four formed the Williams Brothers singing group and were soon appearing on the radio stations WHO in Des Moines, WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati.

After the family moved to Los Angeles, Andy was asked to dub Lauren Bacall’s singing voice in the 1944 film “To Have and Have Not.” According to several sources, including Ms. Bacall, the studio ended up using her voice after all, although perhaps a few high notes were the boy’s.

That same year Bing Crosby invited the Williams Brothers to sing backup on his recording of the hit song “Swinging on a Star.” After World War II ended, the brothers toured with the singer, actress and author Kay Thompson for five years. Then the group disbanded, and the three older brothers left show business.

At 24 Mr. Williams moved to New York, where he was hired for a two-week engagement on NBC’s new, live late-night show, “Tonight,” hosted by Steve Allen. As Mr. Williams often told interviewers, when the two weeks ended, he simply kept showing up at the studio and kept being paid.

Both his recording career and his television fame grew from there, leading to contracts with Cadence and Columbia Records and appearances on summer-replacement series. He did so well on television that he was soon given his own year-round prime-time spot.

Mr. Williams began performing in Las Vegas in 1966, as a headliner at the opening of Caesars Palace, and continued to do shows there for two decades. His one film role was in a comedy, “I’d Rather Be Rich” (1964), with Sandra Dee and Robert Goulet, and his one appearance on Broadway was in a two-man, limited-run production with the pianist and composer Michel Legrand at the Uris Theater in 1974.

On a 1991 visit to Branson, the small Ozark Mountains town that had become an entertainment vacation destination, Mr. Williams decided to build a theater there. When the 2,000-seat Andy Williams Moon River Theater opened the next year, it was Branson’s first non-country-music attraction. He performed there several months a year until last November. He also had a home in La Quinta, Calif.

Mr. Williams had a sudden burst of international fame in 1999, when British automobile commercials began using his 1960s hit “Music to Watch Girls By.” The song was rereleased and climbed the British charts.

In 2006 he released his first new album in about 15 years, “I Don’t Remember Ever Growing Up,” which included a cover of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” He toured Asia that year and Britain in 2007.

Mr. Williams married Ms. Longet in 1961, and they had two sons, Christian and Robert, and a daughter, Noelle. The couple divorced in 1975. The next year Ms. Longet was charged with fatally shooting Spider Sabich, a ski racing champion, in Aspen, Colo. Mr. Williams stood by his ex-wife, who contended that the shooting was accidental, and accompanied her to court during her trial. She was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In 1991 Mr. Williams married Debbie Haas, a hotel executive. She survives him, as do his children, his brothers Don and Dick, and six grandchildren.

In 2000, Mr. Williams spoke about the passing years to Larry King on CNN. “I think everybody feels, ‘Where did it go?’ because it goes fast,” he said. “But I have done a lot of things that I love.”

During his 2007 tour in Britain he attributed his longevity to the joy of performing. He told a reporter there, “Perhaps that two hours out onstage is the medicine that everybody should have.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 26, 2012

An earlier version of this obituary, as well a caption in an accompanying slide show, misspelled Spider Sabich’s surname as Sabitch.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 28, 2012

An obituary on Thursday about the singer Andy Williams misstated the year that his ex-wife, Claudine Longet, was charged with fatally shooting the skier Spider Sabich. It was 1976, not 1975.

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HERBERT LOM, FRUSTRATED BOSS OF INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU

Keystone/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

Herbert Lom, left, with Peter Sellers in 1976 on the set of “The Pink Panther Strikes Again.”

By DAVID BELCHER

Published: September 27, 2012

  • Herbert Lom, the versatile Czech-born actor who could play Napoleon Bonaparte or a witch hunter with equal aplomb but who was perhaps best known as Peter Sellers’s frustrated boss in the Pink Panther franchise, died on Thursday at his home in London. He was 95.

His son Alec confirmed his death, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Lom gained more attention as a reliable character actor than as a suave leading man, although he was both. His deep-set, mesmerizing eyes made him the perfect villain in a series of minor films in the early 1940s, and he went on to excel after World War II and in the 1950s and ’60s in small roles in a variety of genres. In a career of more than five decades he appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows.

He was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in 1917 to upper-class parents in Prague. (Various sources give his date of birth as Jan. 9 or Sept. 11.) He became a theater actor and made one movie in his native Czechoslovakia before emigrating to London in 1939, just before the Nazis invaded (and shedding about 40 letters from his name along the way). His parents survived and later joined him in London, but his girlfriend died in a concentration camp.

He began his English-speaking acting career at the Old Vic and other stage companies before landing some impressive film roles, thanks to an appealingly exotic accent and a sultry gaze. From the outset he was able to avoid being typecast as the lecherous but irresistible villain, unlike many other European actors who went to Hollywood in the 1940s.

Mr. Lom’s first major Hollywood successes were “The Seventh Veil” (1945), with James Mason, in which he played a psychiatrist treating a suicidal musician, and Jules Dassin’s noir masterpiece “Night and the City” (1950), in which he played a chilling but remorseful gangster.

But he flourished in comedy as well, notably alongside Sellers and Alec Guinness in “The Ladykillers” (1955) and later as the twitchy, long-suffering Chief Inspector Dreyfus, who is eventually driven insane by Sellers’s bumbling Inspector Clouseau. He played Dreyfus in seven Pink Panther movies, from “A Shot in the Dark” (1964) to “Son of the Pink Panther” (1993), which was made 13 years after Sellers’s death and starred Roberto Benigni as Clouseau’s son.

Mr. Lom also starred with Robert Mitchum and Rita Hayworth in “Fire Down Below” (1957) and played a hoodlum on the make in prewar London in “No Trees in the Street” (1959). He played Napoleon Bonaparte twice, in “The Young Mr. Pitt” (1942) and in King Vidor’s ambitious “War and Peace” (1956). He appeared in epics — as a pirate who leads the slaves out of Italy in “Spartacus” (1960) and as the Muslim leader Ben Yussuf in “El Cid” (1961) — and in horror movies.

Mr. Lom had the title role in a not very successful remake of “The Phantom of the Opera” (1962); he was Van Helsing in “Count Dracula” (1970), one of many movies starring Christopher Lee as the notorious vampire; and he played a bloodthirsty witch hunter in 18th-century Austria in the ultragory German-made “Mark of the Devil” (1970), which developed a cult following for its explicit torture scenes. Audiences were handed “stomach distress bags” at cinemas around the world.

Onstage, Mr. Lom originated the role of the king in the original London cast of the musical “The King and I” in 1955. On television, he appeared in the British series “The Human Jungle” in 1963 and 1964 and on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in 1967.

His two most notable films in the 1980s were “Hopscotch” (1980), a spy spoof with Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson, and David Cronenberg’s “Dead Zone” (1983), in which he played a neurologist to a telekinetic patient, played by Christopher Walken.

Among the low points of his career was his performance in the disastrous 1985 remake of “King Solomon’s Mines,” which earned him a nomination for a Razzie Award, given to the worst that Hollywood has to offer. He had few roles after the 1980s; his last on-screen appearance was a 2004 episode of the British TV series “Marple.”

Mr. Lom also wrote two historical novels, “Enter a Spy: The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe” and “Dr. Guillotine: The Eccentric Exploits of an Early Scientist,” set during the French Revolution, which was optioned as a movie but never made.

Private and reclusive for most of his life, Mr. Lom was married and divorced three times. Besides his son Alec, survivors include a daughter, Josephine, and another son, Nick. “You know, I always do my best, no matter the quality of the film,” Mr. Lom once told an interviewer. “One thing I hate is when directors come to me before shooting a take and say, ‘Herbert, give me your best!’ And I think: ‘But it’s my job to give my best. I can’t give anything else.’ ”

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1 Comment

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One response to “IN REMEMBRANCE: 9-30-2012

  1. Nanny

    Thanks for remembering Herbert Lom. He was one of the best.

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