IN REMEMBRANCE: 11-4-2012

DANNY SIMS, PRODUCER WHO SIGNED BOB MARLEY

By ROB KENNER

Published: October 30, 2012

  • Few people outside of the Caribbean knew who Bob Marley was when Danny Sims heard him perform in 1968. But Mr. Sims knew Marley was something special right away.

Danny Sims

“What I heard,” he recalled years later, “was the next Bob Dylan.”

Mr. Sims, a music producer, publisher and promoter, promptly signed Marley to his first international publishing and recording contracts, setting him on the road to becoming the first reggae superstar.

Mr. Sims died of colon cancer on Oct. 3 in Los Angeles, his daughter, Anansa Sims-Patterson, said. He was 75.

His death was not widely reported at the time. “He was always a very private person,” said the filmmaker Rudy Langlais, who had recently been working on a documentary film about Mr. Sims.

Danny Drew Sims was born on Nov. 9, 1936, in Hattiesburg, Miss., and moved with his family to Memphis and later Chicago. After service in the Army, where he played football on a team that traveled throughout Europe, he moved to New York and opened a supper club, Sapphire’s, near Times Square, which he liked to claim was “the first black-owned club south of 110th Street.”

It was there that he met a teenage singer named Johnny Nash. Mr. Sims went on to become Mr. Nash’s manager, and the two of them founded a record label, JoDa, later renamed JAD, whose roster would include Gloria Gaynor, Betty Wright and Lloyd Price. (Mr. Nash had a No. 1 hit in 1972 with “I Can See Clearly Now.”)

In 1967 Mr. Sims and Mr. Nash traveled to Jamaica, where Mr. Nash recorded a number of hit records at Federal Studios. The next year Mr. Nash attended a Rastafarian ceremony and was impressed by a young singer named Bob Marley. After hearing Marley sing, Mr. Sims signed him to a publishing deal and also signed his vocal trio, the Wailers, to JAD Records.

“He is one of the people most responsible for Bob Marley’s success who has gotten the least amount of notice for it,” said the reggae historian Roger Steffens, who worked with Mr. Sims to compile “The Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers 1967-1972,” a 15-CD reissue series.

Mr. Sims hired Marley and his band mate Peter Tosh to write songs for Mr. Nash, but was unsuccessful in establishing them as performers in the United States. “Reggae was not accepted as a commercial form at the time,” said David Simmons, Mr. Sims’s longtime business partner. “The world wasn’t ready for it.”

In 1972, Mr. Sims sold Marley’s contract to Chris Blackwell of Island Records, who made him an international star. Mr. Sims retained an interest in Marley’s publishing, and near the end of his life worked as his manager.

In September 1980 Marley opened for the Commodores at Madison Square Garden, a booking Mr. Sims had helped arrange. The day after the concert, Marley collapsed while jogging in Central Park. Mr. Sims and another friend carried him to the hospital, where he was found to have terminal cancer. He died less than a year later.

Mr. Simmons said that had Marley lived, his stardom might have grown even bigger than it did. “There was a big record deal in discussion, with a $10 million advance,” he said, “but Bob couldn’t take it up because he was too ill.”

Although Marley respected Mr. Sims, their relationship was at times contentious. “I discouraged Bob from doing the revolutionary stuff,” Mr. Sims once told The Village Voice. “I’m a commercial guy. I want to sell songs to 13-year-old girls, not to guys throwing spears.” In 1987 Mr. Sims unsuccessfully sued the Marley estate for $6 million, claiming that Marley had tried to avoid paying him royalties by publishing songs pseudonymously.

Mr. Sims’s marriage to the model and actress Beverly Johnson ended in divorce. In addition to his daughter he is survived by his sons, Jelani and Stacey; his brother, Eddie; and a granddaughter.

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GAE AULENTI, MUSEE D’ORSAY ARCHITECT

Bertrand Guay/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The main hall of the Musée d’Orsay, which was converted from a train station by Gae Aulenti.

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Published: November 1, 2012

  • Gae Aulenti, a provocative Italian architect and designer who most notably converted a Paris train station into the Musée d’Orsay, died on Wednesday at her home in Milan. She was 84.

Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

Gae Aulenti in 2009.

Her death, after a long illness, was announced by her family in the Italian press. In a statement, Giorgio Napolitano, the president of Italy, referred to her as a “leading figure of contemporary architecture” with an “extraordinary ability” to combine cultural and historic values with the urban environment.

Ms. Aulenti was one of the few Italian women to rise to prominence in architecture and design in the postwar years. Her work includes villas for the rich, showrooms for Fiat, shops for Olivetti, pens and watches for Louis Vuitton, and a coffee table on wheels that is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Ms. Aulenti was best known for her work on interiors, particularly those of museums. She designed museum renovations in Venice, Barcelona, Istanbul and San Francisco.

In 1981 she was chosen to turn the 1900 Beaux Arts Gare d’Orsay train station, a spectacular landmark originally designed by Victor Laloux, into the Musée d’Orsay, a museum of mainly French art from 1848 to 1915.

As part of the redesign she created a grand central aisle in a cavernous space that once contained train tracks under a dramatic barrel-vaulted glass ceiling. Original support beams were highlighted, and new industrial materials like wire mesh were used. Walls were redone in rough stone.

The renovated building was opened in December 1986, and critical reaction was mixed. Holland Cotter of The New York Times called it “fabulously eccentric.” But Liberation, an Italian newspaper favored by the cognoscenti, said the museum had been “likened to a funeral hall, to a tomb, to a mausoleum, to an Egyptian burial monument, to a necropolis.”

Ms. Aulenti noted that almost immediately 20,000 people were standing in line each day waiting to get in. “As a culture, the French are opposed to change,” she said in an interview with The Times in 1987. “They are also not very progressive in their thinking about architecture, so that when new buildings are designed, they are usually opposed to them.”

Her champions saw the Paris museum as a giant step for someone whose influence had been as an industrial designer and as a leader of a young generation of Italian theorists who had questioned the tenets of modernist architecture. In 1999, Herbert Muschamp, then the architecture critic for The Times, called her “the most important female architect since the beginning of time.”

Less effusively, the architect Philip Johnson said, “Anyone who makes as strong a statement as Gae did is going to run into a buzz saw.”

Gaetana Aulenti (Gae, as she was known, is pronounced “guy”) was born on Dec. 4, 1927 in the town of Palazzolo dello Stella, near Trieste. She told The Times that she studied architecture in defiance of her parents’ hope that she would become “a nice society girl.” In 1954, she was one of two women in a class of 20 to graduate from the Milan Polytechnic School of Architecture. She soon joined the staff of Casabella, a design magazine, and joined with her peers in rejecting the architecture of masters like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. They called themselves the “Neo Liberty” movement.

“More than anything, we were trying to recognize our own identity,” she said.

She taught architecture at universities in Milan and Venice and started doing interior design projects. She went on to become a celebrated furniture designer, some of her work borrowing from Pop Art. Lighting was another specialty, which she drew on in designing sets for opera houses throughout Europe. She planned six stores for the fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini, including one on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. (She even designed the mannequins.)

Her work on the Musée d’Orsay led to commissions to create a space for the National Museum of Modern Art at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris; the restoration of the Palazzo Grassi as an art museum in Venice; the conversion of an old Italian embassy in Berlin into an Academy of Science; and the restoration of an exhibition hall in Barcelona as a museum of Catalan art.

In San Francisco, she converted the city’s old Main Library into a museum of Asian art. As it neared completion in 2001, she lamented that her interior museum work drew less attention than the ballyhooed new museums being built, like Frank Gehry’s titanium-walled one for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. “The drama can’t be seen outside,” she told The San Francisco Chronicle.

Ms. Aulenti was divorced twice. She is survived by her daughter, Giovanna, and a granddaughter.

In her work in Paris, Ms. Aulenti said, she got her way with tough French construction crews by making them think of her as their mother “whom they must please.” She dressed conservatively, not out of indifference to fashion, she said, but defiance.

“I don’t like to dress alla moda,” she told Women’s Wear Daily in 1971, using the Italian term for in fashion. “The moment it’s loudly announced that red is fashion, I stop wearing red. I want to dress in green.”

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ARTHUR JENSEN, WHO SET OFF DEBATE ON I.Q.

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Published: November 1, 2012

  • Arthur R. Jensen, an educational psychologist who ignited an international firestorm with a 1969 article suggesting that the gap in intelligence-test scores between black and white students might be rooted in genetic differences between the races, died on Oct. 22 at his home in Kelseyville, Calif. He was 89.

U.C. Berkeley, Graduate School of Education

Arthur Jensen in about 1980.

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His death was confirmed by the University of California, Berkeley, where he was an emeritus professor in the Graduate School of Education.

Professor Jensen was deeply interested in differential psychology, a field whose central question — What makes people behave and think differently from one another? — strikes at the heart of the age-old nature-nurture debate.

Because of his empirical work in the field on the quantification of general intelligence (a subject that had long invited a more diffuse, impressionistic approach), he was regarded by many colleagues as one of the most important psychologists of his day.

But a wider public remembered him almost exclusively for his 1969 article “How Much Can We Boost I.Q. and Achievement?” Published in The Harvard Educational Review, a scholarly journal, the article quickly became — and remains even now — one of the most controversial in psychology.

In the article, Professor Jensen posited two types of learning ability. Level I, associative ability, entailed the rote retention of facts. Level II, conceptual ability, involved abstract thinking and problem-solving. This type, he argued, was roughly equivalent to general intelligence, denoted in psychology by the letter “g.”

In administering I.Q. tests to diverse groups of students, Professor Jensen found Level I ability to be fairly consistent across races. When he examined Level II ability, by contrast, he found it more prevalent among whites than blacks, and still more prevalent among Asians than whites.

Drawing on these findings, Professor Jensen argued that general intelligence is largely genetically determined, with cultural forces shaping it only to a small extent. For this reason, he wrote in 1969, compensatory education programs like Head Start are doomed to fail.

While some observers praised Professor Jensen as a scientist unafraid to go where the data led him, others called him a racist. He continued to be heckled at speaking engagements throughout his career. He was burned in effigy on some college campuses and received death threats; for a time, he was accompanied by bodyguards.

The idea that intelligence cleaved along racial lines quickly became known as Jensenism, and its merits were the subject of heated public discussion for years afterward. The evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, for instance, devoted much of his 1981 book, “The Mismeasure of Man,” to criticizing Professor Jensen’s claims.

More recently, Professor Jensen’s ideas about race and the heritability of intelligence were cited approvingly in “The Bell Curve,” the 1994 book by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray that engendered renewed debate on the subject.

Today, some psychologists say that Professor Jensen’s work has been misunderstood. In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Douglas Detterman, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University who edits the journal Intelligence, said: “If you look at the Harvard Educational Review paper, he discusses race very little in that paper, but he did say that it’s a possibility that there are genetic differences among racial groups. And that was not a very popular idea when that paper came out.”

Professor Detterman, who in 1998 devoted a special issue of Intelligence to Professor Jensen’s work, added: “When he wrote that paper, probably a large portion of psychologists wouldn’t have believed that there was a hereditary basis for intellectual ability. Now, there’s very little argument about that in the field. Whether there are differences between races is another thing altogether.”

Arthur Robert Jensen was born in San Diego on Aug. 24, 1923. An accomplished clarinetist, he considered pursuing a career as an orchestra conductor before taking a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Berkeley, followed by a master’s in the field from San Diego State College and a Ph.D. from Columbia. He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1958.

Professor Jensen’s wife, Barbara, died before him. Survivors include a daughter, Bobbi Morey.

Among his books are “Genetics and Education” (1972), “Educability and Group Differences” (1973), “The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability” (1998) and “Clocking the Mind: Mental Chronometry and Individual Differences” (2006).

Even psychologists who disagree with Professor Jensen’s conclusions defend him against charges of racism.

“Arthur Jensen’s life is emblematic of the extent to which American scholarship is inhibited by political orthodoxy,” James R. Flynn, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, said on Wednesday.

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“Jensen was a true scientist, and he was without racial bias,” Professor Flynn added. “It never occurred to Arthur Jensen that people would use his data to argue for racial supremacy. Now, to be fair to his critics, over time he became more and more convinced that the evidence did show a genetic component.”

A noted authority on intelligence, Professor Flynn has long opposed Professor Jensen’s views on the subject. “Take it from me, the evidence is highly complicated,” he said. “The best we can say is that it is more probable that the I.Q. gap between black and white is entirely environmental in origin.”

It is precisely such environmental factors, some scholars maintain, that Professor Jensen’s work did not sufficiently take into account.

“Socioeconomic status turns out to be the best predictor of your I.Q. score,” Sonja C. Grover, an educational psychologist at Lakehead University in Ontario, said on Wednesday. “Socioeconomic status has to do with your quality of schooling, the quality of the teachers that you’re exposed to. Many people who do poorly on an I.Q. test have a very poor fund of general knowledge, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not intelligent.”

A 1981 book by Professor Grover, “The Cognitive Basis of the Intellect,” was written as a response to Professor Jensen’s book “Bias in Mental Testing” (1980). In that book, he argued that it is possible to construct tests of general intelligence that are free of cultural bias, which in turn makes it possible to isolate heredity as a wellspring of intellect.

But in focusing on the link between genetics and intellectual ability, Professor Grover said on Wednesday, Professor Jensen’s work has sweeping, and potentially grave, implications.

“It was irrelevant and not particularly useful to suggest, as those who endorse Jensen have, that Jensen was just holding a politically incorrect point of view and that’s why he was being criticized,” she said. “His studies and his influence would have a dramatic effect on the perception that people have about minority groups and their potential, and even their right to a quality education.”

She added: “In no way am I suggesting that he wasn’t completely well intentioned. But I would make the point that you cannot separate social science from human rights, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.”

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LETITIA BALDRIDGE, ETIQUETTE MAVEN

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Letitia Baldrige in May 1998 at New York’s La Côte Basque, which had been a regular dining spot for the Kennedy family.

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Published: October 30, 2012

  • Letitia Baldrige, the imposing author, etiquette adviser and business executive who became a household name as Jacqueline Kennedy’s White House chief of staff, died on Monday in Bethesda, Md. She was 86.

Her death was confirmed by Mary M. Mitchell, a longtime friend and collaborator.

At 35 Ms. Baldrige, known as Tish, left her job as public relations director for Tiffany & Company to help out a friend, the former Jacqueline Bouvier, becoming, in essence, the social secretary of the Kennedy White House as it emerged as a center of culture, art, youthful elegance and sparkling state dinners.

Ms. Baldrige left the White House in June 1963, less than six months before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, to work for the Merchandise Mart, a Kennedy family business enterprise in Chicago. She went on to found her own public relations and marketing business.

In the 1970s she established herself as an authority on contemporary etiquette, writing a syndicated newspaper column on the subject and updating “Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette” in 1978, less than four years after Ms. Vanderbilt’s death. Ms. Baldrige’s face soon appeared on the cover of Time magazine, which hailed her as the nation’s social arbiter.

After that, her own name was enough to attract readers, and in 1985 she published “Letitia Baldrige’s Complete Guide to Executive Manners,” which dealt with behavior in the workplace and outside it. In that book, she declared it acceptable to cut salad with a knife. She recommended that whoever reaches the door first — either man or woman — open it. And she suggested infrequent shampooing when staying on a yacht, to be considerate about conserving water.

Ms. Baldrige, who stood 6 feet 1 inch tall and became known for her elegant silver hair, long contended that the heart of all etiquette was consideration for other people, rather than a rigid set of rules.

“There are major C.E.O.’s who do not know how to hold a knife and fork properly, but I don’t worry about that as much as the lack of kindness,” she told The New York Times in 1992. “There are two generations of people who have not learned how important it is to take time to say, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and how people must relate to one another.”

In addition to her all-purpose etiquette guides, she narrowed her focus in books about weddings, social lives, job success and child-rearing. Even when she went far afield of her specialty, as with “Public Affairs, Private Relations” (1991), a novel about romance and class differences in Washington, she threw in comments about manners.

She wrote at least three books that capitalized on her brief, shining White House career: “In the Kennedy Style: Magical Evenings in the Kennedy White House” (1998, with René Verdon); “A Lady, First: My Life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome” (2001); and “The Kennedy Mystique” (2006, with four co-authors). Those books’ revelations tended toward menus, recipes and minor shockers, like Mrs. Kennedy’s habit of referring to Helen Thomas and another newswoman as “the harpies.”

In a 1964 oral history interview for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, she remembered the Kennedys as perfectionists and the president as an amazing manager.

“He was like a wonderful department store manager who goes through the store and knows everybody’s name and knows how all the departments work and knows how to wrap packages better than the wrappers in the wrapping department,” she said.

Letitia Baldrige was born on Feb. 9, 1926, in Miami and grew up in Omaha, the youngest child of Howard Malcolm Baldrige, a Republican state legislator who became a United States congressman in 1930, and the former Regina Connell. (Their son Malcolm was secretary of commerce in the Reagan administration.)

Growing up with two older brothers helped make her tough, Ms. Baldrige said. Speaking to her hometown newspaper, The Omaha World-Herald, in 1997, she recalled the time her brother Robert had swung his new baseball bat, a holiday gift, too close to her. “I was knocked unconscious for three hours,” she said. “My brothers called it the best Christmas so far.”

Like her future employer Mrs. Kennedy, Letitia attended Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., and Vassar College. She did graduate work at the University of Geneva in Switzerland but still found that she had to learn secretarial skills to find a good State Department job.

Beginning in the late 1940s, she worked in Paris as social secretary to David Bruce, the United States ambassador to France, and his wife, Evangeline; then in Rome as assistant to Clare Boothe Luce, at that time the ambassador to Italy. On that first job she made a major faux pas by unknowingly seating a Frenchman next to his wife’slover at a dinner party. As a result, she often said, she learned the value of heartfelt, repeated apologies.

When she returned to the United States, she went to work for Walter Hoving, the chairman of Tiffany & Company. Her first book was “Roman Candle” (1956), a memoir about her European adventures, which one critic, Elizabeth Janeway, accused of managing “to invest Rome with as much color and atmosphere as if it were her native Omaha.” Her last book was “Taste: Acquiring What Money Can’t Buy” (2007).

Most of Ms. Baldrige’s career was spent as an entrepreneur, as head of her own businesses in Chicago, New York and Washington, where she had a home at the time of her death.

Yet she continued to be identified with her White House days. “That’s all right,” she told The Times in 1998. “It was a moment in history, and to be part of it is incredible.”

Ms. Baldrige married Robert Hollensteiner, a real estate developer, the year she left the White House. He survives her, along with their daughter, Clare Smyth; their son, Malcolm Baldrige Hollensteiner; and seven grandchildren.

Family, Ms. Baldrige believed, was where the patterns for manners, humanity and true civilization were set, and the American family was failing to do its job.

“We are not passing values on to our children,” she told The Toronto Star in 1999. “We are not sitting down at the dinner table talking about the tiny things that add up to caring human beings. Jackie learned from her mom, who had beautiful manners.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 1, 2012

An obituary on Wednesday about the author, etiquette adviser and business executive Letitia Baldrige misspelled the given name of the wife of David Bruce, the former United States ambassador to France, for whom Ms. Baldrige worked as social secretary. She was Evangeline Bruce, not Evengeline.

 

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 2, 2012

An obituary on Wednesday about the author, etiquette adviser and business executive Letitia Baldrige misidentified the college from which Jacqueline Kennedy, for whom Ms. Baldrige worked in the Kennedy White House, graduated. Mrs. Kennedy attended Vassar, as did Ms. Baldridge, but she graduated from George Washington University; Mrs. Kennedy did not receive a bachelor’s degree from Vassar.

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