CAROL GRIMALDI, CO-FOUNDER OF LAUDED BROOKLYN PIZZERA
Her death was confirmed by a spokesman for Juliana’s Pizzeria, the restaurant she and her husband opened in 2012, more than a decade after selling their first pizzeria to a new owner. No cause was given, but she was known to have been treated for cancer.
The Grimaldis opened their pizzeria at 19 Old Fulton Street in 1990 and sold it — and its name — in 1998.
They later became embroiled in a highly publicized legal dispute with the buyer over questions of quality control, the ownership of business names and the right of an entrepreneur to compete with the person to whom he or she has sold a business.
During the couple’s eight-year run as owners — when the restaurant’s industrial neighborhood under the Brooklyn Bridge was a haven for squatters and artists and had not yet become boomtown it is now — Grimaldi’s was known for serving a pizza of transcendent quality almost from the first pies out of its coal-fired oven.
Within a year of its opening, Grimaldi’s was rated among the city’s best pizzerias by The New York Times and Arthur Frommer’s tourist guides. When the Zagat Survey published its first guide to Brooklyn in 2002, Grimaldi’s (which Mr. Grimaldi was still involved in, as a consultant) ranked as one of the two best restaurants of any kind in the borough, along with Peter Luger Steakhouse. Under new ownership, Grimaldi’s has become a national chain.
Employees knew Mrs. Grimaldi as the face and voice of the place, running the dining room while her husband, the pizza maker, was its hands. He was known for exacting standards, covering ingredients, the density and pounding of the dough and, most important, the use of the coal-fired brick oven, one of the few to be found in the city’s pizzerias at the time.
Mrs. Grimaldi’s good-natured enforcement of the restaurant’s customer code — no slices, no deliveries, no reservations, no credit cards — became as much a part of the lore of the pizzeria as her husband’s thin-crust pizza speckled with black pepper and basil.
Pizza ran in Mrs. Grimaldi’s family. Pasquale (Patsy) Lancieri, her uncle, founded one of the city’s first pizza restaurants, Patsy’s Pizzeria, in East Harlem in 1933; it continues to be rated one of the best in the city. Mr. Grimaldi began working there when he was 13 and learned his coal-fired brick-oven style of pizza-making from Uncle Patsy, as he was known to the couple.
Patsy’s, in fact, was the original name of the Grimaldis’ pizzeria on Old Fulton Street. It was not until 1995, when the Lancieri family sold the original Patsy’s that the Grimaldis gave their own name to their restaurant.
Carol Lancieri was born in Harlem in 1938. A family spokesman declined to provide further details about her early life or to identify survivors aside from her husband.
Mrs. Grimaldi and her husband said they were retiring when they sold the restaurant in 1998, but afterward they dabbled in smaller enterprises, never making it a secret that they missed the restaurant business. In 2012, they decided to come out of retirement full bore. When the new owner of Grimaldi’s, Frank Ciolli, decided to move to larger quarters a few doors away in a lease dispute, the Grimaldis rented their old place and started fresh. They called the new restaurant Juliana’s, after Mrs. Grimaldi’s mother.
That set off another skirmish in the Grimaldi-Ciolli pizza war, with Mr. Ciolli claiming that they were trying to put him out of business.
Mrs. Grimaldi was asked by an interviewer about starting a new venture, in the face of stiff competition, at a late stage in life.
“A little competition is healthy,” Mrs. Grimaldi replied.
WAYNE HENDERSON, A FOUNDER OF THE JAZZ CRUSADERS
His wife, Cathy, said the cause was heart failure triggered by diabetes.
The Jazz Crusaders, who shortened their name to the Crusaders in 1971, placed 19 albums on the Billboard Top 200, eight of them in the Top 50. Their funky, danceable renditions of songs by the Beatles, Carole King and others extended their reach beyond jazz fans. So did original songs by Mr. Henderson, like “Keep That Same Old Feeling.” At their height the Crusaders opened for the Rolling Stones.
“We are the fathers of jazz-funk-fusion, and I am a funkster at heart,” Mr. Henderson said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1995. “We took pop tunes like ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘So Far Away’ and did them melodically with a groove, so people could dance if they wanted.”
That groove — subtle, almost mesmerizing repetitions of a theme — was the essential characteristic of the Crusaders’ music. Its influence can be heard today in acid jazz, house music and hip-hop.
Mr. Henderson was born on Sept. 24, 1939, in Houston, where he and three high school friends formed a group called the Swingsters in 1952. The others were Wilton Felder, a tenor saxophonist; Joe Sample, a keyboardist; and Stix Hooper, a drummer.
As teenagers they traveled the Gulf Coast playing strip clubs and hole-in-the-wall joints, even as they aspired to emulate the cutting-edge work of jazz artists like John Coltrane.
“There’s nothing city-slick about what we do,” Mr. Sample said in an interview in 2003 with the London newspaper The Independent. “It’s a combination of southeast Texas and Louisiana roots.”
The group, which settled in Los Angeles in the late 1950s, drew praise for its unusual sound, which featured melody lines played by tenor saxophone and trombone in unison. Mr. Henderson, known as Big Daddy, became the group’s spokesman and wrote and arranged many of its songs.
They changed their name to the Jazz Crusaders in 1961 and recorded their first album, “Freedom Sound,” for the Pacific Jazz label that year. Their 1962 recording of “The Young Rabbits,” a high-energy Henderson composition, led to comparisons to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the leading proponents of the stripped-down style known as hard bop.
In the early 1970s they dropped “jazz” from their name — because, they explained, people kept telling them they liked their music but didn’t understand jazz. Their new music was different in more than name. An electric bassist and guitarist were added. So were vocalists. Mr. Sample began playing electric keyboards.
“We were the co-creators of funk music,” Mr. Henderson told The Kansas City Star in 2006. “Other guys started the jazz-funk thing, too — Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock — and we started selling records just like the pop guys. And we kept the integrity of the music.”
In 1975, Mr. Henderson left the group to concentrate on producing artists like the vibraphonist Roy Ayers and the drummer Chico Hamilton. He also worked as a studio musician with Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell and many others. In later years he periodically reunited with members of the group, most recently in October, in London. His wife said he was working on starting a new group, the Super Blues Crusade, at his death.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Henderson, who lived in Los Angeles, is survived by his sons, Wayne Jr. and Randy, and two grandsons.
Mr. Henderson explained his songwriting process in a 2004 NPR interview. It began when a melody popped into his head. “And when you can hum it,” he said, “then the next thing comes, obviously, the rhythm, man. See, once I get my melody, then I lay into my rhythm, and then fill all those beautiful harmonics.” He added, “But I think melody — I’ve got to think that first.”
ZEITUNI ONYANGO, OBAMA’S AUNT FROM KENYA
Her death was confirmed by Margaret Wong, a Cleveland lawyer who represented Ms. Onyango in her immigration case. She said that Ms. Onyango had cancer and respiratory problems.
Ms. Onyango was the half-sister of Mr. Obama’s father.
Mr. Obama wrote about his aunt in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” She served as his guide in Kenya — and his guide to some painful family history — during his visit there in 1988. She said that Mr. Obama’s father, who died in a car crash in 1982, had taken her in when her husband became abusive and she had no money.
But there was little or no contact between Mr. Obama and his aunt while she fought to immigrate. She attended his inauguration in 2009, but the two apparently did not see each other.
Ms. Onyango moved to South Boston on a valid visa in 2000 and sought political asylum in 2002. It was denied in 2004, and she was ordered to leave the country, but she refused.
She was living in relative anonymity in Boston until just before the 2008 presidential election, when her illegal status was reported by The Associated Press. The Times of London found her in what it described as “run-down public housing.”
At the time, aides to Mr. Obama said that he had not known that she was in the United States illegally and that “any and all appropriate laws” covering her situation should be followed. The aides said that he would not intervene in her case and that the two had had no contact.
To escape media scrutiny, Ms. Onyango moved to Cleveland, where the Kenyan community took her in, said Ms. Wong, who helped her obtain a green card.
In seeking asylum for Ms. Onyango, Ms. Wong argued that if she were forced to return to Kenya she would face undue attention and perhaps danger because of her nephew’s fame. To be granted asylum, people must show that they would face persecution in their home countries.
In Boston, Judge Leonard Shapiro granted Ms. Onyango asylum in 2010. She died before being granted citizenship.
Ms. Onyango was born in Kenya on May 29, 1952, under a mango tree, and delivered by a midwife in the absence of medical care, Ms. Wong said. She raised a family in Kenya and worked in the computer department at Kenya Breweries, where she managed a staff of 25.
Her memoir, “Tears of Abuse,” was published in 2012. In it she wrote, “The Obama clan is like the Baobab tree; the strength lies in its roots.”
An obituary on Thursday about Zeituni Onyango, President Obama’s aunt, misstated her relation to the president’s father. She was his half-sister, not his stepsister.SOURCE
MICKEY ROONEY, MASTER OF PUTTING ON A SHOW
His death was confirmed by his son Michael Joseph Rooney.
He stood only a few inches taller than five feet, but Mr. Rooney was larger and louder than life. From the moment he toddled onto a burlesque stage at 17 months to his movie debut at 6 to his career-crowning Broadway debut in “Sugar Babies” at 59, he did it all. He could act, sing, dance, play piano and drums, and before he was out of short pants he could cry on cue.
As Andy Hardy, growing up in the idealized fictional town of Carvel, Mr. Rooney was the most famous teenager in America from 1937 to 1944: everybody’s cheeky son or younger brother, energetic and feverishly in love with girls and cars. The 15 Hardy Family movies, in which all problems could be solved by Andy’s man-to-man talks with his father, Judge Hardy (played by Lewis Stone), earned more than $75 million — a huge sum during the Depression years, when movie tickets rarely cost more than 25 cents.
In 1939, America’s theater owners voted Mr. Rooney the No. 1 box-office star, over Tyrone Power. That same year he sang and danced his way to an Oscar nomination for best actor in “Babes in Arms,” the first of the “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” MGM musicals he made with Judy Garland.
He was box-office king again in 1940, over Spencer Tracy, and in 1941, with Clark Gable taking second place. Three years earlier, in The New York Times, Frank S. Nugent had written of Mr. Rooney’s performance as the swaggering bully redeemed by Tracy’s Father Flanagan in “Boys Town”:
“Mickey is the Dead End gang rolled into one. He’s Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and King Kong before they grew up, or knew a restraining hand. Mickey, as the French would understate it, is the original enfant terrible.”
Mr. Rooney’s personal life was as dynamic as his screen presence. He married eight times. He earned $12 million before he was 40 and spent more. Impulsive, recklessly extravagant, mercurial and addicted to playing the ponies and shooting craps, he attacked life as though it were a six-course dinner.
Movie audiences first saw him as Mickey McGuire, a tough kid in a battered derby hat, in a series of two-reel shorts based on a popular comic strip. (The first short in which he had a starring role, “Mickey’s Circus,” was thought to be lost, but a print was found, along with many other silent films, in the Netherlands this year.)
At 13, he auditioned for the role of the mischievous sprite Puck in the great Austrian producer-director Max Reinhardt’s 1934 Hollywood Bowl production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Though unfamiliar with Shakespeare, Mr. Rooney impressed Reinhardt, who cast him in the play and — along with James Cagney, Dick Powell and Olivia de Havilland — in the movie version he directed with William Dieterle a year later. He was a sensation.
From 1936 to 1944, Mr. Rooney made more than three dozen movies. Under contract at MGM, he brought vitality even to bit parts like a Brooklyn shoeshine boy in “Little Lord Fauntleroy” (1936), the kid brother in the film version of Eugene O’Neill’s “Ah, Wilderness!” (1935) and a young deckhand on a fishing boat in “Captains Courageous” (1937).
Along with Deanna Durbin, Mr. Rooney was given a special Academy Award in 1939 “for bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth.” The next year he received his Oscar nomination for “Babes in Arms.” His second nomination was for his performance in the film version of William Saroyan’s “Human Comedy” (1943) as the messenger boy who delivers telegrams from the War Department telling families in a small California town that their sons have died. That movie seems saccharine and preachy more than 70 years later, but time has not tarnished the desolation on Mr. Rooney’s face when he reads those telegrams.
A Career of Ups and Downs
Although his career was one of the longest in show business history — almost 90 years separated his first movie from his last — it was crammed with detours and dead ends. (“There have been crevices, fissures, pits, and I’ve fallen into a lot of them,” he told The Times in 1979.)
His elfin face and short, stocky body were part of the problem: At 28, with adolescent roles no longer an option and adult roles hard to come by, he said he would give 10 years of his life to be six inches taller. Yet most of his wounds were self-inflicted.
He married in haste — he wed Miss Birmingham of 1944 after knowing her for less than two weeks — and repented in haste. He turned his back on MGM, the studio that had made him a star, for the mirage of running his own production company, and ended up mired in debt and B movies. Suits for alimony, child support and back taxes pursued him like tin cans tied to the bumper of the car he was driving to his next wedding.
When he needed money most desperately, he could always play Las Vegas. “I was a smash hit at the Riviera, where I drew $17,500 a week and lost twice that on the crap table,” Mr. Rooney wrote in his 1991 autobiography, “Life Is Too Short.”
At one point in 1950, the only job he could get was touring Southern states with the Hadacol Caravan. Admission to the shows was a box top from a bottle of a 26 percent alcohol tonic that the government soon forced off the market.
Yet he always bounced back, often higher than anyone expected.
Not including the Mickey Maguire shorts, Mr. Rooney made more than 200 movies, earning a total of four Academy Award nominations — he was nominated for best supporting actor as the fast-talking soldier who dies trying to protect $30,000 he won in a craps game in “The Bold and the Brave” (1956) and as the trainer of a wild Arabian horse in “The Black Stallion” (1979). (Because of his size, Mr. Rooney played a lot of jockeys and, as his waistline expanded, former jockeys who had become trainers. He was the vagabond who helps Elizabeth Taylor turn an unruly horse into a steeplechase champion in her breakthrough film, “National Velvet,” in 1944.)
He was also nominated for five Emmy Awards and won one, for his performance in the 1981 television movie “Bill” as a developmentally disabled man who has spent most of his life in an institution and must learn to live in the outside world.
An Early Start
Mickey Rooney was born Joseph Yule Jr. in a Brooklyn tenement on Sept. 23, 1920. His mother, Nell Carter, danced in a burlesque chorus line. His father was a top banana, a lead comic, but only on second-rate circuits.
Sonny Yule, as he was known, grew up in boardinghouses in a dozen towns, but he lived backstage and, before he was 2 years old, onstage. His parents separated when he was 4, each of them taking $20 of the $40 they had saved.
For a year he had a normal childhood with his mother in Kansas City, Mo. Then she read in Variety that Hal Roach was looking for children for his Our Gang comedies. A few weeks later, the two of them left for Hollywood.
His mother turned down an offer from Roach’s assistant to try Sonny out at $5 a day. In vaudeville, one always waited for a better offer. But no second offer came. There were too many mothers eager for $5 a day.
It was back to Kansas City and then back again to Hollywood. Sonny got a job in a musical revue for $50 a week. “Marvelous for a five-year-old,” wrote the Los Angeles Times theater critic. A few months later he was Mickey McGuire at $250 for each “Toonerville Trolley” short. His professional name was changed to Mickey McGuire until the creator of the comic strip objected. But he kept the Mickey.
Nobody ever doubted his talent. Of his “all but unimprovable” performance in “National Velvet,” James Agee wrote “He is an extremely wise and moving actor, and if I am ever again tempted to speak disrespectfully of him, that will be in anger over the unforgivable waste of a forceful yet subtle talent, proved capable of self-discipline and of the hardest roles that could be thrown it.”
In “Little Lord Fauntleroy,” “Captains Courageous” and “The Devil Is a Sissy” (1936), Mr. Rooney was a foil to MGM’s $2,500-a-week child star, Freddie Bartholomew. Decades after seeing “The Devil Is a Sissy,” the critic Walter Kerr remembered “a brief but instantly shocking moment.” Fifteen-year-old Mickey played a street urchin whose father was to be electrocuted that night. “Without warning, the street lights dimmed, just for a second or two,” Mr. Kerr wrote in The New York Times in 1979. “As Mr. Rooney glanced upward, the swift and silent realization, the ashen pain, that washed over his face and then was as hastily self-consciously erased was — most literally — staggering.”
By “Lord Jeff” (1938) Mr. Rooney and Mr. Bartholomew, playing delinquents in a naval reform school, had equal billing. In the last of their five movies together, “A Yank at Eton” (1942), Mr. Rooney was the star.
But MGM’s cleverest use of Mr. Rooney was teaming him with Judy Garland. His enormous energy and her voice and vulnerability melted the screen in four musicals. That the plots were more or less the same did not matter. In “Babes in Arms,” they put on a show to raise money for their out-of-work parents. In “Strike Up the Band” (1940), they raised money for a high school band contest. In “Babes on Broadway” (1941), they wanted to send orphans on an excursion to the country. And in “Girl Crazy” (1943), the money their Wild West Rodeo raised saved their college. What really mattered were Mickey’s brash charm, Judy’s sincerity and the songs by the Gershwin brothers, Rodgers and Hart, and others.
They were also teamed in three of the Andy Hardy movies and — before either of them was famous — in “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry” (1937), as a jockey who is tricked into throwing a race and the girl who tries to help him.
Running to the Altar
Mr. Rooney was 21 when he married the 19-year-old starlet Ava Gardner in 1942. The studio fought the marriage and was equally upset at Mr. Rooney’s divorce a year later.
This was just the first chapter in what would be a long and tumultuous marital history. Mr. Rooney was divorced six times, and the divorce petitions all had similar complaints: He had a fiery temper, and he would leave home for days or even weeks at a time.
Drafted into the Army in 1944, Mr. Rooney met Betty Jane Rase, an Alabama beauty queen, at a party. “Sometime after the seventh bourbon or maybe the seventeenth,” Mr. Rooney wrote in “Life Is Too Short,” “I asked Miss Birmingham if she’d like to become Mrs. Mickey Rooney, and she said yes.”
They divorced in 1949. His third marriage, to the actress Martha Vickers, who had played Lauren Bacall’s nymphomaniac sister in “The Big Sleep,” lasted three years. His fourth wife was another beauty queen, Elaine Mahnken, who later recalled, “While they were dunning him for bills, he’d be out buying two new Jaguars.” She handled the finances and brought Mr. Rooney to the brink of solvency. He rewarded her by going to Las Vegas and losing $50,000.
His fifth marriage, to Barbara Thomason, an aspiring actress, ended tragically. When Mr. Rooney declared bankruptcy in 1962, soon after the birth of their third child, he had $500 in cash and almost $500,000 in debts, and he owed $100,000 in delinquent taxes. The I.R.S. gave him an allowance of $200 a month, so he borrowed money to play play the ponies. A month after they separated in December 1965 and began a messy custody battle, Barbara Thomason Rooney was shot to death by a jealous lover, Milos Milosevic, who then used the same gun to kill himself.
By then, Mr. Rooney’s career was at low tide. As he grew older and wider, the pugnacious cockiness that had been charming when Andy Hardy sipped sodas with Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford or Esther Williams in the Carvel drugstore seemed rancid. He drank too much and was addicted to sleeping pills. In December 1959, after he had apparently had a few drinks too many, Mr. Rooney made a fool of himself on “The Tonight Show”; the audience applauded when the host, Jack Paar, asked him to leave.
He could still be an electrifying actor, and often was, especially on television. He inherited the title role in “The Comedian,” written by Rod Serling, on “Playhouse 90” in 1957 because a half-dozen other actors had refused to play a lecherous, vicious and greedy comedian. The role won him his first Emmy nomination.
But he took virtually every part he was offered in those years, and he was most often seen mugging his way through bad movies. He replaced Donald O’Connor in the last of a series about a talking mule, “Francis in the Haunted House” (1956). In “Everything’s Ducky” (1961), one of his co-stars was a talking duck. In “The Private Lives of Adam and Eve” (1960), a low-budget oddity for which he shared director credit with Albert Zugsmith, he played the Devil in an extended dream sequence. He was a manic advertising executive in search of sex symbols in “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” (1965), a beach-party movie of which The Times critic Howard Thompson observed that anybody expecting the worst would not be disappointed.
The Spotlight Returns
Things began turning around for Mr. Rooney in the 1970s. He stopped drinking and became a born-again Christian. In 1978, after two more marriages and divorces, he married Jan Chamberlin, a country singer whom he met through his son Mickey Jr. Their marriage, his eighth and last, brought stability to his life. And a return to stardom was just around the corner.
It took a year to put together the boisterous and proudly old-fashioned burlesque-style revue “Sugar Babies,” in which Mr. Rooney’s co-star was the former MGM hoofer Ann Miller. It was his Broadway debut.
Mr. Rooney fought over every skit and argued over every song and almost always got things done his way. The show opened on Broadway on Oct. 8, 1979, to rapturous reviews, and this time he did not throw success away.
“Sugar Babies” ran for three years. Mr. Rooney’s performance earned him a Tony nomination. A road company with Carol Channing and Robert Morse was not a success — audiences wanted only one top banana, Mickey Rooney — so he spent four more years on the road with the show.
In 1983, Mr. Rooney was given an honorary Academy Award “in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of film performances.”
He continued performing until the end. He had roles in “Night at the Museum” (2006), “The Muppets” (2011) and other movies and at his death was working on two movies, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Night at the Museum 3.” In 2007 he and Ms. Chamberlin began touring in a “one man, one wife” show with the nostalgic title “Let’s Put On a Show.”
In Mr. Rooney’s later years, his life became tumultuous once again. In 2011 he obtained a restraining order against his stepson Christopher Aber and Mr. Aber’s wife, Christina, charging them with withholding food and medicine and forcing him to sign over his assets. He repeated his allegations in Washington before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He later filed suit against them; the suit was settled last year, with the Abers agreeing that they owed Mr. Rooney $2.8 million.
In addition to Ms. Chamberlin, from whom he was separated, his son Michael, from his marriage to Ms. Thomason, and Mr. Aber, Mr. Rooney’s survivors include three other sons, Mickey Jr. (from his marriage to Ms. Rase), Theodore (from his marriage to Ms. Vickers) and Jimmy (from his marriage to Carolyn Hockett); four daughters, Kelly Ann, Kerry and Kimmy Sue Rooney (from his marriage to Ms. Thomason) and Jonelle Rooney (from his marriage to Ms. Hockett); and another stepson, Mark Aber. His son Tim died in 2006. For all the ups and downs of Mr. Rooney’s life and career, there was one constant: his love of performing. “Growing up in vaudeville,” he once said, “made me cognizant of the need to have fun at what you’re doing. You can’t get it done well without it being fun. And I’ve never felt that what I do is ‘work.’ ”
An obituary in some editions on Monday about the actor Mickey Rooney misspelled part of the name of a 1956 movie in which he starred. It is “Francis in the Haunted House,” not “Frances in the Haunted House.” The obituary also misstated where Mr. Rooney lived. He lived in Los Angeles, not Westlake Village, Calif.
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