STEPHANIE L. KWOLEK, INVENTOR OF KEVLAR
The chief executive of DuPont, Ellen Kullman, announced the death, calling Ms. Kwolek, who spent 15 years in the laboratory without a promotion before her breakthrough, “a true pioneer for women in science.”
Kevlar is probably best known for use in body armor, particularly bulletproof vests. A DuPont spokeswoman estimated that since the 1970s, 3,000 police officers have been saved from bullet wounds through the use of equipment reinforced with Kevlar, which is far stronger and lighter than steel.
The product has found its way into all corners of the modern world. It has been used in car tires, boots for firefighters, hockey sticks, cut-resistant gloves, fiber-optic cables, fire-resistant mattresses, armored limousines and even canoes. It is used in building materials, making them bomb-resistant. Safe rooms have been built with Kevlar to protect a building’s occupants during hurricanes. Kevlar has been used to reinforce overtaxed bridges.
Its popularity has proved a windfall for DuPont. Kevlar has generated several billion dollars in revenue for the company. Ms. Kwolek did not directly benefit from it financially, however; she signed over patent royalties to DuPont.
The research that led to Kevlar began in the early 1960s, when women were a rarity in industrial chemistry. Ms. Kwolek was part of a team at DuPont’s research laboratory in Wilmington that was trying to develop a lightweight fiber that would be strong enough to replace the steel used in radial tires.
The work involved manipulating strings of carbon-based molecules to produce larger molecules known as polymers. At one point, in 1964, Ms. Kwolek was struggling to convert a solid polymer into liquid form and finding the results to be a murky disappointment. Instead of the clear, syrupy mixture she expected, the liquid was thin and opaque.
Ms. Kwolek’s peers suggested that the polymer she had concocted would probably not work as a fiber. But Ms. Kwolek persisted. She persuaded another scientist to “spin” the liquid in the laboratory spinneret, a machine used to remove liquid solvent and leave behind fibers.
In “a case of serendipity,” as she put it, she discovered that polyamide molecules in the solution, a form of liquid crystal, lined up in parallel and that when the liquid was “cold spun,” it produced a fiber of unusual stiffness.
When the fibers were tested in 1965, they were found to be five times as strong as steel of equal weight and resistant to fire. Herbert Blades, Joseph Rivers and others at DuPont soon recognized the market potential for a tough, lightweight fabric and began to consider potential uses for the innovation. They have been credited with making it a mass market product.
DuPont says it spent $500 million to develop Kevlar, what Fortune magazine once called “a miracle in search of a market.” The company initially began developing it for use in tires under the working name “Fiber B” at a pilot plant in Richmond, Va.
Ms. Kwolek later spoke of her uncertainty when testing and retesting the experiment’s findings. “It wasn’t exactly a ‘Eureka!’ moment,” she recalled in 2007.
She added: “I didn’t want to be embarrassed. When I did tell management, they didn’t fool around. They immediately assigned a whole group to work on different aspects” of the fiber’s development.
It took a decade before Kevlar appeared in the form of a vest resistant to bullets fired by handguns. It was made available to police departments in 1975. Later versions increased the layers of Kevlar fabric.
Since the 1990s, the vests have been further reinforced with ceramic plates to withstand rifle fire. Military helmets have been lined with up to 24 layers to make them less vulnerable to penetration by shrapnel.
In 1996, Ms. Kwolek was awarded the National Medal of Technology for her work on synthetic fibers. On Wednesday, the day she died, DuPont announced that the one-millionth vest made with Kevlar technology had been sold.
Stephanie Louise Kwolek was born on July 31, 1923, in New Kensington, Pa., near Pittsburgh. In 1946, she earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from what is now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The daughter of working-class Polish immigrants, she considered becoming a physician but could not afford the tuition to medical school. After graduating from college, she joined DuPont’s textile chemistry facility in Buffalo before moving to the Wilmington lab in 1950.
She led polymer research at DuPont until she retired in 1986. Information on survivors was not available.
Ms. Kwolek was the recipient of many other honors, including the Lemelson-M.I.T. Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes the nation’s most talented inventors and innovators. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in North Canton, Ohio. In 2003, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
She was also inducted, in 2004, into the Plastics Hall of Fame at the National Plastics Center and Museum in Leominster, Mass. There, her plaque hangs alongside those of innovators like Earl Tupper, the creator of Tupperware.
After retirement, Ms. Kwolek tutored high school students in chemistry, paying particular attention to grooming young women for work in the sciences.
Her achievements have become familiar to an even younger generation as well. In 2013, her story, told in 48 pages, became one in a series of children’s books about inventors and innovative ideas. The book, by Edwin Brit Wyckoff, is titled “The Woman Who Invented the Thread That Stops the Bullets: The Genius of Stephanie Kwolek.”
GERRY GOFFIN, HITMAKING SONGWRITER WITH CAROLE KING
His death was announced by his wife, Michele. No cause was specified.
Mr. Goffin and Ms. King were students at Queens College when they met in 1958. Over the next decade they fell in love, married, had two children, divorced and moved their writing sessions into and out of 1650 Broadway, across the street from the Brill Building. (The Brill Building pop music of the late 1950s and ‘60s was mostly written in both buildings.)
Together they composed a catalog of pop standards so diverse and irresistible that they were recorded by performers as unalike as the Drifters, Steve Lawrence, Aretha Franklin and the Beatles. They were inducted together into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2004 the Recording Academy presented them jointly with a Trustees Award for lifetime achievement.
The couple’s writing duties were clearly delineated: Ms. King composed the music, Mr. Goffin wrote the lyrics — among them some of the most memorable words in the history of popular music.
“His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say,” Ms. King said in a statement on Thursday.
This was the first verse of the first No. 1 hit they wrote, which the Shirelles recorded in 1960:
Tonight you’re mine completely,
You give your love so sweetly.
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes.
But will you love me tomorrow?
In 1962 the couple had another No. 1 hit, one with a very different feel. It was sung by their babysitter, performing under the name Little Eva:
Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now.
Come on baby, do the loco-motion.
I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now.
Come on baby, do the loco-motion.
In 1963 they reached No. 1 again with “Go Away Little Girl,” sung by Steve Lawrence and dripping with sentiment and strings:
Go away little girl,
Go away little girl.
I’m not supposed to be alone with you.
I know that your lips are sweet
But our lips must never meet.
I belong to someone else, and I must be true.
And so it went for much of the decade. They had a remarkable run of Top 40 hits.
The Animals had a hit with “Don’t Bring Me Down.” The Drifters made “Up on the Roof” a beach music standard. The Chiffons recorded “One Fine Day.” The Monkees recorded “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Aretha Franklin reached the Top 10 with “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Even after they divorced in 1968, the duo continued writing together for a time, although they both wrote for others — and Ms. King, notably, began writing for herself.
She achieved superstardom as a solo artist with the release of her album “Tapestry” in 1971. Three songs on that album, which went on to sell more than 20 million copies, were Goffin-King collaborations, including Ms. King’s updated interpretation of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”
Gerald Goffin was born on Feb. 11, 1939, in Brooklyn and grew up in Jamaica, Queens. He began writing lyrics as a boy — “like some kind of game in my head,” he recalled once — but found he was unable to come up with satisfying music to accompany them.
He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School before enrolling at Queens College. He was three years older than Ms. King, studying chemistry, when they met in the spring of her freshman year.
He asked her to help him write a musical. She was interested in rock ‘n’ roll. They hit it off anyway, and she was pregnant with their first child when they married on Aug. 30, 1959.
“I never knew what I wanted to do,” Mr. Goffin was quoted as saying in “Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era” (2005), Ken Emerson’s book about Goffin-King and other New York songwriting teams of the 1960s. “Neither did Carole, really. She never assumed she would make it. That’s the furthest thing from your mind when you’re a wannabe: actually becoming.”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Goffin’s survivors include four daughters, Louise Goffin, Sherry Goffin Kondor, Dawn Reavis and Lauren Goffin; a son, Jesse Goffin; six grandchildren; and a brother, Al.
Mr. Goffin never achieved the level of success on his own that he did with Ms. King. He released solo albums in 1973 and 1996, but they did not sell well. He did, however, show that he could still write a No. 1 song. Diana Ross’s recording of “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To),” which he wrote with Michael Masser, reached No. 1 in 1976. Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You,” another collaboration with Mr. Masser, did the same nine years later. Mr. Goffin also wrote “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” and other songs with Barry Goldberg.
This year the songs of Goffin and King, and the story of their marriage, became the subject of a hit Broadway show, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which opened in January. The show depicts not only the years when Ms. King and Mr. Goffin were churning out hits but also the breakup of their marriage, after Mr. Goffin’s infidelity and emotional problems.
Mr. Goffin and his wife were in the audience on opening night, but although Ms. King had attended an early reading, she did not see the show herself until April.
That night she described her reaction as “joyous” and explained why she had not shown up earlier: “I had been too afraid to come and how it would make me feel.”
That was also, she said, why she had left before the end of the reading she attended. “I didn’t get past the first act, when Gerry tells Carole that he wants to sleep with somebody else,” she said. “I was like: ‘O.K., I’ve lived this. I don’t need to see it.’ ”
The show was nominated for a Tony but did not win, although Jessie Mueller, who played Ms. King, did.
The cast of “Beautiful” dedicated Thursday night’s performance to Mr. Goffin.
An earlier version of this obituary misspelled the given name of Mr. Goffin’s wife. It is Michele, not Michelle. It also referred incorrectly to Diana Ross’s recording of the Goffin-Masser song “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” It reached No. 1 in 1976, not 1975. And it misstated a line from the first verse of the Goffin-King song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” It is “But will you love me tomorrow?,” not “Will you still love me tomorrow?”SOURCE************************************************
ULTRA VIOLET, WARHOL SUPERSTAR
Isabelle Collin Dufresne, the French-born artist, actress and author known as Ultra Violet, the beauty among the superstars of Andy Warhol’s glory days at his studio, the Factory, died on Saturday at a Manhattan hospital. She was 78 and lived in Manhattan and in Nice, France.
The death was confirmed by William Butler, a family friend. A cousin, Carole Thouvard Revol, said the cause was cancer.
In 1973, Ultra Violet had a near-death experience, for which she blamed her habits of excess in the decade before. In the 1980s, she condemned the rampant drug use, orgiastic sex and unchecked egotism at the Factory, repented for her part in it and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She worked as an artist until her death. A New York exhibition at the Dillon Gallery in Chelsea this spring, “Ultra Violet: The Studio Recreated,” featured a selection of her paintings, sculptures, prints, film and neon works. The show closed three weeks before she died.
Summing up her artistic abilities in a 2009 video interview, she said: “I have infinite imagination. Maybe I don’t have too much technique.” Much of her recent work had dealt with Sept. 11, using the Roman numerals IX and XI as a graphic palindrome, and with the iconography of Mickey Mouse, whom she often depicted wearing angel wings.
Ms. Collin Dufresne was in her late 20s when she met Warhol while having tea at the St. Regis Hotel with the artist Salvador Dalí, a lover and an earlier mentor. It was 1964, and Warhol immediately expressed interest in having her in his films. She made her screen debut the next year under her real name in Warhol’s “The Life of Juanita Castro,” an improvised black-and-white political comedy.
By the time she appeared in her second Warhol film, “I, a Man” (1967), which also starred Nico and Valerie Solanas (who later shot and seriously injured Warhol), she had taken the name Ultra Violet. But when she was not in character, with some combination of purple hair, purple lipstick, trowel-heavy purple eye shadow and beet juice as cheek color, she looked like the prettiest girl at the prom — a soignée brunette with a shoulder-length bouffant, delicate features and maximum false eyelashes. And she had a French accent.
Isabelle Collin Dufresne was born on Sept. 6, 1935, in La Tronche, France, near Grenoble, to an upper-middle-class family. She often said that when she had shown rebellious tendencies as a teenager, her parents had a Roman Catholic priest perform an exorcism. Apparently, the effects were delayed.
She was also sent to a reform school at one point and studied art in Grenoble before being “shipped off” to New York, as she always said, where it was hoped a new environment might tame her.
As Ultra Violet, Ms. Collin Dufresne appeared in some 17 films, not counting numerous documentaries made later about the period and the Factory regulars. Even those films that were not directed by Warhol or his acolyte Paul Morrissey tended to be Warholian, dealing with the counterculture, drugs or at least fantasy or horror, and her co-stars in those non-Warhol films often included other Factory superstars, as they were known. She was in a 1970 “Cleopatra,” for instance, in which Viva played the title role.
But Ultra Violet also appeared in “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), in a party scene with her fellow Factory habitués Viva, International Velvet and Mr. Morrissey; had a small part in Milos Forman’s “Taking Off” (1971); and played a kinky party guest in Paul Mazursky’s “An Unmarried Woman” (1978), with Jill Clayburgh. Ultra Violet’s final film acting job was in “Blackout” (1994), directed by Paulita Sedgwick, a cousin of Edie Sedgwick, the heiress and Factory starlet who died in 1971 in her 20s.
In “Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years With Andy Warhol,” Ultra Violet’s 1988 memoir, she wrote about her return to religion after a nervous and physical breakdown. She kissed and told, naming among her past lovers Rudolf Nureyev, the artist Ed Ruscha and Mr. Forman. And she denounced the person she had been during the Warhol years as an “unleashed exhibitionist chasing headlines.”
“I survived by grace alone,” she told a PBS interviewer in 2005.
Ms. Collin Dufresne, who never married, is survived by two sisters, Catherine Cara and Edwige Merceron-Vicat.
Interviewers often asked her about the decade in which she was at the center of celebrity culture. In a 2011 interview with USA Today, she said, “I mean, it was an exciting era in that there was a cultural revolution going on.” She acknowledged that there was no comparable shake-up underway in the 2000s so far, but added, “I think we are constantly in some kind of a flux.”
She could be a serious interview subject, as when in David Henry Gerson’s 2011 documentary, “Ultra Violet for Sixteen Minutes,” she announced, “As you come closer to your true nature, you are more fulfilled.”
But she could also jab. At an arts festival in Bridgehampton, N.Y., in 2010, she and her longtime Factory friend Taylor Mead were confronted by a young interviewer who appeared to have no idea who they were and simply presented them with generic questions like “Whose work do you like?” and “Why are you here?”
Ultra Violet tossed off one answer, “I like my own work.” And then, as if it were 1965 again, she said, “We are here because we are world-famous.”
Daniel Keyes, Author of ‘Flowers for Algernon,’ Dies at 86
Daniel Keyes, the author of “Flowers for Algernon,” the story of a man with an I.Q. of 68 who temporarily becomes a genius after surgery — a book that inspired the film “Charly,” starring Cliff Robertson — died on Sunday at his home in South Florida. He was 86.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, his daughter Leslie Keyes said.
The premise underlying Mr. Keyes’s best-known novel struck him while he waited for an elevated train to take him from Brooklyn to New York University in 1945.
“I thought: My education is driving a wedge between me and the people I love,” he wrote in his memoir, “Algernon, Charlie and I” (1999). “And then I wondered: What would happen if it were possible to increase a person’s intelligence?”
After 15 years that thought grew into the novella “Flowers for Algernon,” which was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1959 and won the Hugo Award for best short fiction in 1960.
By 1966 Mr. Keyes had expanded the story into a novel with the same title, which tied for the Nebula Award for best novel that year. The film, for which Mr. Robertson won the Academy Award for best actor, was released in 1968.
“Flowers for Algernon” went on to sell more than five million copies and to become a staple of English classes. It inspired television adaptations, one of which also starred Mr. Robertson, and stage productions, including a musical and a play in Korean.
The story was written as a series of first-person progress reports by Charlie Gordon, a 32-year-old bakery worker with an intellectual disability who is chosen for an experimental operation to increase his intelligence. A white mouse named Algernon had undergone the procedure and had become intelligent enough to solve mazes much faster than Charlie.
Charlie’s early “progris riports” are ungrammatical and filled with childish spelling. But they are hopeful.
“If the operashun werks good Ill show that mouse I can be as smart as he is even smarter,” Charlie writes. “Then Ill be abel to reed better and spell the werds good and know lots of things and be like other pepul.”
The operation makes Charlie a genius but alienates him from others and embitters him. Algernon’s intelligence fades, then he dies, and Charlie realizes that he faces a similar fate. He undergoes a period of fraught self-discovery before his intelligence ebbs, leaving him unable to comprehend the books he relished. The novel ends with Charlie in a home for the mentally disabled, unaware of his former intellectual flights.
Reviewing the book in The New York Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith called the book’s format “a technician’s maze, a collection of nasty little challenges for a writer of fiction.”
“Not every trap is avoided, but the skill shown here is awesome nonetheless,” Mr. Fremont-Smith continued. “One might say that Mr. Keyes runs his maze at least as well as Algernon and Charlie run theirs, which is exciting in itself. And affecting, too — how otherwise explain the tears that come to one’s eyes at the novel’s end?”
Daniel Keyes was born in Brooklyn on Aug. 9, 1927. He dreamed of becoming a writer as a child but briefly joined the premedical program at N.Y.U.
Mr. Keyes left N.Y.U. and served in the United States Maritime Service. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College in 1950.
He married Aurea Georgina Vazquez in 1952. She died in 2013. In addition to his daughter Leslie, he is survived by another daughter, Hillary Keyes; and a sister, Gail Marcus.
After graduating Mr. Keyes became an editor for pulp fiction magazines before teaching English in New York City public schools. He studied for his master’s in English literature from Brooklyn College at night and wrote on weekends.
He told the Japanese newspaper The Daily Yomiuri in 1999 that the character of Charlie occurred to him while he was teaching a special needs class; a student approached him at the end of the period and asked to be transferred out of the “dummy’s class” because he wanted to be smart.
In 1961 Mr. Keyes completed his master’s, then moved to Detroit to teach creative writing at Wayne State University. He became an English and creative writing professor at Ohio University in 1966. Mr. Keyes wrote four more novels, three of which centered on characters with psychological issues. He also wrote three books of nonfiction, including “The Minds of Billy Milligan” (1981), about a criminal with 24 distinct personalities.
In 1999, 40 years after Mr. Keyes wrote “Flowers for Algernon,” he completed his memoir. He was celebrating with breakfast at a restaurant when he stumbled on an article on the front page of The New York Times that made him drop his fork. The headline read, “Smarter Mouse Is Created in Hope of Helping People.”
Mr. Keyes wrote in an afterword that he contacted Joe Z. Tsien, the neurobiologist who conducted the study, to ask how long it might take before such technology could be applied to human beings.
“After a long pause, Dr. Tsien said, ‘I expect it to happen in the next 30 years,’ ” he wrote.
A picture credit in some editions on Wednesday with an obituary about the author Daniel Keyes misspelled the photographer’s surname. The picture of Mr. Keyes was taken by Miriam Berkley, not Berkeley.SOURCE***************************************************
HORACE SILVER, MASTER OF EARTHY JAZZ
His death was announced by Blue Note Records, the company for which he recorded from 1952 to 1979.
After a high-profile apprenticeship with some of the biggest names in jazz, Mr. Silver began leading his own group in the mid-1950s and quickly became a big name himself, celebrated for his clever compositions and his infectious, bluesy playing. At a time when the refined, quiet and, to some, bloodless style known as cool jazz was all the rage, he was hailed as a leader of the back-to-basics movement that came to be called hard bop.
Hard bop and cool jazz shared a pedigree: They were both variations on bebop, the challenging, harmonically intricate music that changed the face of jazz in the 1940s. But hard bop was simpler and more rhythmically driven, with more emphasis on jazz’s blues and gospel roots. The jazz press tended to portray the adherents of cool jazz (most of them West Coast-based and white) and hard bop (most of them East Coast-based and black) as warring factions. But Mr. Silver made an unlikely warrior.
“I personally do not believe in politics, hatred or anger in my musical composition,” he wrote in the liner notes to his album “Serenade to a Soul Sister” in 1968. “Musical composition should bring happiness and joy to people and make them forget their troubles.”
And Mr. Silver’s music was never as one-dimensional as it was sometimes portrayed as being. In an interview early in his career he said he was aiming for “that old-time gutbucket barroom feeling with just a taste of the backbeat.” That approach was reflected in the titles he gave to songs, like “Sister Sadie,” “Filthy McNasty” and “The Preacher,” all of which became jazz standards. But his output also included gently melodic numbers like “Peace” and “Melancholy Mood” and Latin-inflected tunes like “Señor Blues.” “Song for My Father,” probably his best-known composition, blended elements of bossa nova and the Afro-Portuguese music of the Cape Verde islands, where his father was born.
His piano playing, like his compositions, was not that easily characterized. Deftly improvising ingenious figures with his right hand while punching out rumbling bass lines with his left, he managed to evoke boogie-woogie pianists like Meade Lux Lewis and beboppers like Bud Powell simultaneously. Unlike many bebop pianists, however, Mr. Silver emphasized melodic simplicity over harmonic complexity; his improvisations, while sophisticated, were never so intricate as to be inaccessible.
Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver was born on Sept. 2, 1928, in Norwalk, Conn. His father, who was born John Silva but changed the family name to the more American-sounding Silver after immigrating to the United States, worked in a rubber factory. His mother, Gertrude, was a maid and sang in a church choir.
Although he studied piano as a child, Mr. Silver began his professional career as a saxophonist. But he had returned to the piano, and was becoming well known as a jazz pianist in Connecticut, by the time the saxophonist Stan Getz — soon to be celebrated as one of the leading lights of the cool school — heard and hired him in 1950.
“I had the house rhythm section at a club called the Sundown in Hartford,” Mr. Silver told The New York Times in 1981. “Stan Getz came up and played with us. He said he was going to call us, but we didn’t take him seriously. But a couple of weeks later he called and said he wanted the whole trio to join him.”
Mr. Silver worked briefly with Getz before moving to New York in 1951. He was soon in demand as an accompanist, working with leading jazz musicians like the saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. In 1953, Mr. Silver and the drummer Art Blakey formed a cooperative group, the Jazz Messengers, whose aggressive style helped define hard bop and whose lineup of trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums became the standard hard-bop instrumentation.
After two and a half years, during which Mr. Silver began his long and prolific association with Blue Note, he left the Jazz Messengers, which carried on with Blakey as the sole leader, and formed his own quintet. It became a showcase for his compositions.
Those compositions, beginning with “The Preacher” in 1955 — which his producer, Alfred Lion of Blue Note, had tried to discourage him from recording because he considered it too simplistic — captured the ears of a wide audience. Many were released as singles and garnered significant jukebox play. By the early ’60s Mr. Silver’s quintet was one of the most popular nightclub and concert attractions in jazz, and an inspiration for countless other bandleaders.
Like Blakey, Miles Davis (with whom he recorded) and a few others, Mr. Silver was known for discovering and nurturing young talent, including the saxophonists Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and Michael Brecker; the trumpeters Art Farmer, Woody Shaw, Tom Harrell and Dave Douglas; and the drummers Louis Hayes and Billy Cobham. His longest-lived ensemble, which lasted about five years in the late 1950s and early ’60s, featured Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Junior Cook on tenor saxophone.
As interest in jazz declined in the ’70s, Mr. Silver disbanded his quintet and began concentrating on writing lyrics as well as music, notably on a three-album series called “The United States of Mind,” his first album to feature vocalists extensively. He later resumed touring, but only for a few months each year, essentially assembling a new group each time he went on the road.
“I’m shooting for longevity,” he explained. “The road is hard on your body. I’m trying to get it all over with in four months and then recoup.” He said he also wanted to spend more time with his son, Gregory, who survives him.
In 1981, Mr. Silver formed his own label, Silveto. His recordings for that label featured vocalists and were largely devoted to what he called “self-help holistic metaphysical music” — life lessons in song with titles like “Reaching Our Goals in Life” and “Don’t Dwell on Your Problems” that left critics for the most part unimpressed.
Jon Pareles of The Times wrote in 1986 that Mr. Silver’s “naïvely mystical lyrics” made his new compositions sound like “near-miss pop songs.” On later albums for Columbia, Impulse and Verve, Mr. Silver returned to a primarily instrumental approach.
Mr. Silver was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 1995 and received a President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy in 2005.
Many of his tunes became staples of the jazz repertoire — a development, he said, that surprised him. “When I wrote them,” he said in a 2003 interview for the website All About Jazz, “I would say to myself that I hope these at least withstand the test of time. I hope they don’t sound old in 10 years or something.”
Rather than sounding dated, his compositions continued to be widely performed and recorded well into the 21st century. And while he acknowledged that “occasionally I hear an interpretation of one of my tunes that I say that they sure messed that one up,” he admitted, “For the most part I enjoy all of it.”
CARLA LAEMMLE, ACTRESS WITH SILENT SCREEN DEBUT
Her grandniece Rosemary Laemmle Hilb confirmed the death.
A niece of Carl Laemmle, a founder of Universal Studios, Ms. Laemmle (pronounced LEM-lee) had a modest résumé of bit parts, mostly uncredited, in films of the 1920s and ’30s.
Those roles, according to the Internet Movie Database, included Auction Spectator, Coach Passenger and Oyster Shell. And though it was an oyster shell of spectacular proportions (see below), her credits were not the stuff of which careers are made.
But what made Ms. Laemmle a fan favorite at autograph shows and horror-film conventions in recent years was her durable, genial existence, which encapsulated nearly a century of Hollywood history.
Reared on the Universal Studios lot, she had a charmed cinematic girlhood, with the studio sets her playground and animals from Universal’s in-house zoo her de facto household pets.
A wide-eyed beauty, she made her first screen appearance in “The Phantom of the Opera,” the 1925 Lon Chaney silent. After the coming of sound, she uttered the opening line of the 1931 “Dracula,” starring Bela Lugosi.
The naked abandon of Hollywood before the imposition of the Hays Code in 1930 can also be discerned without difficulty in Ms. Laemmle’s early work. (The oyster shell looms large in this.)
Her last screen appearance of the period came in 1939 with “On Your Toes.” But fittingly for one who got her start in horror films, Ms. Laemmle’s career, after a six-decade hiatus, rose from the dead at the dawn of the 21st century, with credits including the web series “Broken Dreams Blvd.”
The daughter of Joseph Laemmle and the former Carrie Belle Norton, Rebekah Isabelle Laemmle was born in Chicago on Oct. 20, 1909, and began ballet studies as a child. When she was 11, the family moved to California for Joseph’s health at the invitation of his brother Carl.
Carl Laemmle, an immigrant from Germany, had become a successful operator of nickelodeons in early-20th-century America. In 1912, he helped found the Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company, a progenitor of Universal Studios.
Three years later, in the countryside near Hollywood, Mr. Laemmle opened Universal City Studios, a self-contained metropolis with its own police and fire departments, hospital, sound stages and zoo. Joseph and his family were installed in a bungalow on the grounds, where they would live for the next decade and a half.
Every morning, as Ms. Laemmle recalled, she was awakened by the roaring of the zoo’s lion. Stepping outside, she might encounter its resident camel, whom she named Houdini for his frequent jailbreaks, breakfasting on the lawn.
“I would go out with a little bowl of oatmeal, and he would follow me very dutifully,” Ms. Laemmle told Los Angeles magazine in 2011. “And then I would go phone the back lot and say I had Houdini and would you please come pick him up?”
Carl Laemmle was renowned for providing work to a bevy of relatives. (“Uncle Carl Laemmle/ has a very large faemmle,” Ogden Nash once said.) Ms. Laemmle was no exception.
When she was a teenager, her ballet training landed her the small role of the prima ballerina on the stage of the Paris Opera House in “Phantom.” (Disliking the name Rebekah, she adopted Carla, in her uncle’s honor.)
In “Dracula,” as a passenger in a Transylvania-bound coach, she reads a sentence from a guidebook that sets the film in motion: “Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age.”
“I didn’t have to memorize any lines or anything,” Ms. Laemmle said in 2011. “I was supposed to be reading from a little booklet, so it didn’t tax my brains at all.”
Her other films include “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1927), “The Gate Crasher” (1928) and “The Adventures of Frank Merriwell” (1936).
There was also “The Broadway Melody,” a 1929 picture in which Ms. Laemmle emerges from an immense oyster shell to dance before the camera. It is difficult to make out precisely what she is wearing in the scene, not so much because of the quality of the footage but because of the incontrovertible fact that whatever she does have on, there is amazingly little of it.
After the 1930s drew to a close, Ms. Laemmle worked as a dancer in Los Angeles nightclubs and spent decades after that living quietly in the area.
Amid renewed interest in classic horror films, she returned to the screen in 2001 with the video short “The Vampire Hunters Club.” Her later credits include “Pooltime” (2010), “A Sad State of Affairs” (2013) and “Mansion of Blood,” yet to be released.
In “Broken Dreams Blvd,” which stars Danny Aiello, she played the operator of a Hollywood tour company.
Ms. Laemmle was briefly married to a sailor during World War II; she had the marriage annulled upon discovering he had a wife and children elsewhere. Her longtime companion, Raymond Cannon, an actor and screenwriter, died in 1977.
Though Carl Laemmle sold his interest in Universal in 1936, Ms. Laemmle retained a singular association with it to the end of her life.
“I’m so looking forward to Universal’s 100th-anniversary party,” she told an interviewer in 2012, shortly before that event. “I’ll probably be the only one there who’s older than the studio.”