IN REMEMBRANCE: 4-26-2015

ELLEN TURNER; OPENED KITCHEN TO FEED THE NEEDY OF KNOXVILLE

Ellen Turner, left, and her twin sister, Helen Ashe, in aprons Oprah Winfrey gave them when they appeared on her show. Credit The Love Kitchen

Her death was confirmed by Stanley Cash, her great-nephew.

Ms. Turner and her twin sister, Helen Ashe, worked as nurses before founding the Love Kitchen in 1986 in a church basement here with the mission to serve what they called the five H’s: the hungry, homeless, helpless, hopeless and homebound. The Love Kitchen provides clothing and meals from a building on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and delivers food to people who cannot leave their homes.

Dressed in matching outfits and aprons, Ms. Turner and her sister did the cooking and oversaw the work of dozens of volunteers. They appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Secret Millionaire” in 2011 and were the subject of segments on NBC News and CNN.

Patrick Riggins, president of the Love Kitchen’s board, said the sisters often recounted three lessons their father had taught them: “There is only one father, and that is the Father in heaven. There is only one race, the human race. And never take the last piece of bread. Someone may come by in need of it.”

Ms. Turner, who bragged that she was five minutes older than her sister, was born to sharecropper parents, John Liddell and the former Alice White, on March 8, 1928, in Abbeville, S.C. She and her sister were sent almost daily to what was called the “big house” on the farm property to do chores before school.

“They grew up working,” Mr. Riggins said. “Ellen always said the people who owned the land treated them very well. But then there were others who didn’t.”

Mr. Cash noted that Ms. Turner and her sister had a strict religious upbringing. “They grew up their whole life together,” he said. “Dating at that time wasn’t like it is today. Socializing with young ladies was done through a church, on the up and up, not in a dark movie theater.”

He added: “So whenever one of the twins went on a date, the other sister was there, playing third wheel, like a chaperone. Sometimes they would mess with their dates, switching each other on their date to see if he could tell the difference.”

They moved to Knoxville after high school to attend nursing school. Mr. Riggins said the idea to start the Love Kitchen, which is staffed solely by volunteers and operates strictly on donations, came from seeing indigent patients coming into the hospital.

“Ellen was warm, genuine and compassionate,” Gov. Bill Haslam, a former Knoxville mayor, said in a statement. “Her smile could turn around a bad day instantly.”

Ms. Turner’s husband, Leon, died in 2002. Besides her sister and Mr. Cash, survivors include several nephews and nieces.

“It’s like a family there,” Jerri Shelley said of the Love Kitchen, where she has volunteered for nearly 25 years. “This is going to affect the Knoxville community tremendously. There’s so many people that these two women have touched over the years.”

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MARY KEFE, MODEL FOR ROCKWELL’S ‘ROSIE THE RIVETER’

Mary Keefe and Norman Rockwell with a Saturday Evening Post cover for which he painted her as “Rosie the Riveter.” Credit Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections

Mary Keefe, a 19-year-old Vermont telephone operator whom her neighbor Norman Rockwell immortalized as his model for the heroine of “Rosie the Riveter,” the World War II feminist anthem that empowered women to leave home and pinch-hit in military plants, died on Tuesday at her home in Simsbury, Conn. She was 92.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter Mary Ellen Keefe.

Mrs. Keefe was a redhead, like the Rosie who appeared on the cover of the Memorial Day issue of The Saturday Evening Post magazine in 1943, but she had never wielded a rivet gun (not until an appearance on the “Tonight” show in the 1990s).

And as portrayed in the painting, she was considerably bulked up from her petite 110 pounds to embody muscular American can-do spirit — an image inspired by Michelangelo’s Isaiah on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. (It is often confused with J. Howard Miller’s wartime “We Can Do It” poster for Westinghouse Electric, from February 1943, showing a biceps-flexing uniformed woman in a red-and-white polka-dot bandanna.)

“Except for the red hair I had at the time, and my face, the rest I don’t think is me at all,” Mrs. Keefe said in a 2002 interview for the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Penny Colman, author of the 1995 book “Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II,” said the Rockwell painting “is iconic because it portrays a rarity — an image of a powerful woman with a don’t-mess-with-me attitude.”

To Chris Crosman, the founding curator of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., which bought the painting in 2009 from a Colorado gallery, the work “is emblematic of a sea change in American culture.”

“Importantly,” he said in a statement, “the artist’s depiction celebrates, even helps to invent, due to mass distribution as a War Bond poster and magazine cover, the beginnings of gender equality.”

In the museum interview, Mrs. Keefe recalled that Rockwell “was trying to get people to realize that all the women could help out with the war effort when the men were away.”

When she posed for his photographer, she wore dungarees, changed from saddle shoes into penny loafers and was equipped with both a visor and superfluous goggles. Rockwell added touches to make her look more feminine, she said, tucking a gold-trimmed compact and lace-edged handkerchief in her pocket and having her wear lipstick, rouge and polished nails — to “make you think of it being a feminist woman, but also working for the war effort,” she said.

Mary Louise Doyle was born in Bennington, Vt., on July 30, 1922. Her father, John, was a logger. Her mother, the former Sarah Smith, operated a restaurant in nearby Arlington, took in boarders and ran a telephone exchange from her house, where neighbors, including Rockwell, came to pay their bill.

Mary Doyle graduated from Temple University, became a dental hygienist and married Robert Keefe, who died in 2003. In addition to her daughter Mary Ellen, she is survived by another daughter, Barbara K. Boska; two sons, William and Robert; 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. She lived at various times in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Rockwell, who painted 321 covers for The Saturday Evening Post, was primed to create Rosie by a 1942 song, “Rosie the Riveter,” by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. They had apparently been inspired by a “Cholly Knickerbocker” syndicated newspaper column by Igor Cassini about Rosalind P. Walter, a 19-year-old high school graduate who had done her part for the war effort by going to work as a riveter in an aircraft factory in Stratford, Conn. (She became a noted benefactor of public television.)

The bandleader Kay Kyser, the vocal harmony group the Four Vagabonds and others recorded the hit song, whose lyrics included these:

All the day long, whether rain or shine

She’s a part of the assembly line

She’s making history, working for victory

Rosie [mimicking the rat-a-tat-tat of a riveter] the riveter

Mrs. Keefe posed as Rosie not for Rockwell but for his photographer, Gene Pelham, in two sessions, lasting about two hours in all. She was paid $5 (roughly $144 in today’s dollars) per session.

In the finished 52-by-40-inch painting, Rosie’s red hair, white skin and blue work shirt are superimposed on an American flag. Her head is adorned by a halo, and her right loafer crushes a copy of Hitler’s manifesto, “Mein Kampf.” She is holding a ham sandwich. Her name is painted on her lunchbox.

Promotional placards advertising the May 29, 1943, issue of The Post featured the cover and the title “Rosie the Riveter,” but the Curtis Publishing Company, according to the local Vermont newspaper, withdrew the placards for fear of infringing on the song’s copyright.

The painting was eventually donated to the Treasury Department’s War Loan Drive, which raffled it off. The winner was identified as Mrs. P. R. Eichenberg of Mount Lebanon, Pa. Art dealers said it was later owned by Chicago Pneumatic and Dresser Industries, makers of rivet guns and drills, and S. B. Lewis, a New York arbitrageur, who auctioned it off at Sotheby’s to the Elliott Yeary Gallery of Aspen, Colo., in 2002 for $4.9 million, which was believed to be the highest price fetched for a Rockwell at public auction at that time.

It was bought, presumably for more, in 2007 for the Crystal Bridges Museum, which was founded by Alice Walton, the Walmart heiress. A museum spokeswoman, Beth Bobbitt, would not disclose the sales figure. “When a work of art is acquired, it is chosen for its contribution to telling the American story,” she said. “The focus on price could detract from the importance of the work.”

Mrs. Keefe was not the only neighbor whom Rockwell recruited to pose for paintings. An uncle of hers, for example, was in Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms.”

“He called me one day and he said, ‘Mary, I apologize, but I made you very large,’ ” Mrs. Keefe recalled before the Sotheby’s sale. “Of course, as a young girl, I said, ‘Oh, that’s all right.’ But when I saw it, that was a different story.”

She was mollified a bit in 1967, however, when she received a letter from Rockwell. “The kidding you took was all my fault,” he wrote, “because I really thought you were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.”

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RICHARD CORLISS, LONGTIME FILM CRITIC FOR TIME

The movie reviewer Richard Corliss in Times Square in 1987. Credit Bill Foley/The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images

His wife, Mary, said the cause was complications of a stroke. He had been in a hospice care center.

A prolific contributor to Time who also wrote profiles, essays on popular culture, and television and theater reviews, Mr. Corliss was known for his firm opinions and punchy prose, melding the forthright Time style and its compact format to a joy in deadline invention.

An unabashed movie fan who believed that a couple of hours in a theater was time well spent no matter what the movie was — “Everything is worth seeing,” he often said, as Time’s Richard Zoglin wrote in an obituary on the magazine’s website — he was nonetheless hardly a pushover as a critic and occasionally relished the contrarian view.

Among the popular films he disdained were Robert Altman’s “M*A*S*H,” the basis for the television show about American Army surgeons during the Korean War, about which he wrote in The New York Times (before his tenure at Time began) that the supposedly charming and mischievous protagonists were boorish bullies; “Titanic,” the James Cameron hit whose special effects Mr. Corliss praised but whose dramatic storytelling he panned, and whose economic prospects he got spectacularly wrong (“Dead in the water,” he predicted); “A Chorus Line,” Richard Attenborough’s adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical that Mr. Corliss found, at best, inoffensive; and “The Full Monty,” the British comedy about laid-off steelworkers who concoct a striptease act, which he condemned as a formulaically sentimental audience-pleaser, lumping it with “Ghost,” “Cinema Paradiso” and other, in his phrase, “masterpieces of emotional pornography.”

Even so, Mr. Corliss’s work shone brightest when he could vent his eclectic enthusiasms, from George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino to Ingmar Bergman and François Truffaut, from Chinese kung fu films to Disney animation, from high-minded, ambience-saturated dramas like Anthony Minghella’s “The English Patient” to quirky teen tales like John Hughes’s “The Breakfast Club.”

“For most folks, déjà vu may provoke a momentary shudder, the creepy sense of having sidestepped into the twilight zone,” he wrote in 1993. “For Hollywood, though, it is a guiding principle. The industry wants audiences to feel they have seen this thing before but don’t know where or when. Nearly every movie plot is a reprise of a story that has already worked. Recombinant familiarity means box office; originality is an orphan, subversive and suspect. So let’s all cheer the emergence of ‘Groundhog Day,’ a very original comedy about déjà vu.”

Mr. Corliss promoted screenwriters against the headwind of opinion that said movies were made by auteur directors. He expressed adoration of movie stars as different as James Stewart and Cameron Diaz. In a 1985 review of the comedy-thriller “Into the Night,” he described Michelle Pfeiffer as “drop-dead gorgeous,” helping to popularize the phrase.

Richard Nelson Corliss was born in Philadelphia on March 6, 1944. His father, Paul, ran a business that manufactured chain-link fencing. His mother, the former Elizabeth McKluskey, taught first grade. After graduation from St. Joseph’s College (now University) in Philadelphia, Mr. Corliss did graduate work in film studies at Columbia, where he earned a master’s degree, and New York University.

In 1968, he met Mary Yushak, who was running the film stills department at the Museum of Modern Art; they married the next year. In addition to her, he is survived by a brother, Paul.

Mr. Corliss wrote about film for The Times, National Review and other publications in the late 1960s and ’70s. In 1970 he became editor of Film Comment, a journal, founded in the early 1960s, that was devoted largely to so-called art films, then the catchall term for independent films and documentaries.

During Mr. Corliss’s tenure, which lasted until the early 1980s, the magazine went from publishing quarterly to bimonthly and began including more essays and criticism about studio movies and Hollywood history. After the Film Society of Lincoln Center, sponsor of the New York Film Festival, took over the magazine’s publisher, Mr. Corliss served for many years on the festival’s selection committee. He joined Time in 1980 and shared movie critic’s duties there with Richard Schickel.

His books include “Talking Pictures” (1974), a survey, and critical defense, of American screenwriters; a 1994 study of “Lolita,” the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the Nabokov novel; and an illustrated history, “Mom in the Movies: The Iconic Screen Mothers You Love and a Few You Love to Hate” (2014).

In 1990, exasperated by what he saw as a flourishing crop of glib critics on television and the onset of a thumbs-up/thumbs-down style of reviewing, Mr. Corliss defended his craft in an angry essay in Film Comment.

“The long view of cinema aesthetics is irrelevant to a moviegoer for whom history began with ‘Star Wars’,” he wrote. “A well-turned phrase is so much throat-clearing to a reader who wants the critic to cut to the chase: What movie is worth my two hours and six bucks this weekend? Movie criticism of the elevated sort, as practiced over the past half-century by James Agee and Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael, J. Hoberman and Dave Kehr — in the mainstream press and in magazines like ‘Film Comment’— is an endangered species. Once it flourished; soon it may perish, to be replaced by a consumer service that is no brains and all thumbs.”

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JOHNNY KEMP, BAHAMIAN SINGER

Johnny Kemp. Credit Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The police said that his body was found floating at a beach and was believed to have drowned but provided no other details.

Reach Media, the parent company of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” said that Mr. Kemp had been scheduled to be on a Caribbean cruise sponsored by the Tom Joyner Foundation. He had not yet boarded the ship, the company said. Mr. Kemp was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Just Got Paid,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 10 on the pop chart. He had been performing around the United States in recent years.

He was born in the Bahamas on Aug. 2, 1959, and began singing in nightclubs there at 13. He moved to New York City in 1979, lived in Harlem and worked as a session vocalist and songwriter before landing a solo contract with Columbia Records, according to online biographies.

“Just Got Paid” appeared on his second album for Columbia, “Secrets of Flying.”

He is survived by his wife, Deirdre Fisher-Kemp, and their two sons.

Correction: April 23, 2015
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this obituary misstated the year Mr. Kemp’s song “Just Got Paid” was a hit. It was 1988, not 1989.
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