AUG. 26, 2015


Marcy Borders at her home in Bayonne, N.J., on Nov. 26, 2014. Credit Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal, via Associated Press

Marcy Borders, who became known as the “dust lady” from a defining picture of her covered in ash and grime on Sept. 11, 2001, died on Monday. She was 42.

Marcy Borders on Sept. 11, 2001. Credit Stan Honda/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Her sister, Dawn Borders, said she died from stomach cancer.

Ms. Borders was an employee of Bank of America in 2001, and was working on the 81st floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center on the day of the terrorist attacks.

She described her experience in a video interview published by the filmmaker Mike McGregor three years ago.

“We had no idea what was going on,” she said of the plane’s impact. “The way the building was shaking, I couldn’t sit there.”

In the chaos that followed, Ms. Borders retreated to a crowded stairwell where she was chased by a cloud of smoke and dust.

“Every time I inhaled, my mouth filled up with it, I was choking,” she said. “I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I was just saying to myself and saying out loud that I didn’t want to die.”

She was eventually led downstairs and into a neighboring building by another person, where her picture was taken by a photographer for Agence France-Presse, Stan Honda.

A resident of Bayonne, N.J., Ms. Borders told The Jersey Journal last year that she was suffering from stomach cancer, the latest in a string of hardships that she experienced after the collapse of the towers. She also struggled with depression and drug addiction, and was having trouble paying her medical bills which left her unable to take medication in the prescribed dosages.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, tweeted in remembrance of Ms. Borders.

Ms. Borders told The Journal that she avoided looking at Mr. Honda’s image of her.

“I don’t want to be a victim anymore,” she said.

She is survived by her daughter, Noelle, and son, Zayden.





Amelia Boynton Robinson crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge with President Obama in March. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.

By Margalit Fox

Aug. 26, 2015

Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was called the matriarch of the voting rights movement — and whose photograph, showing her beaten, gassed and left for dead in the epochal civil rights march known as Bloody Sunday, appeared in newspapers and magazines round the world in 1965 — died on Wednesday in Montgomery, Ala. She was 104.

Her death was confirmed by Shawn Eckles, a family spokesman.

Mrs. Boynton Robinson was one of the organizers of the march, the first of three attempts by demonstrators in March 1965 to walk the 54 miles from Selma, Ala., to the capital, Montgomery, to demand the right to register to vote.

As shown in “Selma,” the Oscar-nominated 2014 film directed by Ava DuVernay, Mrs. Boynton Robinson (played by Lorraine Toussaint) had helped persuade the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who would lead the second and third marches, to concentrate his efforts in that city.

Bloody Sunday took place on March 7, 1965. As they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, some 600 black demonstrators, led by John Lewis and the Rev. Hosea Williams, were set upon by Alabama state troopers armed with tear gas, billy clubs and whips.

Walking near the front of the line and subject to the full force of the troopers’ blows, Mrs. Boynton Robinson, then known as Amelia Boynton, was knocked unconscious. One widely reproduced press photograph shows her lying insensible on the ground with a white officer standing over her, nightstick in hand. Another shows a fellow marcher taking her in his arms and struggling to lift her up.

News coverage of Bloody Sunday — in which at least 17 demonstrators, including Mrs. Boynton Robinson, were hospitalized — was considered pivotal in winning wide popular support for the civil rights movement. After her release, Mrs. Boynton Robinson was a guest of honor at the White House on Aug. 6, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the federal Voting Rights Act into law, an event seen as a direct consequence of the marches.

Mrs. Boynton Robinson with a fellow marcher in 1965 after being knocked unconscious by Alabama troopers at the bridge. Credit Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Mr. Boynton died in 1963, and the next year, Mrs. Boynton Robinson ran for Congress from Alabama. She was the first black person since Reconstruction, and the first black woman ever, to do so. She received about 10 percent of the vote, a noteworthy figure given how few African-Americans were registered in her district at the time.

Mrs. Boynton Robinson in 2003. Credit Gregory Smith/Associated Press

Mrs. Boynton Robinson, who had met Dr. King in 1954 and been involved with the work of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference ever since, had long opened her house in Selma as a meeting ground for civil rights leaders in the area. The Selma-to-Montgomery marches were planned there, and an early draft of the Voting Rights Act was written there.

In later years, Mrs. Boynton Robinson incurred criticism for her association with Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., a former Marxist activist who came increasingly to be considered a member of the right-wing fringe. (Mr. LaRouche served time in prison after being convicted in 1988 on charges including mail fraud and conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.)

For years, until her retirement in 2009, Mrs. Boynton Robinson served on the board of the Schiller Institute, a think tank founded in the 1980s and closely associated with Mr. LaRouche. Her memoir, “Bridge Across Jordan,” was reprinted by the institute in 1991.

Mrs. Boynton Robinson also made headlines in 2004 when she lost a multimillion-dollar defamation suit against ABC and the Walt Disney Company over the 1999 television film “Selma, Lord, Selma.” She charged that the film depicted her as an “Aunt Jemima” who sang gospel songs and spoke in a stereotyped dialect. (She had nothing but praise for Ms. DuVernay’s film.)

At her death, Mrs. Boynton Robinson lived in Tuskegee, Ala. Her second husband, Bob W. Billups, died in 1973; her third husband, James Robinson, died in 1988. A son, Bill Boynton Jr., died last year. Survivors include another son, Bruce Carver Boynton, whose godfather was George Washington Carver, and a granddaughter.

Among her laurels is the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal, which she received in 1990.

In an interview with The New York Post in December, Mrs. Boynton Robinson reflected on the events of Bloody Sunday and the long road since.

“I wasn’t looking for notoriety,” she said. “But if that’s what it took,” she added, “I didn’t care how many licks I got. It just made me even more determined to fight for our cause.”




Dr. James “Red” Duke Jr., Houston’s iconic, cowboy-style doctor who delivered homespun health advice on nationally syndicated television and founded the Life Flight helicopter ambulance system, died Tuesday. He was 86.


Duke, a trauma surgeon who attended to Gov. John Connally on the day of President John F. Kennedy‘s assassination, succumbed to natural causes at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. He had been in declining health the past year.

“Red was a true pioneer in medicine for our community – a visionary in trauma care, a dedicated doctor, a superb educator, the larger-than-life figure that everyone knew,” said Dan Wolterman, president of Memorial Hermann Health System, where Duke practiced for four decades. “His personality was so contagious. You couldn’t help but like Red and want to engage him in conversation. He was everyone’s friend.”

His passing was announced Tuesday evening in a statement from his family issued by Geo. H. Lewis & Sons funeral directors.

“To countless colleagues, friends and patients, he was a skilled physician, innovative healthcare provider, exceptional communicator and dedicated conservationist,” the statement said. “We, however, mourn him as a caring father, grandfather and devoted brother who will be deeply missed by his family.

It was Duke’s colorful, country-boy style that captured the public imagination – the trademark bushy mustache, chewing tobacco habit and Texas twang. He dressed in faded jeans, bolo ties and cowboy hats, called most everyone Bud or Babe and spoke in a vernacular known as Dukeisms. “It ain’t the fall that’s so bad,” he’d say, crusading against preventable injuries. “It’s the sudden stop that hurts.”

The images were so rich, prime-time television exploited them. Duke was the model for the 1987 television show Buck James, which starred Dennis Weaver as a country doctor at a Houston academic hospital. Weaver shadowed Duke for two weeks to create the character.

Duke had already gained a national following from his non-fiction doctoring on television. He first came to the public eye when Life Flight was featured in a 1979 prime-time documentary. He was such a natural that the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he was a professor of surgery, choose him to give its Texas Health Reports. These were short, folksy but no-nonsense segments on everything from proper nutrition to preventing skin cancer that ran on local newscasts in 30 states. He also hosted the PBS series “Bodywatch.”

By the late 1980s, his profile was so high he was talked about as a candidate to succeed Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. In a 2012 tribute, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Houston, summed up Duke’s appeal as “John Wayne in scrubs.”

“Dr. Duke has the personality of an old-fashioned country doctor that makes house calls but knows people and medicine like no one I have ever met,” Poe wrote. “(He) is somewhat of a phenomenon to foreigners (who don’t live in Texas) because of his simple, straight-shootin’ style. People are drawn to him because he has the rare ability to put a complicated subject into simple terms everyone can understand. But don’t let him fool you. He is a world-class surgeon trapped in a Texan’s body.”

Duke, who acquired the nickname Red because of his curly red locks, was born Nov. 16, 1928, in Ennis, a southeastern suburb of Dallas. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Hillsboro in central Texas, where he picked cotton, dug ditches and delivered the Dallas Morning News and the Saturday Evening Post. Hunting and fishing in the surrounding countryside, he became lifelong friends with another redhead, Willie Nelson. Later, as a doctor, he was given to bursting into Nelson songs without warning.

Duke, a Southern Baptist, originally intended to go into the ministry. As a boy, he had asked his mother whether a preacher or a doctor made more money, and even though she said a doctor earned more, he decided to become a preacher. He went on to earn a divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth before he decided medicine was his real calling, motivated by a book he’d read on Albert Schweitzer.

He attended medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas, then did his surgical training at Dallas Parkland Hospital, where he was on duty on Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy and Connally arrived after being shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. Accompanying the chief of surgical services, Duke arrived at a trauma room where Kennedy lay when he was told a patient across the hall needed help, too. There, Duke saw a man lying on the table, dressed in a dark suit and a bloodied dress shirt.

“I don’t know when I finally realized it was the governor of Texas,” Duke recalled in 2013.

Duke found a serious gunshot wound that needed immediate treatment. He quickly closed the wound and inserted a chest tube, and the governor was rushed into an operating room, where surgery proved successful.

After a stint as an academic surgeon in Afghanistan, Duke came to Houston in 1972, joining UT’s new medical school, then just two years old. The school had no buildings, and its surgery department had just three members at the time. Duke would help build a program that culminated in the establishment of Memorial Hermann’s Level 1 trauma center, now the nation’s busiest.

During that time, he also quickly realized the potential of the helicopter landing pad that had been built at Hermann Hospital and began pushing for it to be used for emergency patients. In 1976, the idea became Life Flight, considered one of the premier air ambulance services in the country.

“He was the Life Flight champion,” said Dr. Kenneth Mattox, a trauma surgeon and longtime chief of staff at Ben Taub General Hospital, which operates the city’s other Level 1 trauma center. “He was a gee-whiz character who had a practical approach to the medical system and medical problems. He knew how to make things work.”

Read more about Duke’s legacy on




August 30, 2015 8:53 AM ET,  Scott Neuman

Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks speaks at Columbia University in June 2009 in New York City. Sacks, a prolific author and commentator, has died at age 82. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks speaks at Columbia University in June 2009 in New York City. Sacks, a prolific author and commentator, has died at age 82.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Oliver Sacks, the famed neurologist and best-selling author of books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, died of cancer today in New York City at the age of 82, a longtime friend and colleague has confirmed.

The London-born academic’s 1973 memoir Awakenings, about his efforts to use the drug L-Dopa to bring patients who survived the 1917-1928 encephalitis epidemic out of their persistent catatonic state, was turned into a 1990 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He was the author of a dozen other books.

A friend and colleague, Orrin Devinsky, who is a professor of neurology at New York University, where Sacks worked for many years, emailed NPR to confirm the death.

The New York Times writes:

“As a medical doctor and a writer, Dr. Sacks achieved a level of popular renown rare among scientists. More than a million copies of his books are in print in the United States, his work was adapted for film and stage, and he received about 10,000 letters a year. (‘I invariably reply to people under 10, over 90 or in prison,’ he once said.)

“Dr. Sacks variously described his books and essays as case histories, pathographies, clinical tales or ‘neurological novels.’ His subjects included Madeleine J., a blind woman who perceived her hands only as useless ‘lumps of dough’; Jimmie G., a submarine radio operator whose amnesia stranded him for more than three decades in 1945; and Dr. P. — the man who mistook his wife for a hat — whose brain lost the ability to decipher what his eyes were seeing.”

Author Lisa Appignanesi, writing in The Guardian earlier this year, said of Sacks that he could transform his subjects into grand characters.

“For all their lacks and losses, or what the medics call ‘deficits’, Sacks’s subjects have a capacious 19th-century humanity, ” Appignanesi wrote. “No mere objects of hasty clinical notes, or articles in professional journals, his “patients” are transformed by his interest, sympathetic gaze and ability to convey optimism in tragedy into grand characters who can transcend their conditions. They emerge as the very types of our neuroscientific age.”

In his later life, Sacks began studying hallucinations, partly inspired by his youthful experimentation with LSD. He wrote a book and conducted lectures on the subject. In an interview with Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air, in 2012, Sacks said:

“I was fascinated that one could have such perceptual changes, and also that they went with a certain feeling of significance, an almost numinous feeling. I’m strongly atheist by disposition, but nonetheless when this happened, I couldn’t help thinking, ‘That must be what the hand of God is like.’ ”

Sacks did a TED Talk on the subject in 2009.

In an Op-Ed that appeared in the Times in February, Sacks announced that what had started out as a melanoma in his eye had spread to his liver and that he didn’t have long to live.

“It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can,” he wrote.

“I have been lucky enough to live past 80, and the 15 years allotted to me beyond Hume’s three score and five have been equally rich in work and love,” Sacks wrote. “In that time, I have published five books and completed an autobiography (rather longer than Hume’s few pages) to be published this spring; I have several other books nearly finished.”

And, in an opinion piece published in the Times earlier this month, Sacks wrote:

“[N]ow, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”




'F Troop' Actress Melody Patterson Dies

Courtesy of ABC

August 21, 2015 | 07:12PM PT

TV actress Melody Patterson, best known for playing Wrangler Jane on “F Troop,” died Thursday at the age of 66. Patterson died in a nursing home after multiple organ failure, according to reports.

In addition to her starring role on “F Troop” from 1965-1967, Patterson appeared on other television shows of the era including “The Monkees,” “Adam-12” and “Green Acres.” She was also in a handful of episodes of “Hawaii Five-O,” which featured her husband at the time, James MacArthur.

Patterson also appeared in a few films, landing roles in “The Angry Breed,” “The Cycle Savages” and “Blood and Lace.”

Patterson’s “F Troop” co-star Larry Storch announced her death via Facebook post, saying, “It’s with a heavy heart that we can let you know our beloved Wrangler Jane, Melody Patterson passed away today. Our hearts are sad today. RIP Sweet Melody. We love you.”




August 29, 2015 | 01:27PM PT

News Editor,

Broadway actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste has died after falling off his mother’s fire escape. He was 21.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste Credit Laura Marie Duncan

Jean-Baptiste made Broadway history as the understudy for “Les Miserables” character Jean Valjean. When Jean-Baptiste stepped into the role, he became both the youngest actor to do so and the first African-American actor to play Valjean on Broadway. When he was not filling in as Valjean, the actor played the roles of Constable and Courfeyrac in the musical.

The company of “Les Mis” released the following statement on Jean-Baptiste’s death: “The entire ‘Les Miserables’ family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle, a remarkable young talent and tremendous person who made magic — and history — in his Broadway debut. We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time.”

Broadway veteran Kristin Chenoweth tweeted her condolences, sending her “love and hugs to his family” and the “Les Mis” cast.


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