IN REMEMBRANCE: 11-22-2015

Jacqueline Berrien, Head of E.E.O.C

Jacqueline Berrien in 2010. Credit Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

The cause was cancer, her friend Melanie Eversley said. Ms. Berrien became ill in August during the N.A.A.C.P.’s Journey for Justice march from Selma, Ala., to Washington.
“Her last act was doing what she loved: civil rights,” said her husband, Peter M. Williams, the executive vice president for programs for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The E.E.O.C. had a number of successes during Ms. Berrien’s tenure as its chairwoman, from April 2010 through August 2014: It promulgated rules against discrimination in employment and health-insurance enrollment on the basis of disability or genetic test results; it won a record $240 million jury verdict (reduced to $1.6 million because of a statutory cap on damages) against a company accused of abusing workers with intellectual disabilities at an Iowa turkey processing plant; and it significantly reduced its case backlog.
Her death prompted accolades from former colleagues, including the president and Michelle Obama, who praised her “leadership and passion for ensuring everyone gets a fair chance to succeed in the workplace.”
Jacqueline Ann Berrien was born in Washington on Nov. 28, 1961. Her father, Clifford, was a pharmacist. Her mother, the former Anna Belle Smith, was a nurse.
Ms. Berrien graduated from Oberlin College and from Harvard Law School, where she was general editor of The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. After serving as a clerk for a federal judge, she joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.
In 1994, she became an assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, focusing on voting rights and school desegregation litigation. After working at the Ford Foundation, she returned as associate director-counsel of the fund, whose national headquarters is in New York.
She taught at Harvard Law School and New York Law School and lived most recently in Washington. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a brother, Clifford Eric Berrien.
“Jackie believed in helping the underdog,” Ms. Eversley said. “She always talked about how the real movers of the civil rights movement were unsung residents of small towns in the South who risked lives and jobs to march and defy the status quo.”
In her civil rights work, Ms. Berrien took the long view.
“Will the workplace be more inclusive and discrimination less common when my children, my godchildren, or my nieces and nephews enter it?” she asked in an interview with The Washington Post in 2011.
“The essence of the work of advancing and protecting civil rights in this country,” she added, “is very much something where our ultimate success will manifest in decades. It will be measured by how different life is for someone who is a child today.”
Correction: November 13, 2015
 
An obituary on Thursday about the civil rights lawyer Jacqueline Berrien misstated the second job title she held at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She was associate director-counsel, not director and counsel.
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Gunnar Hansen, the Killer in ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’

Gunnar Hansen, in 2004 at his home in Northeast Harbor, Me. Credit Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

  • Gunnar Hansen, who played the villain Leatherface in the original 1974 horror film “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” and wrote about the experience in a 2013 book titled “Chain Saw Confidential,” died on Saturday at his home in Northeast Harbor, Me. He was 68.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, his agent, Mike Eisenstadt, said.
The low-budget film, directed by Tobe Hooper, has become a classic among horror-movie aficionados and spawned a series of sequels. In the movie, friends visiting their dead grandfather’s house are hunted nearby by Leatherface, a chain-saw wielding maniac who wears a mask of human flesh.
Marilyn Burns, who played the heroine, died last year.
Mr. Hansen said in an interview that he heard that a movie crew was looking for someone to play the killer in a horror movie and met with Mr. Hooper about the part of Leatherface.
“Later I found out that the reason he hired me was that when I came for the interview, I filled the door.” Mr. Hansen said. “I was the tallest and widest person who interviewed for the job.”
After making the movie, he turned down other horror films, but not because he feared being typecast.
“I never was trying to have a career as an actor,” he said. “My interest has always been writing.”
He went on to write nonfiction and screenplays, but he eventually decided to accept roles in horror films, including “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers,” “Hellblock 13” and “Next Victim.”
“Now I do movies when people ask me, and I’m happy that they do,” he said, “and I understand that the reason they want me is because of ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre.’ ”
At his death, he was at work on a film called “Death House,” which he wrote and was producing. It is scheduled to come out next year, Mr. Eisenstadt said.
Mr. Hansen was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, on March 4, 1947. He came to the United States as a child and lived in Maine before his family moved to Texas. He attended the University of Texas, where he majored in English and Scandinavian studies, Mr. Eisenstadt said.
Survivors include his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.

Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” Credit Vortex/Henkel/Hooper, via Everett Collection

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P. F. Sloan, Enigmatic Writer of ’60s Hit ‘Eve of Destruction’

P. F. Sloan, right, and Barry McGuire, who topped the record charts with his version of Mr. Sloan’s song “Eve of Destruction.” Credit Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

  • P. F. Sloan, a singer and songwriter of somewhat enigmatic repute, whose apocalyptic anthem “Eve of Destruction,” written when he was just 19, was a seminal protest song of the 1960s, not to mention a No. 1 hit for the singer Barry McGuire, died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 70.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his publicist, Sangeeta Haindl.
In the 1960s, Mr. Sloan was a precocious and prominent figure in the pop music world. He and a co-writer, Steve Barri, were a team on the order of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, concocting surfer tunes like “I Found a Girl” for Jan and Dean; the jingle-like declaration of youthful independence “Let Me Be” for the Turtles; “A Must to Avoid,” a jaunty ditty complete with dating advice, recorded by Herman’s Hermits; and, perhaps most memorably, “Secret Agent Man,” a rocker of a television theme song that became a hit for Johnny Rivers.
Eve of Destruction,” a song about the threatening ills of the world that makes reference to the Vietnam War, civil rights and space travel, begins:
The Eastern world it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, what’s that gun you’re totin’?
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’.
It continues with the refrain:
But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction.
It was clearly influenced by Bob Dylan, the articulate spokesman for the emergent genre of folk rock, and different from anything Mr. Sloan had written before. In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Barri recalled that though he was the duo’s primary lyricist, “Eve of Destruction” was written, both words and music, almost entirely by Mr. Sloan.
(Mr. Barri said he added only two lines: “You may leave here for four days in space/But when you return it’s the same old place.”)
The song was controversial; politicians and other musicians debated whether its message, that violence and hypocrisy were a grave threat to civilization, was an accurate depiction of the state of the world, a healthy message to transmit in pop music, or a reasonable representation of the outlook of America’s youth. It also changed Mr. Sloan’s life.
Increasingly interested in protest music and probingly self-conscious work, he split from Mr. Barri and made recordings of his own, including the 1968 album “Measure of Pleasure.” But, very shortly and abruptly, he then retreated from the music business and evidently into seclusion.

 

P. F. Sloan in an undated photo. Credit Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By the early 1970s, the songwriter Jimmy Webb had written and published a song, “P. F. Sloan,” lionizing Mr. Sloan’s renegade musical spirit: “I have been seeking P. F. Sloan/But no one knows where he has gone.”
Mr. Sloan was something of a recluse for several decades, spending a good deal of time in India; when he performed at the Bottom Line in Greenwich Village in 1985, it was a rare public appearance. In a 2014 book, “What’s Exactly the Matter With Me? Memoirs of a Life in Music,” written with S. E. Feinberg, Mr. Sloan was forthright about his battles with drug abuse and mental illness, which resulted in his being institutionalized for a time.
“Eve of Destruction” changed Mr. Sloan’s priorities and made him “want to be the next Bob Dylan, or whatever,” Mr. Barri recalled. Asked if he understood what happened to his friend, Mr. Barri said:
“He was two people. We were just two Jewish kids from New York. We liked the same movies. We played Wiffle ball together. But when ‘Eve of Destruction’ became such a smash, he went with Barry McGuire to England, and he came back a different person. His girlfriend, who I later married — both of us felt he never returned from England.”
He paused and then added: “He was a major, major talent. God, he was good.”
Philip Gary Schlein was born in New York City — it’s uncertain whether it was the Bronx or Queens — and grew up there and on Long Island before his family moved to Los Angeles in the middle or late 1950s, which is when they changed the family name to Sloan. (The F in P. F. comes from the nickname Flip, given to him as a child by his sister. He later legally changed his middle name to Faith.)
Mr. Sloan’s father, Harry, was a pharmacist. His mother, the former Claire (or Claritsa) Petreanu, was from Romania. According to Mr. Sloan’s autobiography, his mother beat him daily as a child, though there are dubious factual claims elsewhere in the book, including one in which Mr. Sloan asserts that he met James Dean in 1957, two years after Dean’s death in an auto accident. Mr. Sloan attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, and by his midteens he was writing promising songs, leading him to be paired, in 1963, with Mr. Barri, by the producer Lou Adler, who was then with Screen Gems’ music publishing division. Their early song “Kick That Little Foot, Sally Ann” was a hit in 1964 for the singer Round Robin.
Mr. Sloan leaves no immediate survivors.
The publication of his autobiography was, in some ways, a celebration of his return to the public eye. Mr. Sloan had released albums in 1993 and 2006, and with Mr. Feinberg he created a musical based on the life of Beethoven. In 2014, he released his last solo album, “My Beethoven.” In 2012, the singer Rumer recorded the Jimmy Webb song “P. F. Sloan,” and in 2014 she and Mr. Sloan appeared together to sing it in London.
In January, he and Mr. McGuire performed “Eve of Destruction” — 50 years after its release — at a coffee house and performance space in Altadena, Calif.
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Mal Whitfield, Olympic Gold Medalist and Tuskegee Airman

Mal Whitfield after winning the 800-meter event at the 1948 London Games. Credit Central Press/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

  • Mal Whitfield, a sleek middle-distance runner who won three Olympic gold medals for the United States, at one point as a Tuskegee Airman, and later became an American good-will ambassador promoting athletics abroad, died on Thursday in Washington. He was 91.
His daughter Fredricka Whitfield, an anchor at CNN, confirmed his death, at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospice center.
Orphaned as a child in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Whitfield went on to set records and achieve celebrity while running for Ohio State University. In 1954 he became the first African-American to receive the coveted Sullivan Award as the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete.
After his athletic career, Whitfield spent almost 50 years promoting sports and physical education in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, both for the United States Information Agency and through his own foundation.
During World War II he was a member of the celebrated and racially segregated Tuskegee Airmen, part of the Army Air Forces. In Korea, he once trained for the Games between bombing missions, running on runways at night with a .45-caliber automatic strapped to his side.

 

Whitfield in 2012. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Whitfield was still a staff sergeant when he set an Olympic record in the 800-meter event at the 1948 London Games with a time of 1 minute 49.2 seconds.
He won another gold medal in the same Olympics anchoring the United States’ 4×400-meter relay team, and a bronze medal in the 400 meters.
Four years later, at the Helsinki Olympics, he won the 800 again — in the identical time — and added a silver medal in the relay. He just missed making the Olympic team in 1956.
In each of Whitfield’s Olympic 800s, Arthur Wint, a 6-foot-5 Jamaican, ran second.
“I knew I was going to win,” Whitfield, a genial and gregarious man, once said on Wint’s website. “He was a chain smoker,” he said of Wint, “and I was living this gorgeous, clean life: no whiskey, no smoking.”
Whitfield, who stood 6 feet 1 inch and weighed 165 pounds in his prime, had a long, flowing stride with high knee action. He set six world records, including 1:48.6 for 880 yards outdoors and 1:09.6 for 600 yards indoors. He won six United States titles outdoors and two indoors. The sports pages called him “Marvelous Mal.”
He was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974 and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1988.
In 1955, a year before he retired as a runner, Whitfield started conducting sports clinics for new runners and occasional training camps for elite runners, first in Europe and then in Africa. At almost every stop, he turned neophytes into champions. He coached in 20 nations and lived in Kenya, Uganda and Egypt.
In Kenya in 1955, Reginald Alexander, the mayor of Nairobi at the time, told Time magazine that Whitfield was “something like a Billy Graham of the sports world.”
Whitfield was always struck by the warm reception he had on his travels. “If I could get all the athletes who want to train in America to come over,” he told Time, “I could fill every university from New York to San Francisco.”
Malvin Greston Whitfield was born on Oct. 11, 1924, in Bay City, Tex. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was 4. He was 4 when his father died and 12 when his mother died. An older sister, Betty, raised him from then on.
As a child, Whitfield lived four miles from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and when the 1932 Olympics were held there, he sneaked in to watch Eddie Tolan’s historic duel with Ralph Metcalfe in a thrilling 100-meter race that Tolan won by “a gnat’s eyelash,” as the sportswriter Grantland Rice put it.
“From that moment on, I knew I wanted to run in the Olympic Games,” Whitfield told Sports Illustrated in 1991.
With World War II on, he joined the Army Air Forces after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943. He enrolled at Ohio State after the war, in 1946, while stationed nearby as a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, a unit of the 332nd Fighter Group, popularly known as the Alabama-based Tuskegee Airmen. With that double duty, he said, he would wake up at 5 a.m. and go to bed at 12:30 a.m.
When the Korean War broke out, Whitfield was recalled to the service and served as a tail gunner on 27 bombing missions. But he continued to train for track, running at night while carrying his sidearms.
He was honorably discharged in 1952 and went back to Los Angeles to complete his bachelor’s degree at California State University, Los Angeles.
His work as a good-will ambassador began in 1955 with an appointment by the State Department. He served more than 30 years as a youth and sports affairs officer for the U.S.I.A., visiting by his count more than 130 countries. He also held sports and physical education advisory posts in the Liberian and Nigerian governments.
Besides Ms. Whitfield, he is survived by another daughter, Nyna Konishi; his wife, Nola Whitfield; a son, Malvin Jr., known as Lonnie; a son and a daughter from a previous relationship; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
He later established the Mal Whitfield Foundation to promote sports, academics and culture around the world, continuing the work he had started with the government. In 2002 the foundation published his autobiography, “Beyond the Finish Line.”
“I have had a chance to see what the world is like,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1991. “I may have had to take a detour or two in my life, but I can honestly say that somehow I’ve achieved everything I started out to do.”
Lauren Hard contributed reporting.

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