EARTH, WIND & FIRE’S MAURICE WHITE WAS A SHINING STAR OF R&B
Maurice White, the founder and leader of the legendary R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire, has passed away at the age of 74. He is known for creating the eclectic sound behind dance hits like ‘September’ and ‘Boogie Wonderland.’ USA TODAY
For any fan of R&B music — any fan of music, period, really — it is impossible to think of the 1970s and early ’80s without recalling the shiny, groovy, exuberant sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire. And no man played a greater role in carving out that band’s gems than founding member Maurice White, who died Thursday at 74.
Shining Star, That’s The Way of the World, September, Sing A Song,Fantasy, Reasons: White helped write all of these hits. The onetime sessions drummer, who played with Ramsey Lewis’s jazz trio in the ’60s, also served as principal producer of EWF’s music — steeped in jazz and funk as well as Latin influences, but as luxuriantly pop-savvy as any AM radio classics of the time. His guidance let the band segue seamlessly into the disco era, and eventually embrace electronic textures.
The group incorporated the flashy visuals associated with the latter movements — along with hallmarks of old-school showmanship, like coordinated dance moves — into its performances, dazzling audiences with lighting, sartorial glitz and other tricks and effects, some nodding to the band’s astrologically inspired name.
That flamboyance was, of course, grounded in a soulful virtuosity that no one could deny. EWF’s bright, horns-infused arrangements, infectious melodies, ebullient grooves and distinctive vocals — White shared leads with Philip Bailey, whose hearty falsetto was another key element — appealed to pop and R&B fans equally, and made the group favorites among both club crowds and the dance-phobic, bridging racial and cultural gaps in the process.
Inclusiveness and harmony were not just musical ideals for White and his colleagues. In a quote featured in the history portion of the band’s official site, he said, “We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners’ spiritual content.”
White, who released a solo album in the ’80s, worked with numerous other artists as a producer, among them Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Holliday and Deniece Williams, and collaborated with acts ranging from Cher to Weather Report. Though a battle with Parkinson’s Disease forced him to stop touring in the ’90s, White, whose many subsequent honors have included induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (with EWF) and Songwriters Hall of Fame, remained a creative force in the following years and guarded its legacy devotedly.
“Expanding awareness and uplifting spirits is so important in this day,” he is quoted as saying, on EWF’s site. White did that and much more, giving us music that joyfully defied all boundaries, and will continue to do so.
William Harwood CBS News February 5, 2016, 4:53 PM
Last Updated Feb 5, 2016 5:19 PM EST
Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, died Thursday night after a short illness, one day before the 45th anniversary of his landing in the hilly Fra Mauro region of the moon with crewmate Alan Shepard. He was 85.
Famous for attempting an experiment in extra-sensory perception on his way back from the moon, Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973 “to support consciousness research and promote awareness of evolving human consciousness,” the family said in a statement released by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
It was a lifelong interest.
Andrew Chaikin, author of “A Man On The Moon — The Voyages Of The Apollo Astronauts,” said in a recent interview with CBS News that Mitchell was “super bright” and “an intellectual.”
“Just a real lover of ideas,” Chaikin said. “It shows in his post-NASA career because he pursued this question of consciousness and the nature of consciousness. On his flight, he had kind of a mountain-top experience where on the flight home, looking at the Earth, he felt that he was experiencing the universe as an intelligent entity, almost an organism. And that really changed him.”
Mitchell had long been curious about psychic phenomena, Chaikin said, and after leaving NASA “he devoted much of his energies to trying to understand whether or not consciousness could be described in some scientific way and whether information could be transmitted in some way through the universe.”
“These were the questions that occupied him,” he said. “Really unique in that way among the Apollo astronauts.”
In the family statement released by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Mitchell’s daughter Karlyn remembered her father as a man of “extraordinary talents and tremendous fortune.”
“He was a hero in the classical sense,” she said. “Though he fulfilled his childhood dreams while still a young man, he managed to sustain an aura of excitement by evolving and reinventing himself. He never tired of encouraging others to strive and explore.”
Born Sept. 17, 1930, Mitchell grew up in Artesia, N.M., near Roswell and learned to fly as a teenager, washing planes at a nearby airfield in exchange for flying lessons. As a Navy pilot, he completed two tours of duty during the Korean War and went on to earn a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.
Two years later, he completed test pilot training at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., graduating first in his class. That same year, he was selected as a NASA astronaut.
After extensive training and a stint as a backup crew member for the Apollo 10 mission, Mitchell was named lunar module pilot for Apollo 14, NASA’s fourth moon-landing mission and the first after the Apollo 13 crew suffered a near catastrophic explosion en route to the moon.
On Jan. 31, 1971, Mitchell, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center aboard a Saturn V rocket and headed for the moon. On Feb. 5, leaving Roosa, the command module pilot, behind in lunar orbit aboard the Kitty Hawk capsule, Shepard and Mitchell descended to a landing in the Frau Mauro highlands.
During a 33-hour 31-minute stay on the surface, Shepard and Mitchell carried out two moonwalks totaling a record nine hours and 17 minutes and collected nearly 100 pounds of rock and soil samples for return to Earth. During their stay on the surface, Shepard famously hit a golf ball with an improvised six iron and Mitchell threw a jury rigged javelin to demonstrate the moon’s low gravity.
Mitchell and his crewmates returned to Earth on Feb. 9, logging 216 hours and 42 minutes in space. Shepard, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, died in 1998 after a successful post-NASA business career. Roosa died in 1994.
“It’s the 45th Anniv of the #Apollo14 landing on the moon & yesterday we lost another Lunar Pioneer Edgar Mitchell,” Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin tweeted.
Mitchell was “a good complement to Shepard on Apollo 14 because Shepard had been away from training for a few years and Mitchell really understood the lunar module and could help bring Shepard along in the training,” Chaikin said. “Mitchell told me the story of one day in the simulator turning to Shepard and saying ‘OK, boss, you’re ready.'”
Asked how other astronauts viewed Mitchell’s interest in psychic phenomena, Chaikin said “oh, they joked about it. That was pretty much the reaction.”
“I think it’s fascinating,” he said. “I think he was on to something. This idea … that there’s some way in which information is stored in the fabric of spacetime, I think that’s a pretty cool idea”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden remembered Mitchell as “one of the pioneers in space exploration on whose shoulders we now stand.” In a statement, Bolden said:
“As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe.
“Edgar spoke poetically about seeing our home planet from the moon saying: ‘Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth … home.'”
In the family statement provided to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, adopted daughter Kimberly Mitchell said her brother and sisters “consider ourselves so blessed to have had the Dad we did.”
“He was incredibly generous with his heart and his brain, making each of us a better person because we knew him and were shaped by him,” she said. “The lessons of hard work, integrity, curiosity, as well as a deep understanding that all things are possible, is embedded in each of us,” she said.
Mitchell retired from NASA in 1971 and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences two years later.
“In retirement Mitchell wrote extensively on human consciousness,” the family said. “His book ‘Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science’ (1974) became an essential reference for consciousness researchers. Mitchell’s ‘The Way of the Explorer’ (1996) offers an autobiographical account of his interest in human consciousness.
“Additionally, Mitchell authored dozens of articles in professional and popular periodicals. His writings reflect his wonder at the beauty of the universe and his belief in the sanctity of life.”
Mitchell is survived by daughters Karlyn and Elizabeth Kendall; his adopted children Kimberly, Paul Mitchell and Mary Beth Johnson, nine grandchildren, one great-grandchild and several nieces and nephews.
Arrangements for a memorial service were pending Friday afternoon. The family requested, in lieu of flowers, donations to the Astronaut Scholarship Fund, the Institute for Noetic Sciences or Eterna Inc.
Bill Harwood has been covering the U.S. space program full-time since 1984, first as Cape Canaveral bureau chief for United Press International and now as a consultant for CBS News. He has covered more than 125 shuttle missions, every interplanetary flight since Voyager 2’s flyby of Neptune, and scores of commercial and military launches. Based at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Harwood is a devoted amateur astronomer and co-author of “Comm Check: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia.” You can follow his frequent status updates at the CBS News Space page.
ROBIN CHANDLER DUKE, A CHAMPION OF WOMEN’S PRIVILEGES
At 39, she grew to become the 4th wife of Angier Biddle Duke, the scion of two American dynasties. He was Leader John F. Kennedy’s chief of protocol, had already offered as ambassador to El Salvador and would later become Leader Lyndon B. Johnson’s chief of protocol and also the ambassador to The country, Denmark and The other agents.
Ms. Duke’s existence was filled with storybook improbabilities: a lawyer’s daughter left destitute, a teenage model who lied about her age, a reporter, the wife of the diminishing actor, a single mom of two who been successful like a television newscaster, a stockbroker along with a pr executive when women in individuals roles were rare.
Besides her daughter Letitia, Ms. Duke is made it by two other children, Jeffrey Lynn and Angier Biddle Duke Junior. two stepchildren, Marilu Duke Cluett and Dario Duke and 4 grandchildren, Margaret and Nick Valiunas and Eleanor and Angie Duke.
Ms. Duke co-founded the U . s . States-Japan Foundation and it was a director from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the planet Childhood Foundation and also the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. She seemed to be a trustee from the Institute of Worldwide Education as well as an movie director from the Worldwide Save Committee.
She died at Bishop Gadsden, a retirement community where she’d resided recently, stated her daughter, Letitia Lynn.
Besides her work with women’s privileges, family planning and health insurance and teaching programs, Ms. Duke was around the boards from the Guggenheim Museum, American Home Items, Rockwell Worldwide, the Emigrant Savings Bank, Worldwide Tastes and Scents along with other organizations.
She was created Sophistication Esther Tippett in Baltimore on March. 13, 1923, 1 of 2 kids of Richard Edgar and Esther Chandler Tippett. Her parents known as her Robin, and she or he used the nickname her existence. Her father left his law practice when she was 15, and also the family fortunes entered a tailspin. Robin needed to give up of the private school for women. Her parents separate.
Robin Chandler Duke, a rags-to-riches grande dame who married an ambassador and grew to become certainly one of America’s most widely known advocates for ladies by championing reproductive privileges and worldwide family planning, died in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. She was 92.
She also made contacts with editors in the New You are able to Journal-American as well as in 1944 had a job like a author for that women’s page. She used the byline Robin Chandler and covered society news, fashion and also the periodic murder.
But beginning within the seventies when she was at her 50s, Ms. Duke also individually accepted social and political causes, as well as for a lot of the rest of her existence she marketed and brought organizations supporting abortion privileges and legal equality for ladies, the stabilization of rising global populations and health insurance and teaching programs in Africa, Asia along with other parts around the globe.
In 1962, she married Mr. Duke. His father, Angier Buchanan Duke, was heir to area of the American Tobacco Company fortune, many of which visited his cousin, Doris Duke. Mr. Duke’s mother was Cordelia Drexel Biddle, a Philadelphia socialite and author. Mr. Duke have been Leader Harry S. Truman’s ambassador to El Salvador, as well as in 1963 he handled protocol for world leaders at Leader Kennedy’s funeral.
She stated: “What a delight he was! Bloomberg has a few of the same personality, you realize. However I really loved La Guardia. I had been among the lone women wandering around, and that i guess if you are a youthful, pretty blond girl, that can help, but he am nice in my experience.’’
She received many honours and it was frequently in news reports, even just in her 80s, attending fund-raisers on her causes.
In 2000, she grew to become a complete-fledged ambassador herself. Leader Clinton named her his envoy to Norwegian, and she or he offered in Oslo within the final year of his administration.
“She wasn’t Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke,” her husband stated. “She was the Honorable Robin Chandler Duke.”
Her mother moved using the children to New You are able to, leased an area and located act as a tearoom cashier. Robin’s older sister, Peggy, grew to become a photographer’s model, and also at 16, Robin lied about her age and also got employment modeling dresses for that clientele at The almighty &lifier Taylor. She was discovered and fired, but handled to obtain other modeling jobs, including one in the New You are able to World’s Fair in 1939, to assist sustain the damaged family.
In 1980, Leader Jimmy Carter requested her to guide America’s delegation towards the 21st Un Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conference in Belgrade, Serbia, a 5-week gathering of two,000 associates from 154 nations concentrating on the contrasting public guidelines of developed nations, third-world nations, the Soviet bloc and Western democracies. She was approved ambassadorial rank.
The Dukes had one boy, Angier Biddle Duke Junior. Ms. Duke’s husband upon the market from diplomatic service almost 30 years ago. He died in Southampton in 1995 after being struck with a vehicle while skating.
Robin’s struggle like a single mom echoed her mother’s experience. In 1952, she became a member of NBC’s new “Today” show, with Dork Garroway, being an anchor-reporter. She covered the nation’s political conventions and Jacqueline Bouvier’s 1953 marriage to then-Senator John F. Kennedy. From 1953 to 1958, she would be a broker at Orvis Siblings, after which, for 4 years, she was v . p . for pr at Pepsi-Cola.
Within an interview with New You are able to magazine in 2005, Ms. Duke stated her favorite job was employed by The Journal-American when Fiorello H. La Guardia was mayor.
In 1946, she quit the newspaper, married the actor Jeffrey Lynn and gone to live in Hollywood. His film career had prospered within the late nineteen thirties and early ’40s (he performed alongside James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart in Raoul Walsh’s “The Roaring Twenties”), however it faltered after he offered in The Second World War. The Lynns had two children, Jeffrey and Letitia. Robin had an abortion she spoke from it freely later in existence like a trauma that brought to her participation with women’s reproductive privileges.
As Mr. Lynn’s film career evaporated, it largely fell to Robin to aid the household. Together with her background in journalism, she had a job at WCAU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, reading through the night news. The Lynn marriage came apart in early nineteen fifties, even though the couple didn’t divorce until 1958.
Using the wealth, prestige and connections of her second husband, Ms. Duke brought the glamorous existence of the ambassador’s wife for 2 decades, associated him to Whitened House dinners as well as on projects in Madrid, Copenhagen and Rabat, The other agents, entertaining world leaders and royalty abroad and also the crème of society in the Duke houses in Manhattan and Southampton, N.Y.
She was the nation’s co-chairwoman of people Crisis Committee/Draper Fund, which funded Worldwide Planned Being a parent the leader and, later, the chairwoman from the National Abortion Privileges Action League the leader of their successor, Naral Professional-Choice America a founding father of the Un Fund for Population Activities and also the chairwoman of Population Action Worldwide.
She elevated money and campaigned for presidential, congressional, condition and native candidates, mostly Dems, and it was on the first-title basis with leaders in government, business and also the arts.
BOB ELLIOTT, OF COMEDY TEAM BOB AND RAY
Bob Elliott, half of the enduring television and radio comedy team Bob and Ray, has died, He was 92.
Elliott, father of actor-comedian Chris Elliott, died Tuesday at his home in Cundy’s Harbor, Maine, part of the town of Harpswell, Rick Gagne, director of the Brackett Funeral Home, said Wednesday.
The cause of death wasn’t made public.
For nearly 45 years, until the death of Elliott’s comedy partner Ray Goulding, Bob and Ray entertained millions of radio listeners and television viewers.
“He was the kindest, most gentle man I knew, and obviously the funniest. He was a true renaissance man,” Chris Elliott (Groundhog Day, David Letterman’s Late Show and Late Night) said in a statement on behalf of the family.
“I would be happy if I could be just half the man he was,” he said. “And since I’m speaking for my siblings, I know my brother – and all my sisters for that matter – would be happy if they could be half the man he was too.”
Chris Elliott’s daughters are Abby Elliott, who was a Saturday Night Live cast member for four seasons, and actress Bridey Elliott.
“RIP Bob Elliott, the great&funny man who begat Chris Elliott, who begat @elliottdotabby & @brideylee,” Jimmy Kimmel posted on his Twitter account.
Judd Apatow tweeted, “Go listen to Bob and Ray! They are the funniest. Timeless, brilliant comedy.”
Bob and Ray practiced a gentle, quirky brand of comedy that relied not on one-liners or boffo jokes but rather a deadpan delivery that relentlessly skewered pomposity and seriousness.
“I guess it’s the hilarity of pomposity; that hasn’t gone out of fashion,” Elliott said when asked to explain the enduring nature of their humor. Goulding added: “We magnify the insignificant. You know, flourishes and bands accompanying the opening of a sandwich.”
The team won a prestigious Peabody Award in 1956. “They deal primarily in satire, that rare and precious commodity,” the judges wrote. “Their aim is deadly, their level is high, and their material is fresh, original, imaginative, and terribly funny.”
Following Goulding’s death in 1990, Elliott remained active as a solo performer, appearing regularly throughout the ’90s on television and occasionally in films. He played Bob Newhart’s father on the series Newhart and his own son Chris’ father on Get a Life. He also appeared in the films Quick Change and Cabin Boy.
He had also worked solo occasionally during the team’s long run, appearing in the film Author Author and in a handful of TV movies.
He and his late partner were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
Bob and Ray’s long partnership began at Boston radio station WHDH in 1946 when Goulding, after delivering the news on Elliott’s music program, began to stick around and swap anecdotes with the host.
“When we first began, it was 90 percent ad lib,” Elliott recalled in 1992. “A good part of what we did involved two or three hours of playing records, and the records gave you time to think of what to do next.”
Listeners demanded more, however, and the station soon scheduled Matinee with Bob and Ray. It offered offbeat comments on the day’s news, fables about fictitious characters and bogus contest offers.
In a biography of Bob and Ray admirer Woody Allen, Eric Lax wrote that Elliott and Goulding “created thousands of perfectly oddball characters. … They manipulated language the way Satchel Paige manipulated baseballs.”
One elaborate joke, put on during the early days of TV, pretended to offer phony television antennas for sale to radio listeners who wanted to impress their neighbors.
“Try to be a phony in your neighborhood,” the ads proclaimed. “If you’re going to be a phony, be a good one.”
The pair made their own move to television in 1951 with the Bob and Ray show. Unlike Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and other early TV comedians, they did not attract a mass audience. But their low-key humor, once described by The New York Times as “outrageously innocuous,” was cherished by a devoted following.
Their show rarely dealt with topical matters, an exception coming during the Red-hunting days of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Then, during a soap opera parody that took place in the small town of “Skunk Hollow,” they introduced a blustering Commissioner Carstairs, who waved a list of names of supposed miscreants he threatened to expose.
The program, which also featured Cloris Leachman and Audrey Meadows as regulars, ended in 1953.
In New York City, meanwhile, Elliott and Goulding continued to thrive. They appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen television shows and won a regular spot on NBC’s Today Show. They also appeared on Broadway in Bob and Ray, The Two and Only and released record albums and books of their comedy sketches.
Born in Boston, Elliott attended the Feagan School of Drama and Radio.
After an early first marriage to June Underwood ended in divorce, he married Lee Knight in 1954 and they had five children: Colony, Shannon, Amy, Robert Jr. and Christopher.
The comedy team of Bob Elliott, who died on Wednesday at 92, and Ray Goulding crafted hilarious satirical exchanges that made them the godfathers of a broad swath of alternative comedy.
By JASON ZINOMAN
Mary Fiumara, best known as the mother who called for her son to come home for dinner in a classic Prince pasta television commercial of the 1960s, has died at age 88.
Her son confirmed Wednesday that she had died a day earlier but didn’t reveal the cause of her death.
Fiumara is remembered for yelling “Anthony! Anthony!” from an open window of her apartment in Boston’s North End neighborhood in the iconic TV spot. Her son in the commercial, played by 12-year-old Anthony Martigetti, who also lived in the neighborhood, races through the city’s streets before arriving home in time for a spaghetti dinner. The ad declared Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti Day and aired for 13 years in the Northeast.
Martigetti told The Boston Globe that Fiumara was “a legend” in the neighborhood and that the commercial wouldn’t have worked without her.
“There wouldn’t be an Anthony without that voice,” he said.
Fiumara, who was born Mary Fronduto, lived in the neighborhood for more than 75 years. She was married to the late John Fiumara. She is survived by two sons, three grandchildren and a brother.
Prince is part of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based New World Pasta Co. family of brands. The brand, which originated on Prince Street in Boston, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.
MYRON BELDOCK, CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER WHO FOUGHT FOR LOST CAUSES
Remembering Civil Rights Champion Myron Beldock: ‘The real story . . . is the fact that good triumphs over evil, and how hard it is to get there.
February 2, 2016 5:37 PM
Civil rights lawyer Myron Beldock, a champion for the wrongfully convicted and a colleague and friend of the Innocence Project, passed away Monday at the age of 86.
Beldock was best known for his post-conviction representation of exonerees like Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and his co-defendant John Artis—he worked on their case for more than a decade—Yusef Salaam of the Central Park Five and George Whitmore Jr., whose case helped bring an end to many death sentences in New York and influenced the 1966 United States Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona.
The Innocence Project worked with Beldock on the cases of Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Connor, who were convicted in 1993 of a kidnapping in Brooklyn. The pair was exonerated last July after 23 years in prison.
Although Beldock had many high-profile legal wins, he spent most of his career defending poor people of color in criminal cases and litigating civil rights lawsuits.
“I was a creature of my time, liberal, progressive and idealistic,” Beldock told the New York Times in 2014. “ . . . I wanted to rectify injustices and improve the criminal justice system.”
According to Innocence Project Senior Attorney Olga Akselrod, Beldock will be remembered as a crusader for justice.
“Myron was a tireless advocate. Working with him on the case of Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Connor, I was always struck by his remarkable dedication, passion, and relentless pursuit of what was right. He found injustice to be utterly intolerable, and spent his entire life—even up until his final days —fighting against it,” said Akselrod.
Read the New York Times obituary here.