His former agent, Michael B. Druxman, announced the death on Friday, saying the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in Syria, Mr. Ansara mostly played ethnic roles, Indians being a particular specialty. He became a star in the 1950s on the ABC television show “Broken Arrow,” a fictionalized account of the friendship between the Apache chief Cochise, played by Mr. Ansara, and the Indian agent Tom Jeffords, played by John Lupton.
“Broken Arrow” was on the air from 1956 to 1958. A year later, Mr. Ansara was back on television as another Apache, on the short-lived NBC series “Law of the Plainsman.” This time he played a United States marshal with a Harvard degree.
Indian roles kept coming, on shows like “Wagon Train” and “Gunsmoke” and in movies like “Texas Across the River” (1966). But he was also cast as an Egyptian taskmaster in “The Ten Commandments,” the 1956 epic with Charlton Heston; as Judas Iscariot in “The Robe” (1953), with Richard Burton and Jean Simmons; and an Arabian prince who kidnaps an American movie star, played by Elvis Presley, in “Harum Scarum” (1965).
His long résumé included characters who were Italian, Hispanic and, once in a while, even Americans of no particular ethnicity.
In one of his most memorable roles he embodied another species altogether, as the evil Klingon leader Kang in “Star Trek.” He played the part, complete with wing-like eyebrows, on the original television series in 1968 and reprised the role for two of its TV descendants: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager.” He was one of a handful of actors to play the same part on three different “Star Trek” series.
Mr. Ansara was a guest star on many of the most well-known television series of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin,” “The Rifleman,” “The Untouchables,” “Perry Mason,” “The Outer Limits,” “Ben Casey,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Lost in Space,” “Bewitched,” “The Fugitive,” “The Mod Squad,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Hawaii 5-0” and “Kojak.”
He last appeared on screen in “Long Road Home,” an independent film made in 1999, in which he played a man who unexpectedly becomes the guardian of his estranged grandson. Most recently he provided the voice of Mr. Freeze in the animated TV series “Batman” and “Batman Beyond.”
Michael Ansara was born on April 15, 1922, in a small town in Syria. His family moved to Massachusetts when he was 2 and Los Angeles when he was 10.
He studied at Los Angeles City College and originally planned to become a doctor, but changed his mind after he began studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in an effort to overcome shyness. He began his career onstage and made his screen debut in the 1944 thriller “Action in Arabia.”
Mr. Ansara was married three times. His first marriage, to the actress Jean Byron, who would go on to play the mother on “The Patty Duke Show,” lasted from 1949 to 1956. After his divorce, the publicity department at 20th Century Fox set him up on a date with the actress Barbara Eden, best known as Jeannie on “I Dream of Jeannie.” They were married in 1958.
He later appeared in a few episodes of Ms. Eden’s show, each time as a different character. The two divorced in 1973. They had one son, Matthew, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2001.
Mr. Ansara’s survivors include his wife of 36 years, the actress Beverly Kushida; and a sister, Rose Browers.
Although Cochise on “Broken Arrow” was his career-defining role, Mr. Ansara found himself frustrated by its limitations. “Cochise could do one of two things,” he once said: “stand with his arms folded, looking noble; or stand with his arms at his sides, looking noble.”
Almost invisibly in her own day, Natalie de Blois, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, helped guide the design of three of the most important corporate landmarks of the 1950s and ‘60s — the headquarters of Lever Brothers, Pepsi-Cola and Union Carbide — whose suave steel-and-glass facades still exude the cool confidence of postwar Park Avenue.
“There wasn’t anybody in the country quite like Natalie, because there was no one else working for a firm quite like Skidmore,” said Beverly Willis, the founder and chairwoman of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation in New York, which seeks to raise the general consciousness about the role of women in the building industry.
“At that point, there were only five or six women across the U.S. who had a substantial architectural practice,” Ms. Willis said. “And, of course, Natalie was doing bigger buildings, and she was doing them in the heart of Manhattan. These were celebrated buildings that the press fawned over, but Natalie’s name was never mentioned.”
Gordon Bunshaft was the Skidmore partner whose name is most closely associated with the Union Carbide Corporation Headquarters of 1960, 270 Park Avenue, now the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Company; Lever House of 1952, 390 Park Avenue; and the former Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters of 1960, 500 Park Avenue.
“Natalie and Gordon Bunshaft were a team,” Ms. Willis said. “He took all the credit and she did all the work.”
Debates can always be had about the provenance of almost any significant architectural project, particularly one coming out of an office as large and collaborative as Skidmore (where my father was a partner until his death in 1973). No one person can ever wholly claim credit.
But there is little doubt that Ms. de Blois, who died last week, was long denied her due. That was acknowledged 40 years ago by Nathaniel A. Owings, a founding partner of the firm, in his autobiography, “The Spaces In Between: An Architect’s Journey.”
Of Ms. de Blois, he wrote: “Her mind and hands worked marvels in design — and only she and God would ever know just how many great solutions, with the imprimatur of one of the male heroes of S.O.M., owed much more to her than was attributed by either S.O.M. or the client.”
God knew she was often slighted.
Just before a meeting about the International Arrivals Building planned at Idlewild Airport (now Kennedy International), Mr. Bunshaft looked at Ms. de Blois and said: “You can’t come to the meeting unless you go home first and change your clothes. I don’t like green.” Ms. de Blois did just that, she recalled in a 2004 interview in the S.O.M. Journal.
Ms. de Blois was pregnant with the third of her four sons — Frank, Robert, Patrick and Nicholas — when she was invited to the opening of the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company Headquarters in Bloomfield, Conn., on which she had worked. “You know,” Mr. Bunshaft said, “don’t come to the opening if you haven’t had that baby yet.”
Perhaps she persevered in the face of such treatment because construction ran in her blood. She was born on April 2, 1921, in Paterson, N.J. Her father, an engineer like his father and his father’s father, encouraged his daughter when she dreamed of becoming an architect.
After she received an architecture degree from Columbia University in 1944, Ms. de Blois began working at a small firm on East 57th Street. When she resisted a colleague’s romantic advances, she was let go because he said he couldn’t concentrate with her around. But her boss did her a favor: he introduced her to Louis Skidmore, whose office was downstairs.
Mr. Skidmore hired her. She practiced in New York until the early 1960s, when she moved to Skidmore’s Chicago office, where she was made an associate partner. Over time, her portfolio included the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, the Hilton Hotel in Istanbul and the Equitable Building in Chicago. She left the firm in 1974, having never been elevated to full partnership.
By then, however, her reputation had begun to catch up with her achievements.
“When I was a young architect in the ‘70s and ‘80s, there weren’t that many older women architects who had worked on a scale other than domestic,” said Sara Caples, a principal in Caples Jefferson Architects in Long Island City, Queens. “It was definitely encouraging to know that was out there.”
The more she learned, Ms. Caples said, the more she appreciated the fact that Ms. de Blois was not simply a female architect, but a good one.
“She was a designer who was a great practitioner of lightness in architecture,” Ms. Caples said, “with an elegant sense of proportion.”
Ms. de Blois died on July 22 in Chicago, at 92.
Her buildings survive. Beautifully.
GEORGE SCOTT, SLUGGER WHO BOOMED ‘TATERS’ IN FENWAY
George Scott, standing left, with, from left, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice and Butch Hobson after a 1977 game against Baltimore.
By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN
Published: July 29, 2013
- George Scott, whose slugging and sharp fielding at first base helped propel the Boston Red Sox to their 1967 “Impossible Dream” American League pennant, died on Sunday in Greenville, Miss. He was 69.
His death was confirmed by the Washington County coroner, Methel Johnson, The Delta Democrat-Times of Greenville reported. The Boston Herald said in November that Scott had diabetes and had difficulty walking.
Playing 14 seasons in the major leagues, the right-handed-batting Scott was a three-time All-Star and hit 271 home runs, or taters, as he called them. He was credited with popularizing the term in the 1970s, though its precise origin as a baseball expression is murky.
Scott hit 19 home runs, drove in 82 runs and batted .303 for the 1967 Red Sox. His batting average was fourth best in the American League.
The Sox won the pennant — their first in 21 years — on the season’s final day after finishing in ninth place the previous year. The team’s formidable roster also included Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro and Rico Petrocelli and the pitching ace Jim Lonborg. But the Red Sox lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Listed at 6 feet 2 inches and 210 pounds, Scott was evidently well over that, to the consternation of Dick Williams, the manager of the ’67 Sox. But Scott was agile at first base, winning eight Gold Glove awards. He also occasionally played third base.
Scott became known as the Boomer — a designation later bestowed on the free-spirited and outsized pitcher David Wells — for his prodigious home runs.
But a tater was a tater, no matter the length.
“Anything over 450 feet, I’d call it a long tater,” Scott told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., in 2007. “A short tater was one that barely got over the wall.”
George Charles Scott Jr. was born on March 23, 1944, in Greenville, the youngest of three children. His father, a laborer in cotton fields, died when he was a baby. His mother, Magnolia, worked several jobs to support the family. Scott was a baseball, basketball and football star in high school before being signed by the Red Sox in 1962.
As a rookie in 1966, he hit 27 home runs and was named an All-Star, though he led the league in strikeouts with 152.
Scott played for the Red Sox through the 1971 season and then was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. He tied Reggie Jackson, then with the Oakland A’s, for the league lead in home runs in 1975 with 36 and was No. 1 in runs batted in that season with 109.
He returned to the Red Sox in 1977, played two full seasons in his second stint in Boston, and then split the 1979 season with the Red Sox, the Kansas City Royals and the Yankees before retiring.
He had 1,992 hits, 1,051 R.B.I. and a .268 batting average for his career.
Despite his battles with his weight, he stole 10 bases for the ’67 Red Sox and 16 for the ’72 Brewers.
A list of survivors was not immediately available.
After leaving the major leagues, Scott played and managed in the Mexican League and managed independent teams in the minors.
He was honored by the Brewers in April with a bobblehead giveaway day. One of the most popular Red Sox players of his time, he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2006 and followed the Sox closely on TV.
“I don’t watch the Brewers,” he told The Boston Herald last year. “I don’t watch the Royals. I don’t watch the Yankees. But I watch the Red Sox, every pitch.”
EILEEN BRENNAN, STALWART OF FILM AND STAGE
Warner Brothers Pictures, via Associated Press
Eileen Brennan as Capt. Doreen Lewis in “Private Benjamin.”
By ANITA GATES
Published: July 30, 2013
- Eileen Brennan, a smoky-voiced actress who had worked in show business for more than 20 years before gaining her widest attention as a gleefully tough Army captain in both the film and television versions of “Private Benjamin,” died on Sunday at her home in Burbank, Calif. She was 80.
Columbia Pictures, via Photofest
Ms. Brennan in the 1971 film “The Last Picture Show.”
Her manager, Kim Vasilakis, confirmed the death on Tuesday, saying the cause was bladder cancer.
Ms. Brennan had had a solid career on the New York stage and in films like “The Last Picture Show” and “The Sting” when she was cast for the film “Private Benjamin,” a 1980 box-office hit starring Goldie Hawn in the title role.
Ms. Brennan played Capt. Doreen Lewis, the slow-burning commanding officer of a pampered, privileged young woman who joins the Army and finds that she isn’t anybody’s little princess anymore. The performance brought Ms. Brennan an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. She reprised the role in 1981 in a CBS sitcom based on the film, with Lorna Patterson in the Goldie Hawn role. The TV performance brought Ms. Brennan the Emmy Award for best supporting actress in a comedy, variety or music series.
But she was forced to leave “Private Benjamin” when she was hit by a car and critically injured in Venice, Calif. Without her, the series died in 1983.
While recovering Ms. Brennan became addicted to pain medication and underwent treatment. She later developed breast cancer.
She returned to television in 1985 in a new sitcom, “Off the Rack,” with Edward Asner, but the show lasted only six episodes. Afterward she made guest appearances on other shows, but she never recaptured the attention she had known in the past — as the toast of Off Broadway in “Little Mary Sunshine,”as a film actress in the 1970s, and as an honored comedy star just before her accident.
Verla Eileen Regina Brennen was born on Sept. 3, 1932, and grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of a newspaper reporter who also worked in sales and a former actress. Later in life, dealing with her own alcohol dependency, she talked about the alcoholism in her family when she was a child.
After attending Georgetown University, she studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, performed in summer stock and worked as a singing waitress.
Her first big role was as the title character in Rick Besoyan’s “Little Mary Sunshine,” a 1959 parody of operettas that played at the Orpheum Theater. She won an Obie Award for her portrayal of the show’s spunky, fluttery-eyed heroine. A year later she complained to The New York Times that she had been “hopelessly typecast as that kookie girl.”
Perhaps to prove otherwise, she promptly starred in the national tour of “The Miracle Worker,” as Helen Keller’s gravely serious teacher, Annie Sullivan.
In 1963, Ms. Brennan earned positive reviews as Anna in a City Center revival of “The King and I.” In 1964, she was cast as Irene Molloy, the young widow, in the original Broadway production of “Hello, Dolly!,” with Carol Channing.
Among later stage performances, she appeared in John Ford Noonan’s “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking,” a critically praised 1980 two-woman show with Susan Sarandon, and Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (1998), in which she played an alcoholic Irishwoman.
Ms. Brennan made her television debut in “The Star Wagon,” a 1966 PBS special, based on Maxwell Anderson’s play about a man who invented a time machine. Her film debut came a year later, in “Divorce American Style,” a comedy starring Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke.
After a brief stint as an original cast member (along with Ms. Hawn) of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” the 1960s sketch-comedy series, she did her first picture, playing a world-weary Texas waitress in “The Last Picture Show” (1971), directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
Mr. Bogdanovich cast her again in “Daisy Miller” (1974), as a society hostess, and in “At Long Last Love” (1975), as a singing maid.
Ms. Brennan played a madam with a heart of gold in the Oscar-winning 1973 film “The Sting” and appeared in two comedy-noir films written by Neil Simon, “Murder by Death” (1976) and “The Cheap Detective” (1978).
In later years, she appeared in “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” (2005), as William Shatner’s mother (despite being a year younger than he was). But she was most visible making guest appearances on television.
In addition to the Emmy she won, Ms. Brennan received six other Emmy nominations. Two were for “Private Benjamin.” The others were for her work in “Taxi,” “Newhart,” “Thirtysomething” and “Will & Grace,” in which she played Sean Hayes’s formidable acting teacher.
Throughout her career she talked openly about addiction. “It’s so horrible and it can be so disastrous, yet there’s something about the sensitivity of the human being that has to face it,” she said in a 1996 interview. “We’re very sensitive people with a lot of introspection, and you get saved or you don’t get saved.”
Ms. Brennan was married from 1968 to 1974 to David John Lampson, an aspiring actor. Their two sons, Patrick and Sam, survive her, along with a sister, Kathleen Howard, and two grandchildren.
FROM SUNDAY REVIEW
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
In response to an essay by Margalit Fox, we asked readers to submit stories of people who had an impact on society but had been lost to history. Here is a selection of the submissions.