Her death was announced by ABC News.
“Robin arrived home with her sister, Sally-Ann, forging through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved mother in time to see her,” Tom Cibrowski, a senior executive producer of “Good Morning America,” said in an e-mail to the entire news division on Thursday. The Mississippi area was dealing with flooding from the effects of Hurricane Isaac.
In the 1980s, the elder Ms. Roberts was the first black to serve as chairwoman of the Mississippi State Board of Education.
She made many appearances on her daughter’s program and collaborated with her on a book titled “My Story, My Song: Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith.”
Robin Roberts’s departure from “Good Morning America” had been set for Friday. But in a last-minute change of plans, she told her viewers she was leaving a day early to visit her ailing mother.
Besides her daughters Robin and Sally-Ann, Ms. Roberts is survived by another daughter, Dorothy; a son, Lawrence Jr.; and eight grandchildren.
Her husband, Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, died in 2004. He was a member of the all-black Army Air Corps unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He also served in Vietnam, where he was awarded one of his three Legion of Merit medals.
His death was announced on his church’s Web site, which said he had been battling complications from pneumonia, including kidney failure.
Mr. Moon courted world leaders, financed newspapers and founded numerous innocuously named civic organizations. To his critics, he pursued those activities mainly to lend legitimacy to his movement, known as the Unification Church, although his methods were sometimes questionable. In 2004, for example, he had himself crowned “humanity’s savior” in front of astonished members of Congress at a Capitol Hill luncheon.
Mr. Moon was a leading figure in what Eileen V. Barker, a professor emeritus of sociology at the London School of Economics, called “the great wave of new religious movements and alternative religiosity in the 1960s and 1970s in the West,” a time when the Hare Krishna and Transcendental Meditation movements were also gathering force.
Mr. Moon, said Professor Barker, an expert on new religious movements, was “very important in those days — as far as the general culture was concerned — in the fear of cults and sects.”
Building a business empire in South Korea and Japan, Mr. Moon used his commercial interests to support nonprofit ventures, then kept control of them by placing key insiders within their hierarchies. He avidly backed right-wing causes, turning The Washington Times into a respected newspaper in conservative circles.
An ardent anti-Communist who had been imprisoned by the Communist authorities in northern Korea in the 1940s, he saw the United States as the world’s salvation. But in the late 1990s, after financial losses, defections and stagnant growth in the church’s membership, he turned on America, branding it a repository of immorality — he called it “Satan’s harvest” — and repositioned his movement as a crusade for moral values.
As Mr. Moon approached 90, not long after he survived a helicopter crash in 2008, three of his sons and a daughter began assuming more responsibility for running the church and his holdings.
In its early years in the United States, the Unification Church was widely viewed as little more than a cult, one whose polite, well-scrubbed members, known derisively as Moonies, sold flowers and trinkets on street corners and married in mass weddings. In one of the last such events, in 2009, 10,000 couples exchanged or renewed vows before Mr. Moon on a lawn at Sun Moon University near Seoul.
Such weddings were the activity most associated with Mr. Moon in the United States. They were in keeping with a central tenet of his theology, a mix of Eastern philosophy, biblical teachings and what he called God’s revelations to him.
In the church’s view, Jesus had failed in his mission to purify mankind because he was crucified before being able to marry and have children. Mr. Moon saw himself as completing the unfulfilled task of Jesus: to restore humankind to a state of perfection by producing sinless children, and by blessing couples who would produce them.
Marriage was a key part of achieving salvation, and for a couple the marriage was as much a commitment to the church as it was to each other.
In a ceremony involving 2,075 couples at Madison Square Garden in 1982, for example, the men wore identical blue suits and the women lace and satin gowns. Mr. Moon was said to have made the matches, based on questionnaires, photographs and the recommendations of church officials.
Often the couples had met only weeks earlier or could speak to each other only through an interpreter. Many had to remain separated for several years, doing church work, before they were allowed to consummate the unions.
Mr. Moon struggled against bad publicity. He was sent to prison on tax evasion charges and accused of influence-buying and maintaining ties to the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He denied both allegations. In the late 1970s he was caught up in a Congressional investigation into attempts by South Korea to influence American policy. There were battles with local officials over zoning for church buildings and tax-exempt status.
As his church grew more prominent in the 1970s and ’80s, it became embroiled in numerous lawsuits over soliciting funds, acquiring property and recruiting followers. Defectors wrote damaging books. From 1973 to 1986 at least 400 of the church’s flock were abducted by their family members to undergo “deprogramming,” according to an estimate by David G. Bromley, a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and an expert on Mr. Moon. The church denied that it had brainwashed its followers, saying members joined and stayed of their own free will.
Segye Times/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mr. Moon saw himself as completing the unfulfilled task of Jesus: to restore humankind to a state of perfection by producing sinless children, and by blessing couples who would produce them.
Mr. Moon said he was the victim of religious oppression and ethnic bias because of his Korean heritage. Established churches were angered, he said, because they felt threatened by his movement.
“I don’t blame those people who call us heretics,” he was quoted as saying in “Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church” (1977), a sympathetic account by Frederick Sontag. “We are indeed heretics in their eyes because the concept of our way of life is revolutionary: We are going to liberate God.”
Prominent people were paid to appear at Moon-linked conferences. The first President George Bush did so after he left office. Others, like former President Gerald R. Ford, Bill Cosby, Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Jack Kemp, attended banquets and gatherings, sometimes saying afterward that they had not known of a connection between Mr. Moon and the organizations that invited them.
Personal setbacks marked Mr. Moon’s later years. In 1984 his second son, Heung Jin, died at 17 from injuries sustained in a car crash. Another son, Young Jin Moon, who was 21, committed suicide in 1999 by jumping from a 17th-story balcony at Harrah’s hotel in Reno, Nev. In 1995 Nansook Hong, the wife of his eldest son, Hyo Jin Moon, who at one time was Mr. Moon’s heir apparent, broke from the family and wrote a book characterizing her husband as a womanizing cocaine user who watched pornographic movies and beat her, once when she was seven months pregnant.
Ms. Hong portrayed the entire Moon family as dysfunctional, spoiled and divided by intrigue and hypocrisy. (She also wrote that the church believed that the spirit of Heung Jin had returned for a time in the body of a Zimbabwean man who traveled the world and, with Mr. Moon’s sanction, beat straying church members.)
From early on Mr. Moon was revered by his followers as the messiah, and in 1992 he conferred that title on himself. He also declared that he and his second wife, Hak Ja Han, were the “true parents of all humanity.”
Mr. Moon founded the Unification Church in South Korea in 1954 and began organizing it on a large scale in the United States in the early 1970s. It eventually claimed up to three million members worldwide, but historians of religion dispute that number, estimating a membership of 50,000 at the church’s height in the late 1970s, with only a few thousand in the United States. Membership has been difficult to evaluate more recently; church officials give different estimates and often define membership differently, according to an individual’s level of involvement.
Mr. Moon’s organizations established connections with African-American religious leaders, and Mr. Moon made forays into culture and education, establishing a ballet company in South Korea and financing a ballet school in Washington. In 1992 an organization with ties to Mr. Moon rescued the University of Bridgeport, in Connecticut, from bankruptcy, pouring in $110 million in subsidies over a decade and taking effective control. Mr. Moon received an honorary degree.
The university’s administration denied that the church had influence, but critics of the arrangement contended that students were being lured into church training with the promise of scholarships, noted that the church had opened a boarding school on campus for members’ children, and said that the church had used the university to import money, in the form of tuition, as well as followers, in the form of the many foreign students who attended.
For a time Mr. Moon lived in an 18-acre compound in Irvington, N.Y., which Ms. Hong described as having a ballroom, two dining rooms (one with a pond and waterfall), a kitchen with six pizza ovens and an upstairs bowling alley. The church owned another estate, Belvedere, in nearby Tarrytown. Farther north along the Hudson River, the church founded the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, N.Y. On its Web site, it sometimes is referred to as “UTS: The Interfaith Seminary.” Mr. Moon’s business ventures in South Korea at one time or another included construction, hospitals, schools, ski resorts, newspapers, auto parts, pharmaceuticals, beverages and a professional soccer team. He also had commercial interests in Japan, where right-wing nationalist donors were said to be one source of funds.
In the United States, Mr. Moon had interests in commercial fishing, jewelry, fur products, construction and real estate. He bought many properties in the New York area, including the New Yorker Hotel in Midtown Manhattan and the Manhattan Center nearby.
At one time or another he controlled newspapers including Noticias del Mundo and The New York City Tribune; four publications in South Korea; a newspaper in Japan, The Sekai Nippo; The Middle East Times in Greece; Tiempos del Mundo in Argentina; and Ultimas Noticias in Uruguay. In 2000, a church affiliate bought what was left of United Press International.
The extent of his holdings was somewhat of a mystery, but one figure gives a clue: Mr. Moon acknowledged that in the two decades since the founding of The Washington Times, in 1982, he pumped in more than $1 billion in subsidies to keep it going.
The church said its various operations earned tens of millions of dollars a year worldwide.
In their book “Cults and New Religions” (2006), Mr. Bromley and Douglas E. Cowan wrote that according to church doctrine, a member “recognizes Moon’s messianic status, agrees to contribute to the payment of personal indemnity for human sinfulness, and looks forward to receiving the marital Blessing and building a restored world of sinless families.”
Sun Myung Moon was born on Jan. 6, 1920, in a small rural town in what is now North Korea, according to his official biography. When he was 10, his family joined the Presbyterian Church. When he was a teenager, around Easter 1935, according to Unification Church lore, Jesus appeared to him and anointed him God’s choice to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth.
A secular education beckoned, and in 1941 Mr. Moon entered Waseda University in Japan, where he studied electrical engineering. Two years later he returned to Korea and married his first wife, Sun Kil Choi, who bore him a son. In 1946, leaving them behind, he moved to Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea, to found a predecessor of the Unification Church called the Kwang-Ya Church. He was imprisoned by the Communist authorities, and later said that they had tortured him.
He was freed in 1950 — by United Nations forces, his official biography says — and was said to have walked 320 miles to Pusan, on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. There, as the account goes, he built a church with United States Army ration boxes and lived in a mountainside shack.
Despite the centrality of marriage in his developing theology, Mr. Moon divorced his first wife in 1952 (something that was glossed over in the official biography) and the following year moved to Seoul, where he founded the Unification Church in 1954. Within a year, about 30 church centers had sprung up.
Before the decade was out he published “The Divine Principle,” a dense exposition of his theology that has been revised several times; in her book, Ms. Hong, his daughter-in-law, said it was written by an early disciple based on Mr. Moon’s notes and conversation. He sent his first church emissaries to Japan, the source of early growth, and the United States, and began building his Korean business empire.
Rumors of sexual activities with disciples, which the church denied, dogged the young evangelist, and he fathered an illegitimate child born in 1954. In 1960, Mr. Moon married the 17-year-old Hak Ja Han, who would bear him 13 children and be anointed “true parent.”
He embarked on world tours over the next decade and in 1972 settled in the United States, seeing it as the promised land for church growth. “I came to America primarily to declare the New Age and new truth,” he is quoted as saying in the book “Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church.”
He took an interest in politics, urging that President Richard M. Nixon be forgiven for his role in the Watergate crisis. Church leaders plotted a strategy to defend the president. Church rallies in support of Nixon drew thousands to Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the National Mall.
Mr. Moon’s interests expanded into film when a church-linked company backed the 1982 movie “Inchon,” a $42 million Korean War epic notable for its bad reviews and the casting of Laurence Olivier as Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
In the late 1970s, Mr. Moon came under scrutiny by the federal authorities, mainly over allegations that he was involved in efforts by the South Korean government to bribe members of Congress to support President Park Chung-hee. A Congressional subcommittee said that there was evidence of ties between Mr. Moon and Korean intelligence, and that the church had raised money and moved it across borders in violation of immigration and local charity laws.
Then, in October 1981, Mr. Moon was named in a 12-count federal indictment. He was accused of failing to report $150,000 in income from 1973 to 1975, a sum consisting of interest from $1.6 million that he had deposited in New York bank accounts in his own name, according to the indictment.
“I would not be standing here today if my skin were white and my religion were Presbyterian,” Mr. Moon said after the charges were announced. “I am here today only because my skin is yellow and my religion is Unification Church.”
He called the case a government conspiracy to force him out of the country.
Mr. Moon was convicted the next year of tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was assigned to kitchen duty. As his church’s fortunes declined in the United States, Mr. Moon revised his pro-American views. In a 1997 speech, he said America had “persecuted” him. He also attacked homosexuals and American women. Mr. Moon and his church largely dropped from public view in the late ’90s and 2000s, but once in a while they attracted attention. In 2001, a Roman Catholic archbishop from Zambia, Emmanuel Milingo, married a Korean woman in a multiple wedding performed by Mr. Moon. The archbishop then renounced the union.
One of the more bizarre moments in Mr. Moon’s later years came on March 23, 2004, at what was described as a peace awards banquet held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. Members of Congress were among the guests. At one point Representative Danny K. Davis, an Illinois Democrat, wearing white gloves, carried in on a pillow one of two gold crowns, which were placed on the heads of Mr. Moon and his wife.
Some of the members of Congress who attended said they had no idea that Mr. Moon was to be involved in the banquet, though it was hosted by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, a foundation affiliated with the Unification Church.
At the banquet, Mr. Moon stated that emperors, kings and presidents had “declared to all heaven and earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s savior, messiah, returning lord and true parent.”
He added that the founders of the world’s great religions, along with figures like Marx, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin, had “found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons.”
HAL DAVID, AWARD-WINNING LYRICIST
By ROB HOERBURGER
Published: September 1, 2012
- Hal David, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist who in the 1960s and ’70s gave pop music vernacular the questions “What’s It All About?,” “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?,” died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 91.
Hal David in 2011.
The cause was a stroke, according to his wife, Eunice, who said he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Mr. David, whose lyrics could be anguished pleas, wistful yearnings, sexy mash notes or wry musings, and sometimes all four in the same song, was best known for the long strand of hits he and the composer Burt Bacharach wrote for Dionne Warwick.
He was something of a late bloomer: he did not have his first Top 10 hit — “Magic Moments,” recorded by Perry Como — until 1958, when Mr. David was in his late 30s. He achieved his greatest successes well after he turned 40, at a time when many of the other successful songwriters were half his age and many young performers were writing their own songs.
Mr. David’s words also found fertile ground on Broadway, in the hit musical “Promises, Promises”; in the movies, in the Oscar-winning song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”; and at weddings via the classic first-dance song “(They Long to Be) Close to You.”
If Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach’s oeuvre was more cosmopolitan and less hip than that of the Beatles or Bob Dylan, their ruminations on love and heartbreak have nonetheless proved as viable and enduring — after all, not everyone went to Woodstock. Their alternate ’60s was populated on one hand by the turtleneck-and-martini set, embodied by the likes of Tom Jones (who had a hit with “What’s New, Pussycat?”) or the debonair Mr. Bacharach himself, and on the other hand by the everywoman just breaking in her first pair of workplace shoes, like the protagonist of “I Say a Little Prayer,” who runs “for the bus, dear” and while riding thinks “of us, dear.”
“I Say a Little Prayer,” a No. 4 hit in 1967, was the most successful of the three dozen or so singles Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach wrote and produced for Ms. Warwick, whom they met in 1961 when they were journeymen on the New York music-publishing scene and she was a 20-year-old backup singer.
After she sang on some demo recordings of their songs, a disgruntled Ms. Warwick complained to them, “Don’t make me over, man.” Mr. David turned that line into a full lyric, with an unusual (for the time) feminist stance, and Ms. Warwick’s recording of the resulting song, “Don’t Make Me Over,” became her first hit, in early 1963. From then until mid-1971, rarely a month went by when the troika were not represented on the Billboard singles chart, with charismatic hits like “Walk On By,” “Message to Michael,” “Alfie” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”
With Ms. Warwick’s voice in place, Mr. David found his own, writing with the intense romanticism of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters he grew up admiring but replacing the literary curlicues of, say, Lorenz Hart or Oscar Hammerstein II with a conversational emotionalism.
Many years later, Mr. David wrote on his Web site that he strove for “believability, simplicity and emotional impact” in his lyrics. His words, combined with the frequent slaloms of Mr. Bacharach’s melodies and rhythms, often drew — and required — the most skilled technicians and interpreters of the time. Among them were Dusty Springfield (“Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “The Look of Love”), Gene Pitney (“Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa”) and Karen Carpenter (“Close to You”).
The two men’s songs became so popular that they were also recorded by performers not known for their singing, like the actor Richard Chamberlain, who did a recording of “(They Long to Be) Close to You” in 1963, and the trumpeter Herb Alpert, who oddly gave Mr. David his first No. 1 hit, in June 1968, with “This Guy’s in Love With You.”
Lyrics to Remember
A selection of Hal David’s most recognizable songs. (YouTube.com)
Geoffrey O’Brien, reviewing the Bacharach-David body of work in The New York Review of Books in 1999, called Mr. David’s lyrics “a peculiar blend” in which “the encroachments of the maudlin are generally kept at bay by the dexterity of the rhymes.” The fecundity and chemistry of the Bacharach-David team were often attributed by both men to their tireless, dedicated work ethic.
“Hal is so intense,” Mr. Bacharach said in a documentary on the cable channel A&E in the ’90s, adding that Mr. David liked working with people who “torture themselves, just like me.”
While in other ways Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach could not have been more different — Mr. Bacharach was something of a jet-setter and was married to the actress Angie Dickinson; Mr. David was a button-down commuter who took the Long Island Rail Road — Mr. David said their differences enhanced the eclecticism of their songs. “We didn’t say, ‘We can’t do this because the range is so great,’ or ‘Who is going to sing it?’ or ‘Is this commercial?’ ” Mr. David told the music journalist Paul Grein in 1998. “We just wrote.”
Though Mr. Bacharach had the higher profile, Ms. Warwick has said that Mr. David was “the more stabilizing force” of the team and the one “who really got things done for us.” Like practically all pop songwriters, Mr. David treaded most successfully on breakup-and-makeup terrain, but sometimes he would veer gently into political or social themes. “What the World Needs Now (Is Love),” which took Mr. David almost two years to write, reached the Top 10 in 1965 as sung by Jackie DeShannon and went on to be recorded by more than 150 performers. In “Paper Maché” (1970), recorded by Ms. Warwick, Mr. David skewered middle-class materialism with a sharpened Popsicle stick (“There’s a sale on happiness; you buy two, and it costs less”). And “The Windows of the World” reflected the country’s growing anxiety with the Vietnam War. Though it was only a modest hit (again for Ms. Warwick), it was one of Mr. David’s favorites, perhaps because of a personal connection: when he wrote the lyrics in 1967, he had a son, Jim, nearing draft age.
He and Mr. David’s other son, Craig, survive him, as does Eunice, his second wife, and three grandchildren. His first wife, Anne, died in 1987.
Harold Lane David was born in Manhattan on May 25, 1921, a son of Austrian-Jewish immigrants who owned a delicatessen in Brooklyn. One of his brothers, Mack, nine years older, became a successful songwriter first, writing “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine” for Patti Page and the lyrics for “I’m Just a Lucky So-and-So,” which was recorded by Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. When Mr. David wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps, he discouraged him, and Mr. David became an advertising copywriter for The New York Post. After wartime service in the Army, during which he wrote songs, skits and plays, Mr. David was determined to make songwriting his career.
With pop music on uncertain footing in the early ’50s, between the show tune era and the dawn of rock ’n’ roll, Mr. David wrote in an old-school style for big bands and singers like Vic Damone and Teresa Brewer, with only scattered success.
By the end of the ’50s, though, he was writing more popular and memorable songs, like Sarah Vaughan’s Top 10 hit “Broken Hearted Melody,” and once Mr. Bacharach and Ms. Warwick were added to his mix in the early ’60s the hits, as they say, kept on coming.
The sophistication of Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach’s songs was a ticket beyond the Top 40 for them. They often wrote for the movies, and four of their songs were nominated for Academy Awards: “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Alfie,” “The Look of Love” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” the last of which brought them their only Oscar, in 1970.
Their Broadway musical, “Promises, Promises,” an adaptation of Billy Wilder’s film “The Apartment,” opened on Broadway on Dec. 1, 1968, and ran through 1971. It was nominated for a Tony for best musical and won a Grammy for best score from an original cast album. Clive Barnes, reviewing the show in The New York Times, wrote that the score “excitingly reflects today rather than the day before yesterday” and called Mr. David’s lyrics “happily colloquial.”
“Promises, Promises” was revived successfully on Broadway in 2010, with Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes. At the time of the revival, Mr. David told NPR that working on the original show was “the most fun time I’ve had on any project.”
But Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach had a disastrous failure with their score of “Lost Horizon,” a musical version of the 1937 Frank Capra film that was released in 1973 and became a notorious flop. Though the score has aged better than the film, at the time it was dismissed as overcooked and inane, and its reception coincided with profound shifts in musical tastes (disco was emerging) as well as legal disputes for Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach. Ms Warwick sued them, and they did not write together again for almost 20 years.
While Mr. David did collaborate with other composers, most notably Albert Hammond on Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s 1984 hit, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” he spent much of his later years as a kind of songwriting éminence grise and became involved in charitable and foundation work. He was president of Ascap, the songwriters and publishers’ organization, from 1980 to 1986 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. Ms. Warwick’s recordings of “Don’t Make Me Over” and “Walk On By” and the Carpenters’ recording of “Close to You” were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach received the fourth Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress.
Mr. David and his wife became avid art collectors and donated part of their collection of drawings to the U.C.L.A. Hammer Museum in 2003.
Though Mr. David lived to see his songs re-immortalized in movies like “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “There’s Something About Mary” and the Austin Powers series, and in a Broadway revue, “The Look of Love,” he came to think of his art as a lost one. “Pop songs are not as graceful as they used to be,” he told The New York Times Magazine in 1999. “Performers today haven’t gone through the regimen of learning how to write. And of course, everyone wants to own copyrights,” he said. “Rap culture is interesting and different and has purpose, but it has a nonromantic view of life and of social feelings. There may be a void in that.”
Yet with the advent of neo-romantics in pop music, including Alicia Keys and John Mayer, both winners of the Hal David Starlight Award, given by the Songwriters Hall of Fame to young songwriters, his outlook became more upbeat: “The talent is always there,” he told The Oregonian in 2004, “and art is cyclical. I’m optimistic.”
Marc Santora contributed reporting.
STEVE FRANKEN, COMEDIC ACTOR IN DOBIE GILLIS’
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
Published: August 29, 2012
- Steve Franken, a character actor specializing in comedy who appeared in films with Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis and others, but was best known for playing the wealthy and snobbish Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on the hit sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80.
Bruce McBroom/United Artists, via Photofest
Steve Franken in the 1968 film, “The Party,” directed by Blake Edwards.
The cause was cancer, his wife, Jean, said.
Mr. Franken’s television and film career lasted more than 50 years. He was a frequent guest on popular shows like “Bewitched” and “Love, American Style,” and also appeared on “Mission: Impossible,” “Seinfeld” and many other series.
He acted in films with a long list of stars, including Peter Sellers in “The Party” and “The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu”; Mr. Lewis in “Which Way to the Front?” and “Hardly Working”; Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson in “The Missouri Breaks”; and James Garner and Julie Andrews in “The Americanization of Emily.”
But Mr. Franken first gained widespread attention on “Dobie Gillis,” which ran from 1959 to 1963. His character, Chatsworth, was a boastful rich kid who nonetheless was friendly with Dobie (Dwayne Hickman), a grocer’s son, and his beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver).
Stephen Robert Franken was born on May 27, 1932, in Queens. He graduated from Cornell University and began acting in New York City in plays like “Inherit the Wind,” the fictionalized account of the Scopes trial. He landed the Chatsworth role after going to Los Angeles to be in José Ferrer’s production of “Edwin Booth,” in which he played a young version of the title character.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Franken is survived by their daughter, Anne; two daughters from his marriage to Julia Carter, which ended in divorce, Emily Franken and Abigail Glass; and two grandchildren.
BYARD LANCASTER, JAZZ ALTO SAXOPHONIST
By BEN RATLIFF
Published: September 1, 2012
- Byard Lancaster, an alto saxophonist who took part in the great wave of free jazz inspired by John Coltrane and then diversified far into other music and cultures — living in Nigeria, France and Chicago, playing blues, reggae and Afrobeat — but kept returning to Philadelphia, his hometown, died on Aug. 23 at a hospice in Wyndmoor, Pa. He was 70.
Byard Lancaster in 1996.
The cause was cancer, said his sister, Mary Ann Lancaster Tyler.
In 1966, playing flute and bass clarinet as well as alto saxophone, Mr. Lancaster first made his mark among the New York jazz avant-garde, which, after the models of Coltrane and others, was making music often as rushes of collective energy, in improvised harmony and rhythm.
He appeared on landmark recordings of the time by the drummer Sunny Murray and the trumpeter Bill Dixon, and in 1968 released his first album as a leader, “It’s Not Up to Us.” On these records and elsewhere, Mr. Lancaster had more than one style: a hard, bright sound influenced by Coltrane and measured out in long, fast, polytonal peals, and a much more measured, melodic and almost folklike way of playing.
He went on to play with Sun Ra’s Arkestra, the pianist McCoy Tyner and the jazz-funk band Sounds of Liberation.
Mr. Lancaster was born on Aug. 6, 1942, in Philadelphia to Wilbert C. Lancaster Sr. and Minerva A. Lancaster, and grew up in the city’s Germantown section. His father was a chef and caterer who owned a restaurant, Mary Ann’s Lunch Bar and Tea Room. Mr. Lancaster started playing piano at 4 and moved to saxophone a few years later.
His primary residence was the house that his parents bought in 1949, in which he lived from age 7 onward, sharing it with his sister. He mentored local musicians, including the bassist Stanley Clarke, the saxophonist Jaleel Shaw and Kamal Gray, the keyboardist for the Roots. He often practiced in Philadelphia’s subway concourses, which he appreciated for their acoustics. (He was arrested several times for it, in 2000 and 2001, and sued the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, winning $33,000 in two settlements.)
“Jazz was born in downtown Philly,” he maintained in 2008, in liner notes for a CD reissue of his 1973 album “Live at Macalester College.” He was referring to Francis Johnson, a bugler and orchestra leader known to give public performances in Philadelphia during the 1820s that involved improvisation.
Mr. Lancaster attended Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., for a year and studied music at both Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory before moving to New York.
In the 1980s he taught in Jamaica and recorded with the reggae D.J. and toaster Big Youth. In the 1990s, while teaching in Lagos, he befriended the Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti and performed with his group.
Later that decade he lived in Chicago, where he worked with Funkadesi, a blues, reggae and world-music band, and played in the house band at Trinity United Church of Christ. (He had known the church’s pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., since his boyhood in Philadelphia.) In the 1980s and 1990s, he recorded with the blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland.
Mr. Lancaster’s recordings also include “Personal Testimony” (1979), on which he performed solo, using multiple overdubbed voices and instruments, as well as albums by Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society (“Eye on You,” 1980) and Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir (“The Ponderer,” 1990).
In addition to his sister, he is survived by a brother, Dr. Oliver Lancaster; four daughters, Raquel Phelps, Marianne Lancaster, Alicia Lancaster-Silva and Faythaleggra Coleman; and two sons, Brian Lancaster and Cash Byard Lancaster.
“On my future CDs,” Mr. Lancaster wrote in 2008, “I will speak to the world with a combined universal sound: Chinese, Indian, South American, Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Trinidadian, German, English and North Philly rap.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 2, 2012
An earlier version referred imprecisely to the period when Mr. Lancaster recorded with Johnny Copeland, the blues guitarist and singer. It was in the 1980s and 1990s, not the late 1990s.
SHULAMITH FIRESTONE, FEMINIST WRITER
By MARGALIT FOX
Published: August 30, 2012
- Shulamith Firestone, a widely quoted feminist writer who published her arresting first book, “The Dialectic of Sex,” at 25, only to withdraw from public life soon afterward, was found dead on Tuesday in her apartment in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. She was 67.
Shulamith Firestone in about 1970, the year “The Dialectic of Sex” was published.
Ms. Firestone apparently died of natural causes, her sister Laya Firestone Seghi said.
Subtitled “The Case for Feminist Revolution,” “The Dialectic of Sex” was published by William Morrow & Company in 1970. In it, Ms. Firestone extended Marxist theories of class oppression to offer a radical analysis of the oppression of women, arguing that sexual inequity springs from the onus of childbearing, which devolves on women by pure biological happenstance.
“Just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself,” Ms. Firestone wrote, “so the end goal of feminist revolution must be … not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.”
In the utopian future Ms. Firestone envisioned, reproduction would be utterly divorced from sex: conception would be accomplished through artificial insemination, with gestation taking place outside the body in an artificial womb. While some critics found her proposals visionary, others deemed them quixotic at best.
Reviewing “The Dialectic of Sex” in The New York Times, John Leonard wrote, “A sharp and often brilliant mind is at work here.” But, he added, “Miss Firestone is preposterous in asserting that ‘men can’t love.’ ”
The book, which was translated into several languages, hurtled Ms. Firestone into the front ranks of second-wave feminists, alongside women like Betty Friedan, Kate Millett and Germaine Greer. It remains widely taught in college women’s-studies courses.
A painter by training, Ms. Firestone never anticipated a high-profile career as a writer; she had come to writing through preparing manifestoes for several feminist organizations she had helped found.
The crush of attention, positive and negative, that her book engendered soon proved unbearable, her sister said. In the years that followed, Ms. Firestone retreated into a quiet, largely solitary life of painting and writing, though she published little.
Her only other book, “Airless Spaces,” was issued in 1998 by the experimental publisher Semiotext(e). A memoir-in-stories that employs fictional forms to recount real-life events, it describes Ms. Firestone’s hospitalization with schizophrenia, which by the 1980s had overtaken her.
The second of six children of Orthodox Jewish parents, Shulamith Bath Shmuel Ben Ari Feuerstein was born in Ottawa on Jan. 7, 1945, and reared in Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis.
The family Americanized its surname to Firestone when Shulamith was a child; Ms. Firestone pronounced her first name shoo-LAH-mith but was familiarly known as Shuley or Shulie.
After attending Washington University in St. Louis, Ms. Firestone earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1967. Around that time she helped found the Westside Group, a Chicago feminist organization, before moving to New York.
There, she was a founder of three feminist organizations — New York Radical Women, the Redstockings and New York Radical Feminists — begun as alternatives to mainstream groups like the National Organization for Women.
Ms. Firestone came to renewed attention in 1997 with the release of “Shulie,” an independent film by Elisabeth Subrin. Ms. Subrin’s 37-minute film is a shot-for-shot remake of an earlier, little-seen documentary, also titled “Shulie,” made in 1967 by four male graduate students at Northwestern University.
The 1967 film, part of a documentary series on the younger generation, profiles Ms. Firestone, then an unknown art student, as she paints, talks about her life as a young woman and undergoes a grueling review of her work by a panel of male professors.
In the 1997 remake, conceived as a backward look at a social landscape that seemed to have changed strikingly little in 30 years, Ms. Firestone is portrayed by an actress, Kim Soss. Her dialogue is uttered verbatim from the original documentary.
Ms. Subrin’s film, which was shown at the New York Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial and elsewhere, was well received by critics. But it distressed Ms. Firestone, who said she was upset that she had not been consulted in the course of its creation, her sister said this week.
In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Subrin said that she had sent Ms. Firestone a rough cut of her film through an intermediary. The intermediary later told her, she said, that Ms. Firestone “could appreciate it as a labor of love, but she hated the original film and didn’t see how my film was different.”
Besides her sister Laya, Ms. Firestone is survived by her mother, Kate Firestone Shiftan; two brothers, Ezra and Nechemia; and another sister, Miriam Tirzah Firestone.
In “Airless Spaces,” Ms. Firestone writes of life after hospitalization, on psychiatric medication. The account is in the third person, but the story is her own:
“She had been reading Dante’s ‘Inferno’ when first she went into the hospital, she remembered, and at quite a good clip too, but when she came out she couldn’t even get down a fashion rag. … That left getting through the blank days as comfortably as possible, trying not to sink under the boredom and total loss of hope.”
The story continues: “She was lucid, yes, at what price. She sometimes recognized on the faces of others joy and ambition and other emotions she could recall having had once, long ago. But her life was ruined, and she had no salvage plan.”