News, notes and follow-ups

Avant-garde filmmaker Adolfas Mekas dies at 85

Adolfas Mekas, a member of the avant-garde New American Cinema movement of the 1960s and a longtime professor of film at New York's Bard College, died Tuesday at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He was 85.

Bard College announced the Lithuanian-born artist's death but did not give the cause.

Mekas immigrated to the United States in 1949 after time spent in a Nazi concentration camp and later in displaced-persons camps in Germany.

In the U.S., he and his brother Jonas founded the journal "Film Culture" and the Filmmakers' Cooperative independent cinema-distribution house. His feature "Hallelujah the Hills" (seen in the Vimeo clip above) played at the Cannes Film Festival in 1963.

Mekas founded the film program at Bard in 1971 and taught until his retirement in 2004.

-- Associated Press


Irene Gilbert: Acting school co-founder 'tried to lift students up to a higher plane,' recalls Holland Taylor

Gilbert Adler The statement that actress Holland Taylor gave to The Times on the death of Irene Gilbert was a tribute to both Gilbert and her mentor, acclaimed New York acting teacher Stella Adler, who was a devotee of the Method school of acting. Gilbert talked Adler into opening an acting school in Los Angeles in 1985.

Taylor's remembrance:

Irene's devotion to this technique was based on a profound understanding of the cultural breadth Stella Adler wished for her students -- that they be freed from the cliché notion of self focus popular since the sixties, that navel gazing waste of time certain actors have. She wanted actors to understand the world, and to be IN the world, and to reflect the world. She wanted them to hold a mirror up to nature, not to look into the mirror they used to shave with. Irene tried to lift students up to a higher plane, where they would, like Stella, make a contribution of their own, to this world. Stella was not about celebrity and had no interest in it. She had other values in mind and Irene put this understanding forward.

Adler "was my teacher, my mentor, my friend; very close to being my mother," Gilbert told The Times in 1999. Her mother and father were killed by a drunk driver when she was 5.

Adler was 91 when she died in 1992. Gilbert died May 21 at 76.

A memorial for Gilbert will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 21 the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre-Los Angeles, 6773 Hollywood Blvd. 


Irene Gilbert dies at 76; cofounder of Stella Adler's Los Angeles acting academy

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Caption: In 1999, Irene Gilbert poses before a portrait of Stella Adler at the Los Angeles acting school. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Andy Robustelli, Hall of Fame defensive end with Rams and Giants, dies at 85

Andy Robustelli, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who was a standout defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants in the 1950s and '60s, has died in Stamford, Conn. He was 85.

Robustelli, an end from Arnold College, was selected by the then-Los Angeles Rams in the 19th round of the 1951 draft. Undersized for his position at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Robustelli was considered a long shot to make the team, according to his online biography on the website of the Hall of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio. He went on to earn seven Pro Bowl selections in 14 seasons with the Rams and Giants.

Those seasons included NFL championships with the Rams in 1951 and the Giants in 1956. In 1962, the Maxwell Club named Robustelli the NFL's outstanding player.

Robustelli eventually played nine seasons with the Giants, the last three as a player coach. He missed one game his entire career and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.

More later at

-- Bloomberg News

Yvette Vickers memorial set for Friday


A memorial service for actress Yvette Vickers, 82, will be held at noon Friday at All Saints Episcopal Church, 504 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. She was best known for her role in two late-1950s cult horror films "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

Vickers was found dead April 27 at her Benedict Canyon home. Her body's mummified state suggested that she could have been dead for close to a year, police said. The county coroner's office said she died of natural causes, specifically heart disease caused by hardening of the arteries, but did not determine when she died.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Yvette Vickers  "proved to have the perfect look for 1950s drive-in films, along with episodic television," according to film historian Alan K. Rode. Credit: Times file photo 


Yvette Vickers dies at 82; former actress and Playboy playmate

Yvette Vickers: The B-movie actress really was 82. Here's how we figured it out.

Gil Scott-Heron, musician and poet who wrote 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' dies at 62 [updated]



Gil Scott-Heron, a musician and the author of the song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" — which helped pioneer sounds that would fuse to become rap — has died in New York City. He was 62.

A friend who answered the telephone listed for his Manhattan recording company confirmed that he died Friday afternoon at a hospital. Doris C. Nolan said he died after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip.

Scott-Heron recorded "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" in the 1970s in Harlem.

He mixed minimalistic percussion and spoken-word performances tinged with politics in a style he sometimes referred to as bluesology. He recorded more than a dozen albums and wrote a handful of books.

Scott-Heron was born in Chicago on April 1, 1949. He was raised in Jackson, Tenn.

[Updated at 9:30 p.m. Scott-Heron's influence on rap was such that he was sometimes referred to as the Godfather of Rap, a title he rejected.

"If there was any individual initiative that I was responsible for, it might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating 'hooks,' which made them more like songs than just recitations with percussion," he wrote in the introduction to his 1990 collection of poems, "Now and Then."

He referred to his signature mix of percussion, politics and performed poetry as bluesology or Third World music. But then he said it was simply "black music or black American music."

"Because Black Americans are now a tremendously diverse essence of all the places we've come from and the music and rhythms we brought with us," he wrote.

Scott-Heron followed up "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" with more than a dozen albums, initially collaborating with musician Brian Jackson. His most recent album was "I'm New Here," which he began recording in 2007 and which was released in 2010.

Before turning to music, he was a novelist, at age 19, with the publication of "The Vulture," a murder mystery.

He also was the author of "The Nigger Factory," a social satire.]

More later at

-- Associated Press



Photo: Gil Scott-Heron in 1992. Los Angeles Times

Former Sparks player Margo Dydek dies at 37


Margo Dydek, a former WNBA star who played with four teams in the professional women's basketball league, including the Sparks, died Friday in Brisbane, Australia, a week after suffering a heart attack. She was 37.

Cathy Roberts, the operations manager for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League, where Dydek was head coach, confirmed her death.

The Poland-born Dydek, who was pregnant with her third child, suffered the heart attack on May 19. She collapsed at her home in Brisbane and was put in a medically induced coma.

Roberts said that Dydek was at an early stage in her pregnancy and that her unborn child had also died.

Dydek was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and the Sparks.

The 7-foot-2 Dydek was once said to be the tallest active professional female basketball player in the world.

She held the record for most blocks in a WNBA career, with 877 in 323 games, and led the league in blocks nine times, from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07.

In August 2008, Dydek signed with the Sparks following time away from basketball due to the birth of her first son in April 2008.

An entry on Dydek's Facebook page says she was born April 28, 1974, in Warsaw, Poland, to a 6-foot-7 father and a 6-foot-3 mother. She had two sisters, and her elder sister, Kashka used to play for the Colorado Explosion of the now-defunct ABL, and in Poland.

Tina Thompson, a former teammate of Dydek's on the Sparks, said on the WNBA's Twitter feed: "My condolences to the family of Margo Dydek, may she rest in peace!"

The Brisbane-based Wizards posted a statement on their website Friday.

"Always in our hearts - Margo," it said. "With great sadness we acknowledge the passing of … Margo Dydek. Margo suffered a heart attack just over a week ago and passed away Friday 27th May, peacefully and surrounded by her family.

"You were a much-loved member of our community and we will miss you greatly. Our hearts go out to your family, David and your beautiful boys."

She is survived by her husband, David, and two sons, David, 3, and Alex, 7 months.


Notable sports deaths of 2011

Notable deaths of 2011

Huguette Clark dies at 104; reclusive heiress

-- Associated Press


Photo: As a member of the Sparks, Margo Dydek faces off against Atlanta's Katie Feenstra in a 2008 WNBA game. Credit: Associated Press



Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington dies in Mexico at 94


Leonora Carrington, a British-born Surrealist painter and sculptor who is widely known for her haunting, dreamlike works, has died in Mexico. She was 94.

Mexico's National Arts Council confirmed the death, though not the cause. Mexico City's J. Garcia Lopez funeral home said Thursday that Carrington's body had arrived for a wake.

Considered one of the last of the original Surrealists, was one of a number of artistic and political emigres who arrived in Mexico in the 1940s.

A full obituary will follow at

RELATED: Surrealism hits the streets in Mexico City

--Associated Press

Photos, from top: Bronze sculptures by artist Leonora Carrington were exhibited along Mexico City's Avenue Reforma in 2008; earlier this year, Carrington celebrated her 94th birthday at a Mexico City museum. Credits: Susana González / For The Times; European Press Agency / Sashenka Gutierrez


Mark Haines, host of CNBC's 'Squawk on the Street,' dies at 65

Mark Haines, co-anchor of CNBC's morning "Squawk on the Street" show, died unexpectedly on Tuesday evening, the network said from New York. He was 65.

The network said he died in his home. It did not specify the cause of death.

Haines worked at CNBC for 22 years after working as a news anchor at TV stations in Philadelphia, New York and Providence, R.I.

He was the founding anchor of CNBC's "Squawk Box" morning show. In 2005, he started co-anchoring "Squawk in the Morning," a 9 to 11 a.m. show, with Erin Burnett, while "Squawk Box" was pushed to an earlier slot. Burnett recently left CNBC to host a general news show on CNN.

CNBC President Mark Hoffman said Haines was "always the unflappable pro."

"He was an authentic voice in business media," said Eric Jackson, who runs the hedge fund Ironfire Capital. "He resonated with so many people because he would speak out, and with opinion. Too often the media lets the corporate PR army and highly trained CEOs get their points across without question. He wouldn't let that happen."

Barry Ritholtz, head of the research firm Fusion IQ and a frequent guest on CNBC, said Haines was "a no-nonsense straight shooter. He knew what questions to ask and how to ask them."

Ritholtz said that the biggest complaint about CNBC in the 1990s was that its anchors cheered on the stock-market bubble. He said the exception was Haines, who was always skeptical.

"He was trained as an attorney," Ritholtz said. "He brought that keen lawyer's eye to everything he did. It wasn't something often seen in the financial media."

Haines had a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was a member of the New Jersey State Bar Assn., CNBC said.

Haines is also remembered for calling a bottom to the stock market decline on March 10, 2009, his first call of the recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average never closed below its level of March 9.

Haines is survived by his wife, Cindy, his son, Matt, and daughter, Meredith.

CNBC said funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

-- Associated Press

Heiress Huguette Clark, owner of lavish Santa Barbara estate Bellosguardo, dies at 104


Huguette Clark, the 104-year-old heiress to a Montana copper fortune who owned a Santa Barbara mansion built on a 23-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, has died at a Manhattan hospital even as an investigation continues into how her millions were handled.

Clark Clark spent the last two decades of her life in New York City hospitals. She died Tuesday, "with dignity and privacy," her lawyer, Wallace Bock, said in a statement.

The statement was released by Robert Anello, an attorney who represents Bock in an investigation into Clark's finances.

The Manhattan district attorney is looking into claims made by Clark's family that she was kept isolated from almost everyone except Bock and her accountant and that she may not have understood decisions being made related to her fortune.

Clark was born in 1906 to a then-67-year-old U.S. senator, William A. Clark of Montana, and a 28-year-old Michigan woman named Anna Eugenia La Chapelle. Clark had made a fortune in mining and was one of the richest men in America. He built railroads across the United States, founding Las Vegas in the process.

Huguette Clark's fortune is believed to be worth some $500 million. As of last year, she still owned a 42-room, multi-floor apartment at 907 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and a Connecticut castle surrounded by 52 acres of land in addition to the Santa Barbara estate.

Beginning in the 1960s, Clark rarely left her Fifth Avenue home, having whatever she needed delivered. She moved into a hospital in the 1980s.

Bock and accountant Irving Kamsler had been in charge of her financial affairs for years, and they're among the few people who have contact with her. Distant relatives say they have not seen her in years.

More later at

RELATED: Bellosguardo, Santa Barbara seaside jewel

-- Associated Press

Photos: The Bellosguardo mansion in Santa Barbara (top) and Huguette Clark in 1930. Credits: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times (top) and Associated Press file (bottom)

Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, 58, killed in car crash

Randy_savage The professional wrestler known as Randy “Macho Man” Savage has died in a car crash in Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol says in a crash report that the 58-year-old former wrestler — whose legal name is Randy Mario Poffo — was driving a Jeep Wrangler when he lost control in Pinellas County around 9:25 a.m. local time.

The Jeep veered over the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes and collided head-on with a tree.

Police say he may have suffered a “medical event” before the accident, but the report did not elaborate, and it said officials would need to perform an autopsy to know for sure.

The report confirms that the driver was the pro wrestler known as Randy Savage. A woman in the vehicle suffered minor injuries.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Randy Savage at the American Music Awards in November 2003 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Credit: Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Garret FitzGerald, former Irish prime minister, dies at 85

Fitz Garret FitzGerald, who as Ireland's prime minister in the 1980s was an early architect for peace in neighboring Northern Ireland, died Thursday in a Dublin hospital, the government and his family announced. He was 85.

Flags were lowered to half-staff as politicians of all parties paid tribute to FitzGerald as a man of integrity and vision.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, on the third day of her visit to Ireland, hailed FitzGerald as "a true statesman" who had "made a lasting contribution to peace."

FitzGerald, former leader of Ireland's perennial No. 2 party Fine Gael, lived just long enough to see Fine Gael finally overtake its old enemy, the Fianna Fail party, and claim first place in a national election this year for the first time.

FitzGerald's closest political colleagues said he was deeply heartened to see this week's first-ever trip to Dublin by the queen, a crowning event of the Northern Ireland peace process that FitzGerald did much to promote during his two terms in office between 1981 and 1987.

FitzGerald's greatest triumph was the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1985 with Britain, an achievement shaped by his Dublin upbringing with a northern Protestant mother and southern Catholic father.

FitzGerald was a unique figure in Irish politics: an intellectual and university economist who turned to parliament in mid-career. His polished manners and soft-spoken wit offered a polar opposite to Ireland's dominant politician of the day, the corrupt and coarse Charles Haughey. Their parliamentary battles were the centerpiece of Irish political life in the 1980s.

FitzGerald, a relative liberal in his conservative Catholic party, sought greater roles for women in public life. He was an enthusiast for the European Union, which Ireland joined soon after Fine Gael came to power in 1973. FitzGerald served as foreign minister in that 1973-77 government.

As prime minister between 1981 and 1987, FitzGerald was unable to reverse a fiscal and economic crisis bequeathed him by the reckless spending of Haughey's government of the late 1970s.

Ireland suffered double-digit unemployment, heavy emigration and a losing battle to control deficits during his six years in power.

Fine Gael's partner in government, union-linked Labour, refused to back FitzGerald's austerity plans, and the coalition installed in June 1981 collapsed after eight months. Haughey returned to power but only for nine months, and FitzGerald returned in 1982 heading another coalition.

After resigning as Fine Gael leader after the party's election defeat in 1987, FitzGerald remained active during election campaigns.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Garret FitzGerald in 1984. Credit: Getty Images

Murray Handwerker of Nathan's Famous hot dogs dies at 89

Murray Handwerker, who helped grow Nathan's Famous from his father's Coney Island hot dog stand into a national franchise, died Saturday at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He was 89.

Handwerker had suffered from dementia and died in his sleep, said his son, Bill.

Handwerker's father, Nathan, opened the Coney Island stand in 1916, four years after emigrating from Poland. Murray was born on July 25, 1921, and spent so much time in the restaurant that he said he came to regard the frankfurter bun boxes as his playpen.

He worked in nearly every aspect of the business, from stacking pallets of hot dogs to manning the grill. As a teenager, Murray Handwerker told his son, he sometimes worked at the grill so long his body had trouble recovering.

"His fingers started flapping like he was using the pincher when he came home from the store," Bill Handwerker said.

Seeing the appeal Nathan's had, Handwerker returned from the Army during World War II with a broader world view and new ideas on expanding the business.

He offered franchises. He led the company to go public. And he put its hot dogs on supermarket shelves across the country.

Handwerker sold the company to private investors in 1987.

-- Associated Press



Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Profiles of military personnel killed in Iraq
and Afghanistan.


Lives in Pictures »

Search Paid Obituaries »

First Name
Last Name
Powered by ©

Yesterday's Obituaries