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Category: World War II

Award-winning TV producer David Gerber dies at 86

Gerber David Gerber, an award-winning television producer and a top executive whose career included roles as executive producer of the 1970s series "Police Story" and "Police Woman" and the 2006 TV movie "Flight 93," has died. He was 86.

Gerber died of heart failure Saturday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, with his wife, actress Laraine Stephens, at his side, said publicist Dale Olson.

In a more than 50-year career in which he headed his own production companies and studio television divisions, Gerber won Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody awards.

Early in his career as an independent producer in the late 1960s and early '70s, he was executive producer of the situation comedies "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and "Nanny and the Professor."

But Gerber was best known in the industry for dealing with serious, often controversial subjects as one of television’s pioneers of social realism.

He shared an Emmy for outstanding drama series as an executive producer of "Police Story," the anthology series created by ex-cop Joseph Wambaugh that ran on NBC from 1973 to 1977.

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Nao Takasugi's UCLA letter

Nao Takasugi

Nao Takasugi was a standout tennis player at UCLA when his family was ordered into a Japanese internment camp. Takasugi, who died Thursday at 87, earned a letterman's sweater, but "I never got the chance to wear it," he told the Ventura County Star in 2005.

Friends wanted to borrow it. It disappeared and Takasugi couldn't recall what happened to it.

He was allowed to leave the internment camp after a few months to finish college in Pennsylvania at Temple and the Wharton School. When he returned to Oxnard after the war, he realized the sweater was gone.

In 2005, UCLA gave him a replacement.

According to the newspaper, one of Takasugi''s sons, Ronald, and one of his former aides, Mark Dodd, had attended UCLA and brought the matter to the attention of the athletic department.

"It was a nice little surprise," Takasugi said.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: Nao Takasugi in 2003, in front of a photo from 1907 of his family's store in Oxnard. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Retired Army Col. Lewis L. Millett, a Medal of Honor recipient, honored by son

Millett Retired Army Col. Lewis L. Millett, a Medal of Honor recipient who died Nov. 14 at 88, was honored by his son, Lee, in a unique way. The Idyllwild resident, a sculptor, has created a series of sculptures honoring Medal of Honor recipients through history, including his dad.

The bronze sculpture depicts Lewis Millett, then a captain, while he led a bayonet charge up a heavily defended hill during the Korean War in 1951.

One of the sculptures of Col. Millett has been on display in the lobby of the Riverside National Cemetery, where Millett will be buried Dec. 5.

"We also have a lithograph of him charging up Hill 180 [by Don Stivers] that's on display, along with a framed photograph of him," said Jim Ruester, the cemetery's public affairs officer.

Lee Millett, who has heard firsthand accounts from many war veterans and has attended numerous military ceremonies and services, remains moved by their service.

"To meet these guys and talk to them is overwhelming," he told the Riverside Press-Enterprise in 2002. "They are real heroes. They put their life on the line. They put their dreams and hopes aside to protect us. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't ... we wouldn't be here today."

-- Dennis McLellan

Photo: Lewis L. Millett in 1995. Credit: Doug Mills / Associated Press

Remembering the fallen on Veterans Day


Today is Veterans Day, when we remember those service men and women who fought for the United States in every war the nation has waged. It was originally called Armistice Day and commemorated the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson made the proclamation:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.…"

In 1938 it became a legal holiday, and in 1954 it became Veterans Day, to honor veterans of World War II and all other wars. Often marked with patriotic parades, somber remembrances and suspension of regular business, it was observed as a three-day holiday weekend for a time in the 1970s, until Congress moved the official holiday back to Nov. 11 starting in 1978.

It remains a holiday for American schoolchildren, teachers and government workers. And all national parks and national forests will be waiving admission fees today. But many office workers will be in their cubicles. I'll have on display my red paper poppy from the British Legion. As a story from the Voice of America notes:  

The symbol comes from a World War I poem by a Canadian military physician, lamenting the death of a friend, citing that on the battlefields where the dead lay, poppies still grew.

Thirty-six-year-old Michael Newcomb sports a poppy on his lapel like millions of other Britons.

"It is an important tradition. A lot of people died. It is important to remember them, and I think it is a very nice tradition," he said.

For many, Veterans Day is especially poignant this year in the wake of last week's tragedy at Ft. Hood. President Obama spoke at a memorial service there Tuesday, and more remembrances are planned today.  

We'd like to hear about your memories of your loved ones on this Veterans Day.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: A cloth poppy is left on a grave after a service at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Ramle in central Israel. The cemetery dates from World War I and is the last resting place for deceased of both world wars, and the period of the British mandate of Palestine. Credit: David Silverman / Getty Images

Robert Stinson, a casualty of World War II, finally comes home


Sixty-five years after Robert Stinson's B-24 bomber went down in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, his remains were returned home Wednesday.  He will be buried Friday at Riverside National Cemetery.

Stinson joined the Army Air Forces out of high school and was a flight engineer when he died in combat on Sept. 1, 1944. He was 24.

After military divers recovered several pieces of leg bone from wreckage off the island nation of Palau, DNA samples provided by his brothers were used to identify the remains.

Said Edward Stinson, who was 9 when his brother died: "Welcome home, brother."

To read the full AP story, click here.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Richard Stinson, left, and Edward Stinson hold a photo of  their brother, Air Force Sgt. Robert Stinson. Military divers recovered Robert's remains, which were then returned to the family. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Raymond Bergstrom: A surfer's first and only board becomes a museum piece

 Screen shot 2009-10-13 at 12.42.24 PM
At the end of the third paragraph of Raymond Oscar Bergstrom’s lengthy paid obituary notice in today’s Times, there’s an “only in California” moment: The engineer donated a wooden surfboard he built as a teen to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.

In a 1936 wood shop class at Los Angeles High School, Bergstrom made his “first and only” surfboard, according to the museum’s winter 2007 newsletter. With a neighbor, he formed a surfing club, braved the ocean in winter without benefit of a wetsuit but left behind the waves in 1941 to serve in the Air Force during World War II.

Although he surfed briefly after the war, “family duties” sent the more than 11-foot board to the garage, where it sat unused for 52 years, until he donated it to the museum in 2001.

Bergstrom, a longtime resident of San Marino, died Oct. 5 at 93.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Ray Bergstrom's wooden board is on display at Huntington Surf & Sport at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach. Credit: Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.


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