Jonathan Benair, 47; Screenwriter, Film Historian
Jonathan Benair, 47, screenwriter and film programmer for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A native of Los Angeles, Benair scheduled films for showing at the museum for eight years in the 1970s and 1980s. He had sold three screenplays, “Beethoven’s Tenth,” “Jagged Edge 2" and “Trollops.” He also did voice-over work, portraying the black and white television set in “The Brave Little Toaster” animated feature. A self-taught film historian, Benair spoke frequently at film festivals and contributed articles to Movieline, the Los Angeles Reader and L.A. Style. He also contributed to the book “Film Noir.” On Monday in Van Nuys of a heart attack and cerebral hemorrhage.
Frank B. Rowlett, 90; WWII Code Breaker
Frank B. Rowlett, 90, cryptographer who solved a major Japanese cipher machine in World War II. Rowlett supervised the half-dozen Army code breakers who, after 18 months of effort, cracked the chief Japanese diplomatic cipher machine, dubbed Purple by U.S. officials, in September 1940. Although the solution gave no warning of the Pearl Harbor attack, it helped Americans in the European theater during hostilities. The Purple machine was used to encrypt the dispatches to Tokyo of the Japanese ambassador in Berlin. One of these detailed German defenses against the expected Allied invasion, revealing position, span and depth of tank ditches and turrets. Rowlett said he believed that the information from that single message saved thousands of U.S. lives. A soft-spoken Virginia mathematics teacher, Rowlett joined what was then the Army’s Signal Intelligence Service in 1930. He earned the National Security Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Order of the British Empire. On Monday in Gaithersburg, Md., of heart failure.
Oliver E. Treyz, 80; Former ABC President
Oliver E. Treyz, 80, who boosted the viability of the ABC network in the late 1950s. Born in Willowemoc, N.Y., Treyz joined the American Broadcasting Company in 1948 in radio sales and soon became manager in research and sales development. After a leave of absence, he was named ABC president in 1956 and retained the position until 1962. In his six-year reign, Treyz courted younger audiences ignored by CBS and NBC but prized by advertisers with prime-time westerns and action shows, including “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick” and “The Untouchables.” Former ABC Chairman Leonard Goldenson described Treyz in his book “Beating the Odds” as “the right man at the right time” and said, “Without Ollie, ABC might very well have failed to achieve parity with the other networks.” He was ousted after Federal Communications Commission hearings on television violence prompted by his airing of “Bus Stop” with homicidal and sexual themes in 1961. On June 14 in Englewood, N.J., of complications from prostate cancer.
Joyce Wieland, 66; Trailblazing Canadian Artist
Joyce Wieland, 66, outspoken Canadian painter, sculptor, quilter and filmmaker. She was the first living female artist to be given a solo exhibition, “True Patriot Love,” at the National Gallery of Canada in 1971. It was then that she exhibited her legendary quilts quoting Pierre Trudeau’s famous motto, “Reason Over Passion.” In 1987, Wieland became the first living female artist to have a retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was a success, but she pointed out that the only reason she got it was because she demanded it. Considered a visionary artist who demanded her rightful place in Canada’s art scene, she became a role model for other female artists and women generally. On Saturday in Toronto of Alzheimer’s disease.