Arthur Batanides; Character Actor in TV Series
Arthur Batanides, 77, a character actor in television series ranging from science fiction to comedies, westerns and police shows, and in such films as “Police Academy.” Born in Tacoma, Wash., Batanides got hooked on acting during World War II when he entertained his fellow soldiers in Europe with comedy routines. Later he studied drama at Los Angeles’ now-defunct Actors Lab. Trained for the stage, he adapted more easily than many seasoned motion picture veterans to live television, appearing on the prestigious “Playhouse 90,” among other early shows. In 1953, he landed his first semi-regular role as a bad guy in “Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers,” starring Cliff Robertson. Batanides appeared in the 1950s in the John Carradine film “The Unearthly” and the James Garner TV series “Maverick.” He went on to roles in the television series “Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” “Time Tunnel” and “Lost in Space” and became the short-lived Lt. D’Amato on “Star Trek.” Out of his scores of roles over four decades, Batanides rated among his favorites those on “Mission: Impossible,” “The Andy Griffith Show” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” In the 1980s, he played the role of Mr. Kirkland in four “Police Academy” sequels. On Monday in Los Angeles.
* Allen K. Breed; Pioneered Automobile Air Bags
Allen K. Breed, 72, pioneer in development of air bag technology. A manufacturing and design engineer, Breed started his own company in 1961 to make triggering devices for military weapons. He later recognized that the devices could be used to save lives. In 1968, he produced a crash sensor that could trigger an auto air bag. It took two decades and federal pressure, however, to convince U.S. auto makers to buy his product. “We lost track of how many times we heard ‘No,’ ” he told Inc. magazine in 1995, when it named him entrepreneur of the year. Other companies were also trying to market air bag sensors, but Breed was described by an automotive trade publication as the most determined. About 30 million vehicles were equipped with his sensors in 1995, which brought sales of more than $400 million that year and made Breed one of the most profitable suppliers of the devices in the automotive industry. Breed formed Breed Technologies in Lakeland, Fla., in 1987 to develop, design and manufacture the sensors and air bag systems. He was inducted into the 1999 Automotive Hall of Fame for his contributions to auto safety and made the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans in 1994. On Dec. 13 in an Orlando, Fla., hospital after a protracted battle with cancer.
* Barney Sanford Childs; Experimental Composer
Barney Sanford Childs, 73, composer of experimental music and professor at the University of Redlands. Born in Spokane, Wash., Childs did not formally study composition until he was in his 20s and working on a doctorate in literature at Stanford. Some music courses there led to a summer music institute at Tanglewood, Mass., and to studies with Aaron Copland, Leonard Ratner, Carlos Chavez and Elliott Carter. Michael Newman, writing in “Contemporary Composers,” said it was “rather too easy to describe his music as eclectic.” Childs experimented with sound qualities in compositions that often called for unusual techniques on conventional instruments and for unusual instruments, such as the ceramic ones used in his “Clay Music.” “Sometimes I wonder about what we are doing: The writing of music hardly anyone wants to hear is pretty well the bottom of the list in terms of today’s consumer-approved activities,” he once said. But he added, “My job is to the write the music, to give it as good a shot as possible.” A Rhodes scholar who taught at the University of Arizona and the Wisconsin College Conservatory and was dean of Deep Springs College in California before joining the University of Redlands in 1973, Childs wrote more than 170 works, co-edited a music journal and held office in national music associations. His honors included the Koussevitzky Award in composition from the Berkshire Music Festival and several MacDowell Colony fellowships. On Tuesday at his Redlands home after a long illness.
* Toshi Maruki; Painter Depicted Hiroshima Horrors
Toshi Maruki, 87, Japanese painter who won world acclaim for her panels depicting the horrors of the Hiroshima bombing and other modern atrocities. With her husband, Iri, Maruki was known for a series of works on the effects of war and pollution. The Marukis’ best-known effort was a 15-panel painting of scenes from the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, which took them more than 30 years to complete. They visited Hiroshima, Iri’s hometown, three days after the bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, and discovered that his father, uncle, two nieces and many friends had perished in the inferno that killed an estimated 130,000 people. “The stench of death was in our nostrils for three or four weeks,” Maruki said, compelling them to make art out of the horrific images in the devastated city. In a catalog accompanying an exhibit of the panels at the Massachusetts College of Art in 1988, they described the images as “a procession of ghosts, with hands held before them . . . who pushed on, dragging their burned bodies, falling and piling into one another, groaning and dying.” The panels merged two very different styles--the precise lines of Toshi Maruki, a children’s book illustrator trained in Western oils, and the broad strokes and washes of Iri, who was trained in classical Oriental ink and water. The grimly beautiful panels garnered international attention and were exhibited in more than 20 countries. Eventually, they were displayed in a museum the Marukis opened in their home outside Tokyo.
Iri died in 1995. The couple, who were candidates for the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, were the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary film “Hellfire: A Journey From Hiroshima” in 1988. Their other paintings were inspired by the Auschwitz concentration camp, a massacre of 23 American prisoners of war by Hiroshima survivors, and Minimata disease, an illness affecting the brain and central nervous system caused by mercury poisoning in a fishing town in western Kyushu, Japan. On Thursday of complications from pneumonia and kidney disease at a hospital outside Tokyo.
* John Morrow; Linguist, Ambassador to Guinea
John Howard Morrow, 89, linguist and educator who became the first American ambassador to Guinea. Born in Hackensack, N.J., Morrow, who was black, overcame financial hardships and racism to win a state scholarship to Rutgers College, graduating in 1931. After earning a master’s degree and a doctorate in French literature at the University of Pennsylvania and studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, he embarked on a 14-year career teaching in New Jersey high schools. In 1945, he and his family moved to Alabama, where he accepted a faculty position at Talladega College. Later, while teaching at North Carolina College in Durham, he was asked by the Eisenhower administration to become the first American ambassador to the newly independent Republic of Guinea in West Africa because of of his knowledge of French West African politics and his fluency in French. He later wrote a book about his experiences, “First American Ambassador to Guinea,” published by Rutgers University Press in 1968. During the Kennedy administration, Morrow served in other diplomatic posts, including an appointment to UNESCO. He also coordinated a program for U.S. foreign service officers at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington in 1963-64. He then returned to academia as a professor of romance languages at Rutgers, where he was a faculty leader and chaired the foreign language department until 1978, when he retired and moved with his wife, Ann, to Fountain Valley. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his last years. On Tuesday in Fountain Valley.
* Estrongo Nachama; Led Jewish Revival in Berlin
Estrongo Nachama, 81, who survived the Holocaust by singing for Nazi guards at Auschwitz and later helped revive Jewish life in Berlin. Nachama studied to become a cantor in his native Thessaloniki in Greece. But he and his family were deported to Auschwitz in 1943. His parents and sisters were sent to the gas chambers, but Nachama was assigned to work in a quarry. When a guard heard him singing in a sonorous baritone, he was ordered to entertain the Nazis running the camp in Poland. They rewarded him by throwing bread at his feet. He spent two years at Auschwitz, then survived the forced “death march” to Germany as the Nazis retreated ahead of the Soviet army. He was rescued by Soviet troops at the end of World War II and was taken in by a Christian family in Berlin to recover from typhoid. As the Jewish community in Berlin was revived, it began to look for a cantor. Nachama accepted the job and served as Berlin’s chief cantor from 1947 until his death. He regularly performed for non-Jewish audiences and became one of postwar Germany’s most prominent Jews, honored by the German government for fostering understanding among religions. His son, Andreas, now heads the thriving Jewish community in the German capital. On Thursday in Berlin of heart failure.
* Alfred Nzo; South African ANC Official
Alfred Nzo, 74, one of the pillars of the African National Congress who became South Africa’s first post-apartheid foreign minister after a quarter-century in exile. Nzo was repeatedly arrested and detained during the ANC’s early struggles in the 1940s to end apartheid. In 1957 he organized a bus boycott in the black township of Alexandra, outside Johannesburg, and subsequently lost his job as a health inspector. After spending 238 days in solitary confinement, he went into exile in 1964 and represented the ANC in Egypt, India, Zambia and Tanzania. He returned to South Africa in 1990 and served on the ANC delegation that undertook talks with the ruling National Party government. After the 1994 all-race elections that ended white minority rule, he joined the cabinet of then-President Nelson Mandela, becoming the country’s first black foreign affairs minister. One of his first official duties was overseeing South Africa’s readmission to the United Nations General Assembly in June 1994, ending the country’s 20 years of banishment and pariah status because of apartheid. He was replaced as foreign minister after Thabo Mbeki was elected president last year. ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said Nzo had been hospitalized in Johannesburg since suffering a stroke in December, but the cause of his death was not immediately known. On Thursday in Johannesburg.
* Henry Pleasants; Music Critic, Jazz Proponent
Henry Pleasants, 89, American music critic who helped dispel the notion that jazz was not serious music. Pleasants was a classically trained vocalist who studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in his native Philadelphia. He pushed his voice too early, however, and when he was 19 contracted a form of laryngitis that lasted for five years. That ended his career as a soloist. He turned to music criticism, writing from 1930 to 1942 for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin when the Philadelphia Orchestra was led by Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy. Later, he became a European music correspondent for the New York Times. In 1964, he became the London music critic for the New York Herald Tribune. He wrote 10 books, of which the most polemical were “The Agony of Modern Music” in 1955, “Death of a Music?--The Decline of the European Tradition and the Rise of Jazz” in 1961, and “Serious Music and All That Jazz” in 1969, all of which attempted to close the gulf between “serious” music and jazz. “Serious music,” he wrote, “is a dead art. . . . What we know as modern music is the noise made by deluded speculators picking through the slag pile.” Jazz, he concluded, was the only real modern music. Alan Jefferson of the the Guardian of London called Pleasants “the last great music critic of the past 60 years,” who found as much value in the voice of Peggy Lee as in that of Maria Callas. His 1966 book “The Great Opera Singers” became a standard reference work, and he knew most of the artists he profiled in 1974 in “Great American Popular Singers,” including Lee, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman. On Jan. 4 in London after suffering a ruptured aorta.
* Martin Quigley; Novelist, Publicist Wrote for FDR
Martin Quigley, 86, a novelist and publicist who helped President Franklin D. Roosevelt fashion a Fireside Chat about recycling pots and pans. Quigley, known as “Quig,” was an information specialist with the War Production Board in Washington, D.C., in 1942, when he was assigned to write an insert for one of Roosevelt’s popular radio talks to American citizens. The insert stressed the need for homemakers to turn in aluminum pots and pans to aid the war effort. Quigley, who also wrote a number of books about baseball, often said he hoped the president would demand changes so that he could meet Roosevelt, and was disappointed when the president accepted his work without seeing him. Quigley later served in the Army Air Corps as a war reporter and photographer, and made a parachute jump from a disabled bomber near Rome. His first novel, “A Tent on Corsica,” published in 1949, was based on his wartime experiences. The former newspaper reporter turned to public relations after the war, working briefly in Los Angeles, and then for most of his career in St. Louis, where he became a senior partner in Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations and spent a decade as publicist for the Auto Club of Missouri. A poet and a playwright in later years, Quigley published half a dozen novels and four books on baseball, including his most popular book, 1960’s “Baseball Is a Funny Game,” written with catcher and television announcer Joe Garagiola. On Jan. 7 in Rolla, Mo.
* Ella Wolfe; Helped Found U.S. Communist Party
Ella Goldberg Wolfe, 103, who helped her husband, Bertram, build the foundations of the Communist Party in America but later became so disenchanted with communism that she embraced Reaganism. Wolfe emigrated to New York from her native Ukraine as a child and grew up amid intellectuals and activists who embraced socialism. She met Bertram Wolfe when she was 14 and married him four years later. In 1919, Bertram Wolfe collaborated with John Reed to write “The Left Wing Manifesto,” which laid the foundations for the American Communist Party. Ella Wolfe supported him as an unpaid assistant, editor and secretary as he worked as an organizer and pamphleteer. During the Red scare of the 1920s, they moved often, living underground in New York, San Francisco and Washington. In 1929, they lived in Moscow and served on the Comintern, Communism’s international governing board. They had a run-in with Stalin when Bertram Wolfe argued in favor of “American exceptionalism,” the doctrine that America required different approaches to Communism than Russia. They were under house arrest for six months, after which Bertram Wolfe was expelled from the party. Ella Wolfe left the party two years after it demanded that she renounce her husband as a traitor. Although neither renounced Communism, they later joined the branch of the party identified with Jay Lovestone, who later became an anti-Communist and an American spy. The Wolfes eventually broke with the Lovestone party after the Soviet Union allied with Nazi Germany on the brink of World War II. Wolfe earned a master’s degree in Spanish literature at Columbia and taught for many years in public schools and at Hunter College. In the mid-1960s, she and her husband moved to Palo Alto, where he had received an appointment at the Hoover Institution. He died in 1977. On Saturday in Palo Alto.