PASSINGS: Charles Nolan, Doyce Nunis Jr.

Charles Nolan

Fashion designer modernized American classics

Charles Nolan, 53, a fashion designer who was known for modernizing American classics and acting on his interest in politics, died Sunday of cancer at his New York City home. The cancer he had battled several years ago came back last fall, said Maggie Savage, a buyer for the Charles Nolan store in Manhattan.

After joining Anne Klein in 2001, Nolan helped revive it as a hipper, more fashion-forward brand but resigned as head of design to volunteer in the campaign of Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont who was vying for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.


When Dean’s presidential bid fizzled, Nolan returned to fashion in 2004 with his own label and a collection that playfully riffed on American sportswear.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Nolan had dressed Tipper Gore in Ellen Tracy suits and designed the periwinkle ensemble she wore when she exchanged an ardent kiss with her husband, Vice President Al Gore, at the Democratic National Convention.

Born in 1957 in New York, Nolan was the fifth of nine children of an insurance salesman.

Nolan graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and apprenticed under Bill Blass and Christian Dior before joining Ellen Tracy in 1990 and spending a decade there.

He became interested in Democratic politics through his life partner of 16 years, Andrew Tobias, a financial writer and treasurer of the Democratic National Committee.

Doyce Nunis Jr.

USC historian, Southern California Quarterly editor

Doyce Nunis Jr., 86, an educator, author and historian who edited the Historical Society of Southern California’s respected journal Southern California Quarterly for 43 years, died Jan. 22 at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center from complications after abdominal surgery, the society announced.


Nunis started working with the society in 1962 while building his academic career. A professor emeritus at USC, he was a longtime and honored member of the university’s history department and wrote or edited more than 40 books. Nunis retired as editor of the historical society’s journal in 2005.

“We do not put a space limit on articles — the important thing is to serve the cause of history,” he told The Times about Southern California Quarterly in 1996. “History is like an artist standing before a canvas — every little bit you fill in helps, every article fits into the mosaic eventually.”

Doyce Blackman Nunis Jr. was born May 30, 1924, in Cedartown, Ga. After serving in the Navy, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1947 and a master’s degree in education and doctorate in history from USC in the 1950s.

He began his long college teaching career in the 1950s as a lecturer. He taught and was a research historian at UCLA before joining USC in the mid-1960s.


— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports