PASSINGS: Charles Wyly, Cornelius ‘Corny’ Cole, Billy Grammer

Charles Wyly

Texas billionaire and philanthropist

Charles Wyly, 77, a Texas billionaire and philanthropist whose family donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and Dallas arts projects, died Sunday after a car accident in western Colorado, authorities said.

Wyly, who maintained a home near Aspen, Colo., was turning onto a highway near the local airport when his Porsche was hit by a sport utility vehicle, the Colorado State Patrol said in a statement. Wyly died at Aspen Valley Hospital. The other driver suffered moderate injuries.


In Texas, Wyly and his younger brother, Sam, along with their wives, gave $20 million to help build Dallas’ performing arts center. They also donated heavily, but quietly, to Republican causes: The brothers had said they’d given about $10 million to GOP candidates and causes since the 1970s.

Last summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Wyly and his brother of using offshore havens to hide more than half a billion dollars in profits over 13 years of insider stock trading. The brothers denied and were fighting the allegations.

Born in 1933, Charles Wyly was a child when the collapsed economy forced the surrender of his family’s cotton farm in Lake Providence, La. He and his younger brother went on to attend Louisiana Tech University in the 1950s, then went to work for IBM.

Charles Wyly helped his brother run their startup computer software company, University Computing, and later founded and led several other companies, including arts and crafts retail chain Michaels Stores Inc., which was sold in 2006.


Cornelius ‘Corny’ Cole

Longtime animator became a teacher

Cornelius “Corny” Cole, 80, a longtime animator, production designer and filmmaker who became an influential teacher and mentor to many of today’s animators, died Monday at his Santa Clarita home of multiple system atrophy, said his daughter Dominique Cole Gilmour.

A graduate of Chouinard Art Institute who was known as an expert draftsman, Cole worked as an animator for a host of studios, including Disney, United Productions of America, Warner Brothers, MGM, DePatie-Freling and Hanna-Barbera.


Among his credits as a production designer are “Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure” (1977), “Shinbone Alley” (1971), “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962) and “Gay Purr-ee” (1962).

Cole also designed the 1970 film “Is It Always Right to Be Right?,” which won an Academy Award for short subject (cartoon), as well as sequences for such animated productions as “Heavy Metal” (1981) and “Roman City” (1994).

He received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Animated Film Society in 2006.

A faculty member at California Institute of the Arts from 1992 to 2009, Cole taught character animation and figure drawing and was valued as a mentor to many students.


Cornelius Cole III was born Oct. 12, 1930, in Los Angeles, the grandson of U.S. Sen. Cornelius Cole, who moved to a 500-acre ranch in Hollywood in 1881. Corny and his twin brother, Peter, were among the pioneering longboard surfers in Santa Monica and Malibu in the 1940s.

Billy Grammer, a singer, guitarist and Nashville session musician whose 1958 hit “Gotta Travel On” hit the top of the charts and led to a long career on the Grand Ole Opry, died Wednesday of natural causes in his home state of Illinois, the Grand Ole Opry announced. Grammer, who suffered a heart attack earlier this year, was 85.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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