PASSINGS: Hubert Schlafly, Alice Ward, Emil 'Jack' Kluever, Philip F. Jones

Hubert Schlafly

Inventor of the teleprompter

Hubert "Hub" Schlafly, 91, a key member of the team that invented the teleprompter, died April 20 at a hospital in Stamford, Conn., after a brief illness.

Schlafly helped start the TelePrompTer Corp., eventually becoming its president and accepting an Emmy Award for the company in 1999 — after winning one himself in 1992 for his contributions to the cable television industry.

Schlafly was born Aug. 14, 1919, in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied electrical engineering. He worked for General Electric and the MIT Radiation Laboratory before joining 20th Century Fox in New York City in 1947.

Actor Fred Barton Jr. wanted a way to remember his lines and approached Irving Berlin Kahn, nephew of composer Irving Berlin and vice president of radio and television at 20th Century Fox. Kahn went to Schlafly, then the director of television research.

"I said it was a piece of cake," Schlafly recalled in a 2008 interview with the Stamford Advocate.

The result — a device with a motorized scroll bearing a printed script — was named the TelePrompTer, which made its debut in 1950 on the soap opera "The First Hundred Years," said Laurie Brown, author of the book "The Teleprompter Manual."

The device, now known as a teleprompter, evolved into a monitor facing the person appearing on screen and rolling a script at reading speed.

"It revolutionized television and improved the quality of on-air performers," said Jim Dufek, a professor of mass media at Southeast Missouri State University. "It also made the politicians look smarter because they were looking right into the camera."

Former President Herbert Hoover became the first politician to use a teleprompter in 1952, when he gave the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

Alice Ward, a Massachusetts boxing clan's domineering matriarch whose portrayal in "The Fighter" won actress Melissa Leo supporting-acting honors at this year's Academy Awards, died at a Boston hospital Wednesday, one day after she was taken off life support. Ward, who went into cardiac arrest in January and stopped breathing for more than 30 minutes, was 79 and is survived by nine children.

Emil "Jack" Kluever, a retired Army colonel and helicopter test pilot who flew the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle and the Paraglider Research Vehicle at NASA's Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in the 1960s, died Saturday in Las Vegas. He was 85.

Philip F. Jones, a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who had served on the San Fernando City Council in the 1960s, died in his sleep Friday in Edmonds, Wash., his family said. Jones, a USC graduate and Marine Corps veteran, was 91.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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