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Notable deaths last week

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  • British actor and director Richard Attenborough arrives at the Galaxy British Book Awards in London.

      British actor and director Richard Attenborough arrives at the Galaxy British Book Awards in London.
    Associate dPress/2008

  • John A. Walker Jr. is escorted by a federal marshal as he leaves the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville, Md. enroute to a federal court in Baltimore.

      John A. Walker Jr. is escorted by a federal marshal as he leaves the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville, Md. enroute to a federal court in Baltimore.
    Associated Press/Oct. 28, 1985

  • Walter Mosely, left, Elinor R. Tatum, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Amsterdam News, center, and documentary filmmaker William Greaves  attend the 80th anniversary celebration of Harlem's Schomburg Center at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

      Walter Mosely, left, Elinor R. Tatum, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Amsterdam News, center, and documentary filmmaker William Greaves attend the 80th anniversary celebration of Harlem's Schomburg Center at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.
    Asociated Press/Oct. 6, 2006

 

• Richard Attenborough was a lord, an Oscar-winning director for the much-lauded "Gandhi" and an unflagging pillar to British cinema. But Attenborough, who died at 90, was best known as Dickie.

Baby-faced as a young actor and whitely bearded in his older age, Attenborough -- warmly known as "Dickie Darling" -- presided over six decades of British moviemaking as both an actor and filmmaker with a genial warmth that endeared him to his fans and fellow actors.

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"I have no great interest in being remembered as a great creative filmmaker," he told The New York Times when "Gandhi" was released in 1982. "I want to be remembered as a storyteller."

In his 60-plus years of acting, he amassed some 70 credits, including "Brighton Rock," ''The Great Escape," ''Doctor Dolittle," ''10 Rillington Place," ''Jurassic Park" (as the failed theme park developer) and the 1994 remake of "Miracle on 34th Street." (Naturally, he played Kris Kringle.)

He transitioned into directing beginning with 1969's World War I musical comedy "Oh! What a Lovely War." He directed 12 films altogether, including "A Bridge Too Far," ''A Chorus Line," ''Cry Freedom," ''Chaplin" and "Shadowlands."

Debra Winger was nominated for an Oscar and Anthony Hopkins gave one of his best performances in "Shadowlands," a small, subtle film that won Attenborough perhaps his greatest critical praise.

Attenborough's later years were marked by a personal tragedy when he lost his daughter Jane and granddaughter in the tsunami that hit Thailand the day after Christmas in 2004. The heart-broken Attenborough said he was never able to celebrate the Christmas holidays after that.

• William Greaves, the Emmy-award winning co-host and executive producer of a groundbreaking television news program and a prolific filmmaker whose subjects ranged from Muhammad Ali to the Harlem Renaissance to the black middle class, has died at age 87.

Greaves made hundreds of movies, and in the 1960s, he served as co-host and executive producer of "Black Journal," among the first TV news programs designed for a black audience. "Black Journal" won an Emmy in 1970 for excellence in public affairs.

• Manuel Pertegaz, one of Spain's most admired fashion designers who dressed Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy and Ava Gardner, has died. He was 96.

In 1953, he made his first trip to the U.S. and presented his collection in New York, Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

• Glenn Cornick, the original bass player in the rock band Jethro Tull, died of congestive heart failure at his home in Hilo, Hawaii, at age 67.

Cornick performed with Jethro Tull from its inception in late 1967 until 1970.

• Jack Kraft, the Villanova basketball coach who guided the Wildcats to the 1971 NCAA title game and coached such players as Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni and Howard Porter, has died. He was 93.

• A former American sailor convicted during the Cold War of leading a family spy ring for the Soviet Union has died in a prison hospital in North Carolina

Retired Navy Warrant Officer John A. Walker Jr. was 77.

Walker was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in 1985 to passing secrets to the Soviets while he was a shipboard communications officer.

• Ahmed Seif, one of Egypt's most prominent civil rights lawyer and campaigner, has died from complications following heart surgery. He was 63.

• George Barrett, a longtime Tennessee civil rights lawyer known for handling a case that ultimately desegregated the state's public colleges and universities, has died. He was 86.

• Valeri Petrov, Bulgaria's most prominent contemporary poet, who translated the complete works of Shakespeare, has died at age 94.

• John G. Sperling, 93, was in his teens -- illiterate and the survivor of a childhood filled with illness -- when a shipmate in the Merchant Marine taught him to read.

Enchanted by the likes of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sperling began a journey through higher education that ultimately led to his founding of the University of Phoenix, a for-profit institution.

Sperling, 93, a billionaire, founded the University of Phoenix to accommodate older students who wanted to advance their education but didn't have time for a typical classroom schedule. He built his schools near highways and busy intersections and scheduled evening classes.

• Alfredo Martini, Italy's former national cycling team coach who guided the squad to six world titles, has died. He was 93.

• Enrique Zileri, who as longtime director of Peru's leading newsmagazine defied despotism and battled corruption with stubborn independence, has died at age 83.

• Gerald One Feather, the legendary Oglala Sioux leader, former tribal president and tireless advocate for educational opportunities, has died. He was 76.

• Philippine de Rothschild, an energetic and self-certain grande dame of Bordeaux wine who halted an acting career to run vineyards owned by the family dynasty, has died at 80.

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