TIME remembrance

First Black NBA Player Earl Lloyd Passes Away Aged 86

Earl Lloyd
Edward Kitch—AP Earl Lloyd, Oct. 30, 1972.

The Virginia native was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003

Earl Lloyd, the first black professional NBA player, passed away Thursday at the age of 86.

Known as “the Big Cat,” the 6’5″ forward made his league debut in October 1950, playing for the Washington Capitals. During his legendary career, Lloyd averaged 8.4 points during 560 regular-season NBA games.

Lloyd was also twice included in the CIAA All-America team and was three-time all-conference selection. Lloyd retired in 1960, after serving in the U.S. army, playing for the Detroit Pistons and winning the 1955 NBA championship for the Syracuse Nationals. He was also the NBA’s first black assistant coach in 1968 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Born in Alexandria, Va., Lloyd is survived by a wife and three sons.

[Charleston Gazette]

TIME remembrance

Mexican Singer Ariel Camacho Dies in Car Accident Aged 22

The 22-year-old was on tour promoting El Karma

Mexican singer Ariel Camacho died in a car crash Wednesday on a highway outside Sinaloa, Mexico.

The 22-year-old was on the road promoting a deluxe edition of his latest album El Karma when he was involved in a highway collision, reports Billboard.

“My heart is broken by the loss of Ariel Camacho,” said Angel Del Villar, president of the Regional Mexican label. “I knew he was going to transform the genre in Mexico and the United States. Millions of people would have become fans and would have gotten to know the man I did.”

As the frontman of the band Los Plebes del Rancho, Camacho performed in the Sierreno musical style, featuring acoustic guitars, bass and accordians played by a musical trio. El Karma was released by DEL records, amassing Camacho a loyal fan base for his soft vocals and adroit guitar-playing.


TIME remembrance

Mexican Actress Lorena Rojas Dies at 44 After Cancer Battle

Lorena Rojas at the 2007 Telemundo Upfront event on May 15, 2007.
Robson Muzel—NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Lorena Rojas at the 2007 Telemundo Upfront event on May 15, 2007.

Popular telenovela star had been diagnosed with liver cancer

Renowned Mexican actress and singer-songwriter Lorena Rojas, 44, passed away Monday at her Miami home after succumbing to liver cancer. She is survived by her daughter Luciana.

Born in Mexico City, she achieved celebrity for her roles in Mexican soap operas like El Cuerpo del Deseo, Pecados Ajenos, Alcanzar Una Estrella and Demente Criminal, reports the Latin Times.

In addition to starring in telenovelas, Rojas also appeared in five films and in stage productions of Manos Quietas and Aventurera. Last year, inspired by her daughter, she worked as a musical composer for the children’s album Hijos Del Sol.

[Latin Times]

TIME Media

Remembering David Carr, Media Critic and Media Lover

The New York Times columnist, who died at age 58, was journalism's finest watchdog and its best advertisement.

I didn’t know David Carr well. I’ll say that first, because if you are going to write about the operator of journalism’s most finely attuned b.s. detector, you’d best dispense with the b.s. up front.

I met Carr, the New York Times media columnist who died suddenly Thursday at age 58, only a few times professionally. I never worked with him. But I worked with him in my head. If you were on the media beat, you knew that whatever you were doing, Carr would be on it, and his take would be fast, witty, deeply reported and sweepingly analytical. He would pierce the target, and you would hope to lob something within the same ten-block radius. If you covered media in any way, it was malpractice not to keep a small David Carr on retainer somewhere in your consciousness. All the more so if you did anything else in media.

My first encounters with Carr were virtual. When he was editor of the Washington City Paper and I was a wet-eared beginner, he threw a couple kind words my way unnecessarily, the kind of thing that fuels a young writer through long stretches of self-doubt. One of the first things people will mention about Carr is his generosity; as an editor and then at the Times, he helped bring up talents like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jake Tapper and Brian Stelter. He enjoyed spotting talent (he happened, incidentally, to be the first major journalist to spotlight Lena Dunham in her debut visit to the SXSW film festival). Journalism will remember him not just for his works but for his children.

Later, when Carr took over the Times media beat, he called on me while making his rounds and getting the lay of the media landscape in New York. You do not forget talking to David Carr: his voice sounded like rocks being shaken in a tumbler, and he himself described his weatherbeaten appearance best: “I have a face that looks like it could have been carved out of mashed potatoes.” But there was also the vigor of his questioning, the persistence, curiosity and relish of a guy who loved the taste of news.

The David Carr in my head says I’m starting to romanticize him. Guilty–it was hard to meet him in person or in print and not feel that he was the genuine journalistic article, of whom the rest of us were fifth-generation photocopies. But Carr was his own best de-mythologizer, most notably in his 2008 memoir, The Night of the Gun, in which he reported out his past as a drug addict and concluded, “We all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon.” When Brian Williams was brought low over his war stories, Carr had a sharp, nuanced, and personally earned take on the nature of memory. “Stories tend to grow over time and, if they are told often enough, they harden into a kind of new truth for the teller.”

Carr was such a character, such a presence, that it would be easy to paint him as a caricature of the old-school, shoe-leather reporter. (Many of his remembrances will no doubt quote his memorable takedown of Vice Media and defense of the Gray Lady in the documentary Page One.) But he was lustily new-school too: he was a natural on Twitter, at ease in online video, and perceptive on how technology was changing the business he practiced, consumed and covered. He loved new media and old, but both without illusion.

After Carr, there will be other fine media critics, reporters and analysts, but no one so adept at all three. He was a one-man bureau, equally capable of reporting a massive indictment of the Tribune Company, covering the Oscar race and impressionistically reflecting on his life as a suburban media consumer. He’d have done much more had he lived, and he would have enjoyed the hell out of it.

I don’t say that because I knew him; I say it because I read him. That was the best thing about reading David Carr: there was no easy cynicism to him. However tough a critic he was, however bad the times he chronicled in the business, he always conveyed that we are lucky to live in a time of such polymorphous media, luckier still if we have some small role in producing it. David Carr was not simply his profession’s finest watchdog. He was its best advertisement. RIP.

(READ MORE: David Carr’s Grand Caper.)

TIME remembrance

Scenes from the Vigil for Chapel Hill’s Shooting Victims

A huge crowd gathered Wednesday night to mourn Muslim students Deah Barakat, 23; his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19, who were murdered near the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

TIME golf

U.S. Golfer and Civil Rights Pioneer Charlie Sifford Dies at 92

Former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room of his home in Brecksville, Ohio on Nov. 13, 2014
Mark Duncan—AP Former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room of his home in Brecksville, Ohio on Nov. 13, 2014.

He forced the desegregation of professional golf

Dr. Charles L. “Charlie” Sifford, a man who achieved great success on the golf course but made a much larger impact off of it, passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 92, the PGA Tour of America confirmed.

Born in 1922, the Charlotte, N.C. native is often called golf’s Jackie Robinson. His challenge to the PGA’s “Caucasian-only” membership clause forced the desegregation of professional golf in 1961.

“By his courage, Dr. Sifford inspired others to follow their dreams. The PGA of America extends its thoughts and prayers to Dr. Sifford’s family. Golf was fortunate to have had this exceptional American in our midst,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague.

On the Tour, Sifford won the Greater Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angeles Open in 1969 and was champion of the Seniors Championship in 1975. He was also a six-time winner of what was known as the Negro Open.

Sifford once met Jackie Robinson — the first black player in Major League Baseball — and described their conversation in his autobiography Just Let Me Play.

He wrote, “[Robinson] asked me if I was a quitter, I told him no. He said, ‘If you’re not a quitter, you’re probably going to experience some things that will make you want to quit’.”

In 2014 Sifford became the third golfer (Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer being the other two) to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor an American civilian can receive. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

TIME remembrance

Rooster Teeth Animator Monty Oum Dead at 33

24th Annual Producers Guild Awards - Red Carpet
Jeff Vespa—WireImage/Getty Images Animator Monty Oum arrives at the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 26, 2013 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Austin native was the show creator and animator for the popular series RWBY

Rooster Teeth animator and show creator Monty Oum died at the age of 33 on Sunday from complications stemming from a medical procedure, the company announced on its website.

“As for honoring Monty, we will do that in our own way. In lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you simply do something creative. Use your imagination to make the world a better place in any way that you can,” the firm said in a statement.

After his hospitalization, a public fund was set up to support Oum, which has now raised almost $210,000. Rooster Teeth said the money will go toward supporting his family.

Oum was best known as the creator of the animated series RWBY, which follows a team of heroes who use an element called “Dust” to battle supernatural forces. The first episode has nearly 4 million views on YouTube.

Rooster Teeth is a growing production studio based out of Austin that focuses on live-action shorts and animation.

TIME health

The Long, Strange History of Birth Control

TIME.com stock photos Birth Control Pills
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The father of the birth control pill — who died Jan. 30 — was part of the extensive history of people trying to prevent pregnancy

Writing in the New York Review of Books last year, Carl Djerassi declared that with the invention of the birth control pill, “sex became separated from its reproductive consequences” and “changed the realities of human reproduction.” Djerassi would know. The pioneering chemist, who died on Jan. 30 of complications from liver and bone cancer at the age of 91, was dubbed the father of the birth control pill after he created the key ingredient used in oral contraceptives.

The importance of his discovery — and the dogged research of numerous other scientists — can’t be understated. Today, a staggering 99% of American women of childbearing age report using some form of contraception at one time or another.

Yet while Djerassi’s discovery and other modern advancements have led to the ubiquitous use of safe and effective contraception, pregnancy prevention has a long and determined history. As Jonathan Eig writes in his book The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, “For as long as men and women have been making babies, they’ve been trying not to.”


Not that every historical effort was all that effective. Some methods are still used today, such as coitus interruptus — or “pulling out” — which was referenced in the Old Testament, but have never been a reliable form of pregnancy prevention. And other methods seem, by today’s standards, straight-up bizarre. In ancient Egypt, for example, around 1500 BC, women would mix honey, sodium carbonate and crocodile dung into a pessary — a thick, almost solid paste — and insert it into their vaginas before sex. (Crocodile dung was later found to possibly increase the likelihood of getting pregnant, due to its effects on the body’s pH levels.) In ancient China, concubines are thought to have used a drink of lead and mercury in order to prevent pregnancy. (Possible side effects: sterility, brain damage, kidney failure and death.) In the year 200, the Greek gynecologist Soranus advised women to abstain from sex during menstruation, which he mistakenly believed to be their most fertile time of month. (Not true.) He also recommended that women hold their breath during intercourse, followed by sneezing afterwards to prevent sperm from entering the womb. (Just silly.) In 10th-century Persia, women were told to jump backwards seven or nine times after intercourse to dislodge any sperm, as those were believed to be magical numbers. And in the Middle Ages in Europe, women were advised to tie the testicles of a weasel to their thighs or around their necks during intercourse. (Really.)

Yet it wasn’t all a shot in the dark. Many researchers today believe that several archaic methods of birth control actually had the dual perks of being somewhat effective and not lethal. This is perhaps not so surprising considering that certain methods were passed along from one woman to another. For instance, the ancient Egyptians weren’t completely off the mark with their pessaries: some documents reveal that women would also use pessaries made with acacia gum, which was later found in 20th-century studies to have spermicidal effects. Several other plants used in the ancient world were later found to have contraceptive qualities as well.

And it wasn’t just plants. A cave painting that researchers believe could be 15,000 years old, found in France, depicts what some think is the first illustration of a man wearing a condom. The condom also shows up in legends that date back to 3000 BC, in which King Minos of Crete — son of Zeus and Europa — would use goat bladders for that purpose.

Later, the European doctor Gabriel Fallopius, for whom the fallopian tubes are named, suggested a linen version, prompted by a syphilis epidemic that spread across the continent in the 1500s. In Giacomo Casanova’s memoirs, written in the late 18th century, he takes credit for inventing a primitive version of the cervical cap, when he describes using partly squeezed lemon halves during sex. (A painting of the Italian writer also exists where he appears to be blowing into a condom-like prophylactic, but researchers believe that Casanova’s covers were for protection from venereal disease, not pregnancy.)

Condoms turned another technological corner in the year 1844, when American manufacturing engineer Charles Goodyear patented the vulcanization of rubber, which he had invented five years earlier. The move led to the mass-production of rubber condoms and the appearance of rubber cervical caps. It would be several decades before cervical caps — and later diaphragms — would catch on in the U.S., where the earliest rubber diaphragms were known as “womb veils.” Condoms caught on much more quickly. The first advertisement for the condom appeared in The New York Times in 1861, for a brand called Dr Power’s French Preventatives. The advertisement’s tagline read: “Those who have used them are never without them.”

Birth-Control Backlash

But just when it looked as if contraceptives were taking off — becoming not only safe and effective, but also more widely available — an American post inspector named Anthony Comstock began crusading against obscenity. His campaign led to the Comstock Act, passed in 1873, which banned the spread of information about contraceptives in the United States — even from doctors.

The 20th century would eventually see the most advanced and revolutionary development of birth control in history, but at the start of the century the phrase “birth control” wasn’t part of the common parlance. Margaret Sanger — a determined nurse and activist who would revolutionize reproductive rights in America — first coined the phrase in 1914 with the launch of a monthly newsletter called The Woman Rebel. The newsletter offered information about birth control and was a flagrant challenge to the country’s obscenity laws. It wasn’t long before Sanger was indicted for breaching the obscenity laws and fled the country to avoid trial. By 1916, Sanger was back and opening the first family-planning clinic in the U.S. It was shut down within a week and a half. Five years on, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which would later become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Neither legal restrictions, nor religious condemnation—during the 1930s, Pope Pius XI declared that using birth control was a “grave sin”—could actually stop women from trying to prevent pregnancy. In 1935, TIME reported that “[d]espite furtiveness, commerce in contraceptives has become big business. More than 300 manufacturers today are engaged in it…. Three ‘feminine hygiene’ manufacturers last year spent $250,000 advertising in general magazines alone.”

Some advertisements for products marketed to women emphasized their “feminine” uses, with obvious euphemisms for contraceptives. Throughout the 1920s, even Lysol was advertised as a product that could “protect your married happiness” with a series of terrifying ads, depicting desperate women trying to keep the family harmony—so desperate, in fact, they were willing to use a household cleaner as a douche. Lysol didn’t have any contraceptive qualities—and could actually be quite harmful when inserted into the body—but that wasn’t the impression given by the company‘s marketing campaign. Another household product that many believed could prevent pregnancy was Coca-Cola. (Unsurprisingly, it did not actually prevent unwanted pregnancies: though later research suggested that a douche of cola did kill sperm, it didn’t work fast enough.)

In 1937, headway in Sanger’s fight was made when the American Medical Association officially recognized birth control as a legitimate part of doctors’ practice. A year later a judge lifted the federal obscenity ban on birth control, though laws against contraception remained on the books in most states. America went from 55 birth control clinics in 1930 to more than 800 in 1942.

The Pill Arrives

By the 1950s, Sanger landed on a better way to serve that demand. She approached biologist Gregory Pincus — who had something of a reputation as a Dr. Frankenstein-like character, due to his experiments with in-vitro fertilization of rabbits — and asked him to conduct research on the use of hormones for contraception. Unbeknownst to Sanger and Pincus, a scientist in Mexico City had already had success creating a progesterone pill, synthesized from wild yams, which could block ovulation. That scientist was Carl Djerassi, then just a twenty-something but already the associate director of research at the pharmaceutical company Syntex.

With funding from Katherine McCormick, a wealthy widow and dedicated feminist, Pincus had also begun developing and testing a synthetic hormone and found that it could suppress ovulation in animals. A gynecologist named John Rock then began testing the hormone on women. In 1956, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the hormone pills for menstrual disorders, such as irregular periods or PMS. Promoting birth control was still illegal in many states, but as TIME winkingly noted in 2010, the late ’50s tellingly saw “a sudden epidemic of menstrual irregularity among women across the U.S.”

Then came the landmark date, marking the biggest change to America’s contraceptive potential in history. On May 9, 1960, the FDA approved Enovis, an oral contraceptive pill released by G.D. Searle and Company. By 1965, almost 6.5 million American women were on “The Pill,” the oral contraceptive’s enduring vague nickname, which is thought to have stemmed from women requesting it from their doctors as discreetly as possible. That same year, the Supreme Court struck down state laws that prohibited contraception use, though only for married couples. (Unmarried people were out of luck until 1972, when birth control was deemed legal for all.)

Even by 1966 the Pill’s effects were apparent. That year, TIME wrote, “No previous medical phenomenon has ever quite matched the headlong U.S. rush to use the oral contraceptives now universally known as ‘the pills.’” Indeed, by the time 1973 rolled around, a whopping 70% of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 were using some form of contraception.

The Pill was an international revolution as well. In 1967, TIME reported that despite the Pill’s necessarily strict routine, uneducated women could still manage: “[The] latest reports show that illiterate women who can’t count can still take their pills on schedule. In Pakistan, Denver’s Dr. John C. Cobb got dozens of them to do it, simply by starting them on the night of the new moon. In semiliterate Taiwan, where IUDs have won wide acceptance, more and more women are switching to the pills. The number of users outside the U.S. is about 5,000,000, and the figure is rising.”

Not that the Pill was without critics. The fact that its rise coincided with second-wave feminism and the sexual revolution meant that many people pointed to the contraceptive as the trigger that changed society. (Many researchers have pointed out that cultural views on sexuality and women’s roles were shifting well before the Pill was introduced.) Some African-American leaders were especially critical of the Pill, claiming that it was being peddled in their community for the purpose of a “black genocide.” But nothing stopped the Pill from catching on. Today, more than 100 million women around the world use the Pill in order to prevent pregnancy. And that’s not counting the women using other safe and effective forms of birth control, from DepoProvera and the NuvaRing to the contraception patch and the intrauterine device (IUD), which is considered by many health care experts to be one of the best forms of birth control available.

The Future of Birth Control

Yet access to safe and effective birth control still isn’t a universal privilege. A report from the Guttmacher Institute in 2012 found that around 222 million women in developing countries want to use birth control but aren’t currently able to access modern contraceptives.

Even in the U.S., there has been a political push to restrict access. The rise of “conscience clauses” has also meant that hospital employees, pharmacists and employers with religious views on birth control can refuse to fill prescriptions or cover employees’ coverage for contraception.

History — both ancient and more recent — has shown that women (and men) will risk their lives or reputations for effective birth control. Restricted access to contraceptives doesn’t necessarily mean that women won’t be able to prevent pregnancies, but, like the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, they just might resort to methods that could be harmful. That hasn’t changed, but thanks to the dogged determination of activists, such as Sanger, and the pioneering research by scientists and physicians, such as Djerassi, that level of risk seems like the most preventable thing of all.

TIME remembrance

Rod McKuen, Mega-Selling Poet and Performer, Dies at 81

Poet/composer Rod McKuen attends ASCAP's reception honoring Marvin Hamlisch and Alan and Marilyn Bergman at the Catalina Bar & Grill on Nov. 18, 2009 in Los Angeles.
David Livingston—Getty Images Poet/composer Rod McKuen attends ASCAP's reception honoring Marvin Hamlisch and Alan and Marilyn Bergman at the Catalina Bar & Grill on Nov. 18, 2009 in Los Angeles.

(NEW YORK) — Rod McKuen, the husky-voiced “King of Kitsch” whose music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and ’70s won him an Oscar nomination and made him one of the best-selling poets in history, has died. He was 81.

McKuen died Thursday morning at a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills, California, where he had been treated for pneumonia and had been ill for several weeks and was unable to digest food, said his half brother, Edward McKuen Habib.

Until his sabbatical in 1981, McKuen was an astonishingly successful and prolific force in popular culture, turning out hundreds of songs and poems and records, including the Academy Award-nominated song “Jean” for the 1969 film “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.”

Sentimental, earnest and unashamed, he conjured a New Age spirit world that captivated those who didn’t ordinarily like “poetry” and those who craved relief from the war, assassinations and riots of the time.

“I think it’s a reaction people are having against so much insanity in the world,” he once said. “I mean, people are really all we’ve got. You know it sounds kind of corny, and I suppose it’s a cliche, but it’s really true; that’s just the way it is.”

His best known songs, some written with the Belgian composer Jacques Brel, include “Birthday Boy,” ”A Man Alone,” ”If You Go Away” and “Seasons In the Sun,” a chart-topper in 1974 for Terry Jacks. He was nominated for an Oscar for “Jean” and for “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” the title track for the beloved Peanuts movie.

Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Dolly Parton and Chet Baker were among the many artists who recorded his material, although McKuen often handled the job himself, in a hushed, throaty style he had honed after an early life as a rock singer cracked his natural tenor.

TIME remembrance

Read TIME’s 1945 Report on the Horrors of Dachau

Hitler TIME cover
Cover Credit: BORIS ARTZYBASHEFF The May 7, 1945, cover of TIME

Jan. 27 is the U.N.-designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Memorial Day is observed in many nations on the day of the liberation of Auschwitz — 70 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1945 — but it is designed to also encourage remembrance of those killed by Nazis elsewhere. (Some nations observe days of remembrance on other dates.)

When the May 7, 1945, issue of TIME was published, those memories were still fresh. The magazine’s correspondent Sidney Olson had just accompanied the U.S. Army during the liberation of Dachau, and the report he filed would have shocked even readers who were aware of the Nazis’ crimes.

This is what he wrote:

Beside the highway into Dachau there runs a spur line off the Munich railroad. Here a soldier stopped us and said: “I think you better take a look at these box-cars.” The cars were filled with dead men. Most of them were naked. On their bony, emaciated backs and rumps were whip marks. Most of the cars were open-top cars like American coal cars. I walked along these cars and counted 39 of them which were filled with these dead. The smell was very heavy. I cannot estimate with any reasonable accuracy the number of dead we saw here, but I counted bodies in two cars and there were 53 in one and 64 in another.

The main entry road runs past several largish buildings. These had been cleared; and now we began to meet the liberated. Several hundred Russians, French, Yugoslavs, Italians and Poles were here, frantically, hysterically happy. They began to kiss us, and there is nothing you can do when a lot of hysterical, unshaven, lice-bitten, half-drunk, typhus-infected men want to kiss you. Nothing at all. You cannot hit them, and besides, they all kiss you at the same time. It is no good trying to explain that you are only a correspondent. A half-dozen of them were especially happy and it turned out they were very proud: they had killed two German soldiers themselves.

…We went on, and the great size of the establishment of Dachau began to open before us. Buildings and barracks spread on and on. Outside one building, half covered by a brown tarpaulin, was a stack about five feet high and about 20 feet wide of naked dead bodies, all of them emaciated. We went on around this building and came to the central crematory. The rooms here, in order, were: 1) the office where the living and the dead were passed through and where all their clothing was stripped from them; 2) the Brausebad (shower) room, where the victims were gassed; and 3) the crematory. In the crematory were two large furnaces. Before the two furnaces were hooks and pulleys on rafters above them. Here, according to a number of Frenchmen, the SS men often hanged prisoners by the necks or by the thumbs or whatever their fancy dictated. From here the victims could watch while being whipped and tortured as their comrades were slid into the furnace.

Each of these pitiful, happy, starved, hysterical men wanted to tell us his home country, his home city, and ask us news and beg for cigarets. The eyes of these men defy my powers of description. They are the eyes of men who have lived in a super-hell of horrors for many years, and are now driven half-crazy by the liberation they have prayed so hopelessly for.

Read the full story here in the TIME Vault: Dachau

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