TIME People

Longtime Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes Dies at 90

Stokes was elected to the House in 1968, becoming Ohio's first black member of Congress

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes, a 15-term congressman from Ohio who took on tough assignments looking into assassinations and scandals, has died. He was 90.

He died peacefully with his wife, Jay, at his side, a month after he announced he had brain and lung cancer, his family said in a statement.

“During his illness, he confronted it as he did life — with bravery and strength,” the family said.

Stokes was elected to the House in 1968, becoming Ohio’s first black member of Congress and one of its most respected and influential. Just a year earlier, his brother, Carl, had been elected mayor of Cleveland — the first black elected mayor of a major U.S. city.

Louis Stokes was the dean of the delegation until he stepped down in 1999.

Stokes headed the House’s Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the slayings of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1970s and concluded that in both cases, there “probably” had been a conspiracy.

Later, he served on the Iran-Contra investigative committee, where he drew attention with his unflinching interrogation of Lt. Col. Oliver North.

“What we seek to do in covert operations is to mask the role of the United States from other countries, not from our own government,” Stokes told North at a highly publicized hearing in 1987.

He was just as unflinching with his probe of fellow Democrats when he led the ethics committee investigation of a corruption scandal known as ABSCAM, which led to convictions of one senator and six House members. The senator and five of the House members were Democrats.

Recalling the example Stokes set, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland said Wednesday that he once had Stokes address his region’s prosecutors.

“We were in the midst of a huge county corruption scandal, and public service was taking a public beating. But Lou Stokes was a there as a shining beacon of integrity, of excellence and most important of all for us, of justice,” U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in a statement Wednesday.

Stokes was repeatedly called upon to exercise his law training and diplomatic skills. He did two tours of duty as chairman of the ethics committee and stepped in upon request during the investigation of a case involving the private life of Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who retired in 2013.

He was one of the Cold War-era chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee, headed the Congressional Black Caucus and was the first black on the House Appropriations Committee — a powerful panel that decides how much each authorized federal project actually gets to spend.

That post gave him a platform for protecting major Cleveland employers, such as NASA Lewis Research Center, and for directing federal dollars toward hometown projects.

He said he was proud to be in a position to put money into programs that he hoped would improve the quality of life of black people and poor people.

His seniority on that panel eventually brought him the chairmanship of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over all federal housing programs, plus the Department of Veterans Affairs, NASA and many other independent agencies.

Stokes’ public demeanor was patient and analytical, but colleagues also knew him as tough, principled and skillful.

He was one of only nine blacks in the 435-member House when he first took the oath of office in 1969 and never forgot his roots as the child of poverty and great-grandson of a slave.

He spoke often of his admiration for his younger brother, who served two terms as Cleveland mayor and was later a broadcaster and judge. Stokes lost some of his zest for politics after his brother died of cancer in 1996.

He also spoke of his mother, Louise C. Stokes, a widow with an eighth-grade education who supported her sons by working as a cleaning woman. She constantly prodded her boys to “get something in your head so you don’t have to work with your hands like I did,” he recalled. When her boys wanted games, she instead bought books.

Stokes served in the Army from 1943 to 1946 in a segregated unit where he said he experienced racism for the first time in his life.

Heading from Cleveland to take his entrance physical in Columbus, he was warned by his mother that “colored people cannot go in restaurants in downtown Columbus.”

Stationed in Mississippi, he and other blacks were sentenced to the guard house for refusing to pick up papers around the white soldiers’ barracks, and once confined, found the guard house had separate toilets for white and black soldiers.

Years later, when an anti-busing amendment was debated on the House floor, Stokes described the humiliation of segregation. “I was forced to ride in the back of the bus wearing the uniform of my country,” he said.

Struggles with racism lasted a lifetime.

In 1991, a Capitol Hill police officer ignored Stokes’ valid parking tag and refused to let the congressman into his own office building; he didn’t believe the black man behind the wheel was a member of Congress.

Stokes leveled his complaint through official channels and did not complain publicly about the demeaning delay at his own office building.

At one point in his career he said he had his eye on the Senate. But long careers by fellow Democrats John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum meant no open seat until Stokes was well entrenched in the House and on his way to becoming one of the powerful appropriations subcommittee chairmen.

In 1992, Stokes ran for president as a favorite son, winning the delegates from his home district and then, in a minor convention drama, refusing to release their votes until the Clinton campaign formally asked.

The G.I. Bill made it possible for Stokes to go to college and law school.

A criminal lawyer for two decades before running for Congress, he argued a landmark “stop and frisk” case before the Supreme Court and worked on the NAACP lawsuit that forced Ohio to redraw the lines of what would become the state’s first black-majority congressional district.

TIME remembrance

Yvonne Craig, the First-Ever On-Screen Batgirl, Dies Aged 78

ABC Photo Archives—ABC/Getty Images Batgirl Yvonne Craig in 1966–1967

She also briefly dated Elvis Presley

Actress Yvonne Craig, known for playing superheroine Batgirl in the 1960s television series Batman, died Monday night at age 78.

Craig’s nephew Christopher Carson announced that she had died at her California home after suffering from breast cancer that had spread to her liver, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Craig joined for Batman’s third and final season in 1967–68, and performed all her own stunts on the show. She had previously starred opposite rock sensation Elvis Presley in two films — It Happened at the World’s Fair and Kissin’ Cousins — and also briefly dated him.

The native of Taylorville, Ill., went on to guest-star in an episode of Star Trek as well as other hit TV shows, including The Six Million Dollar Man and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Craig is survived by her husband Kenneth, her sister and two nephews.


TIME movies

Vin Diesel Pays Tribute to Paul Walker With Emotional Speech at Teen Choice Awards

Teen Choice Awards 2015 - Show
Kevin Winter—Getty Images Actors Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, left to right, accept the Choice Movie: Action Award for Furious 7 onstage during the Teen Choice Awards 2015 at the USC Galen Center on Aug. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles, Calif.

"Paul Walker is here in spirit with us"

An emotional Vin Diesel praised Paul Walker and his daughter Meadow during this year’s Teen Choice Awards after Furious 7 took home the award for Choice Movie: Action.

“I can’t stand here and be rewarded like this without talking about somebody very, very, very important to us,” Diesel, who stood alongside costars Ludacris, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez, said as the crowd cheered. “One of the best blessings in our lives is the fact that we have the opportunity to call Pablo our brother. Paul Walker is here in spirit with us.”

Diesel said that Walker’s family kept the cast going following the actor’s death in 2013, but he singled out Meadow, calling her a “very, very, very special teen.”

Walker also received a posthumous Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor: Action.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME remembrance

How Robin Williams’ Family Is Coping With His Death One Year Later

Robin Williams at "The Crazy Ones" Press Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Oct. 8, 2013.
Vera Anderson—WireImage/Getty Images Robin Williams at "The Crazy Ones" Press Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Oct. 8, 2013.

"We're moving through the process of healing and recovering"

It’s a testament to the vibrancy of Robin Williams that, even a year later, his death remains a cultural touchstone, the psychic shock we can’t quite get over.

The Oscar winner and star of modern classics like Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and Mrs. Doubtfire died by suicide a year ago Tuesday. Though he privately wrestled with addictions and illness, including a form of dementia that may have contributed to his death, Williams was – and still is – a vivid presence for family and fans.

“We try to focus on the joyful moments and memories,” Williams’ son Zak, 32, recently told PEOPLE, noting what would have been his father’s 64th birthday on July 21. “We’re moving through the process of healing and recovering,” he continued, adding that he relies on “wonderful family and friends” to help with the grief.

In honor of his father, who generously gave of his money, time and influence to various causes (most famously the homelessness charity Comic Relief), Zak also gives back. The tech executive teaches financial literacy to inmates in San Quentin State Prison, providing his students with invaluable budgeting and investing skills.

Williams’ other children, Zelda, 26, and Cody, 23, spent their father’s birthday quietly, with Zelda posting on Instagram on July 20 that she was taking a break from social media. “It’s a time better served away from the sentiments or opinions of others,” she said, expressing a wish to pass the day in private.

However Williams’ family chooses to mark the milestones after his loss, including this anniversary of his death, the late actor’s public presence continues to resonate. Longtime friend Bobcat Goldthwait credits Williams with helping to champion his upcoming documentary about fighting child pornography, Call Me Lucky.

“This movie would not have gotten made, or been what it is, without Robin’s support and influence,” Goldthwait recently told PEOPLE, revealing that his friend put up the seed money for the project. “His generosity and kindness are well known.”

As was his talent. Critics found much to admire in Williams’ last on-screen performance as a closeted gay man in Boulevard. (He also has a voice role in the Simon Pegg comedy Absolutely Anything, in theaters Sept. 15.) It was one of his quieter, more contained turns, all the better to take in the enormous range of his acting talent. He was, quite simply, a man with so many more parts in him – and to him.

“We never got off the phone without saying, ‘I love you,’ so I know that’s the last thing he and I said to each other,” says Goldthwait of his old friend, whose death is just beginning to register for him. “It’s strangely starting to feel like I’m only processing it now.”

On that, he may well speak for many of us.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME remembrance

5 Essential Robin Williams Stories

Mar. 12, 1979
Cover Credit: MICHAEL DRESSLER The Mar. 12, 1979, cover of TIME

The comedian died one year ago, on Aug. 11, 2014

This Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Robin Williams’ surprising death. In honor of the milestone, here are five essential TIME stories chronicling his remarkable career:

The introduction: The first full-fledged TIME article about Williams (excluding a capsule review of Mork & Mindy that ran earlier that fall) was this Oct. 1978 story about how the comic’s career was destined to be much more than Mork.

Most of Williams’ characters are children of his imagination–an imagination nurtured during the requisite lonely childhood. The last child of a vice president of the Ford Motor Co., Robin was born in Chicago and grew up in the posh Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. His two half brothers were already grown when he was born, and Robin spent hours alone in the family’s immense house, tape-recording television routines of comics and sneaking up to the attic to practice his imitations. “My imagination was my friend, my companion,” he recalls.

Subscribers can read the whole story here, in the TIME Vault: The Robin Williams Show

The cover story: Not a year had gone by before Williams was on the cover of TIME, for a story about what it took to top the ratings.

It could be argued that Williams landed in the right role in the right time slot (8 p.m., when children control the nation’s sets). But Williams is not so much lucky as talented. In his stand-up nightclub act, which he does for free, to keep in touch with live audiences and to try out new material, he displays a range that encompasses Jonathan Winters, Danny Kaye, Steve Martin and Daffy Duck. Though always wearing the same costume–baggy pants, loud shirts, suspenders–he whips in and out of a multitude of comic characterizations. He can mimic the cadences of Shakespeare, many foreign languages, an ark of animals, various machines. His act includes a redneck used-car salesman, a Russian comic, a gay director, a touchingly mad grandpa.

Subscribers can read the whole issue here, in the TIME Vault: Chaos in Television

The next step: By the time Richard Schickel reviewed Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987, Williams was firmly enshrined as “the decade’s reigning comic soloist.” In a full-page feature accompanying the review, Richard Corliss reported on Williams’ transition from successful comic to full-on movie star.

Williams needed to find a movie that dirtied his shirt, that liberated his pinwheeling raunch. Now he has. Goodbye, straight-man straitjacket. Good Morning, Vietnam.

Subscribers can read the whole story here, in the TIME Vault: Playtime for Gonzo

The interview: In 2011, around the time of Williams’ Broadway debut, Belinda Luscombe spoke to the actor about the world, his career and the perils of fame.

Is being funny sometimes a hindrance to social interaction?

I was once walking in an airport, and a woman came up to me and said, “Be zany!” That’d be like walking up to Baryshnikov and going, “Plié! Just do a plié! Do it! Do a relevé right now! Lift my wife up!”

Read the full Q&A, free of charge, here on Time.com: 10 Questions for Robin Williams

Read the outtakes here: 10 More Questions With Robin Williams

The end: When news broke of Williams’ death, TIME published a special issue remembering the man and his work. At its center was a stirring remembrance by Richard Corliss, who captured just why those two personas—the human being, the comic—had touched so many people.

For all his serious film roles, which garnered him a Supporting Actor Oscar (for Good Will Hunting) and three Best Actor nominations, Williams at his purest was the id unleashed, geysering nonstop shtick of the highest order. “You’re only given one little spark of madness,” he said. “If you lose that, you’re nothin’.” His spark was a forest fire, a comic conflagration that warmed the world and damaged no one.

Perhaps excepting himself. Addicted to cocaine and alcohol, Williams also made frequent guest appearances at rehab clinics, held over by his own demand. His wild ways exhausted two wives and widowed the third, Susan Schneider, whom by all accounts he adored. He suffered from depression, not a rare malady for comedians, and surrendered to it on Aug. 11, when he hanged himself in his Tiburon, Calif., home. Rigor mortis had already set in when his personal assistant found him. Williams was 63.

Read the full obituary, free of charge, here on Time.com: The Heart of Comedy

TIME remembrance

Read TIME’s 1995 Obituary for Jerry Garcia

Grateful Dead Jerry Garcia
Ebet Roberts—Redferns/Getty Images Jerry Garcia performing with the Grateful Dead at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on June 19, 1995.

The Grateful Dead guitarist died 20 years ago, on Aug 9, 1995

It was exactly 20 years ago this weekend, on Aug. 9, 1995, that Jerry Garcia died at 53, abruptly ending the Grateful Dead’s 30 year run as the world’s foremost jam band.

Considering Garcia’s legacy for TIME, Richard Corliss meditated on Garcia’s fans, the impact the band had on American culture and the long trail of the 1960s. As Corliss noted, that strange stew meant that news of Garcia’s death hit the world in way few others could have commanded:

Once, Dead was God; now God is dead. With rock stars, such news is a shock but not a surprise. Garcia, whose private funeral service was held Friday (the guest of honor attired in black T shirt and sweats), was the fourth Dead member to die. Three keyboard players preceded him: Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, in 1973 of cirrhosis of the liver; Keith Godchaux, in 1980 after a car crash; and Brent Mydland, in 1990 after shooting a speedball–cocaine and morphine.

Garcia too was a suicidal adventurer. He did coke the way some people drink the stuff, and romanced heroin to the end. He was in and out of hospitals and rehab centers; in 1986 he fell into a coma. Last year he collapsed at his home and promised to reform. But that was not in his nature. “You’re out there on the edge,” [Ken] Kesey says, “where it’s beyond dangerous to your life–it’s dangerous to your soul. And Garcia was on that edge for 30 years. It’s like when the King asked Mozart why he drank so much, and Wolfgang said, ‘Rock ‘n’ roll is hot, dry work.’ Who are we to argue with such an artist? It’s like arguing with Picasso because he was horny.”

It is the mundane task of the living to bury and praise the dead, and to keep on living. Weir, the Dead’s pro tem leader, has not said whether the band will tour as scheduled this fall. Their fans hope they do, if only as the best of all possible wakes.

That wake finally took place this year, as the Dead played what was billed as their final show ever—before announcing this week that some members of the band will perform again as Dead & Company starting in October.

Read the full obituary, free of charge, here in TIME’s archives: The Trip Ends

TIME remembrance

Read Marilyn Monroe’s Obituary From 1962

Marilyn Monroe On 'The Misfits' Set
Ernst Haas—Getty Images Marilyn Monroe leans over the back of the front seat of a car on the set of 'The Misfits,' directed by John Huston, Nevada, 1960.

The actress, who died on Aug. 5, 1962, was "the only blonde in the world"

When Marilyn Monroe died on Aug. 5, 1962, she left behind a series of contradictions. The actress panicked easily, but basked in public attention. She was sometimes troubled by her status as a sex symbol, yet she was willing to profit from it. It was a see-saw life, as TIME’s obituary for the Hollywood icon made clear:

She had always been late for everything, but her truancy was never heedlessness. Beset by self-doubt and hints of illness, she would stay alone, missing appointments, keeping whole casts waiting in vain. In the past year, her tardiness was measured in weeks instead of hours. In 32 days on the set of Something’s Got to Give, she showed up only 12 times, made only 7 ½ usable minutes of film. When fired from the picture, she sent telegrams of regrets to all the grips on the lot.

…She seemed euphonic and cheerful, even while 20th Century-Fox was filing suit against her in hopes of salvaging $750,000 damages from the wreckage of Something’s Got to Give. She offered a photographer exclusive rights to nearly-nude shots of her from the set because, she said, “I want the world to see my body.” Last week, she negotiated still another sale of a nude photograph to a picture magazine.

She spent her last day alive sunbathing, glancing over filmscripts. playing with two cloth dolls—a lamb and a tiger. She went to bed early, but later her housekeeper noticed light spilling through the crack under her bedroom door, and summoned doctors. They broke in through her windows and found Marilyn Monroe dead. By her bedside stood an empty bottle that three days before had held 50 sleeping pills. One hand rested on the telephone and the other was at her chin, holding the sheets that covered her body.

Read the full remembrance from 1962, here in the TIME Vault: The Only Blonde in the World

TIME remembrance

Canadian Television Host Chris Hyndman Has Died at 49

Steven Sabados, Jason Priestley, Chris Hyndman
Ryan Emberley—Invision/AP Steven Sabados, and from left, Jason Priestley and Chris Hyndman attend Stand Up To Cancer Canada on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, in Toronto

"He was a great guy and will be missed"

Canadian television host Chris Hyndman has died at the age of 49, the Associated Press reports.

Hyndman was a co-host onSteven and Chris, a Canadian lifestyle show. The Canadian Broadcast Corporation, which airs the show, said Hyndman was found on Monday with no vital signs in an alleyway in Toronto. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the CBC informed staff in a memo.

“It is with profound sadness that we share the news Christopher Hyndman died early this morning,” the memo read.

Hyndman’s co-host, Steven Sabados, was also his husband. Steven and Chriswas one of many projects the couple worked on together. Other projects include a home décor line launched in 2007 that features furniture, textiles, decorative accessories and area rugs.

After founding a design company, The Sabados Group, and starring in three HGTV series – Designer Guys, Design Rivals and So Chic with Steven and Chris – the couple launched their daily lifestyle show Steven and Chris.

The pair’s website states that their television shows have aired in more than 80 countries across the globe and their design work was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Other members of the HGTV family took to Twitter to remember Hyndman.

Jonathan Scott, co-host of HGTV’s Property Brothers, Tweeted, “I’m heartbroken to hear that Chris Hyndman has died. Just a joy to b around and such a kind soul. You will be missed. Rest in peace my friend.”

Scott’s brother and co-host, Drew, also shared his thoughts in a Tweet, writing, “It saddens me to hear that Chris Hyndman from @CBC’s @stevenandchris has passed. He was a great guy and will be missed.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME conflict

Why the World War II ‘Dambusters’ Mission Was So Important

Bombed Dam
Keystone / Getty Images The Mohne Dam in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 17, 1943, after being bombed by the No. 617 Squadron of the RAF, better known as the Dambusters, during Operation Chastise. Photo discovered in German archives after the war.

The last surviving pilot from the mission has died. Here's why his work mattered

The last living pilot who participated in the Dambusters operation in May of 1943 died on Tuesday, the BBC reports. Les Munro, a New Zealander who continued to take to the skies even in old age, was an impressive survivor from the start: the renowned World War II mission—in which Royal Air Force planes attacked German dams—sent out more than 100 flight crew, of whom only about half returned. (Two non-pilot crew members survive today.)

But why was that particular mission so important?

As TIME reported in the week that followed, the mission was “one of the most daring and profitable exploits of the air war against Germany” because the industrial region around the Ruhr valley was seriously hurt after the loss of the dams caused the river to flood:

The biggest damage was done to railway communications. Actual industrial damage was secondary but no less important: entire townships of workers’ homes rendered completely uninhabitable; power stations destroyed; telephone and power lines ripped out; water supplies for the big industries reduced for at least a year, until the dams could be repaired and the reservoirs refilled after the slack water season.

The bombing of the dams was no stunt by the R.A.F., but the result of careful planning and painstaking training. There were three reasons why it has not been done before: 1) the logical time was when the rivers were in flood, the dams full, the dry season approaching; 2) big four-engined planes were needed, flown by experienced crews who had had weeks of specialized training and study of the target (bombing the dams was pinpoint work from the lowest altitude); 3) for maximum effect, flood disaster had to be carefully timed in the Allies’ general bombing program. Experts considered that the best moment was when really heavy bombing had already disorganized Ruhr industry to a substantial extent, and when rescue and construction services were already overstrained.

About a decade later, the work of Munro and his compatriots was illustrated by the British movie The Dam Busters. The real hero of the movie, TIME noted in its review, was a new type of bomb that, if dropped at the right height and speed, would “bounce for 600 yards along the water to the dam wall, sink 30 feet and detonate.”

Read more from 1943, here in the TIME Vault: Loosing the Flood

TIME wrestling

Watch WWE’s Moving Tribute to ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper on Monday Night Raw

The WWE Hall of Famer and Intercontinental Champion passed away at the age of 61

WWE honored “Rowdy” Roddy Piper with a tribute on Monday Night Raw highlighting the late wrestler’s career and contributions to the sport and pop culture. The montage – scored with Greg Holden’s song “Hold On Tight” – included clips of Piper’s life in the ring, his affinity for trash talk, and even a scene from They Live, the John Carpenter cult classic.

“WWE is deeply saddened that Roderick Toombs, aka ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper – WWE Hall of Famer and Intercontinental Champion – passed away today at the age of 61,” WWE wrote in a statement on Friday. “WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Toombs’ family, friends and fans.”

This article originally appeared on EW.com

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