• U.S.

Milestones Aug. 6, 2001

3 minute read
Melissa August, Beau Briese, Rhett Butler, Anne Hartshorn, Christina Lewis, Valerie Marchant, Ellin Martens, Ryan Schick, Sora Song, Heather Won Tesoriero and Kadesha Thomas

AILING. NELSON MANDELA, 83, anti-apartheid crusader and the first black President of South Africa; from early-stage prostate cancer; in Johannesburg. Mandela will undergo radiation therapy over the next several weeks while keeping up his relentless globe-trotting schedule.

SENTENCED. NATHANIEL BRAZILL, 14, Florida teen who was convicted of second-degree murder last May for shooting his 35-year-old teacher; to 28 years in prison; in West Palm Beach, Fla. Though he was 13 at the time of the murder, Brazill was tried as an adult.

RELEASED. GAO ZHAN, 39, and QIN GUANGGUANG, 45, Chinese scholars with U.S. ties, convicted of spying for Taiwan; in Beijing. Gao, a researcher at American University in Washington, and Qin, once a visiting scholar at Stanford, both U.S. residents, were tried, convicted and paroled within three days–in advance of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to Beijing. Gao is back in the U.S., but Qin has decided to stay in China.

DIED. PHOOLAN DEVI, 38, India’s rebellious “Bandit Queen,” a vigilante turned lawmaker revered by the poor as a defender of the lower castes; when three masked men gunned her down as she stepped out of her car; in New Delhi. Devi’s gun-slinging, horseback-riding Robin Hood antics drew many ardent fans and equally ardent foes. In 1996 the former voted her into Parliament.

DIED. MILTON GABLER, 90, record producer and founder of Commodore Records, the first independent jazz label; in New York City. Gabler ran the Commodore Music Shop, widely celebrated as New York City’s most comprehensive jazz record store and a hangout for fans and musicians. In the 1930s Gabler began recording such artists as Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee and paired Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald for the first time on vinyl. In 1954 Gabler produced that seminal rock-‘n’-roll tune, Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock.

DIED. EUDORA WELTY, 92, luminous Southern author; in Jackson, Miss. Welty’s keen sense of observation fueled not just her writing but her photographs. She was immortalized too when a software designer named his e-mail program Eudora after her. See Eulogy, below.

DIED. FRANCES HORWICH, 93, educator and kindly bell-ringing host of the 1950s children’s show Ding Dong School; in Chicago. During the half-hour program, which paved the way for Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, “Miss Frances” taught arts and crafts, told stories and offered simple lessons. She won a Peabody Award in 1953.

DIED. LEON WILKESON, 49, bassist and founding member of the seminal Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd; in his sleep; in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Wilkeson survived the 1977 plane crash that killed three members of the group, including fellow founder Ronnie Van Zant. The band, reformulated in 1987, had scheduled a late-August concert.

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