• U.S.

Milestones Aug. 29, 2005

4 minute read
Melissa August, Elizabeth L. Bland, Julie Rawe, Carolina A. Miranda, Logan Orlando, Golnoush Niknejad and Elspeth Reeve

CHECKED IN. Rapper EMINEM, 32; to an undisclosed rehabilitation center; for a dependency on sleep medication. The news came two days after cancellation of his European tour.

AILING. CORETTA SCOTT KING, 78, widow of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.; from a heart attack and stroke; in Atlanta. The stroke affected the right side of her body, impairing her speech and requiring physical therapy.

RECOVERING. HARRY REID, 65, Senate minority leader; from a brief ministroke that did not require hospitalization; in Searchlight, in his home state of Nevada.

DIED. JOE RANFT, 45, respected Pixar story artist who served as a key creative force behind many of the company’s hit animated films, including Toy Story, which earned him an Oscar nod in 1995; in a car accident; in Mendocino County, Calif. Ranft did voice-over work on many of his films, most famously as Heimlich, the corpulent Teutonic caterpillar in A Bug’s Life in 1998.

DIED. JOHN BAHCALL, 70, avuncular astrophysicist whose pioneering work helped explain why the sun shines; of a rare blood disorder; in New York City. In addition to solar physics, Bahcall was a forceful proponent of the Hubble Space Telescope, despite the program’s many early glitches. “We can take pride in an achievement that no other nation could even consider,” he told TIME in 1995, describing the Hubble as being “like our pyramids–but a whole lot more important.”

DIED. VASSAR CLEMENTS, 77, low-key, genre-busting bluegrass fiddler whose inability to read music didn’t impede a lengthy career that included high-profile gigs with Paul McCartney, B.B. King and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others; of cancer; in Nashville.

DIED. ALEXANDER GOMELSKY, 77, diminutive, commanding basketball coach from the former Soviet Union who built the team that in 1972 gave the U.S. its first Olympic defeat in that sport; of cancer; in Moscow. Ironically, the bespectacled Gomelsky wasn’t at his team’s most famous win because he had been denied a visa by Soviet authorities fearful he might defect at the Munich Games.

DIED. TONINO DELLI COLLI, 81, prolific Italian cinematographer whose adaptive nature and masterly use of light allowed him to capture the moods of such noted directors as Federico Fellini and Roman Polanski; in Rome. Delli Colli gave a distinct look to every film he worked on–choosing supersaturated hues for Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and unadorned black and white for his collaboration with Pier Paolo Pasolini on The Gospel According to St. Matthew. He retired his camera after shooting Life Is Beautiful.

DIED. TED CRONER, 82, experimental photographer whose ghostly, blurred images of nighttime New York City in the 1940s and ’50s have been showcased at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum; in Manhattan.

DIED. ROY “BUTCH” VORIS, 85, skilled World War II Navy pilot handpicked by Admiral Chester Nimitz to organize the flight-demonstration team known as the Blue Angels; in Monterey, Calif. In more than three decades of daredevil flying, Voris survived several accidents and a midair collision. He told his hometown paper last year, “I think I’ve used up eight of those proverbial nine lives.”

DIED. ESTHER WONG, 88, no-nonsense proprietor of Madame Wong’s, a renowned L.A. music venue in the late ’70s that showcased rock, punk and New Wave bands, including Oingo Boingo and the Knack; in Santa Monica, Calif. She auditioned groups by listening to demo tapes in her car; she threw the tapes of acts she didn’t favor out the window. A stern disciplinarian, Wong once halted a live set by the Ramones until band members cleaned up graffiti they had scrawled on a bathroom wall.

DIED. BROTHER ROGER, 90, humble, ecumenical theologian who attracted tens of thousands of young followers to his spiritual center in southern France to participate in prayer circles and chant; of stab wounds inflicted by a mentally disturbed woman; in Taizé, France. Born into a Swiss Protestant family as Roger Schutz, he founded a monastic community in 1940 that would ultimately include Lutheran, Anglican and Catholic monks who shared in his mission to unite all Christians. During six decades of ministry, he even drew a visit from Pope John Paul II, who felt renewed by the experience, saying “One passes through Taizé as one passes close to a spring of water.”

By Melissa August, Elizabeth L. Bland, Carolina A. Miranda, Golnoush Niknejad, Logan Orlando, Julie Rawe and Elspeth Reeve

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