• U.S.

Milestones Mar. 5, 2007

3 minute read
Clayton Neuman and by Harriet Barovick

RETIRED. Chief Illiniwek, buckskin-clad mascot who for 81 years performed halftime “tribal” dances for the University of Illinois, despite protests from Native American groups who called the character demeaning; in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Officials acted under pressure from the NCAA, which in 2005 barred colleges with American Indian mascots from acting as hosts for postseason events.

DIED. Richard Lehman, 83, CIA veteran who in 1961 initiated a now standard daily memo for the President summarizing global intelligence news; in Concord, N.H. Originally known as PICL (pronounced pickle), the President’s intelligence checklist–which guided John F. Kennedy through such events as the Cuban missile crisis–is now called the President’s Daily Brief.

DIED. Ray Evans, 92, Oscar-winning songwriter whose collaboration with partner Jay Livingston gave rise to Silver Bells, Mona Lisa and Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be); in Los Angeles.

DIED. Robert Adler, 93, physicist for Zenith who, with colleague Eugene Polley, invented the first commercially successful wireless TV remote control, sparking the couch-potato revolution; in Boise, Idaho. The tiny, elegant Zenith Space Command, which raised the price of TVs soon after it hit the market in 1956, was a vast improvement on its predecessors–one of which involved a long cord. In 1997 the gadget whose marketers once boasted, “Nothing between you and the TV but space!” won Adler and Polley an Emmy.

DIED. Bruce Metzger, 93, eminent New Testament scholar who oversaw the 1989 publication of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the touchstone for those on the liberal side of the biblical-text wars; in Princeton, N.J. A graceful linguist and world authority on translating the New Testament from the original Greek, he aimed to create a more modern, accessible text. Among its revisions: gender-neutral language, the elimination of thees and thous, and syntactical shifts to avoid confusion in meaning. A sentence that Metzger’s team edited as “Once I received a stoning,” for example, had previously read, “Once I was stoned.”

DIED. Maurice Papon, 96, French bureaucrat turned Paris police chief, convicted in 1998 of complicity in crimes against humanity; outside Paris. As a high-ranking officer of the Vichy regime based in southwestern France, he directed the roundup of some 1,600 Jews, whom he deported to German concentration camps. Papon, who said he had no idea what the Nazis planned for those French deportees and who was released from prison in 2002 for medical reasons, maintained in 2001 that he was “in no way responsible” for the murders of Jews.

DIED. Peggy Gilbert, 102, pioneering jazz saxophonist and bandleader of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s who led her most recent band, the Dixie Belles, until she was in her 90s; in Burbank, Calif. As a jazz-obsessed high school student, she ignored her teachers’ insistence that girls should stick to the violin and piano and took sax lessons from a local musician. Gilbert upped her national profile in 1937, when her all-girl band opened the Second Hollywood Swing Concert at Los Angeles’ storied Palomar Ballroom, sharing billing with fellow bandleaders Benny Goodman and Louis Prima. A year later she wrote a famous, widely hailed response to a Down Beat magazine article that had detailed the inferiority of the fairer sex. Her commentary cemented her reputation as an influential advocate for women players, despite the unfortunate headline provided by Down Beat editors: HOW CAN YOU BLOW A HORN WITH A BRASSIERE?

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