• U.S.

Milestones Jun. 14, 1999

2 minute read
Melissa August, Harriet Barovick, Michelle Derrow, Tam Gray, Daniel S. Levy, Lina Lofaro, David Spitz, Joel Stein and Chris Taylor

RECOVERING. ROBERT HUGHES, 60, author, art historian and critic for TIME; from multiple injuries sustained when the car he was driving was in a head-on collision near Broome, Australia. (Three others were injured.) Hughes, who suffered fractures of the ribs, sternum and right leg, was in Australia to film a TV series, Beyond the Fatal Shore, a sequel to his best-selling book, The Fatal Shore.

INJURED. CHARISMATIC, 3, this year’s underdog winner of both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness; with two fractured bones in his left front leg as he came in third at Belmont, N.Y., the last race of the Triple Crown. The injury will keep him from ever racing again. In a tale now cherished by long shots, his owners had twice tried to sell the potential Triple Crown winner for a pittance but could find no takers.

DIED. RUTH WHITNEY, 70, longtime editor of Glamour; of Lou Gehrig’s disease; in Irvington, N.Y. (See EULOGY.)

DIED. CHRISTOPHER COCKERELL, 88, inventor of the Hovercraft; in Hythe, Hampshire, England. He got the idea by making an empty cat-food can float within a larger coffee can with gusts from a vacuum cleaner.

DIED. CHARLES PIERCE, 72, flamboyant impersonator of Hollywood grandes dames; of cancer; in North Hollywood, Calif. Known for his campy–and catty–impressions of Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson and Mae West, Pierce played clubs throughout Europe and the U.S. for four decades.

DIED. MEL TORME, 73, consummate vocalist known, to his dismay, as the Velvet Fog; of complications from a stroke; in Los Angeles. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Torme began performing at age four; his voice’s preternatural lushness was due in part to a small second growth of tonsil after a tonsillectomy. His artistry, however, was earned, and appreciated by fans from 1940s bobby-soxers to 1990s alternative rockers. Of Torme’s musical intelligence, bandleader Buddy Rich once remarked, “When Mel sings, it’s like having another horn in the band.” Torme played several instruments and was an arranger and composer who wrote some 300 tunes, including (with Robert Wells) the hit The Christmas Song.

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