• U.S.

Milestones, Oct. 29, 1979

2 minute read

DIED. Pierre Bernac, 80, French baritone who performed with the late composer-pianist Francis Poulenc for 25 years; of heart disease; in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, France. Though best known for his interpretations of Poulenc art songs and other French vocal music, Bernac was also at home in the German and English repertory. Bernac, praised more for his technique and interpretative grace than for his voice, stopped performing in 1960 and concentrated on training singers in Europe and America.

DIED. Archibald B. Roosevelt, 85, war-hero son of President Theodore Roosevelt; following a stroke; in Stuart, Fla. “Archie” first made headlines at age seven by sliding down a banister straight into a White House reception. He was wounded and highly decorated as an infantry officer in both World Wars, conflicts that none of his three brothers survived. Roosevelt was an investment banker by profession, a conservationist by avocation and a bedrock McCarthyite Republican by political creed. His death makes Alice Roosevelt Longworth, 95, T.R.’s sole surviving child.

DIED. Clarence Muse, 89, black character actor, playwright, director and songwriter (When It’s Sleepy Time Down South); of a stroke; in Ferris, Calif. A law school graduate, the Baltimore-born Muse abandoned his legal ambitions early on to become a vaudeville singer. “The public believed in the Negro’s voice,” he later explained, “but not tin his] intelligence.” He made the first of his more than 200 screen appearances in Hearts in Dixie (1929), the first all-black musical, played Jim in Huckleberry Finn two years later and had his last role in the newly released The Black Stallion.

DIED. General Jacob L. Devers, 92, World War II combat commander who helped develop the U.S. Army’s armored units; in Washington, D.C. A deft administrator and one of the best polo players in the military, “Jakie” was charged in 1941 with welding the ragtag tank, infantry and artillery units of the fledgling armored forces into an effective tool for modern, mechanized warfare. In 1943 Devers became European theater commander for U.S. forces under General Dwight D. Eisenhower; he later helped direct the Allies’ North African and Italian campaigns and plan the Normandy invasion. In 1945 Devers succeeded General Joseph W. Stilwell as commander of U.S. Army ground forces. He retired four years later.

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