Notable deaths: Arts and entertainment

Moderator Mina Brown: Today is Friday, December 30th.

Thank you for starting your day with WORLD Radio.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

Moderator NICK EICHER: I’m Nick Eicher.

next world and everything in it: Notable deaths in 2022.

Today we wrap up our look back at this year’s deceased, this time from the arts and media world. This is world reporter Anna Johansen Brown.

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN: First, we remember the people behind Conjunction Junction.

AUDIO Conjunction junction, what is your role?

George Newall is the co-creator of Schoolhouse Rock, the animated series that sets schools to music.

Audio I’m just a bill, yes I’m just a bill, I’m sitting on Capitol Hill…

Newall helped come up with the idea while working at an advertising agency. His boss complained that his younger son could sing along with Jimi Hendrix or the Rolling Stones, but couldn’t do basic multiplication. Newall assembled a team to make math facts singable, and Schoolhouse Rock was born.

Audio three is a magic number…

This educational series ran from 1973 to 1985. It teaches children about science, math, grammar and civics.

Newall is the last surviving member of the founding team. He died earlier this month at the age of 88.

Next came one of America’s first black film stars.

Audio Winner is Sidney Poitier lily [applause]

Sidney Poitier grew up in the Bahamas, the son of tomato growers and the youngest of seven children. At 15, Poitier traveled to America with three dollars. He tried acting, but couldn’t read well and had trouble getting past scripts. Instead, Poitiers found work as a dishwasher. Between shifts, an elderly waiter helped him practice reading.

Soon, Poitiers found work with the African American Theater. He took acting lessons and softened his thick islander accent. Eventually, he made his way to Broadway and from there to Hollywood.

Audio So what do they call you on it? They call me Mr. Tibbs.

At the time, there were almost no roles for black actors in Hollywood. Racial taboos prevent Poitiers from playing the most romantic roles. But even with few options, Poitiers was picky about the roles he would play. He refuses to play roles that don’t fit his values.

In 1963, Poitiers starred in “Lily of the Field”. He plays an itinerant worker who helps a group of East German nuns build a chapel.

Audio is now English class time. I built a little church. I built a little church. You build a chapel. You built a little church…

Poitiers won an Oscar for this performance.

Many of his films explored social change and racial tensions during the Civil Rights Movement.

Audio Was Mr. Colbert ever in this greenhouse, say last night around midnight?
[slap, slap]…There was a time when I could have let you shoot.

But Poitiers sometimes gets frustrated when people focus too much on racism. “Racism is horrible, but there are other aspects of life,” he said.

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sound [singing] Amen. Amen…

Poitiers died in January at the age of 94.

sound [singing] … Amen, amen, amen.

Next, the architects behind the interstellar devastating space station.

Audio That’s not the moon. This is a space station. Too big to be a space station. I have a very bad feeling about this.

Colin Cantwell is a concept artist who designed several Star Wars ships, including the TIE Fighter, X-Wing, and Death Star.

sound [music]

Cantwell graduated from UCLA with a degree in animation, then attended Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture. During the space race, he worked for NASA developing educational programs for the public.

In 1974, Cantwell joined the Star Wars team. He built a prototype spaceship for A New Hope. One of his original miniseries appears in the film. Luke Skywalker plays with it while talking to C-3PO.

Cantwell died in May at the age of 90.

Next, we memorize the voice of a notorious villain.

Audio my dear, sweet child. That’s what I do. This is my life. Go help merfolk as unfortunate as you.

Pat Carroll voiced Ursula in the 1989 animated classic little mermaid.

Audio Poor unfortunate soul, in pain, in need of help. This one wants to be thin, this one wants to chase after girls, how can I help them? Indeed.

Carol is also an iconic comedian. She has received Emmy Awards for her television work and has appeared frequently on “The Danny Kaye Show,” “The Red Skull Show” and “The Carol Burnett Show.”

Audio Mimi, this is my little sister Kris. Is she just visiting, or is she here permanently? Oh, and she’ll live with us until she gets married. forever?

But one of Carol’s favorite characters is Ursula, the sea witch. She calls her “the ex-Shakespearean actress who now sells cars”.

Carroll died in July at the age of 95.

Next, we move behind the camera.

Ron Galella was a pioneer of the paparazzi: one of the first photographers to capture pictures of the private lives of celebrities. During his career, Galella took more than three million photographs of the likes of Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot.

AUDIO This is curiosity, a word…we see them on screen, fascinating superstars. But are they equally charming in real life?

Many were disappointed with Gallela and accused him of stalking… obsessing over his subjects. In 1973, Galera followed Marlon Brando to a restaurant in New York City. Brando had had enough and punched him in the face, breaking his jaw and knocking out five of his teeth. Galella sued and won $40,000. The next time he’s chasing Marlon Brando for a photo, he’s wearing a football helmet.

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Despite the dismay of his subjects, Galella’s work is still exhibited in art galleries around the world.

Galera died in April at the age of 91.

Next, we remember a sprawling dairy farm in Bethel, New York.

Michael Lang was a co-founder of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair.


Woodstock was a cultural hotspot in the 60s. It’s a three-day festival that celebrates all the freewheeling countercultural values ​​of the era.

Michael Lang was 24 years old… a concert promoter, producer and manager. At the height of the Vietnam War, he and a fellow music executive came up with the idea for Woodstock.


He hosted the event at a farm in upstate New York. Well-known artists such as Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin performed.


Lang expects about 50,000 people to attend. But more than 400,000 people came, causing serious traffic jams. The setting couldn’t accommodate that many people, and festival-goers endured days of food shortages and poor sanitation. Drug use and overdose are rampant.

Michael Lang wanted Woodstock to celebrate peace, love and music. He described it as a test: “Can we live in the peaceful communities we envision? I hope we can.”

Long died in January at the age of 77.

Next, we remember a dancer and choreographer.

AUDIO I hope you enjoy the tranquility you create as you step.

Yuriko is the daughter of Japanese immigrants. She was born in California in 1920, but when she was three years old, her father and two sisters died of the flu. Yuriko’s mother sent her to Japan to live with relatives. There she studied German Expressionist dance. As a teenager, Yuriko returned to the United States to study ballet and modern dance, but then came Pearl Harbor in 1941. The U.S. military rounded up hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans and sent them to internment camps. Yuriko spent two years in a camp in Arizona. She decided to teach the children dance at the camp.

stock nutcracker sounds

They made costumes out of tablecloths and old curtains and gave a Nutcracker recital.

In 1943, Yuriko moved to New York. She danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company and performed original Broadway productions of The King and I and Flower Drum Song. Yuriko went on to found her own modern dance company.

Audio I expect the best from you. Laurie. Hungry hands. let me see. Hungry, hungry. Not in your brain, but in your body.

Yuriko died in March at the age of 102.

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From stage to page.Next, we remember the author behind Sarah is ordinary but tall.

Patricia MacLachlan writes poignant stories about everyday life on the American plains. Many of her books are inspired by her childhood in North Dakota.

Audio I think my voice comes from my upbringing. The prairie where I grew up was a very open place. So the language of my Russian uncles is redundant. So did my father. They speak like scenery. Not a lot of trees, and not a lot of clutter.

she wrote Sarah is ordinary but tall 1985. McLachlan based the book on her own family history.

Audio Sarah Plain and Tall is about my step-great-grandmother who left Maine to go to Kansas to meet my great-grandfather who had placed a marriage ad in the paper because he had lost his wife and had a child.

The book won the Newbery Medal in 1986.

MacLachlan often weaves together stories of young and old.

Audio I have always had great respect for the similarities between old and young. So I worked really hard to make it rich enough for the kids but complex enough in the story to challenge them.

McLachlan died in March at the age of 84.

Finally, we remember the man who put the book on tape.

Duvall Hecht is an Olympic gold medalist in rowing. But he’s probably better known for making audiobooks mainstream.

In the 1960s, Hecht worked at a brokerage firm in Los Angeles. His commute takes an hour and it drives him crazy. The radio provided “bad music and worse news,” he said. He wanted to find a way out of his daily misery, so he turned to audiobooks for the blind.

cassette audio

Cassette tapes are still in their infancy. Some entrepreneurs put books like the Bible on tape, but Hecht wanted modern literature. Novel, biography, history.

He tried to convince publishers to get involved. They didn’t bite. So Hector took matters into his own hands. In 1975, he started a company called Books on Tape, becoming the first large box book supplier. In his first year, he made $17,000. By 1991, the company was making $7.5 million. In 2001, Hecht sold the company to Random House.

Hecht died in February at the age of 90. But his legacy lives on. Today, audiobooks are the fastest growing format in publishing.

I’m reporting from WORLD, and I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

WORLD Radio Transcripts were created with an urgent deadline. This text may not be final and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative recording of a WORLD Radio program is the audio recording.


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