Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stanley Karnow, Historian and Journalist

Stanley Karnow, Historian and Journalist, Dies at 87

Stanley Karnow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist who produced acclaimed books and television documentaries about Vietnam and the Philippines in the throes of war and upheaval, died on Sunday at his home in Potomac, Md. He was 87.
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
The historian, foreign correspondent and television documentarian Stanley Karnow at his home in Potomac, Md., in 2009.
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The cause was congestive heart failure, said Mr. Karnow’s son, Michael.
For more than three decades Mr. Karnow was a correspondent in Southeast Asia, working for Time, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, The Washington Post, NBC News, The New Republic, King Features Syndicate and the Public Broadcasting Service. But he was best known for his books and documentaries.
He was in Vietnam in 1959, when the first American advisers were killed, and lingered long after the guns fell silent, talking to fighters, villagers, refugees, North and South Vietnamese political and military leaders, the French and the Americans, researching a people and a war that had been little understood.
The result was the 750-page book “Vietnam: A History,” published in 1983, and its companion, a 13-hour PBS documentary, “Vietnam: A Television History.” Unlike many books and films on Vietnam in the 1960s and ’70s and the nightly newscasts that focused primarily on America’s role and its consequences at home and abroad, Mr. Karnow addressed all sides of the conflict and traced Vietnam’s culture and history.
“Vietnam: A History” was widely praised and a best seller. The documentary, with Mr. Karnow as chief correspondent, was at the time the most successful ever produced by public television, viewed by an average of nearly 10 million people a night through 13 episodes. It won six Emmy Awards, as well as Peabody, Polk and duPont-Columbia awards.
Six years later, Mr. Karnow delivered his second comprehensive book and television examination of a Southeast Asian nation. The book, “In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines” (1989), was a panorama of centuries of Filipino life under Spanish and American colonial rule, followed by independence under sometimes corrupt American-backed leaders. It won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for history.
Narrated by Mr. Karnow, the three-part PBS documentary “The U.S. and the Philippines: In Our Image” traced America’s paternalistic colonial rule in the Philippines, the shared suffering of Filipinos and Americans under a cruel Japanese occupation in World War II, and Manila’s postwar independence under regimes nominally democratic but repressive, corrupt or indifferent to the miseries of its people.
Mr. Karnow also wrote “Mao and China: From Revolution to Revolution” (1972) and was a co-author of or contributor to books based on his years in Asia, including “Asian-Americans in Transition” (1992), “Passage to Vietnam” (1994), “Mekong” (1995) and “Historical Atlas of the Vietnam War” (1995).
Early in his career he lived in Paris for a decade, and in 1997 he published a memoir, “Paris in the Fifties.” A nostalgic reporter’s notebook of life among the cafe philosophers, bereted musicians and pseudo-revolutionary artistes, it danced with digressions about taxes, restaurants, the guillotine, Hemingway, Charles de Gaulle and the Devil’s Island penal colony.
In its range, learning and appetite for fun, Bernard Kalb, the former CBS reporter and Mr. Karnow’s friend since Vietnam, told The Associated Press in 2009, the memoir was vintage Karnow. “Stanley has a great line about how being a journalist is like being an adolescent all your life,” he said.
Stanley Karnow was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 4, 1925, the son of Harry and Henriette Koeppel Karnow. He grew up in a city with more than a dozen daily newspapers and decided early that he wanted to become a reporter. He served in the Army Air Forces in World War II. After graduating from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in 1947, he sailed for France, intending to spend the summer. He stayed for a decade.

Stanley Karnow, Historian and Journalist, Dies at 87

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Mr. Karnow married Claude Sarraute in 1948. They were divorced in 1955. In 1959, he married Annette Kline. They had two children, Michael and Catherine, who survive him, along with a stepson, Curtis Karnow, and two grandchildren. His second wife died in 2009.
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He studied politics at the University of Paris in 1948-49, and from 1950 to 1957 was a Paris correspondent for Time magazine, covering Western Europe and North Africa. As Algeria’s war of independence shook France with increasing violence, Mr. Karnow was posted to North Africa in 1958.
In 1959 Mr. Karnow moved to Southeast Asia, established a base in Hong Kong and traveled widely in a region rife with conflicts. He was not typical of the Western correspondents, most of whom worked for one publication, dropped into war zones or political hot spots, wrote a few articles and moved on. He often had more than one employer, including weekly newsmagazines and other publications without daily deadlines, and he was drawn to reporting in greater depth and longer, more analytical writing forms.
Mr. Karnow was an Asian correspondent for Time-Life from 1959 to 1962, The London Observer from 1961 to 1965, The Saturday Evening Post from 1963 to 1965 and The Washington Post from 1965 to 1971. He was a diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post in 1971 and 1972, and a special correspondent for NBC and an associate editor of The New Republic from 1973 to 1975.
In his first book, “Southeast Asia” (1962), an illustrated Life World Library volume, he noted that Ngo Dinh Diem, South Vietnam’s authoritarian anti-Communist president, was in danger of being overthrown. In November 1963, President Diem was slain in a military coup that the Kennedy administration had tacitly endorsed.
Besides reporting periodically from Vietnam, Mr. Karnow covered news events across the region, including President Richard M. Nixon’s historic trip to China in 1972, for The Washington Post. Although he was one of 87 news representatives chosen by the White House to accompany Nixon to China, Mr. Karnow was also on the White House “enemies list” made public by the Senate Watergate committee in 1973.
As China emerged from decades of isolation, Mr. Karnow’s book “Mao and China” examined the nation’s history from the Communist revolution through the Cultural Revolution, and also looked at Chairman Mao’s often conflicting roles in the period.
After the Vietnam War Mr. Karnow was a columnist for King Features from 1975 to 1988, wrote for the French newsweekly Le Point from 1976 to 1983 and for Newsweek International from 1977 to 1981, and was an editor with the International Writers Service from 1976 to 1986.
He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1958 and was a recipient of many awards, including the Shorenstein Prize for reporting on Asia.

Bob Turley, Blazing Fastball Pitcher

Bob Turley, Pitcher With a Blazing Fastball, Dies at 82

Bob Turley around 1955. A few years later, he would lift the Yankees to a World Series victory.
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Bob Turley, a Cy Young-winning, right-handed pitcher whose blazing fastball bore in on baffled hitters like a dissolving aspirin and lifted the Yankees to a come-from-behind victory over the Milwaukee Braves in the 1958 World Series, died in Atlanta on Saturday. He was 82.
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Turley, who lived in Alpharetta, Ga., died in hospice care at Lenbrook, a retirement community in Atlanta. The cause was liver cancer, his son, Terry, told The Baltimore Sun.
On a Casey Stengel team loaded with legends — including Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Moose Skowron and Elston Howard — Turley was a mainstay of a pitching staff led by Whitey Ford and Don Larsen, whose perfect game in the 1956 World Series symbolized a golden era of Yankee dominion.
They called him “Bullet Bob,” and if any proof were needed beyond the 1,265 strikeouts and 101 wins he racked up in 12 seasons in the American League, it was provided early in his career by a DuMont cathode-ray oscilloscope, whose photoelectric eye clocked his fastball at 94 to 98 miles an hour.
He was no herky-jerky tangle of arms and legs like Dizzy Dean or Cleveland’s fireballing Bob Feller, with whose fastball his was sometimes compared. Like the great Walter Johnson, he pitched with practically no windup, and had a remarkably smooth delivery for his 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame. He had a curve, a slider and a change-up, but the fastball was his magic.
To a batter’s naked, unflinching eye, it was an intimidating marvel to behold: the ball perfectly hidden as Turley looked in for the sign, paused to inspect the crowd, and let fly — an incoming rocket, a white blur barely visible for just over four-tenths of a second, and then — smack! — gone into the catcher’s mitt.
“Man!” Roy Campanella, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ catcher, exclaimed after Turley struck him out three times in succession in a 1956 game. “When you see me take three swings at three fastballs and not even foul tip one, the fellow throwing ’em must have something. Maybe he was using a little gun to fire that ball up there.”
Turley, a popcorn-gobbling Midwesterner with a ski-jump nose like Bob Hope’s and personal habits — no drinking, smoking, womanizing or sideburns — that would have made George Steinbrenner proud, played eight years with the Yankees, from 1955 to 1962, winning three World Series rings and building a win-loss record of 82-52, with 58 complete games, 909 strikeouts and an earned run average of 3.64.
But his best year by far was 1958, when he won a league-leading 21 games with only 7 losses, including 19 complete games and 6 shutouts, while striking out 168 and compiling a 2.97 E.R.A. And all that was just the season’s prelude to a World Series that baseball fans still talk about as one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the game.
To set the stage: The Milwaukee Braves were the defending world champions, having beaten the Yanks in the 1957 Series on the strength of three complete-game victories by Lew Burdette. The Yankees, winners of 7 of the previous 11 World Series, were burning for revenge. But besides Burdette, the Braves had Warren Spahn on the mound and the sluggers Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Joe Adcock.
After four games, New York trailed 3 games to 1, and the Yankee prospects looked bleak. Only the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates had come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a 7-game Series. With the Yankees just one game from elimination, Turley went to work. He threw a shutout in Game 5, picked up a 10th-inning save in Game 6 and won his second in three days in Game 7, giving up only two hits in 6 2/3 innings of shutout relief.
Turley was overwhelmed with honors. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Series, won the $10,000 diamond Hickok Belt as the year’s top professional athlete, took the New York Baseball Writers’ Mercer Award as player of the year, and became the third to win the Cy Young Award as baseball’s best pitcher. (Starting in 1967, it was given to one pitcher in each league.)
The Yankees gave him a $7,000 raise, increasing his 1959 pay to $32,000. He rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and was lionized and hounded for autographs at banquets all winter long. “Thirty-five dinners so far, and only 10 to go,” he told Arthur Daley, the sports columnist of The New York Times, in January.
“Unlike most heroes who hit the mashed potatoes and rubber chicken circuit, however, Turley hasn’t piled on the suet,” Daley wrote. “He probably worried off the weight because speechifying fills him with dread. He’s just a simple country boy with no sham or pretense in him.”
Robert Lee Turley was born on Sept. 19, 1930, in Troy, Ill., and grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., where he starred on the Central High School baseball squad. The St. Louis Browns’ scouts spotted him, and he was signed for $600 as an amateur free agent in 1948. He played only one big-league game with the Browns in 1951 before going into the Army.
He rejoined the team in 1954, when it moved east and became the Baltimore Orioles. In a single season with Baltimore, Turley won 14 games and lost 15, but led the league with 181 strikeouts. Rivals, including the Yankees, were impressed. “It isn’t just that his ball is fast,” the Yankee coach Bill Dickey said. “It’s live. It darts and jumps when it gets near the batter.”
The Yankees acquired Turley and Larsen from Baltimore in a celebrated 17-player trade that was so good for the Yanks that the New York newspapers called it grand larceny. In his debut with the Yankees, Turley struck out 10 and beat the Boston Red Sox, 5 to 4. He went on to win 17 games that season.
After his World Series triumph, Turley had a series of declining seasons with the Yankees. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels after the 1962 season and ended his playing career with the Angels and the Red Sox in 1963. He was a pitching coach for the Red Sox in 1964 before leaving baseball for a career in finance and insurance.
He and others founded A. L. Williams & Associates, which sold life insurance. He later became a senior national sales director of Primerica Financial Services, an investment marketing company in Duluth, Ga. Turley retired in 2001.
He is survived by his second wife, Janet; two sons, Terry and Donald; two stepchildren; and many grandchildren.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Phil Ramone, Record Producer

Phil Ramone, 79, Producer For Music’s Biggest Stars

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Phil Ramone, a prolific record producer and engineer who worked with some of the biggest music stars of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 79. Though it was widely reported that he was 72, public records and his family confirm that he was born Jan. 5, 1934.
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Phil Ramone, left, and Paul Simon, won the Grammy for best album for “Still Crazy After All These Years” in 1976.
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His death was confirmed by his son Matthew. He did not immediately give the cause, but Mr. Ramone was reported to have been admitted to a Manhattan hospital in late February for treatment of an aortic aneurysm.
In his 2007 memoir, “Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music,” written with Charles L. Granata, Mr. Ramone defined the role of record producer as roughly equivalent to that of a film director, creating and managing an environment in which to coax the best work out of his performers.
“But, unlike a director (who is visible, and often a celebrity in his own right), the record producer toils in anonymity,” he wrote. “We ply our craft deep into the night, behind locked doors. And with few exceptions, the fruit of our labor is seldom launched with the glitzy fanfare of a Hollywood premiere.”
Mr. Ramone’s career was one of those exceptions. He was a trusted craftsman and confidant in the industry who was also one of the handful of producers widely known to the public. He won 14 Grammy Awards, including producer of the year, nonclassical, in 1981, and three for album of the year, for Mr. Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” in 1976, Mr. Joel’s “52nd Street” in 1980, and Mr. Charles’s duets album, “Genius Loves Company,” in 2005. He also produced music for television and film, winning an Emmy Award as the sound mixer for a 1973 special on CBS, “Duke Ellington ... We Love You Madly.”
Mr. Ramone was born in South Africa and grew up in Brooklyn. His father died when he was young, and his mother worked in a department store. A classical violin prodigy, he studied at the Juilliard School but soon drifted toward jazz and pop, and apprenticed at a recording studio, J.A.C. Recording.
In 1958, he co-founded A & R Recording, a studio on West 48th Street in Manhattan, and built a reputation as a versatile engineer, working on pop fare like Lesley Gore as well as jazz by John Coltrane and Quincy Jones. He ran the sound when Marilyn Monroe cooed “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962, and three years later won his first Grammy as the engineer on Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s landmark album “Getz/Gilberto.”
As a producer, he had a particularly close association with Mr. Joel and Mr. Simon; the back cover of Mr. Joel’s 1977 album “The Stranger” features a photograph of Mr. Ramone posing with Mr. Joel and his band at a New York restaurant.
“I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band,” Mr. Joel said in a statement on Saturday. “He was the guy that no one ever, ever saw onstage. He was with me as long as any of the musicians I ever played with — longer than most. So much of my music was shaped by him and brought to fruition by him.”
Mr. Ramone’s relationships with those men were deep enough that he named two of his sons after them: Simon and William (known as B. J.); they survive him, along with Matthew, his third son, and his wife, Karen.
As a producer, Mr. Ramone was known for a conservative sound rooted in jazz and traditional pop, and in later years his biggest successes included albums with Mr. Charles, Tony Bennett, Elton John and others.
But he was also a proponent of new technologies. He was an early advocate for digital recording, and pushed for Mr. Joel’s “52nd Street” to be one of the first commercially released albums on compact disc, in 1982. Mr. Sinatra’s 1993 album “Duets,” featuring stars like Bono, Ms. Streisand and Natalie Cole, was made by connecting Mr. Sinatra’s studio in Los Angeles with others around the world using fiber-optic cables.
In an interview with Billboard magazine in 1996, Mr. Ramone explained why he believed a producer should not leave too much of his “stamp” on a recording.
“If our names were on the front cover, it’d be different, but it’s not on the front cover, and the audience doesn’t care,” he said. “If you think you have a style and you perpetrate that onto people, you’re hurting the very essence of their creativity.”
“The reward of producing,” he continued, “comes when somebody inside the record company who has a lot to do with what’s going on actually calls you and says, ‘Boy, this record really came out great.’ Or when other artists call you and want to work with you.”

Yvonne Brill, Trailblazing Rocket Scientist

Yvonne Brill, a Pioneering Rocket Scientist, Dies at 88

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She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said.
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Yvonne Brill receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama at the White House in 2011.
But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.
The system became the industry standard, and it was the achievement President Obama mentioned in 2011 in presenting her with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
Her devotion to family also won notice. In 1980, Harper’s Bazaar magazine and the DeBeers Corporation gave her their Diamond Superwoman award for returning to a successful career after starting a family.
Mrs. Brill — she preferred to be called Mrs., her son said — is believed to have been the only woman in the United States who was actually doing rocket science in the mid-1940s, when she worked on the first designs for an American satellite.
It was a distinction she earned in the face of obstacles, beginning when the University of Manitoba in Canada refused to let her major in engineering because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp, which students were required to attend.
“You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted,” she once said.
Mrs. Brill’s development of a more efficient rocket thruster to keep orbiting satellites in place allowed satellites to carry less fuel and more equipment and to stay in space longer. The thrusters have the delicate task of maneuvering a weightless satellite that can tip the scales at up to 5,000 pounds on Earth.
Mrs. Brill contributed to the propulsion systems of Tiros, the first weather satellite; Nova, a series of rocket designs that were used in American moon missions; the Atmosphere Explorer, the first upper-atmosphere satellite; and the Mars Observer, which in 1992 almost entered a Mars orbit before losing communication with Earth.
From 1981 to 1983, Mrs. Brill worked for NASA developing the rocket motor for thespace shuttle. In a statement after Mrs. Brill’s death, Michael Griffin, president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, praised her as “a pioneering spirit” who coupled “a clear vision of what the future of an entire area of systems should be with the ingenuity and genius necessary to make that vision a reality.”
Yvonne Madelaine Claeys was born on Dec. 30, 1924, in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her parents had separately immigrated from Flanders, in Belgium. Her father was a carpenter.
After the University of Manitoba barred her from the engineering program, she studied mathematics and chemistry instead and graduated at the top of her class. Her lack of an engineering degree did not prevent her from getting a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif.
“Nobody had the right degrees back then, so it didn’t matter,” she told The Star-Ledger of Newark in 2010. “I didn’t have engineering, but the engineers didn’t have the chemistry and math.”
She never received a professional engineer’s license, but did pick up a master’s in chemistry at the University of Southern California while working as a saleswoman for a chemical company. Afterward she went to work for Douglas, whose satellite project became the foundation of the RAND Corporation, an early research center. It was at RAND that she worked on the first American satellite designs, remaining there for three years. While still peddling chemicals, she met William Franklin Brill, a research chemist, at a talk by Linus Pauling, who would win one of his Nobel Prizes in chemistry. At one point Mr. Brill told her about his problems making a particular chemical in his lab. She replied that she could sell it to him by the pound at a very low price. Soon, the couple went square-dancing, only to discover that they both hated it. They found other interests, and married in 1951. He died in 2010.
They moved to Connecticut in 1952 when Mr. Brill got a job there. She followed him again when he later got a job in New Jersey. She did not mind the moves, her son Matthew said. She would say, “Good husbands are harder to find than good jobs.”
Still, she managed to find jobs that allowed her to continue to work on rockets. One was at Wright Aeronautical in New Jersey. She left the company in 1958, however, to care for her young children, keeping her hand in the field by working part-time as a consultant for the FMC Corporation. In 1966, she went back to work full time, taking a job at RCA’s rocket subsidiary. Soon she doing the work that won international acclaim.
Mrs. Brill patented her propulsion system for satellites in 1972, and the first communications satellite using it was launched in 1983. It is still being used by satellites that handle worldwide phone service, long-range television broadcasts and other tasks.
Part of Mrs. Brill’s rationale for going into rocket engineering was that virtually no other women were doing so. “I reckoned they would not invent rules to discriminate against one person,” she said in a 1990 interview.
Throughout her career Mrs. Brill encouraged women to become engineers and scientists, starting by telling high school girls to stick with math. In her last week of life, she was still writing letters recommending eminent women in engineering for professional awards.
Her own many awards include the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2001 and top honors from several major engineering societies.
Matthew Brill said his mother died of complications of breast cancer. She lived in Skillman, N.J. Mrs. Brill is also survived by another son, Joseph; a daughter, Naomi Brill; and four grandchildren.
In 2010, when Mrs. Brill was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, The Washington Post began its article about the event by lauding two other honorees, Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver, the inventors of Post-its. The article went on to suggestthat it took two men to create an adhesive stationery but only one woman to figure out how to keep satellites in place.