Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Obituaries and News

Obituary: Famed designer Oscar de la Renta, 82, has died. He was known for designing clothes for celebrities like Nancy Reagan and Jackie Onassis.

The man -- often described as the "sultan of suave" -- dressed every first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy. Among those whose glamor factor his dresses jazzed up: Oprah Winfrey, Ann Hathaway and, most recently, George Clooney's bride Amal Alamuddin.

"We will always remember him as the man who made women look and feel beautiful," former first lady Laura Bush said late Monday night. De la Renta designed the wedding dress for her daughter, Jenna.

The cause of his death, announced by close family friends and industry colleagues, was not immediately clear. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but said last year he was "totally clean."

The midterm elections don't look promising for Democrats right now, but regardless of which party controls Congress, the billionaires and other crooks are actually running the show.

Another obituary: Famous photographer Alfred Wertheimer, 85, has died. He will always be remembered for his famous photographs of Elvis Presley, especially those taken during his first year of superstardom.

Wertheimer was there to record it all.

"There has been no other photographer that Elvis ever allowed to get as up close and personal in his life through photos as he did with Alfred," Priscilla Presley said Tuesday. "I'm deeply saddened by the death of Alfred Wertheimer. He was a dear friend and special soul. I feel he was a gift for all who knew him especially, Elvis Presley."

Among the most famous shots: "The Kiss," a photo of Elvis nuzzling a woman fan backstage. Photographs of Elvis recording "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel," reading fan mail, eating alone, staring out a train window, playing a piano in an empty studio and walking by himself on a deserted New York street depicted a solitude that later was surrendered to fame and mobs of fans. Murray, who first exhibited the photos at Washington, D.C.'s Govinda Gallery where the photos are still shown, curated an exhibit of his photos for the Smithsonian Institution and edited several books of the photos.

His work has been shown in museums and galleries throughout the world. Wertheimer's photos are about to be exhibited at The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography in Moscow, his first Russian exhibit.

Celebrated Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, 93, has died. He is perhaps best remembered for having been the editor of the paper during the Watergate scandal. He was also close friends with JFK. He was equally at home with regular people as he was with celebrities.

Those are some of his virtues in addition to being the best newspaper editor of his era. One of his faults was after two failed marriages, he took up with failed TV talking head and WP newspaper reporter Sally Quinn, some twenty years his junior, shacked up with her, and then made an honest woman out of her by marrying her in around 1978. We then had to put up with stories of her Georgetown parties and her faux outrage over interlopers like the Clintons.

But all in all, he was a good guy:

Watergate made Mr. Bradlee’s Post famous, but the story that probably made the Watergate coverage possible was the Pentagon Papers, initially a New York Times scoop. Daniel Ellsberg, a disaffected former government official, gave the Times a set of the papers, a compilation of historical documents about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Times journalists worked for months on stories about them, which began to appear June 13, 1971. The stories created a sensation, even though they contained very little dramatic revelation. After three days of stories, the Nixon administration successfully sought a federal court injunction blocking further publication, the first such “prior restraint” in the nation’s history.

Ellsberg then offered the documents to The Post. Two days after the court order, Post editors and reporters were plowing through the Pentagon Papers and planning to write about them.

The Post’s attorneys were extremely nervous that the paper might publish stories based on material already deemed sensitive national security information by a federal judge in New York. The Post was about to sell shares to the public for the first time, hoping to raise $35 million. And the government licenses of The Post’s television stations would be vulnerable if the paper was convicted of a crime.

It's a long obituary, but Bradlee had a long, productive life.

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