I.M. Pei, 102, the versatile, globe-trotting architect who revived the Louvre with a giant glass pyramid and captured the spirit of rebellion at the multishaped Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died early Thursday.
Pei’s works added elegance to landscapes worldwide with their powerful geometric shapes and grand spaces. His work spanned decades, starting in the late 1940s and continuing through the new millennium. Two of his last major projects, the Museum of Islamic Art, located on an artificial island just off the waterfront in Doha, Qatar, and the Macau Science Center, in China, opened in 2008 and 2009.
Pei painstakingly researched each project, studying its use and relating it to the environment. But he also was interested in architecture as art — and the effect he could create.
“At one level my goal is simply to give people pleasure in being in a space and walking around it,” he said. “But I also think architecture can reach a level where it influences people to want to do something more with their lives. That is the challenge that I find most interesting.”
Tim Conway, 85, whose gallery of innocent goofballs, stammering bystanders, transparent connivers, oblivious knuckleheads and hapless bumblers populated television comedy and variety shows for more than half a century, died Tuesday in Los Angeles.
With a sweetly cherubic face, a deceptively athletic physicality and an utter devotion to foolishness and slapstick, Conway was among Hollywood’s most enduringly popular clowns. The winner of six Emmy Awards and a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, he was a leading nonleading man, a vivid second banana whose deferential mien and skill as a collaborator made him most comfortable — and often funniest — in the shadow of a star.
For Conway, those stars were, most notably, Ernest Borgnine, with whom he appeared on the popular early-1960s series “McHale’s Navy,” and Carol Burnett, on whose comedy-variety show Conway was regularly featured from 1967 to 1978.
Unita Blackwell, 86, an outspoken civil rights activist who was born to sharecroppers in the segregated American South and rose to become the first African American woman to win a mayor’s race in Mississippi, died Monday at Ocean Springs Hospital.
Blackwell was born in the impoverished Mississippi Delta during the Great Depression. She grew up in Mississippi and Arkansas, and had to leave school when she was 12 to work as a farm laborer. She became active in the civil rights movement in the Delta in 1964 as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, suing the Issaquena County School Board in 1965 after 300 students, including her son, were suspended for wearing pins supporting civil rights.
From 1976 to 2001, Blackwell was mayor of Mayersville, a town of about 500. She developed a utility district to provide water and sewerage services. Under her leadership, the town also paved streets and worked to improve housing. She received a $350,000 MacArthur Foundation genius grant in 1992 for her work on housing and water services.
Doris Day, 97, the sunny blond actress and singer whose frothy comedic roles opposite the likes of Rock Hudson and Cary Grant made her one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1950s and ’60s and a symbol of wholesome American womanhood, died Monday.
In more recent years, Day had been an animal rights advocate. Her Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed her death at her Carmel Valley, California, home. Day “had been in excellent physical health for her age” but had recently contracted pneumonia, the foundation said in a statement. She requested that no memorial services be held and no grave marker erected.
Peggy Lipton, 72, the angel-faced actress who starred in “The Mod Squad” and made a television comeback in the “Twin Peaks” series, died May 11 in Los Angeles. Her death was confirmed by Kidada and Rashida Jones, her daughters from a marriage to famed music producer Quincy Jones. Lipton had received a diagnosis of colon cancer in 2004.
She was 22 when she achieved instant stardom on the ABC police drama “The Mod Squad” (1968-73), one of the first prime-time series to acknowledge the existence of the hippie counterculture and an early example of multiracial casting.
Gunther Cunningham, 72, who dedicated more than five decades to American football, including coaching stints in college and the CFL before making a name for himself in the NFL, died May 11 after a brief illness. He worked for six different franchises over 34 years in the league, including a two-year stint as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cunningham died in Detroit, where he had served as defensive coordinator and a senior coaching assistant for the Lions before retiring in 2016.
Robert Maxwell, 98, an Army communications specialist and World War II hero who fell on a grenade with nothing more than a blanket to protect his comrades from the blast, died May 11 in Bend, Oregon. He received a Medal of Honor for an “act of instantaneous heroism” that “permanently maimed” him but “saved the lives of his comrades,” stated the citation.
César Cuauhtémoc González Barrón, a 51-year-old Mexican wrestling sensation whose best-known stage name was Silver King, collapsed and died in the ring May 11, in front of thousands of cheering fans in London. He was best known as the heel character Ramses when he played opposite Jack Black in the 2005 comedy “Nacho Libre.”
Jenna Welch, 99, whose $8,000 loss in the Enron scandal was invoked by her son-in-law, President George W. Bush, to distance himself from his energy-firm connections, died May 11 in Texas. Her daughter, former first lady Laura Bush, confirmed the death on Instagram.
Goro Shimura, 89, a mathematician whose insights provided the foundation for the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem and led to tools widely used in modern cryptography, died May 3 at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. His death was announced by Princeton University, where Shimura had been a professor from 1964 until his retirement in 1999.