Jim Bouton, 80, the former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book “Ball Four,” died Wednesdayat his Great Barrington, Massachusetts, home. He fought a brain disease linked to dementia and was in hospice care. Bouton also had two strokes in 2012.
Published in 1970, “Ball Four” detailed Yankees great Mickey Mantle’s carousing, and the use of stimulants in the major leagues. Bouton’s revealing look at baseball off the field made for eye-opening and entertaining reading, but he paid a big price for the best-seller when former teammates and players and executives across baseball ostracized him for exposing their secrets. He wasn’t invited to the Yankees’ Old-Timers’ Day until 1998.
Valentina Cortese, 96, an Italian postwar screen diva who was a popular muse for leading Italian directors, including Michelangelo Antonioni and Franco Zeffirelli, and was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar in 1975 playing a fading diva in François Truffaut’s “Day for Night” but lost out to Ingrid Bergman for her performance in “Murder on the Orient Express,” died Wednesday Cortese was married to actor Richard Basehart, with whom she starred in the thriller “The House of Telegraph Hill.” Both Basehart and their son, Jackie Basehart, an Italian American actor, died before her.
Ross Perot, 89, the wiry Texas gadfly who made a fortune in computer services, amazed the nation with audacious paramilitary missions to Vietnam and Iran and ran for president in 1992 and 1996 with populist talk of restoring Norman Rockwell’s America, died Tuesday in Dallas. The cause was leukemia. Perot’s 19% of the vote in 1992 stands among the best showings by an independent candidate in the last century.
Phil Freelon, 66, the principal architect for the African American history museum, which opened in September 2016 in Washington, D.C. as well as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore, and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, died Tuesdayin Durham, North Carolina. He had suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease for several years.
Rip Torn, 88, a free-spirited Texan whose career on stage and screen spanned seven decades, ranging from an early career of dark, threatening roles to iconic comedic performances later in life, died Tuesdayin Lakeville, Connecticut. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1984 film “Cross Creek, earned a Tony nomination in 1960 for Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth,” and later starred in HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show” and NBC’s “30 Rock.”
Johnny Kitagawa, 87, a kingpin of Japan’s entertainment industry for more than half a century who produced famous boy bands including Arashi, Tokio and SMAP, died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage Tuesdayat a Tokyo hospital, where he had been treated after falling unconscious June 18.
The death of the entertainment tycoon topped headlines in Japanese media on Wednesday, and even a government spokesman extended a message of condolences.
João Gilberto, 88, Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter considered one of the fathers of the bossa nova genre that gained global popularity in the 1960s and became an iconic sound of the South American nation, died July 6 in Rio de Janeiro. He was in poor health of late, but no cause of death was given.
Martin Charnin, 84, who made his Broadway debut playing a Jet in the original “West Side Story” and went on to become a Broadway director and a lyricist who won a Tony Award for the score of the eternal hit “Annie,” died July 6 at a White Plains, New York, hospital, days after suffering a minor heart attack. Charnin lived in Issaquah during the 2000s and was active in the Seattle theater scene.
Charnin was a keeper of the “Annie” flame, protective of what he created with songwriter Charles Strouse and book writer Thomas Meehan. The 1977 original won the Tony as best musical and ran for 2,300 performances, inspiring tours and revivals that never went out of style. He attributed the success of “Annie” in part to its sweet optimism and its message that things were going to get better. After all, it was written during a period of instability, he told The Associated Press in 2015.
Cameron Boyce, 20, the Disney Channel actor known best for his role in the “Descendants” TV movies, died July 6 after suffering a seizure while asleep, his family said. The seizure was the result of an “ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated,” his family said without going into more details.
Boyce’s other recognizable role was as Cruella De Vil’s teen son Carlos in the “Descendants” musical trilogy, co-starring alongside Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson and Booboo Stewart.
Joseph P. McCarthy, 64, an actor who performed at an array of Seattle-area theaters during the past several decades, died July 2 at his Seattle home after a heart attack.
Born in East Hartford, Connecticut, McCarthy moved to Seattle in the early 1980s. A versatile character actor, he appeared in shows by ACT Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Public Theater, Strawberry Theatre Workshop and other companies over the years. In addition, McCarthy appeared on screen in the TV series “Z Nation,” and in several short films.
Marie Ponsot, 98, poet who translated dozens of books, published seven volumes of poetry, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, taught at Queens College and, in 2012, been elected to the Academy of American Poet, died July 5 at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital in Manhattan.
Ponsot was first published in the 1950s by Lawrence Ferlinghetti — the Yonkers-born poet who championed the Beat poets from his celebrated San Francisco bookstore, City Lights — in the same series as Allen Ginsberg. But she hardly wrote in the freewheeling personal style of Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and other Beats.
“Ponsot is a love poet, a metaphysician and formalist,” David Orr wrote in The New York Times in 2002 in a review of “Springing,” a volume of her collected poems. “But she is neither sappy nor tedious nor predictable.”
Ben Barenholtzoe, 83, who began the midnight-movie phenomenon at his Manhattan theater in the 1970s and nurtured the movie careers of David Lynch and the Coen brothers, died June 27 at a hospital in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he had been living since last year.