Ty, 47, an acclaimed British rapper best known for his 2003 album “Upwards,” has died from coronavirus. Ty, whose legal name was Ben Chijioke, was admitted to a hospital in early April with COVID-19, The Guardian reported. He was later placed in a medically induced coma.
Ann McBride Norton, 75, who championed citizens rights and their political voices as president of the watchdog group Common Cause and through later work in remote parts of Asia helping indigenous people document their lives and cultural values through photography, died May 5 at home in Washington. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Jean Erdman, 104, a modern dancer, choreographer and theater director whose work was suffused with the dreamlike aura of myth and legend, died Monday in Kailua, Hawaii.
A former principal dancer for Martha Graham, Erdman first came to wide notice as a choreographer in the 1940s, and she remained in the vanguard of the field for decades. She later created performance pieces for the Theater of the Open Eye, an avant-garde New York stage she founded in 1972 with her husband, Joseph Campbell, the scholar of literature and myth.
Erdman was among the first choreographers to exploit the inherent theatricality of dance, melding it with drama, poetry, music and visual art to form a seamless whole, or “total theater,” as it was known then. Her dances, among them “The Transformations of Medusa” and “Ophelia,” often focused on the inner lives of women — unorthodox fare at midcentury.
Michael McClure, 87, Michael McClure, who at 22 helped usher in the Beat movement as part of a famed poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco, then went on to a long and varied career as a poet, playwright, novelist and lyricist, died May 4 at his home in Oakland, California. The cause was complications of a stroke he had last year.
On Oct. 7, 1955, a date that Beatdom magazine, marking the 60th anniversary of the event, called “arguably one of the most important dates in American literature,” McClure read a poem “For the Death of 100 Whales,” only to be overshadowed by Allen Gisberg’s early version of “Howl” (“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”). McClure later wrote in “Scratching the Beat Surface: Essays on New Vision From Blake to Kerouac” (1982), that night constituted a collective throwing down of the gauntlet. “In all of our memories no one had been so outspoken in poetry before,” he wrote.
Gil Schwartz, 68, the CBS network’s longtime chief communications officer who, under the pen name Stanley Bing, skewered corporate misbehavior throughout the business world in columns for Esquire and Fortune magazines, died May 2 of a heart attack at home in Santa Monica, California. For more than 20 years, he was the tough-talking but charming spokesman for CBS and a confidant of its top brass, most notably Leslie Moonves, the chief executive who resigned in 2018 over sexual-harassment accusations. But it was as Stanley Bing, an alter ego that he kept secret for many years, that he found his greatest renown. By the mid-1990s his side gig had become an increasingly open secret, and he seemed more delighted than terrified to be called out.
Munir Mohamad Mangal, 70, retired Afghan general who had served in the country’s security forces for four decades, most recently as national police commander, died May 2 of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, at home in Kabul. He was Afghanistan’s highest-profile casualty of the pandemic and the second member of his family to die of the virus. His son, a physician, also died.
Tony Allen, 79, pioneering drummer and driver of the Afrobeat sound, died April 30 of an aortic aneurysm at a Paris hospital. In a career that spanned decades and continents, he started drumming in Nigeria’s Lagos in the 1960s and formed a partnership with Fela Kuti, composer, singer, bandleader and saxophonist. They are credited with launching the catchy Afrobeat dance music featuring prominent guitars, complex brass harmonies and polyrhythmic drumming.
Kuti’s outspoken criticism of corruption and human-rights abuses got him and his band into repeated trouble with Nigerian authorities and in 1978, Mr. Allen left to concentrate on his own music.
Rishi Kapoor, 67, a popular actor from one of Bollywood’s most celebrated families, died April 30 in Mumbai. Mr. Kapoor learned he had leukemia in 2018 and was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday. The news rocked India just a day after the death of another Bollywood figure, character actor Irrfan Khan.
Mr. Kapoor was best known as a romantic hero, and his charm and charisma quickly made him one of Bollywood’s leading men of the 1970s and 1980s. He later began taking on more supporting roles and character parts.
He came from a long line of Bollywood actors. His grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor was a pioneer of Indian theater and film who founded a traveling theater company. His father, Raj Kapoor, was one of the most influential actors and directors in Hindi cinema. Rishi Kapoor first appeared onscreen as a child actor and went on to star in nearly 100 films.
Matty Simmons, 93, who produced the 1978 comedy “Animal House” and the popular series of “Vacation” movies, and co-founded National Lampoon magazine, died April 29 of natural causes at home in Los Angeles.
Before launching a successful, high-profile career in entertainment, he was executive vice president of Diners Club, the first credit card company. In his 2012 book, “Fat, Drunk and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of ‘Animal House,’” Mr. Simmons gave a succinct version of his unusual career path: “The Diners Club begat Weight Watchers Magazine, which begat the National Lampoon, and that begat ‘Animal House.’”
Florian Schneider, 73, one of the founders of Kraftwerk, the German band that revolutionized pop music through its embrace of synthesizers and electronic beats, leading to a broad influence over rock, dance music and hip-hop, has died. The group said he had died from cancer “just a few days” after his birthday, April 7. Kraftwerk was founded in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Mr. Schneider and Ralf Hütter.