Herman Cain, 74, former Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain who went on to become an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, died at an Atlanta hospital early Thursday of complications of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Cain had been ill with the virus for several weeks. It’s not clear when or where he was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20. Cain had been co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. A photo taken at the rally showed Cain, without a mask, sitting near other people who also were not wearing face coverings. A statement on his Twitter account said he tested positive for the coronavirus June 29 and was hospitalized July 1 because his symptoms were serious.
Malik B, 47, rapper and founding member of The Roots, has died. The group announced the death of the Philadelphia-born MC in a social media post Wednesday. The cause of death was not released. Malik B, whose real name was Malik Abdul Basit, was a major contributor to the group, which includes Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. He appeared on four albums before leaving the group in 1999.
Reese Schonfeld, 88, who founded the Cable News Network with Ted Turner in the early 1980s before developing another major cable channel, the Food Network, a decade later, died Tuesday at his home in Manhattan from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Schonfeld became a critic of CNN after leaving it. He told the TV Academy that in his view the network had fallen short of its early revolutionary promise and had become too personality-driven — “half the Wolf Blitzer network and half the Anderson Cooper network,” as he put it.
Bent Fabricius-Bjerre, 95, Danish pianist who, as Bent Fabric, composed and recorded the ubiquitous instrumental hit “Alley Cat,” died Tuesday. Danish news outlets did not specify where he died. His lengthy career spanned numerous musical genres and idioms, but to the rest of the world he was best known for “Alley Cat,” a simple piano tune with a light, old-time feel. Released in 1961, it was an earworm for the ages. In the United States, it reached No. 2 on the Billboard easy listening chart and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the 1962 Grammy Award for best rock ’n’ roll recording, even though few would consider it rock.
Olivia de Havilland, 104, a Hollywood actress who was the last surviving star of “Gone With the Wind,” won two Academy Awards and risked her career to push for complex roles and challenge punitive film-industry labor laws, died July 26 at her home in Paris.
De Havilland was the older sister of Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine, with whom she had a long rivalry. She also was one of the last links to the old studio system whose treatment of actors she did much to transform. Both in her backstage fight for meatier roles and her public court battle, de Havilland displayed a steely persistence at odds with her diminutive stature and soft-spoken screen image.
Her 1940s lawsuit against Warner Bros., her home studio, changed the course of her career and that of countless others long at the mercy of film executives, who held nearly all the power in long-term contracts.
John Saxon, 83, who skipped school one day as a teenager and stumbled into a long film and TV career that included recurring roles on “Falcon Crest” and other series and a featured role opposite Bruce Lee in the martial-arts classic “Enter the Dragon,” died July 25 in Brentwood, Tennessee.
In a career that began in the 1950s, when he often played teenage-heartthrob types, Saxon accumulated almost 200 film and TV credits. He was a supporting player in mainstream films like “The Electric Horseman,” but he was also known to B-movie horror fans from titles like “Beyond Evil,” “Cannibals in the Streets” and “Blood Beach.” In 1984 he upgraded his horror-film credentials by appearing in Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which acquired cult status.
Peter Green, 73, the dexterous blues guitarist who led the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac in a career shortened by psychedelic drugs and mental illness, died July 25 in Canvey Island in Britain.
Green, to some listeners, was the best of the British blues guitarists of the 1960s. B.B. King once said Green “has the sweetest tone I ever heard. He was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” He crashed out of the band in 1971. Even so, Mick Fleetwood said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2017 that Green deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the band’s success.
Regis Philbin, 88, the talk- and game-show host who regaled America over morning coffee with Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa for decades, and who made television history in 1999 by introducing the runaway hit “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” died July 24. The announcement made by his family had no more details.
From faceless days as a studio stagehand when television was barely a decade old, to years of struggle as a news writer, TV actor and sidekick to Joey Bishop, Philbin, with patience, determination and folksy, spontaneous wit, climbed to preeminence relatively late in life on talk and game shows.
By almost any measure — ubiquity, longevity, versatility, popularity — he succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of a stickball-playing kid from the Bronx in New York City. Near the end of his career, Forbes put his net worth at $150 million, and Guinness World Records said he was the most-watched person in television history, with more than 17,000 hours of airtime — equivalent to two full years, night and day. (The previous holder of that record, Hugh Downs, also died last month.)