Jim Dwyer, 63, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, columnist and author whose stylish journalism captured the human dramas of New York City for readers of New York Newsday, the Daily News and The New York Times for nearly four decades, died Thursday at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Dwyer portrayed the last minutes of thousands who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001; detailed the terrors of innocent Black youths pulled over and shot by racial-profiling state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike; and told of the coronavirus besieging a New York City hospital.
He won the 1995 Pulitzer for commentary for columns in New York Newsday, and was part of a New York Newsday team that won the 1992 Pulitzer for spot news reporting for coverage of a subway derailment in Manhattan.
Eddie Van Halen, 65, the immensely influential guitarist whose band, Van Halen, was one of the most popular rock acts of all time, died Tuesday. The cause was throat cancer.
Van Halen’s razzle-dazzle approach made him the most influential guitarist of his generation. He structured his guitar solos by shooting rockets of sound into the air that seemed to explode in a shower of light and color. His outpouring of riffs, runs and solos was hyperactive and athletic, joyous and wry.
Often ranked alongside guitar-shredding rock gods Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Van Halen developed a sound that was thunderous, bright and blazing fast. He hammered on the neck of his custom “Frankenstrat” guitar, leaned on his whammy bar to create a wailing vibrato and popularized a technique known as two-hand tapping, in which he effectively added a sixth finger to his left hand. “That sound rearranged the DNA of rock guitar forever,” Rolling Stone magazine wrote in 2019.
Johnny Nash, 80, a singer-songwriter, actor and producer who rose from pop crooner to early reggae star to the creator and performer of the million-selling anthem “I Can See Clearly Now,” died Tuesday of natural causes in Houston, said his son, Johnny Nash Jr.
Kenzo Takada, 81, the iconic French-Japanese fashion designer famed for his jungle-infused designs and free-spirited aesthetic that channeled global travel, died Oct. 4, from complications from COVID-19 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, his family said.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd, 70, who starred in several films by director Spike Lee including “Bamboozled,” “Clockers” and “Sweet Blood of Jesus” and was nominated for a Tony Award as best featured actor in the Whoopi Goldberg-Charles S. Dutton revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” on Broadway, was shot to death Oct. 3.
Derek Mahon, 78, leading Irish poet whose verses could be lyrical or pessimistic, somber or witty, classically structured but full of contemporary themes, died Oct. 2 in Kinsale, on Ireland’s southern coast. A cause was not given.
Mahon, who also translated poems and works for the stage, drew on personal demons and the demons of modern history in composing poetry that, in contrast to much modern poetry, often favored rhymed verses.
Bob Gibson, 84, the Hall of Famer who was considered the greatest St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, died Oct. 2 in Omaha, Nebraska, under hospice care after fighting pancreatic cancer for more than a year.
Gibson was a rarity who played his entire career (1959-75) with the Cardinals, set club records for games won at 251 and complete games at a staggering 255, let alone a franchise-best 56 shutouts, strikeouts (3,117) and innings pitched at 3,884.
Murray Schisgal, 93, a playwright and screenwriter who brought his off-kilter brand of black comedy to Broadway with the screwball hit “Luv,” and who later forged a partnership with actor Dustin Hoffman that led him to cowrite the gender-bending blockbuster “Tootsie,” died Oct. 1 in Port Chester, New York.
Sister Ardeth Platte, 84, a Dominican nun and anti-nuclear activist who spent years behind bars for her beliefs and who was the inspiration for a character in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” died Sept. 30 at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington. Sister Carol Gilbert, her roommate and longtime collaborator, confirmed the death.
The evening before, she said, Platte had been listening to the presidential debate on NPR. When Gilbert awoke the next morning, Platte was still in bed wearing her earphones, and NPR was still playing.
The two nuns drew national attention in fall 2002, when they were arrested, along with another Dominican nun, Jackie Hudson, for breaking into a nuclear missile site in Colorado.
Jack Anderson, 84, one of the first psychologists who specifically worked with Seattle’s LGBTQ community in the 1970s, died Sept. 28 of congestive heart failure.
Anderson was at the forefront of major events in Washington state’s gay history, leading efforts to repeal the state’s homophobic anti-sodomy laws and working with King County to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the mid-1980s.