Herbert Kretzmer, 95, London theater critic who wrote the English lyrics to an all-but-forgotten French musical called “Les Misérables” in 1985, giving new life to what has become one of the world’s most successful theater productions, died Wednesdayat home in London. The South Africa-born journalist wrote features and columns for London newspapers and became a theater critic and a TV critic. But he loved music, and began writing lyrics and songs. He collaborated with French singer Charles Aznavour on about 30 songs, including the hits “She” and “Yesterday, When I Was Young.”
Bernard Cohen, 86, lawyer who won victory for interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia and who later became a prominent liberal member of the Virginia House of Delegates, died Mondayat an assisted-living facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The cause was Parkinson’s disease, according to his family.
“Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.” That was the message that Bernard Cohen delivered in 1967 to the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of his client, Richard Loving, a White man who had been roused from his bed in the middle of the night and arrested along with his wife for violating a state ban on interracial marriage.
Richard Loving and Mildred Loving, who was of African American and Native American heritage, became the protagonists in a legal battle that ended with a ruling striking down anti-miscegenation laws — “the last de jure vestige of racism” in the United States, as Cohen later described them. Less than seven years out of law school, he was one of two lawyers to argue their case before the Supreme Court, shaping an argument that would reverberate for decades in that chamber and beyond.
Roberta McCain, 108, an independent-minded oil heiress who was married to one of the Navy’s highest-ranking officers and who displayed characteristic pluck when she took to the presidential campaign trail at age 96 on behalf of her son, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has died, her daughter-in-law Cindy McCain announced Mondaybut did not provide further details.
Roberta McCain was the gregarious and stylish center of gravity for her family, which was near the center of American military and political power for more than a half-century. She raised three children and turned her home on Capitol Hill into a cocktail-hour salon for prominent lawmakers, aiding her husband’s climb through the Navy ranks. She was known to make breakfast for politicians who were key to her husband’s success. Her friends included the British military leader and statesman Louis Mountbatten, the oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, and American writer and Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce.
Conchata Ferrell, 77, award-winning theater actor who became a TV star as the housekeeper on “Two and a Half Men,” died Mondayat Sherman Oaks Hospital in California. She was hospitalized in December for a kidney infection that spread. In May, a heart attack put her in intensive care for four weeks. She was moved to long-term care, remaining on a respirator and on dialysis until her death. The “Men” role earned her Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy nominations in 2005 and 2007. She also landed an Emmy nomination in 1992 for her role as Susan Bloom on “L.A. Law.” Other notable roles included parts in “Mystic Pizza,” “Network,” “Hot L Baltimore,” “Good Times,” “ER,” “Grace and Frankie” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Joe Morgan, 77, the Hall of Fame second baseman who became the sparkplug of dominant Cincinnati teams in the mid-1970s and the prototype for baseball’s artificial-turf era, died at his home Oct. 11 in Danville, California. Morgan was suffering from a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy. Morgan’s death marked the latest among major league greats this year: Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver and Al Kaline.
Morgan was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, a 10-time All-Star and won five Gold Gloves. A dynamo known for flapping his left elbow at the plate, he could hit a home run, steal a base and seemingly disrupt any game with his daring. Most of all, he completed Cincinnati’s two-time World Series championship team, boosting a club featuring the likes of Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Bench to back-to-back titles.
Joyce Dinkins, 89, who as the wife of David Dinkins fulfilled her role as first lady of New York City with grace and dignity as she promoted programs that encouraged literacy and education and guarded against child abuse, died Oct. 11 at her Manhattan home. David Dinkins was the city’s first Black mayor, and during his term, from 1990 to 1994, Joyce Dinkins became a role model for millions of African Americans. A children’s book collection was named in her honor at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Erin Wall, 44, whose silvery, warm soprano voice infused works by Mozart, Strauss, Britten and Mahler with luminous elegance, died Oct. 8 of metastatic breast cancer at a hospital in Mississauga, Ontario. The Lyric Opera of Chicago was an artistic home base for Wall, who grew up in Vancouver, B.C., started in music as a pianist, but was concentrating on singing by the time she went to Western Washington University in Bellingham. She later transferred to Rice University in Houston. Chicago was the site of the dramatic season-opening performance that jolted her nascent career in 2004, when she jumped in with a few hours’ notice to replace an ill colleague as Donna Anna in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”
Margaret Nolan, 6, a stage and screen actress whose gold-painted body was used as a canvas to project the opening credits of the James Bond film “Goldfinger” and who played the character Dink in the movie, died of cancer Oct. 5 in London. She also appeared in “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964), as well as numerous BBC television productions and in films, including “No Sex Please, We’re British” (1973) and “Carry On Girls” (1973).