Marge Champion, 101, dancer and choreographer who with her husband, Gower, epitomized the clean-cut dance team of Hollywood musicals, Broadway productions and TV variety shows of the 1950s, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. Champion performed at the Hollywood Bowl as a girl and as a teenager was a model for three Walt Disney animated features, her graceful moves transposed to the heroine of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” to the Blue Fairy that gave life to the puppet in “Pinocchio” and to the hippo ballerinas tripping lightly in tutus for “Dance of the Hours” in “Fantasia.”
James Randi, 92, MacArthur award-winning magician who turned his savvy to investigating claims of spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, UFO spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery, as he quite often saw fit to call them, died Tuesday at home in Plantation, Florida. Randi — known professionally as the Amazing Randi — made it his mission to bring the world of scientific rationalism to laypeople.
Overton Berry, 84, one of Seattle’s most beloved and popular musicians, the effervescent jazz pianist Berry, died peacefully at home on Monday, said his son Sean Berry. He suffered from heart disease for several years.
Berry’s career spanned seven decades, from the tail end of the fabled Jackson Street era to the contemporary period of Columbia City’s Royal Room, where Berry played one of his last gigs in early 2020. Berry was “no skimpy pianist. He had a full-bodied sound and played big, bluesy, rolling, 10-finger chords. He was a very special guy and we’re going to miss him around here, that’s for sure,” said Seattle jazz-radio personality Jim Wilke.
His music can be heard on the albums “Eleven is Forever” and “Live at Admiral.”
Spencer Davis, 81, the guitarist who led the rock group named after him that had some of the most propulsive and enduring hits of the 1960s, including “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “I’m a Man” and “Keep On Running” — all sung not by him but by teenager Steve Winwood who went to become an essential figure in British rock with the bands Traffic and Blind Faith and a solo career — died Monday in Los Angeles. The cause was pneumonia.
Davis co-wrote “Gimme Some Lovin’,” his group’s biggest hit. He played rhythm guitar in the band and occasionally sang lead vocals, lending his baritone voice mostly to blues-oriented material and never to the band’s hit singles. He later had a fruitful career as an artists and repertoire executive at Island Records, signing hit punk-pop group Eddie and the Hot Rods and respected reggae band Third World.
Sid Hartman, 100, Minnesota sports columnist and radio personality, an old-school home team booster who once ran the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers and achieved nearly as much celebrity as some of the athletes he covered, died Oct. 18 surrounded by his family.
Hartman, whose first newspaper column was published in 1945, kept up his age-defying pace even after his 100th birthday party on March 15 was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hartman continued to write three columns per week for the Star Tribune as a centenarian, four during football season, and served as co-host of a Sunday morning-radio show on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.
James Redford, 58, a documentarian who drew on his own experience as a transplant recipient to create an institute devoted to educating people about such operations, and who with his father, actor Robert Redford, founded the Redford Center, which examines environmental issues, died Oct. 16 at his home in Fairfax, California. The cause was bile duct cancer in his liver.
James Redford struggled with liver disease for more than 30 years. In March 1993 he had a liver transplant, and later that year, after the first liver failed, he underwent a second transplant. The experience led him to found the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness, which sought to increase knowledge about organ donation and other aspects of transplantation, primarily through filmmaking.
Ruth Kluger, 88, whose unforgiving memoir of growing up Jewish in Nazi-occupied Vienna and escaping death in a concentration camp unsentimentally redefined the conventional mythos of the heroic Holocaust survivor, died Oct. 5 at home in Irvine, California. She had bladder cancer.
“Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered,” published in English in 2001, spared no one with its blunt and haunting narrative — not her cultured neighbors who stopped suppressing their latent anti-Semitism when Germany annexed Austria; not the adult relatives she believed should have foreseen the “final solution” for European Jews and fled the continent with their families; not her liberators who swiftly wearied of hearing about the Holocaust; not even her tormented self. “We survivors are not responsible for forgiveness,” she once said in Austria. “I perceived resentment as an appropriate feeling for an injustice that can never be atoned for.”
Scott Lilienfeld, 59, an expert in personality disorders who repeatedly disturbed the order in his own field, questioning the science behind many of psychology’s conceits, popular therapies and prized tools, died of pancreatic cancer Sept. 30 at home in Atlanta. Lilienfeld’s career, most of it spent at Emory University in Atlanta, proceeded on two tracks: one that sought to deepen the understanding of so-called psychopathic behavior, the other to expose the many faces of pseudoscience in psychology.
Psychopathy is characterized by superficial charm, grandiosity, pathological lying and a lack of empathy. Descriptions of the syndrome were rooted in research in the criminal justice system, where psychopaths often end up. In the early 1990s, Lilienfeld worked to deepen and clarify the definition.
Robert DeMora, 85, witty costume designer and art director whose fantastical, mischievous creations embellished Bette Midler on stage and screen, and the casts of “Risky Business” and “Marathon Man” among other films, died Sept. 21 of heart failure at home in Jeffersonville, New York.
For more than four decades, he amplified and often art-directed Midler’s ever more elaborate stage extravaganzas with rigor, scholarship and a Dadaist’s sense of the absurd. That included the ruched pink sequin gown of her “Divine Miss M” days and the many iterations of her backup singers, the Harlettes.