Luis Palau, 86, an evangelical pastor who was born in Argentina and went on to work with Billy Graham before establishing his own powerhouse international ministry, died Thursday at his home in Portland, Oregon. He announced in January 2018 that he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
Born to an affluent family in Buenos Aires, Palau rose from obscurity to become one of the most well-known international Christian evangelists. Over a career that spanned more than half a century, he authored 50 books and addressed 30 million people in 75 countries at evangelical “festivals,” which were his modern-day take on the more traditional crusades that boosted his mentor and idol, Graham, to fame.
Roger Mudd, 93, a longtime CBS News political correspondent who reported on the Pentagon’s profligate spending, whose interview with Ted Kennedy ended the senator’s White House prospects and who briefly shared the anchor job at his onetime rival, NBC News, died Tuesday at his home in McLean, Virginia. The cause was complications from kidney failure.
By his own estimation, Mudd’s greatest strength was not at the anchor desk, but as a reporter covering elections and the halls of Congress. Mudd spent almost 20 years covering Capitol Hill, political campaigns and corruption scandals for CBS News. He did special reports on the Watergate scandal and its fallout, including the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
Steven Spurrier, 79, the Briton who helped make California wines a global commodity, died Tuesday at his home and winery in Bride Valley, England, surrounded by his beloved homegrown English vines, according to the website of his Bride Valley Vineyard. No cause was given.
Spurrier is famously known for organizing “The Judgement of Paris,” a blind tasting event with France’s foremost wine experts with bottles without any labels. Traditional French Burgundy and Bordeaux vintages were sampled alongside wines from relative upstarts from California’s Napa Valley. To the shock and horror of the French wine élite, California’s Chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons were rated higher than the classic local wines.
The bursting of the historic French bubble led to America and other would-be wine-growing countries to begin competing internationally with increasing success.
Norton Juster, 91, who wrote one of children’s literature’s most beloved and enduring books, “The Phantom Tollbooth,” died Monday at home in Northampton, Massachusetts. The cause was complications of a recent stroke.
“The Phantom Tollbooth,” published in 1961, is the story of a bored boy named Milo who, when a tollbooth inexplicably appears in his room, passes through it into a land of whimsy, wordplay and imagination. The book was illustrated by the man Juster shared a duplex with at the time, Jules Feiffer, who was early in his renowned career as a cartoonist and author. It has sold almost 4 million copies, has been reissued multiple times and was turned into an animated film and a stage musical.
Olivier Dassault, 69, billionaire heir to a powerful family business empire that made Falcon private jets and Rafale fighter planes and owned many other businesses including Le Figaro newspaper, and who was also a member of the French parliament, died in a helicopter crash along with the pilot March 7 in Touques, France.
The French national air accident investigation agency, BEA, said the Airbus AS350 helicopter crashed just after takeoff from a private airfield in Normandy.
Forbes magazine listed Olivier Dassault as one of the world’s 500 richest people in 2020. He held executive positions at the family-owned Dassault Group as well as serving in the lower house of parliament as a lawmaker from the conservative Republicans party since 2002.
Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, 98, who used her social connections, organizational acumen and personal collection of hundreds of works by female painters to establish the country’s first museum dedicated to women in the arts, died March 6 at her home in Washington, D.C. Her death was confirmed by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C., which she opened in 1987 and had continued to guide as chairwoman until recently. Under Holladay’s guidance, the museum grew to include more than 5,500 works by more than 1,000 artists, with an endowment of $66 million and a network of supporting committees in 13 states and 10 countries.
Allan J. McDonald, 83, an engineer who on a chilly January morning in 1986 tried to stop the launch of the Challenger space shuttle, citing the possible effect of the cold on its booster rockets, and who, after it broke apart on liftoff, blew the whistle when government officials tried to cover up his dissent, died March 6 in Ogden, Utah, of complications from a recent fall.
McDonald was a 26-year veteran at Morton Thiokol, the contractor responsible for the shuttle’s booster rockets, when he arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida a few days before the Challenger’s scheduled liftoff. McDonald, who ran the company’s booster-rocket program, had strong reservations about moving ahead with the launch. The shuttle’s rockets contained a series of rubber O-ring gaskets, and he worried that low temperatures could cause them to stiffen, allowing fuel to escape, potentially causing the rocket to explode.
Carla Wallenda, 85, a member of “The Flying Wallendas” high-wire act and the last surviving child of the troupe’s founder, died March 6 in Sarasota, Florida, of natural causes. She was the daughter of Karl Wallenda, who founded the troupe in Germany before moving to the United States in 1928 to great acclaim. She was the aunt of aerialist Nik Wallenda.
According to Carla Wallenda she had a taste of the wire very early. “Actually, they carried me across the wire when I was 6 weeks old,” she said in a 2017 interview with a Sarasota TV station. “My father rode the bicycle and my mother sat on his shoulders, holding me and introducing me to the public.” She worked through her 70s, including in a Miley Cyrus music video. She finally retired in 2017 at the age of 81 after appearing on a Steve Harvey TV special, doing a headstand atop an 80-foot sway pole.
Lou Ottens, 94, who invented the cassette tape and pioneered the CD, died March 6 in his home country, the Netherlands.
According to legend, his creations were the product of the clumsiness of a very clever man. After spending hours futzing with a reel-to-reel tape recorder one night, he arrived at work the next morning with an idea. Ottens, the head of product development at Philips’ electronics factory in Hasselt, Belgium, told his team they needed to develop an audio device that was smaller, cheaper and easier to use than the reel-to-reel tape recorder.
As a result, they invented the cassette tape, a compact, plastic-encased sound machine that helped democratize music, making it easier for millions of people to hear, record and share songs. In its wake, Ottens became affectionately known by his peers as the brilliant engineer who — fortunately for everyone else — just couldn’t work a reel-to-reel. He continued his sonic revolution when he joined the team that worked on the compact disc.
Tony Hendra, 79, a humorist whose wide-ranging résumé included top editing jobs at National Lampoon and Spy magazines and a zesty role in the mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap,” died March 4 in Yonkers, New York, from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which was first diagnosed in 2019.
Mr. Hendra, who was British but had long lived in the United States, began writing and performing comedy while a student at Cambridge University, traveling in the same circles as future members of the Monty Python troupe. In 1964 he and his performing partner, Nick Ullett, took their stage act to the United States, doing stand-up comedy, writing and editing for various publications, acting and publishing books.
Nicola Pagett, 75, British stage and screen actor who dazzled millions of television viewers as Elizabeth Bellamy, a headstrong daughter of Edwardian aristocrats who grows up to become a militant suffragette in the acclaimed period drama “Upstairs, Downstairs,” died March 3 of brain cancer at a hospice center in Esher, a London suburb.
She performed in plays by Harold Pinter, Shakespeare and Molière and had shared the stage with Vivien Leigh and Alec Guinness by the time she turned 30. But she was perhaps best known for playing strong-willed aristocrats in television shows that made her famous on both sides of the Atlantic.