Lucinda Franks, 74, widely published writer and investigative journalist who was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, died Wednesday at home in Hopewell Junction, New York. The cause was cancer.
She began her journalism career with United Press International, where she won her Pulitzer in 1971. She was a staff writer for The New York Times from 1974 to 1977 and for The New Yorker from 1992 to 2006, and she freelanced for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, New York magazine and other publications. She wrote several books, including “My Father’s Secret War: A Memoir,” about her father’s exploits as a U.S. spy behind enemy lines in World War II, and “Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me,” an account of her marriage to longtime Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, which described in some detail how their differences in age, background and occupation had blossomed into romance.
Jacques d’Amboise, 86, an exuberant star of the New York City Ballet for three decades and a favorite of its legendarily exacting choreographer George Balanchine before becoming a champion of arts education, died Monday of complications from a stroke in Manhattan.
D’Amboise embodied the ideal of an all-American style that combined the nonchalant elegance of Fred Astaire with the classicism of the danseur noble. He was the first male star to emerge from City Ballet’s affiliated School of American Ballet, joining the company’s corps at the age of 15 in 1949, and his expansive presence and versatility were central to the company’s identity in its first decades.
Bobby Unser, 87, a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, a record-setter at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and a marquee figure in an auto-racing family that dates to the 1920s, died May 2, at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Bobby, his younger brother Al, and Al Jr., known as Little Al, combined for nine victories in the Indy 500, and Bobby won it in three different decades. He won the points race for the U.S. Auto Club championship in 1968 and ’74.
Olympia Dukakis, 89, the self-assured, raspy-voiced actress who often played world-weary and worldly wise characters, and who won an Academy Award for her role as just such a woman in “Moonstruck,” died May 1 in New York City.
Despite the awards and her other screen successes, Dukakis never gave up theater work. In 2011 she starred in an off-Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.” The next year she played Prospero (Prospera, actually) in “The Tempest” for Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts. Her performances have been called “macabre, hilarious and weirdly touching,” with a “bullying bravado that commands attention.”
Helen Murray Free, 98, a chemist who ushered in a revolution in diagnostic testing when she codeveloped the dip-and-read diabetes test, a paper strip that detected glucose in urine, died May 1 of complications from a stroke in Elkhart, Indiana.
Working with her husband, who was also a chemist, Free figured out how to impregnate strips of filter paper with chemicals that turned blue when glucose was present. The test made it easier for clinicians to diagnose diabetes and cleared the way for home test kits, which enabled patients to monitor glucose on their own.
People with diabetes now use blood-sugar meters to monitor their glucose levels, but the dip-and-read tests are ubiquitous in clinical laboratories worldwide.
Martin Bookspan, 94, radio and television announcer known to millions of classical music aficionados as the voice of the New York Philharmonic and the PBS series “Live From Lincoln Center,” his expert yet accessible commentary an aural pleasure all its own, died of congestive heart failure April 29 at home in Aventura, Florida.
“If I have a technique, it’s the technique of the sportscaster,” Bookspan once told The New York Times. “As sportscasters make the game come alive, I hope I have made concerts come alive.”
Eli Broad, 87, billionaire philanthropist, contemporary-art collector and entrepreneur who cofounded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad and launched financial-services giant SunAmerica, died April 29 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a long illness.
Broad provided much of the money and willpower used to reshape Los Angeles’ once moribund downtown into a burgeoning area of expensive lofts, fancy dining establishments and civic structures like the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall. He opened his own eponymous contemporary-art museum and art lending library, the Broad, in 2015 in the city’s downtown next to Disney Hall. “Eli Broad, simply put, was L.A.’s most influential private citizen of his generation,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter.
Jason Matthews, 69, who parlayed his 33 years as a CIA officer and his admiration for John le Carré into a second career as an award-winning spy novelist crafting the popular “Red Sparrow” thrillers, died April 28, at home in Rancho Mirage, California, from corticobasal degeneration, a rare, untreatable neurodegenerative disease.