Harry Rosenfeld, 91, who barely escaped the Holocaust as a child in Nazi Germany and who became a key Washington Post editor during its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Watergate break-in and resulting scandal, died Friday at his home in Slingerlands, N.Y. The cause was complications from COVID-19.
A burly, brusque and demanding editor, Rosenfeld saw in journalism a way to keep oppressive forces at bay, “holding to account the accountable, the more powerful the better,” he wrote in his 2013 memoir, “From Kristallnacht to Watergate.”
He worked in the newspaper industry for 50 years, but his most enduring legacy stemmed from his years as The Post’s assistant managing editor for metropolitan news. In that role, he was the direct supervisor of two young reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, as they doggedly reported on the unfolding Watergate saga that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.
In the early days of the scandal, Rosenfeld passionately defended Woodward and Bernstein when executive editor Benjamin Bradlee wanted to replace them on the Watergate story with more seasoned staff writers. “They’re hungry,” he is said to have told Bradlee. “You remember when you were hungry?”
Margaret “Peggy” Richardson, 78, a Washington, D.C., tax lawyer who became commissioner of internal revenue during President Bill Clinton’s first term and was the second woman to serve as the nation’s chief tax collector, died July 13 at her home in Delaplane, Va. The cause was complications from lung cancer.
Shirley Fry Irvin, 94, a 1950s tennis star whose speed and groundstroke helped her win singles and doubles titles at all four Grand Slam tournaments, died Tuesday at a hospice center in Naples, Fla.
Irvin was one of only 10 women to win singles titles at each major championships. A diminutive 5-foot-5 right-hander, she was one of just six women also to win a doubles title at each major, according to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which inducted her in 1970.
Edwin W. Edwards, 93, the only four-term governor in Louisiana’s history, a swashbuckling rogue who charmed voters with his escapades and survived a score of grand jury investigations and two corruption trials before going to prison in 2002 for racketeering, died Monday at his home in Gonzales, Louisiana. Leo Honeycutt, the author of his authorized biography, “Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana,” said the cause was respiratory failure.
Charlie Robinson, 75, the veteran actor whose best-known role was Mac, the good-natured and pragmatic court clerk, on the long-running NBC sitcom “Night Court,” died July 11 in Los Angeles. The family said the cause was a heart attack and organ failure brought on by septic shock, and that Robinson also had adenocarcinoma.
Robinson’s acting career spanned six decades and included roles in television and film and onstage. His first credited on-screen appearance was in Jack Nicholson’s directorial debut, “Drive, He Said,” in 1971.
Paul Huntley, 88, hair stylist and wig designer who gave Carol Channing her expansive bouffant in “Hello, Dolly!,” Alan Cumming his plastered curl in “Cabaret” and Sutton Foster her golden bob in “Anything Goes,” died of a lung infection July 9 in London.
In a 60-year career, Huntley styled hair and created wigs for more than 200 shows, including “The Elephant Man,” “Chicago” and “Cats.” He was so respected that Betty Buckley, Jessica Lange and others had contracts specifying that he would do their hair. Tony Awards are not given for hair design, but he was given a special Tony in 2003.
Walter T. McGovern, 99, a Seattle star prep athlete, World War II veteran and senior federal judge who played competitive tennis into his ninth decade, died on July 8.
Aside from his skills as an athlete, McGovern was the founder of the federal bar association in the district. During a 12-year stint as chief judge, he implemented structural changes that U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik says “made us a national model of innovation and excellence.”
“The Western District of Washington has lost a local treasure,” Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez said in a statement. “He handled so many important cases in his long career that it is not hyperbole to say his rulings shaped our community.”
William Smith, 88, an actor known for his portrayals of villains in action movies like “Any Which Way You Can” (1980), and television shows including “Laredo,” “Rich Man, Poor Man” and “Hawaii Five-O,” died July 5 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, said his wife, Joanne Cervelli Smith, who did not specify the cause.
Smith, a polyglot, bodybuilder, champion discus thrower and an Air Force pilot during the Korean War who did many of his own stunts, had more than 300 acting credits from 1954 to 2020 listed on IMDB.
Editor’s note: This story was edited on 7/19 to correct the date of Mr. William Smith passing.