Eddie Robinson, 100, the oldest living former major league baseball player, who spent 65 years in the sport as a player, scout and executive and was the last surviving member of the 1948 World Series champion Cleveland Indians, died Monday at his ranch in Bastrop, Texas. The death was announced by the Texas Rangers, for which Robinson served as general manager.
Robinson helped Babe Ruth onto a baseball field for the last time, was a teammate of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and onetime Negro Leagues phenomenon Satchel Paige, and played alongside Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in All-Star games. Still employed in baseball in the 21st century, he was honored at the 2016 World Series in Cleveland, when he was 95, and continued to follow the game closely until his death, including a podcast that he began this year.
Alan Kalter, 78, the ginger-haired announcer and crooked straight man who served as David Letterman’s sidekick for two decades on CBS’ “Late Show,” died Monday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. Kalter took over as “Late Show” announcer in September 1995 after Bill Wendell’s retirement and was there until May 20, 2015, Letterman’s final show. He not only announced the guests and the host but also acted in sketches and delivered a comic one-liner after every show as the logo for production company World Wide Pants flashed across the screen.
Todd Akin, 74, the former Republican congressman from Missouri who famously lost a 2012 Senate bid after he expressed controversial views about abortion in cases of “legitimate rape,” died late Oct. 3, The Associated Press reported, citing a statement from Akin’s son Perry.
As a politician, Akin was prone to making controversial comments. When asked by St. Louis television station KTVI to explain his no-exceptions policy on abortions, Akin first said that pregnancies arising from rape are “really rare,” and added, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Lars Vilks, 75, the Swedish artist who had lived under police protection since his 2007 sketch of the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body brought death threats, died from a traffic accident Oct. 3, Swedish news media reported. The accident reportedly involved a truck colliding with a civilian police car in which Lars Vilks and his police protection were traveling, news media said.
Mortimer Mishkin, 94, a neuroscientist who received the National Medal of Science in 2010 for his role in unlocking some of the most vexing mysteries of the brain, including how memories are made and kept, died Oct. 2 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.
Mishkin spent more than six decades at the National Institutes of Health, where he served for years as chief of the Laboratory of Neuropsychology within the National Institute of Mental Health. He became renowned within his field for his findings related to perception, memory and the circuits that connect one part of the brain to another.
Michael Renzi, 80, who during a storied musical career worked with Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Lena Horne and other big names in jazz and pop, and who for years was also the musical director of “Sesame Street,” died Sept. 29 at Newport Hospital in Rhode Island after a short illness.
He was a composer, pianist or arranger on more than 100 recordings, worked with Jack Jones, Liza Minnelli and Maureen McGovern, and in 2014 appeared in the Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga collaboration “Cheek to Cheek.”
Edward Keating, 65, who for more than a month did whatever it took, even disguising himself as a worker, to photograph the wreckage at Ground Zero after Sept. 11, contributing to a body of work that brought The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize for photography for its 9/11 coverage, died of cancer Sept. 26 in a Manhattan hospital. Keating had attributed his illness to the days and nights he spent inhaling toxic dust amid the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Keating’s enterprising spirit as a photographer sometimes got him in trouble. In the 1990s, while covering the Kosovo war, he was seized by the Serbian authorities after crossing the Albanian border to get a better angle. His efforts to gain access to Ground Zero led to his arrest for criminal trespass. Covering racial violence in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in 1991, he was beaten by a group of men wielding pipes and bats.
Marie Wilcox, 87, who saved her native language — Wukchummi — from extinction, died Sept. 25, at a hospital in Visalia, in Central California. She had been attending a birthday party for her 4-year-old great-great-grandson when she was stricken by a ruptured aorta as she was getting in a car to leave.
After one of her elderly relatives died about eight years ago, Wilcox became the only person fluent in Wukchumni, a dialect of Tule-Kaweah, which originated near the Tule and Kaweah Rivers in Central California. But long before she became the only fluent speaker, Wilcox had become fixated on creating a lasting record of her native language. After 20 years of labor, of hunting and pecking on her keyboard, Wilcox produced a dictionary, the first known complete compendium of Wukchumni. The dictionary was copyrighted in 2019 but has yet to be published; Wilcox also recorded the words so that others would know the correct pronunciation. Her efforts inspired other Native American tribes to revitalize their own disappearing languages.
Robert Altman, 76, a photojournalist who captured San Francisco’s burgeoning counterculture of the 1960s and became chief staff photographer at Rolling Stone magazine, was found dead in his San Francisco home on Sept. 24 after a long battle with esophageal cancer. A cause of death is pending.
Born in New York City, Altman studied photography with Ansel Adams before heading west to San Francisco in 1968, where he captured more than 30,000 images, visually documenting everything, including Jim Morrison performing live, the Rolling Stones’ recording sessions for their “Let It Bleed” album, the ’60s counterculture and the world of fashion.
Robert Elliott, 80, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and real estate developer whose varied career included efforts to reform federal housing programs for the poor, help Chileans flee a military dictatorship, and wage a successful battle against a proposed Disney theme park in Virginia, died Sept. 20 at his home in Washington. The cause was a heart attack.
Charles W. Mills, 70, a social and political philosopher who sought to rethink Western liberalism, arguing that white supremacy undergirded the modern world and that philosophy had ignored fundamental issues of race and justice, died Sept. 20 at a care center in Evanston, Illinois. The cause was cancer.
A London native who grew up in Jamaica, studied philosophy in Canada and taught for decades in the United States, Mills was an incisive critic of Western political theory, pushing philosophers to engage with the world as it is rather than how they wished or imagined it to be. In particular, he noted that his overwhelmingly white field seemed to have little to say about the subjugation and brutalization of people of color.
Robert Schiffmann, 86, who first glimpsed a microwave oven in the early 1960s in his job as a scientist for a bakery equipment company before becoming one of the technology’s leading experts, developing products and processes to expand its capabilities, died Sept. 4 in Wall Township, New Jersey. Schiffmann wanted to prove that microwaves were good for more than reheating leftovers. He created microwaveable caramel popcorn, crust for microwaveable frozen potpies, microwaveable oatmeal and a microwave crisper.