Peter Bogdanovich, 82, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who was part of the vanguard of “New Hollywood” directors who helped reinvigorate American cinema in the 1960s and ’70s, gaining wide popularity with his films “The Last Picture Show,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Paper Moon” before suffering a string of personal and professional calamities, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. His daughter Antonia Bogdanovich said he died of natural causes.
Lawrence Brooks, 112, the oldest World War II veteran in the United States — and believed to be the oldest man in the country — died Wednesday in New Orleans. When asked for his secret to a long life, he often said, “serving God and being nice to people.” On sunny days, he was known for sitting on the front porch of the double shotgun house he shared with daughter Vanessa Brooks in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. He was passionate about the New Orleans Saints and never missed a game, his daughter said. After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to the mostly Black 91st Engineer General Service Regiment stationed in Australia.
Jay Weaver, 42, a bassist, who also performed vocals with the contemporary Christian band Big Daddy Weave, died after a battle with COVID-19, his brother, Mike Weaver, said on Jan. 2. He had diabetes and had both feet amputated in 2016 after he contracted an infection, according to the website Christian Post. The group, launched by the brothers in 1998 in Mobile, Alabama, was known for songs such as “Redeemed” and “Jesus I Believe.”
Richard Leakey, 77, a paleoanthropologist known for his fossil-finding and conservation work in his native Kenya, died Jan. 2. The cause was not disclosed. His death was announced by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Leakey, the son of famed anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey, was also director of the National Museums of Kenya and what became the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenyatta’s statement said.
Stephen J. Lawrence, 82, the Emmy-winning composer whose work on “Sesame Street” spanned decades, died Dec. 30, in New Jersey. Further details were not available.
Lawrence worked on “Sesame Street” for more than 30 years, composing “more than 300 songs,” Sesame Workshop said, with his lengthy stint with the franchise beginning during the 1980s. He won three Emmys for his contributions to “Sesame Street,” in 1990, 2002 and 2003.
Assunta “Pupetta” Maresca, 86, a former teenage beauty queen and reputed “godmother” of a Naples mafia family, the Camorra, died Dec. 29 at her home in Castellammare di Stabia, near Pompeii. She was buried almost secretly on New Year’s Eve in a private “blessings” ceremony after Naples police and local officials banned a public funeral for fear of clashes among her supporters, her enemies and members of the general public.
Sabine Weiss, 97, whose arresting photographs of dirty-faced children, food-stall vendors and Roma dancers captured the struggles, hopes and occasional moments of humor on the streets of postwar France, died Dec. 28 at her home in Paris. She was considered the last member of the humanist school of photography, whose ranks included Robert Doisneau, Brassaï and Willy Ronis — united by a common interest in capturing the spontaneous events that revealed the universal dignity of everyday life.
April Ashley, 86, British model, actress and jet-set socialite who became known as a regal trailblazer for transgender women, undergoing gender-confirmation surgery at a time when the procedure was extremely rare and the movement for transgender rights was in its infancy, died Dec. 27 in London. She had been in poor health for some time. She was named a member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, in 2012, for her services to transgender equality.