Philip Baker Hall, 90, the gravelly voiced character actor who radiated equal amounts of quiet authority, unshakable confidence and effortless unflappability on screen for five decades, died June 12 at his home in Glendale, California. The cause was complications of emphysema, his daughter Anna Ruth Hall said.
The raspy voice, the resigned posture, the world-weary eyes with heavy bags and the thatch of hair that gradually turned white magnified a gravitas that made Hall’s characters believable, even when audiences knew better. When Hall portrayed powerful men, audiences believed. When Hall played a character’s fierce conviction for laughs, audiences remembered. One of his most indelible characters was the aptly named library investigations officer Lieutenant Bookman on the sitcom “Seinfeld.”
George Weyerhaeuser Sr., 95, the fourth-generation timber family scion who ran one of America’s largest forestry firms and was briefly one of America’s most famous kidnapping victims, died June 11, his family confirmed.
Weyerhaeuser, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather also led the timber company that carries the family name, served as CEO from 1966 to 1991 and board chair until 1999. Over that period, the Weyerhaeuser company became famous for a technology-driven “high-yield forestry” model that boosted output and transformed the industry, but which also earned the enmity of many environmentalists in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.
Yet George Weyerhaeuser Sr. is perhaps more famous for another role: As an 8-year-old in 1935, he was kidnapped in broad daylight off a Tacoma street, kept in a pit in the woods and released only after his family paid a ransom of $200,000 in unmarked bills. He would later downplay the impacts of the abduction and frenzied aftermath. But his daughter, Leilee Weyerhaeuser, said the experience deeply affected his outlook on life.
Josh Jensen, 78, who, after a single-minded quest in the 1970s to find the perfect site in California to grow the pinot noir grape, became the first producer of consistently excellent American pinot noir through his Calera Wine Co., inspiring a new generation of West Coast winemakers, died June 11 at his home in San Francisco.
Harry Gesner, 97, who was known for designing some of Los Angeles’ most idiosyncratic residences, buildings that seem to draw their shape from the swells of the Pacific Ocean and the wooded peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains, died June 10 in Malibu. The cause was complications related to cancer.
Gesner is perhaps best known for the Wave House in Malibu, built in 1957, which juts out over the sand with a series of crested roofs that seem to evoke the forms of the waves that curl just below. The house was the inspiration for the Sydney Opera House, designed by Jorn Utzon.
Julee Cruise, 65, a singer who brought a memorably ethereal voice to the projects of director David Lynch — most famously “Falling,” whose instrumental version was the theme for Lynch’s cult-favorite television show, “Twin Peaks” — died June 9 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her husband, Edward Grinnan, said the cause was suicide. He said she had struggled with depression as well as lupus.
Shauneille Perry Ryder, 92, actor, playwright and educator who was one of the first Black women to direct plays off-Broadway, most notably for the New Federal Theater in New York City, died June 9 at her home in New Rochelle, New York.
Ranan Lurie, 90, an Israeli war hero and world peacemaker who set records as the world’s most widely syndicated political cartoonist, died June 8 in Las Vegas. At Lurie’s peak, his evocative caricatures appeared in about 1,000 publications with more than 100 million readers in 100 countries.
Valery Ryumin, 82, a Soviet tank commander who became a cosmonaut and set endurance records in space — and then, after 18 years, took another flight, this time on a U.S. space shuttle — died June 6, the Russian federal space corporation announced. When Ryumin retired in 1980, after his third mission, he had logged 362 days in space, a record for any cosmonaut or astronaut at the time.
Alexander Nikitin, 87, principal coach of world chess champion Garry Kasparov from the time Kasparov was 10 until years after he had become the titleholder, died June 5 in Moscow. Kasparov recalled Nikitin warmly on Twitter after his death. “He had my back at every step of my climb up the chess Olympus,” he wrote. “As much as knowledge, he taught me to take chess, and myself, seriously.”
Grachan Moncur III, 85, a trombonist and composer who came to renown in the 1960s and early ’70s for his deft playing of a hybrid of post-bop and free jazz, but who later receded from the spotlight, died June 3 — his 85th birthday — of cardiac arrest in in Newark, New Jersey.
Charles Kernaghan, 74, who with a single-minded passion and tireless energy exposed the prevalence of sweatshop-made goods in America’s toy sections, department stores and celebrity fashion lines, died on June 1 at his home in New York. As the longtime director of a shoestring organization called the National Labor Committee, Kernaghan went after brands like Nike, Disney and Walmart. He targeted Bratz dolls, Eddie Bauer outdoor wear and Microsoft wireless mice. In 2007 he showed that crucifixes sold at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan came from a Chinese sweatshop.
Sean Thackrey, 79, an autodidactic polymath who, in between collecting antiquarian books, running a San Francisco art gallery and learning five languages, developed a cult following as one of California’s most intriguingly eccentric winemakers, died on May 31 in Walnut Creek, California. The cause was cancer.
Andrée Geulen, 100, a Belgian schoolteacher who saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish children during the Holocaust, holding their hands and comforting them with stories as she spirited them to hiding places where they stayed until liberation, died May 31 at a nursing home in Brussels.