Irene Papas, 96, a Greek actress who starred in films including “Z,” “Zorba the Greek” and “The Guns of Navarone” but who won the greatest acclaim of her career playing the heroines of Greek tragedy, died Wednesday.
In “Zorba the Greek” (1964), with Anthony Quinn, she was a Greek widow who is stoned by her fellow villagers because of her choice of lover. In Costa-Gavras’ Oscar-winning political thriller “Z” (1969), set in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, she played Yves Montand’s widow, who evoked the film’s meaning with one final grief-ridden look out to sea.
But in the same decade, Papas was making her name in Greek film versions of classical plays, often directed by countryman Michael Cacoyannis, who also directed “Zorba.” She played the title characters in “Antigone” (1961), Sophocles’ tale of a woman who pays dearly after fighting for her brother’s right to an honorable burial; and in “Electra” (1962), in which she and her brother plot matricide. She was also Electra’s mother, Clytemnestra, in “Iphigenia” (1977), the drama of a daughter offered as human sacrifice.
Ken Starr, 76, the independent counsel whose investigation uncovered a White House sex scandal that riveted the nation and led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying under oath and obstructing justice, died Tuesday at a hospital in Houston. His wife, Alice Starr, said he died of complications of a surgery, but gave no further details.
For a time, Starr was a household name, and his investigation into Clinton’s affair with a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, propelled issues of sex, morality, accountability and ideology to the center of American life for more than a year. His investigation tested the boundaries of the Constitution when it prompted the first impeachment of a president in 130 years and scarred Clinton’s legacy and his own. Starr again courted the headlines for representing billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein when he was accused of sex crimes against young girls in Florida. He was also a mentor to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Jean-Luc Godard, 91, the iconic “enfant terrible” of the French New Wave who revolutionized popular cinema in 1960 with his first feature, “Breathless,” and stood for years among the film world’s most influential directors, died Tuesday at his home in Rolle, Switzerland. His longtime legal adviser, Patrick Jeanneret, said Godard died by assisted suicide, having suffered from “multiple disabling pathologies.”
Over a long career that began in the 1950s as a film critic, Godard was perhaps the most boundary-breaking director among New Wave filmmakers who rewrote the rules for camera, sound and narrative — rebelling against an earlier tradition of more formulaic storytelling. “Breathless” (“À Bout de Souffle”), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, might still be the best known of his works.
Ramsey Lewis, 87, a jazz pianist who unexpectedly became a pop star when his recording of “The ‘In’ Crowd” reached the Top 10 in 1965 — and who remained musically active for more than a half century after that — died Monday at his home in Chicago. The cause was not available.
Lewis was well known in jazz circles, but little known elsewhere when he and his trio (Eldee Young on bass and Redd Holt on drums) recorded a live album n May 1965 that included an instrumental version of “The ‘In’ Crowd.” It reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Lewis the first of his three Grammy Awards. (The others were for the 1966 album track “Hold It Right There” and a 1973 rerecording of “Hang On Sloopy.”)
Javier Marías, 70, Spain’s most prestigious novelist of the past half century, died Sept. 11 in Madrid. Spanish news agency EFE reported that Marías passed away after a lung infection. Marías wrote 15 novels, translations and collections of his newspaper columns, including “Corazón tan blanco” (“Heart So White”), “Todas las almas” (“All Souls”), and “Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí” (“Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me”).
He was considered for years to be the leading Spanish candidate to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since Camilo José Cela was awarded the honor in 1989. Marías was elected to Spain’s Royal Academy, the nation’s highest literary and linguistic authority, in 2006. Winner of several international fiction prizes, he was professor of Spanish literature and translation at Oxford and at Wellesley College in Massachusetts in the 1980s.
William Klein, 96, an American photographer whose innovative portraiture style strongly influenced fashion and street photography in the second half of the 20th century, died Sept. 10 in Paris. In 1954, Klein turned his attention from painting to photography after meeting Alexander Liberman, the artistic director at Vogue, and began a 10-year collaboration with the magazine. During that period, he created a groundbreaking photographic diary of his native New York, titled “Life is Good & Good For You in New York.” The book featured Klein’s unconventional use of wide angles, contrasts in composition and unusual framing, which came to define the still-nascent genre of street photography.
He was also a noted filmmaker, producing several documentary and feature films throughout his career, addressing topics like the fashion industry, the war in Vietnam and famed boxer Muhammad Ali.
Marsha Hunt, 104, one of the last surviving actors from Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age of the 1930s and 1940s, who worked with performers ranging from Laurence Olivier to Andy Griffith in a career disrupted for a time by the McCarthy-era blacklist, died Sept. 7 in Los Angeles. She arrived in Hollywood in 1935 and over the next 15 years was in dozens of films, such as the adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” that starred Olivier and Greer Garson. In her later years she became an activist, shining a light on the plight of refugees and homelessness.
Rommy Hunt Revson, 78, the inventor of the scunci, better known as Scrunchie, the ubiquitous, inexpensive hair accessory of the late 1980s and ’90s that was worn by millions of women, including stars like Madonna, Janet Jackson, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Olsen twins in the sitcom “Full House,” died Sept. 7 in a hotel room near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where she was being treated for Cushing’s disease and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The cause was a ruptured ascending aorta. She lived in Wellington, Florida, near West Palm Beach.
Art Rosenbaum, 83, a painter and folk musician acclaimed for a half-century of field recordings of American vernacular music, including old-time Appalachian fiddle tunes and ritual music imported from Africa by enslaved people, died Sept. 4 at a hospital in Athens, Georgia, his adopted hometown. The cause was complications of cancer.
In 2007, the Atlanta-based label Dust-to-Digital released the first of two box sets of compilations from Rosenbaum’s trove, “Art of Field Recording Volume I: Fifty Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum,” which won a Grammy Award for best historical album. The pop music website Pitchfork called the release “revelatory” and “an indispensable counterpoint to Harry Smith’s ‘Anthology of American Folk Music,’ ” a reference to the 1952 song compilation that remains a canonical touchstone for folk musicians.
Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, 93, who after years of digging through obscure libraries in Louisiana, Spain and France managed to rescue the identities of more than 100,000 enslaved people from archival oblivion and demonstrate the vast extent of African influence on America’s cultural heritage, died Aug. 29 in Guanajuato, Mexico, about 200 miles northwest of Mexico City. Her son Haywood Hall said her death, at his home, came after a recurrence of breast cancer and a stroke. Hall led a colorful early life as a civil rights activist and spent the bulk of her academic career at Rutgers University, where she taught Latin American history.
William “Bill” Dygert, 71, a longtime land-use consultant active in conservation efforts in Southwest Washington, died Aug. 27 at his home in Astoria, Oregon, from a chronic lung disorder. Dygert was a founding member and longtime board member of the Vancouver, Washington-based Columbia Land Trust, which has conserved more than 55,000 acres in Oregon and Washington.
Dygert, who was raised in Vancouver, started working for the Clark County Parks Department in 1973 — first as an employee and later as an independent contractor. He negotiated with private landowners and secured funding to allow for the conversion of their private holdings to public uses. Through his grant writing, Dygert secured millions of dollars for municipalities and nonprofits in Southwest Washington, according to an obituary in The Columbian.