Who's News

Journalist Patrick J. Kiger tells the stories of people who make their mark in ways big and small.

Rev. Theodore Hesburgh: Legendary Notre Dame President

When asked at his 1952 inauguration as president of Notre Dame to pose with a pigskin, as if he were a successor to Knute Rockne, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh said, “I’m not the football coach. I’m the president.” Indeed, during his 35-year career at the school, Hesburgh, who passed away Feb. 26 at age 97 on the campus in South Bend, Ind., became far more influential than any gridiron hero. He turned Notre Dame into an academic powerhouse, became a confidant …

Leonard Nimoy: The Pointy-Eared Icon of ‘Star Trek’

How powerful an impression has Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek portrayal of Spock left on American culture? Hold up your right hand in the split-fingered Vulcan salute that Nimoy invented for his relentlessly logical, dispassionate half-alien starship officer, and odds are that just about everybody in the room will get the reference. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 Here are some facts about Nimoy, who passed away on Feb. 27 at age 83 in Los Angeles, and his relationship with …

Earl Lloyd: First Black NBA Player

On Oct. 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd took the court as a member of the now-long-defunct Washington Capitols basketball team for a game against the Rochester Royals in New York. Lloyd’s six points and 10 rebounds were no game-changer, but his performance definitely was in another sense: It was the first time that an African American player appeared in a National Basketball Association game. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 Here are some facts about Lloyd, who passed away on …

Lesley Gore: She Sang ‘It’s My Party’

If ever a song perfectly captured teenage betrayal, it was “It’s My Party” sung by Lesley Gore. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the spring of 1963. Gore, who passed away on Feb. 16 at age 68 in New York City, recorded the song at age 16, when she was still a high school junior in New Jersey. It became the biggest hit in a multifaceted career that included several other hit singles, acting roles in TV and …

Charlie Sifford: the Jackie Robinson of Golf

Struggling to break the color barrier in the Professional Golfers Association five decades ago, Charlie Sifford got a tip from Jackie Robinson, who had done the same thing for Major League Baseball. “You can’t be going after these people who call you names with a golf club,” Robinson told him. “If you do that, you’ll ruin it for all of the black players to come.” That was sage advice because Sifford, who passed away on Feb. 3 at age 92 …

Rod McKuen: 10 Things You Might Not Know About the Pop Poet

Literary critics never had much love for Rod McKuen, who passed away on Jan. 30 at age 81 in Beverly Hills. Not that it mattered to his legions of fans. McKuen’s volumes of poetry, including Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows and Listen to the Warm, sold 60 million copies. In addition, McKuen was a prolific songwriter whose lyrics were interpreted by performers ranging from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Johnny Cash. His own gravelly, breathy recording of “Jean,” which he composed for …