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Pete Seeger: Folk Music Legend, Political Activist

Posted on 01/28/2014 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyPete Seeger, who passed away on Jan. 27 at age 94 in New York, accomplished the nearly unimaginable. He showed that one man, armed only with a banjo, a tenor singing voice and the courage of his convictions, not only could leave an indelible stamp upon popular music, but also challenge injustice and fight for a better world. Seeger helped popularize folk music, a genre derived from the traditional chants, hymns and laments of hardscrabble rural America, and wrote or …

The Marlboro Man Who Became an Anti-Smoking Activist

Posted on 01/27/2014 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyEric Lawson portrayed one of the most iconic characters in the history of advertising: the Marlboro Man, devised in the mid-1950s as a talisman of vigorous, healthy masculinity, even at a time of growing evidence that cigarette smoking was injurious. In real life, Lawson, who played the Marlboro Man in print ads from 1978 to 1981, ultimately paid a heavy toll for his own years of smoking. He died on Jan. 10 at age 72 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., …

Russell Johnson: The Professor on ‘Gilligan’s Island’

Posted on 01/17/2014 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyIn the hit 1960s TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, it was no accident that Roy “The Professor” Hinkley, portrayed by Russell Johnson, was the least-funny character. The show’s creator, producer Sherwood Schwartz, needed an anchor for his otherwise lightweight cast of eccentric, inept castaways — a straight man who could rescue them from their various outlandish predicaments (though not from the island itself) and serve as a foil for their funny lines and pratfalls. As Schwartz would explain decades later in his …

Franklin McCain: He Integrated Woolworth’s Lunch Counter

Posted on 01/13/2014 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyOn the afternoon of Feb. 1, 1960, 19-year-old Franklin McCain — accompanied by David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, and Ezell Blair Jr., three of his North Carolina A&T classmates — walked into an F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro, N.C. After buying a few small items, he and the others sat down at the lunch counter. When they tried to order coffee, the white waitress refused them. “We don’t serve colored here,” she explained, according to a contemporary New York Times account. “I …

Phil Everly: Half of the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Duo

Posted on 01/6/2014 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyIt’s a measure of the greatness of Phil Everly, who died on Jan. 3 at age 74 in Burbank, Calif., that you hear him and his older brother Don practically every time you turn on a classic rock radio station, even when the DJ isn’t actually playing “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do is Dream” or another of their many hits from the late 1950s and early 1960s. What you hear, over and over, is the sound of …

Andy Granatelli: The Indomitable Showman

Posted on 12/31/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyThough he immodestly titled his memoirs They Call Me Mister 500, Andy Granatelli actually was behind the wheel at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway just once, in the time trials in 1948. Back then, he was billed “Antonio the Great, Famed Italian Speed Ace,” even though he hailed from Chicago and had raced only a few times, on state fairgrounds and small tracks in the Midwest. Despite the hype, Granatelli’s career as an Indy driver ended ignominiously, when he crashed, …