Obituaries (Vol. 86) - Essay

Lindsay Gordon AndersonApril 17, 1923–August 30, 1994Indian-born British film and stage director

Lindsay Gordon Anderson April 17, 1923–August 30, 1994 Indian-born British film and stage director

The director of such films as This Sporting Life (1963), If … (1969), and O Lucky Man! (1973), Anderson was a proponent of the British "Free Cinema" movement which emphasized the artist's responsibility toward society and the individual. In his manifesto article "Stand Up! Stand Up!" (1956) Anderson lashed out at critics and filmmakers, urging them to develop a greater social consciousness and focus on "the significance of the everyday" in their work. For example, in This Sporting Life Anderson attacked the emotionally repressive structures of British society, while in If … he condemned the British public school system for stifling the creative development of students. Also a documentary filmmaker, Anderson won an Academy award for Thursday Children (1953), which concerns a school for deaf children. More recently Anderson directed The Whales of August (1987), which starred Lillian Gish and Bette Davis. [For further information on Anderson's life and career, see CLC, Volume 20.]

Robert Albert BlochApril 5, 1917–September 23, 1994American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter

Robert Albert Bloch April 5, 1917–September 23, 1994 American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter

Best known as the author of Psycho (1959), the novel which served as the basis for the film by Alfred Hitchcock, Bloch wrote over twenty novels, hundreds of short stories, and numerous film and television scripts in a variety of genres, including mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and humor. Bloch, who sold his first short story to the pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales when he was seventeen, was inspired and encouraged to write in his early teens by master horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, with whom he corresponded and developed a lifelong friendship. Bloch earned his living for many years contributing stories to pulp magazines and writing scripts for various horror films and for such television series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Star Trek. Described by writer Harlan Ellison as "the kindest, gentlest human being who ever lived," Bloch befriended and encouraged many young writers in addition to Ellison who have since become famous, notably Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. Arguing that Bloch was attracted to dark, sinister themes and characters because they "were so utterly alien to him," Ellison concluded that Bloch "was surely on a level with Poe." [For further information on Bloch's life and career, see CLC, Volume 33.]

Charles BukowskiAugust 16, 1920–March 9, 1994German-born American poet, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter

Charles Bukowski August 16, 1920–March 9, 1994 German-born American poet, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter

A prolific and seminal figure in underground literature, Bukowski is best known for writings in which he caustically indicted bourgeois American society while celebrating the lives of alcoholics, prostitutes, decadent writers, and other desperate characters in and around Los Angeles. In his early poems, for example those collected in Longshot Pomes for Broke Players (1962), Bukowski introduced his characteristic protagonist: the unstudied, self-exiled poet who rejects the public and the literary world in order to maintain his freedom and uniqueness as a writer; such subsequent collections as Poems Written before Jumping out of an 8-story Window (1968) and Fire Station (1970) deal in concrete, realistic terms with acts of rape, sodomy, deceit, and violence, focusing in particular on male-female relationships characterized by physical and emotional abuse. Like his poetry, Bukowski's fiction is considered largely autobiographical and has been both praised and vilified by critics. For example, while some commentators find his short story collections Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969) and Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972) misogynistic and formulaic, others laud them as pointed analyses of the short-sightedness, pettiness, and spiritual bankruptcy of American society. Bukowski is also known for the novels Post Office (1971), Factotum (1975), Ham on Rye (1982), and Barfly (1984), all of which concern Henry Chinaski, a hardened alcoholic. Bukowski wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film version of Barfly, which featured Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke, and was directed by Barbet Schroeder. [For further information on Bukowski's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 2, 5, 9, 41, and 82.]

Amy ClampittJune 15, 1920–September 10, 1994American poet, essayist, and editor

Amy Clampitt June 15, 1920–September 10, 1994 American poet, essayist, and editor

Clampitt is known as a poetic stylist whose verse is characterized by vivid, baroque vocabulary, intricate syntax, attention to detail, and revealing metaphors. In her first full-length book, Kingfisher (1983), published when she was sixty-three, Clampitt combined a focus on nature with musings on life, death, and love. What the Light Was Like (1985), her critically acclaimed second collection of poetry, focuses on images of light and dark, and has been compared to the work of John Keats. Her other works include Multitudes, Multitudes (1974) and Archaic Figure (1987). [For further information on Clampitt's life and work, see CLC, Volume 32.]

James Edmund Du Maresq ClavellOctober 10, 1925–September 6, 1994English-born American novelist, screenwriter, film director, and author of children's books

James Edmund Du Maresq Clavell October 10, 1925–September 6, 1994 English-born American novelist, screenwriter, film director, and author of children's books

Clavell is known primarily for his best-selling novel Shōgun (1975) and his other fictional works that focus on East Asian customs, history, and economic and political power struggles. Clavell worked as a screenwriter in the 1950s and 1960s; his most notable work included writing The Fly (1958) and writing, directing, and producing To Sir with Love (1967). Although it was immensely popular with general readers, Shōgun received mixed reviews from specialists. For example, Asian historian Henry Smith lauded the novel for "[conveying] more information about Japan to more people than all the combined writings of scholars, journalists and novelists since the Pacific War." Other scholars and critics, however, questioned the authenticity of Clavell's portrait of feudal Japan and accused him of willfully distorting reality and sensationalizing history. In response, Clavell stated that he has "played with history—the where and how and who and why and when of it—to suit my own reality and, perhaps, to tell the real history of what came to pass." [For further information on Clavell's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 6, 25, and 87.]

Erik Homburger EriksonJune 15, 1902–May 12, 1994German-born American psychoanalyst, writer, and biographer

Erik Homburger Erikson June 15, 1902–May 12, 1994 German-born American psychoanalyst, writer, and biographer

Erikson was one of the most influential psychoanalysts of the twentieth century. Although he studied under Sigmund and Anna Freud, he developed his own theory of human psychological development and was one of the first to explain how societal and cultural influences might contribute to an individual's emotional life. Retaining the Freudian concept of the ego, Erikson theorized that human development follows a series of eight predetermined stages. He believed that each stage is characterized by a particular crisis and that the resolution of each crisis substantially contributes to the individual's personality. These ideas are explored in such works as Childhood and Society (1950), Identity and the Life Cycle (1967), and The Life Cycle Completed: A Review (1982). Erikson is also known for his books Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Non-violence (1969), which won both a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (1958), his renowned and controversial "psychobiography" of Martin Luther. His own belief in nonviolent political activism, as well as his views on the nature of personal and professional crises, was tested when he chose to resign from the University of California in 1950 rather than sign a statement of loyalty during a period of intense anti-Communist sentiment. In 1987 the Erik Erikson Center was founded at the medical center of Harvard University, from which Erikson retired as professor emeritus in 1970.

Albert GoldmanApril 15, 1927–March 28, 1994American biographer, critic, educator, and editor

Albert Goldman April 15, 1927–March 28, 1994 American biographer, critic, educator, and editor

Goldman was best known for his controversial biographies of pop music icons Elvis Presley and John Lennon. Published in 1981, Elvis portrayed the rock legend as selfish, lazy, greedy, and addicted to drugs and food. Responding to charges of self-indulgence and character assassination, Goldman insisted that his portrait of Presley maintained a scrupulous fidelity to the facts of his subject's life; critic Roy Blount, Jr. described Elvis as a "morbidly fascinating biography." Goldman's book on ex-Beatle John Lennon, The Lives of John Lennon (1988), met with similar censure for its...

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Clement GreenbergJanuary 16, 1909–May 7, 1994American critic and editor

Clement Greenberg January 16, 1909–May 7, 1994 American critic and editor

One of the most widely-known and respected American art critics of this century, Greenberg came to prominence in the 1950s as an impassioned advocate for the works of Jackson Pollock and other members of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He began his career art in criticism in the 1930s as a regular contributor to the famous left-wing periodical Partisan Review, the forum for what would later be known as the "New York Intellectuals" school. Greenberg championed the work of Pollock—whose unique "drip" method of applying paint to monumental canvases was originally met with skepticism and confusion—at a time...

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Lewis M. Grizzard, Jr.October 20, 1946–March 20, 1994American journalist and nonfiction writer

Lewis M. Grizzard, Jr. October 20, 1946–March 20, 1994 American journalist and nonfiction writer

A nationally syndicated columnist who spent most of his journalistic career at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Grizzard was the author of twenty books, most of them humorous observations of his own life that bore such striking titles as Elvis Is Dead, and I Don't Feel So Good Myself (1984), Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes (1988), and Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night (1989). Grizzard began his career as the sports editor of a local paper while he was attending the University of Georgia. Hired by The Atlanta Journal soon after he...

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Joan Mary HarrisonJune 20, 1909–August 14, 1994English screenwriter and film producer

Joan Mary Harrison June 20, 1909–August 14, 1994 English screenwriter and film producer

Harrison began her career in film as secretary to Alfred Hitchcock and soon collaborated with him on many of his best screenplays, including Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Saboteur (1942). One of the few female producers in Hollywood, Harrison produced films by such noted directors as Robert Siodmak (Phantom Lady, 1944) and Jacques Tourneur (Circle of Danger, 1950). Film scholar Jeanine Basinger has noted that "all of Harrison's films have these qualities in common: excellent women characters, who are frequently intrepid in their...

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Ely Jacques Kahn, Jr.December 4, 1916–May 28, 1994American journalist, nonfiction writer, biographer, and autobiographer

Ely Jacques Kahn, Jr. December 4, 1916–May 28, 1994 American journalist, nonfiction writer, biographer, and autobiographer

A staff writer for The New Yorker since 1937, Kahn wrote twenty-seven books and is credited with inventing the biographical profile article. Beginning with The New Yorker while he was still a senior at Harvard University, Kahn became the magazine's war correspondent during World War II and the Korean War. His military experiences resulted in three books, The Army Life (1942), The Peculiar War (1952), and The Stragglers (1962); in this last work, Kahn related stories of Japanese soldiers who continued to live in jungles and "fight" for many...

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Robert Edwin LeeOctober 15, 1918–July 8, 1994American dramatist, scriptwriter, and screenwriter

Robert Edwin Lee October 15, 1918–July 8, 1994 American dramatist, scriptwriter, and screenwriter

Lee is best known for Inherit the Wind (1955). Written in collaboration with Lee's longtime partner, Jerome Lawrence, Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the famous "Scopes monkey trial," which focused on the teaching of Darwinian evolution and Biblical creationism in American schools. Lee and Lawrence were also responsible for the drama The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1970), another reconstruction of American historical events. Other popular plays, movies, and musicals that Lee produced include Look Ma, I'm Dancin' (1948), Auntie Mame (1956), and...

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Leonid Maximovich LeonovJune 1, 1899–August 8, 1994Russian novelist and playwright

Leonid Maximovich Leonov June 1, 1899–August 8, 1994 Russian novelist and playwright

A writer of considerable fame and importance in Soviet Russia, Leonov's novels and plays are notable for their pro-Soviet Socialist stance. Although his earliest works, including Konets melkogo cheloveka (1922; The End of Insignificant Man) and Barsuki (1924; The Badgers), reflect the influences of Honoré de Balzac and Fyodor Dostoevsky and garnered international acclaim, Leonov's later works have been faulted for slavishly reflecting the official Soviet demand for "socialist realism" in all art works. Nevertheless, some critics point to Sot (1930; Soviet River),...

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Richard Milhous NixonJanuary 9, 1913–April 22, 1994American politician, memoirist, and nonfiction writer

Richard Milhous Nixon January 9, 1913–April 22, 1994 American politician, memoirist, and nonfiction writer

Nixon was one of the United States's most controversial presidents—the only one forced to resign under threat of impeachment. Originally a lawyer, he entered Congress in the 1940s, serving as senator from California and later as vice president to Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1968 Nixon was elected president. His administration was praised for several achievements in foreign affairs: notably opening relations with Communist China and establishing détente with the Soviet Union; eventually ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War; and for brokering an Arab-Israeli peace accord. However,...

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Michael O'DonoghueJanuary 5, 1940–November 9, 1994American television writer, screenwriter, and humorist

Michael O'Donoghue January 5, 1940–November 9, 1994 American television writer, screenwriter, and humorist

Best known for his work as a writer and occasional performer on the television series Saturday Night Live during the mid-1970s, O'Donoghue perfected a mordant and sometimes shocking brand of humor that has since proved highly influential. Starting out as a freelance writer for underground avant-garde magazines in the 1960s, he later wrote for National Lampoon magazine as well as the "National Lampoon Radio Hour," where he first worked with Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, and John Belushi. O'Donoghue was one of the original writers and performers on Saturday Night Live,...

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Juan Carlos OnettiJuly 1, 1909–May 30, 1994Uruguayan-born Spanish novelist, short story writer, poet, and editor

Juan Carlos Onetti July 1, 1909–May 30, 1994 Uruguayan-born Spanish novelist, short story writer, poet, and editor

One of Latin America's most distinguished writers, Onetti is known for works in which he explored such themes as despair, alienation, and the realities of urban life. While not generally known outside Latin America, Onetti has been praised for his lyricism, imaginative use of language and narration, and blending of fantasy and realism. Onetti's creation of the imaginary setting of Santa Maria, which recurs in several of his novels and is said to be modeled after the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, has also led many critics to compare him to William Faulkner, creator of fictional...

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John James OsborneDecember 12, 1929–December 24, 1994English playwright, screenwriter, and autobiographer

John James Osborne December 12, 1929–December 24, 1994 English playwright, screenwriter, and autobiographer

Famous for his first major play, Look Back in Anger (1956), Osborne was one of a group of playwrights known as the "Angry Young Men"—which included John Wain, Kingsley Amis, and John Braine—who initiated a new era in English theater characterized by aggressive social criticism, authentic portrayals of working-class life, and antiheroic characters. Osborne, whose father died in 1940 and whose mother was the object of his passionate, lifelong hatred, left home in his late teens to become an actor and began writing plays when he was nineteen. In addition to Look Back in...

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Sir Karl Raimund PopperJuly 28, 1902–September 17, 1994Austrian-born English philosopher

Sir Karl Raimund Popper July 28, 1902–September 17, 1994 Austrian-born English philosopher

Known for his ideas on history, Marxism, and science, Popper is credited with providing much of the intellectual framework for the British Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s. Two of his most influential works—The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945) and The Poverty of Historicism (1957)—attack Marxism and postulate that human history is not controlled by laws but rather by the unpredictable growth of knowledge. In Logik der Forschung: Zur Erkenntnistheorie der modernen Naturwissenschaft (1935; The Logic of Scientific Discovery) and Conjectures and...

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John PrestonDecember 11, 1945–April 27, 1994American novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and editor

John Preston December 11, 1945–April 27, 1994 American novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and editor

Founder of the Gay House Inc. and Gay Community Services of Minneapolis, Preston was editor of the national gay and lesbian newspaper The Advocate from 1975 to 1976 before deciding to write full time. Among his best known fictional works are the 1983 novel about an aging homosexual entitled Franny, the Queen of Provincetown (1983); the short story collection I Once Had a Master, and Other Tales of Erotic Love (1984); and numerous mass-market paperback novels published under various pseudonyms. His nonfiction includes Safe Sex: The Ultimate Erotic Guide...

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Richard McClure ScarryJune 5, 1919–April 30, 1994American author and illustrator of children's books

Richard McClure Scarry June 5, 1919–April 30, 1994 American author and illustrator of children's books

An extraordinarily prolific and popular children's author, Scarry wrote over 200 books that have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into thirty languages. After studying drawing at the Boston Museum School and serving in the army during World War II, Scarry began illustrating books for other authors. His first major success as both author and illustrator was with Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever (1963), which defines and depicts over 1400 words and objects. His wife Patricia has explained that he "considered himself an educator more than anything."

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Randy ShiltsAugust 8, 1951–February 17, 1994American journalist and nonfiction writer

Randy Shilts August 8, 1951–February 17, 1994 American journalist and nonfiction writer

Known as the first openly gay journalist at a major American newspaper, Shilts is credited with focusing national attention on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and other more strictly gay-related issues through his writing in The San Francisco Chronicle and his book-length study, And the Band Played On (1987), a history of America's response to the AIDS epidemic. Both this study and Shilts's Conduct Unbecoming (1993) are considered highly influential documents in the movement to promote equal rights for gays and lesbians. Cleve Jones, founder of the Names Project that produced...

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John Innes Mackintosh StewartSeptember 30, 1906–November 12, 1994British novelist, short story writer, critic, and educator

John Innes Mackintosh Stewart September 30, 1906–November 12, 1994 British novelist, short story writer, critic, and educator

A prolific and popular author of sophisticated mystery novels, J. I. M. Stewart was also respected for his chronicles of the erudite social milieu of Oxford University, where he was a English professor for many years. Among his most notable works are his "A Staircase in Surrey" quintet, which presents an endearing autobiographical portrait of his eccentric and creative associates at Oxford, and a series of mysteries featuring the resourceful and learned Inspector Sir John Appleby. In addition to his highly popular autobiographical and mystery novels, Stewart was a...

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Julian Gustave SymonsMay 30, 1912–November 19, 1994English novelist, short story writer, poet, editor, historian, critic, biographer, and radio and television writer

Julian Gustave Symons May 30, 1912–November 19, 1994 English novelist, short story writer, poet, editor, historian, critic, biographer, and radio and television writer

Well regarded as a poet, critic, and biographer, Symons is best known as the author of several highly praised crime novels, including The Color of Murder (1957), The Progress of a Crime (1960), and The Man Who Killed Himself (1967). Born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in London, Symons wrote romantic, Trotskyite poetry before World War II. After serving in the British army, he worked in advertising and then reviewed books for the Manchester Evening News. The publication of his first crime novel,...

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Mary TallMountain1918–September 2, 1994American poet, essayist, and short story writer

Mary TallMountain 1918–September 2, 1994 American poet, essayist, and short story writer

A Native American writer of Russian and Athabascan descent, TallMountain is best known for her poetry collection There Is No Word for Goodbye (1981), winner of a 1982–83 Pushcart Prize, and her The Light on the Tent Wall: A Bridging (1990), a volume of essays, poems, and short stories. Her works incorporate her interest in Christian and Native spirituality, imagery and symbols drawn from her Athabascan heritage and childhood in rural Alaska, and her belief in humanity's need to remember the past and commune with the natural world. She is also the author of the verse collection A Quick...

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Mai Elisabeth ZetterlingMay 24, 1925–March 15, 1994Swedish actress, film director, screenwriter, novelist, autobiographer, short story writer, and author of children's literature

Mai Elisabeth Zetterling May 24, 1925–March 15, 1994 Swedish actress, film director, screenwriter, novelist, autobiographer, short story writer, and author of children's literature

Internationally acclaimed for her acting in such films as Alf Sjoberg's Hets (1947; Torment) and, most recently, Nicholas Roeg's The Witches (1990), Zetterling was also a highly accomplished filmmaker and author. Beginning in the 1960s, she made several documentaries dealing with northern European political and social issues. Her first fiction film, the fifteen-minute antiwar movie The War Game (1963), won the Gold Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. As a director of feature films,...

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