Saturday, 16 January 2016

John McDade Howell ,American academic, Died at 93

John McDade Howell was born on January 28, 1922, in Five Points, Alabama and died on January 3, 2016.

He was the seventh chancellor of East Carolina University.

In 1942, John joined the US Army Air Corps and served for three years in the European Theater, which he received a Bronze Star.

After he was honorably discharged he enrolled at the University of Alabama, earning a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1948 and a master's degree in political science the following year.

He graduated as a part of the Phi Beta Kappa.

He earned his doctorate in political science from Duke University, in 1954.

After which John joined the faculty as an associate professor of Political Science at Memphis State University.
Howell then relocated to Greenville, North Carolina and joined ECU faculty in 1957.

He was promoted to full professor in 1961.

John then assumed many roles, including founder and first chair of the Political Science department.

After which, he was the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and then the Dean of the Graduate School.

John Howell became Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in 1973 and served in that position until 1979.

He when back to the classroom for a three-year period from 1979 to 1982, he assumed the position of Chancellor in 1982.

He was named Chancellor Emeritus, in 1987.

John McDade Howell passed away at 96 yrs old.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Birgit Nilsson, dramatic soprano, Died at 87

Birgit Nilsson 25 December 2005 at the age of 87, she was a celebrated Swedish dramatic soprano who specialized in operatic works of Wagner and Strauss, though she sang the operas of many other composers, including Verdi and Puccini.

Born Märta Birgit Svensson on the 17th of May 1918 on a farm at Västra Karup in Skåne (100 km/60 miles north of Malmö) to Nils Svensson and Justina Svensson née Paulsson.

When she was three years old she began picking out melodies on a toy piano her mother bought for her.

She once told an interviewer that she could sing before she could walk, adding, "I even sang in my dreams".

Her vocal talent was first noticed when she began to sing in her church choir. A choirmaster near her home heard her sing and advised her to take voice lessons.

In 1946, Nilsson made her debut at the Royal Opera in Stockholm with only three days' notice, replacing the ailing Agathe in Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz.

Conductor Leo Blech wasn't very kind to her and, as she wrote in her autobiography, she even contemplated suicide after the performance. In 1947 she claimed national attention as Verdi's Lady Macbeth under Fritz Busch.

A wealth of parts followed, from Strauss and Verdi to Wagner, Puccini, and Tchaikovsky.

In Stockholm she built up a steady repertoire of roles in the lyric-dramatic field, including Donna Anna, Aida, Lisa, Tosca, Venus, Sieglinde, Senta and the Marschallin, one of her favorite roles (though she later lamented that she was never asked to sing it outside of Stockholm), all sung in Swedish.

Her long career at the Bayreuth Festival and her immersion in Wagner in general, began in the mid-1950.

No dramatic soprano truly approached her stature thereafter, and in the roles of Isolde, Brünnhilde and Sieglinde, she began her stately 30-year procession around the opera houses of the world.

Her United States debut was in San Francisco in 1956. Three years later she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Isolde under Karl Bohm, and some listeners treasure the memory of that performance as much as they do her live recording of the role from Bayreuth in 1966, also under Bohm.

The exuberant review of her first Met performance appeared on the front page of The New York Times on December 19, 1959, under the headline, "Birgit Nilsson as Isolde Flashes like New Star in 'Met' Heavens."

Nilsson was suspicious of opera's recent youth culture and often remarked on the premature destruction of young voices brought on by overambitious career planning.

"Directors and managers don't care about their futures," she once said. "They will just get another young person when this one goes bad."

Friday, 8 January 2016

Nipsey Russell, comedian, Died at 87

Julius "Nipsey" Russell died on October 2, 2005 at the age of 87, he was an American comedian, best known today for his appearances as a guest panelist on game shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, especially Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth and Pyramid.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on September 15, 1918, Russell went to Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta and attended the University of Cincinnati for one semester in 1936.

He served as a medic in the United States Army during World War II, enlisting as a private on June 27, 1941, and returning from Europe in 1945 as a second lieutenant.

He got his start in the 1940s as a carhop at the Atlanta drive-in The Varsity, where he increased the tips he earned by making customers laugh.

In the late 1950s, Russell appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, which led to a supporting part as a New York policeman in the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? In 1961, in 1965 he became a co-host of ABC's Les Crane Show.

During the 1970s, he was a co-star in the ABC sitcom Barefoot in the Park and appeared regularly on The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Comedy World.

Scattered appearances on television series followed, as well as occasional guest-host stints on The Tonight Show during the Johnny Carson era.

Russell also appeared frequently in Las Vegas; including a series of appearances with Sergio Franchi at the Frontier Hotel in 1978 and 1979, and with Franchi in 1979 at the Sands Hotel Copa Room.

By the age of 6, he had become the singing and dancing master of ceremonies for a local Atlanta children's troupe run by the jazz musician Eddie Heywood, Sr. Russell traced his interest in comedy back to seeing a performance by the African-American performer Jack Wiggins around the age of 9.

Russell recalled, "He came out immaculately attired in a well-dressed street suit and he tap-danced.

As he danced, he told little jokes in between. He was so clean in his language and was lacking in any drawl, he just inspired me. I wanted to do that."

By age 10, he was devouring the works of English poets such as Chaucer, Shelley and Keats as well as working through Homer's epics in the original Greek.

He graduated early from high school at the age of 15, having spent his senior year living with an aunt in Cincinnati so that he could attend the University of Cincinnati tuition-free.

However, Russell's studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II.

To his surprise, on a 2003 episode of Hollywood Squares, it was revealed that the character Little Nipper in the cartoon strip Wee Pals had been named for him.

Nipsey Russell was never married and did not have any children. He often joked, "I have enough trouble living with myself, how could I ever live with anyone else?" Russell passed away in New York City after a yearlong struggle with cancer.