More stories

  • in

    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Star of Celebrated European Films, Dies at 91

    For 50 years, in movies like “A Man and a Woman” and “My Night at Maud’s,” his specialty was playing the flawed Everyman.Jean-Louis Trintignant, a leading French actor of subtle power who appeared in some of the most celebrated European films of the last 50 years, among them Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist,” Eric Rohmer’s “My Night at Maud’s” and Claude Lelouch’s “A Man and a Woman,” died on Friday at his home in southern France. He was 91.His wife, Marianne Hoepfner Trintignant, confirmed the death to Agence France-Presse. Mr. Trintignant had announced in 2018 that he had prostate cancer and was retiring.Mr. Trintignant seemed to specialize in playing the flawed Everyman and revealing his characters’ depths slowly.“Jean-Louis Trintignant has been, for better than half a century, one of the great stealth actors of the movies,” the critic Terrence Rafferty wrote in The New York Times in 2012. “He knows how to catch an audience unaware.”The occasion was the release that year of Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” which went on to win the 2013 Academy Award for best foreign-language film. In a starring role for the first time in the millennium, Mr. Trintignant, by then nearly blind, portrayed a frail old man caring for his dying wife, played by Emmanuelle Riva — “two titans of French cinema,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The Times — in a film that is both a love story and a stark examination of illness and mortality.It was the capstone to a rich career playing a gallery of characters who were rarely glamorous. Mr. Trintignant was an emotionally fragile Fascist in “The Conformist” (1970); a timid, meticulous graduate student who accidentally falls in with a ribald bon vivant in Dino Risi’s 1962 “Il Sorpasso” (“The Easy Life”); and a repressed Roman Catholic from the provinces who resists the seductive advances of a beautiful divorced woman in “My Night at Maud’s” (1969).“If some people laugh because I did not have sex with Maud, well, I would prefer being thought ridiculous to being thought a hero,” Mr. Trintignant said in a 1970 interview with The Times. “Even kissing scenes bore me.”In 1969 he won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance as a magistrate investigating the assassination of a Greek politician in Costa-Gavras’s political thriller “Z,” which also won the foreign-language Oscar that year.For American audiences, Mr. Trintignant did not fit the conventional images of French film stars, like the wisecracking Jean-Paul Belmondo, the working-class hero Jean Gabin or the suave sophisticate Maurice Chevalier. He was more understated.“The best actors in the world,” he once said, “are those who feel the most and show the least.”Jean-Louis Xavier Trintignant was born on Dec. 11, 1930, in Piolenc, a small town in southeastern France, where his father, Raoul, was a wealthy industrialist and local politician. Jean-Louis seriously considered becoming a racecar driver like his uncle Maurice Trintignant, a top competitor in the 1950s and ’60s who was only 13 years older than Jean-Louis. (Another uncle, Louis Trintignant, also raced and was killed in 1933 when his car crashed.)Jean-Louis took up law studies instead, thinking he would follow his father into politics. But while a law student in Aix-en-Provence he attended a performance of “The Miser” by Molière and was so smitten that he decided on a stage career.Mr. Trintignant moved to Paris to study acting and began appearing in theater productions at 20. After touring France in the early 1950s, he was hailed as one of the country’s most gifted young stage actors and was soon offered film contracts.Mr. Trintignant with Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Woman” (1956), directed by Roger Vadim, Ms. Bardot’s husband at the time.Kingsley InternationalIn Roger Vadim’s 1956 movie “And God Created Woman,” Mr. Trintignant starred as a young, naïve husband who is in love with his diabolically flirtatious wife, played by Brigitte Bardot (Mr. Vadim’s wife at the time) in what was considered her breakout sex-kitten role. Whether true or not, rumors circulated that she and Mr. Trintignant had a real-life affair during the filming. Ms. Bardot’s marriage to Mr. Vadim ended in 1957.Mr. Vadim nonetheless cast Mr. Trintignant in the 1959 film “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” adapted from a sexually scandalous 18th-century novel about a scheming noblewoman. Mr. Trintignant had the lesser but romantic role of the charming Chevalier Danceny, a music teacher for French nobility.The Académie Française, the official arbiter of French culture, denounced the film as “desecrating a classic,” and it was condemned as salacious from Roman Catholic pulpits on both sides of the Atlantic.Mr. Trintignant shared top billing with Vittorio Gassman in “Il Sorpasso,” which is widely considered Mr. Risi’s masterpiece. He played a shy law student who is enticed by Mr. Gassman’s libidinous extrovert and embarks on a rollicking car journey through the Italian countryside that ends tragically.Still more memorable was Mr. Trintignant’s performance eight years laterin “The Conformist.” Based on a novel of the same title by Alberto Moravia, the film is a chilling psychological portrait of a secret policeman in Fascist Italy. Mr. Trintignant, in the lead role, arranges the assassination of his old friend, a left-wing university professor, whose young wife he covets.Mr. Trintignant assumed his most romantic role, as a racecar driver, in “A Man and a Woman” (1966). The movie was an international hit, generating more box-office receipts than any previous French film. He said his early passion for racing — and an intimate knowledge of the sport conveyed to him by his uncles — had made his performance especially credible.But he professed that he was uncomfortable in the movie’s explicit love scenes, in which his co-star was Anouk Aimée, a longtime friend of his wife at the time, the director Nadine Trintignant.“It was embarrassing to find myself in bed with a woman that way,” he told The Times in 1970. “I had known Anouk for 10 years, and she was Nadine’s best friend, and the whole crew was watching.” The movie’s best scenes, Mr. Trintignant insisted, were his hairpin racing turns in Monte Carlo.He went on to appear in an average of three films a year for the next three decades, more often as a supporting actor than as the lead.Mr. Trintignant in “Amour” (2012), which won the Oscar for best foreign-language film. By then nearly blind, he portrayed a frail old man caring for his dying wife, played by Emmanuelle Riva.Sony Pictures ClassicsAn exception was the acclaimed 1994 film “Red,” the finale of the Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy. In a work that tracks the parallel lives of a group of people living outside Geneva, Mr. Trintignant played a cold retired judge who spied on his neighbors using high-tech surveillance equipment.He also continued to act onstage occasionally.Later in life Mr. Trintignant returned to his early passion for sports-car racing, participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1980 and the Monte Carlo Rally in 1984. In the ’90s he spent much of his time tending a vineyard he operated in the South of France or acting in theater. His return to film in “Amour” came after an absence of more than a decade.Mr. Trintignant’s first marriage, to the actress Stéphane Audran, ended in divorce. He married Nadine Marquand, then an actress, in 1960 and had three children with her: Vincent, now a director; Pauline, who died in infancy; and Marie, a successful actress (she had acted alongside her father at age 4 in “Mon Amour, Mon Amour,” which was directed by her mother) and the mother of four who at 41 was beaten to death in her hotel room in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the summer of 2003 while filming there.The murder was a sensation in the European press. Ms. Trintignant’s 39-year-old boyfriend, Bertrand Cantat, one of France’s biggest rock stars, later admitted in a Lithuanian court that he had beaten her in a jealous rage over her plans to vacation with an ex-husband.He was convicted of manslaughter in 2004 and released on parole in 2007, angering the Trintignant family and its supporters.After Marie’s death, Mr. Trintignant fell into a severe depression.“For three months I didn’t speak,” he told the Montreal newspaper The Gazette in 2012. “After that I realized I had to either stop living, commit suicide or continue to live.”In 2011 he withdrew from a planned one-man show at the summer Avignon Festival in France when he learned that Mr. Cantat was to appear at the festival as well in an acting role onstage.Mr. Trintignant’s marriage to Nadine Trintignant ended in divorce in 1976. He married Marianne Hoepfner, a racecar driver, in 2000. Information on other survivors was not immediately available.Mr. Trintignant’s eyesight deteriorated in his later years, but he was accepting of his condition. “We weren’t meant to live more than 80 years,” he told The Gazette. “It’s not so bad as all that. I’m still happy when I’m alone. I have an inner life.”Even at the height of his popularity, Mr. Trintignant insisted that acting was always a struggle.“I am not a born actor,” he said in the 1970 Times interview. “Even today, I am not an instinctive actor. I prepare meticulously, and it is only when I am before the camera that I become completely free.” More

  • in

    Shauneille Perry Ryder, Pioneering Theater Director, Dies at 92

    As a Black woman, she blazed a path Off Broadway with an intuitive grasp of “how a story should be told, particularly a Black story,” Giancarlo Esposito said.Shauneille Perry Ryder, an actress, playwright and educator who was one of the first Black women to direct plays Off Broadway, most notably for the New Federal Theater, died on June 9 at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 92.Her daughter Lorraine Ryder confirmed the death.Ms. Perry Ryder, who was known professionally as Shauneille (pronounced shaw-NELL) Perry, directed 17 plays at the New Federal Theater from 1971 to 2006, each a part of the company’s mission to integrate artists of color and women into mainstream American theater. The theater, founded in 1970 by Woodie King Jr. in Lower Manhattan and now housed on West 42nd Street, has been a mecca for Black actors and directors.“She was personable with actors, but she put her foot down,” Mr. King said in a phone interview, referring to her attention to detail. “I’m so glad she worked with New Federal. She gave us a great reputation. In our first 10 years, we had a hit each year, and at least three or four were directed by Shauneille Perry.”In 1982, she directed Rob Penny’s “Who Loves the Dancer,” about a young Black man (played by Giancarlo Esposito) growing up in 1950s Philadelphia who dreams of becoming a dancer but who is trapped by his mother’s expectations, his environment and racism.In The New York Times, the critic Mel Gussow wrote that the play “has an inherent honesty, and in Shauneille Perry’s production, the evening is filled with conviction.”Mr. Esposito, who had been directed earlier that year by Ms. Perry Ryder in another play, “Keyboard,” at the New Federal, recalled her “very intuitive expression of how a story should be told, particularly a Black story.”“I was a young, green actor who had chops,” he added, in a phone interview, “but she taught me that acting is physical. The explosion that comes out of me in the second act came together under her direction.”Ms. Perry Ryder also directed Phillip Hayes Dean’s “Paul Robeson,” which traces the life of the titular singer and social crusader; “Jamimma,” by Martie Evans-Charles, about a young woman who changes her name because of its connection to servility and who is devoted to a man who she is told will never do much more than “wear rags or play instruments”; and “Black Girl,” by J.E. Franklin, about three generations of Black women, including a teenager who yearns to dance.“If you’re Black, you know about these people in any city,” Ms. Perry Ryder told The Times in 1971, referring to the characters in “Black Girl.” “We are all a part of each other.”She won at least two Audelco Awards from the Audience Development Committee, which honors Black theater and artists, and in 2019 received the Lloyd Richards Director’s Award from the National Black Theater Festival, in Winston-Salem, N.C., named after the Tony-winning director of many of August Wilson’s plays.Shauneille Gantt Perry was born on July 26, 1929, in Chicago. Her father, Graham, was one of the first Black assistant attorneys general in Illinois; her mother, Pearl (Gantt) Perry, was a pioneering Black court reporter in Chicago. Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote “A Raisin the Sun,” was one of Shauneille’s cousins.While attending Howard University — where she received a bachelor’s degree in drama in 1950 — Ms. Ryder Perry belonged to a student theater group, the Howard Players, which performed Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck” and Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” on a tour of Scandinavia at the invitation of the Norwegian government. “We were the only Black company to tour those marvelous countries,” she told The Record of Hackensack, N.J., in 1971.She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1952 at the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago (now a part of DePaul University). As a Fulbright scholar in 1954, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Dissatisfied with the curriculum, however (“they were always doing ‘Cleopatra,’” she said), she transferred to the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art.Back in Chicago she began acting — she was in a summer stock play, “Mamba’s Daughters,” with Ethel Waters — while also writing for the Black newspaper The Chicago Defender. In 1959, while on a trip to Paris that she had won through an Ebony magazine essay contest, she met the author Richard Wright, who, she recalled, asked her, “They still lynching people back in the States?”“I remember telling him, ‘They do it a little differently there today,’” she told The Times in 1971. But the next day she read about a Black man who had been accused of rape and taken forcibly to a jail cell; his body was later found floating in a river. “I kept wondering to myself,” she said, “‘What is that man saying about my analysis of things?’”And she wondered what she would do when she got home.At first she continued acting. She appeared in various Off Broadway plays, including Josh Greenfeld’s “Clandestine on the Morning Line” (1961), with James Earl Jones, in which a pregnant young woman (Ms. Perry Ryder) from Alabama strolls into a restaurant looking for the father of her child.Edith Oliver, reviewing the play in The New Yorker, praised Ms. Perry Ryder’s “lovely performance,” writing that she gave her role “such quiet, innocent strength and apparent unawareness of the character’s pathos that we almost forget it, too.”Frustrated with the roles she was offered, Ms. Perry Ryder turned to directing, first at the Negro Ensemble Company in New York, with a workshop production of Ms. Franklin’s “Mau Mau Room.”“I got the feeling that maybe there’s a place for me,” she told The Times.Two years later, she directed “The Sty of the Blind Pig” for the Negro Ensemble Company. In the drama, a blind street singer in 1950s Chicago goes to a house on the South Side looking for a woman he once knew.Emory Lewis wrote in his review in The Record that Ms. Perry Ryder “had marshaled her actors with loving attention to period detail and nuance.”Ms. Perry Ryder, left, in 1971 while directing “Black Girl,” a play by J. E. Franklin, right, about three generations of Black women. Produced by the New Federal Theater, it was staged at the Theater de Lys on Christopher Street in Lower Manhattan. Bert Andrews Her theater work continued for more than 40 years, including writing and directing “Things of the Heart: Marian Anderson’s Story,” about the brilliant Black contralto; directing and rewriting the book for a 1999 revival of “In Dahomey,” the first Broadway musical, originally staged in 1903, written by African Americans; and writing a soap opera for a Black radio station in New York City.In 1986, Ms. Perry Ryder joined the faculty of Lehman College in the Bronx, where she taught theater and ran the drama program. At Lehman, she staged “Looking Back: The Music of Micki Grant,” a revue based on Ms. Grant’s theatrical works, which include “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.” She retired in 2001.In addition to Lorraine Ryder, Ms. Perry Ryder is survived by two other daughters, Gail Perry-Ryder Tigere and Natalie Ryder Redcross, and four grandchildren. Her husband, Donald Ryder, an architect, died in 2021. More

  • in

    Julee Cruise, Vocalist of ‘Twin Peaks’ Fame, Dies at 65

    In projects for the director David Lynch, she brought an eerie, otherworldly style to “Falling” and other songs.Julee Cruise, a singer who brought a memorably ethereal voice to the projects of the director David Lynch — most famously “Falling,” whose instrumental version was the theme for Mr. Lynch’s cult-favorite television show, “Twin Peaks” — died on Thursday in Pittsfield, Mass. She was 65.Her husband, Edward Grinnan, said the cause was suicide. He said she had struggled with depression as well as lupus.Ms. Cruise was building a career off Broadway in the early 1980s when serendipity struck: She met the composer Angelo Badalamenti when they worked on a show together.“I was in this country-and-western musical in the East Village,” she told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1990. “I was a chorus girl with a big skirt and a big wig, singing way too loud. Angelo was doing the music for the show, and we became friends.”A few years later, Mr. Badalamenti was engaged by Mr. Lynch, who was still early in his career, as a vocal coach for Isabella Rossellini in the 1986 Lynch movie “Blue Velvet” and ended up writing the score for that film as well. Mr. Lynch and Mr. Badalamenti had written a song for the film that needed a vocalist.“Angelo asked me to find someone to sing a song for the soundtrack called ‘Mysteries of Love,’ but he didn’t like any of the singers I recommended,” she told The Chronicle. “He wanted dreamy and romantic. I said, ‘Let me do it.’”Ms. Cruise had always thought of herself as “a belter,” as she often put it (she had once played Janis Joplin in a musical revue called “Beehive”), but the voice she came up with for “Mysteries of Love” was something else entirely, enigmatic and wispy. It suited that and other Lynch-Badalamenti compositions perfectly. One writer called her style “angel-on-Quaaludes vocals.”The three were soon collaborating on Ms. Cruise’s first album, “Floating Into the Night,” which featured songs by the two men, including “Mysteries of Love” and “Falling.” They also collaborated on a stage production called “Industrial Symphony No. 1,” performed at the New Music America festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 1989, with Ms. Cruise performing amid an elaborate set that included an old car.“Often, Ms. Cruise floated far above the stage, like a prom-gowned, bleached-blond angel,” Jon Pareles wrote in his review in The New York Times. “At one point, her body plummeted to the floor and was packed into the car’s trunk by helmeted workmen; later, she re-emerged to face a video camera and sing ‘Tell your heart it’s me,’ as 10 chorus girls in gold lamé danced next to her image on television screens.”Ms. Cruise achieved a longtime goal when she performed at the Public Theater in New York in 2003 in “Radiant Baby,” a musical about the artist Keith Haring. She played his mother (among other roles).Sara Krulwich/The New York TimesNational exposure came the following April when “Twin Peaks” premiered on ABC, with an instrumental version of “Falling” serving as its theme. Ms. Cruise appeared in the pilot and subsequent episodes as a roadhouse singer.The show quickly became the talk of television, and in May 1990 it led to an appearance by Ms. Cruise on “Saturday Night Live.” She wasn’t in the original lineup, but the controversial comic Andrew Dice Clay (he called himself “the most vulgar, vicious comic ever to walk the face of the earth”) was the scheduled host, which led to protests from at least one cast member, Nora Dunn, who refused to appear in that episode, and caused the original musical guest, Sinead O’Connor, to drop out at the last minute.Ms. Cruise was one of two acts summoned to replace her. Mr. Grinnan said in a telephone interview that Ms Cruise, who was still not well known, was working as a waitress at the time and had to skip out on her job. But, he noted, she didn’t call in sick.“She said that she called in famous,” he said.Though “Twin Peaks” brought Ms. Cruise wide exposure, Mr. Grinnan said she found a stint touring with the B-52’s in the 1990s to be particularly enjoyable. She replaced Cindy Wilson, an original member, when Ms. Wilson took a break from the band.“It was probably the happiest performing of her life,” Mr. Grinnan said.Julee Ann Cruise was born on Dec. 1, 1956, in Creston, Iowa, to Wilma and Dr. John Cruise. Her father was a dentist, and her mother was his office manager.Ms. Cruise was something of a musical prodigy on the French horn, her husband said, and received a music degree in the instrument from Drake University in Iowa. He said she had applied the delicacy and phrasing of classical French horn to the voice she came up with for the Lynch projects.But once she graduated, she thought that acting and singing would be more appealing than playing in an orchestra. She went to Minneapolis, a good city for theater, and spent several years performing with the Children’s Theater Company there before moving to New York in about 1983.After “Twin Peaks,” Ms. Cruise made another album with Mr. Lynch and Mr. Badalamenti, “The Voice of Love” (1993). She also continued acting. Mr. Grinnan said it was her performance in an Off Broadway musical, “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” in 1991 that caught the attention of the B-52’s. Mel Gussow, reviewing that show for The Times, said she stood out.“Only Julee Cruise invigorates the show with musical personality,” he wrote. “Well remembered for her singing on ‘Twin Peaks,’ she is spunky as well as amusing, although the script unwisely keeps her offstage for most of the first act.”Ms. Cruise later toured with Bobby McFerrin and worked with electronic musicians like Marcus Schmickler. In 2003 she fulfilled a longtime goal of performing at the Public Theater in New York when she was cast in the musical “Radiant Baby,” about the graffiti artist Keith Haring.Ms. Cruise as Andy Warhol, one of four roles she played in “Radiant Baby,” with Daniel Reichard, who played Keith Haring. The hardest part of performing in that show, she said, was “the costume changes.”Sara Krulwich/The New York TimesIt was a demanding assignment. As The Times wrote, she played “Andy Warhol, Haring’s mother, a demonic nurse and a critic who resembles Susan Sontag.”Which of the roles was most difficult, a reporter asked?“The costume changes,” she said. “I’m the oldest person in this cast.”Ms. Cruise alternated between homes in Manhattan and the Berkshires. In addition to her husband, whom she married in 1988, she is survived by a sister, Kate Coen.Ms. Cruise reprised her “Twin Peaks” role in “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” Mr. Lynch’s 1992 film, and, a quarter-century later, in an episode of Showtime’s reboot of the TV series. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2017, she reflected on her long “Twin Peaks” ride.“It was so much fun to be part of something that just went ba-boom!” she said. “You didn’t know it was going to do that. What a nice surprise life takes you on.” More

  • in

    Song Hae, Beloved South Korean TV Host, Dies at 95

    Born in what is now North Korea, he was known for his cheeky grin and folksy wisecracks as the host of South Korea’s weekly “National Singing Contest” for more than three decades.SEOUL — Song Hae, who fled North Korea as a young man during the Korean War, became a beloved television personality in South Korea and was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s “oldest TV music talent show host,” died at his home in Seoul on Wednesday. He was 95.His death was confirmed by Lee Gi-nam, the producer of a 2020 documentary on Mr. Song’s life, which charted a tumultuous course that reflected South Korea’s modern history through war, division, abject poverty and a meteoric rise. No cause of death was given.A jovial Everyman figure known for his cheeky grin and folksy wisecracks, Mr. Song became a household name in South Korea when he took over in 1988 as the host of the weekly “National Singing Contest,” a town-by-town competition that mixes down-home musical talent, farcical costumes, poignant life stories and comedic episodes.Mr. Song was recognized by Guinness World Records in April as the “oldest TV music talent show host.”Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesHis talent show, which he announced with his booming voice piped into households in South Korea every Sunday, ran for more than three decades. Mr. Song traveled to every corner of South Korea and to the Korean diaspora in places like Japan and China, and even to Paraguay, Los Angeles and Long Island, N.Y. He continued as host until the show went on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, and officially remained at its helm at the time of his death.While the show was on hold, his health seemed to deteriorate without his weekly outlet, according to Jero Yun, director of the documentary, “Song Hae 1927.”“It was, in some ways, the driving force of his life, meeting people from all walks of life through the program and exchanging life stories,” Mr. Yun said. “People would always recognize him, crowd around him and want to talk to him.” Referring to the K-pop megagroup, Mr. Yun added, “He might as well have been BTS.”Mr. Song was posthumously awarded a presidential medal for his contributions to South Korea’s culture, the president’s office announced on Wednesday. He was entered into Guinness World Records in April.Mr. Song was born Song Bok-hee on April 27, 1927, under Japanese occupation in what is now Hwanghae Province in North Korea. His father was an innkeeper. A few months after the Korean War broke out in 1950, he left his home at 23 to avoid being drafted to fight for the North, and made his way south. He eventually boarded a U.N. tank landing ship, not knowing where it was headed. Staring out at the water, he would later say, he renamed himself Hae, for the character meaning sea.He left behind his mother and a younger sister in North Korea, and well into his 90s, any mention of them would reduce him to tears.After the ship took him to the South Korean city of Busan, on the peninsula’s southern coast, he served as a signalman in the South’s army. He had said in interviews that he was one of the soldiers who tapped out the Morse code in July 1953 transmitting the message that there was a cease-fire halting the war.After his discharge from the army, he peddled tofu in impoverished postwar South Korea before joining a traveling musical theater troupe, in which he sang and performed in variety shows. He eventually became a radio host, anchoring a traffic call-in show that catered to cab and bus drivers. It aired an occasional segment in which the drivers would dial in for a sing-off.In 1952, Mr. Song married Suk Ok-ee, the sister of a fellow soldier he had served with in the war, and they had three children. After 63 years of marriage, Mr. Song and his wife held the wedding ceremony they never had, having originally married in the poverty and turmoil of their youth. She died in 2018.He is survived by two daughters, two granddaughters and a grandson. In 1986, his 21-year-old son was killed in a motorcycle accident, and Mr. Song could not bear to continue working on his radio traffic show. Around the same time, he was tapped to host the singing contest for the national broadcaster, KBS.With Mr. Song at its center, the show quickly became a national pastime, particularly among older residents and those in rural communities — groups that the program spotlighted and that were seldom seen on television.Grandmothers break-danced and rapped; grandfathers crooned sexy K-pop numbers. Countless young children charmed the host onstage, some of whom went on to become stars. Once, a beekeeper covered in bees played the harmonica while a panicked Mr. Song cried out, “There’s one in my pants!”Mr. Song never fulfilled his lifelong dream of revisiting his hometown in North Korea, but because of his show, he came tantalizingly close.A memorial to Mr. Song at a hospital in Seoul on Wednesday.Korea Pool/Yonhap via APIn 2003, during a period of détente between the Koreas, the show filmed an episode in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. The songs were carefully screened by the North’s censors to include only propagandist ones, and the atmosphere was so tense that Mr. Song never broached the possibility of visiting his hometown, Chaeryong, even though it was just 50 miles south of the capital, he said in interviews.At one point during the trip, he recalled, he got drunk with his North Korean minder, who told him that he wouldn’t recognize his hometown anyway because everything had changed in the intervening five decades and most of the people had moved away.In a 2015 biography of Mr. Song, Oh Min-seok, a poet and professor of English literature, wrote: “As a refugee who fled south during the Korean War, there is a loneliness that is wedged in his heart like a knot. He has no problem connecting with anyone, from a 3-year-old to a 115-year-old, from a country woman to a college professor, from a shopkeeper to a C.E.O. That’s because inside, he’s always pining for people.”In South Korea, the show’s contestants and adoring fans became his family. Women — including the show’s oldest contestant, a 115-year-old — took to calling him “oppa,” or older brother, Mr. Song later recalled.“Who else in the world can claim to have as many younger sisters as I do?” he said. “I’m happy because of the people who boost me, applaud me, comfort me.” More

  • in

    Ingram Marshall, Minimalist Composer of Mystical Sounds, Dies at 80

    An influential figure in American experimental music, he was part of a group of composers who stripped music down to basic elements and used digital sounds.Ingram Marshall, a minimalist composer known for the mystery and melancholy of his works, which featured sounds as disparate as San Francisco fog horns and Balinese bamboo flutes, died on May 31 in New Haven, Conn. He was 80.His wife, Veronica Tomasic, said the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.Mr. Marshall was an influential figure in American experimental music, part of a group of composers who, beginning in the 1960s, stripped music down to basic elements of rhythm and tempo and incorporated digital sounds. A self-described “expressivist,” he was known for haunting, mystical works that fused various traditions, among them European Romanticism, Indonesian gamelan and electronics.“A musical experience should be enveloping,” Mr. Marshall said in a 1996 interview for Yale University’s Oral History of American Music. “Almost in a narcotic way. Not to be zoned out or in a trance exactly, but to be really wrought up in it. If you can do that, I think you’ve done something.”He produced a varied body of work, including chamber pieces for renowned ensembles like the Kronos Quartet, brass sextets, choral works and solo guitar pieces. Much of his music blended conventional instruments with prerecorded, computer-manipulated sounds.“His music was very emotional, but not in a saccharine, neo-Romantic way,” the composer John Adams, a longtime friend, said in an interview. “It was his own very unique, very sentimental style, but sentimental in the very best sense of the word.”An admirer of Romantic-era composers like Sibelius and Bruckner, Mr. Marshall had a deep knowledge of the Western classical canon that informed his style, even as he veered in new directions.“He was not afraid of being very direct and expressive,” said Libby Van Cleve, an oboist who directs the Yale oral history project and for whom Mr. Marshall wrote three pieces. “His biggest impact was just having the courage to write such deeply heartfelt and expressive music in the electronic realm.”Ingram Douglass Marshall was born on May 10, 1942, in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in Westchester County, to Harry Reinhard Marshall Sr., a banker, and Bernice (Douglass) Marshall, an amateur pianist.At the encouragement of his mother, he began singing at a young age and joined a church choir. His interest in music deepened, and in 1964 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from Lake Forest College in Illinois. He later attended Columbia University and then the California Institute of the Arts, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1971 and taught classes in electronic music.Mr. Marshall in 2005. “A musical experience should be enveloping,” he once said. “Almost in a narcotic way. Not to be zoned out or in a trance exactly, but to be really wrought up in it.”Thomas McDonald for The New York TimesWhile at the California Institute, he met several Indonesian performers and became entranced by their music. Intent on immersing himself in Indonesia’s sounds, he secured a Fulbright grant and traveled to the country for four months in 1971.The visit was a turning point. He soon began incorporating into his music elements of Indonesian culture, including the gambuh, a traditional Balinese flute. He adopted a more unhurried style, a development he attributed to his immersion in Indonesian music.“I realized that the ‘zip-and-zap, bleep-and-blap’ kind of formally organized electronic music I had been trying to do simply wasn’t my way,” Mr. Marshall said in the Yale interview, speaking about his experience in Indonesia. “I needed to find a slower, deeper way of approaching electronic music.”In 1981, he produced one of his best-known works, “Fog Tropes,” a somber meditation that paired field recordings of foghorns in the San Francisco Bay Area with brass instruments.“A lot of people are reminded of San Francisco when they hear this piece, but not I,” Mr. Marshall once said. “To me it is just about fog, and being lost in the fog. The brass players should sound as if they were off in a raft floating in the middle of a mist-enshrouded bay.”Mr. Marshall’s admirers lauded the spiritual quality of his works. Some drew comparisons to the so-called holy minimalists of Eastern Europe, including the prominent Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.“True, he does not write explicitly liturgical music, nor does he cultivate any priestly airs,” Adam Shatz wrote in a 2001 article about on Mr. Marshall in The New York Times. “But his music is some of the most stirring spiritual art to be found in America today.”The composer Steve Reich, another friend, said the mystery in Mr. Marshall’s work made it distinct. He described the music as a mix of American spirituality, “impenetrable, mysterious Northern fog and mist,” and gamelan.“Ingram can’t be pinned down so easily,” Mr. Reich said in an interview. “It’s not just minimalism, or whatever other moniker you want to put onto it, but it’s radiantly intelligent and beautiful.”After more than 15 years in California, Mr. Marshall returned to the East Coast in 1990, settling in Hamden, Conn., outside New Haven. He continued to compose and teach, serving as a part-time lecturer at the Yale School of Music from 2004 to 2014.Along with his wife, Mr. Marshall is survived by a son, Clement; a daughter from a previous relationship, Juliet Simon; and four grandchildren.While he was not religious, Mr. Marshall sometimes spoke about the spiritual power of music. He said he hoped that after disasters, artists could help bring understanding to the world.“Composers, poets and artists always feel useless in the wake of calamity,” he told The Times in 2001. “We are not firemen; we are not philanthropists or inspirational speakers. But I think it is the tragic and calamitous in life that we try to make sense of, and this is the stuff of our lives as artists.” More

  • in

    Grachan Moncur III, Trombonist Whose Star Shone Briefly, Dies at 85

    He mixed free jazz and post-bop in notable 1960s and ’70s recordings. But he withdrew from the jazz scene, in part because of a dispute over publishing rights.Grachan Moncur III, a trombonist and composer who came to renown in the 1960s and early ’70s for his deft playing of a hybrid of post-bop and free jazz, but who later receded from the spotlight, died on June 3 — his 85th birthday — in a hospital in Newark.His son Kenya said the cause was cardiac arrest.“Whenever I have a conversation about what’s wrong with the jazz business, I always start out by saying, ‘Where is Grachan Moncur?’” the alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, one of Mr. Moncur’s most important collaborators, told The New York Times in 2003.Long before Mr. McLean asked that question, Mr. Moncur (pronounced mon-KUR) had started his jazz career as a teenager, jamming at the New York nightclub Birdland and sitting in with the drummer Art Blakey’s band, the Jazz Messengers. In 1959, he went on the road with Ray Charles.But after about two years, feeling a need to perform with a smaller ensemble based in New York City, he was recruited to join the Jazztet, a sextet formed by the trumpeter Art Farmer and the saxophonist Benny Golson. He played with that group until it disbanded in 1962, then took that summer off to study the challenging and unconventional music of Thelonious Monk. His goal was to learn how to write his own.“I just wanted to get the sound of his music inside of my body,” Mr. Moncur said in an interview with the website All About Jazz in 2003.On a night when he had written two compositions, he said, he got a call from Mr. McLean, whom he had known since Mr. Moncur was a teenager, asking him to join his ensemble for rehearsals and club dates in advance of recording an album for Blue Note Records.That album, “One Step Beyond,” and “Destination … Out!,”both released in 1963, were critically praised documents of a transitional period in jazz when musicians like Mr. McLean and Mr. Moncur were blending the harmonic advances of the bebop era with the more adventurous spirit of the avant-garde. They contained five of Mr. Moncur’s compositions, among them “Ghost Town,” which conjures up desolation in long passages where little is heard except reverberations on vibes and cymbals.Mr. Moncur then recorded two albums for Blue Note as a leader, “Evolution” (1963) and “Some Other Stuff” (1964), with stellar accompaniment. Both albums featured Bobby Hutcherson on vibraphone and Tony Williams on drums; “Evolution” also featured Lee Morgan on trumpet and Mr. McLean, while the “Some Other Stuff” lineup included Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone.Reviewing “Evolution” in The Pittsburgh Courier, the critic Phyl Garland praised Mr. Moncur’s technique and the album’s title number, which, she wrote, evoked images of “mankind emerging from one murky, primeval mire into another, undergoing one subtle change after another, as does the music.”What might have been a longer relationship with Blue Note ended after two albums in a dispute over publishing rights. In the end, he managed to retain his rights to the music from “Evolution,” but he sensed that he would not last long at the label.“They were very disappointed with that, and they kind of dropped me like a hot potato,” Mr. Moncur told All About Jazz. He believed he was blackballed over his position — a position he later came to regret. In retrospect, he said, he wished he had found a way to compromise with Alfred Lion, Blue Note’s founder.“I think my mind was really going to a revolutionary attitude more on the business trip than it was on a musical trip,” he said, “because I was kind of determined on trying to own my own music.”Grachan Moncur III was born on June 3, 1937, in Manhattan. His father, Grachan II, played bass with the Savoy Sultans, a swing ensemble, at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. His mother, Ella (Wright) Moncur, was a beautician whose clients — and friends — included the singer Sarah Vaughan.Although enamored of the trombone from age 5, Grachan nonetheless received a cello from his father. But the cello did not inspire him, so his father gave him a trombone. Lessons followed. He also had a role model for the trombone: his father, who played the instrument.“I have never, up until today, heard anybody with a sound like my father,” Mr. Moncur told All About Jazz. “He had a timbre that was very dark and clear. That sound, it just kind of stayed with me, and I always wanted to produce that same type of — project that same type of sound that my father had.”He graduated from the Laurinburg Institute, a historically Black prep school in North Carolina that Dizzy Gillespie had attended in the 1930s. Back in New York, he attended the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, then kick-started his career in nightclubs before joining Ray Charles’s orchestra.In 1964, Mr. Moncur learned that the Actors Studio was looking to cast a musician for its Broadway production of James Baldwin’s civil rights drama “Blues for Mister Charlie.” Mr. Moncur played two roles, one of them a trombonist, and contributed a piece of music.He recorded “Some Other Stuff” three months after the play opened; two of the cuts on the album, “Gnostic” and “Nomadic,” were reflections on his breakup with a girlfriend and his departure from his $27-a-week apartment.“I was a nomad after losing my room, and I was a gnostic because I had to survive by my wits,” he told The Times.He continued to record, releasing two albums in 1969 on the French label BYG Actuel, “New Africa” and “Aco del de Madrugada” (“One Morning I Waked Up Very Early”), and another, “Echoes of Prayer,” with the Jazz Composers Orchestra, in 1974. But he was entering a long, relatively quiet period during which he made almost no records but ran jazz workshops in Harlem in a studio called Space Station; performed in Europe; and taught jazz at the Newark Community School of the Arts.In 1994, Mr. Moncur adapted his four-movement “New Africa” suite into a theatrical piece for the Alternative Museum in Manhattan. The poet Amiri Baraka, a friend, was the producer.In addition to his son Kenya, Mr. Moncur is survived by his wife, Tamam Tracy (Sims) Moncur; two other sons, Grachan IV and Adrien; his daughters, Ella and Vera Moncur; his twin brothers, Lofton and Lonnie; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His son Toih died in 2016, and his daughter Hilda died in 1992. He lived in Newark.In 2004, the composer and arranger Mark Masters brought together Mr. Moncur and seven other musicians to reprise, with new charts, eight of Mr. Moncur’s pieces for an album, “Exploration,” released on the Capri label.“As a composer, he was original and singular,” Mr. Masters said in a phone interview. “He wasn’t derivative of anyone. I see the Monk influence, but Monk wasn’t hovering over him. His music doesn’t sound like anyone else’s.” More

  • in

    Dave Smith, Whose Synthesizers Shaped Electronic Music, Dies at 72

    His innovations included the first polyphonic, programmable synthesizer and the universal connectivity of MIDI.Dave Smith, a groundbreaking synthesizer designer, died on May 31 in Detroit. He was 72.The cause was complications of a heart attack, said his wife, Denise Smith. Mr. Smith, who lived in St. Helena, Calif., had been in Detroit to attend the Movement Festival of electronic music, which ran from May 28 to 30, and died in a hospital.A statement from Mr. Smith’s company, Sequential, said, “He was on the road doing what he loved best in the company of family, friends and artists.”Mr. Smith introduced the first polyphonic and programmable synthesizer, the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, in 1978. It was used on 1980s hits by Michael Jackson, the Cars, Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, a-ha, Duran Duran, Genesis, the Cure and Daryl Hall & John Oates. Over the next decades, instruments designed by Mr. Smith were embraced by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Dr. Dre, Flying Lotus, Nine Inch Nails and James Blake, among many others.In the early 1980s, Mr. Smith collaborated with Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of the Roland instrument company, to create MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), a shared specification that allows computers and instruments from diverse manufacturers to connect and communicate, making for countless sonic possibilities.Justin Vernon, who records as Bon Iver, wrote on Twitter, “Dave Smith made the best keyboards ever … that’s saying it lightly.”Denise Smith said in an interview: “He loved the people who used his instruments. He was very curious about how they used his instruments, how they made them sound.”David Joseph Smith was born in San Francisco on April 2, 1950, the son of Peter and Lucretia Papagni Smith. He played piano as a child and guitar and bass in rock bands, in high school and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. One of his college projects was working on a program to compose music, printing out the scores on a plotter. After graduating, he worked on what was then a new technology — microprocessors, integrated circuits on a chip — at the aerospace company Lockheed, in the area of California that would become known as Silicon Valley.He was intrigued by the synthesizer sounds on Wendy Carlos’s 1968 album, “Switched-On Bach,” he said in a 2014 interview with the Red Bull Music Academy. “It just had this life in it that was just amazing to hear.”In 1972, his interests in music and electronics converged when he bought a Minimoog, an early Moog synthesizer. He then built his own sequencer, a device to store and play patterns of notes on the Minimoog. In 1974, he started a company to build sequencers, Sequential Circuits — at first as a nights-and-weekends project, then as a full-time job, eventually as a company with 180 employees.Unlike a piano or organ, early synthesizers, like the Moog and ARP, could generate only one note at a time. Shaping a particular tone involved setting multiple knobs, switches or dials, and trying to reproduce that tone afterward meant writing down all the settings and hoping to get similar results the next time.The Prophet-5, which Mr. Smith designed with John Bowen and introduced in 1978, conquered both shortcomings. Controlling synthesizer functions with microprocessors, it could play five notes at once, allowing harmonies. (The company also made a 10-note Prophet-10.) The Prophet also used microprocessors to store settings in memory, providing dependable yet personalized sounds, and it was portable enough to be used onstage.Mr. Smith’s small company was swamped with orders; at times, the Prophet-5 had a two-year backlog.But Mr. Smith’s innovations went much further. “Once you have a microprocessor in an instrument, you realize how easy it is to communicate digitally to another instrument with a microprocessor,” Mr. Smith explained in 2014. Other keyboard manufacturers started to incorporate microprocessors, but each company used a different, incompatible interface, a situation Mr. Smith said he considered “kind of dumb.”In 1981, Mr. Smith and Chet Wood, a Sequential Circuits engineer, presented a paper at the Audio Engineering Society convention to propose “The ‘USI’, or Universal Synthesizer Interface.” The point, he recalled in a 2014 interview with Waveshaper Media, was “Here’s an interface. It doesn’t have to be this, but we all really need to get together and do something.” Otherwise, he said, “This market’s going nowhere.”Four Japanese companies — Roland, Korg, Yamaha, and Kawai — were willing to cooperate with Sequential Circuits on a shared standard, and Mr. Smith and Mr. Kakehashi of Roland worked out the details of what would become MIDI. “If we had done MIDI the usual way, getting a standard made takes years and years and years,” Mr. Smith told the Red Bull Music Academy. “You have committees and documents and da-da-da. We bypassed all of that by just basically doing it and then throwing it out there.”In 2013, Mr. Smith told The St. Helena Star: “We made it low-cost so that it was easy for companies to integrate into their products. It was given away license free because we wanted everyone to use it.”Sequential Circuits made the first MIDI synthesizer, the Prophet-600, in 1982, and MIDI was formally announced in 1983. Nearly four decades later, the MIDI 1.0 standard is still ubiquitous, and MIDI controllers, which specify the parameters of an electronic tone, are available in everything from keyboard, wind and string instruments to cellphone apps.In 2013, 30 years after MIDI was introduced, Mr. Smith and Mr. Kakehashi shared a Technical Grammy Award.Yamaha bought Sequential Circuits in 1987, but by then cheaper digital synthesizers had grown more popular than analog instruments like the Prophet-5, and in 1989 Yamaha shut the company down.Mr. Smith married Denise White in 1989, and they settled in St. Helena, in Northern California. In addition to her, he is survived by their daughter, Haley; their son, Campbell; and four siblings.Mr. Smith worked in synthesizer research for Yamaha and then for Korg, where he was among the designers of the Wavestation, which was used for hits by Depeche Mode and Genesis. In the 1990s, he turned to designing software synthesizers — programs creating sound directly from a computer. He was president of Seer Systems, which in 1997 introduced the first professional software synthesizer, the Windows program Reality.But Mr. Smith decided he preferred using and designing hardware, and he returned to a hands-on experience making music. As analog synthesizers gained a new following in the 21st century, he founded Dave Smith Instruments in 2002. He collaborated with Roger Linn, the inventor of the LM-1 drum machine, on a new analog drum machine, the Tempest, and with another synthesizer inventor, Tom Oberheim, on the OB-6.In 2018, after Yamaha returned the rights, he renamed his company Sequential, and in 2020, when Mr. Smith turned 70, the company introduced a revived, updated Prophet-5.“Ultimately whatever I design is something that I want to be able to play when I’m done,” Mr. Smith told Waveshaper. “Otherwise, what’s the point?” More

  • in

    Ken Bode, Erudite ‘Washington Week’ Host on PBS, Dies at 83

    Beginning in 1994, he brought to the moderator’s role credentials as a political activist, an academic and a national correspondent for NBC News.Ken Bode, a bearded, bearish former political operative and television correspondent who, armed with a Ph.D. in politics, moderated the popular PBS program “Washington Week in Review” in the 1990s, died on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. He was 83.His death, in a care center, was confirmed by his daughters, Matilda and Josie Bode, who said the cause had not been identified.Beginning in 1994, Mr. Bode (pronounced BO-dee) coupled congeniality and knowledgeability in steering a Friday night discussion among a rotating panel of reporters about the issues of the day coming out of Washington. His role, as he saw it, was to “bring in people who are really covering the news to empty their notebooks and provide perspective, not to argue with each other,” he told The Washington Post in 1999.As host of the program, now called “Washington Week,” he succeeded Paul Duke, who had helmed that roundtable of polite talking heads for two decades, and preceded Gwen Ifill, a former NBC News correspondent who died in 2016 at 61. The program, which debuted in 1967, is billed as TV’s longest-running prime time news and public affairs program. The current host is Yamiche Alcindor.The program’s loyal and generally older viewers were so brass-bound in the 1990s that when Mr. Bode took over, even his beard proved controversial. He proceeded to introduce videotaped segments and remote interviews with correspondents and bring more diversity to his panel of reporters.He also took more liberties with language than his predecessor.Mr. Bode moderating an episode of “Washington Week in Review.” He hosted the program from 1994 to 1999 while teaching politics at DePauw University in Indiana. PBSEnding an interview with Bob Woodward of The Washington Post about President Bill Clinton’s economic policies, Mr. Bode quoted a British newspaper’s snarky prediction that the president’s impending visit to Oxford, England, would present people with an opportunity to “focus on one of the president’s less well-publicized organs: his brain.” He described a vacancy on the Supreme Court as constituting “one-ninth of one-third of the government.”Still, Dalton Delan, then the newly-minted executive vice president of WETA in Washington, which continues to produce the program, wanted to invigorate the format. He proposed including college journalists, surprise guests and people-on-the-street interviews and replacing Mr. Bode with Ms. Ifill (she said she initially turned down the offer) — changes that prompted Mr. Bode to jump, or to be not so gently pushed, from the host’s chair in 1999.Kenneth Adlam Bode was born on March 30, 1939, in Chicago and raised in Hawarden, Iowa. His father, George, owned a dairy farm and then a dry cleaning business. His mother, June (Adlam) Bode, kept the books.Mr. Bode in his office in 1972, when he was involved in Democratic politics.George Tames/The New York TimesThe first member of his family to attend college, Mr. Bode majored in philosophy and government at the University of South Dakota, graduating in 1961. He went on to earn a doctorate in political science at the University of North Carolina, where he was active in the civil rights movement.He taught briefly at Michigan State University and the State University of New York at Binghamton, and then gravitated toward liberal politics.In 1968, Mr. Bode worked in the presidential campaigns of Senators Eugene McCarthy and George S. McGovern. He became research director for a Democratic Party commission, led by Mr. McGovern and Representative Donald M. Fraser of Minnesota, that advocated for reforms in the selection process for delegates to the 1972 Democratic National Convention. He later headed a liberal-leaning organization called the Center for Political Reform.His marriage to Linda Yarrow ended in divorce. In 1975, he married Margo Hauff, a high school social studies teacher who wrote and designed educational materials for learning-disabled children. He is survived by her, in addition to their daughters, as well as by a brother and two grandsons.After working in politics, Mr. Bode began writing for The New Republic in the early 1970s and became its politics editor. He moved to NBC News in 1979, encouraged by the network’s newsman Tom Brokaw, a friend from college, and eventually became the network’s national political correspondent. In that role he hosted “Bode’s Journal,” a weekly segment of the “Today” show, on which he explored, among other issues, voting rights violations, racial discrimination and patronage abuses, as his longtime producer Jim Connor recalled in an interview.Mr. Bode left the network a decade later to teach at DePauw University in Indiana, where he founded the Center for Contemporary Media. While at DePauw, from 1989 to 1998, he commuted to Washington to host “Washington Week in Review” and wrote an Emmy-winning CNN documentary, “The Public Mind of George Bush” (1992).Beginning in 1998, he was dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism for three years and remained a professor there until 2004.Mr. Bode said he retired from broadcast journalism for family reasons. “I was raising my kids from 100 airports a year,” he said. As he told The New York Times in 1999, “I knew then that my problem was, I’ve got the best job, but I’ve also got one chance to be a father, and I’m losing it.” More