Alistair Cooke

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Categories: Media, Writers/Editors

acooke.jpgAlistair Cooke, the legendary broadcaster who produced the British radio program “Letter From America” for 58 years, died on March 30. Cause of death was not released. He was 95.
Born in Britain and given the name Alfred Cooke, he graduated with a degree in English from Cambridge University. Cooke changed his name to Alistair then traveled to the United States in 1932 to study at Harvard and Yale on a fellowship. Although drama was his first passion, a cross-country trip by car one summer gave him another: storytelling.
Cooke returned to England in 1934 and took a job as a film critic with the BBC. Four years later, he worked as a BBC radio commentator who reported on American affairs, both political and cultural. He even became a U.S. citizen in 1941.
The weekly radio segment, “Letter From America,” launched in 1946. Originally scheduled to run for 13 weeks, the program was so popular with listeners of the BBC World Service that Cooke continued to produce it for more than half a century. Heard by an estimated 22 million listeners around the world, it was the longest running radio broadcast in history. Cooke aired his final dispatch, “Letter No. 2,869,” on March 2.
In addition to his BBC work, Cooke was a correspondent for NBC, The Manchester Guardian and The Guardian newspaper. On television, he served as the host of “Omnibus” from 1952 to 1961, and narrated the NBC documentary series, “America.” From 1971 to 1992, Cooke presented “Masterpiece Theatre” on PBS, an act that was later parodied on “Sesame Street” and “Saturday Night Live.”
For his distinguished broadcasting efforts, Cooke won four Emmy Awards and three George Foster Peabody Awards. He also published 12 books, including the 1973 bestseller “Alistair Cooke’s America.” He was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1973.
Complete Coverage From the BBC


Peggy Bauer


Categories: Artists

Grace Margaret “Peggy” Reid Bauer, an award-winning wildlife and outdoor photographer, died on March 23 in an automobile accident near Sequim, Wash. She was 72.
The Chicago native attended Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and married Harry Politi. She spent seven years as a full-time wife and mother of three boys before meeting Erwin Bauer, a well-established nature photographer, in 1970. They fell madly in love with each other and divorced their spouses.
In 1972, the Bauers moved to Jackson Hole, Wyo. Peggy began learning wildlife photography and within three years, she and her husband became a professional team. For the next two decades, they traveled all over the world, taking pictures of natural environments and wildlife.
They published 51 books together, including the 2003 collections “The Alaska Highway: A Portrait of the Ultimate Road Trip” and “The Last Big Cats: An Untamed Spirit.” Their photography was featured in national and international magazines and appeared on over 300 covers.
The Bauers shared a lifetime achievement award from the North American Nature Photography Association in 2000. Erwin Bauer died last month with Peggy at his side.


Bobby D. Wight


Categories: Artists, Law

Bobby D. Wight, a veteran officer of the San Diego Police Department, was proud to wear his uniform every day. After all, he designed the department’s shoulder patch that is sewn into every officer’s jacket and shirt.
Born in Utah, Wight’s family moved to San Diego when he was a youth. After completing a cadet program with the El Cajon Police Department, he worked as a campus police officer at Grossmont College.
Wight graduated from the San Diego Regional Police Academy in 1980 and was sworn in as an SDPD officer the following year. He was one of seven officers assigned to the fledgling San Diego harbor unit, which patrols the waters of Mission Bay. Wight later worked in the Special Enforcement Division and helped write a gang enforcement manual used to train cadets at the police academy.
During his 20-year career in law enforcement, Wight received numerous commendations, including a medal for helping to clean up the Otay River Valley. In 1994, he was the SDPD’s nominee for San Diego County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Wight also ran Cop Art Designs, a graphic design shop that specialized in creating logos for police units. Health problems forced him to retire as a detective in 2000.
Wight died on Feb. 24 from complications of diabetes and a heart condition. He was 47.


Peter Ustinov

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Categories: Actors, Education, Hollywood, Military, Writers/Editors

pustinov.jpgSir Peter Alexander Ustinov, an Academy Award-winning British actor and author, died on March 28 from heart failure. He was 82.
Ustinov left the Westminster School at 16, and trained at the London Theatre Studio. He appeared in local revues and wrote his first stage play, “Fishing for Shadows,” when he was only 19. During World War II, he wrote and acted in films for the British Army Cinema Unit.
Ustinov’s six-decade film career launched in 1942, when he appeared in the film, “One of Our Aircraft Is Missing.” More than 80 TV and movie roles followed, including parts in “The Great Muppet Caper,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Luther” and in several movies as Hercule Poirot. He directed eight feature films, but was most proud of his work on “Billy Budd,” which he also wrote and produced.
Ustinov received his first Oscar nomination in 1951 for “Quo Vadis.” He won the best supporting actor prize a decade later for playing Lentulus Batiatus, the proprietor of a school for gladiators, in “Spartacus.” In 1964, he won again for his humorous portrayal of Arthur Simon Simpson in the comedic caper, “Topkapi.”
Fluent in French, German, English, Italian, Russian and Spanish, Ustinov starred in, produced and directed his own plays on stages all over the world. In his “spare time,” Ustinov served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, president of the World Federalist Movement and chancellor of Durham University in England. He also wrote several books, including the 1977 autobiography “Dear Me.” Ustinov was awarded the Companion of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1975, and knighted in 1990.
When asked what he wanted his epitaph to say, Ustinov replied: “Keep off the grass.”


Laura Schmidt Pizzarello


Categories: Writers/Editors

Laura Schmidt Pizzarello, a freelance medical writer who specialized in covering end-of-life issues, died on Feb. 25 from pancreatic cancer. She was 51.
A New York native, Schmidt earned a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College in Arlington, Va., and completed her master’s degree in thantology from Hood College in Frederick, Md.
As a freelance writer, Schmidt spent the past 12 years penning articles for AARP and hospice newsletters and Web sites. She advocated for patients’ rights and called for caregivers to improve the quality of end-of-life care.
Her cancer was detected last summer after a back massage left her covered in bruises. Schmidt was chronicling her remaining months into a book, but the medications she took made her too ill to write. In December, Schmidt’s story was featured on the ABC television show, “Nightline.” She and her husband Joseph also participated in a video documentary produced by AARP and the DC Coalition of End-of-Life Care for health care professionals.

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