April 2, 2006 in Nation/World

In Passing

The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Nofziger
(Full-size photo)

Falls Church, Va.

Lyn Nofziger, Reagan aide

Franklyn “Lyn” Nofziger, known for his fierce loyalty to Ronald Reagan and his unorthodox style as Reagan’s press secretary and political adviser, has died of cancer. He was 81.

Nofziger died Monday at his home in Falls Church, Va.

Nofziger, the rumpled and irreverent conservative who joined Reagan’s ranks early in the political career of the actor-turned-politician, headed the White House political office during the first year of the Reagan presidency and then quit to form a political consulting and lobbying firm.

“He was a great big garrulous guy who was very serious about his politics and very serious about Ronald Reagan,” Michael Deaver, who was Reagan’s deputy chief of staff, said Monday. “He was sort of the keeper of the flame.”

Nofziger was the aide who announced to the world that Reagan had been shot in the 1981 assassination attempt by John W. Hinckley Jr. Nofziger’s statement, to reporters in the driveway of George Washington University Hospital, blew away assurances by other White House officials that Reagan had escaped unscathed.

Honolulu

Eugene Landy, Wilson’s therapist

Eugene Landy, the psychologist who was denounced as a Svengali for his controversial relationship with Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson, has died. He was 71.

Landy died March 22 in Honolulu of respiratory complications of lung cancer.

A pioneer of what he called “24-hour therapy,” Landy was known for a show-business clientele that at one time included rocker Alice Cooper and actors Richard Harris and Rod Steiger.

He earned notoriety in the late 1970s after he began treating Wilson, the songwriting genius behind the iconic California band, whose career had disintegrated in a haze of drugs and phobias after a decade at the top of the musical charts.

Hired in 1975 by Wilson’s wife, Landy took control of the rock star’s life, monitoring him 24 hours a day with a team of assistants to keep him off drugs and junk food; Wilson’s weight by then had ballooned to more than 300 pounds.

Landy grew so close to Wilson that he participated in Wilson’s comeback as his manager and artistic collaborator – an ethical breach that eventually caused the psychologist to give up his license to practice in California.

Hartford, Conn.

Jackie McLean, jazz saxophonist

Jackie McLean, one of the foremost alto saxophone players of the past 50 years, who also helped elevate jazz studies to a serious academic discipline, died Friday at his home in Hartford, Conn. His family said that he died of “a long illness” and that the cause of death would be announced later. He was 74.

A musical descendant of bebop master Charlie Parker, McLean developed a strong, uncompromising style in the 1950s and remained a prominent voice on his instrument for decades. He recorded more than 60 albums and was a mentor to younger musicians as a bandleader and as a teacher.

He grew up in Harlem, where his neighbors included such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Don Redman, Nat “King” Cole and Thelonious Monk.

For the past 35 years, he lived in Hartford, where he established the jazz studies program at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, now called the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. It was one of the country’s first comprehensive jazz programs.

With his wife, Dollie, he also founded the Artists Collective, a cultural arts center in Hartford that has educated thousands of primarily African American students in music, dance, drama and the visual arts.


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