July 16, 2006 in Nation/World

In Passing

The Spokesman-Review


Bill Miller, Sinatra pianist

Bill Miller, the pianist whose light touch set the mood for many of Frank Sinatra’s most memorable songs, died Tuesday at Montreal General Hospital at the age of 91. He had a heart attack after breaking his hip July 1 while on tour with Frank Sinatra Jr.

Miller was the elder Sinatra’s elegant, steady and often inspired accompanist for nearly four decades and was one of the privileged few allowed into the singer’s inner circle. For the past eight years, he had worked with Sinatra’s son.

Miller, content to toil in the shadows for much of his career, provided the musical framework for some of the elder Sinatra’s finest performances. He was best known for his pensive introduction to the torch song “One for My Baby,” written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Sinatra recorded the tune in 1958 and sang it in almost every concert until he stopped performing in 1995.

Miller’s piano was seldom featured as prominently in other tunes, but it helped shape the rhythmic backdrop for dozens of Sinatra’s hits from the 1950s to the 1970s, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “It Was a Very Good Year” and “My Way.”

“Bill’s talent is quiet but always there,” Sinatra once said.

Cambridge, Mass.

Hugh Stubbins, architect

Hugh Stubbins, a prolific architect who designed the Citicorp Center in New York and the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., has died. He was 94.

Stubbins died July 5 of pneumonia at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., where his business was based.

Although the Citicorp tower in midtown Manhattan, with its angled cap atop horizontal bands of aluminum and glass, became an icon of the New York skyline, Stubbins was also known for the sweeping, curved roof of the Berlin Congress Hall, the washboard face of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank and the flared corners of the Landmark Tower, Japan’s tallest building.

New York

Barnard Hughes, stage actor

Barnard Hughes, who won a Tony for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly title character in Hugh Leonard’s “Da,” has died after a brief illness. He was 90.

Hughes died Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

The actor, along with wife Helen Stenborg, were veterans of the New York stage. Hughes made his Broadway debut in “Herself Mrs. Patrick Crowley” in 1935, but it was “Da,” some 43 years later, that made him a star and won him the best-actor Tony. He also starred in the 1988 film version of the Tony-winning play.

Among Hughes’ other major Broadway credits were “A Majority of One” (1959), “Advise and Consent” (1960), “Nobody Loves an Albatross’ (1963), the Richard Burton revival of “Hamlet” (1964), “How Now, Dow Jones” (1967), “Abelard and Heloise” (1971), “The Good Doctor” (1973), “All Over Town” (1974), “Angels Fall” (1983) and “Prelude to a Kiss” (1990).

Among his many movies: “Midnight Cowboy,” “The Hospital,” “Cold Turkey,” “Where’s Poppa?,” “Oh, God!,” “Maxie,” “The Lost Boys,” “Doc Hollywood,” “Sister Act 2” and “Cradle Will Rock.”

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