Christopher Lee, Ornette Coleman, John C. Beck: Obits This Week

Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee plays in 'Dracula', 1958. Source: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

This week’s notable deaths included the British actor who played evil characters in more than 50 years of movie making; one of the most controversial and innovative musicians in jazz; and the founder of the management firm for Princeton University’s endowment, now the fifth-largest U.S. college fund. Below are summaries of these and other obituaries.

Christopher Lee, 93. Gained fame as Count Dracula and Frankenstein in U.K. horror films made starting in the 1950s. A half-century later, he was still portraying malevolent figures in the “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” series. Too tall at 6-foot-5 to play the romantic lead, he instead played monsters in many of the more than 250 films in which he appeared. Villains were “more interesting,” he said. “There’s a sadness about them.” Died June 11.

Ornette Coleman, 85. Self-taught, Texas-born saxophonist, who was one of the most influential avant-garde musicians in jazz. Revered and reviled after his 1959 debut at New York’s Five Spot Cafe, he was inducted in Downbeat magazine’s jazz Hall of Fame in 1969. His music, which struck some peers as off-key and out of tempo, altered the shape of modern jazz. Died June 11 at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. The cause was cardiac arrest.

John C. Beck, 83. Founding chairman in 1987 of Princeton University Investment Co., known as Princo, which oversees the school’s endowment. He protected the fund from that year’s stock market crash by converting $260 million of securities into cash before the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23 percent in a single day. Died on June 3 at his home in Vero Beach, Florida. The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease. He also lived in Bedford, New York.

Ronnie Gilbert, 88. Brooklyn, New York-born singer who joined Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman to form the Weavers in the late 1940s. The quartet helped fuel the popularity of folk music 20 years later and set its course as a platform for social change. Died June 6 in Mill Valley, California.

Stanley Egener, 81. Helped build Neuberger Berman’s mutual fund business by creating successful marketing strategies. He was president of the firm’s mutual fund division from 1982 to 1999, and appeared in television and print advertisements for the company’s products. Died May 30 at his home in Manhattan. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Marcin Kania, 26. Polish-born foreign-exchange options trader who worked in London for New York-based Citigroup Inc. Prior to joining the bank as a vice president in May 2013, he worked at Paris-based BNP Paribas SA as a currency options trader for three years. Died June 6 of drowning in the Mediterranean Sea near Formentera, part of Spain’s Balearic Islands.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE