Nadine Gordimer, Tommy Ramone, Elaine Stritch: Obits This WeekSteven Gittelson
This week’s notable deaths included a white South African writer who won a Nobel Prize for novels that illuminated the inhumanity of her country’s apartheid laws; the last surviving original member of the Ramones, an influential New York punk band; and a Tony Award-winning Broadway singer and actress who worked with Stephen Sondheim, Rock Hudson and Woody Allen. Below are summaries of these and other obituaries from the past week.
Nadine Gordimer, 90, was a South African author whose books captured the pain and injustice of her nation’s apartheid system, prompting the government to ban three of her novels. In 1991, she became the country’s first winner of a Nobel Prize for literature. Died July 13 at her family home in Johannesburg.
Tommy Ramone, 62, was the drummer and last surviving original member of the Ramones, a New York punk band that emerged in 1974 from the city’s underground music scene and paved the way for groups such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Died July 11 in a hospice following treatment for bile-duct cancer.
Elaine Stritch, 89, made her Broadway debut in 1946 and appeared in plays, musicals, movies and television shows during a career that lasted more than six decades. Nominated for a Tony Award five times, she finally won in 2002 for “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” her autobiographical one-woman show in which she reminisced about her relationships with Marlon Brando, Ben Gazzara and Rock Hudson, among others. Died July 17 at her home in Birmingham, Michigan.
Lorin Maazel, 84, was the former music director of the New York Philharmonic who was criticized for taking the orchestra to perform in North Korea. He conducted more than 150 orchestras and made at least 300 recordings of operas and classical compositions. Died July 13 of complications from pneumonia at his home in Castleton, Virginia.
Johnny Winter, 70, a blues guitarist from Texas, gained fame in the 1960s and 1970s for his collaborations with such masters of the genre as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Rolling Stone magazine named him one of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. Died July 16 in a hotel room in Zurich.