• AP

    GOODBYE, CURLY TOP

    Shirley Temple Dies at 85

    Great Depression child star and ambassador.

    One of America’s most beloved child stars, Shirley Temple Black, has passed away at the age of 85. She died Monday of natural causes at her home in California, surrounded by her family. Temple gained fame in the 1930s as a precocious young movie star who raised the country’s spirits during the Great Depression with movies such as Curly Top, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Bright Eyes. Following an entertainment career that began at the age of 3, Temple went on to serve in various official government roles, including as ambassador to the United Nations, Ghana, and the former Czechoslovakia. A press release said “We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and… our beloved mother, grandmother [and] great-grandmother.”

    Read it at ABC News
  • NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty

    Joy Covey, called one of world’s most powerful women.

    Joy Covey went from high-school dropout to a leader at one of the world’s top companies. Covey, Amazon.com’s first CFO, died yesterday at age 50 when her bike struck a van in San Mateo County, Calif. Covey, dubbed a “Wonder Woman exec,” worked at Amazon from 1996 to 2000, steering the company’s expansion from bookselling and spearheading Amazon’s initial public offering in 1997. She also co-wrote the company’s first annual shareholder letter, now considered an industry standard. Before working at Amazon, she made her way through college in two years and became a certified public accountant. Covey, whom Fortune named one of the world’s most powerful women, retired in 2000 to pursue personal interests. Most recently, she served as treasurer for the Natural Resources Defense Council. At Amazon, she said, “my hair was always on fire with whatever I was doing.”

    Read it at Businessweek
  • Plinio Lepri/AP

    Former Rep. was the first woman from Louisiana to serve in the House.

    Lindy Boggs, the former Louisiana congresswoman and a staunch supporter of civil and women’s rights, died on Saturday in her home at the age of 97. Boggs filled her husband Hale Bogg’s seat in 1973 after he died in a plane crash, then went on to serve nine terms. Before his death, as a congressional wife, Lindy Boggs supported civil rights legislation, Head Start, and antipoverty programs. Lindy Boggs, was raised on Southern plantation, and said her southern charm was instrumental to her effectiveness as a legislator. Without Boggs, “sex” and “marital status” would not have been included as classes prohibited from discrimination by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974; before its passage, most women couldn’t even get a credit card in their own names. “You played the Washington game with confidence and authority and graciousness,” she wrote in her 1994 memoir, summing up her success in politics. 

    Read it at The New York Times
  • Psychologist Dr. Virginia Johnson and gynecologist Dr. William Masters of Washington University, have compiled research information and co-authored the book Human Sexual Response. (Bettmann/Corbis)

    Le (Petit) Mort

    The Sex Lives of Others

    Virginia Johnson, who pioneered sex research as part of the famed Masters and Johnson duo—and who discovered the female multiple orgasm—passed away this week at 88.

    Who knew Virginia Johnson, a Missouri farm girl born during the Great Depression, would find her calling as a trailblazing sex researcher in the 1960s, watching couples fornicate and women pleasure themselves with vibrating dildos in lab rooms? As the clever partner of St. Louis gynecologist William H. Masters, she helped revolutionize the treatment of sexual dysfunction; debunk Freud’s theories that vaginal orgasms were superior to clitoral ones; and, perhaps most explosively, prove that women were capable of multiple orgasms.

    Johnson died earlier this week at age 88, more than 50 years after she became the female half of the famed Masters and Johnson team whose groundbreaking research forever changed our understanding of human sexuality.

    Permalink
  • Chris Jackson/Getty

    REST IN PEACE

    Pierce Brosnan’s Daughter Dies

    Charlotte Smith, 41, suffered from ovarian cancer.

    The daughter of actor Pierce Brosnan has died, the actor confirmed to People. Charlotte Smith, 41, suffered from ovarian cancer, Brosnan said in a statement. “On June 28 at 2 p.m., my darling daughter Charlotte Emily passed on to eternal life, having succumbed to ovarian cancer,” Brosnan said. Brosnan said Charlotte’s husband, Alex Smith, and her two children, Isabella, 14, and Lucas, 8, and her brothers, Christopher and Sean, were with her when she died. Charlotte’s mother, Cassandra Harris, died of ovarian cancer in 1991 while married to Brosnan. Her mother died of ovarian cancer as well.

    Read it at People
  • Scott Gries/Getty

    RIP

    Actress Jean Stapleton, 90, Dies

    Played Edith Bunker on ‘All in the Family’.

    Actress Jean Stapleton, best known for her role as the fiery Edith Bunker on television’s All in the Family, died Friday, her family announced. She was 90. Stapleton won three Emmy Awards for her role as the “dingbat” wife of Archie Bunker, although the role ended up becoming the emotional heart of the show—especially when her character grappled with breast cancer, something not discussed on television in those days. Stapleton made her first Broadway appearance in 1953, but she did not become famous until the All in the Family role in 1971. In later years, she returned to Broadway and made several stabs at television again, including a guest stint on Murphy Brown, and appeared in the films Michael and You’ve Got Mail.

    Read it at The Hollywood Reporter
  • Aaron Harris/Getty

    Wanted her obituary to say that “she died after a long battle with the breast-cancer industry.”

    Barbara Brenner, a longtime adversary of the breast-cancer establishment, died Monday. She was 61. Her partner of 38 years, Suzanne Lampert, said Brenner suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as well as breast cancer, which was in remission. Brenner had championed causes most of her life before becoming the Breast Cancer Action’s first executive director in 1995, two years after undergoing treatment for the disease. She held that position until illness forced her to retire in 2010. Brenner was one of the first to question “pinkwashing,” or the proliferation of pink ribbons and corporations going pink to donate money to breast-cancer research—she urged customers to “think before you go pink” and instead to look at where their donations were going. She was unapologetic about her wars. In fact, Lambert said, “I always told her I would make sure her obituary said she died after a long battle with the breast-cancer industry.”

    Read it at The New York Times
  • OBIT

    Indian Singer Shamshad Begum Dies

    One of Bollywood’s earliest stars, she was a “playback” singer behind many of the industry’s musicals for 40 years.

    Indian singing legend Shamshad Begum, one the first “playback” singers in Bollywood whose iconic voice was in many of the industry’s films for 40 years, died Tuesday, her family has confirmed. She was 94. Begum was born into a traditional Punjabi family, who frowned upon her grand ambitions at first. When she won a recording contract, her father would only let her sing under the condition that she sing with a burka and not allow herself to be photographed. But Begum persisted in Bollywood and became one of the industry’s “playback” singers—prerecording the soundtrack for many of the films from the 1930s to 1970s while the young stars would lip-synch and dance on camera. Her fans swore that she could captivate an audience just by the sound of her voice.

    The singer lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Mumbai after the death of her husband in 1995. Her daughter said Begum did not live the typical glitzy life of a Bollywood star. “My mother used to say that artists never die. She wanted to be remembered for her songs,” Usha Ratra told PTI.

    Read it at BBC News
  • Ron Kunzman/Simon & Schuster, via AP

    OBIT

    Author E.L. Konigsburg Dies at 83

    She is the author of the 1967 classic children’s book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

    Can you name what novel begins this way: “To my lawyer, Saxonberg.” If you guessed From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, you’re one of the many, many who read the children’s classic. The book launched the career of its author, E.L. Konigsburg, who died Friday. She was 83. Konigsburg was the only American author to win the prestigious Newberry Medal for children’s literature the same year that she also was the runner-up for a different novel—and she went on to win another Newberry Medal in 1977 for The View from Saturday. Koigsburg, who also illustrated her books, championed childhood as a time when “most of us are outsiders.” She told Scholastic in an interview that children “want two contradictory things. They want to be the same as everyone else, and they want to be different from everyone else. They want acceptance for both.” Born in New York in 1930, Konigsburg grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and said her parents never imagined she would go to college, since they could never afford it—although she eventually went on to graduate from Carnegie Institute of Technology.  She began writing when her children were in school, and her first book was published in 1967.

    Read it at The New York Times
  • Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

    The singer suffered from breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

    Australian rocker Chrissy Amphlett died Sunday at age 53 after battling breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. The Divinyls lead singer achieved international stardom with the early 1990s hit “I Touch Myself” and became notorious for wearing a school uniform and fishnets on stage. “Chrissy’s light burns so very brightly. Hers was a life of passion and creativity,” her husband, Charley Drayton, said in a statement. “With her force of character and vocal strength, she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women.”

    Read it at ABC News
  • Dave Gaywod/AP

    Colleague says Edwards "believed in his heart [developing IVF] was the right thing to do."

    Robert Edwards, the Nobel doctor who was accused of playing God when he helped developed the now routine procedure of in vitro fertilization, died Wednesday. He was 87. In the 1970s, Edwards and Dr. Robert Steptoe helped create the IVF procedure in lab with a petrie dish by fertilizing an egg and then implanting it into a woman’s uterus. In 1978, the first “test tube baby,” Louise Brown, was born to John and Lesley Brown, who had tried unsuccessfully to have a child for nine years. Edwards and Steptoe were criticized as interfering with the natural order, with even a fellow graduate student saying he was “very unsure about what Bob was doing was appropriate, and we didn’t want to get too involved in it.” Brown’s birth was so controversial that she was delivered by Caesarian section in case of any complications, while the press camped out the hospital. With the public outcry, a failure would have resulted in the end of IVF—but Brown was born healthy. Edwards and Steptoe opened an IVF clinic in the following years, and in 2010—long after Steptoe’s death—Edwards was awarded the Nobel and a year later, knighted by Queen Elizabeth. By then, he suffered from dementia. His goal in creating IVF was not fame or fortune, but rather, one colleague said, Edwards “believed with all his heart it was the right thing to do.”

    Read it at The New York Times
  • AP

    'See you real soon'

    Mousketeer Annette Funicello Dies

    Former teen idol was 70.

    Actress Annette Funicello, best known for donning mouse ears as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club and once-suggestive swimsuits in the Beach Party movies, died Monday at age 70. The former teen idol died from complications due to multiple sclerosis, which she had battled for 25 years. Funicello was one of the most popular Mousketeers in the ’50s, before becoming a bit of a sex symbol for her role in the popular Beach Party movies opposite Frankie Avalon in the mid-’60s. Disney confirmed the death on Twitter.

    Read it at The Wrap
  • David Montgomery/Getty

    The Iron Lady

    Margaret Thatcher Dies at 87

    The former British prime minister suffered a stroke Monday morning.

    Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died. Her spokesman, Lord Bell, confirmed that the 87-year-old groundbreaking politician passed away after suffering a stroke Monday morning. Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979, leading the country and its Conservative Party for 11 years with a notorious fierceness that earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady.” It was a stroke that ultimately prompted Thatcher to retire in 2002, after which she continued to suffer strokes and kept a very low profile in the last few months of her life.

    Read it at CNN