Obituaries, 2nd-9th August 2012

Marvin Hamlisch, Nick B. Williams Jr, Robert Hughes, Dr James W. West, Ruggiero Ricci have passed away. May their souls rest in peace.

Three time Oscar winning composer Marvin Hamlisch passed away after a short illness in Los Angeles on August 6th. He was 68. On top of the Academy Awards, the veteran musician was also the recipient of a Tony and Pulitzer for the Broadway show, "A Chorus Line" as well as conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony, among others. Born in New York City in 1944, the prodigious Hamlisch could play songs he had heard on the radio by ear on his piano by the age of five. He later graduated from Queens with a music degree before going on to produce music for over thirty films.


Former editor and foreign correspondent of the Los Angeles Times, Nick B. Williams Jr. passed away this week aged 75. After joining the newspaper as a junior reporter, Willimas Jr. carved out a distinguished career that saw him become editor of the national and foreign desk during the 70's and 80's before heading out to report from South East Asia and the Middle East. He famously estimated that he spent nearly two thirds of his career "on the road" and finished out the remainder of his time at the paper in various editorial roles back in the US. Born in Santa Monica, Williams Jr. he graduated from Claremont McKenna College before joining the Chicago Sun Times prior to the L.A. Times. Williams is survived by his wife, two daughters, two grandsons and two sisters.



Legendary art critic Robert Hughes has passed away at the age of 74. He spent over three decades as chief reviewer for TIME Magazine as well as taking part in documentaries for the BBC and PBS. Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1938, Hughes studied architecture before taking an interest in Australian art as the 1950's drew to a close. After further study in Europe he was hired by TIME Magazine in 1970 having by then also written two books. He is survived by his wife, two stepsons and three siblings.



Dr James W. West, the founding medical director of the Betty Ford Clinic has died aged 98. One of the most influential medical practitioners of all time, West was a member of a group of surgeons who performed a series of pioneering transplants during the 1950's. It was also during that time that he beat alcoholism, remaining sober for the remainder of his life and opening that most famous of treatment clinics in 1982. West was to remain a director of the Betty Ford Clinic until his retirement in 2007 at the age of 93. The writer of "Book of Answers," (the profits from which he donated to his clinic), West was born in Chicago in 1914 and went on to graduate from the city's Loyola University. He is survived by his second wife, six children, two stepdaughters, nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and his sister.



Renowned violinist Ruggiero Ricci has passed away at his Californian home aged 94. Born July 24th, 1918 San Francisco to an Italian immigrant father and American mother, by the age of 6, Ricci was taking lessons from Louis Persinger. Aged ten he played in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor followed by critically acclaimed tours which included New York and Europe. By his teens his prodigious talent was well known and he performed for the military during the Second World War. Over the following fifty years he was to play hundreds of concerts in the world's most prestigious venues, his final one being in the Smithsonian Institute, 2003.


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