Zora Brown was a champion of breast cancer awareness among African Americans.
She died Sunday, March 2, 2013 in Oklahoma City. She was 63.
Brown, a breast and ovarian cancer survivor, was the founder and chairperson of Cancer Awareness Program Services and the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, an organization dedicated to lowering the breast cancer mortality rate among African Americans.
She was a trustee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer.
“There is a hole in our hearts as we mourn the loss of Zora Brown, who despite her many years of dealing with two cancers and multiple relapses, maintained an amazing and courageous spirit that inspired everyone around her,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the Philadelphia-based AACR.
“Her life’s work as a cancer advocate has been extremely important in increasing public awareness about cancer, especially among women. Our lives have been enriched by knowing her. In her memory and honor, we will do our utmost to work even harder to expedite the prevention and cure of this disease that takes so many.”
At the end of her life, Brown was living with stage III ovarian cancer but she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1981, at just 32 and then again in 1997. Her experience with cancer led her to devote her life as an advocate for women and for African-American women in particular, with breast and ovarian cancers.
In 2011, Brown shared her story in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011.
In June 2012, she testified at a U.S. Senate Cancer Coalition forum where she explained that cancer, which will strike one out of two men and one out of three women in their lifetimes, was a journey that began before she was born because of a family history and genetic predisposition.
“The AACR and cancer research community lost an amazing and gracious woman with the passing of Zora Brown. I cannot stress enough the importance of her work as an advocate for cancer research. She, along with other advocates, are the unsung heroes in fight against cancer,” said AACR President Frank McCormick, Ph.D., director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Zora’s strength in battling her cancers and her passion for advocating for women with cancer were an inspiration to us all. She will be dearly missed but certainly never forgotten.”
Brown also served with distinction as a member of the board of trustees for the AACR Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer since 2008 where her voice and resolve as a cancer survivor and advocate were richly appreciated.
“We have just lost a great leader in the fight against cancer. In spite of her own challenges with cancer, she untiringly extended her hands to help others and was a fervent promoter of the prevention and cure of breast cancer,” said Dr. Yuet Wai Kan, AACR Foundation Board Chairman and professor of hematology, University of California, San Francisco.
“She was also a strong advocate for cancer research through congressional testimony. Her eloquence and clarity of purpose will be missed by all trustees of the AACR Foundation.”
After her first breast cancer diagnosis led to a mastectomy, Brown learned that cancer mortality rates for African-American women were continuing to increase while rates were decreasing for Caucasian women. Alarmed by these statistics, she formed the BCRC in 1989, an advocacy organization that vowed to lower the mortality rate among African-Americans by the end of this century.
Brown was born March 20, 1949. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Following this she obtained a job as secretary at the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association and then took a position with the Ford Motor Company, where she served for six years in the lobbying office.
In 1976, Brown took an administrative assistant’s post at the White House in a division concerned with women’s programs during the nationwide efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. During this time she formed a lifelong friendship with First Lady Betty Ford. She continued her government service as director of Minority Enterprise at the Federal Communications Commission.
After founding BCRC, Brown began her role as an activist speaking in African-American churches with events that initially included Marilyn Quayle.
In the late 1980s, she partnered with the Revlon Company Foundation; Lilly Tartikoff, wife of the then-NBC president; Phylicia Rashad; and Jane Pauley to produce “Once a Year…For a Lifetime,” a documentary movie explaining the benefits of regular mammography that made its television debut on Nov. 16, 1990.
In 1991, President George Bush appointed her to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), which is an 18-member advisory body of outside experts whose primary task is to advise the secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and ultimately the president of the United States on a range of issues affecting the nation’s cancer program and, specifically, NCI operations. She served on the board until 1998. Due in part to Brown’s influence, Congress appropriated $500,000 for breast and cervical screening for low-income, uninsured, inner-city women.
As part of the BCRC, Brown organized the CAPS in 1992, to institute comprehensive educational and prevention programs focusing on cancers affecting women. In 1993, she established “Rise-Sister-Rise,” an all-African-American, free gathering on Saturday mornings in local venues that taught women the rules of healthy living and cancer prevention.
Brown has been recognized widely for her work in breast cancer awareness among minorities. In 1990, she was honored by Senator Fred Hollings of South Carolina, who invited her to become a board member of the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.
She has also appeared in a Washington Post feature called “Portraits of the City,” which lauded her for her work.
In 1992, she received the Marilyn Trist Robinson Community Service Award from the Washington Association of Black Journalists. In the same year she received the Susan G. Komen Community Service Award and the Breast Cancer Award from the National Women’s Health Resource Center. In 1993, she received the Gretchen Post Award and was cited by the U.S. Senate in 1995.
“She was so full of wonderful life every time we interacted. These tragically too-early losses inspire us to redouble our endeavors against cancer,” said AACR Past President Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel laureate and the Morris Herzstein professor in biology and physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.
Brown is survived by one sister, two brothers and other relatives and friends.
John Carlton Patillo was a respected photographer in the city. He served as the primary photographer for the local Journal Register Company community newspapers including The Leader, Mount Airy Times-Express and The Germantown Courier.
As a freelance photographer he also took photographs for local elected officials including Mayor Michael Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams, Ninth District Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, state Reps. Dwight Evans and Cherelle Parker, and many others. He also photographed the Rev. Jesse Jackson, concert pianist Andre Watts, comedian Bill Cosby, singer Patti LaBelle, Congressman Chaka Fattah, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, poet Sonia Sanchez, best selling author Karen Quinones Miller, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishop T. D. Jakes and many others.
Patillo died on February 6 of lung cancer. He was 48.
Patillo was born on November 27, 1963, in Philadelphia to John Patillo Jr. and Carla Mae Patillo. He grew up in Philadelphia and was a member of the West Oak Lane Church of God. He was a graduate of Parkway High School where he majored in photography, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, also as a photography major. He later attended the Philadelphia Area Accelerated Manufacturing Education or PhAME program with a major in machine operation.
As an adolescent, he met the former Gladys Smith who became his high school sweetheart. The couple married on August 1, 1987. They had one daughter, Tiana. John joined the military and the family was stationed in Aberdeen, Maryland, and later in Louisiana, before they relocated back to Philadelphia.
His wife remembers that from the very first time they met he took pictures of her. He then went on to pursue a career as a professional photographer.
Among the many pictures he was particularly proud of taking were those of President Barack Obama. His most recent photograph of the president was at a pre-Election Day rally in Germantown during October 2010. It appeared on the front cover of the October 20, 2010, edition of The Leader.
He also photographed then Sen. Obama on various campaign trails during 2008 at Abington High School, Vernon Park in Germantown and other locations. Additionally, he photographed members of Obama’s administration when they came to Philadelphia for the National Convention of the Association of Black Journalists last summer.
His family said that one of Patillo’s favorite hobbies was listening to WURD 900AM to keep abreast of the local African-American community.
Patillo was aware of the contributions African Americans had made to the country including securing the right to vote.
Consequently he was a champion of voter’s rights and would insist that those around him not only register to vote but make it to the polls on Election Day. He was also an avid supporter of President Barack Obama and despite not feeling well decided it was important to take photographs when Obama for America opened its Philadelphia Center City headquarters on October 13, 2011.
Patillo also had a strong spiritual side. When he took photographs at various houses of worship or for religious organizations one could often find him staying for the entire service or meeting. His family was aware of his keen insight and wisdom far beyond his years. Yet he still had a wonderful sense of humor that kept those in his presence in laughter. Even after being diagnosed with lung cancer, his natural wit, strong faith and far-sighted wisdom never faded.
In addition, Patillo was a lover of sports. One of his primary areas of focus was training his nephews. He also avidly photographed young athletes. He would attend little league sporting events where he would photograph every player and coach. He also followed Philadelphia teams.
Furthermore, he expressed a strong love and commitment to his family. One of the treasures of his life was his granddaughter, Kennedi.
Patillo leaves to mourn: wife, Gladys Patillo; daughter, Tiana Carlisa Patillo; granddaughter, Kennedi Victoria Patillo; mother, Carla Mae Patillo; three brothers, Gregory “Yogi,” Terry “J.D.” and Gary; two sisters, Belinda and LaTonyia; aunts, Loretta, Diane, Cindy, Janet, Lois, Ruby and Marie; uncles, James, Danny and Jasper; and many other relatives, friends, colleagues and associates.
His father John Patillo Jr. and grandparents John and Frances Patillo as well as Carlton and Eddie Mae Staggers all preceded him in death.
Services will be held Feb. 14 at the West Oak Lane Church of God, Washington Lane and Limekiln Pike. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The service will start at 10 a.m.
J.E. Williams Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Rev. Matthew Miles Williams Sr. was the moderator of the Eastern Keystone Baptist Association and under his leadership, the merger of a number of associations, now known as the Pennsylvania Eastern Keystone Baptist Association of Philadelphia came to fruition. He was an active member of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention and its sub-districts, and was also an active member and supporter of the Foreign Mission Board and the Progressive Baptist Convention. He died Sept. 24. He was 89.
Williams was born to Rev. Charles E. Williams and Ethel Williams on Oct. 27, 1921 in Montgomery County, Pa. He attended Lamont Elementary School in Elkins Park, Shoemaker Junior High and graduated from Overbrook High School.
After graduation, Williams married Genevieve Newton. That union produced three wonderful children, the late Matt Jr., Agnes and Malcolm. He started his career working for the United States Postal Services and after many years of dedicated service, he retired to devote his life to his spiritual studies.
Williams graduated from the Philadelphia College of the Bible and the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Williams was licensed to preach by the Rev. C.W. Gregory at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia and he served as Rev. Calvin Jones’ associate minister for 10 years in the Mt. Hebron Baptist Church.
In August of 1964, Williams was installed as pastor of The People’s Baptist Church. As pastor he was a positive influence on his congregation and the community at large for 45 years.
Williams was also a gifted trombonist and often played his trombone to the glory of God in services and programs.
Upon his retirement, Williams was awarded several citations from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for his years of loyal and dedicated service to God and humanity.
Williams is survived by: wife, Genevieve; two children, Agnes Wilson and Malcolm Williams; four grandchildren; two siblings; six great-grandchildren’ one great-great-grandchild; and a host of family and friends.
A viewing will be held Oct. 2 at The People’s Baptist Church, 5039 Baltimore Ave. The viewing will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Services will be held Oct. 3 at The People’s Baptist Church. The viewing will be held 9–11 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m. Yarborough and Rocke handled the arrangements.
Steven L. Bennett Jr., affectionately called “Steve,” loved spending time with his family, especially his children, and traveling. Bennett died Feb. 8. He was 51.
Bennett was born to Steven L. Bennett Sr. and Mary L. Griffin-Bennett on May 30, 1960, in Philadelphia.
He was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System and graduated from Martin Luther King High School.
His family said he had many hobbies and enjoyed using the computer, taking pictures, having cookouts and playing with the latest gadgets.
Bennett always had his uniform pressed and shoes shined. While not in uniform he loved to dress and always had on a new pair of the latest sneakers. He was always smiling and willing to help anyone in need. Bennett was also a no-nonsense man.
He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1979 and served until 1987 where he was honorably discharged. Bennett joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1989.
While with the Police Department he served in various units including, the Highway Patrol, traffic division and the narcotics division. He received several commendations and awards for merit and bravery including the Fraternal Order of Police Academy Award for Platoon Leadership before retiring in 2010. After retiring from the police department he was employed by Bryn Mawr College, with the public safety department.
Bennett leaves to mourn: companion, Valerie V. Curry; daughter, Aneea M. Bennett; sons, Steven L. Bennett III and Darien S. Bennett; father, Steven L. Bennett Sr.; brothers, Kevin L. Bennett and Darrin M. Boswell; sisters, Dawn L. Bennett and Kimberly L. Bennett; grandmother, Hazel Griffin; aunt, Marie E. Camp; cousin, Dr. Dana-Marie Thomas; and his extended family, Anna Farr and Vance McKelvy as well as a host of nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.
Bennett was preceded in death by his mother.
Services were held Feb. 16 at Bethel Deliverance International Church. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Jamar Keir Ferrell, affectionately known as “Maury,” was born on January 23, 1969, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Willie and Willa Mae (Kittrels) Ferrell. He was the fourth of the Ferrells’ six sons. On January 15, 2012, Jamar entered into eternal rest after a yearlong battle with lymphoma. His family and friends will gather on Saturday, April 14, 2012, in a private ceremony in a “Tribute to our Gem.”
Jamar received his education in the Penn Wood School system and graduated from Penn Wood High School in 1986. During his school years, Jamar was a great little league pitcher and also excelled in track and field. The triple jump was his specialty.
Jamar’s first job was working in the family’s business, Ferrell Franks, which was located in the Gallery in Center City. It was here where he met his true love Sitti Moses. After years of courtship, they joined hands in marriage on June 11, 1994. Anyone in their presence could see and feel their love for one another. Sitti was constantly at his side during the final stages of his illness, as were many other family members.
Jamar joined Horizon House as an employment training specialist in 1993. He was a strong advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities and dedicated his personal and professional career to enhancing their lives.
Jamar’s true passion was music. He was known as “DJ Brother Jamar.” He was in popular demand for birthday parties, clubs, block parties, weddings and anniversaries. He shared his mixing skills on Power 99 FM radio station on Sunday nights with host Tiffany Bacon. Jamar rocked everything from rare to classic R&B, soul, disco, funk and hip hop.
He will be remembered for his willing spirit, his generosity in sharing his knowledge and wisdom and giving invaluable advice to others.
He is survived by his wife, Sitti; parents, Willie and Willa Mae Ferrell; brothers, Terryl (Shawn), Stephen (Cydney), Lamonte (Gwendolyn), Jacin and Dion (Tiffany); three nieces; three nephews; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Muisha and Bob Barnett; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Amelia Patterson, affectionately known as Mom Patterson, was the founder of Philly’s famous Patterson’s Restaurant. She will be missed by many in Philadelphia and around the world as she influenced many to live and eat healthier.
“I want people to remember her as a very gifted humanitarian who loved people, loved children, loved the community and served her God and loved her Lord — and she loved her husband,” said her son, Bruce Patterson.
“She was married 61 years to the same man. They had a lot of children and grandchildren, and I would love for her to be remembered as Philadelphia royalty.”
Patterson died December 5. She was 79.
Patterson introduced the first soy-burger to Philadelphia in 1972 when she and her husband, John, opened America’s first African American-owned and operated vegetarian health food restaurant, “Pattersons.”
Paterson was born on May 4, 1932 and embraced others into her family.
“Her thing was about family. She took in a lot of young men and women who had no family,” her son said.
Having had the pleasure of tasting Mom Patterson’s unique and exceptional brand of healthy vegetarian soul foods are former Mayor John Street, current Mayor Michael Nutter, countless entertainers and celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, India Irie, The Roots, Meek Mills, as well as civic and community notables. They heralded this great historic Philadelphian’s gift of serving delicious, nutritious meals in Philadelphia for 40 years. She was also the creator of the ever popular Patterson Navy Bean Soup, Soy Burger, Ma Patterson’s Apple Crisp, Peach Cake and various other delectable, meatless and healthy food entrees.
Services will be held December 11, 2011 at The North Philadelphia SDA Church, 1600 W. Oxford Street. It will begin at 10 a.m. Baker Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Lauren Alycia Kidd, also known as “Little Lauren,” was a home health aide.
Kidd died June 5, 2012, after a seven-year battle with lupus. She was 26.
She was born June 6, 1986, to Lisa and Joel Kidd.
Kidd was educated in the Philadelphia parochial and public school systems. She attended Preparatory Charter High School and graduated from University City High School in 2000. She attended Star Technical School and Philadelphia Job Corps where she completed the medical office assistant program in 2003.
Her family said Kidd was a joy to be around and she had a generous and kind spirit. She was not one to “hold her tongue” but she was always there to help, her family said. She was always ready to “take the kids” when she could.
Kidd had a special relationship with Christ and attended church with both of her grandmothers and her mother.
She enjoyed her Saturday morning dance classes and participating in the Philadelphia City Year program for Young Heroes while in school. She also loved to cook.
Kidd held various positions of employment. She worked at Save-A-Lot and ShopRite markets. Her most recent employment with Reliance Home Health Care as a home health aide gave her the most enjoyment.
She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Lenora Kidd and her grandfathers, Donald McCray II and Frank Battle.
In addition to her parents, Kidd is survived by her daughter, Ameena; godson, Miles; grandmother, Lillian McCray; best friends, Rita, Talea, Lavette, Lanieka; special friend, Aaron and other relatives and friends.
Services were held June 15 at Pinkett Tabernacle Friendly Church, 1915 North 21st Street.
William “Bill” W. Cash Sr. was a man deserving of his many titles and honors. He had an illustrious career as a catcher for the National Negro Baseball League. He established himself as a superb athlete of the highest professional and personal standards. He had a career filled with his share of victories and success, which he always cherished.
Cash received many awards and acknowledgments. For his numerous and varied accomplishments he and his fellow Negro League players were honored by President Bill Clinton at the White House in 1994, the City of Philadelphia, the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Various major league teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies, feted them. He was inducted into the National Negro Baseball Museum of History in 1981.
Cash died Sept 12, 2011. He was 92.
Cash was born in Round Oak, Ga. on Feb. 21, 1919. He was the youngest of four sons born to the late Lela Lloyd Cash and Arthur “Buster” Cash Sr. He moved as a child with his family to the Eastwick-Elmwood section of Philadelphia. He was educated in the city’s public school system graduating from Overbrook High School.
In early 1940, Cash began a rich and full romance with Ms. Sadie Bell Brooks, the absolute love of his life. They married on Sept. 7, 1940. From this union, three children were born, William W. Cash Jr., Janet Cash and Michael Cash. They were a source of happiness and pride for their parents always. Cash and Sadie loved their family and supported each other for 63 years of adventures and wedded bliss.
Cash also played “Winter Ball” in Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Bill later played for the Farm Teams of the Chicago White Sox Organization and various other cities in the Midwest and Canada. Following his retirement in 1955 from his beloved baseball, he accepted 30 years of employment with Westinghouse Electric in Lester, Pa. as a machinist. He retired in 1985. Despite his various responsibilities, Cash always found time to devote to religious, fraternal and community organizations.
His family said his greatest labor of love was his work for the Lord. First, he was a Deacon at Calvary Baptist Church. He later moved his spiritual home to First African Baptist Church, Sharon Hill, Pa. where he served as a deacon for 30 years. He was a great supporter of his church and his pastor. On Sunday mornings, Cash could be seen sitting in the front pew shaking hands with all.
He was also a 33rd Degree Mason, where he was Past Master of the Light of Elmwood Lodge No. 45, Past Commander-In-Chief of Charles E. Gordon Consistory, member of Paxon-Macey No. 45 and Past Potentate of Minaret Temple No. 174.
Over the many years, Cash has spent endless energy and countless hours serving the youth of Philadelphia. He founded the “Cobbs Creek Baseball Little League Association.” He was vice-president of the Foundation for Juvenile Decency. He also spread his eloquent words and stories far and wide, on college campus, in schools and churches, for social organizations, always sharing his experiences as a player of the National Negro Baseball League and the challenges and roadblocks faced by Black trailblazers.
Cash leaves to mourn: sons, William “Billy” Jr. (Diane) and Michael Sr. (Patricia); grandsons, Jeffrey Sr., Bobby (Brenda), Michael Jr. (Janna), and Darryll; granddaughters; Arnita (David), and Kiersten; great-grandchildren, Ashley, Jeffrey Jr., Bobbi, Brendan, Maya, Logan and Michael III; cousins, Molly, Ruth, Herman, Leroy and Lewis Tucker; special friends, Mary Bailey and daughter, Mitzi and Barbara.
Cash was predeceased in death by his wife, Sadie, and daughter, Janet.
Services will be held September 19 at First African Baptist Church of Darby Township, 901 Clifton Ave., Sharon Hill, Pa. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m. Yarborough & Rocke Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
A memorial service will be held for veteran actor and Philadelphia native Sherman Alexander Hemsley on Aug. 16 at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 W. Lehigh Ave. Service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Hemsley, who made the loudmouth, arrogant George Jefferson of “The Jeffersons,” one of television’s most memorable characters and a symbol for urban upward mobility, died on July 24, 2012. He was 74.
The El Paso Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that Hemsley, who was found dead in his El Paso home, suffered from “super vena cava syndrome.”
According to the report, published by TMZ, the syndrome was a result of lung cancer. Hemsley reportedly had a “mass” on his lung.
Superior vena cava syndrome occurs when the superior vena cava — one of the body’s major veins — is obstructed, most commonly because of a cancer or tumor. The superior vena cava is responsible for returning blood to the heart that comes from the upper part of the body, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The report notes that Hemsley had been advised to get chemotherapy and radiation therapy before he succumbed to his illness.
Hemsley was born in South Philadelphia on Feb. 1, 1938. He dropped out of Edward W. Bok Technical High School in the 10th grade to join the Air Force and was stationed in Asia after the Korean War. He returned to Philadelphia after his discharge and, while working at the post office, attended Philadelphia’s Academy of Dramatic Arts in the evening.
In 1967, Hemsley moved to New York to pursue an acting career. He joined the Negro Ensemble Company, studied with the renowned actor and director Lloyd Richards and performed with Vinnette Carroll’s Urban Arts Corps. He also appeared in Off Broadway productions. In one — a double bill of “Old Judge Mose Is Dead” and “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl” in 1969.
Hemsley’s big break came a year later when he was cast in the Broadway musical “Purlie.” When Norman Lear was looking for an actor to play Archie Bunker’s neighbor, he remembered seeing Hemsley in that show. Lear traced Hemsley to San Francisco, where he was appearing onstage in the musical, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” and offered him the role of George Jefferson.
“He was a love of a guy” and “immensely talented,” said Norman Lear, producer of “The Jeffersons” and “All in the Family.” “When the Jeffersons moved in next door to the Bunkers, I wanted to deliver the George Jefferson who could stand up to Archie Bunker.
The minute he opened his mouth he was George Jefferson. Hemsley was smaller than O’Connor’s Archie, but he was every bit as strong as Archie.”
With the gospel-style theme song of “Movin’ on Up,” the hit show depicted the wealthy, former neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker in Queens as they made their way on New York’s Upper East Side. Hemsley and the Jeffersons (Isabel Sanford played his wife) often dealt with contemporary issues of racism, but more frequently reveled in the sitcom archetype of a short-tempered, opinionated patriarch trying, often unsuccessfully, to control his family.
Despite the character’s many faults — money-driven and temperamental — Hemsley managed to make the character endearing, part of the reason it stayed on the air for so long. His performance was Emmy and Golden Globe nominated.
A year after “The Jeffersons” left the air, Hemsley returned to television in “Amen,” a sitcom set in a Black Baptist church in Philadelphia. He starred as Deacon Ernest Frye, a character every bit as caustic and blustery as George Jefferson.
His films include 1979’s “Love at First Bite,” 1987’s “Stewardess School” and 1987’s “Ghost Fever.” He also released an album, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” in 1989.
The popularity of reruns of “The Jeffersons” on Nick at Nite and TV Land in the 1990s spurred a renewed interest in the show’s stars. In the ‘90s and early 2000s Hemsley, Sanford (who died in 2004) and Gibbs were frequent guests on prime-time shows.
Hemsley had recurring roles in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “The Wayans Brothers” and “The Hughleys,” along with Gibbs. He also starred as a con man in the short-lived UPN comedy “Goode Behavior” in the 1996–97 season. His most recent appearance was on the Tyler Perry sitcom “House of Payne” in 2011 — as George Jefferson.
Derrick Albert Bell Jr. was a law professor, legal scholar and racial justice advocate. He was a man of many accomplishments and was best known for his work in the field of critical race theory, a term he coined that embodies scholarship on race, racism and power, and examines how racism is embedded in all laws and legal institutions. He died October 5 from carcinoid cancer at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. He was 80.
Bell’s work in promoting the study of critical race theory has inspired similar disciplines such as Latino Critical Race Studies and Asian American Critical Race Studies. He was described as being both an iconoclast and a community leader.
He was born on Nov. 6, 1930, in Pittsburgh to Derrick Albert and Ada Elizabeth Childress. After graduating from Schenley High School near Pittsburgh’s Hill District, he became the first member of his family to go to college, attending Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1952.
A member of the R.O.T.C. at Duquesne, he was later an Air Force officer for two years, one of them in Korea. Afterward he attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School, where he was the only Black student, earning his degree in 1957.
After his stint at the Justice Department, he headed the Pittsburgh office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, leading efforts to integrate a public swimming pool and a skating rink. Later, assigned to Mississippi, he supervised more than 300 school desegregation cases.
In 1969, after teaching briefly at the University of Southern California, he was recruited and hired by Harvard Law School, where students were pressuring the administration to appoint a Black professor. Bell conceded that he did not have the usual qualifications for a Harvard professorship, like a federal court clerkship or a degree from a top law school.
Although he worked tirelessly to expose racism, Bell was not an eternal optimist. His idea of “the interest convergence dilemma” said that whites would not join efforts to improve the position of Blacks unless they found it in their interest.
In addition to his scholarly contributions, Bell believed that his personal decisions made as much of a statement about his beliefs as did the content of any of his professional work, a sentiment he expressed in his 2002 memoir “Ethical Ambition.”
“Your faith in what you believe must be a living, working faith that draws you away from comfort and security, and toward risk through confrontation,” he wrote.
Bell lived this maxim throughout his life, seemingly undeterred by the lure of prestige or power, and many of his most storied accomplishments were accompanied by resignations and protest.
In 1971, Bell became the first tenured Black professor at Harvard Law School, but he resigned from the prestigious post when he felt he had been discriminated against after a white university vice president tried to purchase a house that Bell had been previously offered through university.
While working at the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Bell resigned from his job after his bosses advised him to give up his NAACP membership because they felt it was a conflict of interest.
In 1980, Bell became the first Black dean of a non-HBCU law school when he accepted the position at the University of Oregon School of Law. Bell’s tenure as dean was short lived, however. He resigned in 1985 when an Asian woman was denied tenure at the school.
Bell’s final act of professional protest occurred when he was invited back to Harvard to teach. He vowed to take an unpaid leave of absence until the school agreed to add a Black woman on its tenured faculty for the first time. Bell eventually left Harvard behind the incident and began teaching at New York University School of Law, where he worked until his death.
Bell is survived by: wife, Janet Dewart Bell; children, Derrick A. Bell III, Douglas Dubois Bell and Carter Robeson Bell; two sisters, Janet Bell and Constance Bell; and a brother, Charles Bell.
—BET News and The New York Times contributed to this report.