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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 22, 2019

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Alan Brinkley, historian son of TV news anchor David BrinkleyGloria Vanderbilt, heiress and mother of CNN anchor Anderson CooperMohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected presidentMolly O'Neill, food writer


Alan Brinkley (70) prize-winning historian who traced the evolution of liberalism from the New Deal to the 21st century and was a popular commentator on culture and politics. A former professor at Columbia and Harvard, Brinkley was the son of the late TV news anchorman David Brinkley (died 2003) and grew up in a home where guests included John F. Kennedy and Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. He became a National Book Award winner, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and prominent author of two widely used American history textbooks. The younger Brinkley died in New York City from a disease related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerrosis (ALS), on June 16, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Molly O'Neill (66) writer who transformed herself from a chef into one of America’s leading chroniclers of food. O’Neill ushered in an era of food writing in the ‘90s that was as much about journalism as taste. She built on the work of writers like M.F.K. Fisher, Richard Olney, Elizabeth David, and Craig Claiborne. She died of cancer and liver disease in New York City on June 16, 2019.

Politics and Military

Mohamed Morsi (67) Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Morsi won Egypt’s first free presidential election in 2012 as a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood but was removed from power a year later in a military takeover. Since then he faced a raft of charges including terrorism, spying, and breaking out of prison in trials that human rights groups say are deeply flawed. The first freely elected president in Arab history and the first Islamist to occupy that role, Morsi was elected on June 17, 2012, seven years to the day before he died. His election was the apex of the Arab Spring uprising and a high point for the Muslim Brotherhood, a 91-year-old Islamist movement founded in Egypt whose influence extends across the Arab world. For many Egyptians, Morsi’s election was their greatest hope for a definitive break with the country’s long history of autocracy after decades of harsh and corrupt rule under President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in the 2011 uprising. Morsi collapsed and died while on trial in a Cairo courtroom. on June 17, 2019.

Society and Religion

Gloria Vanderbilt (95) heiress, artist, and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages, and reigned during the ‘70s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer. Vanderbilt was the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper. Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces. She married for the first time at 17, causing her aunt to disinherit her. Her husbands included celebrated conductor Leopold Stokowski and award-winning movie and TV director Sidney Lumet. In 1988 she witnessed the suicide of one of her four sons. Vanderbilt was a talented painter and collagist who also acted on the stage (The Time of Your Life on Broadway) and TV (Playhouse 90, Studio One, Kraft Theater, US Steel Hour). Later she was a fabric designer who became an early enthusiast for designer denim. Vanderbilt died of advanced stomach cancer in New York City on June 17, 2019.

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