Steven Neal Paul 1941 to Sunday
The founder of the NYC nightclub The Scene, he hosted musicians as varied as Sammy Davis Jr. and Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin and Tiny Tim, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac. His spinoff TV show hosted among others a performance by the Staples Family Singers that surely involved this song:
Stanley R. Ovshinsky 1922 to last Wednesday
Electricity was Stan’s thing. He invented nickel-metal hydride batteries and super-thin solar panels and made possible Priuses and the solar-powered calculators.
Norodom Sihanouk 1922 to last Monday
The last king of Cambodia before Pol Pot took power in 1975, Sihanouk ate croissants with Deng Xiaoping in Beijing, hoped Elvis would play him in a biopic, giggled while excited, expelled the French and established a democratic government. After Cambodia’s 13-year civil war ended in 1993, he restored the monarchy and once again brought peace and stability. He leaves behind a dignified Cambodia and the many lovers whom he regaled with his ‘charming love songs’ late into the night.
E. Donnall Thomas 1920 to Saturday
This Nobel-prize-winning M.D. invented the bone marrow transplant. He leaves behind the lives he saved, including famously and recently that of beloved Good Morning America host Robin Roberts who just underwent the procedure.
Russell Means 1939 to Monday
Means survived two assassination attempts as the leader of the fierce American Indians Movement. He was hard to miss, directing ‘a band of Indian protesters who seized the Mayflower II ship replica’ from costumed pilgrims on Thanksgiving day in 1970 and commanding the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee that led to a 71-day standoff with federal agents. He leaves behind the 1992 film ‘Last of the Mohicans’ in which he starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and a greater national awareness of the plight of Indians in the 20th century.
Basil L. Plumley 1921 to last Wednesday
Command Sergeant Major Plumley had the rare distinction of fighting in the Sicily in 1944; Sukchon, Korea in 1950; and Ia Drang, Vietnam in 1965. Only 324 others fought in all three of those wars. He leaves behind a starring role for Sam Elliott who played Plumley in the Mel Gibson flick We Were Soldiers.
Émile Allais 1912 to Wednesday
This centenarian figured out that if you keep your skis parallel you’ll go faster (up till 1934 folks angled their skis inward in the shape of a V). His new style won him many a championship and leaves behind the excitement of modern-day skiing and profits for makers of ski helmets.