Andy Rooney, wry ’60 Minutes’ commentator, dies

David Bauder, The Associated Press
Posted: 11/05/2011 10:23:22 AM PDT

 

In this Aug. 23, 2011, file image taken from video and provided by CBS, Andy Rooney tapes his last regular appearance on “60 Minutes” in New York. CBS says former “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney died Friday at age 92. (The Associated Press/CBS)

NEW YORK — Andy Rooney so dreaded the day he had to end his signature “60 Minutes” commentaries about life’s large and small absurdities that he kept going until he was 92 years old.Even then, he said he wasn’t retiring. Writers never retire. But his life after the end of “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney” was short: He died Friday night, according to CBS, only a month after delivering his 1,097th and final televised commentary.

Rooney had gone to the hospital for an undisclosed surgery, but major complications developed and he never recovered.

“Andy always said he wanted to work until the day he died, and he managed to do it, save the last few weeks in the hospital,” said his “60 Minutes” colleague, correspondent Steve Kroft.

Rooney talked on “60 Minutes” about what was in the news, and his opinions occasionally got him in trouble. But he was just as likely to discuss the old clothes in his closet, why air travel had become unpleasant and why banks needed to have important-sounding names.

Rooney won one of his four Emmy Awards for a piece on whether there was a real Mrs. Smith who made Mrs. Smith’s Pies. As it turned out, there was no Mrs. Smith.

“I obviously have a knack for getting on paper what a lot of people have thought and didn’t realize they thought,” Rooney once said. “And they say, ‘Hey, yeah!’ And they like that.”

Looking for something new to punctuate its weekly broadcast, “60 Minutes” aired its first Rooney commentary on July

2, 1978. He complained about people who keep track of how many people die in car accidents on holiday weekends. In fact, he said, the Fourth of July is “one of the safest weekends of the year to be going someplace.”More than three decades later, he was railing about how unpleasant air travel had become. “Let’s make a statement to the airlines just to get their attention,” he said. “We’ll pick a week next year and we’ll all agree not to go anywhere for seven days.”

In early 2009, as he was about to turn 90, Rooney looked ahead to President Barack Obama’s upcoming inauguration with a look at past inaugurations. He told viewers that Calvin Coolidge’s 1925 swearing-in was the first to be broadcast on radio, adding, “That may have been the most interesting thing Coolidge ever did.”

“Words cannot adequately express Andy’s contribution to the world of journalism and the impact he made Äî as a colleague and a friend Äî upon everybody at CBS,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO.

Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer, said “it’s hard to imagine not having Andy around. He loved his life and he lived it on his own terms. We will miss him very much.”

“60 Minutes” will end its broadcast Sunday with a tribute to Rooney by veteran correspondent Morley Safer.

For his final essay, Rooney said that he’d live a life luckier than most.

“I wish I could do this forever. I can’t, though,” he said.

He said he probably hadn’t said anything on “60 Minutes” that most of his viewers didn’t already know or hadn’t thought. “That’s what a writer does,” he said. “A writer’s job is to tell the truth.”

True to his occasional crotchety nature, though, he complained about being famous or bothered by fans. His last wish from fans: If you see him in a restaurant, just let him eat his dinner.

Rooney was a freelance writer in 1949 when he encountered CBS radio star Arthur Godfrey in an elevator and Äî with the bluntness

In this Aug. 2, 1978, file photo, CBS News producer and correspondent Andrew Rooney poses for photos in his New York office. CBS says former “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney died at age 92. (AP file photo)

millions of people learned about later Äî told him his show could use better writing. Godfrey hired him and by 1953, when he moved to TV, Rooney was his only writer.He wrote for CBS’ Garry Moore during the early 1960s before settling into a partnership with Harry Reasoner at CBS News. Given a challenge to write on any topic, he wrote “An Essay on Doors” in 1964, and continued with contemplations on bridges, chairs and women.

“The best work I ever did,” Rooney said. “But nobody knows I can do it or ever did it. Nobody knows that I’m a writer and producer. They think I’m this guy on television.”

He became such a part of the culture that comic Joe Piscopo satirized Rooney’s squeaky voice with the refrain, “Did you ever …” Rooney never started any of his essays that way. For many years, “60 Minutes” improbably was the most popular program on television and a dose of Rooney was what people came to expect for a knowing smile on the night before they had to go back to work.

Rooney left CBS in 1970 when it refused to air his angry essay about the Vietnam War. He went on TV for the first time, reading the essay on PBS and winning a Writers Guild of America award for it.

He returned to CBS three years later as a writer and producer of specials. Notable among them was the 1975 “Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington,” whose lighthearted but serious look at government won him a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

His words sometimes landed Rooney in hot water. CBS suspended him for three months in 1990 for making racist remarks in an interview, which he denied. Rooney, who was arrested in Florida while in the Army in the 1940s for refusing to leave a seat among blacks on a bus, was hurt deeply by the charge of racism.

Gay rights groups were mad, during the AIDS epidemic, when Rooney mentioned homosexual unions in saying “many of the ills which kill us are self-induced.” Indians protested when Rooney suggested Native Americans who made money from casinos weren’t doing enough to help their own people.

The Associated Press learned the danger of getting on Rooney’s cranky side. In 1996, AP Television Writer Frazier Moore wrote a column suggesting it was time for Rooney to leave the broadcast. On Rooney’s next “60 Minutes” appearance, he invited those who disagreed to make their opinions known. The AP switchboard was flooded by some 7,000 phone calls and countless postcards were sent to the AP mail room.

“Your piece made me mad,” Rooney told Moore two years later. “One of my major shortcomings Äî I’m vindictive. I don’t know why that is. Even in petty things in my life I tend to strike back. It’s a lot more pleasurable a sensation than feeling threatened.

“He was one of television’s few voices to strongly oppose the war in Iraq after the George W. Bush administration launched it in 2002. After the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, he said he was chastened by its quick fall but didn’t regret his “60 Minutes” commentaries.

“I’m in a position of feeling secure enough so that I can say what I think is right and if so many people think it’s wrong that I get fired, well, I’ve got enough to eat,” Rooney said at the time.

Andrew Aitken Rooney was born on Jan. 14, 1919, in Albany, N.Y., and worked as a copy boy on the Albany Knickerbocker News while in high school. College at Colgate University was cut short by World War II, when Rooney worked for Stars and Stripes.

With another former Stars and Stripes staffer, Oram C. Hutton, Rooney wrote four books about the war. They included the 1947 book, “Their Conqueror’s Peace: A Report to the American Stockholders,” documenting offenses against the Germans by occupying forces.

Rooney and his wife, Marguerite, were married for 62 years before she died of heart failure in 2004. They had four children and lived in New York, with homes in Norwalk, Conn., and upstate New York. Daughter Emily Rooney is a former executive producer of ABC’s “World News Tonight.” Brian was a longtime ABC News correspondent, Ellen a photographer and Martha Fishel is chief of the public service division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Services will be private, and it’s anticipated CBS News will hold a public memorial later, Brian Rooney said Saturday.

Advertisements

Country music legend Loretta Lynn has pneumonia

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:07 PM EST, Sat October 22, 2011

Loretta Lynn speaks at the 44th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 10, 2010.
 

(CNN) — Country music legend Loretta Lynn has been hospitalized with pneumonia, according to the Ashland, Kentucky, theater where she was scheduled to perform Saturday night.

The Paramount Arts Center posted information about the postponement on its website.

A statement posted on the 76-year-old singer’s website confirmed the cancellation, citing Lynn’s illness.

“Loretta regretfully must cancel her shows for Ashland, KY and Durham, NC for this weekend, due to illness,” it said. “Doctors have diagnosed her at the beginning stages (of) pneumonia, and (she) will continue to need rest. Loretta is doing well and is disappointed, but feels confident she will be ready for upcoming November dates.”

Born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, Lynn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. She is perhaps best known for the song “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Other hits include “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough.”

Lynn had knee replacement surgery in August, forcing her to cancel tour dates. In July, she was hospitalized and treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration because of high temperatures in Tennessee.

IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon dead at 33

AP – 1 hr 10 mins ago

  • Click image to see more photos.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Dan Wheldon, who moved to the United States from his native England with hopes of winning the Indianapolis 500 and went on to twice prevail at his sport’s most famed race, died Sunday after a massive, fiery wreck at the Las Vegas Indy 300.

One of the most well-liked drivers in the paddock, Wheldon was 33.

He called the Indy 500 “the biggest sporting event in the world,” and his second and final win there came in most unexpected fashion. Trailing rookie JR Hildebrand with only one turn remaining, Wheldon was resigned to finishing in second place for the third straight year.

Then Hildebrand brushed the wall just seconds away from what seemed like certain victory, giving Wheldon one of the luckiest breaks ever at the Brickyard. He crossed the line in front, making the final lap the only one he led in the entire race.

Wheldon returned to the track the next morning for the traditional photo session with the winner, kissing the bricks as his 2-year-old son Sebastian sat on the asphalt alongside him, and wife, Susie, held their then-2-month-old, Oliver.

“That’s Indianapolis,” Wheldon said after this year’s Indy win. “That’s why it’s the greatest spectacle in racing. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Such was the case again Sunday at Las Vegas.

Wheldon started last in the 34-car field and was up to 24th quickly, but still well behind the first wave of cars that got into trouble on the fateful lap, and had no way to avoid the wrecks in front of him. There was no time to brake or steer out of trouble. His car sailed into the fence extending high over the track barrier, and about two hours later, his death was announced.

Wheldon began driving go-karts as a 4-year-old, and racing was a constant in his life as he attended school in England as a child, winning eight British national titles along the way. He moved to the United States in 1999, trying to find sponsor money to fund his dream, and by 2002 — after stints in some lower-profile open-wheel series, such as the F2000 championship, Toyota Atlantic Series and IndyLights — he was on the IndyCar grid for the first time.

Wheldon was a fast study. He got his first IndyCar Series ride in 2002, competing twice with Panther Racing, then replaced Michael Andretti when Andretti retired the next season and won Rookie of the Year.

His first victory came the next season, in Japan, and he finished second in the championship standings behind Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan. The next year, he was the series champion. NASCAR teams talked to him about changing series. So did Formula One organizations.

In the end, he decided IndyCar was his calling.

“The biggest thing for me is the Indianapolis 500,” Wheldon said in 2005, not long after becoming the first Englishman since Graham Hill in 1966 to win that race. “It would be really difficult to leave this series because of that race.”

A star was born at that 2005 Indy 500 — and it wasn’t necessarily Wheldon, the winner. Danica Patrick was a rookie at Indy that year, and not only did she steal the show, she nearly took the biggest prize as well. Wheldon passed Patrick with less than 10 laps to go and held on for the victory, and that wasn’t the last time those two would share a spotlight.

At Milwaukee in 2007, Wheldon and Patrick brushed cars during the race, then brushed bodies on pit road after the race in a relatively heated exchange.

He good-naturedly poked fun at what was fast known as Danicamania following the 2005 race, famously posing in a T-shirt afterward with the words “Actually ‘Won’ The Indy 500” emblazoned on the front. Wheldon got his share of fame as well after that ’05 win, of course, throwing out the first pitch at a Yankees game and appearing on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”

On Sunday, Patrick was clearly emotional after drivers were told of Wheldon’s death. And it also was widely expected that Wheldon would replace her on Michael Andretti’s team next season when Patrick switches to a full-time NASCAR ride.Even with his resume — two Indy wins, 16 race victories on the circuit overall — Wheldon found it difficult just to stay in the series. He finished among the top 10 in IndyCar points annually from 2004 through 2010, but Sunday was only Wheldon’s third start of the 2011 campaign.

Lacking the financial backing to secure a full-time ride for himself this season, Wheldon kept busy by working as a commentator for some races and testing prototype cars that the IndyCar series will be using in the future. IndyCar will have new cars in 2012, much of the changes done with a nod for safety. It had been a passion of Wheldon’s in recent months, and he once quipped that he was a “test dummy” for the new cars by working with engineers as often as he was.

“We need to make sure that the product that the IndyCar Series puts out toward the end of this year, beginning of 2012, is something that primarily the fans get very excited about, but also the teams and drivers,” Wheldon said this summer. “And obviously we want to make sure that the product we put out is incredibly safe.”

Wheldon, his wife and their children lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he often said that he believed fatherhood made him a better driver.

Wheldon said the 2011 Indy victory was “a Cinderella story,” and lauded his wife for helping him deal with all that came with not having a full-time driving gig this season. He did not personally need money — his winnings already ensured his family would be set for life, he said — but rather the lack of sponsorship funds is what kept him from regularly racing this year.

At times, he said it was difficult, and Wheldon credited his wife for helping him through the emotional lows.

“There’s times where you do doubt yourself a little bit,” Wheldon said after this year’s Indy win. “Through all of this, she’s been incredibly supportive and she understands that this is all I’ve ever done. Racing is all I’ve ever done. She knows that racing creates the personality in me that she loves. So she was desperate to get me back out the house and in a race car. It’s good to deliver for her, my two boys, my family back home, too.”

Off the track, Wheldon had varied interests, some of which had almost nothing to do with his driving.

He raised money for several charities, was a spokesman for the National Guard and its education-awareness programs, and most recently tried to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. His mother was diagnosed with an early onset form of that disease in 2009.

He visited Lake Placid, N.Y. in 2010 for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Challenge, taking a run down the icy chute — and getting ejected from the back of a two-man sled in a crash. Wheldon was unhurt, and even hopped to his feet quickly, taking a bow.

“Us IndyCar drivers, we like to go fast,” Wheldon said that day.

Later that year, he released a photo book he called “Lionheart,” a coffee table book that he described as “almost like a photo biography from my career in IndyCars up until this point.” He spent years editing the book, which included dozens of photos of his life away from the track, including images from his wedding.

“I wanted it to have a lot of my input,” Wheldon said last year. “Obviously, it’s a reflection of me.”

He also wanted that book to provide his fans with a glimpse of his life that they would never have known otherwise.

“There’s a lot of my wedding in there,” Wheldon said. “I wanted there to be a lot of photos of my wife. She was the most beautiful bride on her wedding day the world had ever seen.”

Hurricane Jova slams Mexico

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor rushed to hospital again

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 1:27 AM EST, Sun October 9, 2011

Zsa Zsa Gabor, seen here in a 1999 photo, was rushed to the hospital on October 8.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, seen here in a 1999 photo, was rushed to the hospital on October 8.

they had to use a 12-year-old photo. she can’t look good. tcm

(CNN) — Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was rushed again to the hospital late Saturday, her family said.

The ailing actress was taken from her home to UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, her daughter Francesca Hilton said. She did not provide details.

Gabor has suffered major health problems in the last year, including hip replacement surgery and a leg amputation. She has been unable to walk since a 2002 car accident.

The Hungarian-born actress, the second of the three celebrated Gabor sisters, is famous for her many marriages and strong personality as well as her acting prowess.

Her more prominent films include John Huston’s Toulouse-Lautrec biopic, “Moulin Rouge,” in 1952, “The Story of Three Loves” in 1953, “The Girl in the Kremlin” in 1957 and Orson Welles’ 1958 cult classic, “Touch of Evil.”

Former Weezer bassist dead at 40

By Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
updated 4:54 PM EST, Sun October 9, 2011

Mikey Welsh is shown in view taken from his blog.
Mikey Welsh is shown in view taken from his blog.

(CNN) — Mikey Welsh, most famously known as the bassist for the rock band Weezer, died unexpectedly Saturday, according to the band. He was 40.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Darryl Baety, a Chicago police spokesman, said that officers responded at 1:45 p.m. Saturday to a call from the Raffaello Hotel regarding a guest who had been scheduled to check out, but had not.

After first knocking on the door, hotel personnel entered and found someone who was “unresponsive and not breathing,” according to Baety.

Police are conducting a death investigation related to the case, pending autopsy results, Baety said.

According to Welsh’s official website, he was a painter before he made the the shift to music at age 19. A decade later, he had achieved fame as the bassist for the band Weezer, replacing the band’s longtime bassist Matt Sharp.

Welsh was part of the band’s 2001 “Green Album” release, which featured “Hash Pipe.” The single became one of the band’s biggest hits, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard’s Alternative songs chart.

Welsh left the band shortly after, saying he had suffered a nervous breakdown.

The band remembered Welsh as vital chapter to their history and one to never “shy away from the absurd, dangerous or strange,” according to a statement on Weezer’s website.

Weezer plans to play as scheduled Sunday during Chicago’s RIOTfest.

// CNN’s Denise Quan contributed to this report.

Raiders owner Al Davis dead at 82

AP – Sat, Oct 8, 2011

  • In this Dec. 18, 1963 file photo, Al Davis, center, head coach of the American Football …
  • FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2009 file photo, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis smiles during an NFL football news conference at Raiders headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Davis has died, the Oakland Raiders announced Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)FILE – In this Feb. 4, 2009 file photo, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis smiles during …

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell considers longtime Oakland Raiders owner and Hall of Famer Al Davis a “true legend” of the game.

The 82-year-old Davis died at his home in Oakland on Saturday morning, while his beloved team was in Houston preparing to play the Texans on Saturday. That Davis was not with his team was telling as he is believed to have missed only three games since joining the team as coach in 1963.

Davis, one of the most important figures in NFL history, followed his famous “Just Win Baby” motto on and the field and in the courtroom to three Super Bowl titles in a trailblazing career.

“Al Davis’s passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary,” Goodell said. “He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL.”

Davis was best known as a rebel who established a team whose silver-and-black colors and pirate logo symbolized his attitude toward authority, both on the field and off.

It was his rebellious spirit, that willingness to buck the establishment, that helped turn the NFL into the establishment in sports — the most successful sports league in American history.

For decades, his team was one of the most successful in the game, living up to his trademark philosophy of “Just Win Baby.” Since going to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, the Raiders have not had a winning record.

Davis has fired five coaches since then and in recent years those became bizarre spectacles that were the only window into Davis. Once a constant presence at practice, training camp and in the locker room, Davis was rarely seen in public beyond those news conferences where he spent more time disparaging his former coach than praising his new one.

He did not appear at a single training camp practice this summer and missed a game in Buffalo last month. Davis did attend Oakland’s home game last week against New England.

Although he was no longer as public a figure, he was still integrally involved in the team from the draft to negotiating contracts to discussing strategy with his coaches. Coach Hue Jackson has said Davis was unlike any other owner he had worked for in his ability to understand the ins and outs of the game.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to sit and talk football, the X’s and O’s and what it takes to win in this league consistently on a consistent basis, and there’s nothing like working for coach Davis,” Jackson said.

… But amazing. I am so glad I was alive in the world he was in.
t.
Steven P. Jobs, 1955-2011

Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age

//

  • Jim Wilson/The New York Times
  • Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
  • Sal Veder/Associated Press
  • Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
  • Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The death was announced by Apple, the company Mr. Jobs and his high school friend Stephen Wozniak started in 1976 in a suburban California garage. A friend of the family said the cause was complications of pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Jobs had waged a long and public struggle with the disease, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment, introducing new products for a global market in his trademark blue jeans even as he grew gaunt and frail.

He underwent surgery in 2004, received a liver transplant in 2009 and took three medical leaves of absence as Apple’s chief executive before stepping down in August and turning over the helm to Timothy D. Cook, the chief operating officer. When he left, he was still engaged in the company’s affairs, negotiating with another Silicon Valley executive only weeks earlier.

“I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

By then, having mastered digital technology and capitalized on his intuitive marketing sense, Mr. Jobs had largely come to define the personal computer industry and an array of digital consumer and entertainment businesses centered on the Internet. He had also become a very rich man, worth an estimated $8.3 billion.

Tributes to Mr. Jobs flowed quickly on Wednesday evening, in formal statements and in the flow of social networks, with President Obama, technology industry leaders and legions of Apple fans weighing in.

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor,” said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder. “I will miss Steve immensely.”

A Twitter user named Matt Galligan wrote: “R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.”

Eight years after founding Apple, Mr. Jobs led the team that designed the Macintosh computer, a breakthrough in making personal computers easier to use. After a 12-year separation from the company, prompted by a bitter falling-out with his chief executive, John Sculley, he returned in 1997 to oversee the creation of one innovative digital device after another — the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. These transformed not only product categories like music players and cellphones but also entire industries, like music and mobile communications.

During his years outside Apple, he bought a tiny computer graphics spinoff from the director George Lucas and built a team of computer scientists, artists and animators that became Pixar Animation Studios.

Starting with “Toy Story” in 1995, Pixar produced a string of hit movies, won several Academy Awards for artistic and technological excellence, and made the full-length computer-animated film a mainstream art form enjoyed by children and adults worldwide.

Mr. Jobs was neither a hardware engineer nor a software programmer, nor did he think of himself as a manager. He considered himself a technology leader, choosing the best people possible, encouraging and prodding them, and making the final call on product design.

It was an executive style that had evolved. In his early years at Apple, his meddling in tiny details maddened colleagues, and his criticism could be caustic and even humiliating. But he grew to elicit extraordinary loyalty.

“He was the most passionate leader one could hope for, a motivating force without parallel,” wrote Steven Levy, author of the 1994 book “Insanely Great,” which chronicles the creation of the Mac. “Tom Sawyer could have picked up tricks from Steve Jobs.”

“Toy Story,” for example, took four years to make while Pixar struggled, yet Mr. Jobs never let up on his colleagues. “‘You need a lot more than vision — you need a stubbornness, tenacity, belief and patience to stay the course,” said Edwin Catmull, a computer scientist and a co-founder of Pixar. “In Steve’s case, he pushes right to the edge, to try to make the next big step forward.”

Mr. Jobs was the ultimate arbiter of Apple products, and his standards were exacting. Over the course of a year he tossed out two iPhone prototypes, for example, before approving the third, and began shipping it in June 2007.

To his understanding of technology he brought an immersion in popular culture. In his 20s, he dated Joan Baez; Ella Fitzgerald sang at his 30th birthday party. His worldview was shaped by the ’60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had grown up, the adopted son of a Silicon Valley machinist. When he graduated from high school in Cupertino in 1972, he said, ”the very strong scent of the 1960s was still there.”

After dropping out of Reed College, a stronghold of liberal thought in Portland, Ore., in 1972, Mr. Jobs led a countercultural lifestyle himself. He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.

Decades later he flew around the world in his own corporate jet, but he maintained emotional ties to the period in which he grew up. He often felt like an outsider in the corporate world, he said. When discussing the Silicon Valley’s lasting contributions to humanity, he mentioned in the same breath the invention of the microchip and “The Whole Earth Catalog,” a 1960s counterculture publication.

Apple’s very name reflected his unconventionality. In an era when engineers and hobbyists tended to describe their machines with model numbers, he chose the name of a fruit, supposedly because of his dietary habits at the time.

Coming on the scene just as computing began to move beyond the walls of research laboratories and corporations in the 1970s, Mr. Jobs saw that computing was becoming personal — that it could do more than crunch numbers and solve scientific and business problems — and that it could even be a force for social and economic change. And at a time when hobbyist computers were boxy wooden affairs with metal chassis, he designed the Apple II as a sleek, low-slung plastic package intended for the den or the kitchen. He was offering not just products but a digital lifestyle.

He put much stock in the notion of “taste,” a word he used frequently. It was a sensibility that shone in products that looked like works of art and delighted users. Great products, he said, were a triumph of taste, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.”

Regis McKenna, a longtime Silicon Valley marketing executive to whom Mr. Jobs turned in the late 1970s to help shape the Apple brand, said Mr. Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products, “to strip away the excess layers of business, design and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.”

Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.”

Early Interests

Steven Paul Jobs was born in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 1955, and surrendered for adoption by his biological parents, Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali, a graduate student from Syria who became a political science professor. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs.

The elder Mr. Jobs, who worked in finance and real estate before returning to his original trade as a machinist, moved his family down the San Francisco Peninsula to Mountain View and then to Los Altos in the 1960s.

Mr. Jobs developed an early interest in electronics. He was mentored by a neighbor, an electronics hobbyist, who built Heathkit do-it-yourself electronics projects. He was brash from an early age. As an eighth grader, after discovering that a crucial part was missing from a frequency counter he was assembling, he telephoned William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Hewlett spoke with the boy for 20 minutes, prepared a bag of parts for him to pick up and offered him a job as a summer intern.

Mr. Jobs met Mr. Wozniak while attending Homestead High School in neighboring Cupertino. The two took an introductory electronics class there.

The spark that ignited their partnership was provided by Mr. Wozniak’s mother. Mr. Wozniak had graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, when she sent him an article from the October 1971 issue of Esquire magazine. The article, “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” by Ron Rosenbaum, detailed an underground hobbyist culture of young men known as phone phreaks who were illicitly exploring the nation’s phone system.

Mr. Wozniak shared the article with Mr. Jobs, and the two set out to track down an elusive figure identified in the article as Captain Crunch. The man had taken the name from his discovery that a whistle that came in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long-distance calls simply by blowing the whistle next to a phone handset.

Captain Crunch was John Draper, a former Air Force electronic technician, and finding him took several weeks. Learning that the two young hobbyists were searching for him, Mr. Draper had arranged to come to Mr. Wozniak’s Berkeley dormitory room. Mr. Jobs, who was still in high school, had traveled to Berkeley for the meeting. When Mr. Draper arrived, he entered the room saying simply, “It is I!”

Based on information they gleaned from Mr. Draper, Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Jobs later collaborated on building and selling blue boxes, devices that were widely used for making free — and illegal — phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort.

After enrolling at Reed College in 1972, Mr. Jobs left after one semester, but remained in Portland for another 18 months auditing classes. In a commencement address given at Stanford in 2005, he said he had decided to leave college because it was consuming all of his parents’ savings.

Leaving school, however, also freed his curiosity to follow his interests. “I didn’t have a dorm room,” he said in his Stanford speech, “so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”

He returned to Silicon Valley in 1974 and took a job there as a technician at Atari, the video game manufacturer. Still searching for his calling, he left after several months and traveled to India with a college friend, Daniel Kottke, who would later become an early Apple employee. Mr. Jobs returned to Atari that fall. In 1975, he and Mr. Wozniak, then working as an engineer at H.P., began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a hobbyist group that met at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif. Personal computing had been pioneered at research laboratories adjacent to Stanford, and it was spreading to the outside world.

“What I remember is how intense he looked,” said Lee Felsenstein, a computer designer who was a Homebrew member. “He was everywhere, and he seemed to be trying to hear everything people had to say.”

Mr. Wozniak designed the original Apple I computer simply to show it off to his friends at the Homebrew. It was Mr. Jobs who had the inspiration that it could be a commercial product.

In early 1976, he and Mr. Wozniak, using their own money, began Apple with an initial investment of $1,300; they later gained the backing of a former Intel executive, A. C. Markkula, who lent them $250,000. Mr. Wozniak would be the technical half and Mr. Jobs the marketing half of the original Apple I Computer. Starting out in the Jobs family garage in Los Altos, they moved the company to a small office in Cupertino shortly thereafter.

In April 1977, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak introduced Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It created a sensation. Faced with a gaggle of small and large competitors in the emerging computer market, Apple, with its Apple II, had figured out a way to straddle the business and consumer markets by building a computer that could be customized for specific applications.

Sales skyrocketed, from $2 million in 1977 to $600 million in 1981, the year the company went public. By 1983 Apple was in the Fortune 500. No company had ever joined the list so quickly.

The Apple III, introduced in May 1980, was intended to dominate the desktop computer market. I.B.M. would not introduce its original personal computer until 1981. But the Apple III had a host of technical problems, and Mr. Jobs shifted his focus to a new and ultimately short-lived project, an office workstation computer code-named Lisa.

An Apocalyptic Moment

By then Mr. Jobs had made his much-chronicled 1979 visit to Xerox’s research center in Palo Alto, where he saw the Alto, an experimental personal computer system that foreshadowed modern desktop computing. The Alto, controlled by a mouse pointing device, was one of the first computers to employ a graphical video display, which presented the user with a view of documents and programs, adopting the metaphor of an office desktop.

“It was one of those sort of apocalyptic moments,” Mr. Jobs said of his visit in a 1995 oral history interview for the Smithsonian Institution. “I remember within 10 minutes of seeing the graphical user interface stuff, just knowing that every computer would work this way someday. It was so obvious once you saw it. It didn’t require tremendous intellect. It was so clear.”

In 1981 he joined a small group of Apple engineers pursuing a separate project, a lower-cost system code-named Macintosh. The machine was introduced in January 1984 and trumpeted during the Super Bowl telecast by a 60-second commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, that linked I.B.M., then the dominant PC maker, with Orwell’s Big Brother.

A year earlier Mr. Jobs had lured Mr. Sculley to Apple to be its chief executive. A former Pepsi-Cola chief executive, Mr. Sculley was impressed by Mr. Jobs’s pitch: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”

He went on to help Mr. Jobs introduce a number of new computer models, including an advanced version of the Apple II and later the Lisa and Macintosh desktop computers. Through them Mr. Jobs popularized the graphical user interface, which, based on a mouse pointing device, would become the standard way to control computers.

But when the Lisa failed commercially and early Macintosh sales proved disappointing, the two men became estranged and a power struggle ensued, and Mr. Jobs lost control of the Lisa project. The board ultimately stripped him of his operational role, taking control of the Lisa project away from him, and 1,200 Apple employees were laid off. He left Apple in 1985.

“I don’t wear the right kind of pants to run this company,” he told a small gathering of Apple employees before he left, according to a member of the original Macintosh development team. He was barefoot as he spoke, and wearing blue jeans.

That September he announced a new venture, NeXT Inc. The aim was to build a workstation computer for the higher-education market. The next year, the Texas industrialist H. Ross Perot invested $20 million in the effort. But it did not achieve Mr. Jobs’s goals.

Mr. Jobs also established a personal philanthropic foundation after leaving Apple but soon had a change of heart, deciding instead to spend much of his fortune — $10 million — on acquiring Pixar, a struggling graphics supercomputing company owned by the filmmaker George Lucas.

The purchase was a significant gamble; there was little market at the time for computer-animated movies. But that changed in 1995, when the company, with Walt Disney Pictures, released “Toy Story.” That film’s box-office receipts ultimately reached $362 million, and when Pixar went public in a record-breaking offering, Mr. Jobs emerged a billionaire. In 2006, the Walt Disney Company agreed to purchase Pixar for $7.4 billion. The sale made Mr. Jobs Disney’s largest single shareholder, with about 7 percent of the company’s stock.

His personal life also became more public. He had a number of well-publicized romantic relationships, including one with the folk singer Joan Baez, before marrying Laurene Powell. In 1996, his sister Mona Simpson, a novelist, threw a spotlight on her relationship with Mr. Jobs in the novel “A Regular Guy.” The two did not meet until they were adults. The novel centered on a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who bore a close resemblance to Mr. Jobs. It was not an entirely flattering portrait. Mr. Jobs said about a quarter of it was accurate.

“We’re family,” he said of Ms. Simpson in an interview with The New York Times Magazine. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.”

His wife and Ms. Simpson survive him, as do his three children with Ms. Powell, his daughters Eve Jobs and Erin Sienna Jobs and a son, Reed; another daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, from a relationship with Chrisann Brennan; and another sister, Patti Jobs.

Return to Apple

Eventually, Mr. Jobs refocused NeXT from the education to the business market and dropped the hardware part of the company, deciding to sell just an operating system. Although NeXT never became a significant computer industry player, it had a huge impact: a young programmer, Tim Berners-Lee, used a NeXT machine to develop the first version of the World Wide Web at the Swiss physics research center CERN in 1990.

In 1996, after unsuccessful efforts to develop next-generation operating systems, Apple, with Gilbert Amelio now in command, acquired NeXT for $430 million. The next year, Mr. Jobs returned to Apple as an adviser. He became chief executive again in 2000.

Shortly after returning, Mr. Jobs publicly ended Apple’s long feud with its archrival Microsoft, which agreed to continue developing its Office software for the Macintosh and invested $150 million in Apple.

Once in control of Apple again, Mr. Jobs set out to reshape the consumer electronics industry. He pushed the company into the digital music business, introducing first iTunes and then the iPod MP3 player. The music arm grew rapidly, reaching almost 50 percent of the company’s revenue by June 2008.

In 2005, Mr. Jobs announced that he would end Apple’s business relationship with I.B.M. and Motorola and build Macintosh computers based on Intel microprocessors.

His fight with cancer was now publicly known. Apple had announced in 2004 that Mr. Jobs had a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer and that he had undergone successful surgery. Four years later, questions about his health returned when he appeared at a company event looking gaunt. Afterward, he said he had suffered from a “common bug.” Privately, he said his cancer surgery had created digestive problems but insisted they were not life-threatening.

Apple began selling the iPhone in June 2007. Mr. Jobs’s goal was to sell 10 million of the handsets in 2008, equivalent to 1 percent of the global cellphone market. The company sold 11.6 million.

Although smartphones were already commonplace, the iPhone dispensed with a stylus and pioneered a touch-screen interface that quickly set the standard for the mobile computing market. Rolled out with much anticipation and fanfare, iPhone rocketed to popularity; by the end of 2010 the company had sold almost 90 million units.

Although Mr. Jobs took just a nominal $1 salary when he returned to Apple, his compensation became the source of a Silicon Valley scandal in 2006 over the backdating of millions of shares of stock options. But after a company investigation and one by the Securities and Exchange Commission, he was found not to have benefited financially from the backdating and no charges were brought.

The episode did little to taint Mr. Jobs’s standing in the business and technology world. As the gravity of his illness became known, and particularly after he announced he was stepping down, he was increasingly hailed for his genius and true achievement: his ability to blend product design and business market innovation by integrating consumer-oriented software, microelectronic components, industrial design and new business strategies in a way that has not been matched.

If he had a motto, it may have come from “The Whole Earth Catalog,” which he said had deeply influenced him as a young man. The book, he said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005, ends with the admonition “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

“I have always wished that for myself,” he said.

Steve Lohr contributed reporting.

Character actor Charles Napier dies at 75

AP – Thu, Oct 6, 2011

  • In this March 12, 2011 photo, actor and author Charles Napier is shown at an appearance for his book, "Square Jaw and Big Heart," at Russo's Books in Bakersfield, Calif. Napier, a character actor whose granite jaw and toothy grin earned him tough-guy roles in movies like ``Rambo: First Blood Part 2,'' died Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital in California. He was 75. (AP Photo/The Bakersfield Californian, Casey Christie) MAGS OUT, TV OUT, NO SALES. MANDATORY CREDIT

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Character actor Charles Napier, whose granite jaw and toothy grin earned him tough-guy roles in movies like “Rambo: First Blood Part 2,” has died in California at 75.

Longtime friend Dennis Wilson tells the Bakersfield Californian that Napier died Wednesday at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. No other details are being released.

Napier may be best known as the scheming intelligence officer facing Sylvester Stallone in the 1985 “Rambo” sequel.

He’s also remembered as Good Ole Boys front man Tucker McElroy in the 1980 musical comedy film “The Blues Brothers.”

Napier was the judge in 1993’s “Philadelphia,” and he was Lt. Bill Boyle in 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs.”

A.C. Nielsen Jr. dies at 92

AP – Wed, Oct 5, 2011

WINNETKA, Ill. (AP) — Arthur C. Nielsen Jr., who led the company that grew into an international market research firm known for producing the TV ratings known as “the Nielsens,” has died at the age of 92.

Nielsen died Monday in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka. His family says he’d suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

Nielsen joined his father’s company, A.C. Nielsen Co., in 1945 after serving in World War II.

He became the company’s president in 1957 and took over as chairman in 1975 before stepping down in 1983 to become chairman emeritus. In that role, he engineered the company’s sale to Dun & Bradstreet Corp. for $1.3 billion in stock in 1984.

The company later was acquired by VNU, a Dutch publishing company.

Former Seahawks center Tofflemire dies … AP – Thu, Sep 29, 2011

Former Seattle Seahawks center Joe Tofflemire has died of heart failure, according to his brother Paul Tofflemire. He was 46.

 

FILE- In this Nov. 28, 2010 file photo,  Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger looks on during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans  in Houston. Heimerdinger, a veteran assistant in the NFL who coached players including Steve McNair and Vince Young, died Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, while in Mexico to receive experimental cancer treatments. He was 58. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Former Titans assistant Heimerdinger … TERESA M. WALKER – AP Sports Writer – AP – Sat, Oct 1, 2011Mike Heimerdinger, a veteran assistant in the NFL who coached players including Steve McNair, Jay Cutler and Vince Young, has died. He was 58.

 

Singer Trisha Yearwood’s mother dies … CHRIS TALBOTT – AP Entertainment Writer – AP – Sat, Oct 1, 2011

Gwen Yearwood, the mother of country music performer Trisha Yearwood and the co-author of two recently published cooking books with her daughter, has died at age 73

 

Beatles photographer Robert Whitaker … JILL LAWLESS – Associated Press – AP – Sun, Oct 2, 2011

Photographer Robert Whitaker, who shot some of the most famous — and infamous — images of The Beatles, has died at the age of 71.

 

This 2006 photo provided by Union College shows Lee Davenport on the college campus in Schenectady, N.Y.  Davenport, a physicist who developed a radar device for U.S. and allied troops in World War II, died Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 at his home in Greenwich, Conn., He was 95. (AP Photo/Union College)
Lee Davenport, WWII radar developer, … STEPHEN SINGER – Associated Press – AP – Tue, Oct 4, 2011Lee Davenport, a physicist who developed a radar device that helped U.S. and allied troops win key battles in World War II, has died. He was 95.

 

FILE- Scottish folk guitarist Bert Jansch, in this file photo dated June 11, 2009, who is acknowledged to have influenced and inspired a generation of rock guitarists, has died at the age of 67, it is announced Wednesday Oct. 5, 2011. Jansch was a founding member of the influential folk-rock group Pentangle with whom he gave his last public performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London in August 2011. Known for his gentle eloquence on the acoustic guitar, Jansch died in London Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer, his spokesman said. (AP Photo / Ian West, PA, File) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES
Folk legend Bert Jansch dies at 67 GREGORY KATZ – Associated Press – AP – Wed, Oct 5, 2011He was quiet, modest, uncomfortable in the spotlight — not looking for No. 1 hits or commercial ditties.