Jazz singer Sylvia Syms passed away yesterday at the age of 74. She had a heart attack just as she finished a performance at the Algonquin Hotel. Syms was known as the quintessential saloon singer, and foremost among her admirers was Frank Sinatra, who produced and conducted a 1982 album of standards called "Syms By Sinatra." Her one hit was "I could Have Danced All Night," from the 1956 musical "My Fair Lady." Her nightclub career spanned 51 years.
Writer Brendan Gill died Saturday at the age of 83. We'll remember him with a excerpt from a November 1987 interview. He's best known for his work with The New Yorker magazine, for which he was hired in 1936. He wrote 15 books including biographies of Charles Lindberg, Cole Porter, and Tallulah Bankhead, and his best-seller "Here at the New Yorker." He was also an active campaigner for historic preservation in New York City. (REBROADCAST from 11/12/1987)
We remember director Robert Wise, who won Oscars for West Side Story and The Sound of Music. Wise also worked as the editor of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. He died last week at 91. This interview first aired March 7, 1989.
Theodore Solotaroff, founder of The New American Review, died Aug. 8 of complications from pneumonia. He was 79. An influential man in the publishing world, Solotaroff helped writers like Philip Roth achieve recognition.
Gay rights activist Rodger McFarlane was involved in the earliest efforts to combat the transmission of AIDS during the 1980s. McFarlane, who was 54, died May 15. According to his bother, the cause of death was suicide.
Suze Rotolo, who strongly influenced Bob Dylan's songwriting and walked beside him on the album cover for The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, died of lung cancer on Friday. She was 67. Fresh Air remembers Dylan's muse with excerpts from a 2008 interview.