The work of the creative community has been a comfort to almost all of us during the coronavirus pandemic. From books to music, movies/TV to broadcast theatre productions, photographs to journalism, we have all reaped the benefits of the creative works brought to us by many talented creators during this period of uncertainty. With news every day on the rising number of cases, we hold on to the hope of those who have recovered and grieve for those we have lost due to COVID-19 complications. Sadly, we’ve lost many talented creators over the past months, and we want to take some time to pay tribute to a few and what they gave to the world.
Allen Daviau was a cinematographer who worked on E.T., The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun. He was given the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and received five Oscar nominations. Daviau passed away on April 15, 2020 at the age of 77. (CBS News, 2020)
Ann Sullivan was an ink and paint artist who worked on many Disney films, including The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Mulan. In addition to working on art for film and TV, Sullivan taught art to children near her home in California. She passed away on April 13, 2020 at the age of 91. (Slotnik, 2020)
Anthony Causi was a journalist sports photographer who worked for the New York Post. He started with the Post in 1994 as a photo messenger and worked his way to become a full-time journalist photographer “which he called the attainment of a dream.” Causi also often took photos pro bono at area little league events. He passed away April 12, 2020 at the age of 48. (Davidoff, 2020)
Ellis Marsalis Jr was a jazz pianist and teacher. Marsalis was a New Orleans Jazz legend and helped create a Jazz resurgence in the late 20th century. Ellis and his musician sons were named Jazz Masters by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011. He held a master’s degree in music education from Loyola University in New Orleans and ran the jazz studies program at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts for high school students. It was there that he mentored such future stars as Terence Blanchard and Harry Connick Jr. as well as his own children. Marsalis passed away on April 1, 2020 at the age of 85. (Russonello, Levenson, 2020)
John Prine was an Army Veteran and award-winning songwriter. He won a lifetime achievement Grammy earlier this year for his four decade-long career. He worked with fellow musicians Bob Dylan and Bette Midler and his music has been covered by Johnny Cash, Carly Simon, and Miranda Lambert, to name a few. Prine was also an author, actor, record-label owner, two-time Grammy winner, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the recipient of the 2016 PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award. He passed away on April 7, 2020 at the age of 73. (CBS News, 2020)
Josh Wallwork was a costumer for the long running show Law and Order: SVU and the show Madam Secretary. Wallwork also did some work as a photographer. And he had a small business making and selling Renaissance costumes. He passed away on March 26, 2020 at the age of 45. (CBS News, 2020)
Lee Fierro was a stage actress best known for her role as Mrs. Kintner, mother of a boy who is killed by a shark, in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws. Fierro was a resident of Martha’s Vineyard and worked with a local theatre company, Island Theatre Workshop. She appeared and directed in a number of productions and taught hundreds of students. She served as its artistic director for 25 years. She passed away on April 5, 2020 at the age of 91. (CBS News, 2020)
Maria Mercader was a journalist with CBS News. She frequently coordinated CBS News participation in the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists. Mercader won a Business Emmy in 2004 for her work on a CBS Sunday Morning report on computer spam. She passed away on March 29, 2020 at the age of 54. (CBS News, 2020)
Patricia Bosworth was a best-selling author and actress. She has written the biographies of Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando, to name a couple. She starred on Broadway and in the film A Nun’s Story alongside Audrey Hepburn. Bosworth was also a journalist and was a contributor to Vanity Fair since the 1980’s. She passed away on April 2, 2020 at the age of 86. (CBS News, 2020)
Terrence McNally was a playwright and won four Tony Awards. His plays and musicals explored love, creativity and homophobia with themes of family, war and relationships. His work includes The Ritz; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Kiss of the Spider Woman; and Love! Valour! Compassion! In 2019, as he received a lifetime achievement Tony Award, McNally said, “The world needs artists more than ever to remind us what truth and beauty and kindness really are.” He passed away on March 24, 2020 at the age of 81. (CBS News, 2020)
While the world will miss these beautiful souls, we honor the impact they have had on the many lives they touched. In addition to being creators, many of them were teachers, mentors, advocates and friends. Most importantly, they shared their gifts with the world. We can take comfort in knowing that their contributions to the creative community will be around for many more years to come.