Author Topic: Obit Lineup  (Read 221247 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2008, 11:53:52 AM »
Not familiar with his work but, after this obit, I think I'll read a bit more about him...

From IHT:

Quote
Solzhenitsyn, 20th-century oracle, dies
By Michael T. Kaufman
Monday, August 4, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose stubborn, lonely and combative literary struggles gained the force of prophecy as he revealed the heavy afflictions of Soviet Communism in some of the most powerful literary works of the 20th century, died late on Sunday at the age of 89 in Moscow. His son Yermolai said the cause was a heart ailment.

Solzhenitsyn outlived by nearly 17 years the Soviet state and system he had battled through years of imprisonment, ostracism and exile.

Solzhenitsyn had been an obscure, middle-aged, unpublished high school science teacher in a provincial Russian town when he burst onto the literary stage in 1962 with "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." The book, a mold-breaking novel about a prison camp inmate, was a sensation. Suddenly he was being compared to giants of Russian literature like Tolstoy, Dostoyevski and Chekov.

Over the next five decades, Solzhenitsyn's fame spread throughout the world as he drew upon his experiences of totalitarian duress to write evocative novels like "The First Circle" and "The Cancer Ward" and historical works like "The Gulag Archipelago."

"Gulag" was a monumental account of the Soviet labor camp system, a chain of prisons that by Solzhenitsyn's calculation some 60 million people had entered during the 20th century. The book led to his expulsion from his native land. George Kennan, the American diplomat, described it as "the greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be leveled in modern times."

Solzhenitsyn was heir to a morally focused and often prophetic Russian literary tradition, and he looked the part. With his stern visage, lofty brow and full, Old Testament beard, he recalled Tolstoy while suggesting a modern-day Jeremiah, denouncing the evils of the Kremlin and later the mores of the West. He returned to Russia and deplored what he considered its spiritual decline, but in the last years of his life he embraced President Vladimir Putin as a restorer of Russia's greatness.

In almost half a century, more than 30 million of his books have been sold worldwide and translated into some 40 languages. In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Solzhenitsyn owed his initial success to the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's decision to allow "Ivan Denisovich" to be published in a popular journal. Khrushchev believed its publication would advance the liberal line he had promoted since his secret speech in 1956 on the crimes of Stalin.

But soon after the story appeared, Khrushchev was replaced by hard-liners, and they campaigned to silence its author. They stopped publication of his new works, denounced him as a traitor and confiscated his manuscripts.

A Giant and a Victim

But their iron grip could not contain Solzhenitsyn's reach. By then his works were appearing outside the Soviet Union, in many languages, and he was being compared not only to Russia's literary giants but also to Stalin's literary victims, writers like Anna Akhmatova, Iosip Mandleshtam and Boris Pasternak.

At home, the Kremlin stepped up its campaign by expelling Solzhenitsyn from the Writer's Union. He fought back. He succeeded in having microfilms of his banned manuscripts smuggled out of the Soviet Union. He addressed petitions to government organs, wrote open letters, rallied support among friends and artists, and corresponded with people abroad. They turned his struggles into one of the most celebrated cases of the cold war period.

Hundreds of well-known intellectuals signed petitions against his silencing; the names of left-leaning figures like Jean-Paul Sartre carried particular weight with Moscow. Other supporters included Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, W.H. Auden, Gunther Grass, Heinrich Boll, Yukio Mishima, Carlos Fuentes and, from the United States, Arthur Miller, John Updike, Truman Capote and Kurt Vonnegut. All joined a call for an international cultural boycott of the Soviet Union.

That position was confirmed when he was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in the face of Moscow's protests. The Nobel jurists cited him for "the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature."

Solzhenitsyn dared not travel to Stockholm to accept the prize for fear that the Soviet authorities would prevent him from returning. But his acceptance address was circulated widely. He recalled a time when "in the midst of exhausting prison camp relocations, marching in a column of prisoners in the gloom of bitterly cold evenings, with strings of camp lights glimmering through the darkness, we would often feel rising in our breast what we would have wanted to shout out to the whole world — if only the whole world could have heard us."

He wrote that while an ordinary man was obliged "not to participate in lies," artists had greater responsibilities. "It is within the power of writers and artists to do much more: to defeat the lie!"

By this time, Solzhenitsyn had completed his own massive attempt at truthfulness, "The Gulag Archipelago." In more than 300,000 words, he told the history of the Gulag prison camps, whose operations and rationale and even existence were subjects long considered taboo.

Publishers in Paris and New York had secretly received the manuscript on microfilm. But wanting the book to appear first in the Soviet Union, Solzhenitsyn asked them to put off publishing it. Then, in September 1973, he changed his mind. He had learned that the Soviet spy agency, the KGB, had unearthed a buried copy of the book after interrogating his typist, Elizaveta Voronyanskaya, and that she had hung herself soon afterward.

He went on the offensive. With his approval, the book was speedily published in Paris, in Russian, just after Christmas. The Soviet government counterattacked with a spate of articles, including one in Pravda, the state-run newspaper, headlined "The Path of a Traitor." He and his family were followed, and he received death threats.

On Feb. 12, 1974, he was arrested. The next day, he was told that he was being deprived of his citizenship and deported. On his arrest, he had been careful to take with him a threadbare cap and a shabby sheepskin coat that he had saved from his years in exile. He wore them both as he was marched onto an Aeroflot flight to Frankfurt. .

Solzhenitsyn was welcomed by the German novelist Heinrich Böll. Six weeks after his expulsion, Solzhenitsyn was joined by his wife, Natalia Svetlova, and three sons. She had played a critical role in organizing his notes and transmitting his manuscripts. After a short stay in Switzerland, the family moved to the United States, settling in the hamlet of Cavendish, Vermont

There he kept mostly to himself for some 18 years, protected from sightseers by neighbors, who posted a sign saying, "No Directions to the Solzhenitsyns." He kept writing and thinking a great deal about Russia and hardly at all about his new environment, so certain was he that he would return to his homeland one day.

His rare public appearances could turn into hectoring jeremiads. Delivering the commencement address at Harvard in 1978, he called the country of his sanctuary spiritually weak and mired in vulgar materialism. Americans, he said, speaking in Russian through a translator, were cowardly. Few were willing to die for their ideals, he said. He condemned both the United States government and American society for its "hasty" capitulation in Vietnam. And he criticized the country's music as intolerable and attacked its unfettered press, accusing it of violations of privacy.

Many in the West did not know what to make of the man. He was perceived as a great writer and hero who had defied the Russian authorities. Yet he seemed willing to lash out at everyone else as well — democrats, secularists, capitalists, liberals and consumers.

David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, who has written extensively about the Soviet Union and visited Solzhenitsyn, wrote in 2001: "In terms of the effect he has had on history, Solzhenitsyn is the dominant writer of the 20th century. Who else compares? Orwell? Koestler? And yet when his name comes up now, it is more often than not as a freak, a monarchist, an anti-Semite, a crank, a has been."

In the 1970s, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned President Gerald Ford to avoid seeing Solzhenitsyn. "Solzhenitsyn is a notable writer, but his political views are an embarrassment even to his fellow dissidents," Kissinger wrote in a memo. "Not only would a meeting with the president offend the Soviets, but it would raise some controversy about Solzhenitsyn's views of the United States and its allies." Ford followed the advice.

The writer Susan Sontag recalled a conversation about Solzhenitsyn between her and Joseph Brodsky, the Russian poet who had followed Solzhenitsyn into forced exile and who would also become a Nobel laureate. "We were laughing and agreeing about how we thought Solzhenitsyn's views on the United States, his criticism of the press, and all the rest were deeply wrong, and on and on," she said. "And then Joseph said: 'But you know, Susan, everything Solzhenitsyn says about the Soviet Union is true. Really, all those numbers — 60 million victims — it's all true.' "

Ivan Denisovich

In the autumn of 1961, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a 43-year-old high school teacher of physics and astronomy in Ryazan, a city some 70 miles south of Moscow. He had been there since 1956, when his sentence of perpetual exile in a dusty region of Khazakstan was suspended. Aside from his teaching duties, he was writing and rewriting stories he had conceived while confined in prisons and labor camps since 1944.

One story, a short novel, was "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," an account of a single day in an icy prison camp written in the voice of an inmate named Ivan Denisovich Shukov, a bricklayer. With little sentimentality, he recounts the trials and sufferings of "zeks," as the prisoners were known, peasants who were willing to risk punishment and pain as they seek seemingly small advantages like a few more minutes before a fire. He also reveals their survival skills, their loyalty to their work brigade and their pride.

The day ends with the prisoner in his bunk. "Shukov felt pleased with his life as he went to sleep," Solzhenitsyn wrote. Shukov was pleased because, among other things, he had not been put in an isolation cell, and his brigade had avoided a work assignment in a place unprotected from the bitter wind, and he had swiped some extra gruel, and had been able to buy a bit of tobacco from another prisoner.

"The end of an unclouded day. Almost a happy one," Solzhenitsyn wrote, adding: "Just one of the 3,653 days of his sentence, from bell to bell. The extra three days were for leap years."

Solzhenitsyn typed the story single spaced, using both sides to save paper. He sent one copy to Lev Kopelev, an intellectual with whom he had shared a cell 16 years earlier. Kopelev, who later became a well known dissident, realized that under Khrushchev's policies of liberalization, it might be possible to have the story published by Novy Mir, or The New World, the most prestigious of the Soviet Union's so-called thick literary and cultural journals. Kopelev and his colleagues steered the manuscript around lower editors who might have blocked its publication and took it to Aleksandr Tvardovsky, the editor and a Politburo member who backed Khrushchev.

On reading the manuscript, Tvardovsky summoned Solzhenitsyn from Ryazan. "You have written a marvelous thing," he told him. "You have described only one day, and yet everything there is to say about prison has been said." He likened the story to Tolstoy's moral tales. Other editors compared it to Dostoyevski's "House of the Dead," which the author had based on his own experience of incarceration in czarist times. Tvardovsky offered Solzhenitsyn a contract worth more than twice his teacher's annual salary, but he cautioned that he was not certain he could publish the story.

Tvardovsky was eventually able to get Khrushchev himself to read "A Day in the Life." Khrushchev was impressed, and by mid-October 1962, the presidium of the Politburo took up the question of whether to allow it to be published. The presidium ultimately agreed, and in his biography "Solzhenitsyn" (Norton, 1985), Michael Scammell wrote that Khrushchev defended the decision and was reported to have declared: "There's a Stalinist in each of you; there's even a Stalinist in me. We must root out this evil."

The novel appeared in Novy Mir in early 1963. The critic Kornei Chukovsky pronounced the work "a literary miracle." Grigori Baklanov, a respected novelist and writer about World War II, declared that the story was one of those rare creations after which "it is impossible to go on writing as one did before."

Novy Mir ordered extra printings, and every copy was sold. A book edition and an inexpensive newspaper version also vanished from the shelves.

Solzhenitsyn was not the first to write about the camps. As early as 1951, Gustav Herling, a Pole, had published "A World Apart," about the three years he spent in a labor camp on the White Sea. Some Soviet writers had typed accounts of their own experiences, and these pages and their carbon copies were passed from reader to reader in a clandestine, self-publishing effort called zamizdat. Given the millions who had been forced into the gulag, few families could have been unaware of the camp experiences of relatives or friends. But few had had access to these accounts. "A Day in the Life" changed that.

Born With the Soviet Union

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born in the Caucasus spa town of Kislovodsk on Dec. 11, 1918, a year after the Soviet Union arose from revolution. His father, Isaaki, had been a Russian artillery officer on the German front and married to Taissa Shcherback by the brigade priest. Shortly after he was demobilized and six months before his son's birth, he was killed in a hunting accident. The young widow took the child to Rostov-on-Don, where she reared him while working as a typist and stenographer. By Solzhenitsyn's account, he and his mother lived in a dilapidated hut. Still, her class origins — she was the daughter of a Ukrainian land owner — were considered suspect, as was her knowledge of English and French. Solzhenitsyn remembered her burying his father's three war medals because they could indicate reactionary beliefs.

He was religious. When he was a child, older boys once ripped a cross from his neck. Nonetheless, at 12, though the Communists repudiated religion, he joined the Young Pioneers and later became a member of Komsomol, the Communist youth organization.

He was a good student with an aptitude for mathematics, though from adolescence he imagined becoming a writer. In 1941, a few days before Germany attacked Russia to expand World War II into Soviet territory, he graduated from Rostov University with a degree in physics and math. A year earlier, he had married Natalia Reshetovskaya, a chemist. When hostilities began, he joined the army and was assigned to look after horses and wagons before being transferred to artillery school. He spent three years in combat as a commander of a reconnaissance battery.

In February 1945, as the war in Europe drew to a close, he was arrested on the East Prussian front by agents of Smersh, the Soviet spy agency. The evidence against him was found in a letter to a school friend in which he referred to Stalin — disrespectfully, the authorities said — as "the man with the mustache." Though he was a loyal Communist, he was sentenced to eight years in a labor camp. It was his entry into the vast network of punitive institutions that he would later name the Gulag Archipelago, after the Russian acronym for the Main Administration of Camps.

His penal journey began with stays in two prisons in Moscow. Then he was transferred to a camp nearby, where he moved timbers, and then to another, called New Jerusalem, where he dug clay. From there he was taken to a camp called Kaluga Gate, where he suffered a moral and spiritual breakdown after equivocating in his response to a warden's demand that he report on fellow inmates. Though he never provided information, he referred to his nine months there as the low point in his life.

After brief stays in several other institutions, Solzhenitsyn was moved to Special Prison No. 16 on the outskirts of Moscow on July 9, 1947. This was a so-called sharashka, an institution for inmates who were highly trained scientists and whose forced labor involved advanced scientific research. He was put there because of his gift for mathematics, which he credited with saving his life. "Probably I would not have survived eight years of the camps if as a mathematician I had not been assigned for three years to a sharashka." His experiences at No. 16 provided the basis for his novel "The First Circle," which was not published outside the Soviet Union until 1968. While incarcerated at the research institute, he formed close friendships with Kopelev and another inmate, Dmitry Panin, and later modeled the leading characters of "The First Circle" on them.

Granted relative freedom within the institute, the three would meet each night to carry on intellectual discussions and debate. During the day, Solzhenitsyn was assigned to work on an electronic voice-recognition project with applications toward coding messages. In his spare time, he began to write for himself: poems, sketches and outlines of books.

He also tended toward outspokenness, and it soon undid him. After scorning the scientific work of the colonel who headed the institute, Solzhenitsyn was banished to a desolate penal camp in Kazakhstan called Ekibastuz. It would become the inspiration for "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich."

At Ekibastaz, any writing would be seized as contraband. So he devised a method that enabled him to retain even long sections of prose. After seeing Lithuanian Catholic prisoners fashion rosaries out of beads made from chewed bread, he asked them to make a similar chain for him, but with more beads. In his hands, each bead came to represent a passage that he would repeat to himself until he could say it without hesitation. Only then would he move on to the next bead. He later wrote that by the end of his prison term, he had committed to memory 12,000 lines in this way.

'Perpetual Exile'

On Feb. 9, 1953, his term in the camps officially ended. On March 6, he was sent farther east, arriving in Kok-Terek, a desert settlement, in time to hear the announcement of Stalin's death broadcast over loudspeakers in the village square. It was here that Solzhenitsyn was ordered to spend his term of "perpetual exile."

He taught in a local school and secretly wrote poems, plays and sketches with no hope of having them published. He also began corresponding with his former wife, who during his incarceration had divorced him. He was bothered by stomach pains, and when he was able to visit a regional clinic, doctors found a large cancerous tumor.

His life as a restricted pariah struggling with the disease would lead to his novel "The Cancer Ward," which also first appeared outside the Soviet Union, in 1969. He finally managed to get to a cancer clinic in the city of Tashkent and later described his desperation there in a short story, "The Right Hand."

"I was like the sick people all around me, and yet I was different," he wrote. "I had fewer rights than they had and was forced to be more silent. People came to visit them, and their one concern, their one aim in life, was to get well again. But if I recovered, it would be almost pointless: I was 35 years of age, and yet in that spring I had no one I could call my own in the whole world. I did not even own a passport, and if I were to recover, I should have to leave this green, abundant land and go back to my desert, where I had been exiled 'in perpetuity. ' There I was under open surveillance, reported on every fortnight, and for a long time the local police had not even allowed me, a dying man, to go away for treatment."

After acquiring medical treatment and resorting to folk remedies, Solzhenitsyn did recover. In April 1956, a letter arrived informing him that his period of internal exile had been lifted and that he was free to move. In December, he spent the holidays with his former wife, and in February 1957, the two remarried. He then joined her in Ryazan, where Natalia Reshetovskaya headed the chemistry department of an agricultural college. Meanwhile, a rehabilitation tribunal invalidated his original sentence and found that he had remained "a Soviet patriot." He resumed teaching and writing, both new material as well as old, reworking some of the lines he had once stored away as he fingered his beads.

Twenty-two months elapsed between the publication of "Ivan Denisovich" and the fall of Khrushchev. Early in that period, the journal Novy Mir was able to follow up its initial success with Solzhenitsyn by publishing three more short novels by him in 1963. These would be the last of his works to be legally distributed in his homeland until the Soviet Union began to collapse in 1989.

When Leonid Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev as party leader in October 1964, it was apparent that Solzhenitsyn was being silenced. In May 1967, in an open letter to the Congress of the Soviet Writers Union, he urged that delegates "demand and ensure the abolition of all censorship, open or hidden."

He told them that manuscripts of "The First Circle" and "The Cancer Ward" had been confiscated, that for three years he and his work had been libeled through an orchestrated media campaign, and that he had been prevented from even giving public readings. "Thus," he wrote, "my work has been finally smothered, gagged, and slandered."

He added, "No one can bar the road to truth, and to advance its cause I am prepared to accept even death."

The letter touched of a battle within the writers union and in broader intellectual and political circles, pitting Solzhenitsyn's defenders against those allied with the party's hard-line leadership. Two years later, on Nov. 4, 1969, the tiny Ryazan branch of the U.S.S.R. Writers Union voted five to one to expel Solzhenitsyn. The decision ignited further furor at home. In the West, it intensified a wave of anti-Soviet sentiment that had been generated in 1968 when Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress the liberal reforms of the Prague spring.

The conflict grew 11 months later with the announcement that Solzhenitsyn had won the Nobel Prize for literature. The Soviet press responded with accusations that the award had been engineered by "reactionary circles for anti-Soviet purposes." One newspaper belittled the author as " a run of the mill writer"; another said it was "a sacrilege" to mention his name with the "creators of Russian and Soviet classics."

But there were also Russians willing to defend Solzhenitsyn. The eminent cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich wrote to the editors of Pravda, Izvestia, and other leading newspapers praising the writer. Rostropovich, who had taken some risk in inviting Solzhenitsyn to live at his dacha near Moscow for several years, suffered official disfavor after his letter was published abroad.

Even greater risks were taken by the inmates of the Potma Labor camp. They smuggled out congratulations to Solzhenitsyn, expressing admiration for his "courageous creative work, upholding the sense of human dignity and exposing the trampling of the human soul and the destruction of human values."

Private Turmoil

At the time, Solzhenitsyn's private life was in turmoil. As news of the prize was announced, his marriage was dissolving. Two years earlier he had met Natalia Svetlova, a mathematician who was involved in typing and circulating samizdat literature, and they became drawn to each other. As Solzhenitsyn explained, "She simply joined me in my struggle and we went side by side." He asked his wife, Natalia Reshetovskaya, for a divorce. But she refused, and continued to do so for several years. At one point, shortly after he had won the prize, she attempted suicide, and he had to rush her to a hospital, where she was revived.

In the meantime, Natalia Svetlova gave birth to Yermolai and Ignat, Solzhenitsyn's two oldest sons. Finally, in March 1973, Natalia Reshetovskaya consented to a divorce. Soon afterward, Solzhenitsyn and Natalia Svetlova were married in an Orthodox church near Moscow.

His skirmishes with the state only intensified. While the authorities kept him from publishing, he kept writing and speaking out, eliciting threats by mail and phone. He slept with a pitchfork beside his bed. Finally, government agents who had tried to isolate and intimidate him arrested him, took him to the airport and deported him. Solzhenitsyn believed his stay in the United States would be temporary. "In a strange way, I not only hope, I am inwardly convinced that I shall go back," he told the BBC. "I live with that conviction. I mean my physical return, not just my books. And that contradicts all rationality."

With that goal, he lived like a recluse in rural Vermont, paying little attention to his surroundings as he kept writing about Russia, in Russian, with Russian readers in mind.

"He wrote, ate, and slept and that was about all," Remnick wrote in 1994 after visiting the Solzhenitsyn family in Cavendish. "For him to accept a telephone call was an event; he rarely left his 50 acres." In contrast to the rest of his family, he never became an American citizen.

His children — a third son, Stepan, had been born six months before Solzhenitsyn was deported — went to local schools, but they began their day with prayers in Russian for Russia's liberation, and their mother gave them Russian lessons. She also designed the pages and set the type for the 20 volumes of her husband's work that were being produced in Russian by the YMCA Press in Paris. And she administered a fund to help political prisoners and their families. Solzhenitsyn had donated to the fund all royalties from "The Gulag Archipelago," by far his best-selling book.

As for the author, he would head each morning for the writing house, a wing the Solzhenitsyns had added to the property. There he devoted himself to a gigantic work of historical fiction that eventually ran to more than 5,000 pages in four volumes. The work, called "The Red Wheel," focused on the revolutionary chaos that had spawned Bolshevism and set the stage for modern Russian history. It has been compared, at least in it's sweep and intentions, with Tolstoy's "War and Peace."

Solzhenitsyn started work on the first volume, "August 1914," in 1969, though he said he had begun thinking about the project before World War II, when he was a student in Rostov. "August 1914" was spirited out of the Soviet Union and published in Paris before Solzhenitsyn's expulsion.

He believed that his account, which challenged Soviet dogma about the founding period, was as iconoclastic as his earlier writings about the gulag.

In the United States, "August 1914" reached No. 2 on best-seller lists, but the subsequent volumes, "November 1916," "March 1917," and "April 1917," all completed in Cavendish, have not been widely bought or read.

Solzhenitsyn was displeased by the Russian reaction to "The Red Wheel," which he spoke of as the centerpiece of his creative life. He expressed the hope that it would gain importance with time.

Aloof in America

In Solzhenitsyn's 18 years in Vermont, he never warmed to Americans beyond his Cavendish neighbors. On the eve of his return to Russia in 1994, he acknowledged he had been aloof. "Instead of secluding myself here and writing 'The Red Wheel,' I suppose I could have spent time making myself likable to the West," he told Remnick. "The only problem is that I would have had to drop my way of life and my work."

But even when he stepped outside Cavendish, as he did when he addressed the Harvard graduates in 1978, his condemnations of American politics, press freedoms and and social mores struck many as insensitive, haughty and snobbish.

There were those who described him as reactionary, as an unreconstructed Slavophile, a Russian nationalist, undemocratic and authoritarian. Olga Carlisle, a writer who had helped spirit the manuscript of "The Gulag Archipelago" out of Moscow but who was no longer speaking to Solzhenitsyn, wrote in Newsweek that the Harvard speech had been intended for a Russian audience, not an American one.

"His own convictions are deeply rooted in the Russian spirit, which is untempered by the civilizing influences of a democratic tradition," Carlisle said. And Czeslaw Milosz, generally admiring of his fellow Nobel laureate, wrote, "Like the Russian masses, he, we may assume, has strong authoritarian tendencies."

Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia on May 27, 1994, first landing in the Siberian northeast, in Magadan, the former heart of the Gulag. On arrival, he bent down to touch the soil in memory of the victims.

He flew on to Vladivostok, where he and his family began a two-month journey by private railroad car across Russia, to see what his post-Communist country now looked like. The BBC was on hand to film the entire passage and pay for it.

On the first of 17 stops, his judgment was already clear. His homeland, he said, was "tortured, stunned, altered beyond recognition." As he traveled on, encountering hearty crowds, signing books and meeting dignitaries as well as ordinary people, his gloom deepened. And after settling into a new home on the edge of Moscow, he began to voice his pessimism, deploring the crime, corruption, collapsing services, faltering democracy and what he felt to be the spiritual decline of Russia.

In Vermont, he had never warmed to Mikhail Gorbachev and his reform policies of perestroika He thought they were the last-ditch tactics of a leader defending a system that Solzhenitsyn had long known to be doomed. For a while he was impressed by Boris N. Yeltsin, Russia's first freely elected leader, but then turned against him. Yeltsin, he said, had failed to defend the interests of ethnic Russians, who had become vulnerable foreign minorities in the newly independent countries that had so suddenly been sheared off from the Soviet Union. Later, he criticized the advent of Vladimir Putin as antidemocratic.

Russians initially greeted Solzhenitsyn with high hopes. On the eve of his return, a poll in St. Petersburg showed him to be the favorite choice for president. But he soon made it clear that he had no wish to take on a political role in influencing Russian society, and his reception soon turned tepid.

Few Russians were reading "The Red Wheel." The books were said to be too long for young readers.

Michael Specter, then The New York Times correspondent in Moscow, observed, "Leading intellectuals here consider his oratory hollow, his time past and his mission unclear."

Nationalists, who had once hoped for his blessing, were alienated by his rejection. Democratic reformers, who wanted his backing, were offended by his aloofness and criticism of them. Old Communists reviled him as they always had.

In October 1994, Solzhenitsyn addressed Russia's Parliament. His complaints and condemnations had not abated. "This is not a democracy, but an oligarchy," he declared. "Rule by the few." He spoke for an hour, and when he finished, there was only a smattering of applause.

Solzhenitsyn started appearing on television twice a week as the host of a 15-minute show called "A Meeting With Solzhenitsyn." Most times he veered into condemnatory monologues that left his less outspoken guests with little to do but look on. Alessandra Stanley, writing about the program for The Times, said Solzhenitsyn came across "as a combination of Charlie Rose and Moses." After receiving poor ratings, the program was canceled a year after it was started.

As the century turned, Solzhenitsyn continued to write. In a 2001 book, he confronted the relationship of Russians and Jews, a subject that some critics had long contended he had ignored or belittled in his fiction. A few accused him of anti-Semitism. Irving Howe, the literary critic, did not go that far but maintained that in "August 1914," Solzhenitsyn was dismissive of Jewish concerns and gave insufficient weight to pogroms and other persecution of the Jews. Others noted that none of the prisoners in "Ivan Denisovich" were definitively identified as a Jew, and the one whose Jewish identity was subtly hinted at was the one who had the most privileges and was protected from the greatest rigors.

Remnick defended Solzhenitsyn, saying he "in fact, is not anti-Semitic; his books are not anti-Semitic, and he is not, in his personal relations, anti-Jewish; Natalia's mother is Jewish, and not a few of his friends are, too."

In the final years of his life,, Solzhenitsyn had spoken approvingly of a "restoration" of Russia under Vladimir Putin, and was criticized in some quarters as increasingly nationalist.

In an interview last year with Der Spiegel, Solzhenitsyn said that Russians' view of the West as a "knight of democracy" had been shattered by the NATO bombing of Serbia, an event he called "a grave disillusion, a crushing of ideals." He dismissed Western democracy-building efforts, telling the Times of London in 2005 that democracy "is not worth a brass farthing if it is installed by bayonet."

In 2007, he accepted a State Prize from then-President Putin — after refusing, on principle, similar prizes from Gorbachev and from Yeltsin. Putin, he said in the Der Spiegel interview, "inherited a ransacked and bewildered country, with a poor and demoralized people. And he started to do what was possible — a slow and gradual restoration."

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15494
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2008, 12:03:32 PM »
My copy of Cancer Ward is sitting right here in my office!  It is a fantastic book that gives real insight into cold war era social policy in the Soviet Union... good stuff.
8=o tation

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2008, 02:40:51 PM »
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/08/police-call-pub.html


Quote
   

Gene Costin       
COSTIN, Gene Born in Louisville, KY November 25, 1927. Gene Costin moved with his parents at the age of 12 to Los Angeles and loved this community. He lived a full and accomplished life. As a young man Gene devolped interests in politics and astronomy and closely followed developments in both areas throughout his life. He was a passionate civil libertarian and supporter of many liberal causes and other charities. He was well known in the two-way radio communications business and renowned to radio hobbyists nationwide for Police Call, which he published under the name Gene C. Hughes. After retirement he served long hours as a volunteer at the LAPD, for which he received a Volunteer of the Year award from the State of California. He was loved and will be missed by a wonderful family- his devoted wife Mitzi, three children, and their spouses-Cathy Costin (Mitchell Reback), Robert Costin (Yves Yarborox), and John Costin (Rachel Phipps). He was proud of his four grandchildren, Isaac Reback, Mia Reback, Silas Phipps-Costin, and Judah Phipps-Costin, and he adored his dog Murray. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Tower Cancer Research Foundation or a charity of your choice. Services will be private at Gene's request.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #48 on: August 09, 2008, 08:21:44 PM »
shit...this is a surprise.


Quote
'Original King' comic actor Bernie Mac dies

    * Story Highlights
    * 'Original King of Comedy,' 50, dies after bout with pneumonia
    * Mac known for self-named TV series, movie roles, standup act
    * He turned tough Chicago upbringing into material for his act
    * Films included 'Ocean's' series, 'Bad Santa,' 'Charlie's Angels'

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Bernie Mac, the actor and comedian who teamed up in the casino heist caper "Ocean's Eleven" and gained a prestigious Peabody Award for his sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show," died Saturday at age 50.

"Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

Mac's brand of comedy caught flak when he was heckled during a surprise appearance at a July fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama.

Toward the end of a 10-minute standup routine, Mac joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity, and used occasional crude language. The performance earned him a rebuke from Obama's campaign. VideoWatch how Steve Harvey remembers Bernie Mac »

But despite controversy or difficulties, in his words, Mac was always a performer.

"Wherever I am, I have to play," he said in 2002. "I have to put on a good show."

Mac worked his way to Hollywood success from an impoverished upbringing on Chicago's South Side. He began doing standup as a child, and his film career started with a small role as a club doorman in the Damon Wayans comedy "Mo' Money" in 1992. In 1996, he appeared in the Spike Lee drama "Get on the Bus."

He was one of "The Original Kings of Comedy" in the 2000 documentary of that title that brought a new generation of black standup comedy stars to a wider audience.

"The majority of his core fan base will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac ... he gave them their money's worth," Steve Harvey, one of his co-stars in "Original Kings," said Saturday.

Mac went on to star in the hugely popular "Ocean's Eleven" franchise with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

Comedian Carl Reiner, who also appeared in "Ocean's Eleven" and its two sequels, said Saturday that he was "in utter shock," because he thought Mac was improving. "He was just so alive. I can't believe he's gone," he said. iReport.com: Share your appreciation for Bernie Mac

Reiner told KNX-AM in Los Angeles that other comics had talked to the audience as Mac did on "The Bernie Mac Show," but "he took it to a new level."

"It was such a popular show because of his bigger-than-life persona," Reiner said.

His turn with Ashton Kutcher in 2005's "Guess Who" topped the box office. It was a comedy remake of the classic Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn drama "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" with Mac as the black dad who's shocked that his daughter is marrying a white man.

Mac also had starring roles in "Bad Santa," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "Transformers."

The comedian drew critical and popular acclaim with his Fox television series "The Bernie Mac Show," which aired more than 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006.

The series about a man's adventures raising his sister's three children won a Peabody Award in 2002. At the time, judges wrote they chose the sitcom for transcending "race and class while lifting viewers with laughter, compassion -- and cool."

In real life, he was very much like his character on that series, his daughter, Je'niece Childress, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

"He was the king of his household," Childress said in Chicago, describing Mac as "a loving grandfather" to her daughter, his only grandchild.

"The Bernie Mac Show" garnered Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Mac.

"But television handcuffs you, man," he said in 2001. "Now everyone telling me what I CAN'T do, what I CAN say, what I SHOULD do, and asking, 'Are blacks gonna be mad at you? Are whites gonna accept you?"'

He also was nominated for a Grammy award for best comedy album in 2001 along with his "The Original Kings of Comedy" co-stars, Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer.

Chicago music producer Carolyn Albritton said she was Bernie Mac's first manager, having met him in 1991 at Chicago's Cotton Club, where she hosted an open-mike night.

"From very early on, I thought he was destined for success," Albritton said Saturday. "He never lost track of where he came from, and he'd often use real life experiences, his family, his friends, in his routine. After he made it, he stayed a very humble man. His family was the most important thing in the world to him."

In 2007, Mac told David Letterman on CBS' "Late Show" that he planned to retire soon.

"I'm going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit," Mac told Letterman. "I missed a lot of things, you know. I was a street performer for two years. I went into clubs in 1977."

Mac was born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough on October 5, 1957, in Chicago. He grew up on the city's South Side, living with his mother and grandparents. His grandfather was the deacon of a Baptist church.

In his 2004 memoir, "Maybe You Never Cry Again," Mac wrote about having a poor childhood -- eating bologna for dinner -- and a strict, no-nonsense upbringing.

"I came from a place where there wasn't a lot of joy," Mac said in 2001. "I decided to try to make other people laugh when there wasn't a lot of things to laugh about."

Mac's mother died of cancer when he was 16. In his book, Mac said she was a support for him and told him he would surprise everyone when he grew up.

"Woman believed in me," he wrote. "She believed in me long before I believed."

Offline Tatertots

  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 10038
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2008, 12:51:30 AM »
Yeah, fuck. I watched some of his early stand-up and, damn, he was good. I wish I had paid more attention to his early stuff. I didn't like his current work too much.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #50 on: August 10, 2008, 09:07:37 AM »
Quote
SUFFOLK, Virginia (AP) -- Anthony J. Russo, a researcher who helped leak the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers to the media and prompted wider public questioning of the war, has died, police said.

Russo, 71, died in his native Suffolk on Wednesday, police records technician Susan Hart said Sunday. The cause of death was not immediately made public.

The case that became known as the Pentagon Papers helped put the Vietnam War on trial.

It began when Daniel Ellsberg, a top military analyst disillusioned with American policy, decided to release a top-secret, 47-volume Defense Department study of the U.S. role in Indochina over three decades. Russo helped him reproduce and distribute copies of the study.

Ellsberg first offered the study to several members of Congress and government officials before deciding to leak it to newspapers. His action was branded by President Richard Nixon as treason.

The government initially tried to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers, first in The New York Times and then in The Washington Post, prompting a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision barring prior restraint of free expression.

Ellsberg and Russo were subsequently charged with espionage, theft and conspiracy for the leak. As co-defendants, they subsequently went on trial in Los Angeles, where the papers had been copied.

But in 1973, a federal judge dismissed the case, ruling that the government was guilty of misconduct, including a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's Beverly Hills psychiatrist denounced as having been orchestrated by White House officials seeking to discredit him.

The Times reported on its Web site Sunday that Russo "chafed being called the 'Xerox aide"' because of his long nights spent copying and reproducing the classified study's thousands of pages.

Russo, a Rand Corp. researcher, visited Vietnam for a study involving interrogating Viet Cong prisoners. He came back radicalized.

"I knew what I was told about the war was totally false," he said.

Ellsberg met Russo in Saigon in 1965 and they were both troubled by what they saw during their research there.

"In 1968 I came back and Dan was across the hall at Rand," Russo recalled. "He had been a total hawk in Vietnam. But everything about him seemed shattered. It was as if he was trying to grow himself back. He was going through a metamorphosis. ... He was very tortured. There was no way he could justify the war anymore."

Ellsberg went on to become an anti-war icon. Russo, retired as a researcher for Los Angeles County, subsequently devoted himself to anti-nuclear issues and led Persian Gulf War protests.

Ellsberg mourned Russo's death in a posting on an anti-war blog linked to his official Web site. He called him a courageous collaborator.

"I knew that he was the one person with the combination of guts and passionate concern about the war who would take the risk of helping me," Ellsberg wrote.

It was not immediately known if Russo had any survivors. Funeral arrangements were unknown.

Offline fajwat

  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • *
  • Posts: 9115
  • Cthulu saves souls for tasty midnight binges.
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #51 on: August 10, 2008, 01:57:48 PM »
A true American hero.  Took the epic risk.  Underappreciated.  We need more "treasonous" heroes.
"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon... Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system... and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."

-Colin Powell

Offline RottingCorpse

  • Old Timer
  • You're a kitty!
  • ***
  • Posts: 23880
  • We got this by the ass!
    • http://www.lonniemartin.com
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #52 on: August 10, 2008, 07:48:17 PM »
Rough weekend . . .

Quote
Hayes, 'Shaft' singer and disco presage, dies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose "Theme From Shaft" won both Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.

Hayes was pronounced dead at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis an hour after he was found by a family member, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. The cause of death was not immediately known.

With his muscular build, shiny head and sunglasses, Hayes cut a striking figure at a time when most of his contemporaries were sporting Afros. His music, which came to be known as urban-contemporary, paved the way for disco as well as romantic crooners like Barry White.

And in his spoken-word introductions and interludes, Hayes was essentially rapping before there was rap. His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show "South Park."

"Isaac Hayes embodies everything that's soul music," Collin Stanback, an A&R executive at Stax, told The Associated Press on Sunday. "When you think of soul music you think of Isaac Hayes — the expression ... the sound and the creativity that goes along with it."

Hayes was about to begin work on a new album for Stax, the soul record label he helped build to legendary status. And he had recently finished work on a movie called "Soul Men" in which he played himself, starring Samuel Jackson and Bernie Mac, who died on Saturday.

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said authorities received a 911 call after Hayes' wife and young son and his wife's cousin returned home from the grocery store and found him collapsed in a downstairs bedroom. A sheriff's deputy administered CPR until paramedics arrived.

"The treadmill was running but he was unresponsive lying on the floor," Shular said.

The album "Hot Buttered Soul" made Hayes a star in 1969. His shaven head, gold chains and sunglasses gave him a compelling visual image.

"Hot Buttered Soul" was groundbreaking in several ways: He sang in a "cool" style unlike the usual histrionics of big-time soul singers. He prefaced the song with "raps," and the numbers ran longer than three minutes with lush arrangements.

"Jocks would play it at night," Hayes recalled in a 1999 Associated Press interview. "They could go to the bathroom, they could get a sandwich, or whatever."

Next came "Theme From Shaft," a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film "Shaft" starring Richard Roundtree.

"That was like the shot heard round the world," Hayes said in the 1999 interview.

At the Oscar ceremony in 1972, Hayes performed the song wearing an eye-popping amount of gold and received a standing ovation. TV Guide later chose it as No. 18 in its list of television's 25 most memorable moments. He won an Academy Award for the song and was nominated for another one for the score. The song and score also won him two Grammys.

"The rappers have gone in and created a lot of hit music based upon my influence," he said. "And they'll tell you if you ask."

Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

"I knew nothing about the business, or trends and things like that," he said. "I think it was a matter of timing. I didn't know what was unfolding."

A self-taught musician, he was hired in 1964 by Stax Records of Memphis as a backup pianist, working as a session musician for Otis Redding and others. He also played saxophone.

He began writing songs, establishing a songwriting partnership with David Porter, and in the 1960s they wrote such hits for Sam and Dave as "Hold On, I'm Coming" and "Soul Man."

All this led to his recording contract.

In 1972, he won another Grammy for his album "Black Moses" and earned a nickname he reluctantly embraced. Hayes composed film scores for "Tough Guys" and "Truck Turner" besides "Shaft." He also did the song "Two Cool Guys" on the "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" movie soundtrack in 1996. Additionally, he was the voice of Nickelodeon's "Nick at Nite" and had radio shows in New York City (1996 to 2002) and then in Memphis.

He was in several movies, including "It Could Happen to You" with Nicolas Cage, "Ninth Street" with Martin Sheen, "Reindeer Games" starring Ben Affleck and the blaxploitation parody "I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka."

In the 1999 interview, Hayes described the South Park cook as "a person that speaks his mind; he's sensitive enough to care for children; he's wise enough to not be put into the 'wack' category like everybody else in town — and he l-o-o-o-o-ves the ladies."

But Hayes angrily quit the show in 2006 after an episode mocked his Scientology religion.

"There is a place in this world for satire," he said. "but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs of others begins."

Co-creator creators Matt Stone responded that Hayes "has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." A subsequent episode of the show seemingly killed off the Chef character.

Hayes was born in 1942 in a tin shack in Covington, Tenn., about 40 miles north of Memphis. He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother died and his father took off when he was 1 1/2. The family moved to Memphis when he was 6.

Hayes wanted to be a doctor, but got redirected when he won a talent contest in ninth grade by singing Nat King Cole's "Looking Back."

He held down various low-paying jobs, including shining shoes on the legendary Beale Street in Memphis. He also played gigs in rural Southern juke joints where at times he had to hit the floor because someone began shooting.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #53 on: August 10, 2008, 08:11:08 PM »
Jesus... another shocker.  Maybe it's the Rapture.

Offline fajwat

  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • *
  • Posts: 9115
  • Cthulu saves souls for tasty midnight binges.
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #54 on: August 11, 2008, 02:49:29 AM »
maybe something happened working on that movie??  Poison, stress, accidentally seeing a mafia boss with his pants down?
"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon... Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system... and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."

-Colin Powell

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #55 on: August 11, 2008, 07:19:59 AM »
Are you saying the truth is that Isaac Hayes also took the role of the Joker too seriously and overdosed on vitamin C and sugar pills?

Offline RottingCorpse

  • Old Timer
  • You're a kitty!
  • ***
  • Posts: 23880
  • We got this by the ass!
    • http://www.lonniemartin.com
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2008, 09:08:00 AM »
Hayes and Mac both had health problems.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #57 on: August 11, 2008, 09:24:50 AM »
Everyone in this thread has a health problem!

Offline RottingCorpse

  • Old Timer
  • You're a kitty!
  • ***
  • Posts: 23880
  • We got this by the ass!
    • http://www.lonniemartin.com
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2008, 09:21:41 AM »
Quote
British actor Terence Rigby has died. He was 71.

The star, who is most famous for his roles in Get Carter and Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, lost his battle with lung cancer at his London home last week (Beg4Aug08).

Rigby became well known in his native England following his starring roles in popular TV series Softly, Softly: Task Force and the BBC's 1980s adaptation of Sherlock Holmes tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

His other film roles included Elizabeth and as the voice of Silver in beloved animated children's tale Watership Down.

Rigby began his career in the theatre, attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts alongside legendary British TV actor John Thaw.

The actor went on to direct a string of shows in London's West End, most recently Waiting for Godot in 2005.

A spokesman for Rigby says, "He will be sorely missed. There are not so many like him any more. He was a very powerful character actor, able to play villains and nice roles with ease."

Rigby had no immediate survivors.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Obit Lineup
« Reply #59 on: August 12, 2008, 12:29:09 PM »
Quote
Geoffrey Ballard, 75, Fuel-Cell Pioneer Who Created Bus Powered by Hydrogen, Dies
By JEREMY PEARCE

Geoffrey Ballard, a Canadian entrepreneur whose company became a bellwether in the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power cars and other vehicles, helping lead the struggle to diminish the role of the gasoline engine, died on Aug. 2 in North Vancouver. He was 75.

The cause was complications of liver disease, his family said.

With a flourish in 1993, Dr. Ballard and his company, Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby, British Columbia, unveiled a small city bus that generated no harmful emissions and was completely powered by hydrogen.

At the heart of the project was a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell, a device that peeled electrons from hydrogen to run the bus’s electric motor while creating water as a byproduct. With Keith Prater, Paul F. Howard and others, Dr. Ballard had been working to increase the power and reduce the size of the fuel cell since the early 1980s.

Although similar fuel-cell technology had been used by General Motors and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the 1960s, Ballard Power’s successful application in earthbound vehicles proved to be influential.

Dr. Ballard picked a hydrogen-fueled bus as a marketing tool to demonstrate a possible use of the fuel cell. In the end, the auto companies seized the idea and helped steer fuel-cell technology in their own direction.

In 1997, the German automaker Daimler invested about $320 million in Ballard Power Systems, and the Ford Motor Company put in $420 million more. Other auto companies, concerned about being left behind, began their own research into fuel cells working on methanol.

In 2002, Dr. Ballard, a geophysicist by training, reflected on the surge of interest. “Nobody was really too enthusiastic about the fuel cell at first,” he said. “But when you put a hydrogen fuel cell in something and then drive it around — well, it’s pretty hard to argue with that.”

Yet he also acknowledged hydrogen’s well-documented problems: a lack of infrastructure to supply the fuel, production costs at least 10 times greater than for a comparable gasoline engine and an environmental price in the form of the large electrical output needed to produce hydrogen. And as Dr. Ballard was also often reminded, leaking hydrogen can be dangerously volatile.

For personal reasons, he left Ballard Power in the late 1990s and helped to form another company, General Hydrogen of Vancouver, a product-development firm, at which he promoted the use of fuel cells in warehouse forklifts and other vehicles. Despite the predictions of energy analysts and the auto industry itself, which made claims for broad use of fuel cells in cars by the year 2000, a hydrogen vehicle for the average consumer has not yet appeared.

Tom Koppel, a science writer who wrote a book about the development of the hydrogen fuel cell, “Powering the Future: The Ballard Fuel Cell and the Race to Change the World” (1999), said that Dr. Ballard and his colleagues “kick-started and expedited the movement, which initially had very little money.”

Dr. Koppel continued: “They showed the fuel cell could be improved, made more compact and powerful, at relatively little cost, and that the hydrogen economy was a long-term concept for governments to aspire to.”

Geoffrey Edwin Hall Ballard was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He earned his doctorate in earth and planetary sciences from Washington University in St. Louis, in 1962.

Dr. Ballard is survived by his wife of 52 years, Shelagh. The couple lived in West Vancouver. He is also survived by three sons, Curtis of Vancouver, Edward of North Vancouver and Mark of West Vancouver; two sisters, Shirley Dolby of St. Catharines, Ontario, and Nancy Jones of Edmonton, Alberta; and eight grandchildren.

While waiting for fuel-cell cars to arrive in North American driveways, Dr. Ballard remained stalwart in his belief in the superiority of hydrogen over petroleum-based fuels. He argued that governments would have to adopt the new technology and make “experimental fleets” of vehicles before economy of scale would ever make it affordable for consumers.

“What sort of problems are we going to create?” he said in 2003. “I doubt that I will ever see a hydrogen car for personal consumption in a showroom.”

But, he added, he did hope to survive long enough to see “the fleets change, the army vehicles, taxis, trucks and rental cars.”