The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on April 30, 2019 · C8
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · C8

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019
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C8 T h e B o s t o n G l o b e T U E S D A Y, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 9 Obituaries By Richard Sandomir NEW YORK TIMES NEW YORK — John Single- ton, whose powerful debut film, “Boyz N the Hood,” earned him an Oscar nomination for best director, the first for an Af- rican-American, died on Mon- day in Los Angeles. He was 51. His death, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, was confirmed in a family statement, after he was taken off life-support. Mr. Singleton had been admitted to the hospital on April 17, report- edly after having a stroke. His family said he had a history of hypertension. His mother, Shelia Ward, said last week that he was in a coma and filed court papers last week asking to be appoint- ed his temporary conservator. Several of his children at the time opposed her trying to take control of his medical and fi- nancial decision-making and publicly disputed her assess- ment of his medical state. “Boyz N the Hood,” a bleakly realistic film about three teenag- ers growing up amid gang vio- lence in South Central Los An- geles, established Mr. Single- ton’s credentials and placed him in the conversation with estab- lished African-American direc- tors like Spike Lee, Bill Duke, Julie Dash, Robert Townsend, and Reginald Hudlin. “When I was 18, I saw ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ ” Mr. Singleton said, referring to Lee’s 1986 breakthrough film, in a You- Tube video in 2013. “The movie was so powerful to me, as a young black teen who grew up seeing movies with not a lot of people who looked like me.” He was 22 when he began shooting “Boyz,” which follows Tre (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his friends Ricky (Mor- ris Chestnut) and Doughboy (Ice Cube) as they try to avoid gangs and drugs. When Ricky is shot and killed by a gang mem- ber, Doughboy, his half brother, seeks revenge, but Tre backs away from retribution. Mr. Singleton had graduated from film school less than a year earlier. He later conceded that when he made “Boyz N the Hood” he did not yet know how to direct a film. “As the movie was going along, I was learning how to di- rect,” he said after a 25th-anni- versary screening of the film in Manhattan in 2016. “As it be- comes more intense and comes on to the third act, the camera- work is more and more fluid, because I’m getting better and better — and taking more chances.” After Columbia showed the movie at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival — with Lee in the audi- ence — film critic Roger Ebert praised its “power, honesty and filmmaking skill.” “By the end of ‘Boyz N the Hood,’ ” he wrote, “I realized I had not simply seen a brilliant directorial de- but, but an American film of enormous importance.” Vio- lence erupted on the film’s opening night in or near the- aters; at least one person was killed and dozens were wound- ed around the country. But the movie did strong business, sell- ing more than $123 million in tickets domestically in today’s dollars. Mr. Singleton lost the 1992 Academy Award for best direc- tor to Jonathan Demme, who won for “Silence of the Lambs.” He was also nominated for best original screenplay, but Callie Khouri won that Oscar for “Thelma and Louise.” Mr. Sin- gleton remains the youngest Oscar nominee for best direc- tor. No black filmmaker has won the Oscar for best director. But when Lee won this year for best a d a p t e d s c r e e n p l a y, f o r “BlacKkKlansman,” Mr. Single- ton was ecstatic. “My brother Spike Lee just won his first Oscar,” Mr. Single- ton wrote on Twitter. “I’m sooo happy!” John Daniel Singleton was born on Jan 6, 1968, in Los An- geles. His mother was a phar- maceutical sales executive, and his father, Danny Singleton, was a mortgage broker. He lived with his mother until he was 11 and then moved in with his father, on whom he based the character of Tre’s father (played by Laurence Fish- burne) in “Boyz.” John was influenced early on by movies like “Cooley High” (1975), a comedy-drama about high school friends living in the projects in Chicago, directed by Michael Schultz and starring Glynn Turman and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Mr. Singleton was 7 when he saw the film with his mother. He recalled that she cried when Hilton-Jacobs’s character was killed. “I looked at my mother and I said, `Why are you crying?,’ ” he said in a 2016 interview with Vanity Fair. “And she said, ‘Be- cause it’s such a good movie.’ So I start thinking, when I get to make a movie, I got to make people cry. I got to make them feel something.” From his mother’s apartment in Ingle- wood he could see films playing at the local drive-in: horror, kung fu, blaxploitation, and slasher movies. “The cinema saved me from being a delinquent,” he said. He studied script writing at the University of Southern Cali- fornia’s School of Film-Televi- sion and wrote the “Boyz N the Hood” screenplay during his se- nior year. He then showed it to Steph- anie Allain, a script reader for two of Columbia Pictures’ top executives. At the time, he was being interviewed to succeed her. He did not get the job, but she loved the script and pushed for it to be acquired. Before a deal was made, though, Mr. Singleton demand- ed, despite his inexperience, that he direct the film. Frank Price, the president of Colum- bia, agreed; he was especially impressed with Mr. Singleton’s audition tapes of Gooding and Cube. Mr. Singleton returned to South Central — the neighbor- hood is now called South Los Angeles — in his next film, “Po- etic Justice” (1993), a melodra- ma centering on a romance be- tween a poet (played by singer Janet Jackson) who works as a beautician and a postman (rap- per Tupac Shakur in an early movie role). In an otherwise lukewarm review of the film, Vincent Can- by of The New York Times wrote that Mr. Singleton had made a significant leap as a sto- rytel ler from “Boyz N the Hood.” “Poetic Justice,” he wrote, is “nothing less than an attempt to celebrate the cre- ative impulse as a means of sal- vation, not only for the individ- ual but also for society.” Mr. Singleton directed a va- riety of films over the next 20 years, but none had the impact of “Boyz.” They included “Rose- wood” (1997), a reenactment of a mob attack against black peo- ple in Florida in the early 1920s; “Shaft” (2000), a re- make of the hit 1971 film; “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), an early entry in the “Fast and the Furi- ous” franchise; and “Four Brothers” (2005), a crime dra- ma. He also moved into televi- sion, directing episodes of “Em- pire,” “The People v. O.J. Simp- son: American Crime Story” and “Billions.” He is survived by his par- ents; his daughters Justice Sin- gleton, Hadar Busia-Singleton, Cleopatra Singleton, Selenesol Singleton and Isis Singleton, and his sons, Maasai and Sev- en. Mr. Singleton produced some of the films he directed, as well as other movies, like Craig Brewer’s “Hustle & Flow” (2005), which starred Terrence Howard, who earned an Oscar nomination for best actor. The film won an Oscar for best orig- inal song. His most recent venture was “Snowfall,” a series on FX about the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Mr. Singleton was one of the show’s creators and executive produc- ers and directed three episodes. “‘Snowfall’ manages to carve out its own distinctive visual style, leaning heavily on the contrast between the bright blue LA sky and the violence and crime happening beneath it,” Kelly Lawler of USA Today wrote in a review after the se- ries’ debut. “Even in moments of harrowing violence, it’s hard to look away.” JohnSingleton, ‘BoyzN theHood’director, at 51 TODD PLITT/AP/1997 Mr. Singleton was taken off life-support Monday after being hospitalized since April 17, reportedly for a stroke. By Sam Roberts NEW YORK TIMES NEW YORK — Jo Sullivan Loesser, the vivacious soprano who starred in Frank Loesser’s hit Broadway show “The Most Happy Fella,” married Loesser and, after he died, preserved his legacy with revivals, revues and recordings, died on Sunday at her home in New York. She was 91. The cause was heart failure, her son-in-law, Don Stephen- son, said. Mrs. Loesser’s path to suc- cess personified the script for a Hollywood musical, following a plaintive if brief overture. Jo Sullivan arrived in New York in the mid-1940s as a star- struck Midwesterner. After fail- ing to win a scholarship to the Juilliard School, she paid her way through composition and music theory classes at Colum- bia by working at the Lord & Taylor department store. She appeared on the radio competition “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” singing “Italian Street Song” from “Naughty Marietta,” but she lost to a har- monica duo. After paying her dues as an understudy and a member of the chorus, she created the role of Polly Peachum in a concert version of Marc Blitzstein’s ac- claimed translation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera” in 1952. She reprised the role when a full-fledged theatrical version opened in 1954 at the Theater de Lys in Greenwich Village. Her big break came in 1956, when she auditioned for the part of the mail-order bride Ro- sabella in “The Most Happy Fel- la,” the operatic story of a May- December romance for which Frank Loesser wrote the book, music and lyrics. As she started to sing, she later recalled, Frank Loesser closed all the windows in the room at the Warwick Hotel in Manhattan and exclaimed, “Boy, this kid sings loud!” After she got the part — she co- starred with the baritone Rob- ert Weede — Loesser hung a sign backstage: “Loud is good.” Reviewing “The Most Happy Fella” for The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson praised her singing and said she was “likely to break the hearts of the audi- ence.” Her romance with Loesser was similar to the one in the show: He was 17 years older. Shortly after they married, in 1959, Mrs. Loesser abandoned her show business career — “Frank was the real star of the family,” she once said — but not without some misgivings. “Though I still had the long- ing to perform,” she told The Times in 1980, “it wasn’t appro- priate because Frank didn’t want to come home at night to an empty house.” She raised their two daugh- ters and, after Frank Loesser died of lung cancer at 59 in 1969, she managed his music publishing company, Frank Music, until it was bought by CBS in 1976. In 1977, feeling free of busi- ness obligations and with her daughters grown, Mrs. Loesser attended a party where Morton Gottlieb, a theatrical producer, urged her to return to singing — specifically, to perform her husband’s repertoire at the Ballroom, a restaurant and cab- aret in SoHo. She did, billed as Jo Sullivan, and her comeback was trium- phant. “Not since Barbara Cook made her cabaret debut at Brothers and Sisters almost three years ago has a voice with the range and projection of Miss Sullivan’s full-bodied so- prano been heard in a cabaret,” John S. Wilson wrote in the Times. In 1980 she was a producer of “Perfectly Frank,” a Broad- way revue devoted to her hus- band’s music, and also ap- peared in it. Walter Kerr de- scribed her in the Times as “an astonishingly authoritative per- former for all her chinaware delicacy.” Elizabeth Josephine Sullivan was born on Aug. 28, 1927, in Mounds, a city at the southern tip of Illinois, to Hessie Boone Sullivan, a foreman for a Mis- souri lumber distributor, and Eileen Celeste (Woods) Sulli- van, who sold cosmetics. After graduating from high school, she was encouraged to pursue a theatrical career. She studied singing in St. Louis, where she played Dorothy in the Municipal Opera Associa- tion’s 1951 production of “The Wizard of Oz,” in which Marga- ret Hamilton reprised her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 movie. In New York, she was spot- ted singing in a nightclub and hired to understudy for the lead female role, Laurey, in “Oklaho- ma!” toward the end of its origi- nal Broadway run. A few stage performances followed, including a role in “Let’s Make an Opera,” before she was cast in “The Threepen- ny Opera.” The Theater de Lys production was critically praised and, despite not being on Broadway, received a special Tony Award. Mrs. Loesser is survived by a daughter from that marriage, Emily Stephenson, an actress and singer with whom she per- formed into the 1990s; two stepchildren, Susan Loesser and John Loesser; four grand- children; and her longtime companion, Jacquin Fink. An- other daughter, Hannah, an artist, died of cancer in 2007. Jo Sullivan Loesser, singer and guardian of a legacy, at 91 Ask your funeral director for details. Honor your loved one’s memory with a photo in The Boston Globe. Remembered SHARE YOURMEMORIES ONOUR GUEST BOOK AT BOSTON.COM/OBITUARIES Share amemory Or add a condolensece to the guestbook at boston.com/obituaries WALL, Dorothy Marie (Kelly) Of Weymouth, passed away April 23, 2019. Dorothy was born in Quincy, on October 18th, 1926. She attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Quincy Point, graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Weymouth Landing in 1944, and Fisher College in Back Bay with an Associate’s Degree in Business in 1946. She was a devoted parishioner of St. Jerome’s Church for 65 years. Dorothy lived a long, full, and rich life. She shared many stories of her childhood, her loving mother and father, grandparents, and her sister and brothers. She was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. She opened her heart and home to all who needed a hug and a cup of tea. Always thinking of others, Dorothy poured out her life for her family, friends and the community of Weymouth. She loved belonging to the Weymouth Newcomer’s Club where she enjoyed the support and friendship of that community of women for 65 years. Dorothy was an adventurous woman who, by her example taught her children to never be afraid to try new things. For instance, she rode her son’s dirt bike, cross country skied in her sixties, flew in a hot air balloon and soar plane. She would join in all her young children’s sports including street hockey and body surfing. She is to blame for her children’s love of all Boston Sports teams. Because of her green thumb, veggie gardens and house plants thrived. Her family loved her with all their hearts, and she will be missed by all who knew her. Beloved wife of the late Thomas C. Wall, Sr. Loving mother of Michael Wall and his wife of Eileen of Mattapoisett, Margaret Parker and her husband Richard of Colorado, Patricia Lovekin and her husband Jonathan of Colorado, Thomas Wall, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth of Lynn and Francis Wall and his wife Lindsay of Washington. Dear sister of Colonel Leo Kelly, USMC Ret. of VA, Lawrence Kelly of Abington, and the late Thomas, James, Gerald and Eileen. Cherished Grammy of Michael, Kimberly, Alyson, Eric, Lola, Annabelle and Emmaline. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Visiting Hours on Friday, May 3rd, 4-8 PM, in the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home, SOUTH WEYMOUTH, at 809 Main Street (Rte. 18 opp. South Shore Hospi- tal). Relatives and friends will gather in the Funeral Home at 11 AM Saturday, May 4th, prior to the Funeral Mass in St. Jerome Church, Weymouth, at 12 PM. Burial in MA National Cemetery, Bourne, on Monday, May 6th, at 1:15 PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: Hospice of the South Shore, 30 Reservoir Park Dr., Rockland, MA 02370. See www.Keohane.com for directions and online condolences or call 781- 335-0045. Of Medford, MA and York, ME, April 27, 2019. Son of the late Margaret “Peg” (Martes) and Frank “Darcy” Sweeney. Beloved husband of 44 years of the late Rosemary “Rosie” (O’Connell) Sweeney. Devoted father of Kevin F. Sweeney, Jr. and his wife Sophie of Arlington, Kristy J. Atwell and her husband Dan of Hyan- nis and Ryan J. Sweeney and his fiancée Tammy Favreau of Medford. Dear brother of Jay Sweeney and his wife Ja- net of Wakefield and Debby Polcari and her husband David of Reading. Cher- ished grandfather of Jack and Dylan Sweeney, Lily, Jake, and Evelyn Atwell, and Kylee Sweeney. Kevin served hon- orably in the US Army during Vietnam and was a retired driver for the MBTA of 32 years. He was a member of Local 589 and the American Legion in York, ME. Kevin also worked at the Boston Garden for 34 years. Kevin enjoyed summers in Maine with his family and friends, hosting barbecues, going to the Legion to meet with friends, and relax- ing at the beach with the grandkids. His favorite tradition was the annual family night at the Portland Seadogs game. Kevin enjoyed traveling with his wife Rosie, their friends, and family. He would make friends wherever he went and could talk to anyone. He loved a good laugh and a good time. Kevin was all about family. He often watched his grandkids and was a presence at as many of their activities as he could attend. He was always a good sport during the holidays, dressing up as Santa Claus to the delight of his wife. Funeral Procession from the George L. Doherty Funeral Home, 855 Broadway (Powder House Sq.), SOMERVILLE, on Thursday morning, at 9AM followed by a Funeral Mass celebrated in St. Joseph Church, Medford, at 10AM. Relatives and friends invited to attend. Calling Hours, Wednesday 4-8PM. Interment Oak Grove Cemetery, Medford. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the American Legion at legion.org For more information please visit dohertyfuneralservice.com SWEENEY, Kevin F. Sr. George L. Doherty Funeral Service Somerville, MA Of Billerica, formerly of the North End and Italy, April 28. Beloved wife of the late Giuseppe Tammaro. Loving mother of Marie Coleman and her husband Bruce, Leo Tammaro, Carl Tammaro and Patrick Tammaro and his wife Lisa. Also survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was the sister of the late Frank Tranfa- glia. Funeral Friday, May 3, from the Sweeney Memorial Funeral Home, 66 Concord Rd., BILLERICA, at 8 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be held in St. Theresa Church, Billerica at 9 a.m. Relatives and friends respectfully invited. Visiting Hours will be held Thursday, May 2, from 4-7 p.m. Entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Arthritis Foundation, arthirtis.org sweeneymemorialfh.com TAMMARO, Giuseppina (Tranfaglia) Of Milton and Wareham, passed peace- fully on April 22, 2019. Beloved wife of the late John J. Sullivan Jr. Loving mother of Kathleen M. Hurley & her husband Tom of Milton, Nancy M. Sullivan & her husband Mustapha Jay Jahour of Boston, Janet P. Colleary of Westboro, John J. Sullivan III & his wife Trish Kelley Sullivan of Duxbury, Daniel B. Sullivan & his wife Wendy of Scituate. Sister of James McGee of Indiana, Patricia Jackson of Randolph, Anne McGee of Bradford, Elizabeth Fino of Wilmington, and the late William McGee. Also survived by 10 loving grandchildren and 4 great- grandchildren. Funeral Mass in St. Agatha’s Church, Milton, Thursday morning May 2, at 9:00 a.m. Relatives & friends are respectfully invited. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Kathleen to New Bridge on the Charles Long Term Care, 7000 Great Meadow Rd., Dedham, MA, 02026. Interment Milton Cemetery. For directions & expressions of sympathy, www.oconnorandson.com SULLIVAN, Kathleen M. (McGee) Of West Roxbury, April 28, 2019. Beloved daughter of the late John & Mary (Twomey) Tobin. Devoted sister of Eileen Martin & her late husband Edmond of West Roxbury, James Tobin & his late wife Helena of Brighton, William Tobin & his late wife Patricia of Greer, SC, Richard Tobin & his wife Sandra of Bellingham, and the late Mary Pagano, and John Tobin. Sister-in-law of Katherine Tobin of West Roxbury and Paul Pagano of Roslindale. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Visiting in the Lehman, Reen, & McNamara Funeral Home, 63 Chestnut Hill Ave. (nr. Brighton Courthouse), BRIGHTON, Thursday, May 2, from 9:30 - 10:30am. Followed by a Funeral Mass in Holy Name Church, 1689 Centre St., West Roxbury at 11:30am. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury. Funeral Home Handicapped Accessible. For directions and guestbook please visit www.lehmanreen.com TOBIN, Rita Ann Lehman ReenMcNamara Brighton 617 782 1000

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