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Dispatches Human Race

Human Race

Doris Day (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)


Doris Day, actress and singer, died on May 13 at age 97. Day, born Doris Kappelhoff in 1922, changed her name before launching her career in the big band era with Les Brown and His Band of Renown. Her first hit with the band was “Sentimental Journey” in 1945. She later signed a solo contract with Columbia Records in 1947, a partnership that lasted for 20 years and resulted in the recording of more than 650 songs. Day made her film debut in the well-received musical Romance on the High Seas in 1948. She brought emotion and power to a diverse selection of roles, from thrillers like Storm Warning to lighthearted romantic comedies such as Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson, for which she received her only Academy Award nomination. Day was married and divorced four times. She received a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 2008.


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Tim Conway (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)


Tim Conway, Emmy-winning actor and a star of The Carol Burnett Show, died on May 14 at the age of 85. Conway began his career performing comedy spots on late-night TV during the 1950s. His first hit was the role of bumbling Ensign Charles Parker on the sitcom McHale’s Navy, but his biggest success was as a co-star on The Carol Burnett Show. Conway joined the comedy team in 1975 after years as a guest. He won three Emmys for his performances on the show and a fourth as a writer, becoming popular for his straight-faced humor and kind, innocent personality. Before his retirement, Conway won two more Emmys for guest appearances on Coach and 30 Rock.


Pierre Gleizes/AP

I.M. Pei (Pierre Gleizes/AP)


Chinese-born American architect I.M. Pei, who designed the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris, died on May 16 at age 102. Born in China in 1917, Pei moved to Boston in 1935 and studied design and structural engineering at MIT and Harvard. The communist revolution in the 1940s prevented Pei from returning to China, and he accepted a job with a real estate developer in New York, where he worked 10 years before establishing his own architectural firm. When Pei was still relatively unknown, Jacqueline Kennedy selected him to design the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library because of his simple, innovative style. He also worked commissions for the Bank of China in Hong Kong, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and dozens of others.


Douglas L. Benc Jr./AP

Herman Wouk (Douglas L. Benc Jr./AP)


Herman Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Caine Mutiny, died on May 17 at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 103. Wouk aspired to be a satirist of American life, but his service as a naval officer in World War II inspired his best-loved works. He called upon his experience in the Pacific theater to write about a young naval lieutenant serving under a maniacal captain in The Caine Mutiny, which became an international bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1951. U.S. Navy and Coast Guard senior leadership lists the book as recommended reading for all officers. Starting in 1962, Wouk dedicated 13 years to writing an epic retelling of World War II in Winds of War and its sequel, War and Remembrance. Both books became Emmy-winning television miniseries. Wouk wrote books in a variety of genres throughout his career: war fiction, satire, epic history, science fiction, and religious studies.