Obituaries of note: Dorothy McGuire, Mary Yates Wallace, Louis Stout, Ron Taylor

Dorothy McGuire

Singer

Dorothy McGuire, who teamed with sisters Christine and Phyllis for a string of hits in the 1950s and ’60s as the popular McGuire Sisters singing group, died Sept. 7 in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She was 84.

She had Parkinson’s disease, said her daughter-in-law Karen Williamson.

The McGuire Sisters earned six gold records for hits including 1954’s “Sincerely” and 1957’s “Sugartime.” The sisters were known for their sweet harmonies and identical outfits and hairdos.

They began singing together as children at their mother’s Ohio church and then performed at weddings and church revivals. They got their big break on “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” in 1952, where they continued to perform for several years.

The group made numerous appearances on television and toured into the late 1960s, making a last performance together on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1968. Dorothy stepped back to raise her two sons, Williamson said. Christine also raised a family while Phyllis pursued a solo career, according to a 1986 profile in People magazine after the trio reunited and began doing nightclub and Las Vegas performances again.

The sisters last performed together in the mid-2000s, and are featured on a 2004 PBS show called “Magic Moments — Best of 50s Pop.”

The group performed for five presidents and Queen Elizabeth II. They were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.

Christine and Phyllis, 86 and 81, respectively, live in Las Vegas.

Dorothy McGuire was married for 53 years to Lowell Williamson, a wealthy oilman. The couple had two sons.

Mary Yates Wallace

Television producer

Mary Yates Wallace, a former television producer and the widow of two prominent TV journalists, NBC reporter-producer Ted Yates and CBS newsman Mike Wallace, died Sept. 1 at her home in New York. She was 83.

Her death, from ovarian cancer, was confirmed by her son Angus Yates.

Mrs. Wallace met her first husband, Frederick L. “Ted” Yates Jr., in the early 1950s when she was working as a producer for a television variety program created by Jinx Falkenburg and Tex McCrary. She and Yates married in 1954. He was killed in Jerusalem while covering the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

After his death, Mrs. Wallace worked as an independent documentary filmmaker and as executive producer of the CBS News program “Face the Nation” from 1974 to 1980. In 1986 she married Wallace. He died in April.

Mary Olberg was born in La Crosse, Wis. Before working in television, she was a model for the Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci and for Vogue magazine in Paris. She lived in Washington in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and, since then, had resided mainly in New York City and on Martha’s Vineyard.

Mrs. Wallace was a former board member of organizations including the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, formerly known as NARSAD. With her second husband, she co-founded the Wallace House for Knight-Wallace Fellows at the University of Michigan.

Louis Stout

Athletic union president

Louis Stout, who as president of the National Amateur Athletic Union sought to foster a “culture of safety” with the implementation of several reforms, died Sept. 9 at a hospital in Lexington, Ky. He was 73.

AAU spokesman Ron Sachs confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Stout took over the Amateur Athletic Union after the group’s former president, Bobby Dodd, was accused by two former basketball players of molesting them as children in Memphis and other locations in the 1980s. The organization had never faced any abuse allegations before those against Dodd, and he to date has never been charged with a crime.

Under Mr. Stout’s leadership, measures were implemented to protect athletes, including background checks required for all adults involved in AAU activities. Policies and procedures were designed to ensure that young athletes are never left alone with an adult.

In 1971, Mr. Stout became an assistant commissioner for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, where he worked for 23 years under four different commissioners, according to the AAU. He became commissioner of the association in 1994, becoming the first African American in the country to head a state high school athletic association.

Ron Taylor

Marine conservationist

Ron Taylor, an Australian marine conservationist who helped film some of the terrifying underwater footage used in the 1975 shark thriller “Jaws,” died Sept. 9 at at a hospital in Sydney. He was 78.

The cause was cancer, said Andrew Fox, who worked with Mr. Taylor on shark conservation efforts for decades.

Fox said Mr. Taylor had mixed feelings about his work on “Jaws,” which terrified beachgoers but ultimately helped draw attention to the intimidating yet often threatened animals.

Mr. Taylor and his wife, Valerie, spent years filming great white sharks and trying to persuade a wary public that the much-feared creatures were beautiful animals worthy of respect. Their stunning up-close images of sharks drew the attention of “Jaws” director Steven Spielberg, who asked the couple to capture footage of a great white for his blockbuster film.

The Taylors shot much of the now-classic sequence in which the shark tears apart a cage holding one of the main characters.

They filmed off South Australia, using a miniature shark-proof cage with a very short diver inside in an attempt to make the real sharks look as large as the 25-foot mechanical shark used in the movie. While filming, a great white became tangled in the shark cage’s cables and began thrashing violently as it tried to escape.

Mr. Taylor, a Sydney native, began his career as a spearfisherman but had a change of heart in the 1950s in the midst of a spearfishing competition.

“I just thought, ‘What am I doing down here killing these poor, defenseless marine creatures?’ ” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in 2005. “So I just packed up, went home — didn’t even weigh my fish in — and never went back to another spearfishing competition.”

—From news services and staff reports

 
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