Michael Slive, 77, Dies; Led Southeastern Conference to New Heights

He led the conference from 2002 to 2015 and helped it to navigate a period mired by N.C.A.A. sanctions and become a college football powerhouse.

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Dr. Joel Kovel, a Founder of Ecosocialism, Is Dead at 81

Dr. Kovel metamorphosed from a conventional therapist into a Marxist who abandoned the medical profession as too corporate and commercial. He became a fierce critic of the Vietnam War, imperialists, Zionists and gas guzzlers, together with neoliberals and environmentalists who were insufficiently anticapitalist.

Dr. Kovel was an intellectual father of ecosocialism. A Brooklyn-born son of Jewish immigrants, he also experienced in his later years what he called a Christian spiritual conversion.

When he published his autobiography last year, after so many metaphysical meanderings, he titled it “The Lost Traveller’s Dream,” a nod to the poet William Blake’s reference to wanderers in the wilderness seeking to distinguish between good and evil.

Dr. Kovel rarely defined his positions in shades of gray.

He renounced psychiatry because, he said, he was fed up with “the pernicious system of diagnosis” dictated by professional associations and their manuals, and by insurance companies driven by statistics and reflexive prescriptions.”


Dr. Kovel speaking at an anti-nuclear rally in New York in 1982. Credit Dith Pran/The New York Times

Whenever he launched an ideological crusade, he did so zealously — even if, as in the case of ecosocialism, its very definition and the collateral demand for an appealing alternative to capitalism were not self-evident.

Under ecosocialist theory, income would be guaranteed, most property and means of production would be commonly owned, and the abolition of capitalism, globalism and imperialism would unleash environmentalists to vastly curtail industrialization and development whose pollution would otherwise cause catastrophic global warming.

“Capitalist production, in its endless search for profit, seeks to turn everything into a commodity,” Dr. Kovel wrote in 2007 on the socialist website Climate and Capitalism. “It is plain that production will have to shift from being dominated by exchange — the path of the commodity — to that which is for use, that is for the direct meeting of human needs.”

Joel Stephen Kovel was born on Aug. 27, 1936, in Brooklyn to Louis and Rose Farber Kovel. His father was an accountant and the namesake of the Kovel Rule, a legal doctrine that extended the lawyer-client confidentiality privilege to other professionals and experts. It arose when a federal appeals court voided the elder Mr. Kovel’s one-year sentence for contempt after he had refused to answer questions about a client in a case.

After graduating from Baldwin High School in Baldwin, N.Y., Joel received a bachelor’s from Yale in 1957 and a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. While in medical school, he was first exposed to extreme poverty during field study in Suriname. He trained at Downstate Psychoanalytic Institute in Brooklyn.

In addition to his wife, a filmmaker, Mr. Kovel is survived by two children, Jonathan Kovel and Erin Fitzsimmons, from his marriage to Virginia Ryan, which ended in divorce; a daughter, Molly Kovel, from his marriage to Ms. Halleck; her sons, Ezra, Peter and Tovey Halleck, from an earlier marriage; his brother, Alex; and nine grandchildren.

Dr. Kovel was director of resident training in psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical School in the Bronx from 1977 to 1983, when he left to teach courses in Marx and Freud at the New School in Manhattan. He taught at Bard College from 1988 to 2009.

He was also editor emeritus of the journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism; wrote for The New York Times Book Review; and, with Michel Lowy, drafted the Ecosocialist Manifesto in 2001, on which the movement was founded.

Among his other books is “A Complete Guide to Therapy” (1976), which, a Times reviewer wrote, “can be recommended to everyone — from people looking for help with emotional problems to those with serious questions about the entire business of emotional help.” Another is “Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine” (2007).

Dr. Kovel was the Green Party candidate for the United States Senate from New York in 1998. (He finished fourth, with about 15,000 votes; Chuck Schumer won, with about 2.4 million.)

He unsuccessfully challenged Ralph Nader for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2000. Mr. Nader was nominated at a convention with 295 votes. Two other candidates were tied for second place with 10 each. Dr. Kovel came in last with three.

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Marcia Hafif, Painter of Monochromatic Works, Is Dead at 89

Marcia Jean Woods was born on Aug. 15, 1929, in Pomona, Calif., to Harold and Martha Eye Woods. Her mother ran a nursery school and was a substitute teacher.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from Pomona College in 1951. At her death she was working on her first show on the campus, at the Pomona College Museum of Art. It is to open in September.

Also in the early 1950s, she married Herbert Hafif. The marriage ended in divorce after a decade. She taught elementary school for a time while doing graduate study in art history at Claremont Graduate University.


Ms. Hafif’s “An Extended Gray Scale” (1972-73), on view this year at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen in Switzerland. For the work, she painted as many gradations of gray as she could come up with — 106, as it turned out, each a 22-by-22-inch canvas. Credit Marcia Hafif, via Kunstmuseum St. Gallen

“I realized I wasn’t an art historian, but an artist,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2015.

Living in Los Angeles, she occasionally worked at the Ferus Gallery near her home. An exhibition of paintings by Giorgio Morandi, an Italian painter known for still lifes of simple objects, was transformative.

“When I first saw them, I thought, ‘Why do these simple paintings command such a big price?’ ” she said. “But then I saw that there was this rigor to his repetition. There were these surprising differences in shadow, volumes that disappeared. There was a movement to them.”

Marcia Hafif — A Conversation with the Artist at her SoHo Studio in New York City (May, 2015) Video by Fergus McCaffrey

In the early 1960s Ms. Hafif moved to Rome, having become intrigued by Renaissance painting while studying art history. She began painting abstract works there and had several gallery shows, including in Rome and Venice. In 2016 those early works were displayed at Fergus McCaffrey in New York in a show called “The Italian Paintings: 1961-1969.” Ken Johnson, writing in The New York Times, said that they “channel the groovy hedonism of their time with terrific panache.”


Some of Ms. Hafif’s early works were featured in a show called «The Italian Paintings: 1961-1969» at Fergus McCaffrey gallery in Manhattan in 2016. Credit Fergus McCaffrey, New York

In 1969, Ms. Hafif returned to the United States to attend the University of California at Irvine, where she earned a master of fine arts degree in 1971.

“I took those two years at U.C.I. to explore other things, to see, read, study, meet people, make work,” she told The Orange County Register in 2011. “That was extremely useful to me and changed my way of thinking about painting. Afterward, I went back to painting, but I was painting with a different view.”

She began doing color studies, experimenting with works of a single color and with grouping such works together to achieve an effect. In one, “An Extended Gray Scale” (1972-73), she painted as many gradations from black to white as she could come up with — 106, as it turned out, each a 22-by-22-inch canvas.


Ms. Hafif in 1968 in Rome, where she began painting abstract works in the early 1960s. Credit Tony Vaccaro, via Fergus McCaffrey, New York

In a 1978 essay in Artforum called “Beginning Again,” she explored the complexities of monochromatic painting, discussing how the works of the various artists painting in that mode varied widely, by choice of canvas, type of brush strokes, even how the work was hung. Such paintings, she wrote, were not something you viewed as an illusion of some reality, but as an objects in their own right.

“The eye stops on the surface, where once it expected to go within,” she wrote. “Where we used to read a surface, ignoring the material it was made of, we now look at that surface’s very materiality.”

Ms. Hafif is survived by a son, Peter Nitoglia, and four grandchildren.

Ms. Hafif came to refer to many of her works collectively as “the Inventory,” a grouping that grew to include 26 different series with titles like “Neutral Mix Paintings” (1976) and “Shade Paintings” (2013-18). She liked to see what different types of paint did on different surfaces. She painted in oil, in enamel, in egg tempura; she painted on canvas, on wood, on walls. Her paintings could be small, or quite large, as were the ones in “From the Inventory: Black Paintings, 1979-1980,” a show at the Newman Popiashvili Gallery in Manhattan in 2010.

“Each of the four paintings here, all measuring 7 feet by 6½ feet, has its own qualities of tone and texture,” Roberta Smith wrote of that show in The Times, “nearness and farness, like various night skies. Their differences, while subtle, emerge without undue taxation and with a deeply characteristic Hafifian earnestness that seems to say: Just do it and mean it; it will be new enough.”

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Judith Leiber, 97, Dies; Turned Handbags Into Objets d’Art

Stella Blum, the curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until 1983, once said that describing Judith Leiber as an accessory designer was “a little like calling Louis Comfort Tiffany a designer of lighting fixtures.”

Her handbags were often on view in museums and are in the permanent collections of a number of them, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Historical Society. Ms. Leiber nevertheless demurred when Andy Warhol described her bags as works of art. “Truthfully, I don’t consider them art,” she said. “I’m an artisan.”

Although she designed luxurious handbags with discreet clasps and frames for daytime, she was best known for her imaginative and eye-catching evening creations, among them colorfully beaded bags in animal, flower, fruit and egg shapes, and bags shaped like boxes and shells with variations on antique Asian motifs.


Geometric jet and rhinestone boxes. Clockwise from left: octagon box, 1986; clover shaped box, 1989; oblong box with onyx and rhinestone trim, 1985; oval box with jet and rhinestone, 1992; oblong box with jet, rhinestone and pearl decorations, 1973. Credit John Bigelow Taylor

Her classically shaped metal evening bags were built of cardboard and sent to Italy, where they were stamped in brass. The animal forms and more complex shapes began as sculptured wax models and were also sent to Italy to be copied in metal. Feet and ears were cast separately and soldered on; other parts and touches, like the head of a horse or the bow on a cat, were stamped in two halves and joined seamlessly.

The gold plating was done after the bags were returned to America. So was the encrusting of the bag in rhinestones and other beads.

A number of Ms. Leiber’s clients amassed scores, and in several cases hundreds, of her designs, despite price tags that reached well into four figures for each bag.

At major charity events, it was common for a woman who had left her Leiber evening bag on the table while she danced to find on her return that other guests had gathered around her table to admire it. Occasionally a bag would disappear, returned only when admirers had finished passing it around.


A frog minaudiere, from 1979, was in Ms. Leiber’s personal collection. Credit Corcoran Gallery, via Associated Press

“Sensuous and tactile, they ask to be picked up,” said Dorothy Twining Globus, a former director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and curator of exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design.

Most of Ms. Leiber’s evening bags, particularly the glittering metal creations, were designed to hold a bare minimum of necessities. She allowed that lipstick, a handkerchief and a $100 bill might possibly fit. A $100 bill? Not small change, she admitted, but not unreasonable for a Leiber bag owner. As for carrying such necessities as eyeglasses, keys and a few other odds and ends, she would ask, “What’s an escort for?”

Ms. Leiber created five collections a year, in all about 100 designs. She said she was inspired by paintings, museum pieces, artifacts and nature. One of her most popular bags was shaped like a snail; another, an example of the commonplace made uncommon, was fashioned from an antique quilt and enhanced with bits of colored glitter.

The women who carried Leiber bags included first ladies, queens and princesses, and celebrities like Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, Diana Ross and Joan Sutherland. Queen Elizabeth II was presented with a bag during a visit to California, and Raisa Gorbachev, the wife of the Soviet leader, received one from Barbara Bush.


«Lightning» egg with drop-in chain, 1971. Credit John Bigelow Taylor

Mrs. Bush carried a Leiber design at her husband’s inaugural ceremony. She also had one of the Leiber metal bags shaped, with slight variation, to resemble Millie, her springer spaniel. It was later duplicated and sold for $2,500. Other first ladies were customers as well: Nancy Reagan ordered white satin Leiber bags for both her husband’s inaugural balls, and Hillary Clinton had a bag modeled after Socks, the family cat.

But even the first ladies couldn’t compete in patriotism with a Texan who was invited to one of the Clinton inaugurations and ordered a bag beaded with the stars and stripes on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other.

Many of Ms. Leiber’s customers used the bags for aesthetic purposes as well as practical ones. Some displayed them in a vitrine or étagère, and one Los Angeles matron invited her friends, their Leiber bags and their husbands to a dinner party. When they arrived, she took all their bags and lined them up on a mirror, flanked with votive candles, running down the center of the dining table. It was a table decoration not soon forgotten.

Ms. Leiber maintained that a story of a husband who had given his wife 14 Leiber bags in seven years and wanted them back as part of a divorce settlement was not apocryphal. “I could retire on your Leiber bag collection,” he reportedly said. The wife kept the bags.


The Leibers’ wedding engagement portrait from 1946. Credit The Leiber Museum

Ms. Leiber was born Judith Marianne Peto in Budapest on Jan. 11, 1921. Her parents, Emil and Helen Peto, hoped that she would become a chemist and repeat the success of a relative who had developed a complexion cream. In 1939, she was sent to England to pursue scientific studies, but World War II intervened and her theoretical cosmetics empire vanished.


“Hitler put me in the handbag business,” Ms. Leiber said.

Back in Budapest, Ms. Leiber, who was Jewish, enrolled in an artisan guild, which still accepted Jews, although fascism was on the ascent in Hungary. Her training began with sweeping the floors and cooking the glue. By the time she had completed her guild training, first as an apprentice and finally as a master, the war was raging.

She knew all the stages of handbag manufacture, but there was no place to use this knowledge because Jews were being sent to concentration camps. She and other family members escaped that fate when they were pressed into service sewing army uniforms. She also began a small handbag business at home, using whatever materials she could find, and after the war sold some to American soldiers stationed in Hungary.

Mr. Leiber was an Army Signal Corps sergeant in postwar Budapest when he and Ms. Leiber met. He was working as a radio operator maintaining contact between Vienna and Budapest. They married in 1946 and the next year left for New York, Mr. Leiber’s hometown.


Pop art-inspired box, onyx lock, drop-in chain, 1990. Credit John Bigelow Taylor

With her training, Ms. Leiber had no difficulty finding work in her adopted country. She became part of what she called “strudel assembly lines” at a number of handbag manufacturers until 1963, when her husband decided that they should open their own business.

They began in a small loft. “I knew from the beginning what I was going to do,” Ms. Leiber said. “I was going to make the best.” She designed and supervised the manufacture of her bags, and Mr. Leiber looked after the business end.

Ms. Leiber’s sister, Eva Ecker, died in 2015. No immediate family members survive.


A Tutankhamen-inspired monkey handbag, 1989. Credit Corcoran Gallery, via Associated Press

In time, Ms. Leiber’s designs were rarely sold from handbag departments. They were generally featured in specially created Leiber sections and boutiques in major department and specialty stores, both in this country and abroad.

Ms. Leiber received most of the fashion industry’s major prizes. She was given a Coty Fashion Award in 1973 and the Neiman Marcus Winged Statue for Excellence in Design in 1980. She was voted accessories designer of the year in 1994 by the Council of Fashion Designers.

The Leibers sold their business in 1993, for a reported $16 million, to Time Products, a British firm in the watch distribution business. Ms. Leiber remained the firm’s designer until 1997.


Judith and Gerson Leiber in November 2016 in Mr. Leiber’s studio in East Hampton, N.Y. Credit Lindsay Morris for The New York Times

In recent years, retrospective exhibitions in New York have showcased the talents of both Leibers. (Some of Mr. Leiber’s work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.) In 2016 the Flomenhaft Gallery in Manhattan presented “The Artist & the Artisan,” and in 2017 the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook put on “Brilliant Partners: Judith Leiber’s Handbags & the Art of Gerson Leiber.” Also in 2017, the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan gave Ms. Leiber a one-woman show, “Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story.”

Throughout her career, Ms. Leiber was often asked if she ever carried handbags other than her own. She had a standard reply.

“I either carry my own or a paper bag,” she would say, “and I won’t carry a paper bag, so you figure it out.”


Blue satin tote with rhinestone ring handles, 1975; and black suede frame bag with tubular rhinestone handle, 1993. Credit John Bigelow Taylor Continue reading the main story

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Larry Harvey, the Man Behind Burning Man, Is Dead at 70

The festival’s 10 official principles, written by Mr. Harvey, include civic responsibility, communal effort, gifting and immediacy. But the one cited most often is radical self-expression.


The finale of Burning Man, the globally celebrated anti-establishment, anti-consumerist festival that Mr. Harvey began with a friend, in Nevada in 2013. Credit Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal, via Associated Press

Early on, the event became popular with the digital subculture, lending credence to the belief that primitivism — even ironic primitivism — and great technological leaps make happy bedfellows. Mr. Harvey saw a connection.

“Both Burning Man and the internet make it possible to regather the tribe of mankind,” he told The Times in 1997. He also saw a “deep parallel between desert and cyberspace.”

The festival’s so-called gift economy is central to the experience. There may be whiskey bars and sandwich shops at Burning Man, but everything is free. Burners, as the participants call themselves, offer their products and services as gifts. (The only things for sale, by the organizers, are coffee and ice.) No one is allowed to display a corporate logo or even wear one on a T-shirt.

Mr. Harvey preferred to call the system a “gift culture,” because visitors spend plenty of money ahead of time on the supplies they bring. But he believed even a temporary experience with that culture was worthwhile — to counter economic norms.

“If all your self-worth and esteem is invested in how much you consume, how many likes you get or other quantifiable measures,” he told The Atlantic in 2014, “the desire to simply possess things trumps our ability or capability to make moral connections with people around us.”

Mr. Harvey was born on Jan. 11, 1948, and adopted as an infant by Author Harvey and the former Katherine Langford. His parents were farmers near Portland, Ore., and his father also worked as a carpenter. In an article that Mr. Harvey wrote for the British newspaper The Independent in 2014, he said that he and his brother, Stewart, who was also adopted, “felt like exchange students: Everyone treated us well, but we didn’t quite fit.”


At the 2006 Burning Man festival, “giraffes” from Cape Town met a giant “cat.” Credit Heidi Schumann for The New York Times

Rural life did not suit him, and his parents were not exactly spiritual adventurers. “The heart can really expire under those conditions,” Mr. Harvey told Inc. magazine in 2012. “I always felt like I was looking at the world from the outside.”

He escaped by serving in the Army. He gave college (Portland State University) a try, with the help of the G.I. Bill, but was disillusioned by what he saw as his professors’ small-mindedness.

He and a girlfriend, Janet Lohr, now a Burning Man executive, moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, and he took jobs as a bike messenger, a taxi driver, a cook and eventually a landscape gardener. He made friends with artists who were making a living as blue-collar workers.

The first Burning Man, held at Baker Beach (famous for its Golden Gate Bridge views and nude-sunbathing section), was a cozy affair hosted by Mr. Harvey and a friend, Jerry James. It consisted of burning a scrap-lumber statue of an eight-foot-tall man and was attended by fewer than a dozen people — including Mr. Harvey’s son, Tristan, who was 5 — although a crowd soon gathered to watch. It was a summer solstice celebration; Mr. Harvey sometimes said it also commemorated a romantic breakup.

Mr. Harvey was married once, briefly, to Patricia Johnson, and he raised their son, Tristan, who survives him, as a single father. He is also survived by his brother, Stewart.

Mr. Harvey remained fully involved with his creation until his stroke, supervising design decisions and choosing this year’s theme, “I, Robot.”

The 2018 festival, scheduled for Aug. 26-Sept. 3, will go on, the organization said in a statement: “If there’s one thing we know for sure, Larry wants us to burn the man.”

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Polixeni Papapetrou, Photographer With an Eerie Eye, Dies at 57

Polixeni Papapetrou (her full name is pronounced poh-leek-SEE-nee pah-pah-PET-roo) was born on Nov. 21, 1960, in Melbourne. Her father, Andreas, was a real estate agent, and her mother, the former Eftihiya Xilinakis, was a seamstress. Her parents were Greek immigrants, something that she said made her feel different as a child growing up in Australia. The way she looked, the food the family ate and other things set her apart.

“Difference and identity is a theme that has always been present in my work and led me to photograph alternative subcultures,” she told The Age of Melbourne in 2009. Her subjects included drag queens and Elvis impersonators.


“The Visitor” (2012), from the series “Between Worlds.”

At first her career took an entirely different direction. After graduating from Melbourne University in 1984, she became a lawyer for a time.

“I worked as a corporate lawyer and really enjoyed this environment,” she explained, “but the desire to be an artist was stronger.”

Taking her inspiration from Diane Arbus’s photographs, she began taking pictures in the mid-1980s, at first focusing on those subcultures. In addition to Elvis impersonators and drag queens, she shot professional wrestlers and body builders. But by the turn of the century, the fairy-tale-like images featuring costumed or masked children began to dominate.


“Amaryllis” (2016), from the series “Eden.”

“Normally, the conceit goes that we make children,” her husband wrote in a eulogy, “but Poli used to say that the children made her: They made her as a person and made her as an artist.”

Many of these images were not simple exercises in dress-up; they invoked other artworks or literature and addressed environmental, social, psychological and other themes. One series reworked Lewis Carroll’s photographs of Alice Liddell. Other images were taken at Hanging Rock, the formation made famous by the novel and film “Picnic at Hanging Rock.”

The 2008 magazine cover became entangled in a debate that had been stirred up by an exhibition by another Australian photographer, Bill Henson, which included images of bare-chested young teenage girls.


“The Wanderer” (2012), from the series “The Dreamkeepers.”

Ms. Papapetrou’s photograph had actually been taken years earlier and had been previously exhibited; by the time it landed on the magazine cover, Olympia was 11 and defended the image, saying that of the many she had made with her mother it was among her favorites.

The photograph drew condemnation, including from Australia’s prime minister at the time, Kevin Rudd. The controversy came at a particularly bad time for Ms. Papapetrou: A few months before, she had received her initial cancer diagnosis.

She eventually seemed to beat the disease, but it recurred in 2012, and her doctors told her she might have only weeks to live. More than five years later, she was still working. Her husband said she had organized her current exhibition, at the Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney, from her bed.


Ms. Papapetrou in an undated family photograph. As the daughter of Greek immigrants, she felt alienated growing up in Australia. “Difference and identity is a theme that has always been present in my work and led me to photograph alternative subcultures,” she said.

Ms. Papapetrou studied art after taking it up as a career, receiving a master of arts degree at RMIT University in Melbourne in 1997 and a Ph.D. at Monash University in 2007.

In addition to her husband and her children, Olympia and Solomon Nelson, she is survived by her mother and father.

As for the kerfuffle over the magazine cover, Ms. Papapetrou put it behind her and had no regrets about using her children in her work.

“I know that when I am not here I have left behind a record of our journey together,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012. “They will remember that we had a lot of fun doing this.”

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Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in Austin Powers Movies, Dies at 49

He was hospitalized this month after the police and emergency medical services responded to a call at his Hollywood home, USA Today reported.

Verne J. Troyer was born on Jan. 1, 1969. Information about survivors was not immediately available.

One of Mr. Troyer’s first film roles came as a stunt double for a baby in the film “Baby’s Day Out” (1994). In 2000 he shared an MTV Movie Award for “Best On-Screen Duo” with Mike Myers for his role in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” As Mini-Me, he portrayed the protégé of Dr. Evil as played by Mr. Myers.

He also appeared in “Men in Black” (1997), “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (2009).

He made headlines in 2008 when he sued celebrity news site TMZ and sought $20 million in damages for a sex tape Mr. Troyer said the website stole and posted online. His lawsuit said the tape was for his “own personal, private use.”

Mr. Troyer had a YouTube channel with more than half a million subscribers on which he frequently posted comedy skits. In his last video, posted three weeks ago, Mr. Troyer was in an armchair and talked about his pet peeves.

“Just because I’m small people think that they can come up to me and tap me on the head,” he said. “I’m not a lap dog.”

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Harry Anderson, ‘Night Court’ Actor Who Bottled Magic On Screen and Off, Dies at 65

“Night Court” was nominated for 31 Emmys and won seven. John Larroquette, Markie Post, Richard Moll, Charles Robinson and Marsha Warfield starred alongside Mr. Anderson.

Judge Harry Stone shared more than a first name with the actor who played him: Both the character and the man donned colorful ties, were magicians at heart and were superfans of the jazz great Mel Tormé, known as the Velvet Fog, who made several guest appearances on “Night Court.” Mr. Anderson was a eulogist at Mr. Tormé’s funeral in 1999.

While he earned critical acclaim and amassed a devoted fan base on “Night Court,” Mr. Anderson never fancied himself an actor. “I’m a magician, or a performer, by nature, and that’s always what I’ve been,” Mr. Anderson told WGN-TV in Chicago in 2014.

“I was never really an actor,” he said. “I was a magician who fell into a part on ‘Cheers.’”

His role as the swindler Harry (the Hat) Gittes on “Cheers” — he appeared in six episodes, four in the first two seasons — led to his break on “Night Court” after he impressed the legendary television executive Brandon Tartikoff.

Even Harry the Hat echoed Mr. Anderson’s real life. In 1985, he told People magazine that he used to run a classic street hustle, the shell game, in San Francisco, where, at 21 years old, he had his jaw broken by an opponent who was livid at the game’s outcome.

Mr. Anderson, one of three children, was born on Oct. 14, 1952, in Newport, R.I., and spent much of his childhood on the move, often performing on the streets for money, he told People. By 16, he had lived in many cities including Chicago, New York, St. Louis and New Orleans. He landed in California at 16 years old and from there found success as a comic magician, which opened the door to his acting career.

About his mother, he said to People: “She was a hustler, yeah. She did a lot of things. We moved around a lot, and she had a lot of men friends.”

His childhood, though, was not bad, he said, and his dubious background should not be viewed any differently from his mother’s. “I respect my mother; she was very concerned with taking care of us,” he said. “She did what needed to be done to try to keep us together. People find my criminal days amusing, but they find her background shocking. I don’t draw any line.”

Mr. Anderson told People that his father was a salesman who was mostly absent from his life, and that he had not seen him for 15 years before his death.

Mr. Anderson is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Morgan, and two children from his first marriage, to Leslie Pollack: Eva Fay Anderson and Dashiell Anderson. Information about other survivors was not immediately available.

Before “Night Court,” Mr. Anderson appeared on “Saturday Night Live” several times. He hosted the show at the height of his fame, in 1985.

After “Night Court,” he played the newspaper columnist Dave Barry on the comedy “Dave’s World,” which ran on CBS from 1993 to 1997. In 2008, he appeared in an episode of “30 Rock” titled “The One With the Cast of ‘Night Court.’”

In 2000, Mr. Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to New Orleans, eager to return to his roots. They opened the nightclub Oswald’s Speakeasy, where he performed, as well as a magic and curiosity shop, Sideshow.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, though, tourism flagged and they were not able to keep their businesses alive.

The Andersons discussed their decision with The New York Times in 2006, the year they moved to Asheville.

“I had more people in my car last night,” Mr. Anderson said, a reference to the thin crowd at Oswald’s.

He and his wife had also become captive to the depression that affected many in New Orleans at the time, Mr. Anderson said. Despite efforts to support their community — Mr. Anderson opened his club for what he called French Quarter Town Hall meetings — and maintain their businesses, they decided to call it quits.

“I’m glad we tried to stay,” he said, “but I don’t want to be the person I will be if I stay here.”

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Mitzi Shore, Whose Comedy Store Fostered Rising Stars, Dies at 87

It would be faster to list comics from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s who never performed at the Store than all those who did, but some memorable ones include Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Garry Shandling, Elayne Boosler, Andy Kaufman, Jim Carrey, Sandra Bernhard, George Carlin and Sam Kinison.

The club also served as a talent pool for Johnny Carson, who often chose young comedians who performed there, like Jay Leno and David Letterman, to be guests on his “Tonight Show.”

“Mitzi Shore was at the top of a long list of people responsible for my career,” Mr. Letterman wrote in a statement after her death. “She was a unique figure in a unique time.”


Ms. Shore opened the Comedy Store, on Sunset Strip, in 1972 with her husband, the comedian Sammy Shore.

The Comedy Store and the comics who performed there in the 1970s were chronicled in “I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era” (2009), by William Knoedelseder. The book was adapted into a Showtime series, “I’m Dying Up Here,” which features a club owner, played by Melissa Leo, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Ms. Shore.

Marc Maron, the comedian, actor and host of the podcast “WTF With Marc Maron,” wrote in an email on Wednesday that the Store “was a dark, mythological castle in my mind,” adding, “I lived for the place.”

“Mitzi was the queen,” he continued. “She determined your fate. All you wanted was her approval, and you were terrified of not getting it. No person or place has bent my brain like that before or since.”

The club and Ms. Shore were sometimes at the center of controversy, not least because for some years Ms. Shore did not pay her comedians. She told The Los Angeles Times that she saw comics as “independent contractors” and the Store as “a workshop environment” where they could work on material without the stress of a paid performance.

In 1979, a group of comedians went on strike for several weeks, and Ms. Shore agreed to pay them. But some of her regular acts departed for other clubs, like the Laugh Factory and the Improv, and Ms. Shore saw the whole affair as a betrayal.

“I didn’t deserve what they did to me,” she said.

Rick Newman, founder of the Catch a Rising Star comedy clubs, said in an interview on Wednesday that new comedy clubs usually struggle to cover expenses and also pay comics for at least a few years. Ms. Shore, he said, looked at the Store as “a comedy university” that helped young comics during their formative years.

“She was very opinionated, and the comedians appreciated her advice, her guidance, even the way she put shows together,” he said.

She was born Lillian Saidel on July 25, 1930, in Green Bay, Wis., to Morris and Fanny Saidel. She met Sammy Shore at a resort on Elkhart Lake, Wis., and they married and moved to California, where they had four children.

Her survivors include a daughter, Sandi; three sons, Peter, Scott and Pauly; and two grandchildren.

Pauly Shore is the comedian and actor who rose to fame on MTV and appeared in 1990s films like “Encino Man” and “Bio-Dome.” He also appeared at the Comedy Store.

But Ms. Shore could be a critical, honest audience even when she was related to the person on stage.

“I didn’t encourage Pauly,” she told The Times in 1994. “I made it tough for him. He had to work hard all around town before he got a break on the stage at the Comedy Store.”

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