In memoriam is a page to read featured obituaries of Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff. Visit Remembrances to read memorials of Northwestern community members submitted by their family or peers. Please send obituaries to email@example.com.
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Cloris Leachman ’48, ’14 H, Encinitas, Calif., Jan. 27, 2021, age 94. The Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress was best known for her comedic television roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Facts of Life and Malcolm in the Middle.
Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Leachman acted in local children’s theater starting at age 7. Leachman enrolled in the School of Communication at Northwestern, where studied theater and appeared in the Waa-Mu Show.
She stepped away from Northwestern to enter the world of beauty pageants — she was a Miss America finalist in 1946 — and later professional acting, first on Broadway in productions of South Pacific and As You Like It and then on TV and in films.
Leachman won eight Primetime Emmy Awards — most prominently for her role as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show — and received 22 nominations.
She had roles in dozens of films, including The Last Picture Show, for which she won an Oscar for best supporting actress. She had several roles in Mel Brooks films, including History of the World, Part 1 and Young Frankenstein, in which she played the memorable Frau Blücher.
Leachman was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011 and even at the end of her life remained active in the entertainment industry, appearing in the 2019 revival of Mad About You. In 2008 she made an appearance on Dancing with the Stars, where she finished seventh. At 82, she was the oldest contestant to ever appear on the show. Leachman had roles in several films now in postproduction and slated for release in 2021.
She was awarded an honorary degree from Northwestern in 2014.
Leachman is survived by her sons, Morgan, Adam and George Englund, a daughter, Dinah Englund, and seven grandchildren.
Wilson E. Stone ’49, East Hampton, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2020, at age 93. A composer, lyricist and piano accompanist, Stone wrote songs for the Waa-Mu Show beginning in his first year at Northwestern and continuing after he graduated. For the 1951 show, he wrote “Back in the Old Routine,” which was later recorded by Bing Crosby and Donald O’Connor. Stone worked at Paramount, where he wrote music and lyrics for films including Shane, Sabrina and War and Peace. His wife, Dorothy Aull, acted in some of his industrial musicals, a genre of musicals created specifically for corporations that featured lyrics about their products. He was inducted into the Waa-Mu Hall of Fame in 2006, the show’s 75th anniversary year. Stone is survived by his daughter, Susanna Stone, and a sister, Elizabeth Harris.
Henry Geller ’49 JD, Washington, D.C., April 7, 2020, age 96. In a career that helped shape the course of broadcast television, Geller was general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission from 1964 to 1970. He was instrumental in removing cigarette advertisements from television by proposing that an antismoking message be aired for every tobacco ad that did not include a health warning; Congress eventually banned tobacco ads from TV. In 1975, after leaving the agency, he successfully petitioned it to allow the broadcasting of presidential debates, arguing that the equal-time rule, which would have allowed the inclusion of minor-party candidates, did not apply to such an event. He later led the new National Telecommunications and Information Administration and also argued for a cap on advertisements during children’s programming. Geller is survived by his wife, Judy; his children, Peter and Kathryn; and a grandson.
Photo: Barco Library, The Cable Center
Judd Weinberg ’47, Chicago, Feb. 20, 2020, at age 93. A generous benefactor, Weinberg joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 1982 and was elected a life trustee in 1995. He received the Northwestern Alumni Medal, the highest honor given by the Northwestern Alumni Association, in 2000. Weinberg and his family gave a major gift to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1998. Their generosity was recognized with the naming of the College in their honor. A gift to the Feinberg School of Medicine established the Weinberg Medical Informatics Training Center. The family has also supported the School of Communication, the Donald P. Jacobs Chair at the Kellogg School of Management and the Arnold R. and Edna F. Weber Scholarship Fund. In 2007 Weinberg’s three sons dedicated the Marjorie Weinberg Garden, on the south side of Deering Meadow, in honor of their mother, Marjorie Gottlieb Weinberg ’50, who died in 1993. Weinberg is survived by three sons, David, Richard and Jack; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
James W. Montgomery ’43, Chicago, Oct. 23, at age 98. Ordained in 1949, Montgomery served as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago from 1971 to 1987. He helped the diocese — and the city — navigate change. During the Chicago Freedom movement in the 1960s he chaired the Chicago Conference on Religion and Race and mediated discussions between Mayor Richard J. Daley and Martin Luther King Jr. These meetings, focused on housing issues and civil rights, took place in St. James Cathedral, the diocesan headquarters. Montgomery opened up the same cathedral for a national gathering organized by gay members of the church. When the Episcopal Church allowed women to become priests in 1976, Montgomery objected but allowed his assistants to ordain women. He also voiced his opposition to the nuclear arms race and abortion. Montgomery served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant during World War II. He is survived by four nieces and a nephew.
John Paul Stevens ’47 JD, ’77 H, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 16, at age 99. Stevens, one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s longest-serving justices, was a moderate Republican when President Gerald Ford nominated him to the Supreme Court, but he came to be seen as a leader of the court’s liberal wing. Stevens spent three years as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer stationed at Pearl Harbor. After the war he graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern Law in 1947 and spent one year as a clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Wiley Rutledge. Stevens returned to Chicago and went to work in antitrust law. President Richard Nixon appointed Stevens to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1970, and he joined the Supreme Court in 1975. He retired in 2010. He was honored by former classmates with the establishment of the John Paul Stevens Professorship at the Pritzker School of Law in 1992. The school’s Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship Program provides financial assistance to students who volunteer in public interest summer jobs. Stevens returned to deliver the Northwestern Law convocation address in 2011 and donated his Supreme Court chair to the school. (Read our 2009 profile on Stevens, “A Justice for All.”) He is survived by two daughters, Elizabeth and Susan; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. Photo by Joanna Wilkiewicz
Anne Firor Scott ’44 MA, ’89 H, Feb. 5, 2019, Chapel Hill, N.C., at age 97. An influential historian, Scott opened up the field of women’s history with her groundbreaking book The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics, 1830–1930 (1970). By examining letters, diaries and other primary sources, Scott demonstrated that, while society limited their power, Southern women found roles to fill in their communities and purpose in their everyday lives. Her other books explored women’s suffrage and the role of women’s associations. From 1961 until her retirement in 1991, Scott taught at Duke University, where she was the first woman to chair the history department. She received the National Humanities Medal in 2013. She is survived by daughter Rebecca; sons David and Donald; six grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Photo courtesy of Duke Photography/ Les Todd