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Eleanor Galenson, psychoanalyst who demonstrated early awareness of sexual identity, dies

Eleanor Galenson, 94, a psychoanalyst whose research demonstrated that children are aware of sexual identity in infancy, even earlier than Freud had propounded, died on Jan. 15 in New York. In 1981, with Dr. Herman Roiphe, she published Infantile Origins of Sexual Identity.

Tony Geiss, 86, who entertained generations of children by putting words in the mouths of Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Elmo and other characters on Sesame Street, helping the show win 22 daytime Emmys for scriptwriting and songwriting, died Jan. 21 in Valhalla, N.Y., after a neck injury. Branching out from Sesame Street, he joined Judy Freudberg to write the stories or screenplays for two films directed by the great Disney animator Don Bluth and produced by Steven Spielberg, The Land Before Time and An American Tail.

Rene Verdon, 86, whose position as the White House chef during the Kennedy administration helped him project the allure of classic French cuisine to the American public, died of leukemia on Wednesday in San Francisco. He shocked Americans used to canned vegetables and iceberg lettuce by tending his own vegetables on the White House roof and arranging for the White House garden designer to plant herbs in the flower beds of the East Garden.

Ernest A. McCulloch, 84, a father of the stem cell research that scientists say holds promise for the treatment of many ailments, died on Jan. 20 in Toronto. He died two weeks short of the 50th anniversary of the publication of a groundbreaking paper he wrote with James E. Till in the journal Radiation Research. The paper is credited with setting the stage for all current research on adult and embryonic stem cells.

Milton Babbitt, 94, a composer who used his knack for mathematics to create a modern musical language that was elegantly complex, fearlessly dissonant and so dense that even critics sometimes struggled to explain its importance, died Jan. 29 in Princeton, N.J. His work profoundly influenced younger musicians such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich. One of his early students was the future Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim.

Ron Patterson, 80, who nearly half a century ago helped found the country's first Renaissance fair, which inspired a thriving nationwide industry of jousters and jesters, hawking street vendors and brave men in doublets and tights, died of natural causes on Jan. 15 in Sausalito, Calif. His fair spawned hordes of imitators, with at least 200 medieval and Renaissance fairs now held throughout the country each year, including the Alabama Renaissance Faire, the Northwest Arkansas Fantasy Faire and the Sterling Renaissance Festival in upstate New York.

Margaret Price, 69, an opera star considered one of the world's leading sopranos, died of heart failure on Jan. 28 in Wales. She was known for her exquisite renditions of Mozart's complicated music and had performed in most of the world's great opera houses by the time she retired in 1999.

David Frye, 77, whose wicked sendups of political figures like Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey and, above all, Richard M. Nixon made him one of the most popular comedians in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, died of cardiopulmonary arrest on Jan. 24 in Las Vegas. He performed at colleges and nightclubs across the country as well as on TV programs such as the Ed Sullivan Show and the Tonight Show.

Charles H. Kaman, 91, an innovator of helicopter technology and, following a different passion, the inventor of one of the first electrically amplified acoustic guitars, died of pneumonia on Monday in Bloomfield, Conn. Within the aerospace industry, he is known for inventing dual intermeshing helicopter rotors, which move in opposite directions, and for introducing the gas turbine jet engine to helicopters. He also invented the Ovation guitar, which allows musicians to amplify their sound without generating the feedback that comes from using microphones.

Eleanor Galenson, psychoanalyst who demonstrated early awareness of sexual identity, dies 02/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 5, 2011 7:28pm]
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