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In Memoriam

Spring 2015

Julie Becker (School of Art MFA '95) has passed away at the age of forty-four in Los Angeles. Following brief studies at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin in 1991, she returned to LA to earn both her BFA and MFA at CalArts. She presented the work Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest, 1996, which is comprised of miniature architectural models and dioramas, in the twenty-third São Paulo Biennial, where she was the youngest participant. The piece went on to be installed at the Kunsthalle Zürich.

Other works of hers have appeared in the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Her pieces are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson; the Denver Art Museum; and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich. The CalArts community is very saddened to express this news as she will be missed, so please feel free to reach out to our Alumni Office if you'd like to share your thoughts. 

Filmmaker Thomas Taplin (Film/Video BFA 79) was one of over 18 people killed in an avalanche caused by an earthquake in Nepal on April 25. At the time of his death, he was working on a documentary on Mt. Everest. He leaves behind his wife, Cory Freyer, his mother, Beatrice Taplin, and brothers, Buzz, Frank and Ted. CNN recently published the article, Bringing Tom Home, on Taplin. 

Winter 2015

Christopher Scott Moeller (Character Animation 94) passed away on December 31 in Charlotte, North Carolina after a long battle with ALS. Moeller had been a director on King of the Hill as well as an animator for The Simpsons. He also co-created the adult animated science fiction comedy TV series, Tripping the Rift, which ran from 2004 to 2007. 

Fall 2014

Composer F. Lee Brooks (Music BFA 85) passed away on October 7. He was married for 35 years to pianist Dr. Beverly Serra Brooks (Music BFA 85).

Artist Katharine Brady Sutphin (Art BFA 77) passed away in Indianapolis on September 7.

Matthew Tomlanovich (Acting MFA 88) died October 19 in Dallas after battling complications resulting from an MRSA infection. The longtime professor, director, actor and mentor in the Dallas theater community had taught at Southern Methodist Univeristy, University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Dallas, among other institutions. He was acclaimed for his work with Junior Players, the oldest children's theater in Dallas and was recently honored by the Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Forum for having revived the Margo Jones Theatre "as a busy performance space, opening it to fledgling companies at a reasonable price, and making it available to small festivals, poetry slams, readings and dance groups." Tomlanovich had numerous acting and directing credits in New York, Los Angeles and Europe. He touched many people in the theater community, who have posted tributes to him. A memorial service will be held November 22 at 4:30 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Dallas.

Summer 2014

Musician and educator Charles Moore (Jazz Performance BFA 87; Music MFA 88) died at his home in Los Angeles of an apparent heart attack on May 31. Moore came to prominence in the Detroit jazz scene in the 1960s as a trumpeter and flugelhorn player and co-founder of the Detroit Artists' Workshop, later known as Trans-Love Energies. He also was involved in co-founding Strata Records in Detroit. Moore performed with several ensembles, including the Penland Polygon Quintet, the Contemporary Jazz Quintet, and the Eternal Wind Ensemble, for which he was a founding member. Besides his studies at CalArts, Moore earned a doctorate degree in ethnomusicology at UCLA in 2000.

Theodore (Ted) Tytell (Chouinard BFA 68) passed away on June 26 after a long battle with cancer.

Painter and sculptor John Whitmore (Chouinard BFA 71) died on June 20 from injuries sustained during an attack at the Imperial and Wilmington Blue Line station on June 13. According to a news report, Whitmore had been harassed by a group of girls at the station and was then beaten and kicked by two female suspects at 1:20 pm. Whitmore, who lived in South Los Angeles, was known for realist and large-scale works on paper. His work was included in the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company collection, an extensive collection of African American art. A public exhibit of his artwork is being planned by members of his family.

Spring 2014

Jose Estrada, Jr. (Acting BFA 13), affectionately known as Jojo, passed away on May 4 due to injuries from an automobile accident. During his time at CalArts, Estrada acted in many productions, including LA Founding Families, Electra Despierta, Private Eddie U.S.A., Measure for Measure, Through the Wormhole, and Taco Time. His films include Clandestino, Alaska 2110, Lovely Students and Marcy. Additionally, he performed in countless events as an actor, slam poet, and dancer. Said Dean Travis Preston, "Jojo was an extraordinary member of our community--someone whose grace, artistry, and humanity were ever-present and an inspiration to us all."

Winter 2013/14

James Avery, who had recently become an important part of the CalArts School of Theater community and who played Uncle Phil on the hit 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, passed away on December 31. Avery was an integral part of the formation of The Collective, a multi-disciplinary arts organization at CalArts that strives to present and preserve African-American cultural expressions, generate new work, and share stories through collaborative and experimental performances. He hosted the Collective's Celebrity Panel in February 2012. Also that month, he devised and directed the first of the now-annual The Depth of Black Art, a multi-disciplinary performance piece with African American students from all metiers. A memorial video of the work Avery did with CalArts students and alumni will be screened at CalArts in February.

David A. Steinberg (P.A.D.T. MFA 77) passed away on December 30 of pneumonia. Following CalArts, Steinberg began a long and successful career as an actor, writer, and director of fine arts at numerous universities and playhouses across the country. In 1987 he became head of the theater department at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Kansas. During his tenure, he directed and served as a mentor to thousands of students in over 100 plays and musicals. He also wrote five plays, including one that won the Play-in-Progress contest at Rockhurst University in 2005.

Summer 2013

Janet Lee King (Photography MFA 82) passed away on August 6 after living with cancer for nearly seven years. Director of Prospect Development at the University of Virginia Office of Advancement, King showed her artwork in galleries in Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Virginia. King married Robert Maury McGinnis (Art MFA 82) during the summer between their first and second years at CalArts.

Photographer, writer, critic and longtime faculty member Allan Sekula passed away on August 10. Sekula began teaching at CalArts in 1985 and mentored scores of students. His obituary appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Spring 2013

Graphic designer Johanna Jacob (Graphic Design MFA 90) passed away in her home in Montclair, New Jersey on March 26. Jacob taught graphic design at Caldwell College, and was a book artist, photographer, and master gardener. For five years, she and her family lived in Riberas del Pilar, Mexico, and while there, she created two mobile bookcases that could be transported to various schools and orphanages in the area.

Visual artist Channa Horwitz (Art BFA 72) passed away on April 29. Horwitz was singled out by critics last year in the Hammer Museum's first biennial survey of Los Angeles-based artists. In a 2012 review, Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight described her work as "patterned Minimalist drawings that breathe, pulsate and visually warp in most un-Minimalist ways." In April, Horwitz was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been included this year in The Encyclopedic Palace, the exhibition in the 55th Venice Biennale that accompanies the shows in the national pavilions.

Winter 2012/13

Gary E. Bachman (Art MFA 82) passed away suddenly on December 1, 2012. Gary, who graduated from Westfield High School, the University of Hartford and CalArts, was an artist and a theatrical teamster working for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 817. He is survived by his beloved companion, Deborah Kammer; his daughter, Jett Bachman and her mother, Susan Silas; his parents, Kenneth and Dorothy Bachman; his brother Kenneth Bachman, and his sister Karen Bachman.

CalArts has learned that Warner Bros. director Russell "Rusty" Mills (Character Animation BFA 84) passed away on December 7, 2012 at age 49. Rusty won both daytime and primetime Emmys for his work, directed the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain. His obituary appeared in the LA Times.

Designer Nathan Martin (Graphic Design BFA 08) recently passed away. Nathan owned his own design studio, Life & Work.

Fall 2012

Eleanor LaVove (Chouinard), co-founder of the Angels Attic dollhouse museum in Santa Monica, CA passed away on August 24, 2012 at age 94.

Summer 2012

Following a long illness, Webster Terhune (Art BFA 77) passed away on August 26, 2012. Following CalArts, he earned an MA in Media Studies at Rhode Island College. Webster was employed by the San Francisco Exploratorium and Ilux Imaging in Norwich, CT, and taught at New England Institute of Technology. In 2008, he held a solo art exhibit of his work in Westerly, RI. Last year, he and his wife, Jaclyn Udaloff (Dance 75) published This World is Personal, and Webster also published Photometaphoria, an eBook of his artwork. Memorial gifts may be made in Webster's name to Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island (HHCRI). 

Winter 2011/12

We learned that Jack Kling (Chouinard BFA 65), a former instructor at the Chouinard Art Institute and educator in Mill Valley Public Schools, died at his home in Santa Rosa in December 2011. Jack was 82.

On February 1, 2012, the CalArts community was saddened to learn of Mike Kelley's (Art MFA 78) passing.

Fall 2011

Hollywood costume designer Theadora Van Runkle (Chouinard) passed away on November 4, 2011 at 83 from lung cancer. Her work included the costumes for Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather trilogy, The Jerk and Peggy Sue Got Married.

Richard Rintoul (Instrumental Performance BFA 79) passed away on November 25, 2011.  He had a lifelong career in music, founding the Orchestra da Camera at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and serving as its Music Director and Conductor for twenty-three years. Most recently, he was a lecturer at the University of California-Santa Barbara and the conductor of their Symphony Orchestra. A memorial for Dr. Rintoul was held on January 12.

Spring 2011

Ceramic artist Elsa Rady (Chouinard 65), who studied with Ralph Bacerra and Otto and Vivika Heino, passed away on January 29, 2011. Her work, which is included in LACMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian's collections, is also included in the 200-year history Craft in America: Expanding Traditions. She was 67.

A memorial service for Valerie L. Bronson (Film/Video MFA 80) was held in Seattle on March 20, 2011.

Last edited by asurdam on Apr 18, 2016
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