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Obituaries of the Week: Comedic Legend, Provocative Columnist, Poetry Slam Movement’s Star, and Prominent Businessman and Philanthropist



This week, we pay tribute to a comedic legend, newspaper columnist, poet and philanthropist.

Sid Caesar was a legendary comedian and TV visionary. He paved the way for fellow funny people Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Neil Simon, who all wrote for Caesar’s sketch-comedy program Your Show of Shows. He also helped inspire Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s “Two Thousand Year Old Man” routine and was a mentor to dozens of other comedians. As Mel Brooks put it, “No Sid Caesar, no Mel Brooks.”

Gregory Kane, a former newspaper columnist for The Baltimore Sun, was a provocative writer who described himself as “a lifelong Baltimore resident, liberal on some issues, conservative on others, a veritable fascist on the topic of crime.” ‘He challenged a lot of traditional political thought in the African-American community,” said talk-show radio host Anthony McCarthy. ‘When I’d have him as a guest on my show, he’d say to me, ‘I’m your token conservative.’ He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize with reporter Gilbert Lewthwaite in 1997 on a three-part series about slavery in Sudan.,0,3008962.story#ixzz2ttaXhhHB

Maggie Estep was a novelist and poet who brought spoken-word poetry mainstream in the 1990’s. The Los Angeles Times says “Estep was a sassy, slightly twisted New Yorker who wrote and performed humorous, biting pieces that merged poetry with stand-up comedy.” She rose to fame by performing in HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” Woodstock ’94 and Lollapalooza.–maggie-estep-20140214,0,6984728.story#ixzz2tteqREwv

Stewart W. Bainum Sr. arrived in Washington D.C. in 1936 with three dollars in his pocket. He went on the found the nursing home and hospitality chains now known as HCR Manor Care and Choice Hotels International, which includes brands such as Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge and Sleep Inn. He and his wife founded the Commonweal Foundation in 1968 to support the education of underprivileged youths. In 1988, Mr. Bainum promised 67 seventh-graders at Kramer Junior High School in Southeast Washington that he would finance their college educations if they graduated from high school. He remained in touch with some of those students until his death, his son told the Washington Post.



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