During 2019, the LGBTQ community, both locally and nationally, said goodbye to a number of individuals who touched our lives in different ways. These family members, allies and icons are highlighted here.
January 31, 1921-January 15, 2019
Although Carol Channing appeared in such films as the 1950 film Noir Classic “Paid in Full” and the Ross Hunter-produced musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” she was clearly best known for her roles on Broadway, such as “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “Lorelei.” Her most significant role was that of matchmaker Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!”
Later in life, Channing continued to reprise the role in theatrical productions around the country. She admitted that she had played the part on so many occasions she had lost count of the number times she had appeared as Dolly Levi.
She continued to perform until 2017 and over the last two decades of her life donated much of the money raised from her performances to AIDS charities and LGBTQ causes. She remained a staunch ally and gay icon throughout her career. At the time of her death, she was just 15 days shy of 98 years old.
November 20. 1925-January 21, 2019
Comic and film and television actress Kaye Ballard appeared in numerous films and TV series, including 1957’s “The Girl Most Likely,” alongside Jane Powell and Cliff Robertson, as well as a regularly appearing role on “The Doris Day Show” (1970-1972). By far, however, she was best known for her role in the television series “The Mothers-in-Law” with co-star Eve Arden (1967-1969).
While she rallied in support of Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres and claimed “all of my best friends are gay,” she never technically came out herself, although she wrote in her autobiography “How I Lost Ten Pounds In 53 Years” that “all her emotionally satisfying relationships had been with women.”
Ballard was 95 at the time of her death.
September 10, 1933-February 19, 2019
Lagerfeld was a German fashion designer and photographer best known as the creative power behind the modern revival of Chanel, the legendary French fashion design firm founded by Coco Chanel in the early 20th century.
In 1967 he was hired as a consultant director by upscale Italian design house Fendi to modernize the company’s fur line. While he remained with Fendi throughout his career, he branched out in 1983 to produce his first couture collection for Chanel. In 1984, after just one year, he launched his own label, producing ready-to-wear clothing and accessories for men and women, and a cologne line. While Lagerfeld was largely supportive of LGBTQ rights and maintained a long-term relationship with Jacques de Bascher, he rarely spoke of his private life. Lagerfeld was 85.
October 11, 1966-March 24, 2019
Luke Perry was an extremely LGBTQ supportive straight actor who was always at ease playing gay characters in TV and film. In fact, Perry guest-starred as gay characters in the sitcoms “Spin City” (1997) and “Will & Grace” (2005); in the former, he appeared as Carter Heywood‘s ex-boyfriend who subsequently fell in love with a woman, and in the latter, he played a geeky “birdwatcher” who catches the eye of Jack McFarland. He maintained a lifelong friendship with the late actor Alexis Arquette, who began his entertainment career as an openly gay man, before transitioning into a transgender woman and reality TV star. His cause of death at the age of 53 was listed as a hearted attack.
April 3, 1922-May 13, 2019
Doris Day was an LGBTQ ally, gay icon and close friend to late gay actor Rock Hudson. Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff, the woman who came to be an entertainment legend began her career with the release of the big band single “Sentimental Journey,” which quickly led to a movie career that would include such films as Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and a string of much-loved comedies co-starring Day with Hudson, among them “Pillow Talk,” “Lover Come Back” and “Send Me No Flowers.” In her later years Day, who like many stars of old Hollywood, found a devoted following in the LGBTQ community and hosted the series “Doris Day’s Best Friends.” The show focused on Day’s efforts with animals and most of the guests were other actors she had worked with in years past. For the debut of the program, Day invited Hudson, who was then suffering from the effects of late-stage AIDS-related illness. Hudson’s appearance shocked his old friend, but she stood by him during a time when gay and HIV-positive actors were shunned by the industry and mainstream fans.
Day was 97 at the time of her death.
February 20, 1924-June 17, 2019
Gloria Vanderbilt was an American socialite, artist, author, actress and fashion designer, who was often in the public eye for her social life and professional efforts. Long an LGBTQ ally, she was frequently in the spotlight as the mother of gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Her cause of death at the age of 95, was listed as advanced stomach cancer.
February 18, 1931-August 5, 2019
Author Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in the Bronx, New York. As an American writer, she was noted for her examination of the black female experience within the black community. She is best known for such literary works of art as “The Bluest Eye,” “Beloved and Sula,” among others. Her collection of books received acclaim and awards globally and she remains an icon in the lesbian community, though her own sexual orientation continues to be somewhat thinly veiled in a cloak of mystery. Morrison passed away at the age of 88.
Rep. Elijah Eugene Cummings
January 18, 1951-October 17, 2019
Congressman Elijah Eugene Cummings was a much-loved American politician (D-MD), LGBTQ advocate and civil rights advocate who served in the United States House of Representatives for Maryland‘s 7th congressional district from 1996 until his death in 2019.
Previously he had served in the Maryland House from 1983 through 1996.
Cummings was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called thymic carcinoma in 1994 while serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. It was revealed in November 2019 that Cummings had lived with cancer for 25 years, though it was not stated as the cause of death.
Daniel C. Cochran
1946-December 1, 2019
Daniel C. Cochran died at the age of 73. He was a ground-breaking pioneer for African-Americans and gay people on Wall Street, serving in senior positions at both Merrill Lynch and UBS and on the board of the hedge fund Prince Street Capital Management. Heralded by the Human Rights Campaign for his fundraising efforts for LGBTQ causes, he is survived by his long-term spouse, Greg Sutphin.
February 15, 1933-February 1, 2019
Long a prominent figure in the Queen City’s gay community, Charlottean Ed DePasquale was born in Hudson, N.Y. He was 23 when he relocated to Charlotte in 1956 after serving in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict from 1950-1954.
Earlier in life DePasquale served as vice president of the Mecklenburg Jaycees. In his middle and later years he was actively involved with Carolina Celebration, Metropolitan Community Church, Prime Timers, The Queen City Supper Club and cofounded the Metrolina AIDS Project (MAP).
Ed DePasquale was 86.
October 22, 1933-July 29, 2019
Beverly A. McIntyre, an ally community member, was formerly owner of Pink Lady Travels that catered to the gay and lesbian community. McIntyre was also active with PFLAG, the Metrolina AIDS Project and served on the boards of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the Charlotte Business Guild. She also sang with One Voice Chorus of Charlotte and was honored by the LGBTQ community through Pride Charlotte as the inaugural Champion of Pride’s Outstanding Ally award which she shared with her husband Bill.
[Ed. Note: qnotes has prepared this In Memoriam list as a sampling of those whom we have lost this year. If readers will email firstname.lastname@example.org with others to include, qnotes will be happy to add them to the online compilation so that their memories can be honored. Please report any errors or changes that need to be made.]
Channing, Allan Warren, Wikimedia
CC BY SA-3.0 Unported license
Ballard, Public Domain
Lagerfeld, Christopher William Adach, Wikimedia
CC BY SA-2.0 Generic license
Perry, Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia
CC BY SA-3.0 Unported license
Day, Kate Gabrielle, Flickr
CC BY 2.0
Vanderbilt, Public Domain
Morrison, John Mathew Smith and celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA, Wikimedia
CC BY SA-2.0 Generic license
Cummings, public domain
Cochran, Legacy obituary
DePasquale, qnotes archives
McIntyre, Legacy obituary