Trini Lopez, Singing Star Who Mixed Musical Styles, Dies at 83
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Trini Lopez onstanges in all black with guitar in hand waving to fans

His blend of American folk, Latin and rockabilly music captivated listeners worldwide. His secret: arrangements that people could dance to. He died of Covid-19.

Trini Lopez, who had worldwide hit records in the early 1960s by creating a unique mix of American folk, Latin and rockabilly music, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 83.

His longtime friend and collaborator Joe Chavira said the cause was complications of Covid-19.

Mr. Lopez’s two biggest records — “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree” — had both been hits as well for the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary several years earlier. But Mr. Lopez’s versions soared even higher on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

His “Hammer” reached No. 3 (Peter, Paul and Mary’s had gotten as high as No. 10), and his “Lemon Tree” got to No. 10 (theirs had peaked at No. 35). They also had more international impact.

Mr. Lopez’s version of “If I Had a Hammer” shot to No. 1 in 36 countries and sold more than a million copies. His stylistic advantage? Arrangements that listeners could dance to.

“Making songs danceable helped me a lot,” Mr. Lopez told The Classic Rock Music Reporter in 2014, adding, “Discotheques back in those days were not only playing my songs, they were playing my album all the way through.”

For yet another draw, Mr. Lopez punctuated many of his songs with joyous hoots and trills drawn from Mexican folk, emphasizing his ethnic heritage at a time when many Latin performers kept theirs hidden. “I’m proud to be a Mexicano,” he told The Seattle Times in 2017.

His groundbreaking mix of sounds connected with listeners right from the start, with his debut album, “Live at PJ’s,” recorded at a popular Los Angeles nightclub and released in 1963. The disc went gold, fueled by the success of “If I Had a Hammer.” The album also featured a version of “La Bamba,” the traditional Mexican song that another pioneering Latin rocker, Ritchie Valens, had turned into a Top 40 hit five years earlier.

He racked up other Top 40 hits with “Kansas City” and “I’m Coming Home, Cindy.” He made Billboard magazine’s adult contemporary Top 40 15 times.

Continue on to The New York Times to read the complete article.

ESPN Baseball Reporter Pedro Gomez Dies At 58
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Pedro gomez image with years of life

Pedro Gomez, an ESPN reporter since 2003 and one of the country’s foremost baseball journalists, died unexpectedly Sunday. He was 58.

Gomez, who was based in Phoenix, covered baseball for SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and other ESPN studio shows, live events and radio. During his 35-year career, he covered more than 25 World Series and more than 20 All-Star Games.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Pedro Gomez has passed away,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “Pedro was an elite journalist at the highest level and his professional accomplishments are universally recognized. More importantly, Pedro was a kind, dear friend to us all. Our hearts are with Pedro’s family and all who love him at this extraordinarily difficult time.”

Gomez is survived by his wife, Sandra; sons, Rio and Dante; and daughter, Sierra.

“Pedro was far more than a media personality,” his family said in a statement. “He was a dad, loving husband, loyal friend, coach and mentor. He was our everything and his kids’ biggest believer.” Gomez’s son Rio is a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization.

“Our hearts go out to the Gomez family,” the team tweeted Sunday night.

The son of Cuban parents who went to Miami right before he was born, Gomez was part of ESPN’s landmark 2016 coverage when the Tampa Bay Rays faced the Cuban national team in Havana. He returned his father’s and brother’s ashes to the family’s home on that trip. He also covered a U.S. men’s national team soccer match in Havana in 2008 for ESPN, and an exhibition game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team in 1999.

Gomez was a vital part of the network’s coverage of Barry Bonds from 2005 to 2007, including covering Bonds’ chase to pass Henry Aaron’s home run record in 2007.

Gomez also did play-by-play for an ESPN baseball game in 2014. He said his favorite event to cover was Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, when Chicago fan Steve Bartman reached out and attempted to catch a foul ball over Cubs outfielder Moises Alou in the playoff game against the Miami Marlins, who went on to score eight runs in the inning and force a Game 7 in the series.

Read the full article at ESPN.

These Latinos made a mark in our communities and nation. We lost them in 2020.
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Portraits of Rudolfo Anaya, Naya Rivera, Silvio Horta and Miriam Jimenez Roman.

By Raul A. Reyes for NBC News

2020 has been a year marked by grief and loss, but it is in the spirit of remembrance, not sadness, that we highlight the lives of several Latinos we said goodbye to this year. From Hollywood to Washington, from academia to the armed forces, these are just a few of our “familia” who enriched our communities, our lives and our nation before leaving us.

RUDOLFO ANAYA, 82, a “godfather” of Chicano literature. Anaya is best known for his novel “Bless Me, Ultima”

(Image Credit – NBC News)

(1972), a coming-of-age story set in 1940s New Mexico. “Ultima” follows the relationship between a young boy and a curandera (healer) who comes to live with his family. A bestseller at a time when U.S. Latinos were rarely depicted in mainstream fiction, it has become one of the most acclaimed works in the Chicano literary canon. “Ultima” inspired generations of Latino writers, and it was adapted into a play, an opera and a film.

Books like ‘Ultima’ are part of our personal reading history. Because they are taught in schools, we don’t forget seeing ourselves on the page for the first time,” writer and critic Rigoberto González said. “Seeing names like ours, and figures that are familiar to us, is powerful.” González said he believes “Ultima” will continue to have longevity in libraries and schools and on bookshelves.

Anaya, a prolific author who wrote mysteries, children’s books and travel chronicles, received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2016 for his “pioneering stories of the American Southwest.”

NAYA RIVERA, 33, actress and singer. Condolences poured in from around the world when news broke of the drowning death of Rivera in July. “As a Latina, it’s rare to have rich, complex characters reflect us in media,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted. “Naya worked hard to give that gift to so many.”

Rivera performed throughout her childhood, but it was her role on TV’s “Glee” (2009-15) that catapulted her to fame. Rivera, an advocate for the LGBTQ community, for immigrants and for women’s rights, earned three American Latino Media Arts Awards for her acting and singing. In 2016 she released her memoir, “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.”

“She was the rare Afro-Latina on network TV, and when her character came out as gay, it was a historic moment for LGBTQ representation in prime time,” entertainment journalist Jack Rico said. Pointing out that 22 percent of Latino millennials identify as LGBTQ, Rico called Rivera’s portrayal of cheerleader Santana Lopez “groundbreaking,” saying it paved the way for queer characters on shows like “One Day at a Time” and “Vida.”

Rico said he believes Rivera died on the cusp of another career resurgence. “I could see true stardom in her. When people die young it really hurts, because we lose them and also their potential,” he said. “She was a guiding light for all of us struggling for more diversity and representation.”

Read the full article at NBC News.

LULAC Remembers Diego Maradona, Latino Soccer Star
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Diego Maradona on the soccer playing field kicking the ball with other players

Nation’s Leading Latino Civil Rights Organization Says the Argentinian D10S Inspired Millions Worldwide

Washington, D.C. – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened that one of sport’s greatest stars has died following brain surgery a week ago. Diego Maradona will be remembered for transfixing soccer enthusiasts with his superhuman talent and athletic feats. LULAC has always encouraged young Latinos, men and women alike, to emulate positive aspects in the lives of their sports heroes who inspire them to achieve more in their own future. Maradona, the mere name of this player, ignited that spirit in young people and the young at heart around the world.

At this time when nations everywhere are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, may we pause and remember the heart with which Maradona played, often against seemingly insurmountable opponents. One of the highlights for which he will be forever celebrated was the match in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup against England in which the ball ricocheted off his raised fist into the head of a player from the opposing team and flew into the net to score the decisive goal. He would later describe the incident as, “The Hand of God”. His performances on the field is worthy of a final ovation. May we raise our voices today and scream in unison GOL in his honor one final time. Que descanse en paz, el gran Pibe de Oro.”

About LULAC
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

Mexican actor Raymundo Capetillo dies at 76 after reported hospitalization with COVID-19
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Raymundo Capetill headshot

Mexican actor Raymundo Capetillo has died at the age of 76, according to an announcement made by “Extensión Cultural INBAL,” a Mexican government Twitter account.

“We deeply regret the sensitive death of the first actor Raymundo Capetillo. In addition to his career in film, theater and television, he was a committed promoter of reading throughout the country,” stated Extensión Cultural INBAL.

According to recent statements made to the press by Tanya Roberta, the actor’s niece, Capetillo was hospitalized in Mexico with COVID-19 complications.

Mexico’s National Association of Actors (ANDA) also posted a message of condolence to the actor’s family and friends: “We deeply regret the death of our colleague José Loza Martínez, a member of our union and guest of the Actor’s House, which occurred on July 12 yesterday. Our condolences to your family and friends. Rest in peace.”

Capetillo was born on September 1, 1943 in Mexico City, where he began acting in the late 1960s. He worked in television, film and theater. Some of his most famous performances were “Los Perros de Dios” in 1974 and “Santo en Anonymous Mortal” in 1975. The actor is also remembered for starring in popular soap operas, such as “Muchacha Italiana Viene a Casarse,” “Rosa Salvaje” and “Cadenas de Amargura.”

Continue on to ABC News to read the complete article.

Famed Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya dies at age 82
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Rudolfo Anaya headshot

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- KOB 4 has confirmed that author Rudolfo Anaya has died. Anaya is best known for his novel, Bless Me, Ultima, and considered one of the most revered authors of Chicano literature.

Anaya’s niece, Belinda Henry, told KOB 4 her uncle had been in declining health and died early Sunday at his home in Albuquerque, where he was surrounded by close relatives. He was 82 years old. 

“He loved his family more than any accomplishment,” Henry said. “He was an exceptionally intelligent and gifted author and certainly one of the most generous persons with his time. His influence has been felt worldwide.”

Anaya was born in New Mexico in 1937. He graduated from Albuquerque High School and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of New Mexico. He would later return to the university to teach creative writing until his retirement. 

Anaya was presented with the 2015 National Humanities Medal by President Obama for “pioneering stories of the American Southwest.” 

Continue on to KOB News to read the complete article.

WWII Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne Sr. dies in Arizona at 92
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Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, who used his native language as an uncrackable code during World War II, died Saturday.

At 92, he was one of the last surviving Code Talkers.

Hawthorne was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and became part of a famed group of Native Americans who encoded hundreds of messages in the Navajo language to keep them safe from the Japanese. Hawthorne served in the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre and was promoted to corporal.

The code was never broken.

“The longer we live, the more we realize the importance of what we did, but we’re still not heroes — not in my mind,” Roy Hawthorne said in 2015.

But Hawthorne’s son, Regan Hawthorne, said Monday his father leaves a proud legacy.

“They went in out of a sense of duty and a spirit of responsibility to their country,” Regan Hawthorne said, adding he didn’t know about his father’s military service until he was in his 20s.

“I grew up not knowing my dad was a Code Talker. He never talked about it, didn’t see the need to talk about it,” he said.

The Code Talkers believed they were just doing their job, he said, and shied away from receiving accolades for their service.

“When we read about the effect the Navajo Code had on shortening the war because of its effectiveness, we think about the guys who did that,” Regan Hawthorne said. “(But) they’re simply humble men who performed what they sensed to be a duty to protect all they cherished.”

He said his father and other Code Talkers returned home from the war and “simply came back to work and went back to making a life.”

As of 2016, there were about a dozen Code Talkers still living. The exact number of Code Talkers is unknown because their work was classified for years after the war ended.

Continue onto AZ Central to read the complete article.

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