June Christy, below, Whose husky vocals helped give jazz its smoky ambience in the ’40s and ’50s, died from kidney failure in Los Angeles at age 64. Born Shirley Luster in Springfield, Ill., Christy was singing for Chicago society bands when vocal great Anita O’Day heard her in 1945 and gave Christy’s name to bandleader Stan Kenton. Christy fronted Kenton’s band from 1945 to 1951, then became a solo singer and had a big hit with the song “Something Cool.” “She was absolutely identifiable in the first measure of a song,” says fellow singer Rosemary Clooney. “I loved her sound and her approach to music.”…
And Mary Campbell Townley, the only woman to wear the Miss America crown for two years in a row (1922 and ’23), died at age 85 of natural causes in Oakland, Calif. In her third try for the title, in 1924, Townley placed second. “I didn’t think I was the least good-looking,” she said in later years.
Your Tax Dollars At Work: Sacramento’s City Council has retired the word “manhole” in favor of the more gender-free “maintenance hole.” The switch came after the city’s Public Works Department decided that “manhole” was a sexist word and buried the name change among other proposed changes and regulations. Anne Rudin, Sacramento’s Mayor, says she doesn’t “disapprove” of the semantic switch but adds, “This has been blown out of proportion.”
Actress Kelly (of the DON’T HATE ME BECAUSE I’M BEAUTIFUL commercial) LeBrock, 30, and her actor husband, martial-arts expert Steven Seagal, 40 (above), had a baby boy, Dominic San Rocco Seagal, on June 21 in Los Angeles. Dominic weighed in at 7 lbs. The couple, who co-starred earlier this year in the movie Hard to Kill, also have a 3-year-old daughter, Annaliza.
Actress Ina Balin, who as Saigon “was falling in 1975 helped spirit 217 Vietnamese orphans out of the city and ended up adopting three of them herself, died at the age of 52 of lung disease in New Haven, Conn. In 1980, Balin played herself in The Children of An Lac, a TV movie about her dramatic rescue efforts. The darkly striking actress, whose best-known films include 1959’s Black Orchid (above, right) and 1965’s The Greatest Story Ever Told, had first visited the An Lac orphanage in 1969 while on an entertainment tour of Vietnam. In 1975 she herself adopted three girls from An Lac: infants Kim Thuy and Ba-Nhi Mai (top) and a part-black, part-Vietnamese-Chinese teenager named Nguyet. Balin, who never married, once said of single parenthood, “It has to be something you want. You have to give up certain things, but compared to what you give up, you get so much more.” Kim and Ba-Nhi, now both 15, attend the Westover School in Middlebury, Conn., while Nguyet, 31, is married to a soldier in Berlin. Kim says of Balin, “She was my father, my best friend and my mother, all in one. She was spunky, strong and stubborn. Mom was so magnificent.” The younger girls will now be taken care of by Balin’s close friends, Ted and Page Ashley.