Orlandus Wilson, 81, whose bass voice was the foundation of the Golden Gate Quartet's gospel harmonies, died Dec. 30 in Paris, where he lived.
The Golden Gate Quartet had a huge influence on American sacred and secular music. Performing in clubs and concert halls as well as churches, and backing up blues singers such as Leadbelly and Josh White, the quartet demonstrated that gospel had all the vitality of secular music. Its driving versions of spirituals were a model of vocal harmony for groups from the Dixie Hummingbirds to the Spaniels.
Mr. Wilson, who joined the group in 1934, provided its syncopated bass lines for six decades.
In 1958, after a 28-country tour sponsored by the State Department, the Golden Gate Quartet relocated to Paris. With Mr. Wilson as its manager and arranger, the group continued to be a major concert draw in Europe and on world tours. He announced his retirement from performing with the quartet in October.
Clare Potter, 95, a leading American fashion designer of the 1930s and '40s known for imaginative use of color and simplicity of line, died Jan. 5 at her home in Fort Ann, N.Y.
Carl Elliott, 85, a Democrat who served eight terms in Congress, died Saturday in Jasper, Ala. Mr. Elliot, who served from 1948 until 1964, was a champion of human rights and the first winner of the national John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award.
Jacques Neuville, 82, a forger for the French Resistance in World War II who became a San Francisco department-store executive, died Dec. 29 in Sausalito, Calif.
Lorin E. Price, 77, a theatrical producer, died of Parkinson's disease on Dec. 28 in Tampa, Fla. He began producing in 1959, beginning off Broadway with "The Mime and Me" and "The Tiger Rag." His first Broadway production was "The Natural Look," which opened in 1967.
Pub Date: 1/12/99