EmptyFormer ABC News "Nightline" executive producer Leroy Sievers, whose struggle with cancer led him to reach a wide audience with his National Public Radio commentary and blog, died Aug. 16 at his home in Maryland. He was 53.
The Emmy-winning Sievers was a nationally accomplished journalist for ABC News and CBS News, executive producer of "Nightline" for four years and with former host Ted Koppel was embedded during the Iraq War in 2003. He also produced "The Fallen," the controversial "Nightline" tribute to the war dead.
But it was his two bouts with cancer that were his struggle and triumph. He was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001. Four years later, the cancer returned as a brain tumor, lung cancer and, in 2006, cancer of his spine. He went behind the microphone to detail his chemotherapy treatment for NPR audiences in 2006 and began the "My Cancer" blog that became one of NPR's best-known features. Thousands read and contributed to the blog.
"Cancer was not in Leroy's plans. But he turned his battle with cancer into the most dramatic, the most moving and the most important story of his life," Koppel said.
Yani Begakis, five-time president and a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. for 48 years, died Aug. 12 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Begakis had been hospitalized since returning from a media junket in Athens at the beginning of July.
Begakis came to Hollywood after meeting two fellow Greeks, director Elia Kazan and Fox president Spyros Skouras, while organizing a press event for the opening of the Istanbul Hilton in 1955.
After Skouras got Begakis a job at Fox, the Constantinople native began writing for Greek newspaper Embros, then had a long association with Japan's Screen magazine.
Eleanore Auerbacher Reznikoff, a theater producer-turned-film marketing and advertising executive, died Aug. 9 at Cedars-Sinai. She was 57.
Reznikoff worked with actress Colleen Dewhurst at the Long Wharf in New Haven, Conn., on the stage production of "Rainsnakes." She later produced plays and special events for Lincoln Center, the Yale Repertory Theater and Circle in the Square.
Reznikoff moved to Los Angeles and did publicity, marketing and/or advertising on films including "Truth or Dare," "Affliction," "G.I. Jane," "A Brief History of Time" and "One Hour Photo." She worked for Largo Entertainment, Catch 23, Triton and Miramax Films.