Colin Forbes Philosophical designer

A British graphic designer, Forbes took an unusual approach to setting up a design firm: a strong desire to have a multidisciplinary team. The co-founders of the resulting new company, Pentagram, named for the five “star” founders: Theo Crosby (architect), Kenneth Grange (industrial designer), Mervyn Kurlansky and Alan Fletcher (graphic designers), and Forbes. With the … Read more

From This is True for 29 May 2022

Jerry Uelsmann Photographic surrealist

As a boy growing up in Detroit, Mich., Uelsmann got interested in photography, and made it his lifelong profession. But he didn’t just shoot pictures, he specialized in manipulating them in a way that the era of Photoshop makes easy. By stacking negatives and using advanced darkroom techniques (such as using as many as a … Read more

From This is True for 10 April 2022

Alan B. Scott Ophthalmologist

A medical doctor, Scott had wide interests: he interned in surgery, and then narrowed that concentration to neurosurgery. But that wasn’t it either: he went on to do another residency in ophthalmology, finishing in 1961, when he was immediately hired as a Senior Scientist at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, where he also served as … Read more

From This is True for 26 December 2021

Henry Orenstein Toymaker

Born in Poland, Orenstein had a little problem with the Nazis: he was Jewish, and survived multiple concentration camps during World War II, including Budzyn, Majdanek, Plaszow, and Ravensbruck, surviving by claiming to have a science background. After the war he moved to the United States, where he lived with an uncle. Seeing a doll … Read more

From This is True for 19 December 2021

Rosalie Trombley Radio music director

Born in Canada, in 1963 Trombley and her husband moved to Windsor, Ont., where she got a job as a receptionist at CKLW-AM radio, which was just beginning its “glory years” after dumping its variety programming and focusing on contemporary hits. The station had a huge audience south of the border, especially in Cleveland, Ohio, … Read more

From This is True for 5 December 2021

Jay Last Integrated circuit pioneer

Born in Pennsylvania just as the Depression was starting, the Last family struggled to make a living. At 16, Jay Last hitchhiked to California to pick fruit for the summer; he carried a letter from his hometown police chief testifying the boy had not run away from home, and had his parents’ permission. He was … Read more

From This is True for 28 November 2021

Marc Olson Pilot

A pilot, Olson flew helicopters for the U.S. Army for four years, and then moved to the U.S. Air Force, flying A-10 “Warthog” jets, and continued that work in the Air National Guard. In all he spent 32 years in the military, and held the record for the most hours flown in an A-10 aircraft. … Read more

From This is True for 21 November 2021

Emmett Chapman Stick player

A jazz musician, Chapman started his career as a guitarist, and developed an unusual playing style: he “tapped” the strings, rather than plucking or strumming them. He worked on his own instruments, and got the idea to not just hang the instrument vertically in front of his shoulder, which gave him “free hands” to play, … Read more

From This is True for 8 November 2021

Justus Rosenberg Resistance operative

Born in Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), Rosenberg was expelled from high school in 1940 because he was a Jew. He had already lost contact with his family, so he decided to flee alone to France — by bicycle and foot to Paris. But that city fell to Germany, so he went to Toulouse. In a … Read more

From This is True for 31 October 2021

Leslie Bricusse Songwriter

Born in Pinner, Middlesex — now a London suburb — Bricusse acted while in college, but excelled in music. He put the two together, and wrote songs, scores, and/or lyrics for musical plays and films, often with partner Anthony Newley, starting with 1961’s Stop the World — I Want to Get Off, which was then made … Read more

From This is True for 24 October 2021