William Baum, who, as the Catholic archbishop of the Washington, D.C., archdiocese welcomed Pope John Paul II to the nation's capital in 1979 and who became the longest-serving U.S. cardinal in history, died Thursday at a Catholic care facility in the District of Columbia. He was 88.
His death was announced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington. The specific cause of death was not disclosed.
Baum was archbishop of Washington from 1973 to 1980, during a time of questioning and inner turmoil in the Catholic Church. He was known for initiating dialogue with members of other faiths and for expanding the church's outreach efforts among minorities.
He was named a cardinal in 1976 by Pope Paul VI and participated in papal conclaves that elected three popes, including two who were close friends: Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Baum's 39 years as a cardinal marked the longest tenure of any American Catholic prelate in history, surpassing the 35 years served by James Gibbons, an archbishop of Baltimore, who died in 1921.
With a Protestant father and a Jewish stepfather, Baum embodied an ecumenical outlook from birth. In his 30s, he was already recognized as one of the Catholic Church's leading authorities on interfaith relations.
During the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, when the church was reassessing its role and teachings in a rapidly changing world, Cardinal Baum served as a principal adviser on ecumenical matters to church leaders. He drafted some of the documents on ecumenism for Vatican II.
Wayne Carson, a songwriter, was on the phone with his wife in the early 1970s, apologizing for being away from home so much for work.
"I said, 'Well, I know I've been gone a lot, but I've been thinking about you all the time,' " Carson said in a 1988 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "And it just struck me like someone had hit me with a hammer. I told her real fast I had to hang up because I had to put that into a song."
The result was the wistful ballad "Always on My Mind," which was one of Willie Nelson's most enduring hits. It was recorded by numerous other performers — as diverse as Elvis Presley and the Pet Shop Boys — and won Carson a Grammy for song of the year in 1983.
Carson, 72, died Monday at a convalescent hospital in Franklin, Tenn. His death was due to congestive heart failure, said Shirley Hutchins, administrator of his music publishing company.
He had other hits, most prominently "The Letter," which was the No. 1 song in the country when performed by the Box Tops in 1967. Three years later, it was back on the charts again in a version by Joe Cocker.
Ingrid Sischy, a writer, editor and cultural critic known for her long, authoritative associations with Interview magazine, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, died Friday in Manhattan. She was 63.
Her death, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was from breast cancer, a friend, Ed Filipowski, said.
For nearly 40 years, Sischy was an influential chronicler of the cultural orbit, in particular the avant-garde, of New York, the country and the world. A fixture at fashion shows and gallery openings around the globe, she knew seemingly everyone on the cutting edge of creative life and was considered a formidable handicapper of talent.
Sischy counted among her friends the fashion designer Gianni Versace; she served as godmother to the infant son of Elton John.