Betty Boothroyd & Wayne Shorter
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Boothroyd, who hectored and harassed members of the United Kingdom’s Parliament from her perch as speaker of the House of Commons from 1992 to 2000, died Feb. 26. She was 93. Boothroyd entered politics as an assistant to Labour Party politicians before gaining her own seat in Parliament in 1973. Her quick tongue and confident persona led members to elect her as speaker, a role in which Boothroyd acted as a nonpartisan traffic cop attempting to maintain order in the cacophonous chamber. As the House’s first female speaker, she charmed the male-dominated body through her personality. Former MP Matthew Parris in 1995 told 60 Minutes Boothroyd was a “clever blend of bossy madam, slightly cheeky and even eyelash-fluttering woman and angry school mistress.”
Shorter, a pioneering jazz saxophonist who contributed his talents inside and outside the jazz world, died March 2 at age 89. Early in Shorter’s career, he joined in with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, eventually becoming the chief composer of the group while also contributing on the tenor sax. In the 1960s, Shorter began recording and touring with jazz legend Miles Davis. Shorter accompanied Davis on tenor sax during Davis’ transition to jazz fusion. Later, Shorter played with Weather Report, an experimental jazz fusion outfit with which Shorter won one of his dozen Grammy Awards.