'On the Road' figure Beatrice Kozera FRESNO Beatrice Kozera, the Los Angeles-born woman whose fleeting relationship with novelist Jack Kerouac was chronicled in "On the Road," has died. She was 92.
The woman also known as Bea Franco and to readers as "Terry, the Mexican girl" died Thursday in Lakewood of natural causes, family friend Tim Hernandez said Monday.
Ms. Kozera learned only a few years ago that her 15-day relationship with Kerouac in the farmworker labor camps of Selma in 1947 was featured in his famous Beat Generation novel and eventually a movie, Hernandez said.
Hernandez tracked down Ms. Kozera while he was researching her story for a book due to be released later this month called "Mañana Means Heaven."
He said he interviewed Ms. Kozera several times after finding letters and a postcard she had written to Kerouac at the New York Public Library. He showed them to her family, who recognized her handwriting.
"As far as she was concerned, she was a normal, ordinary person who at one point in her life met a man," Hernandez said. "She never knew that this gentleman Kerouac ever became anything."
Ms. Kozera spent most of her early years following her farmworker family in California's fields and eventually settled in Fresno.
Albert Murray, author and critic
NEW YORK Albert Murray, the influential novelist and critic who celebrated black culture, scorned black separatism and was once praised by Duke Ellington as the "unsquarest man I know," died Sunday. He was 97.
Mr. Murray died at home in his sleep, according to Lewis Jones, a family friend and Murray's guardian.
Few authors so forcefully bridged the worlds of words and music. Like his old friend and intellectual ally Ralph Ellison, Mr. Murray believed that blues and jazz were not primitive sounds, but sophisticated art, finding kinships among Ellington and Louis Armstrong and novelists such as Thomas Mann and Ernest Hemingway.
He argued his case in a series of autobiographical novels, a nonfiction narrative ("South to a Very Old Place"), an acclaimed history of music ("Stomping the Blues") and several books of criticism.
Although slowed by back trouble, Mr. Murray continued to write well into his 80s, and also helped Wynton Marsalis and others stage the acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts. Millions of television viewers came to know him as a featured commentator in Ken Burns' documentary series "Jazz."
An amiable counterpart to the aloof Ellison, Mr. Murray was many men: friend of Ellington and artist Romare Bearden (whose paintings hung in Murray's Harlem apartment); foe of Marxists, Freudians, academics, black nationalists and white segregationists; and mentor and inspiration to Ernest J. Gaines, Stanley Crouch, James Alan McPherson and many others.
Born in 1916, Mr. Murray grew up in Magazine Point, Ala., a hamlet not far from Mobile. Mr. Murray, bright, self-confident and a born improviser, came to see himself as the adventurer-hero of his own life, a "prince among paupers."