Rift Fournier
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Well-known TV writer-producer, Rift Fournier, died of cancer on Oct. 6 in St. Louis. Born in Wichita and raised in Omaha, Rift was a superstar high school athlete until polio at 16 claimed the use of his legs. He went on to craft an extraordinary career, first in advertising and then in TV. Just some of his credits include "Our People," for Chicago Public Television, the first ever series to focus on African-American life in the United States, the Emmy-winning NBC children's series "The Go Show!" and many episodic TV dramas, including "Kojak," "Baretta," "Matlock" and "NYPD Blue." In 1976, the President's Committee for Employment of the Physically Handicapped selected Fournier to be honored as the outstanding "handicapped artist" in television. Only at the behest of NBC did Fournier accept the award, and he did so saying, "I refuse to be defined as a man or artist by my wheelchair...to recognize an artist in terms of a disability neither serves the artist or society since all artists create from their woundedness/limitations, and that is what connects them with society." An Artist in Residence at Lindenwood University, in St. Charles, MO, since 2007, he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree there in May. He is survived by his four children, Noel Fournier, of Atlanta, Joene Hendry (Ralph Chappell), of East Haddam CT, Jackee Allen (Jeff), of Leggett, CA, and Clarissa Lyons (John Shumway), of New York City, along with six grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and a brother, J.B. Fournier (Nan), of Chicago. A sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for more than 30 years, it is entirely keeping with Rift's lifelong desire to help others that he chose to leave his body for research at the St. Louis University Medical School.

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Oct. 11, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
August 2, 2017
I just saw this and owe my view of being a professional photographer to my wise long lost friend Rift Fournier.
Judy Rosemarin
October 24, 2013
Dearest Rift,You will be missed by all ever fortunate enough to be blessed with your friendship. You will live in our hearts forever. Now it's time to go run with the wind.
Christopher Brough
October 14, 2013
Our best to the entire Fournier Family from the Fogartys of 38th Avenue in Omaha NE -- neighbors just around the corner. I was much younger but I strongly recall that Rift was always nice to "the little kids" on the block. He put together an amazing life and career and was an inspiration to all of us. From Jim, Bill, Nancy, Rosemary and John Fogarty (our sister Kay is deceased)
James D. Fogarty
October 11, 2013
Ah, Rift! May love and happiness surround you always. You were a good friend to me through some tough times, I'm sending love to you on your journey to your next incarnation . . . whatever and wherever it might be. With love always.
Kathy Wyer
October 11, 2013
God rest his sole,
Dear friend for many years,
One of a kind,
Spyros Venduras,G
October 11, 2013
Always with a smile always lifted everyone around you up. You are an inspiration to all those who were touched by your kindness and generosity......;},,
Terence Later
Terence Later
October 11, 2013
RIP my fellow traveler i imagine you having coffee with Bill celebrating your graduation ;) Thank you for your auspicious legacy most noteably 30 years sober. R.I.P.
Carolyn Baker
October 11, 2013
RIP. It was a joy knowing you while we trudged.
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