A Final Goodbye

[This is from an article in the Associated Press by Bernard McGhee. I have compiled it by category, rather than by month, and listed the more well-known people. The links go to obituaries in AP. You can read the original HERE. – Editor]

SPORTS

Don Larsen, 90. The journeyman pitcher who reached the heights of baseball glory when he threw a perfect game in 1956 with the New York Yankees for the only no-hitter in World Series history. Esophageal cancer.

Kobe Bryant, 41. The 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers. Helicopter crash.

John Andretti, 56. Carved out his own niche in one of the world’s most successful racing families and became the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day double.

Tom Dempsey, 73. The NFL kicker born without toes on his kicking foot who made a then-record 63-yard field goal. Coronavirus.

Don Shula, 90. He won the most games of any NFL coach and led the Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history.

Lute Olson, 85. The Hall of Fame coach who turned Arizona into a college basketball powerhouse.

Tom Seaver, 75. The Hall of Fame pitcher who steered a stunning transformation from lovable losers to Miracle Mets in 1969. Complications of Lewy body dementia and the coronavirus.

Gale Sayers, 77. The dazzling and elusive running back who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite the briefest of careers and whose fame extended far beyond the field for decades thanks to a friendship with a dying Chicago Bears teammate.

Whitey Ford, 91. The street-smart New Yorker who had the best winning percentage of any pitcher in the 20th century and helped the Yankees become baseball’s perennial champions in the 1950s and ’60s.

Paul Hornung, 84. The dazzling “Golden Boy” of the Green Bay Packers whose singular ability to generate points as a runner, receiver, quarterback and kicker helped turn the team into an NFL dynasty.

ACTORS/ACTRESSES/COMEDIANS

Buck Henry, 89. “The Graduate” co-writer who as screenwriter, character actor, “Saturday Night Live” host and cherished talk-show and party guest became an all-around cultural superstar of the 1960s and 70s.

Kirk Douglas, 103. The intense, muscular actor with the dimpled chin who starred in “Spartacus,” “Lust for Life” and dozens of other films, helped fatally weaken the blacklist against suspected communists and reigned for decades as a Hollywood maverick and patriarch.

Orson Bean, 91. The witty actor and comedian who enlivened the game show “To Tell the Truth” and played a crotchety merchant on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” Hit by a car.

Robert Conrad, 84. The rugged, contentious actor who starred in the hugely popular 1960s television series “Hawaiian Eye” and “The Wild Wild West.”

Max von Sydow, 90. The actor known to art house audiences through his work with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman and later to moviegoers everywhere when he played the priest in the horror classic “The Exorcist.”

Terry Jones, 77. A founding member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe who was hailed by colleagues as “the complete Renaissance comedian” and “a man of endless enthusiasms.”

Lyle Waggoner, 84. He used his good looks to comic effect on “The Carol Burnett Show,” partnered with a superhero on “Wonder Woman” and was the first centerfold for Playgirl magazine.

James Lipton, 93. The longtime host of “Inside the Actors Studio.” March 2. Cancer.

Honor Blackman, 94. The potent British actress who took James Bond’s breath away in “Goldfinger” and who starred as the leather-clad, judo-flipping Cathy Gale in “The Avengers.”

David L. Lander, 73. An actor who played the character of Squiggy on the popular ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley.”

Dave Prowse, 85. The British weightlifter-turned-actor who was the body, though not the voice, of archvillain Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Rhonda Fleming, 97. The fiery redhead who appeared with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan and other film stars of the 1940s and 1950s.

Norm Crosby, 93. The deadpan mangler of the English language who thrived in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s as a television, nightclub and casino comedian.

Sean Connery, 90. The charismatic Scottish actor who rose to international superstardom as the suave secret agent James Bond and then abandoned the role to carve out an Oscar-winning career in other rugged roles.

Chadwick Boseman, 43. He played Black American icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown with searing intensity before inspiring audiences worldwide as the regal Black Panther in Marvel’s blockbuster movie franchise. Cancer.

Diana Rigg, 82. A commanding British actress whose career stretched from iconic 1960s spy series “The Avengers” to fantasy juggernaut “Game of Thrones.”

Wilford Brimley, 85. He worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm.”

Olivia de Havilland, 104. The doe-eyed actress beloved to millions as the sainted Melanie Wilkes of “Gone With the Wind,” but also a two-time Oscar winner and an off-screen fighter who challenged and unchained Hollywood’s contract system.

Brian Dennehy, 81. The burly actor who started in films as a macho heavy and later in his career won plaudits for his stage work in plays by William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller.

Fred Willard, 86. The comedic actor whose improv style kept him relevant for more than 50 years in films like “This Is Spinal Tap,” “Best In Show” and “Anchorman.”

Ken Osmond, 76. On TV’s “Leave It to Beaver,” he played two-faced teenage scoundrel Eddie Haskell, a role so memorable it left him typecast and led to a second career as a police officer.

Ian Holm, 88. An acclaimed British actor whose long career included roles in “Chariots of Fire” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

Carl Reiner, 98. The ingenious and versatile writer, actor and director who broke through as a “second banana” to Sid Caesar and rose to comedy’s front ranks as creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and straight man to Mel Brooks’ “2000 Year Old Man.”

Kelly Preston, 57. She played dramatic and comic foil to actors ranging from Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire” to Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Twins” and was married to actor John Travolta. Cancer.

Jerry Stiller, 92. For decades, he teamed with wife Anne Meara in a beloved comedy duo and then reached new heights in his senior years as the high-strung Frank Costanza on the classic sitcom “Seinfeld” and the basement-dwelling father-in-law on “The King of Queens.”

FILMMAKERS/DIRECTORS

Joel Schumacher, 80. The eclectic and brazen filmmaker who shepherded the Brat Pack to the big screen in “St. Elmo’s Fire” and steering the Batman franchise into its most baroque territory in “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin.”

Alan Parker, 76. A successful and sometimes surprising filmmaker whose diverse output includes “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express” and “Evita.”

JUDGES

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87. The U.S. Supreme Court justice developed a cultlike following over her more than 27 years on the bench, especially among young women who appreciated her lifelong, fierce defense of women’s rights

POLITICIANS/ POLITICS

Hosni Mubarak, 91. The Egyptian leader who was the autocratic face of stability in the Middle East for nearly 30 years before being forced from power in an Arab Spring uprising.

Jane Hull, 84. She was Arizona’s first woman elected governor and part of the “Fab Five” celebrated as the nation’s first all-female elected state executive branch leadership group.

William S. Sessions, 90. A former federal judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan to head the FBI and fired years later by President Bill Clinton.

John Lewis, 80. An icon of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress.

Brent Scowcroft, 95. He played a prominent role in American foreign policy as national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush and was a Republican voice against the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

David Dinkins, 93. He broke barriers as New York City’s first African American mayor but was doomed to a single term by a soaring murder rate, stubborn unemployment and his mishandling of a riot in Brooklyn.

Linda Tripp, 70. Her secretly taped conversations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky provided evidence of an affair with President Bill Clinton that led to his impeachment.

TELEVISION PERSONALITIES/ ENTERTAINERS

Phyllis George, 70. The former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS’ “The NFL Today” and served as the first lady of Kentucky.

Regis Philbin, 88. The genial host who shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

James Randi, 92. A magician who later challenged spoon benders, mind readers and faith healers with such voracity that he became regarded as the country’s foremost skeptic.

Alex Trebek, 80. He presided over the beloved quiz show “Jeopardy!” for more than 30 years with dapper charm and a touch of schoolmaster strictness.

Roy Horn, 75. He was half of Siegfried & Roy, the duo whose extraordinary magic tricks astonished millions until Horn was critically injured in 2003 by one of the act’s famed white tigers. Coronavirus.

JOURNALISTS

Robert Fisk, 74. A veteran British journalist, he was one of the best-known Middle East correspondents who spent his career reporting from the troubled region and won accolades for challenging mainstream narratives.

Hugh Downs, 99. The genial, versatile broadcaster who became one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game and talk shows.

Jim Lehrer, 85. The longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober demeanor made him the choice to moderate 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012.

MUSICIANS/COMPOSERS

Neil Peart, 67. The renowned drummer and lyricist from the influential Canadian band Rush. Jan. 7.

Jimmy Heath, 93. A Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist and composer who performed with such greats as Miles Davis and John Coltrane before forming the popular family group the Heath Brothers in middle age.

Kenny Rogers, 81. The Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country and pop with such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” on records and TV.

Little Richard, 87. He was one of the chief architects of rock ‘n’ roll whose piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour irrevocably altered popular music while introducing Black R&B to white America. Bone cancer.

Bill Withers, 81. He wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Bonnie Pointer, 69. She convinced three of her church-singing siblings to form the Pointer Sisters, which would become one of the biggest acts of the 1970s and ’80s. Cardiac arrest.

Johnny Mandel, 94. The Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer, arranger and musician who worked on albums by Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole and many others and whose songwriting credits included “The Shadow of Your Smile” and the theme from the film and TV show “M*A*S*H.”

Ennio Morricone, 91. The Oscar-winning Italian composer who created the coyote-howl theme for the iconic spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and soundtracks for such classic Hollywood gangster movies as “The Untouchables” and “Once Upon A Time In America.” Complications of surgery after a fall.

Charlie Daniels, 83. Country music firebrand and fiddler who had a hit with “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Stroke.

Helen Reddy, 78. She shot to stardom in the 1970s with her rousing feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits.

Mac Davis, 78. A country music star who launched his career crafting the Elvis hits “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Ghetto,” and whose own hits include “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me.”

Eddie Van Halen, 65. The guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god. Oct. 6. Cancer.

Johnny Nash, 80. A singer-songwriter, actor and producer who rose from pop crooner to early reggae star to the creator and performer of the million-selling anthem “I Can See Clearly Now.”

Charley Pride, 86. He was one of country music’s first Black superstars whose rich baritone on such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Coronavirus.

ARTISTS/GRAPHICS/PHOTOGRAPHY

Mort Drucker, 91. The Mad magazine cartoonist who for decades lovingly spoofed politicians, celebrities and popular culture.

Astrid Kirchherr, 81. She was the German photographer who shot some of the earliest and most striking images of the Beatles and helped shape their trend-setting visual style.

Christo, 84. He was known for massive, ephemeral public arts projects that often involved wrapping large structures in fabric.

Milton Glaser, 91. The groundbreaking graphic designer who adorned Bob Dylan’s silhouette with psychedelic hair and summed up the feelings for his home state with “I (HEART) NY.”

WRITERS/PLAYWRIGHTS

Mary Higgins Clark, 92. She was the tireless and long-reigning “Queen of Suspense” whose tales of women beating the odds made her one of the world’s most popular writers.

George Steiner, 90. He became one of the world’s leading public intellectuals through his uncommon erudition, multilingual perspective and the provocative lessons he drew from his Jewish roots and escape from the Holocaust.

Roger Kahn, 92. The writer who wove memoir and baseball and touched millions of readers through his romantic account of the Brooklyn Dodgers in “The Boys of Summer.”

Clive Cussler, 88. The million-selling adventure writer and real-life thrill-seeker who wove personal details and spectacular fantasies into his page-turning novels about underwater explorer Dirk Pitt.

Terrence McNally, 81. He was one of America’s great playwrights whose prolific career included winning Tony Awards for the plays “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Master Class” and the musicals “Ragtime” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” Coronavirus.

Gail Sheehy, 83. A journalist, commentator and pop sociologist whose best-selling “Passages” helped millions navigate their lives from early adulthood to middle age and beyond. Complications from pneumonia.

Winston Groom, 77. The writer whose novel “Forrest Gump” was made into a six-Oscar winning 1994 movie that became a soaring pop culture phenomenon.

Alison Lurie, 94. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose satirical and cerebral tales of love and academia included the marital saga “The War Between the Tates” and the comedy of Americans abroad “Foreign Affairs.”

John le Carre, 89. The spy-turned-novelist whose elegant and intricate narratives defined the Cold War espionage thriller and brought acclaim to a genre critics had once ignored.

TEST PILOT

Charles “Chuck” Yeager, 97. The World War II fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot who in 1947 became the first person to fly faster than sound.

 

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