Sunday, January 15, 2017

Those We Lost In 2016—Part 1 of 2

Elie Wiesel

The world lost many notable people from the entertainment industry, politics, news/media, literature, and sports during the last year. I've compiled a cross section (most certainly not all of them) listed chronologically. I've divided it into two lists with part 1 (January through July) this week and part 2 (August through December) for next week's blog posting on January 22.

Pat Harrington, Jr., 86 years old, died January 6:  actor and comedian who first garnered attention as one of Steve Allen's television comedy troop (along with Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louie Nye, and Bill Dana). He later starred as the apartment superintendent on the hit television series One Day At A Time.

David Bowie, 69 years old, died January 10:  musician who crossed pop and rock boundaries with a career that spanned 6 decades along with his persona of Ziggy Stardust.

Alan Richman, 69 years old, died January 14:  classically trained British stage actor, remembered for his Harry Potter villain, Die Hard, and many other films.

Abe Vigoda, 94 years old, died January 26:  character actor whose sad-eyed face made him the perfect selection for the over-the-hill detective on the Barney Miller television series and the doomed Mafia soldier in The Godfather.

Antonin Scalia, 79 years old, died February 13:  influential conservative and member of the U.S. Supreme Court. As of this date, his position on the Supreme Court has not been filled and the 9 person Court has been operating 1 person short for almost a year.

Harper Lee, 89 years old, died February 19:  novelist who wrote the best selling novel To Kill A Mockingbird about racial injustice in a small southern town. Her novel was turned into an Oscar winning film starring Gregory Peck.

George Kennedy, 91 years old, died February 28:  tough guy actor who won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in the classic Paul Newman film, Cool Hand Luke.

Pat Conroy, 70 years old, died March 4:  author of The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, and other best selling novels many of which drew on his difficult childhood.

Nancy Reagan, 94 years old, died March 6:  an actress who became Ronald Reagan's second wife and ultimately First Lady when he became President of the United States.

Frank Sinatra, Jr., 72 years old, died March 16:  followed in his father's footsteps with his own music career. His kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father's legendary life.

Rob Ford, 46 years old, died March 22:  former mayor of Toronto (Canada) whose political career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced scandal.

Jim Harrison, 78 years old, died March 26:  fiction writer and poet who had mainstream success in middle age with his historical work Legends of the Fall.

Patty Duke, 69 years old, died March 29:  won an Oscar as a teenager for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker and maintained a long and successful career in both films and television.

Merle Haggard, 79 years old, died April 6:  country music giant who came from poverty, did time in prison, and went on to international fame with songs about outlaws, underdogs, and an abiding sense of national pride.

Doris Roberts, 90 years old, died April 17:  character actress probably best known for her role as the endlessly meddling mother on Everybody Loves Raymond. Those of us who are 'older' remember her as the secretary on the Remington Steele series.

Prince, 57 years old, died April 21:  inventive and influential musician with hits such as When Doves Cry.

Michelle McNamara, 57 years old, died April 21:  crime writer and founder of the True Crime Diary website.

Jane Little, 87 years old, died May 15:  less than 5 ft. tall, played the double bass for 71 consecutive years which earned her the Guinness World Record as the world's longest serving symphony player.

Morley Safer, 84 years old, died May 19:  newsman and veteran 60 Minutes correspondent who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing the American public's view of the war.

Alan Young, 96 years old, died May 19:  actor-comedian who played straight man to a talking horse in the television series Mr. Ed. Did that theme song suddenly pop into your head? "A horse is a horse, of course of course, unless that horse…"

Muhammad Ali, 74 years old, died June 3:  champion boxer and civil rights crusader whose beliefs cost him his championship, a 3 year suspension and in 1967 resulted in him being sentenced to 5 years in prison yet he never waivered from those beliefs and returned to boxing when his suspension ended.

Anton Yelchin, 27 years old, died June 19:  rising young actor best known for his role of Chekov in the new Star Trek films.

Ralph Stanley, 89 years old, died June 23:  known as the godfather of traditional bluegrass music, he found a whole new generation of fans thanks to his Grammy-winning music for the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Alvin Toffler, 87 years old, died June 27:  a guru of the post-industrial age whose book, Future Shock, anticipated the disruptions and transformations brought about by the rise of digital technology.

Pat Summitt, 64 years old, died June 28:  winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who, during her 38 year career at Tennessee, lifted the women's game from obscurity to national prominence.

Elie Wiesel, 87 years old, died July 2:  Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic book, Night, became a landmark testament to the Nazis' crimes and launched his career as one of the world's foremost witnesses and humanitarians.

Michael Cimino, 77 years old, died July 2:  Oscar winning director of The Deer Hunter, a great triumph in Hollywood's 1970s heyday, and also the director of the disastrous Heaven's Gate.

Noel Neill, 95 years old, died July 3:  first actress to play Superman's girlfriend, Lois Lane, in the 1948 movie serial Superman.

Garry Marshall, 81 years old, died July 19:  writer and producer responsible for many highly successful television series such as Happy Days and its 2 spin-off series, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, as well as producing Neil Simon's The Odd Couple as a television series. He also directed 18 movies including Pretty Woman, Beaches, and The Princess Diaries.

Check back next week for part 2 of my blog showing a cross section of those we lost in 2016.


Ashantay said...

I hadn't heard of several of these deaths. Thanks for parsing the list - I know it was way too long...

Samantha Gentry said...

Ashantay: The entire list for 2016 is quite lengthy, so I cut it way down while trying to pick people from all different areas. There were several that I didn't realize had died last year. The rest of my shortened list will be in next week's blog.

Thanks for your comment.