Roll call of some of those who died in 2016
Death claimed transcendent political figures in 2016, including Cuba’s revolutionary leader and Thailand’s longtime king, but also took away royals of a different sort: kings of pop music, from Prince and David Bowie to George Michael.
Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro, who died in November, overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn during his half-century rule. Perhaps befitting the controversial leader, his death elicited both tears and cheers across the Western Hemisphere.
However, shock, grief and nostalgia greeted the deaths of several giants of pop music. David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals; Prince, who was considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times; and George Michael, first a teenybopper heartthrob and then a mature solo artist with videos that played up his considerable appeal.
Among the political figures who died in 2016 was the world’s longest reigning monarch: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval.
Others in the world of public affairs included former United National SecretaryGeneral Boutros BoutrosGhali, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, exsenator and astronaut John Glenn, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Israeli leader Shimon Peres and former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan.
In the sports arena, the year saw the passing of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, whose fast fists and outspoken personality brought him fans around the world. Other sports figures included: golfer Arnold Palmer, Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe, basketball players Dwayne “Pearl” Washington and Nate Thurmond, Olympians Vera Caslavska and Tommy Kono, wrestlers Harry Fujiwara and Chyna, and mixed martial arts fighter Kimbo Slice.
Artists and entertainers who died in 2016 included author Harper Lee, conductor Pierre Boulez, musicians Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Phife Dawg, and actors Gene Wilder, Abe Vigoda, Florence Henderson, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Robert Vaughn, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Alan Thicke, Fyvush Finkel and Anton Yelchin.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2016. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
Dale Bumpers, 90. Former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator who earned the nickname “giant killer” for taking down incumbents, and who gave a passionate speech defending Bill Clinton during the president’s impeachment trial. Jan. 1 Pat Harrington Jr., 86. Actor and comedian who in the 1950s got attention as a member of Steve Allen’s fabled TV comic troupe but secured lasting fame decades later as Dwayne Schneider, the cocky handyman on the long-running sitcom “One Day at a Time.” Jan. 6. Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his big heart and charitable work in Chicago as for his singing internationally. Jan. 8. David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, striking visuals and a
genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10. Alan Rickman, 69. Classicallytrained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the “Harry Potter” saga and other films. Jan. 14. Rene Angelil, 73. Celine Dion’s husband and manager, who molded Rickman her from a
French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world’s most successful singers. Jan. 14. Dan Haggerty, 74. Rugged, bearded actor who starred in the film and TV series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.” Jan. 15. Glenn Frey, 67. Rock ‘n’ roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history’s most successful songwriting teams with such hits as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” Jan. 18. Abe Vigoda, 94. Character actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller” and the doomed Mafia soldier in “The Godfather.” Jan. 26. Paul Kantner, 74. Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship. Jan. 28. Georgia Davis Powers, 92. Giant in the fight for civil rights in Kentucky and the first AfricanAmerican woman elected to the state Senate. Jan. 30.
Bob Elliott, 92. Half of the enduring TV and radio comedy team Bob and Ray. Feb. 2. Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horndriven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3. Edgar Mitchell, 85. Apollo 14 astronaut who became the sixth man on the moon when he and Alan Shepard helped NASA recover from Apollo 13’s “successful failure.” Feb. 4. Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Feb. 13. Boutros BoutrosGhali, 93. Veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his Scalia country’s
landmark peace deal with Israel but clashed with the United States when he served a single term as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16. Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child’s-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19. George Kennedy, 91. Hulking, tough-guy actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic “Cool Hand Luke.” Feb. 28.
Joey Feek, 40. With her husband, Rory, she formed the award-winning country duo Joey + Rory. March 4. Pat Conroy, 70. Author of “The Great Santini,” ”The Prince of Tides” and other best-sellers, whose novels drew upon his bruising childhood and the vistas of South Carolina. March 4. Raymond Tomlinson, 74. Inventor of modern e-mail and a technological leader. March 5. Nancy Reagan, 94. Helpmate, backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. March 6. Frank Sinatra Jr., 72. He carried on his father’s legacy with his own music career; his kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father’s legendary life. March 16. Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drugdriven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer. Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with “The Larry Sanders Show.” March 24. Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.
Leandro “Gato” Barbieri, 83. Latin Jazz saxophonist who composed the Grammy-winning music for the steamy Marlon Brando film “Last Tango in Paris” and recorded dozens of albums over a career spanning more than seven decades. April 2. Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home.” April 6. David Gest, 62. Music producer, reality TV star and former husband of Liza Minnelli. April 12. Doris Roberts, 90. She played the tart-tongued, endlessly meddling mother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” April 17. Chyna, 46. Tall, muscle-bound, raven-haired pro-wrestler who rocketed to popularity in the 1990s and later made the rounds on reality TV. April 20. Victoria Wood, 62. British comedian who Chyna found humor in everyday life and blazed a trail for other female comics. April 20. Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.” April 21. Isabelle Dinoire, 49. Frenchwoman who received the world’s first partial face transplant. April 22. Billy Paul, 80. Jazz and soul singer best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and “Philadelphia Soul” classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.” April 24. Harry Wu, 79. Former political prisoner who dedicated his later life to exposing abuses in China’s brutal prison labor camp system. April 26. Rev. Daniel Berrigan, 94. Roman Catholic priest and peace activist who was imprisoned for burning draft files in a protest against the Vietnam War. April 30.
Tommy Kono, 85. He took up weightlifting in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans and went on to win two Olympic gold medals for the United States. May 1. Donnovan Hill, 18. California teenager whose paralyzing football injury led to increased safety protections for young players after he sued a youth league. May 11. Samuel Gibson, 39. Diminutive New Zealand man who inspired many by defying the brittle bones he was born with and pursuing a life filled with rigorous outdoor adventures. May 16. Died after falling from wheelchair during half-marathon. Morley Safer, 84. Veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent who was equally at home reporting on social injustices, the Orient Express and abstract art, and who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans’ view of the war. May 19. Alan Young, 96. Actor-comedian who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom “Mister Ed.” May 19.
Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3. Peter Shaffer, 90. British playwright whose durable, award-winning hits included “Equus” and “Amadeus.” June 6. Victor Korchnoi, 85. Chess grandmaster and former Soviet champion who defected to the West and was considered among the best players never to win a world championship. June 6. Kimbo Slice, 42. Bearded street fighter who parlayed his Internet popularity into a mixed martial arts career. June 6. Theresa Saldana, 61. “Raging Bull” actress who survived a stalker’s brutal attack to become a crime victims’ advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with “The Commish” and other TV shows. June 6. Gordie Howe, 88. Known as “Mr. Hockey,” the rough-andtumble Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL’s quintessential star. June 10. Margaret Vinci Heldt, 98. She became a hairstyling celebrity after she created the beehive hairdo in 1960. June 10. George Voinovich, 79. Former U.S. senator and a two-term Ohio governor who preached frugality in his personal and public life and occasionally bucked the GOP establishment. June 12. Jo Cox, 41. Lawmaker who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union. June 16. Killed by a gun- and knife-wielding attacker. Anton Yelchin, 27. Rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films. June 19. Hit by his car in his driveway. Michael Herr, 76. Author and Oscar-nominated screenplay writer who viscerally documented the ravages of the Vietnam War through his classic nonfiction novel “Dispatches” and through such films as “Apocalypse Now” and “Full Metal Jacket.” June 23. Pat Summitt, 64. Winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women’s game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee. June 28.
Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanianborn Holocaust survivor whose classic “Night” became a landmark testament to the Nazis’ crimes and launched his career as one of the world’s foremost witnesses and humanitarians. Wiesel
July 2. Michael Cimino, 77. Oscarwinning director whose film “The Deer Hunter” became one of the great triumphs of Hollywood’s 1970s heyday and whose disastrous “Heaven’s Gate” helped bring that era to a close. July 2. Jack C. Taylor, 94. He started a leasing company with seven cars and built it into Enterprise RentA-Car. July 2. William L. Armstrong, 79. Colorado media executive who became a major conservative voice in the Senate. July 5. Nate Thurmond, 74. Tenacious NBA defensive center who played with Wilt Chamberlain. July 16. Thomas Sutherland, 85.