By Bernard McGhee
In a year filled with heightened political vitriol, two deaths brought the nation together to remember men who represented a seemingly bygone era of U.S. politics.
George H.W. Bush was a president, vice president, congressman, CIA director and Navy pilot during World War II, where he flew 58 missions and was shot down over the Pacific. As a politician, he had his fair share of critics and was voted out of office after one term as president. But the Republican reinvented himself in the years after his time in the White House, becoming a fundraiser for disaster relief and forming an unlikely friendship with the man who ousted him from office, former President Bill Clinton.
John McCain was a political giant in his own right. He served as a senator for more than 30 years, ran for president twice and spent five years as a prisoner of war after being shot down during the Vietnam War. In captivity, McCain endured torture and even turned down a chance to be released early, denying the North Vietnamese military a propaganda victory.
Bush died in in November at age 94, just months after the death of his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died in April. McCain died in August at the age of 81 after a battle with brain cancer.
Their deaths prompted an outpouring of public mourning from across the political spectrum that was at odds with a recent political climate that has been defined by intense partisanship, coarse insults and divisive rhetoric.
The year also saw the death of one of the world’s best-known singers, Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul’s death in August prompted a grand send-off during a week of mourning in her hometown of Detroit, including a funeral that featured a who’s who list of entertainers, former presidents and prominent preachers.
Others from the world of entertainment who died in 2018 included the two men who created one of the most popular and enduring superheroes of the modern day. Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, who died in November, and artist Steve Ditko, who died in June, gave the world the web-swinging Spider-Man along with a host of other super-powered heroes. Author Tom Wolfe, playwright Neil Simon, actor Burt Reynolds and screenwriter William Goldman also died.
And one of the world’s most influential scientists died in 2018. Though his body was paralyzed by disease, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking explained the mysteries of space, time and black holes to a generation of enthusiasts.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2018. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
John Young, 87. The legendary astronaut who walked on the moon and later commanded the first space shuttle flight. Jan. 5.
Doreen Tracey, 74. A former child star who played one of the original cute-as-a-button Mouseketeers on “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s. Jan. 10.
Edgar Ray Killen, 92. A former Ku Klux Klan leader who was convicted in the 1964 ‘Mississippi Burning’ slayings of three civil rights workers. Jan. 11. Died in prison.
John V. Tunney, 83. His successful campaign for a California seat in the U.S. Senate became the basis for the 1972 Robert Redford film “The Candidate.” Jan. 12.
Keith Jackson, 89. His signature phrases like “Whoa, Nelly!” made him the down-home voice of college football during more than five decades as a sportscaster. Jan. 12.
Dolores O’Riordan, 46. Her urgent, powerful voice helped make Irish rock band The Cranberries a global success in the 1990s. Jan. 15.
Edwin Hawkins, 74. The gospel star best known for the crossover hit “Oh Happy Day” and as a major force for contemporary inspirational music. Jan. 15.
Stansfield A. Turner, 94. He served as CIA director under President Jimmy Carter and oversaw reforms at the agency after the Senate uncovered CIA surveillance aimed at American citizens. Jan. 18.
Ed Moses, 91. The prolific abstract expressionist who was one of the founding members of a collective known as the “Cool School” and helped transform Los Angeles from a cultural backwater to a major force in the world of modern art. Jan. 17.
Dorothy Malone, 93. An actress who won hearts of 1960s television viewers as the long-suffering mother in the nighttime soap “Peyton Place.” Jan. 19.
Olivia Cole, 75. She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Matilda, wife to Chicken George in the landmark miniseries “Roots.” Jan. 19.
John Coleman, 83. He co-founded The Weather Channel and was the original meteorologist on ABC’s “Good Morning America” during a six-decade broadcasting career but who later drew people’s anger for his open skepticism about climate change being man-made. Jan. 20.
Hugh Masekela, 78. The father of South African jazz and who collaborated with artists such as Harry Belafonte. His music served as the background for the anti-apartheid movement. Jan. 23.
Wyatt Tee Walker, 88. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s former chief of staff. Jan. 23
Ingvar Kamprad, 91. As founder of IKEA, he turned a small-scale mail order business started on his family’s farm into a furniture empire by letting customers piece together his simple and inexpensive furniture themselves. Jan. 27.
Mort Walker, 94. A comic strip artist and World War II veteran who satirized the Army and tickled millions of newspaper readers with the antics of the lazy private “Beetle Bailey.” Jan. 27.
Dennis Edwards, 74. A Grammy-winning former member of the famed Motown group The Temptations. Feb. 1.
John Mahoney, 77. An actor who played the cranky, blue-collar dad in the TV show “Frasier.” Feb. 4.
Lovebug Starski, 57. Legendary, pioneering DJ. While not as popular as his better-known contemporaries, such as Grandmaster Flash, he was just as influential, if not more, in shaping the sound of what would become hip-hop music in the 1970s. The Notorious B.I.G. famously dropped Starski’s name on his debut single, “Juicy.” Feb. 8.
Reg E. Cathey, 59. The actor who gained widespread fame from his supporting role on the award-winning cable TV drama “The Wire” and later the Netflix hit “House of Cards”. Feb 9.
John Gavin, 86. The tall, strikingly handsome actor who appeared in “Spartacus,” “Psycho” and other hit films of the 1960s before forsaking acting to become President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Mexico. Feb. 9.
Patricia Frustaci, 63. She made national headlines in 1985 when she gave birth to seven children but struggled with the financial and publicity fallout and with the heartache of seeing four babies perish. Feb. 10.
Lerone Bennett Jr., 89. A scholar, author, social historian and activist. His best-known works include “Before the Mayflower” (1962) and “Forced into Glory” (2000). The longtime editor for Ebony and Jet. Feb. 14
Asma Jahangir, 66. One of Pakistan’s most prominent right activists and lawyers. Feb. 11. Heart attack.
Marty Allen, 95. The baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades. Feb. 12.
Morgan Tsvangirai, 65. Zimbabwe’s veteran opposition leader who for years was the most potent challenger to longtime ruler Robert Mugabe. Feb. 14.
Jim Bridwell, 73. A hard-partying hippie and legendary climber who lived his life vertically on some of the toughest peaks in Yosemite National Park. Feb. 16.
The Rev. Billy Graham, 99. He transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history. Feb. 21.
Nanette Fabray, 97. The vivacious actress, singer and dancer who became a star in Broadway musicals, on television as Sid Caesar’s comic foil and in such hit movies as “The Band Wagon.” Feb. 22.
Ensa Cosby, 44. Daughter of comedian Bill Cosby, died from renal disease. Feb. 23.
Harvey Schmidt, 88. The composer of “The Fantasticks,” which made its debut when Dwight D. Eisenhower was still president and became the longest running musical in history. Feb. 28.
William Henry Trotter Bush, 79. A wealthy investor and the brother and uncle of presidents. Feb. 28.
Roger Bannister, 88. He was the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile. March 3.
Russell Solomon, 92. The founder of the Tower Records chain that became a global phenomenon and changed the way people consumed music. March 4.
Floyd J. Carter, Sr., 95. Tuskegee Airman Colonel and longtime New York Police Department officer. March 8.
George Sinner, 89. The farmer-philosopher who served as North Dakota’s governor during one of the state’s roughest economic times. March 9.
T. Berry Brazelton, 99. He was one of the world’s most well-known pediatricians and child development experts whose work helped explain what makes kids tick. March 13.
Stephen Hawking, 76. A theoretical physicist whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease. March 14.
Les Payne, 76. Pioneering Black journalist. March 20 .
Charles P. Lazarus, 94. The World War II veteran who founded Toys R Us six decades ago and transformed it into an iconic piece of Americana. March 22.
H. Wayne Huizenga, 80. A college dropout who built a business empire that included Blockbuster Entertainment, AutoNation and three professional sports franchises. March 22.
Delores Taylor, 85. She co-starred with her husband Tom Laughlin in his productions of the “Billy Jack” series of films. March 23.
Linda Brown, 75. As a Kansas girl, she was at the center of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down racial segregation in schools. March 25.
Rusty Staub, 73. The orange-haired outfielder who became a huge hit with baseball fans in two countries during an All-Star career that spanned 23 major league seasons. March 29.
Anita Shreve, 71. The best-selling novelist who explored how women responded to crises past and present in her native New England in favorites such as “The Pilot’s Wife,” “Testimony” and “The Weight of Water.” March 29.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81. She was Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife and an anti-apartheid activist in her own right whose reputation was sullied by scandal. April 2.
Cecil Taylor, 89. Pianist who challenged the jazz tradition that produced him and became one of the most bracing, rhapsodic, abstract and original improvisers of his time. April 5.
Donald McKayle, 87. A modern dancer and choreographer who brought the black experience in America to the Broadway stage in musicals such as ‘Raisin’ and ‘Sophisticated Ladies. April 6.
Yvonne Staples, 80. Her voice and business acumen powered the success of the Staple Singers, her family’s hit-making gospel group that topped the charts in the early 1970s with the song “I’ll Take You There.” April 10.
Mitzi Shore, 87. She was the owner of the Los Angeles club the Comedy Store and one of the most influential figures in stand-up for more than four decades. April 11.
Sergio Pitol, 85. A celebrated Mexican author, essayist and translator and winner of the most prestigious award for literature in the Spanish-speaking world. April 12.
Milos Forman, 86. A Czech filmmaker whose American movies “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus” won a deluge of Academy Awards, including best director Oscars. April 14.
Doris Ward, 86. The fierce advocate for racial and economic equality who became the first African-American president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. April 14.
R. Lee Ermey, 74. A former Marine who made a career in Hollywood playing hard-nosed military men like Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.” April 15. Pneumonia-related complications.
Harry Anderson, 65. The actor best known for playing an off-the-wall judge working the night shift of a Manhattan court room in the television comedy series “Night Court.” April 16.
Barbara Bush, 92. The snowy-haired first lady whose plainspoken manner and utter lack of pretense made her more popular at times than her husband, President George H.W. Bush. April 17.
Velvalea Rodgers ‘Vel’ Phillips, 94. A civil rights leader and activist who was also the first Black judge in Wisconsin, first woman judge in that same state and a former secretary of state, among holding other elected positions. April 17.
Bruno Sammartino, 82. He was professional wrestling’s “Living Legend” and one of its longest-reigning champions. April 18.
Avicii, 28. The Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out concerts for feverish fans around the world and also had massive success on U.S. pop radio. April 20.
Verne Troyer, 49. He played Dr. Evil’s small, silent sidekick “Mini-Me” in the “Austin Powers” movie franchise. April 21.
Rev. Christian Mondor, 92. The “Surfing Padre” who wore a wetsuit under his clerical robe and presided over an annual Blessing of the Waves ceremony in the coastal Southern California town known as Surf City. April 25.
Charles Neville, 79. A New Orleans-born saxophone player who once backed up B.B. King and later gained fame with the Neville Brothers band and their rollicking blend of funk, jazz and rhythm and blues. April 26.
Philip Hoff, 93. A former Democratic governor who’s credited with starting Vermont’s transition from one of the most Republican-entrenched states in the country to one of the most liberal. April 26.
Larry Harvey, 70. His whimsical decision to erect a giant wooden figure and then burn it to the ground led to the popular, long-running counterculture celebration known as “Burning Man.” April 28.
Anne V. Coates, 92. An Oscar-winning film editor widely considered one of the greatest in her field whose many credits include such disparate works as “Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Elephant Man” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” May 8.
Peter Mayer, 82. A leading mainstream and independent publisher of the past half century who acquired such million-selling books as “Up the Down Staircase” and “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and was known for his innovative and volatile style. May 11.
Tessa Jowell, 70. The former British culture secretary who played a key role in securing the 2012 London Olympics and used her own cancer diagnosis to campaign for better treatment. May 12.
Margot Kidder, 69. She starred as Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the “Superman” film franchise of the late 1970s and early 1980s. May 13.
Tom Wolfe, 88. The white-suited wizard of “New Journalism” who exuberantly chronicled American culture from the Merry Pranksters through the space race before turning his satiric wit to such novels as “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full.” May 14. Infection.
Robert Indiana, 89. A pop artist best known for his 1960s “LOVE” series. May 19.
Patricia Morison, 103. She originated the role of an overemotional diva in the Broadway musical “Kiss Me, Kate,” starred on stage opposite Yul Brynner in “The King and I” and appeared in films alongside Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. May 20.
David Weinlick, 48. The groom who said “I do” to a woman he had just met in a well-publicized wedding at the Mall of America about 20 years ago. May 20.
Clint Walker, 90. The towering, strapping actor who handed down justice as the title character in the early TV western “Cheyenne.” May 21.
Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 104. A pioneer of the Civil Rights movement who shattered color and gender barriers in the military, in transportation, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. May 22.
Philip Roth, 85. The prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, from the comic madness of “Portnoy’s Complaint” to the elegiac lyricism of “American Pastoral.” May 22.
Luis Posada Carriles, 90. A former CIA operative and militant Cuban exile who was accused of organizing a string of 1997 Havana hotel bombings and a 1976 Cuban airline bombing that killed 73 people. May 23.
Jerry Maren, 99. He was the last surviving munchkin from the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” and the one who famously welcomed Dorothy to Munchkin Land. May 24.
Alan Bean, 86. A former Apollo 12 astronaut who was the fourth man to walk on the moon and later turned to painting to chronicle the moon landings on canvas. May 26.
Frank C. Carlucci III, 87. He began his wide-ranging government career as a diplomat and finished as secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan. June 3. Complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Clarence Fountain, 88. A founding member of the Grammy-winning gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama. June 3.
Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, 74. A founding member of the Last Poets who was also known as the “Godfather of Rap,” June 4.
Kate Spade, 55. A fashion designer known for her sleek handbags. June 5. Apparent suicide.
Jimmy Gonzalez, 67. He was the frontman for the Grammy-winning Tejano group Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz. June 6.
Gena Turgel, 95. A Holocaust survivor who comforted Anne Frank at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp before the young diarist’s death and the camp’s liberation a month later. June 7.
Anthony Bourdain, 61. The celebrity chef and citizen of the world who inspired millions to share his delight in food and the bonds it created. June 8. Suicide.
Maria Bueno, 78. A Brazilian tennis great who won three Wimbledon singles titles and four at the U.S. Open in the 1950s and 1960s, and helped usher in modern women’s tennis. June 8.
Dorothy Cotton, 88. A leader during the civil rights era. June 10
Neal Boyd, 42. Pop opera singer and former winner of “America’s Got Talent” Season 3. June 10.
D.J. Fontana, 87. A rock ‘n’ roll pioneer who rose from strip joints in his native Shreveport, Louisiana, to the heights of musical history as Elvis Presley’s first and longtime drummer. June 13.
Leslie Grantham, 71. An actor who became a British TV icon during the 1980s as arch-villain “Dirty” Den Watts on the soap opera “EastEnders.” June 15.
Kazuo Kashio, 89. One of four brothers who founded Casio Computer Co., the Japanese company behind G-Shock watches. June 18.
XXXTentacion, 20. Rapper. June 18.
Vinnie Paul, 54. A co-founder and drummer of heavy metal band Pantera. June 22. Heart disease.
Kim Jong-pil, 92. He was the founder of South Korea’s spy agency whose political skills helped him also serve twice as prime minister, first under his dictator boss and later under a man his agency kidnapped. June 23.
Joseph Jackson, 89. The fearsome stage dad of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and their talented siblings, who took his family from poverty and launched a musical dynasty. June 27.
Harlan Ellison, 84. The prolific, pugnacious author of “A Boy and His Dog,” and countless other stories that blasted society with their nightmarish, sometimes darkly humorous scenarios. June 27.
Steve Ditko, 90. The Marvel Comics artist who gave the world the woven webs and soaring red-and-blue shape of Spider-Man and the other-worldly shimmer of Doctor Strange. June 29.
Irena Szewinska, 72. A Polish sprinter who dominated women’s athletics for two decades, winning seven Olympic medals, and who later became a member of the International Olympic Committee. June 29.
Claude Lanzmann, 92. His 9½-hour masterpiece “Shoah” bore unflinching witness to the Holocaust through the testimonies of Jewish victims, German executioners and Polish bystanders. July 5.
Robert D. Ray, 89. A former longtime Iowa governor who helped thousands of Vietnam War refugees relocate to the state and defined Iowa’s Republican politics for years. July 8.
Tab Hunter, 86. The blond actor and singer who was a heartthrob for millions of teenagers in the 1950s with such films as “Battle Cry” and “Damn Yankees!” and received new attention decades later when he revealed he was gay. July 8.
Angela Bowen, 82. Dance teacher and gay activist. July 12.
Nancy Sinatra Sr., 101. She was the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children. July 13.
Gary Beach, 70. A Broadway and TV veteran whose portrayal of a truly terrible theater director in Mel Brooks’ monster hit “The Producers” won him a Tony Award in 2001. July 17.
Lincoln Brower, 86. He was considered one of the foremost experts on the iconic monarch butterfly and a scientist who advocated for the declining species’ protection. July 17.
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, 93. She uncovered proof that thousands of Japanese-Americans incarcerated in the United States during World War II were held not for reasons of national security but because of racism. July 18.
Adrian Cronauer, 79. The man whose military radio antics inspired a character played by Robin Williams in the film “Good Morning, Vietnam.” July 18.
Alene Duerk, 98. She was the Navy’s first female admiral, who became a trailblazer as the Navy opened up more opportunities for women. July 21.
Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen, 96. His outspoken support for nuclear disarmament, gay rights and an expanded role for women in the church made him one of the most controversial U.S. bishops. July 22.
Elbert “Big Man” Howard, 80. He was a co-founder of the Black Panther Party who served as newspaper editor, information officer and logistics genius behind the group’s popular social programs. July 23.
Sergio Marchionne, 66. A charismatic and demanding CEO who engineered two long-shot corporate turnarounds to save carmakers Fiat and Chrysler from near-certain failure. July 25.
Ron Dellums, 83. Former Oakland Mayor from 2007 to 2011 who advocated on behalf of poor, Black and LGBT communities. July 30.
Charlotte Rae, 92. She played a wise and patient housemother to a brood of teenage girls on the long-running sitcom “The Facts of Life” during a career that encompassed many other TV roles as well as stage and film appearances. Aug. 5.
H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, 88. He made a $1 billion fortune in the cable industry and gave almost all of it away, supporting schools, museums, journalism and the arts in Philadelphia and beyond. Aug. 5.
Joel Robuchon, 73. A master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen. Aug. 6.
Stan Mikita, 78. The hockey great who helped the Chicago Blackhawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup title while becoming one of the franchise’s most revered figures. Aug. 7.
Takeshi Onaga, 67. The Okinawa governor who led an anti-U.S. military base movement on the southern Japanese island. Aug. 8. Pancreatic cancer.
Jarrod Lyle, 36. An Australian golfer who endeared himself to people around the world in a long struggle against cancer. Aug. 8.
V.S. Naipaul, 85. The Trinidad-born Nobel laureate whose precise and lyrical writing in such novels as “A Bend in the River” and “A House for Mr. Biswas” and brittle, misanthropic personality made him one of the world’s most admired and contentious writers. Aug. 11.
Aretha Franklin, 76. The undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang with matchless style on such classics as “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and her signature song, “Respect,” and stood as a cultural icon around the globe. Aug. 16. Pancreatic cancer.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 93. The former Indian prime minister was a Hindu nationalist who set off a nuclear arms race with rival Pakistan but later reached across the border to begin a groundbreaking peace process. Aug. 16.
Kofi Annan, 80. A charismatic global diplomat and the first black African to become United Nations secretary-general who led the world body through one of its most turbulent periods. Aug. 18.
Uri Avnery, 94. A trailblazing Israeli journalist and peace activist and one of the first to openly advocate for a Palestinian state. Aug. 20.
Barbara Harris, 83. The Tony Award-winning actress whose comic-neurotic charms lit up the Broadway stage and helped her steal films including “Nashville,” “Freaky Friday” and “A Thousand Clowns.” Aug. 21.
Ed King, 68. A former guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd who helped write several of their hits including “Sweet Home Alabama.” Aug. 22. Cancer.
George Walker, 96. The first Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American composer. Aug. 23
Robin Leach, 76. His voice crystallized the opulent 1980s on TV’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Aug. 24.
John McCain, 81. He faced down his captors in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp with defiance and later turned his rebellious streak into a 35-year political career that took him to Congress and the Republican presidential nomination. Aug. 25.
Neil Simon, 91. A playwright who was a master of comedy whose laugh-filled hits such as “The Odd Couple,” “Barefoot in the Park” and his “Brighton Beach” trilogy dominated Broadway for decades. Aug. 26.
Bill Daily, 91. The comic sidekick to leading men on the sitcoms “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Bob Newhart Show.” Sept. 4.
Burt Reynolds, 82. The handsome film and television star known for his acclaimed performances in “Deliverance” and “Boogie Nights,” commercial hits such as “Smokey and the Bandit” and for an active off-screen love life. Sept. 6.
Richard DeVos, 92. A billionaire and co-founder of direct-selling giant Amway, owner of the Orlando Magic and father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Sept. 6.
Mac Miller, 26. The platinum hip-hop star whose rhymes vacillated from party raps to lyrics about depression and drug use, and earned kudos from the likes of Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper. Sept. 7. Accidental overdose.
Marin Mazzie, 57. A three-time Tony Award nominee known for powerhouse performances on Broadway in “Ragtime,” “Passion” and “Kiss Me, Kate.” Sept. 13.
Arthur Mitchell, 84. He broke barriers for African-Americans in the 1950s as a ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet and who would go on to become a driving force in the creation of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Sept. 19.
Ion Ficior, 90. He was incarcerated for the deaths of 103 political inmates while in charge of a communist-era labor camp in Romania. Sept. 26.
Marty Balin, 76. A patron of the 1960s “San Francisco Sound” both as founder and lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane and co-owner of the club where the Airplane and other bands performed. Sept. 27.
Joe Masteroff, 98. The Tony Award-winning story writer of the brilliant, edgy musical “Cabaret” and the touching, romantic “She Loves Me.” Sept. 28.
Otis Rush, 84. A legendary Chicago blues guitarist whose passionate, jazz-tinged music influenced artists from Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton to the rock band Led Zeppelin. Sept. 29.
Sonia Orbuch, 93. She survived the Holocaust as a teenager in eastern Europe by joining a resistance group that was sabotaging the Nazis. Sept. 30.
Juan Romero, 68. The hotel busboy who came to Robert F. Kennedy’s aid when the New York senator was fatally shot in Los Angeles. Oct. 1.
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, 59. Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for the Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. Assassinated Oct. 2 at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul by agents of the Saudi government
Leon Lederman, 96. An experimental physicist who won a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on subatomic particles and coined the phrase “God particle.” Oct. 3.
Will Vinton, 70. An Oscar-winning animator who invented Claymation, a style of stop-motion animation, and brought the California Raisins to TV. Oct. 4.
Montserrat Caballe, 85. A Spanish opera singer renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Oct. 6.
Betty Lavonne Grissom, 91. The widow of astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom who successfully sued a NASA contractor after his death in the 1967 Apollo launch pad fire. Oct. 7.
George Taliaferro, 91. The star Indiana running back who in 1949 became the first Black player drafted in the NFL when George Halas and the Chicago Bears took him in the 13th round. Oct. 8.
Roelof “Pik” Botha, 86. He was the last foreign minister of South Africa’s apartheid era and a contradictory figure who staunchly defended white minority rule but recognized that change was inevitable. Oct. 12.
Paul G. Allen, 65. He co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports. Oct. 15. Complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Dorcas Reilly, 92. The woman who created the green bean casserole, a Thanksgiving staple enjoyed by millions. Oct. 15. Alzheimer’s disease.
Dennis Hof, 72. A legal pimp who gained notoriety for an HBO series about his business and who fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate for the state Legislature in a race he won even after he’d already died. Oct. 16.
Earl Bakken, 94. An electronics repairman who created the first wearable external pacemaker and co-founded one of the world’s largest medical device companies, Medtronic. Oct. 21.
Joachim Roenneberg, 99. A World War II saboteur who headed a five-man team that daringly blew up a plant producing heavy water, depriving Nazi Germany of a key ingredient it could have used to make nuclear weapons. Oct. 21.
Tony Joe White, 75. The country bluesman and hit songwriter behind such successes as “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia.” Oct. 24.
Ruth Gates, 56. A pioneering coral reef scientist who dedicated much of her career to saving the world’s fragile and deteriorating underwater reef ecosystems. Oct. 25.
Ntozake Shange, 70. The legendary playwright and poet, who is most known for “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf.” Oct. 27.
James “Whitey” Bulger, 89. The murderous Boston gangster who benefited from a corrupt relationship with the FBI before spending 16 years as one of America’s most wanted men. Oct. 30. Killed in prison.
Willie McCovey, 80. Hall of Fame first baseman who spent 19 of his 22 major-league seasons with the Giants. Oct. 31.
Teodoro Petkoff, 86. A giant of Venezuela’s politics who led a band of communist guerrillas in his youth before winning the praise of Wall Street in a top government post and then launching a newspaper that fearlessly railed against socialist President Hugo Chavez. Oct. 31.
Raymond Chow, 91. A legendary Hong Kong film producer who introduced the world to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and even brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen. Nov. 2.
Mari Hulman George, 83. The “quiet pioneer” of auto racing who was instrumental in the expansion of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and became known to millions of fans over the years as the one who ordered countless drivers to start their engines before races. Nov. 3.
Ramona Ripston, 91. A longtime activist who built up the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California into a major organization. Nov. 3.
Evelyn Y. Davis, 89. The brash shareholder activist who owned stock in more than 80 public companies and rarely failed to make her presence known at corporate-investor meetings. Nov. 4.
Douglas Rain, 90. A Canadian actor who played some of Shakespeare’s most intriguing characters onstage but perhaps is best known for supplying the creepily calm voice of the rogue computer HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Nov. 11.
Blanche Burton-Lyles, 85. Philadelphia native, the first African-American woman pianist to perform at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra who was mentored by pioneering opera singer Marian Anderson. Nov.12
Stan Lee, 95. The creative dynamo who revolutionized comic books and helped make billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk. Nov. 12.
Katherine MacGregor, 93. She played petty, gossiping store owner Harriet Oleson on TV’s “Little House on the Prairie.” Nov. 13.
Roy Clark, 85. The country star, guitar virtuoso who headlined the cornpone TV show “Hee Haw” for nearly a quarter century and was known for such hits as “Yesterday When I was Young” and “Honeymoon Feeling.” Nov. 15.
William Goldman, 87. The Oscar-winning screenwriter and Hollywood wise man who won Academy Awards for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “All the President’s Men” and summed up the mystery of making a box office hit by declaring “Nobody knows anything.” Nov. 16.
Kim Porter, 47. Model and actress, former partner of Sean “Diddy” Combs. Nov. 16
Ali Rodriguez, 81. An icon of Venezuela’s socialist revolution who went on to serve as a diplomat in top government posts. Nov. 19.
Olivia Hooker, 103. One of the last surviving witnesses of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, also known as ‘Black Wall Street.’ She was also the first the first African-American woman to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard. Nov. 21
Willie Naulls, 84. American professional basketball player for 10 years in the National Basketball Association. He was a four-time NBA All-Star with the New York Knicks and won three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. Nov. 22
Robert “Bob” McNair, 81. The founder and owner of the Houston Texans was one of the NFL’s most influential owners. Nov. 23.
Betty Bumpers, 93. A former Arkansas first lady who advocated for childhood immunizations nationwide and pushed for limiting nuclear arms proliferation. Nov. 23.
Bernardo Bertolucci, 77. An Italian filmmaker who won Oscars with “The Last Emperor” and whose erotic drama “Last Tango in Paris” enthralled and shocked the world. Nov. 26.
Stephen Hillenburg, 57. He created SpongeBob SquarePants and the absurd undersea world he inhabited. Nov. 26.
George H.W. Bush, 94. His presidency soared with the coalition victory over Iraq in Kuwait, but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term. Nov. 30.
David Fattah Sr., 75. Co-founder of the House of Umoja Inc. in Philadelphia and father of former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. Dec. 5.
Pete Shelley, 63. He was a singer-songwriter and co-founder of the punk band the Buzzcocks. Dec. 6.
Belisario Betancur, 95. A former Colombian president whose efforts to reach a peace deal with leftist rebels in the 1980s were undone by drug-fueled bloodletting and an explosion of violence backed by state security forces. Dec. 7.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, 91. A human rights pioneer and dissident who challenged the Soviet and Russian regimes for decades, demanding that they free political prisoners and establish democratic rights. Dec. 8.
Linda B. Watson, 67. president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Pennsylvania Chapter. Dec 8.
Jesse ‘Smiley’ Rutland, a co-creator of the Harlem Shake, found shot dead in his Brooklyn home . He was a member of the Crazy Boyz Dance Crew whose early 2000s upper-body-gyrating routine captured the attention of Sean Combs, who made it world famous. Dec. 10.
Nancy Wilson, 81. The Grammy-winning “song stylist” and torch singer whose polished pop-jazz vocals made her a platinum artist and top concert performer. Dec. 13.
Joe Cocker, 70. British blues-rock singer who rocked Woodstock; known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and distinctive versions of popular songs of varying genres. Dec. 22.
Penny Marshall, 75. Trailblazing director of smash-hit big-screen comedies such as “Big” and “A League of Their Own” who first indelibly starred in the top-rated sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” died of diabetes complications. Dec. 17.
Raven Wilkinson, 83. Wilkinson broke barriers as an African-American dancer in the Ballet Russe de Monte-Carlo in 1955, and most recently achieved attention for her mentorship of Misty Copeland, the first African-American dancer to become a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Their friendship inspired Copeland’s children’s book, Firebird. Dec. 17.
Sister Wendy Beckett, 88. The cloistered nun who came out of seclusion to become a celebrity art critic and historian, reported by the BBC. Dec. 26