By Bernard McGhee
ASSOCIATED PRESS/atlanta Black star
Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn. The strongman’s half-century rule was marked by the unsuccessful U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. But after surviving a crippling trade embargo and dozens of assassination plots, Castro died in November at age 90. Perhaps befitting the controversial leader, his death elicited both tears and cheers across the Western Hemisphere.
But Castro was just one of many noteworthy people who died in 2016.
The year also saw the deaths of pop music giants: David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals, and Prince, who was considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times.
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 Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ex-senator 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, 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.)
*Natalie Cole, 65. (*Her family did not disclose the news until January of this year). According to a statement, Cole died at age 65 of “complications from ongoing health issues.” The singer had a successful career after following in the footsteps of her famous father, Nat “King” Cole. A nine-time Grammy winner, Cole won Album and Record of the Year for her 1991 release, “Unforgettable… with Love,” which featured a posthumous duet of “Unforgettable” with her late father. Dec. 31, 2015.
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
Frances Cress Welsing, 80. Psychiatrist and scholar, Dr. Welsing died at 80 years old of a reported stroke she had days before. Touted as the Queen Mother of Black Consciousness, the author published major writings on racism, including “The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation” and “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” the latter of which stirred controversy for its views on whites feeling threatened by Black people. Jan 2.
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.
Monte Irvin, 96. Known as one of the Negro League’s best players, New York Giants outfielder Monte Irvin, who was on tap to integrate Major League Baseball in the 1940s, died of natural causes. Jan. 11
Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained 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 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.
Linus Maurer, 90. Cartoonist and illustrator whose old friend Charles M. Schulz borrowed his first name for Charlie Brown’s blanket-carrying best friend Linus in his “Peanuts” comic strip and cartoons. Jan. 29.
Georgia Davis Powers, 92. Giant in the fight for civil rights in Kentucky and the first African-American 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 horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.
Ferd Kaufman, 89. Associated Press photographer who was at Dallas police headquarters as authorities brought in President John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Feb. 3.
Edgar Whitcomb, 98. Former Indiana governor who escaped from a Japanese prisoner camp by swimming overnight during World War II and then made an around-the-world solo sailing trip while in his 70s. Feb. 4.
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.
Denise Matthews, 57. The singer and model, who during the 1980s performed as ‘Vanity’ and toured with Prince, died after suffering from kidney-related health problems for years. She later became an evangelist leaving the music business. Feb. 15.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his 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.
Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, 55. Raspy-voiced bar owner who gained fame on the reality TV series “Mob Wives.” Feb. 18.
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.
Sonny James, 87. Country singer who recorded romantic ballads like “Young Love” and turned pop songs into country hits. Feb. 22.
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 email 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.
George Martin, 90. The Beatles’ urbane producer who quietly guided the band’s swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries. March 8.
Peter Maxwell Davies, 81. Experimental, socially radical composer who served as Queen Elizabeth II’s official master of music. March 14. Leukemia.
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.
Tray Walker, 23. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker was just 23 years old when he died in a motorbike accident after colliding with an SUV. March 18
Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer.
Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.
Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with “The Larry Sanders Show.” March 24.
Earl Hamner Jr., 92. Prolific writer who drew upon his Depression-era upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to create one of television’s most beloved family shows, “The Waltons.” March 24.
Mother Mary Angelica, 92. Folksy Roman Catholic nun who used a monastery garage to begin a television ministry that grew into a global religious media empire. March 27.
Winston Moseley, 81. Man convicted of the 1964 stabbing death of Kitty Genovese, a crime that came to symbolize urban decay and indifference. March 28.
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.
Imre Kertesz, 86. Hungarian writer who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature for fiction largely drawn from his experience as a teenage prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. March 31.
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.
Daisy Lewellyn, 36. A rare form of cancer claimed the life of Bravo’s “Blood, Sweat & Heels,” star Lewellyn. April 8
Will Smith, 34. The retired New Orleans Saints defensive end was shot and killed during a road rage incident. Smith spent his entire career with the Louisiana football team and earned a Super Bowl ring with them. In 2006, he became a Pro Bowler and was ranked fourth overall on the team with 67.5 career sacks. April 9.
Howard Marks, 70. Convicted drug smuggler who reinvented himself as an author, raconteur and drug-reform campaigner after publishing the best-selling autobiography “Mr. Nice.” April 10.
David Gest, 62. Music producer, reality TV star and former husband of Liza Minnelli. April 12.
Fred Hayman, 90. Dapper entrepreneur and “Godfather of Rodeo Drive” whose vision transformed a nondescript Southern California street into one of the world’s pre-eminent fashion districts. April 14.
Doris Roberts, 90. She played the tart-tongued, endlessly meddling mother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” April 17.
Patricio Aylwin, 97. Lanky law professor who played a decisive role in restoring Chile’s democracy after 17 years of brutal dictatorship and was later elected president. April 19.
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.
Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, 52. Basketball player who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. April 20.
Victoria Wood, 62. British comedian who 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.
Papa Wemba, 66. Influential Congolese singer, known as the King of Rhumba Rock, died after collapsing onstage. Wemba helped bring his country’s music to a global scale. After forming the group Zaiko Langa Langa in 1969, he wrote such hit songs as “Pauline” and “Liwa Ya Somo” before leaving to form other bands. April 24.
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.
Ozzie Silna, 83. He turned a fading American Basketball Association franchise into a four-decade windfall of nearly $800 million from the NBA in what’s commonly called the greatest deal in sports history. 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.
Afeni Shakur, 69. Former Black Panther who inspired the work of her son, rap icon Tupac Shakur, and fostered his legacy for decades after he was slain. May 2.
Bob Bennett, 82. Former U.S. senator who shied away from the spotlight but earned a reputation as someone who knew how to get things done in Washington. May 4.
William Schallert, 93. Veteran performer and Hollywood union leader who played Patty Duke’s father – and uncle – on TV and led a long, contentious strike for actors. May 8.
Gene Gutowski, 90. Polish-American Holocaust survivor who was the producer of three films by director Roman Polanski in the 1960s and reunited with him decades later for the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama “The Pianist.” May 10.
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.
Guy Clark, 74. Texas singer-songwriter who helped mentor a generation of songwriters and wrote hits like “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” May 17.
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.
Rosalie Chris Lerman, 90. Survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp who was the wife of the founder of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and a passionate advocate of Holocaust remembrance. 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.
Kang Sok Ju, 76. Top North Korean diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze his nation’s nuclear programs in exchange for international aid. May 20.
Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour, believed to be in his mid-50s. His brief rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan was marked by mistrust and strife. May 20. Killed in a drone strike.
Thomas E. Schaefer, 85. Retired Air Force colonel who was the ranking military officer among the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days before being released in 1981. May 31.
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.
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.
Sean Rooks, 46. The former NBA center and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sean Rooks died of a heart attack after suffering from cardiovascular disease. June 7.
Gordie Howe, 88. Known as “Mr. Hockey,” the rough-and-tumble Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL’s quintessential star. June 10.
Lois Duncan, 82. Known for her pioneering suspense novels that captivated young readers, including “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which became a movie. June 15.
Jo Cox, 41. Lawmaker who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union. June 16. Killed by a gun- and knife-wielding attacker.
Attrell Cordes, 45. Cordes, also known as Prince Be of the R&B group PM Dawn, passed away of kidney failure. With his brother Jarett, Cordes and PM Dawn achieved major success in the early ’90s. PM Dawn’s ballad, “I’d Die Without You” from Eddie Murphy’s film “Boomerang” also achieved big success. June 17
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.
Wayne Jackson, 74. Trumpet player on rock ‘n’ roll, soul, R&B and pop mainstays along with Memphis Horns partner and tenor saxophonist Andrew Love. June 21.
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.
Bernie Worrell, 72. “Wizard of Woo” whose amazing array of keyboard sounds helped define the Parliament-Funkadelic musical empire and influenced performers of many genres. June 24.
Bud Spencer, 86. Burly comic actor dubbed the “good giant” for punching out bad guys on the screen, often in a long series of spaghetti westerns. June 27.
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. Romanian-born 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. July 2.
Michael Cimino, 77. Oscar-winning 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 Rent-A-Car. July 2.
Sydney H. Schanberg, 82. Former New York Times correspondent awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the genocide in Cambodia in 1975 and whose story of the survival of his assistant inspired the film “The Killing Fields.” July 9.
Nate Thurmond, 74. Tenacious NBA defensive center who played with Wilt Chamberlain. July 16.
Gugu Zulu, 38. South African rally race car driver Gugu Zulu, known as “the fastest brother in Africa” died as he attempted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. July 18
Dennis Green, 67. The head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals for a combined 13 seasons before his death of cardiac arrest complications. July 21
Marni Nixon, 86. Hollywood voice double whose singing was heard in place of the leading actresses’ in such movie musicals as “West Side Story,” ‘’The King and I” and “My Fair Lady.” July 24.
Sam Wheeler, 72. Renowned land speed motorcycle racer. July 25. Injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash.
Youree Dell Harris, 53. Actress who became famous playing the Jamaican psychic Miss Cleo, claiming to know callers’ futures in ubiquitous TV infomercials and commercials. July 26.
Gloria DeHaven, 91. Daughter of vaudeville stars who carved out her own career as the vivacious star of Hollywood musicals and comedies of the 1940s and ‘50s. July 30.
James Alan McPherson, 72. MacArthur Fellowship recipient and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer James Alan McPherson died of complications from pneumonia. July 27
Ahmed Zewail, 70. Science adviser to President Obama who won the 1999 Nobel Prize for his work on the study of chemical reactions over short time scales. Aug. 2.
Pete Fountain, 86. Clarinetist whose Dixieland jazz virtuosity and wit endeared him to his native New Orleans and earned him national television fame. Aug. 6.
Robert Kiley, 80. He is credited with revitalizing and modernizing public transportation networks in Boston, New York and London. Aug. 9.
Harry Briggs Jr., 75. As a young boy, he was at the center of a lawsuit that culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing segregated public schools. Aug. 9.
John Saunders, 61. ESPN commentator enjoyed a lengthy broadcasting career that included hosting the World Series, Stanley Cup playoffs and the MLB All-Star Game. He also anchored several shows on ESPN, including “SportsCenter.” Aug. 10
Kenny Baker, 81. He played the lovable droid R2-D2 in the “Star Wars” films, achieving cult status and fans’ adulation without showing his face or speaking any lines. Aug. 13.
Fyvush Finkel, 93. Plastic-faced Emmy Award-winning actor whose career in stage and screen started in Yiddish theater and led to memorable roles in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway and on TV in “Boston Public” and “Picket Fences.” Aug. 14.
Bobby Hutcherson, 75. Bricklayer’s son who became one of the most inventive jazz vibraphonists to pick up a pair of mallets. Aug. 15.
John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative commentator and host of a long-running television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of Washington politics. Aug. 16.
Arthur Hiller, 92. Oscar nominee for directing the hugely popular romantic tragedy “Love Story” during a career that spanned dozens of popular movies and TV shows. Aug. 17.
Donald “D.A.” Henderson, 87. Epidemiologist whose leadership resulted in the eradication nearly 40 years ago of smallpox, one of the world’s most feared contagious diseases. Aug. 19.
Toots Thielemans, 94. Belgian harmonica player whose career included playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis and whose solos have figured on numerous film scores. Aug. 22.
Sonia Rykiel, 86. French designer dubbed the “queen of knitwear” whose relaxed sweaters in berry-colored stripes and eye-popping motifs helped liberate women from stuffy suits. Aug. 25.
Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in “The Producers” and the mad scientist of “Young Frankenstein.” Aug. 28.
Juan Gabriel, 66. Mexican songwriter and singer who was an icon in the Latin music world. Aug. 28.
Harry Fujiwara, 82. Better known as Mr. Fuji, he was a former star wrestler and manager. Aug. 28.
Jon Polito, 65. Raspy-voiced actor whose 200-plus credits ranged from “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Modern Family” to the films “Barton Fink” and “The Big Lebowski.” Sept. 1.
Hugh O’Brian, 91. He shot to fame as Sheriff Wyatt Earp in what was hailed as television’s first adult Western. Sept. 5.
Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group. Sept. 5.
Bobby Chacon, 64. Hall of Fame boxer whose memorable fights included victories over Rafael “Bazooka” Limon, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Danny Lopez and Ruben Olivares. Sept. 7.
Greta Zimmer Friedman, 92. Believed to be the woman in an iconic photo shown kissing an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II. Sept. 8.
Lady Chablis, 59. Transgender performer who became an unlikely celebrity for her role in the 1994 best-seller “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Sept. 8.
Edward Albee, 88. Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who challenged theatrical convention in masterworks such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “A Delicate Balance.” Sept. 16.
W.P. Kinsella, 81. Canadian novelist who blended magical realism and baseball in the book that became the smash hit film “Field of Dreams.” Sept. 16.
Charmian Carr, 73. Actress best known for sweetly portraying the eldest von Trapp daughter in “The Sound of Music.” Sept. 17.
Rose Pak, 68. Brash community activist who helped transform San Francisco’s growing Asian American population into a politically powerful constituency. Sept. 18.
Shawty Lo, 40. The Atlanta rapper, born Carlos Walker, died in a car accident. The MC founded Southern rap group D4L and later, D4L Records, where he produced the hits “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me” and “Laffy Taffy.” He also is known for his solo single, “Dey Know.” Sept. 21
Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., 68. Musician who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his band Buckwheat Zydeco. Sept. 24.
Bill Nunn, 62. Best known for his role as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do The Right Thing,” Nunn died at age 62 after a long battle with leukemia. The actor went on to star in other Lee films like “Mo’ Better Blues” and also had notable roles in “New Jack City” and “Sister Act.” Sept. 24
Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. Sept. 25.
Jean Shepard, 82. “The grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry” who had a long recording career in country music. Sept. 25.
Kashif Saleem, 56. Singer-songwriter and producer Kashif Saleem, known for his work with the likes of Whitney Houston and George Benson, reportedly died of natural causes. Sept. 25
Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.
Gloria Naylor, 66. Popular author Naylor, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel “The Women of Brewster Place,” died of heart failure. sept. 28
Joan Marie Johnson, 72. A founding member of the New Orleans girl group The Dixie Cups, who had a No. 1 hit in 1964 with “Chapel of Love.” Oct. 3.
Jacob Neusner, 84. He transformed the study of American Judaism, becoming one of the most influential 20th-century scholars of the religion. Oct. 8.
Aaron Pryor, 60. Relentless junior welterweight who fought two memorable bouts with Alexis Arguello. Oct. 9.
Thomas Mikal Ford, 52. The actor was best known for his work on the hit 1990s sitcom “Martin.” Ford died after developing a blood clot and being placed on life support. After the show ended, Ford continued acting on shows like “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “The Parkers” but also dove into motivational speaking and filmmaking. Oct. 12
Dennis Byrd, 51. Former NFL defensive lineman whose career was ended by neck injury. Oct. 15. Car accident.
Tom Hayden, 76. 1960s antiwar activist whose name became forever linked with the Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife, actress Jane Fonda. Oct. 23.
Bobby Vee, 73. Boyish, grinning 1960s singer whose career was born when he took a stage as a teenager to fill in after the 1959 plane crash that killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Oct. 24.
Jorge Batlle, 88. Former president was a force in Uruguayan politics for half a century, who led the nation during one of its worst economic recessions. Oct. 24.
Don Marshall, 80. Marshall, who played Dan Erickson in “Land of the Giants” and starred in “Star Trek” died at 80 of natural causes.
Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the epicenter of several political storms during the Clinton administration, including the seizure of Elian Gonzalez. Nov. 7.
Leonard Cohen, 82. Baritone-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like “Hallelujah,” ‘’Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire.” Nov. 7.
Robert Vaughn, 83. Debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in television’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Nov. 11.
Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.
Mose Allison, 89. Pianist and singer whose witty, Southern-accented lyrics delivered over a backdrop of boogie-woogie blues and jazz piano influenced musicians across a wide spectrum. Nov. 15.
Mentor Williams, 70. Award-winning songwriter behind the 1970s hit “Drift Away,” which became a soulful rock ‘n’ roll anthem aired on radio stations for generations. Nov. 16.
Denton Cooley, 96. Cardiovascular surgeon who performed some of the nation’s first heart transplants and implanted the world’s first artificial heart. Nov. 18.
Sharon Jones, 60. Powerhouse who shepherded a soul revival despite not finding stardom until middle age. Nov. 18. Cancer.
Ralph Branca, 90. Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” that still echoes six decades later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. Nov. 23.
Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America’s most beloved television moms in “The Brady Bunch.” Nov. 24.
Richard “Onion” Horton, 80. Alzheimer’s disease claimed the life of the controversial radio personality, who was known for his combative, unabashed views on race. Nov. 24.
Fidel Castro, 90. He led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.
Ron Glass, 71. Known for roles on “Barney Miller” and “Firefly,” Emmy-nominated actor Glass died of respiratory failure. He got his start on television with guest spots on 1970s sitcoms like “Sanford and Son” and “All in the Family.” Later in his career, he had appearances on “The Twilight Zone” and “Family Matters” and completed voice work on the children’s series “Rugrats.” Nov. 25
Fritz Weaver, 90. Tony Award-winning actor who played Sherlock Holmes and Shakespearian kings on Broadway while also creating memorable roles on TV and film from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” to “Marathon Man.” Nov. 26.
Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, 98. McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it become perhaps the best-known fast-food sandwich. Nov. 28.
Grant Tinker, 90. He brought new polish to the TV world with beloved shows including “Hill Street Blues” as both a producer and a network boss. Nov. 28.
Rashaan Salaam, 42. The Heisman trophy winner was found dead in a Boulder, Colorado, park of an apparent suicide at age 42. Dec. 5
John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.
Joe Ligon, 80. Singer and dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy. Dec. 11
E.R. Braithwaite, 104. Guyanese author, educator and diplomat whose years teaching in the slums of London’s East End inspired the international best-seller “To Sir, With Love” and the movie of the same name. Dec. 12.
Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains.” Dec. 13.
Craig Sager, 65. Longtime NBA sideline reporter famous for his flashy suits and probing questions. Dec. 15.
Henry Heimlich, 96. Surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims. Dec. 17.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99. Jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life. Dec. 18.
George Michael, 53. British singer who rocketed to stardom with the boy band WHAM! delivering a series of hits such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” and “Freedom”, earned numerous Grammy and American Music Awards; and recorded duets with legends like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti and Elton John. Dec. 25
Rick Harris, 54. An actor and comedian whose numerous credits in television and film include Heat, Poetic Justice and Everyone Hates Chris, died of a heart attack. Dec. 26
Carrie Fisher, 60. Born of Hollywood ‘royalty’ to MGM star Debbie Reynolds and crooner Eddie Fisher, two of the biggest stars of the 1950s. She played the iconic Princess Leia in “Star Wars” films and later wrote books about her fight against drug and alcohol addiction. She died after suffering an apparent heart attack Dec. 23 on a flight between London and Los Angeles. Dec. 27
Debbie Reynolds, 84. The legendary Hollywood actress died of a stroke just 24 hours after daughter Carrie died after suffering a heart attack days before while flying. Reynolds’ son Todd Fisher said she was stricken at the family home while making funeral arrangements for his sister. Appearing in over 40 films, Reynolds starred alongside other legends of Hollywood — Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Bob Fosse and Fred Astaire. Dec. 28.