Art and LiteratureRichard Adams
(96) British author whose 1972 book Watership Down
became a classic of children's literature. Adams' novel about the plight of rabbits whose home was under threat became an astonishing success. Popular with both children and adults, it has since sold millions of copies and was made into a 1978 film, with a remake scheduled for 2017. Adams dreamed up the elements of Watership Down
while working as a civil servant. He later wrote other books, including Shardik, The Plague Days,
and The Girl in the Swing.
He suffered from a blood disorder and died in Oxfordshire, England on December 24, 2016.Ray Dorr
(88) Growing up in Pasadena, California, Ray Dorr listened to his Uncle Earl spin stories of wealth beneath the earth deep in the Mojave Desert, caverns as big as ballrooms, and a fortune in gold just resting there on the banks of a swollen underground river. But the old prospector died before he could ever find his way back to the gold he spoke about. But for Dorr, his uncle left behind the legend of Kokoweef. Dorr became keeper of one of California’s bigger-than-life mining mysteries—a treasure reportedly buried in the desert east of Baker. As a youth Ray Dorr and his Uncle Earl explored the caverns near Kokoweef Peak. As an adult, Dorr was left to sort out whether the “lost river of gold” was still there waiting or just a fable. The story of Kokoweef remained a passion and sparked a lifelong interest in writing about the West and adventure seeking. Dorr died in Cañon City, Colorado on December 20, 2016.Ray Dorr
(88) Growing up in Pasadena, California, Ray Dorr listened to his Uncle Earl spin stories of wealth beneath the earth deep in the Mojave Desert, caverns as big as ballrooms, and a fortune in gold just resting there on the banks of a swollen underground river. But the old prospector died before he could ever find his way back to the gold he spoke about. But for Dorr, his uncle left behind the legend of Kokoweef. Dorr became keeper of one of California’s bigger-than-life mining mysteries—a treasure reportedly buried in the desert east of Baker. As a youth Ray Dorr and his Uncle Earl explored the caverns near Kokoweef Peak. As an adult, Dorr was left to sort out whether the “lost river of gold” was still there waiting or just a fable. The story of Kokoweef remained a passion and sparked a lifelong interest in writing about the West and adventure seeking. Dorr died in Cañon City, Colorado on December 20, 2016.Kenneth Snelson
(89) sculptor who stitched together aluminum tubes with flexible stainless-steel wires to create seemingly lighter-than-air towers, arcs, and cantilevers. Snelson was a painting student at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the late ‘40s when he was enthralled by the lectures on geometric forms delivered by a last-minute substitute teacher, Buckminster Fuller, futurist inventor and father of the geodesic dome. In an experiment, “Early X Piece” (1948), Snelson took two Xs made from propeller-shaped pieces of plywood and suspended one over the other using a matrix of nylon tension lines. He called the principle behind his work “floating compression.” Snelson died of prostate cancer in New York City on December 22, 2016.
Business and ScienceSidney D. Drell
(90) physicist who for nearly 50 years was a top adviser to the US government on military technology and arms control. Drell combined groundbreaking work in particle physics—he was deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, now the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, for nearly 30 years—with a career in Washington as a technical adviser and defense intellectual. In 2000 he won the Enrico Fermi Award for his life’s work and in ‘13 the National Medal of Science for his contributions to physics and his service to the government. Drell died in Palo Alto, California on December 21, 2016.Raymond Leroy Heacock
(88) engineer who guided NASA’s Voyager
mission through encounters with both Jupiter and Saturn. Heacock spent his entire career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., where he worked from 1953 until his retirement in ’90. He contributed to some of the most notable space probes during his career, including the Mariner
missions to Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the Hubble Space Telescope. But he was best known for his work on the ambitious Voyager
mission, which explored the outer planets of the solar system and their moons and is still sending back data from the edge of the solar system today. Heacock died in La Crescenta, California on December 20, 2016.Robert Hulseman
(84) in the ‘70s Hulseman invented the Red Solo Cup for family picnics, only to see it embraced as the go-to beverage holder at college keg parties and football tailgates—and even the inspiration for a country music party hit. Country music star Toby Keith recorded a tribute to the party side of Hulseman's invention in the 2011 hit “Red Solo Cup.” Hulseman also invented the Traveler coffee cup lid with his friend and employee Jack Clements, a design the Museum of Modern Art added to its permanent collection. He died after suffering a series of strokes, in Northfield, Illinois on December 21, 2016.Piers Sellers
(61) British-born climate scientist and former US astronaut who gained fame late in life for his eloquent commentary about the earth's fragility and his own cancer diagnosis. Sellers shared his astronaut's perspective on climate change in actor Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary, Before the Flood,
released this fall. He also wrote a New York Times
op-ed about grappling with the meaning of his life's work after learning he had terminal cancer. Sellers died of pancreatic cancer in Houston, Texas on December 23, 2016.Graham Shimmield
(58) executive director of the Maine oceanography center Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Shimmield led Bigelow Laboratory for about nine years and transformed the facility by developing a new marine research and education campus in East Boothbay. Bigelow has almost doubled in size since Shimmield took over leadership. He also had a long career in science before coming to the laboratory, a private, nonprofit facility along Maine's coast. Shimmield published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He died of cancer in East Boothbay, Maine on December 24, 2016.Lella Vignelli
(82) Italian designer who, with her husband, Massimo Vignelli (died 2014), introduced an elegant style to a wide range of products and corporate brands, attracting an international clientele. After working with Italian companies like Pirelli and Olivetti in the early ‘60s, the Vignellis established an American base of operations through Unimark, their corporate branding company, and, later, Vignelli Associates, which they founded in 1971, and a sister company, Vignelli Designs, which began in ’78. The Vignellis gave American Airlines its double-A logo and Bloomingdale’s its signature brown paper bags. They designed brightly colored melamine dishware for Heller and stacking fiberglass chairs for Knoll. Lella Vignelli died of dementia in New York City on December 22, 2016.
(87) historian and author who argued that ideas about capitalism and liberty were fundamental in shaping the identity of early Americans. Appleby wrote several books, contributed to others, and edited several more. She was also a scholar of Thomas Jefferson and wrote a brief biography of him, published in 2003. She was part of a generation of historians who examined the ideologies and beliefs that animated the American Revolution and took seriously the ideas of the founding generation. Appleby died of pneumonia in Taos, New Mexico on December 23, 2016.
News and EntertainmentJoseph ('Joey Boots') Bassolino
(49) popular member of The Howard Stern Show,
known to fans as “Joey Boots.” Bassolino gained fame on Stern's talk show for his photobombing and other antics. He popularized the phrase “Baba Booey” on the air. Bassolino was unresponsive when emergency workers arrived; it appeared he died of natural causes. He was found dead at his home in the Bronx, New York on December 23, 2016.Valerie Fairman
(23) young mother who starred on the MTV show 16 & Pregnant.
Fairman appeared on the second season of the show in 2009–10 when she gave birth to a daughter. She died in Coatesville, Pennsylvania of a suspected drug overdose on December 21, 2016.Zsa Zsa Gabor
(99) last of the three glamorous Gabor sisters, a jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped to invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages (nine, including actor George Sanders and hotel magnate Conrad Hilton) and conspicuous wealth. The great aunt of Paris Hilton and a spiritual matriarch to the Kardashians and other tabloid favorites, Gabor was the original hall-of-mirrors celebrity, famous for being famous for being famous. Starting in the ‘40s, she rose from beauty queen to millionaire's wife to minor TV personality to minor film actress to major public character. With no special talent, no hit TV series such as her sister Eva's Green Acres,
Zsa Zsa nevertheless was a long-running hit just being Zsa Zsa—her accent drenched in diamonds, her name synonymous with frivolity and camp as she winked and carried on about men, dahling, and the droll burdens of the idle rich. Gabor had been hospitalized repeatedly since she broke her right hip in July 2010 after a fall at her home. She already had to use a wheelchair after being partly paralyzed in a 2002 car accident and suffering a stroke in ’05. Most of her right leg was amputated in January 2011 because of gangrene, and the left leg was also threatened. The middle and most famous of the sisters Gabor died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California on December 18, 2016.Jeffrey Hayden
(90) director of early live TV plays with stars including James Dean who worked with wife Eva Marie Saint on screen and stage. Hayden directed the early network TV color specials Lady in the Dark
and The Chocolate Soldier
and Philco Television Playhouse
live dramas with stars including Walter Matthau, Paul Newman, and Dean. His extensive series credits included The Andy Griffith Show, Leave It to Beaver, 77 Sunset Strip, Cagney & Lacey, Magnum, PI,
and the daytime serial Santa Barbara.
Hayden died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on December 24, 2016.Gordon Hunt
(87) longtime Hollywood director and voiceover coach and father of actress Helen Hunt. As voice director for Hanna-Barbera in the '80s during the studio’s days as king of animation TV, Gordon Hunt was known as the authority on matching an animated character with the perfect voice. He worked on The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones,
and more. Later, while working as a voice coach in Hollywood, Hunt supplied the voice for the jaded character Wally in the TV adaptation of the comic strip “Dilbert.” He also directed TV sitcoms, including episodes of Frazier, Suddenly Susan,
and Mad About You,
the long-running NBC show for which his daughter won four Emmys. Gordon Hunt won the Directors Guild of America Award for his work on a 1995 episode, “The Alan Brady Show.” He also taught acting and voice for decades and wrote a book on how to prepare for an audition. Hunt died of Parkinson's disease in Los Angeles, California on December 19, 2016.Willa Kim
(99) two-time Tony-winning costume designer who crowned Broadway chorines with longhorns for The Will Rogers Follies
and draped Duke Ellington’s hoofers in ermine and feather boas for Sophisticated Ladies.
Kim won her first Tony Award in 1981 for Sophisticated Ladies,
which recreated a Harlem jazz club and was built around Ellington’s music; and her second in 1991 for The Will Rogers Follies,
staged by Tommy Tune and featuring chorus dancers in bovine outfits complete with horns and rope tails. She earned four more Tony nominations as well. Kim died on Vashon Island, Washington on December 23, 2016.Dick Latessa
(87) veteran Broadway actor who was in the original productions of Follies, Brighton Beach Memoirs,
and The Will Rogers Follies
and won a 2003 Tony Award playing Harvey Fierstein's onstage husband in the original cast of Hairspray.
Latessa played Herr Schultz in the 1999 revival of Cabaret
and Dr. Dreyfuss in the 2010 revival of Promises, Promises.
His other credits on Broadway included Broadway Bound, Awake & Sing!,
and the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees.
He was last on Broadway in The Lyons
(2012). He died of heart failure in New York City on December 19, 2016.China Machado
(86) first non-Caucasian to appear on the pages of an American glossy fashion magazine and a model who broke not only the race barrier but also the age barrier. In 1959 Machado, then 29, became the first nonwhite model featured on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar.
Born in Shanghai, China, she had started modeling in Paris, most notably for Hubert de Givenchy and Balenciaga (was the highest-paid runway model in Europe). Oleg Cassini brought her to New York for his runway show in 1958. Machado caught the eye of Diana Vreeland, who sent her to Richard Avedon, then Harper’s Bazaar’s
star photographer and a crucial player in forming the magazine’s identity. Avedon christened her his “muse” and began photographing her in looks that had previously been worn only “by white models.” Machado died of cardiac arrest in Brookhaven, Long Island, New York on December 18, 2016.Michele Morgan
(96) French actress who starred with Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra and was the first winner of Cannes's best actress award. Living in Hollywood during World War II, Morgan starred in movies including Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol
and married American director William Marshall. She was awarded Cannes's first best actress award for her portrayal of a blind woman in Pastoral Symphony
(1946). She died in Paris, France on December 20, 2016.Rick Parfitt
(68) Status Quo guitarist. Parfitt had been hospitalized in Spain since December 22 owing to complications from an earlier shoulder injury stemming from a fall. He also suffered a heart attack earlier in the year. He died from a severe infection in Marbella, Spain on December 24, 2016.Gil Parrondo
(95) Spanish art director who won Oscars for Patton
(1970) and Nicholas & Alexandra
(1974). Parrondo was nominated for another Oscar for Travels with My Aunt
(1972) and worked on scores of other films, including Doctor Zhivago.
He also won four Goya awards, given each year by Spain's Film Academy. He died in Madrid, Spain on December 24, 2016.Jonathan Sanchez
(64) longtime Los Angeles County community newspaper executive and activist devoted to Latino issues. The associate publisher and chief operating officer of Eastern Group Publications ran a collection of community newspapers serving LA County, including the Eastside Sun, Northeast Sun, Montebello Comet,
and Commerce Comet.
Sanchez and his wife, Dolores, pioneered the bilingual format, publishing stories in English and Spanish in neighborhoods that often lacked resources and political influence. Jonathan Sanchez died of cancer in Highland Park, California on December 23, 2016.Heinrich Schiff
(65) Austrian cellist who performed with some of the world's major orchestras before health problems led him to turn to conducting. Best known for his mastery of the cello, Schiff turned increasingly to conducting after health problems ended his solo career. Playing famed instruments from Stradivarius and Monegnana, his recordings of works by Bach, Shostakovich, and Brahms earned him several prestigious music prizes. His repertoire ranged from Vivaldi to contemporary masters. He conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, and other leading ensembles. Schiff died in Vienna, Austria on December 23, 2016.Franca Sozzani
(66) Vogue Italia
editor who championed Italian fashion in the magazine she ran for 28 years. Sozzani became editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia
in 1988. She also was active in humanitarian causes and in recent years was ambassador to fashion for the United Nations, traveling to support people working in the fashion world in Africa and Asia while helping to raise money and awareness to fight hunger. She died in Milan, Italy after a year-long illness, on December 22, 2016.
Politics and MilitaryLottie Gibson
(86) longtime civil rights activist and Greenville (SC) elected official. Gibson was a retired educator who served for many years on the Greenville County Council. She fought for social justice and to end segregation during the Civil Rights era. She won numerous awards, and the substance abuse treatment facility, the Phoenix Center, named its training center after her earlier this year. She also worked for Greenville Tech for 30 years. Gibson died in Greenville, South Carolina on December 18, 2016.William H. Hudnut 3rd
(84) former Indianapolis mayor credited with revitalizing the city's downtown after years of decline. Hudnut was the city's longest-serving mayor. He was a minister at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis before he entered politics, winning one term in Congress in ‘72 as a Republican before he was defeated in ’74. He successfully ran for mayor of Indianapolis in 1975, inheriting a sleepy rust belt city hollowed out amid white suburban flight and the decline of the city's manufacturing base. Downtown Indianapolis was once so desolate that men armed with shotguns hunted pigeons on Sundays among empty buildings and a trash-strewn river canal. Over 16 years, Hudnut lturned the city into a hub for conventions and sporting-related events. He died in Maryland on December 18, 2016Ed Reinecke
(92) California lieutenant governor who resigned after being convicted of perjury in a Watergate-era scandal. Reinecke was a protégé of then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, who appointed him as the state’s second-in-command in 1969. Reinecke had risen quickly in Republican politics, winning a seat in Congress in 1964 as a 40-year-old businessman with no political experience. The Caltech graduate made no secret of his ambition to be governor and ran in 1974 while still lieutenant governor. He continued his campaign after he was indicted for allegedly lying about conversations with then-President Richard Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, about an offer from a telecommunications company to underwrite the 1972 Republican National Convention. By the time Reinecke was convicted on July 28, 1974 of a single count of perjury, he had lost the primary to Houston Flournoy, later defeated by Democrat Jerry Brown. Reinecke clung to his position as lieutenant governor until half an hour before he received an 18-month suspended sentence. He died in Laguna Hills, California on December 24, 2016.M. Lee Smith
(74) political adviser and newsletter publisher who in 1977 broke the news that Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton had hired a convicted double murderer as a state photographer. Smith was an attorney and Republican political staffer of the late US Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.; died 2014) and former Gov. Winfield Dunn before launching his own publishing business and newsletter, the Tennessee Journal,
in the mid-‘70s. He died in Nashville, Tennessee on December 20, 2016.Tom Surtees
(66) Alabama's Revenue and Labor commissioner. Surtees was appointed head of the Revenue Department in 2004 by then-Gov. Bob Riley. He later became commissioner of the Department of Industrial Relations, which became the Department of Labor in 2012. Surtees retired from the state in 2014. He died of cancer in Montgomery, Alabama on December 23, 2016.
Society and ReligionRabbi Lionel Blue
(86) Britain's first openly gay rabbi, known for his popular early morning radio spots. Blue was a frequent guest on BBC radio's “Thought for the Day” feature, part of the widely heard Radio 4 morning broadcast. He was known for the light, genial tone of his radio spots, which often shed light on Judaism and its application in modern-day life, and frequently discussed his own failings and foibles. He was often featured on the Monday morning spot that aired at around 7:50 a.m. and could be counted on to provide a measure of good cheer and wit at the start of the work week. Blue, who suffered from heart disease and cancer, was hospitalized with a chest infection and died of pneumonia in London, England on December 19, 2016.Ray Dorr
(88) Growing up in Pasadena, California, Ray Dorr listened to his Uncle Earl spin stories of wealth beneath the earth deep in the Mojave Desert, caverns as big as ballrooms, and a fortune in gold just resting there on the banks of a swollen underground river. But the old prospector died before he could ever find his way back to the gold he spoke about. But for Dorr, his uncle left behind the legend of Kokoweef. Dorr became keeper of one of California’s bigger-than-life mining mysteries—a treasure reportedly buried in the desert east of Baker. As a youth Ray Dorr and his Uncle Earl explored the caverns near Kokoweef Peak. As an adult, Dorr was left to sort out whether the “lost river of gold” was still there waiting or just a fable. The story of Kokoweef remained a passion and sparked a lifelong interest in writing about the West and adventure seeking. Dorr died in Cañon City, Colorado on December 20, 2016.Vesna Vulovic
(66) Serbian stewardess who miraculously survived a plunge from 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) after her plane exploded in mid-air in 1972. Vulovic was working as a Yugoslav Airlines flight attendant on January 26, 1972, when the Douglas DC-9 airliner she was aboard blew up high above the snowy mountain ranges of Czechoslovakia. All 27 other passengers and crew aboard perished. Vulovic entered the Guinness Book of Records
in 1985 for “the highest fall survived without a parachute.” It was suspected that a bomb was planted inside the jet during a scheduled stopover in Copenhagen, Denmark, but no arrests were ever made. Vulovic was found dead in her Belgrade, Serbia apartment on December 24, 2016.
(107) northern California woman who gained fame late in life as an avid and gregarious fan of the Golden State Warriors. Brooks was better known as “Sweetie” and became a media darling in 2015 after the San Jose Mercury News
wrote about her decades-long dedication to the team that eventually won the National Basketball Association championship that year. She was living in Oakland until January, when she broke her tibia and moved into a care facility. She liked to say that she lived so long because she was supposed to be the Warriors' oldest fan. Brooks died in San Francisco, California on December 22, 2016.Phil Gagliano
(74) baseball stalwart who played for four different teams in a 12-year major league career. Gagliano played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1963–70 and later played for the Chicago Cubs (1970), Boston Red Sox (1971–72), and Cincinnati Reds (1973–74). He batted .238 with 14 homers and 159 runs batted in, in 702 career games, and played in the 1967 and ‘68 World Series with the Cardinals. He was a utility player who primarily covered second and third bases. Gagliano died of cardiac arrest in Branson, Missouri on December 20, 2016.Miruts Yifter
(72) Ethiopian running legend who inspired world-class athletes like Haile Gebreselassie. Known widely by the nickname “Miruts the Shifter,” the athlete won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics at age 40 and won bronze medals earlier at the ‘72 Munich Games. Yifter was the subject of much criticism during Ethiopia's former military regime, especially for not winning gold medals at the Munich Games, and was thrown into prison upon his return home. He was soon released but left Ethiopia in 2000 for Canada. He had been suffering from respiratory problems and died in Canada on December 23, 2016.Previous Week
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