Art and LiteratureJames S. Ackerman
(97) Harvard art historian whose studies of the architecture of Michelangelo and Palladio remain classics in the field. Ackerman's The Architecture of Michelangelo
(1961; 2 vol) was greeted as an indispensable work on an overlooked subject. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 31, 2016.Michel Déon
(97) French writer and a member of the Académie Française whose dozens of novels offered a panoramic view of French society and history. Déon was known in the English-speaking world primarily for two novels. His Where Are You Dying Tonight? (Un Déjeuner de Soleil),
the fictional biography of a mysterious man of letters, appeared in France in 1981 and became his first work translated into English, in '89. The other novel, The Foundling Boy,
published in 1975 as Le Jeune Homme Vert,
told the story of a Frenchman who comes of age amid the turbulent politics of the ‘30s. Déon died in Galway, Ireland on December 28, 2016.David Meltzer
(79) Beat poet and musician who appeared in an influential anthology in his early 20s and later completed more than 50 books. The New York native eventually settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, a mecca for Beats in the ‘50s and '60s. Meltzer had begun writing as a child and attracted wider attention when he was featured along with such acclaimed contemporaries as Allen Ginsberg and John Ashbery in The New American Poetry 1945–1960.
He published prose and poetry steadily over the ensuing decades, with books including Ragas
and such recent works as When I Was a Poet
and Two-Way Mirror.
A retrospective of his verse, David's Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer,
came out in 2005. Meltzer died after suffering a stroke, in Oakland, California on December 31, 2016.Tyrus Wong
(106) Chinese immigrant artist who created the landscape backgrounds for Walt Disney's animated feature Bambi
(1942). The extent of Wong's contribution to Bambi,
which remains a high-water mark for film animation, was not widely known for decades. A Hollywood studio artist, painter, printmaker, calligrapher, greeting-card illustrator, and, in later years, maker of fantastical kites, he was one of the most celebrated Chinese-American artists of the 20th century. Trained as a painter, Wong was a leading figure in the Modernist movement that flourished in California between the World Wars. As a staff artist for Hollywood studios from the ‘30s–‘60s, he drew storyboards and made vibrant paintings that helped the director to envision each scene before it was shot. Over the years his work informed the look of animated pictures for Disney and live-action films for Warner Bros. and other studios, among them The Sands of Iwo Jima
(1949), Rebel Without a Cause
(1955), and The Wild Bunch
(1969). He died in Sunland, California on December 30, 2016, 96 years to the day after he was brought to the US by his father as a 10-year-old boy.
Business and ScienceF. Ross Johnson
(85) former RJR Nabisco chief executive depicted as the epitome of corporate greed in the best-selling book and movie Barbarians at the Gate.
Johnson became CEO of RJR Nabisco in 1986, which at the time was the largest consumer goods company in the world, maker of both Oreos and Camel cigarettes. In 1988 Johnson and a group of investors proposed taking Atlanta-based RJR Nabisco private, which started a month-long fierce bidding war for the company among Johnson's group of investors, Wall Street banks, and major private equity companies, including Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, which eventually won the bidding war, paying nearly $25 billion for RJR Nabisco. It was the largest private equity deal in history at the time and helped to bring private equity firms, once a small part of Wall Street, into mainstream knowledge. The bidding war and Johnson's notoriously opulent lifestyle were dramatized in the book Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco,
a best-seller later made into a 1993 made-for-TV movie starring James Garner as Johnson, who walked away with an estimated $50 million in salary and bonuses as a golden parachute. He died of pneumonia in Jupiter, Florida on December 29, 2016.Walter E. Mattson
(84) former president and chief operating officer of the New York Times
who helped to transform the newspaper with innovative labor agreements and new technologies. Mattson negotiated labor contracts, spearheaded automation to replace production workers, diversified company media holdings, helped to revolutionize the paper’s appearance, and pushed technology to extend its circulation to readers across the US. He died of multiple myeloma in Sarasota, Florida on December 30, 2016.Dr. Peter C. Nowell
(88) scientist who, with a colleague, discovered the first genetic defect proven to cause cancer. The finding, published in 1960, took cancer research in a new direction, leading to an extraordinary advance by other scientists 30 years later: the drug Gleevec. For many patients, Gleevec transformed chronic myeloid leukemia from a fatal disease to a chronic one that can be kept under control for many years. Nowell died of Alzheimer’s disease in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania on December 26, 2016.Vera Rubin
(88) pioneering astronomer who helped to find powerful evidence of dark matter. Rubin found that galaxies don't quite rotate the way they were predicted to, and that lent support to the theory that some other force was at work, namely dark matter, which hasn't been directly observed but makes up 27 per cent of the universe—as opposed to 5 per cent of the universe being normal matter. Her scientific achievements earned her numerous awards and honors, including a National Medal of Science presented by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Only the second female astronomer to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Rubin died in Princeton, New Jersey on December 25, 2016.William Salice
(83) Italian credited with launching Kinder Sorpresa, a hollow chocolate egg with a surprise tiny toy inside. Ferrero, the worldwide sweets maker, said Michelle Ferrero envisioned the egg treat so kids could have Easter every day, and Salice developed the product's launch and marketing. After he retired in 2007, he established the nonprofit Color Your Life foundation, which aims to help teenagers to develop their artistic and scientific talents. Salice died in Pavia, Italy on December 29, 2016.Hans Tietmeyer
(85) former president of Germany's central bank who was at the helm of the Bundesbank when the euro was introduced. Tietmeyer headed the Bundesbank from October 1993 until August ‘99, his term expiring a few months after the common European currency made its debut on financial markets. He died in Berlin, Germany on December 27, 2016.
EducationArthur H. Cash
(94) author of a two-volume biography of English novelist Laurence Sterne, who wrote the classic Tristram Shandy.
Cash became a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007 for his biography of 18th-century English radical John Wilkes. A history professor for more than 40 years at the State University of New York at New Paltz, Cash died in Watch Hill, Rhode Island on December 29, 2016.
(49) chief prosecutor for Anderson and Oconee (South Carolina) counties since 2005. Adams began her career as an assistant prosecutor in Charleston and worked as an assistant prosecutor for the 13th circuit, which includes Greenville and Pickens counties. After moving to Seneca in 1997, she became deputy solicitor for Oconee County in the 10th circuit. Voters first elected her, a Republican, solicitor of the 10th judicial circuit in November 2004. Adams announced in February that she would not seek reelection. She died of cancer in Anderson, South Carolina on December 27, 2016.
News and EntertainmentLaurie Carlos
(67) actress who appeared in the original production of Ntozake Shange’s poetic drama For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
and a playwright whose work expressed the inner lives of black women in the US. Carlos's plays—Nonsectarian Conversations with the Dead
(1985), Organdy Falsetto
(1987), and White Chocolate for My Father
(1990)—were abstract dramas that fused politics and poetry as they outlined the predicaments of black women. She died of colon cancer in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 29, 2016.William Christopher
(84) actor who starred on M*A*S*H.
Christopher was best known for the role of Father Francis Mulcahy on M*A*S*H,
the ‘70s TV show set during the Korean War. He was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago and had been in hospice since the beginning of this week. He died in Pasadena, California on December 31, 2016.Iva Drapalova
(91) former Associated Press correspondent in Prague who covered Czechoslovakia with courage for 20 years after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion. At one point, authorities banned Drapalova from writing stories and ordered her to provide only translations to the AP. She initially obeyed but later resumed reporting under relentless surveillance. Her telephone was tapped, she was followed, and even her assistant turned out to be an informant. After the anti-Communist Velvet Revolution in 1989, Drapalova discovered a file of more than 1,000 pages kept on her by the secret police. She died in Prague, Czech Republic on December 31, 2016.Carrie Fisher
(60) actress who found enduring fame in 1977 as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars.
The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and the late pop singer Eddie Fisher (died 2010), Carrie Fisher made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit Shampoo
and was an accomplished author who detailed her experiences with addiction and mental illness in several best-selling books. She had been hospitalized since December 23 when she suffered a medical emergency (heart attack) on board a flight to Los Angeles. She never regained consciousness and died four days later in Los Angeles, California on December 27, 2016.Ricky Harris
(54) comedian and actor who had a recurring role on Chris Rock's Everybody Hates Chris
sitcom and voiced several characters that appeared on hip hop albums. The son of a preacher, Harris grew up in Long Beach, California along with childhood friend and rapper Snoop Dogg; the two sang in their church choir. Harris's first movie role was in the 1993 drama Poetic Justice,
starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. The comedian suffered a heart attack in 2014. He died in Los Angeles, California on December 26, 2016.George S. Irving
(94) Tony Award-winning actor who was in the original Broadway casts of Oklahoma!
and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
and amused a wide audience pitching White Owl cigars on TV. Irving was a regular on Broadway in the musicals Can-Can, Bells Are Ringing,
and Irma La Douce,
among others, and in plays like Gore Vidal’s political satire An Evening with Richard Nixon &...,
in which he played the title role. In 1974 he provided the voice for Heat Miser, the character who regulates warm weather, in the animated TV movie The Year Without a Santa Claus.
He returned to the role 34 years later in a sequel, A Miser Brothers’ Christmas.
He also narrated episodes of the Underdog
cartoon series. Irving died of heart failure in New York City on December 26, 2016.George Kosana
(81) actor who played beefy Sheriff McClelland in the 1968 cult zombie film, Night of the Living Dead.
During his audition, Kosana ad-libbed what became his most memorable line in the film: “They're dead. They're all messed up.” The film—a 90-minute gorefest about a handful of western Pennsylvania townsfolk running from man-eating ghouls—left viewers aghast when it debuted nearly 50 years ago but was placed in the Library of Congress's National Film Registry in 1999. Kosana was found dead at his home in Clairton, Pennsylvania after friends said he was not returning telephone calls, on December 30, 2016.Léo Marjane
(104) star of the French music hall in the ‘30s and ’40s, whose heart-wrenching ballad “Alone Tonight” became a signature song of occupied France. Marjane’s impassioned delivery made her one of the great music-hall stars of Paris, a rival to the legendary Mistinguett. A fan of American jazz and a frequent visitor to the US, she recorded American standards like “Over the Rainbow,” “September in the Rain,” and “Begin the Beguine,” a departure for a French singer at the time. She had her first big hit with the romantic ballad “The Chapel at Moonlight” in 1937. Marjane died of a heart attack in Barbizon, France on December 25, 2016.George Michael
(53) British pop superstar who led a troubled life despite his magnificent voice and enduring popularity with fans around the world. Michael shot to stardom in the '80s as half of the pop duo WHAM! and later became one of the era’s biggest pop solo artists with hits such as “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex.” The singer had a solo career filled with controversies and chart-topping hits that blended soul and dance music with daring social and personal commentary. He died of heart failure in Goring, England on December 25, 2016.Alphonse Mouzon
(68) jazz drummer who made his greatest contributions with a funk backbeat, forging a standard for ‘70s fusion. Mouzon played in the first edition of the band Weather Report and was a charter member of another defining jazz-rock band, the Eleventh House, led by guitarist Larry Coryell. Outside jazz, Mouzon worked with major touring acts including Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Wonder. He learned this fall that he had neuroendocrine cancer but died of cardiac arrest in Granada Hills, California on December 25, 2016.Debbie Reynolds
(84) actress and singer who lit up the screen in Singin' in the Rain
(1952) and other Hollywood classics despite a tumultuous personal life. Reynolds lost first husband Eddie Fisher to Elizabeth Taylor, and two other husbands plundered her for millions. She found superstardom early. After two minor roles at Warner Bros. and three supporting roles at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), studio boss Louis B. Mayer cast her in Singin' in the Rain
despite leading man Gene Kelly's objections. Reynolds was 19 with little dance experience, and she would be appearing with two of the screen's greatest dancers, Donald O'Connor and Kelly. Her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who found lasting fame as Princess Leia in Star Wars
and struggled for much of her life with drug addiction and mental health problems, died on December 27, five days after falling ill on a plane. Reynolds died of a stroke in Los Angeles, California one day later, on December 28, 2016.David J. Steiner
(51) American filmmaker. Steiner's film, Saving Barbara Sizemore,
documented the successful fight to keep Barbara A. Sizemore Academy in Chicago open after it was slated to be closed. Steiner's son and two Sizemore students were on a bus with him when it was hit head-on outside Kampala, the Ugandan capital. They were not seriously injured. Steiner was killed in the bus crash in East Africa, where he was screening the documentary and working on a project about Sudanese refugees. He died in Uganda on December 26, 2016.Gordie Tapp
(94) Canadian comic and entertainer best known as country bumpkin Cousin Clem on Hee Haw.
Tapp got his start on TV at the Canadian public broadcaster CBC during the ‘50s. He conceived the hayseed Cousin Clem character while hosting Country Hoedown
between 1956–65. His success with the Canadian network for 13 years encouraged him to take his Cousin Clem character to Nashville, where he eventually starred in 90 of the 306 episodes on CBS's comedy/variety show Hee Haw
between 1969–88. He also wrote for 78 of the Hee Haw
episodes he appeared in. He died in Burlington, Ontario, Canada on December 25, 2016.Barbara Tarbuck
(74) stage and screen actress who played Jane Jacks on General Hospital
and Mother Superior Claudia on American Horror Story: Asylum.
Tarbuck's credits included a role in the original ‘80s Broadway production of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs.
Her films included Big Trouble
(1986), Curly Sue
(1991), and Walking Tall
(2004). Besides her work on General Hospital
over more than 10 years, she appeared on dozens of prime-time series including Dallas, Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls,
and Mad Men.
Tarbuck suffered from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder, a rare, degenerative brain disease, and died in Los Angeles, California on December 26, 2016.Allan Williams
(86) fixture on the Liverpool music scene who gave the Beatles a place to practice and helped them to get early gigs. Williams, who opened the Jacaranda Club in 1958 in the early days of rock 'n' roll, played an important part in finding club dates in Liverpool and in Hamburg, Germany for the young Beatles. Stardom was still in the future for a band then known as the Silver Beatles. Williams' club also provided a training ground for many other up-and-coming Liverpool bands at a time when young British musicians, inspired by American hit-makers, were developing the sounds that eventually fueled the British Invasion led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Williams died in Liverpool, England on December 30, 2016.
Politics and MilitaryGen. Gregorio Alvarez
(91) last leader of Uruguay’s brutal dictatorship of the ‘70s and ’80s. Under Alvarez, Uruguay was part of the secret alliance of South American dictatorships known as “Operation Condor,” in which the military leaders cooperated in persecuting and killing one another’s dissidents. Himself the son of a general, Alvarez participated in the 1973 coup that dissolved congress after a government crackdown on the Marxist Tupamaro rebels who were trying to seize power by force. He became army chief in 1978 and took over the presidency in ’81. In 2009 Alvarez was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his responsibility in the death or disappearance of 37 Uruguayans under Operation Condor. He died in Montevideo, Uruguay on December 28, 2016.John Benoit
(64) veteran California legislator turned Riverside County supervisor. Benoit was a Republican elected to the Assembly in 2002 and the state Senate in ’08. The best-known legislation he wrote was Aryanna's Law (2006), which requires child day-care facilities to publicly disclose health and safety violations. The law was prompted by the day-care death of a Riverside child. Benoit was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, then won a second term in ’14. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November, he died in Palm Desert, California a day before his 65th birthday, on December 26, 2016.Sutter Brown
(13) Pembroke Welsh corgi christened California's first dog by his owner, Gov. Jerry Brown. Sutter was a fixture at the Capitol and on the campaign trail, where he softened the image of the cantankerous governor and helped to cut the tension between Democrats and Republicans in the midst of contentious negotiations. Legislators, lobbyists, and aides from both parties sought selfies with the short, pudgy, brown-and-white fluffy dog. Sutter obliged, starring in countless photos with his mouth open and ears perked. He was rushed to an animal hospital on October 7 and underwent emergency surgery. Veterinarians discovered several masses suspected to be cancer in his intestines, lymph nodes, and liver, but they were unable to remove them all. He died in Sacramento, California on December 30, 2016.Henning Christophersen
(77) former vice president of the European Union's executive commission who previously was a senior government member in Denmark. Christophersen headed Denmark's ruling Liberal Party for six years until 1984, when Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen joined the party that he now leads. Christophersen was the country's foreign and finance minister from 1979–82. As vice president of the EU Commission between 1985–95, he was in charge of budget, economic, and financial affairs. He was hospitalized in early December and died in Brussels, Belgium on December 31, 2016.Lt. William Fearon
(49) New Jersey state trooper. Fearon had been a member of the force since 1994. He was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2015 that he acquired from exposure to debris while working at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. Fearon died in Cedar Grove, New Jersey on December 28, 2016.Jack Stahl
(82) former New Mexico lieutenant governor and real estate executive. After graduating from the University of New Mexico and teaching math for a few years, Stahl entered the real estate business. He founded the Jack Stahl Co. in 1977 and was one of the state's first real estate instructors. He was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1968 and was chairman of the state Republican Party before being elected to the state Senate in ’84. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1987. Stahl died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he had lived for 60 years, on December 29, 2016.
Society and ReligionThomas Dupre
(83) first Roman Catholic bishop in the US to be indicted on a sexual-abuse claim during the flood of abuse accusations against church officials. Dupre, who became bishop in the mid-‘90s, cited health reasons for his sudden retirement as bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts in 2004. Months later he was indicted on charges he raped two boys in the ‘70s, but the case was dropped because prosecutors determined the statute of limitations had expired. Dupre died on December 30, 2016.Bruce Porter
(64) Mormon leader, a member of one of the faith's governing bodies. Porter was a General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a professor of political science at Brigham Young University and was a research fellow at Harvard before joining the General Authority—a term for any of the senior leaders of the LDS church. He died of a pulmonary infection in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 28, 2016.Huston Smith
(97) scholar of religion who pursued his own enlightenment in Methodist churches, Zen monasteries, and even psychedelic guru Timothy Leary’s living room. Smith was best known for The Religions of Man
(1958), a standard textbook in college-level comparative religion classes for 50 years. In 1991 it was abridged and given the gender-neutral title The World’s Religions.
The two versions together have sold more than three million copies. The book examines the world’s major faiths and those of indigenous peoples. A former professor of comparative religions at UC Berkeley, Smith died in Berkeley, California on December 30, 2016.Cyril D. Tyson
(89) social worker who led antipoverty programs from inside and outside government in New York City and Newark, New Jersey in the ‘60s in a tense racial atmosphere punctuated by violence. In 1963 Tyson was a former college track star who had worked on the staffs of the New York City Commission on Intergroup Relations and its successor, the Commission on Human Rights, when he joined Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a new, government-financed antipoverty organization that became widely known as Haryou. He played a major role in designing the group’s programs, aimed at improving the area’s public schools and its residents’ job skills and opportunities. Tyson died after suffering a series of strokes, in North Salem, New York on December 29, 2016.
(88) Pakistan's former test wicketkeeper-batsman who became a chief selector after his playing career. Ahmed played 41 tests from 1952–62, scoring 2,079 runs at an average of 29 and taking 77 catches. He hit three centuries, including a career-best 209 against New Zealand at Lahore in 1955, three years after touring India with Pakistan's first official test side. Ahmed notably took seven catches off the pace bowling of Fazal Mehmood's bowling to help Pakistan beat England at the Oval in 1954. He was chief selector from 1976–78 and was a consultant for the Pakistan Cricket Board's women's cricket activities from 2005–08. Pakistan's oldest living test cricketer, Ahmed died in Lahore, Pakistan after suffering a chest infection on December 31, 2016.Keion Carpenter
(39) former NFL player and Virginia Tech defensive back and special teams standout. Carpenter intercepted 14 passes during his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons. He blocked six kicks at Virginia Tech, tying the school record. He also founded The Carpenter House, designed to benefit children from low-income homes through mentoring. Carpenter died in Miami, Florida on December 29, 2016.Bruce DeHaven
(68) longtime special teams coach who helped the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls. DeHaven spent 29 years as a special teams coach in the NFL, most recently with the Carolina Panthers. He took over in Carolina in 2013 but was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May ’15. He stepped away from his full-time role in the summer of 2016 but remained as an adviser while receiving medical treatment. DeHaven also coached for San Francisco, Dallas, and Seattle but was best remembered for his two stints in Buffalo from 1987–99 and 2010–12. His special teams coverage units in Buffalo were the best in the league for four consecutive seasons (1987–90). DeHaven died of prostate cancer in Orchard Park, New York on December 27, 2016.LaVell Edwards
(86) before Edwards was promoted to head coach, Brigham Young University ran a slogging run-first offense that yielded mediocre or worse records. Under Edwards, dizzying passing numbers became the norm, and college football fans stayed in front of their TVs late Saturday nights from the ‘70s to the '90s to see just how many points the Cougars could score. Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Ty Detmer, and other quarterbacks flourished, and the Cougars grew in prominence, even being voted national champions in 1984. Edwards won 257 games at the Utah school over 29 seasons. He broke his hip on Christmas Eve and died four days later in Provo, Utah on December 29, 2016.Ferdy Kuebler
(97) Swiss cyclist who came back from injury and the interruption of World War II to win the 1950 Tour de France. Kuebler won an epic battle with French rider Louison Bobet in the 1950 race and became world champion in ’51. For many, his biggest achievement was winning the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege races, then held on successive days, in both 1951 and ’52. In an era of marathon races on poor roads, Kuebler also won the 1953 Bordeaux-to-Paris after 570 kilometers (356 miles) and more than 14 hours in the saddle. He had been suffering from a cold when he died in Zürich, Switzerland on December 29, 2016.Previous Week
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