Merrick epitomized the producer as showman - tough, colorful, with a sixth sense for spotting talent and letting it bloom. Verdon was the greatest Broadway dancer of her day, dominating the stage with her grace, energy and vibrant personality.
They are two of the galaxy of performers, artists and writers who died in 2000.
We chuckled at Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts cartoon and shivered at the far darker stories and verse of Edward Gorey. Alex Guiness and John Gielgud towered over the British stage and could steal a scene with ease in a Hollywood production. In the '50's Steve Allen ruled the world of late-night television and Tito Puente had everyone dancing the mambo.
Here, a roll call of arts and entertainment figures who died in 2000.
Nat Adderley, 68. Cornetist who wrote such jazz standards as "Jive Samba" and was a member of the Jazz Hall of Fame. Jan. 2.
Patrick O'Brian, 85. British novelist whose celebrated novels of 19th century seafaring won praise from critics and the loyalty of readers. Jan. 2.
Lucas Hoving, 87. Dancer and instructor whose sense of dramatic choreography was highlighted in his years with the Jose Limon Dance Company. Jan. 5.
Don Martin, 68. Mad Magazine's "maddest cartoonist" whose hapless characters met frying-pan-in-the-face fates punctuated by wacky sounds like SHKLIP! Jan. 6.
Bernice Petkere, 98. The composer of songs such as Close Your Eyes, whom Irving Berlin once called the "Queen of Tin Pan Alley." Jan. 7.
Maxine Elliott Hicks, 95. She appeared in more than 200 silent films, then re-emerged in the 1980s television sitcom Just the 10 of Us. Jan. 10.
Marc Davis, 86. Animation artist who was the lead designer on such Disney characters as Tinker Bell, Bambi and Cruella De Vil. Jan. 12.
Gene Harris, 66. Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, known particularly for his work with the group The Three Sounds. Jan. 16.
Sam Jaffe, 98. Hollywood super-agent whose clients included Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, David Niven, Richard Burton and Barbara Stanwyck; and producer of films such as Born Free. Jan. 17.
John Newland, 82. Director and the dignified host of the old Alcoa Presents TV series, also known as One Step Beyond. Jan. 10.
John Morris Rankin, 40. A member of Canada's million selling musical Rankin family that helped popularize Cape Breton-style Celtic music. Jan. 16.
Derek Anson Jones, 38. Director of Wit, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a woman facing death. Jan. 17.
Hedy Lamarr, 86. The exotic dark-haired beauty who epitomized glamour films in the 1930s and '40s with such leading men as Charles Boyer, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. Jan. 19.
Gil Kane, 73. Comic book artist who sketched such characters s "Green Lantern," "Captain Marvel" and "Spider-Man." Jan. 31.
Bonnie Cashin, 84. Fashion designer who was one of the first to popularize American sportswear and the layered look. Feb. 3.
Syd Cassyd, 91. Early TV writer and producer who founded the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the group that gives out the Emmy awards. Feb. 4.
Doris Kenner-Jackson, 58. Member of The Shirelles, singers of Soldier Boy, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and other huge hits in the early 1960s. Feb. 4.
Bob Collins, 57. The most popular morning radio host in Chicago, who one critic said "sort of presided over a daily town meeting." Feb. 8.
Doug Henning, 52. The mustachioed hippie magician who helped re-popularize the craft in the 1970s with TV specials and Broadway shows. Feb. 7.
"Lonesome" Dave Peverett, 56. As lead singer of the blues-rock quartet "Foghat" he created hits such as "Slow Ride." Feb. 7.
Christopher Rios, 28. The 698-pound platinum-selling rapper known as "Big Pun" who was respected for his imaginative lyrics and smooth delivery. Feb. 7.
Jim Varney, 50. The rubber faced comic who portrayed his rube character "Ernest" from hundreds of television commercials to a series of movies. Feb. 10.
Lord Kitchener, 77. The "Grand Master" of calypso in Trinidad and Tobago, one of the most musical of Caribbean nations. Feb. 11.
Roger Vadim, 72. French director whose films and life revolved around female beauty, who worked with and romanced Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda and Catherine Deneuve. Feb. 11.
"Screamin'" Jay Hawkins, 70. Larger-than-life blues singer and pianist who shocked the music world with his crazed shrieking (I Put a Spell on You) and bizarre stage antics. Feb. 12
Charles M. Schulz, 77. Creator of the much-loved Peanuts comic strip, whose characters "Charlie Brown," "Snoopy," "Linus" and "Lucy" made him famous around the world and a multimillionaire. Feb. 12, the same day his farewell Peanuts cartoon was published.
Oliver, 54. A singer - real name William Oliver Swofford who had late-'60s hits with "Good Morning, Starshine" and "Jean." Feb. 12.
Lila Kedrova, in her 80s. Won an Oscar and a Tony for her role as the doomed prostitute "Madame Hortense" in the film and stage version of Zorba the Greek. Feb. 16.
Bob Hite Sr., 86. His rich voice introduced The Lone Ranger on radio, booming: "From out of the past came the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver!" Feb. 18.
Ofra Haza, 41. Israel's first international pop music success, who sang the role of Moses' mother in the 1998 film The Prince of Egypt. Feb. 23.
John Colicos, 71. Won acclaim as a Shakespearean actor but was best known as the villain in the TV science fiction series Battlestar Galactica. March 6.
Frank "Pee Wee" King, 86. Country singer who co-wrote Tennessee Waltz and was a Grand Ole Opry innovator. March 7.
Charles Gray, 71. Character actor whose chillingly villainous roles included James Bond's archenemy "Ernst Blofeld" in Diamonds Are Forever. March 7.
Barbara Cooney, 83. Children's author and illustrator whose works received a National Book Award (Miss Rumphius) and two Caldecott Medals (Chanticleer and the Fox, Ox-Cart Man.) March 10.
Richard Collier, 80. Character actor who appeared in more than 1,000 television shows and such movies as Hello, Dolly! and Blazing Saddles. March 11.
Durward Kirby, 88. TV funnyman who for years played second banana on The Garry Moore Show. March 15.
Fred Kelly, 83. Three-time Tony winner and dance instructor who taught his older brother, Gene Kelly. March 15.
Ed McCurdy, 81. A leading 1950s folk music figure, his songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez. March 23
Sig Mickelson, 86. The first president of CBS News and the man who helped make Walter Cronkite and Fred Friendly household names. March 24.
Al Grey, 74. Prolific jazz trombonist whose unique plunger-mute style was recorded on nearly 100 albums. March 24.
Paul Calinescu, 98. Known as the father of Romanian cinema for films such as Titanic Waltz and Porto Franco. March 25.
Alex Comfort, 80. British author, poet and activist who, somewhat to his irritation, was best known for his best-selling The Joy of Sex. March 26.
Anthony Powell, 94. British author whose 12-volume work of fiction, A Dance to the Music of Time, brought him comparisons to Proust. March 28.
Gisele Freund, 91. Renowned photographer whose pictures captured the attitudes of Paris' Left Bank literary elite. March 31.
Joe Rock, 63. Lyricist for the pop classic Since I Don't Have You. April 4.
Alvaro Menendez Leal, 69. Salvadoran playwright whose surreal play about two executed prisoners, Black Light, brought international recognition. April 6.
Claire Trevor, 90 or 91. Sultry-voiced actress won an Academy Award for her 1948 performance as a boozy, broken-down torch singer in Key Largo. April 8.
Larry Linville, 60. Actor who was the neurotic "Maj. Frank Burns" on the TV show M.A.S.H. April 10.
Giorgio Bassani, 84. Italian author best known for his semi-autobiographical novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, about Italian Jews during the rise of Fascism. April 13.
Edward Gorey, 75. His comically macabre stories, illustrations and theater set designs were once described as "poisonous and poetic." April 15.
Neal Matthews Jr., 70. Tenor with The Jordanaires who sang backup to Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline and many others. Aril 21.
Alexander Cohen, 79. Broadway producer of The Homecoming and An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May who brought the Tony Awards to national television. April 22.
David Merrick, 88. Broadway's most successful producer whose flair for showmanship helped create such hits as Gypsy, Hello, Dolly! and 42nd Street. April 25.
Vicki Sue Robinson, 46. Singer whose 1976 hit Turn the Beat Around was among the disco anthems of that dancing decade. April 27.
Penelope Fitzgerald, 83. Noted British novelist who won the U.S. National Book Critics Circle prize in 1998 for The Blue Flower. April 28.
Jonah Jones, 90. Jazz trumpet player had a string of hits with swing favorites and show tunes like On the Street Where You Live. April 30.
Steve Reeves, 74. Star of European-made action films of the 1950s and '60s whose "Mr. Universe" physique won him a signature role as Hercules. May 1.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr., 90. Rakishly handsome actor, producer, author and businessman who was a real-life war hero and friend of royalty. May 7.
Craig Stevens, 81. Actor who played the suave private eye Peter Gunn in the 1950s TV series. May 10.
Paula Wessely, 93. Postwar Austria's foremost actress and one of the most acclaimed performers in the German-speaking world. May 11.
Al Simon, 88. Television producer behind such hits as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Mr. Ed. May 18.
Jean-Pierre Rampal, 78. Renowned flutist whose brilliance and richly hued playing propelled the instrument back into the soloist spotlight. May 20.
Dame Barbara Cartland, 98. Considered the world's most prolific author and Britain's queen of romantic fiction, with total sales of 1 billion books. May 21.
Sir John Gielgud, 96. The last of a trio of actor-knights who dominated the British stage, he made Hamlet his own and delighted Americans as a quintessentially English butler in Arthur. May 21.
Francis Lederer, 100. Actor who brought European charm to Midnight and other Hollywood films in the '30s. May 25.
Robert Fryer, 79. Producer of some of Broadway's best-known musicals, including Wonderful Town, Sweet Charity, Mame and Chicago. May 28.
Gordon "Tex" Beneke, 86. Singer and sax player with the "Glenn Miller Orchestra" who sang on such hits as Chattanooga Choo Choo. May 30.
Tito Puente, 77. The exuberant percussionist and bandleader who paved the way for Latin musicians from Carlos Santana to Marc Anthony. May 31.
Johnnie Taylor, 62. R&B singer dubbed the "Philosopher of Soul" for hits such as Who's Making Love and Disco Lady. May 31.
Jack Kroll, 74. Award-winning Newsweek drama critic whose career covered more than half the magazine's existece. June 8.
Jeff MacNelly, 52. Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his editorial cartoons and creator of the daily comic strip Shoe. June 8.
George Segal, 75. American pop art icon of the 1960s known for his life-size plaster sculptures. June 9.
Jacob Lawrence, 82. Painter of stark images in bold colors who illuminated the black experience in such works as the Migration series. June 9.
Frank Patterson, 58. Irish tenor who sang to worldwide audiences including presidents and the pope. June 10.
Robert J. Lurtsema, 68. Host of National Public Radio's classical music program Morning Pro Musica. June 12.
Nancy Marchand, 71. Emmy-winning actress who played the scheming matriarch of a Mafia family on The Sopranos and the patrician publisher Mrs. Pynchon on Lou Grant. June 18.
Alan Hovhaness, 89. Prolific composer who melded Western and Asian musical styles to create a unique melodic blend of his own. June 21.
David Tomlinson, 83. British actor who enlivened two Disney hits in the 1960s, Mary Poppins and The Love Bug. June 24.
Vittorio Gassman, 77. Italian actor who played both suave leading men and comedy roles. June 29.
Walter Matthau, 79. Foghorn-voiced master of crotchety comedy who won an Oscar for The Fortune Cookie and was the sloppy "Oscar Madison" in The Odd Couple. July 1.
Harold Nicholas, 79. The younger half of the legendary tap-dancing Nicholas Brothers inspired generations of hoofers with his grace and spectacular agility. July 3.
Meredith MacRae, 56. The comely country girl Billie Jo Bradley in the 1960s sitcom Petticoat Junction. July 14.
Paul Young, 53. Rock singer who gained prominence with the British bands Sad Café and Mike and the Mechanics. July 15.
Gene Portwood Jr., 66. Co-creator of the computer game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? which encouraged children's interest in geography and history. July 17.
Marc Reisner, 51. Environmental writer whose book Cadillac Desert triggered a campaign to protect water resources. July 21.
Claude Sautet, 76. French film director who chronicled the mores of the French bourgeoisie in films such as Vincent, Francois, Paul...et les Autres, (Vincent, Francois, Paul...and the Others). July 22.
Thea Porter, 72. British designer whose fashions epitomized the "rich hippie look" of the 1960s and 1970s, bought by everyone from Princess Margaret to the Beatles. July 24.
Val Dufour, 73. Television soap opera star who won an Emmy Award for playing a lawyer on Search for Tomorrow. July 27.
William Maxwell, 91. The revered editor of such New Yorker writers as J.D. Salinger and John Cheever and an accomplished man of letters in his own right. July 31.
Jerome Smith, 47. Guitarist for KC & The Sunshine Band, known for such hits as Get Down Tonight and That's the Way (I Like It.) Aug. 4.
Sir Alec Guinness, 86. British actor of subtlety and intelligence, whose roles ranged from Hamlet to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Aug. 5.
Loretta Young, 87. Elegant Hollywood beauty who specialized in playing strong-willed heroines during a career that stretched from the silent era to television. Aug. 12.
Robert J. "Shad" Northshield, 78. Emmy-winning creator of CBS News Sunday Morning, who persuaded Charles Kuralt to abandon the road and be its host. Aug. 21.
Carl Barks, 99. Disney illustrator who helped give Donald Duck his distinctive feisty personality and create such ancillary characters as Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Aug. 25.
Jack Nitzsche, 63. Oscar-winning songwriter, record producer, arranger and studio musician who collaborated with many major pop figures of the '60s. Aug. 25.
Joseph H. Lewis, about 93. Hollywood "B" director who made the 1949 cult classic Gun Crazy. Aug. 30.
Curt Siodmak, 98. He wrote the science fiction novel Donovan's Brain and created The Wolf Man for Universal Pictures. Sept. 2.
Edward Anhalt, 86. Writer who won Academy Awards for his work on the films Becket and Panic in the Streets. Sept. 3.
R.H. Harris, 84. The last surviving member of the original Soul Stirrers, a 1930s gospel group enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Sept. 3.
Stanley Turrentine, 66. A jazz saxophonist whose 1970 hit Sugar influenced many fellow musicians. Sept. 12.
Beah Richards, 74. Actress nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. Sept. 14.
Paula Yates, 40. Offbeat British TV personality, girlfriend of the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence and ex-wife of Bob Geldof. Sept. 17.
Yehuda Amichai, 76. Israeli poet who wove the longings of ancient Jewish poets together with the spare introspection of modern stylists. Sept. 22.
R.S. Thomas, 87. Welsh nationalist who became one of Britain's most admired poets, sometimes compared to Robert Frost. Sept. 25.
Baden Powell, 63. Brazilian composer and musician who was a key figure in the development of bossa nova, the jazzy samba music that gained worldwide popularity in the 1960s. Sept. 26.
Richard Mulligan, 67. Craggy-faced actor who won Emmys for his portrayals of fathers in the sitcoms Soap and Empty Nest. Sept. 26.
Carl Sigman, 91. He wrote music or words for dozens of songs, including the Glenn Miller hit based on a hotel phone number, Pennsylvania 6-5000. Sept. 26.
Benjamin Orr, 53. Bass player and singer for the popular 1980s group The Cars. Oct. 3.
Richard Farnsworth, 80. Hollywod stuntman turned actor who was twice nominated for an Oscar for the 1978 film Comes a Horseman and the 1999 film The Straight Story. Oct. 6.
David Dukes, 55. sober-faced actor who excelled on the stage and in miniseries such as The Winds of War. Oct. 9.
Jean Peters, 73. Appeared in films with Marlon Brando, Ray Millard and Spencer Tracy before marrying billionaire Howard Hughes. Oct. 13.
Vincent Canby, 76. Trenchant, witty film and theater reviewer for The New York Times. Oct. 15.
David Golub, 50. Renowned pianist and chamber music conductor. Oct. 16.
Julie London, 74. Singer-actress who had a hit with Cry Me A River in 1955 and played TV nurse Dixie McCall on the old Emergency! series. Oct. 18.
Gwen Verdon, 75. The biggest dancing star of Broadway's Golden Age who appeared in such musicals as Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity and Chicago. Oct. 18.
Steve Allen, 78. Multitalented, bespectacled pioneer of late-night television, prolific author and composer of standards like This May Be the Start of Something Big. Oct. 30.
Ring Lardner Jr., 85. Oscar-winning screenwriter (Woman of the Year, M*A*S*H) and the last surviving member of the "Hollywood Ten," writers jailed and blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Oct. 31.
Amalia Hernandez, 83. Founder of Mexico's Ballet Folklorico who was a key in reviving traditional Mexican dance styles over the last 50 years. Nov. 4.
Jimmie Davis, about 101. Louisiana's "singing governor" whose hits such as You Are My Sunshine twice won him election to the state's top office. Nov. 5.
Scott Smith, 45. Guitarist for the 1980s pop band Loverboy, which had such hits as Working for the Weekend. Nov. 30.
Gwendolyn Brooks, 83. The first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize, in 1950, for her candid and compassionate poetry about black life. Dec. 3.
Hoyt Curtin, 78, Composer who wrote the music for cartoon theme songs such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo. Dec. 3.
Werner Klemperer, 80. A Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who went on to play the inept German prison-camp commandant Col. Klink on TV's Hogan's Heroes. Dec. 6.
By Polly Anderson
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