A look back at the esteemed personalities who left us this year, who'd touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A force in the world of international cinema, Daniel Talbot (died Dec. 29, 2017) was running the New Yorker Theater in the early 1960s when he had a shot at releasing one of Bernardo Bertolucci's earliest films, 1965's "Before the Revolution." Despite claiming to have had no interest in film distribution, New Yorker Films was born.
The company would become a leading distributor of international films by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard ("Masculin Féminin," "Hail Mary"), Louis Malle ("My Dinner With Andre"), Werner Herzog ("Aguirre, the Wrath of God"), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The Marriage of Maria Braun"), Robert Bresson ("L'Argent"), Juzo Itami ("Tampopo"), and many others.
He continued as an exhibitor as well, opening in 1981 the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in Manhattan, one of the leading showcases for foreign language and independent features and documentaries in the country, including Fassbinder's epic "Berlin Alexanderplatz," and Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine."
Talbot's death followed the recent news that the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas' lease was expiring in January, and would close.
Southern California private detective Kinsey Millhone was the alter ego of Sue Grafton (April 24, 1940 - December 28, 2017), author of the bestselling "alphabet series" of mystery novels, which began in 1982 with "A is for Alibi." Her most recent book, "Y is for Yesterday," was published in August.
On her blog, she said her ideas came from everywhere: "I read newspapers, textbooks on crime. I talk to private investigators, police officers, jail administrators, doctors, lawyers, career criminals. Ideas are everywhere."
Before commencing with her crime series, Grafton wrote teleplays for sitcoms and TV movies, including "Sex and the Single Parent," "Mark, I Love You," and the TV series "Nurse."
Grafton had said she was looking forward to reaching the end of the alphabet with "Z is for Zero." Alas, no story is forthcoming - and her family insisted that no ghostwriter would complete the alphabet in her absence.
She claimed to have had the longest career in entertainment history, spanning some 90 years, beginning as a singing moppet with her own NBC Radio show. Rose Marie (August 15, 1923 - December 28, 2017) also noted that her powerful voice gave rise to rumors that "Baby Rose Marie" was actually "a 45-year-old midget," she remarked in 1992. Personal appearances were staged to "prove" she was actually a child.
She starred in movie shorts, appeared on the vaudeville circuit, and later sang in nightclubs. But she gained TV immortality via her co-starring role on the long-running "Dick Van Dyke Show," as comedy writer Sally Rogers. Feisty, funny and independent, Sally was a single woman defined by her career rather than by her romantic pursuits, something new in television.
Two months ago, as the subject of a new documentary film, Rose Marie received thousands of newfound Twitter followers when she tweeted about the surge of sexual abuse allegations in the entertainment industry: "I've worked since I was 3, Im 94. W/ Weinstein, finally women are speaking up to power. I have suffered my whole life for that. Dont stop."
Film editor Jerry Greenberg (July 29, 1936-December 22, 2017) was responsible for one of the most thrilling car chases in movie history: 1971's "The French Connection," in which Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle pursues an assassin who has hijacked a New York City subway train. He won the Oscar for that film, and was nominated again for "Apocalypse Now" and "Kramer vs. Kramer."
Early in his career he was an assistant to Dede Allen on "America, America," "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Alice's Restaurant." He would go on to edit a roster of films that included "Electra Glide in Blue," "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three," "The Missouri Breaks," "Dressed to Kill," "Heaven's Gate," "The Untouchables," "Awakenings," "For the Boys," and "American History X."
"I always liked the fact that every time you put two pieces of film together, you have created more work for yourself than you could have imagined before you put those two pieces of film together," Greenberg told the Motion Picture Editors Guild journal Cinemontage, in 2016. "That was never daunting to me; I wanted that."
Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg (February 28, 1935-December 21, 2017) was known as much for his excited calls of "Oh, my!" and "Touch 'em all!" (as in bases), as he was for the big events he covered during a 60-year career. After getting his big break with UCLA basketball, he went on to call Super Bowls, the Olympics, nine no-hitters, and what he called "The Game of the Century": Houston's victory over UCLA in 1968 that snapped the Bruins' 47-game winning streak.
He won 13 Sports Emmy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Described by CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus as "a masterful storyteller," Enberg even wrote a play about his longtime partner in the broadcast booth, Al McGuire.
In an oral history for the Television Academy in 2012, Enberg stated, "Each sports broadcast is a piece of theater. Football is a four-act play; you set the scene in the first act, you develop the characters in the play, and the plot unfolds. You see how the characters fit within the drama. The sportscaster's job is to bring it all together to present a complete performance to the viewers."
Army Air Corps fighter pilot Jerry Yellin (February 15, 1924-December 21, 2017) flew the last combat mission of World War II. Taking off from Iwo Jima on August 15, 1945 in his P-51 Mustang, he attacked airfields near Nagoya, before heading back to base, his wingman Phillip Schlamberg lost and presumed dead. It was only then that Yellin learned Emperor Hirohito had announced his nation's surrender hours earlier following the United States' two atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After the war, Yellin had difficulty fitting back into civilian life, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He would find peace in the 1970s after becoming an adherent of Transcendental Meditation, while the marriage of his youngest son to the daughter of a Japanese kamikaze pilot would take him, he wrote, "from hatred to love." An author of four books, Yellin toured extensively to bring hope to veterans suffering from PTSD, and to heal wounds brought by war.
Jazz and pop singer Keely Smith (March 9, 1928 - December 16, 2017) got her first professional singing job at age 15 with the Earl Bennett Band. At 20 she began touring with Louis Prima's band. She and Prima wed (her first marriage, his fourth), and became stars of the Las Vegas lounge circuit. The couple won a Grammy in 1959 for "That Old Black Magic." Other hits included "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen." The two also appeared in the musical film "Hey Boy! Hey Girl!"
Smith divorced Prima in 1961, and continued recording as a solo artist. Her seven-decade career included a Grammy nomination in 2001 for her album "Keely Sings Sinatra."
Jim Nabors (June 12, 1930-November 30, 2017) was an authentic, shy Southern boy from small-town Alabama who suffered from asthma. As he grew he honed his operatic baritone well enough to impress Andy Griffith, who heard him sing at a Santa Monica nightclub.
Nabors became an instant success when he joined "The Andy Griffith Show" in the early 1960s as Gomer Pyle, the lovable gas pumper who would exclaim "Gollllll-ly!" The character proved so popular that in 1964 CBS starred him in a spinoff series, "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." (pictured), in which Pyle's innocence would constantly confound his sergeant (played by Frank Sutton).
It was on TV variety shows (such as "The Carol Burnett Show" and Nabors' own series, which ran for two seasons) that audiences saw (and heard) another side of Nabors from his homespun aw-shucks humor: full-throated operatic arias.
Offstage, Nabors retained some of the awed innocence of Gomer. At the height of his fame in 1969, he admitted, "For the first four years of the series, I didn't trust my success. Every weekend and on every vacation, I would take off to play nightclubs and concerts, figuring the whole thing would blow over some day. You know somethin'? I still find it difficult to believe this kind of acceptance. I still don't trust it."
At age 7 Russian-born Dmitri Hvorostovsky (October 16, 1962-November 22, 2017) was told by his first piano teacher that he was untalented. But he thrived on music, and performed with a rock 'n' roll band. With his velvety voice, dashing looks and shock of flowing prematurely-white hair, the baritone came to be called "the Elvis of opera." He won international competitions (including beating out Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel for top prize in Cardiff in 1989), and made his Royal Opera debut in 1992 as Riccardo in Bellini's "I Puritani." He would be lauded around the world for definitive performances as the title character in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" (pictured), and also celebrated as Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Valentin in Gounod's "Faust," and Belcore in Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore."
In 2015 he performed in Verdi's "Il Trovatore" at New York's Metropolitan Opera three months after announcing his diagnosis of a brain tumor. Despite his illness, he would also sing at London's Royal Opera and the Vienna State Opera as late as last fall. Hvorostovsky made a dramatic unscheduled appearance at a Met gala last May, receiving a standing ovation for Rigoletto's second-act aria "Cortigiani, vil razza dannata."
He did not mind his nickname. He told the London Telegraph in 2002, "As long as I can continue doing what I love, I don't care how I'm described. Maybe I should be flattered - after all Elvis was a kind of revolutionary. Actually, if he had trained he might have been a great singer."
David Cassidy (April 12, 1950-November 21, 2017) got his big break - and his first Billboard hit - as heartthrob Keith Partridge in the hit TV series "The Partridge Family," in which he starred alongside his real-life stepmother Shirley Jones. Their song "I Think I Love You" spent three weeks on top of the charts. Other hits from the show included "I'll Meet You Halfway" and "Doesn't Somebody Want to be Wanted."
A teen idol of the 1970s, Cassidy would sell more than 30 million records, including the solo hit "Cherish," and pack venues like Madison Square Garden. The hysteria turned to tragedy in 1974, when a teenage girl died after a stampede at his London show.
After the series went off the air, Cassidy continued to tour, record and act, including an Emmy-nominated performance on "Police Story." He appeared on Broadway in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and in 1993 performed with his half-brother, Shaun Cassidy, in the Broadway musical "Blood Brothers."
"I think you try and stay with your strengths," Cassidy said, "which for me, is to go out and connect and entertain and make people laugh and get them stomping and clapping and walking out with a smile on their face."
Della Reese (July 6, 1931-November 19, 2017) began singing in a junior gospel choir at the Olivet Baptist Church in her hometown of Detroit. When famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson came to the city, she picked Reese, then 13, to replace a member of her troupe, and was so impressed by the teenager's voice that she enlisted her for a summer tour.
Later, performing at nightclubs, she was signed to sing with Erskine Hawkins' orchestra, and would eventually record more than two dozen jazz and gospel albums, with her biggest hits including "And That Reminds Me," "Don't You Know?" and "Not One Minute More."
She was a groundbreaker on TV, being the first African-American woman to host her own talk show, "Della," (1969-70), and the first black woman to serve as a guest host for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show." But after suffering a brain aneurysm, she turned to acting, appearing on "Chico and the Man," ''Charlie and Company" and "The Royal Family," before finding her greatest success starring in the CBS series "Touched by an Angel" as the wise angel Tess.
Her other TV credits included "Night Court," ''L.A. Law," ''Designing Women," "Welcome Back, Kotter," ''The A Team," ''MacGyver" ''The Love Boat" and "That's So Raven." She also appeared in the films "Harlem Nights" and "Beauty Shop."
"I've had a hard climb, but I was meant to have longevity," she once said. "People don't have to stop and say, 'Whatever happened to Della Reese?' Here I am!'"
Country star Mel Tillis (August 8, 1932-November 19, 2017) was a promising songwriter when he arrived in Nashville in the 1950s. He would go on to write hits recorded by the likes of Kenny Rogers & the First Edition ("Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town,"), George Strait ("Thoughts of a Fool"), Tom Jones ("Detroit City"), and Ricky Skaggs ("Honey (Open That Door)").
His early efforts to get a record deal for himself, however, were rebuffed because of his stutter, which he would eventually overcome - well enough, in fact, to record more than 60 albums. Tillis had more than 30 top 10 country singles, including "I Ain't Never," "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer," "I Believe in You," "Coca-Cola Cowboy" and "Southern Rains."
In all, the Country Music Hall of Fame member wrote more than 1,000 songs, and in 2012 received a National Medal of Arts for bringing "his unique blend of warmth and humor to the great tradition of country music."
Tillis toured for decades, often using his stutter as a source of humor, though it would disappear when he sang. "The more I go onstage and feel my independence and that power over audiences, the less I stutter," he told People magazine in 1976. "One of my main objectives in life has been to whip this som'bitch, daddy."
Glasgow-born Guitarist Malcolm Young (January 6, 1953-November 18, 2017) was the guiding force behind the bawdy hard-rock band AC/DC, which he founded with his younger brother, Andrew, after their family had moved to Australia. Malcolm was the band's key writer and leader, and for more than 40 years AC/DC mixed driving hard rock, lusty lyrics and bluesy shuffles, selling more than 200 million albums, including "Let There Be Rock," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," and "Highway to Hell."
They survived the death, in 1980, of lead singer Bon Scott, and with vocalist Brian Johnson created one of the greatest rock records ever in "Back in Black," with the songs "You Shook Me All Night Long," ''Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" and "Hells Bells." It became the world's second best-selling album ever (behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller").
Several more albums followed, including "For Those About to Rock We Salute You," "The Razors Edge," "Ballbreaker" and "Black Ice," blending huge guitar riffs with rebellious and often sophomoric lyrics. AC/DC won a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Hard Rock Performance, for the track "War Machine."
In 2014, the band released "Rock or Bust," the first AC/DC album without Malcolm Young (who withdrew from performing because of his health), though the songs were built from guitar hooks the Young brothers had accumulated over the years.
Secretive and known as a fashion rebel, Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaia (February 26, 1940-November 18, 2017) was dubbed the "King of Cling" for the formfitting designs he first popularized during the 1980s and updated over the decades. Naomi Campbell was a favored model, and Michelle Obama wore his designs as first lady - while his minidresses rocked the Robert Palmer "Addicted to Love" video.
Based in Paris for decades, Alaia did not take part in the French capital's seasonal fashion frenzy or flashy ad campaigns. Instead, he showed his collections privately, on his own schedule; they'd soon turn up on red carpets around the world, worn by the likes of Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Rihanna, Marion Cotillard and Lady Gaga.
"I don't think really new ideas can come out every two months. It's not possible," he told Women's Wear Daily in 2016. "That's why now there is a lot of vintage. There's too much vintage - in all the houses, it's too much. We don't have good ideas every day, it's not possible. … When you have one in the year, that's already good." And what is your latest good idea, he was asked? "It hasn't come yet, I'm running after it!" he laughed. "I'm on horseback, like a cowboy."
Born in Fort Worth, Liz Smith (February 2, 1923-November 12, 2017) fell in love with the silver screen as a young girl, since movies were one of the few things her devout Baptist mother did not consider a sin. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas, in 1949 Smith headed off for New York with two suitcases and $50 and a dream of being the next Walter Winchell. Smith ultimately wrote for nine New York newspapers and dozens of magazines, and in 1976 came her big break: her own column for the New York Daily News.
A gossip star was born. But unlike Winchell and his imitators, Smith succeeded with kindness and an aversion to cheap shots. While her newspaper column was syndicated nationwide, Smith helped usher in the era of celebrity journalism on television by joining WNBC for three-nights-a-week commentary, and later appeared on Fox and the cable channel E!
In between all the parties, movie premieres and late-night soirees at celebrity hangouts, the "grande dame of dish" found time to host an ever-widening array of charity fundraisers.
Smith held a lighthearted opinion of her own legacy. "We mustn't take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip," she told The Associated Press in 1987. "When you look at it realistically, what I do is pretty insignificant. Still, I'm having a lot of fun."
Though born in Texas, actor John Hillerman (December 20, 1932-November 9, 2017) earned his most popular role courtesy of a fake British accent, playing Jonathan Quayle Higgins, the majordomo of royal descent with a colorful past (involving the military, counter intelligence, and Gilbert & Sullivan) in the 1980s TV series "Magnum, P.I."
"Even the English think I'm English," he told the Washington Post in 1986.
His film credits included Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," "What's Up, Doc?," "Chinatown," "The Last Picture Show," "Paper Moon," "High Plains Drifter," "At Long Last Love," and the series "Valerie," ''The Love Boat" and "The Betty White Show." He appeared as an arrogant radio show detective on the "Ellery Queen" series, and as Bonnie Franklin's boss on the sitcom "One Day at a Time."
A first-round draft pick who became an eight-time All-Star, Roy Halladay (May 14, 1977-November 7, 2017) worked tirelessly to become one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, winning a Cy Young Award in both the American League (in 2003, going 22-7 for the Toronto Blue Jays) and the National League (in 2010, with a 21-10 record in his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies).
A 6-foot-6 right-hander, he pitched a perfect game for the Phillies against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. That Oct. 6, against Cincinnati in the National League Division Series, he became only the second pitcher ever to throw a postseason no-hitter. When he couldn't pitch at a high level anymore, Halladay walked away from the game after the 2013 season, with a 203-105 career record and a 3.38 ERA).
"For a lot of athletes, you've been playing since you were five or six years old. It's something you've done your entire life. When it's not there, it's like, 'Well, who am I? What am I all about?' It takes a while to figure it out,'" he told Philadelphia Magazine in 2016.
Part of the answer was the Halladay Family Foundation, which aids children's charities, hunger relief and animal rescue. Another was his passion for flying, becoming a licensed pilot who would ferry rescue dogs.
Beginning when she was 17, German actress Karin Dor (February 22, 1938-November 6, 2017) played in dozens of films, TV and stage productions in her homeland. She was best known to international audiences as assassin Helga Brandt, sent by James Bond's nemesis Blofeld to kill 007, in the 1967 film "You Only Live Twice." Helga failed in her assignment, and as a consequence was fed to piranhas.
Dor also starred in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Topaz."
Richard F. Gordon Jr.
Astronaut Richard "Dick" F. Gordon Jr. (October 5, 1929-November 6, 2017) was one of a dozen men who flew around the moon but didn't land there. A Navy captain, chemist and test pilot (who once set a speed record of 869.74 mph), he was chosen for NASA's third group of astronauts, in 1963. Gordon flew on Gemini 11 in 1966, walking in space twice. And in 1969, he circled the moon in the Apollo 12 command module "Yankee Clipper" while crewmates Alan Bean and Charles Conrad landed and walked on the lunar surface. Over the two flights, he spent nearly 316 hours in space.
In a 1997 NASA oral history, Gordon called that experience wonderful: "You don't have to communicate. You don't have to worry about pleasing anyone beside yourself. And there's a lot of things that you have to do and accomplish. And it's a moment of solitude."
He said people would often ask if he felt alone while his two partners walked on the moon: "I said, 'Hell no, if you knew those guys, you'd be happy to be alone'."
Gordon even fell asleep during a break in his second Gemini spacewalk. He described the sensation as "nice and warm and cuddly."
Chippewa Dennis Banks (April 12, 1937-October 29, 2017) co-founded the American Indian Movement in 1968, protesting the treatment of Native Americans in high-profile demonstrations over the course of several years, from the occupation of Alcatraz Island and the seizure of a replica of the Mayflower, to a cross-country protest dubbed the "Trails of Broken Treaties," which ended in Washington, D.C., with a six-day occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
His most notable protest, undertaken with fellow activist Russell Means, was an armed occupation at Wounded Knee, S.D., where U.S. marshals, F.B.I. agents and police engaged in a standoff with 200 Oglala Lakota and other followers of the AIM. Over the course of 10-weeks, two Indians were killed; a federal agent was paralyzed. Both Banks and Means were arrested, but charges were ultimately dismissed owing to prosecutorial misconduct.
"Wounded Knee awakened not only the conscience of all Native Americans, but also of white Americans nationwide," he wrote in a 2005 autobiography, "Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement."
He later jumped bail in connection to violence in Custer, S.D., and spent more than a decade on the run before surrendering. Paroled in 1985, he worked as a drug and alcoholism counselor on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He also appeared in the films "War Party," "Thunderheart" and "The Last of the Mohicans." In 2016 he ran for vice president on the tickets of the Peace and Freedom Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
John Mollo (March 18, 1931-October 25, 2017) worked as a military expert for such films as "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "Nicholas and Alexandra," and Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon." At the time he met director George Lucas to discuss working on "Star Wars" (a friend who'd been offered the job turned it down but suggested Mollo instead), he had never watched a science fiction film. No matter - "Star Wars" looked like no previous sci-fi adventure.
"[George] said, 'You've got a very difficult job here, because I don't want anyone to notice the costumes,'" Mollo recounted in an interview for starwars.com. "'They've got to look familiar, but not familiar at the same time.'"
Mollo developed the costumes for Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Imperial Stormtroopers, Jawas, Sandpeople, and the other good guys and bad guys that populated a galaxy far, far away. Characters were blends of influences - Kenobi's outfit resembled both a monk's and a Japanese samurai's. And while the Imperial troops and officers mimicked the jackbooted fascism of German and Nazi officers from World Wars I and II, Darth Vader's costume was a melange of styles, from a Nazi steel helmet and operatic cape to a motorcycle outfit and gas mask.
Mollo earned the Oscar for Best Costume Design for "Star Wars," and a second for the historical epic "Gandhi." His other credits include "Alien," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Outland," "King David," and the TV series "The Jewel in the Crown." But it is his costumes for "Star Wars" that are his legacy, and which are lovingly recreated by fans and cosplayers at conventions around the world.
In November 1999 Jane Juska (March 7, 1933-October 24, 2017), a retired and divorced English teacher and freelance writer, was inspired by Eric Rohmer's film "Autumn Tale" (in which a woman places a personal ad on behalf of a friend) to take out a personal ad in the New York Review of Books. It read: "Before I turn 67, next March, I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me."
"It's the best piece of writing I've ever done," she told Charlie Rose in 2003.
Juska found herself with 63 responses from men ages 32 to 84, which led to flings that she said changed her life. "I was just bubbling," she told the San Francisco Chronicle in a 2003 profile.
The experience led to her bestselling 2003 memoir, "A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance," recounting the excitement, love and heartbreak she experienced with the men she encountered. The book landed her on TV with Oprah Winfrey and Charlie Rose; was adapted into a one-woman show starring Sharon Gless; and led to a follow-up book, "Unaccompanied Woman: Late-Life Adventures Love, Sex and Real Estate."
Fats Domino (February 26, 1928-October 24, 2017), who helped create a new style of music called rock 'n' roll (and who became the first purely rock 'n' roll musician to be awarded the National Medal for the Arts), was first discovered playing piano at a backyard barbecue. A New Orleans native, Domino quit school at age 14, and worked days in a factory while playing and singing in local juke joints at night. In 1949 he was signed by the Imperial record company, and recorded his first song, "The Fat Man," at a French Quarter recording studio.
In 1955, he broke into the white pop charts with "Ain't it a Shame" (also covered by Pat Boone, as "Ain't That a Shame"). Domino appeared in the rock 'n' roll film "The Girl Can't Help It" and was among the first black performers featured in popular music shows, starring with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers.
"Blueberry Hill" made him an icon, as did other early rock classics like "I'm Walking" and "My Girl Josephine." He also helped bridge rock 'n' roll and other styles, even country/western, recording Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" and Bobby Charles' "Walkin' to New Orleans." In 2004 Domino told Off Beat Magazine that country music always played a big role in his sound. "Oh, I loved country music. I still like country music. You know why? It tells a story. Just like rhythm and blues, it's a feeling."
Domino and his family were rescued by boat from his New Orleans home after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. He lost nearly everything he owned, including three pianos and dozens of gold and platinum records. But in May 2007, he was back, performing at Tipitina's music club, playing "I'm Walkin'," ''Ain't That a Shame," ''Shake, Rattle and Roll," ''Blueberry Hill" and a host of other hits.
Actor Robert Guillaume (November 30, 1927-October 24, 2017) rose from squalid beginnings in the St. Louis slums, a fatherless son of a prostitute. His grandmother rescued him, taught him to read and enrolled him in a Catholic school. He excelled at St. Louis University in philosophy and Shakespeare, and then at Washington University, where a music professor trained the young man's superb tenor singing voice. Adopting the distinctive name Guillaume, he would become a star in stage musicals, including "Purlie," "Porgy and Bess," the first all-black version of "Guys and Dolls," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Cyrano." He was also the voice of Rafiki in "The Lion King."
He won Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler Benson in the sitcoms "Soap" and its spinoff, "Benson."
"The minute I saw the ['Soap'] script, I knew I had a live one," he recalled in 2001. "Every role was written against type, especially Benson, who wasn't subservient to anyone. To me, Benson was the revenge for all those stereotyped guys who looked like Benson in the '40s and '50s [movies] and had to keep their mouths shut."
He was among the first celebrities to appear at AIDS fundraisers (his 33-year-old son Jacques, died of complications from AIDS in 1990). He also became a spokesman for the American Stroke Association, after suffering a stroke while starring in the Aaron Sorkin series "Sports Night."
In his 2002 autobiography, he wrote that it was his marriage to TV producer Donna Brown that enabled him to shrug off the bitterness he had felt throughout his life. "To assuage bitterness requires more than human effort. Relief comes from a source we cannot see but can only feel. I am content to call that source love."
As lead singer and songwriter of one of Canada's most iconic bands, The Tragically Hip, as well as an artist and poet, Gord Downie (February 6, 1964-October 17, 2017) made himself part of Canada's national identity with songs about hockey and small towns. "Ahead by a Century" and "Bobcaygeon" are among the best-known.
While at university, he met Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fray, and they formed The Tragically Hip. Their first self-titled EP was released in 1987, and their breakthrough debut full-length album, "Up to Here," was released in 1989. Nine of their albums reached No. 1 in Canada. Downie also produced three solo albums, as well as a collaboration with fellow Canadian indie darlings The Sadies.
In a 2009 interview with Macleans', Downie described his passion for songwriting: "I love all aspects of it, and I've found that doing it every day is the best (but by no means sure) way to get open, at the ready, and able to recognize what Raymond Carver called 'a new path to the waterfall.' To find those simple statements to pass along that help, or don't."
It was work he described as "lifting the 400 lb. feather."
The prolific French actress Danielle Darrieux (May 1, 1917-October 17, 2017) had a movie and theater career that spanned eight decades, in which she appeared in dozens of plays and more than 100 films.
Making her screen debut when she was just 14, Darrieux quickly became a favorite of French directors, appearing in films by Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy and Andre Techine. She starred in Billy Wilder's first film, "Mauvaise graine" (1934), and appeared in several Hollywood features, including the James Mason spy film "5 Fingers" and the MGM musical "Rich, Young and Pretty."
Darrieux insisted she couldn't bear to see herself on-screen and that the only one of her movies she enjoyed watching was Max Ophuls' critically-acclaimed "The Earrings of Madame de..." (pictured), in which she played a dazzling, adulterous countess. She also starred in Ophuls' "La Ronde."
Tom Petty (October 20, 1950-October 2, 2017) rose to fame in the 1970s as frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, whose hits included "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Breakdown," and "Listen to Her Heart." In addition to 13 studio albums with the Heartbreakers, Petty released three solo albums (including 1989's "Full Moon Fever," which featured perhaps his greatest hit, "Free Fallin'"), and in the 1980s he performed with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne as the Traveling Wilburys.
Last December, Petty told Rolling Stone that he thought the Heartbreakers' 40th anniversary tour would be their last together. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was thinking this might be the last big one," he said. "We're all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I'd like to see as much as I can. I don't want to spend my life on the road."
Last week Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002) concluded their 24-state tour with three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl.
"Si" Newhouse, Jr.
As chairman of Conde Nast since 1975, S.I. Newhouse Jr. (November 8, 1927-October 1, 2017) (pictured at the construction site of the new World Trade Center in 2011) bought and remade The New Yorker and Details magazines and revived Vanity Fair. Other magazines in the Conde Nast stable included Vogue, Wired, Glamour, W, GQ, and Self. The glossy titles helped set the nation's tastes, reached millions of aspirational readers, and appealed to upscale advertisers.
He also brought in buzz-obsessed Britons Anna Wintour and Tina Brown as editors, while abruptly firing staffers who fell from his graces. (Grace Mirabella learned she was being axed as editor-in-chief of Vogue in June 1988 when her husband saw it on TV.) The company struggled in recent years with the advertising meltdown. Gourmet, Modern Bride, House & Garden and Golf for Women were shuttered. Forbes said in March 2009 that the downturn had sliced Newhouse's fortune in half, but his estimated net worth of $4 billion still left him among the world's richest men.
Newhouse was also co-owner (with brother Donald) the New York-based Advance Publications Inc., which has over 20 daily newspapers in the U.S. and a cable television company.
Unlike other media moguls who seemed obsessed with building a fortune or influencing politics, Newhouse, associates said, seemed to simply enjoy the magazine business. "He likes the buzz, there's no question," Wintour told The Times in 2008. "If you have lunch with a celebrity or political figure, he's thrilled to hear about it."
He originally wanted to become a doctor, but the Canadian-born Monty Hall (August 25, 1921-September 30, 2017) was denied entry to medical school, he later said, because he was Jewish and faced quotas limiting the admission of minority students.
Instead, he pursued a career in entertainment. In the 1950s he hosted a Toronto show called "The Auctioneer," in which he bartered with audience members. That led to "Let's Make a Deal," which he co-created and hosted. It debuted as a daytime show on NBC in 1963, and later aired on ABC, in syndication, and finally on CBS (with current host Wayne Brady). Contestants chosen from the studio audience - usually outlandishly dressed to attract the host's attention - would trade an item of their own for a prize, and then swap for potentially more valuable prizes behind doors, curtains or in boxes. But be careful you don't trade for a donkey!
For the genial, energetic and quick-thinking Hall, the interactions were easy. "I'm a people person," he said on the PBS documentary series "Pioneers of Television." ''And so I don't care if they jump on me, and I don't care if they yell and they fainted - those are my people."
With the wealth that the game show brought, he made philanthropy and fundraising his avocation. His daughter, Sharon, estimated that Hall managed to raise nearly $1 billion for charity over his lifetime, for such causes as the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Variety Clubs International.
In 1953 magazine publisher and hedonist Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926-Sept. 27, 2017) founded Playboy, featuring Marilyn Monroe wearing nothing but a come-hither look. Eisenhower's America was shocked, titillated, and changed forever. "We were there to ignite the flame that became the sexual revolution," Hefner told CBS News' Bill Whitaker in 2010.
The magazine, which came to be known not just for provocative nude photos but also for humor, journalism, and advocacy for social issues, became an empire, and Playboy Clubs (with their iconic "Bunnies") sprouted around the world. In the '60s, Hefner's early television show, "Playboy After Dark," broke color barriers on TV, and his foundation supported racial equality, changes in drug laws, and women's rights. Hefner, who faced criticism from feminists and anti-pornography advocates, also provided the amicus curiae in the case of Roe v. Wade.
"Because of the very nature of Playboy and my life, I think I touch very close to the heart of things that are controversial in America," Hefner said. "You know, sex and wealth and success - and throwing a good party!"
Success was a long time coming for singer Charles Bradley (November 5, 1948-September 23, 2017), whose backing band gave him the nickname "the screaming eagle of soul."
Bradley was a teenager in 1962 when his sister took him to the Apollo in Harlem to see James Brown perform. "I always liked the blues, but see, James Brown is the one who put rhythm in the blues. And that's what made it funky," he said. "And I said, 'Now that's what I want to be.'"
But through his first five decades, Bradley drifted between jobs. He worked as a short order cook in Maine, at a hospital for the mentally ill in New York, and much more. He was performing in a James Brown tribute show in Brooklyn, when he was spotted by Daptone Records, which released his debut album in 2011. Bradley was 62.
In 2016, while on tour, he appeared on "CBS This Morning: Saturday," giving a performance that would earn him an Emmy nomination. He told CBS News' Anthony Mason, "I'm still searching for new things inside of me."
"Do you think you're working extra hard because this came so late?" Mason asked.
"Yes, because I want it. I ain't going to let it go," he replied.
Boxer Jake LaMotta (July 10, 1922-September 19, 2017) compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts during his fighting days, including handing Sugar Ray Robinson his first defeat. The middleweight champion, known as the "Bronx Bull," was a fan favorite who fought with fury, though he admitted to once intentionally losing a fight to get in line for a title bout.
After retiring from boxing in 1954, he owned a nightclub for a time in Miami, then dabbled in show business and commercials. He also made personal appearances and for a while in the 1970s he was a host at a topless nightclub in New York.
He is today remembered more from Martin Scorsese's 1980 film "Raging Bull," based loosely on LaMotta's memoir, which earned Robert De Niro a Best Actor Oscar. The movie unflinchingly portrayed LaMotta as a violent and abusive husband (he was married six times).
"I'm no angel," he said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press.
You might not be reading this (and we wouldn't be writing this) if it were not for Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov (September 7, 1939-May 19, 2017). For on September 26, 1983, when the Soviet officer was in charge of monitoring an early-warning missile defense system, computers malfunctioned, indicating that the U.S. had launched five ICBMs against the Soviet Union. But Petrov had a gut feeling the U.S. wouldn't start a war with just five missiles. So he reported the alert as a system malfunction. (He was right - a satellite had mistaken the sun's reflection on clouds for missiles.) Had he reported the sighting as a true missile launch, the USSR would likely have launched their own missiles, precipitating an American retaliatory response. Instead, apocalypse was averted.
In the 2014 documentary "The Man Who Saved the World," Petrov stated, "All that happened didn't matter to me - it was my job. I was simply doing my job, and I was the right person at the right time, that's all."
Petrov's death was confirmed by his son on September 18, 2017.
"I was bored stiff being a housewife," said Penny Chenery (January 27, 1922-September 16, 2017), whose childhood love of horses (her father founded Meadow Stable, a thoroughbred racing and breeding operation, in Caroline County, Va.) led her to take over management of the family business after her father took ill. Despite financial stresses and chauvinistic attitudes in the 1960s and '70s, Chenery held on long enough to foster a promising thoroughbred named Secretariat. That horse would become a cultural icon, winning the 1973 Triple Crown with astonishing power, including taking the Belmont Stakes by an astonishing 31 lengths - a spectacular performance for any athlete.
Chenery charmed as an engaging and quick-witted owner who represented her equine champions with poise, dignity and a keen business sense. (Her stable was also responsible for the 1972 Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge.) Following Secretariat's retirement, Chenery became an ambassador for thoroughbred racing and remained so after the colt's death in 1989. She served as the first female president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. She became one of the first women admitted to The Jockey Club, and helped found the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
"It didn't occur to me that I was a woman in a man's field," she told the Associated Press in 2009. "I just thought I've got the best horse."
Harry Dean Stanton
Actor Harry Dean Stanton (July 14, 1926-Sept. 15, 2017) was widely loved by film and TV audiences attuned to the compassion and idiosyncratic humor he evoked in his long resume of eccentrics and characters on the fringes. He appeared in more than 200 movies and TV shows in a career dating to the mid-1950s, with a credit list ranging from cult favorites like ''Two-Lane Blacktop," "Escape From New York" and "Repo Man," to "Cool Hand Luke," "The Godfather Part II," "Wise Blood," "Straight Time," "Alien" and "Pretty in Pink"
Though usually playing supporting characters, Stanton shined in his lead role in Wim Wenders' 1984 road movie "Paris, Texas" (pictured), giving a poignant, near-wordless performance which he called his favorite.
Recently he reunited with director David Lynch to appear in the return of the TV series "Twin Peaks," reprising his role as the cranky trailer park owner Carl. He also starred in the upcoming film "Lucky."
Stanton, who never lost the accent from his home state of Kentucky, once said his interest in movies was piqued as a child when he would walk out of every theater "thinking I was Humphrey Bogart."
Edith Windsor (June 20, 1929-September 12, 2017), a technology manager at IBM, became a gay rights pioneer after her first spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. The women had married legally in Canada in 2007 after spending more than 40 years together. At 81, Windsor sued the federal government, saying its definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman prevented her from getting a marital deduction on Spyer's estate; that meant she faced a huge tax bill that heterosexual couples would not have.
An outraged Windsor knew that the case was about more than taxes, or even marriage. "It's a very important case. It's bigger than marriage, and I think marriage is major. I think if we win, the effect will be the beginning of the end of stigma," she said in 2012.
In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the provision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
The opinion in Windsor's case became the basis for a wave of federal court rulings that struck down state same-sex marriage bans, and led to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges giving same-sex couples across the United States the right to marry.
The son of a railway stationmaster, Sir Peter Hall (November 22, 1930-September 11, 2017) began directing as a student at Cambridge University. He was just 25 when he directed the first English-language production of Samuel Beckett's landmark "Waiting for Godot," making his name and paving the way for other rebellious, transformational playwrights, such as Harold Pinter, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard.
The visionary theater director and impresario was one of the most influential figures in British theater, founding the Royal Shakespeare Company when he was just 29, and helping rebuild Britain's National Theatre. He also won two Tony Awards (for the Broadway productions of "Amadeus" and Pinter's "The Homecoming"), and directed such acting greats as Judi Dench, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson and Dustin Hoffman. He also directed opera productions in New York and Europe.
In 2009 he was asked by the Spectator about the state of theater in Britain: "I fear for the future of the arts because we are naturally philistine as a nation and our politicians even more so. The first thing that is always cut is the arts. We think we don't need them, but the arts are crucial in a democracy."
Stage and screen actor Gastone Moschin (June 8, 1929-September 4, 2017) had dozens of European films and TV productions to his credit as far back as the 1950s. But he is best known internationally for his towering signature role: as Don Fanucci, the "Black Hand," in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part II" (1974). A ruthless underworld figure in early 20th century New York City, Fanucci would die at the hands of a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro).
John Ashbery (July 28, 1927-September 3, 2017) published more than 20 volumes of poetry. Among his numerous awards was the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection titled "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror." His experimental text and rhythms challenged readers' assumptions about the use of language, while his topics addressed the mystery of imagination.
From "My Philosophy of Life" (2009):
Still, there's a lot of fun to be had in the gaps between ideas.
That's what they're made for! Now I want you to go out there
and enjoy yourself, and yes, enjoy your philosophy of life, too.
They don't come along every day. Look out! There's a big one...
Comedian Shelley Berman (February 3, 1925-September 1, 2017) delivered wry monologues about the annoyances of everyday life, pioneering a brand of comedy that could evoke laughter from such matters as air travel discomforts and small children who answer the telephone. He helped pave the way for Bob Newhart, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and other standup comedians who fashioned their routines around the follies and frustrations of modern living. His first album, "Inside Shelley Berman," went gold and received the first-ever Grammy Award for the spoken word.
"I'm not a standup comedian," Berman often insisted. "I work on a stool."
He also managed to fulfill his ambitions as an actor, appearing on Broadway in "The Boys Against the Girls," and the musical, "A Family Affair." His film debut came in 1964 in the political drama "The Best Man," and he had a memorable turn in a "Twilight Zone" episode. For more than 20 years he taught comedy at the University of Southern California.
Late in his career, he played Nat David, father of Larry David, on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." With dialogue improvised by its cast, the comedy series gave Berman the opportunity to return to his improv roots and introduced him to a new generation of TV viewers.
"It had been my great ambition to play an American James Bond," said actor Richard Anderson (August 8, 1926-August 31, 2017) in his 2015 memoir. As Oscar Goldman, the intelligence agency mastermind behind the resurrection of a near-dead astronaut as a cyborg secret agent in "The Six Million Dollar Man" ("We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better … stronger … faster"), Anderson made government overseers cool.
A veteran of dozens of films (including "Forbidden Planet" and "Paths of Glory") and innumerable TV appearances, Anderson was a talented character actor who could, he once said, play "an Internal Revenue Service agent, a hanging judge, or the captain of a hell ship." But he is best remembered as the paternal Goldman, who was also a key figure in a spinoff series, "The Bionic Woman," in production at the same time (and for which he garnered an Emmy nomination). A tennis fan, Anderson jokingly told TV Guide in 1976, "Since I've been playing Oscar Goldman in both series at once, my doubles game has gotten a lot better."
Filmmaker Tobe Hooper (January 25, 1943-August 26, 2017) created a landmark of Grand Guignol entertainment with his 1974 horror film, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," in which the villainous Leatherface and his motley family of cannibals terrorize a group of young people who made the fateful mistake of turning up at an isolated homestead.
Made for less than $300,000 and shot on 16mm, the film would go on to gross about $30 million domestically. While it was banned in several countries because of its gore, the movie was also screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, so there!
"Texas Chain Saw Massacre" would inspire a host of splatter films in its wake, as well as a sequel, which Hooper (pictured on set) directed in 1986. He also directed "Poltergeist" (1982), the 1979 TV movie "Salem's Lot" (adapted from the Stephen King novel), "Lifeforce" (about space vampires), and "Invaders From Mars."
In 2014 Hooper told Indiewire that he believed audiences of today "get" the humor of "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" better than when the film debuted in the 1970s. "There is this kind of, I don't know, Thanksgiving-dinner-in-Texas-with-a-big-family feeling about it, where if you back away far enough from it you'll see a family start fighting and it will become funny because it's based in truth. It's ironically funny," he said.
"He was somebody who you could literally call a wit," Martin Charnin said of his collaborator Thomas Meehan (August 14, 1929-August 21, 2017), who wrote the book for Charnin's smash Broadway musical "Annie." It represented one of three Tony Awards Meehan would win for his Broadway musical scripts, the others being for Mel Brooks' "The Producers," and "Hairspray," adapted from the John Waters film.
Meehan's other stage credits include "I Remember Mama," "Young Frankenstein," "Cry-Baby," "Elf," "Annie Warbucks" (a sequel to his 1977 hit), "Chaplin," "Death Takes a Holiday," "Bombay Dreams," and the musical "Rocky."
Meehan began his career as a writer with The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" section and later earned an Emmy nomination in 1964 as one of the writers of the TV series "That Was the Week That Was."
"I think I've been lucky, because I never set out to have the career I had," Meehan told the Observer newspaper in 1999. "I wrote stories that were serious, very somber, trying to be in the style of William Faulkner. They were very dark and mystical and strange. They weren't very good. But then I used to write class essays and often make them funny, and if I did that, I got better marks on them. My career has always been that every time I try something really serious, it's no good, but if I try to be funny, then it works."
Jerry Lewis (March 16, 1926-August 20, 2017) was only 20 when he teamed up with singer Dean Martin for a nightclub act that would launch them to international success as one of the most popular comedy teams of all time. Once the partnership fizzled, Lewis went on to direct such popular farces as "The Bellboy" (on which he pioneered the use of video playback during filming) and "The Nutty Professor" (pictured).
A hero among French critics, Lewis was less revered back home for his slapstick. But he was a hero to millions for his humanitarian work, raising more than $2 billion over nearly five decades to help children ("Jerry's Kids") with muscular dystrophy.
"These children look at you like you're some kind of god," Lewis told CBS News' Tracy Smith in 2016. "I'm not a god; I just love people. And I love people that are well. I don't like to see someone sick."
Brian Aldiss (August 18, 1925-August 19, 2017) was one of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers of the 20th century. After serving with the British Army in India and Burma during World War II, he became a bookseller and published his first stories. He would have a huge influence on sci-fi, as a Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning writer of stories and novels, as editor of many anthologies, and as a mentor to younger writers, including Neil Gaiman.
His works includes "Non-Stop," about a generation starship; "Greybeard," set in a world without young people; "Report on Probability A," a tale of observers across a span of dimensions; and the "Helliconia" trilogy, centered on a planet in which the seasons last for centuries. His 1969 short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" was an unrealized dream project for Stanley Kubrick, and formed the basis for Steven Spielberg's 2001 film "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence."
Beyond sci-fi, Aldiss' intimate 1999 novel "When the Feast is Finished" recounts the death of his second wife, Margaret, from pancreatic cancer. One reviewer described it as "almost too intimate to read."
In an interview for the British documentary series "Unthinkable," Aldiss described the life cycle of humanity as bring born from dead star matter, and ultimately rejoining "the vast recycling of the universe, and if that accords you consolation, okay. This is the odd thing about being a science fiction writer: you can't just be a storyteller; you have to consider all the facets of society and human nature."
Comedian Dick Gregory (October 12, 1932-August 19, 2017) first made his name by focusing his wit on something that was no laughing matter: racism in America. He began performing comedy while in the Army, but got his first big break in 1961, with a 15-minute tryout at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club in Chicago. He got his wife to practice heckling him ("All the filthy words you could think [of]") so that he'd be ready for whatever the audience might say. When "The Tonight Show with Jack Paar" called to book him, he refused, knowing that black comics weren't invited to sit next to Paar after their routine. Paar himself called, and told Gregory, "Well, come on in, I'll let you sit down."
"It was sitting on the couch that made my salary grow in three weeks from $250 working seven days a week to $5,000 a night," Gregory told CBS News' Erin Moriarty in 2017.
But Gregory wanted more than just a seat at the table; he wanted to change America, and soon standup became sit-ins at civil rights rallies. He ran for president in 1968 (the same year Alabama Governor George Wallace, an avowed segregationist, had joined the race). His political views and anti-war hunger strikes cost him fans, money, and even time with his family.
But he saw his role of agitator as important. As he told Ed Bradley in 1989, "The next time you put your underwear in the washing machine, take the agitator out, and all you're going to end up with are some dirty, wet drawers!"
A Brooklyn native and Brown University art history major, writer, director and actor Joseph Bologna (Dec. 30, 1934- August 13, 2017) shared an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of the 1971 comedy "Lovers and Other Strangers," based on the Broadway play he'd written with his wife, actress Renée Taylor. The two collaborated on several films and TV shows, including "Made for Each Other," "Acts of Love and Other Comedies" (for which they won an Emmy), "Paradise," "It Had to Be You," and "Love Is All There Is."
As an actor his tough guys - whether straight or comical - were lively and memorable. His biggest role was King Kaiser, star of a 1950s TV variety show who welcomes a fading Hollywood action star (played by Peter O'Toole) to his live broadcast, in "My Favorite Year" (pictured). Mel Brooks (a staff writer for Sid Caesar, the inspiration for Kaiser) praised Bologna's "primitive energy."
Other credits included "Cops and Robbers," "Honor Thy Father," "Chapter Two," "The Big Bus," "The Woman in Red," "Transylvania 6-5000," and "Big Daddy." His TV appearances included "Rags to Riches," "The Nanny," "Top of the Heap" and "Citizen Cohn."
In the words of a New York Times critic, Barbara Cook (October 25, 1927-August 8, 2017) had "the most magnificent voice in popular music." She used it in the 1950s and '60s, when she was the toast of Broadway, playing ingénues in such musicals as "Oklahoma" (pictured), "Carousel," "Plain and Fancy," "Candide," "She Loves Me," and "The Music Man," for which she won a Tony Award. In the 1970s she found a new career as a cabaret and concert singer. Her 1975 Carnegie Hall concert became a celebrated album, and her 2003 recording "Count Your Blessings" was nominated for a Grammy. She was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2011.
During a "60 Minutes" profile in 2002, she presided over a master class for music students at Juilliard, teaching them how to use their gifts. "The very place where safety lies for us is the thing that seems most dangerous, and that is having the courage to let people really, really into what life has done to us," Cook said. "What actors need to do is to find a way to show people their despair, their joy, their pain, their exhilaration - all of these deep, deep emotional things, good and bad, so that if you're able to do that, then there's a kind of resonance that happens."
One of 12 children of an Arkansas sharecropper, Glen Campbell (April 22, 1936-August 8, 2017) first picked up a guitar at age 4. By the early Sixties, he'd played his way to L.A. Though he couldn't read music, Campbell quickly became one of the most sought-after guitarists in the city, getting session work as one of an elite group of studio musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew." He played guitar for Frank Sinatra on "Strangers in the Night"; for the Monkees on "I'm a Believer"; and on many Beach Boys recordings.
In 1967, his solo career took off on a Jimmy Webb song, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." Winning four Grammys that year, he was hailed as country music's first crossover star. The hits kept coming - "Galveston," "Gentle on My Mind," "Wichita Lineman," "Rhinestone Cowboy," and "Southern Nights." His CBS show, "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," ran for four years, making him a household name. Acting roles included the John Wayne western "True Grit."
After Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, he performed in a farewell tour in Europe and America, which became the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me."
Hailed as country music's first crossover star, Campbell told CBS News' Anthony Mason in 2012 he never thought of himself as a country singer. "No, I'm a singer, and I really like good songs," he said.
Haruo Nakajima (January 1, 1929-August 7, 2017) was a stunt actor in samurai films when he was approached to play what would become one of the most recognizable characters in movie history: Godzilla, the dinosaur reborn as a result of nuclear testing, who stomped Tokyo in the original 1954 classic, and returned to alternately destroy cities and save them from other, meaner monsters over the course of 12 films. Nakajima also played giant characters in other kaiju films, including "Rodan," "The Mysterians," "Mothra," "King Kong Escapes," "War of the Gargantuas" and "Frankenstein Conquers the World."
Vivacious and energetic, Nakajima said he developed Godzilla's character by going to a zoo to study how elephants and bears moved. He said it was important to show the pathos of the creature.
Although he often played the character in a rubber suit, because rubber was a rare commodity in post-WWII Japan, Nakajima's first Godzilla costume was made from ready-mixed concrete and weighed more than 200 pounds.
Many prefer Nakajima's version of the monster (which he performed through 1972's "Godzilla vs. Gigan") over Hollywood depictions, which used computer graphics rather than men in suits, though the latest Japanese Godzilla remake (released in 2016) used an actor filmed with motion capture technology.
"I am the original, the real thing," Nakajima said in 2014. "My Godzilla was the best."
Jeanne Moreau (January 23, 1928-July 31, 2017) was internationally renowned for her portrayals of seductresses, Bohemians, unfaithful paramours and wronged women.
She worked with such acclaimed directors as Louis Malle ("Elevator to the Gallows," pictured), François Truffaut ("Jules and Jim," "The Bride Wore Black"), Michelangelo Antonioni ("La Notte"), Orson Welles ("Chimes at Midnight"), Luis Buñuel ("Diary of a Chambermaid"), Jacques Demy ("Bay of Angels"), Roger Vadim ("Les liaisons dangereuses"), John Frankenheimer ("The Train"), Rainer Werner Fassbinder ("Querelle"), and Wim Wenders ("Until the End of the World"). She received an honorary Oscar in 1998 for lifetime achievement.
The half-French/half English actress had little sentiment for nostalgia, as she told The Guardian newspaper in 2001: "Nostalgia is when you want things to stay the same. I know so many people staying in the same place. And I think, my God, look at them! They're dead before they die. That's a terrible risk. Living is risking."
Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard (November 5, 1943-July 27, 2017) was a blazing force in the theater world, celebrated as the most gifted American playwright of his generation. Some of his most iconic work of the 1970s and '80s, both satiric and melancholic, featured mordant black humor and remarkable tensions between characters, such as the feuding brothers of "True West," the dysfunctional family of "Curse of the Starving Class," and "Buried Child," a tale of incest, murder, and a failed American Dream.
In addition to adapting some of his plays for the screen, Shepard also wrote the scripts for the films "Paris, Texas" and "Far North," and starred in Robert Altman's film version of his play "Fool for Love."
As an actor Shepard was a terrific presence on screen, projecting a rugged, taciturn masculinity in the vein of Gary Cooper. He made his first major film appearance in Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven" (pictured), and earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance as test pilot Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff." Other film appearances included "Resurrection," "Raggedy Man," "Country," "Crimes of the Heart," "Baby Boom," "Bright Angel," "The Pelican Brief," "Black Hawk Down," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "The Notebook," "August: Osage County," and "Midnight Special."
"The fantastic thing about theater is that it can make something be seen that's invisible," he told New York magazine in 1980.
For nearly eight decades vocal artist June Foray (September 18, 1917-July 26, 2017) provided the voices to such beloved cartoon characters as Rocky J. Squirrel, Natasha Fatale and Nell Fenwick (from the "Rocky & Bullwinkle Show"), Witch Hazel and Granny (from the Looney Tunes shorts), Raggedy Ann, Ma Beagle (from "DuckTales"), Grandmother Fa ("Mulan"), Spider-Man's Aunt May, and a never-ending parade of Whos and Smurfs.
And not all of her characters were delightful: Foray also provided the voice of Talky Tina, the supernatural doll in a 1963 "Twilight Zone" episode, "Living Doll."
In a 2000 interview for the Television Academy Foray said, "I love everything I do with all of the parts that I do because there's a little bit of me in all of them."
Stage, film and TV actor John Heard (March 7, 1946-July 21, 2017) came to prominence playing characters who question themselves, their peers and society, in such notable 1970s and '80s films as "Between the Lines," "Chilly Scenes of Winter," "Heart Beat" and "Cutter's Way." He evolved into a highly dependable and prolific character actor, straddling drama and comedy. He found his most recognizable role as the frazzled father who accidentally leaves for a European vacation minus one child in "Home Alone." His other appearances include "Awakenings" (pictured), "Cat People," "The Trip to Bountiful," "Big," "Beaches," "Deceived," "Snake Eyes," and the TV series "The Sopranos" and "Prison Break."
In 2015 Heard talked to The A.V. Club about filming the comedy "After Hours": "Griffin Dunne and I were both terrified that Martin Scorsese didn't think we were very good, and if he didn't think we were very good, that was it - that was the end of the line. If Martin Scorsese thinks you stink, you stink! So every take, Griffin and I would be kind of looking around to see if we were okay. We would be, like, 'Okay, he didn't say anything. We must be okay.'"
A favorite job of his was playing a barfly who becomes shark bait in "Sharknado." "I knew it was going to be a cult classic," he told the Baltimore Media Blog last year. "It's just ridiculous. I thought it would replace people calling me the 'Home Alone' dad."
Singer-songwriter Chester Bennington (March 20, 1976-July 20, 2017) was frontman for the group Linkin Park, beginning with their 2000 album, "Hybrid Theory." With tracks including "Paper Cut," "One Step Close," "Crawling" and "In the End," Linkin Park's music explored such issues as cycles of abuse, the breakup of families, depression and addiction. Despite the despair of their lyrics, the group's potent energy would lead "Hybrid Theory" to Diamond certification - remarkable for a debut album.
While recording with Linkin Park, Bennington also fronted his side group Dead by Sunrise, and would replace Scott Weiland as the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots.
Earlier this year Bennington told Rock Sound magazine that he and Linkin Park did not want to be bound by genre: "It's not like we hate nu metal music. What we hated was being branded as something. If it's just hard rock, we'd be like, 'Are these people listening to the record?' But we could equally be called a hip hop group, an electronic group, an alternative band.
"I think for us, creativity is way too big to be put in a box."
When she signed up for a civilian pilot training program, which was almost exclusively filled with male students, Dawn Seymour (July 1, 1917-July 18, 2017) was told - by a female professor - that she could not fly. But she soon earned her certificate. The Cornell University graduate was later one of 1,100 women in the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (or WASPs), who volunteered to fly during World War II -- the first women to fly military aircraft.
They never saw combat, but they flew just about every other kind of mission. "I flew gunners on their training missions to learn how to fire the 50-caliber machine guns from a moving platform to a moving target," she told CBS News' David Martin in 2010. "I flew the B-17, the Fortress. Can you imagine? Wonderful!"
Considered civilian pilots, the WASPs were long denied military recognition for their contributions to the war effort, including death benefits. (Thirty-eight WASPs lost their lives during the war.) Finally, in 2010, the Congressional Gold Medal was bestowed upon the WASPs for their service.
George A. Romero
Director George A. Romero (February 4, 1940-July 16, 2017) working on commercials and industrial films in his adopted city of Pittsburgh, before setting out to make a low-budget film of his own. The result, "Night of the Living Dead," in which zombies rise from the grave, would be heralded as one of the most terrifying movies ever made. Romero followed that up with "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead," and others in which the zombies were always more than mere cannibals - they were metaphors for social ills, such as racism, militarism, class differences, consumerism, and the rigidity of conformity.
"The zombies, they could be anything," Romero told The Associated Press in 2008. "They could be an avalanche, they could be a hurricane. It's a disaster out there. The stories are about how people fail to respond in the proper way. They fail to address it. They keep trying to stick where they are, instead of recognizing maybe this is too big for us to try to maintain. That's the part of it that I've always enjoyed."
Born in New York, Martin Landau (June 20, 1928-July 15, 2017) studied drawing and worked for a time as a New York Daily News cartoonist before switching to acting. He studied at the prestigious Actors Studio alongside Steve McQueen, and won praise for his work on Broadway in "Middle of the Night," which starred Edward G. Robinson. He toured with the play until it reached Los Angeles, where he began his film career.
With an expansive range and an unrivaled longevity, Landau was one of the profession's most adaptable students. He employed his chameleonic skills in his role as a master of disguise in the spy series "Mission: Impossible." He played an assassin in Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller, "North by Northwest," an adulterous husband in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors," and a financier in Francis Ford Coppola's "Tucker: The Man and His Dream." But it was his performance in Tim Burton's 1994 film "Ed Wood" - playing horror film star Bela Lugosi - that earned Landau his craft's highest honor, the Academy Award.
In September 2012 Landau said, "All an audience wants to believe … is what's going on between two people is happening for the first time ever. That's kind of a capsule of what acting is about. Very few actors know this. But the good ones do."
Liu Xiaobo (December 8, 1955-July 13, 2017), who became China's most famous political prisoner, had been a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York but returned early to China in May 1989 to join the burgeoning pro-democracy movement centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, which he called the "major turning point" in his life. The military crackdown in Beijing killed hundreds, possibly thousands of people, and heralded a more repressive era. Liu became one of hundreds of Chinese imprisoned following the demonstrations.
It was the first of four stays in prison owing to his ideology. His most recent sentence was for co-authoring "Charter 08," a document circulated in 2008 that called for more freedom of expression, human rights, and an independent judiciary in China.
"What I demanded of myself was this: whether as a person or as a writer, I would lead a life of honesty, responsibility, and dignity," Liu wrote in "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement," which he had hoped to read out in court when being sentenced in 2009. He was not permitted to do so, and received an 11-year sentence.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while in prison. Enraged, the Chinese government condemned the award as a political farce, and placed Liu's wife, artist and poet Liu Xia, under house arrest, despite not being convicted of any crime.
At the Nobel ceremony, Liu's absence was marked by an empty chair.
Actor, playwright and stage director Nelsan Ellis (November 30, 1977-July 8, 2017) appeared as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Lee Daniels' "The Butler," and as singer Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic "Get On Up." He also appeared in "The Help," "Secretariat," and in the CBS detective series "Elementary."
He was best known for his memorable portrayal of Lafayette Reynolds, a gay short order cook and drug dealer, on HBO's "True Blood."
In a 2012 TV interview, Ellis recalled that it took four auditions for him to nail the role of Lafayette. At first, he said, he was playing the role as a caricature, and was told to "go back to the drawing board and figure it out."
He then began to channel his mother. "Once I started to act like my Mama, my fourth audition, I got the part," he said.
Gene Conley (November 10, 1930-July 4, 2017) earned the very rare distinction of winning world championships in two different sports. As a major league pitcher, the 6'8" Conley helped lead the Milwaukee Braves to a World Series championship in 1957. (The three-time All-Star also threw for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox). But while he began his baseball career with the (then) Boston Braves in 1952, that same year he was drafted by the Boston Celtics and spent the baseball off-season in the NBA.
Though he spent the next several years only on the pitcher's mound, in 1958 he started pulling double-duty, returning to the basketball court and winning three consecutive titles with the Celtics. After his last season with the Red Sox in 1962, Conley played two more years with the New York Knicks.
In April 1961, rebounding from the Celtics' title game, Conley sprinted into the baseball season with a win for the Red Sox a mere two weeks later. "Who needs spring training?" he said.
"Please look after this bear. Thank you." The furry stranded visitor wearing the pleading sign, discovered in London's Paddington Station, first appeared in "A Bear Called Paddington" in 1958. Since then, the teddy who loved marmalade and mischief has enchanted children and grown-ups for more than half a century, in more than 20 books, several television series, and a 2014 feature film.
Author Michael Bond (January 13, 1926-June 27, 2017), who served in both the Royal Air Force and the British Army during World War II, began writing while stationed with the army in Egypt in 1945. For his most famous character, Bond was inspired by a teddy bear that he bought for his wife one Christmas Eve as a stocking filler, and named the bear after the station he used for daily commutes.
In creating the initially homeless Paddington (a stowaway from "Darkest Peru"), Bond drew on memories of the refugees and evacuees who streamed through British train stations before and after World War II. Many of the children had name tags hung around their necks.
Bond said a sense of vulnerability "was an important part of Paddington's persona" and a reason why children were drawn to him. In a 2008 Associated Press interview, Bond said, "Bears have this quality that children in particular feel they can tell their secrets to and they won't pass them on."
Civil-rights activist and feminist Sheila Michaels (May 8, 1939-June 22, 2017) worked for the Congress of Racial Equality in New York and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Jackson, Miss. She helped organize the historic civil rights March on Washington in 1963, and helped write John Lewis' speech there. Her biggest contribution to modern culture, however, was her popularization of the honorific "Ms." in place of Miss or Mrs.
Although Ms. was created decades earlier, it wasn't until Michaels saw a typo on a newsletter addressed to her roommate that she saw its potential for addressing women without defining them by their married state. (Significantly, the male honorific Mr. confers no such marital status, an inequality not lost on her.)
After several years of quietly trying to influence its use among other women, her 1969 appearance on a New York radio program advocating for Ms. (pronounced Mizz) helped the term grow in public usage. It would soon find its way to the title of the feminist magazine Ms., founded in 1971 by Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes -- a flowering of what Michaels described to the Japan Times in 2000 as her "timid eight-year crusade."
The rapper Prodigy (November 2, 1974-June 20, 2017), born Albert Johnson, found success in the 1990s with fellow rapper Havoc as the duo Mobb Deep. Their hits included "Quiet Storm" with Lil Kim, "Shook Ones (Part II)," and "Hey Luv (Anything)."
Mobb Deep earned a platinum plaque for the 1999 album, "Murda Muzik," which featured the memorable remix of "Quiet Storm," still performed by Lil Kim on the road today. The duo also reached gold status with the albums "Infamy," ''Hell on Earth" and "The Infamous." Prodigy also released several solo albums, including the gold-selling "H.N.I.C." in 2000.
Prodigy served most of a 3.5-year sentence in a medium-security dorm at Mid-State Correctional Facility near Utica, N.Y., after a plea deal on a weapons possession charge in 2007. "It made me realize the gravity, the reality of having everything taken from you. My career, my family, my freedom," he told The Associated Press in an interview last year.
Incarceration not only inspired his art; he also released a cookbook of prison recipes, "Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook," based on his time in jail.
John G. Avildsen
Director John G. Avildsen (December 21, 1935-June 16, 2017) had a passion for the underdog. His breakthrough film, "Joe" (1970), starred Peter Boyle as a hardhat bigot behind the times of the counterculture.
His greatest success came six years later, with the first "Rocky" film. Even though he knew nothing about boxing, he accepted the script by then-unknown Sylvester Stallone as an exceptional character study. "On page 3, this guy (Rocky) is talking to his turtles, and I was hooked," Avildsen told The New York Times in 1977.
The low-budget picture was a smash and won the Oscar for Best Picture, with Avildsen winning Best Director. And though he begged off sequels, he returned to direct "Rocky V," expecting that Stallone's Rocky Balboa would be killed off, until producers had a change of mind.
Another surprise hit was "The Karate Kid" (1984), starring Ralph Macchio as a young boy who takes up martial arts and (spoiler alert!) defeats an obnoxious bully in a karate contest. Avildsen would also direct two sequels. Other credits included "Save the Tiger" (which won Jack Lemmon an Oscar), "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings," "Lean on Me," and "The Power of One."
In a 1992 interview Avildsen said, "I guess I just like to see underdogs winning against the odds. To me, that is good drama. And the opposite would be too depressing."
Helmut Kohl (April 3, 1930-June 16, 2017) began his 16 years as German Chancellor in 1982, as the leader of West Germany. By the time he left office, in 1998, he was leading a reunified Germany that was at the center of a unified Europe.
Less than a year after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, Kohl spearheaded the end of Germany's decades-long division into East and West, ushering in a new era in European politics. It was the close friendships that Kohl built up with other world leaders that helped him persuade both anti-Communist Western allies and the leaders of the collapsing Soviet Union that a strong, united Germany could live at peace with its neighbors - making him, in the words of former President Bill Clinton, "the most important European statesman since World War II."
Kohl also lobbied heavily for the euro, introduced in 1999, as a pillar of peace. It is now used in 19 nations.
"When a new spirit began to sweep through Eastern Europe in the 1980s, when freedom was won in Poland, when brave people in Leipzig, East Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany staged a peaceful revolution, Helmut Kohl was the right person at the right time," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. "He held fast to the dream and goal of a united Germany, even as others wavered."
Comedian Bill Dana (October 5, 1924-June 15, 2017), who wrote jokes for Don Adams and was head writer for Steve Allen, became a star in his own right in the 1950s and '60s with his character Jose Jimenez, a Hispanic immigrant who would attempt, in one profession or another, to assimilate into American culture. In one of his guises, Jimenez appeared as an astronaut. When an interviewer asked him if his headgear was called a crash helmet, he replied, "Oh, I hope not."
Dana recorded eight bestselling comedy albums, and had his own sitcom, "The Bill Dana Show" (1963-65). After retiring his Jimenez character, Dana (himself of Hungarian-Jewish descent) continued writing, including for "All in the Family" (an episode in which Sammy Davis Jr. visits the Bunker household and kisses Archie on the cheek). He also appeared on "The Golden Girls," "The Facts of Life" and "St. Elsewhere."
In a 1998 interview with The Associated Press, Dana talked about the early years of TV comedy: "America was so uptight sexually you couldn't show a close-up of the stork on 'Zoo Parade.' We were blessed with having to get our laughs out of pure comedy, pure in the sense of universality."
Adam West (September 19, 1928-June 9, 2017) brought a stoic, no-nonsense tone to the role of a comic book superhero, Batman, in the beloved 1960s TV series. Despite (or perhaps because of) the show's campy tone, West played it straight, with only the slightest tongue inserted into cheek, making Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, Batman, the epitome of valor in a Gotham teeming with naughty villains.
Though he suffered from being typecast as the superhero once the series was cancelled, the show's continued popularity in syndication demonstrated his appeal. West even returned to the role, voicing a 1970s animated "Batman" series, as well as a guest appearance on "The Simpsons."
"You get terribly typecast playing a character like that," he told The Associated Press in a 2014 interview. "But in the overall, I'm delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too."
Glenne Headly (March 13, 1955-June 8, 2017), an early member of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, was known to film audiences from her performances in the comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Mr. Holland's Opus" and Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" (pictured). She also appeared in the miniseries "Lonesome Dove" and "The Night Of," and had recurring roles on "ER" and "Monk."
Her Broadway credits included "Arms and the Man" (1985), directed by her then-husband John Malkovich.
She described the offhand way in which she slipped into her characters and pulled out scene-stealing performances in an HBO interview for "The Night Of," in which she played a lawyer: "If I had tried to play [her] in a much tougher, more obvious way, I don't think she would have gotten so far."
Pioneering scuba diver James Stewart (Sept. 5, 1927-June 7, 2017) explored the sites of hydrogen bomb blasts and taught generations of scientists to dive for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
Stewart was a longtime breath-hold (or free) diver when he first took up scuba. As Scripps' chief diving officer he helped develop diving safety procedures and trained thousands of underwater researchers.
Over five decades, Stewart dove all over the world; helped discover underwater sandfalls at Cabo San Lucas; survived a shark attack; consulted for NASA, the FBI, Army Special Forces and National Park Service; and developed diver training for the Antarctic, where a mountain -- Stewart Peak -- is named after him.
Modernist architect William Krisel (November 14, 1924-June 5, 2017) would design 40,000 tract homes, imbued with now-iconic Southern California touches such as butterfly roofs, post-and-beam construction and swimming pools, that were built in the post-World War II housing boom. During the 1950s and 1960s he and longtime business partner Dan Palmer worked with developers in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley and elsewhere, creating homes that were cheap to build yet elegant.
The homes were open-plan, full of light and simple styling. His basic floor plans, often built around a square, were inexpensive to construct, making them attractive to developers. "Before that, affordable tract houses were tacky, low-ceiling cracker boxes with holes poked out for windows," Krisel told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.
Krisel's work had modernist and elegant touches such as brick fireplaces; patterned concrete block walls; clerestory windows for light; and big panes of glass to bring the outdoors closer to the inside (especially in the dramatic, mountain-backed deserts of Palm Springs). The roof was a crucial part of each design: flat, gabled or sweeping up like angular butterfly wings.
Many of his homes remain, including entire neighborhoods of them in Palm Springs. Buyers there have been restoring them, and new homes have been built based on the original plans.
While performing as a singer in Hawaii, Roger Smith (December 18, 1932-June 4, 2017) was spotted by James Cagney, who recommended the Navy Reservist get into acting. Cagney hired him for a role in "Man of a Thousand Faces." He later played Rosalind Russell's son in "Auntie Mame."
Smith brought glamour to the TV detective genre beginning in 1958 as a hip private eye on the series "77 Sunset Strip." He told the Los Angeles Times that the series aimed to show that private investigators were well-trained, serious men, and not the movie and TV stereotype with "dangling cigarettes and large chips on their shoulders." He was chosen for the part because, Smith said, "I don't look like a detective."
After recovering from a life-threatening illness, Smith got the title role in a TV series based on "Mister Roberts," which lasted from 1965-66. He married actress Ann-Margret the following year, and later quit acting to manage her career.
By sight, British actor Peter Sallis (February 1, 1921- June 2, 2017) was recognizable to British audiences as the star of the long-running sitcom "Last of the Summer Wine," appearing in every episode of the show's 37-year run.
But millions more around the world knew his voice from Nick Park's series of madcap stop-motion animated films featuring Wallace, a cheese-loving Yorkshireman with a passion for inventing wild contraptions, who is usually rescued by his level-headed dog, Gromit. Two of the short films, "The Wrong Trousers" and "A Close Shave," won Academy Awards.
Park said Sallis was always his first and only choice to voice Wallace: "He brought his unique gift and humor to all that he did, and encapsulated the very British art of the droll and understated."
"It was like sparks flying," said Southern rocker Gregg Allman (December 8, 1947-May 27, 2017) of falling in love with the guitar at age nine. He would teach his older brother, Duane, who would form what would become the Allman Brothers Band. Gregg, already headed to college to study dentistry, agreed to join him and try out music rather than med school.
As a songwriter Gregg became famous for such hits as "Melissa," "Whipping Post" and "Midnight Rider" (a popular cover for other artists). But it was the 1971 album, "At Fillmore East," that truly put the group on the map. To this day it is considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. But just three months later, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident.
The Allman Brothers Band continued, off and on, with such albums as "Eat a Peach," "Brothers and Sisters," "Win, Lose or Draw," and "Enlightened Rogues," while Gregg also released solo albums, including "Laid Back," "I'm No Angel" and "Low Country Blues."
In 2011 Allman was asked by CBS' "Sunday Morning" why he loved singing so much. "It's like going to an analyst and just spilling your guts," he replied. "You know, something that's been bugging you for a long time and you finally tell this person, 'Look, here's the way it is.'"
Hall of Famer Jim Bunning (October 23, 1931-May 26, 2017) was an intimidating figure as a major league pitcher. He won 224 games during his 17-year major league career, mostly with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. The right-hander pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history, in 1964; became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues; and was the first pitcher since Cy Young to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both leagues. He also was a leading figure in the founding of the baseball players' union.
When he retired, his 2,855 strikeouts were second in baseball history to Walter Johnson.
Bunning later parlayed his sports fame into a political career as a staunch advocate for conservative causes. The Kentucky Republican served stints on a city council and in the State Senate before serving 12 years in the U.S. House, followed by two terms in the Senate. When Republican leaders pressed him to retire, Bunning pushed back, even threatening to sue the party's national campaign arm if it backed a primary challenger.
In 2009 The New York Times asked Bunning if he felt his party had forsaken him. He replied, "When you've dealt with Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra and Stan Musial, the people I'm dealing with are kind of down the scale."
Born in Warsaw and educated in Canada and the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski (March 28, 1928-May 26, 2017) was an acknowledged expert in Communism when he attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers. In the 1960s he was an adviser to John F. Kennedy, served in the Johnson administration, and advised Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign.
Brzezinski helped President Jimmy Carter bridge wide gaps between the rigid Egyptian and Israeli leaders, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, leading to the Camp David accords in September 1978. Three months later, U.S.-China relations were normalized, a priority for Brzezinski. He also had a hand in two other controversial agreements: the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty with the Soviet Union, and the Panama Canal treaties ceding U.S. control of the waterway.
Throughout his career, he would be affiliated with moderate-to-liberal groups, including the Rand Corp., the Council on Foreign Relations, Amnesty International and the NAACP.
Brzezinski went on to ruffle the feathers of Washington's power elite with his 1983 book, "Power and Principle," which was hailed and reviled as a kiss-and-tell memoir. "I have never believed in flattery or lying as a way of making it," he told The Washington Post that year. "I have made it on my own terms."
Actor Jared Martin (December 21, 1941-May 24, 2017) became a fan favorite with his portrayal of the charming cowboy "Lusty Dusty" Farlow, the love of Sue Ellen, on the soap opera "Dallas."
The son of New Yorker cartoonist Charles E. Martin, he roomed with film director Brian De Palma when the two attended Columbia University in the 1960s (and appeared in De Palma's "The Wedding Party"). Martin worked extensively in television in the 1970s and '80s, including appearances on "Night Gallery," "Columbo," "The Rookies," "The Fantastic Journey," "How the West Was Won," "Wonder Woman," ''Magnum P.I.," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," ''War of the Worlds" and "Murder She Wrote."
He also appeared in the 1973 film "Westworld," and in 2013 directed "The Congressman" starring Treat Williams. After retiring from acting, he co-founded the Big Picture Alliance, a nonprofit that introduces inner city children to filmmaking.
Martin's "Dallas" character was actually killed off after a few episodes, but he proved so popular that he was reintroduced in the wake of the "Who Shot JR?" cliffhanger frenzy. "It was England who was actually responsible for this, because in England everybody was convinced that this cowboy who had been incinerated in a private plane crash was the person who had somehow managed to shoot JR," Martin said in an interview for the fan site ultimatedallas.com. "My agent said, 'Get ready, they are going to bring you back.' And I said 'How? I'm dead!' And the agent says, 'Oh, this is Hollywood, they will think of something.'"
After gaining international fame as Simon Templar in the TV series "The Saint," Roger Moore (October 14, 1927-May 23, 2017) took over the role of James Bond, starring as 007 in seven films, beginning with 1973's "Live and Let Die." Polished and charming, with an off-the-cuff wit, he was closer to the spirit of Ian Fleming's character, especially in the 1981 entry, "For Your Eyes Only."
In addition to the TV series "The Persuaders" and the TV movie "Sherlock Holmes in New York," Moore's TV and film career was far broader than erudite investigators. He replaced James Garner on the TV show "Maverick" (playing his cousin, Beau); and starred in the war films "Shout at the Devil," "The Wild Geese" and "The Sea Wolves," and the adventure "Gold." Recently he voiced an animated children's movie, "Troll Hunters."
Moore became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991 after his good friend Audrey Hepburn introduced him to the organization. He launched several UNICEF initiatives to aid children, and helped raise $91 million for the elimination of iodine deficiency as the honorary chair of Kiwanis International's Worldwide Service Project.
When a reporter for the Telegraph asked Moore in November 2016 if he would play Bond differently if you could do it again, the quick-witted Moore replied, "Very differently. I'd be doing it in a wheelchair!"
In 1968, Roger Ailes (May 15, 1940-May 18, 2017), the young executive producer of "The Mike Douglas Show," wangled a job with Richard Nixon as a media adviser, a position that until then hadn't existed. The 27-year-old packaged the Republican (then vying for a political comeback in the presidential race) in comfortably staged TV town-hall meetings as a man whose intelligence the audience would respect. The remainder of Ailes' career would draw on various blends of showmanship, ruthless politics and an unmatched skill for recognizing TV's raw communication power before his opponents did, and harnessing it better.
In 1996, after working to build up the cable outlets CNBC and America's Talking, the former GOP operative for Presidents Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (and a one-time adviser to President Donald Trump) accepted a challenge from Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN (and soon after, MSNBC). Within a few years Ailes' Fox News Channel would become the audience leader in cable news, emerging as a powerful force on the political scene.
Ailes steadfastly denied any political bias or agenda on the part of his network, which he branded as "Fair and Balanced." But as he said in a 1999 Washington Post profile, the idea of bias was not alien to him: "Anybody who tells you he doesn't have bias is either lying or he's brain-dead. The issue is not bias, it's arrogance. Am I going to use my news organization to shove my views down your throat? That's not my job. … I don't frankly give a damn, as Rhett Butler said. I don't worry about all these attacks. All they do is drive people to us."
With his powerful, nearly four-octave vocal range, Seattle rocker Chris Cornell (July 20, 1964-May 17, 2017) was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement with his band Soundgarden. Formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden broke through into mainstream radio with its 1994 album "Superunknown," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record.
Cornell also collaborated with members of what would become Pearl Jam to form Temple of the Dog in 1991. He pursued a solo career after Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, then joined the supergroup Audioslave. Cornell and Soundgarden would later reunite, releasing the band's sixth studio album, "King Animal," in 2012. He also started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support disadvantaged children, and in March Cornell released the single "The Promise," with proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid organization.
In 1994 Cornell assured Rolling Stone that, even at that heady time for the Seattle music scene, he had not become a "rock star." "Whatever you do and however you do it and however famous you become, you still came out of some woman. You're still part of the human race. You're still as much responsible for what's going on as anybody else. If anything, you become more aware."
Powers Boothe (June 1, 1948-May 14, 2017) always commanded authority on the screen, whether as a military leader or a boo-hiss scoundrel. The character actor was especially adept at villains, such as a drug trafficker in "Extreme Prejudice" (pictured), an outlaw gang leader in "Tombstone," a corrupt senator in "Sin City," or a ruthless saloon owner in the western series "Deadwood."
Boothe won an Emmy in 1980 for his mesmerizing performance as a cult leader in the TV movie "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones." Boothe was the only acting winner to show up to receive his award, as the ceremony was held during an actors' strike. "This is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest," he quipped.
He starred in the HBO series "Philip Marlowe, Private Eye," and played a vice president (later president) on "24." He was also the nefarious Gideon Malick in "The Avengers" and the spinoff series, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
The native Texas, born to a farming family, had moved to New York City to pursue acting, making ends meet by working in a Broadway restaurant. Though he eventually found theater roles, he told the Associated Press in 1981 his family was always ready to welcome him back. "They kept telling me, 'Come home and we'll have a place for you on the farm,'" he said.
Prolific character actor Michael Parks (April 24, 1940-May 9, 2017) appeared in more than 100 films and TV shows. Many of his roles in the 1960s were in anti-establishment films such as "Wild Seed," ''The Happening," and "Bus Riley's Back in Town," alongside Ann-Margret, as well as playing Adam in "The Bible: In the Beginning..." He also starred in the 1969 series "Then Came Bronson" as a disillusioned, motorcycle-riding newsman. But his outspoken nature - speaking out about violence in media during the Vietnam War, or criticizing studio bosses - cost him Hollywood jobs for many years. He built a second career as a singer, recording several country albums, which went gold.
He experienced an on-screen resurgence thanks to directors David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez. Parks played Canadian drug runner Jean Renault on Lynch's "Twin Peaks," while Tarantino cast him in multiple roles in "Kill Bill" (parts 1 and 2) and his "Death Proof" half of 2007's "Grindhouse."
Smith, who directed the actor in "Tusk" and "Red State," called Parks "hands-down the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform."
U.S. bobsledding star Steven Holcomb (April 14, 1980-May 6, 2017), who won 60 World Cup medals, plus 10 more at the world championships, drove to three Olympic medals after beating a disease that nearly ended his career.
The Park City, Utah, native had once struggled with depression, which he believed stemmed from his fight with keratoconus, a disease that robbed him of his vision. He told CBS News in 2014 that he attempted to take his own life in a Colorado Springs hotel room in 2007. But he woke up from the overdose, and in a stunning turnaround, his vision - and his dominance on the bobsled track - would be resurrected following eye surgery.
At the 2010 Vancouver Games he piloted his four-man sled to win a gold medal - the first for the U.S. in that event in 62 years. Holcomb also drove to bronze medals in two- and four-man events at the 2014 Sochi Games in 2014.
In an interview with People shortly before his death, Holcomb said he believes he became a better driver after his vision had deteriorated, "because I learned to drive by feel and not by visual. It was kind of like a silver lining, and it made me the bobsledder that I am today."
Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme (February 22, 1944-April 26, 2017) won acclaim from the great variety of his films, from musical documentaries like "Stop Making Sense" (1984), the memorable concert film that captured the idiosyncratic performances of The Talking Heads, to the Tom Hanks drama "Philadelphia" (1993), one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge and tackle HIV/AIDS from social and political perspectives.
But of all his films, Demme is perhaps most recognized for introducing us to one of the most enduring and terrifying villains ever conjured for the screen: Dr. Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991). It was the only horror film to ever win Best Picture, and one of only three films to win Academy Awards in all five major categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster) and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Beyond the brilliantly manipulative cannibalistic serial killer, Demme's wonderful kaleidoscope of characters included Audrey Hankel (Melanie Griffith) in "Something Wild" (1986), a zany romantic who manages to make a buttoned-down businessman (Jeff Daniels) fall in love with her while fending off her violent rebellious ex (Ray Liotta).
Speaking at the Austin Film Festival in 2015, Demme explained his preference for a subjective camera - having his actors stare right into the lens - as a means to grip the viewer. "The more deeply into the character's shoes the audience is," he said, "the more they're going to care about what's going on."
Rober M. Persig
It was an unlikely bestseller: "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," published in 1974, was based on an essay written by Robert M. Pirsig (September 6, 1928-April 24, 2017) following a motorcycle trip he took in the late 1960s from Minnesota to the Dakotas with his 12-year-old son, Chris. The story - ideally suited to a generation's yearning for the open road - encompassed a quest for knowledge and skepticism of modern values, while also telling a personal story about a father-and-son relationship and the author's struggles with schizophrenia.
A world traveler and former philosophy student, Pirsig would expand the manuscript to hundreds of thousands of words, which would be met with more than 100 rejections from publishers, before it landed on the desk of William Morrow editor James Landis, who described the writing as "brilliant beyond belief." The book became a million-seller classic, praised as a unique and masterful blend of narrative and philosophy.
In 2006, the author told The Guardian that his son (who was killed by a mugger in 1979) had not cared for the book: "He said, 'Dad, I had a good time on that trip. It was all false.' It threw him terribly. There is stuff I can't talk about still."
A Burbank, California, native, Erin Moran (October 18, 1960-April 22, 2017) was acting since she was four, appearing in commercials; TV shows such as "Daktari," "My Three Sons" and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father"; and movies like "How Sweet It Is!" After missing out on the pilot for "Happy Days," she was cast in 1974 as Joanie Cunningham, the smart-mouthed kid sister to high school student Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard).
In 1982, she was paired off with fellow "Happy Days" performer Scott Baio in the short-lived "Joanie Loves Chachi," before returning to "Happy Days" in 1984 for the show's final season.
In later years Moran performed on stage (including the musical "They're Playing Our Song" and the Neil Simon comedy, "Lost in Yonkers"), and made appearances on "The Love Boat" and "Murder, She Wrote."
In a 2007 interview with blogger Sam Tweedle Moran acknowledged that typecasting limited her acting career, but said she wanted to be remembered as both Erin and Joanie. "When somebody accidentally calls me Joanie and they apologize I say, 'Don't apologize. I wouldn't be here otherwise.'"
Cuba Gooding Sr.
Singer Cuba Gooding Sr. (April 27, 1944-April 20, 2017) was part of the 1970s Grammy-nominated soul group The Main Ingredient. Their most famous song was the hit "Everybody Plays the Fool," which rose to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Other Top 10 hits included "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely," and "Rolling Down a Mountainside."
Gooding also recorded as a solo artist with Motown Records, including "Mind Pleaser" and "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend," an international hit in 1983.
In addition to his son, Oscar-winning actor Cuba Jr., Gooding had other acting progeny, including son Omar ("Family Time") and daughter April ("Life of a King"). In a 2000 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he rued than none of his kids were singers. "I would take my kids into the studio and say, 'None of ya'll can sing.' And they would say, 'Yeah, Dad, but you can't act!'"
Guitarist John Warren Geils Jr., a.k.a. J. Geils (February 20, 1946-April 11, 2017), was studying mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts when he founded the J. Geils Band in 1967. Blending blues rock, R&B, soul and pop, they built a large following due to their energetic live shows.
The band had several Top 40 singles in the early 1970s, including a cover of "Lookin' for a Love," and "Give It to Me." Bigger hits included "Must of Got Lost" in 1975, and "Love Stinks" (1980), a humorous rant against unrequited love. The 1982 song "Centerfold," from the album "Freeze Frame," hit No. 1 on the pop chart in February 1982. Other hits included "One Last Kiss," "Angel in Blue" and "Come Back."
When the J. Geils Band split up (they would reunite occasionally in the years since), he and fellow bandmember Magic Dick formed a blues band, called Bluestime. Geils also toured with such musicians as B.B. King, Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin, recording jazz albums after - he said in a 2006 interview -- being "sidetracked by the rock and roll thing. … I am pretty much a jazz and blues head at this point in my life."
Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (August 5, 1935-April 11, 2017) gained notoriety through his early work with German directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder (including "The Marriage of Maria Braun," top) and Volker Schlöndorff. But beginning in the 1980s his work in Hollywood (including the seven films he shot for Martin Scorsese) would earn him three Academy Award nominations.
Ballhaus is best remembered for Scorsese's 1990 mob classic "Goodfellas" (center). He also shot "The Departed" (bottom), "After Hours," "The Color of Money," "The Age of Innocence," "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Gangs of New York." His other credits included "Broadcast News," "Bram Stoker's Dracula," ''Working Girl" and "Quiz Show."
"My film school was the cinema," Ballhaus told the Goethe Institute in 2016. Acknowledging the inspiration of such cinematographers as Sven Nyquist. Ballhaus said capturing an actor's eyes - "the windows of the soul" - was important, but he was equally celebrated for his elegant camera moves that became iconic images of cinema, such as his circling around Michelle Pfeiffer while she sang in "The Fabulous Baker Boys." "I am very much a fan of the slogan 'motion is emotion,'" he said. "When you move the camera, you stir emotion in the audience."
Comedian Don Rickles (May 8, 1926-April 6, 2017) tried various jobs - selling life insurance, peddling cosmetics door-to-door - and was inept at all of them. "I couldn't sell air conditioners on a 98-degree day," he told the Associated Press in 2007. He enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and envisioned a serious acting career, with similar lack of success. Then he attempted standup comedy, doing impressions and jokes, and soon found himself making comments about his audience. "It was all attitude. All attitude," he said. "I took my best shots. Whatever I thought was funny in my head, I said."
When Frank Sinatra came to one gig in Miami Beach, Rickles riffed: "'Make yourself comfortable, Frank, hit somebody,' I saw his entourage wait to see how he'd react. He howled. So they howled." Rickles soon became a favorite of Hollywood stars who would come to his shows and be subjected to his verbal taunts, such as Milton Berle ("I didn't recognize you dressed up as a guy").
Rickles did get a few movie parts, most recently as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the "Toy Story" series; he also starred in two short-lived TV series. But it was as the originator of the "insult comic" genre that the nightclub entertainer and favorite guest of late-night talk-shows made his lasting mark. Despite his barbs ("Hello, dummy!"), Rickles' insults had little sting, which accounted for his counterintuitive nickname: Mr. Warmth.
Rock producer Paul O'Neill (February 23, 1956-April 5, 2017) began putting together Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996, blending heavy metal with classical music to create a unique brand of rock theater. He tapped three members of the Tarpon Springs, Florida band Savatage to be part of TSO, and staged spectacular holiday concerts with a healthy dose of lasers and pyrotechnics.
In 2016 O'Neill told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Ben Tracy, "Every special effect company, every lighting company, every pyro company knows that if they come up with a great special effect that's extremely expensive, there's one band dumb enough to buy it, and it's us."
The TSO is best known for its hard rock takes on Christmas staples like "Carol of the Bells." Their rock operas include "The Christmas Attic," "Beethoven's Last Night," "The Lost Christmas Eve" and "Night Castle." Their 1996 album, "Christmas Eve and Other Stories," went triple platinum, and their electric takes on Yuletide favorites became a popular soundtrack for synchronized blinking Christmas house decorations.
Blues musician Lonnie Brooks (December 18, 1933-April 1, 2017) cemented his relationship with his adopted hometown with his hit 1974 recording of Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago." A prolific guitarist known for his intense solos and raspy but strong voice, the Louisiana-born Brooks was invited to Chicago by soul singer Sam Cooke more than 50 years ago. He recorded a number of albums for Alligator Records' "Living Chicago Blues" series, including classics such as "Bayou Lightning," ''Hot Shot," and "Lone Star Shootout." He appeared in Dan Aykroyd's film "Blues Brothers 2000."
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1992, Brooks said the blues did not come naturally to him at first: "Then one night, I saw Magic Sam (Maghett) in a little blues club on the South Side. He went on stage right after he'd gotten into a big fight with his girlfriend, and it was like he was taking it out on his guitar. I seen how it came from the heart, so I went home to the basement, and got into that mood that Magic Sam had been in, and the blues came to me."
Acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (July 18, 1932-April 1, 2017) gained notoriety in the former Soviet Union while in his 20s, with poetry denouncing Josef Stalin. He gained international acclaim with "Babi Yar," the unflinching 1961 poem that told of the slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews by the Nazis and denounced the anti-Semitism that had spread throughout the Soviet Union.
In 2007 Yevtushenko told the Associated Press he wrote the poem after visiting the site of the mass killings in Kiev, Ukraine, and searching for something memorializing what happened there - a sign, a tombstone, some kind of historical marker - but finding nothing. "I was so shocked. I was absolutely shocked when I saw it, that people didn't keep a memory about it," he said.
At the height of his fame, Yevtushenko read his works in packed soccer stadiums and arenas, including to a crowd of 200,000 in 1991 that came to listen during a failed coup attempt in Russia. He also attracted large audiences on tours of the West, and settled in Oklahoma, teaching at the University of Tulsa. "He's more like a rock star than some sort of bespectacled, quiet poet," said former University of Tulsa President Robert Donaldson.
Pop artist James Rosenquist (November 29, 1933-March 31, 2017) started by painting signs and billboard advertisements in Times Square and other public places. He later incorporated images from popular culture - from celebrities to consumer goods - into his work.
One popular piece was Rosenquist's "F-111" (pictured), which superimposes a Vietnam War fighter-bomber on images of children and consumer goods.
Rosenquist resisted comparisons to his contemporaries Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. "I'm not like Andy Warhol. He did Coca-Cola bottles and Brillo pads. I used generic imagery - no brand names - to make a new kind of picture," Rosenquist said in a 2007 interview with Smithsonian magazine. "That was the imagery I was concerned with - things that were a little bit familiar but not things you feel nostalgic about. Hot dogs and typewriters - generic things people sort of recognize."
Part of a circle of San Francisco gay activists, artist Gilbert Baker (June 2, 1951-March 30, 2017) taught himself to sew and began making banners for gay and anti-war marches. His original design of the rainbow flag - eight colored stripes - first flew at a gay rights parade in San Francisco in 1978; it rose to even greater prominence later that year following the assassination of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk.
The eight stripes were eventually reduced to the current six (hot pink, for one, was very expensive fabric to acquire, he was told), with each color expressing a different meaning, starting at the top, with red for "life," all the way down to violet, for "the human spirit."
A flag, he once said, is "a way of proclaiming your visibility, or saying, 'This is who I am!'"
Baker rejected advice to patent the rainbow flag design and never made a penny off it.
After failing at writing the Great American Novel, Jack Ziegler (July 13, 1942-March 29, 2017) was encouraged by a childhood friend writing for the National Lampoon to sell cartoons to the humor magazine. That led to sales to The New Yorker, to which Ziegler would eventually contribute more than 1,600 cartoons over a 40-year career - many featured in eight published collections of his drawings.
Each Ziegler cartoon was a small masterpiece of irony and wit that demanded close attention to both the artwork and the caption.
"It's always a blast when you come up with an idea that you know no one has ever come up with before," he told the blog Ink Spill in 2016.
Chuck Barris (June 3, 1929-March 21, 2017) built a game show empire as the creator of such cheesy daytime fare as "The Dating Game" and ''The Newlywed Game." But the producer became a familiar face as the host of his most infamous creation: "The Gong Show" (1976-1980), a talent show for amateurs, many with no discernible talent, who would be ceremoniously exiled from the stage with the whack of a gong. The winner was afforded the princely sum of $516.32.
His big-screen followup, "The Gong Show Movie," featured such TV show regulars as the Unknown Comic (a guy with a bag over his head telling terrible jokes). Audiences gave it the gong.
Barris followed with an autobiography, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," in which he claimed to have worked for the CIA as an assassin. George Clooney directed a 2002 film version.
In 2003 he confessed to the Guardian, "If you stick in the business of being creative, you get hurt. And creative disappointment seems so much harder to take than any other kind. But if you're not prepared to get hurt like that, life can be pretty boring."
In a writing career that spanned six decades, newspaper columnist and author Jimmy Breslin (October 17, 1928-March 19, 2017) became the brash embodiment of the street-smart New Yorker, winning a Pulitzer Prize for articles that, among others, exposed police torture in Queens and took a sympathetic view upon the life of an AIDS patient.
He became a news columnist in 1963 with his singular coverage of the JFK assassination: an interview with the man tasked with digging the president's grave. He would go on to cover working stiffs, mobsters, city employees on the take, and big-city power brokers. He even became part of a tabloid story himself when, in 1977, he received several letters from the "Son of Sam," prompting Breslin to quip, "He's the only killer I ever knew who knew how to use a semicolon."
Breslin's several books included a comic novel, "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight"; biographies of Damon Runyon and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey; "Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?," about the New York Mets' torturously bad first season; and "I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me," a memoir recounting his brain aneurysm. He also ran a quixotic campaign for city council president, with Norman Mailer for mayor.
In 2002 he talked to the Associated Press about his book, "The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez" (which told of a young immigrant from Mexico who died on a New York City construction site), and concomitantly explained his work ethic: "I was obsessed with the topic. I did it without any thought of money. Because I know I'm selling a book about a dead Mexican. That REALLY is gonna be a huge success! I did it because I wanted to do it, it should be done. I don't know of any good it can do beyond that. You do it honestly, you tell the freakin' truth, and go home."
The dancers in pieces created by Trisha Brown (November 25, 1936-March 18, 2017) were not limited to a stage, or even to the air above it. The choreographer envisioned revolutionary works that took harnessed dancers performing vertically along the sides of buildings, and even dangling in mid-air.
After studying under José Limón, Merce Cunningham and Anna Halprin, Brown helped found the Judson Dance Theater in New York City, and performed with an improvisational dance group, Grand Union. In 1970 she started the Trisha Brown Dance Company, a preeminent proponent of postmodern dance. Her works evoked everyday, normal "movements" despite their challenging settings, producing a minimalist style that broke boundaries as it melded with projections, or transpired without a musical soundtrack.
"I am well aware there is more to dance than elegant vocabulary and deployment of dancers, and it ain't 'boy meets girl' to music," Brown told Bomb Magazine in 1993, adding, "I will do anything to get a good dance, invent new methods, employ trickery, endure experimentation."
Considered by many to be the "father of rock 'n' roll," Chuck Berry (October 18, 1926-March 18, 2017) mixed country, blues and R&B to create a wholly unique sound.
Born in segregated St. Louis in 1926, Berry went to the top of the R&B charts and No. 5 on the pop charts with his first hit, "Maybellene." He followed up with "Roll Over, Beethoven," "Too Much Monkey Business," "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Carol."
Throughout the '60s, Berry continued to crank out the hits, such as "Back in the U.S.A.," "Nadine (Is It You?)," "No Particular Place to Go" and "You Can Never Tell." He continued to perform throughout the late '60s and '70s and released his last studio album, "Rock It," in 1979.
But the law followed him -- he spent three years in prison as a young adult, and another 18 months in the early '60s. Tax charges followed in the 1970s. "Every 15 years, in fact, it seems I make a big mistake," Berry acknowledged in his memoir.
In addition to his own impressive catalog of hits, musicians from Bob Dylan to John Lennon have called out Berry's influence on their music. In his induction of Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Keith Richards said that "it's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I've lifted every lick he ever played. This is the gentleman who started it all."
It took more than six decades for America to right a wrong in recognizing the heroism of Carl Clark (July 1916-March 16, 2017), who was a Steward First Class on the destroyer Aaron Ward in May 1945 when it came under attack by Japanese Kamikaze pilots. He was on fire fighting duty with seven others. "First plane hit, wiped out all of these guys, all of the seven men. I was the only one left," Clark said.
The blast from one plane was so powerful that it blew Clark all the way across the ship. Though he suffered a broken collarbone in the attack, Clark was credited with saving the lives of several men by dragging them to safety. He also put out every fire, including one in an ammunition locker that would have cracked the vessel in half.
Even though the destroyer's captain acknowledged that Clark had saved the ship, his name was kept out of the battle report, according to Clark, because of "bigotry." In 2010 Rep. Anna Eshoo took Clark's case to the Pentagon. Two years later, when he was 95, Clark was awarded a medal for distinguished service in combat by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
"He didn't consider himself a hero, he never talked about it," his daughter, Karen Clark Collins, told the Associated Press. "But after he left the Navy, he helped start the Boys and Girls Club in Menlo Park [Calif.], and did a lot for his community. He was a compassionate and sharing man."
Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master James Cotton (July 1, 1935-March 16, 2017) began performing professionally at age nine, when he was taken under the wing of legendary blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson II. The Mississippi Delta native's full-throated sound would later back Howlin' Wolf, as well as Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana, Gregg Allman and the Grateful Dead.
He began recording for Sun Records in the 1950s, and as Muddy Waters' bandleader he appeared on Waters' landmark album, "At Newport 1960," most memorably on the track "Got My Mojo Working." His nearly 30 albums included his 1996 Grammy Award-winning Verve album, "Deep in the Blues."
Cotton continued to perform even after battling throat cancer in the 1990s. His most recent album, "Cotton Mouth Man" in 2013, was also nominated for a Grammy. That year he told Rolling Stone magazine, when asked about retirement, "You work so hard to get it that once you get it, you don't want to let it go, because at that point, it's yours. You paid the price for it, and it's yours."
Rock climbing icon and author Royal Robbins (February 3, 1935-March 14, 2017) was part of the post-war Golden Age of Yosemite, when a vagabond group of climbers lived in the park and devoted their lives to climbing. They claimed a number of first ascents that were once deemed impossible, including El Capitan and Half Dome.
In 1967, Robbins and his wife, Liz, made the first ascent of the Nutcracker route in the Yosemite Valley using only removable gear for protection -- the first climb of its kind in the U.S. His advocacy of clean climbing (using removable protection rather than damaging pitons) influenced generations of climbers since.
Robbins later founded an outdoor clothing company bearing his name, and continued climbing into his 70s.
In 2010 when asked by Outdoor Magazine about the mindset of climbers, Robbins said, "It's all because of what goes on inside of you. Whether you conquered a mountain or conquered your weakness, I think that you can think of it either way. It depends on the climber."
"We Are Family" (1979) was a dance anthem for womanhood recorded by the Philadelphia R&B group Sister Sledge, and it was a professional highpoint for Joni Sledge (September 13, 1956-March 10, 2017) who, with her sisters (from far left) Kathie, Kim and Debbie, were nominated for a Grammy.
"The four of us had been in the music business for eight years and we were frustrated. We were saying, 'Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,'" Joni said in a 2016 Guardian interview.
But then they crossed paths with Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, of the group Chic, who wrote and produced Sister Sledge's disco jam "He's the Greatest Dancer," a Top 10 hit. They followed with "We Are Family" and "Lost in Music." The group also recorded "Thinking of You" and the Mary Wells song "My Guy."
Robert James Waller
It was a novel that put Robert James Waller (August 1, 1939-March 10, 2017), an economics and applied mathematics professor, on the map. His 1992 romance, "The Bridges of Madison County," was written in two weeks, after he was inspired during a trip taking pictures of bridges in his home state of Iowa.
Many critics scoffed at the bittersweet story of a lonely farm wife and her four-day affair with a National Geographic photographer passing through town, but "Bridges" was a publishing phenomenon, sitting on The New York Times' bestseller list for three years (longer than any other novel in a half-century). It was translated into dozens of languages, and inspired a popular 1995 film (starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood) and a Broadway musical. The book's success also turned the quiet rural farmland of Madison County, and its bridges, into a tourist destination for romantics.
In 2005 on CBS' "The Early Show," Waller described himself as a combination of a mathematics-economics professor and a writer-musician. "My wife once called me a sensible wild man," he said.
New York civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart (October 8, 1939-March 7, 2017), a mother of seven, was a schoolteacher in Harlem in the 1960s before launching a legal career that brought her into the public spotlight. She told the New York Times she was stirred by witnessing the plight of poverty and injustice. "I wanted to change things," she said.
Her clients ranged from small-time crooks to members of the Black Panthers, Weather Underground leaders, a former hit man, and a man accused of trying to kill nine police officers.
Stewart lost her license to practice law after she was convicted in a terrorism case. She served four years in prison for helping one of her clients, the blind Egyptian sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, overcome strict rules meant to cut off contact with the outside world by passing messages to and from his followers in Egypt.
A longtime believer in armed struggle as a way of fostering political revolution, she called herself a political prisoner, and said in a September 2016 interview that violence sometimes leads to societal change, allowing "the more peaceable shepherds among us to approach the wolf."
"She marched to a different drummer, and the drummer was good," her husband, Ralph Poynter, said.
Film historian Robert Osborne (May 3, 1932-March 5, 2017), the genial host of Turner Classic Movies, was a walking encyclopedia of classic Hollywood who was obsessed with films since his youth. "I actually spent every Saturday in college going through every copy of The New York Times over about a 20-year period, and made a list of every movie that played, and how long it ran," he told CBS News' Mo Rocca in 2016.
Impressed by Osborne's deep well of knowledge about Hollywood's Golden Era, Lucille Ball encouraged the aspiring actor to be a writer instead. "She said, 'We have enough actors,'" Osborne recalled.
He become a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, and the author of several books on film history and the Academy Awards,
As the enthusiastic face of Ted Turner's classic movie network since its inception in 1994, Osborne introduced films with history and trivia, and conducted interviews with stars and filmmakers.
Of his love for classic films, he told Rocca, "I think we have to have dreams. We need a little Carmen Miranda with all her tutti frutti hats. And we need some Fred and Ginger dancing. We need Gene Kelly hanging off that lamppost. We need to be taken into a fantasy world, and not be afraid to go there occasionally."
Dr. Thomas Starzl
While a resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Dr. Thomas Starzl (March 11, 1926-March 4, 2017) assisted in a liver operation, after which he noted the patient's sugar diabetes also had improved. Thinking he had found the cause of diabetes to be in the liver rather than the pancreas, he designed experiments in 1956 with dogs to prove his discovery. He was wrong, but it started him on the path that would lead him to perform the world's first liver transplant in 1963 and the world's first successful liver transplant four years later. He later perfected the process by using identical twins and, eventually, other blood relatives as donors.
Since Starzl's first successful liver transplant, thousands of lives have been saved by similar operations.
He later joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as professor of surgery, where his studies on the anti-rejection drug cyclosporin transformed transplantation from an experimental procedure into one that gave patients a hope they could survive an otherwise fatal organ failure.
In his 1992 autobiography, "The Puzzle People: Memoirs of a Transplant Surgeon," Starzl said he actually hated performing surgery and was sickened with fear each time he prepared for an operation. "It is true that transplant surgeons saved patients, but the patients rescued us in turn and gave meaning to what we did, or tried to," he once wrote.
Pop star Tommy Page (May 24, 1970-March 3, 2017) had a No. 1 hit in 1990 with "I'll Be Your Everything." Page recorded seven studio albums, including collaborations with New Kids on the Block, and his songs were featured in several films, such as "Shag," "Dick Tracy" ("Blue Knights"), and "Cookies" ("Never Had It So Good").
As a record company executive at Warner Brothers, he helped guide the careers of such artists as Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Green Day and Alanis Morissette. Page later became publisher of Billboard magazine, was a vice president at the music streaming service Pandora, and senior VP of Brand Partnerships at Cumulus Media & Westwood One.
In a 2015 interview with Inside Radio, Page said, "I've been so fortunate to have a long career in the music business. I have done this by reinventing myself over and over."
Abandoned as a girl by her Hollywood screenwriter parents, a single mother before age 20, prize-winning author Paula Fox (April 22, 1923-March 1, 2017) created high art out of imagined chaos in such novels as "Poor George" and "Desperate Characters" and out of real-life upheavals in her memoir "Borrowed Finery."
A devoted reader since childhood, she didn't publish until past 40, having worked as a teacher and as a tutor for troubled children. Fox used the most finely-crafted prose to write again and again about breakdown and disruption. In "Poor George," her debut novel, Fox told of a bored schoolteacher and the teen vagrant who upends his life. "Desperate Characters," her most highly-regarded work of fiction, is a portrait of New York City's civic and domestic decline in the 1960s, a plague symbolized by the bite of a stray cat.
"It seems to me that in life, behind all these names and things and people and forces, there's a dark energy," Fox told The Associated Press in 2011.
Other books included the novels "A Servant's Tale" and ''The Western Coast," and "The Coldest Winter," a memoir about living in Europe after World War II. Fox also wrote more than a dozen children's books, including the Newbery-honored "The Slave Dancer" and "Borrowed Finery."
Her work received a major reappraisal in the 1990s after being touted by such writers as Jonathan Franzen, who called "Desperate Characters" an overlooked masterpiece.
Judge Joseph Wapner
For 12 years, retired Los Angeles judge Joseph Wapner (November 15, 1919-February 26, 2017) presided over TV's "The People's Court," on which he decided real small-claims. His affable, no-nonsense approach attracted many fans, making his show one of the leading syndicated programs.
"Everything on the show is real," Wapner told the Associated Press in a 1986 interview. "There's no script, no rehearsal, no retakes. Everything from beginning to end is like a real courtroom, and I personally consider each case as a trial."
"Sometimes I don't even deliberate," he added. "I just decide from the bench, it's so obvious. The beautiful part is that I have carte blanche."
He later had a cable series called "Judge Wapner's Animal Court."
He generally turned down guest shots on other shows, saying, "I'm not an actor, I'm a judge."
Bill Paxton (May 17, 1955-February 25, 2017), a genial and widely-respected character actor, made memorable appearances in some of the most popular big-budget and low-budget films of the past four decades, from the Oscar-winning "Titanic," "Apollo 13" and "Aliens," to the vampire thriller "Near Dark," the crime drama "One False Move," and the creepy "Nightcrawler." He also starred in the HBO series "Big Love," about a polygamist, for which he earned three Golden Globe nominations, and was currently starring in the CBS drama "Training Day," which premiered earlier this month.
"'I'm a frustrated romantic actor," Paxton told The Associated Press in 2006. "I wanted to play the Bud part in 'Splendor in the Grass,' I wanted to play Romeo - the great, unrequited, tragic love stories. I've gotten to mix it up a bit with the ladies, but the romance has been a subplot, running from the tornado or whatever.
"I feel like I'm a regionalist and a populist who's never fit in among the intellectuals," he added. "I think there's where the heart of American art is. My greatest roles have been in regional films, whether it was 'One False Move' or 'Frailty' or 'Simple Plan' or 'Traveller.'"
German sculptor Fritz Koenig (June 20, 1924-February 22, 2017), known for his distinctive large statues and sculptures, created the 25-foot-high ball-shaped bronze sculpture "The Sphere" ("Grosse Kugelkaryatide N.Y."), which stood at the foot of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers from 1971 until the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
It was recovered from the rubble, heavily dented but structurally intact, and moved to Battery Park in Southern Manhattan, where it now stands alongside an eternal flame dedicated to the people who died. A plaque notes that the sculpture was conceived as a symbol of world peace.
Koenig said it was a miracle that "The Sphere" had survived, noting at the time, "It was a sculpture, now it's a memorial."
Other works by Koenig include a granite beam to commemorate the 11 Israeli Olympic team members and a German police officer who were killed in the 1972 terror attack on the Munich Games, and a memorial to the people murdered by the Nazis at the former Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.
The early life of Norma McCorvey (September 22, 1947-February 18, 2017) was marred by petty crimes, running away from home, and a four-year stay at a state reform school for girls in Gainesville, Texas beginning at age 11. When she was 16, married but separated and pregnant, her mother tricked her into signing away custody of her firstborn and then threw her out of the house.
McCorvey gave a second child up for adoption, but when she got pregnant a third time at age 22, she decided to have an abortion, which was illegal in Texas except to save a woman's life. Unable to afford to travel to one of the handful of states where the procedure was legal, she was put in touch with lawyers seeking a woman to represent in a legal challenge against the state's anti-abortion statute. Three years after giving birth to her baby, "Jane Roe" saw her case decided by the Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion across the U.S.
McCorvey lived quietly for years before revealing herself as Jane Roe in the 1980s. But later she became an evangelical Christian, and joined the anti-abortion movement. She then converted to Roman Catholicism.
"I'm 100 percent pro-life," she told the Associated Press in 1998. "I don't believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it's still a child. You're not to act as your own God."
Pictured: McCorvey in front of the Supreme Court in 1989, protesting to preserve Roe v. Wade (left), and in front of the Supreme Court in 2005, demanding it be overturned.
The son of a minister and a church pianist, jazz and R&B singer Al Jarreau (March 12, 1940-February 12, 2017) won seven Grammys over a 50-year career, with such hits as "We're in This Love Together," "Thinkin' About It, Too," "Mornin'," "Teach Me Tonight," "So Good," and "Never Givin' Up." He earned two Grammys for his 1981 album, "Breakin' Away," which topped the Jazz and R&B charts and spent two years on the Billboard 200 chart, and which was also nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year. Yet he called his 2004 album of standards, "Accentuate the Positive," the first real jazz record he'd ever done.
His extensive touring roster, at jazz festivals all over the world, also brought him before symphony orchestras, and in 1996 he came to Broadway, in the role of Teen Angel, in a revival of "Grease."
In 2012 Jarreau told CBS Radio Station KTWV in Los Angeles, "Just the dream is wonderful and surprising that this little colored boy from Milwaukee is playing all over the world and doing it like my dad and brothers taught me to do it, and finding an audience. It surprises and wonders me every day. I'm not used to it yet!"
Actor Richard Hatch (May 21, 1945-February 7, 2017) started his career in off-Broadway theater, and after an early role on "All My Children" in 1970, he worked steadily in such series as "The Streets of San Francisco," ''Dynasty," ''The Love Boat" and "Santa Barbara." Hatch was best remembered for playing Captain Apollo, a fighter pilot, in the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV series, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. When the series was rebooted more than two decades later, Hatch returned in the role of Tom Zarek, a revolutionary and political agitator.
In a 2009 interview with AMC, Hatch admitted his reservations about signing up for the series: "When I first got the original 'Battlestar' script, I didn't even want to do it. But the stupid part of it was, looking at the script with all the Ralph McQuarrie art, and seeing the character flying through the universe in one of those Vipers, the little boy in me wanting to fly through the stars ultimately said yes. When we watched the original 'Star Wars,' didn't we all fall in love with getting in those X-Wings? So when it comes down to it, it's the little kid in us that usually wins out."
Swedish academic, doctor and statistician Hans Rosling (July 27, 1948-February 7, 2017) captured the world's attention though his original and entertaining presentations of data on such topics as population growth, child mortality, poverty, and misunderstandings about the developing world.
Co-founder of the Gapminder foundation, Rosling called his role that of an "edutainer." His 2006 TED Talk, titled "The Best Stats You've Ever Seen," has racked up more than 11 million views.
"Hans Rosling was a good friend and a brilliant teacher," philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates told the Swedish news agency TT. "He managed to bring life to facts and he helped people to see the progress we often overlooked."
Professor Irwin Corey
Comedian Professor Irwin Corey (July 29, 1914-February 6, 2017) was known for his improvisational riffs and nonsensical style, billing himself as "The World's Foremost Authority." Authority on what? It was hard to say, but with his disheveled hair, rumpled black tails and skinny black tie, he looked the part. Born in Brooklyn, Corey lived in an orphanage until age 13. In the 1930s he auditioned for a play with the soliloquy from "Hamlet." The casting director laughed so hard, he eventually told him, "You should be a comedian." Corey did, with a gig at the Village Vanguard. As a comic, he questioned the status quo by puncturing academic pretense, using an improvisational mix of mock-intellectual double-talk, political tirades and one-liners. He joked to the Associated Press that he once wanted to join the Communist Party, "but they wouldn't let me. They said I was an anarchist."
Perhaps: He claims to have been fired from an early Broadway gig on "Pins and Needles," a musical revue about union organizing, because of his union-organizing activities.
In addition to appearances in comedy clubs like the hungry i, on Broadway and in films (working with Jackie Gleason and Woody Allen), Corey also became a familiar guest on late-night TV. And late in life, he sold papers to motorists near his Manhattan home, donating the funds to charity.
In an interview with the AP a few months shy of his 90th birthday, Corey called life, at any age, the "one miracle that happened in this galaxy. … Walking on water is a trick. But life is a miracle."
New York restaurateur Frank Pellegrino (May 19, 1944-January 31, 2017) was co-owner of Rao's, an exclusive Italian eatery famous for its mob mystique. As detailed in a June 2016 "Sunday Morning" story, the restaurant served up colorful characters hired for bit parts in the Martin Scorsese classic, "GoodFellas."
But Pellegrino himself was bitten by the acting bug, appearing in "The Sopranos," "Law & Order," "New York Undercover" and "Cop Land."
Sir John Hurt (January 22, 1940-January 27, 2017) earned accolades for performances that graced more than 200 films and TV shows - characterizations which were typically filled with clear-eyed humanity touched with wry, sardonic humor.
Hurt starred in such classics as "A Man For All Seasons," "The Naked Civil Servant," "Alien," "Midnight Express," and "The Elephant Man," the latter two of which earned him Oscar nominations. His emotional performance as the deformed John Merrick (right), a naive innocent who had nonetheless seen and suffered some of the worst inhumanities, was all the more remarkable given the makeup - replicating casts once made from Merrick's body - which took several hours each day to apply.
"To be quite honest, the film was misery to make because of the physical problems, so if it's working I'm jumping for joy," Hurt said in 1980.
Stage and screen actress Emmanuelle Riva (February 24, 1927-January 27, 2017) became an icon of French cinema, after making a splash in director Alain Resnais' acclaimed "Hiroshima Mon Amour" (1959). More than five decades later, in 2013, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her haunting performance in "Amour," Michael Haneke's brutal tale of a loving, elderly Parisian couple, one of whom suffers a stroke.
Her other credits include Marco Bellocchio's "The Eyes, the Mouth," "Blue" (part of Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy), and "Alma," which she shot last year in Iceland and is currently in post-production.
French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that Riva "created intense emotion in all the roles she played."
Movie actress Barbara Hale (April 18, 1922-January 26, 2017) found her greatest fame on television, as steadfast secretary Della Street, in the long-running CBS series "Perry Mason." She starred in the legal drama from 1957 to 1966 (winning an Emmy as Best Actress in 1959), and resumed the role opposite costar Raymond Burr (and later Hal Holbrook) in a series of TV movies beginning in the 1980s. Also appearing in the films was her real-life son, actor William Katt.
In a 1993 Chicago Tribune interview she said of her "Perry Mason" days, "When we started, it was the beginning of women not working at home. I liked that she was not married. My husband, Bill, didn't have to see me married to another man, and our children didn't have to see me mothering other children."
Mike Connors (August 15, 1925-January 26, 2017) studied law for two years after graduating from UCLA on a basketball scholarship, but he gravitated to acting, making his film debut in the Joan Crawford melodrama "Sudden Fear." After appearing in the films "Island in the Sky," ''The Ten Commandments," "Harlow" and "Stagecoach," and the TV series "Tightrope!", Connors starred as a hard-hitting private eye on "Mannix." The show ran for eight years on CBS beginning in 1967, with Connors playing the tall, smartly dressed, well-spoken detective with a black belt in karate and a resume of star athlete, Korean War POW and mercenary.
Mannix would take (and give) a beating with the burliest of thugs (Connors broke a wrist and dislocated a shoulder during filming), but he told an interviewer in 1997, "Up until Mannix, most private investigators were hard-nosed, cynical guys who lived in a seedy area and had no emotions. Mannix got emotionally involved. He was not above being taken advantage of."
Connors also starred in the series "Today's FBI," and the miniseries "War and Remembrance." His most recent credit was a guest appearance on "Two and a Half Men" in 2007 at age 81.
Connors and his wife, Mary Lou, who had a son who suffered from schizophrenia, also championed efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness.
Mary Tyler Moore
Actress Mary Tyler Moore (December 29, 1936-January 25, 2017) embodied the modern American working woman in her iconic starring role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which ran on CBS from 1970 to 1977. She first rose to fame a decade earlier, playing dancer-turned-housewife Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Moore won seven Emmys over the course of her career, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as a grieving mother in the 1980 film "Ordinary People."
She was also a tireless advocate for people with juvenile diabetes, an illness she coped with for much of her life.
A founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Butch Trucks (May 11, 1947-January 24, 2017) was one of two drummers who, by combining blues, rock, country and jazz, helped the group to define the Southern rock sound.
When the Allman Brothers closed the Fillmore East in New York City in June 1971, the group played until dawn. "We played 'Whipping Post' for four solid hours!" Trucks told Forbes magazine last year. "When we finished, there was not one person who clapped. Everybody in the audience just sat there with mouths open, grinning, whatever. Then somebody got up, opened the door and the sun came in. It was a New York audience, and everybody just quietly filed out. I remember Duane [Allman] walking in front of me, dragging his guitar - couldn't even stand up I was so drained - and Duane said, 'Damn it's like a church.' And it was!"
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura (June 3, 1991-January 22, 2017) burst onto the baseball scene with a 100 mph fastball and an explosive attitude to match.
Born in Samana, Dominican Republic, Ventura quit school at 14 and was laboring on a construction crew to support his family when he heard about a tryout, which led to a spot in the Royals' academy on the island. In his first full season in the majors, in 2014, he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA. The following year he helped the Royals reach the World Series for the first time since 1985.
"I love you for all of this
struggling towards happiness
when the chips are down we play our aces
hiding them in our broken places."
From "Broken Places"
Growing up in Park Ridge, N.J., singer-songwriter Maggie Roche (October 26, 1951-January 21, 201) formed a folk-rock duo with her younger sister Terre; they were brought in as backup singers for Paul Simon's 1973 album, "There Goes Rhymin' Simon." Two years later they released their own album, "Seductive Reasoning," and were soon joined by younger sister Suzzy. The threesome's voices blended majestically, with Maggie's rich contralto balanced by Terre's soprano and Suzzy filling in the mid-range.
Their 1979 album, "The Roches" (with Maggie pictured in center), was critically lauded, and though never big draws, the sisters' quirky songs and acoustic sensibilities - releasing albums in combinations or as solo artists - endeared them to a devoted following for decades.
On Dec. 6, 1967, despite painful wounds in the neck and foot, Army chaplain Angelo Liteky, later known as Charlie Liteky (February 14, 1931-January 20, 2017), carried more than 20 men to safety when his company came under intense fire in Bien Hoa province - at one point crawling on his back with a seriously-wounded man sprawled across his chest. For his bravery and fortitude the Army awarded Liteky the Medal of Honor.
He left the priesthood and in 1983 married former Catholic nun and peace activist Judy Balch, who introduced him to refugees from political violence in El Salvador. Twenty years after his heroic actions in war, Liteky left the Medal of Honor and a letter to President Ronald Reagan at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in protest of the country's foreign policy in Central America, where U.S.-backed dictators were fighting bloody wars against left-leaning rebels.
In 2000 Liteky was sentenced to a year in federal prison for entering the U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia (where soldiers from Central and South America and the Caribbean were trained by U.S. advisors) and splashed its rotunda with blood.
Liteky would later travel to Baghdad with other peace protesters to bear witness to the war and work with children in an orphanage and at hospitals.
Miguel Ferrer (February 7, 1955-January 19, 2017) brought stern authority to his roles on the series "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "Crossing Jordan." But he also delivered a wonderfully slimy performance as a scheming executive in the satirical action film "Robocop." "Deliciously avaricious," Ferrer said of his character in 2007, "like every Hollywood junior agent you've ever met."
The son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer-actress Rosemary Clooney, and a cousin of George Clooney, he was a successful studio musician who played drums in a variety of bands, and toured with his mother and Bing Crosby, before turning to acting. In 1990 he played FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield on David Lynch's cult hit "Twin Peaks," a role he reprised in the 1992 movie "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" and in Showtime's forthcoming revival of the show.
His other credits include "Point of No Return," "Traffic," "Iron Man 3," "Sunshine State" and "Hot Shots! Part Deux."
Starting in the 1970s, there was no more dedicated muckraker than the gruff, relentless investigative reporter Wayne Barrett (July 11, 1945-January 19, 2017), a self-described "country boy from Lynchburg, Virginia" and graduate of Columbia University's journalism school, who evolved from founding a teen Republican group to becoming an impassioned leftist. Fellow journalists regarded him as a role model, and even some politicians grudgingly acknowledged his skills and integrity.
His many scoops ranged from the criminal past of Rudolph Giuliani's father to the many votes missed by then-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. Barrett was, in the words of The New York Times, "the unrivaled master of long, dense articles about the unsavory side of New York's political culture."
Few reporters knew Donald Trump as well as did Barrett, who began covering the budding real-estate developer in the late 1970s. In 1990, after repeated efforts for an interview, he slipped past security at a Trump birthday party in Atlantic City, N.J., but was quickly handcuffed and arrested for trespassing. Chained to the wall in an Atlantic City holding pen for hours that night by cops moonlighting as Trump security, Barrett wrote, "I began to get the point: Trump had decided not to cooperate with this book."
Barrett's subsequent "Trump: The Deals and the Downfalls" (1992) uncovered Trump's ties to mob figures and other unsavory characters, including Roy Cohn; investigated claims of bias against prospective black tenants in Trump buildings; and prompted gaming officials in New Jersey to probe various Trump associations. A new edition (published last year as "Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, The Reinvention") also covered Trump's legal threats against the journalist.
In a farewell Village Voice column in 2010, Barrett wrote, "I tell the young people still drawn to this duty that it is the most honorable one in America, and that I have never met a corrupt journalist."
It was her very first public performance -- and it was on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Roberta Peters (May 4, 1930 -January 18, 2017) was only 20 years old when, on Nov. 17, 1950, she was called five hours beforehand to perform as a last-minute substitute to sing Zerlina in Mozart's "Don Giovanni." Her "emergency debut" was a smash, and she would perform at the Met more than 500 times over the next several decades.
The coloratura soprano earned both critical accolades and popular appeal, singing in operas and recitals as well as in movies, on television (including 65 performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show") and in commercials.
As the last man to walk on the Moon, on Dec. 14, 1972, Apollo 17 crewmember Eugene Cernan (March 14, 1934-January 16, 2017) traced his only child's initials - TDC - in the dust of the lunar surface before climbing into the lunar module for the long ride home.
The astronaut had flown in space twice before, in 1966 aboard Gemini 9 (becoming the second American to conduct a spacewalk), and in 1969, as a member of Apollo 10, making a dry run for the subsequent lunar landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
But Cernan called the experience upon landing in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow "the most quiet moment a human being can experience in his lifetime. …. It's a realization, a reality, all of a sudden you have just landed in another world on another body out there (somewhere in the) universe, and what you are seeing is being seen by human beings - human eyes - for the first time.
"It was perhaps the brightest moment of my life, and I can't go back," Cernan said in 2007. "Enriched by a singular event that is larger than life, I no longer have the luxury of being ordinary."
Beginning in 1977, Nigerian musician William Onyeabor (March 26, 1946-January 16, 2017) pioneered a stuttering style of electronic funk on nine albums (including "Atomic Bomb," "Body & Soul," "Tomorrow" and "Good Name") featuring heavy bass and slinky synth lines that owed as much to American R&B and disco as it did to the Afrobeat rhythms of his countryman Fela Ransome-Kuti. Pressed and self-released though his own record processing plant and label, Wilfilms Limited, Onyearbor's music was infectious and idiosyncratic, and proved a major influence for such artists as David Byrne.
Onyeabor never performed live, and later retreated from music to focus on his faith and business ventures, refusing interviews about his recording career. But a 2013 compilation album ("Who Is William Onyeabor?") and the documentary "Fantastic Man" introduced his work to a new generation.
Coming out of the Navy, Dick Gautier (October 30, 1931-January 13, 2017) started out as a standup comic at San Francisco's Hungry I nightclub. Called to meet with Gower Champion and Charles Strouse, the director and writer of a new Broadway musical, he was resistant when offered the role of a rock 'n' roll idol patterned on Elvis Presley. In 2014 Gautier told blogger Kliph Hesteroff that he didn't like rock 'n roll and felt he would be wrong for the part, until he was told "Bye Bye Birdie" was a satire: "Then I went, 'Ohhhhh.' When he said that, then I got it. Suddenly it was okay. I got the part, got a Tony nomination, and my career was in a whole different place. I didn't work nightclubs anymore."
Gautier would make his biggest splash as Hymie the robot in the comedy "Get Smart," and also starred in the Mel Brooks Robin Hood spoof, "When Things Were Rotten."
One of Britain's most famous photographers, Antony Armstrong-Jones, later to become Lord Snowdon (March 7, 1930-January 13, 2017), married Britain's Princess Margaret, and was one of the few top-echelon royals to hold down an outside job. He and Margaret moved in a circle of creative people at a time when "Swinging London" gained a worldwide reputation for music, clothes, films and clubs.
He continued to mix in royal circles even after their 1978 divorce. Snowdon was admired for his discretion, never speaking with the media about the breakup of the marriage, and rejecting offers to write a book about it. But over time a number of details about his complicated love life, including a child out of wedlock, emerged.
He produced 14 photographic books and made seven television documentaries on a wide range of social issues. The first, "Don't Count the Candles," about old age, won two Emmy Awards in 1968.
In later years, Snowdon was troubled by the effects of his childhood polio, which left him with a slight limp, and he had difficulty standing for any length of time. He endowed a fund that provides scholarships for disabled students.
William Peter Blatty
A former comedy screenwriter, William Peter Blatty (January 7, 1928-January 12, 2017) conjured a tale of demonic possession that gave millions the fright of their lives, inspired by an incident in a Washington suburb that he had read about while in college. "The Exorcist," published in 1971, told of a 12-year-old-girl inhabited by a Satanic force.
"Like so many Catholics, I've had so many little battles of wavering faith over the course of my life," Blatty (who would allege numerous mysterious events while working on the book) told IGN.com in 2000. "And when I heard about this case and read the details, that seemed so compelling. I thought, 'My God, if someone were to investigate this and authenticate it, what a tremendous boost to faith it would be.' I thought, 'Someday I would like to see that happen. You know, I would like to do it.'" The book spent more than a year on The New York Times fiction bestseller list, and became a blockbuster movie, for which Blatty (adapting his own novel) won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Less well-known was Blatty's mischievous streak, as when he impersonated a Saudi prince on Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life," extending the prank throughout Hollywood, where "Prince Xeer" always got the best tables. When restaurant managers would ask his favorite song for the band to play, he'd reply, "Danny Boy."
A ballet enthusiast and aspiring dancer, Martha Swope (February 22, 1928-January 12, 2017) was invited by choreographer Jerome Robbins to bring a camera to rehearsals for the Broadway musical "West Side Story" in 1957. Her photos, published in Life Magazine, put her career on a new trajectory, as she became the foremost documentarian of the performing arts in New York. Swope became an official photographer for the New York City Ballet and for Martha Graham's company, going into rehearsal studios and on stage to capture the ephemeral artistry, grace, sweat, toil and radiance of dance.
For nearly four decades she photographed the leading dancers, choreographers and stars on stage, captured more than 800 Broadway productions, and would be honored with a Tony Award herself for "Excellence in Theatre."
As German tanks encircled the Polish town of Katowice in late August 1939, rookie British newspaper reporter Clare Hollingworth (October 10, 1911-January 10, 2017) picked up the phone and dialed the British Embassy. When an official there didn't believe what she told him, she dangled the phone out the window so he could hear the ominous rumbling for himself. "Listen!" she implored. "Can't you hear it?"
Hollingworth, then 27, was just a week into her job with the Daily Telegraph of London, and had the scoop of a lifetime: World War II had just begun.
A determined journalist who defied gender barriers and narrowly escaped death several times on the job, Hollingworth spent much of her life on the front lines of major conflicts, including in the Middle East, North Africa and Vietnam. She also broke the story of British spy Kim Philby's defection to the Soviet Union. For the last three decades Hollingworth was in Hong Kong, after being one of the few Western journalists stationed in China in the 1970s.
"I must admit that I enjoy being in a war," she said in a 2011 Telegraph interview. "When I was very small, in World War I, I used to hear people talk about the battles, and I did become extremely interested in warfare. I'm not brave, I just enjoy it."
Pictured: Claire Hollingworth with Life magazine photographer Tim Page in Saigon, 1968.
New York Police Department Detective Steven McDonald (March 1, 1957-January 10, 2017) was a stocky 29-year-old patrolman on July 12, 1986, when he spotted a bicycle thief and two other teenagers in Central Park. He moved to frisk one of them when 15-year-old Shavod "Buddha" Jones pulled out a weapon and shot McDonald three times. The shooting paralyzed him; doctors did not expect him to live through the afternoon.
But McDonald survived. A quadriplegic, he believed what happened on that day was intended to turn him into a messenger of God's word. On March 1, 1987, the day of their son's baptism, McDonald had his wife read a statement about his feelings toward the teen who crippled him: "I forgive him and hope he can find peace and purpose in his life."
In the years after the shooting, McDonald became one of the world's foremost pilgrims for peace. He took his message of forgiveness to Israel, Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
"I have my days when I'm not feeling well - emotionally, physically, spiritually," McDonald said in a 2006 interview. "But it's been a very, very active life."
Throughout his career, columnist Nat Hentoff (June 10, 1925-January 7, 2017) engaged readers with his diverse and iconoclastic interests - agitating for constitutional rights and defying party dogma. An activist from age 15 (when he organized a union at a Boston candy chain), Hentoff wrote tirelessly on what he deemed bipartisan attempts to undermine the Constitution, castigating both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and angering many colleagues on the left with his deep opposition to abortion. He wrote on politics for progressive periodicals like New York's The Village Voice (where he worked for 50 years) as well as right-wing outlets like WorldNetDaily.com.
But his first love was jazz. (As a student he befriended Duke Ellington, Rex Stewart and other musicians he dubbed "my itinerant foster fathers.") A disk jockey after college, Hentoff wrote music columns for the Wall Street Journal and DownBeat, crafted liner notes for jazz recordings, and became the first non-musician named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.
In his farewell column at the Voice in 2008, Hentoff wrote, "Over the years, my advice to new and aspiring reporters is to remember what Tom Wicker, a first-class professional spelunker, then at The New York Times, said in a tribute to Izzy Stone: 'He never lost his sense of rage.' Neither have I."
Character actor Om Puri (October 18, 1950-January 6, 2017) had won a slew of national awards and international fame for his work in several critically-acclaimed films in both India and abroad. His breakthrough film was the 1983 gritty drama "Ardh Satya" ("Half Truth"), about a young policeman's crisis of conscience as he deals with the nexus of crime and politics in India. He is also remembered for the cult classic "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" ("Let it Go Friends"), a 1983 dark comedy about India's all-encompassing corruption. And in England he starred in "My Son the Fanatic" and "East is East."
He also appeared in such Hollywood films as "Gandhi," "City of Joy," ''Wolf," and "Charlie Wilson's War." In 2014, Puri starred with Helen Mirren in "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (pictured), as the patriarch of a family of Indian immigrants who open a restaurant in a French town but end up clashing with a neighboring Michelin-starred establishment.
Puri was reflective in an interview given shortly before his death: "My contribution as an actor will be visible once I leave this world and the young generation, especially film students will watch my films," he said.