Notable Deaths in 2022
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 gallery.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (April 16, 1927-December 31, 2022) stunned the world in 2013 when he announced, after eight years in office, that he lacked the strength to continue as head of the Catholic Church. The then-85-year-old thus became the first pope in 600 years to resign.
The first German pope in a thousand years, Benedict – born Joseph Ratzinger – was a theologian and writer devoted to history and tradition, who was elected to succeed Pope John Paul II. He used his position to redirect the world's focus on faith in an era of secularization. On his first foreign trip as pope, at a 2005 World Youth Day gathering in Cologne, Germany, he told a million attendees, "In vast areas of the world today, there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without Him."
He reached out to other faiths, and became only the second pope in history to enter a synagogue. As a conservative, many of his actions (such as relaxing the restrictions on Latin mass) satisfied traditionalists, but were controversial among more progressive voices in the clergy. There were also PR gaffes; he was criticized for telling reporters, in 2009, that distributing condoms would increase, not decrease, the spread of AIDS.
But he was also forced to confront the fallout of the church's sex abuse scandal, and notably apologized to victims.
Benedict's dramatic decision to retire, rather than to remain in office until his death, paved the way for the election of Pope Francis, a more progressive cleric. The two lived as neighbors, an unprecedented arrangement, as Benedict wrote and lived a monastic life in the Vatican Gardens. Francis would say having Benedict at the Vatican was like having a "wise grandfather" living at home.
Trailblazing broadcaster Barbara Walters (September 25, 1929-December 30, 2022) forged a path for women in an industry that was dominated by men, so much so that, when she was hired as a writer for NBC's "Today" in 1961, she was only allowed to write for women. Writing for male correspondents would become only one of many glass ceilings she would break.
She began making on-air appearances with light, offbeat stories, for which she once wore bunny ears to report on the life of a Playboy bunny. In addition to "Today," she also hosted the syndicated morning show "Not for Women Only."
Walters would become the co-host of "Today," only to be lured away by ABC News in 1976, becoming the first woman to anchor an evening network newscast, earning an unprecedented $1 million salary. But co-anchoring with Harry Reasoner proved disastrous, and ABC News president Roone Arledge moved her into special projects, with primetime interview specials and contributions to the newsmagazine "20/20," a show she would eventually co-host. And in 1997, she created "The View," an all-female live talk show that tackled any and every topic.
During her decades at NBC and ABC, she earned her reputation as a tough interviewer with incisive questioning of newsmakers, celebrities, politicians and world leaders. She admitted she was never in awe around celebrities, because she'd grown up around many, her father being a nightclub owner. "I'm not afraid when I'm interviewing, I have no fear!" Walters told The Associated Press in 2008. And she was not afraid to snatch an interview away from a colleague – her competitive chops to get an exclusive were strong.
By 2004, when she stepped down from "20/20," she had logged more than 700 interviews (more than a few of whose subjects would be made to cry). She won 12 Emmys, and received a Peabody Award for her interview with Christopher Reeve, following the horseback-riding accident from which he was paralyzed. In 1999 her two-hour talk with Monica Lewinsky, in which the former White House intern discussed her affair with President Bill Clinton, drew more than 70 million viewers.
In 2014, upon her retirement from "The View," Walters said she was proud of her legacy, of the women who followed in her footsteps.
And she promised Variety, "I'm not going to cry."
For many, Brazilian football star Pelé (October 23, 1940-December 29, 2022) was the greatest player of "the beautiful game." He won a record three World Cups, and became one of the most commanding sports figures of our era.
For nearly two decades he transfixed fans and dazzled opponents with his grace and athleticism as a leading scorer for the Brazilian club Santos, and his country's national team.
He was a mere 17 years old when he scored two goals in Brazil's 5-2 victory in the 1958 World Cup final. "I got the gift from God to play football," he said. That gift catapulted him from an impoverished childhood to worldwide celebrity, becoming an ambassador not just for the game, but for UNESCO and the United Nations as well.
In 1975, at age 34, he signed a $2.8 million contract with the New York Cosmos that made him the world's highest-paid athlete. He played in the States for three seasons, and finished his career with a record 1,279 goals.
In retirement, he didn't quite leave the field. He played a football player in the Sylvester Stallone movie "Victory."
In 2018 Pele described for GQ magazine what it was like to make his 1,000th career goal: "It was a penalty kick and for the first time in my whole career my legs were shaking, the whole of the Maracanã was shouting and screaming, and I remember thinking, 'Oh, my God… I cannot miss!' …
"When I was 17, it was my first World Cup, no responsibility, no nerves. But for my 1,000th goal, I was Pelé, three-time world champion, most famous footballer. I never felt pressure like it."
"I never, ever tried to shock people," said Vivienne Westwood (April 8, 1941-December 29, 2022), who in 1970s London became the leading designer and seamstress of the punk movement – a fashion rebellion made of ripped fabric, safety pins and S&M gear.
She told "Sunday Morning" in 2013, "At the time of punk rock, I was so outraged at the way the world is so corrupt and mismanaged and everything, that the look was supposed to be of an urban guerrilla. It was somehow a kind of crusade to challenge the status quo."
Westwood hadn't wanted to be a fashion designer; she'd started out as a primary schoolteacher. But she offered to help her boyfriend, Malcolm McLaren, manager of the pioneering punk rock band, The Sex Pistols. Together they opened a music and fashion shop on London's Kings Road.
Though she had no formal training, she held her first runway show in 1981, and gradually moved into more traditional fashion work, incorporating historical British designs into contemporary clothes (though still managing to shock, as in her 1987 Statue of Liberty corset).
Even decades after punk's rise and fall, the Westwood style remained irreverent and uncompromising, her hair still dyed a trademark orange. And she became accepted by a British establishment that once mocked her; the Queen made her a dame in 2006.
When correspondent Anthony Mason asked Westwood if she still thought of herself as a rebel, she replied, "To tell you the honest truth, all I am really trying to do is to make the world a better place," she said.
Stephen "tWitch" Boss
Dancer and choreographer Stephen "tWitch" Boss (September 29, 1982-December 13, 2022) became the beloved dancing DJ on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," beginning in 2014, and a familiar presence on TikTok, in videos featuring his wife, dancer Allison Holker.
Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Boss studied dance performance at Southern Union State Community College and Chapman University. A contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance," he later became a judge on the dance competition show. He also appeared on "Star Search," "The Wade Robson Project," and in films like "Hairspray," "Step Up: All In," "Step Up 3D," "Magic Mike XXL," the 2016 "Ghostbusters," and "The Hip Hop Nutcracker."
In a 2014 interview with the Associated Press, Boss talked about his inspirations: "I love Fred Astaire … [He] was so smooth, and it was great. He was so classy. But Gene Kelly, he could be like somebody's dad, who just decided to get up off the couch and dance around and clean the kitchen up."
Composer Angelo Badalamenti (March 22, 1937-December 11, 2022) was best-known for his work with filmmaker David Lynch, from motion pictures like "Blue Velvet" and "Mulholland Drive," to the cult TV series "Twin Peaks." Sensuous and other-worldly, Badalamenti's synthesizer-infused music was perfectly suited to the surreal and evocative visuals of Lynch.
Badalamenti grew up in Brooklyn listening to Italian opera, took piano lessons beginning at age 8, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. A music teacher, he also wrote songs for Nina Simone ("Another Spring") and Nancy Wilson ("Face It Girl, It's Over"), and for the films "Gordon's War" and "Law and Disorder," as well as a Christmas carol that was recorded for PBS.
When Isabella Rossellini was shooting 1986's "Blue Velvet," Badalamenti was asked to help her with the vocals for her performance as a nightclub singer. He did, and the subsequent recording earned high praise from the director: "This is peachy keen!" Badalamenti then composed music to accompany lyrics by Lynch for a song, "Mysteries of Love."
In a 2016 interview for Pitchfork Magazine, Badalamenti recalled asking Lynch what kind of music he wanted for his very unusual, non-rhyming, no-hook lyrics: "He said, 'Angelo, just let the music float like the ocean tide, just put it in space, make it timeless and endless.'" He brought on singer Julee Cruise to record the ethereal song, which led to Badalamenti being asked to compose the entire score.
Listen to an excerpt from Badalamenti's Opening Titles from "Blue Velvet"
Listen to an excerpt from "Mysteries of Love" from "Blue Velvet"
The composer's collaborations with Lynch would extend beyond films such as "Wild at Heart," "Lost Highway," "The Straight Story" and "Mulholland Dr.," to the landmark series "Twin Peaks," which itself spawned a feature film and a reboot series. (Badalamenti received three Emmy nominations for the show.)
Listen to an excerpt from Badalamenti's theme from "Twin Peaks"
He and Lynch also staged a live concert piece, "Industrial Symphony No. 1," performed by Cruise, for the 1989 New Wave Music Festival in Brooklyn.
Badalamenti's other film credits included "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors," "Weeds," "The Comfort of Strangers," "The City of Lost Children," "Holy Smoke," "The Beach," "Secretary," "Lathe of Heaven," "Auto Focus," "Cabin Fever," "A Very Long Engagement," and "Stalingrad."
In an article posted on culture.org, Badalementi's nephew, Frances, recalled visiting with his uncle in Prague while he was recording his score for Lynch's "Lost Highway," and a piece of advice his uncle gave him: "You need to do what you are good at. You need to do what you do best."
Actress Kirstie Alley (January 12, 1951-December 5, 2022) earned plaudits for both comedy and drama, winning one Emmy for the hit sitcom "Cheers" (on which she starred for six seasons), and winning a second for her performance as the mother of an autistic child in the 1994 TV movie "David's Mother."
After dropping out of college in Kansas, Alley moved to Hollywood to work as an interior designer. She appeared on game shows as a contestant, on "Match Game" and "Password Plus." But she was hired, despite no professional experience and a faked résumé, to play Lt. Saavik, the half-Vulcan, half-Romulan protégé of Mr. Spock, in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." She noted at a 2016 "Star Trek" convention panel in Las Vegas that, as a teenager, friends had made fun of her eyebrows' ability to arch: "I have no control over it," she said. "So, I would watch [the original 'Star Trek' series] and when Mr. Spock would come on, I would say, 'Wow, if I was ever an actress, I could play Spock's daughter.'"
Films that followed included "Runaway," "A Bunny's Tale" (as Gloria Steinem), "Summer School," and "Sibling Rivalry," before the hit comedy "Look Who's Talking," as a single working mom of a newborn baby (voiced by Bruce Willis). She followed with two sequels "Look Who's Talking Too," and "Look Who's Talking Now."
She also earned Emmy nominations for her sitcom "Veronica's Closet," and for the TV miniseries "The Last Don."
A spokesperson for Jenny Craig, Alley dealt with weight issues for years, even starring as a fictionalized version of herself in the Showtime comedy series "Fat Actress" (a show that drew laughs from the public treatment of her weight gain and loss), and appearing in the reality series "Kirstie Alley's Big Life" (which documented her attempts to lose weight). She said she agreed to the show because of misinformation about her in the tabloids: "Anything bad you can say about me, they say," Alley told the Associated Press. "I've never collapsed, fainted, passed out. Basically, anything they've said, I never. The only true thing is, I got fat."
Her later TV appearances included "Dancing With the Stars" (in which she finished in second place, in 2011), and, in early 2022, the competition series "The Masked Singer."
Bob McGrath (June 13, 1932-December 4, 2022) was a founding cast member of the landmark children's series "Sesame Street" when the show premiered in 1969. His last appearance on the show was in 2017 – a more than four-decade run as the friendly neighbor Bob Johnson.
McGrath's character, a music teacher, sang such songs as "People In Your Neighborhood," "Sing," "Morning Town Ride" and "See You Tomorrow."
A folk singer and music teacher who'd enjoyed professional success in Japan, the Illinois native was also a singer on the 1960s series "Sing Along With Mitch." He recalled in a 2004 interview for the Television Academy that he'd had no real experience as an actor (most of the cast did not), and was frustrated during his first year on "Sesame Street," not getting a fix on what his character, "Bob," should be. "And ultimately they said, 'You know, we don't really want you to be anybody, we just really want all of you folks to be yourself.' …
"It's interesting, we had special guests, they'd come on, and some of them were wonderful, wonderful actors and actresses playing all different variety of roles, but apparently they did not test out as well because the kids kind of really were able to see that they were kind of acting more than being themselves and being totally genuine with them on a one-on-one, eyeball-to-eyeball basis."
McGrath was let go after 45 seasons (along with Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman) when the show's first-run broadcast rights were moved from PBS to HBO. He told a Florida convention in 2016, "I'd be so greedy if I wanted five minutes more."
Gaylord Perry (September 15, 1938-December 1, 2022) was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in two leagues – first with the Cleveland Indians in 1972 (notching a 24-16 record); and then, after having just turned 40, with the San Diego Padres in 1978 (21-6). It was his fifth season having scored 20 or more wins.
A native of Williamston, North Carolina, Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants, and would pitch for eight major league teams over his 22-season career. A five-time All-Star, he posted a lifetime won-loss record of 314-255, with 3,534 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.11.
Although he was only ejected from a game once for doctoring a baseball, in 1982, Perry had a reputation for using foreign substances. In his 1974 autobiography, "Me and the Spitter," he told of first throwing a spitball on May 31, 1964, when Perry, a reliever, pitched 10 innings in a marathon 23-inning game against the New York Mets; he did not give up a run, and was credited with the win. It also earned him a spot in the Giants' starting rotation.
He stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after Major League Baseball ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball. (Vaseline and hair tonic became fallbacks.) But he also mimicked routines to make batters think he was applying a foreign substance, to fake them out.
The future Hall of Famer, for all his pitching prowess, was not a natural at the plate; Giants manager Alvin Dark once stated that a man would land on the moon before Perry would hit a home run. It was therefore fate that on June 20, 1969, shortly after the Apollo 11 lunar lander touched down on the Moon's surface, Perry hit his first (and only) home run, against Dodgers pitcher Claude Osteen.
Vocalist, songwriter and keyboard player Christine McVie (July 12, 1943-November 30, 2022) made her mark in one of the most successful rock bands of the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Fleetwood Mac.
Christine Anne Perfect was born into a music family, and studied classical piano until she turned to rock, and joined the band Chicken Shack as a singer and piano player. After two albums with Chicken Shack, she released an eponymous solo album, in 1970, before joining Fleetwood Mac (she had in the meantime married Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie).
Fleetwood Mac would go on to sell more than 100 million records, despite lineup changes that suggested the band was on the outs. But McVie continued (as singer, musician and songwriter), contributing to 14 albums, including the No. 1 charting albums "Fleetwood Mac," "Rumours," "Mirage" and "The Dance." "Rumours" won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1978.
McVie's songs for Fleetwood Mac included "Don't Stop," "Behind the Mask," "Everywhere," "Hold Me," "Oh Daddy," "Over My Head," "Save Me," "Little Lies," "You Make Loving Fun," and "Say You Love Me." And while her marriage to John McVie ended (as memorably documented in song in "Rumours"), the band endured.
In the late '90s, McVie left the group, released a solo album, "In the Meantime," and lived in semi-retirement. A fear of flying kept her in the U.K., but after psychotherapy helped her overcome her aerophobia, she flew to Maui and sat in with Mick Fleetwood's blues band. That led to her reteaming with Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and ex-husband John McVie for their 2014 tour. She also collaborated with Buckingham on a 2017 album, "Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie."
Earlier this year, an anthology of her work, "Songbird," was released.
In 2014 she talked with "Sunday Morning" correspondent John Blackstone about rejoining Fleetwood Mac after such a long separation: "I thought it was gonna be a struggle, to be honest. I was a little anxious. … But the moment you find yourself playing with these fantastic musicians and friends, it just melted away. And now I feel completely comfortable, really, surprisingly so."
She recorded a Spanish-language album for Gema Records, "Esta Es Irene," when she was nine years old. The singer-actress Irene Cara (March 18, 1959-November 25, 2022) would go on to win an Oscar, two Grammys and a Golden Globe for her music for "Fame" and "Flashdance."
Before her film success she appeared on Broadway in "Maggie Flynn," "The Me Nobody Knows," and "Got Tu Go Disco." She flew across the stage in the 1972 sci-fi musical "Via Galactica," which closed after seven performances, and was in the Public Theater's production of "Lotta, or The Best Thing Evolution's Ever Come Up With."
Cara appeared on TV in "The Electric Company," "Love of Life," "What's Happening!!," and "Roots: The Next Generation." She starred in "Aaron Loves Angela" (Gordon Parks Jr's update of "Romeo and Juliet"), and at age 13 was cast as the lead of "Sparkle," a 1976 musical about a girl group co-starring Lonette McKee.
In 1980's "Fame," Cara starred as Coco, a student attending New York's High School of Performing Arts. She performed the songs "Out Here on My Own," "Hot Lunch Jam," "I Sing the Body Electric," and the title tune, which became a Top 10 hit and an Oscar-winner for Best Original Song. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture/Comedy or Musical.
For the 1983 film "Flashdance," Cara co-wrote and performed the title track, "Flashdance ... What A Feeling," which sat on top of the Billboard charts for six weeks. She shared the Academy Award for Best Original Song with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey.
She sang or composed songs for several features, from "D.C. Cab" to the animated "All Dogs Go to Heaven." For the Clint Eastwood/Burt Reynolds period comedy "City Heat," she recorded the George and Ira Gershwin ballad, "Embraceable You." Other albums included "Anyone Can See," "What a Feelin'," and "Carasmatic."
In the 1990s she toured as Mary Magdalene in "Jesus Christ Superstar."
French-born actor-singer Robert Clary (March 1, 1926-November 16, 2022) was best-known for playing Cpl. Louis LeBeau, part of a cohort of Allied prisoners of war engaging in sabotage under the noses of their Nazi captors, in the 1960s comedy "Hogan's Heroes."
In 1965, when the show's pilot was being shot, Clary was offered the part of LeBeau without even having to audition. Though controversial, the show ran on CBS for six seasons.
In 1985 a documentary, "Robert Clary, A5714: A Memoir of Liberation," told of his life and his ordeal in concentration camps. The youngest of 14 children, Clary (born Robert Widerman) was 16 when he and his family were forced from their Paris apartment into a crowded cattle car, transporting them to concentration camps. [A5714 referred to the identification number tattooed on his arm.] His parents and 10 siblings were killed under the Nazis, he said.
He credited his youth and ability to work for keeping him alive for 31 months, until he was freed when American troops liberated the Buchenwald death camp.
Returning to Paris and reunited with his two sisters, Clary worked as a singer and recording artist. He moved to the States in 1949, appearing in musicals (including "New Faces of 1952," "Irma La Douce" and "Cabaret"), TV ("Days of Our Lives" and "The Bold and the Beautiful"), and films ("The Hindenburg"). He also recorded jazz versions of songs by Ira Gershwin and Stephen Sondheim.
In 1997, he was one of dozens of Holocaust survivors whose stories were told in "The Triumphant Spirit." In an interview that year he said, "I beg the next generation not to do what people have done for centuries - hate others because of their skin, shape of their eyes, or religious preference."
In an Associated Press interview he criticized Holocaust deniers, "making a mockery of the 6 million Jews - including a million and a half children - who died in the gas chambers and ovens." He also published a memoir, "From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes: The Autobiography of Robert Clary," in 2001.
In a 2018 interview with the Television Academy Foundation about his experience on "Hogan's Heroes," he said he had no trepidation about appearing in the prison camp comedy given his personal history. "No, because it had nothing to do with my past. I was never a soldier. I was never a prisoner of war. I was sent to a concentration camp and lucky I survived, which is completely different. We were not human beings. The only reason we lived [was] because they needed us to work in their factories. Otherwise they would have killed us all.
"And, it was acting!"
Singer, rapper and actor Aaron Carter (December 7, 1987-November 5, 2022) began performing as a child, and at age nine released his first, eponymous album. It went gold, and was followed by three more albums during his teen years, including the triple-platinum "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)" (2000). His hits included "Crush on You," "Crazy Little Party Girl," and "I Want Candy."
His fifth and final album was "LOVE" (2018).
The younger brother of Nick Carter (of Backstreet Boys), Aaron performed as an opening act for his brother's group, and for Britney Spears. He also appeared as an actor in "Lizzie McGuire," "Family Affair," "Popstar" and "Supercross," and in the musical "Seussical" on Broadway. He finished in fifth place on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009.
Jerry Lee Lewis
In 1957 two songs by "The Killer," Jerry Lee Lewis (September 29, 1935-October 28, 2022), burned up the airwaves, becoming Top 10 hits: "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On" and "Great Balls of Fire," songs that showcased the Louisiana-born piano player's outrageous talent and energy – a force of nature inspired by sneaking into Black juke joints, and honed by his experience playing rockabilly, boogie-woogie and gospel.
But in 1958 Lewis' career suffered from the scandal of marrying his second-cousin, Myra Gale Brown (who was 13 at the time), while he was still married to the second of his seven wives. His European tour was canceled, and he was blacklisted from the radio.
Lewis then reinvented himself as a country artist, in the 1960s, with such hits as "Another Place, Another Time," "She Still Comes Around (to Love What's Left of Me)," "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye," "There Must Be More to Love Than This" and "Would You Take Another Chance on Me."
In 1986, Lewis was among the inaugural class of inductees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2006, in his 70s, Lewis' longevity was marked by the release of "Last Man Standing," an album of duets featuring such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, George Jones, Chuck Berry and Neil Young. Four years later he recorded another album of duets, "Mean Old Man," this time paired with Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Tim McGraw, Keith Richards and Sheryl Crow.
In 2015's bestseller "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story," he described to biographer Rick Bragg the importance, to him, of being a rock 'n' roll star: "The show, that's what counts. It covers up everything. Any bad thought anyone ever had about you goes away. 'Is that the one that married that girl? Well, forget about it, let me hear that song.' It takes their sorrow, and it takes mine."
"My husband almost divorced me last night and it was all because of sauce tartar."
In 2002 Julie Powell (April 20, 1973-October 26, 2022), a secretary and frustrated writer who was finding no success after moving to New York City, made it her mission to prepare every single recipe in Julia Child's classic 1961 cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," over the course of a single year – cooking, chopping and stirring late into the night, making 11 to 12 dishes a week.
The amateur cook talked to "CBS Evening News" in 2003 about her culinary journey: "Even though I am making myself crazy, it has introduced some sanity into my life," she said.
Her husband Eric said there'd only been one real culinary disaster: the aspics. "All the aspics were just horrible," he said.
Her blog, the Julie/Julia Project, was a hit, earning her an agent and a book deal. "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen," published in 2005, inspired the 2009 film, "Julie & Julia," which starred Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as Child.
The film was a success, but when Powell had written to Child about her cooking project, the response she received was underwhelming. It didn't matter, she told CBS News in 2009: "Her disinterest didn't change how I felt about her. I don't love Julia Child because she loves me; I love her because she inspired me to change my life. ... I know how I feel about Julia, and that's what matters."
Her favorite of Child's 524 recipes? Braised Cucumbers. "I'm so glad they made it into the movie, because I think they're a revelation!" Powell said.
French abstract artist Pierre Soulages (December 24, 1919-October 26, 2022) became known as the "Master of Black," for bringing the mystery of darkness into the light. His paintings – big, bold, and overwhelmingly black – have commanded attention since he made a name for himself in 1950s New York, then emerging as the center of the modern art world.
Back then, like American avant-garde artists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, Soulages experimented with challenging abstract forms. He even used color. Then, one morning in 1979, when he and his wife Colette were living in Paris, he noticed how reflections transformed the surface of black paint. He'd found his medium, and began to experiment with sculpting black paint on the canvas.
When asked by "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2020, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, why black still moved him, Soulages replied, "Because its possibilities are limitless. I say black, but actually it's light that's key. When I add black paint to a canvas, light reflects uniquely off the scar. That's what my work is all about. I paint with light."
"Give me a good pandemic and I flourish," said comic actor Leslie Jordan (April 29, 1955-October 24, 2022). In 2022 he told "CBS Mornings" about adjusting to lockdown after staying with his mom in Tennessee. "I had a lot of time on my hands. And I started posting on Instagram. And I did two posts a day, I think, for 80 days. And I would always start it with, 'Well, how y'all doing?'"
He'd get more than a million hits a day. Its success amazed even him: "I didn't try to sell anybody anything. I just talked about what are y'all doing? Here's what I'm doing. I cut my hair because I couldn't get to the barbershop.
"I have people come up to me and say, 'You got me through that. I'm stuck at home with my kids, I thought I was going nuts, And I would look forward to just a minute or two with you every day.' And I think that's what comedy's about."
Beginning at age 19, the 4'11" Jordan exercised racehorses. Put off by the travel involved, he enrolled in journalism classes at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he also signed up for a theater elective. "It just hit me like a drug," he said.
After graduating, he headed to California, and got steady work in commercials. ("I was the elevator operator to Hamburger Hell for Taco Bell"), and eventually got acting roles in such TV series as "The Fall Guy," "Night Court," "Murphy Brown," "The People Next Door," "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," "Top of the Heap," "Reasonable Doubts," "Hearts Afire," "Caroline in the City," "Ally McBeal," "Boston Public," "Boston Legal," "American Horror Story," "The Cool Kids," and "Call Me Kat." Film roles included "The Help" and "The United States vs. Billie Holiday,"
His best-known character was Beverly Leslie in "Will & Grace," a recurring role for which he won an Emmy in 2006.
In the 1990s he wrote and starred in a stage musical, the semi-autobiographical "Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus Far." In 2008 he published a memoir, "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet," his take on Hollywood, fame, addiction and gay culture.
After blowing up his Instagram account during COVID, his career took a different turn when he released a gospel album called "Company's Comin'," featuring Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Eddie Vedder and Tanya Tucker.
He recently wrote his second book, "How Y'all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived."
Born Anthony Robert McMillan, Robbie Coltrane (March 30, 1950-October 14, 2022) was in his early 20s when he began pursuing an acting career, renaming himself in honor of jazz musician John Coltrane.
The Scottish comedian and character actor's early film credits included the musical "Absolute Beginners," the drama "Mona Lisa," and the caper "Nuns on the Run." He played Falstaff in the Kenneth Branagh-directed "Henry V," the Pope in the comedy "The Pope Must Diet," and a Russian crime boss in the James Bond films "GoldenEye" and "The World is Not Enough."
Coltrane broke through as hard-bitten criminal psychologist Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald in the 1990s British TV series "Cracker," for which he won the best actor BAFTRA Award three years in a row.
He was beloved by a generation as the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, the mentor of young wizard Harry Potter, in all eight Potter films. He was the first actor to be cast for the original movie – hand-picked by author J.K., Rowling – and in 2002 told the Christian Science Monitor that he knew the story well. "I'd read it to my young son, Spencer," he said. "I did all the accents, even inventing a few of my own, when reading it, and must say I felt a certain kindred to Hagrid."
The inspiration for his performance, he told The Daily Record in 2006, was an imposing, burly biker he'd once met, who'd entered a bar and complained about his petunias. "He was a gardener, but he had fists like hams. He had a gentle heart."
To play Hagrid, the 6'1" Coltrane wore boots that made him at least seven inches taller, underwent an hour-and-a-half of makeup, and wore a costume that weighed 65 pounds.
In an interview last January for an HBO Harry Potter reunion special, Coltrane said, "The legacy of the movies is that my children's generation will show them to their children. So, you could be watching it in 50 years' time, easily ... I'll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will, yes."
Six-time All-Star relief pitcher Bruce Sutter (January 8, 1953-October 13, 2022) was pitching for the Chicago Cubs' farm team in 1972 when he hurt his right elbow trying to learn a slider. Afraid he would be cut if the Cubs knew he'd been injured, Sutter hid the injury, and paid for the surgery on his pinched nerve himself. At spring training the following year, with the speed of his pitches off, he learned the split-fingered fastball from the Cubs' minor league pitching instructor Fred Martin.
The pitch (the ball is held between the index and middle fingers, and as it approaches the plate suddenly dips) wasn't being successfully thrown. "It came to me easy, but it took a long time to learn how to control it," Sutter once said. "I could throw pretty hard. I might strike out 16 guys, but I might walk 10. I mean, I was wild."
Sutter entered the majors with the Cubs in 1976. Three years later he won the National League Cy Young Award, with 37 saves, 2.22 ERA and 110 strikeouts.
In a 1979 Sports Illustrated interview veteran batter Lou Brock had this assessment of Sutter's split-fingered fastball: "You'd figure that if a guy stayed around long enough, he'd learn how to hit it. But no one has."
During his 12-year career Sutter led the National League in saves for five years, posting 300 saves with the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals (he finished off the Cards' Game 7 win over Milwaukee in the 1982 World Series), and Atlanta Braves. In 661 games, he pitched 1,042 innings and struck out 861, with a career ERA of 2.83.
In 2006 Sutter became only the fourth reliever to be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame – and the first pitcher to reach Cooperstown without ever having started a game.
Born in London to an Irish actress and an English timber merchant, Angela Lansbury (October 16, 1925-October 11, 2022) was forced at a young age to become self-reliant after the death of her father. She was sent by her mother to drama school, first in London, then, after the Blitz, to New York and, ultimately, Hollywood.
By 17, she was in her first film, as the flirtatious, cockney maid in the 1944 classic, "Gaslight." Director George Cukor was "appalled" that a woman her age could pull off playing such a convincing seductress. '[You'd think] I'd been around the block, as they say," Lansbury told "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2009. "I hadn't, you know. I really hadn't!"
But playing characters beyond her years would become the story of Lansbury's life. Despite back-to-back Oscar nominations (for "Gaslight" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray"), she spent her twenties and thirties typecast in older, more maternal roles – as an adulterous mother in "The World of Henry Orient"; Elvis Presley's mom in "Blue Hawaii" (despite being only nine years older than the singer); and Laurence Harvey's scheming mom in "The Manchurian Candidate," nabbing her third Oscar nomination for the political thriller in which she gives her son advice only a loving mother could give: "You are to shoot the presidential nominee through the head." She even had her hair streaked gray, at age 23, to play a newspaper publisher in her 40s in "State of the Union."
Unsatisfied with Hollywood's lack of imagination, Lansbury packed her bags for the New York stage. "I felt liberated the minute I came to Broadway. Those years at MGM, I hadn't really been judged as an actress until I made it on Broadway."
After roles in "Hotel Paradiso," "A Taste of Honey" and "Anyone Can Whistle," she hit pay dirt with the musical "Mame" (1966), winning the first of five Tony Awards. [Her others were for "Dear World" (1969); "Gypsy" (1975); "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (1979), playing the meat pie maker Mrs. Lovett; and a 2009 revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit."]
After playing Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in a film adaptation of "The Mirror Crack'd," and one of the murder suspects in "Death on the Nile," Lansbury found her greatest fame on "Murder, She Wrote" as mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher. For twelve seasons (and in four subsequent movies-for-TV), she made an older female character – often invisible in media – a pop culture role model. She received 12 Emmy nominations for the series.
She was a role model of a very different sort as the voice of the teapot Mrs. Potts in the animated Disney musical, "Beauty and the Beast."
Lansbury later became a spokesperson for the ALS Association. (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis had claimed the life of her sister, Isolde.)
In 2014 she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II, honored for her acting career and charity work.
And she would continue working, on stage (she earned additional Tony nominations for the play "Deuce" and the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Little Night Music," as well as a lifetime achievement Tony in 2022) and in films ("Nanny McPhee," "Mr. Popper's Penguins," "Mary Poppins Returns," and, as herself, in "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery").
"The bottom line is, I really don't know how to relax to the degree that I could just stop," Lansbury told "Sunday Morning." "So, when something comes along and is presented to me, and I think, 'Gee, I could have some fun doing that,' or 'I think I could bring something to that,' I'll do it.
"I mean, there are times when you walk into that dressing room and you think, 'I can't do this. I cannot do this.' And it's a curious thing: When you sit down in front of that mirror and you pick up that first piece of makeup and you start to apply it … suddenly, you transform yourself into that person who is capable of going on stage and delivering that performance. And you do it, and yes, you can!"
If you want to know the story of Loretta Lynn (April 14, 1932-October 4, 2022), listen to her songs. The country legend sang about a life of hardship, poverty, and her husband's infidelity – stories like "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," "You Ain't Woman Enough," "What Makes Me Tick," and "Coal Miner's Daughter," whose title became the name of her bestselling 1976 autobiography.
"It's whatever I was going through at the time, and whatever I was thinking about at the time," Lynn told "Sunday Morning" in 2010.
And even as she rose to become a legend of American music – a three-time Grammy-winner, with 30 Top 10 country albums, and the first woman to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award, in 1972 – she never forgot her roots, as the second of eight children of a coal miner in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. "I ain't about to be nobody else. I'm just me. And if I was trying to be somebody else, I'd have never made it, either," she said.
When she was just 13, Loretta met 21-year-old Oliver Lynn, known as Doo. They married one month later. Lynn would have four children by the time she was 18. "I'd rock them to sleep. That's where Doo found out I could sing," she said. So, Doo bought her a guitar. Lynn taught herself to play, and began writing her own songs. Her kids were her audience. "I'd stand them up in a row: Betty, Jack, Ernest, and Cissie, 'Stand right there and tell mommy what you think of her singing.' 'Oh, you sound pretty, mommy.'"
Doo arranged for Loretta to record her song "Honky Tonk Girl," and they hit the road to promote it. Lynn became an overnight success. But as she spent nights on the road in her tour bus, Doo stayed home drinking, womanizing, and hiring housekeepers to raise their now-six children. Their marriage lasted 48 years, until Doo's death in 1996. But as she told "48 Hours" in 2002, the two were regular sparring partners: "I've never written a song that my husband wasn't in – every song I wrote – but he didn't know which line he was in."
She stayed, she said, because she loved him: "I didn't need him, but he was my kids' daddy. Why leave hearts laying on the floor for me? … He broke my heart lots of time, but that would have broke the kids' hearts, wouldn't it?"
And she got some evocative songs out of it, like the #1 country hit "Fist City":
Come on and tell me what you told my friends
If you think you're brave enough
And I'll show you what a real woman is
Since you think you're hot stuff
You'll bite off more than you can chew
If you get too cute or witty
You better move your feet
If you don't wanna eat
A meal that's called fist city
A humorist, storyteller and activist for Native Americans, Roger Welsch (November 6, 1936-September 30, 2022) was a longtime contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" with his witty "Postcard from Nebraska" segments in the 1980s and '90s.
Clad in his familiar overalls, Welsch told stories from his beloved state, including his hometown of Dannebrog, so small, he noted, the town square only has three sides.
Welsch's segments developed after Charles Kuralt featured him in an "On the Road" segment about the Nebraskan's 1970s campaign for the Lancaster County Weed Control Authority, running on a "pro-weed" platform. Not marijuana, weeds – edible wild plants that were being sprayed with pesticides. His slogan: "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em," He won.
Welsch wrote dozens of books, penned newspaper columns, and proudly admitted to having founded the National Liars Hall of Fame, claiming nearly two million visitors a year in tiny Dannebrog.
He also worked to reform the Nebraska State Historical Society after they refused to repatriate human remains of native peoples to the Pawnee Nation. In addition to the nickname "Captain Nebraska," Welsch also went by the names afforded him by indigenous tribes: Tenugahai "Bull Buffalo Chief" by the Omaha Tribe, Panitaka "White Wolfhite Pawnee" by the Pawnee Tribe, and Heyoka ta Pejuta "His Medicine is Contrary" by the Oglala Sioux.
Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., the rapper Coolio (August 1, 1963-September 28, 2022) garnered fame in the 1990s with such hits as "Gangsta's Paradise" (winner of the Grammy for best solo rap performance) and "Fantastic Voyage."
Raised in California, he began rapping at 15. He went to community college and worked as a volunteer firefighter and in airport security before devoting himself full-time to hip-hop.
He collaborated with WC and the Maad Circle, before releasing his debut album on Tommy Boy Records in 1994, "It Takes a Thief." The track "Fantastic Voyage" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following year, "Gangsta's Paradise" hit No. 1.
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realize there's not much left
'Cause I've been blastin' and laughin' so long, that
Even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
Later hits included "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" and "C U When U Get There."
Collio aimed to rise above the feud that arose between east and west coast hip-hop factions. "I'd like to claim this Grammy on behalf of the whole hip-hop nation, West Coast, East Coast, and worldwide, united we stand, divided we fall," he said from the stage as he accepted the award in 1996.
But he engaged in a kind of feud with Weird Al Yankovic, who parodied "Gangsta's Paradise" with his hit, "Amish Paradise" ("As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain, I take a look at my wife and realize she's very plain"). Though Coolio voiced his upset at the time, it was later attributed to a "misunderstanding."
"I have to say, that was probably one of the least smart things I've done over the years," he later told Rolling Stone. "I should have never been upset about that; I should have embraced it like everybody else did. Michael Jackson never got mad at him; Prince never got mad at him. Who the f*** was I to take the position that I took? It was actually years later before I realized how stupid that was of me [laughs]. But hey, you live and you learn."
CBS News correspondent Bill Plante (January 14, 1938-September 28, 2022) was one of the longest-serving White House broadcast journalists in history. During his more than half-century with CBS News, Plante covered the civil rights movement (the "Mississippi Burning" murders in 1964, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1965), and served four tours in Vietnam. (He reported from Saigon during its fall.)
He began his broadcasting career in 1956 at Chicago area radio stations, reading news and playing classical music. He then landed a job as assistant news director at the CBS affiliate in Milwaukee, before beginning a CBS Fellowship at Columbia University in New York. In his audition reel, his goals foreshadowed his long, varied career: "Politics, general assignment, writing, editing, reporting, air work, you name it, I'd like to do it," he said.
He was named a CBS News correspondent in 1966, assigned to the Chicago bureau, where he covered riots, strikes, campus unrest, and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. His overseas reporting includes stories on the war between India and Pakistan over Bangladesh, and conflict in Northern Ireland.
Plante also covered 13 presidential elections, and joined CBS News' Washington bureau in December 1976. In addition to senior White House correspondent, Plante was also, from 1988 to 1995, the anchor of the "CBS Sunday Night News." He won several Emmy Awards, including for his reports on the 1997 death of Princess Diana; the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit; and Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign.
One of Washington's most knowledgeable wine aficionados, Plante became known as the White House press corps' sommelier. He reported on wine occasionally for the "CBS Early Show" and "CBS Sunday Morning."
At his retirement in 2016, Plante said, "Fifty years plus, I have had a wonderful window, a closeup, on the human condition, telling the stories of civil rights and of the wastes of war and the politics of power. Through it all, you come to see how human nature is universal. People continue to behave in both altruistic and destructive ways. So that's why what we do continues to be so important."
In the 1960s actress Louise Fletcher (July 22, 1934-September 23, 2022), who'd gotten work on TV series like "The Untouchables," "77 Sunset Strip," and "Wagon Train," put her career on hold to raise her two children. She came back in the '70s and, after a notable turn in Robert Altman's "Thieves Like Us," was chosen to star opposite Jack Nicholson in the tragi-comedy "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
Fletcher played the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched, who rules over the mental institution to which Nicholson's Randle McMurphy is sent for evaluation. She engages in a cruel and violent battle of wills with McMurphy, and the other inmates, exerting her authority against his rebelliousness. Her performance – a rigid imperiousness coated with a frightening serenity – made her a villainess for the ages.
In a 2004 interview Fletcher said she was the last actress considered for the role: "It wasn't until we were halfway through shooting that I realized the part had been offered to other actresses who didn't want to appear so horrible on the screen."
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" became only the second film ever to win Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.
At the 1976 ceremony, Fletcher accepted her Oscar and thanked her deaf parents in Birmingham, Alabama, using sign language: "I want to thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true."
Fletcher was later nominated for two Emmy Awards, for guest appearances on "Picket Fences" and "Joan of Arcadia." Other TV credits included "The Karen Carpenter Story." "The Boys of Twilight," "ER," "Shameless," and a recurring role on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."
Her films included "Exorcist II: The Heretic," "The Cheap Detective," "The Magician of Lublin," "Strange Behavior," "Strange Invaders," "Brainstorm," "Firestarter," "Invaders from Mars," "The Boy Who Could Fly," "Blue Steel," "Cruel Intentions," and "A Perfect Man."
Novelist Hilary Mantel (July 6, 1952-September 22, 2022) won the first of her two Booker Prizes for "Wolf Hall," a bloody 16th-century political drama featuring Thomas Cromwell and King Henry VIII. Translated to the stage and television, it launched a trilogy of books about Tudor intrigue that included "Bring Up the Bodies" (which also won the Booker Prize) and "The Mirror and the Light."
Mantel's first novel, 1985's "Every Day Is Mother's Day," drew on her experience working as a social worker in a geriatric hospital. She returned to the characters with "Vacant Possession." She would regularly publish for nearly 25 years, earning critical praise but only modest commercial success, with such books as "Eight Months on Ghazzah Street" (inspired by her move with her geologist husband to Saudi Arabia), "Fludd," "A Place of Greater Safety" (about the French Revolution), "A Change of Climate" (about missionaries in Africa), "An Experiment in Love," "The Giant," and "Beyond Black" (about a psychic medium). She also published short story collections and a memoir, "Giving Up the Ghost."
After a quarter-century, Mantel broke out with "Wolf Hall."
In a 2020 interview with the Guardian, Mantel reflected on the appeal of writing historical fiction, or of figures long gone: "I do have the sense of it being a very proximate world," she said. "And sometimes the barrier seems like an enormous stone wall, and sometimes it's just whisper thin. But you can be misunderstood in talking about it. Because none of it can be literal. It's all just a series of metaphors."
Greek actress and recording artist Irene Papas (September 3, 1929-September 14, 2022) became an international star with her roles in the films "The Guns of Navarone" and "Zorba the Greek."
She appeared in more than 80 movies and TV programs, from classical tragedies ("Antigone," "Electra," "The Trojan Women," "Iphigenia") to Walt Disney family fare ("The Moon Spinners"). Among her films were "Tribute to a Bad Man," The Brotherhood," "Z," "Anne of the Thousand Days," "Christ Stopped at Eboli," "Mohammad, Messenger of God," "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," "Lion of the Desert," "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," and the miniseries "Moses the Lawgiver."
Of her stage work she was particularly celebrated for Greek tragedies, appearing on Broadway in "Medea" and "The Bacchae."
Her recordings included collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis, Aphrodite's Child, and one of that band's founding members, Vangelis.
In 1992, starring in a production of "Medea" in Barcelona, Papas evoked the mystery of acting: "I don't know if I am living memory, or a ghost that encourages."
French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard (December 3, 1930-September 13, 2022) was a lightning rod for film fans and critics since his emergence as a founding member of the French New Wave movement. The director of such classics as "Breathless" and "Weekend," and the recipient (though begrudgingly) of an Honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Godard's narrative tricks and his weaving of personal observations into his films would inspire younger generations of filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, Brian de Palma and Quentin Tarantino.
A contributor to the French film journal Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s, Godard and several like-minded film buffs began making their own films, founding what came to be known as the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vogue) – works that reinvigorated staid, traditional forms of motion picture storytelling and eschewed the artifice of Hollywood. A fan of such giants as Alfred Hitchcock, Godard was an advocate of the "auteur" theory behind filmmaking, in which a single vision (usually the director's) aimed all facets of filmmaking through their personal lens.
After making a documentary and several shorts, Godard directed his first feature, "Breathless (A Bout de Souffle)" (1960), a brisk, dark comedy shot on the streets with a handheld camera, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as a petty thief and Jean Seberg as an American ex-pat. It was a hybrid of Continental and Hollywood styles that paid homage to Godard's hero Howard Hawks, while also reveling in an untethered narrative. The film became an international success – a breath of fresh cinematic air – and began a string of Godard movies that were more blatantly political, and more esoteric, than those of his contemporaries. As critic Roger Ebert noted, "Godard depends on us to do the heavy lifting."
Typically shunning traditional forms of editing, composition and music, Godard would regularly break the fourth wall, using stylized dialogue and off-handed delivery, suggesting the actors were self-consciously aware of being in a film, watched by an audience. He experimented with video editing, sound editing, 3-D, and smearing colors.
"In my opinion the cinema should be more poetic," Godard told Cahiers du Cinema in 1965. "Two or three years ago I felt that everything had been done [in film]. 'Ivan the Terrible' had been made, and 'Our Daily Bread.' Make films about people, they said; but 'The Crowd' had already been made, so why remake it? I was, in a word, pessimistic. After '[Pierrot le Fou],' I no longer feel this. Yes, one must film, talk about, everything. Everything remains to be done."
Godard would direct more than 125 features, documentaries, shorts, and TV series, including the miniseries "History of Cinema." Credits include "Contempt," with Brigitte Bardot; several starring his then-wife, Anna Karina, such as "A Woman Is a Woman," "Vivre Sa Vie," "Le Petit Soldat," "Alphaville" (a sci-fi homage to film noir detective films), "Pierrot le Fou," "Band of Outsiders," and "Made in U.S.A."; "Masculin Féminin"; "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her," "La Chinoise"; "Weekend"; "Tout Va Bien," with Jane Fonda and Yves Montand; "Every Man for Himself" and "Passion," with Isabelle Huppert; "First Name: Carmen"; "Hail Mary"; "Detective"; "King Lear," featuring himself, Norman Mailer and Woody Allen; "Film Socialisme"; "Goodbye to Language"; and "The Image Book."
In a 2002 poll of critics by the British Film Institute for Sight + Sound, Godard ranked #3 on the list of Top 10 Directors (behind Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock), but he did not fare as well among his peers — his name did not appear when the BFI polled directors on their choices for Top Ten.
For "Sympathy for the Devil" (a documentary depicting American counterculture and revolutionary movements like the Black Panthers, interwoven with film taken of the Rolling Stones recording in the studio), the producer re-edited Godard's version, leaving the director so incensed he punched the producer in the nose in front of a London audience.
Godard's reputation as an enfant terrible was not limited to what appeared on screen. In his early days he was something of a kleptomaniac with his family and colleagues; and when fellow filmmaker and longtime friend Agnes Varda visited his home in Rolle, Switzerland, while filming her 2017 documentary "Faces Places," Godard refused even to come to the door. Hurt, Varda left a note on his window glass ("No thanks for your bad hospitality"), but, she admitted, "I drew a heart anyway."
Queen Elizabeth II
Since ascending to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, Queen Elizabeth II (April 21, 1926-September 8, 2022) was Great Britain's longest-reigning monarch, her rule marking years of change in the U.K. and throughout the British Empire following World War II. Her endurance as a stoic symbol of heritage and tradition, even as her country underwent enormous social upheavals, made her the most significant figure in British culture, a huge unifying symbol across generations, and a beloved matriarch far beyond the Empire's shifting boundaries.
The eldest daughter of George VI (who'd become king following the abdication of his older brother, Edward VIII), Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor worked to raise her country's morale during wartime, and volunteered as a mechanic in the women's auxiliary service. She married Philip Mountbatten, a member of the Greek royal family, and gave birth to four children — Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
After her father's death, Elizabeth's sense of duty became her primary image to the world. "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service," she told the nation.
But the course of the British monarchy over the past seven decades would be a rocky one. In contrast to her steadfast union with Prince Philip, the marriages of her sister Margaret, her daughter Anne, and her sons Charles and Andrew all ended in divorces. The queen's lowest point was the death in 1997 of Princess Diana, following her tabloid-fodder separation from Charles, when the monarch's reputation for being unflappable stood in stark contrast to the public's very demonstrative show of emotion and grief.
After days of public silence, Elizabeth addressed the nation on television: "What I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart. First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her — for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys."
During Diana's funeral procession, the queen offered a bow to her coffin — a notably significant departure from royal protocol.
The queen would make gradual accommodations to the times and to the changing expectations of a less-deferential British public, for example agreeing to pay taxes on her income after complaints about the costs of repairing a fire-damaged Windsor Castle. She also helped guide the maturation of her grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, after Diana's death.
When Prince Charles remarried Camilla Parker Bowles, the queen hosted the reception, and in time made her preference known that once Charles succeeded her as king, Camilla should be honored with the title Queen Consort.
Bernard Shaw (May 22, 1940-September 7, 2022), who became the first anchor of the fledgling CNN upon its launch in 1980, would cover such stories as the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, student demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the first Gulf War in 1991, and the 2000 presidential election.
Born in Chicago, Shaw was a U.S. Marine in Hawaii in 1961, when he managed to secure a meeting with one of his journalistic heroes, Walter Cronkite, who later described Shaw to the Washington Post as "the most persistent guy I've ever met in my life … I was going to give him five begrudging minutes, and ended up talking to him for a half-hour. He was just determined to be a journalist."
Shaw got a radio job as a reporter in Chicago, where he interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He worked as a political reporter at CBS during the Watergate years, and was later ABC's Latin America correspondent and bureau chief. He was one of the first reporters on the scene of the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana.
At CNN, the first 24-hour news channel, Shaw anchored the network's on-the-scene reporting from Baghdad as airstrikes marked the beginning of the U.S. invasion to liberate Kuwait.
"In all of the years of preparing to being anchor, one of the things I strove for was to be able to control my emotions in the midst of hell breaking out," Shaw told NPR in 2014. "And I personally feel that I passed my stringent test for that in Baghdad."
In 1988 Shaw was the first African American to moderate a presidential debate. When Shaw asked Democrat Michael Dukakis – who opposed the death penalty – whether he would condone capital punishment if his own wife had been raped and killed, Dukakis' cool, legalistic response was deemed fatally damaging to his candidacy. Shaw himself was criticized for even asking it.
"Since when did a question hurt a politician?" Shaw said in a 2001 CSPAN interview. "It wasn't the question. It was the answer."
Bestselling horror writer and poet Peter Straub (March 2, 1943-September 4, 2022) was best known for his lyrical novels that helped revive the supernatural genre, namely "Ghost Story" and "Julia," and for his collaborations with Stephen King: "The Talisman" and its sequel, "Black House."
A Milwaukee native, Straub almost died when he was hit by a car at age seven. He told Salon in 2016, "It took me a long time to see this, but of course it kind of darkened my view of life in general. It meant that I was way more open to fear than any child ought to be, and that I knew more about fear and its first cousin terror, and pain, than children are normally expected to know. And it meant that I was kind of pushed forward into an emotional understanding that I wasn't quite prepared for.
"It was very, very complex. I had nightmares; my behavior suffered. I darkened in character; I was less amenable, less friendly. I was way less a child than I had been beforehand. It took me a long time to understand the consequences of that single event. Once I did understand the consequences then I was far more able to deal with them. It meant also that I had that material available for conscious thematic use."
Straub taught at a private school before moving with his wife to Ireland, where he studied for his doctorate. Instead of a dissertation, though, he wrote a novel, "Marriages." But after publishing poetry, he tried for more commercial success by writing about the supernatural (given the popularity of "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist"). "Julia," about a mother whose child had died and is haunted by the ghost of another, was a success, and was turned into a film starring Mia Farrow, "The Haunting of Julia."
Straub continued writing about fantasy, horror, murder and the supernatural, with "If You Could See Me Now," "Ghost Story" (which became a 1981 film with John Houseman and Fred Astaire), "Shadowland," "Floating Dragon," "Koko," "Mystery," "The Throat," "The Hellfire Club," "Mr. X," "Lost Boy, Lost Girl," "In the Night Room," and "Dark Matter." He also published several novellas and short story collections. (Neil Gaiman once likened Straub's short fiction to "tiny novels you drown in.") He also edited the Library of America's volume of H.P. Lovecraft tales.
In 1998 he told Locus Magazine, "A recent novella I wrote for 'Murder For Revenge,' an Otto Penzler anthology, 'Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff', is based very loosely on 'Bartleby the Scrivener' by Melville. I reread 'Bartleby' when it came out in one of those 'Penguin 60s' that also included my 'Blue Rose', and to say I was impressed and moved is drastically to understate. I thought it was one of the most beautiful, most profound things I'd ever read. It also addressed and spoke to an interest of mine which could loosely be called 'indeterminacy.' That is, what you know to be part of the greatness of 'Bartleby' is that it's very difficult to describe in any terms but its own. You cannot reduce it to an equation. You cannot extract a comforting little moral from it. It's hard to say exactly what it means, but it is completely profound."
A prolific writer of articles for The Nation, The New York Times, Harper's, Vogue and others, activist Barbara Ehrenreich (August 26, 1941-September 1, 2022) was a teacher and researcher (she received a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University). She became more involved in the feminist movement following the birth of her daughter, Rosa, she explained, as she was appalled by her hospital's treatment of patients.
She authored or co-authored 23 books, her most famous being 2001's "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," in which she recounted taking on minimum-wage jobs (such as a hotel maid, waitress, cleaning woman, and Wal-Mart sales clerk), and moving into cheap lodging, to find out firsthand about the lives and struggles of the working poor – people she dubbed "the major philanthropists of our society."
She wrote, "They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else."
Other books included "Long March, Short Spring: The Student Uprising at Home and Abroad" (written with her then-husband, John Ehrenreich); "Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class"; "The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed"; "This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation"; "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War"; "Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything"; and "Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer."
In 2011 Ehrenreich, who'd gone through a grueling bout with breast cancer, talked with "Sunday Morning" correspondent Rita Braver about her resistance to the notion of "positive thinking" being a determinant of one's experience, which she characterized as, "If things don't go well, if you get sick, or if you lose your job, or fall into poverty, it must be your fault because you weren't sending the right thoughts out into the universe."
"Well, what's wrong with that attitude? A lot of people have it," said Braver.
"It's wrong because it's not true!" Ehrenreich laughed.
In her book "Bright-Sided," she argued that the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America.
"Is the alternative to positive thinking to be negative or pessimistic or fatalistic?" asked Braver.
"The alternative is to try to see the world as it is more. Realism, I would call that," she replied.
Mikhail Gorbachev (March 2, 1931-August 30, 2022) was the last president of the U.S.S.R., whose efforts to revitalize his country's lagging economy and to advance a staid communist bureaucracy through the introduction of "glasnost" (openness) led to the fall of the Iron Curtain, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and an end to the Cold War. He survived an attempted coup in August 1991, but in a matter of months, after more and more Soviet republics declared their independence, he resigned on December 25, 1991. The next day, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
During his short tenure (he had risen to become Soviet leader in March 1985), Gorbachev sought reforms freeing political prisoners, expanding the ability of citizens to travel and engage in open debate, and ending religious persecution. He established closer ties with the West, holding summits with leaders such as American Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and moved to reduce nuclear arsenals, while watching Eastern European satellite states pull away from Moscow's influence.
He also oversaw the USSR's ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan, and initially called Western reports about the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident an "unbridled anti-Soviet campaign."
But the freedoms he promoted became synonymous to many of his countrymen with chaos, as long-suppressed ethnic tensions flared. There were uprisings and wars in the southern Caucasus and Baltic republics. Many seniors lost their life savings because of hyper-inflation. Price increases led to shortages, bread lines, factory shutdowns, and strikes.
"I see myself as a man who started the reforms that were necessary for the country and for Europe and the world," Gorbachev told the Associated Press in 1992. "I am often asked, would I have started it all again if I had to repeat it? Yes, indeed. And with more persistence and determination."
Gorbachev received numerous accolades, including the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize. But his global popularity was not matched back home, where he was blamed for the Soviet Union's collapse, and for the economic turmoil that followed. When he ran for president in 1996, he received less than 1% of the vote.
In his address to the nation upon stepping down from office, Gorbachev reflected, "The process of renovating this country and bringing about fundamental changes in the international community proved to be much more complex than originally anticipated. However, let us acknowledge what has been achieved so far. Society has acquired freedom; it has been freed politically and spiritually. And this is the most important achievement, which we have not fully come to grips with in part because we still have not learned how to use our freedom."
German filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen (March 14, 1941-August 12, 2022) burst onto the international scene with his 1981 drama "Das Boot," one of the most compelling war films ever made, which perfectly captured the claustrophobia facing a German submarine crew during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. What was then the most expensive movie in German film history, "Das Boot" would be nominated for six Academy Awards (including two for Petersen, for direction and screenwriting).
It would launch Petersen (who'd worked extensively in German television, but who grew up enamored by the films of John Ford) towards a Hollywood career, starting with the 1984 children's fantasy "The NeverEnding Story." He later directed the Clint Eastwood Secret Service drama "In the Line of Fire"; the Harrison Ford thriller "Air Force One"; the George Clooney disaster film "The Perfect Storm"; and the historical epic "Troy," starring Brad Pitt.
Other credits include "Enemy Mine," "Shattered," "Outbreak," and "Poseidon." His last film, which he shot back in Germany, was the comedy "Four vs. the Bank."
In 2016 he talked with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle about his fascination with American films while growing up: "It has very much to do with the situation in Germany after the war. We didn't learn about the situation under the Nazis. My parents never really talked about that. And for a kid at the age of 10 or 12, you want an answer. I had the feeling that everything in my world and in Germany around that time was unclear. There was no moral there; there was no understanding of why things happened.
"In these films, there was clarity – especially in Westerns – about what is good and what is bad and about what you have to fight against and why. Clarity is important for a boy, and it was missing from the world around us."
Actress Anne Heche (May 25, 1969-August 11, 2022) first gained notice on the NBC soap "Another World," in which she played twins Marley and Vicky Hudson, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award. Her subsequent film career included roles opposite Johnny Depp in "Donnie Brasco," Tommy Lee Jones in "Volcano," Harrison Ford in "Six Days, Seven Nights," and Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix in "Return to Paradise." One of her best performances was as a White House aide opposite media spin doctor Robert De Niro in the 1997 political satire "Wag the Dog."
Other credits included "Walking and Talking," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," the color shot-for-shot remake of "Psycho," "John Q," "Birth," "Cedar Rapids" and "Wild Card." On TV she starred in the comedy series "Men in Trees," "Save Me," "Dig," "Aftermath," "The Brave," and "The Idol," and appeared in "Ally McBeal," "Hung," "The Michael J. Fox Show," "Chicago P.D.," and "All Rise." In 2020 she was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars."
In her candid 2001 memoir "Call Me Crazy," Heche recounted her peripatetic and oppressive childhood (her family moved nearly a dozen times), and years of sexual abuse by her father. She began acting at age 12 at a N.J. dinner theater to earn money for her family after her father died of complications from AIDS. The following year her 23-year-old brother died by suicide.
At 17 she began therapy for having experienced "a lot of death, and a lot of abuse and homelessness," she told the Associated Press. "I went through eight years of trying to be at peace with who I was and what had happened to me as a child." In her book she described developing a separate personality due to her suffering.
In 1997 she began a relationship with comedian Ellen Degeneres, making them one of Hollywood's first openly-gay couples. (They would be together for three years.) But Heche said it affected her professionally – she claimed the studio threatened her if she brought Degeneres to the "Volcano" premiere afterparty, and that it was Ford's support that kept her from being fired from the rom-com "Six Days, Seven Nights." As media outlets tut-tutted over "how to deal with a gay actress whose career has been built on playing heterosexual roles," Heche claimed to be blacklisted from studio pictures. She continued to work on TV, and on Broadway (in "Proof" and "Twentieth Century").
Heche's mental health issues would also become fodder for the media, as when she had a public breakdown following the end of her relationship with Degeneres. She would go on to have two children, one with husband Coleman Laffoon (whom she divorced in 2009), and one with actor James Tupper.
In 2020 Heche was asked by the magazine Mr. Warburton what advice she would share with a young up-and-comer struggling with insecurity or finding their true self: "Risk is the key. Be yourself. Be brave. Also, the longer I have been in the business, the more I know that everyone pretends to know more than they do. So don't be intimidated!"
A member of the elite cadre of Los Angeles session musicians known as the "Wrecking Crew," guitarist Bill Pitman (February 12, 1920-August 11, 2022) played on hundreds of recordings for such artists as Mel Torme, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, The Mamas & the Papas, The Everly Brothers, The Ronettes, Elvis Presley, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Sam Cooke, James Brown, The Carpenters, and The Beach Boys.
A New Jersey native (his father was a bass player for NBC in New York), Pitman went West after serving in World War II, to study at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Arts. His session work would lead him to producer Phil Spector (to whom, years earlier, he'd given guitar lessons) and to countless pop and rock songs that helped define the era. He performed on hundreds of recordings (in one year alone he played in 425 recording sessions), such as The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" album (including "Wouldn't It Be Nice"), Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night," The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," and Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were."
He also played on TV and movie soundtracks (from "MASH" to "Bonanza" and "Star Trek"). Though his performances were often anonymous, they were nonetheless memorable, whether he was wielding a Daneletro six-string bass guitar (on the theme for the TV series "The Wild, Wild West"), or a ukulele (on the Oscar-winning song from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head").
Four-time Grammy Award-winning singer Olivia Newton-John (September 26, 1948-August 8, 2022) sold 100 million albums in a career that stretched from radio to the movie screen and Las Vegas, while radiating courage and grace in her years-long battle against cancer.
Born in England, the daughter of a German literature professor and granddaughter of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Newton-John's family moved to Australia when she was 5, but she returned to England in her teens to live with her mother after her parents split. She won singing contests, and recorded her first single, "Till You Say You'll Be Mine," in 1966.
From the early 1970s, Newton-John had 14 Top 10 singles in the U.S., beginning with several hits on the Adult Contemporary and Country charts (including "If Not For You" and "Let Me Be There," which climbed into the Billboard Top 10). In 1973 she was named the Country Music Association's top artist (beating out Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn), but her music became more associated with the pop genre. She hit #1 with "I Honestly Love You" and "Have You Never Been Mellow."
In 1978 she starred with John Travolta in the film version of the musical "Grease," which featured their #1 duets, "You're the One That I Want" and "Summer Nights," as well as the #2 hit, "Hopelessly Devoted To You." In 1980 she starred in the film "Xanadu," from which the song "Magic" also hit #1.
The following year she topped the charts again with "Physical," which sat at #1 for 10 weeks and was named song of the year by Billboard, despite its being banned by some radio stations due to its somewhat provocative lyrics. Her music video for the song won a Grammy for best video.
At age 43, Newton-John felt a lump during a breast self-examination. She was diagnosed with cancer on the same day her father died. "I had a daughter, I had a child to care about," she told "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2019. "And that was my focus. You know, 'I've gotta get through this for her.'"
Declared cancer-free after chemotherapy, she became an activist and philanthropist, serving as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme, and founding the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne in 2012.
And she continued to perform. Newton-John's later albums included "Stronger Than Before" (2005); the 2012 holiday album "This Christmas" (in which she re-teamed with Travolta); and 2015's "Summer Nights: Live in Las Vegas," which grew out of her three-year-long residency on the Strip.
But her cancer returned in 2013. "Why me? has never been a part of it," she said. "I never felt victimized." She chose instead to deal with it. The cancer went into remission, but in 2017 it returned.
In 2019, she penned an autobiography, "Don't Stop Believin'," and auctioned off hundreds of items from her collection, raising more than $2 million for her cancer center. One of the items sold: her skintight black leather pants from "Grease," which – she proved to "Sunday Morning" in 2019 – still fit her.
In talking about "Grease" to The Telegraph in 2017, she recalled: "Everything about making the film was fun, but if I had to pick a favorite moment, it was the transformation from what I call Sandy 1 to Sandy 2. I got to play a different character and wear different clothes, and when I put on that tight black outfit to sing 'You're the One That I Want,' I got a very different reaction from the guys on the set."
A familiar voice in television documentaries, historian David McCullough (July 7, 1933-August 7, 2022) won two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of presidents: the 1992 book "Truman," and the 2001 "John Adams," which became the basis of the HBO miniseries that won 13 Emmy Awards. He also authored books on Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
But McCullough's expertise went beyond the White House. He wrote books on the Johnstown Flood, the Brooklyn Bridge, the building of the Panama Canal, the Revolutionary War, and the settling of the American West.
He narrated documentaries on PBS' "American Experience," and series by Ken Burns (such as "The Civil War," "The Statue of Liberty" and "Brooklyn Bridge"). He also narrated the 2003 film "Seabiscuit," the real-life story of the racehorse that defied everyone's worst expectations.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.
In a 2017 interview on CBS' "Face the Nation," in describing how the nation was living in "clearly a dangerous time," McCullough discussed how America needed to learn the lessons of how it overcame a civil war, the 1918 influenza epidemic and the Great Depression, as well as winning two world wars. "I think we need to remember who we are and how we got to be where we are and how much we owe to those who went before us," McCullough said. "And there's much to be learned from them, much to be learned from history. We are not doing very well or not doing as well as we should in raising our oncoming generations with an appreciation of the story of their country."
In addition to advocating for better teaching of history, McCullough was also active in historical preservation efforts, including, in the 1990s, fighting the Walt Disney Company's proposed theme park near Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia. The theme park plans were shelved.
For all of his writings about the successes and failures of America's past, and of its leaders (and despite his criticism of the 45th president's time in office as "disappointing" and "grotesque"), McCullough was an optimist about our country. He told "Sunday Morning" in 2019, "We're just getting started. That's the way I feel. Two hundred years is nothing!"
Dr. Raymond Damadian
In the late 1960s, Dr. Raymond Damadian (March 16, 1936-August 3, 2022) began experimenting at a Brooklyn medical center with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy – hitting tissue with radio wave pulses within a magnetic field. When he discovered in 1970 that it provided a feasible means to detect cancerous cells in rats, he published his findings, which lead to his construction of the first MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.
The very first scan, in a machine he called "Indomitable," was conducted on July 3, 1977, on one of his assistants, he being skinny enough, after an earlier scan on Damadian failed. "I was just too fat for the coil," he told Inc. Magazine in 2011.
Damadian then founded a company, Fondar, to produce a commercial version of the scanner. He was immediately embroiled in legal tussles over infringement of his patents when competing companies tried to market their own MRI scanners; Damadian lost some fights, won others (including a 1997 judgment against General Electric for $128 million). Fonar would later introduce an upright MRI scanner.
Damadian would receive the National Medal of Technology and be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. But when the 2003 Nobel Prize was awarded to two other scientists for the development of magnetic resonance imaging, Damadian launched a campaign to right what he characterized a "shameful wrong."
The 1999 New York Times bestseller "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing," the first book by writer Melissa Bank (October 11, 1960-August 2, 2022), was a collection of seven interconnected stories about a young woman, Jane Rosenal, who ages from 14 to her 30s. It became a tremendous critical and commercial success, selling more than 1.5 million copies, and was translated into dozens of languages.
Bank, a Cornell University masters' graduate and copywriter for an ad firm, won a short-story competition in 1993. The "Girls' Guide" title story was published in 1998 in the magazine Zoetrope, prompting a bidding war for a collection. But it would take Bank 12 years to complete "Girls' Guide," her work interrupted by a bicycle accident from which she suffered short-term memory loss and an inability to remember words.
Upon the collection's publication, Bank was praised for her "exquisite portraits of loneliness," and for her wit and precise language, inspired by such writers as Vladimir Nabokov, John Cheever and Ernest Hemingway. Two stories from "Girls' Guide" were adapted for the 2007 romcom "Suburban Girl."
She also authored the story collection "The Wonder Spot," and taught in the MFA program at Stony Brook University in Southampton, New York.
In a 1999 interview with Salon.com, Bank said she was initially intimidated by other writers' voices: "Remarkably, I felt really freed when I got to college. At a certain point I had this breakthrough – I was really blocked, and I started saying this thing to myself: 'You're the only person who can write this story.' And that signaled more confidence in my voice. I stopped trying to write like other writers, all of whom were male, and just learned to be myself on the page."
Bank said she didn't set out to create in Jane an Everywoman: "I wanted a true character, but I didn't think, 'Oh, here's somebody everyone can relate to'; I wasn't thinking about an audience. You get somebody right by getting all of the little, tiny things right. Somehow that's how you wind up at anything universal."
"Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be."
He was the longest tenured broadcaster with a single team in pro sports history, a gracious commentator and storyteller, and a true fan of the game, even when his beloved Dodgers were behind. Vin Scully (November 29, 1927-August 2, 2022) began in the 1950s with the Brooklyn Dodgers, when the "Bums" fielded such stars as Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, and followed the team to Los Angeles, announcing the exploits of such legends as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Steve Garvey and Don Sutton. And while the team changed rosters and managers many times over, Scully was in the announcing booth as the Voice of the Dodgers for nearly seven decades, including for six World Series championships.
Born in the Bronx, Scully's family moved to Brooklyn following the death of his father. It was there he played stickball and listened to sports on the radio. He eventually broadcast games for the Fordham University radio station. Hired by the CBS radio affiliate in Washington, D.C. at age 22, Scully was soon picked by announcer Red Barber to sit in the Brooklyn Dodgers' broadcast booth, making his debut on Opening Day in 1950. He stayed with the team for 67 seasons.
During his tenure, he called 18 no-hitters and three perfect games. He was at the mic in 1974 in Atlanta when the Braves' Hank Aaron hit a home run off Dodger Al Downing to break Babe Ruth's all-time record. "A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol," Scully told his audience. "What a marvelous moment for baseball."
In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully called play-by-play for CBS and NBC for 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He also called NFL games and PGA Tour events.
Scully was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, and in 2010 the American Sportscasters Association voted Scully "the greatest sportscaster of the 20th century." In 2016 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It was in 2016 that the redhead who started with the Brooklyn Dodgers at 23 retired, just shy of his 89th birthday.
Scully told "Sunday Morning" in 2020 that in retirement he could enjoy watching baseball purely as a fan. "I don't watch it critically," he said. "I'm not listening really to what the announcers say: 'Are they trying to steal my stuff?' You know, I have none of that!"
That same year he auctioned off decades of sports memorabilia, raising more than $2 million, part of which was donated to UCLA for ALS research. He said he did not regret parting with any of his collection, from his Babe Ruth autograph to his 1988 World Series ring. "I would much rather treasure the memories," Scully told the Associated Press.
"Today, we lost a giant," former President Barack Obama said of the loss of NBA legend Bill Russell (February 12, 1934-July 31, 2022). "On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off of it, he was a civil rights trailblazer."
Russell was born in the segregated South and moved to Oakland, California, as a child. As a star player at the University of San Francisco, he led the team to two NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, and then took home a gold medal from the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Then he launched a legendary NBA career with the Boston Celtics, racking up a record 11 NBA championships while being named MVP five times and an all-star 12 times. After a decade with the Celtics, Russell took on the role of player-coach — the first Black head coach in NBA history — leading the team to titles in 1968 and '69.
Through it all, Russell stood tall for civil rights and social justice. He was at the March on Washington in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, backed Muhammad Ali when the boxer was sidelined for refusing the draft, and refused to be cowed by racist taunts during his playing days in Boston.
"Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote.
From her iconic role on "Star Trek" to her real-life role recruiting for NASA, Nichelle Nichols (December 28, 1932-July 30, 2022) was a groundbreaker on multiple fronts.
As Lt. Nyota Uhura, Nichols was one of the first Black actresses to star in a primetime TV show, and she and "Star Trek" made history with television's first interracial kiss in 1968.
In 2015 Nichols, participating in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat, said that she had been ready to leave the show after the first season, after being offered a role on Broadway. But she was convinced to stay by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who told her, "Nichelle, whether you like it or not, you have become a symbol. If you leave, they can replace you with a blonde-haired white girl, and it will be like you were never there. What you've accomplished, for all of us, will only be real if you stay."
"That got me thinking about how it would look for fans of color around the country if they saw me leave," she wrote. "I saw that this was bigger than just me."
She stayed for the original series' three seasons, and returned for six theatrical features.
"She was the third-highest ranking member in the space command," civil rights attorney Ben Crump, an executive producer of the documentary "Women in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA," told "CBS Saturday Morning" in 2021. "I mean, you talk about every little Black boy and girl running to the TV to say, 'Hello that's a Black woman, and she's in charge?'"
The head of NASA took note of her impact and hired Nichols to travel the country to recruit women and people of color for the space program.
Mourning her loss, Nichols' "Star Trek" costar George Takei tweeted, "my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend."
The role of Wally Cleaver on TV's "Leave It to Beaver" shaped the life of actor Tony Dow (April 13, 1945-July 27, 2022) for years to come.
Dow was 12 years old when he started playing the older brother to Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) on the hit series that would quickly come to represent an idealized paradigm of mid-century American family life. The show ran from 1957 to 1963, and aired for decades afterwards in reruns. Dow reprised his role in a reunion movie and TV series in the 1980s.
But as he told CBS News' Jim Axelrod in a 2021 interview, it felt "sad to be famous at 12 years old or something, and then you grow up and become a real person, and nothing's happening for you." Depression, he said, is "a very powerful thing. And it's had a lot of effect on my life."
Dow found another creative outlet in art, which became his passion later in life. He credited his work as a sculptor — combined with medication and therapy — for helping him getting a handle on his depression.
In a 2012 interview with the Associated Press, Dow laughed when he recounted the day he decided it was time to take the leap from acting to sculpting. He was up for a role in a TV show and a 28-year-old executive asked, "Have you ever done comedy before," recalled Dow, co-star of one of the most classic TV comedies in history.
"Well, I sort of looked at him and I thought, `Hmmm, maybe it is time for me to retire. Maybe it is time to take the art seriously."'
British scientist James Lovelock (July 26, 1919-July 26, 2022) popularized the concept of Gaia – that the Earth is a self-regulated living organism – and helped reshape thinking about the environment.
A chemist and inventor who worked as a consultant for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Shell, his ideas helped define what is now referred to as the "Lovelock test," when searching for chemical signs of life on other planets by studying their spectra.
In the 1970s Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis wrote of our planet as a synergistic body that self-regulates itself – the earth, the oceans and the atmosphere, as well as all living organisms on it. Named after the Greek deity, the holistic Gaia concept was described in journal articles that would form the basis of Lovelock's 1979 book, "Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth."
The Gaia concept would both inspire new studies in earth sciences and environmental activism (including warnings about the effects of man's contributions to climate change), and criticism for being "unscientific" and attributing causation or purpose to its existence.
In a 2021 article for the Guardian, Lovelock warned of "genocidal acts" – the proliferation of man-made greenhouse gases, and the clearcutting of rainforests – that have caused changes on a scale not seen in millions of years.
"My fellow humans must learn to live in partnership with the Earth, otherwise the rest of creation will, as part of Gaia, unconsciously move the Earth to a new state in which humans may no longer be welcome," he wrote. "The virus, COVID-19, may well have been one negative feedback. Gaia will try harder next time with something even nastier."
In an acting career that spanned half a century, Paul Sorvino (April 13, 1939-July 25, 2022) made an indelible impact on screen, whether portraying a gangster or a cop, a communist or a statesman, a leading man or a comic character.
Born in Brooklyn, Sorvino trained in music and theater, making his Broadway debut in 1964 before Carl Reiner cast him in his first film role in "Where's Poppa?" More movies followed, including "The Panic in Needle Park" with Al Pacino, "The Gambler" with James Caan, "Oh, God!," "The Day of the Dolphin," "Bloodbrothers," "That Championship Season," Warren Beatty's "Reds" and "Dick Tracy," and Oliver Stone's "Nixon," playing Henry Kissinger. TV roles included "Bert D'Angelo/Superstar" (a spinoff from his appearance on "The Streets of San Francisco"), "Law & Order" (as NYPD sergeant Phil Cerreta), "Chiefs," "The Oldest Rookie," and "That's Life."
His best-known role was as mobster Paulie Cicero in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas."
His early dream of being an opera singer was thwarted by asthma, but later in life he starred in a New York City opera production of "The Most Happy Fella." He also appeared in the 2008 film "Repo! The Genetic Opera."
He also had three children who followed him into the entertainment business, including the Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, with whom he costarred in six films.
In a 1992 interview with Charlie Rose, Sorvino spoke of being drawn to performing as a moth is to flame: "If you ask me to weep, I will weep for you. I will not fake it. I won't put glycerin in my eyes. I will find the place in me that causes me to weep."
But for "Goodfellas," he admitted to Rose he had difficulty finding the emotional basis for crime boss Paulie Cicero, and spoke movingly about his personal quest as an actor: "When you ask me to express a certain lethality, to limn the unconscious of a murderer, a killer, a person who could kiss his grandchild and order your death in the next breath, I don't know what that is … When I took the role, I took it expressing to everyone that I knew exactly what to do when I knew nothing of how to do it. …
"I kept talking to myself for two months, day in and day out, looking for the place that would justify this lethality, this coldness and yet maintain a warm side, because just a coldness, that's an automaton. That's one-dimensional, a person who's killed himself off. Paulie Cicero had not killed himself off, but a certain part of him was absolutely dead – cold and dead. And I found that. And when I found that, I scared myself with it. It frightened the hell out of me, because I didn't suspect it, even in me. I did not suspect it was part of my building blocks. And one day I was crossing a mirror as I'd been working on it, I literally was jolted. I saw a dead look in my eyes. I said, 'Now I know the role.'"
Chef and cookbook author Diana Kennedy (March 3, 1923-July 24, 2022) would become known as "the Julia Child of Mexican Cuisine," inspiring others such as José Andrés and Rick Bayless.
Born Diana Southwood in Britain, she studied culinary arts and collected recipes wherever she traveled. After moving to Mexico in the late 1950s (she soon married a New York Times foreign correspondent, Paul Kennedy), she became an authority on local cuisines and techniques, interviewing home cooks and researching local ingredients. She would later teach classes in traditional Mexican cooking.
Her nine books included "The Cuisines of Mexico" (1972), "The Tortilla Book" (1975), "Nothing Fancy: Recipes and Recollections of Soul-Satisfying Food" (1984), "My Mexico" (1998), and "From My Mexican Kitchen - Techniques and Ingredients" (2003).
She received the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame Award in 2014.
In a 2019 New York Times interview, Kennedy defended her reputation for being at time "prickly" with editors. "For God's sake, I'm not trying to win a popularity contest, I'm a cook!" she said. "There's far too much mediocrity in this world, and someone's got to say something."
He played evil itself in the fantasy "Time Bandits," not to mention an evil computer program in "Tron," Jack the Ripper in "Time After Time," a Klingon in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," and a sinister henchman in "Titanic." David Warner (July 29, 1941-July 24, 2022) was one of the most dynamic actors of his generation. With numerous memorable appearances in films and TV, he won an Emmy Award as a Roman senator in the 1981 miniseries "Masada."
A student of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London (two of his fellow classmates were John Hurt and Ian McShane), Warner told The AV Club in 2017 that he had fallen into acting by default: "Academically I was hopeless, and athletically I was hopeless. In my Wikipedia entry, it says I had a messy childhood, and that's the truth! But I sort of drifted into the odd school play, and that was one thing that I kind of felt that I had some enthusiasm for."
A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Warner has played Henry VI, Richard II, Hamlet and King Lear, as well as roles in "Julius Caesar," "Twelfth Night," "The Tempest," and "Much Ado About Nothing."
After several TV appearances (including "Z Cars," and a BBC play, "The Madhouse on Castle Street," opposite none other than Bob Dylan), Warner appeared in the period romp "Tom Jones," before landing the starring role in Karel Reisz's 1966 comedy, "Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment," opposite Vanessa Redgrave.
Warner was a steady and sturdy presence on screens ever since, with roles in "The Bofurs Gun," "The Fixer," "The Sea Gull," "The Ballad of Cable Hogue," "Straw Dogs," "A Doll's House," "The Omen," "Providence," "Cross of Iron," "Nightwing," "The Concorde: Airport '79," "The Island," "The French Lieutenant's Woman," "The Man With Two Brains," "The Company of Wolves," "In the Mouth of Madness," "Scream 2," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2," the remake of "Planet of the Apes," and "Mary Poppins Returns."
TV appearances include "Holocaust," "S.O.S. Titanic," "Marco Polo," "Remington Steele," "Uncle Vanya," "A Christmas Carol," "Frankenstein," "Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil," "Desperado," "Twin Peaks," "Wild Palms," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "The Larry Sanders Show," "Batman: The Animated Series," "Spider-Man; The Animated Series," "Houdini," "Toonsylvania," "Sweeney Todd," "Doctor Who," "Freakazoid!," "Wallander," "The Alienist," and as the father of Superman in "Lois & Clark."
He made his Broadway debut in 2001, played Andrew Undershaft in a revival of "Major Barbara."
In Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits," Warner starred as Evil Genius, who complains about the Supreme Being's priorities: "God isn't interested in technology. He cares nothing for the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how he spends His time: forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men! … If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils; I would have started with lasers – eight o'clock, Day One!"
A less comedic personification of evil came in "Time After Time," as a serial killer who travels through time to contemporary San Francisco. He explained to AV Club why he kept apologizing to costar Mary Steenburgen whenever he held a knife to her: "Because that's the kind of person I am, you see. I'm not a method actor!"
Emmy-nominated actor Taurean Blacque (May 10, 1940-July 21, 2022) starred as Detective Neal Washington in the landmark 1980s series "Hill Street Blues."
Born in Newark, N.J., Blacque (whose real name was Herbert Middleton Jr.) studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, and appeared on Broadway in "The River Niger." He was featured in the Negro Ensemble Company in New York (in "Welcome to Black River" and "Orrin"), and in "So Nice, They Named it Twice" at the Public Theater.
He had guest roles in such TV series as "What's Happening!!," "Sanford and Son," "Charlie's Angels," "The Bob Newhart Show," "The Tony Randall Show," "Good Times" and "Taxi," and appeared in the films "Rocky II" and "The Hunter," before "Hill Street Blues." Playing Detective Washington as a more reflective and less stereotypical character, he earned a best supporting actor in a drama series Emmy nomination (as did four other "Hill Street" castmates).
In a 1983 group cast interview for Playboy, Blacque explained the accessory that he used for his "vulnerable and street-wise" detective: "I stopped smoking 12 years ago and started toothpicks. Then a New York critic described me as the kind of actor who could probably drink a can of beer with a toothpick in his mouth, so I kept it."
Blacque later starred in the soap opera "Generations" and "Savannah," and voiced Roscoe in "Oliver & Company."
He continued stage work, becoming active with the Atlanta Black Theater Company after moving to Georgia. Among his performances were roles in August Wilson's "Jitney," and James Baldwin's "The Amen Corner." He was also involved with the National Black Theater Festival in North Carolina.
While Blacque had two biological sons, he also adopted 11 children (including five siblings) and was an advocate for adoption. In 1989 he was asked by President George H.W. Bush to become the national spokesperson for adoption, after serving as a spokesman for the County of Los Angeles Adoption Services.
Pop artist Claes Oldenburg (January 28, 1929-July 18, 2022) was famed for reimagining art in public spaces on a grand scale, creating playful giant sculptures of mundane objects – lipstick, a clothespin, a button, a spoon with a cherry, bowling pins, a typewriter eraser.
Born in Sweden, Oldenburg, the son of a diplomat, spent much of his youth in Chicago, and eventually became a U.S. citizen. He studied at Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago. His early work involved "soft sculptures" made from vinyl, that also reimagined common objects like a telephone as pieces of art. He also participated in Dadaist performance art "happenings" in Manhattan.
His 45-foot steel clothespin was erected outside Philadelphia's City Hall in 1976. The next year, Oldenburg's 100-foot-tall baseball bat found a home in Chicago. Giant trowels, pool balls, flashlights, binoculars, a toothbrush and thumbtacks followed. In Tokyo, a giant saw seemingly slices through the Earth. In Lincoln., Neb., a giant torn notebook spills giant pages – monumental sculptures that stirred debates about what exactly is worthy of public art.
In 1994 Oldenburg and his wife and collaborator, Coosje Van Bruggen, installed "Shuttlecocks" – 17-foot-tall badminton birds made of fiberglass, plastic and aluminum, weighing 5,500 pounds each – outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. "We placed these in a rather prominent spot, which has for many years been an empty spot. It's just a big lawn," Oldenburg told "CBS Sunday Morning" then. "And we're not surprised that there was a great deal of reaction, and we consider that a very good thing."
When the playfulness of his work was commented on by "Sunday Morning" host Charles Osgood, Oldenburg replied, "Serious play, let's say, because we believe that play is good for you, and that life is, in many ways, a form of serious play."
In 2017 Ivana Trump (February 20, 1949-July 14, 2022), Donald Trump's first wife, told "CBS Sunday Morning" that her ex (then in the White House) still talked to her every week: "He's still asking for advice, yes."
What about? "He ask me about, 'Should I tweet? Should I not tweet?' I said, 'I think you should tweet. It's a new way, a new technology. And if you want to get your words across rightly, without telling The New York Times, which is going to twist every single word of yours, this is how you get your message out.'"
Born Ivana Zelnickova in 1949 in the Czechoslovak city of Gottwaldov (present-day Zlin), she was a competitive skier who married an Austrian ski instructor in order (she wrote in her memoir "Raising Trump") to secure an Austrian passport and escape her Soviet-dominated homeland. The marriage was short-lived, and she emigrated to Canada, and then New York, working as a model.
She met Trump at a party in 1976, and the two married the following year. They were one of the city's bold-faced power couples, a fixture of New York's tabloids and gossip columns, as she held key management positions in Trump's real estate and casino businesses while also raising their three children: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
They later became stars of a very public divorce, when Trump left Ivana for Marla Maples, who would become his second wife.
Ivana later penned a pair of roman à clef romance novels, "For Love Alone" and "Free to Love"; wrote a self-help book, "The Best Is Yet to Come: Coping with Divorce and Enjoying Life Again," and an advice column; offered lectures titled "Women Who Dare"; and attached her name to a cornucopia of products, from clothes to jewelry and perfume.
She would marry and divorce twice more. In-between she hosted a reality TV special, "Ivana Young Man." The title mirrored her statement to "Sunday Morning" that, then in her sixties, she preferred dating younger men: "Yes, I rather be a babysitter than a nursemaid! And I don't need to worry about the bad knee and bad back and Viagra and all that stuff."
Chemist John Froines (June 13, 1939-July 13, 2022), a student at Yale University and a member of Students for a Democratic Society, was in Chicago in 1968 when he joined the anti-war protest being held outside the Democratic National Convention. After the demonstrators were attacked by police and the scene devolved into bloody chaos, Froines was among those arrested. While some were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, Froines and Lee Weiner were charged with teaching how to make incendiary devices. Their trial, as the Chicago 8 (and soon whittled down to the Chicago 7, when defendant Bobby Seale's case was declared a mistrial), would galvanize the anti-war movement in the U.S.
Froines and Weiner were acquitted; the others, including Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Tom Hayden, were found guilty, but those convictions were later overturned. Contempt charges laid down by Judge Julius Hoffman were also thrown out.
Froines acknowledged that his role in the 1968 demonstration and subsequent trial would be a mere footnote, but a pretty glaring footnote, in a life during which he worked as an anti-war activist and aided the Black Panther Party Defense Committee. He taught at Goddard College in Vermont, the University of Oregon and the University of California, Los Angeles, and was professor emeritus at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health.
An expert on environmental toxins and air quality, he was appointed the first director of the Office of Toxic Substances at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by President Jimmy Carter, serving in that capacity for 25 years.
He told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1979 that he hadn't lost the fervor of his anti-war activism. "I haven't changed," he said. "We've gone a long way toward protecting working people since I've been [at OSHA], and I don't think that's really so different; it still represents a social commitment."
British composer Monty Norman (April 4, 1928-July 11, 2022) performed in big bands, wrote songs for British rockers Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele, helped create several stage musicals (including "Make Me an Offer," "Expresso Bongo," "Irma la Douce," "The Moony Shapiro Songbook" and "Poppy"), and even shared the stage with comic Benny Hill. But it was his theme song for a British secret service agent with a license to kill that proved transcendent.
Based on his stage experience, Norman was hired by producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli to write music for "Dr. No," the first James Bond film. His theme for 007 – a propulsive riff on electric guitar, with an arrangement by John Barry – was a sensation, and became inseparable from Bond and his exploits.
PLAY AN EXCERPT: James Bond theme from "Dr. No"
Norman's theme would be used in every Bond thriller since, many of which (including "From Russia With Love," "Goldfinger," and "You Only Live Twice") were scored by Barry, who came to be viewed as the creator of the theme itself, despite Norman's credit.
When the Sunday Times wrote in 1997 that it was Barry who'd actually written the theme, Norman sued the paper for libel for suggesting he'd fraudulently received royalties for his music.
Barry testified at trial that he'd been brought in by the producer after Norman to write the theme, in an agreement that saw a flat fee but no credit or royalties.
However, the Bond theme was inspired by a melody Norman had written in 1961 for an unproduced stage musical based on S. Naipaul's novel, "A House for Mr. Biswas." Norman changed the instrument from a sitar to a guitar, and the rest is history. The jury sided with Norman, who was awarded £30,000 in damages.
"I am absolutely delighted - and vindicated," Norman told BBC News. "The Sunday Times always said that they were only interested in the truth. Well, now they've got the truth."
The class clown growing up in New York City, Larry Storch (January 8, 1923-July 8, 2022) worked the Catskills circuit, made numerous early TV appearances, and managed to become a stock player in films starring Tony Curtis, a fellow Navy veteran with whom Storch had crossed paths in the Marshall Islands during World War II. (Storch ended up cast in eight of Curtis' movies, including "Who Was That Lady?," "40 Pounds of Trouble," "Captain Newman, M.D.," "Sex and the Single Girl" and "The Great Race," and in Curtis' TV show "The Persuaders.")
But in his more than 300 television and film credits, Storch's most recognizable role was as Corporal Agarn in the TV comedy "F Troop." Set in an Army outpost, Fort Courage, after the Civil War, the western satire pitted the scheming Agarn and Sgt. O'Rourke (played by Forrest Tucker) against the clueless and clumsy Captain Parmenter (Ken Berry). Storch earned an Emmy nomination for his performance as the slow-on-the-uptake Agarn, and for his numerous turns as dopplegangers of Agarn – cousins of various nationalities, his cousin's wife, his granny.
The show, which ran for two seasons, was hardly PC – its Native American characters, partners in O'Rourke and Agarn's shady shenanigans, were typically played by Borscht Belt comics rather than Native Americans – but it was full of slapstick, parody and wordplay that made it comfort viewing for kids in the '60s and beyond, given the show's long shelf life in repeats.
In addition to 1953's "The Larry Storch Show" (a summer replacement series for Jackie Gleason), his other early TV appearances included "Your Show of Shows," "Cavalcade of Stars," "The Phil Silver Show," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Car 54, Where Are You?," "Gilligan's Island," "Get Smart," "I Dream of Jeannie," and "The Mothers-in Law." He reteamed with Forrest Tucker on the Saturday morning series "The Ghost Busters." His voice work included Koko the Clown in a string of cartoons; Phineas J. Whoopee in "Tennessee Tuxedo"; and characters in "The Batman/Superman Hour," "The Pink Panther Show," "The Brady Kids," "Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp," "Groovie Goolies," "Treasure Island," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo," "Foofur," and "Garfield and Friends," among others.
Later movie credits included "The Monitors," "Airport 1975,'' "Without Warning," "S.O.B.," and "A Fine Mess." On TV he was featured on "The Doris Day Show," "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour," "All in the Family," "Love, American Style," "Columbo," "Archie Bunker's Place,'' "Fantasy Island,'' "CHiPS,'' "Harper Valley P.T.A.," "The Love Boat,'' "Married ... With Children," and "Medium Rare."
He also played Chief Sitting Bull in the 2000 revival of "Annie Get Your Gun'' starring Reba McEntire. Other Broadway credits include "Porgy and Bess," "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "Sly Fox." And he continued doing standup into his 90s.
"I fought always never to be the same person," actor James Caan (March 26, 1940-July 6, 2022) told "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2021. "I mean, the fun of being an actor is being somebody else for three months, you know?" Caan rarely repeated himself, and in a six-decade career in films and TV he created larger-than-life personas that brimmed with violence, bravado, humor and, occasionally, sentimentality.
He was unforgettable in "The Godfather" as Sonny Corleone, the oldest son of a Mafia boss, who wasn't afraid to use his fists to enforce respect for the family – a trait that would lead to his character being gunned down in cold blood. A son of Jewish immigrants, Caan's rich performance as the hot-headed Italian mobster [whose swagger, he claimed, was copied from the rat-tat-tat delivery of comedian Don Rickles] earned him an Oscar nomination, and would define the actor in the public imagination thereafter. But "Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola has already made use of Caan's versatility to good effect in his earlier, quieter character drama, "The Rain People," which did not involve shoot-outs at toll booths.
Born in Queens, N.Y., Caan was a football player at Michigan State University when, homesick for New York, he transferred to Hofstra. There, the acting bug struck when he was accepted at the Neighborhood Playhouse, the esteemed company co-founded by Sanford Meisner. "They took me right away," he said. "I was supposed to have three interviews, and I only had one."
He began landing roles on TV, where his physicality came in handy: "Naked City," "Route 66," "The Untouchables," "Combat!" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." He played a thief terrorizing a trapped Olivia de Havilland in "Lady in a Cage," and then was sidekick to John Wayne and Robert Mitchum in the western "El Dorado."
He starred in "Countdown," "T.R. Baskin," and "Rabbit, Run," before his breakthrough role as Brian Piccolo, the Chicago Bears running back who succumbs to cancer, in the 1971 TV movie "Brian's Song." The drama, costarring Billy Dee Williams as Piccolo's teammate and best friend Gale Sayers, was one of the most-watched TV films ever (36 million people tuned in), and earned Emmy nominations for both actors.
With "Brian's Song" and "The Godfather," Caan became one of the most in-demand actors of the decade, starring in such films as "Cinderella Liberty," "The Gambler," "Freebie and the Bean," "Rollerball," "Funny Lady," "The Killer Elite," "A Bridge Too Far," "Comes a Horseman," "Chapter Two," "Hide in Plain Sight" and "Thief."
But stardom took its toll. Caan's behavior became erratic, he was addicted to drugs, and he fell into depression after the death of his sister from leukemia. He drifted away from acting, appearing sporadically (including in Coppola's "Gardens of Stone"), while coaching his son's Little League team. He came back, with a vengeance, in Rob Reiner's 1990 film of the Stephen King thriller "Misery," co-starring Kathy Bates.
He followed with projects that ran the gamut of genres: a period musical ("For the Boys"), a romantic comedy ("Honeymoon in Vegas"), a sports drama ("The Program"), a murder mystery ("Flesh and Bone"), a "Godfather" parody ("Mickey Blue Eyes"). There were action films, "Simpsons" voiceovers, and "Godfather" video games.
But his greatest late-career success was from a film he originally wanted nothing to do with, basically because of its title. He explained that when comedian Will Ferrell asked him to co-star in a film called "Elf," Caan replied, "Can't do it. I'll do a picture called Elk, but I won't …"
Thankfully, Ferrell talked him into playing an absentee father who is reunited with Farrell's "Elf" character. The holiday classic introduced a new generation of viewers to Caan, who continued working in a slew of films, as well as the TV series "Las Vegas," and as a guest star on "Hawaii Five-O," which featured his son, Scott Caan.
When asked why he refused to take it easy in his 80s, Caan replied, "I can't take it easy. I enjoy working, I love to work with good people. I have more fun when I'm working, and I have a lotta laughs – and I get respect, too, sometimes!"
Japanese comic book artist Kazuki Takahashi (October 4, 1961-July 4, 2022) was behind the hit manga series "Yu-Gi-Oh!" (translated as "King of Games"), which featured a boy possessed by an ancient game-playing spirit.
Originally serialized from 1996 to 2004, it spawned a media empire that includes an anime TV series, films, video games, and a card trading game that, according to PC Gamer, has sold more than 35 billion cards around the world. Guinness World Records cites the 2012 Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series in Long Beach, California, which involved 4,364 players, as the largest trading card game tournament ever.
In a statement published in his final "Yu-Gi-Oh!" manga, Takahashi wrote: "As we go about our lives, we touch people, we see people, and interact with them … Sometimes we make people happy, sometimes we hurt them, we sympathize, and we disagree. In the midst of this, we learn that people's thoughts and feelings are not a one-way street. You may say that's something very basic and natural, but what I wanted to draw and write in this work was just that interaction between people, and in order to do that, I used 'games.'"
Cpl. Hershel "Woody" Williams
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Cpl. Hershel "Woody" Williams (October 2, 1923-June 29, 2022) tried to enlist in the Marines, but was rejected for being too short. Instead he delivered Western Union telegrams informing mothers that their sons had been killed in action. "It left a lasting impression on my mind. Made me realize what it costs just to have our freedom and be who we are," he told "Sunday Morning" in 2021.
The Marines' height limit was eased later in the war, and Williams, who grew up on a West Virginia farm during the Great Depression, ended up in the Pacific in February 1945, part of the invasion of the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, which became a slaughterhouse for U.S. forces. More than 6,000 were killed, as Japanese machine gunners inside pillboxes cut down the advancing Marines. "There was no protection," Williams recalled. "We would run from shell crater to shell crater, if we could find one, and finally we hit this long line of pillboxes, reinforced concrete."
Williams' commander turned to him: "He said, 'Do you think you could do something with the flamethrower?'" With covering fire from four riflemen, and Japanese bullets ricocheting off his flamethrower, Williams crawled his way to seven pillboxes, taking them out over the course of four hours. Months later, after the Japanese surrendered, Williams found himself in Washington being presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman. "I never even dreamed of being able to see a President of the United States, and I'm standing shaking hands with him. Now, you talk about a scared moment! I was a wreck, I really was!"
But he never got over the responsibility that comes with the medal, especially when he learned that two of the riflemen who had provided covering fire for him had been killed. "Once I learned that, my whole concept of the medal changed. I said, 'This medal does not belong to me; it belongs to them.' So, I wear it in their honor, not mine. They sacrificed their lives to make that possible."
Williams worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 33 years, and afterwards set up the Woody Williams Foundation to support Gold Star families. He also designed a monument in their honor, which has been erected in all 50 states.
Last year, Williams said that being the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II added to his feeling of responsibility, with the hope that "maybe I'm making somebody else's life a little better, a little more meaningful."
Sonny Barger (October 8, 1938-June 29, 2022) helped unify disparate chapters of the Hells Angels motorcycle clubs and built their image in the public eye as countercultural road warriors riding outside the law. That reputation was no doubt fostered by Barger's role as a technical consultant for biker movies, and by his predilection for playing the biker outlaw to the hilt. As he told Hunter S. Thompson in the 1966 book "Hells Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga," "If you want the cops to leave you alone you have to shake 'em up. If we make a scene with less than fifteen bikes they'll always bust us, But if we show up with a hundred or two hundred they'll give us a goddamn escort, they'll show a little respect. Cops are like everybody else; they don't want any more trouble than they think they can handle."
A high school dropout at 16, Barger grew up in Oakland and joined the Army in 1955. He was kicked out once it was discovered his birth certificate was forged, but he got together with fellow veterans who were motorcycle buffs. A co-founder of the Oakland chapter of Hells Angels, he incorporated the group, with a board of directors (members received shares), and trademarked the name. He also licensed products.
Barger downplayed their outlaw reputation (despite referring to his group as "card-carrying felons,") and managed personally to avoid demonstrations of brute force – such as attacks on hippies and Vietnam War protesters – that filled newspaper accounts and police blotters. He also sought to soften their image through charitable functions, after the 1969 Altamont Speedway concert at which bikers, hired as security staff for the Rolling Stones, fatally stabbed a concertgoer who'd pulled a gun on them – an attack captured in the documentary "Gimme Shelter." [Arguing self-defense, the club member charged was acquitted.]
Over the years, Barger himself was arrested on such charges as drunken driving, murder and racketeering. Convicted on narcotics and weapons charges, he served several years at Folsom State Prison (where he maintained control of the Hells Angels), and in 1988 a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to violate federal firearms and explosives laws.
But however sensational his life (it inspired several books by Barger, including the best-selling autobiography "Hell's Angel," and two novels), he was of two minds about setting an example. In 2000 the convicted felon told the BBC, "If I had my life over again I wouldn't smoke, I'd take less cocaine and I'd try not to lose my right to own a gun."
And yet, despite years of incarceration, throat cancer and a laryngectomy, four marriages, and allegations by associates that his behavior had broken the "outlaw code," he told New York Press in 2015, "Just because I didn't have a million dollars and my father drank didn't mean that I was unhappy or had a bad childhood. Although I've been to prison and although I've had a lot of court fights, I've had a very happy life. And here I am going on 62 years old and still alive. Can you believe that?"
In 1968 Marlin Briscoe (September 10, 1945-June 27, 2022), a star quarterback for Omaha University, was drafted by the Denver Broncos as a cornerback; he asked for a tryout in the quarterback position, and played as a reserve against the Boston Patriots on September 29, nearly leading the Broncos to victory. The following week Briscoe became the first Black starting quarterback in pro football history.
In five starts that season he passed for 1,589 yards with 14 touchdowns and rushed for 308 yards. He would be runner-up for the league's rookie of the year award.
But the following year the Broncos, without explanation, did not give Briscoe a chance to compete for the QB job, so he asked to be released from his contract. He then moved to the Buffalo Bills as a receiver. Briscoe later joined the Miami Dolphins, earning two Super Bowl rings. He ended his career with the New England Patriots in 1976.
Though disappointed that he was not given an opportunity to continue as a quarterback, he said in a 2016 interview with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, upon being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, "I've always been challenged, all my life, and I feel I've met them successfully. When I'm gone, I'd like to be remembered as a person who stood up to the challenge. I'd like to be remembered as somebody who always tried."
Beginning in 1949, Brooklyn-born actor Joe Turkel (July 15, 1927-June 27, 2022) made appearances in nearly 150 films and TV shows over four decades, but his fame came with roles in two classics: as Lloyd the spectral bartender opposite Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" (1980), and as Eldon Tyrell, the designer of artificial life, in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" (1982).
"The Shining" was Turkel's third outing with Stanley Kubrick. He'd appeared as a crook in the director's first major film, the racetrack heist "The Killing," and as one of a trio of soldiers arbitrarily assigned to die by firing squad in "Paths of Glory." Kubrick brought him back as the ghost of an Overlook Hotel barman in his adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel. Turkel's unblinking, chillingly restrained performance drips evil.
Two years later he starred as the head of the Tyrell Corporation, manufacturers of replicants ("more human than human"), in "Blade Runner." He would die at the hands of his own creation, Roy (Rutger Hauer).
Among Turkel's other credits were the films "The Bonnie Parker Story," "King Rat," "The Sand Pebbles," "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre," "The Hindenburg" and "Which Way Is Up?" TV roles included "The Lone Ranger," "Dragnet," "Bat Masterson," "The Untouchables," "The Rat Patrol," "Bonanza," "Police Story," "Kojak," "Fantasy Island" and "Miami Vice." He retired from acting around 1990, devoting time to writing screenplays and a memoir, but he reprised the role of Tyrell in a "Blade Runner" video game.
An artist with a penchant for painting children with giant, saucer eyes, Margaret Keane (September 15, 1927-June 26, 2022) was convinced by her husband, Walter, that her works would sell better if people thought the artist were a man. Walter would sell her artwork – signed with the single name "Keane" – as his own.
"The whole thing snow-balled so fast, almost overnight," Margaret told "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2014. The two argued and fought over the issue for about a year, "until finally I just gave in."
She was, she said, "a very abused wife … Psychologically abused, tremendously. I kept getting deeper and deeper in this hole, and I didn't know how to get out."
Fame and money began to pour in. Though critics derided the work, the public loved those big eyes, even though, in the public's eye, it was Walter behind them. He even appeared in Life Magazine as "The Man Who Paints Those Big Eyes." Margaret remained silent and, she admits, complicit. "I was a lot to blame," she said. "If I hadn't allowed it, it wouldn't have happened."
Eventually Margaret moved to Hawaii and filed for divorce, with authorship of the "big eyes" paintings key to the trial. When the judge ordered them both to paint for the jury, Walter begged off, saying his shoulder hurt. Margaret painted her signature big-eyed waif in just under an hour.
The jury, suitably impressed, awarded Margaret $4 million, of which she never saw a dime.
Walter Keane died in 2000, but Margaret, who became a Jehovah's Witness and vowed never to lie again, continued to paint. "I was always drawing eyes, even as a child," she said. "Eyes fascinated me."
"Since my early teens, my daydream was to create a Broadway musical," playwright James Rado (January 23, 1932-June 21, 2022) wrote earlier this year. He worked on two musicals while in college, and after a stint in the Navy he moved to New York and studied acting with Lee Strasberg. Rado would appear on stage in "Luther," "Marathon '33," "Hang Down Your Head and Die" and "The Lion in Winter," before he and Gerome Ragni decided, in the mid-1960s, to collaborate on a more untraditional show that would focus on the hippie scene. Sharing an apartment in Hoboken, N.J., the two wrote the book and lyrics for a "tribal love-rock musical" that explored war, protest movements, drugs and youth culture. Joined by composer Galt MacDermot, the show featured rock music instead of traditional Rodgers & Hammerstein or Cole Porter-style songs.
"It was the time of experimental theater," Rado told the Hoboken Reporter in 2009. "The quest was on to express theater in a new style. … We did have the desire to make something wonderful and spectacular for the moment. We thought we'd stumbled on a great idea, and something that potentially could be a hit on Broadway, never thinking of the distant future."
A chance meeting on a train between Ragni and producer Joseph Papp led to the show, called "Hair," premiering at the Public Theater in New York City in 1967. The following year "Hair" transferred (with new songs and cast members, including Rado as a draftee) to Broadway, where it became the first show on the Great White Way to feature full nudity and a same-sex kiss. Although it lost the Tony Award for best musical to "1776," the cast album won a Grammy for best musical theater album, and several of its songs – "Hair," "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," "Good Morning, Starshine" and "Easy to Be Hard" – were Top 10 hits.
PLAY AN EXCERPT: "Aquarius," from the original cast album of "Hair"
"Hair" stirred protests over its profanity, nudity, and flouting of authority. Touring productions were met with pickets and visits by the police. Still, the New York show ran for more than 1,800 performances, was adapted by Milos Forman for a 1979 film, and was revived on Broadway in 1977 and 2009.
In 2009, Rado, Ragni and MacDermot were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2019, the original cast album was inducted into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.
After "Hair," Rado wrote music and lyrics for the off-Broadway show "Rainbow," and reteamed with Ragni on "Sun." Rado also co-wrote a show called "American Soldier" with his brother, Ted Rado.
Thirty-nine years before Colorado legalized gay marriage, Clela Rorex (July 23, 1943-June 19, 2022) was a newly-elected Boulder County clerk when she was visited by a gay couple seeking a marriage license. Rorex issued the license in March 1975, and it's considered the first same-sex marriage license in the country.
Rorex told the Associated Press in 2014 that she saw a parallel with the women's movement, and found nothing in state law preventing her from issuing it. She would issue five more same-sex licenses before the state's then-attorney general ordered her to stop.
A recall effort was launched against Rorex, who was targeted with hate mail, and she resigned partway through her term.
Colorado voters backed a 2006 referendum banning same-sex marriage, but it was struck down in both state and federal courts. In 2013 Colorado allowed civil unions for same-sex partners. On the first day it was legal, Rorex officiated at some ceremonies.
"It brings a lot of years kind of full circle finally, for me, and the decision I made years ago," Rorex told the Boulder Daily Camera. "I have always felt I made the right decision then. It's the right decision now."
The following year Colorado legalized gay marriage, which preceded the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
According to Out Boulder County (an LGTBQ advocacy group), after serving as county clerk Rorex obtained post-graduate degrees and became legal administrator for the Native American Rights Fund. She also served as an advocate for gay and lesbian rights.
In 2018 the Boulder County Courthouse, where Rorex issued those licenses, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
For more than 30 years (and six presidencies), political analyst and columnist Mark Shields (May 25, 1937-June 18, 2022) offered his witty commentary to "PBS NewsHour." Beginning in 1987, he appeared in weekly segments alongside David Gergen, Paul Gigot and David Brooks.
A Marine Corps veteran, Shields worked as an assistant and speechwriter for Sen. William Proxmire, and then served in the presidential campaign of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The author of a Washington Post column that was later syndicated, he appeared as a moderator and panelist on CNN's "Capital Gang," and on "Inside Washington" (PBS and ABC).
He was a fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and at Georgetown University's Graduate School of Public Policy. He wrote about the 1984 presidential race in "On the Campaign Trail."
Stage and cinema actor Jean-Louis Trintignant (Dec. 11, 1930-June 17, 2022) received worldwide acclaim for his appearances playing romantic, dark and tragically-conflicted characters in some of the most successful international films of his era, from "A Man and a Woman," "Z" and "The Conformist" to "Amour."
He appeared in nearly 150 films, one of his earliest being "And God ... Created Woman" opposite Brigitte Bardot. An amateur race car driver, he played one in Claude Lelouch's "A Man and a Woman," a 1966 romance co-starring Anouk Aimée that won an Oscar and spawned two sequels: "A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later," and, in 2019, his last film, "The Best Years of a Life."
Trintignant worked with some of the most successful European filmmakers, including Roger Vadim ("Les liaisons dangereuses"), René Clément ("Is Paris Burning?"), Claude Chabrol ("Les Biches"), Costa-Gavras (the Oscar-winning "Z"), Éric Rohmer ("My Night at Maud's"), Bernardo Bertolucci ("The Conformist"), Ettore Scola ("La nuit de Varennes"), François Truffaut ("Confidentially Yours"), and Krzysztof Kieslowski ("Three Colors: Red"). One of his rare English-language roles was as a shady businessman in the 1983 political thriller "Under Fire."
Trintignant stopped acting for nearly a decade after his daughter Marie (with whom he acted in "Janis and John") was beaten to death in 2003, and he was slowed by a motorcycle accident in 2007. But he returned to the stage, and in 2012 starred in "Amour," Michael Haneke's brutal film about an aging couple in which the woman (played by Emmanuelle Riva) suffers from Alzheimer's. The movie was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, and won for best foreign film. Accepting a prize at the European Film Awards, Trintignant said that acting in "Amour" had reinvigorated him personally and professionally.
In 2013, in an interview for the Australian SBS Network, Trintignant talked about filming "Amour" (which he called the best film he'd ever made), and how some scenes were physically uncomfortable to shoot: "Many scenes were difficult because of the emotional impact, too, so there was a lot of suffering. But there's a joy that you get through suffering for a scene. I think actors are bits of masochists. It's not just joy, but through the pain there is also pleasure, and we can say that about life, as well as love."
Philip Baker Hall
Philip Baker Hall (September 10, 1931-June 12, 2022) was a prolific character actor whose roles ranged from the tormented (a Shakespearean Richard Nixon in the solo film "Secret Honor") to the absurd (the Javert-like inspector who hunts down a decades-overdue library book on "Seinfeld").
A native of Ohio, Hall worked primarily in theater after moving to Los Angeles, though he had a smattering of guest roles on TV, including "MASH," "Good Times," "Man from Atlantis" and "The Waltons." At the Los Angeles Actors' Theatre he starred in the one-act play "Secret Honor: The Last Testament of Richard M. Nixon," reprising the role for Robert Altman's 1984 film.
While filming a program for PBS in the early '90s he struck up a friendship over cigarettes and coffee with a production assistant named Paul Thomas Anderson. They began a collaboration with Anderson's short, "Cigarettes & Coffee," which was expanded into a feature-length film, "Hard Eight." Hall would later appear in Anderson's "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia."
He would become more familiar to movie audiences with his appearances in such films as "Midnight Run," "Say Anything," "Ghostbusters II," "Air Force One," "The Truman Show," "Rush Hour," "Cradle Will Rock," "The Insider" (as "60 Minutes" producer Don Hewitt), "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "The Contender," "The Sum of All Fears," "Bruce Almighty," "Dogville" and "Zodiac." TV credits included "Family Ties," "Falcon Crest," "L.A. Law," "Civil Wars," "Roswell," "Third Rock From the Sun," "The West Wing," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Modern Family" and "Messiah."
In a 2017 Washington Post interview, Hall described the kinds of roles for which he had an affinity: "Men who are highly stressed, older men, who are at the limit of their tolerance for suffering and stress and pain."
Though not incapable of causing suffering, stress and pain, as in his performance as Lt. Joe Bookman, who comes after Jerry Seinfeld for a copy of Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" that Seinfeld had checked out of the library 20 years earlier. With the gruff world-weariness of a tough film noir detective, Hall berates Seinfeld, who claims he'd returned the book back in 1971: "Well, I got a flash for ya', Joy-boy: Party time is over."
Singer Julee Cruise (December 1, 1956-June 9, 2022) was best known for her collaborations with director David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti, in which her ethereal voice was draped in moody synthesizers to create a dream-state of lyrical longing. She performed in Lynch's "Blue Velvet," his concert film "Industrial Symphony #1," the TV series "Twin Peaks," and the movie "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me," with select songs (including "Mysteries of Love," "Falling" and "Into the Night") collected on her 1989 album, "Floating Into the Night."
An Iowa native who majored in the French horn at Drake University, Cruise appeared in productions of the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, including "The Marvelous Land of Oz," "Alice in Wonderland," and "The Wind in the Willows." Moving to New York, she performed in a Greenwich Village production of "The Boys in the Live Country Band," written by Badalamenti. He later called her up to ask for recommendations of singers with "delicate, wishful voices" for "Blue Velvet." The women she referred, Badalamenti told Rolling Stone in 2014, "simply didn't cut the mustard." Finally, Cruise – who'd been a self-described belter on stage – thought she could do it. "The vocal has got to be pure," she said. "There are no scoops. It was very hard to put vibrato in there and be confident enough to do it that soft. I'm the funny one, the big belter; I wasn't this. But I thought of it as singing like the soloist in a boys' choir."
"It was love at first sound," Badalamenti laughed.
Subsequent albums included "The Voice of Love," "The Art of Being a Girl," and "My Secret Life." She also collaborated with such artists as Moby, DJ Silver, Kenneth Bager, and the Welsh group Hybrid.
Cruise also appeared on stage in "Radiant Baby" (playing several characters, including Andy Warhol), and "Return to the Forbidden Planet," a sci-fi musical in which she also played six instruments.
In 2019 director Martin Scorsese explained to "Sunday Morning" contributor Ben Mankiewicz how he decided on Ray Liotta (December 18, 1954-May 26, 2022) to play mobster Henry Hill in "Goodfellas": "I was in a Venice Film Festival, and Ray came up to me. The bodyguards went towards him. And the way he handled that I thought was very, very telling. There was a slight threat in his body language countering theirs. … I said, 'That's the guy.'"
The threat that Ray Liotta exuded was evident in many of the more than 125 film and TV roles he filled, from the sinister Ray Sinclair in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild," to numerous crime figures and police officers.
None was more memorable than in "Goodfellas," as the gofer who becomes consumed by the mob lifestyle, until it crashes down around him, turning him into a rat and driving him into the witness protection program. Though his character is often reactive to the authority of Robert De Niro's Jimmy Conway or the violent unpredictability of Joe Pesci's Tommy DeVito, Liotta's Hill rides an emotional rollercoaster of enthusiasm, charm, invincibility and self-destruction that gives the classic film its moral center.
In 2010 Liotta told GQ magazine, "For twenty years now, there's not a day that goes by that I don't hear somebody mention 'GoodFellas." Unless I stay home all night. It's defined who I am, in a sense."
For the native of Newark, N.J., who was adopted at six months, acting was a fluke – he'd been invited to appear in a high school pay, and later took drama courses at the University of Miami because there was no math requirement. His big break after graduation was an appearance on the soap opera "Another World," which led to TV roles on "St. Elsewhere," "Casablanca," and "Our Family Honor."
After "Something Wild" (for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination), Liotta starred as the phantom of baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams," evoking amazement, a love for "the thrill of the grass," and a glee at sticking it to Ty Cobb.
Other films included "Dominick & Eugene," "Article 99," "Corrina, Corrina," "Unlawful Entry," "Unforgettable," "Cop Land," "Muppets From Space," "Hannibal," "Heartbreakers," "Blow," "Narc," "John Q," "Crossing Over," "Wild Hogs," "Smokin' Aces," "Killing Them Softly," "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Marriage Story," and "The Many Saints of Newark." He earned an Emmy for his appearance on a 2004 episode of "ER." Other TV credits included "The Rat Pack" (as Frank Sinatra), "Texas Rising," "Shades of Blue," and "Hanna."
Drummer Alan White (June 14, 1949-May 26, 2022) joined the progressive rock group Yes in 1972. While the band had frequent lineup changes over the years, White was a consistent contributor to the group that had such hits as "Wonderous Stories" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart." He played on 34 studio and live Yes albums, including "Tales from Topographic Oceans," "Going For the One," "90125," "Drama," "Union," the Grammy-winning "Big Generator," and their most recent, "The Quest."
White had played with bands throughout England when, in 1969, he received a phone call from a Beatle he thought was a prank. In a 2021 Seattle Times interview White said, "A voice announced, 'Hello, this is John Lennon.' I thought it was a mate pulling my leg, put the receiver down, and went back to the kitchen. Luckily, the caller rang back. This time I listened and thought: Hang on. Maybe it is John Lennon."
The then-20-year-old was then whisked onto a plane, along with Lennon, Yoko Ono and Eric Clapton, to play at a sold-out music festival in Toronto. "I suppose I just took it in my stride. It wasn't until years later that I went, 'Wow, what happened there?'"
White would also perform on the recordings of "Imagine" and "Instant Karma!," and play drums on George Harrison's albums, "All Things Must Pass" and "The Radha Krsna Temple."
White also played with Alan Price, Rick Wakeman, Donovan, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Tony Levin and David Torn. In 1976 he released a solo album, "Ramshackled."
In 2017 White was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as part of Yes.
In 2005 White – having passed the 30-year mark with Yes – told Modern Drummer magazine, "You know what's great about playing with a band like this? It's always challenging, it's always demanding. Everybody's trying to achieve new things all the time. We have this built-in drive for creating new things all the time. That's what keeps the energy going. It's what keeps me alive."