Gov. Mario Cuomo
We remember the noted personalities who left us during the past year - people who helped shape our world, inspired us, and moved us with their creativity and humanity.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
A son of Italian immigrants, Mario Cuomo (June 15, 1932-January 1, 2015) became an eloquent spokesman for a generation of liberal Democrats during his three terms as New York governor.
Cuomo rose to national prominence with his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, with a forceful defense of liberalism while attacking the policies of President Ronald Reagan: "There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces you don't see, in the places you don't visit in your shining city."
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Guitarist Jeff Golub (April 15, 1955-January 1, 2015) tackled various musical genres throughout his career, from jazz and electric blues to hard rock, and played alongside Rod Stewart and Tina Turner.
"To me, there's only two kinds of music: the kind that's from the heart and the kind that's not," Golub was quoted as saying on his website. "Regardless of the style or genre, music is either real or it's not real. I like any kind of music that's from the heart, and that's the kind that I try to make."
"'Little" Jimmy Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens (December 19, 1920-January 2, 2015) was the longest-running member of the Grand Ole Opry. Dickens joined the Opry in 1948, and last performed there on Dec. 20, 2014, marking his 94th birthday.
Dickens was known for such hits as "May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)," "Country Boy" and "Out Behind The Barn."
"I look forward from one weekend to another to get back out on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry," he once said, "and try to entertain people who have come from miles and miles and state to state to be entertained with country music. We do our very, very best to give them a good presentation and hope that they enjoy themselves."
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Actress Donna Douglas (September 26, 1932-January 1, 2015) was best known as Elly May Clampett on "The Beverly Hillbillies." For her audition, she was asked to milk a goat. "I had milked cows before," she told The Associated Press in 2009. "I figured they were equipped the same, so I just went on over and did it."
She also performed as a gospel singer (releasing her first album in 1982), and published a couple of children's books.
Sen. Edward William Brooke
In 1962, Edward W. Brooke (October 26, 1919-January 3, 2015), a liberal Republican from Massachusetts, became the first elected African-American Attorney General of any state; later, Brooke became the first African-American in U.S. history to win popular election to the Senate, in 1966.
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Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott (July 19, 1965-January 4, 2015) helped herald in the network's now-ubiquitous popularity, first hosting "SportsNight," before becoming one of the most popular hosts of its flagship "SportsCenter" program.
The longtime anchor became known for a brash style of hosting and interviewing that helped him become as popular as some of the celebrity athletes he covered, punctuating highlights with "Boo-ya!" or noting a slick move as being "as cool as the other side of the pillow."
First diagnosed with cancer in November 2007, Scott made a point of continuing to live his life, and to work, in spite of it. "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live," Scott said. "So live. Live. Fight like hell."
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In a career that spanned more than half a century, legendary gospel performer, songwriter and choir director, Andrae Crouch (July 1, 1942-January 8, 2015) wrote dozens of songs, including gospel favorites such as "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" and "Soon and Very Soon." He helped pioneer the "Jesus Music" movement in the late 1960s and '70s that started the spread of contemporary Christian music.
But his influence was also felt in pop music, with songs performed by Elvis Presley and Paul Simon.
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The ruggedly-handsome Australian actor Rod Taylor (January 11, 1930-January 7, 2015) appeared in films spanning nearly six decades, most notably George Pal's "The Time Machine" (pictured), Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," and -- as Winston Churchill -- in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."
Swedish-born actress Anita Ekberg (September 29, 1931-January 11, 2015) was immortalized bathing in Rome's Trevi fountain, while calling out to her costar Marcello Mastroianni, in Federico Fellini's masterpiece, "La Dolce Vita" (1960).
In 2005, Ekberg recalled shooting the scene in frigid water during February. "They had to lift me out of the water because I couldn't feel my legs anymore," she said.
"I have seen that scene a few times. Maybe too many times. I can't stand watching it anymore, but it was beautiful at the time."
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Songwriter Ervin Drake (April 3, 1919-January 15, 2015) broke from his father's furniture business at an early age to become a composer of a number of popular songs, among them "It Was a Very Good Year" (immortalized by Frank Sinatra) and "I Believe."
Drake was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983. The New York Times quoted him as saying: "I had a feeling I never would have been in the Furniture Man's Hall of Fame."
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Television director and producer Tony Verna (November 26, 1933-January 18, 2015) was just 29 when he launched the first TV instant replay during the 64th annual Army-Navy football game, broadcast on CBS on Dec. 7, 1963, after Verna developed a method to cue the tape to pinpoint the play he wanted to immediately air again. He said he was looking for a way to fill those boring gaps between plays during a football telecast.
The concept was so new that when Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh scored a touchdown, announcer Lindsey Nelson had to warn viewers: "This is not live! Ladies and gentlemen, Army did not score again!"
Instant replay quickly became a staple of sports broadcasting, and Verna's innovation gave fans a new way to look at the games. "Not many things you can do in life where you can change the way things were happening before," Verna told The Associated Press in 2008.
Verna would go on to produce or direct five Super Bowls, the Olympics, the Kentucky Derby, and "Live Aid."
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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (August 1, 1924-January 23, 2015), who died at the age of 90, had been a powerful U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda, and sought to modernize the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom. He was the richest head of state in the world, with a personal fortune of about $20 billion.
Abdullah assertively threw his oil-rich nation's weight behind trying to shape the Middle East. His priority was to counter the influence of rival (mainly Shiite) Iran wherever it tried to make advances. He and fellow Sunni Arab monarchs also staunchly opposed the Middle East's wave of pro-democracy uprisings, seeing them as a threat to stability and their own rule.
Legendary women's footwear designer Vince Camuto (1936-January 21, 2015) co-founded shoe company Nine West Group in 1978.
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Known for his fun-loving, positive attitude, Ernie Banks (January 31, 1931-January 23, 2015) grew up in segregation and played his first years of professional baseball in the Negro Leagues, before breaking into the majors for the Chicago Cubs in 1953. Over the course of a 19-year career -- all with the Cubs -- Banks racked up 2,583 hits, including 512 homers and 1,636 RBI.
Banks' infectious personality won over the hearts of Cubs fans and opposing fans alike. "Let's play two," he liked to say, suggesting a doubleheader was always better than just a single game in one day.
Credit: AP Photo/Harold Filan
For more than 40 years beginning in 1951, pioneering radio and TV host Joe Franklin (March 9, 1926-January 24, 2015) interviewed stars, up-and-coming personalities and faded figures (more than 300,000 guests, by his count) on his New York City-based talk show devoted to entertainment and nostalgia.
Al Pacino reportedly once asked Franklin, "Joe, why don't you interview me now that I'm somebody? You interviewed me when I was nobody."
Charles Townes (July 28, 1915-January 27, 2015) shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the laser.
New Age poet Rod McKuen (April 29, 1933-January 29, 2015) was also a highly-successful singer-songwriter, with Academy Award nominations for his song, "Jean," for the 1969 film "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," and for the music from "A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
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Best-selling Australian author Colleen McCullough (June 1, 1937- January 29, 2015), whose book "The Thorn Birds" sold 30 million copies worldwide, wrote 25 novels throughout her career.
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Chemist Carl Djerassi (October 29, 1923-January 30, 2015) was widely considered the father of the birth control pill, having led the team that developed norethindrone, a synthetic molecule that became a key component of the first oral contraceptive. "The pill," as it came to be known, radically transformed sexual practices and women's lives.
Djerassi later published papers about the global implications of U.S. contraceptive research and the feasibility of a birth control pill for men. "The thoughts behind these two public policy articles had convinced me that politics, rather than science, would play the dominant role in shaping the future of human birth control," he wrote.
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North Carolina basketball coaching great Dean Smith (February 28, 1931-February 7, 2015) coached the Tar Heels from 1961-97. At the time he retired, he was the winningest coach in the sport with 879 victories. He won two national championships (in 1982 and 1993), and coached such players as Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
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Pro golfer Billy Casper (June 24, 1931-February 7, 2015) was one of the most prolific winners on the PGA Tour, though his career was overshadowed by the "Big Three" - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Casper won 51 times on the PGA Tour, putting him at No. 7 on the career list
"Billy was a fantastic player, and I don't think he gets enough credit for being one," Jack Nicklaus said. "I have said many times that during my career, when I looked up at a leaderboard, I wasn't just looking to see where a Palmer or a Player or a (Lee) Trevino was. I was also checking to see where Billy Casper was. Billy had tremendous confidence. He just believed in himself.
"You knew when you played against Billy Casper, Billy would not beat himself."
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The founder of NFL Films, Ed Sabol (September 11, 1916-February 9, 2015), revolutionized sports broadcasting and re-imagined pro football.
Working with his son, Steve, Sabol introduced a series of innovations taken for granted today: super slow-motion replays, blooper reels, reverse angle shots. They stuck microphones on coaches and players, set highlights to pop music, and recorded pregame locker room speeches -- all with solemn narrations by John Facenda, who was dubbed the "Voice of God."
"We began making the game personal for the fans, like a Hollywood movie," Sabol told The Associated Press. "Violent tackles, the long slow spiral of the ball, following alongside the players as they sidestepped and sprinted down the field. The movie camera was the perfect medium at the time to present the game the way the fans wanted to see it."
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Over a 47-year career at CBS News, longtime "60 Minutes" correspondent and legendary CBS News foreign reporter Bob Simon (May 29, 1941-February 11, 2015) earned more than 40 major awards, including 27 Emmys (believed to be the most ever earned by a field reporter) and four Peabody Awards.
Simon's career in war reporting was extensive, beginning in Vietnam, where he was based from 1971-72. Simon was also aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975. He also reported on violence in Northern Ireland, and from war zones in Portugal, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia and American military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.
During the early days of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Simon was imprisoned and tortured by the Iraqi army along with three CBS News colleagues. He later chronicled the experience in a book, "Forty Days." "This was the most searing experience of my life," Simon told the Los Angeles Times.
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Guitarist Sam Andrew (December 18, 1941-February 12, 2015) was a founding member of Big Brother and the Holding Company (pictured far right).
For a time he and Janis Joplin left the group to form the Kozmic Blues Band, but after one album, Andrew returned to Big Brother. He also toured with The Sam Andrew Band and the quartet Theatre of Light, and performed with Moby Grape, while also studying composition and writing film scores, string quartets and a symphony.
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During the German occupation of France, the dashingly handsome French actor Louis Jourdan (June 19, 1921-February 14, 2015) was assigned to make propaganda films for the Nazis. He escaped and joined the French underground.
After the war, Jourdan resumed his movie career in France, and a talent agent recommended him to producer David O. Selznick, who hired him for the Alfred Hitchcock film, "The Paradine Case" (pictured). He later starred in "Letter to an Unknown Woman," "Gigi," ''Can-Can," ''Three Coins in the Fountain," "The VIPS," and the James Bond film, "Octopussy."
Succeeding Charles Boyer as Hollywood's favorite French lover, Jourdan romanced Joan Fontaine, Jennifer Jones, Grace Kelly and Shirley MacLaine on screen. "Any actor who comes here with an accent is automatically put in roles as a lover," he complained. "I didn't want to be perpetually cooing in a lady's ear."
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Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore (May 2, 1946-February 16, 2015) topped the charts in 1963 with her epic song of teenage angst, "It's My Party." Other hits included "Judy's Turn to Cry," "You Don't Own Me," "She's A Fool," ''That's the Way Boys Are" and "Maybe I Know." With her brother, Michael, she co-wrote the Oscar-nominated "Out Here On My Own," from the film "Fame."
If that weren't fame enough, she also played Catwoman's sidekick in the cult TV series, "Batman."
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Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Clark Terry (December 14, 1920-February 21, 2015) played in the orchestras of both Count Basie and Duke Ellington. In 1960, he joined the house band for "The Tonight Show" and stayed for over a decade.
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"Live long and prosper."
Actor Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931-February 27, 2015) created one of the most fascinating fictional characters in all of television -- Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer of the Starship Enterprise on the original "Star Trek." He returned to the role in spin-off series, movies and cartoons, and directed two "Star Trek" movies, though he expressed ambivalence about how the role defined him. (In 1975 he published an autobiography titled, "I Am Not Spock." Twenty years later, he published a second autobiography titled, "I Am Spock.")
He earned three Emmy nominations as the Vulcan, and a fourth for his role as the husband of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the 1982 TV film, "A Woman Called Golda." His other entertainment credits included acting in the TV series "Mission: Impossible"; hosting "In Search Of..."; and directing the comedy, "Three Men and a Baby." On stage he appeared in such plays as ''My Fair Lady," "Equus," and his one-man play about the brother of Vincent van Gogh.
Nimoy's interests were varied, ranging from poetry and music to photography. But he will be forever tied to his beloved "Star Trek" character. "When I put on those ears, it's not like just another day," he said in 1989. "When I become Spock, that day becomes something special."
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Cuban slugger Minnie Minoso (November 29, 1922-March 1, 2015) broke into the majors just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game's first black Latino star. He played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox.
"I have baseball in my blood," Minoso said. "Baseball is all I've ever wanted to do."
He is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the "Cuban Comet" into baseball's Hall of Fame.
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Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (November 26, 1926-March 5, 2015) helped pioneer the use of lightweight, hand-held cameras to spontaneously capture reality from a fly-on-the-wall perspective.
Maysles was best known for a handful of cult classics he made with his brother, David, including "Gimme Shelter" (about the Rolling Stones' Altamont Speedway concert on Dec. 6, 1969, during which a fan was killed), "Primary" (1960), about rival Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey; "Salesman" (1968), about door-to-door Bible salesmen; and "Grey Gardens" (1976), about the idiosyncratic relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis living in a hovel on Long Island.
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Rev. Willie T. Barrow
The Rev. Willie Barrow (December 7, 1924-March 12, 2015) was a front-line civil rights fighter for decades, and a mentor to younger generations of activists. She was a field organizer for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., marched on Washington and Selma in the '60s, and more recently focused concern on Chicago's gun violence and changes to the Voting Rights Act.
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Fantasy writer Terry Pratchett (April 28, 1948-March 12, 2015) authored more than 70 books, including "Discworld," a series of more than 40 comic novels set in a teeming fantasy world.
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Jimmy Greenspoon (February 7, 1948-March 11, 2015) was keyboardist for the rock band Three Dog Night, best known for its 1960s and '70s hits "Joy to the World," "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" and "Black and White." Greenspoon also performed with artists like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Beach Boys.
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Architect and designer Michael Graves (July 9, 1934-March 12, 2015) was a champion of what came to be known as postmodernism. Rejecting unadorned box-like designs, he created buildings with patterns and textures, decorations and color.
He also designed household items for Target and other retailers ... more than 2,000 in all.
In 2003, he was stricken by an infection so severe it left him paralyzed from the waist down, which led to a challenging next chapter in his career: designing equipment for the disabled, such as a golf cart.
"I dream at night walking," he said. "I don't have wheelchair dreams; I have walking dreams."
Credit: Matthew Peyton/Getty Images; Michael Graves Architecture & Design
Bassist Mike Porcaro (May 29, 1955-March 15, 2015) joined the band Toto in the early 1980s (pictured, second from right), and played with the group until 2007, when health issues got in the way of touring. He was later diagnosed with ALS.
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When he was the teenage bassist for the British rock band Free, Andy Fraser (July 3, 1952-March 16, 2015) co-wrote the rousing rock anthem, "All Right Now," which remains one of the defining hits of classic rock radio.
Credit: Andy Fraser
Songwriter and keyboardist Michael Brown (April 25, 1949-March 19, 2015), of the band The Left Banke (pictured far left), co-wrote the 1966 hit, "Walk Away Renee," and composed "Pretty Ballerina."
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Drummer A.J. Pero (October 14, 1959-March 20, 2015) played with the heavy-metal band Twisted Sister, one of the most famous 1980s metal groups with such hits as 1984's "We're Not Gonna Take It."
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In 1975 ad man and entrepreneur Gary Dahl (December 18, 1936-March 23, 2015) gave us the Pet Rock, which came with its own carrying case and an owner's manual. He sold more than a million of them.
Among Dahl's other accomplishments: first place in the 2000 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest honoring intentionally-bad writing ("The heather-encrusted Headlands, veiled in fog as thick as smoke in a crowded pub, hunched precariously over the moors.")
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Prolific actor-director Gene Saks (November 8, 1921-March 28, 2015) teamed with playwright and fellow New Yorker Neil Simon on numerous hit Broadway and movie productions of such comedies as "The Odd Couple," "California Suite," "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Lost in Yonkers."
"I don't believe every director can direct every play," Simon once mused. "But Gene and I have had such a common point of view that my instincts tell me lately, 'Go with Gene.'"
Credit: New York Public Library/Martha Swope
The New York Road Runners aptly called George Spitz (1922-March 27, 2015) "The Father of the Five-Borough Marathon," transforming the race from its confines within Central Park to its current 26.2-mile course throughout the city.
The World War II veteran ran more than two dozen marathons over his lifetime. He has less good fortune running for political office, losing every time.
Credit: NYRR Archives/John McGrail
"Sorry, girls, he's married!"
Cynthia Lennon (September 10, 1939-April 1, 2015) was the first wife of John Lennon, and mother of Julian. They'd met when she was an 18-year-old student at the Liverpool College of Art, prior to The Beatles' skyrocket to fame.
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Drummer Robert Burns Jr. (November 24, 1950-April 3, 2015) was a founding member of the Southern hard rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Before Burns left the group in 1974, they recorded "Sweet Home Alabama," ''Gimme Three Steps," and "Free Bird."
"He was a product of his mother, so far as manners is concerned," his father said. "He had the manners that would suit the King of England. Very soft-spoken and extremely well-mannered person to come out of that kind of industry."
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Satirist Stan Freberg (August 7, 1926-April 7, 2015) lampooned American history over the course of a seven-decade career that encompassed radio, television, comedy albums (including the Grammy-winning "The United States of America"), advertising jingles and nightclub performances. He won three Emmys for the pioneering 1950s children's TV show, "It's Time for Beany."
In the late 1950s Freberg turned his attention to advertising, winning nearly two dozen CLIO awards (the advertising industry's equivalent of the Oscar). Advertising Age declared, "No one label fits Stan Freberg. But the father of the funny commercial seems a fitting epithet."
Veteran stage and screen actor Richard Dysart (March 30, 1929-April 5, 2015) played senior partner Leland McKenzie in the long-running TV legal drama, "L.A. Law," for which he won an Emmy. His film appearances included "Being There," "Pale Rider" and John Carpenter's "The Thing."
Credit: AP Photo/Doug Pizac
Lauren Hill (October 1, 1995-April 10, 2015), a freshman basketball player, inspired millions with her brave battle against cancer. She gained national attention by taking to the court despite her grave diagnosis; her school, Mount St. Joseph University in Ohio, convinced the NCAA to move up their season opener to give her a chance to play. Hill made two layups, scoring the first and last baskets of the game.
"This is the greatest day of my life," she said to the sold-out crowd as she stood at half court."Let's not call it one last game," she said. "This is my first collegiate game."
She also made a lasting mark by starting a charity called The Cure Starts Now to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research and treatment.
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Nobel-winning German writer Guenter Grass (October 16, 1927-April 13, 2015), whose books included the fantastical novel, "The Tin Drum," gave voice to the generation that came of age during the horrors of the Nazi era, and was lauded by Germans for helping to revive their culture in the aftermath of World War II.
Yet he provoked the ire of many in 2006 when he revealed in his memoir, "Skinning the Onion," that -- as a teenager -- he had served in the Waffen-SS.
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Percy Sledge (November 25, 1940-April 14, 2015) soared from part-time singer and hospital orderly to lasting fame with his aching, forlorn performance on the classic, "When a Man Loves a Woman."
Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler later called the song "a transcendent moment" and "a holy love hymn."
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Mary Doyle Keefe
Mary Doyle Keefe (July 30, 1922-April 21, 2015) was a telephone operator from Arlington, Vermont, who posed for Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter" in 1943. "Except for the red hair I had at the time, and my face, the rest I don't think is me at all," Keefe said in a 2002 interview.
After appearing on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, the painting decorated posters selling government bonds for the war effort.
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Artist and graphic designer Betty Willis (May 20, 1923-April 19, 2015) created the fabulous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign - an icon of the city.
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Guitarist-singer Jack Ely (September 11, 1943-April 28, 2015) was an original member of the Kingsmen, a band formed in 1959 that mostly performed cover versions of songs. Four years later, the group recorded "Louie Louie" at a studio in its home city of Portland. According to lore, it cost $36.
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Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie (January 1, 1956-April 27, 2015) won an Academy Award for capturing the fantastic, heart-rending beauty of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
"Andrew gave us many personal cinema moments, moments that will live with us forever, and yet he has been taken from us way too early, and we are now left with those memories," Jackson said. "On set we developed an ability to work together using a minimum of words - a rare meeting of minds. I will always remember turning up, countless times, at five in the morning - all those quiet moments I had with him when I could step on to set and know he was there - unfazed, ready, listening, interested, more importantly - ready to catch me if I faltered. He always had my back. The more anxious I became, the more calm he would be. A solid rock in the unpredictable world we both chose to work in."
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New York housewife Jean Nidetch (October 12, 1923-April 29, 2015) tackled her own obesity, then shared her guiding principles with others in meetings that became known as Weight Watchers.
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Ben E. King
As a member of the Drifters, Ben E. King (September 28, 1938-April 30, 2015) co-wrote and sang lead on "There Goes My Baby." The band had a string of hits featuring King, including "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "This Magic Moment," before he left in a contract dispute.
The 1961 ballad "Spanish Harlem" gave King his first solo hit. "Stand By Me," which he co-wrote, was passed on by The Drifters and so he recorded himself. It was chosen one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.
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Grace Lee Whitney
Grace Lee Whitney (April 1, 1930-May 1, 2015) played Yeoman Rand, the willowy assistant to Captain Kirk during the first season of the original "Star Trek" TV series.
British-Jamaican singer Errol Brown (November 2, 1943-May 6, 2015) was frontman of the soul and funk band Hot Chocolate. His best-known hits included "You Sexy Thing" and "It Started With a Kiss."
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"Let the cartoon begin!"
Actor Gilbert Lewis (April 6, 1941-May 7, 2015) appeared in the films "Cotton Comes to Harlem," "The Hot Rock," "Across 110th Street," and "Fort Apache, the Bronx," and on the series "Spenser: For Hire," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Cheers," and "Law & Order." But he was perhaps most recognizable as the original King of Cartoons on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse."
Character actress Elizabeth Wilson (April 4, 1921-May 9, 2015), who won a Tony Award for her performance in 1972's "Sticks and Bones," had roles in almost 30 films, most memorably as Dustin Hoffman's mother in "The Graduate," and the character Roz in "9 to 5." She also played Edith Bunker's cousin on "All in the Family."
"I had no desire to be a star," she told The Hartford Courant in 2014. "I wanted to be a character actress and be able to do all kinds of parts and work on a lot of things. That was my unconscious choice. I wanted to be an undercover actress."
Blues legend B.B. King (September 16, 1925-May 14, 2015) got his start in radio with a gospel quartet in Mississippi, but soon moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where a job as a radio disc jockey gave him access to a wide range of recordings. He studied the great blues and jazz guitarists, including Django Reinhardt and T-Bone Walker, and played live music a few minutes each day as the "Beale Street Blues Boy," later shortened to B.B.
The one-time farmhand brought new fans to the blues and influenced a generation of musicians with his heartfelt vocals and soaring guitar on songs such as "The Thrill Is Gone."
"It's good for me when I'm feeling bad," he said about blues music in a 2013 interview with CBS News' Anthony Mason. "And good for me when I'm feeling good."
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When Elisabeth Bing (July 8, 1914-May 15, 2015) became interested in childbirth techniques in the 1950s, women were often heavily medicated, dads were generally nowhere near the delivery room, and expectant parents had far less information than many do today.
Bing popularized the Lamaze method of natural childbirth, helping change how women and doctors approached the delivery room.
Trained as a physical therapist, Bing taught breathing and relaxation techniques to generations of expectant mothers, wrote several books about birth and pregnancy, and encouraged women -- and men -- to be more prepared, active and inquisitive participants in the arrival of their babies.
"I was certainly considered a radical," she wrote in Lamaze International's magazine in 1990. By then, she noted, childbirth education had become common: "This so-called fad has been proven not to be a fad."
Credit: Courtesy of Lamaze International
John and Alicia Nash
John Forbes Nash Jr. (June 13, 1928-May 23, 2015), the Nobel Prize-winning mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie, "A Beautiful Mind," was killed along with his wife, Alicia, in a car crash.
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Actress and comedian Anne Meara (September 20, 1929-May 23, 2015) gained fame as half of the comedy team Stiller & Meara (with husband Jerry Stiller).
The mother of actor Ben Stiller, the five-time Emmy-nominated Meara also starred in dozens of films and TV shows, including "All My Children," "Rhoda," "Archie Bunker's Place," ''Sex and the City," "The King of Queens," and "Homicide."
Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III (February 3, 1969-May 30, 2015), the former attorney general of Delaware and the son of Vice President Joe Biden, joined the Army National Guard in 2003 and rose to the rank of major. He deployed to Iraq for a year in 2009 and was awarded a Bronze Star.
After two terms as Delaware's Attorney General, Biden announced he would run for governor in 2016, but this past spring he suffered a recurrence of brain cancer for which he'd undergone surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments two years ago.
In a statement Vice President Biden said, "More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.
"In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known."
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Jane Briggs Hart
Aviator Jane Briggs Hart (October 21, 1921-June 5, 2015) dreamed of blasting into space on a Mercury rocket, and passed all the tests to qualify, but NASA wasn't ready for a woman astronaut. Hart was also a founding member of the National Organization of Women.
Credit: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Singer-songwriter Ronnie Gilbert (September 7, 1926-June 6, 2015), second from right, was a member of the influential 1950s folk quartet The Weavers. With fellow members Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman, Gilbert helped spark a national folk revival by churning out hit recordings of "Goodnight Irene," ''On Top of Old Smokey," ''If I Had A Hammer," ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and "Wimoweh."
The group was hugely popular before being targeted by anti-Communists and blacklisted during the Red Scare. After disbanding in 1964, Gilbert worked as a stage actor and psychologist.
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Vincent Bugliosi (August 18, 1934-June 6, 2015) was an anonymous junior member of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office when he was handed the case that, for better or worse, would define his life: the prosecution of one of America's most notorious mass murderers, Charles Manson.
During a closely-watched and oftentimes bizarre trial that lasted nearly a year, the cool, relentless prosecutor became nearly as famous Manson himself as he denounced the ersatz hippie cult leader as the "dictatorial maharajah of a tribe of bootlicking slaves." He called Manson's three murderous disciples, who were on trial with him, "robots" and "zombies." He told jurors they eagerly killed actress Sharon Tate and seven others during a bloody, two-night rampage that terrified Los Angeles in the summer of 1969.
After all were convicted, Bugliosi would go on to recount the case in "Helter Skelter," one of the best-selling true-crime novels of all time.
Pictured: Bugliosi with Linda Kasabian, the state's principal witness against Manson and his followers.
Credit: Wally Fong/AP
Appearing in more than 250 movies, the prolific, aristocratic British actor Christopher Lee (May 27, 1922-June 7, 2015) brought dramatic gravitas to screen villains, from Count Dracula in countless vampire films, to the wicked wizard Saruman in "The Lord of the Rings," the evil Count Dooku in two "Star Wars" prequels, and as James Bond foe Scaramanga, "The Man With the Golden Gun."
Credit: Columbia Pictures
As Chief of Public Information, John W. "Jack" King (February 12, 1931-June 11, 2015) was the calm, reassuring "Voice of NASA" who held the world riveted as he counted down the final seconds of the Apollo 11 launch to the moon.
British actor Ron Moody (January 8, 1924-June 11, 2015) was best known for his Oscar-nominated performance as Fagin in the 1968 film "Oliver!"
The actor, the son of Jewish immigrants, had originally planned to be an economist and didn't seriously venture into acting until his late 20s, while at the at the London School of Economics: "I got dragged into taking part in a student revue and ended up writing, and appearing in, a few sketches. In short, I got the stage bug," he said years later. "Soon after, I was discovered in an end-of-term show by two writers who put me in their stage revue, and I've never looked back."
Credit: Columbia Pictures
Jazz legend Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930-June 11, 2015) was a visionary saxophonist who pioneered "free jazz," and is regarded as one of the greatest innovators in jazz history along with Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker.
His quartet shook up the jazz establishment when it burst on the scene in 1959 with the album "The Shape of Jazz to Come," which liberated musicians to freely improvise off the melody. "I want everyone to have an equal relationship to the results," Coleman told the AP in a 2007 interview. "I don't tell them what or how to play. ... Sometimes the drum is leading, sometimes the bass is leading. ... I don't think I'm the leader, I'm just paying the bills."
Coleman became only the second jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize in music (for his 2006 album "Sound Grammar").
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Hailing from West Virginia, Blaze Starr (April 10, 1932-June 15, 2015) was a stripper and burlesque icon who drew tourists to post-World War II Baltimore, lent glamour to New Orleans, and became known far and wide for her affair with Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long.
Filmmaker John Waters, a Baltimore native, said he watched Starr's shows as a teenager, though he never met her. He said her wardrobe was a major influence on Divine, the cross-dressing actor who starred in several of Waters' movies, including "Pink Flamingos."
"Other boys my age were at football games and the Orioles and the Colts, but I was thinking about Blaze Starr, and not in an erotic way, either," Waters told The Associated Press. "Just from a showbiz point of view, I respected her deeply."
He said she was "never tawdry" and was able to build a diverse fan base. "She had a sense of humor, and she turned what was once thought of as a negative career, being a stripper, into a class act in a weird way," Waters said. "No one looked down on Blaze Starr."
Composer James Horner (August 14, 1953-June 22, 2015) scored approximately 150 films, and won two Academy Awards for his music for the James Cameron blockbuster, "Titanic." Other credits include "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "Brainstorm," "Aliens," Braveheart," "Field of Dreams," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Avatar."
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Italian actress Laura Antonelli (November 28, 1941-June 22, 2015) was a familiar face in art house cinema during the 1970s and '80s, when she appeared in films by such directors as Luchino Visconti ("The Innocent," pictured), Ettore Scola ("Passion of Love"), Giuseppe Patroni Griffi ("The Divine Nymph"), and Marco Vicario ("Wifemistress").
Credit: Koch Lorber Films
Don Featherstone (January 25, 1936-June 22, 2015) was a classically trained painter, a talented sculptor and artist, who became famous for creating the pink plastic lawn flamingo -- the ultimate symbol of American lawn kitsch -- modeling it after photos of the birds he saw in National Geographic.
"People say they're tacky, but all great art began as tacky," Featherstone said in a 1997 interview.
Credit: Amy Sancetta/AP
Dick Van Patten
Actor Dick Van Patten (December 9, 1928-June 23, 2015) played dad Tom Bradford on "Eight Is Enough," which ran on ABC from 1977-1981. He also appeared in the films "Spaceballs," "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and "Soylent Green," and made appearances on such shows as "Happy Days," "The Love Boat," "That '70s Show," "7th Heaven," "Arrested Development" and "Hot in Cleveland."
He was also an animal activist who founded National Guide Dog Month and raised money for non-profit guide dog schools.
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British-born actor Patrick Macnee (February 6, 1922-June 25, 2015) was best known as the dapper secret agent John Steed in the long-running 1960s spy series, "The Avengers." Accompanied by beautiful female sidekicks Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson, the suave Steed thwarted countless bad guys with cool bravado and wit.
In an interview with the Deseret News, Macnee explained the cult favorite's long-running popularity: "It's a very simple reason: It's extremely good. I feel very justified and delighted in seeing after all these years that the show works."
English musician Chris Squire (March 4, 1948-June 27, 2015) was the bassist and co-founder of the progressive rock band Yes, one of the leaders of progressive rock. The group's hits included "Roundabout" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart," which became a No. 1 hit on the Billboard pop charts in the 1980s. Squire was the only member to play on all of Yes' albums (beginning with its debut in 1969). He also released his solo debut, "Fish Out of Water," in 1975, and also played in the short-lived supergroup XYZ (eX-Yes-Zeppelin), which included Jimmy Page.
In a statement posted on his website, former Yes lead singer Jon Anderson said he and Squire were "musical brothers."
"I feel blessed to have created some wonderful, adventurous, music with him. Chris had such a great sense of humor ... he always said he was Darth Vader to my Obi-Wan. I always thought of him as Christopher Robin to my Winnie the Pooh," he wrote.
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Sir Nicholas Winton
He was just a 29-year-old clerk at the London Stock Exchange when he faced the challenge of his lifetime. Traveling with a friend to Czechoslovakia in 1938, as the drums of impending war echoed around Europe, Nicholas Winton (May 19, 1909-July 1, 2015) was hit by a key realization: While some in Britain were working to get Jewish intellectuals and Communists out from the advancing Nazi regime, no one was trying to save the children -- so Winton took that task upon himself.
Winton arranged trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends and saving them from almost certain death. He would almost single-handedly save more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, earning himself the label "Britain's Schindler."
To top it all off, he then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.
Although many more Jewish children were saved from Berlin and Vienna, those operations were better-organized and financed. Winton's operation was unique because he worked almost alone.
"Maybe a lot more could have been done," he later said. "But much more time would have been needed, much more help would have been needed from other countries, much more money would have been needed, much more organization."
Credit: CBS News
Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders (August 25, 1946-July 2, 2015) spent 43 years with the Detroit Lions as a player, assistant coach, scout and radio broadcaster.
He is considered the "finest tight end in Detroit Lions history," and he proved to be a "secret weapon" in the passing game during a period where the tight end was primarily a blocker, CBS Detroit reported.
Beekeeper Burt Shavitz (May 15, 1935-July 5, 2015) was a hippie making a living by selling honey when his life was altered by a chance encounter with a hitchhiking Roxanne Quimby. She was a single mother who impressed Shavitz with her ingenuity and self-sufficiency.
In the 1980s she began making products from his beeswax, and they became partners in Burt's Bees. As the company expanded, Quimby bought out Shavitz's interest.
In 2007, Clorox purchased Burt's Bees for $925 million.
Actress Amanda Peterson (July 8, 1971-July 3, 2015), who began her film career when she was 9 with the 1982 adaptation of "Annie," was best known for her role in the 1987 romantic comedy, "Can't Buy Me Love." She played cheerleader Cindy Mancini, who was paid by Patrick Dempsey's character to pose as his girlfriend. Her last film was "Windrunner" in 1994.
Credit: Buena Vista Pictures
Quarterback Ken Stabler (December 25, 1945-July 8, 2015) led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory and was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1974.
Former Oakland coach John Madden called Stabler a "perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider."
Credit: AP Photo
Omar Sharif (April 10, 1932-July 10, 2015), a star of Egyptian cinema, soared to international fame for his roles as Sherif Ali in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia," for which he won two Golden Globes and was nominated for an Academy Award. He later starred in "Doctor Zhivago" and "Funny Girl."
Aside from acting, Sharif was a major bridge player, ranking among the world's best. "I'd rather be playing bridge than making a bad movie," he was once quoted as saying.
Welsh-born actor-director Roger Rees (May 5, 1944-July 10, 2015) won an Olivier and a Tony for his starring role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's landmark 8 1/2-hour stage production of Charles Dickens' "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" in 1980. Rees later starred in the Broadway musicals "The Addams Family" and "The Visit," but was most recognizable to TV audiences as the snobbish Robin Colcord on "Cheers."
Credit: Kenn Duncan/New York Public Library, Billy Rose Theatre Division
Canadian-born opera singer John Vickers (October 29, 1926-July 10, 2015) was nicknamed "God's tenor" for his inimitable voice and strong Christian beliefs. He became one of the world's leading performers of Richard Wagner, acclaimed for roles including Siegmund in "Die Walkuere." He was also a regular at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where his signature roles included Benjamin Britten's "Peter Grimes."
Vickers stood out among dramatic tenors for the intensity of his performances and his richly powerful voice, described by critic John Ardoin as "holding a hundred colors and inflections."
"Art is a wrestling with the meaning of life," Vickers once said, and his religious faith informed his artistic choices.
Joan Sebastian (April 8, 1951-July 13, 2015) was one of Mexico's great ballad singers, as well a prolific songwriter, penning mote than 1,000 during his career. He was best known for sentimental love songs like "Tatuajes" and "Secreto de Amor," sometimes set to simple guitar arrangements, and sometimes sung on horseback. Sebastian won five Grammy awards and seven Latin Grammys.
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Pioneering broadcast journalist Marlene Sanders (January 10, 1931-July 14, 2015) was the first woman to anchor a prime-time network newscast when she subbed for ABC anchor Ron Cochran in 1964. Sanders also became the first female vice-president of a news division in 1976. She later won three Emmys as a documentary correspondent/producer for CBS News, and taught journalism at New York University.
"A pioneering television journalist - the first network newswoman to report from Vietnam, among many other firsts - she informed and inspired a generation. Above all, though, she was a great Mom," wrote her son, CNN legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin.
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Character actor Alex Rocco (February 29, 1936-July 18, 2015) won an Emmy for his portrayal of Hollywood agent Al Floss in the '90s comedy, "The Famous Teddy Z." But he is best remembered as mobster Moe Greene, who spews contempt for the Corleone Family, only to meet a particularly gruesome end, in "The Godfather."
Credit: Paramount Pictures
Considered one of the major authors of the 20th century, E.L. Doctorow (January 6, 1931-July 21, 2015) wryly reimagined the American experience in such novels as "Ragtime," "The Book of Daniel," "World's Fair," "Billy Bathgate" and "The March."
"In fiction, you know, there are no borders," Doctorow told "Sunday Morning"'s Rita Braver in 2009. "You can go anywhere. You can write as a reporter. You can do confession. You can sound like an anthropologist, a philosopher, a theologian, a pornographer. You can be anything and do anything."
Credit: CBS News
Austrian-born actor-singer Theodore Bikel (May 2, 1924-July 21, 2015) received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a Southern sheriff in "The Defiant Ones" (1958), and the following year starred as Capt. Georg von Trapp in the original Broadway production of "The Sound of Music." He also played Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" more than 2,000 times on stage from 1967 onward.
A prolific recording artist (he recorded more than 20 contemporary and folk music albums, many featured Hebrew and Yiddish folk music), Bikel also helped found the Newport Folk Festival with Pete Seeger in 1959.
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Grammy-winning songwriter Wayne Carson (May 31, 1943-July 20, 2015) wrote such hits as the Willie Nelson classic "Always On My Mind," and The Box Tops' "The Letter." He got his first No. 1 hit in 1966 on "Somebody Like Me," performed by Eddy Arnold, and his songs have been covered by artists in many genres, from Elvis Presley to Al Green.
Bobbi Kristina Brown
Bobbi Kristina Brown (March 4, 1993-July 26, 2015), the daughter of singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, fell into a coma for several months after being found unresponsive in a bathtub on Jan. 31 -- an event tragically similar to the death of her mother.
Dr. Howard W. Jones, Jr.
Dr. Howard W. Jones (December 30, 1910-July 31, 2015) was part of the husband-wife team whose pioneering medical work led to the birth of the first in vitro fertilization baby in the United States. In 1979, a year after the world's first "test-tube baby" was born in England, he and Dr. Georgeanna Jones opened the nation's first IVF clinic at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. Two years later, their clinic achieved success with the first IVF pregnancy in the U.S., and in December of that year, a healthy baby girl, Elizabeth Carr, was born.
Since then, more than 5 million babies worldwide have been born the help of IVF techniques, including more than 63,000 a year (1.5 percent of all births) in the U.S. as of 2013.
About 4,000 IVF babies have been born with assistance from the clinic the Joneses established, and fertility treatments there have helped thousands of other families.
Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber
The strong, husky voice of singer Lynn Anderson (September 26, 1947-July 30, 2015) carried her to the top of the charts with her 1970 hit, "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden." The record "Rose Garden" earned her a Grammy and Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year Award.
"It was popular because it touched on emotions," she told the AP. "It was perfectly timed. It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years and a lot of people were trying to recover.
"This song stated that you can make something out of nothing. You take it and go ahead. It fit me well and I'll be proud to be connected to it until I die."
Born Roderick George Tooms, Roddy Piper (April 17, 1954-July 31, 2015) played up his Scottish heritage in the wrestling ring, with a flourish of bagpipes and a kilt, although he hailed from Canada. He was named the #1 villain in wresting history by the WWE.
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Dr. Forrest Bird
When aviator and inventor Dr. Forrest Bird (June 9, 1921-August 2, 2015) created the medical respirator in 1947, he told "60 Minutes," he had no idea he'd created a device that would go on to become a staple of emergency medicine.
"I mean, this was seeing a problem and coming up with a rudimentary answer, that was all," he told CBS News' Morley Safer in 2007.
Bird spent World War II delivering aircraft from the factory to the front, and got to thinking about the similarities between the way air flows over the wings of a plane and how it moves through the human lung. "In that lung is rudimentary air foils. It's like a million airplane wings all down through the lungs -- in and out, all the way through, that facilitate your normal, spontaneous breathing. So it was just applying all of this," Bird said. "Taking it from aviation."
Bird went on to create the first low-cost medical respirator. Other models quickly followed, including the "Baby Bird," his respirator for infants, which massively reduced the death rate for preemies and saved the lives of his neighbors' two sons.
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Dr. Frances Kelsey
Dr. Frances Kelsey (July 24, 1914-August 7, 2015), a Canadian physician and pharmacologist, joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1960, where, in her first month, she refused to approve the release of the drug thalidomide in the United States, citing inadequate testing. The drug, which had been used as a sleeping pill, was later proven to have caused thousands of birth deformities in Germany and the U.K.
Two years later President John F. Kennedy awarded Kelsey the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service - only the second woman to receive the award. "Her exceptional judgment in evaluating a new drug for safety for human use has prevented a major tragedy of birth deformities in the United States," Kennedy said. "Through high ability and steadfast confidence in her professional decision she has made an outstanding contribution to the protection of the health of the American people."
Credit: AP Photo
Over the course of her career, pro golfer Louise Suggs (September 7, 1923-August 7, 2015) won 61 professional tournaments, including 11 major championships, and in 1950 was one of the founding members of the LPGA in 1950.
"Golf is very much like a love affair," Suggs once said. "If you don't take it seriously, it's no fun, but if you do, it breaks your heart."
Credit: AP Photo
Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford (August 16, 1930-August 9, 2015) was a versatile star on both offense and defense, and was the NFL's MVP in 1956 when he led the New York Giants to a league championship. He went on to a successful second career as a broadcaster on "Monday Night Football." Gifford also hosted "Wide World of Sports," covered several Olympics, and announced 588 consecutive NFL games for ABC, not even taking time off after the death of his mother shortly before a broadcast in 1986.
In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Gifford "an icon."
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Buddy Baker (January 25, 1941-August 10, 2015) was a Daytona 500 winner and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee.
Baker, who stood 6-foot-6 to earn the nickname the "Gentle Giant," was the first driver to exceed 200 mph on a closed course when he did it in 1970 at Talladega Superspeedway, where he won four times. He ranks 14th in NASCAR history with 38 poles in his 700 career starts from 1959-1992.
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Activist Julian Bond (January 14, 1940-August 15, 2015), a longtime board chairman of the NAACP, was a symbol and icon of the 1960s civil rights movement. He helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and was on the front lines of protests that led to the nation's landmark civil rights laws.
Bond also served in the Georgia state legislature and was a professor at American University and the University of Virginia.
"Julian Bond helped change this country for the better," President Obama said. "And what better way to be remembered than that."
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"Route 29 Batman"
Leonard Robinson (September 28, 1963-August 16, 2015), of Owings Mills, Md., was known as the "Route 29 Batman" -- traveling in costume in his "Batmobile" to hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington area, giving away toys, T-shirts and books to kids. Sometimes he would visit hospitals with his teenage son playing Robin.
Robinson said he felt lucky to be able to give back to sick kids. "They're constantly fighting for their lives, and if this helps them, then that's what it's all about," he said.
Credit: Courtesy Hope for Henry Foundation/CBS News
Yvonne Craig (May 16, 1937-August 17, 2015) was a ballet dancer, actress and, later, a real estate broker, businesswoman and philanthropist. But she made her most indelible impression as Batgirl on the 1960s series "Batman."
Director-producer Bud Yorkin (February 22, 1926-August 18, 2015) helped forge a new brand of topical TV comedy with the 1970s hits "All in the Family," "Sanford and Son," "The Jeffersons," "Maude" and "Good Times."
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Actress Melody Patterson (April 16, 1949-August 20, 2015) was only 16 when she first appeared as Wrangler Jane on the 1960s TV comedy, "F Troop." She later appeared on "Hawaii Five-O" with her then-husband, James MacArthur.
Credit: Warner Brothers TV
British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson (July 31, 1978-August 24, 2015), who was an International Formula 3000 champion and a winner of 24 Hours of Daytona, died from a head injury suffered when a piece of debris struck him at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
His younger brother later announced that, through his organ donations, Wilson had saved six lives.
Credit: Chris O'Meara/AP
Alison Parker and Adam Ward
Reporter Alison Parker (August 19, 1991-August 26, 2015) and cameraman Adam Ward (May 10, 1988-August 26, 2015), employees of CBS' Roanoke affiliate WDBJ, were shot to death during a live interview at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia. The suspect was later identified as a former employee of the station who posted a video of his deadly assault before fatally shooting himself.
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Belgian nurse Augusta Chiwy (June 6, 1921-August 23, 2015) helped save hundreds of American soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge at the end of World War II. Chiwy volunteered in 1944 to assist in an aid station in Bastogne, where wounded and dying U.S. soldiers in their thousands were being treated by a single doctor.
She received a Belgian knighthood, and in 2001 an award for valor from the U.S. Army.
Amelia Boynton Robinson
Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson (August 18, 1911-August 26, 2015), who worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had helped organize and lead the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" voting rights march, and was among those beaten during the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. A newspaper photo featuring an unconscious Boynton Robinson drew wide attention to the movement.
In a statement SCLC President and CEO Charles Steele called Boynton Robinson "the straw that stirred the drink," and compared her legacy in Selma to that of Rosa Parks in Montgomery.
She later became the first black woman to run for Congress in Alabama.
"The truth of it is that was her entire life. That's what she was completely taken with," Bruce Boynton said of his mother's role in shaping the civil rights movement. "She was a loving person, very supportive, but civil rights was her life."
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On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Marcy Borders (August 12, 1973-August 24, 2015) was working as a legal assistant for Bank of America in the World Trade Center. She made it down from the 81st floor and stepped onto the sidewalk as the South Tower began to fall. That's when photographer Stan Honda captured the famous image of Borders covered in ash and looking like a ghost. Nearly 14 years later, Borders died of cancer.
In an interview last fall with The Jersey Journal, Borders said she tried to avoid looking back on that terrible day and the "Dust Lady" photo that became so famous.
"I try to take myself from being a victim to being a survivor now. I don't want to be a victim anymore," she told the paper.
Credit: Family photo; Stan Honda/AFP/Getty
The backboard-shattering dunks of Darryl Dawkins (January 11, 1957-August 27, 2015) earned him the moniker "Chocolate Thunder," and helped pave the way for breakaway rims. Dawkins spent parts of 14 seasons in the NBA with Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit, and also played as part of the Harlem Globetrotters.
He would name his dunks - the "look out below," the "yo-mama" and the "rim wrecker" among them - and often boasted that he hailed from the "Planet Lovetron."
"A great man, entertainer, athlete and ferocious dunker," former NBA guard Kevin Johnson wrote on Twitter in tribute to Dawkins. "He will be missed but not forgotten."
Credit: Steve Pyle/Associated Press
Dr. Oliver Sacks
British neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks (July 9, 1933-August 30, 2015) wrote several bestselling books (including "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" and "Awakenings") which probed distant ranges of human experience by compassionately portraying people with severe and sometimes bizarre neurological conditions.
Sacks himself suffered from prosopagnosia, or face blindness. In 2012 he described his inability to recognize faces to Lesley Stahl for "60 Minutes": "People do think you may be snubbing them or stupid, or mad, or inattentive. That's why it's so important to recognize what one has. And to admit it."
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Dr. Wayne Dyer
Motivational guru Dr. Wayne Dyer (May 10, 1940-August 29, 2015) was author of dozens of self-help books, including 1976's "Your Erroneous Zones." His basic message was simple: Think good thoughts, and good things will surely follow.
"Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn't wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying," his family posted on Facebook. "Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side."
Actor Dean Jones (January 25, 1931-September 1, 2015) had the boyish good looks and all-American manner that made him a favorite star in such lighthearted Disney fare as "The Love Bug," "That Darn Cat!" and "Million Dollar Duck."
"I see something in them that is pure form. Just entertainment. No preaching," Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "We're always looking for social significance, but maybe people just like to be entertained."
Martin Milner (December 28, 1931-September 6, 2015) was a child actor who found work in movies when his family moved to Los Angeles, making his film debut in 1947's "Life with Father." Overcoming polio, he shot to fame in 1960 in the iconic TV drama, "Route 66," featuring two restless young men roaming the fabled highway in a red Corvette convertible.
"The problem was that once you get into Oklahoma and Texas on the route, the scenery is flat and boring," Milner said in a 1997 interview. "Pictorially it just wasn't very interesting."
Milner later starred as a policeman in "Adam-12."
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
British actress Judy Carne (April 27, 1939-September 3, 2015) became a star on the U.S. comedy series, "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," beginning in 1967, on which she'd exclaim the catch-phrase, "Sock it to Me!" - after which she'd be doused in water or undergo some other indignity.
Dick "Dickie" Moore (September 12, 1925-September 7, 2015) was a saucer-eyed child star who appeared in the "Our Gang" comedies during the 1930s. As he grew older he gave Shirley Temple her first screen kiss, played an assistant to Robert Mitchum in the film noir classic, "Out of the past," and later founded a public relations firm.
In his 1984 book about the child star business, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: But Don't Have Sex or Take the Car," Moore wrote that many young actors pretended they were younger than they actually were: "Many children lied about their ages, and the studios lied for them. It fostered the idea that we were precocious. ... Studios and parents with investments to protect wanted us to stay the productive kids we were."
Credit: Hal Roach Studios
Moses Malone (March 23, 1955-September 13, 2015), whose nickname was "The Chairman of the Boards," was a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player, and was the most successful basketball player of his era to jump right from high school to the pro ranks.
Among his many feats, he helped end the city of Philadelphia's pro sports championship drought, earning the NBA Finals MVP in 1983 when he and "Dr." Julius Erving brought home the series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Best-selling romance novelist Jackie Collins (October 4, 1937-September 19, 2015) wrote 32 books, which all made The New York Times' bestsellers list. Her books, including "Hollywood Wives" and "Lucky," sold more than 500 million copies worldwide.
In a 2011 interview Collins told The Associated Press that she "never felt bashful writing about sex. ... I think I've helped people's sex lives. Sex is a driving force in the world, so I don't think it's unusual that I write about sex. I try to make it erotic, too."
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Actor Jack Larson (February 8, 1928-September 20, 2015) played Jimmy Olsen, the hapless young newspaper photographer at the Daily Planet, in the 1950s TV series, "The Adventures of Superman."
Week after week, Jimmy and reporter Lois Lane would stumble into some awful fix, only to have Superman save them at the very last moment! In the show's six-year run, Jimmy never did figure out why Clark Kent and Superman never appeared together at the same time.
He appeared as an elderly Jimmy Olsen in the 1990s series, "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman."
Baseball legend Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (May 12, 1925-September 22, 2015) won a still-unmatched 10 World Series rings behind the plate with the New York Yankees. He also won three MVP awards, 15-straight All Star selections, and the hearts of a baseball-mad nation with his hilarious, bizarre and often poignant malapropisms.
He coined such phrases as "It ain't over till it's over"; "It's déjà vu all over again"; "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore"; "You can observe a lot by watching"; and "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Credit: AP Photos
The alto saxophone of four-time Grammy-winner Phil Woods (November 2, 1931-September 29, 2015) graced many recordings by such artists as Paul Simon and Steely Dan. But his soulful playing was most memorably entwined in Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are."
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Actress Catherine Coulson (October 22, 1943-September 28, 2015) was best known as the Log Lady on David Lynch's TV series "Twin Peaks.
Coulson had met David Lynch in the early 1970s at an acting workshop at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and he cast her as a nurse in his cult movie "Eraserhead" (on which she also worked as assistant director, still photographer and special effects technician).
Lincoln Impersonator James Getty
For nearly four decades James Getty (January 17, 1932-September 26, 2015) portrayed President Abraham Lincoln, lending his voice to recordings of his speeches at the Lincoln Memorial and other exhibits, and giving rousing recitations of the Gettysburg Address at the battlefield cemetery.
Pictured: Getty (left) with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett before a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 2013, in Gettysburg, Pa.
Credit: Matt Rourke/AP
Tony Award-winning playwright Brian Friel (January 9, 1929-October 2, 2015), whose plays included "Dancing at Lughnasa" (1992), was praised by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as "the consummate Irish storyteller. His work spoke to each of us with humor, emotion and authenticity."
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Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell (February 3, 1948-October 5, 2015) was internationally renowned for his books featuring the gloomy, soul-searching police inspector Kurt Wallander. His novels and plays sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
Mankell was also deeply engaged in social and political issues. Since the mid-1980s he had divided his time between Sweden and Mozambique, where he helped build a village for orphaned children to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. He was also among the activists who were attacked and arrested by Israeli forces as they tried to sail to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian supplies in June 2010.
"You have to act, not just by writing, but by standing up and doing," he said.
Billy Joe Royal
Georgia-born pop singer Billy Joe Royal (April 3, 1942-October 6, 2015) debuted on Columbia Records in 1965 with the hit song, "Down in the Boondocks." He later crossed over, reinventing himself as a country singer. His other recordings include "Cherry Hill Park," "I'll Pin a Note on Your Pillow," "Out of Sight and on My Mind," ''Tell it Like It Is," and "Till I Can't Take It Anymore." He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1988.
Credit: Columbia Records
A leading figure of art house cinema, Belgian avant-garde filmmaker Chantal Akerman (June 6, 1950-October 5, 2015) created patient, personal reflections on the lives of women, which were hailed for their bracing feminism and haunting intimacy.
Her most famous work was the revolutionary "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" (1975), a three-hour-plus account depicting - in real time - the drab routines of a Belgian housewife forced into prostitution to make money. The New York Times called it "the first masterpiece of the feminine in the history of cinema."
Superstar chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Paul Prudhomme (July 13, 1940-October 8, 2015) popularized Cajun and Creole cuisine internationally, and set off a cooking craze in the 1980s, while also building a spice and food business empire.
Prudhomme first garnered fame in New Orleans as the chef at Commander's Palace. He and his wife, Kay, are also credited with introducing the blackened redfish craze, which made the fish so popular that commercial fishing of the species became restricted in order to prevent it from going extinct.
Credit: AP Photo/Will Yurman
Diplomat Ken Taylor (October 5, 1934-October 15, 2015) was Canada's ambassador to Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, who sheltered six Americans in secret at his residence for three months before providing them with fake passports from Ottawa to facilitate their escape from Tehran.
Taylor was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and "earned the enduring gratitude of the United States ... for his valor and ingenuity," U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman said in a statement.
Cory Wells (February 5, 1941-October 20, 2015) was a founding member of the popular 1970s band Three Dog Night, and lead singer on such hits as "Never Been to Spain" and "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)."
"Cory was an incredible singer -- a greater performer, he could sing anything," bandmate Danny Hutton said.
Wells, Hutton and Chuck Negron formed Three Dog Night in 1967, lifting the name from Australian slang for especially cold weather. Dubbed the "kings of oversing" by Village Voice critic Robert Christgau, they patented a fervent, gospel-influenced style on such hits as "One," ''Eli's Coming" and the chart-topping "Joy to the World."
Credit: Three Dog Night
Flame-haired, Irish-born movie star Maureen O'Hara (August 17, 1920-October 24, 2015) appeared in classics ranging from the grim "How Green Was My Valley" to the uplifting "Miracle on 34th Street," and bantered unforgettably with John Wayne in several films, including "The Quiet Man."
During her movie heyday, she became known as the "Queen of Technicolor," because of the camera's love affair with her vivid hair, pale complexion and fiery nature.
With John Ford's "Rio Grande" in 1950, O'Hara became Wayne's favorite leading lady. With her Irish spunk, she could stand up to the rugged Duke, both on- and off-screen. She was proud when he remarked in an interview that he preferred to work with men -- "except for Maureen O'Hara; she's a great guy."
In a 1991 interview, she was asked if she was the same strong, willful woman she played in movies: "I do like to get my own way," she replied. "But don't think I'm not acting when I'm up there. And don't think I always get my own way. There have been crushing disappointments. But when that happens, I say, 'Find another hill to climb.'"
Al Molinaro (June 24, 1919-October 30, 2015) was a loveable character actor with a hangdog face, known to millions of TV viewers for playing Murray the cop on "The Odd Couple" and malt shop owner Al Delvecchio on "Happy Days."
In ABC's 1992 "'Happy Days' Reunion Special," Molinaro defended the show from criticism that it sentimentalized the 1950s.
"In the industry, they used to consider us, like, a bubble-gum show," he said. "But I think they overlooked one thing. To the public in America, 'Happy Days' was an important show, and I think it was and I think it still is."
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The son of a car salesman, Fred Thompson (August 19, 1942-November 1, 2015) enjoyed a serendipitous career, ranging from lawyer, lobbyist, radio commentator, a minority counsel for the Senate Watergate hearings, and actor, before serving two terms in the U.S. Senate.
When the real-life story of whistleblower Marie Ragghianti was made into a movie starring Sissy Spacek, Thompson (who'd been Ragghianti's attorney) was asked to play himself. He later starred in such films as ''The Hunt for Red October," ''Die Hard II" and "Cape Fear," and spent five seasons on "Law & Order" after leaving the Senate in 2002.
Thompson once called the Senate a "remarkable place" but, like Hollywood, said there was "frustration connected with it."
Hollywood car designer George Barris (November 20, 1925-November 5, 2015) customized many of television's most memorable cars. He created a macabre rolling funeral home for "The Munsters"; a backwoods rattletrap for "The Beverly Hillbillies"; and a fully-loaded crime-fighting car for "Knight Rider." Perhaps most famous of all: TV's Batmobile, for which Barris transformed a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, courtesy of a $15,000 remodeling job.
In 2013 he sold that car at auction for more than $4.5 million.
Gunnar Hansen (March 4, 1947-November 7, 2015) was an Icelandic-born actor who played the iconic villain Leatherface in the original "Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
Credit: Bryanston Pictures
Legendary New Orleans musician and composer Allen Toussaint (January 14, 1938-November 10, 2015) penned such classics as "Working in a Coal Mine" and "Lady Marmalade," and was often one of the headliners at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
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Indian actor Saeed Jaffrey (January 8, 1929-November 15, 2015) was acclaimed for his roles in international films, including "Gandhi" and ''A Passage to India," and the TV miniseries, "The Jewel in the Crown."
Pictured: Jaffrey in Stephen Frears' acclaimed 1985 comedy-drama, "My Beautiful Laundrette."
Credit: Orion Pictures Classics
Michael C. Gross
As art director of National Lampoon magazine in the 1970s, illustrator Michael C. Gross (October 4, 1945-November 16, 2015) created enduring pop culture images. In 2005 the American Society of Magazine Editors voted his satirical January 1973 cover threatening the consumer ("If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog") as one of the 10 top magazine covers of the past 40 years.
Gross also conjured up the "Ghostbusters" logo for the 1984 film.
Credit: National Lampoon/michaelcgross.com/Columbia Pictures
Australian-born actor Keith Michell (December 1, 1928-November 20, 2015) won an Emmy Award for his performance as the British monarch in the acclaimed 1970 mini-series, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII."
Trumpet player and vocalist Cynthia Robinson (January 12, 1944-November 23, 2015) was a founding member of the legendary funk group, Sly and the Family Stone. In addition to her horn licks on such classics as "Everyday People," she also sang on some of the band's biggest hits, including "Dance to the Music."
After the band broke up in 1975, Robinson performed with Prince, among others. She and the rest of Sly and the Family Stone were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Credit: CBS/Epic Records
Harry Radliffe II
Harry Radliffe II (1949-December 1, 2015), the first African-American to head a CBS News bureau and an award-winning "60 Minutes" producer for 26 years, traveled around the world to produce stories for correspondents such as Walter Cronkite, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, Bob Simon and Scott Pelley. As bureau chief in London in the 1980s, he supervised coverage of some of the biggest foreign news events of the day, including the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the rise of terrorism in Europe, and turmoil in the Middle East. He contributed nearly 100 stories to "60 Minutes," where he won the Peabody award, television's highest honor.
Radliffe has a lifelong interest in foreign affairs, even as a high school student in Indiana, when he sent away for The Manchester Guardian newspaper to broaden his own horizons. In later years, he could never quite shake the feeling that he was just a "kid from Indianapolis" who lucked into a stunning career.
Credit: Courtesy of Michael Gavshon
Sandy Berger (October 28, 1945-December 2, 2015) was White House national security adviser from 1997 to 2001, including a period when the Clinton administration carried out airstrikes in Kosovo and against Saddam Hussein's forces in Iraq. Berger also was deeply involved in the administration's push for free trade. Before this role, he served as Clinton's top foreign policy adviser during his 1992 campaign.
"Our country is stronger because of Sandy's deep and abiding commitment to public service, and there are countless people whose lives he changed for the better," former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement.
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An Oscar nominee-for "Jagged Edge," actor Robert Loggia (January 3, 1930-December 4, 2015) was best known for playing gravelly-voiced gangsters ("Scarface," "Prizzi's Honor," "Lost Highway," "The Sopranos"). But he was most endearing in the 1988 comedy, "Big," when he danced with Tom Hanks on a toy store's giant piano keyboard, tapping out joyful duets of "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul."
"A great actor in heart and soul," wrote Hanks in tribute.
Credit: Universal Pictures
Musician Scott Weiland (October 27, 1967-December 3, 2015) rose to fame as lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning Stone Temple Pilots, whose hits include "Interstate Love Song," ''Plush," and "Vasoline."
After the band broke up in 2003, Weiland went on to front Velvet Revolver (whose hits included "Fall to Pieces"). The Stone Temple Pilots reunited, for a time, before Weiland went on to front Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts.
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As head of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, German-born conductor Kurt Masur (July 18 1927-December 19, 2015) was credited with helping prevent a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters as Communism collapsed in East Germany. Masur said "blood would have flowed" in 1989 if he and several others hadn't issued a public statement calling for calm and promising dialogue, as security forces and troops were massed in the streets and young people "were ready to die."
A month later, the embattled regime opened East Germany's heavily-fortified border with the West.
Masur later reinvigorated the New York Philharmonic during his 11-year stint as its music director.
Credit: SIGI TISCHLER/KEYSTONE/AP
George Clayton Johnson
Science fiction writer George Clayton Johnson (July 10, 1929-December 25, 2015) was noted for several episodes of the original "Twilight Zone" series and the first broadcast episode of "Star Trek," titled "The Man Trap." He also co-authored the novel "Logan's Run," and wrote scripts for the series "Wanted: Dead of Alive," "Route 66" and "Kung Fu."
The virtuosic basketball star Meadowlark Lemon (April 25, 1932-December 27, 2015) was the "Clown Prince" of the Harlem Globetrotters.
In addition to touring the world - playing with the Globetrotters and, later, the Bucketeers, the Shooting Stars and Meadowlark Lemon's Harlem All Stars - Lemon became an ordained minister.
Credit: AP Photo/Dave Pickoff
Natalie Cole (February 6, 1950-December 31, 2015) told CBS News in 2006 that her father saw star quality in her early on: "He did say to a few people, 'I think she's got it.' Whatever it is, he saw that.'" Yet there was no nepotism: Before she could sing with her father professionally, at age 11, she had to audition first.
In a career that spanned decades, one of Cole's most memorable hits was her 1991 album, "Unforgettable ... With Love," featuring a virtual duet with her late father. The album spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, earned six Grammy Awards, and sold more than 14 million copies.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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