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2016: Highs, lows and farewells

Continue reading 2016: Highs, lows and farewells

Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2016

Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn.

The strongman’s half-century rule was marked by the unsuccessful U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. But after surviving a crippling trade embargo and dozens of assassination plots, Castro died in November at age 90.

Perhaps befitting the controversial leader, his death elicited both tears and cheers across the Western Hemisphere.

But Castro was just one of many noteworthy people who died in 2016.

The year also saw the deaths of pop music giants: David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals, and Prince, who was considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times.

Among the political figures who died in 2016 was the world’s longest reigning monarch: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval.

Others in the world of public affairs included former United National Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ex-senator and astronaut John Glenn, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Israeli leader Shimon Peres and former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan.

In the sports arena, the year saw the passing of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, whose fast fists and outspoken personality brought him fans around the world. Other sports figures included: golfer Arnold Palmer, Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe, basketball players Dwayne “Pearl” Washington and Nate Thurmond, Olympians Vera Caslavska and Tommy Kono, wrestlers Harry Fujiwara and Chyna, and mixed martial arts fighter Kimbo Slice.

Artists and entertainers who died in 2016 included author Harper Lee, conductor Pierre Boulez, musicians Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Phife Dawg, and actors Gene Wilder, Abe Vigoda, Florence Henderson, Alan Rickman, Robert Vaughn, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Alan Thicke, Fyvush Finkel and Anton Yelchin.

Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2016. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)

JANUARY:

Dale Bumpers, 90. Former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator who earned the nickname “giant killer” for taking down incumbents, and who gave a passionate speech defending Bill Clinton during the president’s impeachment trial. Jan. 1

Pierre Boulez, 90. Former principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic who moved between conducting, composition and teaching as one of the leading figures in modern classical music. Jan. 5.

Pat Harrington Jr., 86. Actor and comedian who in the 1950s got attention as a member of Steve Allen’s fabled TV comic troupe but secured lasting fame decades later as Dwayne Schneider, the cocky handyman on the long-running sitcom “One Day at a Time.” Jan. 6.

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, 96. Twin sister of Iran’s deposed shah whose glamorous life epitomized the excesses of her brother’s rule. Jan. 7.

Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his big heart and charitable work in Chicago as for his singing internationally. Jan. 8.

David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.

Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the “Harry Potter” saga and other films. Jan. 14.

Rene Angelil, 73. Celine Dion’s husband and manager, who molded her from a French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world’s most successful singers. Jan. 14.

Dan Haggerty, 74. Rugged, bearded actor who starred in the film and TV series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.” Jan. 15.

Glenn Frey, 67. Rock ‘n’ roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history’s most successful songwriting teams with such hits as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” Jan. 18.

Abe Vigoda, 94. Character actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller” and the doomed Mafia soldier in “The Godfather.” Jan. 26.

Paul Kantner, 74. Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship. Jan. 28.

Signe Toly Anderson, 74. Vocalist and original member of the Jefferson Airplane who left the band after its first record and was replaced by Grace Slick. Jan. 28.

Linus Maurer, 90. Cartoonist and illustrator whose old friend Charles M. Schulz borrowed his first name for Charlie Brown’s blanket-carrying best friend Linus in his “Peanuts” comic strip and cartoons. Jan. 29.

Georgia Davis Powers, 92. Giant in the fight for civil rights in Kentucky and the first African-American woman elected to the state Senate. Jan. 30.

Terry Wogan, 77. His warm Irish brogue and sly, gentle humor made him a star of British television and radio for decades. Jan. 31.

FEBRUARY:

Bob Elliott, 92. Half of the enduring TV and radio comedy team Bob and Ray. Feb. 2.

Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.

Ferd Kaufman, 89. Associated Press photographer who was at Dallas police headquarters as authorities brought in President John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Feb. 3.

Edgar Whitcomb, 98. Former Indiana governor who escaped from a Japanese prisoner camp by swimming overnight during World War II and then made an around-the-world solo sailing trip while in his 70s. Feb. 4.

Edgar Mitchell, 85. Apollo 14 astronaut who became the sixth man on the moon when he and Alan Shepard helped NASA recover from Apollo 13’s “successful failure.” Feb. 4.

Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Feb. 13.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country’s landmark peace deal with Israel but clashed with the United States when he served a single term as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16.

Andrzej Zulawski, 75. Filmmaker and writer named best director last year at a film festival in Switzerland for his latest film, “Cosmos.” Feb. 17.

Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, 55. Raspy-voiced bar owner who gained fame on the reality TV series “Mob Wives.” Feb. 18.

Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child’s-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.

Umberto Eco, 84. Italian author who intrigued, puzzled and delighted readers worldwide with his best-selling historical novel “The Name of the Rose.” Feb. 19.

Eric “Winkle” Brown, 97. British pilot who flew more kinds of aircraft than anyone in history and was the first person to land a jet on an aircraft carrier. Feb. 21.

Sonny James, 87. Country singer who recorded romantic ballads like “Young Love” and turned pop songs into country hits. Feb. 22.

George Kennedy, 91. Hulking, tough-guy actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic “Cool Hand Luke.” Feb. 28.

MARCH:

Tony Warren, 79. British writer who created the long-running soap opera “Coronation Street.” March 1.

Thanat Khoman, 101. As Thailand’s foreign minister, he helped cement his country’s close relations with the United States during the Vietnam War. March 3.

Joey Feek, 40. With her husband, Rory, she formed the award-winning country duo Joey + Rory. March 4.

Pat Conroy, 70. Author of “The Great Santini,” ”The Prince of Tides” and other best-sellers, whose novels drew upon his bruising childhood and the vistas of South Carolina. March 4.

Raymond Tomlinson, 74. Inventor of modern email and a technological leader. March 5.

Nancy Reagan, 94. Helpmate, backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president – and finally during his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. March 6.

George Martin, 90. The Beatles’ urbane producer who quietly guided the band’s swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries. March 8.

Peter Maxwell Davies, 81. Experimental, socially radical composer who served as Queen Elizabeth II’s official master of music. March 14. Leukemia.

Frank Sinatra Jr., 72. He carried on his father’s legacy with his own music career; his kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father’s legendary life. March 16.

Meir Dagan, 71. Former Israeli general and longtime director of the country’s spy agency. March 17.

Bob Ebeling, 89. Booster rocket engineer who spent decades filled with guilt over not stopping the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. March 21.

Andy Grove, 79. Former Intel Corp. chief executive whose youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an “only the paranoid survive” management philosophy that saved the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s. March 21.

Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer.

Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.

Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with “The Larry Sanders Show.” March 24.

Earl Hamner Jr., 92. Prolific writer who drew upon his Depression-era upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to create one of television’s most beloved family shows, “The Waltons.” March 24.

Mother Mary Angelica, 92. Folksy Roman Catholic nun who used a monastery garage to begin a television ministry that grew into a global religious media empire. March 27.

Winston Moseley, 81. Man convicted of the 1964 stabbing death of Kitty Genovese, a crime that came to symbolize urban decay and indifference. March 28.

Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher, 89. Long-serving German foreign minister who was one of the key architects of the country’s 1990 reunification of east and west. March 31.

Imre Kertesz, 86. Hungarian writer who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature for fiction largely drawn from his experience as a teenage prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. March 31.

APRIL:

Leandro “Gato” Barbieri, 83. Latin Jazz saxophonist who composed the Grammy-winning music for the steamy Marlon Brando film “Last Tango in Paris” and recorded dozens of albums over a career spanning more than seven decades. April 2.

Erik Bauersfeld, 93. He turned three words from a minor acting role – “It’s a trap!” – into one of the most beloved lines of the “Star Wars” series. April 3.

Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home.” April 6.

Howard Marks, 70. Convicted drug smuggler who reinvented himself as an author, raconteur and drug-reform campaigner after publishing the best-selling autobiography “Mr. Nice.” April 10.

David Gest, 62. Music producer, reality TV star and former husband of Liza Minnelli. April 12.

Fred Hayman, 90. Dapper entrepreneur and “Godfather of Rodeo Drive” whose vision transformed a nondescript Southern California street into one of the world’s pre-eminent fashion districts. April 14.

Doris Roberts, 90. She played the tart-tongued, endlessly meddling mother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” April 17.

Patricio Aylwin, 97. Lanky law professor who played a decisive role in restoring Chile’s democracy after 17 years of brutal dictatorship and was later elected president. April 19.

Chyna, 46. Tall, muscle-bound, raven-haired pro-wrestler who rocketed to popularity in the 1990s and later made the rounds on reality TV. April 20.

Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, 52. Basketball player who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. April 20.

Victoria Wood, 62. British comedian who found humor in everyday life and blazed a trail for other female comics. April 20.

Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.” April 21.

Isabelle Dinoire, 49. Frenchwoman who received the world’s first partial face transplant. April 22.

Billy Paul, 80. Jazz and soul singer best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and “Philadelphia Soul” classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.” April 24.

Remo Belli, 88. Musician who pioneered the synthetic drumhead in time to help a generation of rock-and-rollers shape their sound and then saw it become standard on kits across genres. April 25.

Harry Wu, 79. Former political prisoner who dedicated his later life to exposing abuses in China’s brutal prison labor camp system. April 26.

Ozzie Silna, 83. He turned a fading American Basketball Association franchise into a four-decade windfall of nearly $800 million from the NBA in what’s commonly called the greatest deal in sports history. April 26.

Conrad Burns, 81. Former U.S. senator whose folksy demeanor and political acumen earned him three terms and the bitter disdain of his opponents. April 28.

Rev. Daniel Berrigan, 94. Roman Catholic priest and peace activist who was imprisoned for burning draft files in a protest against the Vietnam War. April 30.

MAY:

Tommy Kono, 85. He took up weightlifting in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans and went on to win two Olympic gold medals for the United States. May 1.

Madeleine LeBeau, 92. French actress best known for her small but memorable role in “Casablanca” as Rick’s pushed aside girlfriend Yvonne who passionately sings “La Marseillaise” at a pivotal moment. May 1.

Afeni Shakur, 69. Former Black Panther who inspired the work of her son, rap icon Tupac Shakur, and fostered his legacy for decades after he was slain. May 2.

Carl Fredrik Reutersward, 81. One of Sweden’s best-known modern artists and the creator of the iconic statue of a revolver barrel tied in a knot. May 3.

Bob Bennett, 82. Former U.S. senator who shied away from the spotlight but earned a reputation as someone who knew how to get things done in Washington. May 4.

William Schallert, 93. Veteran performer and Hollywood union leader who played Patty Duke’s father – and uncle – on TV and led a long, contentious strike for actors. May 8.

Gene Gutowski, 90. Polish-American Holocaust survivor who was the producer of three films by director Roman Polanski in the 1960s and reunited with him decades later for the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama “The Pianist.” May 10.

Donnovan Hill, 18. California teenager whose paralyzing football injury led to increased safety protections for young players after he sued a youth league. May 11.

Samuel Gibson, 39. Diminutive New Zealand man who inspired many by defying the brittle bones he was born with and pursuing a life filled with rigorous outdoor adventures. May 16. Died after falling from wheelchair during half-marathon.

Guy Clark, 74. Texas singer-songwriter who helped mentor a generation of songwriters and wrote hits like “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” May 17.

Morley Safer, 84. Veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent who was equally at home reporting on social injustices, the Orient Express and abstract art, and who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans’ view of the war. May 19.

Rosalie Chris Lerman, 90. Survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp who was the wife of the founder of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and a passionate advocate of Holocaust remembrance. May 19.

Alan Young, 96. Actor-comedian who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom “Mister Ed.” May 19.

Kang Sok Ju, 76. Top North Korean diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze his nation’s nuclear programs in exchange for international aid. May 20.

Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour, believed to be in his mid-50s. His brief rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan was marked by mistrust and strife. May 20. Killed in a drone strike.

Thomas E. Schaefer, 85. Retired Air Force colonel who was the ranking military officer among the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days before being released in 1981. May 31.

JUNE:

Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3.

Peter Shaffer, 90. British playwright whose durable, award-winning hits included “Equus” and “Amadeus.” June 6.

Victor Korchnoi, 85. Chess grandmaster and former Soviet champion who defected to the West and was considered among the best players never to win a world championship. June 6.

Kimbo Slice, 42. Bearded street fighter who parlayed his Internet popularity into a mixed martial arts career. June 6.

Theresa Saldana, 61. “Raging Bull” actress who survived a stalker’s brutal attack to become a crime victims’ advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with “The Commish” and other TV shows. June 6.

Gordie Howe, 88. Known as “Mr. Hockey,” the rough-and-tumble Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL’s quintessential star. June 10.

Margaret Vinci Heldt, 98. She became a hairstyling celebrity after she created the beehive hairdo in 1960. June 10.

George Voinovich, 79. Former U.S. senator and a two-term Ohio governor who preached frugality in his personal and public life and occasionally bucked the GOP establishment. June 12.

Lois Duncan, 82. Known for her pioneering suspense novels that captivated young readers, including “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which became a movie. June 15.

Jo Cox, 41. Lawmaker who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union. June 16. Killed by a gun- and knife-wielding attacker.

Anton Yelchin, 27. Rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films. June 19. Hit by his car in his driveway.

Wayne Jackson, 74. Trumpet player on rock ‘n’ roll, soul, R&B and pop mainstays along with Memphis Horns partner and tenor saxophonist Andrew Love. June 21.

David Jonathan Thatcher, 94. Member of the Doolittle Raiders, who bombed Japan in an attack that stunned that nation and boosted U.S. morale during World War II. June 22.

John Ashe, 61. Former U.N. General Assembly president who was facing criminal charges in a bribery case. June 22.

Michael Herr, 76. Author and Oscar-nominated screenplay writer who viscerally documented the ravages of the Vietnam War through his classic nonfiction novel “Dispatches” and through such films as “Apocalypse Now” and “Full Metal Jacket.” June 23.

Bernie Worrell, 72. “Wizard of Woo” whose amazing array of keyboard sounds helped define the Parliament-Funkadelic musical empire and influenced performers of many genres. June 24.

Bud Spencer, 86. Burly comic actor dubbed the “good giant” for punching out bad guys on the screen, often in a long series of spaghetti westerns. June 27.

Alvin Toffler, 87. Guru of the post-industrial age whose “Future Shock” and other books anticipated the disruptions and transformations brought about by the rise of digital technology. June 27.

Isak Chishi Swu, 87. Militant leader of the Naga tribal insurgency in India. June 28.

Pat Summitt, 64. Winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women’s game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee. June 28.

JULY:

Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic “Night” became a landmark testament to the Nazis’ crimes and launched his career as one of the world’s foremost witnesses and humanitarians. July 2.

Michael Cimino, 77. Oscar-winning director whose film “The Deer Hunter” became one of the great triumphs of Hollywood’s 1970s heyday and whose disastrous “Heaven’s Gate” helped bring that era to a close. July 2.

Jack C. Taylor, 94. He started a leasing company with seven cars and built it into Enterprise Rent-A-Car. July 2.

Abbas Kiarostami, 76. Iranian director whose 1997 film “Taste of Cherry” won the prestigious Palme d’Or and who kept working despite government resistance. July 4.

William L. Armstrong, 79. Colorado media executive who became a major conservative voice in the Senate. July 5.

Abdul Sattar Edhi, 88. Pakistan’s legendary philanthropist who devoted his life to the poor and the destitute. July 8.

Sydney H. Schanberg, 82. Former New York Times correspondent awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the genocide in Cambodia in 1975 and whose story of the survival of his assistant inspired the film “The Killing Fields.” July 9.

Bernardo Provenzano, 83. Convicted Cosa Nostra “boss of bosses” who reputedly led the Mafia’s powerful Corleone clan. July 13.

Nate Thurmond, 74. Tenacious NBA defensive center who played with Wilt Chamberlain. July 16.

Alan Vega, 78. Punk pioneer who helped form the duo Suicide, widely regarded as a forerunner of punk and electronic music. July 16.

Wendell Anderson, 83. Former Minnesota governor and ex-Olympian described in a 1973 Time magazine cover article as the youthful embodiment of his home state only to lose public confidence later by arranging his own appointment to the U.S. Senate. July 17.

Clown Dimitri, 80. Beloved Swiss clown and mime over nearly six decades who studied under Marcel Marceau and spread smiles from Broadway to Congo. July 19.

Mark Takai, 49. U.S. representative, war veteran and long-time legislator known for his bright nature and deep commitment to service. July 20. Pancreatic cancer.

Thomas Sutherland, 85. Teacher who was held captive in Lebanon for more than six years until he was freed in 1991 and returned home to become professor emeritus at Colorado State University. July 22.

Marni Nixon, 86. Hollywood voice double whose singing was heard in place of the leading actresses’ in such movie musicals as “West Side Story,” ”The King and I” and “My Fair Lady.” July 24.

Rev. Tim LaHaye, 90. Co-author of the “Left Behind” series, a multimillion-selling literary juggernaut that brought end-times prophecy into mainstream bookstores. July 25.

Sam Wheeler, 72. Renowned land speed motorcycle racer. July 25. Injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash.

Youree Dell Harris, 53. Actress who became famous playing the Jamaican psychic Miss Cleo, claiming to know callers’ futures in ubiquitous TV infomercials and commercials. July 26.

Gloria DeHaven, 91. Daughter of vaudeville stars who carved out her own career as the vivacious star of Hollywood musicals and comedies of the 1940s and ’50s. July 30.

AUGUST:

Anne of Romania, 92. Wife of Romania’s last monarch, King Michael. Aug. 1.

Ahmed Zewail, 70. Science adviser to President Obama who won the 1999 Nobel Prize for his work on the study of chemical reactions over short time scales. Aug. 2.

Pete Fountain, 86. Clarinetist whose Dixieland jazz virtuosity and wit endeared him to his native New Orleans and earned him national television fame. Aug. 6.

Helen Delich Bentley, 92. Former Maryland congresswoman who was an expert on the maritime industry. Aug. 6.

Robert Kiley, 80. He is credited with revitalizing and modernizing public transportation networks in Boston, New York and London. Aug. 9.

Harry Briggs Jr., 75. As a young boy, he was at the center of a lawsuit that culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing segregated public schools. Aug. 9.

Kenny Baker, 81. He played the lovable droid R2-D2 in the “Star Wars” films, achieving cult status and fans’ adulation without showing his face or speaking any lines. Aug. 13.

Fyvush Finkel, 93. Plastic-faced Emmy Award-winning actor whose career in stage and screen started in Yiddish theater and led to memorable roles in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway and on TV in “Boston Public” and “Picket Fences.” Aug. 14.

Bobby Hutcherson, 75. Bricklayer’s son who became one of the most inventive jazz vibraphonists to pick up a pair of mallets. Aug. 15.

Joao Havelange, 100. President of FIFA for two decades, who transformed soccer’s governing body into a multibillion-dollar business but also a hotbed for subsequent corruption. Aug. 16.

John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative commentator and host of a long-running television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of Washington politics. Aug. 16.

Arthur Hiller, 92. Oscar nominee for directing the hugely popular romantic tragedy “Love Story” during a career that spanned dozens of popular movies and TV shows. Aug. 17.

John W. Vessey, 94. Army general who rose in a 46-year military career to become chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and helped oversee Reagan’s military buildup. Aug. 18.

Jay Fishman, 63. Former Travelers Group insurance company chief executive who became a national advocate for research into Lou Gehrig’s disease after being diagnosed with it. Aug. 19.

Donald “D.A.” Henderson, 87. Epidemiologist whose leadership resulted in the eradication nearly 40 years ago of smallpox, one of the world’s most feared contagious diseases. Aug. 19.

Toots Thielemans, 94. Belgian harmonica player whose career included playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis and whose solos have figured on numerous film scores. Aug. 22.

Walter Scheel, 97. He helped shape West Germany’s policy of reconciliation with the communist bloc as foreign minister and later served as his country’s president. Aug. 24.

Sonia Rykiel, 86. French designer dubbed the “queen of knitwear” whose relaxed sweaters in berry-colored stripes and eye-popping motifs helped liberate women from stuffy suits. Aug. 25.

Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in “The Producers” and the mad scientist of “Young Frankenstein.” Aug. 28.

Juan Gabriel, 66. Mexican songwriter and singer who was an icon in the Latin music world. Aug. 28.

Harry Fujiwara, 82. Better known as Mr. Fuji, he was a former star wrestler and manager. Aug. 28.

Vera Caslavska, 74. Seven-time Olympic gymnastics gold medalist who stood up against the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Aug. 30.

SEPTEMBER:

Jon Polito, 65. Raspy-voiced actor whose 200-plus credits ranged from “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Modern Family” to the films “Barton Fink” and “The Big Lebowski.” Sept. 1.

Sam Iacobellis, 87. Rockwell International engineer who met President Ronald Reagan’s challenge to deliver 100 B-1 bombers as fast as possible in the early 1980s to challenge the Soviet Union. Sept. 3.

Hugh O’Brian, 91. He shot to fame as Sheriff Wyatt Earp in what was hailed as television’s first adult Western. Sept. 5.

Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group. Sept. 5.

Bobby Chacon, 64. Hall of Fame boxer whose memorable fights included victories over Rafael “Bazooka” Limon, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Danny Lopez and Ruben Olivares. Sept. 7.

Greta Zimmer Friedman, 92. Believed to be the woman in an iconic photo shown kissing an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II. Sept. 8.

Johan Botha, 51. Tenor whose light but muscular voice dazzled audiences at the world’s top operatic stages. Sept. 8.

Lady Chablis, 59. Transgender performer who became a celebrity for her role in the 1994 best-seller “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Sept. 8.

Jack Hofsiss, 65. Stage and screen director who won a Tony Award in his first outing on Broadway while helming “The Elephant Man” and kept working despite an accident that left him without the use of his arms and legs. Sept. 13.

Rose Mofford, 94. Arizona’s first female governor and a shepherd for the state during a period of political turbulence. Sept. 15.

Edward Albee, 88. Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who challenged theatrical convention in masterworks such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “A Delicate Balance.” Sept. 16.

W.P. Kinsella, 81. Canadian novelist who blended magical realism and baseball in the book that became the smash hit film “Field of Dreams.” Sept. 16.

Charmian Carr, 73. Actress best known for sweetly portraying the eldest von Trapp daughter in “The Sound of Music.” Sept. 17.

Rose Pak, 68. Brash community activist who helped transform San Francisco’s growing Asian American population into a politically powerful constituency. Sept. 18.

Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., 68. Musician who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his band Buckwheat Zydeco. Sept. 24.

Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. Sept. 25.

Jean Shepard, 82. “The grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry” who had a long recording career in country music. Sept. 25.

Ben Steele, 98. Bataan Death March survivor whose art helped him maintain his sanity as a prisoner of war and helped him forgive his captors. Sept. 25.

Curtis Roosevelt, 86. He lived in the White House as a child when his grandfather, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was president and worked for two decades at the United Nations. Sept. 26.

Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.

OCTOBER:

Joan Marie Johnson, 72. A founding member of the New Orleans girl group The Dixie Cups, who had a No. 1 hit in 1964 with “Chapel of Love.” Oct. 3.

Jacob Neusner, 84. He transformed the study of American Judaism, becoming one of the most influential 20th-century scholars of the religion. Oct. 8.

Aaron Pryor, 60. Relentless junior welterweight who fought two memorable bouts with Alexis Arguello. Oct. 9.

Andrzej Wajda, 90. Poland’s leading filmmaker whose career maneuvering between a repressive communist government and an audience yearning for freedom won him international recognition and an honorary Oscar. Oct. 9.

Donn Fendler, 90. As a boy, he survived nine days alone on Maine’s tallest mountain in 1939 and later wrote a book about the ordeal. Oct. 10.

Dario Fo, 90. Italian playwright whose energetic mocking of Italian political life, social mores and religion won him praise, scorn and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Oct. 13.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88. World’s longest reigning monarch, he was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval at home and abroad. Oct. 13.

Dennis Byrd, 51. Former NFL defensive lineman whose career was ended by neck injury. Oct. 15. Car accident.

Junko Tabei, 77. The first woman to climb Mount Everest. Oct. 20.

Tom Hayden, 76. 1960s antiwar activist whose name became forever linked with the Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife, actress Jane Fonda. Oct. 23.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, 84. Former emir of Qatar who was deposed by his son in a bloodless palace coup. Oct. 23.

Jack T. Chick, 92. His cartoon tracts preached fundamentalist Christianity while vilifying secular society, evolution, homosexuality, and the beliefs of Catholics and Muslims. Oct. 23.

Bobby Vee, 73. Boyish, grinning 1960s singer whose career was born when he took a stage as a teenager to fill in after the 1959 plane crash that killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Oct. 24.

Jorge Batlle, 88. Former president was a force in Uruguayan politics for half a century, who led the nation during one of its worst economic recessions. Oct. 24.

Robert A. Hoover, 94. World War II fighter pilot who became an aviation legend for his flying skills in testing aircraft and demonstrating their capabilities in air shows. Oct. 25.

Norman R. Brokaw, 89. Talent agent who represented Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and other top Hollywood stars. Oct. 29.

NOVEMBER:

Jean-Jacques Perrey, 87. French composer and pioneer of electronic pop music who was best known for co-writing “Baroque Hoedown,” used as the music for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney theme parks. Nov. 4.

Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the epicenter of several political storms during the Clinton administration, including the seizure of Elian Gonzalez. Nov. 7.

Leonard Cohen, 82. Baritone-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like “Hallelujah,” ”Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire.” Nov. 7.

Robert Vaughn, 83. Debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in television’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Nov. 11.

Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.

Holly Dunn, 59. Country singer who had a hit in 1986 with “Daddy’s Hands,” about her minister father. Nov. 14.

Mose Allison, 89. Pianist and singer whose witty, Southern-accented lyrics delivered over a backdrop of boogie-woogie blues and jazz piano influenced musicians across a wide spectrum. Nov. 15.

Anthony Brooklier, 70. Los Angeles lawyer whose clients included “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss and his own mob-boss father. Nov. 15.

Melvin Laird, 94. Former Wisconsin congressman and U.S. defense secretary during years when President Richard Nixon sought a way to withdraw troops from Vietnam. Nov. 16.

Mentor Williams, 70. Award-winning songwriter behind the 1970s hit “Drift Away,” which became a soulful rock ‘n’ roll anthem aired on radio stations for generations. Nov. 16.

Denton Cooley, 96. Cardiovascular surgeon who performed some of the nation’s first heart transplants and implanted the world’s first artificial heart. Nov. 18.

Sharon Jones, 60. Powerhouse who shepherded a soul revival despite not finding stardom until middle age. Nov. 18. Cancer.

Ralph Branca, 90. Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” that still echoes six decades later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. Nov. 23.

Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America’s most beloved television moms in “The Brady Bunch.” Nov. 24.

Fidel Castro, 90. He led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.

Fritz Weaver, 90. Tony Award-winning actor who played Sherlock Holmes and Shakespearian kings on Broadway while also creating memorable roles on TV and film from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” to “Marathon Man.” Nov. 26.

Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, 98. McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it become perhaps the best-known fast-food sandwich. Nov. 28.

Grant Tinker, 90. He brought new polish to the TV world with beloved shows including “Hill Street Blues” as both a producer and a network boss. Nov. 28.

DECEMBER:

Jayaram Jayalalithaa, 68. South Indian actress who turned to politics and became the highest elected official in the state of Tamil Nadu. Dec. 4.

John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.

Esma Redzepova, 73. One of the most powerful voices in the world of Gypsy music. Dec. 11.

Joe Ligon, 80. Singer and dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy. Dec. 11.

E.R. Braithwaite, 104. Guyanese author, educator and diplomat whose years teaching in the slums of London’s East End inspired the international best-seller “To Sir, With Love” and the movie of the same name. Dec. 12.

Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains.” Dec. 13.

Was 1971 the best year in rock?

If there is a Rock and Roll Hell, an inner circle is devoted for old fans who insist on telling you how the music was so much better back in the day.

You know the argument: musicians were more creative, the songs were better, etc.

David Hepworth, a veteran British music journalist in his mid-60s, has essentially written an entire book making this argument. Specifically, he says 1971 was pretty much the most innovative, explosive and awesome year of the rock era.

Yet “Never a Dull Moment” isn’t an overbearing trip to purgatory. It’s fun, mostly.

Hepworth knows how to tell a story, be it about Motown mogul Berry Gordy’s reaction to Marvin Gaye’s landmark single “What’s Going On” (“the worst piece of crap I ever heard”) or the jet-set hippie excesses of Mick and Bianca Jagger’s wedding.

And, admittedly, Hepworth has a lot of material to work with. This was the year of “Led Zeppelin IV,” the Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers,” Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story” and David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory.”

This also was the year of “Who’s Next” by The Who. Hepworth argues that the lead-off track, “Baba O’Riley,” propelled by that distinctive synthesizer riff and thundering power chords, is a high-water mark of an incredible year and a precursor to what would become known as arena rock.

Hepworth occasionally veers into get-off-my-lawn territory. He blithely dismisses punk as being mostly about nostalgia, and his assertion that the Rolling Stones did little musically interesting since 1971 might make you want to whap him on the head with the album sleeve for “Some Girls.”

But he memorably writes about troubled artists like Karen Carpenter and Nick Drake. Drake was a shy upper-class kid whose particular talent was to be able to write and perform beautifully ethereal rock songs. His curse was being decades ahead of his time. His music never got much exposure until late in the century when his indie-sounding songs showed up in a Volkswagen commercial and Hollywood movie soundtracks.

By that time, he was long dead from an overdose of antidepressants.

Oh, and Elvis appears in this book, too. The King was past his prime in 1971, but Hepworth employs him as a sort of white jump-suited ghost of Rock Future. In 1971, Elvis was taking the stage to the self-important strains of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” for shows in which fans paid high ticket prices to hear the hits and “bask in a precious moment of shared proximity” with their idol.

In other words, the sort of high-priced nostalgia shows the cool kids of 1971 have put on for decades now.

New music: David Bowie, Rachel Platten, Grizfolk, Dylan LeBlanc

David Bowie :: ‘Blackstar’: Released on David Bowie’s 69th birthday, only a two days before he died on Jan. 10, Blackstar arrives just three years after The Next Day. It continues in that album’s experimental mood, but is warmer and more approachable. The title track that opens Blackstar is its most idiosyncratic, a 10-minute, cinematic epic that majestically sprawls from drum and bass dance music to avant-garde jazz. “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” takes the sounds of Bowie’s ‘80s pop smashes and sets them free. The gorgeous ballad “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is the greatest example of the album’s struggling with themes of mortality while Bowie’s sound steps boldly ahead. Bowie’s death casts a new light on the album, revealing it as an elegant goodbye. The song “Lazarus” in particular references his losing battle with cancer, closing with the words, “You know I’ll be free just like that bluebird. Now ain’t that just like me?”

Rachel Platten :: ‘Wildfire’: Four years ago, Rachel Platten seemed to have a promising career with the launch of “1,000 Ships.” However, a follow-up failed to materialize until her tough, inspirational “Fight Song” found an audience last year. Wildfire is the product of that new attention she has now received. But over the length of an album, the music feels like just more product churned out of a pop music machine. Platten’s upbeat “Hey Hey Hallelujah,” with fellow feel-good artist Andy Grammer, drains all spontaneity, and the call-out of Jeff Buckley is cringe-worthy. The collection does include new single “Stand By You,” a solid addition to any mainstream pop playlist.

Grizfolk :: ‘Waking Up the Giants’: Grizfolk came together in 2012 when Swedish producers Fredrik Eriksson and Sebastian Fritze met American singer-songwriter Adam Roth. They blend contemporary American music with catchy electronic pop, similar to fellow Swedes Miike Snow. The songs go down easy, but they have a bland quality to them. The biggest standout is “Bob Marley,” a contemporary road trip song created with a yearning for the sunny sounds of early Beach Boys. Unfortunately, the rest of this album breaks little ground.

Dylan LeBlanc :: ‘Cautionary Tale’: Dylan LeBlanc hails from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but his musical pedigree goes far beyond that famous locale. His father is session musician James LeBlanc and he travels in the same circles as Alabama Shakes. He struggled after the buzz from his sophomore album Cast the Same Old Shadow, but has returned with his most confident work yet. LeBlanc’s high, lonesome voice resembles Neil Young in a country mood. If you’re interested in the cutting edge of Southern country-rock, Cautionary Tale is an album to hear.

Remembering David Bowie, who has died at 69

Politicians, musicians and fans around the world — from the Vatican to the International Space Station — paid tribute to David Bowie on Monday, following his death at 69 from cancer.

Taking to Twitter or Facebook, many praised Bowie’s groundbreaking music and offered their own recollections of the singer, known for a string of hits such as “Space Oddity” and “Let’s Dance”.

Below are some of the tributes to Bowie, who released his last album “Blackstar” on Friday, also his birthday:

DUNCAN JONES, BOWIE’S SON, POSTING A PICTURE OF THE SINGER ON TWITTER:

“Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

TONY VISCONTI, MUSIC PRODUCER AND LONG-TERM BOWIE COLLABORATOR:

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made ‘Blackstar’ for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.”

QUEEN OFFICIAL TWITTER ACCOUNT, POSTING A VIDEO OF “UNDER PRESSURE”:

“This is our last dance…”

GARY KEMP, ACTOR AND SPANDAU BALLET MEMBER:

“Shocked to the core.”

“It feels as if the world has suddenly gone out of joint.”

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:

“I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.”

KANYE WEST, RAPPER:

“David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.”

GIANFRANCO RAVASI, CARDINAL AND HEAD OF THE VATICAN’S CULTURE COUNCIL, QUOTING “SPACE ODDITY” LYRICS:

“Ground Control to Major Tom

Commencing countdown, engines on

Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (David Bowie)”

TIM PEAKE, BRITISH ASTRONAUT, CURRENTLY ONBOARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION:

“Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many.”

RICKY GERVAIS, COMEDIAN:

“I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.”

GENE SIMMONS, ROCK SINGER:

“David Bowie, you will be sorely missed. Bowie’s ‘Changes’ and the Ziggy story songs were a major influence for me.”

Legendary rock star David Bowie dies at 69 after battle with cancer

Legendary British rock star David Bowie has died aged 69 after a secret battle with cancer.

A chameleon and a visionary, Bowie straddled the worlds of hedonistic rock, fashion and drama for five decades, pushing the boundaries of music and his own sanity to produce some of the most innovative songs of his generation.

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer,” read a statement on Bowie’s Facebook page dated Sunday. Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, confirmed the death.

Mourners laid flowers and lit candles beside a memorial to Bowie in the Brixton area of south London where he was born, and tributes poured in from some of the biggest names in music, including the Rolling Stones, Madonna and rapper Kanye West.

“The Rolling Stones are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie,” the Stones said. “He was an extraordinary artist, and a true original.”

Madonna said on Twitter: “Talented. Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had grown up with Bowie’s music and described his death as “a huge loss.”

In a music video accompanying Bowie’s new Blackstar album, which was released on his 69th birthday last Friday, the singer was shown in a hospital bed with bandages around his eyes.

Born David Jones in south London two years after the end of World War Two, he took up the saxophone at 13 before changing his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ Davy Jones, according to Rolling Stone.

He shot to fame in Britain in 1969 with “Space Oddity,” whose lyrics he said were inspired by watching Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” while stoned.

Bowie’s hollow lyrics summed up the loneliness of the Cold War space race between the United States and the Soviet Union and coincided with the Apollo landing on the moon.

“Ground Control to Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on … For here am I sitting in my tin can. Far above the world. Planet Earth is blue. And there’s nothing I can do.”

“SPACE ODDITY ZIGGY”

But it was Bowie’s 1972 portrayal of a doomed bisexual rock envoy from space, Ziggy Stardust, that propelled him to global stardom. Bowie and Ziggy, wearing outrageous costumes, makeup and bright orange hair, took the rock world by storm.

“Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly,” according to the lyrics which Bowie sang with a red lightning bolt across his face and flamboyant jumpsuits.

“Making love with his ego Ziggy sucked up into his mind. Like a leper messiah,” according the lyrics.

Bowie, ever the innovator ahead of public opinion, told the Melody Maker newspaper in 1972 that he was gay, a step that helped pioneer sexual openness in Britain, which had only decriminalized homosexuality in 1967. Bowie had married in 1970.

He told Playboy four years later he was bisexual, but in the 1980s he told Rolling Stone magazine that the declaration was “the biggest mistake I ever made” and that he was “always a closet heterosexual”.

This was a period which saw Bowie sporting an array of fantastic costumes, some reportedly based on the chilling Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”.

Now one of the top transatlantic rock stars, Bowie continued to innovate, helping to produce Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” delving into America’s R&B and working with John Lennon.

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way,” said Tony Visconti, the U.S. producer who helped lift Bowie to stardom.

“He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry,” he said.

“LET’S DANCE”

Bowie reinvented himself again in the mid-seventies, adopting a soul and funk sound, and abandoning stack heels for designer suits and flat shoes.

He scored his first U.S. number one with “Fame” and created a new persona, the “Thin White Duke,” for his “Station to Station” album.

But the excesses were taking their toll. In a reference to his prodigious appetite for cocaine, he said: ““I blew my nose one day in California. “And half my brains came out. Something had to be done.”

Bowie moved from the United States to Switzerland and then to Cold War-era Berlin to recuperate, working with Brian Eno from Roxy Music to produce some of his least commercial and most ambitious music, including ““Low” and “”Heroes” in 1977.

In 1983 Bowie changed tack again, signing a multi-million-dollar five-album deal with EMI. The first, “”Let’s Dance,” returned him to chart success and almost paid off his advance.

“If you say run, I’ll run with you. If you say hide, we’ll hide. Because my love for you. Would break my heart in two,” he sang in Let’s Dance.

He starred on Broadway in “The Elephant Man” at the start of the decade and appeared in an array of films including “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence,” “The Snowman,” “Absolute Beginners” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”.

His love-life fascinated gossip columnists and his marriage to stunning Somali supermodel Iman in 1992 guaranteed headlines.

Bowie kept a low profile after undergoing emergency heart surgery in 2004. It was not widely known that he was fighting cancer.

“Look up here, I’m in heaven,” he sings from a hospital bed in the video accompanying his last album.

“I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now. Look up here, man, I’m in danger. I’ve got nothing left to lose.”