Arthur Rankin Jr., 89, who created a canon of children's holiday television using stop-motion puppet animation, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, one of the longest-running annual network specials, died Jan. 30 in Harrington Sound, Bermuda.
Martin Plissner, 87, the longtime political director of CBS News who helped shape campaign coverage viewed by millions of Americans for more than three decades, died of cancer Feb. 6 in Washington. He is credited with coining the phrase "too close to call" a half-century ago, heard often ever since during tight vote counts.
Robert A. Dahl, 98, a political scientist who was regarded as his profession's most distinguished student of democratic government, died Feb. 5 in Hamden, Conn. In two dozen books and hundreds of articles, he wrote about foreign policy, Congress, the Constitution and more.
Robert E. Cooke, 93, a pediatrician who helped Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson create initiatives to benefit children, including Head Start, died Feb. 2 in Oak Bluffs, Mass.
Nancy Holt, 75, a pioneer in the land-art movement of the 1960s and '70s and the creator of one of its most poetic works — Sun Tunnels, four huge concrete culverts set in the Utah desert to align with the sun on summer and winter solstices — died of leukemia Feb. 8 in New York.
Gabriel Axel, 95, the first Dane to win an Oscar for best foreign film with Babette's Feast, which he directed, died Feb. 9.