Joshu Sasaki, 107, was one of the most influential and charismatic Zen masters in America, imparting a mix of paradox, personality and transcendental insight to an estimated half million people during a 50-year career, died July 27 in Los Angeles. In 2012, in his centenarian years, a tide of sex-abuse allegations emerged to cast his character and his legacy in a harsh light.
Dorothy Salisbury Davis, 98, an award-winning mystery author whose fascination with motivation, morality and manners — more than violence — powered the intricate plots of the suspense novels she wrote over a half-century, died Aug. 3 in Palisades, N.Y. The Mystery Writers of America gave her a lifetime achievement award. Her books include the best-selling A Gentle Murderer.
Billie Letts, 76, a late-blooming writer whose debut novel, Where the Heart Is, became a bestseller after Oprah Winfrey endorsed it in 1998 and was the inspiration for a Hollywood film, died of pneumonia Aug. 2 in Tulsa, Okla.
Jon Cavaiani, 70, an Army sergeant major and Special Forces veteran who received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for valor, for leading his outnumbered unit in the defense of a strategically critical outpost in the Vietnam War in 1971, died of an illness related to leukemia July 29 in Stanford, Calif.
Edward M. Joyce, 81, a former president of CBS News who in the mid 1980s helped steer the so-called Tiffany network through a $120 million libel suit by Gen. William Westmoreland, deep staff reductions and several takeover threats, died of throat cancer Aug. 2 in Redding, Conn.
Marilyn Burns, 65, who screamed her way into cult movie fame as the heroine of the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was found dead in her apartment Tuesday in Houston. She was known as one of the "scream queens" of low-budget horror flicks, and her career spanned 40 years.