Final goodbyes: A look at the notable deaths from 2015

Actor Leonard Nimoy poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nimoy, famous for playing Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" television series and movies, died Feb. 27, 2015 of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. [Associated Press]
Actor Leonard Nimoy poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nimoy, famous for playing Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" television series and movies, died Feb. 27, 2015 of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. [Associated Press]
Published Jan. 1, 2016

Sometimes the act of dying, by itself, represents a type of victory.

Such was the case for Richard "Dick" Walters, who was a leader in the effort to get the state of Vermont to pass aid-in-dying legislation. Diagnosed with lung cancer, Walters ultimately used the law to end his own life in October at age 90, becoming one of the many notables who died in 2015.

Among political figures were King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and a Saudi prince, Saud al-Faisal, recognized as the world's longest-serving foreign minister. He retired earlier in the year after 40 years in the position and died in July at age 75.

Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, along with Arpad Goncz and Kim Young-sam, the former presidents of Hungary and South Korea, were among world leaders who died. Other political figures included Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden; Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi; and Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Deaths in the arena of science and innovation included John Forbes Nash Jr., the mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the film A Beautiful Mind.

Some other deaths in the science world: inventor Forrest Bird, nuclear physicist Ralph Nobles, engineer Oscar Carl Holderer, chemist Carl Djerassi and scientist Richard Post.

Among the entertainers who died in 2015 was an actor who helped take TV viewers to alien worlds while showing the common humanity that unites everyone: Leonard Nimoy, 83, who was beloved by generations of Star Trek fans for his portrayal of the pointy-eared Mr. Spock.

For some, the end came far too soon. At just 22, Bobbi Kristina Brown died in July in hospice care. Her death came six months after she was found face-down in a bathtub in her home, creating an eerie echo of the death of her mother, singer Whitney Houston.

Others in arts and entertainment who died this year include: actors Christopher Lee, Maureen O'Hara, Dick Van Patten, Yvonne Craig and Martin Milner; musicians B.B. King, Demis Roussos, Allen Toussaint, Lynn Anderson, Ben E. King and James Horner; filmmakers Wes Craven and Eldar Ryazanov; writers Terry Pratchett, Gamal el-Ghitani and Guenter Grass; cartoonist Tom Moore and ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.

Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2015. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)


Mario Cuomo, 82. Son of Italian immigrants who became an eloquent spokesman for a generation of liberal Democrats during his three terms as governor of New York. Jan. 1.

Donna Douglas, 82. She played the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett on the hit 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. Jan. 1. Pancreatic cancer.

Little Jimmy Dickens, 94. A diminutive singer-songwriter known as the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jan. 2.

Maher Hathout, 79. Prominent interfaith leader hailed as the father of the Muslim American identity. Jan. 2.

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Edward W. Brooke, 95. Former U.S. senator from Massachusetts who, as a liberal Republican, became the first black in U.S. history to win popular election to the Senate. Jan. 3.

Arch Alfred Moore Jr., 91. Former West Virginia governor and his era's most successful Republican in a Democrat-dominated state. Jan. 7.

Andrae Crouch, 72. Legendary gospel performer, songwriter and choir director whose work graced songs by Michael Jackson and Madonna and movies such as The Lion King. Jan. 8.

Anita Ekberg, 83. Swedish-born actress and sex-symbol of the 1950s and '60s who was immortalized bathing in the Trevi fountain in La Dolce Vita. Jan. 11.

Tony Verna, 81. Television director and producer who invented instant replay for live sports. Jan. 18.

Reies Lopez Tijerina, 88. Pentecostal preacher turned activist who led a violent raid of a northern New Mexico courthouse nearly 50 years ago. Jan. 19.

Anne Kirkbride, 60. A star of British soap opera Coronation Street for more than 40 years. Jan. 19.

Melvin Gordon, 95. Longtime Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. chairman and CEO, who helped turn the enduring popularity of the humble Tootsie Roll into a candy empire. Jan. 20.

Wendell Ford, 90. Former U.S. senator and Kentucky governor who was an unapologetic smoker whose unfiltered chats and speeches endeared him to voters. Jan. 22.

King Abdullah, 90. The Saudi monarch was a powerful U.S. ally who fought against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom, including by nudging open greater opportunities for women. Jan. 23.

Associated Press

Ernie Banks

Associated Press

Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks, 83. Hall of Fame slugger and two-time MVP who never lost his boundless enthusiasm for baseball despite years of playing on losing Chicago Cubs teams. Jan. 23.

Stig Bergling, 77. Former Swedish security officer who sold secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War and brazenly escaped while serving a life sentence for espionage. Jan. 24.

Otto Carius, 92. World War II German panzer ace credited with destroying more than 150 enemy tanks, mostly on the Eastern Front. Jan. 24.

Demis Roussos, 68. Renowned Greek singer who was a household name in the 1970s and 1980s across Europe and beyond. Jan. 25.

Rod McKuen, 81. Husky-voiced "King of Kitsch" whose avalanche of music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and '70s overwhelmed critical mockery and made him an Oscar-nominated songwriter and one of the best-selling poets in history. Jan. 29.

Carl Djerassi, 91. Chemist widely considered the father of the birth control pill. Jan. 30.

Lizabeth Scott, 92. Her long tawny hair, alluring face and low seductive voice made her an ideal film noir star in the 1940s and '50s. Jan. 31.


Ann Mara, 85. Matriarch of the NFL's New York Giants for the past 60 years. Feb. 1.

Fitzhugh "Fitz" Fulton Jr., 89. Pilot known as the "Dean of Flight Test" for his involvement in pioneering programs including the space shuttle piggyback flights. Feb. 4.

Niki Quasney, 38. Terminally ill woman whose desire to have her same-sex marriage recognized by Indiana before she died helped galvanize efforts to overturn the state's gay marriage ban. Feb. 5. Cancer.

Associated Press

Dean Smith

Associated Press

Dean Smith

Dean Smith, 83. Coaching innovator who won two national championships at North Carolina, an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and induction into basketball's Hall of Fame more than a decade before he left the bench. Feb. 7. Obituary.

Kenji Ekuan, 85. Japanese industrial designer whose works ranged from a bullet train to the red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser. Feb. 7.

Jerry Tarkanian, 84. Hall of Fame coach who built a basketball dynasty at UNLV but was defined more by his decades-long battle with the NCAA. Feb. 11. Obituary.

Bob Simon, 73. Longtime 60 Minutes correspondent who covered riots, Academy Award-nominated movies and wars and was held captive for more than a month in Iraq two decades ago. Feb. 11. Car crash.

Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, 84. Revered Islamic spiritual leader who helped bolster unity in Malaysia's opposition bloc and was a key advocate of Islamic law. Feb. 12.

Gary Owens, 80. Droll, mellifluous-voiced announcer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and a familiar part of radio, TV and movies for more than six decades. Feb. 12.

Michele Ferrero, 89. World's richest candy maker whose Nutella chocolate and hazlenut spread helped raise generations of Europeans and defined Italian sweets. Feb. 14.

Louis Jourdan, 93. Dashingly handsome Frenchman who starred in Gigi, Can-Can, Three Coins in the Fountain and other American movies. Feb. 14.

Lesley Gore, 68. She topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, It's My Party, and followed it up with the hit Judy's Turn to Cry, and the feminist anthem You Don't Own Me. Feb. 16. Lung cancer.

John Willke, 89. Obstetrician who helped shape the modern anti-abortion movement with ideas including a belief that a woman can resist conception from a sexual assault. Feb. 20.

Ralph Nobles, 94. Nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project and later led efforts to save thousands of acres of San Francisco Bay wetlands from development. Feb. 20.

Associated Press

Leonard Nimoy

Associated Press

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, 83. Actor loved by generations of Star Trek fans as Mr. Spock, the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer. Feb. 27. Appreciation.

Robert Benmosche, 70. Former AIG President and CEO who led the insurer's turnaround after its $182 billion government bailout. Feb. 27.

Natalia Revuelta Clews, 89. Cuban socialite who emptied her bank account and sold her diamond jewelry to support Fidel Castro when he was a little-known insurgent. Feb. 27.

Boris Nemtsov, 55. Charismatic Russian opposition leader, former deputy prime minister and a sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin. Feb. 28. Fatally shot near the Kremlin.


Minnie Minoso, 90. He hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat when he became major league baseball's first black player in Chicago in 1951. March 1.

Beverly Hall, 68. Former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent charged in what prosecutors called a broad conspiracy to cheat on state exams. March 2. Complications from breast cancer.

Dean Hess, 97. Retired Air Force colonel who helped rescue hundreds of orphans in the Korean War and whose exploits prompted a Hollywood film starring Rock Hudson. March 2.

Jim Molyneaux, 94. Soft-spoken, cautious politician who led the Ulster Unionist Party through some of Northern Ireland's bloodiest years and early efforts at peacemaking. March 9.

Florence Arthaud, 57. First woman to win the prestigious Route du Rhum transatlantic sailing race. March 9. Helicopter crash.

Claude Sitton, 89. Journalist who set the pace for reporters covering the civil rights movement in the South in the 1950s and '60s and later won a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. March 10.

Richard Glatzer, 63. He co-wrote and directed the Alzheimer's drama Still Alice alongside his husband, Wash Westmoreland, while battling ALS. March 10.

Terry Pratchett, 66. Fantasy writer who was the creator of the exuberant, satirical Discworld series and author of more than 70 books. March 12.

Michael Graves, 80. Celebrated architect who created whimsical postmodern structures and later designed products for people with disabilities and household goods such as whistling Alessi teakettles and stainless steel colanders. March 12.

Rev. Willie Barrow, 90. Frontline civil rights fighter for decades and a mentor to younger generations of activists. March 12.

Samuel Charters, 85. Historian of American blues, folk and jazz who helped introduce a generation of music lovers to Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell and other performers. March 18. Bone marrow disorder.

Malcolm Fraser, 84. Former Australian prime minister who was notoriously catapulted to power by a constitutional crisis that left the nation bitterly divided. March 20.

Jerry Warren, 84. The editor of San Diego's largest newspaper for 20 years and a White House press secretary during the Nixon and Ford administrations. March 20.

Chuck Bednarik, 89. Pro Football Hall of Famer and one of the last great two-way NFL players. March 21.

Lee Kuan Yew, 91. Founder of modern Singapore who was both feared for his authoritarian tactics and admired for turning the city-state into one of the world's richest nations while in power for 31 years. March 23.

Gary Ross Dahl, 78. Creator of the wildly popular 1970s fad the Pet Rock. March 23. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Yehuda Avner, 86. Former Israeli diplomat and aide to a string of prime ministers who turned his insider stories about the country's leaders into a best-selling memoir. March 24.

Carlos Gaviria, 77. Former Colombian presidential candidate who became an icon of the country's democratic left while presiding over its constitutional court. March 31.


Cynthia Lennon, 75. First wife of the late Beatles singer-sonwriter-guitarist John Lennon. April 1. Cancer

John Paul Hammerschmidt, 92. Longtime Arkansas congressman who defeated Bill Clinton in the former president's first race for political office. April 1.

Rev. Robert H. Schuller, 88. California televangelist and author who beamed his upbeat messages on faith and redemption to millions of followers from his landmark Crystal Cathedral only to see his empire crumble in his waning years. April 2.

Sarah Kemp Brady, 73. She became an activist for gun control after her husband was shot in the head in the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. April 3.

Robert Burns Jr., 64. Former drummer and a founding member of the Southern hard rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. April 3. Vehicle crash.

Richard Dysart, 86. Veteran stage and screen actor who played senior partner Leland McKenzie in the long-running TV courtroom drama L.A. Law. April 5.

James Best, 88. Prolific character actor best known for his role as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. April 6. Complications of pneumonia.

Richard Post, 96. Prominent scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who researched how to store renewable energy. April 7.

Jean-Louis Cremieux-Brilhac, 98. A Jewish member of the French Resistance in charge of propaganda during World War II. April 8.

Joel Spira, 88. He brought the light dimmer switch to households across the nation and transformed his Lutron Electronics Company into a leading manufacturer of lighting controls. April 8.

Associated Press

Lauren Hill and head coach Dan Benjamin

Associated Press

Lauren Hill and head coach Dan Benjamin

Lauren Hill, 19. Freshman at Ohio university who fought an inoperable brain tumor to play college basketball. April 10.

Guenter Grass, 87. Nobel-winning German writer who gave voice to the generation that came of age during the horrors of the Nazi era but later ran into controversy over his own World War II past and stance toward Israel. April 13.

Percy Sledge, 74. He recorded the classic 1966 soul ballad When a Man Loves a Woman. April 14.

Robert Griffin, 91. Former U.S. Republican senator whose withdrawal of support hastened President Richard Nixon's resignation during the Watergate scandal. April 16.

Cardinal Francis George, 78. Vigorous defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who played a key role in the church's response to the clergy sex abuse scandal and led the U.S. bishops' fight against provisions of Obamacare. April 17.

A. Alfred Taubman, 91. Self-made Michigan billionaire whose philanthropy and business success — including weaving the enclosed shopping mall into American culture — was clouded by a criminal conviction late in his career. April 17.

Mary Doyle Keefe, 92. The model for Norman Rockwell's 1943 Rosie the Riveter painting that symbolized the millions of American women who went to work on the home front during World War II. April 21.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 93. Former Auschwitz prisoner and member of Poland's underground World War II resistance who helped save Jews and later served twice as the country's foreign minister. April 24.

Don M. Mankiewicz, 93. Oscar-nominated screenwriter from a legendary Hollywood family who created the television shows Marcus Welby, M.D. and Ironside. April 25.

Suzanne Crough Condray, 52. Youngest daughter on the hit 1970s television show The Partridge Family. April 27.

Jack Ely, 71. Singer known for Louie Louie, the low-budget recording that became one the most famous songs of the 20th century. April 28.

Jean Nidetch, 91. New York housewife who tackled her own obesity, then shared her guiding principles with others in meetings that became known as Weight Watchers, the most widely known company of its kind. April 29.

Dan Walker, 92. Combative populist who became Illinois governor after condemning Chicago's reaction to Democratic National Convention demonstrations as "a police riot" and later went to prison for bank fraud. April 29.

Ben E. King, 76. Unforgettable lead singer for the Drifters and solo star whose plaintive baritone graced such pop and rhythm 'n blues classics as Stand by Me, There Goes My Baby and Spanish Harlem. April 30.

Frank Olivo, 66. He was the fill-in Santa whose downfield jaunt at a Philadelphia Eagles game in 1968 lives on in sports history for the hail of snowballs and shower of boos that rained down on him. April 30.


Grace Lee Whitney, 85. She played Captain Kirk's assistant on the original Star Trek series. May 1.

Maya Plisetskaya, 89. She was regarded as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century, her career at the Bolshoi Theater spanning more than 35 years. May 2. Heart attack.

Michael Blake, 69. Writer whose novel Dances With Wolves became a major hit movie and earned him an Academy Award for the screenplay. May 2.

Oscar Carl Holderer, 95. He was the last known surviving member of the German engineering team that came to the United States after World War II and designed the rocket that took astronauts to the moon. May 5.

Jim Wright, 92. Longtime Texas Democrat who became the first U.S. House speaker in the nation's history to be driven out of office in midterm. May 6.

Kenan Evren, 97. Turkish general who led a 1980 coup that ended years of violence but whose rule unleashed a wave of arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings. May 9.

William Zinsser, 92. Teacher, author, journalist and essayist whose million-selling book On Writing Well championed the craft of nonfiction and inspired professionals and amateurs to express themselves more concisely and vividly. May 12.

Jim Gaines, 48. An Associated Press video software architect known for his dedication to technological innovation. May 12. Killed in train derailment.

Associated Press

B.B. King

Associated Press

B.B. King

B.B. King, 89. His scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues. May 14. Obituary.

Elisabeth Bing, 100. Lamaze International co-founder who popularized what was known as natural childbirth and helped change how women and doctors approached the delivery room. May 15.

Bruce Lundvall, 79. Recording executive who revived the iconic Blue Note Records label in the mid-1980s and turned it into a major influence on the contemporary jazz scene during his 25 years as president. May 19.

Bob Belden, 58. Grammy-winning jazz musician, composer, arranger and producer who was the first American musician to perform in Iran since its 1979 revolution when he toured there in February. May 20. Heart attack.

Marques Haynes, 89. Legendary Harlem Globetrotters showman often called the greatest dribbler in basketball history. May 22.

John Forbes Nash Jr., 86. Mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie A Beautiful Mind. May 23. Killed along with his wife, Alicia Nash, in a car crash. Obituary.

Anne Meara, 85. Actress and comedian whose comic work with husband Jerry Stiller helped launch a 60-year career in film and TV. May 23.

Hugh Ambrose, 48. He wrote the World War II history The Pacific after years of researching for his father, the renowned historian Stephen Ambrose. May 23. Cancer.

Paula Cooper, 45. Indiana woman who was once the nation's youngest person on death row but whose sentence was eventually commuted to a prison term. May 26. Apparent suicide after she was released.

Doris Hart, 89. Tennis great who won each Grand Slam tournament at least once, and once won three Wimbledon titles in a single day. May 29.

Associated Press

Beau Biden with his father, Vice President Joe Biden

Associated Press

Beau Biden with his father, Vice President Joe Biden

Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, 46. The son of Vice President Joe Biden and two-time Delaware attorney general. May 30.

L. Tom Perry, 92. A Mormon leader who was a member of the faith's highest governing body. May 30.


Jean Ritchie, 92. Kentucky-born folksinger who brought the centuries-old ballads she grew up with to a wide audience from the 1950s onward. June 1.

Irwin Rose, 88. Biochemist who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering a way that cells destroy unwanted proteins, which was the basis for developing new therapies for diseases such as cervical cancer and cystic fibrosis. June 2.

Clarence "Bevo" Francis, 82. He had 113 points for Rio Grande College in a 1954 game and was one of college basketball's great scorers. June 3.

Marguerite Patten, 99. Home economist and chef who helped educate Britons on how to survive on rations during World War II. June 4.

Tariq Aziz, 79. Debonair Iraqi diplomat who made his name by staunchly defending Saddam Hussein to the world during three wars and was later sentenced to death as part of the regime that killed hundreds of thousands of its own people. June 5.

Vincent Bugliosi, 80. Prosecutor who parlayed his handling of the Charles Manson trial into a career as a bestselling author. June 6.

Christopher Lee, 93. Actor who brought dramatic gravitas and aristocratic bearing to screen villains from Dracula to the wicked wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. June 7.

Vincent Musetto, 74. Veteran newspaperman who wrote one of the industry's most famous headlines: "Headless Body in Topless Bar." June 9.

Ornette Coleman, 85. Jazz legend and the visionary saxophonist who pioneered "free jazz" and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. June 11.

Jack King, 84. NASA public affairs official who became the voice of the Apollo moon shots. June 11.

Virgil Runnels, 69. Former professional wrestler known by his fans as Dusty Rhodes. June 11. Obituary.

Jim Ed Brown, 81. Longtime Grand Ole Opry member who had solo and group hits and was a prominent figure on country music television shows. June 11.

Blaze Starr, 83. "Knockout" burlesque icon and stripper who drew tourists to post-World War II Baltimore, lent glamour to New Orleans and became known far and wide for her affair with a colorful mid-century Louisiana governor. June 15.

Kirk Kerkorian, 98. Billionaire eighth-grade dropout who built Las Vegas' biggest hotels, tried to take over Chrysler and bought and sold MGM at a profit three times. June 15.

Suleyman Demirel, 90. Former Turkish president who was a master pragmatist whose remarkable talent for staying on top of Turkish politics saw him survive two coups. June 17.

Ralph Roberts, 95. He built Comcast from a small cable TV system in Mississippi into an entertainment and communications behemoth. June 18.

Donald Featherstone, 79. Creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo, perhaps the ultimate example of American lawn kitsch. June 22.

James Horner, 61. Composer who won Oscars for accompanying movies' biggest moments in film such as Titanic and Braveheart. June 22. Plane crash.

Dick Van Patten, 86. Genial, round-faced comic actor who premiered on Broadway as a child, starred on television in its infancy and then, in middle age, found lasting fame as the patriarch on TV's Eight is Enough. June 23. Complications from diabetes.

Miguel Facusse, 91. Wealthy Honduran businessman involved in a two-decade fight with poor farmers who invaded his palm plantations on the Atlantic coast. June 23.

Patrick Macnee, 93. British-born actor best known as dapper secret agent John Steed in the long-running 1960s TV series "The Avengers." June 25.

Jack Carter, 93. His brash, caustic comedy made him a star in early television and helped him sustain a career of more than a half-century in TV, nightclubs, movies and on stage. June 28.


Nicholas Winton, 106. Humanitarian who almost single-handedly saved more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, earning himself the label "Britain's Schindler." July 1.

Boyd K. Packer, 90. Mormon leader who was president of the faith's highest governing body. July 3.

Burt Shavitz, 80. Reclusive beekeeper who co-founded Burt's Bees, and whose face and wild beard appeared on labels for the natural cosmetics. July 5.

Ken Stabler, 69. He led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory and was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1974. July 8. Complications from colon cancer.

Saud al-Faisal, 75. Saudi prince who was the world's longest-serving foreign minister with 40 years in the post until his retirement earlier in the year. July 9.

Omar Sharif, 83. Egyptian-born actor with the dark, soulful eyes who soared to international stardom in movie epics, Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. July 10. Heart attack.

Roger Rees, 71. Lanky Tony Award-winning Welsh-born actor and director who made his mark onstage as Nicholas Nickleby and later played English multi-millionaire Robin Colcord on the TV show Cheers. July 10.

Satoru Iwata, 55. He led Japanese video game company Nintendo Co. through years of growth with its Pokemon and Super Mario franchises. July 11. Bile duct tumor.

Marlene Sanders, 84. Veteran television journalist for ABC and CBS News at a time when relatively few women did that job. July 14. Cancer.

Tom Moore, 86. Archie cartoonist who brought to life the escapades of a freckled-face, red-haired character. July 20.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, 83. Former Indian president known as the father of the country's military missile program. July 27.

Ann Rule, 83. True-crime writer who wrote more than 30 books, including a profile of her former co-worker, serial killer Ted Bundy. July 26.

Bobbi Kristina Brown, 22. Daughter of singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, she was raised in the shadow of fame and shattered by the loss of her mother. July 26. Died in hospice care six months after she was found face-down in bathtub.

Lynn Anderson, 67. Her strong voice carried her to the top of the charts with (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden. July 30. Cardiac arrest.

Howard Jones, 104. He pioneered in vitro fertilization in the United States. July 31.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, 61. Kilt-wearing trash-talker who headlined the first WrestleMania and later found movie stardom. July 31.

Richard S. Schweiker, 89. Former Pennsylvania senator who was a liberal Republican, named as the prospective vice presidential running mate of Ronald Reagan in the latter's unsuccessful 1976 campaign and later served in Reagan's Cabinet. July 31.


Forrest Bird, 94. Inventor whose medical respirators breathed life back into millions of patients around the world. Aug. 2.

Les Munro, 96. New Zealander who was the last surviving pilot from the specialized World War II "Dambuster" mission targeting German infrastructure. July 4.

Arnold Scaasi, 85. Designer whose bright, flamboyant creations adorned first ladies from Mamie Eisenhower to Laura Bush and film stars from Elizabeth Taylor to Barbra Streisand. Aug. 4.

Frederick R. "Fritz" Payne, 104. World War II fighter ace who left his mark on aviation and wartime history by shooting down six Japanese warplanes during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Aug. 6.

Manuel Contreras, 86. General who headed the feared spy agency that kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands during Chile's military dictatorship. Aug. 7.

Frank Gifford, 84. Pro Football Hall of Famer who led the New York Giants to a league championship in 1956 and later teamed up with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the Monday Night Football booth. Aug. 9.

Rogelio Livieres Plano, 69. A former bishop in Paraguay who was revered by some for building a successful seminary but who was ousted by Pope Francis amid several controversies. Aug. 14. Complications related to diabetes.

Associated Press

Julian Bond

Associated Press

Julian Bond

Julian Bond, 75. Civil rights pioneer and longtime board chairman of the NAACP. Aug. 15.

Hamid Gul, 78. He led Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency as it funneled U.S. and Saudi cash and weapons to Afghan jihadis fighting against the Soviets and later publicly supported Islamic militants. Aug. 15. Brain hemorrhage.

Yvonne Craig, 78. She played the sexy, crime-fighting Batgirl in the 1960s TV hit Batman. Aug. 17. Complications from breast cancer.

Ieng Thirith, 83. A Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s. Aug. 22.

Paul Royle, 101. Australian pilot who took part in a mass breakout from a German prisoner of war camp during World War II that is remembered as The Great Escape. Aug. 23.

Amelia Boynton Robinson, 104. Civil rights activist who helped lead the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" voting rights march and was the first black woman to run for Congress in Alabama. Aug. 26.

Darryl Dawkins, 58. His board-shattering dunks earned him the moniker "Chocolate Thunder" and helped pave the way for breakaway rims. Aug. 27. Heart attack.

Wes Craven, 76. Prolific writer-director who startled audiences with iconic suburban slashers like Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Aug. 30.

Oliver Sacks, 82. His books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, probed distant ranges of human experience by compassionately portraying people with severe and sometimes bizarre neurological conditions. Aug. 30.

Wayne W. Dyer, 75. He became the pied piper of the self-help movement with the 1976 publication of his runaway best-seller, Your Erroneous Zones: Step-By-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life. Aug. 30.

Dean Jones, 84. His boyish good looks and all-American manner made him Disney's favorite young actor for such lighthearted films as That Darn Cat! and The Love Bug. Aug. 31. Parkinson's disease.


Ben Kuroki, 98. He overcame the American military's discriminatory policies to become the only Japanese American to fly over Japan during World War II. Sept. 1.

Judy Carne, 76. A star of TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, she popularized the laugh line, "Sock it to Me," on the hit comedy show. Sept. 3.

William Grier, 89. Psychiatrist who co-authored the groundbreaking 1968 book, Black Rage, which offered the first psychological examination of black life in the United States. Sept. 3.

Martin Milner, 83. His wholesome good looks helped make him the star of two hugely popular 1960s TV series, Route 66 and Adam-12. Sept. 6.

Dick "Dickie" Moore, 89. Saucer-eyed child star of the 1930s who appeared in Our Gang comedies, gave Shirley Temple her first screen kiss and was featured in many major Hollywood productions. Sept. 7.

Associated Press

Moses Malone

Associated Press

Moses Malone

Moses Malone, 60. Three-time NBA MVP and one of basketball's most ferocious rebounders. Sept. 13.

Fred DeLuca, 67. Co-founder of Subway, who turned a sandwich shop he started as a teenager into one of the world's largest fast-food chains. Sept. 14.

Jackie Collins, 77. Bestselling author of dozens of novels including Hollywood Wives that dramatized the lifestyles of the rich and the treacherous. Sept. 19. Breast cancer.

Sultan Esmail Kiram II, 76. Leader of a sultanate in the southern Philippines that staged a 2013 invasion of a bustling Malaysian state and sparked a deadly security crisis. Sept. 19. Kidney failure.

Ben Cauley, 67. Trumpeter and member of the Stax Records group the Bar-Kays and the only survivor of the 1967 plane crash that killed most of his bandmates and Stax star Otis Redding. Sept. 21.

Associated Press

Yogi Berra

Associated Press

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra, 90. Hall of Fame catcher renowned for his dizzying malapropisms and his record 10 World Series championships with the New York Yankees. Sept. 22.

Richard G. Scott, 86. Mormon leader who was a member of a church governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1988. Sept. 22.

Richard Rainwater, 71. Son of a North Texas grocer who went on to amass a fortune as an investment manager before becoming a billionaire investor and philanthropist in his own right. Sept. 27.

Walter Dale Miller, 89. Former South Dakota governor who stepped in as the state's leader in 1993 after a plane crash killed his predecessor. Sept. 28.

Frankie Ford, 76. Rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues singer whose 1959 hit Sea Cruise brought him fame when he was 19. Sept. 28.

Phil Woods, 83. Leading alto saxophonist in mainstream jazz for more than 60 years whose piercing solos could also be heard on hit records by Billy Joel and Paul Simon. Sept. 29.


Denis Healey, 98. Decorated World War II military hero, former British Treasury chief and a member of the House of Lords. Oct. 3.

Henning Mankell, 67. Renowned Swedish crime writer whose books about the gloomy, soul-searching police inspector Kurt Wallander enticed readers around the world. Oct. 5.

Arpad Goncz, 93. He survived a communist-era life sentence to become Hungary's first democratically chosen president. Oct. 6.

Paul Prudhomme, 75. Cajun who popularized spicy Louisiana cuisine and became one of the first American restaurant chefs to achieve worldwide fame. Oct. 8.

Larry Rosen, 75. He was one of the most influential and tech-savvy modern jazz producers who co-founded GRP Records with pianist Dave Grusin. Oct. 9.

Geoffrey Howe, 88. Former British Treasury chief who was a prominent figure in Margaret Thatcher's government but helped bring about her downfall after they parted ways over policy toward Europe. Oct. 9.

Jerry Parr, 85. Secret Service agent credited with saving President Ronald Reagan's life on the day he was shot outside a Washington hotel. Oct. 9.

Richard Heck, 84. American Nobel laureate for chemistry who designed a method of building complex molecules that has helped fight cancer, protect crops and make electronic devices. Oct. 10.

Sybil Bailey Stockdale, 90. Navy wife who fought to end the torture of U.S. prisoners of war in Vietnam. Oct. 10.

Joan Leslie, 90. Her expressive almond eyes and innocent beauty made her one of the most popular film ingénues of the 1930s and 40s. Oct. 12.

Ken Taylor, 81. Canada's ambassador to Iran who sheltered Americans at his residence during the 1979 hostage crisis. Oct. 15.

Richard "Dick" Walters, 90. A leader in the effort to get the state of Vermont to pass aid-in-dying legislation and used the rules established under the law to end his own life. Oct. 16.

Gamal el-Ghitani, 70. One of Egypt's most acclaimed novelists. Oct. 18.

Cory Wells, 74. 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). Oct. 20.

Associated Press

Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne

Associated Press

Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne

Maureen O'Hara, 95. Flame-haired Irish movie star who 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. Oct. 24. Obituary.

Flip Saunders, 60. He rose from the backwaters of basketball's minor leagues to become one of the most powerful men in the NBA as coach, team president and part owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Oct. 25. Cancer.

Al Molinaro, 96. Lovable character actor with the hangdog face who was known to millions of TV viewers for playing Murray the cop on The Odd Couple and malt shop owner Al Delvecchio on Happy Days. Oct. 30.

Thomas Toivi Blatt, 88. He was among a small number of Jews to survive a mass escape from the Nazi death camp of Sobibor in 1943 and who decades later served as a prominent witness at the trial of an alleged camp guard. Oct. 31.


Guenter Schabowski, 86. Senior East German official whose cryptic announcement that the communist country was opening its fortified border precipitated the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Nov. 1.

Fred Thompson, 73. Former U.S. senator was a folksy Tennessee lawyer whose career led him from politics to Hollywood and back again. Nov. 1.

Ahmad Chalabi, 71. Prominent Iraqi politician who helped convince the Bush administration to launch the 2003 invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein by providing false evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Nov. 3. Heart attack.

Howard Coble, 84. His penchant for old-time politicking, humor and courtesy helped him become the longest-serving Republican U.S. House member in North Carolina history. Nov. 3.

George Barris, 89. Legendary custom car builder who created television's original Batmobile and helped define California's car culture with colorfully designed vehicles ranging from the beautiful to the outrageous. Nov. 5.

Gunnar Hansen, 68. He played the iconic villain Leatherface in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre film. Nov. 7. Pancreatic cancer.

Helmut Schmidt, 96. Former chancellor who guided West Germany through economic turbulence and Cold War tension in the 1970s and early 1980s. Nov. 10.

Allen Toussaint, 77. Legendary New Orleans musician and composer who penned such classics as Working in a Coal Mine and Lady Marmalade. Nov. 10. Heart attack.

Henry S. Rowen, 90. American policymaker and Stanford University economist who was president of the RAND Corp. when it helped produce the Pentagon Papers. Nov. 12.

Bruce Dayton, 97. Father of Minnesota's governor and a key figure in building his family's company into the retail business that became Target Corp. Nov. 13.

Michael C. Gross, 70. Artist, illustrator, film producer and personal designer who created iconic pop culture images, including the "Ghostbusters" logo. Nov. 16.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw, 96. Flight instructor who trained the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-Americans to fly combat airplanes in World War II. Nov. 17.

Kim Young-sam, 87. Former South Korean president who formally ended decades of military rule in South Korea and accepted a massive international bailout during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Nov. 22.

Adele Morales Mailer, 90. Actress and artist who studied under Lee Strasberg and Hans Hoffman, but found unwanted fame as the stabbing victim of her then-husband Norman Mailer. Nov. 22. Pneumonia.

Eldar Ryazanov, 88. Filmmaker who satirized and romanticized the life of ordinary Russians in his immensely popular comedies for almost six decades. Nov. 30.

Marcus Klingberg, 97. Israeli scientist jailed for passing information on biological warfare to the Soviet Union. Nov. 30.


Sandy Berger, 70. Former national security adviser who helped craft President Bill Clinton's foreign policy and got in trouble over destroying classified documents. Dec. 2.

Scott Weiland, 48. The former frontman for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. Dec. 3. Appreciation.

Robert Loggia, 85. He was an actor known for gravelly voiced gangsters from "Scarface" to "The Sopranos" but who was most endearing as Tom Hanks' kid-at-heart toy-company boss in "Big." Dec. 4

Chuck Williams, 100. He founded the Williams-Sonoma empire and ushered in an era of aspirational culinary retailing. Dec. 5

Tibor Rubin, 86. A Hungarian-born concentration camp survivor who joined the U.S. Army out of gratitude for his liberators, fought heroically in Korea and received the Medal of Honor 55 years later. Dec. 5.

Bonnie Lou, 91. A pioneering country music artist and rock 'n' roll singer and who later became a TV host. Dec. 8.

Douglas Tompkins, 72. The U.S. co-founder of The North Face and Esprit clothing companies. Dec. 8. Severe hypothermia in a kayaking accident.

Kurt Masur, 88. Conductor credited with helping prevent violence after the collapse of communism in East Germany who later reinvigorated the New York Philharmonic during an 11-year stint as music director. Dec. 19.

Meadowlark Lemon, 83. Former Harlem Globetrotter. Dec. 28. Obituary.

Natalie Cole, 65. Jazz icon, daughter of Nat King Cole. December 31. Obituary.