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Notable deaths in 2021

Poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco became a West Coast literary haven for Beat Generation writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, died February 22 at the age of 101. Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin had founded City Lights as a bookstore and small publisher in 1953, naming it for Charlie Chaplin's 1931 movie. In a few years it became a Bohemian mecca for intellectuals, writers, dissidents, activists, musicians and artists. "I keep telling people I wasn't a member of the original Beat Generation," Ferlinghetti told the Los Angeles Times in 2005. "I was sort of the guy tending the store." In 1957, Ferlinghetti found himself on the front line of a constitutional fight when he was arrested after publishing and selling Ginsberg's ground-breaking "Howl and Other Poems." While it was considered an epic achievement by Beat peers, "Howl" shocked much of America with its references to drugs and homosexuality and renunciation of mainstream society. Ferlinghetti was cleared of obscenity charges when a judge ruled "Howl" was not obscene because it had redeeming social value. "It put us on the map, courtesy of the San Francisco Police Department," Ferlinghetti said. "It's hard to get that kind of publicity."

REUTERS/Stringer

Poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco became a West Coast literary haven for Beat Generation writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, died February 22 at the age of 101. Ferlinghetti and Peter D....more

Poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco became a West Coast literary haven for Beat Generation writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, died February 22 at the age of 101. Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin had founded City Lights as a bookstore and small publisher in 1953, naming it for Charlie Chaplin's 1931 movie. In a few years it became a Bohemian mecca for intellectuals, writers, dissidents, activists, musicians and artists. "I keep telling people I wasn't a member of the original Beat Generation," Ferlinghetti told the Los Angeles Times in 2005. "I was sort of the guy tending the store." In 1957, Ferlinghetti found himself on the front line of a constitutional fight when he was arrested after publishing and selling Ginsberg's ground-breaking "Howl and Other Poems." While it was considered an epic achievement by Beat peers, "Howl" shocked much of America with its references to drugs and homosexuality and renunciation of mainstream society. Ferlinghetti was cleared of obscenity charges when a judge ruled "Howl" was not obscene because it had redeeming social value. "It put us on the map, courtesy of the San Francisco Police Department," Ferlinghetti said. "It's hard to get that kind of publicity." REUTERS/Stringer
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Provocative and polarizing talk radio luminary Rush Limbaugh, a leading voice on the American political right since the 1980s who boosted, and was honored by, former President Donald Trump, died February 17 at age 70. Limbaugh pioneered the American media phenomenon of conservative talk radio and became an enthusiastic combatant in the U.S. culture wars. Limbaugh espoused an unflinchingly populist brand of conservatism during a daily show broadcast on more than 600 radio stations across the United States. He railed against left-wing causes from global warming to healthcare reform as he helped shape the Republican Party's agenda in the media and mobilize its grass-roots supporters. He ridiculed mainstream news outlets and relished the controversies often sparked by his on-air commentary. His success helped spawn a new class of right-wing pundits on radio, television and the internet, among them Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. Limbaugh called his followers "ditto heads." He coined the term "femi-Nazis" to disparage women's rights activists. Limbaugh in 2012 called a law student who spoke to a congressional hearing about birth control a "slut," causing some sponsors to pull their advertising from his show. More recently, Limbaugh promoted Trump's false claims to have had the 2020 presidential election stolen from him through widespread fraud and irregularities. After Democrat Joe Biden was inaugurated as Trump's successor last month, Limbaugh told listeners the new president had not legitimately won.

REUTERS/Leah Millis

Provocative and polarizing talk radio luminary Rush Limbaugh, a leading voice on the American political right since the 1980s who boosted, and was honored by, former President Donald Trump, died February 17 at age 70. Limbaugh pioneered the American...more

Provocative and polarizing talk radio luminary Rush Limbaugh, a leading voice on the American political right since the 1980s who boosted, and was honored by, former President Donald Trump, died February 17 at age 70. Limbaugh pioneered the American media phenomenon of conservative talk radio and became an enthusiastic combatant in the U.S. culture wars. Limbaugh espoused an unflinchingly populist brand of conservatism during a daily show broadcast on more than 600 radio stations across the United States. He railed against left-wing causes from global warming to healthcare reform as he helped shape the Republican Party's agenda in the media and mobilize its grass-roots supporters. He ridiculed mainstream news outlets and relished the controversies often sparked by his on-air commentary. His success helped spawn a new class of right-wing pundits on radio, television and the internet, among them Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. Limbaugh called his followers "ditto heads." He coined the term "femi-Nazis" to disparage women's rights activists. Limbaugh in 2012 called a law student who spoke to a congressional hearing about birth control a "slut," causing some sponsors to pull their advertising from his show. More recently, Limbaugh promoted Trump's false claims to have had the 2020 presidential election stolen from him through widespread fraud and irregularities. After Democrat Joe Biden was inaugurated as Trump's successor last month, Limbaugh told listeners the new president had not legitimately won. REUTERS/Leah Millis
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2 / 19
Keyboardist-composer Chick Corea, who attained stardom as a fusion pioneer and distinguished himself as a do-anything player across the jazz spectrum and beyond, died February 9 at the age of 79. Rising to prominence as a sideman in Miles Davis' groundbreaking electric bands of the late '60s, Corea co-founded the avant garde unit Circle before becoming a commercial force in his own right with the stormy '70s fusion group Return to Forever. He also distinguished himself in duo performances with pianist Herbie Hancock and vibraphonist Gary Burton; led his own Elektric Band and Akoustic Band; and ventured into contemporary classic music at the turn of the millennium. A prolific record-maker with nearly 90 albums as a leader or co-leader to his credit, Corea racked up a staggering 22 Grammy Awards (and a total of 63 nominations) and three Latin Grammys. He was named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master in 2006.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Keyboardist-composer Chick Corea, who attained stardom as a fusion pioneer and distinguished himself as a do-anything player across the jazz spectrum and beyond, died February 9 at the age of 79. Rising to prominence as a sideman in Miles Davis'...more

Keyboardist-composer Chick Corea, who attained stardom as a fusion pioneer and distinguished himself as a do-anything player across the jazz spectrum and beyond, died February 9 at the age of 79. Rising to prominence as a sideman in Miles Davis' groundbreaking electric bands of the late '60s, Corea co-founded the avant garde unit Circle before becoming a commercial force in his own right with the stormy '70s fusion group Return to Forever. He also distinguished himself in duo performances with pianist Herbie Hancock and vibraphonist Gary Burton; led his own Elektric Band and Akoustic Band; and ventured into contemporary classic music at the turn of the millennium. A prolific record-maker with nearly 90 albums as a leader or co-leader to his credit, Corea racked up a staggering 22 Grammy Awards (and a total of 63 nominations) and three Latin Grammys. He was named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master in 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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Flamboyant Argentine ex-President Carlos Menem died February 14 at age 90. Menem led a tabloid personal life while he pushed Argentina to an economic boom, but his two-term 1989-1999 presidency crumbled under the weight of corruption scandals and he spent years plotting an unlikely comeback. With his black mane of hair and bushy gray sideburns, Menem at his peak entertained the Rolling Stones at his residence and put Argentina on the international stage, sending troops to the Gulf War and Bosnia. Menem won re-election after he privatized creaky state enterprises in a massive transformation of Argentine institutions in the early 1990s and the economy flourished. But he left office under a cloud -- charged with corruption and conducting illegal arms deals in 1991 and 1995 with Croatia and Ecuador. Ten years later, he was cleared of the arms smuggling charges, but Menem could never shake off the widely held suspicion that he had been involved in shady dealings even if he was never convicted. The lawyer son of Syrian immigrants in La Rioja province, Menem became active in the Peronist party in the 1950s and 1960s and visited party founder Juan Peron in exile in Spain in 1964.

REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

Flamboyant Argentine ex-President Carlos Menem died February 14 at age 90. Menem led a tabloid personal life while he pushed Argentina to an economic boom, but his two-term 1989-1999 presidency crumbled under the weight of corruption scandals and he...more

Flamboyant Argentine ex-President Carlos Menem died February 14 at age 90. Menem led a tabloid personal life while he pushed Argentina to an economic boom, but his two-term 1989-1999 presidency crumbled under the weight of corruption scandals and he spent years plotting an unlikely comeback. With his black mane of hair and bushy gray sideburns, Menem at his peak entertained the Rolling Stones at his residence and put Argentina on the international stage, sending troops to the Gulf War and Bosnia. Menem won re-election after he privatized creaky state enterprises in a massive transformation of Argentine institutions in the early 1990s and the economy flourished. But he left office under a cloud -- charged with corruption and conducting illegal arms deals in 1991 and 1995 with Croatia and Ecuador. Ten years later, he was cleared of the arms smuggling charges, but Menem could never shake off the widely held suspicion that he had been involved in shady dealings even if he was never convicted. The lawyer son of Syrian immigrants in La Rioja province, Menem became active in the Peronist party in the 1950s and 1960s and visited party founder Juan Peron in exile in Spain in 1964. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian
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4 / 19
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt Jr., the self-described "smut peddler" who used his pornography empire and flair for the outrageous to push the limits of free speech and good taste, died February 10 at the age of 78. Celebrated by some as a free-speech provocateur and reviled by others as a profiteer of sexual exploitation and misogyny, Flynt was renowned for taunting critics with such outlandish stunts as appearing in court wearing a diaper made from an American flag. In the most famous of numerous legal battles in which he was embroiled, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a landmark ruling in favor of Flynt in a libel lawsuit brought against him by evangelist Jerry Falwell. Flynt had published a fake ad in Hustler which depicted Falwell saying his first sexual encounter had been with his mother in an outhouse. Falwell sued for $50 million and won a lower-court ruling, but in 1988 the Supreme Court held that the ad was a parody and protected by the First Amendment. In his heyday, Flynt lived a lifestyle that could have made Caligula blush. He wrote in his autobiography that his first sexual experience was with a chicken and told of having sex every four or five hours during a workday. A 1978 assassination attempt left him a paraplegic, but he had penile implant surgery so he could continue to have sex. Flynt created a business with an estimated turnover of $150 million at one point. As magazine circulation slipped, he stayed ahead of trends by investing in adult-oriented television channels, a casino, film distribution and merchandise. He said he never objected to being labeled a smut peddler as long as he was considered a First Amendment crusader, too. "Just because I publish pornography does not mean that I am not concerned about the social ills that all of us are," he once told an interviewer.

REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt Jr., the self-described "smut peddler" who used his pornography empire and flair for the outrageous to push the limits of free speech and good taste, died February 10 at the age of 78. Celebrated by some as a...more

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt Jr., the self-described "smut peddler" who used his pornography empire and flair for the outrageous to push the limits of free speech and good taste, died February 10 at the age of 78. Celebrated by some as a free-speech provocateur and reviled by others as a profiteer of sexual exploitation and misogyny, Flynt was renowned for taunting critics with such outlandish stunts as appearing in court wearing a diaper made from an American flag. In the most famous of numerous legal battles in which he was embroiled, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a landmark ruling in favor of Flynt in a libel lawsuit brought against him by evangelist Jerry Falwell. Flynt had published a fake ad in Hustler which depicted Falwell saying his first sexual encounter had been with his mother in an outhouse. Falwell sued for $50 million and won a lower-court ruling, but in 1988 the Supreme Court held that the ad was a parody and protected by the First Amendment. In his heyday, Flynt lived a lifestyle that could have made Caligula blush. He wrote in his autobiography that his first sexual experience was with a chicken and told of having sex every four or five hours during a workday. A 1978 assassination attempt left him a paraplegic, but he had penile implant surgery so he could continue to have sex. Flynt created a business with an estimated turnover of $150 million at one point. As magazine circulation slipped, he stayed ahead of trends by investing in adult-oriented television channels, a casino, film distribution and merchandise. He said he never objected to being labeled a smut peddler as long as he was considered a First Amendment crusader, too. "Just because I publish pornography does not mean that I am not concerned about the social ills that all of us are," he once told an interviewer. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas
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Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, died February 8 at the age of 76. Wilson, a singer as well as best-selling author, helped form female singing group The Primettes in Detroit in 1959, alongside Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown. The latter left the group and was replaced. Wilson, Ross and Ballard went on to enjoy huge success as trio The Supremes. Under the Motown Records label, the group scored 12 no. 1 hits with songs like "Baby Love" and "Stop! In the Name of Love," and still remains influential decades later. Wilson stayed on with The Supremes even after other original members left and new ones joined the line-up. The group split in 1977 and she pursued a solo career. "The Supremes were always known as the 'sweethearts of Motown'," Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement. "I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes ... She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed."

REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, died February 8 at the age of 76. Wilson, a singer as well as best-selling author, helped form female singing group The Primettes in Detroit in 1959, alongside Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Betty...more

Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, died February 8 at the age of 76. Wilson, a singer as well as best-selling author, helped form female singing group The Primettes in Detroit in 1959, alongside Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown. The latter left the group and was replaced. Wilson, Ross and Ballard went on to enjoy huge success as trio The Supremes. Under the Motown Records label, the group scored 12 no. 1 hits with songs like "Baby Love" and "Stop! In the Name of Love," and still remains influential decades later. Wilson stayed on with The Supremes even after other original members left and new ones joined the line-up. The group split in 1977 and she pursued a solo career. "The Supremes were always known as the 'sweethearts of Motown'," Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement. "I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes ... She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed." REUTERS/Fred Prouser
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6 / 19
Christopher Plummer, a patrician Canadian who starred as widower Captain von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in the blockbuster 1965 musical "The Sound Of Music" and in 2012 became the oldest actor to win an Oscar, died February 5 at 91. The accomplished Shakespearean actor, with a career that spanned more than six decades, flourished in a succession of meaty roles after age 70 - a time in life when most actors merely fade away. He claimed a long-awaited Academy Award at age 82 for his supporting performance in "Beginners" as an elderly man who comes out of the closet as gay after his wife's death. "You're only two years older than me, darling," Plummer, who was born in 1929, purred to his golden statuette - first given for films made in 1927 and 1928 - at the 2012 Oscars ceremony. "Where have you been all my life?" Plummer appeared in more than 100 films and also was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Russian author Leo Tolstoy in 2009's "The Last Station." He won two Tony Awards for his Broadway work, two Emmy Awards for TV work and performed for some of the world's top theater companies. But for many fans his career was defined by his performance as an stern widower in "The Sound Of Music" - a role he called "a cardboard figure, humorless and one-dimensional." It took him four decades to change his view of the film and embrace it as a "terrific movie" that made him proud.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Christopher Plummer, a patrician Canadian who starred as widower Captain von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in the blockbuster 1965 musical "The Sound Of Music" and in 2012 became the oldest actor to win an Oscar, died February 5 at 91. The...more

Christopher Plummer, a patrician Canadian who starred as widower Captain von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in the blockbuster 1965 musical "The Sound Of Music" and in 2012 became the oldest actor to win an Oscar, died February 5 at 91. The accomplished Shakespearean actor, with a career that spanned more than six decades, flourished in a succession of meaty roles after age 70 - a time in life when most actors merely fade away. He claimed a long-awaited Academy Award at age 82 for his supporting performance in "Beginners" as an elderly man who comes out of the closet as gay after his wife's death. "You're only two years older than me, darling," Plummer, who was born in 1929, purred to his golden statuette - first given for films made in 1927 and 1928 - at the 2012 Oscars ceremony. "Where have you been all my life?" Plummer appeared in more than 100 films and also was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Russian author Leo Tolstoy in 2009's "The Last Station." He won two Tony Awards for his Broadway work, two Emmy Awards for TV work and performed for some of the world's top theater companies. But for many fans his career was defined by his performance as an stern widower in "The Sound Of Music" - a role he called "a cardboard figure, humorless and one-dimensional." It took him four decades to change his view of the film and embrace it as a "terrific movie" that made him proud. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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7 / 19
George Shultz, the U.S. secretary of state who survived bitter infighting in President Ronald Reagan's administration to help forge a new era in American-Soviet relations and bring on the end of the Cold War, died February 6 at age 100. Lawmakers praised Shultz for opposing as sheer folly the sale of arms to Iran that were the cornerstone of the Iran-Contra scandal that marred Reagan's second term in office. His efforts as America's top diplomat from 1982 to 1989 helped lead to the conclusion of the four-decade-long Cold War. Shultz steered to completion a historic treaty scrapping superpower medium-range nuclear missiles and set a pattern for dealings between Moscow and Washington that made human rights a routine agenda item. His record as secretary of state was tempered by his failure to bring peace to the Middle East and Central America, areas in which he personally invested considerable effort.

REUTERS/Gary Cameron

George Shultz, the U.S. secretary of state who survived bitter infighting in President Ronald Reagan's administration to help forge a new era in American-Soviet relations and bring on the end of the Cold War, died February 6 at age 100. Lawmakers...more

George Shultz, the U.S. secretary of state who survived bitter infighting in President Ronald Reagan's administration to help forge a new era in American-Soviet relations and bring on the end of the Cold War, died February 6 at age 100. Lawmakers praised Shultz for opposing as sheer folly the sale of arms to Iran that were the cornerstone of the Iran-Contra scandal that marred Reagan's second term in office. His efforts as America's top diplomat from 1982 to 1989 helped lead to the conclusion of the four-decade-long Cold War. Shultz steered to completion a historic treaty scrapping superpower medium-range nuclear missiles and set a pattern for dealings between Moscow and Washington that made human rights a routine agenda item. His record as secretary of state was tempered by his failure to bring peace to the Middle East and Central America, areas in which he personally invested considerable effort. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
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8 / 19
Captain Tom Moore, the World War Two veteran who lifted Britain's spirits by raising millions for health workers battling the coronavirus, died on February 2 at the age of 100 after he contracted COVID-19. Moore served in India, Burma and Sumatra during World War Two. He had hoped to raise 1,000 pounds by walking 100 lengths around his garden with the help of a walker. Instead, he raised 38.9 million pounds ($53 million) for the National Health Service, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, broke two Guinness World Records, scored a No. 1 single in the pop charts, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity. His endeavour and wit spread joy amid the grim news of the outbreak: "For all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away," said Moore, after completing his walk in April. 

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Captain Tom Moore, the World War Two veteran who lifted Britain's spirits by raising millions for health workers battling the coronavirus, died on February 2 at the age of 100 after he contracted COVID-19. Moore served in India, Burma and Sumatra...more

Captain Tom Moore, the World War Two veteran who lifted Britain's spirits by raising millions for health workers battling the coronavirus, died on February 2 at the age of 100 after he contracted COVID-19. Moore served in India, Burma and Sumatra during World War Two. He had hoped to raise 1,000 pounds by walking 100 lengths around his garden with the help of a walker. Instead, he raised 38.9 million pounds ($53 million) for the National Health Service, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, broke two Guinness World Records, scored a No. 1 single in the pop charts, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity. His endeavour and wit spread joy amid the grim news of the outbreak: "For all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away," said Moore, after completing his walk in April. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
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9 / 19
Hal Holbrook, an award-winning actor acclaimed for his one-man portrayal of American literary legend Mark Twain, died January 23 at the age of 95. In 2008, at age 82, Holbrook became the oldest male performer ever nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in "Into the Wild." But it was his recreation of the novelist in "Mark Twain Tonight" that brought Holbrook his greatest fame. It earned him a Tony Award for his Broadway performance in 1966 and the first of his 10 Emmy nominations in 1967. Holbrook was born in Cleveland in 1925, and his mother was a vaudeville dancer. After serving in the Army in Newfoundland during World War Two, Holbrook attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where his senior honors project was on Twain. He toured small towns as Twain, then took the show off-Broadway where it was a hit that launched his career. Holbrook made some 2,000 appearances as the writer. 

REUTERS/David McNew

Hal Holbrook, an award-winning actor acclaimed for his one-man portrayal of American literary legend Mark Twain, died January 23 at the age of 95. In 2008, at age 82, Holbrook became the oldest male performer ever nominated for an Academy Award for...more

Hal Holbrook, an award-winning actor acclaimed for his one-man portrayal of American literary legend Mark Twain, died January 23 at the age of 95. In 2008, at age 82, Holbrook became the oldest male performer ever nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in "Into the Wild." But it was his recreation of the novelist in "Mark Twain Tonight" that brought Holbrook his greatest fame. It earned him a Tony Award for his Broadway performance in 1966 and the first of his 10 Emmy nominations in 1967. Holbrook was born in Cleveland in 1925, and his mother was a vaudeville dancer. After serving in the Army in Newfoundland during World War Two, Holbrook attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where his senior honors project was on Twain. He toured small towns as Twain, then took the show off-Broadway where it was a hit that launched his career. Holbrook made some 2,000 appearances as the writer. REUTERS/David McNew
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10 / 19
Actress Cicely Tyson, who specialized in portraying strong Black women caught up in life's struggles during a 60-year career that earned her three Emmys and a Tony Award, died January 28 at the age of 96. Tyson said she used her career to take on issues important to her, such as race and gender. "I realized very early on when I was asked certain questions or treated in a certain way that I needed to use my career to address those issues," she said in a People magazine interview in 2015. Tyson told CBS she saw the Hollywood hierarchy as a ladder with white men at the top, followed by white women and Black men. Black women were at the bottom. "And we're holding on to the last rung," she said. "And those fists are being trampled on by all those three above and still we hold on." Tyson's most-lauded performances came in historical works such as the 1972 movie "Sounder" in which she played a Louisiana sharecropper's wife. That film earned Tyson her only Academy Award nomination, but she received an honorary Oscar in 2018. Tyson was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2016. When she was presented with a Kennedy Center Honor in December 2005, filmmaker-writer Tyler Perry said: "She chose to empower us when we didn't even know it was possible to be empowered. Cicely refused to take a role that would not better humanity." REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actress Cicely Tyson, who specialized in portraying strong Black women caught up in life's struggles during a 60-year career that earned her three Emmys and a Tony Award, died January 28 at the age of 96. Tyson said she used her career to take on...more

Actress Cicely Tyson, who specialized in portraying strong Black women caught up in life's struggles during a 60-year career that earned her three Emmys and a Tony Award, died January 28 at the age of 96. Tyson said she used her career to take on issues important to her, such as race and gender. "I realized very early on when I was asked certain questions or treated in a certain way that I needed to use my career to address those issues," she said in a People magazine interview in 2015. Tyson told CBS she saw the Hollywood hierarchy as a ladder with white men at the top, followed by white women and Black men. Black women were at the bottom. "And we're holding on to the last rung," she said. "And those fists are being trampled on by all those three above and still we hold on." Tyson's most-lauded performances came in historical works such as the 1972 movie "Sounder" in which she played a Louisiana sharecropper's wife. That film earned Tyson her only Academy Award nomination, but she received an honorary Oscar in 2018. Tyson was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2016. When she was presented with a Kennedy Center Honor in December 2005, filmmaker-writer Tyler Perry said: "She chose to empower us when we didn't even know it was possible to be empowered. Cicely refused to take a role that would not better humanity." REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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11 / 19
Actress Cloris Leachman, who won eight Emmys for her work on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and other television programs as well as an Academy Award for "The Last Picture Show," died January 27 at the age of 94. "There was no one like Cloris. With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic," her manager Juliet Green said in a statement. Leachman, who appeared in three of Mel Brooks' comic movies, kept acting regularly well into her 90s. She was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" at age 82.

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Actress Cloris Leachman, who won eight Emmys for her work on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and other television programs as well as an Academy Award for "The Last Picture Show," died January 27 at the age of 94. "There was no one like Cloris. With a...more

Actress Cloris Leachman, who won eight Emmys for her work on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and other television programs as well as an Academy Award for "The Last Picture Show," died January 27 at the age of 94. "There was no one like Cloris. With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic," her manager Juliet Green said in a statement. Leachman, who appeared in three of Mel Brooks' comic movies, kept acting regularly well into her 90s. She was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" at age 82. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
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12 / 19
Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, died January 23 at age 87. Millions watched King interview world leaders, entertainers and other celebrities on CNN's "Larry King Live," which ran from 1985 to 2010. Hunched over his desk in rolled-up shirt sleeves and owlish glasses, he made his show one of the network's prime attractions with a mix of interviews, political discussions, current event debates and phone calls from viewers. Even in his heyday, critics accused King of doing little pre-interview research and tossing softball questions to guests who were free to give unchallenged, self-promoting answers. He responded by conceding he did not do much research so that he could learn along with his viewers. Besides, King said, he never wanted to be perceived as a journalist. "My duty, as I see it, is I'm a conduit," King told the Hartford Courant in 2007. ""I ask the best questions I can. I listen to the answers. I try to follow up. And hopefully the audience makes a conclusion. I'm not there to make a conclusion. I'm not a soapbox talk-show host... So what I try to do is present someone in the best light."

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, died January 23 at age 87. Millions watched King interview world leaders, entertainers and...more

Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, died January 23 at age 87. Millions watched King interview world leaders, entertainers and other celebrities on CNN's "Larry King Live," which ran from 1985 to 2010. Hunched over his desk in rolled-up shirt sleeves and owlish glasses, he made his show one of the network's prime attractions with a mix of interviews, political discussions, current event debates and phone calls from viewers. Even in his heyday, critics accused King of doing little pre-interview research and tossing softball questions to guests who were free to give unchallenged, self-promoting answers. He responded by conceding he did not do much research so that he could learn along with his viewers. Besides, King said, he never wanted to be perceived as a journalist. "My duty, as I see it, is I'm a conduit," King told the Hartford Courant in 2007. ""I ask the best questions I can. I listen to the answers. I try to follow up. And hopefully the audience makes a conclusion. I'm not there to make a conclusion. I'm not a soapbox talk-show host... So what I try to do is present someone in the best light." REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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13 / 19
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, the quiet, unassuming slugger who broke Babe Ruth's supposedly unbreakable record for most home runs in a career and battled racism in the process, died January 22 at the age of 86. Aaron joined the Atlanta Braves management to become one of the few African-Americans in a baseball executive position after retiring as a player in 1976 with 755 career home runs. His hitting prowess earned him the nickname "Hammerin' Hank," and his power was attributed to strong wrists. He was somewhat shy and unassuming, and played with a smooth, under-control style that made the game look so easy that some critics wondered if he was really giving his best. But Aaron was fueled by a desire as he overcame an impoverished youth and racial hatred to become one of the greatest and most consistent baseball stars of all time. Aaron broke Ruth's ultimate home run record on April 8, 1974, driving a fastball from the Los Angeles Dodgers' Al Downing over the left field fence for No. 715. In the run-up to breaking the record, millions of fans cheered Aaron. Others jeered and some went even further. Bodyguards were assigned after Aaron and his family became the targets of death threats and other harassment from racists who did not want a Black man to break such a sacrosanct record held by the charismatic Ruth. Jackie Robinson, who was Aaron's hero, had integrated the major leagues in 1947. Still, when Aaron arrived in 1954 the civil rights movement had yet to build momentum. Aaron sometimes found himself unable to stay in the same hotels or eat in the same restaurants as his white teammates, some of whom ostracized him.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, the quiet, unassuming slugger who broke Babe Ruth's supposedly unbreakable record for most home runs in a career and battled racism in the process, died January 22 at the age of 86. Aaron joined the Atlanta Braves...more

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, the quiet, unassuming slugger who broke Babe Ruth's supposedly unbreakable record for most home runs in a career and battled racism in the process, died January 22 at the age of 86. Aaron joined the Atlanta Braves management to become one of the few African-Americans in a baseball executive position after retiring as a player in 1976 with 755 career home runs. His hitting prowess earned him the nickname "Hammerin' Hank," and his power was attributed to strong wrists. He was somewhat shy and unassuming, and played with a smooth, under-control style that made the game look so easy that some critics wondered if he was really giving his best. But Aaron was fueled by a desire as he overcame an impoverished youth and racial hatred to become one of the greatest and most consistent baseball stars of all time. Aaron broke Ruth's ultimate home run record on April 8, 1974, driving a fastball from the Los Angeles Dodgers' Al Downing over the left field fence for No. 715. In the run-up to breaking the record, millions of fans cheered Aaron. Others jeered and some went even further. Bodyguards were assigned after Aaron and his family became the targets of death threats and other harassment from racists who did not want a Black man to break such a sacrosanct record held by the charismatic Ruth. Jackie Robinson, who was Aaron's hero, had integrated the major leagues in 1947. Still, when Aaron arrived in 1954 the civil rights movement had yet to build momentum. Aaron sometimes found himself unable to stay in the same hotels or eat in the same restaurants as his white teammates, some of whom ostracized him. Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
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14 / 19
Rock producer Phil Spector, who changed the sound of pop music in the 1960s with his "Wall of Sound" recordings and was convicted of murder for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, died January 16 at age 81 of COVID-19, according to authorities. Spector produced 20 top 40 hits between 1961 and 1965 and went on to work with the Beatles on "Let It Be," as well as Leonard Cohen, the Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner. Clarkson, 40, was killed by a shot to the mouth, fired from Spector's gun in the foyer of his mock castle home outside Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2003. The two met hours earlier at a Hollywood nightclub. Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in a second trial, after the first trial deadlocked in 2007. The case drew worldwide interest because Spector was widely known as a rock music pioneer.

REUTERS/Robyn Beck/Pool

Rock producer Phil Spector, who changed the sound of pop music in the 1960s with his "Wall of Sound" recordings and was convicted of murder for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, died January 16 at age 81 of COVID-19, according to authorities....more

Rock producer Phil Spector, who changed the sound of pop music in the 1960s with his "Wall of Sound" recordings and was convicted of murder for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, died January 16 at age 81 of COVID-19, according to authorities. Spector produced 20 top 40 hits between 1961 and 1965 and went on to work with the Beatles on "Let It Be," as well as Leonard Cohen, the Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner. Clarkson, 40, was killed by a shot to the mouth, fired from Spector's gun in the foyer of his mock castle home outside Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2003. The two met hours earlier at a Hollywood nightclub. Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in a second trial, after the first trial deadlocked in 2007. The case drew worldwide interest because Spector was widely known as a rock music pioneer. REUTERS/Robyn Beck/Pool
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15 / 19
Siegfried Fischbacher, who worked with Roy Horn to create the famous animal training and magic duo of Siegfried & Roy, died January 13 at age 81. His death came eight months after Horn died due to COVID-19 in May 2020 at age 75. Siegfried & Roy were among Las Vegas' most famous performers, incorporating more than 55 white lions, white tigers, leopards, jaguars and an elephant in their astounding acts. They started performing in Las Vegas in 1967 at revues like Hallelujah Hollywood and Lido de Paris. The pair started performing at the Mirage hotel in 1989, selling out almost nightly in what was formerly the largest hotel in Las Vegas. Fischbacher and Horn first met on a cruise ship, where Horn was working as a steward and Fischbacher as an entertainer. Horn smuggled his pet cheetah aboard the ship and asked Fischbacher if he knew how to make one disappear. Fischbacher replied, "In magic, anything is possible," though they were then reportedly fired from the ship. Siegfried & Roy's big cat performances continued until a 2003 accident at the Mirage in which a white tiger attacked Horn during a show. Horn's spine was severed and he sustained severe injuries. He later said he thought the tiger was trying to save him after he suffered a stroke onstage, and he had to relearn how to talk and walk. Horn eventually recovered and the pair was able to continue traveling and appearing at events. They retired in 2010.

REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

Siegfried Fischbacher, who worked with Roy Horn to create the famous animal training and magic duo of Siegfried & Roy, died January 13 at age 81. His death came eight months after Horn died due to COVID-19 in May 2020 at age 75. Siegfried & Roy were...more

Siegfried Fischbacher, who worked with Roy Horn to create the famous animal training and magic duo of Siegfried & Roy, died January 13 at age 81. His death came eight months after Horn died due to COVID-19 in May 2020 at age 75. Siegfried & Roy were among Las Vegas' most famous performers, incorporating more than 55 white lions, white tigers, leopards, jaguars and an elephant in their astounding acts. They started performing in Las Vegas in 1967 at revues like Hallelujah Hollywood and Lido de Paris. The pair started performing at the Mirage hotel in 1989, selling out almost nightly in what was formerly the largest hotel in Las Vegas. Fischbacher and Horn first met on a cruise ship, where Horn was working as a steward and Fischbacher as an entertainer. Horn smuggled his pet cheetah aboard the ship and asked Fischbacher if he knew how to make one disappear. Fischbacher replied, "In magic, anything is possible," though they were then reportedly fired from the ship. Siegfried & Roy's big cat performances continued until a 2003 accident at the Mirage in which a white tiger attacked Horn during a show. Horn's spine was severed and he sustained severe injuries. He later said he thought the tiger was trying to save him after he suffered a stroke onstage, and he had to relearn how to talk and walk. Horn eventually recovered and the pair was able to continue traveling and appearing at events. They retired in 2010. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
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American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who built lavish gambling palaces that made him one of the world's richest men and became a potent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died January 11 at age 87. A combative self-made man reared in a poor Jewish immigrant family in Boston, Adelson established hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. His wealth made him a formidable figure in U.S. politics, as he took advantage of loosened campaign-finance laws to steer more than half a billion dollars to Republicans and conservative causes, including Trump. Adelson also was a prominent supporter of Israel and Jewish causes. With a net worth of $33.4 billion as of this week, Adelson ranked as the world's 38th richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who built lavish gambling palaces that made him one of the world's richest men and became a potent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died January 11 at age...more

American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who built lavish gambling palaces that made him one of the world's richest men and became a potent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died January 11 at age 87. A combative self-made man reared in a poor Jewish immigrant family in Boston, Adelson established hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. His wealth made him a formidable figure in U.S. politics, as he took advantage of loosened campaign-finance laws to steer more than half a billion dollars to Republicans and conservative causes, including Trump. Adelson also was a prominent supporter of Israel and Jewish causes. With a net worth of $33.4 billion as of this week, Adelson ranked as the world's 38th richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
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British filmmaker Michael Apted, the man behind the "Up" documentaries that chronicled the lives of a group of British children for more than 50 years, died January 7 at the age of 79. Apted also directed Hollywood movies ranging from the 1999 James Bond blockbuster "The World is Not Enough" to the Loretta Lynn country singer biography "Coal Miner's Daughter" and dozens of TV shows, including episodes of British soap "Coronation Street" in the 1967. Apted's most notable project was the "Up" series. It began in 1964 as a television documentary about the hopes and dreams of 14 7 year-old children from diverse backgrounds who Apted revisited every seven years to see how their lives had changed. The series, which won multiple awards over the years, was inspired by the saying "Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man." The most recent, "63 Up," was released in 2019.

REUTERS/Phil McCarten

British filmmaker Michael Apted, the man behind the "Up" documentaries that chronicled the lives of a group of British children for more than 50 years, died January 7 at the age of 79. Apted also directed Hollywood movies ranging from the 1999 James...more

British filmmaker Michael Apted, the man behind the "Up" documentaries that chronicled the lives of a group of British children for more than 50 years, died January 7 at the age of 79. Apted also directed Hollywood movies ranging from the 1999 James Bond blockbuster "The World is Not Enough" to the Loretta Lynn country singer biography "Coal Miner's Daughter" and dozens of TV shows, including episodes of British soap "Coronation Street" in the 1967. Apted's most notable project was the "Up" series. It began in 1964 as a television documentary about the hopes and dreams of 14 7 year-old children from diverse backgrounds who Apted revisited every seven years to see how their lives had changed. The series, which won multiple awards over the years, was inspired by the saying "Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man." The most recent, "63 Up," was released in 2019. REUTERS/Phil McCarten
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18 / 19
Tommy Lasorda, the colorful and cantankerous longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers who led the team to four National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1970s and '80s, died January 7 at age 93. Lasorda, who spent more than 70 years in the Dodgers organization, was drafted as a pitcher in 1949 while the storied National League club was still based in New York City's Brooklyn borough. But Lasorda's tenure in the dugouts far outshone his playing career and he eventually became one of the team's most enduring and widely recognized figures through several management changes. Fans most remembered him for delivering big wins during his two decades as manager, starting nearly 20 years after then-owner Walter O'Malley moved the team to Los Angeles as part of Major League Baseball's expansion to the West Coast in '50s. Lasorda's longevity and wit put him in the pantheon of such legendary longtime baseball managers as Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra, whose verbal prowess made them media darlings. As manager, he compiled a 1,599-1,439 regular-season record, leading the Dodgers to World Series victories in 1981 and 1988. Sportswriters could count on Lasorda to pepper interviews with humorous quips. One of his best known was describing "three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened."

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Lasorda, the colorful and cantankerous longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers who led the team to four National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1970s and '80s, died January 7 at age 93. Lasorda, who spent more...more

Tommy Lasorda, the colorful and cantankerous longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers who led the team to four National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1970s and '80s, died January 7 at age 93. Lasorda, who spent more than 70 years in the Dodgers organization, was drafted as a pitcher in 1949 while the storied National League club was still based in New York City's Brooklyn borough. But Lasorda's tenure in the dugouts far outshone his playing career and he eventually became one of the team's most enduring and widely recognized figures through several management changes. Fans most remembered him for delivering big wins during his two decades as manager, starting nearly 20 years after then-owner Walter O'Malley moved the team to Los Angeles as part of Major League Baseball's expansion to the West Coast in '50s. Lasorda's longevity and wit put him in the pantheon of such legendary longtime baseball managers as Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra, whose verbal prowess made them media darlings. As manager, he compiled a 1,599-1,439 regular-season record, leading the Dodgers to World Series victories in 1981 and 1988. Sportswriters could count on Lasorda to pepper interviews with humorous quips. One of his best known was describing "three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened." Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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