Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2017
Published 1:33 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018
They made music that inspired legions of fans.
Rock ‘n’ roll founding fathers Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, rockers Tom Petty and Gregg Allman, grunge icon Chris Cornell, country superstar Glen Campbell and jazz great Al Jarreau were among the notable figures who died in 2017, leaving a void in virtually every genre of music.
Comedians Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles and Dick Gregory left their own indelible mark with their iconic routines. And the story of the 1960s could not be told without Hugh Hefner and Charles Manson, who were synonymous with the decade in vastly different ways.
Hefner founded Playboy magazine and was credited with helping rev up the sexual revolution in the 1960s. The decade ended with Manson becoming the face of evil across America by orchestrating seven murders that marked the end of the era of peace and love.
Among the political figures who died in 2017 was Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor who reunited a nation divided by the Cold War and helped put Germany at the heart of a unified Europe. Others from the political arena who died in 2017 included former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
Entertainers who died in 2017 also included actors Roger Moore of James Bond fame, Bollywood star Reema Lagoo, “Batman” actor Adam West and Mary Tyler Moore. Prominent figures from the sporting world who died included Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian and boxer Jake LaMotta.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2017. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
Sister Frances Carr, 89. One of the last remaining members of a nearly extinct religious society called the Shakers. Jan. 2.
Bud Lilly, 91. Fly fishing legend, conservationist and catch-and-release pioneer. Jan. 4.
Jill Saward, 51. A survivor of rape who became a powerful British campaigner against sexual violence. Jan. 5.
Parker Beam, 75. He carried on his family’s historic bourbon-making tradition as longtime master distiller for Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Distilleries. Jan. 9.
Steven McDonald, 59. A New York police detective who was paralyzed by a teenage gunman’s bullet in 1986 but publicly forgave the shooter and became an international voice for peace. Jan. 10.
Tommy Allsup, 85. A guitarist best known for losing a coin toss that kept him off a plane that later crashed and killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson. Jan. 11. Complications from a hernia operation.
William Peter Blatty, 89. A former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie “The Exorcist.” Jan. 12.
Dick Gautier, 85. The actor who gained fame playing an Elvis-like singer in the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie” and went on to play Hymie the Robot on TV’s “Get Smart.” Jan. 13.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, 73. A former pro wrestler who had recently been found not competent to stand trial in the 1983 death of his girlfriend. Jan. 15.
Gene Cernan, 82. A former astronaut who was the last person to walk on the moon. Jan. 16.
Charlie Liteky, 85. An Army chaplain in Vietnam who was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing more than 20 wounded men but later gave it back in protest and became a peace activist. Jan. 20.
Masaya Nakamura, 91. The “Father of Pac-Man” who founded the Japanese video game company behind the hit creature-gobbling game. Jan. 22.
Butch Trucks, 69. A drummer who was one of the founding members of the Southern rock legend The Allman Brothers Band. Jan. 24. Suicide.
Mary Tyler Moore, 80. The star of TV’s beloved “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” whose comic realism helped revolutionize the depiction of women on the small screen. Jan. 25.
Mike Connors, 91. He starred as a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running television series “Mannix.” Jan. 26.
Barbara Hale, 94. A movie actress who found her most famous role on television as steadfast secretary Della Street in the long-running “Perry Mason” series. Jan. 26.
John Hurt, 77. An actor who had a half-century career highlighted with memorable performances, two Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe and four British BAFTA awards. Jan. 27.
Edward Tipper, 95. A World War II paratrooper who was portrayed in the HBO series “Band of Brothers.” Feb. 1.
Peter Mansfield, 83. A physicist who won the Nobel Prize for helping to invent MRI scanners. Feb. 8.
Mike Ilitch, 87. The billionaire businessman who founded the Little Caesars pizza empire before buying the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers. Feb. 10.
Harold G. “Hal” Moore, 94. The American hero known for saving most of his men in the first major battle between the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies. Feb. 10.
Al Jarreau, 76. A Grammy-winning jazz singer who transcended genres over a 50-year career. Feb. 12.
Norma McCorvey, 69. Her legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion but who later became an outspoken opponent of the procedure. Feb. 18.
Alan Colmes, 66. The radio and television host and commentator best known as the amiable liberal foil to the hard-right Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel. Feb. 23.
William “Bud” Liebenow, 97. The WWII Navy officer who guided his warship into Japanese territory to rescue future President John F. Kennedy and his crew. Feb. 24.
Bill Paxton, 61. A prolific and charismatic actor who had memorable roles in such blockbusters as “Apollo 13” and “Titanic” while also cherishing his work in “One False Move” and other low-budget movies and in the HBO series “Big Love.” Feb. 25. Complications due to surgery.
Joseph Wapner, 97. The retired Los Angeles judge who presided over “The People’s Court” with steady force during the heyday of the reality courtroom show. Feb. 26.
Mother Divine, believed to be 92. The widow of Father Divine and leader for decades of a religious movement he founded that advocated racial equality and provided free food to thousands of people. March 4.
Robert Osborne, 84. The genial face of Turner Classic Movies and a walking encyclopedia of classic Hollywood. March 6.
Robert James Waller, 77. His best-selling, bittersweet 1992 romance novel “The Bridges of Madison County” was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood and later into a soaring Broadway musical. March 10.
Joni Sledge, 60. With her sisters, she recorded the enduring dance anthem “We Are Family.” March 10.
Chuck Berry, 90. He was rock ‘n’ roll’s founding guitar hero and storyteller who defined the music’s joy and rebellion in such classics as “Johnny B. Goode,” ”Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” March 18.
David Rockefeller, 101. The billionaire businessman and philanthropist who was the last in his generation of one of the country’s most famously philanthropic families. March 20.
Chuck Barris, 87. His game show empire included “The Dating Game,” ”The Newlywed Game” and that infamous factory of cheese, “The Gong Show.” March 21.
Jerry Krause, 77. The general manager of the Bulls during a 1990s dynasty that included six NBA championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Francine Wilson, 69. Her trial for killing her abusive husband became a landmark spousal abuse case and the subject of the 1984 TV movie “The Burning Bed.” March 22. Complications from pneumonia.
Paul O’Neill, 61. He founded the progressive metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra that was known for its spectacular holiday concerts filled with theatrics, lasers and pyrotechnics. April 5.
Don Rickles, 90. The big-mouthed, bald-headed comedian whose verbal assaults endeared him to audiences and peers and made him the acknowledged grandmaster of insult comedy. April 6.
J. Geils, 71. He was founder of The J. Geils Band known for such peppy early 80s pop hits as “Love Stinks,” ”Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold.” April 11.
Dorothy Mengering, 95. The mother of host David Letterman, she became an unlikely celebrity in her 70s as she baked mystery pies and covered the Olympics for her son’s late-night show. April 11.
Aaron Hernandez, 27. The former New England Patriots tight end was sentenced to life behind bars for a 2013 murder and committed suicide in prison. April 19.
Erin Moran, 56. The former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi.” April 22. Cancer.
Jonathan Demme, 73. The eclectic, ever-enthusiastic filmmaker behind the Oscar winners “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,” and the director of one of the most seminal concert films ever made, the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense.” April 26.
Leo K. Thorsness, 85. The retired Air Force colonel was a highly decorated Vietnam War pilot who was shot down and held for six years at the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner camp, where he shared a cell with U.S. Sen. John McCain. May 4.
Powers Boothe, 68. The character actor known for his villain roles in TV’s “Deadwood,” and in the movies “Tombstone,” ”Sin City” and “The Avengers.” May 14.
Chris Cornell, 52. A rocker who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave and was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement. May 17. Suspected suicide.
Roger Ailes, 77. He transformed TV news by creating Fox News Channel, only to be ousted at the height of his reign for alleged sexual harassment. May 18.
Dina Merrill, 93. The rebellious heiress who defied her super-rich parents to become a movie star, often portraying stylish wives or “the other woman.” May 22.
Roger Moore, 89. The suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films. May 23.
Patti Upton, 79. She founded the multimillion-dollar home fragrance company Aromatique thanks to a popular homemade mix of pine cones, oils and spices she concocted to help a friend’s shop “smell like Christmas.” May 23.
Cortez Kennedy, 48. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle was a dominating force for the Seattle Seahawks in the 1990s. May 23.
Jim Bunning, 85. A Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress. May 26.
Gregg Allman, 69. A music legend whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel The Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock. May 27. Cancer.
Manuel Noriega, 83. A former Panamanian dictator and onetime U.S. ally who was ousted as Panama’s dictator by an American invasion in 1989. May 29.
Jim Piersall, 87. A former major leaguer who bared his soul about his struggles with mental illness in his book “Fear Strikes Out.” June 3.
Adnan Khashoggi, 81. A Saudi arms dealer who was once one of the world’s richest men and was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. June 6.
Glenne Headly, 62. An early member of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company who went on to star in films and on TV. June 8.
Adam West, 88. His straight-faced portrayal of Batman in a campy 1960s TV series lifted the tight-clad Caped Crusader into the national consciousness. June 9.
Helmut Kohl, 87. The physically imposing German chancellor whose reunification of a nation divided by the Cold War put Germany at the heart of a united Europe. June 16.
Venus Ramey, 92. A former Miss America who helped rally the nation during World War II and found renewed fame later in life by shooting out the tires of intruders at her Kentucky farm. June 17.
Otto Warmbier, 22. An American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma after almost a year and a half in captivity. June 19.
Michael Bond, 91. He was creator of marmalade-loving children’s favorite Paddington bear. June 27.
Chuck Blazer, 72. The disgraced American soccer executive whose admissions of corruption set off a global scandal that ultimately toppled FIFA President Sepp Blatter. July 12.
Christopher Wong Won, 53. Known as Fresh Kid Ice, he was a founding member of the Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew whose sexually explicit lyrics triggered a national debate over the legal limits of artistic freedom. July 13.
Martin Landau, 89. The chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show “Mission: Impossible,” then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood.” July 15.
George Romero, 77. His classic “Night of the Living Dead” and other horror films turned zombie movies into social commentaries and he saw his flesh-devouring undead spawn countless imitators, remakes and homages. July 16.
Chester Bennington, 41. The Linkin Park lead singer whose screeching vocals helped the rock-rap band become one of the most commercially successful acts in the 2000s. July 20. Apparent suicide.
John Heard, 71. An actor whose many roles included the father in the “Home Alone” series and a corrupt detective in “The Sopranos.” July 21.
Barbara Sinatra, 90. The fourth wife of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and a prominent children’s advocate and philanthropist who raised millions of dollars to help abused youngsters. July 25.
Glen Campbell, 81. The affable superstar singer of “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Wichita Lineman” whose appeal spanned country, pop, television and movies. Aug. 8.
Brian Aldiss, 92. One of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers of the 20th century. Aug. 19.
Jerry Lewis, 91. The manic, rubber-faced showman who rose to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons. Aug. 20.
Thomas Meehan, 88. A three-time Tony Award-winning book writer best known for transforming the Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip into the smash Broadway musical “Annie.” Aug. 21.
Tobe Hooper, 74. The horror-movie pioneer whose low-budget sensation “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” took a buzz saw to audiences with its brutally frightful vision. Aug. 26.
Rollie Massimino, 82. The college basketball coach led Villanova’s storied run to the 1985 NCAA championship and won more than 800 games in his coaching career. Aug. 30. Cancer.
Richard Anderson, 91. The tall, handsome actor best known for costarring simultaneously in the popular 1970s television shows “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman.” Aug. 31.
Walter Becker, 67. The guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the 1970s rock group Steely Dan, which sold more than 40 million albums and produced such hit singles as “Reelin’ In the Years,” ”Rikki Don’t Lose that Number” and “Deacon Blues.” Sept. 3.
Troy Gentry, 50. As one half of Montgomery Gentry, he helped the country music duo become a successful act in the genre, launching countless hits, winning multiple awards and reaching platinum status throughout the 2000s. Sept. 8.
Don Williams, 78. An award-winning country singer with love ballads like “I Believe in You.” Sept. 8.
Frank Vincent, 80. A veteran character actor known for playing gangster roles, including in “The Sopranos,” ”Goodfellas” and “Casino.”
Jake LaMotta, 95. An iron-fisted battler who brawled his way to a middleweight title and was later memorialized by Robert De Niro in the film “Raging Bull.” Sept. 19.
Liliane Bettencourt, 94. The L’Oreal cosmetics heiress and the world’s richest woman. Sept. 20.
Liz Dawn, 77. The actress who played tart-tongued Vera Duckworth in the British soap opera “Coronation Street” for more than 30 years. Sept. 25.
Hugh M. Hefner, 91. The Playboy magazine founder who revved up the sexual revolution in the 1950s and built a multimedia empire of clubs, mansions, movies and television. Sept. 27.
Monty Hall, 96. The genial TV game show host whose long-running “Let’s Make a Deal” traded on love of money and merchandise and the mystery of which door had the car behind it. Sept. 30.
Donald Malarkey, 96. A World War II paratrooper who was awarded the Bronze Star after parachuting behind enemy lines at Normandy to destroy German artillery on D-Day. Sept. 30.
Tom Petty, 66. An old-fashioned rock superstar and everyman who drew upon the Byrds, the Beatles and other bands he worshipped as a boy and produced new classics such as “Free Fallin,’ “Refugee” and “American Girl.” Oct. 2.
Connie Hawkins, 75. Basketball’s dazzling New York playground great who soared and swooped his way to the Hall of Fame. Oct. 6.
David Patterson Sr., 94. A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II. Oct. 8.
Fats Domino, 89. The amiable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer whose steady, pounding piano and easy baritone helped change popular music while honoring the traditions of New Orleans. Oct. 24.
Robert Guillaume, 89. He rose from squalid beginnings in St. Louis slums to become a star in stage musicals and win Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler in the TV sitcoms “Soap” and “Benson.” Oct. 24.
Dennis Banks, 80. He helped found the American Indian Movement and engaged in sometimes-violent uprisings against the U.S. government, including the armed occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Oct. 29.
Richard “Dick” F. Gordon Jr., 88. The Apollo 12 astronaut was one of a dozen men who flew around the moon but didn’t land there. Nov. 6.
Roy Halladay, 40. A two-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies. Nov. 7. Plane crash.
John Hillerman, 84. He played stuffed-shirt Higgins to Tom Selleck’s freewheeling detective Thomas Magnum in the 1980s TV series “Magnum, P.I.” Nov. 9.
Liz Smith, 94. A syndicated gossip columnist whose mixture of banter, barbs, and bon mots about the glitterati helped her climb the A-list as high as many of the celebrities she covered. Nov. 12.
Lil Peep, 21. The rapper was a budding star whose emotional, downtrodden lyrics gained a cult following online. Nov. 15. Suspected drug overdose.
Ann Wedgeworth, 83. An actress who gained fame on film and Broadway before taking on the role of a flirty divorcee on “Three’s Company.” Nov. 16.
Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, 87. The Mafia “boss of bosses” who was serving 26 life sentences as the mastermind of a bloody strategy to assassinate both rivals and Italian prosecutors and law enforcement trying to bring down Cosa Nostra. Nov. 17.
Malcolm Young, 64. The rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the bawdy hard rock band AC/DC who helped create such head-banging anthems as “Highway to Hell,” ”Hells Bells” and “Back in Black.” Nov. 18.
Charles Manson, 83. The hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after orchestrating the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969. Nov. 19.
Mel Tillis, 85. The affable longtime country music star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles. Nov. 19.
Della Reese, 86. The actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama “Touched by an Angel.” Nov. 19.
David Cassidy, 67. The teen and pre-teen idol who starred in the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family” and sold millions of records as the musical group’s lead singer. Nov. 21.
Terry Glenn, 43. Standout wide receiver for the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys who caught Tom Brady’s first career touchdown pass. Nov. 20.
Jim Nabors, 87. The Alabama-born comic actor who starred as TV’s dim but good-hearted Southern rube Gomer Pyle and constantly surprised audiences with his twang-free operatic singing voice. Nov. 30.
Perry Wallace, 69. He broke down a racial barrier in the Deep South by becoming the first black varsity basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. Dec. 1.
Clifford Irving, 87. His scheme to publish a phony autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes created a sensation in the 1970s and stands as one of the all-time literary hoaxes. Dec. 19.
Dick Enberg, 82. A Hall of Fame broadcaster known as much for his excited calls of “Oh, my!” as the big events he covered during a 60-year career. Dec. 21.
Heather Menzies-Urich, 68. She played one of the singing von Trapp children in the hit 1965 film, “The Sound of Music.” Dec. 24.