Monday, January 7, 2013

In Remembrance 2012

This past year the world said goodbye to many famous celebrities.   To honor their memory, I put together a list of some of them.  This is not a complete list of those we lost in 2012 by no means, nor are they all celebrities per se.  It is a listing of those folks whose lives I found interesting in some way and thought you might too.


Keith Little - Navajo Code Talker

Keith Little was one of the most recognizable of the remaining Navajo Code Talkers, whose code helped confound the Japanese during World War II.  He was 87.

Johnny Otis - Godfather of R&B

Johnny Otis was known to most as the "Godfather of Rhythm and Blues." He was a songwriter, musician and producer. He notably discovered and produced for Etta James and also wrote the hit song "Every Beat of My Heart" which was later used by Gladys Knight and the Pips. He was 90.

Etta James - Hall of Famer

Etta James, singer/songwriter,  bridged the gap between R&B and rock & roll, with hits like "Dance With Me, Henry," "At Last," "Tell Mama," and "I'd Rather Go Blind." She is the winner of 6 Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards as well as being an inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame and the Grammy's Hall of Fame. She passed away after a long bout with leukemia and was 73.


Don Cornelius - Soul Train

Don Cornelius was the creator and host of the hit show "Soul Train".  He was found dead in his home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 75.

Peter Breck - as Nick Barkley

Peter Breck, known mostly for his role as Nick Barkley on "The Big Valley" and his role as Doc Holliday on "Maverick" had been suffereing from dementia.  He was 82.

Whitney Houston - diva

Whitney Houston, gospel-trained pop diva, who during the course of her life sold over 55 million records, as well as the star of popular films "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale"  had become a regular feature in tabloids, due to her own admitted years of drug abuse and a tumultuous marriage with fellow musician and vocalist Bobby Brown.  The reason for her death was initially unknown but later determined that is was an accidental drowning.  She was 48.

Jan Berenstain - Berestain Bears

Jan Berenstain along with her husband, Stan, wrote and illustrated the Berenstain Bears books that have charmed preschoolers for 50 years. She was 88.

Davy Jones - The Monkees

Davy Jones was an actor turned singer who helped propel the TV rock band The Monkees to the top of the pop charts. He died of a heart attack and was 66.


Robert B. Sherman - Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Robert B. Sherman was a songwriter most known as one half of the Sherman Brothers.  He wrote classic songs for movies such as "Mary Poppins", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "The Jungle Book" and "Winnie the Pooh" as well as the theme for the park ride "It's a Small World (After All)". He passed away of natural causes and was 86.

Earl Scruggs - Bluegrass legend

Earl Scruggs was a bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer who profoundly influenced country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt.  He was 88.


Thomas Kinkade - Painter of Light

Thomas Kinkade was a popular American painter whose paintings of idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches have been big sellers for dealers all across the U.S.  He died of an overdose and was 54.

Jonathan Frid - Dark Shadows

Jonathan Frid, a Canadian actor best known for playing Barnabas Collins on the 1960s supernatural soap opera "Dark Shadows," died of natural causes, he was 87.

Dick Clark - American Bandstand

Dick Clark, renowned TV Host,  was known for hosting the long running music TV program, "American Bandstand" as well as game shows like "Pyramid". He created the extremely popular "Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve" in 1972.  He suffered a heart attack post surgery and died at the age of 82.

Patricia Medina - Actress

Patricia Medina had lead roles in "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion" in 1950, "Sangaree" with Fernando Lamas in 1953, "Plunder of the Sun" with Glenn Ford in 1953, "Botany Bay" with Alan Ladd in 1953 and "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" with Karl Malden in 1954. She passed away at the age of 92.


Maurice Sendak - Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak, a beloved children's book author,  passed away due to complications from a stroke. Maurice was best known for his book "Where the Wild Things Are" as well as his other short stories, "The Sign on Rosie's Door" and "Higglety Pigglety Pop!". He was 83.

Donna Summer - Disco Queen

Donna Summer, legendary disco queen, was a five-time Grammy winner and was the first artist to ever have three consecutive double albums reach #1 on the Billboard charts. Her hits included "Last Dance," "She Works Hard for the Money," and "Love to Love You Baby."  She died  after a battle with cancer and was 63.

Robin Gibb - BeeGees

Robin Gibb was a member and co-founder of the universally popular disco mega group "The BeeGees".  He  passed away after a long bout with cancer and was 62.

Doc Watson - Guitarist

Doc Watson was a grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flat picking influenced guitarists around the world.  He was 89.

Jim Unger - Herman creator

Jim Unger, the creator of the Herman cartoons, died in his sleep at his home. He was 75.


Richard Dawson - The Kissing TV Host

Richard Dawson, "Hogan's Heroes" actor and longtime "Family Feud" game show host  passed away   following complications from esophageal cancer.  He was 79.

Ray Bradbury - SciFi

Ray Bradbury, one of the most prolific and beloved and foremost writers of science fiction, with numerous short stories and books like "Something Wicked This Way Comes","Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles".  He died peacefully in his home, he was 91.

Bob Welch - Former Fleetwood Mac

Bob Welch, former member of Fleetwood Mac, was found dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest. He was 65.

Frank Cady - as Sam Drucker

Frank Cady, a character actor best known as the general-store owner, Sam Drucker, on the sitcoms "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Juction", died at his home. He was 96.

Ann Rutherford - GWTW

Ann Rutherford, is an actress who played the sweetheart in the long-running Andy Hardy series and Scarlett O'Hara's youngest sister in "Gone With the Wind."  She was 94.

Richard Adler - Happy Birthday Mr. President

Richard Adler, was a composer-lyricist who won Tony Awards for such Broadway musicals as "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees" and who produced President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration featuring a breathy Marilyn Monroe.  He was 90.

Nora Ephron - Director

Nora Ephron, a notable Director, was most known for directing such films as "Sleepless in Seattle", "When Harry Met Sally" and "My Blue Heaven".  She passed away after a long serious illness and was 71.

Don Grady - My Three Sons

Don Grady was an actor best known as one of television's most beloved big brothers, Robbie Douglas on the 1960s hit "My Three Sons."  He was 68.


Andy Griffith - Sheriff Andy Taylor

Andy Griffith was an actor and American icon, best known for his portrayal of a small town sheriff in "The Andy Griffith Show" and later a venerable lawyer in "Matlock". He was also an award winning gospel singer.  He died from natural causes and was 86.

Ernest Borgnine - McHale's Navy

Ernest Borgnine was a film and TV icon.  He won an Oscar for his role in 1955's "Marty" and starred in the classic series "McHale's Navy"  He was also nominated for a recurring appearance on the TV drama "ER" and memorably voiced himself on an episode of "The Simpsons."  He was 95.

Ginny Tyler - Head Mouseketeer

Ginny Tyler, a head Disney Mouseketeer and voice actress, died of natural causes and was 86.

Celeste Holm - All About Eve

Celeste Holm was an actress who appeared in numerous classic films of the '40s and '50s, including "All About Eve," "The Snake Pit," "A Letter to Three Wives" and "Gentleman's Agreement," for which she won an Academy Award. She was also a noted philanthropist, a versatile stage performer - memorably appearing on Broadway in "Oklahoma!" - and was a fixture on the TV talk show circuit. She died at her home in New York City after having been recently hospitalized for dehydration.  She was 95.

Jon Lord - Rocker

Jon Lord was a British rocker and keyboardist whose driving tones helped turn Deep Purple and Whitesnake into two of the most popular hard rock acts in a generation.  He was 71.

Kitty Wells - Honky Tonk Angel

Kitty Wells was a singer whose hits such as "Making Believe" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" made her the first female superstar of country music.  She was 92.

Sally Ride - Ride Sally Ride

Sally Ride was a Physicist who joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman to travel to space in 1983. She was part of the five-person crew on the Space Shuttle Challenger. (At the time, she was also the youngest American to enter space, at the age of 32, and the first woman to use a robot arm in space.) She later left NASA to work in Washington, DC, at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control. She died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61.

Sherman Hemsley - George Jefferson

Sherman Hemsley was a actor and singer who was most known for his role as George Jefferson on the hit shows, "All in the Family" and it's spin-off "The Jeffersons". He also released the hit song "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" in 1989. He was found dead in his home from natural causes and was 74.

Tony Martin - Crooner

Tony Martin, a musical movie crooner and big band sensastion, who was married to both Alice Faye and Cyd Charisse. His marriage to Cyd lasted 60 years and was included in my post on long lasting relationships.  He died of natural causes at the age of 98.

Maeve Binchy - Author

Maeve Binchy, was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and speaker best known for her humorous take on small-town life in Ireland, her descriptive characters, her interest in human nature and her often clever surprise endings.  She died after a short illness at the age of 72.


Phyllis Diller - Funny Lady

Phyllis Diller was a revolutionary comedian who was most known for her outlandish sense of humor and verbose laughter. She started her career in standup at the age of 35 in 1952 and was considered a leader and paved the way for women in comedy. It was reported that she died peacefully in her sleep with a smile on her face. She was 95.

Neil Armstrong - Small Step Giant Leap

Neil Armstrong was an Astronaut who, in 1969, became an international icon and hero as the first man to step foot on the moon. The aerospace engineer was a member of the Apollo 11 spaceflight.  He died due to complications from blocked coronary arteries and was 82.


Hal David - Lyricist

Hal David was a lyricist who teamed with Burt Bacharach on dozens of songs for movies, television and a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond.  He was 91.

Michael Clarke Duncan - The Green Mile

Michael Clarke Duncan was an Actor most known for his roles in "The Green Mile", "Daredevil" and "Armageddon", and notably for his large frame and deep voice. He passed away in the hospital where he had been since a heart attack in July. He was 54.

Andy Williams - Moon River

Andy Williams was a singer/songwriter and TV Personality best known as the singer of the hit song "Moon River" that won an Academy Award after being in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's". He also had his own theater space in Branson, MO where he performed every night.  He passed away from cancer of the bladder and was 84.

Herbert Lom - Pink Panther

Herbert Lom was a Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering boss in the "Pink Panther" movies.  He was 95.


Russell Means - Activist

Russell Means was a former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee and also appeared in such Hollywood films as "Last of the Mohicans".  He died from a long battle with cancer at the age of 72.


Larry Hagman - J.R. Ewing

Larry Hagman was an Actor of TV and film and was best known for his roles as J.R. Ewing on the hit TV Show "Dallas" and Tony Nelson on "I Dream of Jeanie".  He died from complications due to throat cancer and was 81.


Besse Cooper - SuperCentenarian

Besse Cooper was an American supercentenarian who was the world's oldest living person from June 21, 2011, until her death. A former teacher, she was one of the 10 oldest verifiably recorded people, and was the last verified living person born in 1896. Additionally, she was the eighth verified person in recorded history to live to the age of 116 or more.  She was 116.  Amazing!!

Dave Brubeck - Jazz Pianist

Dave Brubeck was an acclaimed jazz pianist who was best known for his experimental jazz compositions and his work on soundtracks for shows like "This is America, Charlie Brown". He died of heart failure and was 92.

Ravi Shankar - Sitarist

Ravi Shankar is best known as the man who brought Indian music to the foreground in the West by being the sitar teacher of former Beatles member George Harrison.  He played throughout the world including his famous set at Woodstock in 1969.  He was also the father of Norah Jones.  He died of natural causes and was 92.

Jack Klugman - Quincy

Jack Klugman was a television and movie actor and was best known for his roles in "The Odd Couple", "Quincy, ME" and "12 Angry Men". He passed away from natural causes and was 90.


  1. So many talented people have passed. But I always find comfort in the fact that they no longer will suffer.

    1. Oh I agree totally. So many of these folks made it way up there in years, I can only imagine the aches and pains they felt in everyday life, given how I feel now at half their age.

  2. What a touching, incredibly thoughtful post and way of honouring all of these dear souls. I was hit hard by Andy Griffith's passing. Like many, I grew up watching his show (on VHS tapes) and really loved Andy. He embodied so many wonderful characteristics of a man, father, grandfather and all-around upstanding member of society. I cried when I heard he had passed and will always carry a special fondness for him in my heart.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. I felt the same way about Andy. Having someone come into your home, day after day, even if it is just through the television, you become attached to them. But, that is one great thing about tv, he will live on for generations.

  3. Some amazing and inspirational people. Some way before their time.
    Imagine living to 116 and all the changes she must have seen in her lifetime! Incredible!

  4. Bless all of these people. I really am passionate about remembering others, famous or not, I love this post. Very my kind of thing. So many of these artists and people I adored for yrs. Ernest being my fave. xox


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