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 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 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, 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 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, 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, 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 along with her husband, Stan, wrote and illustrated the Berenstain Bears books that have charmed preschoolers for 50 years. She was 88.
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 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 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 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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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 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 was a grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flat picking influenced guitarists around the world. He was 89.
Jim Unger, the creator of the Herman cartoons, died in his sleep at his home. He was 75.
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, 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 member of Fleetwood Mac, was found dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest. He was 65.
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, 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, 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, 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 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 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 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, a head Disney Mouseketeer and voice actress, died of natural causes and was 86.
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 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 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 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 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, 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 was a Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering boss in the "Pink Panther" movies. He was 95.
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 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 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 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 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 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.