News2011

Notable U.S./world deaths in 2011

Jack LaLanne, 96 Fitness guru, bodybuilder and a

Jack LaLanne, 96

Fitness guru, bodybuilder and a TV exercise fixture for decades.

Newsday's obituary for Jack LaLanne
Photo Credit: AP, 1980

2011 saw the passing of many notable people across the entertainment, political, athletic, media and literary spheres.

Click here to see the most memorable deaths, from Elizabeth Taylor to Steve Jobs.

Photos were unavailable for sci-fi author Anne McCaffrey, Dorito creator Arch West and "Wheel of Fortune" wheel innovator Ed Flesh.

Theoni V. Aldredge, 88 Costume designer for Broadway
Photo Credit: AP, 1975

Theoni V. Aldredge, 88

Costume designer for Broadway and Off-Broadway productions ranging from "Annie" and "A Chorus Line" to "La Cage aux Folles," she won an Oscar for her work on the 1974 movie "The Great Gatsby." Her husband, veteran character actor Tom Aldredge ("The Little Foxes" opposite Elizabeth Taylor and "Into the Woods"), also died this year at age 83.

Milton Babbitt, 94 An important modern-music composer and
Photo Credit: Handout

Milton Babbitt, 94

An important modern-music composer and teacher, he counted Stephen Sondheim among his students and was the recipient of a rare lifetime Pulitzer in 1982.

George Ballas, 85 Created the Weed Wacker landscaping
Photo Credit: AP, 1975

George Ballas, 85

Created the Weed Wacker landscaping tool, reportedly basing his invention on the whirling brushes he saw at a car wash.

Seve Ballesteros, 54 Ballesteros, who died of brain
Photo Credit: AP

Seve Ballesteros, 54

Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in May, won five major golf championships and inspired a generation of fellow Spaniards, several of whom have become stars on tour.

John Barry, 77 Oyster Bay resident and enduring
Photo Credit: AP, 2005

John Barry, 77

Oyster Bay resident and enduring musical influence known for his atmospheric '60s scores, 12 "James Bond" films and five Oscars for "Born Free," "Dances With Wolves" and others.

Derrick Bell, 80 The civil rights advocate and
Photo Credit: Handout

Derrick Bell, 80

The civil rights advocate and legal scholar gave up his professorship at Harvard Law School to protest the school's hiring practices.

Newsday's obituary for Derrick Bell

Frank Buckles, 110 Last of the 2 million
Photo Credit: MCT, 2007

Frank Buckles, 110

Last of the 2 million American doughboys who served in France in World War I, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Clarence Clemons, 69 He was
Photo Credit: AP, 2010

Clarence Clemons, 69

He was "The Big Man" in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band -- his distinctive saxophone playing raising the emotion in The Boss' songs, while his physical presence onstage boosted the band's energy level.

Jeff Conaway, 60 Known as the slick-talking Kenickie
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jeff Conaway, 60

Known as the slick-talking Kenickie in the movie "Grease," but also for his TV roles on "Happy Days" and "Taxi."

Newsday's obituary for Jeff Conaway

Jackie Cooper, 88 Star of the
Photo Credit: AP, 1979

Jackie Cooper, 88

Star of the "Our Gang" shorts and the youngest actor to be Oscar-nominated for a leading role (9 in 1931's "Skippy"). As an adult, he appeared on TV's "The People's Choice" and was Perry White in the 1978 film "Superman."

Newsday's obituary for Jackie Cooper

Harry Coover Jr., 94 Accidentally invented Super Glue
Photo Credit: AP, 2010

Harry Coover Jr., 94

Accidentally invented Super Glue while conducting a military experiment during World War II.

Al Davis, 82 Davis, who started in coaching
Photo Credit: AP

Al Davis, 82

Davis, who started in coaching at Adelphi, made his name in California as the bête noire of the NFL, consistently doing his thing and fighting and/or suing for his right to do it. His resumé included a stint as commissioner of the pre-merger AFL. Davis' beloved Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders reflected his persona, renegades concerned only about fulfilling his official mission statement: "Just win, baby."

Read Al Davis' obituary

Ryan Dunn, 34 Wild man star of MTV's
Photo Credit: AP

Ryan Dunn, 34

Wild man star of MTV's "Jackass."

Peter Falk, 83 Character actor who created one
Photo Credit: Handout

Peter Falk, 83

Character actor who created one of the most beloved roles in TV history, the raincoat-clad Lt. Columbo.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 96 The dean of modern
Photo Credit: AP, 2001

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 96

The dean of modern travel writers; "A Time of Gifts," his account of walking across Europe during the 1930s, is a classic of the genre.

Newsday's obituary for Leigh Fermor

George Gallup Jr., 81 Expanded the political polling
Photo Credit: AP

George Gallup Jr., 81

Expanded the political polling firm founded by his father to survey views on religion in America.

Betty Garrett, 91 Comic actress in such MGM
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 1979

Betty Garrett, 91

Comic actress in such MGM musicals as "On the Town" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," later a regular on TV's "All in the Family" and "Laverne & Shirley."

Dobie Gray, 71 His deep, soulful voice landed
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dobie Gray, 71

His deep, soulful voice landed him hits like "The 'In' Crowd" in 1965 and "Drift Away" in 1973, followed by a string of songs he wrote for country artists including Ray Charles and George Jones.

Newsday's obituary for Dobie Gray

The Rev. Peter J. Gomes, 68 The Harvard
Photo Credit: AP

The Rev. Peter J. Gomes, 68

The Harvard University minister who made news by coming out as gay and writing "The Good Book," a bestseller that championed a liberal reading of the Bible.

Newsday's obituary for Peter Gomes

Heavy D., 44 Known as
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Heavy D., 44

Known as "The Overweight Lover," he brought a different approach to hip-hop with positive, lighthearted hits like "Now That We've Found Love" and on collaborations like "Jam" with Michael Jackson.

Elliot Handler, 95 A co-founder of Mattel, he
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Elliot Handler, 95

A co-founder of Mattel, he helped introduce new toys such as Barbie dolls (named after his daughter) and Hot Wheels cars to generations of children. (Pictured left.)

Newsday's obituary for Elliot Handler

Tim Hetherington, 40 British-American photojournalist and co-director of
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2011

Tim Hetherington, 40

British-American photojournalist and co-director of the Oscar-nominated Afghanistan documentary "Restrepo," he was killed by mortar fire while reporting on Libya's civil war.

Christopher Hitchens, 62 The combative English-born writer was
Photo Credit: AP, 2001

Christopher Hitchens, 62

The combative English-born writer was celebrated for his wit and prose style, even as his unpredictable political positions ruffled feathers. In a series of books, as well as columns for The Nation, Vanity Fair and Slate.com, he launched barbed attacks on organized religion, Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton; he supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq and warned of the dangers of "Islamofascism."

Newsday's obituary for Christopher_Hitchens

Loleatta Holloway, 64 After her disco heyday with
Photo Credit: Handout

Loleatta Holloway, 64

After her disco heyday with hits "Hit and Run" and "Love Sensation," Holloway enjoyed a club-happy revival through hits with Black Box and her first No. 1 single "Good Vibrations," with Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch.

Hideki Irabu, 42 An established star pitcher in
Photo Credit: AP, 1997

Hideki Irabu, 42

An established star pitcher in Japan, Irabu signed with the Yankees amid great fanfare in 1997, early in the wave of Japanese imports to Major League Baseball. He would last three mediocre seasons in pinstripes, his stay recalled most vividly by owner George Steinbrenner calling him a "fat ---- toad" in '99. In later years, he endured assorted off-field troubles, including a DUI arrest in 2010. He was found dead of apparent suicide.

Newsday's obituary for Hideki Irabu.

Franklin Kameny, 86 Became a national gay rights
Photo Credit: AP

Franklin Kameny, 86

Became a national gay rights leader and publicly fought discrimination after being fired from a U.S. government job for a 1957 arrest as a so-called "sexual pervert."

Newsday's obituary for Frank Kameny

Bil Keane, 89 Creator of the syndicated comic
Photo Credit: AP

Bil Keane, 89

Creator of the syndicated comic strip "Family Circus," whose simple artistic style and gentle humor were a hit with readers.

Newsday's obituary for Bil Keane

Kara Kennedy, 51 The oldest of the late
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2009

Kara Kennedy, 51

The oldest of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's three children, she was a filmmaker and helped her father run his 1988 re-election campaign.

Harmon Killebrew, 74 Nicknamed
Photo Credit: AP

Harmon Killebrew, 74

Nicknamed "Killer," he was one of the most prolific power hitters of the '60s during a Hall of Fame career spent primarily with the Twins. The AL MVP in 1969, he was the first man to hit a ball over the leftfield roof at Detroit's Tiger Stadium.

Newsday's obituary for Harmon Killebrew

Jack LaLanne, 96 Fitness guru, bodybuilder and a
Photo Credit: AP, 1980

Jack LaLanne, 96

Fitness guru, bodybuilder and a TV exercise fixture for decades.

Newsday's obituary for Jack LaLanne

Evelyn Lauder, 75 Cosmetics executive and breast cancer
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Evelyn Lauder, 75

Cosmetics executive and breast cancer advocate, known for creating the pink ribbon that is now universally known as the symbol of the fight against the disease.

Newsday's obituary for Evelyn Lauder

Arthur Laurents, 93 Composer Richard Rodgers, at the
Photo Credit: AP

Arthur Laurents, 93

Composer Richard Rodgers, at the piano, Stephen Sondheim, right, and playwright Arthur Laurents working on "Do I Hear a Waltz?" in New York. (Dec. 28, 1964)

A playwright-director, Laurents, who had a home in Quogue, wrote the books for the Broadway musicals "West Side Story" and "Gypsy." His 1972 novel, "The Way We Were," was adapted to the big screen.

Sidney Lumet, 86 Masterful but underappreciated director of
Photo Credit: AP, 1996

Sidney Lumet, 86

Masterful but underappreciated director of trenchant, insightful films such as "12 Angry Men," "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Network" and "The Verdict."

Newsday's obituary for Sidney Lumet

John Mackey, 69 Mackey, who grew up in
Photo Credit: Handout

John Mackey, 69

Mackey, who grew up in Roosevelt, was an NFL Hall of Famer who redefined the tight end position with the Baltimore Colts. He was the first president of the players' union after the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, and later endured a long battle with dementia that led to the NFL's "88 Plan" (named after his uniform number), which provides care for stricken ex-players.

Manning Marable, 60 The Columbia University professor and
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Manning Marable, 60

The Columbia University professor and scholar of African-American history, whose biography of Malcolm X was published just days after his death.

Kenneth Mars, 75 Character actor best remembered as
Photo Credit: AP

Kenneth Mars, 75

Character actor best remembered as Franz Liebkind, the crazed German playwright in Mel Brooks' 1968 comedy, "The Producers."

Newsday's obituary for Kenneth Mars

Harry Morgan, 96 Prolific character actor, best known
Photo Credit: AP

Harry Morgan, 96

Prolific character actor, best known for his roles as Officer Bill Gannon on "Dragnet" and Col. Sherman T. Potter on "M*A*S*H."

Newsday's obituary for Harry Morgan

David Nelson, 74 Elder son of one of
Photo Credit: MCT

David Nelson, 74

Elder son of one of TV's best-loved families, the Nelsons of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."

Newsday's obituary for David Nelson

Patrice O'Neal, 41 Comedy Central star and regular
Photo Credit: AP

Patrice O'Neal, 41

Comedy Central star and regular on the roast circuit.

Willie 'Pinetop' Perkins, 97 One of the last
Photo Credit: AP, 1988

Willie 'Pinetop' Perkins, 97

One of the last great Mississippi bluesmen, Perkins played piano with B.B. King and Muddy Waters in his own honky-tonk style.

Newsday's obituary for Pinetop Perkins

Pete Postlethwaite, 64 Gritty British character actor who
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pete Postlethwaite, 64

Gritty British character actor who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1993 film "In the Name of the Father."

Newsday's obituary for Pete Postlethwaite

Reynolds Price, 77 Southern-fiction writer and memoirist whose
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times by Sara D. Davis, 2009

Reynolds Price, 77

Southern-fiction writer and memoirist whose book "A Whole New Life" described life as a paraplegic after surgery for a spinal tumor.

Cliff Robertson, 88 Oscar winner for 1968's
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2004

Cliff Robertson, 88

Oscar winner for 1968's "Charly" whose career was derailed after he dared to report a powerful studio executive for check-forgery. Robertson died in Stony Brook.

Newsday's obituary for Cliff Robertson

Andy Robustelli, 85 A robust Hall of Fame
Photo Credit: AP

Andy Robustelli, 85

A robust Hall of Fame defensive end for the Rams and Giants who rose from a 19th-round draft pick to a seven-time All-Pro and winner of the Maxwell Club's 1962 Bert Bell Award as NFL MVP. Robustelli returned to the Giants for five seasons in the mid-1970s as director of operations but was unable to lift the team out of its long malaise.

Newsday's obituary for Andy Robustelli

Jane Russell, 89 Sultry screen siren of the
Photo Credit: AP

Jane Russell, 89

Sultry screen siren of the World War II era ("The Outlaw") and beyond ("Gentlemen Prefer Blondes") whose famous "haystack" publicity photo brightened the lockers of countless servicemen.

Newsday's obituary for Jane Russell

Maria Schneider, 58 Baby-faced but decidedly adult actress
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2010

Maria Schneider, 58

Baby-faced but decidedly adult actress who played opposite Marlon Brando in 1972's X-rated "Last Tango in Paris."

Newsday's obituary for Maria Schneider

Sherwood Schwartz, 94 Creator of the sitcoms
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2008

Sherwood Schwartz, 94

Creator of the sitcoms "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch."

Newsday's obituary for Sherwood Schwartz

Gil Scott-Heron, 62 His influence, especially as a
Photo Credit: AP, 1984

Gil Scott-Heron, 62

His influence, especially as a spoken-word artist, continues today in hip-hop, with his piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" inspiring the styles of many rappers.

R. Sargent Shriver, 95 The husband of the
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2004

R. Sargent Shriver, 95

The husband of the late Eunice Kennedy and brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy, he was the founding director of the Peace Corps and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972.

Newsday's obituary for Sargent Shriver

The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, 89 An influential
Photo Credit: AP

The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, 89

An influential civil rights leader and ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., he was a founding minister of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Newsday's obituary for the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth

Bubba Smith, 66 Smith was a feared defensive
Photo Credit: AP

Bubba Smith, 66

Smith was a feared defensive lineman at Michigan State -- where fans chanted, "Kill, Bubba, Kill" -- and for three NFL teams, notably the Colts. But the 6-foot-7 Smith was better known to many non-sports fans for his acting career, including his role as Moses Hightower in the "Police Academy" movies.

Newsday's obituary for Bubba Smith

Leonard B. Stern, 88 A TV writer whose
Photo Credit: AP, 2002

Leonard B. Stern, 88

A TV writer whose search for an adjective led to the creation of the Mad Libs word game, which has sold 150 million copies and also is available in phone apps.

Ellen Stewart, 91 Founder of the La MaMa
Photo Credit: AP

Ellen Stewart, 91

Founder of the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, she pioneered the off-Off-Broadway movement.

Newsday's obituary for Ellen Stewart

Clarice Taylor, 93 Cliff Huxtable's mother, Anna, on
Photo Credit: AP, 1987

Clarice Taylor, 93

Cliff Huxtable's mother, Anna, on "The Cosby Show."

Donald Tyson, 80 The wildly successful entrepreneur built
Photo Credit: AP, 2004

Donald Tyson, 80

The wildly successful entrepreneur built his father's Arkansas chicken business into the Tyson Foods empire.

Grete Waitz, 57 New York adopted the soft-spoken
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Grete Waitz, 57

New York adopted the soft-spoken Norwegian during and after her run of nine New York City Marathon victories in 11 years. She died after a six-year battle with cancer.

Obituary for Grete Waitz

Joseph Wershba, 80 A pioneering CBS television reporter-producer,
Photo Credit: AP

Joseph Wershba, 80

A pioneering CBS television reporter-producer, Wershba, of Floral Park, helped Edward R. Murrow fight McCarthyism, won two Emmys at "60 Minutes" and was played by Robert Downey Jr. in the Oscar-nominated "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Newsday's obituary for Joseph Wershba

Dan Wheldon, 33 The popular two-time winner of
Photo Credit: AP

Dan Wheldon, 33

The popular two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 -- including the 2011 race -- and former IndyCar champion died of injuries sustained at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon, who was without a full-time ride in 2011, was part of a 15-car pileup. Some drivers had fretted before the race about unsafe conditions at the track. It was IndyCar's first on-track death since 2006.

Read Dan Wheldon's obituary here.

Andy Whitfield, 39 Star of cable's
Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2010

Andy Whitfield, 39

Star of cable's "Spartacus," he died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Newsday's obituary for Andy Whitfield

Lanford Wilson, 73 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and former
Photo Credit: Newsday/Michael J. Dombroski, 1991

Lanford Wilson, 73

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and former Sag Harbor resident known for works such as "Talley's Folly" and the Vietnam-era comedy "Fifth of July."

Peter Yates, 81 Chameleon-like British director of seemingly
Photo Credit: AP, 1979

Peter Yates, 81

Chameleon-like British director of seemingly unrelated hits, from the Steve McQueen actioner "Bullitt" to the coming-of-age classic "Breaking Away."

Newsday's obituary for Peter Yates

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