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Deaths of 2017

Notable deaths, remarkable lives

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Deaths of 2017
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Roger Ailes

77 / May 18 / Former cable news executive and aide to President Richard Nixon, he founded Fox News in 1996, led it to ratings success (surpassing CNN), and saw it become a major influence in American conservatism. Thrice married, he resigned in 2016 amid a sex abuse scandal and died following an injurious fall.

Tony Alamo

82 / May 2 / Hollywood clothing designer and street preacher who worked among hippies and troubled young people in the 1960s. Amid tax disputes, polygamy, pornography, and sex with minors across state lines, he served two stints in federal prison, where he died.

Gregg Allman

69 / May 27 / Organ player and vocalist for the Allman Brothers Band, which fused rock, blues, country, and jazz into a string of hits in the 1970s such as “Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider.”


Anderson NewsBase/AP

John B. Anderson

95 / Dec. 3 / Lawyer and 10-term Republican member of Congress (1961-1979) from Illinois who started out as a resolute conservative but gradually shifted left into the liberal “Rockefeller Republicans” camp. In the 1980 national presidential election, he ran as a third-party independent.

Richard Anderson

91 / Aug. 31 / Co-star simultaneously of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman TV series in the 1970s.

Jack Bannon

77 / Oct. 25 / Actor who played the assistant city editor Art Donovan on Lou Grant (1977-1982).

Chuck Barris

87 / March 21 / Creator and host of TV game shows, best known for The Gong Show, The Newlywed Game, and The Dating Game.

Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni

79 / Sept. 25 / Egyptian-American law professor at DePaul University and UN adviser whose in-depth investigations of human rights abuses helped to establish the UN’s International Criminal Court in 2002.

Don Baylor

68 / Aug. 7 / Baseball’s 1979 American League MVP with the Angels, played in three World Series, and voted Manager of the Year as the first manager of the Rockies in the team’s inaugural 1993 season.

Peter Berger

88 / June 27 / Influential sociologist of religion, longtime Boston University professor, and Lutheran whose views of life, faith, and society shifted left to right in later years, a response to the “God is dead” movement of the 1950s and ’60s.


Berry Gilles Petard/Redferns/Getty Images

Chuck Berry

90 / March 18 / Considered a founding father of rock ’n’ roll. His classic hits included “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” but his career ended on sour notes of crime and jail terms.

Liliane Bettencourt

94 / Sept. 20 / French heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetics empire and the wealthiest woman in the world. Her fortune was reportedly $42.5 billion.

William Peter Blatty

89 / Jan. 12 / Catholic novelist and filmmaker of The Exorcist. The 1971 book spent more than a year on The New York Times fiction bestseller list, with sales exceeding 10 million copies. The film released two years later, starring Linda Blair, and topped $400 million worldwide.

Nicolaas Bloembergen

97 / Sept. 5 / Dutch-born American physicist who shared a Nobel Prize for his work on how intense laser light beams affect matter they pass through.

Michael Bond

91 / June 27 / British author of the Paddington Bear children’s books, beginning with the first one in 1958, and followed by 20 more, a TV series, and a movie.

Powers Boothe

68 / May 14 / Actor who won an Emmy Award for his starring role in the 1980 TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. He also had notable roles in Tombstone, Nixon, and Blue Sky, among other movies.

Jimmy Breslin

88 / March 19 / New York City newspaper journalist, columnist (he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1986), satirist, and author. Best remembered for giving voice to working-class New Yorkers through his Daily News and Newsday columns.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

89 / May 26 / Polish-born intellectual and author who served as national security adviser to Jimmy Carter and helped Carter reach an agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to secure the Camp David peace accords.


Broyles Jack Thornell/AP

Frank Broyles

92 / Aug. 14 / Football coach (1958-1976) and athletic director (1976-2007) who put the University of Arkansas on the football map. His tenure included an undefeated season and a national championship in 1964. Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he served as its chairman from 1971 to 1973.

Dick Bruna

89 / Feb. 16 / Dutch illustrator and writer of 124 children’s books who created “Miffy,” a little white rabbit drawn in simple minimal strokes. He wrote 32 books about the rabbit that were translated into more than 50 languages with sales of more than 85 million copies.

Jim Bunning

85 / May 26 / Hall of Fame baseball pitcher who played 17 seasons (1955-1971) for four teams and threw a perfect game for the Phillies in 1964. He went on to become a Republican congressman (1987-1999) and U.S. senator from Kentucky (1999-2011). He remains the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to be elected to Congress.

Brenda Buttner

55 / Feb. 20 / Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar who was host of the Fox News business show Bulls and Bears (2000-2017).


Campbell Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Glen Campbell

81 / Aug. 8 / Country-pop singer remembered for hits like “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.” He won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, and had 12 gold albums among the 70 he recorded and 75 chart hits. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and won a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 2012.

Bernie Casey

78 / Sept. 19 / Star wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers who took up acting after retiring in 1968. His TV credits included roles in Murder, She Wrote and L.A. Law. He played a CIA agent in the film Never Say Never Again and appeared in three of the Revenge of the Nerds movies.


Cassidy Associated Press

David Cassidy

67 / Nov. 21 / Teen idol of the 1970s who starred as Keith Partridge in the TV series The Partridge Family.

Eugene Cernan

82 / Jan. 16 / Astronaut and U.S. Navy captain who flew to the moon twice and is the last man to have walked on the lunar surface.

Wayne Cochran

78 / Nov. 21 / “White Knight of Soul” 1960s-1970s rock star whose flamboyant style influenced Elvis Presley, who also borrowed some of his songs. Burned out and suicidal by 1974, he started reading the Bible, was eventually ordained, and started Voice For Jesus Christian Center in Miami.

Doug Coe

88 / Feb. 21 / Influential but low-key religious leader who took over the reins of the Washington-based Fellowship Foundation and the National Prayer Breakfast in 1969.

Alan Colmes

66 / Feb. 22 / Sean Hannity’s bespectacled, moderately liberal sparring partner (and off-set good friend) on Fox News (1996-2009).

Mike Connors

91 / Jan. 26 / Best known as the hard-hitting private investigator on the CBS TV series Mannix (1967-1975), a role which earned him a Golden Globe Award in 1970. Connors’ TV and movie career spanned six decades.

Lloyd H. Conover

93 / March 11 / Pfizer Co. chemist who in the 1950s invented the “new wonder antibiotic” tetracycline.

Barbara Cook

89 / Aug. 8 / Soprano who won a Tony Award for her role in the 1957 Broadway musical The Music Man as Marian the librarian.

Irwin Corey

102 / Feb. 6 / Unschooled comedian who called himself “Professor” and “World’s Foremost Authority,” dressed the part of an absent-minded professor (wild hair, shabby suit, sneakers) before club, theater, and TV audiences.


Cromartie Handout

Michael Cromartie

67 / Aug. 28 / Evangelical scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) in Washington. In 1999, he organized the “Faith Angle Forum,” bringing together scholars (including theologians) and journalists to discuss faith and current events.

Chet Cunningham

88 / March 14 / Former small-town journalist needing more money for his family, he turned to writing books, mostly Western novels. In all, he authored 375 published books, often completing one a week.

Bill Dana

92 / June 15 / Television writer and comic actor most famed for his routine as bumbling immigrant “José Jiménez” that debuted in a 1959 NBC Steve Allen Christmas sketch and later appeared on NBC’s The Bill Dana Show (1963-1965).

Frank Deford

78 / May 28 / Award-winning Sports Illustrated writer, NPR commentator, and author of 18 books, including Everybody’s All-American.

Helen DeVos

90 / Oct. 18 / Philanthropist known for her support of Christian education, children’s health, and the arts. She devoted time and leadership to Christian churches and causes. Survivors include her husband, Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct-sales company Amway. Her daughter-in-law Betsy DeVos is U.S. secretary of education.

Robert “Bobby” Doerr

99 / Nov. 13 / Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame second baseman, who spent 14 seasons (1937-1951) with the team.

Pete Domenici

85 / Sept. 13 / Republican senator from New Mexico who served in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 2008 and became known for his work on budget and energy issues.


Domino Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr.

89 / Oct. 24 / Cheery New Orleans native whose boogie woogie piano style and baritone voice influenced many musicians, helping them segue into the rock ’n’ roll era of the 1950s and early ’60s. His biggest hits included “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill,” which sold over 5 million copies in 1956 and 1957.

Miguel Ferrer

61 / Jan. 19 / Film and television actor who often played lawmen and tough guys, most recently in the CBS crime series NCIS: Los Angeles. He was the son of actor José Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney.

June Foray

99 / July 26 / Female voice actress who gave sound to Rocky the Flying Squirrel and hundreds of other cartoon characters for major studios.

Thomas F. Forkner

98 / April 26 / Co-founder of the Waffle House chain. Its restaurants are advertised to remain open 24/7, a boon to night-shift workers.

Jean Fritz

101 / May 14 / Award-winning author of history and biography books for children. Her books earned New York Times outstanding-book-of-the-year citations for titles about Paul Revere, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, and Benedict Arnold and for Homesick: My Own Story.

Stephen Furst

63 / June 16 / Actor who played the naïve fraternity pledge “Flounder” in the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House.

Cuba Gooding Sr.

72 / April 20 / Lead singer for the Main Ingredient during the 1970s and known for the group’s biggest hit, “Everybody Plays the Fool.”

Larry Grantham

78 / June 18 / Five-time AFL all-star and five-time All-NFL selection as a linebacker for the New York Jets. Played on the Super Bowl III champion Jets team of 1968-1969.

Dick Gregory

84 / Aug. 19 / Recognized as the first black stand-up comedian to break the color barrier in major entertainment venues in the early 1960s. He used his humorous satire as barbs in civil rights activism and later became a nutritional health activist.


Guillaume Rex Features/AP

Robert Guillaume

89 / Oct. 24 / Emmy-winning actor best known as the butler Benson Du Bois in TV sitcoms Soap (1977-1979) and Benson (1980-1986). He also voiced the baboon Rafiki in The Lion King.

Barbara Hale

94 / Jan. 26 / Although she was an actress who played opposite big-name stars in movies, she is remembered more readily by TV viewers in her role as Della Street, secretary to defense lawyer Perry Mason (played by Raymond Burr) on the long-running CBS series bearing his TV name (1957-1966).

Creighton J. Hale

93 / Oct. 8 / Physiologist and researcher who studied and designed ways and equipment to make Little League baseball safer for players. Among other things, he patented a hard-shell protective helmet in 1959, moved the pitcher 2 feet farther from the batter, eliminated the on-deck batting circle, and switched to aluminum bats. He went on to become president and CEO of Little League International.


Hall Rex Features/AP

Monty Hall

96 / Sept. 30 / Mild-mannered TV game show host and co-creator of Let’s Make a Deal, which debuted as a daytime show on NBC in 1963 and aired for four decades under a variety of time slots, networks, and syndication.

Roy Halladay

40 / Nov. 7 / Retired two-time Cy Young Award–winning pitcher with the Toronto Bluejays (2003) and Philadelphia Phillies (2010) and only the second pitcher in baseball to throw a postseason no-hitter (2010); killed when his private plane crashed off the Florida coast.

Ty Hardin

87 / Aug. 3 / Film and TV actor who starred as a former Confederate officer who wanders the Old West in the 1958-1962 ABC series Bronco.

Wayne Hardin

91 / April 12 / Head football coach for the U.S. Naval Academy from 1959 to 1964. His Navy teams beat Army five times in a row, the last in 1963 with the help of quarterback Roger Staubach, the Heisman winner that year (and future Dallas Cowboys star). Hardin finished up as head coach at Temple University for 13 years and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Richard Hatch

71 / Feb. 7 / Veteran actor who played fighter pilot Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica TV series on ABC (1978-1979).

John Heard

71 / July 21 / Actor whose many film roles included the father in the Home Alone series and a corrupt detective in The Sopranos.

Hugh Hefner

91 / Sept. 27 / Founder of Playboy magazine at age 27 in 1953. The first issue featured nude photos of then-unknown Marilyn Monroe, and the magazine went on to help degrade American norms with regard to sex.

Nat Hentoff

91 / Jan. 7 / Columnist, social critic, author of more than 35 books (both novels and nonfiction), and expert on jazz. He spent 50 years writing for The Village Voice, the countercultural weekly.


Hillerman Rex Features/AP

John Hillerman

84 / Nov. 9 / Native Texan who acted in many movies and TV shows but gained the most fame playing the cultured Englishman Higgins on Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988). He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for the role.

Alistair Horne

91 / May 25 / British war researcher and historian, former soldier, spy, journalist, and author of more than 20 nonfiction books.

Clifton James

96 / April 15 / Actor best known as a Southern sheriff in two James Bond films, Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun.

Al Jarreau

76 / Feb. 12 / Jazz singer who released 16 studio albums and won seven Grammy awards during a career that began in the 1970s and continued until shortly before his death.

Anne Jeffreys

94 / Sept. 27 / Film, stage, and television actress who played the glamorous ghost in the 1950s sitcom Topper.

Robert Jenson

87 / Sept. 5 / Longtime Lutheran scholar, author, and educator who rekindled interest in systematic theology by post-WWII scholars. After 20 years at the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, he moved in 1988 to St. Olaf College, where he co-founded the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

Spencer Johnson

78 / July 3 / Medical doctor who gave up his practice to write children’s books with inspirational and historical themes. He then collaborated with a business consultant friend and wrote two bestsellers about management: The One-Minute Manager (1982) and Who Moved My Cheese? (1998).

Helmut Kohl

87 / June 16 / German chancellor (1982-1998) who led reunification of West and East after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Pete Kuykendall

79 / Aug. 24 / Composer, performer, publisher, festival organizer, promoter, and virtual godfather of bluegrass music.

Martin Landau

89 / July 15 / Actor best known as a master of disguise in the 1966-1973 TV series Mission Impossible.


Lewis NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jerry Lewis

91 / Aug. 20 / Comedic genius who at age 20 in 1946 partnered with straight man Dean Martin. The duo quickly rose to fame with recordings, radio and TV appearances, and 16 films. They went their separate ways after 1956, and Lewis continued making movies and raising funds for his longtime favorite charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (amounting reportedly to $2.6 billion between 1952 and 2010).

Liu Xiaobo

61 / July 13 / Chinese activist whose leadership helped curtail the amount of bloodshed during the 1989 Tiananmen Square student uprising. Subsequent activism led to his imprisonment, preventing him from personally accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Eddie Long

63 / Jan. 15 / Senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta. Under his leadership, the church grew from 300 members to 25,000 at its peak, but financial and sexual-abuse scandals led to his demise. He died from an aggressive cancer.

David Mainse

81 / Sept. 25 / Founder of Canada’s longest-running religious daily TV program, 100 Huntley Street, which launched in 1976. A former Pentecostal pastor, Mainse hosted the show until he retired in 2003 to engage in outreach to Canada’s indigenous population.


Manson Associated Press

Charles Manson

83 / Nov. 19 / Cult leader who orchestrated a string of murders in hopes of starting a race war in America. His followers killed eight people over two days (including actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child) in 1969. He was denied parole 12 times and died in prison.

Lee May

74 / July 27 / Hall of Fame baseball player and three-time All-Star who hit 354 home runs during his 18-year career with the Cincinnati Reds, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Kansas City Royals.

Norma McCorvey

69 / Feb. 18 / Texas plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that forced states to legalize abortion in 1973. She had contended her pregnancy was the result of a rape, but in 1987 confessed it was caused by a consensual affair. In 1995 she converted to Christianity and became active in the pro-life movement.

Dina Merrill

93 / May 22 / Actress, donor, born into wealth (daughter of E.F. Hutton and cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post); many of her film and TV roles reflected her real-life social status.

Harold “Hal” Moore

94 / Feb. 10 / Retired U.S. Army three-star general and American hero who saved most of his men in the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle involving U.S. forces in Vietnam. His story was told in a 1992 best-selling book, We Were Soldiers Once … and Young, and in a 2002 film adaptation starring Mel Gibson.

Mary Tyler Moore

80 / Jan. 25 / Star in TV’s 1960-1966 sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show as the sometimes flustered homemaker-wife Laura Petrie and in the 1970-1977 TV series The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Mary Richards, a 30-something TV news producer. The series won 29 Emmys, a record that held for a quarter century.


Moore Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Roger Moore

89 / May 23 / Debonair British actor who starred as unflappable Agent 007 in seven James Bond films, including Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill. In pre-Bond years, Moore enjoyed success with the U.S. TV series Maverick and the British series The Saint.

Erin Moran

56 / April 22 / Former child actress who starred as Joanie Cunningham in the TV series Happy Days (1974-1984) but who struggled after the series ended. She died of complications from cancer.

Jim Nabors

87 / Nov. 30 / Actor who rose to fame as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show (1962-1964) and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964-1969). He also deployed his baritone singing voice for everything from opera to country and gospel, performing regularly in Las Vegas and recording 28 albums, eight of which were certified either gold or platinum.

Masaya Nakamura

91 / Jan. 22 / Founder in 1955 of a company now known as Namco, he helped launch the Japanese video game industry. In 1980, Namco released Pac-Man, originally a coin-operated arcade game, which became one of the world’s most popular video games.

Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr.

89 / Oct. 1 / Billionaire owner of the influential Condé Nast magazine publishing empire that includes The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, Self, Golf Digest, and others.

Joseph Nicolosi

70 / March 8 / Clinical psychologist who co-founded the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. He was a major figure in the movement that promotes “reparative therapy” for homosexuals.

Manuel Noriega

83 / May 29 / Corrupt and cruel former Panama dictator, ousted in a 1989 U.S. invasion and imprisoned for the next 27 years in America, France, and Panama.

H. Wilbert Norton

102 / Feb. 20 / Former missionary in the Belgian Congo, strategist who helped to organize InterVarsity’s triennial missions conference (now known as Urbana), professor who became president of what is now Trinity International University, dean of Wheaton College graduate school, founder of a seminary in Nigeria, and professor of missions at Reformed Seminary.


Novak Handout

Michael Novak

83 / Feb. 17 / Influential liberal-turned-conservative Catholic professor, philosopher, theologian, historian, author, diplomat, and longtime Washington think-tank scholar (with the American Enterprise Institute).

Kate O’Beirne

67 / April 23 / National Review Washington editor and CNN Capital Gang panelist.

Robert Osborne

84 / March 6 / Journalist, author, expert on Hollywood’s Golden Age, and longtime host of Turner Classic Movies. He wrote several histories of the Oscars.

Ara Parseghian

94 / Aug. 2 / Hall of Fame coach who made Notre Dame great again in the 1960s and ’70s. His 1966 and 1973 teams were voted national champions.

Bill Paxton

61 / Feb. 25 / Film and TV actor who played the polygamist patriarch in HBO’s five-year series Big Love. One of his earlier starring roles was as Bill Harding, a storm-chasing weather researcher in the movie Twister, which meteorologists say changed storm chasing and meteorology itself by increasing enrollment in the discipline.

Roberta Peters

86 / Jan. 18 / Metropolitan Opera high soprano whose debut at the Met was in 1950 as a last-minute emergency substitute for a star who had fallen ill. That was her first of more than 500 appearances there over the next 35 years.


Petty Robert E. Klein/AP

Tom Petty

66 / Oct. 2 / Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer, song-writer, and guitarist who won three Grammy awards and sold more than 80 million records.

Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim

89 / July 21 / Co-founder of Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the world’s largest chicken processing firms.

Nabeel Qureshi

34 / Sept. 16 / A Muslim who became a Christian and an evangelist with Ravi Zacharias, who specializes in outreach to the intelligentsia and student groups.

James Reapsome

88 / June 26 / Missiologist, author, writer, and editor for several evangelical publishers, who also founded the Evangelical Missions Quarterly in 1964 and served as its editor for 33 years.

Della Reese

86 / Nov. 19 / Actress, jazz and gospel singer, best known for her role as Tess, the senior guardian angel on the TV series Touched By an Angel (1994-2003).


Rickles Associated Press

Don Rickles

90 / April 6 / Perennially popular comedian who made fun of everyone found his comedic niche when he discovered that heckling his hecklers got the biggest laughs.

Royal Robbins

82 / March 14 / Lifelong rock climber who pioneered and promoted “clean” rock climbing to avoid rock damage caused by use of pitons and grappling tools.

Haddon Robinson

86 / July 22 / Longtime homiletics professor (at Dallas Seminary for 19 years) who also served 11 years as president of Denver Seminary (1991-2002) and spent the rest of his life at Gordon-Conwell Seminary as professor of preaching, while engaged in extensive writing, broadcasting, and speaking ministries.

David Rockefeller

101 / March 20 / “Internationalist” chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank who co-founded the Trilateral Commission and in retirement became a philanthropist.

Joseph W. Rogers

97 / March 6 / Co-founder (with Thomas F. Forkner) of the famous Waffle House restaurant chain.

Dan Rooney

84 / April 13 / Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers chairman whose support of the merger with the American Football League and efforts to expand diversity helped shape the modern NFL.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

51 / March 13 / Author of more than 25 children’s books, columns, and memoirs.

Wilburn K. Ross

94 / May 9 / U.S. Army private who received the Medal of Honor for single-handedly breaking eight German assaults in France during World War II.

Michael Scanlan

85 / Jan. 7 / Franciscan-order Catholic priest who was a major figure in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement.

Sam Shepard

73 / July 27 / Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright and actor, who played Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager in the film The Right Stuff.

Robert B. Silvers

87 / March 20 / Co-founder and longtime editor of The New York Review of Books.

Liz Smith

94 / Nov. 12 / New York gossip columnist with a worldwide audience.

John Sherrill

94 / Dec. 2 / Longtime editor and writer for Guideposts, who ghost-wrote stories of Christians that became mega-bestsellers.


Stanton Associated Press

Harry Dean Stanton

91 / Sept. 15 / Film and television character actor best known to younger audiences as Roman Grant in HBO’s Big Love.

Thomas E. Starzl

90 / March 4 / Medical researcher and surgeon who performed the first successful human liver transplant.

Jalal Talabani

83 / Oct. 3 / Kurdish lawyer who helped guide the creation of Iraq’s post-Saddam government, becoming its second president.

Robert W. Taylor

85 / April 13 / Scientist who envisioned using computers to share information among different offices while working for the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency in the 1960s. He successfully obtained funding that led to the creation of ARPAnet, the earliest version of the internet.

Jay Thomas

69 / Aug. 24 / Actor best known for TV roles on Cheers and Murphy Brown. He also hosted a popular radio show on SiriusXM.


Tillis Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Mel Tillis

85 / Nov. 19 / Singer, songwriter, and performer who earned virtually every award and accolade that country music has to offer over the course of his 60-plus-year career. He wrote over 1,000 songs, recorded 36 Top 10 singles and more than 60 albums, and performed in thousands of shows in the theater he owned in Branson, Mo. In 2012 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest U.S. government honor for achievement in the arts.

Y.A. Tittle

90 / Oct. 8 / Hall of Fame quarterback who led the New York Giants to three NFL divisional championships in the early 1960s. He had played earlier for the Baltimore Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.

Elena Verdugo

92 / May 30 / Actress known for her role as Consuelo Lopez in TV’s Marcus Welby, M.D.

Frank Vincent

80 / Sept. 13 / Actor best known for playing tough guys and gangsters, including mob boss Phil Leotardo in HBO’s The Sopranos and real-life gangster Frank Cullotta in the movie Casino.

Bea Wain

100 / Aug. 19 / Popular big band–era singer and a Your Hit Parade favorite in the 1940s and ’50s.


Wapner Nick Ut/AP

Joseph Wapner

97 / Feb. 26 / Retired California judge who starred in The People’s Court, TV’s first courtroom reality show.

Paul Weitz

85 / Oct. 23 / Astronaut on Skylab’s first mission who helped save it after the heat shield was damaged during launch, and most famous as the commander of the Challenger Space Shuttle’s first flight.

Adam West

88 / June 9 / Actor famous as Batman in the 1960s TV show.

Don Williams

78 / Sept. 8 / Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter known as the Gentle Giant who was popular at home and internationally and remained so up to his “second retirement” in 2016.

Frank Worthen

87 / Feb. 11 / Founder in 1973 of the first “ex-gay” ministry, Love In Action, after his Christian conversion ended 25 years of active homosexual lifestyle. In 1976 he also helped organize Exodus International North America and in 2012 became a co-founder of Hope Network.

Malcolm Young

64 / Nov. 18 / Rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the best-selling rock band AC/DC that he and his brother Angus founded in 1973 in Sydney.

Edward E. Plowman

Ed (1931–2018) was a WORLD reporter. Read Marvin Olasky's tribute.


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