Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published December 30, 2013 at 8:55 PM | Page modified December 31, 2013 at 11:22 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (3)
  • Print

Notable deaths in 2013

Nelson Mandela, whose death this month prompted a worldwide outpouring, led the list of notable deaths for the year.


Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
Roger Lemons--died 9/17/ from liver cancer--2 combat tours--Viet Nam--one of many... MORE
Column: The untimely death of actor James Gandolfini (June 19, of a heart attack at age... MORE
I guess Paul Walker was not a notable death, aside from being an actor but a... MORE

advertising

Nelson Mandela, whose death this month prompted a worldwide outpouring, led the list of notable deaths for the year. Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at age 95, became South Africa’s first black president after spending 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid and ushering in a more equal society.

Another towering political figure, the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, died Nov. 28 at the age of 87. As Britain’s only female prime minister, Thatcher ruled for 11 years, championing the free market, smaller government and prosperity.

Then there was fiery populist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, who died of cancer March 5 at 58; the brash former New York mayor who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during three terms, Ed Koch, who died of heart failure Feb. 1 at 88; and courtly former House Speaker Tom Foley, of Spokane, who lost his seat when Republicans seized control of Congress in 1994. He died Oct. 18 at 84 of complications from a stroke.

In the field of arts and entertainment Lou Reed, 71, the punk poet of rock ’n’ roll who profoundly influenced generations of musicians as leader of the Velvet Underground and remained a vital solo performer for decades after, died Oct. 27.

Country music lost giant George Jones, 81, the hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with “He Stopped Loving Her Today;” he died April 26. And Ray Price, 87, one of country music’s most popular and influential singers and bandleaders who had more than 100 hits, died Dec. 16.

Not to be forgotten was Van Cliburn, 78, the pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock-star status. He died Feb. 27.

Hugely influential though not technically an entertainer, Roger Ebert, 70, who died April 4 after battling cancer, was America’s most popular film critic, with his famous thumbs-up or thumbs-down reviews.

The untimely death of actor James Gandolfini (June 19, of a heart attack at age 51), who played the brutal but sensitive crime boss Tony Soprano and the sudden death of “Fast and Furious” start Paul Walker, 40, in a Nov. 30 car crash, shocked the entertainment world.

We lost legends such as Peter O’Toole, 81, the rakish, charismatic star of “Lawrence of Arabia,” who died Dec. 14, and Mouseketeer and beach-movie heartthrob Annette Funicello, 70, who died April 8 of complications from multiple sclerosis.

Journalists who died included Helen Thomas, 92, the irrepressible White House correspondent (July 20), USAToday founder Al Neuharth, 89 (April 19), who changed the look and reach of newspapers, and David Frost, 74, a TV showman who became a master interviewer (Aug. 31).

Death and numerous other life- challenging subjects were covered by a couple of women who offered advice and popular psychology. Pauline Friedman Phillips, 94, who as Abigail Van Buren wrote the long-running “Dear Abby” newspaper advice column read by millions, died Jan. 16. Dr. Joyce Brothers, 85, who pioneered the television advice show in the 1950s and also wrote books and a syndicated column, died May 13.

Writer Elmore Leonard, 87, whose stylish crime novels were fodder for several movies, died Aug. 20, of complications from a stroke, followed by best-selling author Tom Clancy, 66, who penned high-tech, Cold War thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games,” on Oct. 1.

Doris Lessing, 94, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Golden Notebook” and other novels that reflected her own improbable journey across the former British Empire, died Nov. 17. Seamus Heaney, 74, the very public Irish poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, died Aug. 30.

Also departing in 2013 were computer-mouse inventor Doug Engelbart, who died in July at 88, and audio pioneers Ray Dolby, the noise-reduction engineer who died in September at 80, and Amar Bose, 83, the MIT professor who founded a company known for high-fidelity tabletop radios and noise-canceling headphones. Likewise passing from the world of high-tech and playtime was Hiroshi Yamauchi, 85, who not only led Nintendo for more than 50 years from its days as a playing-card maker to video- game giant, but saved the Mariners from moving. He died Sept. 19.

Charles “Chuck” Foley, 82, whose Twister game launched decades of awkward social interactions at parties, died July 1. Andre Cassagnes, 86, inventor of Etch A Sketch, died Jan. 16.

Baseball’s “Stan the Man” one of the best to ever play the game as the hard-hitting outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial, 92, died Jan. 19. Earl Weaver, 82, the hot-tempered manager of the Baltimore Orioles, died Jan. 19 of a heart attack.

Ken Norton, 70, the former heavyweight champion who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died Sept. 18. Pat Summerall, 82, the deep-voiced NFL player-turned-broadcaster who spent half of his four decades calling sports famously paired with John Madden, died April 16. Legendary University of Washington football coach Don James, the “Dawgfather,” died Oct. 20 at the age of 80.

Others of note:

Chinua Achebe, 82. Nigerian author, statesman and dissident who gave literary birth to modern Africa with “Things Fall Apart” and continued for decades to rewrite and reclaim the history of his native country (March 21).

Giulio Andreotti, 94. Seven-time premier and a symbol of postwar Italy (May 6).

Patty Andrews, 94. Last of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” and the poignant “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” captured the homefront spirit of World War II (Jan. 30).

Bobby “Blue” Bland, 83. Singer who blended Southern blues and soul in songs such as “Turn on Your Love Light” and “Further On Up the Road” (June 23).

Lindy Boggs, 97. Former congresswoman and plantation-born Louisianian who fought for civil rights during nearly 18 years in Congress after succeeding her late husband in the House (July 27).

Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., 84. The billionaire businessman and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, which lobbied the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate and helped spearhead the search for hidden Nazi loot (Dec. 21).

Jerry Buss, 80. Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships from the ’80s Showtime dynasty to the Kobe Bryant era (Feb. 18).

Donald Byrd, 80. Hard-bop trumpeter of the 1950s who collaborated on dozens of albums with top artists of his time and later enjoyed commercial success with hit jazz-funk fusion records such as “Black Byrd ” (Feb. 4).

Harold Camping, 92. California preacher who used his evangelical radio ministry and billboards to predict the end of the world and then gave up public prophecy when his date-specific doomsdays did not come to pass (Dec. 15).

Jeanne Cooper, 84. Soap-opera star who played grande dame Katherine Chancellor for nearly four decades on “The Young and the Restless” (May 8).

Paul Crouch, 79. Televangelist who built what’s been called the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network (Nov. 30).

Scott Carpenter, 88. Second American to orbit the Earth and first person to explore both the heights of space and depths of the ocean (Oct. 10).

George Duke, 67. Grammy-winning keyboardist and producer whose sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B and soul in a 40-year-plus career (Aug. 5).

Deanna Durbin, 91. Teen sensation whose sparkling soprano voice and girl-next-door looks made her a star during Hollywood’s Golden Age (Around April 20).

Robert Edwards, 87. Nobel prizewinner from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test-tube baby (April 10).

Dennis Farina, 69. Onetime Chicago cop who as a popular character actor played a TV cop on “Law & Order” during his wide-ranging acting career (July 22).

Joan Fontaine, 96. Academy Award-winning actress who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion” and “Rebecca” and also was featured in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Nicholas Ray (Dec. 15).

Bonnie Franklin, 69. Pert, redheaded actress whom millions came to identify with for her role as divorced mom Ann Romano on the sitcom “One Day at a Time” (March 1).

Vo Nguyen Giap, 102. Brilliant, ruthless commander who led outgunned Vietnamese to victory first over the French and then the Americans (Oct. 4).

Julie Harris, 87. Much-honored Broadway performer whose roles ranged from the flamboyant Sally Bowles in “I Am a Camera” to the reclusive Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst” (Aug. 24).

Michael Hastings, 33. Award-winning journalist and war correspondent whose unflinching reporting ended the career of a top American army general (June 18).

Ray Harryhausen, 92. Special-effects master whose sword-fighting skeletons, six-tentacled octopus and other fantastical creations won raves from film lovers and industry heavyweights (May 7).

Thomas Penfield Jackson, 76. As federal judge in Washington, he presided over a historic Microsoft antitrust case and the drug-possession trial of former Mayor Marion Barry (June 15).

Virginia Johnson, 88. Half of the husband-wife research team that transformed the study of sex in the 1960s and wrote two best-selling books on sexuality (July 24).

Mikhail Kalashnikov, 94. His work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalized in the name of the world’s most popular firearm, the AK-47 assault rifle, which is often called “a Kalashnikov” (Dec. 23).

C. Everett Koop, 96. He raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America’s attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking (Feb. 25).

Anthony Lewis, 85. Former New York Times reporter and columnist, who won two Pulitzer Prizes and transformed coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court (March 25)

Cory Monteith , 31. Actor on the television show “Glee” who had struggled for years with substance abuse (July 13).

Albert Murray, 97. Influential novelist and critic who celebrated black culture, scorned black separatism and was once praised by Duke Ellington as the “unsquarest man I know” (Aug. 18).

Ray Manzarek, 74. Founding member of the 1960s rock group The Doors whose versatile and often haunting keyboards complemented Jim Morrison’s gloomy baritone (May 20).

Mindy McCready, 37. She hit the top of the country-music charts before personal problems sidetracked her career (Feb. 17).

Ottavio Missoni, 92. Patriarch of an iconic fashion brand of zigzag-patterned knitwear (May 9).

Nagisa Oshima, 80. Japanese film director acclaimed for “Empire of Passion” and “In the Realm of the Senses” (Jan. 15).

Eleanor Parker, 91. She was nominated for Academy Awards three times for her portrayals of strong-willed women and played a scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music” (Dec. 9).

Bum Phillips, 90. Folksy Texas football icon who coached the Houston Oilers during their Luv Ya Blue heyday and later led the New Orleans Saints (Oct. 18).

Patti Page, 85. Singer who stumbled across “Tennessee Waltz” and made it one of the best-selling recordings ever (Jan. 1).

Richard Ramirez, 53. Serial killer known as the Night Stalker who left satanic signs at murder scenes during a reign of terror in the 1980s (June 7).

Hans Riegel, 90. Longtime boss of German candy maker Haribo who took the gummi bear to international fame. Oct. 15.

Dale Robertson, 89. Oklahoma native who became a star of television and movie Westerns during the genre’s heyday (Feb. 26).

Harry Reems, 65. Male star of 1972’s “Deep Throat,” which brought pornographic film to mainstream audiences (March 19).

Bruce Reynolds, 81. Mastermind of a British heist known as the “Great Train Robbery” (Feb. 28).

Billie Sol Estes, 88. Flamboyant Texas huckster who became notorious in 1962 when accused of looting a federal crop subsidy program (May 14).

Jean Stapleton, 90. Stage-trained character actress who played Archie Bunker’s far better half, the sweetly naive Edith, in TV’s groundbreaking 1970s comedy “All in the Family” (May 31).

Aaron Swartz, 26. Co-founder of Reddit and activist who fought to make online content free to the public (Jan. 11).

Charlie Trotter, 54. Award-winning chef and self-taught culinary master whose namesake Chicago restaurant elevated the city’s cuisine and provided a training ground for top chefs (Nov. 5).

Ken Venturi, 82. Golf star who overcame dehydration to win the 1964 U.S. Open and spent 35 years in the booth for CBS Sports (May 17).

Esther Williams, 91. Swimming champion-turned-actress who starred in glittering, aquatic Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s (June 6).

Slim Whitman, 90. Country singer who sold millions of records through TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy “Mars Attacks!” (June 19).

Jonathan Winters, 87. Cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey (April 11).



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Hurry! Last two weeks to save 15%.

Hurry! Last two weeks to save 15%.

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►