Cuban leader Fidel Castro, pop music giants David Bowie and Prince, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali were among the notables in many fields who died in 2016
Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn. But after surviving a crippling trade embargo and dozens of assassination plots, Castro died in November at age 90.
Castro was just one of many noteworthy people who died in 2016. The year also saw the deaths of pop music giants David Bowie and Prince, and George Michael on Christmas Day.
In the world of public affairs deaths included Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ex-senator and astronaut John Glenn, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Israeli leader Shimon Peres and former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan.
In the sports arena, the year saw the passing of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, Detroit’s own “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe and golfer Arnold Palmer.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2016. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
Pat Harrington Jr., 86. Actor and comedian who in the 1950s got attention as a member of Steve Allen’s fabled TV comic troupe, but secured lasting fame decades later as Dwayne Schneider, the cocky handyman on the long-running sitcom “One Day at a Time.” Jan. 6.
Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his big heart and charitable work in Chicago as for his singing internationally. Jan. 8.
David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.
Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the “Harry Potter” saga and other films. Jan. 14.
Rene Angelil, 73. Celine Dion’s husband and manager, who molded her from a French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world’s most successful singers. Jan. 14.
Dan Haggerty, 74. Rugged, bearded actor who starred in the film and TV series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.” Jan. 15.
Glenn Frey, 67. Rock ‘n’ roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history’s most successful songwriting teams with such hits as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” Jan. 18.
Abe Vigoda, 94. Character actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller” and the doomed Mafia soldier in “The Godfather.” Jan. 26.
Paul Kantner, 74. Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship. Jan. 28.
Signe Toly Anderson, 74. Vocalist and original member of the Jefferson Airplane who left the band after its first record and was replaced by Grace Slick. Jan. 28.
Linus Maurer, 90. Cartoonist and illustrator whose old friend, Charles M. Schulz, borrowed his first name for Charlie Brown’s blanket-carrying best friend Linus in his “Peanuts” comic strip and cartoons. Jan. 29.
Georgia Davis Powers, 92. Giant in the fight for civil rights in Kentucky and the first African-American woman elected to the state Senate. Jan. 30.
Bob Elliott, 92. Half of the enduring TV and radio comedy team Bob and Ray. Feb. 2.
Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.
Ferd Kaufman, 89. Associated Press photographer who was at Dallas police headquarters as authorities brought in President John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Feb. 3.
Edgar Mitchell, 85. Apollo 14 astronaut who became the sixth man on the moon when he and Alan Shepard helped NASA recover from Apollo 13’s “successful failure.” Feb. 4.
Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Feb. 13.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country’s landmark peace deal with Israel, but clashed with the United States when he served a single term as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16.
Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, 55. Raspy-voiced bar owner who gained fame on the reality TV series “Mob Wives.” Feb. 18.
Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child’s-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.
Sonny James, 87. Country singer who recorded romantic ballads like “Young Love” and turned pop songs into country hits. Feb. 22.
George Kennedy, 91. Hulking, tough-guy actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic “Cool Hand Luke.” Feb. 28.
Joey Feek, 40. With her husband, Rory, she formed the award-winning country duo Joey + Rory. March 4.
Pat Conroy, 70. Author of “The Great Santini,” “The Prince of Tides” and other best-sellers, whose novels drew upon his bruising childhood and the vistas of South Carolina. March 4.
Nancy Reagan, 94. Helpmate, backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. March 6.
George Martin, 90. The Beatles’ urbane producer who quietly guided the band’s swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries. March 8.
Ben Edmonds, 65. Award-winning music journalist was Creem magazine editor and freelanced for publications, including Rolling Stone. March 11. Pancreatic cancer
Daryl Coley, 60. Grammy-nominated gospel singer who had six Top 10 gospel albums, including 1992’s No. 1 “When The Music Stops.”
Frank Sinatra Jr., 72. He carried on his father’s legacy with his own music career; his kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father’s legendary life. March 16.
Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer.
Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.
Joe Garagiola Sr., 90. Major League Baseball player who transitioned into an announcer, longtime NBC broadcaster and game-show host. March 23
Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with “The Larry Sanders Show.” March 24.
Earl Hamner Jr., 92. Prolific writer who drew upon his Depression-era upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to create one of television’s most beloved family shows, “The Waltons.” March 24.
Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.
Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home.” April 6.
David Gest, 62. Music producer, reality TV star and former husband of Liza Minnelli. April 12.
Doris Roberts, 90. She played the tart-tongued, endlessly meddling mother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” April 17.
Chyna, 46. Tall, muscle-bound, raven-haired pro-wrestler who rocketed to popularity in the 1990s and later made the rounds on reality TV. April 20.
Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, 52. Basketball player who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. April 20.
Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.” April 21.
Billy Paul, 80. Jazz and soul singer best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and “Philadelphia Soul” classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.” April 24.
Afeni Shakur, 69. Former Black Panther who inspired the work of her son, rap icon Tupac Shakur, and fostered his legacy for decades after he was slain. May 2.
Bob Bennett, 82. Former U.S. senator who shied away from the spotlight, but earned a reputation as someone who knew how to get things done in Washington. May 4.
William Schallert, 93. Veteran performer and Hollywood union leader who played Patty Duke’s father — and uncle — on TV and led a long, contentious strike for actors. May 8.
Guy Clark, 74. Texas singer-songwriter who helped mentor a generation of songwriters and wrote hits like “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” May 17.
Morley Safer, 84. Veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent who was equally at home reporting on social injustices, the Orient Express and abstract art, and who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans’ view of the war. May 19.
Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3.
Kimbo Slice, 42. Bearded street fighter who parlayed his Internet popularity into a mixed martial arts career. June 6.
Theresa Saldana, 61. “Raging Bull” actress who survived a stalker’s brutal attack to become a crime victims’ advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with “The Commish” and other TV shows. June 6.
Gordie Howe, 88. Known as “Mr. Hockey,” the rough-and-tumble Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL’s quintessential star. June 10.
Margaret Vinci Heldt, 98. She became a hairstyling celebrity after she created the beehive hairdo in 1960. June 10.
Jo Cox, 41. Lawmaker who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union. June 16. Killed by a gun- and knife-wielding attacker.
Anton Yelchin, 27. Rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films. June 19. Hit by his car in his driveway.
Wayne Jackson, 74. Trumpet player on rock ‘n’ roll, soul, R&B and pop mainstays along with Memphis Horns partner and tenor saxophonist Andrew Love. June 21.
Michael Herr, 76. Author and Oscar-nominated screenplay writer who viscerally documented the ravages of the Vietnam War through his classic nonfiction novel “Dispatches” and through such films as “Apocalypse Now” and “Full Metal Jacket.” June 23.
Bernie Worrell, 72. “Wizard of Woo” whose amazing array of keyboard sounds helped define the Parliament-Funkadelic musical empire and influenced performers of many genres. June 24.
Bud Spencer, 86. Burly comic actor dubbed the “good giant” for punching out bad guys on the screen, often in a long series of spaghetti westerns. June 27.
Pat Summitt, 64. Winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women’s game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee. June 28.
“Sir” Mack Rice, 82. Singer wrote the hit “Mustang Sally” and “Cheaper to Keep Her,” and co-wrote “Respect Yourself.” June 30. Alzheimer’s disease
Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic “Night” became a landmark testament to the Nazis’ crimes and launched his career as one of the world’s foremost witnesses and humanitarians. July 2.
Michael Cimino, 77. Oscar-winning director whose film “The Deer Hunter” became one of the great triumphs of Hollywood’s 1970s heyday and whose disastrous “Heaven’s Gate” helped bring that era to a close. July 2.
Sydney H. Schanberg, 82. Former New York Times correspondent awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the genocide in Cambodia in 1975 and whose story of the survival of his assistant inspired the film “The Killing Fields.” July 9.
Nate Thurmond, 74. Tenacious NBA defensive center who played with Wilt Chamberlain. July 16.
Alan Vega, 78. Punk pioneer who helped form the duo Suicide, widely regarded as a forerunner of punk and electronic music. July 16.
Marni Nixon, 86. Hollywood voice double whose singing was heard in place of the leading actresses’ in such movie musicals as “West Side Story,” “The King and I” and “My Fair Lady.” July 24.
Rev. Tim LaHaye, 90. Co-author of the “Left Behind” series, a multimillion-selling literary juggernaut that brought end-times prophecy into mainstream bookstores. July 25.
Youree Dell Harris, 53. Actress who became famous playing the Jamaican psychic Miss Cleo, claiming to know callers’ futures in ubiquitous TV infomercials and commercials. July 26.
Gloria DeHaven, 91. Daughter of vaudeville stars who carved out her own career as the vivacious star of Hollywood musicals and comedies of the 1940s and ’50s. July 30.
Pete Fountain, 86. Clarinetist whose Dixieland jazz virtuosity and wit endeared him to his native New Orleans and earned him national television fame. Aug. 6.
Harry Briggs Jr., 75. As a young boy, he was at the center of a lawsuit that culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing segregated public schools. Aug. 9.
Kenny Baker, 81. He played the lovable droid R2-D2 in the “Star Wars” films, achieving cult status and fans’ adulation without showing his face or speaking any lines. Aug. 13.
Fyvush Finkel, 93. Plastic-faced Emmy Award-winning actor whose career in stage and screen started in Yiddish theater and led to memorable roles in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway and on TV in “Boston Public” and “Picket Fences.” Aug. 14.
Bobby Hutcherson, 75. Bricklayer’s son who became one of the most inventive jazz vibraphonists to pick up a pair of mallets. Aug. 15.
John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative commentator and host of a long-running television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of Washington politics. Aug. 16.
Arthur Hiller, 92. Oscar nominee for directing the hugely popular romantic tragedy “Love Story” during a career that spanned dozens of popular movies and TV shows. Aug. 17.
Toots Thielemans, 94. Belgian harmonica player whose career included playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis and whose solos have figured on numerous film scores. Aug. 22.
Sonia Rykiel, 86. French designer dubbed the “queen of knitwear” whose relaxed sweaters in berry-colored stripes and eye-popping motifs helped liberate women from stuffy suits. Aug. 25.
Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in “The Producers” and the mad scientist of “Young Frankenstein.” Aug. 28.
Juan Gabriel, 66. Mexican songwriter and singer who was an icon in the Latin music world. Aug. 28.
Jon Polito, 65. Raspy-voiced actor whose 200-plus credits ranged from “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Modern Family” to the films “Barton Fink” and “The Big Lebowski.” Sept. 1.
Hugh O’Brian, 91. He shot to fame as Sheriff Wyatt Earp in what was hailed as television’s first adult Western. Sept. 5.
Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group. Sept. 5.
Greta Zimmer Friedman, 92. Believed to be the woman in an iconic photo shown kissing an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II. Sept. 8.
Johan Botha, 51. Tenor whose light but muscular voice dazzled audiences at the world’s top operatic stages. Sept. 8.
Lady Chablis, 59. Transgender performer who became an unlikely celebrity for her role in the 1994 best-seller “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Sept. 8.
Charmian Carr, 73. Actress best known for sweetly portraying the eldest von Trapp daughter in “The Sound of Music.” Sept. 17.
Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., 68. Musician who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his band Buckwheat Zydeco. Sept. 24.
Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. Sept. 25.
Jean Shepard, 82. “The grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry” who had a long recording career in country music. Sept. 25.
Kashif Saleem, 56. R&B singer, musician and Grammy-nominated producer produced Whitney Houston’s hit “You Give Good Love.” Sept. 26
Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.
Joan Marie Johnson, 72. A founding member of the New Orleans girl group The Dixie Cups, who had a No. 1 hit in 1964 with “Chapel of Love.” Oct. 3.
Tommy Ford, 52. Actor best known for his character Tommy on the sitcom “Martin.” Oct. 12. Aneurysm.
Dennis Byrd, 51. Former NFL defensive lineman whose career was ended by neck injury. Oct. 15. Car accident.
Tom Hayden, 76. 1960s antiwar activist whose name became forever linked with the Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife, actress Jane Fonda. Oct. 23.
Bobby Vee, 73. Boyish, grinning 1960s singer whose career was born when he took a stage as a teenager to fill in after the 1959 plane crash that killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Oct. 24.
Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the epicenter of several political storms during the Clinton administration, including the seizure of Elian Gonzalez. Nov. 7.
Leonard Cohen, 82. Baritone-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire.” Nov. 7.
Raynoma Gordy Singleton, 79. The second wife of Berry Gordy Jr. played an integral role in the founding of her husband’s company, Motown Records. Nov. 11
Robert Vaughn, 83. Debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in television’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Nov. 11.
Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.
Holly Dunn, 59. Country singer who had a hit in 1986 with “Daddy’s Hands,” about her minister father. Nov. 14.
Mentor Williams, 70. Award-winning songwriter behind the 1970s hit “Drift Away,” which became a soulful rock ‘n’ roll anthem aired on radio stations for generations. Nov. 16.
Sharon Jones, 60. Powerhouse who shepherded a soul revival despite not finding stardom until middle age. Nov. 18. Cancer.
Ralph Branca, 90. Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” that still echoes six decades later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. Nov. 23.
Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America’s most beloved television moms in “The Brady Bunch.” Nov. 24.
Fidel Castro, 90. He led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.
Fritz Weaver, 90. Tony Award-winning actor who played Sherlock Holmes and Shakespearian kings on Broadway while also creating memorable roles on TV and film from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” to “Marathon Man.” Nov. 26.
Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, 98. McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it become perhaps the best-known fast-food sandwich. Nov. 28.
Grant Tinker, 90. He brought new polish to the TV world with beloved shows including “Hill Street Blues” as both a producer and a network boss. Nov. 28.
Jayaram Jayalalithaa, 68. South Indian actress who turned to politics and became the highest elected official in the state of Tamil Nadu. Dec. 4.
John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.
Joe Ligon, 80. Singer and dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy. Dec. 11.
Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains.” Dec. 13.
Craig Sager, 65. Longtime NBA sideline reporter famous for his flashy suits and probing questions. Dec. 15.
Henry Heimlich, 96. Surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims. Dec. 17.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99. Jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life. Dec. 18.
George Michael, 53. Pop singer who found fame with WHAM! and enjoyed a long and celebrated solo career. Dec. 25
Carrie Fisher, 60. Actress most famous for playing Princess Leia in "Star Wars." Dec. 27