Monday: People We Lost in 2014Posted: December 29, 2014
Since the year 2014 will soon be in the rear view mirror, I thought I’d call attention to some of the people we lost over the past 12 months. When I started looking for lists of notable 2014 deaths, I found there have been far more than I could possibly include in a blog post. Since this is a political blog, I go into a little more detail in the politics category than the others. In case you want more names and information, the best comprehensive list (with photos) that I found was at The Chicago Tribune: Notable Deaths 2014.
Frank Mankiewicz, 90, a towering figure in Democratic politics and media, died Oct. 23. Mankiewicz was born into Hollywood royalty–his father Herman Mankiewicz was the drama critic for The New Yorker, and wrote Citizen Kane, and his uncle Joseph Mankiewicz directed All About Eve.
Mankiewicz, who fought in the Battle of Bulge during WWII, became an attorney and journalist, and then worked in the Kennedy administration. Later he served as press secretary for Robert Kennedy had the sad duty of announcing RFK’s death in LA after the 1968 California primary. He later worked in George McGovern’s failed 1972 campaign. Among other accomplishments, he wrote two books about Richard Nixon and as head of National Public Radio,
During his six years at the helm, the NPR news department more than doubled and listenership nearly tripled. He helped start the popular program “Morning Edition” in 1979; opened the first overseas bureau, in London; and used his access to top Democratic lawmakers such as Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.) to obtain gavel-to-gavel radio coverage of important hearings.
Marion Barry, 78, longtime Mayor of Washington DC, died Nov. 23. From The Washington Post:
Marion Barry Jr., the Mississippi sharecropper’s son and civil rights activist who served three terms as mayor of the District of Columbia, survived a drug arrest and jail sentence, and then came back to win a fourth term as the city’s chief executive….
The most influential and savvy local politician of his generation, Mr. Barry dominated the city’s political landscape in the final quarter of the 20th century, also serving for 15 years on the D.C. Council, whose Ward 8 seat he held until his death. Before his first stint on the council, he was president of the city’s old Board of Education. There was a time when his critics, in sarcasm but not entirely in jest, called him “Mayor for Life.”
Robert Strauss, 95, died on March 19. He was a Democratic insider who began his political career in 1937 as a volunteer in the first congressional campaign of Lyndon B. Johnson and was a fundraisaer for John Connolly in his run for Governor in 1962. Strauss went on to manage Hubert Humphrey’s campaign in 1966 and is credited with bringing the Democratic Party back from the dead after George McGovern’s disastrous loss to Richard Nixon in 1972 by “masterminding” the election of Jimmy Carter, according to The New York Times.
The Washington Post wrote that Strauss
held several held several influential positions in politics and government: Democratic national chairman, special trade representative and Middle East troubleshooter during the Carter administration, and the first U.S. ambassador to Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
He was known as a deal-maker and intermediary–a man who could work with Republicans when necessary and who could bring even sworn enemies together to work for common goals.
Other notable political figures who died in 2014:
Howard H. Baker Jr., 88, died on June 26. He was a Republican ex-senator who was involved in the Watergate hearings and famously asked “What did the President know and when did he know it?”
Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, 63, dictator of Haiti from 1971 until he was overthrown in 1986. He died Oct. 4.
Thomas Menino, 71, died on Oct. 30. Mayor of Boston from 1993-2014, he was the city’s longest serving mayor.
James Brady, 73, died on Aug. 14. He was Ronald Reagan’s press secretary. After he was nearly killed during the attempted assassination of Reagan in 1981, he became a highly visible supporter of gun control.
Joan Mondale, 83, wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale, died on Feb. 3. She was known as “Joan of Art.” A former museum guide she used her position to “promote the arts locally and worldwide. She made her tastes and influence felt from famous galleries and performance stages to subway stations and light-rail stops.”
Ian Paisley, 88, died Sept. 12. “Protestant firebrand who devoted his life to thwarting compromise with Catholics in Northern Ireland only to become a peacemaker in his twilight years” (WaPo).
Jeb Stuart Magruder, 79. “Watergate conspirator-turned-minister who claimed in later years to have heard President Richard Nixon order the infamous break-in,” according to the WaPo. He died May 11.
Fred Phelps, Sr., 84, founder of Westboro Baptist Church and professional hater, died March 20.
Stage, Screen, and Radio
The ones I’ll miss most:
Lauren Bacall, 89, died on Aug. 12 model, then accomplished actress and author, she was married to Humphrey Bogart and later Jason Robards.
James Garner, 86, died July 19. He was successful star in both movies and TV. He played mostly romantic leads in films and was very popular as start of the TV shows Maverick and The Rockford Files.
Bob Hoskins, 71, died on April 29, star of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mona Lisa, and The Long Good Friday.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, died Feb. 2 at age 46. He was a great actor. I still haven’t forgiven him for going back to drugs and alcohol.
Robin Williams, 63, died Aug. 11. A great comedian and actor.
Tom Magliozzi, 77, co-host with his brother of National Public Radio’s “Car Talk,” died Nov. 3.
Other stars we lost this year
Harold Ramis, 69, comedy writer, actor, director, died Feb. 24.
Ruby Dee, 91, actress and civil rights activist, died June 11.
Joan Rivers, 81, pathbreaking comedienne, died Sept. 4.
Polly Bergen, 84, actress, nightclub singer, writer, TV host, game show star, “ardent feminist,” campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2008. She died Sept. 20.
Elaine Stritch, actress and singer best known for her work on Broadway, died July 17 at 89.
Sheila MacRae, 92, British comedienne, “accomplished singer, dancer, and impressionist,” married to Gordon MacRae. She replaced Audrey Meadows as Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners. She died march 6.
Martha Hyer, 89, died May 31. She was an “Oscar-nominated actress who starred alongside the likes of Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart, and later gained notoriety for her extravagant lifestyle.” She got her big break in Sabrina.
Richard Attenborough, 90, British actor and academy award winning director of Gandhi, died on Aug. 14.
Mike Nichols, 83, famed director of The Graduate, and many other great movies and plays, died Nov. 19.
Shirley Temple Black, 85, famous and beloved child star, died Feb. 10.
Mickey Rooney, 93, died on Sept. 23, with an estate of $18,000. He was a popular child actor who maintained his stardom in adulthood.
Eli Wallach, 89, died June 24. He was a great character actor whose career lasted six decades. Probably best known for his roles in Westerns The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and The Magnificent Seven, but he was also a “masterful stage actor, the acclaimed interpreter of Tennessee Williams…”
David Brenner, comedian, died March 28 at 78.
Meshach Taylor, 67, died June 28. He played Anthony Bouvier on the sitcom Designing Women.
Marilyn Burns, 65, star of the cult film Texas Chainsaw Massacre, died Aug. 5. She also played Linda Kasabian in Helter Skelter (1976).
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., 95, Golden Globe winning actor, died May 2. I loved him in 77 Sunset Strip and The FBI.
And there were many, many more.
Literature and Journalism
Maya Angelou, 86, poet, dancer, actor, and singer, died May 28. She wrote seven books of autobiography, beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982. He died April 17 at age 87.
Nadine Gordimer, 90, South African novelist, died July 13. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.
PD James, 94, brilliant British crime and science fiction novelist, died Nov. 27.
Peter Matthieson, 86, novelist, nonfiction writer, and founder of The Paris Review, died April 5. He won the National Book Award three times for The Snow Leopard (1979, nonfiction – contemporary thought), The Snow Leopard (1980, General nonfiction), and Shadow Country (fiction, 2008).
Mark Strand, 80, Pulitzer Prize winning poet and former Poet Laureate of the US, died Nov. 29.
Joe McGinnis, 71, journalist and author of the pathbreaking book The Selling of the President 1968 and several true crime works, including Fatal Vision.
Ben Bradlee, 93, editor of the Washington Post during Watergate and long after, died Oct. 21.
Al Feldstein, 88, spent “28 years at the helm of Mad magazine transformed the satirical publication into a pop culture institution.” He died April 29. (WaPo)
Pete Seeger, folksinger and activist, Jan. 27.
Aker Bilk, clarinet player, 85, “Jazz clarinettist known for his 1960s hit Stranger on the Shore, his smooth playing and his dapper stage presence,” died Nov. 2.
Jack Bruce, 71, base player for Cream, died Oct. 25
Paul Revere, of Paul Revere and the Raiders died Oct. 4 at 76.
Tim Hauser, 72, of Manhattan Transfer died Oct. 16.
Johnny Winter, 70, blues guitarist and singer, died July 16.
Joe Cocker, 70, blues and rock singer, died Dec. 22.
Tommy Ramone, 65, drummer, The Ramones, and record producer, died July 11.
Bob Casale, Devo guitarist, died Feb. 17
Charlie Haden, 76, jazz bassist, died July 11.
Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, died Jan. 3 at 74.
Bobby Womack, 70, singer-songwriter and musician, died June 27.
Gerry Goffin, 75, wrote lyrics for Carole King’s music, died June 19.
Jerry Vale, pop singer, died May 18, at 83.
Bobby Keys, 70, saxophone player who backed up John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, died Dec. 2.
Jesse Winchester, singer-songwriter who moved to Canada in protest against the Vietnam war, died April 11, at 69.
There were many more notable deaths this year, and I ignored plenty of categories of people too. Maybe I’ll have to do another post. So . . . who will you miss most? If I left someone important out, please tell us about him/her in the comments (as always, feel free to post links on any topic.)