In Memoriam: People We Lost in 2021

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An early television pioneer whose acting career spanned more than eight decades, Betty White died on Dec. 31, 2021 at the age of 99. She would have turned 100 in 17 days.
John Madden, the exuberant former NFL broadcaster and beloved ex-coach of the Oakland Raiders whose name later became synonymous with a top-selling video game, died according to the NFL on Dec. 28, 2021. He was 85.
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U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) delivers remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reid died on Dec. 28, 2021, at the age of 82.
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Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus and Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning icon, an uncompromising foe of apartheid and a modern-day activist for racial justice and LGBT rights, died Sunday at 90.
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A portrait shot of American author Joan Didion as she poses outdoors in Berkeley, Calif., in April 1981. Didion died at age 87 in her Manhattan home on Dec. 23.
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Eve Babitz, American artist and author, is seen here April 4, 1997 in Hollywood, California. Babitz died Dec. 17, 2021 in Los Angeles after a long battle with Huntington's disease.
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FILE – Singer Harry Belafonte and Ken Kragen display their special awards presented to them in Los Angeles, on Jan. 28, 1986, during the 13th annual American Music Awards for their efforts in the “USA For Africa” project and the hit song “We Are The World.” Kragen passed away due to natural causes in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec 18.
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Vicente Fernández, the Mexican entertainer whose illustrious career as the "king of rancheras" spanned decades in music and film, has died in Guadalajara in his home state of Jalisco. He was 81.
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Anne Rice, the gothic novelist widely known for her bestselling novel “Interview With the Vampire,” died at the age of 80.
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Monkees singer and guitarist Mike Nesmith on the set of the television show The Monkees in May 1967 in Los Angeles, California. He died at 78, his manager said Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
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Houston Texans wide receiver Demaryius Thomas stands with his parents, Bobby Thomas, right, and Katina Smith, prior to the team’s NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Nov. 4, 2018, in Denver. Thomas, who eared five straight Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring during his career, has died at the age of 33. Thomas was found dead in his suburban Atlanta home Thursday night, Dec. 9, 2021.
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This photo shows Sen. Robert Dole on Jan. 5, 1971. Bob Dole overcame disabling war wounds to become a Senate leader from Kansas, a Republican presidential candidate and a symbol of World War II veterans. He was 98 when he died. His wife, Elizabeth Dole, posted the announcement Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, on Twitter.
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Country musician, Stonewall Jackson, most known for performing on the longest-running radio show, The Opry, died on December 4, 2021.
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FILE – Edward Shames, center, hugs Ed McClung, center left, both members of the World War II Army Company E of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne, with veterans Jack Foley, left, Joe Lesniewski, right, and Shifty Powers, far right, at the Library of Congress in Washington. Shames died December 3, 2021.
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FILE – Darlene Hard hits a forehand to Zsuzsa Kormoczy during a quarterfinal on June 28, 1955 at Wimbledon tennis championships in London. She died on December 3, 2021.
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Designer Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection and the founder of the Off-White label, has died at the age of 41 after privately battling "a rare, aggressive form of cancer" a statement read on his Instagram on Nov. 28. In this June 3, 2019, file photo, Abloh attends the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City.
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Stephen Sondheim, legendary Broadway composer and lyricist, died at 91 years old 91, a family spokesman confirmed. Sondheim died early Friday morning at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. The cause of his death wasn't disclosed.
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Art LaFleur, known for his roles as Babe Ruth in "The Sandlot" and Chick Gandil in "Field of Dreams," has died. He was 78 years old. his wife, Shelley LaFleur, stated in a Facebook post that Art had died after a 10-year battle with Parkinson's disease.
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Drummer and songwriter Graeme Edge, seen here performing with his English rock group The Moody Blues in 1981, died in November 2021 at the age of 80.
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Actor Dean Stockwell, seen here posing for a photo at the New York Film Critics Awards at Sardi’s on Jan. 15, 1989 in New York City, died at his home Nov. 7, 2021. He was 85.
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Ronnie Wilson of “Gap Band” poses for a portrait in circa 1980. Wilson, a multi-instrumentalist and founder of the popular R&B and funk group, died Nov. 3, 2021, according to his wife. He was 73.
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Jovita Moore, known as a longtime news anchor for Atlanta's WSB-TV, has died after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. She was 54. The television station, where Moore had worked since 1998, announced Friday that Moore died Thursday night from glioblastoma.
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Known best for playing Gunther on "Friends," James Michael Tyler died on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. He was 59 years old. The actor "passed away peacefully at home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning after losing his life to prostate cancer," according to his family. In this July 14, 2015, file photo, Tyler attends the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood Expansion Official Unveiling in Los Angeles.
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Colin Powell, a four-star general who became the U.S.'s first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has died of COVID-19 complications. He was 84. Powell is remembered in part for going before the U.N. and making faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, forever staining his legacy.
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Betty Lynn, the film and television actor who was best known for her role as Barney Fife's sweetheart Thelma Lou on “The Andy Griffith Show,” has died. She was 95. In this March 1, 1986, file photo, Lynn (left) appears in character as Lou, Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor and Don Knotts as Fife.
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Willie Garson, famous for his roles in "Sex in the City" and "White Collar" died Sept. 21, 2021. He was 57.
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Sarah Dash, who co-founded the all-female singing group LaBelle, best known for their raucous 1974 hit “Lady Marmalade,” died at 76, it was announced Sept. 20, 2021.
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Norm Macdonald, an influential comedian known for anchoring the Weekend Update desk on "Saturday Night Live," died Sept. 14, 2021. He was 61. Macdonald had been battling cancer for nearly a decade.
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Emmy-winning character actor Michael Constantine, known for his role in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding″ died Aug. 31, 2021 at his Pennsylvania home at the age of 91.
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Terry Brennan, a star halfback on three unbeaten Notre Dame teams who was hailed as a wunderkind when he succeeded Irish coaching great Frank Leahy at just 25 years old, has died. He was 93. In this Nov. 17, 2010, file photo, Brennan poses at his home in Glenview, Ill.
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Actor Michael K. Williams, famous for his role as Omar Little in the HBO series 'The Wire', was found dead in his apartment on Sept. 6, 2021. He was 54. In this photo, he is seen in his award show look for the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 31, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
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Sarah Harding, who rose to fame as a member of the pop group Girls Aloud, has died after battling cancer. She was 39. In this Aug. 8, 2015, file photo, she performs on stage at G-A-Y Heaven in London, England.
Legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, performing here in 2019, died Aug. 24, 2021. Watts joined the Stones early in 1963 and remained over the next 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest-lasting and most essential member.
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Don Everly (right), one-half of the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll Everly Brothers whose harmonizing country rock hits impacted a generation of rock music, has died. Don Everly was 84. A family spokesperson said Everly died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. In this July 31, 1964, file photo, The Everly Brothers, Phil, left, and Don perform on stage.
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Japanese actor Sonny Chiba, who wowed the world with his martial arts skills in more than 100 films, including “Kill Bill,” has died of COVID-19 complications. He was 82. In this Feb. 6, 2016, file photo, Chiba attends the Paris Manga & Sci-Fi Show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles in Paris, France.
Maki Kaji, a creator of the popular numbers puzzle Sudoku whose life's work was spreading the joy of puzzles, has died, his Japanese company said Tuesday, Aug. 17. He was 69 and had bile duct cancer. He poses here in 2012 for a picture during the Sudoku first national competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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Former ambassador and philanthropist James C. Hormel, seen here in 2016 in San Francisco, died at 88 on Aug. 13, 2021. Hormel was the country's first openly gay ambassador.
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Grammy-winning folk singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith, whose literary songs like “Love at the Five and Dime” celebrated the South died Aug. 13, 2021 at the age of 68.
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Una Stubbs, the actress known for her role as Mrs. Hudson on "Sherlock," died Aug. 12, 2021 at the age of 84 at her home in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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Bobby Bowden, the Hall of Fame coach who built Florida State into an unprecedented college football dynasty, seen here in 2006, died Aug. 8, 2021 at the age of 91.
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Actress Markie Post, known for her roles in "Night Court" and "The Fall Guy" among many others, died at 70 on Aug. 7, 2021, after a long battle with cancer.
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Dusty Hill performs with American rock band ZZ Top during the Sweden Rock Festival in 2019. Hill died at his home in Houston, Texas Wednesday, just days after leaving the road over a hip issue. Hill was 72.
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Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld died Wednesday, June 30, 2021, according to his family. He was 88. Rumsfeld served under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush and oversaw the Iraq War.
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Veteran character actor Charlie Robinson, best known for his role as the court clerk on the classic sitcom “Night Court,” died July 11, 2021 in Los Angeles.
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In this May 30, 1983 file photo the cast of the television series “The Love Boat,” at the Great Wall near Beijing, China. Gavin MacLeod, fourth from left, died early Saturday, May 29, 2021.
NBA legend Mark Eaton died on May 29, 2021, at age 64. In this file photo, Eaton, #53 of the Utah Jazz, stands next to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #33 of the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA game at The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1989.
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EMPTY_CAPTION"I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” singer B.J. Thomas arrives at the SeriousFun Children’s Network event at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, May 14, 2015, in Los Angeles. He died on May 29, 2021, at age 78 after announcing he was diagnosed with lung cancer in March.
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Michael Collins, an American astronaut, piloted the spacecraft for the Apollo 11 mission that allowed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to make their historic first steps on the moon in 1969. Collins died Wednesday of cancer, his family said. He was 90.
Walter Mondale, a liberal icon and former Vice President to Jimmy Carter, died Apr. 19, 2021. Mondale was a major figure in national politics for two decades, running for president in 1984 but losing to Ronald Reagan. He was 93.
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DMX, the Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist and legendary rapper who produced hit songs “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here)” died Apr. 9, 2021. He was 50 years old.
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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, poses for a portrait at home in Buckingham Palace in December 1958 in London, England. Philip, who was the longest-serving consort in Britain’s history as Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, died at the age of 99 on April 9th.
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British actor Paul Ritter, known for roles in the “Harry Potter” series and the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” among many others, died March 5, 2021 after battling a brain tumor.
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Emmy Award-winning actress Jessica Walter died at age 80 in New York City on March 24, 2021. Walter's career spanned six decades in film and television, including popular roles on series "Arrested Development" and "Archer," as well as films such as Clint Eastwood's 1971 "Play Misty for Me."
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George Segal, an American actor and musician known for his roles in "The Goldbergs," "Look Who's Talking," and "Just Shoot Me!" died at age 87 on March 23, 2021. Segal rose to popularity in the '60s and '70s, earning an 1967 Oscar nomination for the film "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
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NBA great and Lakers legend Elgin Baylor died Mar. 22, 2021, at age 86. Considered the star of his era, Baylor was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977.
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Sabine Schmitz, the first and only female race car driver to win the annual 24-hour race on the famed Nürburgring circuit and a renowned TV personality, died March 16, 2020. She was 51. Schmitz had been ill with cancer since 2017 and continued racing until 2019. The 24-hour race's organizers said she died Tuesday following “a years-long battle with her disease.”
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American professional boxer "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler died on March 13, 2021, at 66. Quiet with a brooding public persona, Hagler fought 67 times over 14 years as a pro out of Brockton, Massachusetts, finishing 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts.
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Rush Limbaugh, a conservative radio host and one of the most influential voices of American right-wing politics, died Feb. 17, 2021, at age 70. Limbaugh had been battling advanced lung cancer after he announced his diagnosis in January 2020. His radio show ran for more than three decades.
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Larry Flynt, the controversial publisher who founded “Hustler” magazine, died on Feb. 10, 2021, at the age of 78. Flynt launched “Hustler” in the 1970s, a print extension of his adult club of the same name that featured nude hostesses.
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In this Nov. 18, 2015, file photo, singer Mary Wilson performs at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, California. Wilson, one of the founders of Motown group The Supremes, died on Feb. 8, 2021, at age 76.
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U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Texas, died on Feb. 7, 2021, after contracting COVID-19 while fighting a prolonged battle against lung cancer. The 67-year-old became the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting COVID-19.
Millie Hughes-Fulford, a trailblazing astronaut and scientist who became the first female payload specialist to fly in space for NASA, died following a years-long battle with cancer, her family said. She died on Feb. 2, 2021, at 75.
Photographed here with then-President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush, then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz walks along the White House Colonnade in Washington D.C., on Jan. 9, 1985. Shultz, a titan of American academia, business and diplomacy, died on Feb. 6, 2021, at age 100.
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Hall of Famer Leon Spinks, pictured here at the Boxing Hall of Fame parade in Canastota, New York, in 2011, died on Feb. 5, 2021. The 67-year-old, who once beat Muhammad Ali to become the heavyweight champion, had been diagnosed with several forms of cancer.
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Christopher Plummer, the prolific actor who first came into prominence as Captain von Trapp in the film "The Sound of Music," has died at 91. Plummer remained active in Hollywood for over five decades, having played notable parts in recent films like "Knives Out," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and even as the voice of the villain in "Up."
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Hal Holbrook holds his Emmy Awards at The 26th Emmy Awards on May 28, 1974, at Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, California. The five-time Emmy awards winner, best known for his portrayals as Mark Twain and the Watergate whistleblower "Deep Throat," died at the age of 95 on Feb. 2, 2021.
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Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Screech on the hit ’90s sitcom "Saved by the Bell," died at age 44 from stage four lung cancer on Feb. 1, 2021.
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Pioneering actor Cicely Tyson earned a reputation for portraying strong Black women in a career that spanned more than seven decades. She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in “Sounder” (1972) and a Tony Award in 2013 at age 88. Tyson died Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. She was 96.
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Cloris Leachman, known for playing Phyllis Lindstrom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and her own spinoff, died Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, of natural causes in Encinitas, California, according to a representative. Leachman won a best-supporting actress Oscar for "The Last Picture Show" and multiple Emmys. She was 94.
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Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron, seen here during spring training with the Braves in 1967, had died at the age of 86 on Jan. 22. The 25-time All-Star Hall of Famer led the Braves to a World Series pennant in 1957, and after retiring as a player, served the same organization as an executive in 1986.
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In this 2006 photo, John Reilly attends NBC's "Days of Our Lives" and "Passions" pre-Emmy party. Reilly, known for his roles in "General Hospital" and "Beverly Hills, 90210," died at age 84, his daughter announced on Instagram on Jan. 10, 2021.
Tommy Lasorda poses during a 1980 photo portrait session at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Lasorda, who had spent seven decades with the Dodgers as a player, scout, manager and executive, is most known for his time managing the team from 1976 to 1996, leading them to two World Series wins and two World Series losses. He died at 93, according to the Dodgers.
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