Year in Review 2011: In Memoriam

Take a look back at the most notable deaths of the year.

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","id":"1942123","thumbnail_url":"https://nbcots.go-vip.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/amy-winehouse-new-lead-722.jpg?fit=722%2C406","type":"image","focusedSlide":""},{"caption":"Tech titan Steve Jobs, who transformed personal computing before introducing the world to the iPhone and iPad, died Oct. 5 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 56. Click to see others we lost in 2011. <a href="http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/tech/_DO_NOT_USE_In_Memoriam__Steve_Jobs__1955-2011_Bay_Area-129546748.html" target="blank">Watch</a> a tribute to Steve Jobs.
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Actress and style icon Elizabeth Taylor, who was as famous for her eight marriages as she was for her legendary film career, has died of congestive heart failure. The two-time Oscar winner, spent time off screen as an advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and as a businesswoman.
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Clarence Clemons, the "Big Man" of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Ban died June 18 of complications from a stroke, a spokeswoman for Springsteen told The New York Times. He was a defining element of the band's sound.
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Two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon died Sunday, Oct. 16 in a fiery 15-car wreck during the Las Vegas Indy 300. He was 33.
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The Oakland Raiders' Al Davis, one of the most storied owners in NFL history, died Saturday at 82, the team announced. The Raiders won 3 Super Bowls during his time in charge. Here Davis smiles during his team's 21-20 victory over the Steelers in Dec. 2000.
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Actor James Arness is shown as Marshal Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke." CBS spokesman Chris Ender says former "Gunsmoke" star James Arness died Friday, June 3, 2011 of natural causes. He was 88.
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Jack LaLanne, a fitness guru and television personality who became an American icon through inspiring families to keep healthy and stay fit, has died of respiratory failure due to pnemonia. He was 96.
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Pat Wilson, Brian Bell, Mikey Welsh (third from right) and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer arriving at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards. Former band member Welsh, 40, was found dead in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday, Oct. 8. A drug overdose is suspected as the cause.
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Jane Russell, a '40s and '50s-era Hollywood sex symbol who shot to fame in the 1941 western "The Outlaw" (shown here), died Feb. 28 of a respiratory-related illness. She was 89. Russell went on to star in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." She founded the World Adoption International Fund and herself adopted three children, The Associated Press reported.
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Nick Ashford of the famed Motown songwriting team Ashford & Simpson died after a battle with throat cancer on Aug. 22. The duo had penned such greats as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "You're All I Need to Get By," and "Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand." He was 70.
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Singer, songwriter and guitarist Phoebe Snow died of complications from brain hemorrhage she suffered last year, according to the Associated Press. She was 58. Snow's "Poetry Man" was a hit in the 1970s, but she dropped out of the industry soon after to take care of her disabled daughter.
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Mikey Welsh of Weezer is pictured performing in San Francisco in October 2001. He left the band later that year. Click through to see others we lost in 2011.
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Sue Mengers was Hollywood's first female super-agent and was said to be "more powerful than the stars she handles" by the Times. She represented celebs like Barbra Streisand, Candice Bergan, Faye Dunaway, and countless others. She was 79.
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Roger Williams, a famed pianist who topped the Billboard pop chart in the 1950s and played for 9 U.S. presidents, died Oct. 8 at the age of 87 of pancreatic cancer. "Roger was one of the greatest pianists in the world and could play anything to classical music to jazz," friend and musician Sen. Orrin Hatch said of Williams.
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Norman Corwin succeeded in many facets of the entertainment business, but radio was his true passion. He was credited for being a creative giant of the Golden Age of radio. He died of natural causes in his Los Angeles home at 101.
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Sylvia Robinson, known as the pioneer of rap music, died at the age of 76. The singer-turned-producer was also known 1973's sexually explicit "Pillow Talk." In 1979, she produced The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," hip-hop's first commercially successful single.
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Dolores Hope, a singer who put her career on hold to marry Bob Hope but later accompanied the late comedian on USO tours and recorded albums, died Sept. 19 at 102. She was also a noted philanthropist, golfer and adoption advocate, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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Frances Bay, a Canadian housewife who started acting at age 50 and went on to play grandmother roles on "Happy Days" and "Happy Gilmore," died on Sept. 15. She was 92. Bay also played the "marble rye lady" on "Seinfeld" and starred in "Blue Velvet."
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Cliff Robertson, the handsome movie actor who played John F. Kennedy in "PT-109," won an Oscar for "Charly" and was famously victimized in a 1977 Hollywood forgery scandal, died. He was 88.
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Andy Whitfield, 39, played the lead role in the Starz drama "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." His wife Vashti said in a statement, "Our beautiful young warrior Andy Whitfield lost his 18-month battle with lymphoma cancer. He passed peacefully surrounded by love."
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The music industry lost two greats on Aug. 22. Nick Ashford, who was part of singer-songwriting duo with wife Valerie Simpson, composed hits for greats like Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. Jerry Leiber, right, penned hits for Elvis and many hits for The Coasters, including "Yakety Yak."
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Jerry Leiber also lyrics for such classic tunes as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock," died Aug. 22 at age 78. Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, told the AP the music world "lost one of its greatest poet laureates."
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Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra, who was known in Italy as the "new Pavarotti," died Monday after nine days in a coma following a motor scooter accident in Sicily. He once stood in for the famed singer in a Metropolitan Opera production of "Tosca." He was 43.
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Warrant lead singer Jani Lane was found dead in a Comfort Inn outside of Los Angeles. The "Heaven" and "Cherry Pie" singer was 47 years old.
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Former NFL star and "Police Academy" actor Bubba Smith died Aug. 3 at his LA home at age 66. Smith, shown here at Michigan State University during a 2006 ceremony to retire his jersey number, was a three time All-American. He was the Baltimore Colt's first pick in 1967 and went on to tackle Hollywood after nine years in the NFL.
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Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead of an apparent suicide in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, authorities confirmed. He was 42.
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British singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her home on July 23, 2011, at the age of 27. The acclaimed hitmaker had battled alcohol and drug addictions for years.
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Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of the iconic television series "The Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island," died July 12 at age 94.
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Former First Lady Betty Ford, wife of late President Gerald Ford, died at age 93 on July 8, 2011. She founded the Betty Ford Center, a rehabilitation clinic for drug and alcohol abuse, in 2006 and worked to raise awareness for breast cancer.
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American painter Cy Twombly was famous for his large-scale paintings and was likened to greats like Jasper Johns. His paintings, which featured wandering lines and graffiti influence, often fetched millions at auction.
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British actress Anna Massey passed away at the age of 73. Born into an acting family, Massey played everything from spinsters to Margaret Thatcher, also starring in Hitchcock's 1972 crime thriller "Frenzy."
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Peter Falk, the actor most famous for portraying shrewd but unassuming television detective Frank Columbo, has died at the age of 83, a family spokesperson confirmed. The veteran actor also appeared in such beloved films as "The In-Laws," "The Princess Bride," and "The Cheap Detective"
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"Jackass" star, 34-year-old Ryan Dunn died when his Porsche flew over a guardrail in West Goshen, Pa. and slammed into a tree, a West Goshen police offcier confirmed to NBCPhiladelphia.com. Dunn appeared in all of the "Jackass" movies, and had two separate films in post-production and another in development, according to the IMDB.
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Carl Gardner, original lead singer of "The Coasters, died in Florida at age 83. Their single "Yakety Yak" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 following its 1958 release.
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Clarice Taylor, the stage and screen actress nominated for an Emmy for playing Grandma Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," died May 30 in New Jersey, E! News reported. She was 93.
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Gil Scott-Heron, the spoken-word performer and musician whose style foreshadowed hip-hop music, died in New York City May 27, The Associated Press reported. Scott-Heron is best known for his 1970 work, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." He was 62.
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Legendary wrestler, Randy "Macho Man" Savage died after having a heart attack while driving his Jeep in Florida. Savage joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1985 and became a star with the catchphrase "ooooooh yeaaaahhh."
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Rapper M-Bone (born Montae Talbert), part of the Cali Swag District who rose to fame with the "Dougie," was killed in a drive-by shooting outside of Los Angeles on Sunday, May 15. Newscore reports the shooting was apparently random.
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Dolores Fuller served as camp director Ed Wood's muse throughout the 1950's, starring in movies like "Glen or Glenda." The blonde beauty passed away at the age of 88 from complications of a stroke.
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Dana Wynter (born Dagmar Winter in Berlin) studied medicine before she switched gears to acting. Known for her role in 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," Wynter also become a star of TV's first "Golden Age," and was celebrated for her willowy stature and dark, striking features.
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Jackie Cooper, who played editor of The Daily Planet in four “Superman” films, died May 3 in Los Angeles at age 88. Cooper was the first child star to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, earning the nod at age 9 for the 1931 film “Skippy,” People reported.
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Madelyn Pugh Davis, the co-write of "I Love Lucy," passed away in Bel Air, California at the age of 90. She often vocalized her surprise at "Lucy" becoming so iconic, though Lucille Ball always credited "my writers" as the key to the show's success.
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Tim Hetherington, the British photojournalist who was nominated for an Oscar for directing the Afghan war documentary "Restrepo," was killed April 20 in Misrata, Libya, The New York Times reported. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, called Hetherington's death a "devastating loss to the human rights community" for the attention he lavished on "forgotten conflicts."
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Nick Charles, CNN's first sports anchor, died of bladder cancer at age 64, the network reported. "Find that little kernel every day that brings you pleasure and joy — and fasten onto that," he told CNN.com.
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TV on the Radio bassist Gerard Smith died April 20 of lung cancer, the Brooklyn-based rockers announced on their website. He was 36. Smith had taken a leave of absence from TV on the Radio's tour to battle the disease.
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Sidney Lumet directed many American movie classics, from "12 Angry Men" to "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon" to "The Verdict." Though he was nominated 40 times for an Oscar, Lumet never won for directing. He received an honorary Oscar in 2005. The director passed away April 9th at the age of 86 from lymphoma.
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Geraldine A. Ferraro, who earned a place in history in 1984 as the first woman to run on a major party national ticket for vice president, died March 26, 2011 after a long struggle with blood cancer. She was 75.
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Frank Neuhauser, who won the first national spelling bee in 1925 has passed away. He was just 11 years old when he won by correctly spelling the word "gladiolus," the name of a rare iris plant. Neuhauser appeared in the 2002 documentary "Spellbound" that aided awareness and spiked popularity of spelling words correctly.
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Born Nathaniel Hale, hip-hopper and four time Grammy winner Nate Dogg passed away at the age of 41 after a long struggle with strokes. The Gospel-trained singer was chums with fellow rappers Snoop Dogg and Warren G., who featured his hooks in many of their songs.
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Blues pianist Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, who became the oldest Grammy winner earlier this year, died March 21 at age 97. "He was one of the last great Mississippi Bluesmen," B.B. King told the AP. The legendary bluesman never quit smoking and had no survivors.
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Michael Gough, the Malaysian-born actor who played Batman's butler Alfred in four of the franchise's films, died March 17 at age 94, E! News reported. Gough was also a staple of British films and guest starred on the U.K. TV show "Dr. Who."
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David S. Broder, 81, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post and one of the most respected writers on national politics died. He covered every presidential convention since 1956 and often appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press".
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Mike Starr, the former Alice in Chains bassist who was open about his drug problems in season 3 of "Celebrity Rehab," was found dead in Utah on March 8, TMZ reported. He was 44. "Devastating to hear of Mike Starr succumbing to his illness," Dr. Drew Pinsky tweeted. Alice in Chains frontman Layne Stanley died of an overdose in 2002.
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Comedian Mike DeStefano, a finalist on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," died March 6 in New York of a massive heart attack, People reported. He was 44. "We will all laugh a bit less because of losing Mike," "Last Comic Standing" executive producer Peter Engel told People. DeStefano had just performed a string of sold-out shows.
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Len Lesser, who played Uncle Leo on "Seinfeld," died Feb. 16 at age 88. "Heaven got a great comedian and actor today," his daughter, Michele, said in a statement to the AP. The veteran TV star last appeared on "Castle."
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Music Mogul Don Kirshner, who helped launch the careers of Neil Diamond, Billy Joel and the Monkeys, has died from heart failure while being treated for an infection in a hospital in Florida. He was 76. Kirshner also helped launch the careers of Prince, Lionel Richie, Ozzy Osborne and the Eagles.
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Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps and a former Democratic vice presidential candidate, died Jan. 18, NBC News confirmed. He was 95. Shriver, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, also helped his wife Eunice Kennedy create the Special Olympics.
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British actress Susanna York died Jan. 15 after a bout with advanced bone marrow cancer. She was 72. York was nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They? " and worked on dozens of classic films.
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David Nelson, the last surviving family member from the 1950s sitcom <i>The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet</i>, has died after complications of colon cancer. He was 74. Click through to remember others who have recently passed.
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Blonde beauty Anne Francis, who played the love interest in ‘50s sci-fi show “Forbidden Planet” and was later nominated for an Emmy for her role on “Honey West,” died of complications of pancreatic cancer. She was 80.
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Scottish singer Gerry Rafferty, famous for penning the '70s hits "Stuck in the Middle with You" and "Baker Street," died Jan. 4 after a long illness. He was 63. Rafferty had reportedly struggled with alcoholism and suffered liver failure.
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Actor Pete Postlethwaite, who recently appeared in "Inception", but may be best known for his roles in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" or cult classic "The Usual Suspects" died Jan. 2, according to reports. Longtime friend Andrew Richardson told Britain's Press Association that Postlethwaite had been receiving treatment for cancer. Postlethwaite was 64.
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