Arrow-right Camera
A&E

Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2017

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 28, 2017, 3:42 p.m.

In this Nov. 25, 2007 file photo, legendary U.S. rock and roll singer and guitarist Chuck Berry performs in Burgos, Spain. Rock 'n' roll founding father Berry was among the notable figures who died in 2017. (Israel Lopez Murillo / AP)
In this Nov. 25, 2007 file photo, legendary U.S. rock and roll singer and guitarist Chuck Berry performs in Burgos, Spain. Rock 'n' roll founding father Berry was among the notable figures who died in 2017. (Israel Lopez Murillo / AP)

They made music that inspired legions of fans.

Rock ’n’ roll founding fathers Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, rockers Tom Petty and Greg Allman, grunge icon Chris Cornell, country superstar Glen Campbell and jazz great Al Jarreau were among the notable figures who died in 2017, leaving a void in virtually every genre of music.

Comedians Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles and Dick Gregory left their own indelible mark with their iconic routines.

Entertainers who died in 2017 also included actors Roger Moore of James Bond fame, Bollywood star Reema Lagoo, “Batman” actor Adam West and Mary Tyler Moore.

Here is a roll call of some of the entertainers who died in 2017. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)

JANUARY

Tommy Allsup, 85. A guitarist best known for losing a coin toss that kept him off a plane that later crashed and killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson. Jan. 11. Complications from a hernia operation.

Dick Gautier, 85. The actor who gained fame playing an Elvis-like singer in the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie” and went on to play Hymie the Robot on TV’s “Get Smart.” Jan. 13.

Butch Trucks, 69. A drummer who was one of the founding members of the Southern rock legend The Allman Brothers Band. Jan. 24. Suicide.

Mary Tyler Moore, 80. The star of TV’s beloved “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” whose comic realism helped revolutionize the depiction of women on the small screen. Jan. 25.

Mike Connors, 91. He starred as a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running television series “Mannix.” Jan. 26.

Barbara Hale, 94. A movie actress who found her most famous role on television as steadfast secretary Della Street in the long-running “Perry Mason” series. Jan. 26.

John Hurt, 77. An actor who had a half-century career highlighted with memorable performances, two Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe and four British BAFTA awards. Jan. 27.

FEBRUARY

Irwin Corey, 102. The wild-haired comedian and actor known for his improvisational riffs and nonsensical style who billed himself as “The World’s Foremost Authority.” Feb. 6.

Alec McCowen, 91. A West End and Broadway star who had global success with a one-man show about the life of Jesus. Feb. 6.

Al Jarreau, 76. A Grammy-winning jazz singer who transcended genres over a 50-year career. Feb. 12.

Bill Paxton, 61. A prolific and charismatic actor who had memorable roles in such blockbusters as “Apollo 13” and “Titanic” while also cherishing his work in “One False Move” and other low-budget movies and in the HBO series “Big Love.” Feb. 25. Complications due to surgery.

Joseph Wapner, 97. The retired Los Angeles judge who presided over “The People’s Court” with steady force during the heyday of the reality courtroom show. Feb. 26.

MARCH

Miriam Colon, 80. A pioneering actress in U.S. Latino New York theater who starred in films alongside Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. March 3.

Robert Osborne, 84. The genial face of Turner Classic Movies. The Colfax native died March 6.

Joni Sledge, 60. With her sisters, she recorded the enduring dance anthem “We Are Family.” March 10.

Chuck Berry, 90. He was rock ‘n’ roll’s founding guitar hero and storyteller who defined the music’s joy and rebellion in such classics as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” March 18.

Chuck Barris, 87. His game show empire included “The Dating Game,” “The Newlywed Game” and that infamous factory of cheese, “The Gong Show.” March 21.

APRIL

Lonnie Brooks, 83. A Chicago blues musician whose relationship with his adopted hometown was cemented by his hit recording of Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago.” April 1.

Paul O’Neill, 61. He founded the progressive metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra that was known for its spectacular holiday concerts filled with theatrics, lasers and pyrotechnics. April 5.

Don Rickles, 90. The big-mouthed, bald-headed comedian whose verbal assaults endeared him to audiences and peers and made him the acknowledged grandmaster of insult comedy. April 6.

J. Geils, 71. He was founder of The J. Geils Band known for such peppy early 80s pop hits as “Love Stinks,” “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold.” April 11.

Dorothy Mengering, 95. The mother of host David Letterman, she became an unlikely celebrity in her 70s as she baked mystery pies and covered the Olympics for her son’s late-night show. April 11.

Erin Moran, 56. The former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi.” April 22. Cancer.

Jonathan Demme, 73. The eclectic, ever-enthusiastic filmmaker behind the Oscar winners “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,” and the director of one of the most seminal concert films ever made, the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense.” April 26.

MAY

Powers Boothe, 68. The character actor known for his villain roles in TV’s “Deadwood,” and in the movies “Tombstone,” “Sin City” and “The Avengers.” May 14.

Oleg Vidov, 73. A matinee idol in the Soviet Union who defected to the United States at the height of the Cold War and then enjoyed a long film and TV career in Hollywood. May 15.

Chris Cornell, 52. A rocker who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave and was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement. May 17. Suspected suicide.

Reema Lagoo, 59. The Bollywood actress was the ever-smiling screen mother to some of India’s top actors. May 18. Cardiac arrest.

Dina Merrill, 93. The rebellious heiress who defied her super-rich parents to become a movie star, often portraying stylish wives or “the other woman.” May 22.

Roger Moore, 89. The suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films. May 23.

Gregg Allman, 69. A music legend whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel The Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock. May 27. Cancer.

JUNE

Peter Sallis, 96. A British actor who played irrepressible, cheese-loving inventor Wallace in the “Wallace and Gromit” cartoons. June 2.

Roger Smith, 84. He brought glamour to the TV detective genre as a hip private eye on “77 Sunset Strip.” June 4.

Glenne Headly, 62. An early member of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company who went on to star in films and on TV. June 8.

Adam West, 88. His straight-faced portrayal of Batman in a campy 1960s TV series lifted the tight-clad Caped Crusader into the national consciousness. June 9.

Bill Dana, 92. A comedy writer and performer who won stardom in the 1950s and ’60s with his character Jose Jimenez. June 15.

JULY

Christopher Wong Won, 53. Known as Fresh Kid Ice, he was a founding member of the Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew whose sexually explicit lyrics triggered a national debate over the legal limits of artistic freedom. July 13.

Martin Landau, 89. The chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show “Mission: Impossible,” then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood.” July 15.

George Romero, 77. His classic “Night of the Living Dead” and other horror films turned zombie movies into social commentaries and he saw his flesh-devouring undead spawn countless imitators, remakes and homages. July 16.

Chester Bennington, 41. The Linkin Park lead singer whose screeching vocals helped the rock-rap band become one of the most commercially successful acts in the 2000s. July 20. Apparent suicide.

John Heard, 71. An actor whose many roles included the father in the “Home Alone” series and a corrupt detective in “The Sopranos.” July 21.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, 46. A blind Aboriginal musician renowned for singing in his native Yolngu language with a heart-rending voice and a unique guitar-playing style. July 25.

June Foray, 99. An actress who gave voice to Rocky the Flying Squirrel and hundreds of other cartoon characters. July 26.

Jeanne Moreau, 89. She was the smoky-voiced femme fatale of the French New Wave who starred in Francois Truffaut’s love triangle film “Jules and Jim” and worked with many other acclaimed directors during a decades-long career. July 31.

AUGUST

Ty Hardin, 87. A popular film and television actor who starred as the gunman Bronco Layne in the TV Western series “Bronco” and worked with Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas among others. Aug. 3.

Haruo Nakajima, 88. He portrayed Godzilla in the original 1954 classic. Aug. 7. Pneumonia.

Glen Campbell, 81. The affable superstar singer of “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Wichita Lineman” whose appeal spanned country, pop, television and movies. Aug. 8.

Barbara Cook, 89. Her shimmering soprano made her one of Broadway’s leading ingenues and later a major cabaret and concert interpreter of popular American song. Aug. 8.

Fadwa Suleiman, 46. An outspoken Syrian actress who took center stage at anti-government protests in the early days of the uprising against President Bashar Assad. Aug. 17.

Bruce Forsyth, 89. A legendary entertainer, host and quizmaster on English television whose career spanned the history of TV. Aug. 18.

Dick Gregory, 84. The comedian and activist and who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health. Aug. 19.

Brian Aldiss, 92. One of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers of the 20th century. Aug. 19.

Jerry Lewis, 91. The manic, rubber-faced showman who rose to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons. Aug. 20.

Tobe Hooper, 74. The horror-movie pioneer whose low-budget sensation “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” took a buzz saw to audiences with its brutally frightful vision. Aug. 26.

Richard Anderson, 91. The tall, handsome actor best known for costarring simultaneously in the popular 1970s television shows “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman.” Aug. 31.

SEPTEMBER

Shelley Berman, 92. A comedian who won gold records and appeared on top television shows in the 1950s and 1960s delivering wry monologues about the annoyances of everyday life. Sept. 1.

Walter Becker, 67. The guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the 1970s rock group Steely Dan, which sold more than 40 million albums and produced such hit singles as “Reelin’ In the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number” and “Deacon Blues.” Sept. 3.

Troy Gentry, 50. As one half of Montgomery Gentry, he helped the country music duo become a successful act in the genre, launching countless hits, winning multiple awards and reaching platinum status throughout the 2000s. Sept. 8.

Don Williams, 78. An award-winning country singer with love ballads like “I Believe in You.” Sept. 8.

Peter Hall, 86. A visionary theater director and impresario who founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and helped build Britain’s National Theatre into a producing powerhouse. Sept. 11.

Frank Vincent, 80. A veteran character actor known for playing gangster roles, including in “The Sopranos,” “Goodfellas” and “Casino.”

Grant Hart, 56. The drummer and vocalist for pioneering indie rock band Husker Du, which was seen as a major influence for Nirvana, the Pixies and other bands. Sept. 13. Cancer.

Liz Dawn, 77. The actress who played tart-tongued Vera Duckworth in the British soap opera “Coronation Street” for more than 30 years. Sept. 25.

Hugh M. Hefner, 91. The Playboy magazine founder who revved up the sexual revolution in the 1950s and built a multimedia empire of clubs, mansions, movies and television. Sept. 27.

Anne Jeffreys, 94. The actress and opera singer who likely had her greatest impact on TV audiences as Marion Kerby “the ghostess with the mostess” in the 1950s TV series “Topper.” Sept. 27.

Tom Alter, 67. A well-known Indian theater, television and Bollywood actor of American descent. Sept. 29. Cancer.

Monty Hall, 96. The genial TV game show host whose long-running “Let’s Make a Deal” traded on love of money and merchandise and the mystery of which door had the car behind it. Sept. 30.

OCTOBER

Tom Petty, 66. An old-fashioned rock superstar and everyman who drew upon the Byrds, the Beatles and other bands he worshipped as a boy and produced new classics such as “Free Fallin,’ “Refugee” and “American Girl.” Oct. 2.

Jimmy Beaumont, 76. The lead singer of the doo-wop group the Skyliners and a co-writer of the iconic ballad “Since I Don’t Have You.” Oct. 7.

Jean Rochefort, 87. A French actor who starred in more than 100 movies over a half-century and was much loved by the French public. Oct. 9.

Gord Downie, 53. He made himself part of Canada’s national identity with songs about hockey and small towns as lead singer and songwriter of iconic rock band The Tragically Hip. Oct. 17.

Fats Domino, 89. The amiable rock ’n’ roll pioneer whose steady, pounding piano and easy baritone helped change popular music while honoring the traditions of New Orleans. Oct. 24.

Robert Guillaume, 89. He rose from squalid beginnings in St. Louis slums to become a star in stage musicals and win Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler in the TV sitcoms “Soap” and “Benson.” Oct. 24.

NOVEMBER

John Hillerman, 84. He played stuffed-shirt Higgins to Tom Selleck’s freewheeling detective Thomas Magnum in the 1980s TV series “Magnum, P.I.” Nov. 9.

Liz Smith, 94. A syndicated gossip columnist whose mixture of banter, barbs, and bon mots about the glitterati helped her climb the A-list as high as many of the celebrities she covered. Nov. 12.

Lil Peep, 21. The rapper was a budding star whose emotional, downtrodden lyrics gained a cult following online. Nov. 15. Suspected drug overdose.

Ann Wedgeworth, 83. An actress who gained fame on film and Broadway before taking on the role of a flirty divorcee on “Three’s Company.” Nov. 16.

Malcolm Young, 64. The rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the bawdy hard rock band AC/DC who helped create such head-banging anthems as “Highway to Hell,” “Hells Bells” and “Back in Black.” Nov. 18.

Mel Tillis, 85. The affable longtime country music star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles. Nov. 19.

Della Reese, 86. The actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama “Touched by an Angel.” Nov. 19.

David Cassidy, 67. The teen and pre-teen idol who starred in the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family” and sold millions of records as the musical group’s lead singer. Nov. 21.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, 55. The Russian baritone known for his velvety voice, dashing looks and shock of flowing white hair. Nov. 22.

Jon Hendricks, 96. The pioneering jazz singer and lyricist who with the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross popularized the “vocalese” singing style in which words were added to instrumental songs. Nov. 22.

Shadia, 86. An Egyptian actress and singer who captivated millions for decades with memorable singles and iconic film roles. Nov. 28.

Jim Nabors, 87. The Alabama-born comic actor who starred as TV’s dim but good-hearted Southern rube Gomer Pyle and constantly surprised audiences with his twang-free operatic singing voice. Nov. 30.

DECEMBER

Johnny Hallyday, 74. France’s biggest rock star for more than half a century and an icon who packed sports stadiums and all but lit up the Eiffel Tower with his pumping pelvis and high-voltage tunes. Dec. 6.

Bruce Brown, 80. He molded the modern image of surfer as seeker and transformed the sport with his 1966 surfing documentary “The Endless Summer.” Dec. 10.

Dick Enberg, 82. A Hall of Fame broadcaster known as much for his excited calls of “Oh, my!” as the big events he covered during a 60-year career. Dec. 21.

Heather Menzies-Urich, 68. She played one of the singing von Trapp children in the hit 1965 film, “The Sound of Music.” Dec. 24.


Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!