Bushwick Bill terrified a vice president’s wife into regulating song lyrics, released album art of himself bleeding on a gurney with a gunshot wound to the eye, and helped put Houston into the global hip-hop archipelago.
The 52-year-old rapper, born Richard Stephen Shaw, died Sunday in Colorado, according to representatives for Bill who spoke to the Associated Press. He had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The MC was one of hip-hop’s most colorful and charismatic figures, whose macabre lyricism in the group Geto Boys — imbued with horror-movie violence drawn from life in Houston’s rough Fifth Ward — laid the groundwork for transgressive rap scenes to come.
The rapper was born in Kingston, Jamaica, with a form of dwarfism (he stood roughly 3 feet, 8 inches). After spending his early life in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, his family moved to Houston in the ‘80s. He initially joined Geto Boys as dancer billed as Little Billy but soon became its most recognizable MC from the group’s 1988 debut “Making Trouble” onward.
The group — revamped with MCs Willie D and Scarface in its popular incarnation — gained notice on the Houston imprint Rap-A-Lot, which helped pioneer a Southern-rap style of brash, noisy and tape-warped productions. Geto Boys immediately attracted controversy and intrigue for their surreally violent lyrics, which both reflected and amplified their lived experiences surrounded by drugs, guns and poverty in Houston’s humid haze.
“People want to hear what’s going on around them in everyday life — war, blood, violence,” Bill told Spin in 1990. “It’s okay for the President to start a war in Iraq, but it’s not okay for me to talk about what I see around me in the ghetto.”
But the group also had literary and cinematic streaks. Bill always defended songs like “Mind of a Lunatic,” with its explicit depictions of rape and violence, as character studies. “If people believe that the Geto Boys really do stuff like on ‘Mind of a Lunatic,’ they must also believe there’s a real Freddie Krueger and a real Michael Myers,” he told Spin.
In one of his most famous lyrics, Bill pointed out that hypocrisy. “You don’t want your kids to hear songs of this nature,” he rapped on 1989’s “Talkin’ Loud Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’.” “But you take ‘em to the movies to watch Schwarzenegger.”
Geto Boys were an independent commercial hit, selling hundreds of thousands of copies of their albums across the south, and soon signed with mega-producer Rick Rubin. Rubin reworked their second album, “Grip It! On That Other Level,” into what would have been the group’s Geffen Records-distributed debut. But in an era when N.W.A became Christian-right villains and 2 Live Crew challenged obscenity charges in court, the major-label debut was thwarted after the label got nervous, declining to distribute it over its NC-17 content.
“Love, sex, war and politics — that’s what the album is about,” Bill told the New York Times at the time. “We were just expressing stuff that happens in the ghetto, just being like reporters.”
The group’s 1991 album, “We Can’t Be Stopped,” is perhaps its most infamous. The cover art featured Bill just after an altercation with a girlfriend where, high on PCP, he was shot in the eye (his exact version of events varied over the years). Blood-spattered on a stretcher, with Willie D and Scarface beside him, the album was an apotheosis for Geto Boys’ aesthetic — morbid, self-aware and provocative. Bill would later rap about the incident on “Little Big Man,” his 1992 solo album.
“We Can’t Be Stopped” also contained Geto Boys’ most notorious track, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” in which Geto Boys’ hyper-violent lyricism turned to hallucinatory, psychological noir: “The more I swung, the more blood flew / Then he disappeared and my boys disappeared too / Then I felt just like a fiend / It wasn’t even close to Halloween / It was dark ... on the streets / My hands were all bloody from punching on the concrete.”
The group had a lasting feud with Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore and founder of the Parents Music Resource Center, an activist group that pressured labels into censoring lyrics the group found objectionable (hip-hop like Ice T’s group Body Count and heavy metal like Judas Priest most often found themselves in the crosshairs). But it likely only stirred their notoriety.
Bushwick Bill would cameo on Dr. Dre’s landmark 1992 album, “The Chronic,” and appeared in the video for the popular diss track “Dre Day.” His taste for provocation never dwindled: In the ‘90s, he changed his public name to Dr. Wolfgang Von Bushwickin the Barbarian Mother-Funk Stay High Dollar Billstir.
But Geto Boys’ dank, hooky antagonism stayed in the spotlight. Later that decade, Geto Boys would enjoy a fairly mainstream film moment when their song “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta” was used in Mike Judge’s 1999 cult hit “Office Space,” where it soundtracked the main characters’ rebellion from white-collar malaise.
Geto Boys were scheduled to reunite this year for a short tour called “The Beginning of a Long Goodbye: The Final Farewell,” which acknowledged Bill’s dire illness. However, the tour was soon canceled as Bill’s prognosis worsened.
Bill’s contributions to Geto Boys helped establish the Houston rap culture that would inform native Texan artists like UGK and, famously, Beyonce and Solange Knowles (the latter brought Geto Boys’ Scarface on as a guest on her new album, “When I Get Home”). A generation of antagonistic, distortion-laden SoundCloud rap would later draw from Geto Boys’ legacy and revamp it for an era of internet-driven nihilism and introspection.
“’I’m going to be heard anyway,” Bill told the New York Times in 1990. “They can’t hold us back because we’re going to be doing shows and people will be hearing the songs anyway. The truth can’t be stopped.”
Gene Okerlund, a gentlemanly wrestling announcer who specialized in interviewing the biggest, loudest and most obnoxious professional grapplers in the business, died Jan. 2, 2019. Short, bald, jowly and with a neatly trimmed mustache, Okerlund was a study in stark physical contrast to the athletes he interviewed. He became a stalwart of World Wrestling Entertainment as it became a global juggernaut in the 1980s under entrepreneur Vince McMahon. Wrestling fans know him better as "Mean Gene." He was 76. (Bio by The Washington Post)
Carol Channing, the lanky, ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences over almost 5,000 performances as the scheming Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly" on Broadway and beyond, died Jan. 15, 2019. Besides "Hello, Dolly," Channing starred in other Broadway shows, but none with equal magnetism. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and a national tour. Her outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably "The First Traveling Saleslady" with Ginger Rogers and "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with Julie Andrews. She was 97.
Luke Perry, who gained instant heartthrob status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on "Beverly Hills, 90210," died March 4, 2019, after suffering a massive stroke, his publicist said. Although Perry was best-known for his role as McKay, he enjoyed a prolific film and television career. Most recently, he played construction company owner Fred Andrews, father of main character Archie Andrews, for three seasons on "Riverdale," the CW series that gives a dark take on "Archie" comics. He was 52.
Katherine Helmond, an Emmy-nominated actress who had notable roles on the sitcoms "Who's the Boss?" and "Soap," died Feb. 23, 2019. Nominated for seven Emmy Awards in a 60-year career, Helmond played Judith Light's mother and Alyssa Milano's grandmother Mona Robinson on "Who's the Boss?," the series that ran on ABC from 1984 to 1992. She played matriarch Jessica Tate on another ABC sitcom, "Soap," a parody of soap operas that aired from 1977 to 1981. She was 89.
Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21, 2019. If the Monkees were a manufactured version of the Beatles, a "prefab four" who auditioned for a rock 'n' roll sitcom and were selected more for their long-haired good looks than their musical abilities, Tork was the group's Ringo, its lovably goofy supporting player. He was 77. — Bio by The Washington Post
Bob Einstein, the comedy veteran known for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," died Jan. 2, 2019. Einstein created and played the spoof daredevil character Super Dave Osborne, who appeared on comedy-variety shows and specials. He also played Marty Funkhouser on Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He was 76.
Daryl Dragon, the cap-wearing "Captain" of Captain & Tennille who teamed with then-wife Toni Tennille (left) on such easy listening hits as "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Muskrat Love," died Jan. 3, 2019. Dragon and Tennille divorced in 2014 after nearly 40 years of marriage, but they remained close and Tennille had moved back to Arizona to help care for him. He was 76.
Pegi Young, who with fellow musician and then-husband Neil Young helped found the Bridge School for children with speech and physical impairments, died Jan. 1, 2019. Pegi Young first conceived of the California-based school in 1986 after she and her husband struggled to educate their son Ben, born with cerebral palsy. Over the next three decades, the Youngs helped stage all-star concert benefits, with guest performers including Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and Tom Petty. The Youngshad been one of rock's most enduring couples. They met in 1974, when Pegi was living in a teepee, and married four years later. Neil Young's 1992 country-rock ballad, "Harvest Moon," is a tribute to Pegi. She was 66.
Shirley Boone, the longtime wife of singer Pat Boone as well as a philanthropist, died Jan. 11, 2019. Shirley and Pat Boone had been married for 65 years. During that time, Shirley Boone helped to establish Mercy Corps, which has become an international charitable organization dedicated to addressing economic, environmental, social and political problems. She also published writings, hosted TV shows and recorded music. She was 84.
John C. Bogle
John C. Bogle, who simplified investing for the masses by launching the first index mutual fund and founded Vanguard Group, died Jan. 16, 2019. Bogle did not invent the index fund, but he expanded access to no-frills, low-cost investing in 1976 when Vanguard introduced the first index fund for individual investors, rather than institutional clients. He was 89.
Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose rapturous odes to nature and animal life brought her critical acclaim and popular affection, died Jan. 17, 2019. Author of more than 15 poetry and essay collections, Oliver wrote brief, direct pieces that sang of her worship of the outdoors and disdain for greed, despoilment and other human crimes. One of her favorite adjectives was "perfect," and rarely did she apply it to people. Her muses were owls and butterflies, frogs and geese, the changes of the seasons, the sun and the stars. She was 83.
Glen Wood, the courtly and innovative patriarch of the famed Wood Brothers Racing team who had been the oldest living member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, died Jan. 18, 2019. Wood and younger brother Leonard co-founded Wood Brothers Racing in 1953. Wood Brothers is the longest continuous Cup team in NASCAR and has weathered lean years over nearly seven decades, including seasons in which the organization ran only a partial schedule. The team has been credited with revolutionizing pit stops from routine service calls into carefully orchestrated strategic events that can win or lose races. He was 93.
Former Sen. Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania, a longtime civil rights activist who helped persuade John F. Kennedy to make a crucial phone call to the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960 presidential campaign, died Jan. 21, 2019. He was 92.
Russell Baker, the genial, but sharp-witted writer who won Pulitzer Prizes for his humorous columns in The New York Times and a moving autobiography of his impoverished Baltimore childhood and later hosted television's "Masterpiece Theatre," died Jan. 21, 2019. Amiable and approachable, but also clear-eyed and street smart, Baker enjoyed a decades-long career as reporter, columnist, critic and on-air personality. He won Pulitzers in 1979 for the "Observer," the Times column he wrote for 35 years, and in 1983 for his autobiography "Growing Up." He was 93.
James Ingram, the Grammy-winning singer who launched multiple hits on the R&B and pop charts and earned two Oscar nominations for his songwriting, died Jan. 29, 2019. In 1983 Ingram released his debut album, "It's Your Night," which included the hit "Yah Mo Be There." The song, which featured Michael McDonald, became a Top 20 hit on the Billboard pop charts and won the Grammy for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal. Ingram also reached the top of the pop charts twice with the songs "I Don't Have the Heart" and "Baby, Come to Me," a duet with Patti Austin. "Somewhere Out There," Ingram's collaboration with Linda Ronstadt from the 1986 film "An American Tail," reached No. 2 on the pop charts. He was 66.
Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist
Harold Bradley, who played on hundreds of hit country records including "Crazy," "King of the Road" and "Crying" and helped create "The Nashville Sound" with his brother Owen, died Jan. 31, 2019. The Bradley brothers had a huge impact on Nashville during the 1950s and beyond, with Harold serving as a member of the "A Team" of session musicians and Owen leading Decca Records. He was 93.
Kristoff St. John
Kristoff St. John, an actor best known for his longtime role on the popular soap opera "The Young and the Restless," died Feb. 3, 2019. St. John had played Neil Winters on the CBS soap opera since 1991, earning nine daytime Emmy nominations. He won a Daytime Emmy in 1992 for outstanding younger actor in a drama series and won 10 NAACP Image Awards. He was 52.
Hall of Famer
Frank Robinson, the first black manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues, died Feb. 7, 2019. An MVP with Cincinnati and Baltimore, Robinson cemented his legacy when he became Cleveland's manager in 1975. The Reds, Orioles and Indians retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums. Fearsome and fearless in the batter's box, Robinson hit 586 home runs — he was fourth on the career list behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired and now ranks 10th. He won the Triple Crown while leading the Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966. He was 83.
Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history and a master of legislative deal-making who was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, died Feb. 7, 2019. Dubbed "Big John" for his imposing 6-foot-3 frame and sometimes intimidating manner, a reputation bolstered by the wild game heads decorating his Washington office, Dingell served with every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. He was a longtime supporter of universal health care, a cause he adopted from his late father, whom he replaced in Congress in 1955. He also was known as a dogged pursuer of government waste and fraud, and even helped take down two top presidential aides while leading the investigative arm of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chaired for 14 years. The Michigan Democrat served for 59 years before retiring in 2014. He was 92.
Albert Finney, the Academy Award-nominated star of films from "Tom Jones" to "Skyfall," has died. Finney was a rare star who managed to avoid the Hollywood limelight for more than five decades after bursting to international fame in 1963 in the title role of "Tom Jones." The film gained him the first of five Oscar nominations. Others followed for "Murder on the Orient Express," ''The Dresser," ''Under the Volcano" and "Erin Brockovich." He was 82.
Lyndon LaRouche Jr., the political extremist who ran for president in every election from 1976 to 2004, including a campaign waged from federal prison, died Feb. 12, 2019. The cult-like figure, who espoused a wide range of conspiracy theories and advocated for an overhaul of the world's economic and financial systems, ran first as a U. S. Labor Party candidate and later, after an apparent shift to the right, as a Democratic or independent candidate. He was 96.
Chanel's iconic couturier,
Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the past 50 years, died Feb. 19, 2019. Lagerfeld was of the most hardworking figures in the fashion world holding down the top design jobs at LVMH-owned luxury label Fendi from 1977, and Paris' family-owned power-house Chanel in 1983. Indeed, his indefatigable energy was notable: he lost around 90 pounds in his late 60s to fit into the latest slimline fashions. He was around 85 years old.
Stanley Donen, a giant of the Hollywood musical who through such classics as "Singin' in the Rain" and "Funny Face" helped give us some of the most joyous sounds and images in movie history, died Feb. 21, 2019. The 1940s and '50s were the prime era for Hollywood musicals and no filmmaker contributed more to the magic than Donen, among the last survivors from that era and one willing to extend the limits of song and dance into the surreal. He was part of the unit behind such unforgettable scenes as Kelly dancing with an animated Jerry the mouse in "Anchors Aweigh," Astaire's gravity-defying spin across the ceiling in "Royal Wedding," and, the all-time triumph, Kelly ecstatically splashing about as he performs the title number in "Singin' in the Rain." He was 94.
Keith Flint, lead singer of influential British dance-electronic band The Prodigy, was found dead March 4, 2019, the band said. Flint was the stage persona of the band, whose 1990s hits "Firestarter" and "Breathe" were an incendiary fusion of techno, breakbeat and acid house music. He was 49.
Jan-Michael Vincent, a golden boy of Hollywood action films in the 1970s who starred on the mid-1980s TV adventure series "Airwolf" and saw his career crater amid drug and alcohol addiction, died Feb. 10 in Asheville, North Carolina. The death was confirmed by the Buncombe County Register of Deeds, which provided a death certificate listing the cause as cardiac arrest. He was 74, by most accounts, but the certificate listed him as 73.
Hal Blaine, the Hall of Fame session drummer and virtual one-man soundtrack of the 1960s and '70s who played on the songs of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys and laid down one of music's most memorable opening riffs on the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," died March 11, 2019. The winner of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award last year, Blaine's name was known by few outside the music industry, even in his prime. But just about anyone with a turntable, radio or TV heard his drumming on songs that included Presley's "Return to Sender," the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were," the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," dozens of hits produced by Phil Spector, and the theme songs to "Batman," ''The Partridge Family" and dozens of other shows." He was 90.
Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, who championed the federal law banning discrimination against women in college admissions and sports known as Title IX, died March 14, 2019. Bayh, a liberal Democrat, had a back-slapping, humorous campaigning style that helped him win three narrow elections to the Senate starting in 1962 at a time when Republicans won Indiana in four of the five presidential elections. Bayh's hold on the seat ended with a loss to Dan Quayle during the 1980 Ronald Reagan-led Republican landslide. He was 91.
Dick Dale, whose pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals on songs like "Miserlou" and "Let's Go Trippin'" earned him the title King of the Surf Guitar, died March 16, 2019. Dale liked to say it was he and not the Beach Boys who invented surf music — and some critics have said he was right. An avid surfer, Dale started building a devoted Los Angeles fan base in the late 1950s with repeated appearances at Newport Beach's old Rendezvous Ballroom. He played "Miserlou," ''The Wedge," ''Night Rider" and other compositions at wall-rattling volume on a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar. He was 81.
In this May 19, 2017 file photo, filmmaker Agnès Varda appears at the screening of the film "Visages, Villages," at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Varda, a central figure of the French New Wave who later won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, has died. She was 90.
Nipsey Hussle, the skilled and respected rapper who earned a Grammy nomination this year for his major-label debut and was heavily respected in South Los Angeles where he grew up, was shot and killed March 31, 2019, authorities said. He was 33.
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, the silver-haired Democrat who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to serve six terms in the U.S. Senate, died April 6, 2019. Hollings, whose long and colorful political career included an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, retired from the Senate in 2005, one of the last of the larger-than-life Democrats who once dominated politics in the South. He had served 38 years and two months, making him the eighth longest-serving senator in U.S. history. He was 97.
Marilynn Smith, one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour whose 21 victories, two majors and endless support of her tour led to her induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, died April 9, 2019. Smith was president of the LPGA from 1958 to 1960, and in 1973 she became the first woman to work a PGA Tour event as a TV broadcaster. She was 89.
Richard "Dick" Cole
Retired Lt. Col.
Richard "Dick" Cole, the last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who carried out the daring U.S. attack on Japan during World War II, died April 9, 2019, at a military hospital in Texas. Cole, who lived in Comfort, Texas, had stayed active even in recent years, attending air shows and participating in commemorative events including April 18, 2017, ceremonies for the raid's 75th anniversary at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. He was 103.
Bibi Andersson, the Swedish actress who starred in classic films by compatriot Ingmar Bergman, including "The Seventh Seal" and "Persona," died April 14, 2019. The Swedish Film Institute said Andersson was the only person to have been named best actress four times in its annual awards. In 1958, Andersson also shared the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Bergman's "Brink of Life." Five years later, she won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her performance in Vilgot Sjoman's "The Mistress." She was 83.
Georgia Engel, who played the charmingly innocent, small-voiced Georgette on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and amassed a string of other TV and stage credits, died April 12, 2019. Engel was best known for her role as Georgette on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," the character who was improbably destined to marry pompous anchorman Ted Baxter, played by Ted Knight. Engel also had recurring roles on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Hot in Cleveland." She was a five-time Emmy nominee, receiving two nods for the late Moore's show and three for "Everybody Loves Raymond." She was 70.
Ken Kercheval, who played perennial punching bag Cliff Barnes to Larry Hagman's scheming oil baron J.R. Ewing on the hit TV series "Dallas," died April 21, 2019. He was in "Dallas" for its full run, from 1978 to 1991, and returned as oilman Cliff opposite Hagman for a revival of the prime-time drama that aired from 2012-14. He was 83.
John Havlicek, the Boston Celtics great whose steal of Hal Green's inbounds pass in the final seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia 76ers remains one of the most famous plays in NBA history, died April 25, 2019. Gravel-voiced Johnny Most's radio call of the 1965 steal — "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!" — helped make the play one of the most enduring moments in NBA history. He was 79.
Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican foreign policy sage known for leading efforts to help the former Soviet states dismantle and secure much of their nuclear arsenal, but whose reputation for working with Democrats cost him his final campaign, died April 28, 2019. A soft-spoken and thoughtful former Rhodes Scholar, Lugar dominated Indiana politics during his 36 years in the U.S. Senate. That popularity gave him the freedom to concentrate largely on foreign policy and national security matters — a focus highlighted by his collaboration with Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn on a program under which the U.S. paid to dismantle and secure thousands of nuclear warheads and missiles in the former Soviet states after the Cold War ended. He was 87.
Damon J. Keith
Damon J. Keith, a grandson of slaves and figure in the civil rights movement who as a federal judge was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps, died April 28, 2019. Keith served more than 50 years in the federal courts, and before his death still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. He was 96.
John Singleton, who debuted with the Oscar-nominated "Boyz N the Hood" and continued making movies that probed the lives of black communities in his native Los Angeles and beyond, died April 29. He was 51. Singleton's family said that he died after being taken off life support, about two weeks after the director suffered a major stroke.
Peter Mayhew, the towering actor who donned a huge, furry costume to give life to the rugged-and-beloved character of Chewbacca in the original "Star Wars" trilogy and two other films, died May 2, 2019. As Chewbacca, known to his friends as Chewie, the 7-foot-3 Mayhew was a fierce warrior with a soft heart, loyal sidekick to Harrison Ford's Han Solo, and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. He was 74.
Jim Fowler (right), a naturalist who rose to fame on the long-running television program "Wild Kingdom" and who famously bantered with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," died May 8, 2019. "Wild Kingdom" debuted in 1963. Fowler began as an assistant and later became a co-host with Marlin Perkins before taking over as host. Fowler had his arm swallowed by an anaconda and was charged by a gorilla and other creatures. He was 89.
Peggy Lipton, a star of the groundbreaking late 1960s TV show "The Mod Squad" and the 1990s show "Twin Peaks," died of cancer May 11, 2019. Lipton played one of a trio of Los Angeles undercover "hippie cops" on "The Mod Squad," which aired on ABC. She was 72.
Doris Day, the honey-voiced singer and actress whose film dramas, musicals and innocent sex comedies made her a top star in the 1950s and '60s and among the most popular screen actresses in history, died May 13, 2019. With her lilting contralto, wholesome blonde beauty and glowing smile, she was a top box office draw and recording artist known for such films as "Pillow Talk" and "That Touch of Mink" and for such songs as "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" from the Alfred Hitchcock film "The Man Who Knew Too Much." She was 97.
Tim Conway, the stellar second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, has died, according to his publicist. He was 85. Conway died Tuesday morning, May 14, 2019, after a long illness in Los Angeles, according to Howard Bragman, who heads LaBrea Media.
I.M. Pei, the versatile, globe-trotting architect who revived the Louvre with a giant glass pyramid and captured the spirit of rebellion at the multi-shaped Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died May 16, 2019. Pei's works ranged from the trapezoidal addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to the chiseled towers of the National Center of Atmospheric Research that blend in with the reddish mountains in Boulder, Colorado. His buildings added elegance to landscapes worldwide with their powerful geometric shapes and grand spaces. Among them are the striking steel and glass Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong and the Fragrant Hill Hotel near Beijing. He was 102.
Herman Wouk, the versatile, Pulitzer Prize winning author of such million-selling novels as "The Caine Mutiny" and "The Winds of War" whose steady Jewish faith inspired his stories of religious values and secular success, died May 17, 2019. Among the last of the major writers to emerge after World War II and first to bring Jewish stories to a general audience, he had a long, unpredictable career that included gag writing for radio star Fred Allen, historical fiction and a musical co-written with Jimmy Buffett. He won the Pulitzer in 1952 for "The Caine Mutiny," the classic Navy drama that made the unstable Captain Queeg, with the metal balls he rolls in his hand and his talk of stolen strawberries, a symbol of authority gone mad. A film adaptation, starring Humphrey Bogart, came out in 1954 and Wouk turned the courtroom scene into the play "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial." He was 103.
Formula One great
Niki Lauda, who won two of his world titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, died May 20, 2019. Lauda won the F1 drivers' championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren. In 1976, he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix, but he made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later. He was 70.
Judith Kerr, a refugee from Nazi Germany who wrote and illustrated the bestselling "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" and other beloved children's books, died May 22, 2019. The beguiling story of the tea-drinking tiger has been shared by parents with young children since it was first published in 1968 and has never been out of print. It has sold more than 5 million copies. She was 95.
Bart Starr, the gentlemanly quarterback and catalyst of Vince Lombardi's powerhouse Green Bay Packers teams of the 1960s whose sneak won the famed "Ice Bowl" in 1967, died May 26, 2019. The Packers selected Starr out of the University of Alabama with the 200th pick in the 1956 draft. He led Green Bay to six division titles, five NFL championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls. Until Brett Favre came along, Starr was known as the best Packer ever. The team retired his No. 15 jersey in 1973, making him just the third player to receive that honor. Four years later, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He was 85.
Bill Buckner, a star hitter who became known for making one of the most infamous plays in major league history, has died. He was 69. Buckner won an NL batting title, was an All-Star and got 2,715 hits in a 22-year career. But it was a little groundball in the 1986 World Series that forever changed his legacy.
Sen. Thad Cochran, who used seniority to steer billions of dollars to his home state of Mississippi, died May 30, 2019. Cochran was elected to the U.S. House in 1972. When he won a Senate seat in 1978, he became the first Republican since Reconstruction to win statewide office in Mississippi. He was 81.
Mac 'Dr John' Rebennack
Dr. John, the New Orleans musician who blended black and white musical styles with a hoodoo-infused stage persona and gravelly bayou drawl, died June 6, 2019. His spooky 1968 debut "Gris-Gris" combined rhythm 'n blues with psychedelic rock and startled listeners with its sinister implications of other-worldly magic. He later had a Top 10 hit with "Right Place, Wrong Time," collaborated with numerous top-tier rockers, won multiple Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was 77.
A publicist for rapper
Bushwick Bill says the founder of the iconic Houston rap group the Geto Boys has died. Bill’s publicist, Dawn P., told The Associated Press that the rapper died Sunday, June 9, 2019, at a Colorado hospital. In this March 18, 2016, photo Bushwick Bill, right, joins Deftones' Chino Moreno onstage at the SPIN Party at Stubb's during the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
Pat Bowlen, the Denver Broncos owner who transformed the team from also-rans into NFL champions and helped the league usher in billion-dollar TV deals, died June 13. He was 75.
Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the "poor little rich girl" of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages and reigned during the 1970s and '80s as a designer jeans pioneer, died Monday at the age of 95.
Judith Krantz, whose million-selling novels such as "Scruples" and "Princess Daisy" engrossed readers worldwide with their steamy tales of the rich and beautiful, died June 22, 2019. Krantz wrote for Cosmopolitan and Ladies Home Journal magazines before discovering, at age 50, the talent for fiction that made her rich and famous like the characters she created. Her first novel — "Scruples" in 1978 — became a best-seller, as did the nine that followed. Krantz's books have been translated into 52 languages and sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. They inspired a series of hit miniseries with the help of her husband, film and television producer Steve Krantz. She was 91.
Beth Chapman, the brash, buxom and blonde wife and co-star of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman, died June 26. She was 51
Los Angeles Angels pitcher
Tyler Skaggs died July 1 at the age of 27, stunning Major League Baseball and leading to the postponement of the team's game against the Texas Rangers. Skaggs was with the team in Texas when he was found unresponsive in his hotel room, police said . He was pronounced dead at the scene. Skaggs, who would have turned 28 on July 13, had been a regular in the Angels' starting rotation since late 2016, when he returned from Tommy John surgery. He struggled with injuries repeatedly over the past three seasons but persevered to become a valuable starter in Los Angeles' injury-plagued rotation.
Lee Iacocca, the auto executive and master pitchman who put the Mustang in Ford's lineup in the 1960s and became a corporate folk hero when he resurrected Chrysler 20 years later, has died. In his 32-year career at Ford and then Chrysler, Iacocca helped launch some of Detroit's best-selling and most significant vehicles, including the minivan, the Chrysler K-cars and the Ford Escort. He also spoke out against what he considered unfair trade practices by Japanese automakers. He was 94.
Arte Johnson, who won an Emmy for comedy sketch work on the television show "Laugh-In," died July 3. Johnson became known for his catchphrase "Verrry interesting" on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." The Michigan native won an Emmy in 1969 and was nominated two more times through his work on the hit show. One of his characters was Wolfgang, a cigarette-smoking German soldier who thought World War II was still going on. He was 90.
Eva Kor, who championed forgiveness even for those who carried out the Holocaust atrocities, died July 4 during an overseas trip for a museum she founded in Indiana, museum officials said. Kor was a Jewish native of Romania who was sent in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where most of her family was killed. She and her twin sister survived, but they were subjected to inhumane medical experiments. She was 85.
Cameron Boyce, best known for his role as the teenage son of Cruella de Vil in the Disney Channel franchise "Descendants," died July 6. An official cause of death has not been announced, but his family released a statement Sunday saying Boyce "passed away in his sleep due to a seizure that was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated. According to his bio on the Disney Channel, Boyce was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was a dancer who got his acting start in commercials, then television and film. Boyce starred alongside Adam Sandler in "Grown Ups" and "Grown Ups 2," and other film credits include "Mirrors," ''Eagle Eye" and the indie feature "Runt." He also starred in the upcoming HBO series "Mrs. Fletcher." He was 20 years old.
H. Ross Perot
H. Ross Perot, the colorful, self-made Texas billionaire who twice ran for president, has died. Family spokesman James Fuller says Perot died early Tuesday. He was 89. Perot rose from Depression-era poverty to become one of the nation's richest men as the founder of computer services giant Electronic Data Systems Corp.
In this Jan. 15, 1995, file photo, actor
Rip Torn gives a thumbs-up to photographers after winning for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show," at the 16th annual CableACE Awards ceremony, in Los Angeles. The award-winning television, film and theater actor Torn died at the age of 88, his publicist announced July 9.
Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book "Ball Four," died July 10. Published in 1970, "Ball Four" detailed Yankees great Mickey Mantle's carousing, and the use of stimulants in the major leagues. Bouton's revealing look at baseball off the field made for eye-opening and entertaining reading, but he paid a big price for the best-seller when former teammates and players and executives across baseball ostracized him for exposing their secrets. He wasn't invited to the Yankees' Old-Timers' Day until 1998. He was 80.
Denise Nickerson, who portrayed spoiled child Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" poses at Jacques Torres Chocolates during an event promoting the 40th anniversary of the popular children's film on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 in New York. Nickerson was taken off life support Tuesday and has since died, according to family members. She was 62 (AP Photo/StarPix, Marion Curtis)
Jerry Lawson, who for four decades was the lead singer of the eclectic cult-favorite a cappella group the Persuasions, died July 10. Lawson's smooth baritone led the group of five and later six singers, who were revered as the "The Kings of a Cappella" by their small but devoted fan base. He was 75.
Former professional boxing champion
Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker was hit by a vehicle and killed July 14, 2019, in Virginia Beach. Whitaker was a four-weight world champion, having won titles in four different weight classes. In 1989, he was named fighter of the year by "The Ring" magazine. He was 55