News Column

Who Died in 2011?

Dec. 8, 2011

Broos Campbell, Staff Writer

Amy Winehouse

Who Died in 2011?

Steve Jobs. Amy Winehouse. Jack LaLanne. Liz Taylor. A lot of people died in 2011, some deserving, some not, and we have nearly a month still to go. There were a lot of suicides -- as ever. There seemed to have been a spate of pancreatic cancer, too, most notably of Steve Jobs, and even a death from complications following breast implant surgery.

Some people on the list were in the "I didn't know they were still alive" category, while others died heartbreakingly young. And too many others took themselves out for reasons often known only to themselves. And of course there were drug overdoses and liver disease among the celebrities. Not surprisingly to anyone who watches "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew," Jeff Conaway and Mike Starr both climbed the stairway to heaven in 2011.

The following list is impeccably scientific in its selection -- "scientific" meaning "I've heard of them." And, often but certainly not always, meaning "because I liked them."

Which would exclude Moammar Gadhafi and Osama bin Laden, both of whom happily made the list. Happily for the rest of us, anyway.


Mark Ryan, 51, British musician (Adam and the Ants).
-- John Barry, 77, British film score composer (From Russia with Love).
-- Megan McNeil, 20, Canadian singer, adrenal cancer.
-- Charlie Callas, 83, American comedian and actor (Silent Movie, Switch).
-- Charlie Louvin, 83, American country music singer (The Louvin Brothers.
-- Jack LaLanne, 96, American fitness and nutritional expert.
-- Sexy Cora, 23, German pornographic actress, complications from breast enlargement surgery.
-- Sargent Shriver, 95, American diplomat and politician.
-- Don Kirshner, 76, American record producer and songwriter, host of "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert."
-- Milton Levine, 97, inventor of Uncle Milton's Ant Farm.
-- Steve Prestwich, 56, British-born Australian drummer (Little River Band) and songwriter.
-- Susannah York, 72, English actress (Tom Jones, Superman), bone marrow cancer.
-- Susana Chávez, 36, Mexican poet and human rights activist, strangled. (death confirmed on this date)
-- Bill Bower, 93, American aviator, last surviving pilot of Doolittle Raid, complications from a fall.
-- Gerry Rafferty, 63, Scottish singer-songwriter (Stealers Wheel), liver failure.
-- Pete Postlethwaite, 64, British actor (In the Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects), pancreatic cancer.
-- Richard Winters, 92, American army officer and World War II veteran, basis of book and miniseries Band of Brothers, Parkinson's disease.


Jane Russell, 89, American actress (The Outlaw, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), respiratory illness.
-- Frank Buckles, 110, American supercentenarian soldier, last living U.S. World War I veteran, natural causes.
-- Duke Snider, 84, American Baseball Hall of Famer (New York Mets, San Francisco Giants).
-- Gary Moore, 58, Irish rock guitarist and singer (Thin Lizzy), heart attack.
-- John Paul Getty III, 54, American heir and kidnapping victim, grandson of J. Paul Getty, after long illness.


Farley Granger, 85, American actor (Strangers on a Train), natural causes.
-- Dorothea Puente, 82, American serial killer, natural causes.
-- Elizabeth Taylor, 79, British-American actress (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cleopatra, Butterfield 8), heart failure.
-- Pinetop Perkins, 97, American blues musician, cardiac arrest.
-- Virginia Klinekole, 86, American politician, first female President of the Mescalero Apache.
-- Owsley Stanley, 76, American-born Australian underground LSD chemist and sound engineer (Grateful Dead), traffic accident.
-- Bill Blackbeard, 84, American comic strip writer and editor.
-- Eddie Snyder, 92, American composer ("Strangers in the Night", "Spanish Eyes").
-- Mike Starr, 44, American bassist (Alice in Chains, Sun Red Sun). [263] (body found on this date)
-- Mike DeStefano, 44, American comedian (Last Comic Standing), heart attack.


Phoebe Snow, 60, American singer-songwriter, brain hemorrhage.
-- Poly Styrene, 53, British musician (X-Ray Spex), breast cancer.
-- Alfred Freedman, 94, American psychiatrist, declassified homosexuality as a mental illness, complications following hip surgery.
-- Michael Sarrazin, 70, Canadian actor (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; The Flim-Flam Man), cancer.


Clarice Taylor, 93, American actress (Sesame Street, The Cosby Show).
-- Jeff Conaway, 60, American actor (Grease, Taxi, Babylon 5).
-- Joseph Brooks, 73, American Grammy-winning songwriter ("You Light Up My Life"), suicide by asphyxiation.
-- Randy Savage, 58, American professional wrestler.
-- Harmon Killebrew, 74, American Hall of Fame baseball player (Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals), esophageal cancer.
-- Omar Ahmad, 46, American entrepreneur (Napster), heart attack.
-- Jackie Cooper, 88, American actor (Our Gang comedies, Superman).
-- Osama bin Laden, 54, founder of al-Qaida, planned September 11 attacks, shot.


George Ballas, 85, American entrepreneur, inventor of the Weed Eater. Peter Falk, 83, American actor (Columbo, Murder, Inc.).
-- Ryan Dunn, 34, American reality television star (Jackass, Viva La Bam), car accident.
-- Wild Man Fischer, 66, American street musician, heart failure.
-- Leonard B. Stern, 87, American television director, producer, and writer (Get Smart), creator of The Honeymooners, co-creator of Mad Libs.
-- Jack Kevorkian, 83, American physician and right to die activist, pulmonary thrombosis.
-- Matt Fong, 57, California State Treasurer (1995–99), skin cancer.


Richard Chavez, 81, American activist and labor organizer, brother of Cesar Chavez, complications from surgery.
-- Hideki Irabu, 42, Japanese baseball player (Chiba Lotte Marines, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos), suicide by hanging. (body discovered on this date)
-- Amy Winehouse, 27, British singer-songwriter ("Rehab"), accidental alcohol poisoning.
-- Elliot Handler, 95, American businessman, co-founder of Mattel, namer of the Barbie doll, creator of Hot Wheels, heart failure.
-- Sean Hoare, 47, British journalist (News of the World), whistleblower of the 2011 phone hacking scandal. (body found on this date)
-- Sherwood Schwartz, 94, American television producer, creator of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island.
-- Betty Ford, 93, American First Lady (1974–1977) and co-founder of Betty Ford Center.


Jerry Leiber, 78, American songwriter ("Stand By Me", "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", "Kansas City"), cardiopulmonary failure.
-- Michael Showers, 45, American actor (Treme, Breaking Bad, The Vampire Diaries), drowned.
-- Bubba Smith, 66, American football player (Baltimore Colts) and actor (Police Academy).


Peter Gent, 69, American football player (Dallas Cowboys) and author (North Dallas Forty).
-- Johnny "Country" Mathis, 77, American singer-songwriter.
-- Jack Adler, 94, American comic book artist.
-- Cliff Robertson, 88, American actor (Charly, Spider-Man, PT 109), natural causes.
-- 44 ice hockey players and coaches killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash:


Tom Keith, 64, American radio personality (A Prairie Home Companion).
-- Moammar Gadhafi, 69, Libyan leader (1969–2011), shot.
-- Paul Leka, 68, American pianist, arranger and songwriter ("Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye", "Green Tambourine").
-- Steve Jobs, 56, American computer entrepreneur and inventor, co-founder of Apple Inc., pancreatic cancer.


Ken Russell, 84, British film director (Women in Love, Tommy), stroke.
-- George Gallup Jr., 81, American pollster, liver cancer.
-- Anne McCaffrey, 85, American science fiction writer (Dragonriders of Pern series), stroke.
-- Heavy D, 44, Jamaican-born American rapper ("Now That We Found Love") and actor (The Cider House Rules, Life).
-- Bil Keane, 89, American cartoonist (The Family Circus), heart failure.
-- Joe Frazier, 67, American boxer, World Heavyweight Champion (1970–1973), liver cancer.
-- Andy Rooney, 92, American journalist, 60 Minutes correspondent (1978–2011), surgical complications.
-- Matty Alou, 72, Dominican Republic-born American baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals), diabetes.


Harry Morgan, 96, American actor (M*A*S*H, Dragnet).
-- Dobie Gray, 71, American singer ("The In Crowd", "Drift Away").
-- Chiyono Hasegawa, 115, Japanese supercentenarian, nation's oldest person.
-- Bill McKinney, 80, American actor (Deliverance, The Outlaw Josey Wales), esophageal cancer.
-- Alan Sues, 85, American comic (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In).
-- Mamoru Uchiyama, 62, Japanese manga artist (The Ultraman).

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters