With 2016 coming to an end, let’s take a moment to reflect on the inspiring lives of those we’ve lost this year.
- Alan Rickman, February 21st, 1946 — January 14th. Alan Rickman was a well-loved actor known for his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series, as well as his roles in Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, and several other films and plays. He passed away at 69 years old.
- George Kennedy, February 18th, 1925 — February 28th. George Kennedy was a prolific actor, appearing in more than 200 productions. He is best known for his roles in Cool Hand Luke, Naked Gun, and Dallas. He was 91 years old.
- Doris Roberts, November 4th, 1925 — April 17th. Doris Roberts gained long-running success as Raymond’s mother on the long-running TV series, Everybody Loves Raymond. Outside of acting, Roberts pursued her other passions as an author and animal rights activist. She passed away at 90 years old.
- Gene Wilder, June 11th, 1933 — August 29. Known for iconic roles in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and The Producers, Gene Wilder delighted audiences across many generations. He passed away at 83 years old.
- Florence Henderson, February 14th, 1934 — November 24th. Florence Henderson had a successful career that spanned six decades, but it was her role as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch that won over the hearts of Americans. She passed away at the age of 82.
- David Bowie, January 8th, 1947 — January 10th. David Bowie was a prominent best-selling musician with a career that spanned five decades. He was known for his innovative songwriting and dramatic performances. He passed away at 69 years old.
- Maurice White, December 19th, 1941 — February 4th. Maurice White was famous for his formation of the soul group Earth, Wind & Fire. He was a seven-time Grammy winner and made several hits as a songwriter, producer, musician, and bandleader. He passed away at 74 years old.
- Merle Haggard, April 6th, 1937 — April 6th. Regarded as country music’s “last true outlaw,” Merle Haggard was famous for country and folk hits such as Okie From Muskogee. He passed away at 79 years old.
- Prince, June 7th, 1958 — April 21st. Another musical innovator on the list, Prince was a genre-defying star that created hit after hit. He passed away at just 57 years old.
- Leonard Cohen, September 21st, 1934 — November 7th. Leonard Cohen was a poet, singer, and songwriter. His works are known for exploring personal themes about the human experience. One of his most famous songs, Hallelujah, was covered more than 60 times by different artists.
- Muhammad Ali, January 17th, 1942 — June 3rd. The heavyweight champion, activist, and philanthropist, known simply as “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali was one of the most inspiring sports figures of his time. He passed away at the age of 74.
- Buddy Ryan, February 17th, 1934 — June 28th. Famed football coach and defensive genius, Buddy Ryan served a long tenure as a coach in the NFL. One of Ryan’s most memorable coaching seasons was during his time spent as a defensive coordinator for the 1985 Chicago Bears, where Ryan’s league-leading defense won the Bears the Super Bowl that year. He was 82.
- Pat Summitt, June 14th, 1952 — June 28th. Pat Summitt served as the legendary coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers basketball team. Her coaching expertise won her more than 1,000 career wins, the most ever in college basketball history. She passed away at the age of 64.
- Arnold Palmer, September 10th, 1929 — September 25th. Nicknamed “The King,” Palmer popularized the sport of golf and became one of the first true sports superstars in the age of television. And of course, who can forget the half & half of iced tea and lemonade that Palmer popularized? The golfing icon passed away at the age of 87.
- Antonia Scalia, March 11th, 1936 — February 13th. Appointed by Ronald Reagan, Antonia Scalia served as a Justice to the Supreme Court for more than 30 years before his death. He passed away at 79 years old.
- Harper Lee, April 28th, 1926 — February 19th. Harper Lee was most known for her book To Kill a Mockingbird, which challenged racial attitudes in the Deep South and sold more than 40 million copies. A first draft of Mockingbird was published in 2015 under the title Go Set a Watchman. Harper Lee passed away at 89 years old.
- Nancy Reagan, July 6th, 1921 — March 6th. Nancy Reagan — the beloved wife of the former President Ronald Reagan — was also a theater, film, and television actress. The first lady was known for her style, influence, and her advocacy against drug abuse. She passed away at the age of 94.
- Janet Reno, July 21st, 1938 — November 7th. Janet Reno was the first woman to serve as Attorney General to the United States, taking up the position in 1993 and serving until 2001 — the longest tenure of an Attorney General in more than 150 years. She passed away at the age of 78.
- Gwen Ifill, September 29th, 1955 — November 14th. Gwen Ifill was an award-winning political journalist and author, known for her role hosting Washington Week in Review and PBS NewsHour. Ifill also was the first African-American woman to host her own major talk show when she began hosting Washington Week in Review in the late 90s. She passed away at the age of 61.