Roll call of some of those who died in 2016
Death claimed transcendent political figures in 2016, including Cuba’s revolutionary leader and Thailand’s longtime king, but also took away royals of a different sort: kings of pop music, from Prince and David Bowie to George Michael.
Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro, who died in November, overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn during his half-century rule.
However, shock, grief and nostalgia greeted the deaths of several giants of pop music. David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals; Prince, who was considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times; and George Michael, first a teenybopper heartthrob and then a mature solo artist with videos that played up his considerable appeal.
Among the political figures who died in 2016 was the world’s longest reigning monarch: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval.
Artists and entertainers who died in 2016 included author Harper Lee, conductor Pierre Boulez, musicians Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Phife Dawg, and actors Gene Wilder, Abe Vigoda, Florence Hender-son, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Vaughn, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Alan Thicke, Fyvush Finkel and Anton Yelchin.
Pierre Boulez, 90. For-mer principal conductor of the New York Philharmon-ic, one of the leading figures in modern classical music. Jan. 5.
Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his charitable work in Chicago as for his singing. Jan. 8.
David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.
Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the “Harry Potter” saga and other films. Jan. 14.
Glenn Frey, 67. Rock ‘n’ roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history’s most successful songwriting teams with such hits as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” Jan. 18.
Abe Vigoda, 94. Actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller” and the doomed Mafia soldier in “The Godfather.” Jan. 26.
Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.
Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court. Feb. 13.
Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child’s-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” became an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.
Nancy Reagan, 94. Backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. March 6.
Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.
Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with “The Larry Sanders Show.” March 24.
Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.
Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws and underdogs. April 6.
Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.” April 21.
Morley Safer, 84. Veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans’ view of the war. May 19.
Rosalie Chris Lerman, 90. Survivor of the Ausch-witz-Birkenau Nazi death camp who was a passionate advocate of Holocaust remembrance. May 19.
Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3.
Anton Yelchin, 27. Rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films. June 19. Hit by his car in his driveway.
Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic “Night” launched his career as one of the world’s foremost witnesses and humanitarians. July 2.
Clown Dimitri, 80. Beloved Swiss clown and mime who studied under Marcel Marceau. July 19.
Rev. Tim LaHaye, 90. Co-author of the “Left Be-hind” series, a literary juggernaut that brought end-times prophecy into mainstream bookstores. July 25.
John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative political commentator and host of a television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of politics. Aug. 16.
Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in “The Producers.” Aug. 28.
Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amend-ment in the 1970s. Sept. 5.
Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. Sept. 25.
Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88. World’s longest reigning monarch, he was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval. Oct. 13.
Tom Hayden, 76. 1960s antiwar activist whose name became forever linked with the Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife, actress Jane Fonda. Oct. 23.
Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the center of several political storms during the Clinton administration. Nov. 7.
Leonard Cohen, 82. Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire.” Nov. 7.
Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.
Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America’s most beloved television moms in “The Brady Bunch.” Nov. 24.
Fidel Castro, 90. He led his rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and challenged U.S. power during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.
John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.
Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains.” Dec. 13.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99. Hun-garian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life. Dec. 18.
George Michael, 53. Musician who shot to stardom at an early age in the teen duo WHAM! and moved smoothly into a solo career. Dec. 25.
Carrie Fisher, 60. Actress who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Dec. 27.
Debbie Reynolds, 84. Actress who lit up the screen in “Singin’ in the Rain’ and other Hollywood classics, one day after losing her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Dec. 28.