Final goodbye


Recalling influential people who died in 2022

By Bernard McGhee - The Associated Press



One would have to go back hundreds of years to find a monarch who reigned longer than Queen Elizabeth II.

In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernize the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals. For most Britons, she was the only monarch they had ever known.

Her death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year, prompting a collective outpouring of grief and respect for her steady leadership as well as some criticism of the monarchy’s role in colonialism. She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image — on stamps, coins and bank notes — was among the most reproduced in the world.

Other world leaders who died in 2022 include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died in August. His efforts to revitalize the Soviet Union led to the collapse of communism there and the end of the Cold War. He eventually resigned after an attempted coup, just as republics declared independence from the Soviet Union.

The year also saw the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot during a campaign speech in July.

Other political figures who died this year include: former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, former Mexico President Luis Echeverria, former Peru President Francisco Morales Bermudez, Cuban diplomat Ricardo Alarcón, former U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt and former U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Among the entertainers who died this year was groundbreaking actor Sidney Poitier, who played roles with such dignity that it helped change the way Black people are portrayed on screen. Poitier, who died in January, became the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field.”

Others in the world of arts and entertainment who died in 2022 include: director Jean-Luc Godard; filmmaker Ivan Reitman; visual artists Paula Rego and Carmen Herrera; fashion designers Issey Miyake and Hanae Mori; fashion editor André Leon Talley; country singers Loretta Lynn and Naomi Judd; rock star Meat Loaf; Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie; Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins; Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy “Fletch” Fletcher; Bollywood singer and composer Bappi Lahiri; singer-actors Olivia Newton-John and Irene Cara; “Sesame Street” actor Bob McGrath; jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis; rappers Coolio and Takeoff; singers Ronnie Spector, Judith Durham, Lata Mangeshkar and Gal Costa; and actors Angela Lansbury, Leslie Jordan, Bob Saget, Tony Dow, Kirstie Alley, Nichelle Nichols, Ray Liotta, Irene Papas, Sally Kellerman, Anne Heche, Bernard Cribbins, Yvette Mimieux and June Brown.

Here is a roll call of some influential figures who died in 2022 (cause of death cited for younger people, if available):

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JANUARY

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Dan Reeves, 77. He won a Super Bowl as a player with the Dallas Cowboys but was best known for a long coaching career that included four blowout losses in the title game with the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons. Jan. 1.

Sidney Poitier, 94. He played roles of such dignity and intelligence that he transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, becoming the first Black actor to win an Oscar for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw. Jan. 6.

Marilyn Bergman, 93. The Oscar-winning lyricist who teamed with husband Alan Bergman on “The Way We Were,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” and hundreds of other songs. Jan. 8.

Bob Saget, 65. The actor-comedian known for his role as beloved single dad Danny Tanner on the sitcom “Full House” and as the wisecracking host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Jan. 9.

Dwayne Hickman, 87. The actor and network TV executive who despite numerous achievements throughout his life would always be remembered fondly by a generation of baby boomers for his role as Dobie Gillis. Jan. 9.

Ronnie Spector, 78. The cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes. Jan. 12.

Fred Parris, 85. The lead singer of the 1950s harmony group the Five Satins and composer of the classic doo-wop ballad “In the Still of the Night.” Jan. 13.

Ralph Emery, 88. He became known as the dean of country music broadcasters over more than a half-century in both radio and television. Jan. 15.

Charles McGee, 102. A Tuskegee Airman who flew 409 fighter combat missions over three wars and later helped to bring attention to the Black pilots who battled racism at home to fight for freedom abroad. Jan. 16.

Yvette Mimieux, 80. The blond and blue-eyed 1960s film star of “Where the Boys Are,” “The Time Machine” and “Light in the Piazza.” Jan. 17.

Meat Loaf, 74. The rock superstar loved by millions for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Jan. 20.

Louie Anderson, 68. His four-decade career as a comedian and actor included his unlikely, Emmy-winning performance as mom to twin adult sons in the TV series “Baskets.” Jan. 21.

Howard Hesseman, 81. He played the radio disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” and the actor-turned-history teacher Charlie Moore on “Head of the Class.” Jan. 29.

Cheslie Kryst, 30. The winner of the Miss USA pageant and a correspondent for the entertainment news program “Extra.” Jan. 30. Died by suicide.

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FEBRUARY

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Robin Herman, 70. A gender barrier-breaking reporter for The New York Times who was the first female journalist to interview players in the locker room after an NHL game. Feb. 1.

Ashley Bryan, 98. A prolific and prize-winning children’s author and illustrator who told stories of Black life, culture and folklore in such acclaimed works as “Freedom Over Me,” “Beautiful Blackbird” and “Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum.” Feb. 4.

Douglas Trumbull, 79. A visual effects master who showed movie audiences indelible images of the future and of space in films like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Blade Runner.” Feb. 7.

Ivan Reitman, 75. The influential filmmaker and producer behind many of the most beloved comedies of the late 20th century, from “Animal House” to “Ghostbusters.” Feb. 12.

P.J. O’Rourke, 74. The prolific author and satirist who re-fashioned the irreverence and “Gonzo” journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a distinctive brand of conservative and libertarian commentary. Feb. 15.

Gail S. Halvorsen, 101. A U.S. military pilot known as the “Candy Bomber” for his candy airdrops during the Berlin Airlift after World War II ended. Feb. 16.

Sally Kellerman, 84. The Oscar and Emmy nominated actor who played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in director Robert Altman’s 1970 film “MASH.” Feb. 24.

John Landy, 91. An Australian runner who dueled with Roger Bannister to be the first person to run a four-minute mile. Feb. 24.

Shirley Hughes, 94. A British children’s author and illustrator best known for her popular “Alfie” series and classic picture book “Dogger.” Feb. 25.

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MARCH

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Alan Ladd Jr., 84. The Oscar-winning producer and studio boss who as a 20th Century Fox executive greenlit “Star Wars.” March 2.

Autherine Lucy Foster, 92. The first Black student to enroll at the University of Alabama. March 2.

Inge Deutschkron, 99. A Holocaust survivor who hid in Berlin during the Third Reich to escape deportation to Nazi death camps and later wrote an autobiography. March 9.

Emilio Delgado, 81. The actor and singer who for 45 years was a warm and familiar presence in children’s lives and a rare Latino face on American television as fix-it shop owner Luis on “Sesame Street.” March 10.

William Hurt, 71. His laconic charisma and self-assured subtlety as an actor made him one of the 1980s foremost leading men in movies such as “Broadcast News,” “Body Heat” and “The Big Chill.” March 13.

Madeleine Albright, 84. A child refugee from Nazi- and then Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe who rose to become the first female secretary of state and a mentor to many current and former American statesmen and women. March 23.

Dagny Carlsson, 109. Dubbed the world’s oldest blogger, who wrote about her life in Sweden based on the attitude that you should never think you are too old to do what you want to do. March 24.

Taylor Hawkins, 50. For 25 years, he was the drummer for Foo Fighters and best friend of frontman Dave Grohl. March 25.

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APRIL

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Estelle Harris, 93. She hollered her way into TV history as George Costanza’s short-fused mother on “Seinfeld” and voiced Mrs. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” franchise. April 2.

Bobby Rydell, 79. A pompadoured heartthrob of early rock ’n roll who was a star of radio, television and the movie musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” April 5.

Mimi Reinhard, 107. A secretary in Oskar Schindler’s office who typed up the list of Jews he saved from extermination by Nazi Germany. April 8.

Gilbert Gottfried, 67. The actor and legendary standup comic known for his raw, scorched voice and crude jokes. April 12.

Liz Sheridan, 93. She played doting mom to Jerry Seinfeld on his hit sitcom. April 15.

Dede Robertson, 94. The wife of religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and a founding board member of the Christian Broadcasting Network. April 19.

Robert Morse, 90. An actor who won a Tony Award as a hilariously brash corporate climber in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and a second one a generation later as the brilliant, troubled Truman Capote in “Tru.” April 20.

Orrin G. Hatch, 88. The longest-serving Republican senator in history who was a fixture in Utah politics for more than four decades. April 23.

Naomi Judd, 76. Her family harmonies with daughter Wynonna turned them into the Grammy-winning country stars The Judds. April 30. Died by suicide.

Ron Galella, 91. The photographer known for his visceral celebrity shots and his dogged pursuit of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who sued him and won a restraining order. April 30.

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MAY

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Kathy Boudin, 78. A former Weather Underground radical who served more than two decades behind bars for her role in a fatal 1981 armored truck robbery and spent the latter part of her life helping people who had been imprisoned. May 1.

Mickey Gilley, 86. A country singer whose namesake Texas honky-tonk inspired the 1980 film “Urban Cowboy” and a nationwide wave of Western-themed nightspots. May 7.

Ray Scott, 88. A consummate promoter who helped launch professional bass angling and became a fishing buddy to presidents while popularizing the conservation practice of catching and releasing fish. May 8.

Fred Ward, 79. A veteran actor who brought a gruff tenderness to tough-guy roles in such films as “The Right Stuff,” “The Player” and “Tremors.” May 8.

Bob Lanier, 73. The left-handed big man who muscled up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of the NBA’s top players of the 1970s. May 10.

Randy Weaver, 74. The patriarch of a family that was involved in an 11-day Idaho standoff with federal agents 30 years ago that left three people dead and helped spark the growth of antigovernment extremists. May 11.

Rosmarie Trapp, 93. Her Austrian family the von Trapps was made famous in the musical and beloved movie “The Sound of Music.” May 13.

Vangelis, 79. The Greek electronic composer who wrote the unforgettable Academy Award-winning score for the film “Chariots of Fire” and music for dozens of other movies, documentaries and TV series. May 17.

Ray Liotta, 67. The actor best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” and baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams.” May 26.

Ronnie Hawkins, 87. A brash rockabilly star from Arkansas who became a patron of the Canadian music scene after moving north and recruiting a handful of local musicians later known as the Band. May 29.

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JUNE

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Ann Turner Cook, 95. Her cherubic baby face was known the world over as the original Gerber baby. June 3.

Jim Seals, 80. He teamed with fellow musician “Dash” Crofts on such 1970s soft-rock hits as “Summer Breeze,” “Diamond Girl” and “We May Never Pass This Way Again.” June 6.

Mark Shields, 85. A political commentator and columnist who shared his insight into American politics and wit on “PBS NewsHour” for decades. June 18.

Józef Walaszczyk, 102. A member of the Polish resistance who rescued dozens of Jews during the Nazi German occupation of Poland during World War II. June 20.

Tony Siragusa, 55. The charismatic defensive tackle who was part of one of the most celebrated defenses in NFL history with the Baltimore Ravens. June 22.

Leonardo Del Vecchio, 87. He founded eyewear empire Luxottica in a trailer and turned an everyday object into a global fashion item, becoming one of Italy’s richest men in the process. June 27.

Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, 98. The last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, whose heroics under fire over several crucial hours at the Battle of Iwo Jima made him a legend in his native West Virginia. June 29.

Sonny Barger, 83. The leather-clad fixture of 1960s counterculture and figurehead of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who was at the notorious Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway. June 29.

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JULY

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Bradford Freeman, 97. The last survivor of the famed Army unit featured in the World War II oral history book and miniseries “Band of Brothers.” July 3.

James Caan, 82. The curly-haired tough guy known to movie fans as the hotheaded Sonny Corleone of “The Godfather” and to television audiences as both the dying football player in the classic weeper “Brian’s Song” and the casino boss in “Las Vegas.” July 6.

Shinzo Abe, 67. Japan’s longest serving prime minister, he was also perhaps the most polarizing, complex politician in recent Japanese history. July 8. Fatally shot during a campaign speech.

Tony Sirico, 79. He played the impeccably groomed mobster Paulie Walnuts in “The Sopranos” and brought his tough-guy swagger to films including “Goodfellas.” July 8.

Larry Storch, 99. The rubber-faced comic whose long career in theater, movies and television was capped by his “F Troop” role as zany Cpl. Agarn in the 1960s spoof of Western frontier TV shows. July 8.

Ivana Trump, 73. A skier-turned-businesswoman who formed half of a publicity power couple in the 1980s as the first wife of former President Donald Trump and mother of his oldest children. July 14. Injuries suffered in an accident.

William “Poogie” Hart, 77. A founder of the Grammy-winning trio the Delfonics who helped write and sang a soft lead tenor on such classic “Sound of Philadelphia” ballads as “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” July 14.

Taurean Blacque, 82. An Emmy-nominated actor who was known for his role as a detective on the 1980s NBC drama series “Hill Street Blues.” July 21.

Paul Sorvino, 83. An imposing actor who specialized in playing crooks and cops like Paulie Cicero in “Goodfellas” and the NYPD sergeant Phil Cerreta on “Law & Order.” July 25.

Tony Dow, 77. As Wally Cleaver on the sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” he helped create the popular and lasting image of the American teenager of the 1950s and 60s. July 27.

Nichelle Nichols, 89. She broke barriers for Black women in Hollywood as communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series. July 30.

Pat Carroll, 95. A comedic television mainstay for decades, Emmy-winner for “Caesar’s Hour” and the voice of Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.” July 30.

Bill Russell, 88. The NBA great who anchored a Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years — the last two as the first Black head coach in any major U.S. sport — and marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. July 31.

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AUGUST

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Vin Scully, 94. A Hall of Fame broadcaster who called thousands of games involving the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers during his 67 years in the booth. Aug. 2.

Bert Fields, 93. For decades, he was the go-to lawyer for Hollywood A-listers including Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, George Lucas and the Beatles, and a character as colorful as many of his clients. Aug. 7.

Olivia Newton-John, 73. The Grammy-winning superstar who reigned on pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts with such hits as “Physical” and “You’re the One That I Want” and won countless hearts as everyone’s favorite Sandy in the blockbuster film version of “Grease.” Aug. 8.

Lamont Dozier, 81. He was the middle name of the celebrated Holland-Dozier-Holland team that wrote and produced “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Heat Wave” and dozens of other hits and helped make Motown an essential record company of the 1960s and beyond. Aug. 8.

Wolfgang Petersen, 81. The German filmmaker whose World War II submarine epic “Das Boot” propelled him into a blockbuster Hollywood career that included the films “In the Line of Fire,” “Air Force One” and “The Perfect Storm.” Aug. 12.

Anne Heche, 53. The Emmy-winning film and television actor whose dramatic Hollywood rise in the 1990s and accomplished career contrasted with personal chapters of turmoil. Aug. 14. Injuries suffered in a car crash.

Jerry Allison, 82. An architect of rock drumming who played and co-wrote songs with childhood friend Buddy Holly and whose future wife inspired the classic “Peggy Sue.” Aug. 22.

Len Dawson, 87. The Hall of Fame quarterback whose unmistakable swagger in helping the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title earned him the nickname “Lenny the Cool.” Aug. 24.

Bob LuPone, 76. As an actor, he earned a Tony Award nomination in the original run of “A Chorus Line” and played Tony Soprano’s family physician, and also helped found and lead the influential off-Broadway theater company MCC Theater for nearly 40 years. Aug. 27.

Mikhail Gorbachev, 91. The last leader of the Soviet Union, he set out to revitalize it but ended up unleashing forces that led to the collapse of communism, the breakup of the state and the end of the Cold War. Aug. 30.

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SEPTEMBER

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Bernard Shaw, 82. CNN’s chief anchor for two decades and a pioneering Black broadcast journalist best remembered for calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 as missiles flew around him in Baghdad. Sept. 7.

Marsha Hunt, 104. One of the last surviving actors from Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age of the 1930s and 1940s who worked with performers ranging from Laurence Olivier to Andy Griffith in a career disrupted for a time by the McCarthy-era blacklist. Sept. 7.

Lance Mackey, 52. The four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winner was one of mushing’s most colorful and accomplished champions but also suffered from health and drug issues. Sept. 7.

Queen Elizabeth II, 96. Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century. Sept. 8.

Ken Starr, 76. A former federal appellate judge and a prominent attorney whose criminal investigation of Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment and put Starr at the center of one of the country’s most polarizing debates of the 1990s. Sept. 13.

Irene Papas, 93. The Greek actor and recording artist renowned for her dramatic performances and austere beauty that earned her prominent roles in Hollywood movies as well as in French and Italian cinema over six decades. Sept. 14.

Louise Fletcher, 88. A late-blooming star whose riveting performance as the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” set a new standard for screen villains and won her an Academy Award. Sept. 23.

Meredith Tax, 80. A prominent activist and writer of second-wave feminism who challenged herself, her peers and the world at large to rethink long-held ideas about gender, race and class. Sept. 25.

Coolio, 59. The rapper was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage.” Sept. 28.

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OCTOBER

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Antonio Inoki, 79. A popular Japanese professional wrestler and lawmaker who faced boxing great Muhammad Ali in a mixed martial arts match in 1976. Oct. 1.

Sacheen Littlefeather, 75. The actor and activist who declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Award for “The Godfather” on his behalf in an indelible protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. Oct. 2.

Loretta Lynn, 90. The Kentucky coal miner’s daughter whose frank songs about life and love as a woman in Appalachia pulled her out of poverty and made her a pillar of country music. Oct. 4.

Judy Tenuta, 72. A brash standup who cheekily styled herself as the “Love Goddess” and toured with George Carlin as she built her career in the 1980s golden age of comedy. Oct. 6.

Nikki Finke, 68. The veteran reporter who became one of Hollywood’s top journalists as founder of the entertainment trade website Deadline.com and whose sharp-tongued tenacity made her the most-feared columnist in show business. Oct. 9.

Angela Lansbury, 96. The scene-stealing British actor who kicked up her heels in the Broadway musicals “Mame” and “Gypsy” and solved endless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series “Murder, She Wrote.” Oct. 11.

Robbie Coltrane, 72. The baby-faced comedian and character actor whose hundreds of roles included a crime-solving psychologist on the TV series “Cracker” and the gentle half-giant Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” movies. Oct. 14.

Joanna Simon, 85. An acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Emmy-winning TV correspondent and one of the three singing Simon sisters who include pop star Carly. Oct. 19.

Leslie Jordan, 67. The Emmy-winning actor whose wry Southern drawl and versatility made him a comedy and drama standout on TV series including “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story.” Oct. 24.

Julie Powell, 49. A food writer who became an internet darling after blogging for a year about making every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” leading to a book deal and a film adaptation. Oct. 26.

Jerry Lee Lewis, 87. The untamable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer whose outrageous talent, energy and ego collided on such definitive records as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and sustained a career otherwise upended by personal scandal. Oct. 28.

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NOVEMBER

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Aaron Carter, 34. The singer-rapper who began performing as a child and had hit albums starting in his teen years. Nov. 5.

Jeff Cook, 73. The guitarist who co-founded the country group Alabama and steered them up the charts with such hits as “Song of the South” and “Dixieland Delight.” Nov. 8.

Paul Schrade, 97. A labor union leader who was shot in the head during the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and spent decades convinced that Sirhan Sirhan wasn’t the killer. Nov. 9.

Kevin Conroy, 66. The prolific voice actor whose gravely delivery on “Batman: The Animated Series” was for many Batman fans the definitive sound of the Caped Crusader. Nov. 10.

Gallagher, 76. The long-haired, smash-’em-up comedian who left a trail of laughter, anger and shattered watermelons over a decadeslong career. Nov. 11.

John Aniston, 89. The Emmy-winning star of the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and father of actress Jennifer Aniston. Nov. 11.

Robert Clary, 96. A French-born survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II who played a feisty prisoner of war in the improbable 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.” Nov. 16.

Jason David Frank, 49. He played the Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver on the 1990s children’s series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” Nov. 19.

Irene Cara, 63. The Oscar, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy winning singer-actor who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance … What a Feeling” from 1983′s “Flashdance.” Nov. 25.

Freddie Roman, 85. The comedian was a former dean of The Friars Club and a staple of the Catskills comedy scene. Nov. 26.

Christine McVie, 79. The British-born Fleetwood Mac vocalist, songwriter and keyboard player whose cool, soulful contralto helped define such classics as “You Make Loving Fun,” “Everywhere” and “Don’t Stop.” Nov. 30.

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DECEMBER

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Gaylord Perry, 84. The Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner was a master of the spitball who wrote a book about using pitch. Dec. 1.

Julia Reichert, 76. The Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker behind “American Factory” — often called the “godmother of American independent documentaries” — whose films explored themes of race, class and gender, often in the Midwest. Dec. 1.

Dorothy Pitman Hughes, 84. A pioneering Black feminist, child welfare advocate and lifelong community activist who toured the country speaking with Gloria Steinem in the 1970s and appears with her in one of the most iconic photos of the second-wave feminist movement. Dec. 1.

Kirstie Alley, 71. A two-time Emmy winner whose roles on the TV megahit “Cheers” and in the “Look Who’s Talking” films made her one of the biggest stars in American comedy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Dec. 5.

Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, 96. She was the so-called last Hawaiian princess whose lineage included the royal family that once ruled the islands and an Irish businessman who became one of Hawaii’s largest landowners. Dec. 11.

Mike Leach, 61. The gruff, pioneering and unfiltered college football coach who helped revolutionize the game with the Air Raid offense. Dec. 12.

Stephen “tWitch” Boss, 40. The longtime and beloved dancing DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and a former contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Dec. 13. Died by suicide.

Shirley Eikhard, 67. The singer-songwriter who supplied songs for Cher, Emmylou Harris, Anne Murray, Chet Atkins and found lasting fame penning Bonnie Raitt‘s Grammy-winning 1991 hit “Something to Talk About.” Dec. 15.

Franco Harris, 72. The Hall of Fame running back whose heads-up thinking authored the “Immaculate Reception,” considered the most iconic play in NFL history. Dec. 20.

Thom Bell, 79. The Grammy-winning producer, writer and arranger who helped perfect the “Sound of Philadelphia” of the 1970s with the inventive, orchestral settings of such hits as the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” and the Stylistics’ “Betcha by Golly, Wow.” Dec. 22.

Recalling influential people who died in 2022

By Bernard McGhee

The Associated Press