Remembering Those We've Lost in 2014
He was a movie director who amassed hit after hit with films like Working Girl, The Birdcage and The Graduate. But the Berlin-born Nichols – who in 1939 as an 8-year-old escaped Nazi Germany for New York with his Jewish family – was equally prolific on Broadway, where he scored nine Tonys for such shows as Angels in America and Death of a Salesman. Besides theater honors, the director, who was married to ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer, had the rare distinction of winning Oscar, Emmy and Grammy awards, too. His six-decade show-biz career began with a successful sketch-comedy collaboration with Elaine May but he eventually gave up performing for directing. Meryl Streep, who starred in Nichols's 1983 movie Silkwood and his 2001 Central Park production of the Chekhov play, The Seagull, said in a statement after his Nov. 20 death: "An inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can't imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man."
The MTV reality star, best known for her time on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, died on Nov. 14, 2014, after a very public and lengthy battle with cancer. She was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 23, and ultimately battled the disease three times – yet remained positive with each diagnosis. She chronicled her ups and downs for PEOPLE. "It sounds like a cliché, but I've only got this one life, and I need to live every day to the fullest. I'm a lot more appreciative of things now," she said in October, the same month she confirmed that her cancer had spread to her liver and lymph nodes following a colon cancer diagnosis in August. Even in the final stages of her fight, she stayed strong, telling PEOPLE, "I want people to know that the fight is worth it. And that's something that's so important for me."
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
Hillary Clinton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Amal Clooney were among the dedicated muses of de la Renta, who carved out a legacy in the fashion industry by shaping the wardrobes of socialites, Hollywood stars and first ladies alike. His path to New York's Seventh Avenue began when he left his native Dominican Republic at age 18 to study painting in Spain, but he was soon sidetracked by fashion after designing a dress for the U.S. Ambassador to Spain's daughter. He helped define American style for four decades before his death on Oct. 20 at age 82. "While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much with us," two of his company's executives, Alex Bolen and Eliza Bolen, said in a statement.
After graduating from the esteemed High School of Performing Arts in New York City in 1977, the Cuban-American actress moved to Hollywood to try her luck – and that's when work started pouring in. She had memorable roles in films such as Down and Out in Beverly Hills, La Bamba and Batteries Not Included and scored a major coup for a Latina actress in 1987 when she starred in her own ABC series, I Married Dora. Over the years, the versatile performer worked seamlessly between serious and comedic roles. She was Chris Tucker's cop partner in the comedy Rush Hour and a history teacher in the John Sayles drama Lone Star; she also voiced characters in The Incredibles, the Justice League cartoon series and American Dad. More recently Peña, who died at 55 on Oct. 14 after a brief illness, played a mom: She was Sofia Vergara's on Modern Family and the title character's on the new El Rey Network action series, Matador.
Best known for her hilarious impressions of Sinéad O'Connor, Kathie Lee Gifford and Tammy Faye Bakker on Saturday Night Live, the Atlanta-born Hooks got her start in the L.A. comedy troupe the Groundlings. She joined SNL in 1986, working alongside Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey and, with Nora Dunn, was one half of the Sweeney Sisters. In 1991 she left the show for the sitcom Designing Women. "She was totally amazing as a sketch player," remembers her SNL costar and friend Kevin Nealon. "She so immersed herself in her characters... I don't think she ever knew how well respected and admired she was for her talent." Hooks passed away Oct. 9 at 57 after battling an undisclosed illness.
When his parents encouraged young Geoffrey to develop each of his many talents, he took their advice to heart. During a 50-plus-year career, the Trinidad native worked as a dancer, choreographer, actor and artist. With his 6'6" frame and a voice described in a 1975 PEOPLE profile "as deep as Othello and as smooth as Caribbean rum," Holder had a distinctive look, which he used to full effect in movie roles like Live and Let Die's Baron Samedi and Annie's Punjabi. He danced on Broadway and, in 1975, won Tonys for directing and designing costumes for The Wiz. But he's perhaps best known to TV audiences of the '70s as the pitchman for "the un-cola," 7-Up soda. Holder, whose paintings once hung in Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery, died of pneumonia at age 84 on Oct. 5.
With her tireless work ethic, the comedy legend and fashion critic was still booking appearances well into her eighth decade. So it was a shock when the self-deprecating queen of comedy passed away at age 81 on Sept. 4, following complications from surgery. Rivers began her 50-year career doing standup in N.Y.C. nightclubs and coffeehouses; after years of struggling, she finally got her big break on the Tonight Show in 1965 and later became the show's first permanent guest host. Rivers's career was diverse – she hosted her own talk show, directed and wrote movies, authored several books, designed jewelry – and in 2010 she found a new place to get laughs by giving often-scathing critiques of celebrities' wardrobes on Fashion Police. After her death, her only child, Melissa Rivers, released a poignant statement: "My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
"Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" The man behind that booming voice – which opened nearly every episode of SNL, plus earlier episodes of Jeopardy! and The Price Is Right – passed away at age 96 on Aug. 18. As cast members came and went, Pardo's voice was SNL's one constant, from the series' start in 1975 (he only missed the 1981-82 season, when there was a change in producers). Even after retiring, SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels convinced Pardo to continue working, flying him to New York from his Arizona home for tapings (though in recent years, he'd worked from home).His voice, while imitated by many, was one of a kind. "Nothing is like the moment when Don Pardo says your name," former SNL star Jimmy Fallon said.
Launched by a Harper's Bazaar cover when she was just 19, Bacall went on to have a legendary career (and a legendary love life, too) in Hollywood. The screen siren first starred in 1944's To Have and Have Not, where she met the love of her life Humphrey Bogart, whom she was married to for 12 years before his death in 1957. Later, she earned Tony awards for her work in the Broadway musicals Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). Privately she earned notoriety for an affair with Frank Sinatra before marrying second husband, actor Jason Robards. In 2010, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts amp Sciences honored Bacall with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The screen legend died Aug. 12 at age 89.
The world was shocked when news broke that Williams, 63, died in a suicide on Aug. 11 after battling severe depression and receiving a Parkinson's disease diagnosis. The actor, as known for his iconic, comedic roles in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire as his dramatic work in Good Will Hunting (for which he won an Oscar), got his start in comedy, and came into mainstream fame with the TV series Mork & Mindy. Williams, most recently seen on CBS's The Crazy Ones, had checked himself into rehab in early July to "focus on his commitment" to sobriety, according to his rep. He is survived by his wife Susan and three children.
When Brady was shot in the head during John Hinckley, Jr.'s attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, he had been the White House press secretary for only two months. The bullet that pierced his brain immediately ended his career, but launched him into a new one, that of gun control activist. Through his and wife Sarah's lobbying, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which mandates a background check be done on handgun buyers, was signed into law in 1993. Though 73-year-old Brady's Aug. 4 death came 33 years after he was shot, it was ruled a homicide.
After the 35-year-old Australian-born American Idol contestant passed away on Aug. 1 from a blood clot in his ankle, there was one thing everyone agreed on: he was a Johns finished eighth on season 7 of the show in 2008, and went on to continue making music, including a new record he was working on at the time of his death. "His enormous talent, gigantic heart amp infectious personality will live in my heart forever," Tweeted Idol's Paula Abdul.
With an acting career that spanned more than 50 years, Garner was one of Hollywood's most likable leading men, known on TV for The Rockford Files and Maverick and on the big screen in such hits as Victor Victoria and The Great Escape. Garner, who died July 19 in Los Angeles at age 86, got his start in show business in 1954 when a childhood friend who was a producer gave him a bit part in Broadway's The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. The star of the show, Henry Fonda, soon became his mentor. He would go on to win an Emmy for Rockford Files and a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Murphy's Romance.
Some knew her as the mother of Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, but to theater fans Stritch was a Broadway legend and a New York fixture. "New Yorkers stop me on the street all the time to say, 'You're terrific! You're the nuts!'" she once told PEOPLE. The actress owned the stage in 1955's Bus Stop, 1961's Sail Away, 1970's Company and in her 2001 Tony Award-winning show Elaine Stritch at Liberty. She passed away on July 17 at 89 years old.
He was a rock and roll legend, starting out in the New York underground music scene at clubs like CBGB and influencing a generation of rockers with hits like "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop." At 65, he was the last living member of the original Ramones, the band he co-founded in 1974, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 (though all four members had different last names, they took the common name Ramone). The drummer, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, passed away on July 11.
As co-founder of Ford Models, the businesswoman championed American models, turning their wholesome looks into a new standard of beauty (among her discoveries: Brooke Shields and Christy Turlington). Part boss, part den mother who let many young models live with her family in their New York City townhouse, Ford gave the modeling profession the ultimate makeover, from a poorly paid hobby into one of the world's most glamorous occupations. Ford, 92, passed away on July 10 after falling in her New York City apartment.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer wrote hits for the Rolling Stones, was a guitarist for Sam Cooke and penned his own popular tunes like "Across 110th Street" and "If You Think You're Lonely Now." He wasn't without his struggles, though – he dealt with drug addiction and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2012, the same year he released a comeback album The Bravest Man in the Universe. The artist died at 70 on June 27, just a few weeks after performing at the Bonnaroo Music amp Arts Festival in Tennessee.
"As an actor I've played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and Mafiosi than you could shake a stick at," said Wallach when he accepted his special Oscar in 2010. Beginning in the '50s, the actor continually graced the screen with roles in The Godfather: Part III, The Misfits and The Magnificent Seven. Wallach, who passed away on June 24 at age 98, was going strong until the end. "There were days, I must confess, when I'd worry about him getting tired. But not Eli," his The Holiday costar Kate Winslet said in a 2008 tribute. "But he'd look at me, almost offended, and say, 'Oh no … I'm not going home. Not when I'm playing with you!'"
Known for his sign-off message, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars," the longtime deejay first lent his baritone voice to radio's original countdown show, American Top 40, in 1970. Though it debuted on just seven radio stations, it went on to be syndicated on more than 1,000 stations in 50 countries. "Mr. Radio," who passed away at 82 on June 15 after a long illness and messy family battle over his health, also voiced Shaggy on the Scooby-Doo cartoon series.
The stage and screen actress knew the key to longevity: "I really don't believe in retiring as long as you can breathe," she told the AP in 2001. It was no surprise then that she worked well into her twilight years and, at age 83, received an Oscar nod for a supporting role in 2007's American Gangster. Frequently costarring with her husband of 56 years, Ossie Davis, who died in 2005, Dee was best known for films like A Raisin in the Sun and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, and starred on soap operas in the '50s and '60s, a rarity for black actresses at that time. But acting wasn't her only passion: like her husband, Dee was a tireless promoter of civil rights, and the two served as masters of ceremonies for Rev. Martin Luther King's historic 1963 March on Washington. Dee, 91, died on June 11.
ANN B. DAVIS
To generations of TV audiences, there would be no Brady Bunch without Davis's beloved Alice, the housekeeper who offered up life lessons along with witty one-liners and warm cookies. "All of us wish we had an Alice," Davis told PEOPLE in 1992. "I wish I had an Alice." When The Brady Bunch ended its run in 1974, the actress continued working in TV but eventually moved to Pennsylvania to live with an Episcopal bishop and his wife. There Davis, who died on June 1 at 88 after a fall at home, devoted herself to prayer and Bible study and admitted she was far more content than she ever had been in Hollywood.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." The words of author, poet and activist Angelou – who died on May 28 at the age of 86 – certainly rang true as the world remembered an extraordinary woman who touched many (including countless famous friends) with her warmth and wisdom, expressed through her award-winning books and oft-quoted speeches.
The British actor was last spotted on the big screen in 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman, but audiences also knew him from such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Long Good Friday and Nixon. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his turn in 1986's Mona Lisa; the role also earned him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award. Hoskins, who had Parkinson's disease, died on April 29 at the age of 72 after a bout of pneumonia. He was survived by his wife and four children.
"She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and most bonkers of all of us," her father, rocker Sir Bob Geldof, told the Associated Press after the model, writer and TV personality died of a heroin overdose on April 7 at age 25, the same way her mother, TV host Paula Yates, had died in 2000. Geldof left behind a husband, Thomas Cohen, and their two young sons.
Look up "child star" in the dictionary, and you might just see a photo of Rooney next to the term. The Hollywood legend began performing in his parents' act at the age of 17 months, and by age 6 he'd made his screen debut. In 1924, he got the part of tough kid Mickey McGuire and starred as him in 78 short films. MGM execs soon cast 14-year-old Rooney as girl-crazy-yet-wholesome Andy Hardy, then paired him with Judy Garland for several movies. His romantic life was as prolific as his professional one; he married eight times (Ava Gardner was among his brides). After the collapse of the studio system, Rooney continued to land major roles, appearing in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Requiem for a Heavyweight. In 1980, he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for The Black Stallion; in 1983, he was fêted with an honorary award from the Academy for his lifetime achievements. Rooney died on April 6 at the age of 93.
The English actress began her career on stage and in film before becoming a mainstay on the BBC, thanks to appearances on programs such as The Brothers, Howards' Way and Doctor Who. But she reached a whole new audience across the pond when she went head-to-head with Joan Collins on the '80s soap smash Dynasty. She played Cassandra "Caress" Morrell, the scheming sister of Collins's Alexis Colby, and when O'Mara died on March 30 at the age of 74, her former small-screen sibling took to Twitter and recounted some fond memories. "We had great fun on Dynasty when she played my sister Caress," she wrote, "who Alexis insisted on calling Cassie! RIP."
"It's fun to see the ideas in your head. Because it all starts in your mind," Scott told The Daily Beast in 2009. The girlfriend of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, the model-turned-designer made innumerable statements on runways and red carpets alike before she was found dead March 17 of an apparent suicide at age 49.
Long before he became known as the pioneer of observational comedy, Philadelphia native Brenner was nearly broke and about to throw in the proverbial towel. Lucky thing that he stopped by Johnny Carson's Tonight Show 1971: it was his big break and led to 150-plus more appearances on the show, four HBO specials and a revered, lucrative career as a stand-up comedian. He also tried his hand at TV, starring in the sitcom Snip in 1976 and launching the talk show Nightlife in 1987. Brenner died of cancer on March 15 at the age of 78.
As the original host of The Dating Game, Lange brought together countless bachelors and bachelorettes, all in front of the show's famously colorful set. Many of those faces became television staples: pre-fame contestants included Farrah Fawcett, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And while The Dating Game remains Lange's most high-profile gig – the show began in 1965 and he stayed with it for more than a decade – he logged in more hours as a radio deejay. In fact, by the time of his death on Feb. 25 at the age of 81, he'd spent more than 45 years on the airwaves. Said his wife, Nancy: "As much as he's known for his television work, his real love was radio."
He co-wrote laugh-fests such as Animal House and Groundhog Day and, as director, helped 1980's Caddyshack mine box office gold. But Ramis is perhaps best remembered for his 1984 turn in front of the camera, playing Dr. Egon Spengler in the smash Ghostbusters. The proof: soon after he died from a rare autoimmune disease on Feb. 24 at age 69, fans swarmed N.Y.C.'s Hook amp Ladder 8, the iconic firehouse from Ghostbusters, and left mementos – Twinkies, Cheez-Its and Nestlé Crunch bars – dedicated to the actor's sugar-loving character. His passing was also noted by President Barack Obama, who said: "When we watched his movies ... we didn't just laugh until it hurt ... we never lost our faith in happy endings."
Just how popular was the TV pioneer's Your Show of Shows? So many people made sure they were in front of their TV sets to watch it that the 90-minute comedy caused a mini-crisis on the Great White Way. "The Caesar show became such a Saturday-night must-see habit – the Saturday Night Live of its day – that Broadway producers begged NBC to switch the show to midweek," wrote author Gerald Nachman. Caesar didn't just attract hordes of viewers, but also launched the careers of a slew of comedy writers including Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon and Carl Reiner. He went on to a successful film career, appearing in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, History of the World: Part I, and Grease, in which he played the part of Coach Calhoun. Caesar died Feb. 12 at the age of 91.
The little girl with the golden curls was the country's top box office draw from 1935 to 1938 but kept her status as America's Sweetheart for much longer. Temple – who died Feb. 10 at the age of 85 – had interests far beyond Hollywood: she made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1967; two years later, then-President Richard Nixon appointed her as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. In the 1970s, she served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later U.S. chief of protocol; during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, she was ambassador to Czechoslovakia. She wed twice: her first marriage produced one daughter; her second, to Charles Black, brought two children. She and Black were married for more than 50 years, until his death in 2005.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
Though he completed rehab in spring 2013, the acclaimed actor, 46, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his New York City apartment on Feb. 2. Academy Award winner Hoffman was a father of three and known for his work in such movies as Doubt, Boogie Nights, Capote and, most recently, The Hunger Games franchise. In addition to daughters Tallulah and Willa and son Cooper, he's survived by his longtime partner, Mimi O'Donnell.
The Canada-born actor, best known as the harried band manager on the early '70s hit The Partridge Family, died Jan. 16 at the age of 82. He first gained industry attention on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In from 1968-1969; he nabbed the role of Reuben Kincaid, the music man who turns a widowed mother and her five children into pop stars, just one year later. Said his Partridge costar Danny Bonaduce, "[He] was a great guy and like family to me. I'll truly miss him."
The role that made Johnson famous almost wasn't his: in the pilot episode of Gilligan's Island, the part of Roy Hinkley (better known as The Professor) was played by another actor. But reportedly, when producers thought the man looked too young to have earned all the professor's degrees – a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. among them – he was recast, and Johnson became a part of TV history. The actor, who died on Jan. 16 at age 89, had a résumé that covered much more than Hollywood: as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces, he flew combat missions during World War II, and eventually received a Purple Heart. Upon learning of his passing, Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island, took to Facebook to honor her former costar, writing, "My heart is broken."
The man who served as Israeli general and prime minister from 2001 to 2006 died at age 85 on Jan. 11, eight years after suffering a stroke from which he never awoke. Born to Russian immigrant parents in the small farming community of Kfar Malal, Sharon was considered by many to be the greatest field commander in the history of Israel; after his participation in the Six-Day War, the Israeli public nicknamed him "The King of Israel." Such accolades did not come without criticism: he was held indirectly responsible for the deaths of many innocents during his time. But after his passing he was remembered in a more positive light by President Barack Obama, who wrote, "As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country."
The influence of the Everly Brothers is best summed up by Bob Dylan, who once said of the duo: "We owe these guys everything. They started it all." The music ended on Jan. 3, when Phil, the tenor who supplied a string of supple higher notes to complement his brother Don's baritone, passed away at the age of 74. In their heyday, the group scored countless hits, including now-classics such as "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and "Cathy's Clown"; their chart triumphs and undeniable influence on modern music led to inductions into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Hollywood lost a pioneer on Jan. 1 when Moore – the fifth African-American to ever receive an Academy Award nomination – died at the age of 99. She had been given the Best Supporting Actress nod for her role in 1959's Imitation of Life, in which she played a housekeeper whose light-skinned daughter pretends to be Caucasian. It wasn't the only mark she made in Tinseltown: Moore, who once worked as a chorus girl at New York's famous Cotton Club, appeared in more than 30 films. "She was a very, very good actress and a lovely human being," Imitation of Life costar Susan Kohner said upon Moore's death.