Those We Lost in 2012

Whitney Houston, Joe Paterno, Dick Clark, Ravi Shankar

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 25, 2012 5:13 PM CST | Updated Dec 30, 2012 7:00 PM CST

(Newser) – Neil Armstrong would always be taking that first step onto the moon, and Dick Clark was forever "the world's oldest teenager." A look at some of the notables who died in 2012:

  • Etta James, 73. Blues singer best known for her enduring classic "At Last." Jan. 20. Complications from leukemia.
  • Joe Paterno, 85. Longtime Penn State coach who won more games than anyone in major college football but was fired amid the Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Jan. 22.
  • Whitney Houston, 48. She ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use. Feb. 11. Accidentally drowned in a bathtub.

  • Davy Jones, 66. Actor turned singer who helped propel The Monkees to the top of the pop charts. Feb. 29. Heart attack.
  • Andrew Breitbart, 43. Conservative media publisher and activist behind the fall of Anthony Weiner. March 1.
  • John Demjanjuk, 91. One of the best-known faces of Nazi prosecutions. March 17.
  • Pope Shenouda III, 88. Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years. March 17.
  • Thomas Kinkade, 54. Painter of idyllic landscapes, cottages, and churches. April 6.
  • Mike Wallace, 93. Dogged CBS reporter and 60 Minutes stalwart. April 7.
  • Dick Clark, 82. "America's oldest teenager" and TV pioneer. April 19.
  • Junior Seau, 43. Homegrown superstar who was the fist-pumping, emotional leader of the San Diego Chargers for 13 years. May 2. Apparent suicide.
  • Adam Yauch, 47. Also known as MCA, the gravelly voiced rapper helped make the Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop. May 4. Cancer.
  • Mary Richardson Kennedy, 52. Estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr. May 16. Apparent suicide.
  • Donna Summer, 63. Disco queen whose pulsing anthems became the soundtrack for a glittery age of drugs, dance, and flashy clothes. May 17.
  • Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, 60. The only person ever convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. May 20.
  • Robin Gibb, 62. One of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies defined the disco era. May 20.
  • Ray Bradbury, 91. Sci-fi master who transformed childhood dreams and Cold War fears into telepathic Martians, lovesick sea monsters, and Fahrenheit 451. May 5.
  • Rodney King, 47. Black motorist whose 1991 beating by LA police officers sparked race riots. June 17. Accidentally drowned.
  • Nora Ephron, 71. Essayist, author, and filmmaker who thrived in the male-dominated worlds of movies and journalism. June 26. Leukemia.
  • Andy Griffith, 86. The wise sheriff in The Andy Griffith Show and a rumpled defense lawyer in Matlock. July 3.
  • Ernest Borgnine, 95. Beefy screen star known for blustery, villainous roles. July 8.
  • Sally Ride, 61. She blazed trails into orbit as the first American woman in space. July 23. Pancreatic cancer.
  • Gore Vidal, 86. Author, playwright, politician, and commentator. July 31.
  • Tony Scott, 68. Director of such Hollywood blockbusters as Top Gun and Days of Thunder. Aug. 19. Died after jumping from a bridge.
  • Phyllis Diller, 95. Housewife-turned-humorist who aimed some of her sharpest barbs at herself. Aug. 20.
  • Neil Armstrong, 82. Steely-nerved astronaut who made "one giant leap for mankind" on the moon. Aug. 25.
  • Michael Clarke Duncan, 54. Hulking character actor in The Green Mile, Armageddon, Planet of the Apes and Kung Fu Panda. Sept. 3. Heart attack.
  • Chris Stevens, 52. US ambassador to Libya. Sept. 11. Killed during the attack on a US consulate in Libya.
  • Arlen Specter, 82. Outspoken former Pennsylvania senator. Oct. 14. Complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
  • Larry Hagman, 81. Actor whose predatory oil baron J.R. Ewing on Dallas became a symbol for 1980s greed. Nov. 23.
  • Besse Cooper, 116. World's oldest person. Dec. 4.
  • Dave Brubeck, 91. Jazz composer and pianist whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five." Dec. 5.
  • Oscar Niemeyer, 104. Architect who recreated Brazil's sensuous curves in concrete. Dec. 5.
  • Jenni Rivera, 43. California-born singer who became a superstar in Mexican-American music. Dec. 9. Plane crash.
  • Ravi Shankar, 92. Sitar virtuoso who hobnobbed with the Beatles. Dec. 11.
  • Daniel Inouye, 88. Hawaii senator and influential Democrat who broke racial barriers. Dec. 17.
  • Robert Bork, 85. Nixon-era solicitor general and failed Reagan nominee to the Supreme Court. Dec. 19.

FILE - In this Sunday, April 25, 2010, file photo, U.S singer Whitney Houston performs in London as part of her European tour. Houston, 48, died Feb. 11, 2012.
FILE - In this Sunday, April 25, 2010, file photo, U.S singer Whitney Houston performs in London as part of her European tour. Houston, 48, died Feb. 11, 2012.   (Joel Ryan)
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008 photo, actor Larry Hagman listens to a reporter's question while visiting the Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas, made famous in the television show Dallas. Actor Larry Hagman, who for more than a decade played villainous patriarch JR Ewing in the TV soap...
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008 photo, actor Larry Hagman listens to a reporter's question while visiting the Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas, made famous in the television show "Dallas." Actor...   (Tony Gutierrez)
In this May 17, 2012 file photo, George McGovern, 90, former US senator and Democrat who lost to President Richard Nixon in 1972 in a landslide died Oct. 21, 2012.
In this May 17, 2012 file photo, George McGovern, 90, former US senator and Democrat who lost to President Richard Nixon in 1972 in a landslide died Oct. 21, 2012.   (Marc Hofer)
In this Aug. 14, 2006, file photo, former San Diego Chargers football player Junior Seau smiles while announcing his retirement. Seau was found dead at his home in Oceanside, Calif.  He was 43.
In this Aug. 14, 2006, file photo, former San Diego Chargers football player Junior Seau smiles while announcing his retirement. Seau was found dead at his home in Oceanside, Calif. He was 43.   (Sandy Huffaker)
FILE - This  Jan. 15, 2008, file photo shows television news journalist Mike Wallace at the 2007 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards Gala in New York. Wallace, famed for his tough interviews on 60 Minutes,  died, Saturday, April 7, 2012. He was 93.
FILE - This Jan. 15, 2008, file photo shows television news journalist Mike Wallace at the 2007 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards Gala in New York. Wallace, famed for his tough interviews...   (Evan Agostini)
This Monday, March 6, 2006 file photo shows Don Cornelius at his office in Los Angeles. Cornelius, 75, died Feb. 1, 2012 at his home.
This Monday, March 6, 2006 file photo shows Don Cornelius at his office in Los Angeles. Cornelius, 75, died Feb. 1, 2012 at his home.   (Damian Dovarganes)
Nora Ephron poses for a photo at her home in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. Ephron, 71, essayist, author and filmmaker who thrived in the male-dominated worlds of movies and journalism and was loved, respected and feared for her wit died June 26, 2012.
Nora Ephron poses for a photo at her home in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. Ephron, 71, essayist, author and filmmaker who thrived in the male-dominated worlds of movies and journalism and was loved,...   (Charles Sykes)
FILE - In this April 20, 2002 file photo, Dick Clark, host of the American Bandstand television show, introduces entertainer Michael Jackson on stage during taping of the show's 50th anniversary special in Pasadena, Calif. Clark, the television host who helped bring rock `n' roll into the mainstream on American...
FILE - In this April 20, 2002 file photo, Dick Clark, host of the American Bandstand television show, introduces entertainer Michael Jackson on stage during taping of the show's 50th anniversary special...   (KEVORK DJANSEZIAN)
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2009 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno smiles as he walks the field before an NCAA college football game against Minnesota in State College, Pa. On Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, family says Paterno, winningest coach in major college football, has died.
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2009 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno smiles as he walks the field before an NCAA college football game against Minnesota in State College, Pa. On Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012,...   (Carolyn Kaster)
FILE - This Jan. 1983 file photo shows actor Andy Griffith posing in Los Angeles to promote his upcoming CBS-TV film, Murder in Coweta County. Griffith, whose homespun mix of humor and wisdom made The Andy Griffith Show an enduring TV favorite, died Tuesday, July 3, 2012 in Manteo, N....
FILE - This Jan. 1983 file photo shows actor Andy Griffith posing in Los Angeles to promote his upcoming CBS-TV film, "Murder in Coweta County". Griffith, whose homespun mix of humor and wisdom made "The...   (Wally Fong)
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