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List of Those Who Died in 2017 Includes Less-Known Names

Does Michael Chamberlain ring a bell?
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2017 12:48 PM CST
Updated Dec 23, 2017 5:30 PM CST
29 Notable Deaths That You Might Have Missed in 2017
Christine Keeler, 21, arrives at Old Bailey in London, in this file photo dated April 1, 1963.   (AP Photo/FILE)

(Newser) – Being reminded that Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Paxton, Roger Ailes, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, Hugh Hefner, and Charles Manson died in 2017 will likely come as no great shock. But the AP's roll call of some of the people who shuffled off this mortal coil in 2017 include figures who aren't necessarily household names but still have a unique place in history. We've rounded up 29 such figures, with date of death cited and a link to the Newser obituary provided where available.

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  1. Sister Frances Carr, 89. One of the last remaining members of a nearly extinct religious society called the Shakers. Jan. 2. (Obit here.)
  2. Parker Beam, 75. He carried on his family's historic bourbon-making tradition as longtime master distiller for Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Distilleries. Jan. 9.
  3. Clare Hollingworth, 105. A British war correspondent who was the first to report the Nazi invasion of Poland that marked the beginning of World War II. Jan. 10. (Obit here.)
  4. Michael Chamberlain, 72. He waged a decades-long battle to prove his baby daughter was killed by a dingo in Australia's most notorious case of injustice. Jan. 9. (Obit here.)
  5. Steven McDonald, 59. A New York police detective who was paralyzed by a teenage gunman's bullet in 1986 but publicly forgave the shooter and became an international voice for peace. Jan. 10. (Obit here.)
  6. Tommy Allsup, 85. A guitarist best known for losing a coin toss that kept him off a plane that later crashed and killed rock 'n' roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson. Jan. 11. Complications from a hernia operation. (Obit here.)
  7. William Peter Blatty, 89. A former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie The Exorcist. Jan. 12. (Obit here.)
  8. Masaya Nakamura, 91. The "Father of Pac-Man" who founded the Japanese video game company behind the hit creature-gobbling game. Jan. 22. (Obit here.)
  9. Mike Ilitch, 87. The billionaire businessman who founded the Little Caesars pizza empire before buying the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers. Feb. 10. (Obit here.)
  10. Norma McCorvey, 69. Her legal challenge under the pseudonym "Jane Roe" led to the US Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion but who later became an outspoken opponent of the procedure. Feb. 18. (Obit here.)

  1. Carl Clark, 100. A California man who was recognized six decades after his bravery during World War II with a medal of honor that had been denied because he was black. March 16.
  2. Gilbert Baker, 65. The creator of the rainbow flag that has become a widely recognized symbol of gay rights. March 31. (Obit here.)
  3. Ian Brady, 79. A killer of five children whose role in the 1960s "Moors Murders" made him one of Britain's most reviled criminals. May 15. (Obit here.)
  4. Stanislav Petrov, 77. A former Soviet military officer known in the West as "the man who saved the world" for his role in averting a nuclear war over a false missile warning at the height of the Cold War. May 19. (Obit here.)
  5. Donald Vidrine, 69. One of two BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon when the drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. June 3.
  6. Venus Ramey, 92. A former Miss America who helped rally the nation during World War II and found renewed fame later in life by shooting out the tires of intruders at her Kentucky farm. June 17.
  7. Betty Dukes, 67. The Walmart greeter who took the retail giant all the way to the Supreme Court in the largest gender bias class-action lawsuit in US history. July 10.
  8. Christopher Wong Won, 53. Known as Fresh Kid Ice, he was a founding member of the Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew whose sexually explicit lyrics triggered a national debate over the legal limits of artistic freedom. July 13.
  9. Thomas Meehan, 88. A three-time Tony Award-winning book writer best known for transforming the Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip into the smash Broadway musical Annie. Aug. 21.
  10. Tony de Brum, 72. He saw the effects of rising seas from his home in the Marshall Islands and became a leading advocate for the landmark Paris Agreement and an internationally recognized voice in the fight against climate change. Aug. 22.

  1. Sumiteru Taniguchi, 88. He devoted his life to seeking to abolish nuclear weapons after he was burned severely in the 1945 atomic bomb attack on his hometown of Nagasaki, Japan. Aug. 30. (Obit here.)
  2. Simeon Wright, 74. He was with his cousin Emmett Till when the Chicago boy was kidnapped in 1955 after whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Sept. 4. Cancer. (Obit here.)
  3. Liliane Bettencourt, 94. The L'Oreal cosmetics heiress and the world's richest woman. Sept. 20. (Obit here.)
  4. Arthur Janov, 93. A psychotherapist whose "primal therapy" had celebrities screaming to release their childhood traumas and spawned a best-selling book in the 1970s. Oct. 1. (Obit here.)
  5. David Patterson Sr., 94. A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II. Oct. 8.
  6. Jane Juska, 84. Her chronicle of searching for sex as a woman in her 60s became a best-selling memoir and later a stage show. Oct. 24. (Obit here.)
  7. Christine Keeler, 75. The central figure in the sex-and-espionage Profumo scandal that rocked Cold War Britain. Dec. 4. (Obit here.)
  8. Bruce Brown, 80. He molded the modern image of surfer as seeker and transformed the sport with his 1966 surfing documentary The Endless Summer. Dec. 10.
  9. Charles Jenkins, 77. A US Army deserter to North Korea who married a Japanese abductee and lived in Japan after their release. Dec. 11. (Obit here.)
Read AP's full list here. (Read more obituary stories.)

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