Geoff Emerick, 72: English Beatles chief recording engineer (Abbey Road Studios, The Beatles) multi-Grammy winner, who worked on some of the Beatles most seminal albums, died of a heart attack. according to his manager.
Will Vinton, 70: American animator (The California Raisins, The Adventures of Mark Twain, Return to Oz), Oscar winner (1974), multiple myeloma.
Audrey Wells, 58: American film director and screenwriter (Under the Tuscan Sun, The Hate U Give (which was just released), The Truth About Cats & Dogs), cancer. Wells husband, Brian, said, “Over the last five and half years, Audrey fought valiantly against her illness and she died surrounded by love.”
Viktoria Marinova, 30: Bulgarian journalist and television presenter and administrative director for local television channel TVN in the Bulgarian town of Ruse was found raped, beaten and strangled. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Bulgarian authorities to conduct a rigorous, thorough investigation into this crime. It is not clear whether the murder is linked to Marinova’s journalistic activities.
Scott Wilson, 76: American actor (The Walking Dead, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Ninth Configuration and so much more). The one role in 1967 set the tone for Wilson who went on to prove himself an invaluable actor for the next 50 years. Born in Georgia, raised in Atlanta, he went to Southern Tech University on a basketball scholarship but hitched a ride to LA on a whim and got hooked. He was cast as a murder suspect in In the Heat of the Night and then got the co-lead role of murderer Richard Hickok in the disturbing original In Cold Blood, the adaptation of Truman Capote’s best-selling docu-novel. Other roles came his way. He played Sam Braun, casino owner and father to Catherine Willows for 9 episodes over five years. But in 2010 he became Hershel Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead until The Governor killed him. He was living in Los Angeles when he died, with his wife of four decades, who is an attorney and accomplished artist and writer.
Celeste Yarnall 74: American actress (Eve, The Mechanic, Star Trek), ovarian cancer.
Rachel Hirschfeld, 72: American animal welfare lawyer.
Arnold Kopelson, 83: American film producer (Platoon, The Fugitive, Seven), Oscar winner (1987).
George Taliaferro, 91: American professional (Baltimore Colts) and college Hall of Fame football player (Indiana Hoosiers), first afro-american selected in an NFL Draft.
Anna Harvey, 74: British fashion editor (Vogue), Telegraph columnist and stylist to Princess Diana.
William Coors, 102: American brewer (Coors Brewing Company). Grandson of Adolph Coors, who started the beer company in 1873, and the former Chairperson of Coors, who helped transform a local product into a national brand, died at his home. Bill took control of the family business when his older brother, Adolph III was murdered at 44 in a bungled kidnapping in 1960. When he joined the company in 1939, Bill pioneered the use of recyclable aluminum cans, developed filtration and packaging systems that eliminated the need for pasteurization and added Coors Light to the line.
Jim Taylor, 83: American Hall of Fame football player (Green Bay Packer, New Orleans Saints). One of the first of Vince Lombardi-era Packers inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Paul Allen, 65: Computer pioneer who launched Microsoft with partner Bill Gates in 1973, Allen was the one who famously convinced Gates to drop out of Harvard to launch the company. Allen left the company in 1982 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, though he did retain a large share of the company and remained on the board until 2000. In later years he was an investor, philanthropist, technologist and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers. When he died he had an estimated net worth of approximately $25 billion, making him the 43rd richest person in the world.
Dennis Hof, 72: Nevada brothel owner (Moonlite Bunny Ranch) and reality star (Cathouse: The Series), who at the time of his death was running for office in the Nevada State Assembly as a Republican, was found dead at his Love Ranch in Pahrump (Nye County). His campaign manager said he “died quietly in his sleep” and was found by Ron Jeremy, the adult film star.
Todd Bol, 62: he built the first “Little Free Library” on his Hudson, Wis. deck in 2009. His mother had been a schoolteacher and a book lover. So it’s no surprise that the first Little Free Library looked like a one-room schoolhouse to honor her. And it was a hit from the start. Today, there are more than 75,000 libraries in 88 countries around the world. Bol died of pancreatic cancer.
Dick Slater, 67: American professional wrestler (WCW, WWF, Mid-South).
Tony Joe White, 75: American singer-songwriter (“Polk Salad Annie,” “Rainy Night in Georgia”), heart attack.
Ntozake Shange, 70: American poet, novelist and pioneering playwright whose landmark choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf died in her sleep in an assisted living facility in Bowie, Maryland. She had been ill, having suffered a series of strokes in 2004. Her sister, Bayeza was quoted as saying, “It’s a huge loss for the world. I don’t think there’s a day on the planet when there’s not a young woman who discovers herself through the words of my sister.”
Whitey Bulger, 89: American gangster (Winter Hill Gang) and convicted murderer, who was serving two life sentences for his involvement in 11 murders plus other crimes, had been transferred to a federal prison and was in failing health. His death came at the hands of at least one and perhaps two inmates. Folios “Freddy” Geas is suspected of taking the contract. A law enforcement source states that Bulger was beaten by a “group of inmates” including one who used a padlock wrapped in a sock.
Beverly McClellan, 49: American singer and reality talent show finalist (The Voice) died from endometrial cancer. McClellan was third runner-up on the first season of The Voice.
Amal Hussain, 7: Yemeni famine victims who raised the world’s awareness.
Dave Pickerell, 62: American distiller (Maker’s Mark), hypertensive heart failure.
Ken Stofford, 85: American actor (Fame, Ellery Queen, The Andromeda Strain).
Edmund Zagorski, 63: Death row inmate, and the second person to be put to death this year by Tennessee, double murderer Zagorski lured John Dale Dotson and Jimmy Porter into the woods of Robertson County, shot them, slit their throats and stole their money.
Kitty O’Neil, 72: Famed Hollywood stuntwoman and daredevil, who doubled for Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman and set a land-speed record as the fastest woman driver ever died at Eureka Community Hospital in Eureka, South Dakota from pneumonia. She had recently suffered a heart attack.
Andrew Urdiales, 54: American serial killer, and former Marine who was in prison and sentenced to death was found dead in his cell. Ironically, another high-profile killer was also found dead from suspected suicide on the same day. Urdiales killed five women in Southern Calif. But it was an Illinois triple-murder case that brought him to the attention of investigators looking into the Southern California killings.
Viendra Govin, 51: High-profile killer, suicide. Govin was sentenced to die by an LA County jury in 2004 for the first-degree murders of 42-year old Gita Kumar, 18-year old Plara Kumar, 16-year old Tulsa Kumar and 63-year old Sitaben Patel. Govin, his brother Pravin and Carlos Amador then set the Kumars’ home on fire. Gavin was received onto California’s death row on Jan. 5, 2005. Gavin’s brother Pravin has been on death row since Sept. 19, 2005.
Joe Clayton, 69: American business executive, industry pioneer, whose four-decade career spanned color TV to satellite radio to Sling TV, died at the age of 69 following a brief illness. He most recently ran DISH Network from 2011-2015 and launched the Hopper, DishNet and Sling TV, navigated two spectrum auctions and delivered customers throughout.
Sondra Locke, 74: American actress (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Sudden Impact), an Oscar nominee, who dated Clint Eastwood for 13 years, died from cardiac arrest stemming from breast and bone cancer. She had previously battled breast cancer and had undergone a double mastectomy in 1990.
Ramona Ripston, 91: American civil rights activist (ACLU).
Donna Axum, 76: American model and beauty pageant winner (Miss America 1965) complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Hugh McDowell, 65: English cellist (Electric Light Orchestra, Wizzard), cancer.
James Greene, 91: American actor (Parks and Recreation, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, The Missouri Breaks). He played the tactless Councilman Milton on Parks and Recreation died at his home in Los Angeles, said his wife, Elsbeth Collins.
John Rogers, 57: Canadian-born American businessman and president of San Diego Comic-Con (since 1986) glioblastoma.
Stan Lee, 95: Started out writing obituaries, had over 700 imdb credits, created the Spider-Man universe, had a cameo in almost ever film that featured one of his characters. When you think of Stan Lee, think of Spider-Man, Iron Man … think Black Panther … the superhero smash that shattered the racial barrier in addition to shattering the box-office. And he shattered so much more on his pages of his comic books: racism, bullying, prejudice, and all the other subjects that kids reading his pages may have encountered out in the real world. Stan Lee was a hero on so many levels. On a personal level, Lee married Joan Boocock, a former model who had moved to New York from her native England. Their daughter Joan Celia Lee, who is known as J.C., was born in 1950. Their other daughter, Jan, died three days after birth in 1953. Lee lost his wife in 2017. Lee died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Roy Clark, 85: American Hall of Fame country singer, television host (Hee Haw) who was known for hits “Yesterday When I Was Young” and “Honeymoon Feeling” died at his home in Tulsa due to complications from pneumonia.
William Goldman, 87: American author of The Princess Bride and Oscar-Winning screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and his adaptation of All the President’s Men, died at his Manhattan home from complications of colon cancer and pneumonia, according to his daughter, Jenny Goldman.
Lou Cvijanovich, 92: American basketball coach at Santa Clara High School, who in his lifetime had 829 wins, the most of any high school basketball coach in California history.
Stephen Dillenburg, 57: American animator and director (SpongeBob SquarePants, Rocko’s Modern Life) complications of ALS.
Robert Plotnik, 75: American record store owner known as Bleecker Bob, who was legendary in the New York’s music industry due to the unbridled success of his shop when it became a plot point in a 1993 episode of Seinfeld. According to his friend and store partner, his health had been deteriorating following a stroke he suffered several years ago.
George H.W. Bush, 94: American President (1989-1993); Vice President (1981-1989); Director of Central Intelligence (197601977) and the man who helped guide the world out of a four-decade U.S.-Soviet Cold War. He was also the last veteran of World War II to serve as president. He death marked the passing of an era. He was a Yale graduate and loved and admired by fellow politicians on both sides of the aisle. But not more than by his wife, who preceded him in death earlier this year. On the afternoon of his wife’s service, the frail man summoned the strength to sit for 20 minutes in his wheelchair by her flower-laden coffin and accept the condolences from some of the 6,000 mourners who stopped by to pay their respects. By all accounts, theirs was a love many admired and envied.
Ken Berry, 85: American actor (F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D., Mama’s Family).
Michael James Snyder, 68: American business executive, CEO of Red Robin (2000-2005) suicide by gunshot.
Philip Bosco 88: American actor (Lend Me a Tenor, Working Girl, My Best Friend’s Wedding) Tony winner (1989) who had a familiar face in movies, on television and on the Broadway stage died in his home in Haworth, New Jersey from complications due to dementia.
Joel Strauss, 34: American fashion model and television personality (America’s Next Top Model) two months after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
José Castillo, 37: Venezuelan professional baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants), traffic collision.
Charles Weldon, 78: Actor, director, artistic leader, a member of The Negro Ensemble Company since 1970 and the company’s artistic director from 2005, Charles Weldon was a prolific actor and director.
Rod Jones, 54: Played for the Kansas City Chiefs, was a 1984 Huskies Orange Bowl team member and a longtime academic coordinator at the University of Washington. It was determined he committed suicide when he was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. His family believes he was suffering from symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and may of had a history of alcohol abuse.
Bill Siegel, 55: American documentary producer and director (The Trials of Muhammad Ali, The Weather Underground), heart attack.
Nancy Wilson: American jazz singer (“You Don’t Know How Glad I Am”) and Grammy winner with a distinct “song style” which made her a platinum artist and popular concert performer, died after a long illness, at her home in Pioneertown (a California desert community near Joshua Tree National Park).
Colin Kroll, 34: American businessman (Vine, HQ Trivia) was found dead in his apartment by police who were conducting a wellness check.
Penny Marshall, 75: American actress (Laverne & Shirley) and director (Big, A League of Their Own) complications from diabetes.
Steve Daskewisz, 74: American actor and stuntman who played Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 2, died in the hospital due to complications from diabetes.
Peter Masterson, 84: American writer (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), director (The Trip to Bountiful) and actor (The Exorcist), complications from a fall. He died at his home in Kinderhook, New York. His daughter, Mary Stuart Masterson, confirmed his death. He had received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease 14 years ago.
Norman Gimbel, 91: American Hall of Fame songwriter (“Canadian Sunset,” “The Girl from Ipanema,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song,”) Oscar winner (1980) and wrote theme songs for such TV shows as Happy Days and Lavern and Shirley, died in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Donald Moffat, 87: British-born American actor (The Thing, The Right Stuff, Clear and Present Danger) who played the corrupt president of the US in Clear and Present Danger was the most memorable of his many film roles. He died in Sleepy Hollow, New York, stated his daughter, from complications of a recent stroke.
Honey Lantree, 75: British pop drummer of The Honeycombs.
Per O’Leary, 70s: Irish actor (Michael Collins, In the Name of the Father).
Ronin Singh, 33: Fiji-born American police officer, shot by a suspect just before 1am on Wednesday (12/26) in Newman, Calif. Gustavo Perez Arriago, 33, was at a Kern County home when arrested. Kern County is about 200 miles south of where Singh was shot. Officers found Singh shot and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Arriago was in the United States illegally and was believed to have been fleeing to Mexico. He had been arrested twice previously for DUIs and has known gang affiliation. His brother, Adrian Virgen, and coworker, Erik Razo Quiroz, were arrested Thursday (12/27) for accessory after the fact to a felony. Both Virgen and Quiroz were also in the US illegally. Singh is survived by his wife Anamika and a 5-month old son.
Chris Burrous, 43: KTLA Morning News reporter and weekend anchor, Burrous was found unconscious at a Days Inn in Glendale, Calif. His death is being investigated as a possible overdose.
Bre Payton, 26: staff writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and frequent TV commentator, died from H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, and possibly meningitis.
Ray Sawyer, 81: American singer (Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show).
Don Lusk, 105: American animator and director (Pinocchio, 101 Dalmatians, Peanuts).
Warren MacKenzie, 94: world famous, American potter from Minnesota.
Richard Marks, 75: American film editor (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather II, Broadcast News). A four-time Oscar-nominated film editor who worked on Terms of Endearment, Serpico, Dick Tracy and You’ve Got Mail. He died unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve. He is survived by his wife and a daughter.