2015 Obits – Those we lost in 2015 – April thru June

April 1: Robert Walker, 54: Canadian-born American animator and director (Aladdin, Brother Bear, Mulan, The Lion King), was known as a “down-to-earth, quiet, thoughtful guy who cared about the people around him.” He translated his love and passion for drawing into a career as a Walt Disney layout artist and director — a career that culminated with a 2003 Academy Award nomination for the animated feature Brother Bear, a film that earned more than $250 million worldwide. Bob died from a heart attack at age 54, he had recently retired from the film industry.


Cynthia Lennon © Alastair Grant.

April 1: Cynthia Lennon, 75:  Cynthia was John Lennon’s first wife and mother of Julian Lennon. Lennon’s former Beatles bandmate, Paul McCartney released a special message in honor of Cynthia, writing, “The news of Cynthia’s passing is very sad. She was a lovely lady who I’ve known since our early days together in Liverpool. She was a good mother to Julian and will be missed by us all; but I will always have great memories of our times together.” Cynthia lost her battle with cancer.

April 2: Linsey Berardi, 22: Bad Girls Club star (Oxygen), Linsey “Jade” Berardi, who was known as “Brooklyn Brat” on the show, reportedly got kicked off the show after getting in a fight with a cameraman. At this time, her cause of death is unknown.

April 2: Tom Towles, 65: a character actor, who was a regular in Rob Zombie films died from a stroke at a hospital in Pinellas, Florida.

April 3: Bob Burns, 64: former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer died in a single-vehicle wreck along Tower Ridge Road in Cartersville (Bartow County) Georgia. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was the only occupant in the vehicle.

NFL Historical Imagery

Terdell Middleton: ©1980 AP Photo/NFL Photos


April 3: Terdell Middleton, 59: American football player (Green Bay Packers) was a running back and attended the University of Memphis during the fall of 1973. He was a third round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and was traded to Green Bay in the preseason. He went to the Pro Bowl after the 1978 season, when he ran for 1,116 yards, sixth best in the NFL. He was five days short of his 60th birthday when he died.

April 5: Frederic Brandt, 65: Brandt was likely the inspiration for Martin Short’s character on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” a parody that reportedly DEVASTATED the celebrity doctor. He was found dead in his Miami home on Sunday morning after hanging himself, a spokesperson for the Miami Police Department confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Some of Brandt’s patients included Madonna and Stephanie Seymour.

April 6: Alton “Ben” Powers, 64: Good Times actor, (Keith Anderson) passed away, cause of death unknown.

April 7: Jose Capellan, 34: former major league pitcher, was found dead from an apparent heart attack at his home in Philadelphia. He apparently was taking Ambien, a drug used for sleep disorders.

April 8: Geoffrey Lewis, 79: had roles in Clint Eastwood movies (High Plains Drifter, Thunderball & Lightfoot, Every Which Way But Loose, Any Which Way You Can, Bronco Billy, Pink Cadillac, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), plus other films (The Devil’s Rejects, Heaven’s Gate, Dillinger, TV Movie Salem’s Lot, Smile), and numerous television shows (Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Lou Grant, Little House on the Prairie, Falcon Crest, Murder She Wrote). Geoffrey was the father of actress Juliette Lewis and he is survived by his wife Paula Hochhalter and nine other children including Lightfield and Matthew, both actors and Dierdre, an actress.

April 9: Alex Soto, 49: A popular Puerto Rican comedian and drag queen, Alex had been recovering from the amputation of his left foot when he suffered a heart attack. He died in Boston. He had previously battled diabetes.

April 10: Eduardo Gauggel Medina, 48 and Eduardo Gaugel Rivas, 70: both Honduran lawyers and politician, the elder Eduardo was also a member of the Supreme Court (1994-1998), the father and son were murdered in Honduras as they were entering Gauggel Rivas’ house in San Pedro Sula by gunman wielding high powered weapons. The son and father died at the scene suffering multiple gunshot wounds. One of the perpetrators was injured in the exchange and authorities arrested him at a clinic in Villa Nueva, 25 kilometers from where the original attack happened.

April 10: Lauren Hill, 19: American college basketball player, pediatric cancer advocate, died of Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). People diagnosed with this type of caner are given two years maximum to live. Lauren’s motto was “never give up.”

April 12: Ibrahim Sulayman Muhammad al-Rubaish, 35: Muslim cleric, said to be the religious leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen who had a $5m bounty on his head, has been killed by a US drone strike. It is unclear who launched the air strike. He was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2006, after which he joined al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Marion Warner

Marion C. Warner (courtesy of Havlicek family)

April 12: Marion C. Stroud Havlicek Warner, 92: passed peacefully on April 12, 2015 at the age of 92 of complications from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Marion is survived by her children: Scott R Stroud (deceased), Jeffrey Stroud, Mary-Jo and Annabelle Havlicek. She was preceded in death by her brother Robert Muehlbach and sister Margaret Muehlbach Bauer; and her husbands, James Stroud, Joseph F. Havlicek and Charles W. Warner. She was the loving grandmother to Nick Stroud; Lauren and Jenene Ebstein; Teresa, Scott Robert, James and Holly Stroud; the generous great grandmother to ten and the caring great-great grandmother to three. She was a secretary of the Year recipient and many times Toastmaster’s Speaker Award winner. Marion lived in Stevens Point for almost two decades and worked at Robert’s Irrigation, Joern’s Furniture Company, Inc. and Washington Elementary School. She moved to Milwaukee in the mid-70’s. Marion loved crossword puzzles, murder mysteries, shopping, jewelry, shoes and tiramisu. She was my mother.


April 14: Percy Sledge, 73: best known for his hit “When a Man Loves a Woman,” died at his Baton Rouge, Louisiana home after a long battle with cancer. His career spanned 50 years.

Homaro Cantu

Homaro Cantu

April 14: Homaro Cantu, 38: American chef, suicide by hanging, was found on Chicago’s Northwest Side. He was found in the brewery he was planning to open in the summer in Old Irving Park. Cantu was a culinary innovator on many levels.



April 14: Kevin Rosier, 53: American super heavyweight kickboxing champion and mixed martial artist (UFC), was one of the first men to ever step into the UFC Octagon. Rosier, who took part in the UFC 1 tournament in 1993 was ill for quite some time, suffered an apparent fatal heart attack.

April 15: Joseph A Bennett, 44: British actor (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, The Bill) and husband to Julie Graham, was found hanging in Richmond Park, SW London. Bennett met Graham when they were in a play together and they married in secret.

April 16: Johnny Kemp, 55: born August 2, 1959, Kemp started singing in Bahamian nightclubs at age 13. He moved to New York in 1979 with the band “Kinky Fox.” He is well known for his hit “Just Got Paid.” He died after falling and hitting his head on a rock on the beach in Jamaica. Reportedly he was to join the Tom Joyner Morning Cruise. He is survived by his wife Deidre and their two sons. Enjoy the video, it will have you out of your seats … (below)

April 18: Joseph Lechleider, 82: was father of the DSL Internet Technology.

April 19: Freddie Gray, 25: police suspect in Baltimore. Six police officers were suspended after Freddie Gray died from a severed spinal cord after being chased and arrested.

Betty Willis

Betty Willis

April 19: Betty Willis, 91: the American graphic designer who created the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign along Interstate 15 that has served as a gateway to the city since 1959 died of natural causes at the home of her daughter in Las Vegas. She was born in Overton, Nevada and when she was about 2-weeks old, her father moved the family to Las Vegas. She also designed the sign for the fabled Moulin Rouge Hotel. Though the building was destroyed in a series of fires, the sign was saved and moved to the Neon Museum in 2009. In addition to her daughter, Willis is survived by two grandchildren and a great grandchild.


April 21: Cindy Yang, 24: model, and entertainer Cindy Yang (Peng Hsin-yi) committed suicide in her Taichung residence by reportedly inhaling helium, leaving behind a suicide note, blaming coworkers and bullying on the Internet. Fans of “Cindy Yang” and of the TV show “University” pointed to a Facebook page also saying that bullying led her to take her own life. Police said that Peng’s suicide note mentioned Internet “haters” and colleagues as being the reason for her suicide.

April 23: Richard Corliss, 71: longtime film critic for Time magazine, and autor of three books, including Talking Pictures. He died under hospice care in New York City after suffering a stroke.

April 23: Paul Ryan, 69: Actor, TV Host and correspondent (Entertainment Tonight) died from leukemia at Providence Saint Joseph Hospital in Burbank. He acted, he interviewed celebrities, he was a TV hosting coach, speaker and even hosted Celebrity Master Class for the SAG Foundation.


Sawyer Sweeten

April 23: Sawyer Sweeten, 19: the actor from Everybody Loves Raymond died from a suspected suicide (gunshot). He was 19 (photo is from 2010). He was only weeks from his 20th birthday. He was visiting his family in Texas where it is believed to have shot himself on their front porch.


April 24: Sabeen Mahmud, 39: Pakistani human rights activist, was shot dead in Karachi via a drive-by shooting after hosting a talk on allegations of torte in the province of Balochistan. She was driving home with her mother, who was also attacked. Ms. Mehmud was a director of the charity The Second Floor, also known as T2F.

April 25: notable deaths consequent to the 2015 Nepal earthquake: Dan Fredinburg, 33, American executive, head of privacy at Google; Mattias Kuhle, 67, German geographer.


Jayne Meadows-Allen

April 26: Jayne Meadows-Allen, 95: legendary actress, award winner on stage and screen, born to missionary parents in China, died peacefully of natural causes in her Encino, Calif. home. Meadows-Allen was in the entertainment industry for more than six decades, from Broadway roles to TV roles. She was also a panelist on the CBS hit program, I’ve Got a Secret. During her run on the show, Jayne was the highest rated actress on CBS, second only to Lucille Ball. Winner of countless awards, Int’l Platform Association Award, Susan B. Anthony Award and many more. Jayne’s husband of 46 years, Steve Allen, the first host of The Tonight Show, passed away in 2000. Their son, Bill Allen states that she was immediately charmed by him when they met, even saying to her sister, Audrey Meadows, “If that man isn’t married soon he will be … and to me.”


April 27: Verne Gagne, 89: professional wrestler, trainer and promoter (AWA); wrestling legend and Wrestling Observer first year Hall of Famer had suffered from dementia for many years, which included a 2009 incident where he threw down a fellow nursing home resident. Gagne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (or possibly chronic traumatic encephalopathy caused by a lifetime of head injuries) and had been living in the “memory-loss” section at a Bloomington, Minn. health care facility. He continued to make public appearances in his last years, aided by his son Greg. He was 89 when he died.

April 27: Andrew Lesnie, 59: Australian cinematographer (The Lord of the Rings, I Am Legend, The Water Diviner), Oscar winner (2002), died from a heart attack.


Nigel Terry

April 30: Nigel Terry, 69: an English actor who starred as King Arthur in John Boorman’s 1981 medieval drama Excalibur died of emphysema. (Blogger’s Note: When I first saw Boorman’s “Excalibur” I watched it at least once a week for almost a year, I was that hypnotized by Nigel Terry’s performance.) Terry also played in Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter. In 1986 he played a bisexual voluptuary with a goatee and a gleaming eye in Caravaggio opposite Sean Bean and Tilda Swinton. He also worked in theatre (the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company), often working with director Max Stafford-Clark and playwright Howard Barker. In his last major film, Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy (2004) an epic starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, he had the pleasure of playing a Trojan high priest and advisor to O’Toole’s King Priam. In 1993 in moved from London back to Cornwall partly to be near his parents in their later years, but also to enjoy the beauty of the cliffs and sea.


April 30: Ben E King, 76: soul and R&B singer, best known for his iconic 1961 single “Stand by Me,” died from coronary heart disease. Though he gained some fame with The Drifters, it was the classic Stand By Me that cemented his fame.

May 1: Dave Goldberg, 47: Silicon Valley entrepreneur, SurveyMonkey chief executive and husband of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg was found lying next to a gym treadmill at a holiday resort in Mexico. Goldberg died of severe head trauma. He had vital signs when he was discovered, but later died at a hospital.

May 1: Grace Lee Whitney, 85: born in Detroit, Mich., she is best known for her Star Trek character, Yeoman Janice Rand of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Whitney passed away peacefully in her Coarsegold home.

Michael Blake

Michael Blake accepts his Oscar in 1991 as Doris Leader Charge translates his speech into the Sioux language.

May 2: Michael Blake, 69: author and Oscar-winning screenwriter of Dances With Wolves (he adapted the screenplay from his own novel), died peacefully after a lengthy illness in Tucson, Ariz. His novel sold more than 3.5 million copies and was translated into 15 languages. The 1990 film won seven Oscars. He is survived by his wife Marrianne and his three children.

May 2: Philip S. Goodman, 89: director, screenwriter and producer, who wrote for film and TV, died at his home in New York City. He wrote episodes for TV shows such as Profiles in Courage, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Johnny Staccato. He directed the 1963 feature We Shall Return. He also wrote and directed television documentaries and industrial films for many years. In 1970 he wrote three episodes of National Educational Television’s “Our Vanishing Wilderness,” one of the first series on TV to focus on environmental issues. He also directed TV commercials for Coca-Cola, RCA, Revlon and Rheingold beer, among others. He is survived by his daughter Jody (a lawyer); a son Nicholas (a film producer); and two grandchildren.

May 4: William Bast, 84: wrote extensively for both film and TV and was also known for his two James Dean bios, died of complications from Alzheimer’s.

© ellen-albertini-dow

Ellen Albertini Dow Credit: Erik Pedersen

May 4: Ellen Albertini Dow, 101: whose memorable take on “Rapper’s Delight” stole the show in the 1998 Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer – and whose screen career started in her 70s. She died at the age of 101 from pneumonia.


May 4: Joshua Ozersky, 47: the prominent American food writer and a Portland resident, died of drowning after suffering a seizure in his Chicago hotel, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. He was in Chicago to attend the James Beard Foundation Awards.

May 5: Gerard “Jock” Davison, 47: a former Belfast IRA commander and the most senior pro-peace process republican killed since the 1997 IRA ceasefire was shot dead, once in the back of the head in front of children going to a local primary school in the Markets area of south Belfast at 9am.

May 6: Guy Carawan, 87: a folk singer and political activist, introduced the song “We Shall Overcome” to the US civil rights movement.

May 7: Gilbert Lewis, 79: a character actor who played the kindly King of Cartoons on the first season of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, died at  home peacefully in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

May 8: Joanne Copeland, 83: the second wife of Johnny Carson and a confidante of Truman Capote, died at her longtime home in Los Angeles. She had been in declining health and was in hospice care. She married Johnny Carson in 1963 and divorced him in 1972 when she became a confidante to Truman Capote. Capote even kept a writing room at her house, where he died in 1984. Joanne Carson had a second marriage later in life to Richard Rever that also ended in divorce.

elizabeth wilson

Elizabeth Wilson in “The Graduate”

May 9: Elizabeth Wilson, 94: a character actress of stage, screen and TV, Wilson has over 70 appearances to her credit. Special acknowledgment of her work in The Graduate, 9 to 5, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Addams Family and an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She was a Tony Award Winner.

May 11: Isobel Varley, 77: the world’s most tattooed female pensioner has died following a battle with Alzehimer’s disease. She was covered 93% with designs. Despite receiving her first tattoo in her late 40s, she went on to claim Guinness World Record for “most tattooed senior citizen (female)” and appeared in magazines, newspapers and advertisements across the globe.

May 12: Tony Ayala, Jr., 52: San Antonio boxer died from cardiac arrest. SAFD was dispatched to his home where they found him unresponsive. During his career he was 22-0 with 19 knockouts before he was convicted of rape and served 16 years in prison. He returned to prison in 2004 for parole violation and served another 10 years. He was the son of legendary trainer Tony Ayala, Sr., who died last year. His brothers, Mike, Sammy and Paulie all box on the amateur and pro levels.

May 12: John Colenback, 79: he played Dr. Dan Stewart on the defunct CBS soap opera As The World Turns and appeared in the original Broadway production of A Man for All Seasons. He died of complications from COPD according to his nephew. Other survivors include his brother and nieces and nephews.

May 12: Rachel Jacobs, 39: an American entrepreneur, who was thought to be missing after the 2015 Philadelphia Amtrak derailment was discovered dead from her injuries. She was CEO of ApprenNet and also co-founder of the non-profit Detroit-Nation. Her mother is former Michigan State Senator Gilda Z. Jacobs. Rachel leaves behind a husband and 2-year-old son.

MacDonald Serial Killer

William MacDonald

May 12: William MacDonald, 90: Australian serial killer known as “The Mutilator,” MacDonald was New South Wales oldest and longest-serving prisoner. He was jailed for life in 1963 for murdering four men in Sydney and 1 in Brisbane. He gained notoriety for slicing off his victims’ genitals.

May 12: Saulat Mirza: Pakistani convicted murderer and political activist was executed by hanging at Machh jail for the murder of former KESC managing director Shahid Hamid, his driver and guard in 1997.

May 13: Gill Dennis, 74: co-writer of the screenplay for Walk The Line and the man who also penned Return to Oz (1985) and did the teleplay for the 1996 TNT Western Riders of the Purple Sage died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Portland, Ore. according to his wife, Kristen.

May 14: B.B. King, 89: King of the Blues, blues legend who was the idol of generations of musicians and fans alike died at his home in Las Vegas. His attorney, Arthur Williams, Jr. said that King told him he wanted his funeral to be held in a church in Indianola, Mississippi, near the site where he worked picking cotton as a boy. King’s eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King of Oak Park, Illi. said she was upset that she didn’t have a chance to see her father before he died. King was a 15-time Grammy winner and continued to perform well into his 80s. His health had been declining during the past year and he had collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October; King blamed it on dehydration and exhaustion. He had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home. During his career spanning nearly 70 years he was a mentor to scores of guitarists including Eric Capton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Keith Richards. King recorded more than 50 records and toured the world, performing 250 or more concerts a year. Singer Smokey Robinson praised the music legend. “The world has physically lost not only one of the greatest musical people ever but one of the greatest people ever. Enjoy your eternity,” Robinson said.

May 15: Corey Hill, 36: former UFC fighter died at a hospital in Tampa, Fla. He apparently suffered a collapsed lung and a heart attack. He is survived by his wife Lauran and three children.

May 15: Valentina Maureira, 14: Chilean euthanasia advocate with cystic fibrosis whose heartbreaking request on YouTube to be allowed to end her own life was refused by the president of Chile died of her illness. Millions of people watched her YouTube video but her public plea was rejected by the Chilean government. Her brother also died of cystic fibrosis at age six.

Washington Redskins 2014 Football Headshots

Adrian Robinson

May 16: Adrian Robinson, 25: American football player, former NFL linebacker from Temple University who played 6 games with the Denver Broncos in 2013, died in Philadelphia. The death was ruled a suicide by hanging. He later played for the Chargers and Redskins. In April he signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

May 16: Abu Sayyaf: Tunisian senior ISIS commander, head of oil operations, killed during a daring U.S. Special Operations raid in eastern Syria. He was killed in a heavy firefight after he resisted capture in the raid at al-Omar.

May 17: Chinx Drugz, 31: American rapper, murdered in a drive by shooting, a member of French Montana’s Coke Boys. It happened in Queens, NY.

May 17: Michael Kandel, 47: American hip-hop musician (aka Tranquility Bass) who recorded ambient and trip hop music. A cause of death is not known.

Screening of the TNT Original Movie "Hope"

Mary Ellen Trainor Credit: Erik Pedersen

May 20: Mary Ellen Trainor Zemeckis, 62: who appeared in every Lethal Weapon film, played the mother in Goonies, played Elaine in Romancing the Stone and was in many other films died from pancreatic cancer at her home in Montecito, Calif. She moved to Los Angeles in 1980, where she married director Robert Zemeckis and discovered her calling as an actress. She and Zemeckis divorced in 2000; she is survived by her son Alex; her mother, Jane; and siblings Ned, Jack, Barbara and Carolyn.

May 22: Marques Haynes, 89: American Hall of Fame, Harlem Globetrotter Great was known for his remarkable ability to dribble the ball and keep it away from defenders. According to the 1988 Harlem Globetrotter film Harlem Globetrotters: Six Decades of Magic, Haynes could dribble the ball as many as six times a second. He died in Plano, Texas of natural causes.

May 23: John Carter, 87: a diverse actor who had roles on stage and screen died from pneumonia. After graduating college in Missouri he moved to New York to pursue his dream of becoming an actor and married Barbara Williams (also an actor). After they divorced he moved to Los Angeles and became very busy in the world of television and film. He became a Theater West member and met his future wife, Kendall Fewel, a match made in heaven. His roles in television included Winds of War, Roots, Dallas, and Law & Order. Film work included Hoax, Badlands and Joe Kidd.


Anne Meara

May 23: Anne Meara, 85: comedian and actress, one half of Stiller & Meara and mother of Ben Stiller, she was married to Jerry Stiller for 61 years and worked together almost as long. In addition to her son, she is also survived by her daughter, Amy Stiller and grandchildren.

May 24: Marcus Belgrave, 78: a famous jazz trumpeter who shared the stage and studio with Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Dizzy Gillespie and Aretha Franklin died of heart failure.

May 24: Michael Ryan, 66: an inmate on death row for the 1985 cult killings of two people including a 5-year-old boy died in custody at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in southeast Nebraska. Ryan was convicted for the torture and killing of 26-year old James Thimm at a farm near Rulo (Nebraska) where Ryan led a cult, and in the beating death of Luke Stice, the 5-year-old son of a cult member.

May 26: Paula Cooper, 45: convicted murderer and once the youngest death row inmate in U.S. was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in northwest Indianapolis. She had been released from prison two years ago after the Indiana Supreme Court set aside her death sentence and gave her a 60-year prison term instead.

May 27: Cotton Coulson, 63: filmmaker and photographer for National Geographic died in Norway after losing consciousness on a scuba dive off the coast of Norway. The dive was part of a 17-day National Geographic expedition. “Most of us divide time between family and career,” said Ford Cochran, director of programming for National Geographic Expeditions. “They found a way to mingle those things, doing the things they loved.”

May 27: Michael King, 67: television distributor who with his brother transformed a modest company they inherited from their father, into a syndicator of television megahits like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, died from a lingering infection.

May 27: William Newman, 80: was a character actor that provided him with countless roles in TV and film. He made his film debut in Brubaker and followed this up with The Postman Always Rings Twice. He also appeared in Stephen King’s Silver Bullet and George A. Romero’s Monkey Shines. During the 90s he appeared in Leprechaun, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Stand, The Craft, Touch and two films with Skeet Ulrich. He was also a familiar face on TV. Newman died after a prolonged struggle against the vascular affliction, Multi-infarct Dementia. He died at Hayes Manor Senior Residence in Philadelphia.

May 28: Reynaldo Rey, 75: longtime actor with TV and movie credits died from complications of a stroke he suffered late last year. Rey also had a career as a stand-up comedian and had served as a co-host on BET’s stand-up show Comic View. He had recorded 3 comedy albums and 3 videos.


Betsy Palmer who is best known for playing Mrs Voorhees in Friday the 13th

May 29: Betsy Palmer, 88: a veteran character actress who achieved lasting fame as the murderous camp cook in the horror film Friday the 13th died of natural causes at a hospice care center in Connecticut. In addition to films, Palmer had appeared on Broadway and in TV shows for decades before she played Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th. She would say in later years that she only took the role because she wanted the money to buy a new car. Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

May 30: Jim Bailey, 77: a self-proclaimed “character actor” who did impersonations of female celebrities like Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee died from a heart attack due to complications from pneumonia.

May 30: Beau Biden, 46: Attorney General of Delaware and son of US Vice President Joe Biden, died after a battle with brain cancer.

May 30: Julie Harris, 94: British costume designer, who designed the clothes worn by The Beatles in the films A Hard Day’s Night and Help! and James Bond in the film Live and Let Die. Harris died in Westminster Hospital in London from a chest infection, according to her close friend, Jo Botting. Ms. Botting stated, “In a career that embraced more than 80 films and television productions … Julie worked with some of the greatest international stars.” She won an Oscar for costume design in the 1965 movie Darling. Ms. Harris never married or had children. She is survived by her god-daughter, Serena Dilnot.

June 1: Katherine Chappell, 29: American tourist, was a visual effects editor at  production company Scanline and helped create effects for the hit series Game of Thrones. She was attacked and killed by a lioness in South Africa. Apparently the animal approached the passenger side of the car and bit her through the window. Witnesses told park officials that the windows were down. There were numerous signs warning visitors to keep windows up.

June 2: Anthony Riley, 28: a vivacious street performer and a frontrunner on the 2015 season of The Voice who inspired one of the fastest four-chair turnaround in the series’ history apparently took his life. He mysteriously and abruptly left The Voice before the Knockout Rounds with no explanation other than “personal reasons.” It was later revealed that he’d dropped out in January to enter a two-week rehab program for substance abuse.

June 4: Hermann Zapf, 96: German typeface designer (Optima, Palatino, Zapfino).

©Vincent Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi © Getty Images

June 6: Vincent Bugliosi, 80: Attorney and author of Helter Skelter, was the man who prosecuted Charles Manson and the members of his “family” for seven murders. The book about the Manson case became one of the best-selling true crime books of all time. Bugliosi died after a years-long battle with cancer, his son, Vincent Bugliosi, Jr. revealed to Retuers.


Sir Christopher Lee

June 7: Sir Christopher Lee, 93: British actor (Dracula, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars), voice artist and singer. He died at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after suffering heart and respiratory problems. His career spanned more than half a century. He defined the macabre for a generation of horror film enthusiasts and played the sinister vampire Dracula no fewer than nine times in productions from 1958 through 1973. He was 6’4″ tall so he was an ideal candidate to play the bloodsucking Count. After playing Dracula for 20 years he tired of the role and moved to the United States where he enjoyed a lucrative career in both films and TV mini-series. He made some comedies in the mid-80s and into the 90s and was Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II and Episode III and Saruman in Lord of the Rings. He is survived by his Danish wife, Birgit and their daughter Christina.

June 7: Sean Pappas, 49: South African golfer, born on Feb. 19, 1966, died of a heart attack. He is survived by his wife Sue, their 7-year old daughter and a 20-year old son from a previous marriage.

June 7: Cole Tucker (born Rick Karp), 61: Gay porn star died of AIDS-related illness.

June 9: Pumpkinhead (born Robert Alan Diaz), 39: American rapper from New York’s rap scene, died in a New Jersey hospital while waiting to undergo a gall stone surgery. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

June 12: Rick Ducommun, 62: Canadian actor (The ‘Burbs, Scary Movie, Groundhog Day, Die Hard), complications from diabetes.

June 14: John Carroll, 73: newspaper editor (The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun), who reinvigorated the LA Times and restored the reputation and credibility of the paper in the early 2000s, even as he fought bitterly with the paper’s cost-conscious corporate parent, died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare neurological disorder. He is survived by three siblings, two daughters and three stepchildren.

Blaze Starr

Blaze Starr

June 15: Blaze Starr, 83: Burlesque dancer and the performer who brought a playful version of stripping that combined the flair of an entertainer with the attitude of a satirist died at a hospital in Williamson, West Virginia. As a successful businesswoman she owned the 2 O’Clock Club on East Baltimore Street and appeared in an advertising campaign for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. She was born Fannie Belle Fleming and in the late-1950s had an affair with Louisiana Gov. Earl Long which turned into the 1989 movie Blaze starring Lolita Davidovich and Paul Newman. Ms. Starr had a cameo in the movie. Ms. Starr is survived by her sister, a brother and four other sisters.

June 17: Nelson Doubleday, Jr., 81: American publisher (Doubleday) and Major League Baseball team owner (New York Mets).

June 18: Ralph J. Roberts, 95: American businessman, founder of Comcast.

June 18: Jack Rollins, 100: American film producer (Annie Hall, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Irrational Man).

June 18: Jim Vandiver, 75: American racing driver.

June 18: Danny Villanueva, 77: American football player (LA Rams, Dallas Cowboys) and broadcasting executive, co-founder of Univision. Died from complications from a stroke.

June 19: Earl Norem, 91: American comic book artist (Silver Surfer, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe).

June 20: JoAnn Dean Killingsworth, 91: American actress and dancer, first person to play Snow White at Disneyland. Died from cancer.

June 21: Cora Combs, 92: American professional wrestler.

June 21: Juan José Estrada, 51: was a Mexican boxer in the Super Bantamweight division. He was a onetime WBC International and the WBA Super Bantamweight Champion. He was stabbed to death in what is believed to be a family dispute.

June 21: Darryl Hamilton, 50: American baseball player (Milwaukee Brewers). The bodies of Hamilton and Monica Jordan, 44, were found inside the house in Pearland (Houston). The woman (Jordan) who police believe shot and killed Hamilton and then herself pled guilty to arson in 2008 in a case where she believed her husband at the time was cheating on her. In the Hamilton shooting, police where sent to the home on a 911 call about a disturbance. When they arrived they found his body near the front entrance. Her body was found in another part of the house. The home was apparently owned by Jordan. Investigators said it appeared Hamilton has been shot more than once; Jordan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The couples 13-month old boy was found unharmed in the home.

June 22: James Horner, 61: American composer (Titanic, Field of Dreams, Braveheart, Apollo 13), Oscar winner (1998), died while piloting a single-engine S312 Tucano turboprop plane when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara.

June 22: Buddy Landel, 53: American professional wrestler (SMW, USWA, WCW). An east Tennessee wrestling legend, “Nature Boy” Landel died in Virginia. He was a Knoxville, Tenn. native.


Dick Van Patten © Everett Collection

June 23: Dick Van Patten, 86: American actor (Eight Is Enough, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Love Boat), died due to complications from diabetes at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He is survived by his wife Patricia Van Patten to whom he was married for more than 60 years, and three sons.


Deer Island Jane Doe

June 25: Deer Island Jane Doe, 3-5: American unidentified decedent. The Facebook post has generated over 24 million views but the cause of death remains undetermined and her identity is still unknown. The girl was discovered June 25 in a trash bag by a woman walking a dog. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children used autopsy photos to create a computer-generated image of the girl, believed to be about 4 years old and white or Hispanic.

June 25: Patrick Macnee, 93: English-American actor (The Avengers, This Is Spinal Tap, A View to a Kill). Patrick Macnee played John Steed in the 1960s TV series The Avengers. It might not have made it to a second season if not for Macnee who breathed life into John Steed. It turned out that The Avengers was one of the first British programs to do well in America. The Avengers ran for 9 seasons plus a lame sequel in the mid-70s. He went on to do more TV and movies and publish a candid autobiography in 1988, Blind in One Ear. He was married three times, twice divorced. His last predeceased him. He is survived by his children. Blogger’s comment: Though I try to keep my comments to a minimum, The Avengers was one of the shows I watched religiously when I was growing up.

June 26: Damion Cook, 36: American football player (Detroit Lions), a former NFL lineman who played seven seasons died after suffering a heart attack. He was a Nashville native.

June 26: Richard Matt, 49: convicted murderer and prison escapee; one of two who engineered an elaborate escape from New York’s largest prison, was shot and killed by a federal agent ending a 3-week manhunt that spread over the state’s northern terrain.

June 26: Michelle Watt, 38: British TV presenter (60 Minute Makeover) suicide.

June 28: Raymond Kassow, 70: convicted murderer, bank robber, and the last of 3 convicts in the 1969 Ohio murders has died in custody. On Sept. 24, 1969 Lillian Dewald was working as a teller at Cabinet Supreme Savings and Loan Association in Delhi Township, Ohio. John L. Leigh, Raymond Kassow and Watterson Johnson came in to rob the place. Three customers (Helen Huebner and sisters Luella and Henrietta Stitzel) walked in moments later. The men forced all four women into the vault and shot them until they ran out of bullets. The men escaped with $275. Helen Huebner’s husband Joe, who had been waiting outside for her, discovered the homicides. John L. Leigh died in prison in 2000. Watterson Johnson died in prison in 2014.

Glenn FordJune 29: Glenn Ford, 65: Ford was exonerated last year after spending nearly 30 years of his life on death row for a crime he did not commit. The Innocence Project of New Orleans announced he died of lung cancer, surrounded by friends and family. In 1984 he was convicted and sentenced to die for the Nov. 5 death of a Shreveport jeweler.

June 29: Jackson Vroman, 34: a former Iowa State basketball player and resident of Los Angeles county was found dead in the pool of his home.