The Urban Daddy Year in Review, 2012: Notable Deaths.

Fraggle Rock
Fraggle Rock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that 2013 has rolled in, I wanted to take a look back at those we lost in 2012.  Usually these year-in-review lists contain a few shocking deaths – celebrities who died way before their time or in a tragic manner – but in compiling this list, I didn’t come across any. Yes, Whitney Houston died in 2012, but based on her much publicized battles with drugs and Bobby Brown it reminded me of the Amy Winehouse death-watch from the previous year.  Very sad, but everyone saw it coming.

Say no to drugs, kids…

So below is a list – certainly not inclusive – of notable deaths from 2012, plus a little about the person, and the date they died – based on my knowledge of after some research and this list is in reverse chronological order.

Actor Jack Klugman, died on December 24th and was best known for his roles on television as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and as Quincy in the show Quincy, M.E..  He was 90 years old.

Pandit Ravi Shankar, a musical icon and legendary sitar player who taught George Harrison of The Beatles to play the instrument and brought Indian music to the West over an 8-decade career, passed away December 11th at age 92.  He was the father of jazz singer Norah Jones.

Actor Larry Hagman, best known for his role as the villainous patriarch “J.R. Ewing” from the TV show “Dallas” died at the age of 81, on November 24th.   Who doesn’t remember the “Who shot JR?” cliffhanger…

Art Ginsburg, better known as Mr. Food died on November 21st at the age of 81.  You may not remember his name but if you see his picture you certainly will recognize him.

Alex Karras, the former NFL lineman who anchored the Detroit Lions’ defense in the 1960’s, who went on to an acting career in which he starred in the sitcom “Webster” and famously punched a horse in the 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles,” died on October 10th at the age of 77.

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died August 25th at 82-years-old.

Phyllis Diller died on August 20th at the age of 95-years-old and she has been credited with breaking the gender barrier in the world of comedy.  A former housewife turned mega-comedienne.

Voice actor and puppeteer, Jerry Nelson, most known for voicing The Count in “Sesame Street” Gobo Fraggle in “Fraggle Rock” and Sgt Floyd Pepper in “The Muppet Show”,  He was 78-years-old.

“Oh!  Oh! Pick me.  Pick me!”  Ron Palillo, the actor best known as the nerdy high-school student Arnold Horshack from 70’s hit TV Show “Welcome Back, Kotter,” died of a heart attack on August 14th at the age of 63.

Sherman Hemsley, best known for portraying the character “George Jefferson” on TV’s “The Jeffersons” and on “All in the Family” died on July 24th at the age of 74-years-old, either from natural causes or from cancer.  There is some confusion swirling around his estate after his will gave his $50,000 estate to his manager, but a man came forward claiming to be his brother stepped forward.  Finally on November 21st, he was buried.  Sad.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey the motivational speaker best known for his self-improvement book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” died July 16th, three months after a serious bicycle accident at the age of 79-years-old.  His book, published in 1989, has sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages, and became one of the most influential non-fiction books of the end of the 20th Century.

Andy Griffith, died July 3rd at the age of 86.  Best known for his 1960s’ starring role as the Sheriff in The Andy Griffith Show.  He later returned to TV in the drama Matlock.  Did you know that he was also also an award winning gospel singer?  Yeah, me either.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir who throughout his life believed that Israel should hang on to it’s territory and never trust an Arab regime, died on June 30th at 96-years-old.  Is it any surprise then, that after Fatah released their new logo it was a picture of what they believed to be the new Palestinian state and on that map there was no Israel?!?  You cannot negotiate with a party who does not want to negotiate.

Rodney King, the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers set off one of the most destructive race riots in the history of the United States, died after drowning in his swimming pool on June 17th.  He was only 47-years-old and a very unhappy man after being awarded compensation for his beating he said that neither the general public or his community believed he was a victim.

Richard Dawson, the former host of  the TV game show “Family Feud”, and an actor on the TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” died on June 2nd at the age of 79-years-old following complications from esophageal cancer

Singer Robin Gibb of the Super-group The Bee Gees died on May 20th at the age of 62.  He had a long battle with cancer.

Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco and best known for hits such as; “Love to Love You Baby”, “Bad Girl” and “She Works Hard for the Money” was a five-time Grammy award winner and was the first artist to ever have three consecutive double albums reach #1 on the Billboard charts.  She died May 17th at the age of 63.

Conspiracy!   Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was found dead inside Kennedy’s home in Westchester County on May 16th. She was his second wife and they had 4-children.  Speculation is that she hung herself.  She was 52.

Celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, whose 1960’s wash-and-wear cuts freed women from endless teasing and hairspray – such as Mia Farrow’s iconic pixie cut for the film “Rosemary’s Baby.  Sassoon grew up in England and later fought in the Israeli Army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.  He was 84.

Children’s author Maurice Sendak, who wrote the popular children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” died May 8th the age of 83.

Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted Beastie Boys, died May 4th, at the age of 47. Youch, a hip-hop pioneer, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009.  My post about him can be found here;

Former NFL star Junior Seau, 43, was found dead in his California home of an apparent suicide on May 2nd, 2012.  Seau was a 1st round draft pick in 1990 NFL draft and he played in the league for 20 years for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots.  He left behind 3 children.  My post about him can be found here;

Dick Clark, long-time TV host and producer who changed the way we listened to pop music with American Bandstand, and whose trademark Rockin’ Eve became a fixture of New Year’s celebrations, died at the age of 82.  My post about his influence can be read here;

Mike Wallace, best known as a “60 Minutes” correspondent, famed for his tough interviews died April 7th at the age of 93.

John Demjanjuk died March 17th in a home for the aged in his native Germany – a much more peaceful way than all the victims of the Nazi concentration camps where he was a death camp guard.  He was charged and convicted of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder.  A retired Ohio autoworker, he hid in the US after WWII until he was found, tried and deported to his native Germany for his war crimes after being stripped of his U.S. citizenship.  He was 91-years-old.

Songwriter Robert B. Sherman – whom I had not heard of before his passing – wrote classic songs for movies such as “Mary Poppins”, “The Jungle Book” and “Winnie the Pooh” as well as the theme for the amazing Disney water ride, “It’s a Small World (After All)”.  He was 86-years-old.

Davy Jones of the super-group, “The Monkees” passed away February 29th of an apparent heart attack.  He was 66-years-young.

Former Montreal Expos catcher Gary Carter died February 16th from complications of a brain tumor at the age of 57.  During his career he played mainly for the Expos and the Mets where he won 3 Gold Glove awards and 5 Silver Sluggers.  In 2003 he was induced to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Whitney Houston died February 11th at the age of 48.  She had such a beautiful voice and he life became such a train-wreck that tabloids reported she was killed over drug debts.  In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time.

Don Cornelius, the smooth-voiced creator and former host of the hit television show “Soul Train”, which brought black music and culture into America’s living rooms committed suicide on February 1st at the age of 75.  Soul Train,” was one of the longest-running syndicated shows in television history (35 years) and it played a critical role in spreading the music of black America to the world.  The show featured musicians like Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, as well as Elton John and David Bowie.

Robert “Bobby” Hegyes, best known for playing the Puerto Rican Jewish character Juan Epstein on “Welcome Back Kotter,” died on January 26th at the age 60.

4 thoughts on “The Urban Daddy Year in Review, 2012: Notable Deaths.

  1. John Smith1 May 30, 2013 / 2:44 am

    Awwww. Sucks. I was looking for current information on my favourite celeb and see that they died last year. 😦 I loved Welcome Back Kotter. Sigh. And 2 of the in the same year. Sucks x 2.


    • The Urban Daddy May 30, 2013 / 1:15 pm

      I know! Horseshack AND Juan Epstein… 2 less Sweathogs in the world.


  2. austinja January 6, 2013 / 12:50 am

    Wow, I didn’t know there were so many deaths of well known people. That is a lot of talent gone and a lot of memories for me. Thanks for sharing this.


    • The Urban Daddy January 6, 2013 / 11:43 am

      Hi Austinja

      I like compiling these lists because it sums up for me what happened during the year and usually tragic deaths, like Whitney Houston’s are milestone’s for the year.

      In cleaning up our storage room I came across a box full of newspaper clippings from some notable deaths during my youth, like John Lennon, George Harrison, Pope John Paul, Kurt Cobain and the like. It’s amazing to see how much they influenced pop culture and I’ve always felt it would be great to imagine (pun intended) what life would be like if they were still alive.

      But now with kids I don’t even have time to think about dinner tomorrow so I tossed them all, but kept my Samantha Fox calendar. 😉


Don't be shy! Please leave a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s