Curtain calls 2012

A look back at Whitney Houston, Davy Jones, Andy Griffith and others we lost this year.

Grammy-winning singer Whitney Houston, cited by Guinness World Records as the most awarded singer of all time, died Feb. 11 at age 48. She drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathroom the night before the Grammy Awards.

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Larry Hagman posed in front of the Southfork Ranch mansion made famous in the television show, "Dallas," in Parker, Texas, Thursday Oct. 9, 2008. Hagman played villain J.R. Ewing on the popular show. He died on Friday, Nov. 23 at age 81.

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Dick Clark, famed for hosting "American Bandstand," the game show "Pyramid," and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," died April 18 at age 82.

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Singer Davy Jones was most famous for his role in the pop group The Monkees, which was put together in 1965 for the TV show of the same name. With such hits as "Daydream Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville," "I'm a Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and the "Monkees" theme song, the group sold more than 50 million records. Jones died Feb. 29 at age 66.

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Actor Andy Griffith, best known for his starring roles in the television series "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock," died July 3 at the age of 86.

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Singer Andy Williams, shown here in 1960 on his television variety series, "The Andy Williams Show," died Sept. 25 at age 84. Ronald Reagan once dubbed the "Moon River" crooner a "national treasure."

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan was best known for his role in “The Green Mile,” which earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. He also appeared in “Armageddon,” “Daredevil” and other films. He died Sept. 3 at age 54.

Disco queen Donna Summer died May 17 at age 63. The Grammy-winning singer had numerous hits in both the 1970s and 1980s, including "Last Dance," "She Works Hard for the Money" and "Bad Girls."

Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives

Robin Gibb, one of the founders of the Bee Gees, died May 20 at age 62. He had battled cancer for years. His quivering, vulnerable voice was featured prominently on several of the group's earliest hits, including "New York Mining Disaster 1941," "I Started a Joke," "Massachusetts," and "I've Gotta Get a Message to You."

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Author Maurice Sendak, most famous for "Where the Wild Things Are," died May 8 at age 83. He earned attention in his last year for an engaging and blunt interview with Stephen Colbert.

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Celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, seen here cutting the hair of fashion designer Mary Quant in 1964, died May 9 at age 84. Sassoon was known for creating the bob hairstyle.

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Legendary comic Phyllis Diller died on Aug. 20 at age 95. She was one of the most influential women to perform stand-up comedy.

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Ron Palillo made audiences laugh as goofy Arnold Horshack on the 1970s hit "Welcome Back, Kotter." He died of a heart attack Aug. 14 at age 63, seven months after castmate Robert "Epstein" Hegyes died, also of an apparent heart attack.

Robert Hegyes, best known for playing Sweathog Juan Epstein on the comedy series "Welcome Back Kotter," died Jan. 26 at age 60.


Jonathan Frid, best remembered for his role as elegant vampire Barnabas Collins in "Dark Shadows," died April 14 at age 87.

Blues singer Etta James died Jan. 20 at age 73. Dubbed the "Matriarch of R&B," she is perhaps best known for her romantic hit "At Last."

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Don Cornelius, creator of the long-running TV dance show "Soul Train," committed suicide Feb. 1 at age 75.

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LeRoy Neiman, the painter and sketch artist best known for evoking the kinetic energy of the world's biggest sporting and leisure events with bright quick strokes, died June 20 at age 91.

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Ray Bradbury, the author of classics such as “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked this Way Comes” and “The Martian Chronicles,” died June 5 at the age of 91.

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Richard Dawson is best known for hosting "Family Feud" and starring in "Hogan's Heroes." He died June 2 at age 79.


Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, star of "McHale's Navy," died July 8 at 95. The beefy screen star was known for blustery, often villainous roles, but won the best-actor Oscar for playing against type as a lovesick butcher in "Marty" in 1955.


Don Grady played handsome son Robbie Douglas on "My Three Sons" and was an original Mouseketeer. He died June 27 at age 68.

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Sherman Hemsley played dry-cleaning magnate George Jefferson in "The Jeffersons," a ground-breaking 1970s show. He died July 24 at age 74.

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Actor George Lindsey, seen here in 1973, starred as Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Mayberry R.F.D." He died May 6 at age 83.

Cbs Photo Archive / Archive Photos

Childhood roles made him famous, but he would go on to live for nearly a century, outliving most of his young co-stars. Jack Hanlon, who starred in at least two of the classic "Our Gang" movies of the Depression era, died Dec. 13 at age 96.

Sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar hobnobbed with the Beatles, became a hippie musical icon and spearheaded the first rock benefit concert as he introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over nearly a century. He died Dec. 11 at age 92.

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Popular Mexican-American singer and reality show star Jenni Rivera, also known as “La Diva de la Banda,” died Dec. 9 in a plane crash in Mexico. She was 43.

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Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, died Dec. 5 at 91. He was a day away from his 92nd birthday.

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Banjo player Earl Scruggs popularized a three-finger picking style that became known as "Scruggs style." The bluegrass musician died March 28 at age 88.

Actress Deborah Raffin is perhaps best known for her role as Aunt Julie on "7th Heaven," but she also starred in film and TV and launched her own audiobook company. She died of leukemia Nov. 21 at age 59.

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Art Ginsburg, known as Mr. Food, dies of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 21, at age 81. His cooking vignettes were syndicated to more than 150 TV stations, and he published 52 cookbooks.

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Gary Collins, actor, TV host and former master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant, died Oct. 13 of natural causes at the age of 74.

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R&B singer R.B. Greaves had a No.2 hit in 1969 with "Take a Letter, Maria," which he also wrote. He died Sept. 27 at age 68.

Johnny Lewis, who played Kip "Half Sack" Epps on the cable TV show "Sons of Anarchy," fell to his death on Sept. 26 after police say he killed his elderly landlady. He was 28.

Levon Helm, drummer and singer for The Band, died April 19 at age 71. His singing anchored Band classics like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Up on Cripple Creek," "Rag Mama Rag" and "The Weight."

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Herbert Lom, shown here at left with Peter Sellers in 1976's "The Pink Panther Strikes Again," died Sept. 27 at age 95. Lom was best known for his role as the deranged Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus in the "Pink Panther" comedies, but acted in more than 100 films.

Dorothy McGuire, right, with sisters Christine and Phyllis, died Sept. 7 at age 84. The siblings had hits with "Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite," "Sincerely" and "Sugartime" and were often compared to their 1940s predecessors, The Andrews Sisters.

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Songwriter Joe South wrote "Down in the Boondocks," "Games People Play," and the Grammy-nominated "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden." He died Sept. 5 at age 72.

Songwriter Hal David wrote such tunes as “What’s New, Pussycat?”, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” He died Sept. 1 at age 91.

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Puppeteer Jerry Nelson voiced purple vampire Count von Count for decades on "Sesame Street." He died on Aug. 23 of emphysema.

Nancy Moran / Sesame Street

British director Tony Scott, brother of Ridley Scott, is perhaps best known for "Top Gun," but his films also include "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" and "True Romance." He committed suicide on Aug. 19.

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Joey Kovar appeared on "The Real World" and "Celebrity Rehab." He died Aug. 17 at age 29. His death was ruled inconclusive, but he had long struggled with drug abuse.

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Mel Stuart, director of the 1971 film "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," died Aug. 9 at age 83.


Guitarist Stuart Swanlund of The Marshall Tucker Band died Aug. 4 at age 54.

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Composer Marvin Hamlisch was one of only 11 people who've been awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. He also won a Pulitzer Prize and two Golden Globes. Hamlisch died Aug. 6 at age 68.

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Author, playwright and commentator Gore Vidal died July 31 at age 86.

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Author Maeve Binchy, perhaps best known for "Circle of Friends," died July 30 at age 72.


Singer Tony Martin, best known for his romantic 1950s ballads and his 60-year marriage to dancer Cyd Charisse, died July 30 at the age of 98.

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Chad Everett played many roles, but he may be best known for starring in "Medical Center." Everett also made a splash in film and song. He died July 24 at age 76.

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Country singer Kitty Wells, the first female superstar of country music, died after complications from a stroke July 16. She was 92.

Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives

Actress Celeste Holm won an Oscar for her work in 1947's "Gentleman's Agreement." She died July 15 at age 95.


Sage Stallone, shown at left with actress Amy Brenneman and his father Sylvester Stallone, died of heart disease July 13 at age 36. He was an actor and filmmaker.

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Writer and film director Nora Ephron, known for work on movies such as "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," died June 26 at 71 after battling leukemia.

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Musician Doc Watson died May 29 at the age of 89 after undergoing colon surgery. Watson, who was blinded before his first birthday, won seven Grammy Awards, in addition to the Grammy for lifetime achievement he received in 2004.


Bassist Donald 'Duck' Dunn may be best remembered for his work with Booker T & the M.G.'s, but he also played with Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, The Blues Brothers, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan and dozens of other artists. He died May 13 at age 70.

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Adam Yauch, aka "MCA" of the rap group Beastie Boys, is seen here with daughter Lossel at Amnesty International Spot Light awards for human rights. He died of cancer May 4 at age 47.

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Greg Ham, who appears at far left in this photo of his band, Men at Work, died April 19 at age 58. The musician with the iconic Australian band was perhaps best known for playing the famous flute riff in the smash 1980s hit "Down Under."


Painter Thomas Kinkade died April 6 at age 54. Self-dubbed the "Painter of Light," he was one of the most popular artists in America.

Editor and author Helen Gurley Brown died Aug. 13 at age 90. She edited Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years.

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Charles Durning, the two-time Oscar nominee who was dubbed the king of the character actors for his skill in playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope, died on Dec. 24 in New York City. He was 89. He's seen here as he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008.

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Jack Klugman, best known for playing Oscar in "The Odd Couple" and an intrepid medical examiner in "Quincy M.E.," , died on Dec. 24 at age 90.

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Lee Dorman, the bassist for Iron Butterfly, died on Dec. 21 at age 70.

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Ray Collins, founding member of the Mothers of Invention, died Dec. 24. His family said he was in his 70s.

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Gerry Anderson, the British creator of popular television show "Thunderbirds," died on Dec. 26 at age 83. "Team America: World Police" was inspired by the Thunderbirds.

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Fontella Bass, who had a 1965 hit with "Rescue Me," died Dec. 26 at age 72. Her soaring voice sounded so much like Aretha Franklin that many confused the two.

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