Obituaries

 
 
Actor John Hurt arrives for a memorial service for actor and director Richard Attenborough at Westminster Abbey in London March 17, 2015.

John Hurt, British actor who played desperate, eccentric characters, dies at 77

By Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post on Jan. 28, 2017, at 8:14 a.m.
John Hurt, a British actor who gave compelling depth to desperate, flawed and sometimes monstrously deformed characters in performances that captivated audiences and critics for more than five decades, has died. He was 77.

Harry Middleton, who led LBJ library and released presidential tapes, dies at 95

By Matt Schudel, The Washington Post on Jan. 23, 2017, at 8:05 a.m.
Soon after Johnson died on Jan. 22, 1973, Middleton learned there were hundreds of hours of uncataloged Oval Office conversations in storage. Johnson had instructed that the tapes be left untouched until 50 years after his death.

Wayne Barrett, muckraking journalist and Trump biographer, dies at 71

By Emily Langer, The Washington Post on Jan. 23, 2017, at 8:02 a.m.
Wayne Barrett, an investigative journalist who pursued the deeds and misdeeds of New York City politicians and players during four decades with the Village Voice, skewering mayors — and future president Donald Trump — with stories collected through the time-honored traditions of muckraking, died Jan. 19 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 71.

Peter Abrahams, whose novels detailed South Africa’s racial injustice, dies at 97

By Matt Schudel, The Washington Post on Jan. 23, 2017, at 7:52 a.m.
Peter Abrahams, one of South Africa’s first acclaimed black writers whose novel “Mine Boy” focused on the country’s institutionalized system of racial oppression, died Jan. 18 at his home in St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica. He was 97.

Roberta Peters, reigning soprano of Metropolitan Opera and on TV, dies at 86

By Emily Langer, The Washington Post on Jan. 23, 2017, at 7:24 a.m.
Roberta Peters, who debuted at the Metropolitan Opera at age 20 on five hours’ notice and became a reigning soprano of her era, delighting audiences for decades with performances on stage, in commercials and on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” died Jan. 18 at an assisted living facility in Rye, New York. She was 86.

Victor Lownes, rakish executive who launched Playboy clubs, dies at 88

By Matt Schudel, The Washington Post on Jan. 16, 2017, at 7:28 a.m.
Princess Margaret (right) waves to her newly married daughter Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and husband Daniel Chatto as they leave St Stephen Walbrook church in London July 14, 1994. Princess Margeret is flanked by her former husband Lady Sarah's father Lord Snowdon (center), their son Viscount Linley, and Linley's wife Serena.

Lord Snowdon, husband of Britain’s late Princess Margaret, dies aged 86

By Reuters on Jan. 13, 2017, at 11:29 a.m.
Lord Snowdon, the photographer former husband of Queen Elizabeth’s late younger sister Princess Margaret has died aged 86, Buckingham Palace confirmed Friday.

Georges Pretre, French conductor who recorded with Maria Callas, dies at 92

By Harrison Smith, The Washington Post on Jan. 09, 2017, at 7:28 a.m.

Polly Kraft, Washington hostess and painter of still lifes, dies at 89

By Emily Langer, Washington Post on Jan. 06, 2017, at 1:10 p.m.
Polly Kraft, a painter who turned quotidian objects and scenes — a sliced red apple still bearing its seeds, an unmade bed cluttered with mail, a filleted fish vibrant even in death — into works of art resonant with meaning, died Jan. 1 at her home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. She was 89.

Jeremy Stone, arms-control advocate who led activist science group, dies at 81

By Matt Schudel, Washington Post on Jan. 06, 2017, at 12:24 p.m.
Jeremy Stone, a persistent and outspoken activist on such issues as arms control, human rights and international scientific cooperation, whose ideas helped form the framework of the U.S.-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972, died Jan. 1 at his home in Carlsbad, California. He was 81.

F. Ross Johnson, who allowed RJR Nabisco buyout, dies at 85

By David Henry, Bloomberg on Jan. 02, 2017, at 9:25 a.m.
F. Ross Johnson, the RJR Nabisco Inc. CEO whose efforts to take the company private in the 1980s led to the then-largest takeover in Wall Street history chronicled in the best-selling book “Barbarians at the Gate,” has died. He was 85.

Tyrus Wong, artist whose paintings inspired Disney’s ‘Bambi’ and other films, dies at 106

By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times on Jan. 02, 2017, at 7:18 a.m.
Wong, who brought a poetic quality to “Bambi” that has helped it endure as a classic of animation, died of natural causes just after midnight early Friday morning in his Sunland home, said his daughter Kim Wong. He was 106.

Actor William Christopher, “M*A*S*H” chaplain, dead at 84

By Will Dunham, Reuters on Jan. 02, 2017, at 6:28 a.m.
William Christopher, who played the unassuming U.S. Army chaplain, Father Mulcahy, struggling to bring spiritual comfort to an anarchic surgical unit during the Korean War on the long-running hit TV series “M*A*S*H,” died on Saturday. He was 84.

Fidel Castro, Antonin Scalia, John Gutfreund: The year in deaths

By Steven Gittelson, Bloomberg on Jan. 02, 2017, at 6:26 a.m.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and ex-Salomon Brothers executive John Gutfreund were among newsmakers in business, finance and public affairs who died in 2016.

Mattie Smith Colin, reporter who covered Emmett Till story, dies at 98

By Joan Giangrasse Kates, Chicago Tribune on Jan. 02, 2017, at 6:26 a.m.
Mattie Smith Colin, a reporter for the Chicago Defender, was dispatched to a Chicago train station in 1955 to cover the return of Emmett Till’s body.
Actress Debbie Reynolds poses backstage after accepting her Lifetime Achievement awards at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, in this January 2015 file photo.

Actress Debbie Reynolds dies a day after daughter Carrie Fisher

By Reuters on Dec. 28, 2016, at 9:04 p.m.
Debbie Reynolds, a leading lady in Hollywood musicals and comedies in the 1950s and 1960s including “Singin’ in the Rain,” died on Wednesday, according to trade publication Variety.

Richard Adams, best-selling British author of ‘Watership Down,’ dies at 96

By Harrison Smith, Washington Post on Dec. 27, 2016, at 2:05 p.m.
Richard Adams, a British writer whose novel about rabbits, “Watership Down,” sold 50 million copies and mesmerized generations of readers by creating an ornately detailed fantasy world and subverting the Flopsy-Mopsy stereotype of warm and cuddly bunnies, has died at 96.

Vera Rubin, astronomer who verified existence of dark matter, dies at 88

By Matt Schudel, Washington Post on Dec. 27, 2016, at 7:45 a.m.
While fighting gender discrimination battles on Earth, Vera Rubin peered into the cosmos and examined the rotation of more than 200 galaxies.

‘He died of a broken heart': Married 63 years, they died hours apart in same hospital room

By Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post on Dec. 23, 2016, at 1:26 p.m.
In their final moments — just as they had on countless other nights — the couple lay together, side by side, holding hands.

Leaving with a laugh: Obituaries of people who died in 2016 with humor in their hearts

By Marnie Eisenstadt, Syracuse Media Group on Dec. 23, 2016, at 12:39 p.m.
From across the nation, here are some of the funniest obituaries of 2016.