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What they left is just indelible

Times Staff Writer

It’s impossible to deem the passing of any influential arts, entertainment or pop culture figure more “important” than that of another.

It is possible, however, to observe that two performers who died in 2007 managed to transcend the traditional boundaries between art and entertainment like no others: opera’s beloved Italian tenor and American soprano, Luciano Pavarotti and Beverly Sills.

Both Pavarotti, who died in September of pancreatic cancer at age 71, and the Brooklyn-born Sills, a nonsmoker who succumbed to lung cancer in July at age 78, wooed the world by being as comfortable on the TV screen as the opera stage. Both gave opera a human face: Pavarotti as one of the wildly popular “Three Tenors” and Sills, dubbed “America’s Queen of Opera” by Time magazine, as the kind of spunky performer who could relish a duet with Miss Piggy on “The Muppet Show.”

And 2007 saw the loss of quite a few performers who, unlike these opera superstars, made an indelible mark with something small. Actor Dick Wilson, who died in November at 91, spent 21 years begging TV audiences not to squeeze the Charmin as aggrieved grocer Mr. Whipple. And, for better or worse, some of your brain cells are most likely occupied with the lyrics to Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash”; the singer who co-wrote the Halloween novelty song died in April at 69.

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Then there was ex-Playmate Anna Nicole Smith, who . . . well, what did she do, exactly? One online obituary calls her a “reality TV star”; let’s go with that. The very famous, very blond widow of billionaire J. Howard Marshall II died in a hotel room in February; she was 39.

Other notable passings in entertainment, the arts and literature, in no particular order, included:

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Kurt Vonnegut, novelist, 84: Noted for biting satirical commentary on war, technology, materialism and other societal ills, his novels include “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle,” “Mother Night” and “Breakfast of Champions.”

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Norman Mailer, author, 84: The audacious two-time Pulitzer Prize winner wrote nearly 50 books that included fiction, biography, history, essays and the hybrid genre that became known as New Journalism, the novelistic rendering of factual stories including 1979’s “The Executioner’s Song,” about double-murderer Gary Gilmore. Other books include “The Naked and the Dead” (1948), “Ancient Evenings” (1983) and “The Gospel According to the Son,” an “autobiography” of Jesus (1997).

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Ingmar Bergman, film director, 89: The Swedish auteur was considered one of the greatest directors in film history, credited with opening America’s doors to foreign films. His early masterpieces such as “The Seventh Seal” and “Wild Strawberries” and later films such as “Persona” and “Cries and Whispers” explored the intricacies of the human psyche. His “The Virgin Spring” (1960), “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961) and “Fanny and Alexander” (1983) all won Oscars for best foreign-language film.

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Sol LeWitt, visual artist, 78: The modular sculptures and systematic murals by this American artist are considered to be among the most innovative works of the last 40 years. Like the sculptures, the wall drawings are composed using precise sets of logical instructions. “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art,” LeWitt once wrote.

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Igor Moiseyev, dancer-choreographer, 101: The Russian dance artist was trained in ballet but became a champion of folk dancing, creating an acclaimed Russian company, reinventing folk dance as a professional stage spectacle, influencing ballet, modern and contemporary choreographers and leading to copycat companies both in Russia and abroad.

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Marcel Marceau, mime, 84: A moment of silence for Marceau, the great French mime who for seven decades broke down barriers of language and infused new life into an ancient art form. Inspired in childhood by Charlie Chaplin, Marceau toured the world for more than half a century, giving more than 15,000 performances. Most all of his shows included his often-imitated signature character Bip, the bemused clown in the striped pullover.

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Max Roach, jazz drummer, 83: Roach brought the drum set to the front of the stage; his innovative approach to drumming forever changed the way the instrument was played and perceived. Also a composer, his achievements reached well beyond music as a pioneer in the use of the creative arts for the advocacy of civil rights and racial equality.

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Deborah Kerr, 86: The British actress was one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies in the 1950s; her films include “From Here to Eternity,” “The King and I” and “An Affair to Remember.” In “Eternity” Kerr, noted for playing ladylike characters, shattered her good-girl image by portraying an adulterous wife. The movie contains one of filmdom’s most memorable images: Kerr and Burt Lancaster locked in a embrace on a beach as a wave washes over them.

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Merv Griffin, entrepreneur, 82: A former big-band singer, Griffin later turned entrepreneur, leveraging his career as a popular TV talk-show host into a business empire that created the syndicated game shows “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!,” the most popular game shows in history.

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Tom Snyder, TV talk host, 71: Fans called him brash and provocative; his detractors called him arrogant, intimidating and belligerent. Once a top-rated evening news anchor at KNBC-TV Channel 4 in Los Angeles, Snyder jumped into late-night TV in 1973, challenging politicians, authors, actors and musicians in 1973 as host of “Tomorrow” and later as the host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder.”

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Jack Valenti, retired chief of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, 85: During his nearly four decades as “the face of Hollywood” as head of the powerful MPAA, Valenti is probably best known for creating the movie rating system, which can sometimes make or break a film at the box office by categorizing it as G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17.

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Mstislav Rostropovich, cellist and conductor, 80: The musician was considered one of the finest cello virtuosos of the last half of the 20th century. He also became a global political figure in the 1960s after the Soviet Union stripped him of his citizenship for protesting the government’s suppression of the arts.

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Robert Goulet, singer, 73: Known for his dark-haired good looks and rich baritone, Goulet rose to Broadway stardom in 1960 playing Sir Lancelot in the original production of “Camelot.” During the ‘60s, he turned out a string of hit records and became a movie and television star.

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Here are some of the other notables in the arts and popular culture who died in 2007.

January

A.I. Bezzerides, 98. Film noir screenwriter (“Kiss Me Deadly”). Jan. 1.

Del Reeves, 74. Grand Ole Opry star (“Girl on the Billboard”). Jan. 1.

Tillie Olsen, 94. Influential feminist author (“Tell Me a Riddle”). Jan. 1.

Vincent Sardi Jr., 91. Consummate host of Broadway watering hole Sardi’s. Jan. 4.

Pete Kleinow, 72. Ace steel guitar player with the Flying Burrito Brothers. Jan. 6.

Yvonne De Carlo, 84. The vampire mom on “The Munsters.” Jan. 8.

Iwao Takamoto, 81. Animator who created Scooby-Doo. Jan. 8.

Carlo Ponti, 94. Italian producer who discovered and married Sophia Loren. Jan. 9.

Robert Anton Wilson, 74. Co-author of science-fiction cult classic “The Illuminatus! Trilogy.” Jan. 11.

Michael Brecker, 57. Versatile tenor saxophonist; won 11 Grammys. Jan. 13.

Darlene Conley, 72. Actress; feisty fashion mogul Sally Spectra on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Jan. 14.

Betty Trezza, 81. Player in World War II-era women’s baseball league immortalized in “A League of Their Own.” Jan. 16.

Pookie Hudson, 72. Lead singer for Spaniels doo-wop group (“Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight”). Jan. 16.

Ron Carey, 71. Played cocky, height-challenged policeman on “Barney Miller.” Jan. 16.

Art Buchwald, 81. Pulitzer-winning Washington humorist; battled Hollywood over movie “Coming to America.” Jan. 17.

Denny Doherty, 66. Member of 1960s folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas (“California Dreamin’ ”). Jan. 19.

Liz Renay, 80. Colorful cult movie actress (John Waters’ “Desperate Living”). Jan. 22.

Peter Tompkins, 87. Wrote bestsellers such as “The Secret Life of Plants.” Jan. 24.

Bob Carroll Jr., 87. TV writer for Lucille Ball’s shows. Jan. 27.

Tige Andrews, 86. Emmy-nominated actor; the captain in charge of “The Mod Squad.” Jan. 27.

Sidney Sheldon, 89. Stage and screen writer turned bestselling novelist (“The Other Side of Midnight”). Jan. 30.

Molly Ivins, 62. Bestselling author and columnist. Jan. 31.

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February

Gian Carlo Menotti, 95. Pulitzer-winning Italian composer (“The Consul,” “Amahl and the Night Visitors”); founded Spoleto arts festivals. Feb. 1.

Joe Hunter, 79. Motown’s first bandleader; three-time Grammy winner with the Funk Brothers. Feb. 2.

Eric von Schmidt, 75. A mainstay of the blues and folk scene in the 1950s and 1960s who influenced Bob Dylan. Feb. 2.

Billy Henderson, 67. Member of the Spinners (“Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”). Feb. 2.

Barbara McNair, 72. Pioneering black singer-actress; had her own TV variety show. Feb. 4.

Frankie Laine, 93. Big-voiced singer; one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950s (“That Lucky Old Sun”). Feb. 6.

Ian Richardson, 72. Actor; played Jean-Paul Marat in “Marat/Sade” on Broadway and the screen. Feb. 9.

Marianne Fredriksson, 79. One of Sweden’s most admired writers (“Hanna’s Daughters”). Feb. 11.

Ellen Hanley, 80. Played Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s first wife in the Pulitzer-winning musical “Fiorello!” Feb. 12.

Robert Adler, 93. Co-inventor of the TV remote, the 1956 Zenith Space Command. Feb. 15.

Walker Edmiston, 81. The voice of Ernie the Keebler elf in TV commercials. Feb. 15.

Ray Evans, 92. Oscar-winning songwriter (“Mona Lisa,” “Buttons and Bows”). Feb. 15.

Janet Blair, 85. Vivacious Hollywood actress in 1940s musicals and comedies (“My Sister Eileen”). Feb. 19

Fons Rademakers, 86. Dutch film director whose 1986 “De Aanslag” (The Assault) won Oscar as best foreign-language film. Feb. 22.

Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, 89. German author; wrote autobiographical novel “Das Boot.” Feb. 22.

Mark Spoelstra, 66. Singer who was an important figure in the folk music renaissance of the 1960s. Feb. 25.

Bobby Rosengarden, 82. Jazz drummer; bandleader for “The Dick Cavett Show.” Feb. 27.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89. Pulitzer-winning historian; Kennedy administration “court philosopher.” Feb. 28.

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March

Henri Troyat, 95. One of France’s most prolific and respected authors. March 2.

Andy Sidaris, 76. Emmy-winning director of “Wide World of Sports.” March 7.

Brad Delp, 55. Lead singer for the band Boston (“More Than a Feeling”). March 9.

Richard Jeni, 49. Stand-up comedian, frequent “Tonight Show” guest. March 10.

Betty Hutton, 86. Singer-actress who brought brassy vitality to Hollywood musicals (“Annie Get Your Gun”). March 11.

Vilma Ebsen, 96. She danced in “Broadway Melody of 1936" with her brother Buddy. March 12.

Stuart Rosenberg, 79. TV, film director (“Cool Hand Luke”). March 15.

Carol Richards, 84. Singer; teamed with Bing Crosby on “Silver Bells.” March 16.

Luther Ingram, 69. R&B; singer and songwriter known for “If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want to Be Right).” March 19.

Calvert DeForest, 85. Played bespectacled nebbish Larry “Bud” Melman on David Letterman’s shows. March 19.

Walter Turnbull, 62. Founded the acclaimed Boys Choir of Harlem. March 23.

Robert E. Petersen, 80. Publisher whose Hot Rod, Motor Trend magazines helped shape car culture. March 23.

Henson Cargill, 66. Country singer (“Skip a Rope”). March 24.

Calvin Lockhart, 72. Played underworld figures in 1970s blaxploitation films. March 29.

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April

Danny Barcelona, 77. Drummer with Louis Armstrong. April 1.

Bob Clark, 67. Film director known for holiday classic “A Christmas Story.” April 4.

Edward Mallory, 76. Portrayed angst-ridden Dr. Bill Horton on soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” April 4.

George Jenkins, 98. Art director; won Oscar for “All the President’s Men.” April 6.

Barry Nelson, 89. MGM contract player; later first actor to play James Bond on screen. April 7.

Johnny Hart, 76. Cartoonist whose “B.C.” showed the humorous side of the Stone Age. April 7.

Roscoe Lee Browne, 81. Emmy-winning actor known for rich voice, dignified bearing. April 11.

Don Ho, 76. Hawaiian crooner (“Tiny Bubbles”); entertained tourists for decades. April 14.

Brant Parker, 86. Illustrated “The Wizard of Id” comic strip. April 15.

James B. Davis Sr., 90. Founded gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds. April 17.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96. Singer-actress; long career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film (“A Night at the Opera”). April 17.

Stan Daniels, 72. Emmy-winning TV writer and producer (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Taxi”). April 20.

Andrew Hill, 75. Jazz pianist, composer known for complex post-bop style. April 20.

Anne Pitoniak, 85. Tony-nominated actress (“ ‘night, Mother”). April 22.

David Halberstam, 73. Journalist whose acclaimed books included towering study of Vietnam War, poignant portrait of aging baseball stars. April 23.

Dabbs Greer, 90. Character actor; played minister in “Little House on the Prairie.” April 28.

Tommy Newsom, 78. “The Tonight Show” musician whose “Mr. Excitement” nickname was a running joke for Johnny Carson. April 28.

Tom Poston, 85. The tall, pasty-faced TV comic whose characters were clueless (“Newhart”). April 30.

Zola Taylor, 69. Singer with the Platters (“The Great Pretender”). April 30.

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May

Bernard Gordon, 88. Screenwriter, blacklisted in the 1950s (“55 Days at Peking”). May 11.

Lloyd Alexander, 83. Children’s book author (“The Chronicles of Prydain”). May 17.

Carl Wright, 75. Tap dancer turned actor (“Barbershop,” “Big Momma’s House”). May 19.

Charles Nelson Reilly, 76. Tony Award winner; later known for ribald TV game show appearances. May 25.

Gretchen Wyler, 75. Broadway actress (“Silk Stockings”). May 27.

Mark Harris, 84. Novelist (“Bang the Drum Slowly”). May 30.

William Meredith, 88. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (“Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems”). May 30.

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June

Nellie Lutcher, 93. Jazz vocalist (“He’s a Real Gone Guy”). June 8.

Sembene Ousmane, 84. The father of Senegalese cinema and one of the pioneers of the art in Africa. June 9.

Mala Powers, 75. Actress; played Roxanne to Jose Ferrer’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.” June 11.

Don Herbert, 89. Television’s “Mr. Wizard.” June 12.

Thommie Walsh, 57. Tony-winning choreographer (“A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine”). June 16.

Gianfranco Ferre, 62. Italian designer known as “architect of fashion.” June 17.

Hank Medress, 68. Singer with the doo-wop group the Tokens (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”). June 18.

Antonio Aguilar, 88. Mariachi singer, actor during Mexican cinema’s Golden Era. June 19.

Nazek al-Malaika, 85. Iraqi poet; used free verse rather than classical rhyme. June 20.

J.B. Handelsman, 85. New Yorker cartoonist; used dry wit to deflate human folly, injustice. June 20.

Liz Claiborne, 78. Designer whose styles became a cornerstone of career women’s wardrobes. June 26.

Joel Siegel, 63. Longtime “Good Morning America” movie critic. June 29.

Fred T. Saberhagen, 77. Science fiction and fantasy writer (“Berserker” series). June 29.

Edward Yang, 59. Taiwanese film director; “Yi Yi (A One and a Two),” honored at Cannes in 2000. June 29.

George McCorkle, 60. Marshall Tucker Band member; wrote “Fire on the Mountain.” June 29.

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July

Hy Zaret, 99. Wrote haunting lyrics to “Unchained Melody.” July 2.

Buck Brown, 71. Cartoonist; created Playboy’s naughty “Granny.” July 2.

Boots Randolph, 80. His spirited saxophone made “Yakety Sax” a hit. July 3.

Regine Crespin, 80. French opera great. July 5.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, 68. Pioneer of modern historical romance novel (“The Flame and the Flower”). July 6.

Charles Lane, 102. Prolific character actor whose face was recognizable to generations of moviegoers. July 9.

Doug Marlette, 57. Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist, creator of comic strip “Kudzu.” July 10.

John Graham, 80. Children’s book author (“I Love You, Mouse”). July 16.

Teresa Stich-Randall, 79. American soprano; became a leading opera singer in Austria. July 17.

Jerry Hadley, 55. Tenor known for his agile voice. July 18.

Sekou Sundiata, 58. Poet, recording artist (“The Blue Oneness of Dreams”). July 18.

Bill Flemming, 80. Longtime ABC Sports broadcaster. July 20.

Laszlo Kovacs, 74. Cinematographer whose stylistic inventions transformed cinema (“Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces”). July 22.

Ulrich Muehe, 54. German actor acclaimed for role in Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others.” July 22.

Ron Miller, 74. Songwriter (“For Once in My Life”). July 23.

George Tabori, 93. Avant-garde playwright-director in postwar Germany (“Goldberg Variations”). July 23.

William J. Tuttle, 95. Oscar-winning movie makeup artist. July 27.

Michel Serrault, 79. French actor; “La Cage aux Folles” made him internationally known. July 29.

Art Davis, 73. Renowned jazz bassist. July 29.

Michelangelo Antonioni, 94. Italian filmmaker whose depiction of modern-day malaise made him a symbol of art-house cinema (“Blow-Up,” “L’Avventura”). July 30.

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August

Tommy Makem, 74. Irish singer; starred with the Clancy Brothers during the folk music boom. Aug. 1.

Frank Rosenfelt, 85. MGM chief who helped green-light “Network,” “Doctor Zhivago.” Aug. 2.

Lee Hazlewood, 78. Singer, songwriter; produced Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” Aug. 4.

Stanley Myron Handelman, 77. Comic known for subtle humor, trademark oversized glasses. Aug. 5.

Mel Shavelson, 90. Screenwriter-director twice nominated for best-screenplay Oscars (“The Seven Little Foys,” “Houseboat”). Aug. 8.

Brooke Astor, 105. Philanthropist who gave millions to New York City arts institutions. Aug. 13.

Grace Paley, 84. Acclaimed poet and short story writer. Aug. 22.

Edward Seidensticker, 86. Scholar of Japanese literature; translated the epic “Tale of Genji.” Aug. 26.

Hilly Kristal, 75. His Manhattan club CBGB was birthplace of punk rock. Aug. 28.

Miyoshi Umeki, 78. Oscar-winning actress (“Sayonara”). Aug. 28.

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September

Marcia Mae Jones, 83. Child actress; Shirley Temple’s pal in “Heidi.” Sept. 2.

Janis Martin, 67. Rockabilly pioneer billed as “The Female Elvis” (“Will You Willyum”). Sept. 3.

Madeleine L’Engle, 88. Author who captivated schoolchildren with “A Wrinkle in Time.” Sept. 6.

Percy Rodrigues, 89. Pioneering black actor; played a neurosurgeon on “Peyton Place.” Sept. 6.

Jane Wyman, 90. Won Oscar as deaf rape victim in “Johnny Belinda”; later in TV’s “Falcon Crest.” Sept. 10.

Joe Zawinul, 75. Jazz keyboardist; one of the creators of jazz-rock fusion with Weather Report (“Birdland”). Sept 11.

Bobby Byrd, 73. Longtime James Brown collaborator; co-founder of Famous Flames. Sept. 12.

Brett Somers, 83. Actress-comedian; amused “Match Game” viewers in the 1970s. Sept. 15.

Robert Jordan, 58. Author of “Wheel of Time” fantasy novels. Sept. 16.

Alice Ghostley, 81. Tony-winning actress (“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”). Sept. 21.

Charles Griffith, 77. Wrote screenplay for “Little Shop of Horrors.” Sept. 28.

Martin Manulis, 92. Producer of TV’s classic “Playhouse 90.” Sept. 28.

Lois Maxwell, 80. Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond movies. Sept. 29.

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October

Ned Sherrin, 76. British broadcaster; directed influential news satire show “That Was The Week That Was.” Oct. 1.

George Grizzard, 79. Tony-winning Broadway actor (“A Delicate Balance”). Oct. 2.

Carol Bruce, 87. Tony-nominated actress (“Do I Hear a Waltz?”). Oct. 9.

Werner von Trapp, 91. Member of singing family made famous by “The Sound of Music.” Oct. 11.

Sri Chinmoy, 76. Indian-born spiritual leader; inspired followers to perform various athletic feats. Oct. 11.

Ernest Withers, 85. Photographer who documented black history from Beale Street blues to the civil rights movement. Oct. 15.

Joey Bishop, 89. Stone-faced TV and nightclub comedian; last of the Rat Pack. Oct. 17.

Teresa Brewer, 76. She topped the charts in the 1950s (“Till I Waltz Again With You”). Oct. 17.

Lucky Dube, 43. South African reggae star. Oct. 18.

Peg Bracken, 89. Wrote hugely popular “I Hate to Cook Book.” Oct. 20.

R.B. Kitaj, 74. A key figure in the British Pop Art movement. Oct. 21.

Lowell Smith, 56. Dance Theater of Harlem member known for forceful but fluid body movements. Oct. 22. Lung cancer.

Friedman Paul Erhardt, 63. Television’s “Chef Tell.” Oct. 26.

Porter Wagoner, 80. Rhinestone-clad Grand Ole Opry star who helped launch the career of Dolly Parton. Oct. 28.

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November

Hank Thompson, 82. Country singer, bandleader (“The Wild Side of Life”). Nov. 6.

Fred W. McDarrah, 81. Village Voice photographer who chronicled New York’s cultural, political events. Nov. 6.

Laraine Day, 87. Actress in nearly 50 films including Hitchcock thriller “Foreign Correspondent.” Nov. 10.

Delbert Mann, 87. Directed “Marty,” classic lonely-guy teleplay that became multiple Oscar-winning film. Nov. 11.

Ira Levin, 78. Bestselling novelist (“Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Boys From Brazil”). Nov. 12.

Peter Zinner, 88. Film editor on “The Godfather”; won Oscar for “The Deer Hunter.” Nov. 13.

Ronnie Burns, 72. George Burns and Gracie Allen’s son; played himself on their TV show. Nov. 14.

Hy Lit, 73. One of Philadelphia’s hottest DJs during heyday of rock ‘n’ roll. Nov. 17.

Paul Wasserman, 73. Celebrity publicist; clients included Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan, Jack Lemmon. Nov. 18.

Fernando Fernan Gomez, 86. Actor-director; one of Spain’s most beloved entertainers. Nov. 21.

Maurice Bejart, 80. Avant-garde French choreographer. Nov. 22.

Kevin Dubrow, 52. Lead singer for heavy metal band Quiet Riot (“Cum on Feel the Noize”).

Mel Tolkin, 94. Head writer for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows.” Nov. 26.

Evel Knievel, 69. Motorcycle daredevil known for spectacular jumps and bone-crushing crashes. Nov. 30.

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December

Elizabeth Hardwick, 91. Leading intellectual author (“Sleepless Nights”) and critic. Dec. 2.

Pimp C, 33. Rapper with the Texas hip-hop group Underground Kingz (“Super Tight”). Found Dec. 4.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, 79. Avant-garde German composer; pioneer of electronic music. Dec. 5.

Roger M. King, 63. CBS and King World Productions executive who helped bring such stars as Oprah Winfrey to television. Dec. 8.

Ike Turner, 76. Grammy-winning rock and R&B; musician, best known for his work with then-wife Tina Turner. Dec. 12.

Frank Morgan, 73. Alto saxophonist, overcame drug addiction and a prison stint to record numerous albums and perform in “Prison-Made Tuxedos,” an off-Broadway show based in part on his life. Dec. 14.

Dan Fogelberg, 56. Singer-songwriter whose hits included “Leader of the Band,” “Part of the Plan” and “Same Old Lang Syne.” Dec. 15.

St. Clair Bourne, 64. Documentary filmmaker whose credits included “Paul Robeson: Here I Stand” and “Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks.” Dec. 15.

Joel Dorn, 65. Record producer, won two Grammys for work with Roberta Flack. Dec. 17.

Jack Linkletter, 70. Former host of such TV shows as “Here’s Hollywood,” “Hootenanny,” “America Alive!” and the Miss Universe pageant. Dec. 18.

Bill Strauss, 60. Founder of the Capitol Steps satirical group. Dec. 18.

Alan Wagner, 76. CBS-TV executive who became the first president of the Disney Channel. Dec. 18.

Frank Capra Jr., 73. Producer of such films as “Billy Jack Goes to Washington,” “Born Again” and “An Eye for an Eye.” Dec. 19.

Gar Campbell, 64. Actor and director, long affiliated with two L.A. stage companies, Company Theater and the Pacific Resident Theatre. Dec. 20.

Oscar Peterson, 82. Acclaimed jazz pianist. Dec. 23.

Michael Kidd, 92. Choreographer won five Tony Awards and received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement. Dec. 23.

Stu Nahan, 81. Longtime sports broadcasters in L.A., also appeared in all six “Rocky” films. Dec. 26.

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diane.haithman@latimes.com

Most of the list was compiled by the Associated Press.


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