Suellyn “Sue” Lyon (July 10, 1946 – December 26, 2019) was an American actress. She joined the entertainment industry as a model at the age of 13, and later rose to prominence and won a Golden Globe for playing the title role in the film Lolita (1962). Her other notable film appearances included The Night of the Iguana (1964), 7 Women (1966), Tony Rome (1967), and Evel Knievel (1971).
Lyon died at age 73 in Studio City, California on December 26, 2019. She had been in poor health for “some time”.
John Donald Imus Jr. (July 23, 1940 – December 27, 2019) was an American radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He was known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. He attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and in 1968 secured his first radio job at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City; he was fired in 1977.
In 1979, Imus returned to WNBC and stayed at the station until 1988 when the show moved to WFAN. He gained widespread popularity when the show entered national syndication in 1993. He was labelled a “shock jock” radio host throughout his later career. He retired from broadcasting in March 2018, after nearly 50 years on the air, and died the following year.
Don Imus Health and death
During his early years broadcasting in New York City, Imus battled with alcoholism. In 1983, he was persuaded by Michael Lynne, then his lawyer, to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Imus attended meetings and ceased to drink in public, but continued to in private. On July 17, 1987, after a nine-day vodka binge, he attended rehabilitation at a Hanley-Hazelden treatment center in West Palm Beach, Florida, for six weeks and remained sober. By 1991, Imus had adopted a vegetarian diet.
In 2000, Imus suffered serious injuries after a fall from a horse at his ranch and broadcast several shows from a hospital. The injuries resulted in chronic breathing problems, especially at higher altitudes, which he spoke about on his program.
In March 2009, Imus was diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer. He was advised to have radiation treatments, but said he chose to treat the disease holistically.
Imus was hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, on December 24, 2019. He died three days later, on December 27, at the age of 79. The cause of his death was not immediately reported.
Gerald Sheldon Herman (July 10, 1931 – December 26, 2019) was an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He was nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.
In 2009, Herman received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He was a recipient of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.
Herman was openly gay and at the time of his death was partnered with Terry Marler, a real estate broker.
Herman was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1985. As noted in the “Words and Music” PBS documentary, “He is one of the fortunate ones who survived to see experimental drug therapies take hold and was still, as one of his lyrics proclaims, ‘alive and well and thriving’ over quarter of a century later.”
Herman died of pulmonary complications at a hospital in Miami on December 26, 2019, at age 88.
Leland Maurice Mendelson (March 24, 1933 – December 25, 2019) was an American television producer and the executive producer of the many Peanuts animated specials.
A Charlie Brown Christmas aired December 9, 1965, on CBS. The show went on to win both the Emmy and Peabody award, and was the first of over 40 animated Peanuts specials created by Mendelson, Meléndez and Schulz. In addition, they collaborated on The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, which ran on Saturday mornings during the 1980s.
Mendelson founded and headed Lee Mendelson Film Productions, a Burlingame, California-based television and film production company. Mendelson Productions has produced over 100 television and film productions, winning 12 Emmys and 4 Peabodys, as well as numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Oscar nominations.
Lee Mendelson cause of death
Mendelson died on December 25, 2019, from lung cancer, leaving a wife, Ploenta, and four children.
Alta Sherral Willis (November 10, 1947 – December 24, 2019), known as Allee Willis, was an American songwriter, artist and art director. Willis co-wrote hit songs including “September” and “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind & Fire. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for “I’ll Be There For You”, which was used as the theme song for the sitcom Friends, and won two Grammy Awards for Beverly Hills Cop and The Color Purple, the latter of which was also nominated for a Tony Award. Her compositions sold over 60 million records and she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. As a multimedia artist, she was one half of Bubbles & Cheesecake.
Willis also wrote songs for artists including Debby Boone, Rita Coolidge, Crystal Gayle, Sister Sledge, Jennifer Holliday, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Cyndi Lauper, Crystal Waters, and Taylor Dayne. Songs she co-composed for other artists that became hits include “Lead Me On” by Maxine Nightingale, “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” by Pet Shop Boys featuring Dusty Springfield, and “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts. “I’ll Be There for You” was used as the theme song of the sitcom Friends and went on to become one of the biggest television theme songs of all time. Willis jokingly referred to this song as “the whitest song I ever wrote”. In 1995 Willis was Emmy-nominated for “I’ll Be There for You”.
Willis died in Los Angeles on December 24, 2019, at the age of 72. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Friends theme song
Earth, Wind & Fire – September (Official Music Video)
Charles Elmer “Rip” Taylor Jr. (January 13, 1931 – October 6, 2019) was an American actor and comedian, known for his exuberance and flamboyant personality, including his wild moustache, toupee, and his habit of showering himself (and others) with confetti. The Hollywood Reporter called him “a television and nightclub mainstay for more than six decades” who made thousands of nightclub and television appearances.
Taylor died on October 6, 2019, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, having been hospitalized after suffering an epileptic seizure the week prior.
At the time of Taylor’s death, he had been in a long-term relationship with Robert Fortney.
Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov (May 30, 1934 – October 11, 2019) was a Soviet/Russian cosmonaut, Air Force major general, writer, and artist. On 18 March 1965, he became the first human to conduct a spacewalk, exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for 12 minutes and 9 seconds of extravehicular activity (EVA).
In July 1975, Leonov commanded the Soyuz capsule in the Soyuz-Apollo mission, which docked in space for two days with an American Apollo capsule.
Leonov died on 11 October 2019 after a long illness. He was 85 and the last survivor of the cosmonauts in the Voskhod programme.
Robert Wallace Forster Jr. (born Robert Wallace Foster Jr.; July 13, 1941 – October 11, 2019) was an American actor, known for his roles as John Cassellis in Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool (1969), Lebanese terrorist Abdul Rafai in The Delta Force (1986), and Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Forster’s varied filmography further includes titles such as Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), The Black Hole (1979), Alligator (1980), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), The Descendants (2011), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016) and What They Had (2018).
He also had prominent roles in television series such as Banyon (1971–1973), Heroes (2007–2008), and Twin Peaks (2017). He won the Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television for his performance in Breaking Bad’s “Granite State” (2013), reprising his role in the series’ sequel film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which premiered the day of his death.
Robert Forster cause of death
Forster died on October 11, 2019 at the age of 78 from brain cancer.
Jackie Brown – Robert Forster as Max Cherry, bail bondsman
Diahann Carroll (July 17, 1935 – October 4, 2019) was an American actress, singer, model and activist. She rose to prominence in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959). In 1962, Carroll won a Tony Award for best actress, a first for a black woman, for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings.
Her 1968 debut in Julia, the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role, was a milestone both in her career and the medium. In the 1980s, she played the role of Dominique Deveraux, a mixed-race diva, in the prime time soap opera Dynasty. Carroll was the recipient of numerous stage and screen nominations and awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In a Television Series in 1968. She received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for the film Claudine (1974). She was also a breast cancer survivor and activist.
Carroll was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She said the diagnosis “stunned” her, because there was no family history of breast cancer, and she had always led a healthy lifestyle. She underwent nine weeks of radiation therapy and had been clear since. She frequently spoke of the need for early detection and prevention of the disease. She died on October 4, 2019, in Los Angeles, aged 84.
Sammy Davis Jr. & Diahann Carroll – Porgy & Bess-Medley (1976)
Marshall Efron (February 3, 1938 – September 30, 2019) was an American actor and humorist originally known for his work on the listener-sponsored Pacifica radio stations WBAI New York and KPFK Los Angeles, and later for the PBS television show The Great American Dream Machine (the original showcase of Chevy Chase).
Efron died at the age of 81 on September 30, 2019 at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.