Bin Laden and Gadhafi among the most notable deaths of 2011

December 28, 2011 in News

Moammar Gadhafi was the last of the strongman to rule Libya and he did so with brutality for 42 years. Gadhafi was killed Oct. 20.

With a sultry and seductive screen presence Elizabeth Taylor was a fixture on the silver screen for more than 50 years. Forever a classic, Taylor died on March 23 at the age of 79.

Bruce Springsteen (right) long said that saxaphonist Clarence Clemons (left) was a key influence in his life and music. Clemons, a long-time member of Springsteen's E Street Band died on June 18 at the age of 69.

Nick Ashford and his wife and musical partner, Valerie Simpson, wrote a number of chart-topping hits during his career. Ashford died at the age of 70 on Aug. 22.

Steve Jobs transformed technology when he founded Apple and changed the way the nation would use computers and cell phones. Jobs died on Oct. 5 at the age of 56.

Elizabeth Taylor, Nick Ashford and Steve Jobs also among those lost in 2011

(AP) They lived by the sword, both inspiring fear and acts of bloodshed around the world. And in the end, they both suffered violent deaths befitting their fearsome reputations. Perhaps no two deaths in 2011 transfixed the world more than those of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people. Nearly a decade later, he was shot dead by U.S. commandos in May after being tracked to his hideout in Pakistan. His body was buried at sea. For Gadhafi, the end came after he was captured by rebels, his final moments shown in gruesome, shaky handheld video that was seen across the globe.

If relief and even celebration by many greeted their demise, the deaths of other notables in 2011 brought reflection on lives of achievement.

The world of science and innovation lost Steve Jobs, the Apple founder who invented and marketed sleek gadgets that transformed everyday technology from the personal computer to the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Science also said goodbye this year to Christian J. Lambertson, Norman Ramsey, William Nunn Lipscomb, Jr., Boris Chertok and Ralph Steinman.

Political figures who died in 2011 included R. Sargent Shriver, Warren M. Christopher, Jiri Dienstbier, Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Geraldine Ferraro, Max van der Stoel, Necmattin Erbakan, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, Leonidas Kyrkos, Hugh Carey, Garret FitzGerald, Betty Ford, Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il.

In entertainment, the world lost Elizabeth Taylor, a woman whose sultry screen persona, stormy personal life and enduring fame made her one of the last of the classic movie stars.

The year also saw the passing of soul singer Amy Winehouse, whose death at age 27 left many wondering what works of musical brilliance the world might have seen from the troubled, young star.

Others in the arts and entertainment field who died include Peter Falk, Jane Russell, Clarence Clemons, Pinetop Perkins, Annie Girardot, Harry Morgan, Ferlin Husky, Susannah York, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, David Nelson, Sidney Lumet, Richard Hamilton, Bil Keane, Poly Styrene, M.F. Husain, Heavy D, Jackie Cooper, Robert Tear and Betty Garrett.

Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2011.

Maj. Richard “Dick” Winters, 92. The man who fought in several major battles in World War II and whose quiet leadership was chronicled in the book and television miniseries “Band of Brothers.” Jan. 2.

Malangatana Ngwenya, 74. A Mozambican painter, poet and politician who became one of Africa’s most famous artists for his work drawing on the country’s rocky history. Jan. 5.

Peter Yates, 81. A British film maker who sent actor Steve McQueen screeching through the streets of San Francisco in a Ford Mustang in “Bullitt.” Jan. 9.

Margaret Whiting, 86. A sweet-voiced performer known for sentimental ballads who sold millions of records in the 1940s and 1950s. Jan. 10.

David Nelson, 74. He starred on his parents’ popular American television show “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” Jan. 11.

Mississippi Winn, 113. A former domestic worker believed to be the oldest living African-American in the U.S. and the seventh oldest person in the world. Jan. 14.

Susannah York, 72. One of the leading stars of British and Hollywood films in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jan. 15.

Don Kirshner, 76. A rock promoter who helped launch performers such as Prince, the Eagles, Lionel Ritchie and Ozzy Osbourne. Jan. 17.

R. Sargent Shriver, 95. First Peace Corps director, ambassador and leader of the War on Poverty in the U.S. but best known as a Kennedy in-law. Jan. 18.

Ed Mauser, 94. The oldest living member of a 101st Airborne Division company that became known as the “Band of Brothers” and fought some of the fiercest battles of World War II but kept his Army service secret even from his family. Jan. 21.

Jack LaLanne, 96. The fitness guru who inspired U.S. television viewers to trim down, eat well and pump iron for decades before diet and exercise became an American obsession. Jan. 23.

Samuel Ruiz, 86. A retired Roman Catholic bishop and staunch defender of Indian rights who served as a mediator in talks between the Mexican government and leftist Zapatista rebels. Jan. 24.

Maria Schneider, 58. A French actress who was Marlon Brando’s young co-star in Bernardo Bertolucci’s steamy “Last Tango in Paris.” Feb. 3.

J. Paul Getty, 54. The troubled grandson of one of the world’s richest men who lost an ear in a grisly kidnapping in Italy. Feb. 3.

Betty Garrett, 91. The vivacious Broadway star who played singer Frank Sinatra’s sweetheart in two MGM musicals before her career was hampered by Hollywood’s blacklist in the 1950s. Feb. 12.

George Shearing, 91. A Britsh-born jazz pianist who wrote the standard “Lullaby of Birdland” and headed a famed quintet. Feb. 14.

Duke Snider, 84. Baseball Hall of Famer for the “Boys of Summer” who helped the Dodgers bring their only World Series crown to Brooklyn. Feb. 27.

Frank Buckles, 110. The last surviving American veteran of World War I who also survived being a civilian prisoner of war in the Philippines in World War II. Feb. 27.

Jane Russell, 89. The voluptuous actress who starred in the controversial film “The Outlaw” and who, as a pin-up girl, set GIs’ hearts to pounding during World War II. Feb. 28.

Annie Girardot, 79. The perky, gravelly voiced actress who became one of France’s most enduring and modern stars. Feb. 28.

Alberto Granado, 88. He accompanied Ernesto “Che” Guevara on a journey of discovery across Latin America that was immortalized in Guevara’s memoir and on the screen in “The Motorcycle Diaries.” March 5.

Joe Morello, 82. A legendary American jazz drummer whose virtuosity and odd time signatures made him an integral part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet on such recordings as “Take Five.” March 12.

Carel Boshoff, 83. Founder of an all-white separatist community who sought to preserve the culture of Afrikaners as South Africa moved from a white-ruled apartheid government to a democracy. March 16.

Michael Gough, 94. The British actor best known for playing Bruce Wayne’s butler in a series of Batman movies. March 17.

Ferlin Husky, 85. A pioneering American country music entertainer in the 1950s and early ’60s known for hits like “Wings of the Dove.” March 17.

Farley Granger, 85. The 1950s American teen screen idol who starred in Alfred Hitchcock classics such as “Rope” and “Strangers on a Train.” March 20.

Pinetop Perkins, 97. Grammy-winning bluesman, who for years played the rickety bars of the Mississippi Delta and performed with musicians such as Ike Turner, Sonny Boy Williamson and slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk. March 21.

Elizabeth Taylor, 79. The violet-eyed American film goddess whose sultry screen persona, stormy personal life and enduring fame and glamour made her one of the last of the classic movie stars and a template for the modern celebrity. March 23.

Warren M. Christopher, 85. The attorney-turned-envoy who tirelessly traveled to Bosnia and the Middle East on peace missions as U.S. secretary of state in the Clinton administration. March 25.

Geraldine Ferraro, 75. A relatively obscure Democratic congresswoman who became the first woman on a major U.S. party ticket when she ran for vice president in 1984 and emboldened American women to seek office. March 26.

Harry Wesley Coover Jr., 94. Known as the inventor of the popular adhesive Super Glue. March 26.

Ange Felix Patasse, 74. He led the desperately poor Central African Republic for a decade before being ousted in a coup in 2003. April 5.

Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg, 85. He shared the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of the hepatitis vaccine. April 5.

Sidney Lumet, 86. The award-winning director of such American film classics as “Network,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “12 Angry Men.” April 9.

Pietro Ferrero, 47. Chief executive of the Ferrero Group holding company that produces Nutella, Tic-Tac mints and other confections and a scion of one of Italy’s richest families. April 18.

Grete Waitz, 57. The Norwegian runner who won nine New York marathons and the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. April 19.

Hubert “Hub” Schlafly, 91. A key member of a team that invented the teleprompter and rescued soap opera actors, newscasters and politicians from stumbling over their words on live television. April 20.

Jess Jackson, 81. The founder of the Kendall-Jackson winery and owner of two most widely recognized thoroughbreds in recent years. April 21.

Norio Ohga, 81. As chairman he transformed the Japanese electronics maker Sony into a global software and entertainment empire. April 23.

Henry Cooper, 76. One of Britain’s most popular sportsmen who was best known for knocking down Muhammad Ali when he was still known as Cassius Clay. May 1.

Osama bin Laden, 54. Terrorist leader whose money and preaching inspired the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. May 2.

Jackie Cooper, 88. One of the most popular child movie stars of the 1930s who later had a successful career as a television director and still appeared in films. May 3.

Arthur Laurents, 93. The director, playwright and screenwriter who wrote such enduring productions as “West Side Story” and “Gypsy” as well as the film classics “Rope” and “The Way We Were.” May 5.

Robert Stempel, 77. A former General Motors chief executive and engineer who led the development of the catalytic converter but was ousted in a boardroom coup. May 7.

Lidia Gueiler, 89. The only woman ever to have been Bolivia’s president. May 9.

Burt Reinhardt, 91. One of CNN’s first presidents and an American television pioneer who is credited with helping to build the global news network in its formative years. May 10.

Wallace McCain, 81. A billionaire frozen food mogul and philanthropist who helped turn a small Canadian french fry plant into the global McCain Foods empire and later went on to control meat processor Maple Leaf Foods. May 13.

Harmon Killebrew, 74. The baseball slugger for the Minnesota Twins and for many years the face of the team. May 17.

Randy “Macho Man” Savage, 58. A larger-than-life personality from professional wrestling’s 1980s heyday known for his raspy voice and brash style. May 20.

Gil Scott-Heron, 62. Widely considered one of the godfathers of rap music with his piercing social and political prose laid against the backdrop of minimalist percussion, flute and other instrumentation. May 27.

Albertina Sisulu, 92. A veteran of the anti-apartheid movement who was married to Nelson Mandela’s mentor. June 2.

Jack Kevorkian, 83. Defiant proponent of doctor-assisted suicide who said he oversaw the deaths of 130 gravely ill people. June 3.

James Arness, 88. An actor who towered over the American television landscape for two decades as righteous Dodge City lawman Matt Dillon in “Gunsmoke.” June 3.

Clarence Clemons, 69. The saxophone player for the E Street Band who was one of the key influences in Bruce Springsteen’s life and music. June 18.

Frederick Chiluba, 68. Zambia’s first democratically elected president who became increasingly autocratic during his decade in office. June 18.

Peter Falk, 83. The American stage and screen actor who became identified as the rumpled detective title character on “Colombo,” which spanned 30 years in primetime U.S. television. June 23.

Betty Ford, 93. The former U.S. first lady whose triumph over drug and alcohol addiction became a beacon of hope for addicts and the inspiration for her Betty Ford Center in California. July 8.

Elliot Handler, 95. With his wife, he grew Mattel Inc. from a small home-based picture-frame business into the largest U.S. toy maker and created the Hot Wheels brand. July 21.

Amy Winehouse, 27. A dazzling, versatile singer who produced bitterly honest lyrics but who made headlines because of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and destructive relationships. July 23.

Delois Barrett Campbell, 85. A member of the award-winning Barrett Sisters who electrified audiences around the world with their powerful gospel harmonies. Aug. 2.

Bubba Smith, 66. Former NFL star and actor best known for playing Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken officer in the “Police Academy” films. Aug. 3

Hugh Carey, 92. A former New York governor who saved New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s, staring down President Gerald Ford in the process. Aug. 7.

Marshall Grant, 83. The last surviving member of Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two who helped change the future of American music and popular culture with their boom-chicka-boom beat. Aug. 7.

Billy Grammer, 85. His 1958 hit “Gotta Travel On” hit the top of American pop music charts and led to a long career at the Grand Ole Opry. Aug. 10.

Nick Ashford, 70. One half of the award-winning songwriting/production team, Ashford and Simpson. The marriage and career of the Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson spanned more than 40 years and resulted in numerous number one hits for other artists including Diana Ross. Aug. 22.

Frank Dileo, 63. An American music industry executive, who managed Michael Jackson’s career in the 1980s and returned as his manager in the superstar’s final days. Aug. 24.

David “Honey Boy” Edwards, 96. An award-winning American musician believed to be the oldest surviving Delta bluesman, in Chicago. Aug. 28.

Betty Skelton Erde, 85. An aviation and auto racing pioneer once called the fastest woman on Earth. Aug. 31.

Cliff Robertson, 88. Actor who portrayed President John F. Kennedy in the film “PT-109” and won an Oscar for playing a mentally disabled man in “Charly.” Sept. 10.

John Calley, 81. He ran three Hollywood studios that made such hits as “The Exorcist” and “Spider-Man.” Sept. 13.

Richard Hamilton, 89. A British pop artist pioneer who depicted former Prime Minister Tony Blair as a cowboy and designed a Beatles’ album cover. Sept. 13.

Charles H. Percy, 91. A Chicago businessman who became a U.S. senator and was once widely viewed as a top presidential contender. Sept. 17.

Robert Whitaker, 71. A photographer who shot some of the most famous — and infamous — images of The Beatles. Sept. 20.

Aristides Pereira, 87. Fought Portugal’s colonial rule in the Cape Verde islands and became the West African nation’s first president. Sept. 23.

Wangari Maathi, 71. The first African woman recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who combined environmentalism and social activism. Sept. 25.

Phillip Matthew Hannan, 98. The popular former New Orleans Roman Catholic archbishop who sought to console a grieving U.S. with his eulogy for slain President John F. Kennedy. Sept. 29.

Arthur C. Nielsen Jr., 92. He led the company that grew into an international firm that produces the TV ratings known as “The Nielsens.” Oct. 3.

Steve Jobs, 56. The Apple founder and former chief executive who invented and master-marketed ever sleeker gadgets that transformed everyday technology, from the personal computer to the iPod and iPhone. Oct. 5.

Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, 89. Civil rights activist who endured arrests, beatings and injuries from fire hoses while fighting for racial equality in the segregated South of the 1960s. Oct. 5.

Robert Galvin, 89. He was Motorola’s chief executive for 29 years and took it from maker of police radios and television sets to one of the world’s leading electronic companies. Oct. 11.

James Van Doren, 72. The co-founder of Vans canvas shoes that were embraced by the skateboard culture and became a sensation in the U.S. when Sean Penn wore a checkerboard pair in the 1982 film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Oct. 12.

Dan Wheldon, 33. Race car driver who moved from his native England to the United States with hopes of winning the Indianapolis 500 race and went on to do so twice. Oct. 16.

Kent Hull, 50. An American football offensive lineman in the National Football League and the United States Football League, more precisely a center for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL and Buffalo Bills of the NFL.

Moammar Gadhafi, 69. The last of the old-style Arab strongmen who ruled Libya for nearly 42 years with an eccentric brutality. Oct. 20.

Dorothy Rodham, 92. Mother of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton’s mother-in-law. Nov. 1.

Andy Rooney, 92. The curmudgeonly commentator who spent 30 years talking about the oddities of life on American television. Nov. 4.

Joe Frazier, 67. One of the great heavyweight boxers of his era who was forever associated with three bouts he had with Mohammad Ali, including the “Thrilla in Manila.” Nov. 7.

Bil Keane, 89. Creator of the comic strip “Family Circus,” which entertained readers with a mix of humor and traditional family values for more than a half century. Nov. 8.

Heavy D, 44. He became one of rap’s top hit makers in the late 1980s and early 1990s with his charming combination of humor and positivity. Nov. 8.

Evelyn Lauder, 75. An executive at cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Cos. who helped create the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness. Nov. 12.

Karl Slover, 93. One of the last surviving actors who played one of the Munchkins in the 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” Nov. 15.

Basil D’Oliveira, 80. A South African-born cricket player for England who became a pivotal figure in the sport’s battle against apartheid. Nov. 19.

Judy Lewis, 76. Conceived out of wedlock by movie stars Clark Gable and Loretta Young while they filmed “Call of the Wild” in the 1930s, for years one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood. Nov. 25.

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, 78. A millionaire’s son who became leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra in eastern Nigeria, plunging the country into civil war that killed a million people and brought television images of starving African children. Nov. 26.

Socrates, 57. A former Brazilian soccer star known for his elegant style and deep involvement in politics. Dec. 4.

Patricia Dunn, 58. The former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman who authorized a board room surveillance probe that ultimately sullied her remarkable rise from investment bank typist to the corporate upper class. Dec. 4.

Harry Morgan, 96. An actor best known for playing the fatherly Col. Sherman Potter on the TV show “M-A-S-H.” Dec. 7.

Jerry Robinson, 89. A comic book industry pioneer who helped create Batman sidekick Robin the Boy Wonder and their arch-nemesis The Joker. Dec. 7.

Joe Simon, 98. He co-created Captain America along with Jack Kirby and was one of the comic book industry’s most revered writers, artists and editors. Dec. 14.

Christopher Hitchens, 62. An author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right.

Kim Jong Il, 69. North Korea’s mercurial and enigmatic leader whose iron rule and nuclear ambitions dominated world security fears for more than a decade. Dec. 17.

Cesaria Evora, 70. Grammy-winning Cape Verde singer known as the “Barefoot Diva” because she always performed without shoes. Dec. 17.