In memoriam: 2014’s notable deaths
In 2014, we said goodbye to some legendary entertainers and influential performers. From unexpected deaths to the passing of Hollywood A-list celebrities, here’s a look at some of the stars who are gone but not forgotten.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46
This accomplished actor and director was known for bringing to life some of cinema’s most dysfunctional characters. The Academy Award-winner was found dead in his New York City apartment Feb. 2, and his death was ruled an accident. An autopsy found that Hoffman died from a toxic mixture of drugs after he overdosed after injecting a “speedball” that included heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine.
Hoffman won his Oscar for his uncanny impersonation of Truman Capote in the movie “Capote” in 2005. He first became noticed widely after playing a nebbish soundman in “Boogie Nights.” Other outstanding credits include parts in “The Big Lebowski,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Doubt” and “The Master.” He was well-regarded on the New York stage and was shooting the final two “Hunger Games” movies at the time of his death.
He had overcome a drug addiction he had developed as a college student, but relapsed in 2012 after more than 20 years. He spent 10 days in a drug rehab in 2013 trying to regain control.
Robin Williams, 63
Nobody could make you laugh like this Oscar-winning actor and manic comedian, a performer of limitless versatility who was equally adept at comedy and drama. The actor-comedian committed suicide in his Northern California home Aug. 11.
He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and complained of issues from his medications like hallucinations. An autopsy found that Williams suffered from a condition called Lewy body dementia, which was the cause of his hallucinations.
In addition to his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for “Good Will Hunting,” this talented man also won two Emmys, four Golden Globes and five Grammys. From his early days as a rapid-fire standup comedian and his incomparable style on TV’s “Mork and Mindy,” Williams continued to deliver stirring, charming performances in films like “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Morning Vietnam,” “The Birdcage” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” He voiced the Genie in Disney’s “Aladdin,” a part written specifically for him.
Joan Rivers, 81
The comedy legend paved the way for the female comedians who would follow in her footsteps, breaking cultural limits and taboos. The sharp-tongued comedienne stopped breathing while undergoing surgery on her vocal cords. After going into cardiac arrest, she died a few days later on Sept. 4.
Rivers began her career in New York City in the late ’50s, performing as an actress doing standup comedy because women weren’t comedians back then. Her big break came after appearing on “The Johnny Carson Show” in 1965, of which she later became the permanent guest host for three years.
Over her six-decade career, Rivers was an Emmy-winning talk show host, best-selling author, playwright, director, jewelry designer and red carpet correspondent. She will always be known for her acerbic one-liners and often making herself the brunt of her jokes.
Other notable deaths:
Maya Angelou, 86: The winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and renowned author and poet died May 28.
Lauren Bacall, 89: The legendary stage and screen actress from Hollywood’s Golden Age died Aug. 12.
Ben Bradlee, 93: The former Washington Post editor who oversaw the newspaper’s Watergate coverage died Oct. 21.
James Brady, 73: The former presidential secretary who was seriously wounded in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan died Aug. 4.
Sid Ceasar, 91: The pioneer of television sketch comedy died Feb. 12.
Ruby Dee, 91: The stage and screen actress and noted civil rights activist died June 11.
Jean-Claude Duvalier, 63: The former Haitian dictator known as “Baby Doc” died Oct. 4.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 87: The Nobel Prize-winning novelist and author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” died April 17.
James Garner, 86: The TV and film actor from “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files” died July 19.
Tony Gwynn, 54: The Hall of Fame baseball player died June 16.
Jan Hooks, 57: The “Saturday Night Live” mainstay from the ’90s played everyone from Tammy Faye Bakker to Hillary Clinton. She died Oct. 9.
Bob Hoskins, 71: The actor best known for his work in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” died April 29.
Casey Kasem, 82: The popular disc jockey, television host and voice of Scooby Doo died June 15.
Harold Ramis, 69: The actor, writer and director who worked on “Ghostbusters,” “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day” died from autoimmune disease Feb. 24.
Tommy Ramone, 65: The last surviving original member of punk pioneers the Ramones died July 11 in New York.
Oscar de la Renta, 82: The fashion designer died of cancer Oct. 21.
Mickey Rooney, 93: One of the oldest child stars still in the business died April 6.
Pete Seeger, 94: The legendary “Turn! Turn! Turn!” folk singer died Jan. 27.
Shirley Temple Black, 85: The iconic child star and diplomat died Feb. 10.
Maria von Trapp, 99: The last of the musical von Trapp children died Feb. 22.
Mike Nichols, 83: The acclaimed director and Emmy/Oscar/Grammy/Tony-winner died Nov. 19.
Tom Magliozzi, 77: Half of “Click and Clack,” who with brother Ray wrote a syndicated car column and hosted NPR’s “Car Talk,” died Nov. 3.