10 Notable Deaths Of 2014
2014 unfortunately saw the loss of far too many entertainers. Below is by no means a complete list, but here are 10 of the year’s notable deaths.
1. Robin Williams’ suicide in August left Hollywood stunned. The beloved entertainer was 63. Some outlets shamefully tried to pin Williams’ death on money troubles and alcohol issues, and one tabloid even went so far as to fabricate his last words. In actuality, the star was battling depression, and in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Among those most affected by his passing was longtime friend and collaborator Billy Crystal, who movingly paid tribute to Williams at the Emmys, saying, “It’s very hard to talk about him in the past, because he was so present, in all our lives.”
2. Joan Rivers’ daughter Melissa was left heartbroken when a routine medical procedure led to the comedienne’s death in the early fall. Rivers was undergoing an endoscopy when she went into cardiac arrest. She was put into a medically-induced coma, before being taken off life support in early September. A coroner later determined Rivers died from a “lack of oxygen to her brain, a “predictable complication of medical therapy.” She was 81, and as feisty as ever, with her controversial brand of comedy revered by her peers. After paving the way for so many other female funny ladies, Melissa has given her blessing for “Fashion Police” to go on with Kathy Griffin as Rivers’ replacement.
3. Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment in February at age 46. The Oscar winner, who spent years battling addictions, ultimately succumbed to an accidental “acute mixed drug intoxication.” He left behind three young kids, and willed his estimated $35 million fortune to their mother and his longtime partner Mimi O’Donnell, as he did not want his children to be “trust fund” kids. Hoffman’s death came just before he finished filming the final installment of the Hunger Games film series, causing a couple of Mockingjay – Part 2 scenes to be rewritten.
4. Maya Angelou’s death at 86 in May marked a tremendous loss for the literary world and beyond. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the author was one of the world’s most adored voices, particularly with her memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. But Angelou’s remarkable work wasn’t limited to the written word. She was also a dancer, singer, and actress, and a renowned civil rights activist. As President Obama said of Angelou, she was “one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.”
5. Casey Kasem’s passing, sadly, was not without controversy. When the radio legend died on Father’s Day in June at 82, it followed a prolonged battle between his wife and his children over his healthcare. Kasem’s second wife, Jean, allegedly prohibited his kids (from his pervious marriage) from visiting him, leading the three adult children to go to court charging elder abuse. The battle raged on as Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia ravaged Kasem’s body and mind. Jean took Kasem’s body out of the country after his death, and the “American Top 40” host was left unburied for months until recently when it was interred without fanfare in Norway.
6. James Garner died from natural causes at 86 in July. The legendary actor was feted by his famous admirers on social media, who remembered the star for his success on both the big and small screens, including Murphy’s Romance, “The Rockford Files,” and “Maverick.” An Oscar nominee, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actor’s Guild in 2005. Garner battled several health issues over the years, including a stroke in 2008. Through it all, he remained fiercely devoted to his wife of nearly 58 years, Lois, whom he married in 1956 after just two weeks of dating.
7. Shirley Temple’s death in February at age 85 took fans back to a bygone era, specifically the 1930s, when the actress was the most popular child star around. With her cherubic looks, sweet voice, and comedic timing, not to mention those famous curly locks, Temple sang and danced her way into the hearts of moviegoers. Despite her success, the star retired from acting in her early 20s. She went on to lead an extremely admirable post-showbiz life as a political activist and diplomat.
8. Lauren Bacall died after suffering a massive stroke in August, one day after Hollywood was shaken by Williams’ suicide. The esteemed actress was 89. Bacall was initially best known as Humphrey Bogart’s leading lady, with their one-of-a-kind onscreen chemistry leading to an offscreen marriage that lasted until his death in 1957. A Tony and Golden Globe winner, Bacall received an honorary Oscar in 2009 “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”
9. Joe Cocker was one of the year’s most recent losses, as the English rocker died on December 22 at age 70 due to lung cancer. His death was mourned by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and fans worldwide who remembered his iconic cover version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” at Woodstock. A member of the Order of the British Empire, his duet of “Up Where We Belong” with Jennifer Warnes earned Cocker a Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award.
10. Mickey Rooney was 93 when he died in his sleep in April, following a storied 80-year career in Hollywood. He began his run as one of the biggest child stars of all time, and received an Academy Award while he was still a teenager. Rooney worked with some of the most legendary screen stars, including Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor, and even appears this month in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, alongside Williams. The movie is dedicated to them both.