The show went on after Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel bathtub on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February, but it wasn't the same. A huge talent with unique power and range, Houston one of the most successful pop singers in modern music history. She was the most honored female singer of all time, winning six Grammy Awards in her career, two Emmys and 22 American Music Awards.
Nora Ephron, the screenwriter behind "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail," died in June of pneumonia at 71. Tom Hanks, who starred in those two films, will make his Broadway debut in March, starring as tough-guy columnist Mike McAlary in one of Ephron's final works, "The Lucky Guy."
Character actor Charles Durning, appeared in "Tootsie,” "Dog Day Afternoon” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” The latter earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, a feat he duplicated a year later in “To Be or Not to Be.” He won a Tony for his role as Big Daddy in a 1989 revival of "Cat on Hot Tin Roof," and he was awarded the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Brit Tony Scott, director of a string of high-octane blockbusters including "Top Gun," stunned the industry in August when he committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. The brother of fellow director Ridley Scott, Tony was 68.
Larry Hagman, who starred as corrupt oil baron J.R. Ewing in the long-running TV series "Dallas," years after playing astronaut Tony Nelson on "I Dream of Jeannie," died of complications from throat cancer in November at 81. The original "Dallas" ran from 1979-1991, giving rise to "Who Shot J.R.? mania.
Andy Williams, known for his renditions of "Moon River," "Where Do I Begin?" and "Butterfly," died in September at 84 after battling cancer. His gentle croon, bright eyes and flashing teeth helped him play for audiences from Hollywood to Branson, Mo. No one ever accused him of being edgy, but they couldn't argue that he was smooth.
Michael Clarke Duncan was best known for his Oscar-nominated breakout role as gifted prison inmate John Coffey in 1999's “The Green Mile.” Duncan, whose films included blockbusters like "Armageddon," "Planet of the Apes" and "Kung Fu Panda," died Sept. 3 at age 54 while being hospitalized following a heart attack in July.
Donna Summer's soaring mezzo-soprano voice and catchy lyrics provided the soundtrack to the 1970s, making it nearly impossible to think of many of that decade's cultural touchstones, be they bell-bottoms or disco balls, without calling to mind her hit singles like "Hot Stuff" and "Last Dance." She died of lung cancer in May at the age of 63.
Independent film executive Bingham Ray suffered a stroke while at the Sundance Film Festival in January and died at 57. At his memorial, he was remembered for the shorts he wore (at frigid Sundance, at fancy Cannes), the opinions he held, the stories he told, his devotion to the Grateful Dead, his love for his family, and most especially his passion for movies.
Phyllis Diller, whose comic trademarks included her wild hair, big laugh and jokes about her age, helped pave the way for today's outlandish comediennes. She went on several tours to entertain the troops with Bob Hope. She died in August at 95.
Film critic Andrew Sarris, who is largely credited for introducing American moviegoers to European new wave cinema. His works greatly heightened awareness of the role of the film director and a 1962 essay "Notes on the Auteur Theory," brought the term "auteur" into the American vernacular. He died in June from a stomach virus at 83.
The Monkees may have been created as a Beatles knockoff, but front man Davy Jones wore the mantle of teen idol effortlessly. He never seemed less than pleased to be there, whether as the king of network TV and the singles charts ("I'm a Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville") in the ‘60s, or on "The Brady Bunch" as the object of Marcia's infatuation. He died of a heart attack in March at 66.
Marty Richards, the producer behind the Broadway productions of "Sweeney Todd" and "La Cage aux Folles," as well as the 2002 big-screen adaptation of "Chicago," died of cancer in November at 80.
Ray Bradbury, author of “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451,” died in June at the age of 91 after a long illness. "He was my muse for the better part of my sci-fi career," Steven Spielberg said upon Bradbury's death. "He lives on through his legion of fans. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal."
With his brothers Robin and Maurice, he founded the pop group the Bee Gees, whose soundtrack to the 1977 film "Saturday Night Fever," helped propel disco music into a worldwide phenomenon. Among their hits were "I've Gotta Get A Message To You," "Lonely Days," "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive." Gibb was 62 when he died in May of cancer of the colon and liver.
Don Grady, who played Robbie Douglas on the TV show "My Three Sons" and was one of the Mickey Mouse Club's original Mouseketeers, died of cancer in June at 68. He appeared in a number of TV series, including "The Ann Southern Show," "The Rifleman" and "The Lucy Show." He was signed to a contract by Capitol Records when he was 19 and became a composer following his TV career.
Ben Gazzara, an Emmy winner for the series "Run For Your Life," also starred in films and on Broadway in "Anatomy of a Murder" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." He joked that he was best known for his role as the bad guy in the campy 1989 Patrick Swayze film "Road House." He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 81 in February.
Alex Karras was among the first pro sports stars to transition to movies and TV. The former NFL hero punched out a horse in the 1974 Mel Brooks film comedy “Blazing Saddles,” then went on to star in the ABC sitcom “Webster." He died of kidney failure at 77 in October.
TV star Jack Klugman was beloved for playing the sloppy, working-guy half of “The Odd Couple” and the crime-solving coroner in “Quincy M.E." He won two Emmys for his work on "The Odd Couple," and appeared in the classic film "Twelve Angry Men." He died at 90 in December after battling cancer.
George McGovern's bid for the White House ended in a landslide defeat to President Richard Nixon, but his opposition to the Vietnam War galvanized Hollywood and helped turn the entertainment industry into a major fundraising power for Democrats. He died in October at 90, after a series of illnesses that resulted from a fall.
Kitty Wells was country music's first female superstar. She began playing the guitar at 14, and was still touring until the year 2000. She's best remembered for the tunes "Making Believe" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," the first No. 1 hit by a woman soloist in country music. She died in July at the age of 92 following a stroke.
Writer-director Frank Pierson won an Oscar for writing the 1975 film "Dog Day Afternoon." Pierson also wrote for the TV series "Have Gun, Will Travel" and "Route 66" and worked on features "Cool Hand Luke" and "Cat Ballou." Pierson twice served a