Both were mold-breaking former heads of state who reshaped their own countries and the world. Nelson Mandela, revered for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, and Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” who imposed her will on Britain’s politics and economy, were among notable people who died in 2013.
Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at age 95, was considered a master of forgiveness. He became South Africa’s first black president after spending 27 years in prison for championing equality against the white-minority government, and he inspired the world by seeking a relatively peaceful transition of power.
As Britain’s only female prime minister, Thatcher ruled for 11 years and showed an unshakable faith in the free market, leaving behind a leaner government and more prosperous nation. While she had fierce critics, praise for her leadership came in from around the world when she died in April at 87.
Other political figures who died this year included Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti, Poland’s ex-Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, France’s Pierre Mauroy, and Hungary’s Gyula Horn, prominent past mayors of New York and Beijing, Ed Koch and Chen Xitong, and former U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Harry Byrd.
Also dying in 2013 was a man whose invention you may hold as you read this. Doug Engelbart, who died in July, invented the computer mouse, among other things. Others from the world of science and technology who died this year included the Manhattan Project’s Donald Hornig, Nobel Prize winners Frederick Sanger, Robert Edwards and Kenneth Wilson, audio pioneers Ray Dolby and Amar Bose and astronauts C. Gordon Fullerton and Scott Carpenter.
In the arena of arts and entertainment, this year saw the death of one who was hugely influential though not technically an entertainer at all. Roger Ebert, who died in April, was America’s most popular film critic, telling audiences that movies to see or avoid with his famous thumbs-up or thumbs-down reviews.
Others from the entertainment world who died this year included actors James Gandolfini, Peter O’Toole, Jane Kean, Annette Funicello, Jean Stapleton, Bonnie Franklin, Cory Monteith, Frank Thornton and Conrad Bain, as well as swimming star Esther Williams and Bollywood villain Pran. Musicians included George Jones, Van Cliburn, Lou Reed, Donald Byrd, Ray Manzarek, Bebo Valdes, Mindy McCready, Chrissy Amphle and Chris Kelly. Among others: writer Tom Clancy, director Nagisa Oshima and ballerina Maria Tallchief.
Here is a roll call of some of the famous who died in 2013.
Patti Page, 85. Singer who stumbled across “Tennessee Waltz” and made it one of the best-selling recordings ever. Jan. 1.
Conrad Bain, 89. Veteran stage and film actor who became a star in middle age as the kindly white adoptive father of two young African-American brothers in the TV sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes.” Jan. 14.
Pauline Friedman Phillips, 94. Under the name of Abigail Van Buren, she wrote the long-running “Dear Abby” newspaper advice column read by millions. Jan. 16.
James Hood, 70. One of the first black students who enrolled at the University of Alabama a half-century ago in defiance of racial segregation. Jan. 17.
Stan Musial, 92. St. Louis Cardinals star with the corkscrew stance and too many batting records to fit on his Hall of Fame plaque. Jan. 19.
Patty Andrews, 94. Last of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” and the poignant “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” captured the home-front spirit of World War II. Jan. 30.
Ed Koch, 88. Former New York City mayor and combative politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during three City Hall terms. Feb. 1.
Essie Mae Washington-Williams, 87. Mixed-race daughter of one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years. Feb. 3.
Mindy McCready, 37. She hit the top of the country music charts before personal problems sidetracked her career. Feb. 17. Apparent suicide.
C. Everett Koop, 96. He raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America’s attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking. Feb. 25.
Van Cliburn, 78. Pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock-star status. Feb. 27.
Bonnie Franklin, 69. Pert, redheaded actress whom millions came to identify with for her role as divorced mom Ann Romano on the sitcom “One Day at a Time.” March 1.
Hugo Chávez, 58. Fiery populist president of Venezuela who declared a socialist revolution, crusaded against U.S. influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America. March 5. Cancer.
Chinua Achebe, 82. Nigerian author, statesman and dissident who gave literary birth to modern Africa with “Things Fall Apart” and continued for decades to rewrite and reclaim the history of his native country. March 21.
Phil Ramone, 79. Grammy-winning engineer, arranger and producer whose platinum touch included recordings with Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Paul Simon. March 30. Complications from heart surgery.
Roger Ebert, 70. First journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism, who, on his long-running TV review program, wielded the nation’s most influential thumb. April 4.
Lilly Pulitzer, 81. Palm Beach socialite-turned-designer whose tropical print dresses in the 1960s later became a fashion classic. April 7.
Margaret Thatcher, 87. Conservative British prime minister who infuriated European allies, found a fellow believer in Ronald Reagan and transformed her country by a ruthless dedication to free markets. April 8. Stroke.
Annette Funicello, 70. Child star as a perky Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s, who then teamed with Frankie Avalon on a string of ’60s fun-in-the-sun movies with names like “Beach Blanket Bingo.” April 8. Complications from multiple sclerosis.
Maria Tallchief, 88. One of America’s first great prima ballerinas who gave life to “The Nutcracker,” “The Firebird” and other masterpieces from choreographer George Balanchine. April 11.
Jonathan Winters, 87. Cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. April 11.
Pat Summerall, 82. Deep-voiced NFL player-turned-broadcaster who spent half of his four decades calling sports famously paired with John Madden. April 16.
Alan Wood, 90. World War II veteran credited with providing the flag in the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima. April 18.
Al Neuharth, 89. Founder of USA Today, the nation’s most widely read newspaper. April 19.
Deanna Durbin, 91. Teen sensation whose sparkling soprano voice and girl-next-door looks made her a star during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Around April 20.
George Jones, 81. Peerless, hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaker “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” April 26.
Chris Kelly, 34. Half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross who made one of the decade’s most memorable songs with “Jump.” May 1. Drug overdose.
Jeanne Cooper, 84. Soap opera star who played grande dame Katherine Chancellor for nearly four decades on “The Young and the Restless.” May 8.
Malcolm Shabazz, 28. Grandson of Malcolm X who at age 12, set a fire that killed the political activist’s widow. May 9. Injuries from being beaten.
Joyce Brothers, 85. Pop psychologist who pioneered the television advice show in the 1950s and enjoyed a long career as a syndicated columnist, author, and TV and film personality. May 13.
Rev. Andrew Greeley, 85. Outspoken Catholic priest, best-selling author and Chicago newspaper columnist who criticized church hierarchy over the child sex abuse scandal. May 29.
Jean Stapleton, 90. Stage-trained character actress who played Archie Bunker’s far better half, the sweetly naive Edith, in TV’s groundbreaking 1970s comedy “All in the Family.” May 31.
Esther Williams, 91. Swimming champion-turned-actress who starred in glittering, aquatic Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. June 6.
James Gandolfini, 51. Actor whose portrayal of a brutal but emotionally delicate crime boss in HBO’s “The Sopranos” turned the mobster stereotype on its head. June 19. Heart attack.
Slim Whitman, 90. Country singer who sold millions of records through TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy “Mars Attacks!” June 19.
Vince Flynn, 47. Best-selling author who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series. June 19. Cancer.
Cory Monteith, 31. Actor on the television show “Glee” who had struggled for years with substance abuse. July 13. Overdose of heroin and alcohol.
Helen Thomas, 92. Irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill nine presidents. July 20.
Dennis Farina, 69. Onetime Chicago cop who as a popular character actor played a TV cop on “Law & Order” during his wide-ranging career. July 22.
Virginia Johnson, 88. Half of the husband-wife research team that transformed the study of sex in the 1960s and wrote two best-selling books on sexuality. July 24.
Jack Germond, 85. Portly, cantankerous columnist and pundit who covered 10 presidential elections and sparred with colleagues on TV’s “The McLaughlin Group.” Aug. 14.
Lee Thompson Young, 29. Actor who as a teen starred in “The Famous Jett Jackson” and was featured in the film “Friday Night Lights” and the TV series “Rizzoli & Isles.” Aug. 19. Apparent suicide.
Elmore Leonard, 87. Acclaimed crime novelist whose best-sellers and the movies made from them chronicled the violent deaths of many a thug. Aug. 20. Complications from a stroke.
C. Gordon Fullerton, 76. Former astronaut who flew on two space shuttle missions and had an extensive career as a research and test pilot for NASA and the Air Force. Aug. 21.
Julie Harris, 87. Much-honored Broadway performer whose roles ranged from the flamboyant Sally Bowles in “I Am a Camera” to the reclusive Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst.” Aug. 24.
Seamus Heaney, 74. Ireland’s foremost poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Aug. 30.
David Frost, 74. Veteran broadcaster who won fame around the world for his interview with former President Richard Nixon. Aug. 31.
Eiji Toyoda, 100. Member of Toyota’s founding family who helped create the super-efficient “Toyota Way” production method. Sept. 17.
Ken Norton, 70. Former heavyweight boxing champion who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium. Sept. 18.
Tom Clancy, 66. His high-tech military and spy thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games” made him the most widely read and influential genre novelist of his time. Oct. 1.
Scott Carpenter, 88. Second American to orbit Earth and first person to explore both the heights of space and depths of the ocean. Oct. 10. Complications from a stroke.
Bum Phillips, 90. Folksy Texas football icon who coached the Houston Oilers during their Luv Ya Blue heyday and later led the New Orleans Saints. Oct. 18.
Tom Foley, 84. Courtly former speaker of the House who lost his seat when Republicans seized control of Congress in 1994. Oct. 18. Complications from a stroke.
Lou Reed, 71. Punk poet of rock ’n’ roll who profoundly influenced generations of musicians as leader of the Velvet Underground and remained a vital solo performer for decades after. Oct. 27.
Charlie Trotter, 54. Award-winning chef and self-taught culinary master whose namesake Chicago restaurant elevated the city’s cuisine and provided a training ground for top chefs. Nov. 5.
Paul Walker, 40. Star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series. Nov. 30. Car crash.
Nelson Mandela, 95. Human rights colossus of the 20th century who emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa and became that nation’s first black president. Dec. 5.
Eleanor Parker, 91. She was nominated for Academy Awards three times for her portrayals of strong-willed women and played a scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music.” Dec. 9. Complications from pneumonia.
Peter O’Toole, 81. Charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as the title character of “Lawrence of Arabia” and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award. Dec. 14.
Joan Fontaine, 96. Academy Award-winning actress who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion” and “Rebecca” and also was featured in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Nicholas Ray. Dec. 15.