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Obituaries

Actors and Authors Who Passed Away in 2013

Annette Funicello, Jonathan Winters, Tom Clancy and others

Esther Williams, 91

En español | ACTRESS: The swimming champion found stardom in movies that featured her in over-the-top aquatic production numbers. The film career eventually sank, but her popularity was kept afloat by fans' fond memories of her all-American beauty, packed into a sequined bathing suit.

1956: Bettmann/Corbis

Bonnie Franklin, 69

ACTRESS: The forever-perky and fresh-faced redhead burst to Broadway stardom by stealing the show from Lauren Bacall in the 1970's Applause. But TV fans will forever know her as Ann Romano, the plucky single mom on the 1975-84 sitcom One Day at a Time. Perky, it turned out, paid.

c. 1980: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Roger Ebert, 70

MOVIE CRITIC: He started reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967 (a gig he kept until his death) then PBS’s Sneak Previews teamed him with Gene Siskel and a star duo was born. His battle with cancer took his speech, but his creative voice remained vital to the end. Two thumbs up.

1969: Bob Kotalik/Chicago Sun-Times/AP Images

Annette Funicello, 70

ACTRESS, SINGER: For the last 20 years multiple sclerosis weakened her, but America’s favorite teen always kept the smile that inspired Walt Disney to cast her as an original Mouseketeer in 1955. Later starring in the Beach Party movies, she transitioned gracefully from singing kid to young adult celebrity.

c. 1955: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Jonathan Winters, 87

COMEDIAN: He was the king of wild, unpredictable improv humor: In 1964, late-night host Jack Paar gave him a stick to play with, inspiring the most concentrated dose of improvised comic genius in TV history. He wrote books and he painted, but mostly he made us laugh in a way no one else had.

1956: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Jean Stapleton, 90

ACTRESS: Although All in the Family's Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor, pictured), called her Edith a “dingbat,” Stapleton made it clear that Edith was smarter than she let on. A master of comic timing and heartbreaking drama, she may have been the greatest sitcom actress ever.

1974: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Dennis Farina, 69

ACTOR: As a former Chicago cop, Farina was a natural to play a detective on TV’s Law & Order; but why did he also make such a great crook in movies like Midnight Run and Get Shorty? We loved Farina’s blunt, take-no-prisoners persona no matter what side of the law his character was on.

2004: Scott Pasfield/Retna Ltd./Corbis

Eileen Brennan, 80

ACTRESS: We first noticed her with Paul Newman in The Sting, then as Goldie Hawn’s grumpy captain in 1980’s Private Benjamin and Mrs. Peacock in Clue (1985). She was nearly killed by a passing car in 1982, and later survived breast cancer. Through it all, Brennan triumphed.

1982: Doug Pizac/AP Images

Karen Black, 74

ACTRESS: She was our favorite bad girl: an acid-dropping hooker in Easy Rider (1969), Jack Nicholson’s gal pal in Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Hitchcock’s last villain in Family Plot (1976). Later she acted in various horror flicks, still offering her irresistible blend of street smarts and vulnerability.

1969: Susan Wood/Getty Images

Julie Harris, 87

ACTRESS: She earned an Oscar nomination for her first film role, in The Member of the Wedding (1952); and 11 Emmy nominations, including one for Knots Landing. But Harris, who also received 10 Tony nominations, was most at home onstage. The light were dimmed on Broadway when she died.

Bettmann/Corbis

Marcia Wallace, 70

ACTRESS: We knew her long face and red hair as Bob Newhart’s man-hungry receptionist, and her voice as Bart’s teacher on The Simpsons. We didn’t know of her childhood abuse, battle with breast cancer and longtime caring for her cancer-stricken husband. A good actress, she was a great person.

c. 1975: Courtesy Everett Collection

Tom Clancy, 66

NOVELIST: Poor eyesight kept him out of Vietnam, but the gung-ho Cold Warrior gave the U.S. military star roles in blockbuster thrillers such as The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising. Famed for his insidery plots, Clancy once called it “spooky” that “I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real.”

1992: Carlos Osorio/AP Images

Elmore Leonard, 87

NOVELIST: He was the author of Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma and Raylan, whose best-known character was the loan shark Chili Palmer. Leonard, who above all prized a narrator’s invisibility, turned the crime thriller into art, and revolutionized how action and dialogue are captured on the page.

1992: Michael Brennan/Getty Image

James Gandolfini, 51

ACTOR: His gentle charisma gave his
now-iconic character, violent mob boss Tony
Soprano, a fascinating complexity. In real life, says Sopranos costar Edie Falco, “He was kind and uniquely generous.” His softer side shines in the posthumously released comedy Enough Said.

1999: Anthony Neste/File/HBO/AP Images

Pat Summerall, 82

FOOTBALL PLAYER, SPORTSCASTER: After 10 years with the NFL, he become one of TV’s most recognized sports announcers, known for his deep voice and concise analyses. When he died, fellow sportscaster John Madden said, “Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be.”

1960: John Rooney/AP Images

Doris Lessing, 94

WRITER: When told she’d won a Nobel Prize in 2007, she said, “I couldn’t care less." Raised in Rhodesia, Lessing wrote sharply about race and gender, most famously in her seminal novel The Golden Notebook (1962). The Nobel committee praised her “skepticism, fire and visionary power.”

c. 1950: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Peter O’Toole, 81

ACTOR: "I will not be a common man,” the Irish-born O’Toole wrote in his youth. “I will stir the smooth sands of monotony." And that he did: Known for his theatrical acting style (and hell-raising lifestyle), he created a forever-iconic movie character as the star of 1962’s epic Lawrence of Arabia.

1990:David Montgomery/Getty Images

Joan Fontaine, 96

ACTRESS: Fontaine and her famous sister Olivia de Havilland’s rivalry was notorious — exacerbated when Fontaine won an Oscar for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion (1941) the same year sis was nominated for Hold Back the Dawn. She also starred in Hitchcock’s Rebecca in 1940 and Ivanhoe in 1952.

1941: RKO/Getty Images

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