Politics lost U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, candidate H. Ross Perot, journalist Cokie Roberts — and, locally, former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and longtime Philadelphia power broker Margaret “Marge” Tartaglione.
TV lost superstars Luke Perry, Diahann Carroll, Peggy Lipton, Valerie Harper, Tim Conway, and Sesame Street’s Caroll Spinney. Radio said goodbye to Don Imus.
Hollywood lost Doris Day, Peter Fonda, John Singleton, Rip Torn, and Peter Mayhew, soul of Chewbacca.
Artists, thinkers, writers, designers, and musicians who died in 2019 included Toni Morrison, Andre Previn, I.M. Pei, Leon Redbone, Gloria Vanderbilt, Karl Lagerfeld, rappers Nipsey Hussle and Juice WRLD, and Broadway impresario Harold Prince, out of the University of Pennsylvania.
In sports, we said goodbye to John Havlicek, Frank Robinson, Pernell Whitaker, and Philly’s own David Montgomery and Bill Lyon.
Philly also won’t be the same without broadcast legends Lew Klein and Gene Crane, restaurant renaissance maker Kathleen Mulhern, history keeper Richard Tyler, illustrator Charles Santore, Broadway belter Ann Crumb, business titans John C. Bogle and Raymond G. Perelman, comedian Chris Cotton, and newspaperman Gar Joseph, to name a very few.
Here is a roll call of some influential figures who died in 2019.
Daryl Dragon, 76. The cap-wearing “Captain” of Captain & Tennille who teamed with then-wife Toni Tennille on such easy listening hits as “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Muskrat Love.” Jan. 2.
Raymond G. Perelman, 101. Built a fortune buying and selling factories amid America’s industrial decline and gave more than $300 million to the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school and Philadelphia arts and Jewish charities. Jan. 14.
Mary Scharff, 64, Women’s basketball pioneer and member of Immaculata’s 1974 national championship team. Scharff was Paul VI high school’s first female 1,000-point scorer. Jan. 14.
Carol Channing, 97. The ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences in almost 5,000 performances in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway and beyond. Jan. 15.
John C. Bogle, 89. He simplified investing for the masses by launching the first index mutual fund and founded Vanguard Group, persuading millions of successful Americans and their bosses to trust his firm with their old-age savings. He built one of Pennsylvania’s largest employers. Jan. 16.
Harris Wofford, 92. A former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and longtime civil rights activist who helped persuade John F. Kennedy to make a crucial phone call to the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960 presidential campaign. Jan. 21.
Jacqueline Silver, 56. The Temple University social worker who won better wages and working conditions for her 600 coworkers through her labor organizing and leadership with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals. Jan. 22.
James Ingram, 66. The Grammy-winning singer who launched multiple hits on the R&B and pop charts and earned two Oscar nominations for his songwriting. Jan. 29.
Harold Bradley, 93. A Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist who played on hundreds of hit country records and along with his brother, famed producer Owen Bradley, helped craft “The Nashville Sound.” Jan. 31.
Kathleen Mulhern, 93. The Philadelphia entrepreneur who helped spark the city’s restaurant renaissance in 1974 by opening a tiny eatery that became famous as The Garden. Feb. 2.
Frank Robinson, 83. The Hall of Famer was the first black manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues. Feb. 7.
John Dingell, 92. The former congressman was the longest-serving member of Congress at 59 years and a master of legislative deal-making. Feb. 7.
Albert Finney, 82. The British actor was the Academy Award-nominated star of films from Tom Jones to Skyfall. Feb. 8.
Jan-Michael Vincent, 73. The Airwolf television star whose sleek good looks belied a troubled personal life. Feb. 10.
Lyndon LaRouche Jr., 96. The political extremist who ran for president in every election from 1976 to 2004, including a campaign waged from federal prison. Feb. 12.
Lee Radziwill, 85. She was the stylish jet setter and socialite who found friends, lovers, and other adventures worldwide while bonding and competing with her sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Feb. 15.
Don Bragg, 83. 1960 Olympic pole vault gold medalist. Attended Penns Grove High School and Villanova University. Feb. 16.
Wallace Smith Broecker, 87. A scientist who raised early alarms about climate change and popularized the term “global warming.” Feb. 18.
Karl Lagerfeld, 85. Chanel’s iconic couturier. Feb. 19.
Peter Tork, 77. A talented singer-songwriter and instrumentalist whose musical skills were often overshadowed by his role as the goofy, lovable bass guitarist in The Monkees. Feb. 21.
Jim Nicholson, 76. The Daily News obituary writer who won acclaim for celebrating the lives of Philadelphia’s ordinary citizens. He was also a bronze star counterintelligence officer in the Army.
Jerry Merryman, 86. He was one of the inventors of the handheld electronic calculator. Feb. 27.
Andre Previn, 89. The pianist, composer, and conductor whose broad reach took in the worlds of Hollywood, jazz, and classical music. Feb. 28.
Luke Perry, 52. He gained instant heartthrob status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. March 4.
Birch Bayh, 91. A former U.S. senator who championed the federal law banning discrimination against women in college admissions and sports. March 14.
Luis Biava, 85. Respected conductor who joined the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1968 as a violinist and stayed more than three decades. He was also heavily involved in Temple University’s music program. March 25.
Ken Gibson, 86. He became the first black mayor of a major Northeast city when he ascended to power in riot-torn Newark, N.J., about five decades ago. March 29.
Nipsey Hussle, 33. A Grammy-nominated rapper. March 31.
Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, 97. The silver-haired Democrat who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to serve six terms in the U.S. Senate. April 6.
Marilynn Smith, 89. One of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour whose 21 victories, two majors, and endless support of her tour led to her induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. April 9.
Richard “Dick” Cole, 103. The last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who carried out the daring U.S. attack on Japan during World War II. April 9.
Georgia Engel, 70. The charmingly innocent, small-voiced Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. April 12.
John Havlicek, 79. The Boston Celtics great whose steal of Hal Greer’s inbounds pass in the final seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia 76ers remains one of the most famous plays in NBA history. April 25.
Richard Tyler, 83. Philadelphia’s official historian, a passionate and effective steward of its historic buildings — including Eastern State Penitentiary and Lit Bros. — during the tumultuous creation of Philadelphia’s modern preservation law in the 1970s. April 27.
John Singleton, 51. A director who made one of Hollywood’s most memorable debuts with the Oscar-nominated Boyz N the Hood and continued to probe the lives of black communities in his native Los Angeles and beyond. April 29.
Peter Mayhew, 74. The towering actor who donned a furry costume to give life to the rugged-and-beloved character of Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy and two other films. April 30.
Peggy Lipton, 72. A star of the groundbreaking late 1960s TV show The Mod Squad and the 1990s show Twin Peaks. May 11.
Bill Fleischman, 80. Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter, University of Delaware professor. May 1.
David Montgomery, 72. Beloved Phillies executive who oversaw Citizens Bank Park construction and 2008 World Series title. May 8.
Leonard Bailey, 76. The doctor who, in 1984, transplanted a baboon heart into a tiny newborn dubbed “Baby Fae,” sparking both worldwide acclaim and condemnation. May 12.
Doris Day, 97. The sunny blond actress and singer whose comedic roles opposite the likes of Rock Hudson and Cary Grant made her one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1950s and ’60s. May 13.
Tim Conway, 85. The impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred in McHale’s Navy and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for SpongeBob SquarePants. May 14.
I.M. Pei, 102. The versatile architect who revived the Louvre with a giant glass pyramid and designed Philadelphia’s Society Hill Towers. May 16.
Murray Gell-Mann, 89. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist who brought order to the universe by helping discover and classify subatomic particles. May 24.
Bishop Joseph Galante, 80, who led the Diocese of Camden from 2004 to 2013, initiating ambitious changes that included a reduction in parishes that was, at the time, the largest consolidation in the U.S.
David Carroll, 81. Longtime Philadelphia nightlife impresario, credited with helping establish the city’s new wave and punk scene in the late 1970s. May 26.
Bill Buckner, 69. A star hitter who made one of the biggest blunders in baseball history when he let Mookie Wilson’s trickler roll through his legs in the 1986 World Series. May 27.
Patricia Bath, 76. A pioneering ophthalmologist who became the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent after she invented a more precise treatment of cataracts. May 30.
Leon Redbone, 69. The blues and jazz artist whose growly voice, Panama hat, and cultivated air of mystery made him seem like a character out of the ragtime era or the Depression-era Mississippi Delta. May 30.
Leah Chase, 96. A New Orleans chef and civil rights icon who created the city’s first white-tablecloth restaurant for black patrons, broke the city’s segregation laws by seating white and black customers, and introduced countless tourists to Southern Louisiana Creole cooking. June 1.
Dr. John, 77. The New Orleans singer and piano player who blended black and white musical styles with a hoodoo-infused stage persona and gravelly bayou drawl. June 6.
Frank Lucchesi, 92. Phillies manager 1970-72. June 8.
Lew Klein, 91, the Philadelphia broadcast legend who helped develop American Bandstand and was the guiding force behind Captain Noah and his Magical Ark as well as the Action News format. He taught for 67 years at Temple University. June 12.
Pat Bowlen, 75. The Denver Broncos owner who transformed the team from also-rans into NFL champions and helped the league usher in billion-dollar television deals. June 13.
Gloria Vanderbilt, 95. The intrepid heiress, artist, and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression and reigned during the 1970s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer. June 17.
Naomi Graffman, 90. A painter and writer who guided the Curtis Institute of Music alongside her husband Gary, its former president. So close was their partnership, they were sometimes referred to as Garomi. June 17.
Judith Krantz, 91. A writer whose million-selling novels such as Scruples and Princess Daisy engrossed readers worldwide with their steamy tales of the rich and beautiful. June 22.
Willie “The Worm” Monroe, 73. Prominent 1970s Philadelphia boxer. June 22.
Tyler Skaggs, 27. The left-handed pitcher who was a regular in the Los Angeles Angels’ starting rotation since late 2016 and struggled with injuries repeatedly in that time. July 1.
Lee Iacocca, 94. The auto executive and master pitchman who put the Mustang in Ford’s lineup in the 1960s and became a corporate folk hero when he resurrected Chrysler 20 years later. July 2.
Lewis Lloyd, 60. NBA player in the 1980s and Philadelphia native. July 5.
Joao Gilberto, 88. A Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter considered one of the fathers of the bossa nova genre. July 6.
Rosie Ruiz, 66. The Boston Marathon course-cutter who was stripped of her victory in the 1980 race and went on to become an enduring symbol of cheating in sports. July 8.
Margaret “Marge” Tartaglione, 86, a political power in Philadelphia for four decades. July 9.
H. Ross Perot, 89. The colorful, self-made Texas billionaire who rose from delivering newspapers as a boy to building his own information technology company and twice mounted outsider campaigns for president. July 9.
Rip Torn, 88. The free-spirited Texan who overcame his quirky name to become a distinguished actor in television, theater, and movies, notably Men in Black and The Larry Sanders Show. July 9.
Jim Bouton, 80. The former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book Ball Four. July 10.
Pernell Whitaker, 55. An Olympic gold medalist and four-division boxing champion regarded as one of the greatest defensive fighters ever. July 14.
Edith Irby Jones, 91. The first black student to enroll at an all-white medical school in the South and later the first female president of the National Medical Association. July 15.
John Paul Stevens, 99. The bow-tied, independent-thinking, Republican-nominated justice who unexpectedly emerged as the Supreme Court’s leading liberal. July 16.
Ann Bassett, 86. Fourth-generation leader of Bassetts Ice Cream. July 17.
James W. Scott Sr., 60. Standout West Philadelphia High School graduate who rose to become a business executive, fund-raiser, and adviser to Nelson Mandela. July 17.
Paul Krassner, 87. The publisher, author, and radical political activist on the front lines of 1960s counterculture who helped tie together his loose-knit prankster group by naming them the Yippies. July 21.
Chris Kraft, 95. The founder of NASA’s mission control. July 22.
Robert Mendelsohn, 61. A white photographer who chronicled Philadelphia’s black social scene for more than 20 years, attending nearly every prominent event in the African American community. Late July.
Phyllis Stein-Novack, 70. Philadelphia food critic who reviewed restaurants — offering “tips of the toque” — and covered the arts for newspapers including The Inquirer, the Daily News, and the South Philly Review. July 30.
Harold Prince, 91. A Broadway director and producer who pushed the boundaries of musical theater with such groundbreaking shows as The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, and Sweeney Todd and won a staggering 21 Tony Awards. July 31.
D.A. Pennebaker, 94. The Oscar-winning documentary maker immortalized a young Bob Dylan in Don’t Look Back and captured the spin behind Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign in The War Room. Aug. 1.
Henri Belolo, 82. He cofounded the Village People and cowrote their classic hits “YMCA,” “Macho Man," and “In the Navy.” Aug. 3.
Toni Morrison, 88. A pioneer and reigning giant of modern literature whose imaginative power in Beloved, Song of Solomon, and other works transformed American letters. Aug. 5.
Gar Joseph, 71. In 34 years at the Daily News, he established himself as a legend, creating the popular political column “Clout,” editing the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of police corruption, and shepherding the careers of countless journalists. Aug. 10.
Charles Santore, 84. Nationally renowned artist from South Philadelphia best known for his TV Guide covers and colorful illustrations of children’s books and fairy tales. Aug. 11.
Peter Fonda, 79. The son of a Hollywood legend became a movie star in his own right after both writing and starring in the counterculture classic Easy Rider. Aug. 16.
Cedric Benson, 36. A former NFL running back who was one of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and University of Texas history. Aug. 17.
Kathleen Blanco, 76. Became Louisiana’s first female elected governor, only to see her political career derailed by Hurricane Katrina. Aug. 18.
David H. Koch, 79. A billionaire industrialist who, with his older brother Charles, was both celebrated and demonized for transforming American politics by pouring their riches into conservative causes. Aug. 23.
Gene Crane, 99. Legendary Philadelphia radio and TV broadcaster who, from the late 1940s through the 1950s, conducted “Man on the Street” interviews and hosted three children’s shows and a daily talk show for WCAU-TV. He worked part-time in his 80s, filming news segments on the concerns of seniors. Aug. 26.
Valerie Harper, 80. She scored guffaws, stole hearts, and busted TV taboos as the brash, self-deprecating Rhoda Morgenstern on hit sitcoms in the 1970s. Aug. 30.
Mary Lyerly Alexander, 92. John Coltrane’s beloved “Cousin Mary,” and the inspiration for one of the iconic saxophonist’s best-known compositions, she worked for much of her life to keep Coltrane’s legacy alive in Philadelphia. Aug. 31.
Louis K. Habina, 64, an attorney, Wells Fargo executive, Philly Pops board member — and probably the loudest, most opinionated member of the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. Sept. 4.
Robert Mugabe, 95. The former Zimbabwean leader was an ex-guerrilla chief who took power when the African country shook off white minority rule and presided for decades while economic turmoil and human rights violations eroded its early promise. Sept. 6.
Robert Frank, 94. A giant of 20th-century photography. Sept. 9.
T. Boone Pickens, 91. A brash and quotable oil tycoon who grew even wealthier through corporate takeover attempts. Sept. 11.
Eddie Money, 70. The rock star known for such hits as “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” Sept. 13.
Ric Ocasek, 75. The Cars frontman whose deadpan vocal delivery and lanky, sunglassed look defined a rock era. Sept. 15.
Cokie Roberts, 75. The daughter of politicians and a pioneering journalist who chronicled Washington from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump for NPR and ABC News. Sept. 17.
David A. Jones Sr., 88. He invested $1,000 to start a nursing home company that became the $37 billion health insurance giant Humana Inc. Sept. 18.
Barron Hilton, 91. A hotel magnate who expanded his father’s chain and became a founding owner in the American Football League. Sept. 19.
Jacques Chirac, 86. A two-term French president who was the first leader to acknowledge France’s role in the Holocaust. Sept. 26.
Jessye Norman, 74. The renowned international opera star. Sept. 30.
Diahann Carroll, 84. The Oscar-nominated actress and singer who won critical acclaim as the first black woman to star in a non-servant role in a TV series, as Julia. Oct. 4.
Peter Stone Brown, 68. Philadelphia singer-songwriter whose was a fixture on the city’s music scene for a half-century and an internationally regarded expert on Bob Dylan. Oct. 5.
Ginger Baker, 80. The volatile and propulsive drummer for Cream and other bands who helped shatter boundaries of time, tempo and style in popular music. Oct. 6.
Alexei Leonov, 85. The Soviet cosmonaut who became the first person to walk in space. Oct. 11.
Elijah E. Cummings, 68. A sharecropper’s son who rose to become a civil rights champion and the chairman of one of the U.S. House committees leading an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Oct. 17.
Bill Macy, 97. The character actor whose hangdog expression was a perfect match for his role as the long-suffering foil to Bea Arthur’s unyielding feminist on the 1970s sitcom Maude. Oct. 17.
John Conyers, 90. The former congressman was one of the longest-serving members of Congress whose resolutely liberal stance on civil rights made him a political institution in Washington despite several scandals. Oct. 27.
John Witherspoon, 77. An actor-comedian who memorably played Ice Cube’s father in the Friday films. Oct. 29.
Ann Crumb, 69, the Tony Award-nominated actress and singer, raised in Media, who made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Les Miserables. Oct. 31.
Werner Gustav Doehner, 90. He was the last remaining survivor of the Hindenburg disaster, who suffered severe burns to his face, arms and legs before his mother managed to toss him and his brother from the burning airship. Nov. 8.
Mary Taylor Previte, 87. A former English teacher at Camden High School who won election to the New Jersey State Assembly in 1998 and served until 2006, focusing her legislative agenda on issues important to families, women, and children. Nov. 16.
Bill Lyon, 81. Renowned and award-winning Inquirer sports columnist. For more than two years, in a series of essays, he chronicled his end-of-life battles with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Nov. 17.
Gahan Wilson, 89. His humorous, often macabre cartoons were a mainstay in magazines including Playboy, The New Yorker, and National Lampoon. Nov. 21.
Warren “Pete” Musser, 92. Longtime head of Safeguard Scientifics, which invested in small industrial, telecommunications, electronics, internet, and other firms, and trained Philadelphia-area investment professionals. In 1963, Mr. Musser and his partners sold Philadelphia investor Ralph Roberts the first of the cable-TV systems that became Comcast Corp. Nov. 25.
William Doyle Ruckelshaus, 87. He famously quit his job in the Justice Department rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s order to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. Nov. 27.
Yasuhiro Nakasone, 101. The former Japanese prime minister was a giant of his country’s post-World War II politics. Nov. 29.
Robert Godshall, 86. A Republican who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1982 through 2018 representing the 53rd District, which included parts of Franconia, Hatfield, Lansdale, and his hometown, Souderton, in Montgomery County. Nov. 24.
Allan Gerson, 74. A lawyer who pursued Nazi war criminals and pioneered the practice of suing foreign governments in U.S. courts for complicity to terrorism. Dec. 1.
Arnold Staloff, 74. A leader among the innovative financial traders who challenged the world’s central banks in the 1980s and helped ensure the survival of Philadelphia as a financial center. Dec. 6.
Juice WRLD, 21. A rapper who launched his career on SoundCloud before becoming a streaming juggernaut and rose to the top of the charts with the Sting-sampled hit “Lucid Dreams.” Dec. 8.
Caroll Spinney, 85. He gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on Sesame Street. Dec. 8.
Paul Volcker, 92. The former Federal Reserve chairman who, in the early 1980s, raised interest rates to historic highs and triggered a recession as the price of quashing double-digit inflation. Dec. 8.
Pete Frates, 34. A former college baseball player whose battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease helped inspire the ALS ice bucket challenge that has raised more than $200 million worldwide. Dec. 9.
Chris Cotton, 32. Philadelphia-based comedian who cowrote and costarred in Comedy Central’s online talk show Every Damn Day. Dec. 11.
Danny Aiello, 86. The blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included roles in Fort Apache, the Bronx and Moonstruck and his Oscar-nominated performance in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Dec. 12.
Sirvart Kaloustian, 89, indefatigable dressmaker and fashion designer to the Main Line’s elite. A Syrian immigrant, she learned English by watching soap operas on TV while doing alterations from home. Dec. 24.
Don Imus, 79, pioneer of the radio shock-jock format that would eventually get him fired for racist comments about Rutgers women’s basketball. Raised millions for wounded veterans, kids with cancer, and other causes. Dec. 27.