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Famous Deaths of 2013, Part One

Updated on June 13, 2014

January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013

Published January 1, 2014, by Mary McShane

At the end of each year, I like to go through the news reports to refresh my memory about who passed away during the year. In no particular order, these are some of my favorites. This is by no means a complete list since you will recall other names as well.

This is part one of two, because by the time I got done compiling part one, it got very long. lol

I hope you'll enjoy reading about these famous people and leave your thoughts about them in the comments.

A little music to read by

Bonnie Franklin

Bonnie Franklin, 1975
Bonnie Franklin, 1975 | Source
Bonnie Franklin, 2012
Bonnie Franklin, 2012 | Source

Bonnie Franklin

Bonnie Gail Franklin, best known for her role as Ann Romano on the television comedy "One Day At A Time," was born January 4, 1944 in Santa Monica, CA. As age 9, she tap danced on stage with Donald O'Connor who became her acting mentor. She appeared with him on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1950. She appeared in several films and stage productions until she was 13, when her father, an investment banker, moved the family to Beverly Hills, CA. Bonnie Franklin graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1961 and she attended Smith College but graduated from UCLA with a BA in English.

She appeared in episode television programs like Mr. Novak (1963), Gidget (1965), Please Don't Eat The Daisies (1965) as well as many stage performances from 1965 until she landed her own series "One Day At A Time" in 1975. After the show's run, she continued to work theater and devoted herself to humanitarian activities like AIDS care, research and benefits as well as supporting Democratic candidates for President.

She married twice but had no natural children. Her first marriage to writer Ronald Sossi ended after three years in 1970. Her second marriage to TV and film producer Marvin Minoff lasted 29 years until his death in 2009. She had two stepchildren, Julie Minoff and Jed Minoff.

Bonnie Franklin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2012. She died March 1, 2013 at her home in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 69. She is survived by her mother, two brothers, two sisters, two stepchildren and two grandchildren.



Jane Henson, Muppets Fame

Jane Henson with husband Jim on their first show, Sam and Friends, circa 1960.
Jane Henson with husband Jim on their first show, Sam and Friends, circa 1960. | Source
Jane Henson, wife of Muppeteer, Jim Henson
Jane Henson, wife of Muppeteer, Jim Henson | Source

Jane Henson, wife of Jim Henson

Jane Henson was born Jane Ann Nebel on June 16, 1934. She met her future husband, Muppeteer Jim Henson while attending the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. They worked side by side in creating Muppets for live television in the 1950s. When Jim took a year off in 1958 to travel to Europe for a year, Jane continued running the show.

When he returned, they began dating and married in 1959. They had five children. She quit working as a Muppeteer in the early 1960s, and was replaced by Jerry Juhl and Frank Oz. She continued studying Fine Arts at Catholic University in Washington, DC. When they moved to Greenwich, CT, Jane worked as an assistant art teacher at the Mead School for Human Development. She founded and funded The Jim Henson Legacy. She had a good eye for spotting people who would make good Muppeteers, and they had to pass muster with her to be hired.

Jim Henson died May 16, 1990 of bacterial pneumonia in New York City, the very weekend he was reportedly going to sell his company to Disney for $150 million. Although Jane and Jim were legally separated in 1986, they remained friends, coworkers and partners until his death. She continued his legacy in a number of ventures and foundations, giving grants and scholarships to up and coming puppeteers.

Jane Henson died of cancer on April 2, 2013 at her home in Greenwich, CT

Patty Andrews of The Andrews Sisters

Patty Andrews, center, was the last surviving sister of the Andrews Sister singing trio
Patty Andrews, center, was the last surviving sister of the Andrews Sister singing trio | Source
Patty Andrews with big bandleader Les Brown, right and actor/musician Bobby Troup
Patty Andrews with big bandleader Les Brown, right and actor/musician Bobby Troup | Source

Patty Andrews of The Andrews Sisters

Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing trio The Andrews Sisters, was born Patricia Marie Andrews on February 16, 1918 in Mound, Minnesota. Her sisters Maxene Angelyn (January 3, 1916 - October 21, 1995) and Lavern Sophia (July 6, 1911 - May 8, 1967) made up the rest of the trio. The order of their births happens to also be the order of their deaths. None of the sisters had natural children; all their children were adopted. Oldest sister Lavern started them all off in kiddie musicals on radio when their father's business failed during the Depression, Maxene appeared at age four on her first radio broadcast and at age six was entertaining at public events.

After a performance at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, the trio was offered a job with Larry Rich's traveling music revue. Their father was not happy; he wanted them to become secretaries. In New York City, when Patty was about ten years old, they signed on to travel with Ted Mack (from the Amateur Hour fame) in vaudeville shows. In 1937, Dave Kapp, a recording executive, started them on their singing career with a long list of hit records, including "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and "Rum and Coca-Cola." In 1940, they were signed by Universal Studios to make more than 12 movies over a seven year period. They took time off to travel with the USO as they were very active in the war effort in the 1940s. They had the honor of announcing to the troops that the war was over in 1945.

In 1953, the group split with Lavern going to school in New York City to study dramatics, but ended up marrying and dedicating her time to being a housewife. Patty stayed on as a single singer. In 1956, the trio joined together again appearing at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and signing to do several TV offers. They also had a new contract with Capitol Records. The Andrews Sisters had 19 gold records selling over 100 million copies. The trio officially broke up after the death of Laverne in 1967. Maxene began a solo career in 1979 and worked until October 8, 1995. She died less than two weeks later.

Patty Andrews continued as a solo artist. She married twice, once to Martin Melcher (who left her in 1950 to marry actress Doris Day and ultimately ruined her financially). Her second marriage to Marvin Weschler, the pianist of the Andrews Sisters trio lasted 58 years until his death in 2010.

Patty Andrews, the last surviving sister of The Andrews Sisters, died January 30, 2013 of natural causes at her home in Northridge, CA at the age of 94.

Mindy McCready

Mindy McCready, an American country music singer
Mindy McCready, an American country music singer | Source
Mindy McCready with music producer boyfriend David Wilson, who committed suicide one month before Mindy McCready.
Mindy McCready with music producer boyfriend David Wilson, who committed suicide one month before Mindy McCready. | Source

Mindy McCready

Mindy McCready was an American country music star, born Malinda Gayle McCready on November 30, 1975 in Ft. Myers, Florida. She began singing in church at the age of 3 and moved to Nashville at the age of 18 when she was signed to a music contract by BNA Records. Her first album in 1996 sold over 2 million copies. By all accounts, it seemed she was on her way up the country music charts.

However, in 1997 her next album "If I Don't Stay The Night" only sold 825,000 copies. A year later, in 1998, her album "I'm Not So Tough" sold only 144,000 copies and her record label fired her.

She was next signed by Capital Records and released an album in 2002. The sales were pretty bad and soon Capital Records dropped her as well.

In February 2004, McCready was arrested for possession of Oxycontin in Brentwood, TN. In May 2005, she was arrested for driving while intoxicated coupled with driving with a suspended license. In July 2005, she was charged with identity theft. May 2005 publicized detailed newspaper accounts of her then boyfriend of two years, singer Billy McKnight, beating and choking her. Photos of her face and body appeared on many tabloid television shows. She then claimed the relationship was over, yet in July 2005, she was found unconscious from a suicide attempt via a drug and alcohol overdose and was hospitalized. The couple got back together and Mindy became pregnant. However, in September 2005, she again attempted suicide with antidepressants. She gave birth in March 2006 to a son, Zander Ryan McCready.

Early in 2008, she released a single "I'm Still Here," and on her website she announced she was working on a new album and a reality series. Also in 2008, she appeared on several tabloid television programs talking about a long time affair (since age 15) with baseball player Roger Clemens. He never confirmed nor denied. In Nashville,TN, December 2008 brought another suicide attempt with drugs and by slashing her wrists

In 2009, she appeared on the series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew which detailed her addiction to drugs and alcohol. A sex tape scandal then surfaced in March 2010 and was put up for sale to the public. McCready again attempted suicide May 25, 2010 by drug overdose in Fort Myers, FL, her hometown.

On April 9, 2012, she gave birth to a son, Zayne Wilson, who was fathered by music producer boyfriend, David Wilson. Mindy McCready's oldest son, Zander Ryan McCready, fathered by singer Billy McKnight, along with the new baby Zayne, were both placed in foster care after McCready's repeated arrests for drug and alcohol.

Boyfriend David Wilson committed suicide on January 13, 2013 on the front porch of the home he shared with Mindy McCready in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Mindy McCready committed suicide by gunshot on February 17, 2013 on the same front porch after killing David Wilson's dog. Her children were already in foster care due to an earlier court decision. Mindy McCready was 37 years old. She is buried in Alva, Florida near her hometown of Fort Myers, FL.

Abigal Van Buren (Dear Abby)

Dear Abby at her desk
Dear Abby at her desk | Source
Abigail Van Buren in later years
Abigail Van Buren in later years | Source

Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)

Abigail Van Buren, known all over the world as advice columnist "Dear Abby" was born Pauline Friedman on July 4, 1918 in Sioux City, Iowa. She was a twin to Esther Pauline Friedman, who was older by 17 minutes. Esther also had an advice column and wrote as "Ann Landers" starting in October 1955. Both sisters became well known advice columnist with decidedly different styles. Dear Abby's responses were short and pithy; Ann Landers gave detailed and down to earth advice.

Abigail and Esther did everything together as they grew up, even getting married in a double wedding just before their 21st birthday. Abigail (nicknamed Popo) married Morton Phillips, a businessman and had a son Edward and a daughter Etta Jeanne. Jeanne Phillips helped her mother write her column when she became ill with Alzheimer's Disease and ultimately took over authorship of the Dear Abby column. Abigail chose her name for the column by selecting Abigail from the Bible and Van Buren for the American President.

Esther's column "Ann Landers" was an existing column which she took over in 1955. Esther (nicknamed Eppie) married Jules Lederer, future founder of Budget Rent-a-Car Company (whom she divorced in 1975) and had a daughter named Margo, who writes her own advice column "Dear Margo."

There was a radio version of "Dear Abby" from 1963 until 1975. Abigail Van Buren wrote several best sellers about her life and advice over the years.

Her sister, Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer (Ann Landers) died June 22, 2002 from multiple myleoma. She was 81 years old.

Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips (Dear Abby) died in Minneapolis, Minnesota with complications from Alzheimer's Disease on January 16, 2013. She was 94 years old. She is survived by her husband Morton Phillips and her daughter Etta Jeanne, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her son Edward Jay Phillips died in 2001.

Conrad Bain

Conrad Bain, with Gary Coleman in Diff'rent Strokes
Conrad Bain, with Gary Coleman in Diff'rent Strokes | Source
Conrad Bain
Conrad Bain | Source

Conrad Bain

Conrad Bain became best known at age 55 as Philip Drummond on the television series Diff'rent Strokes, with Gary Coleman (1968-2010), Dana Plato (1964-1999) and Todd Bridges.

Conrad was born February 4, 1923, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He had an identical twin brother, Bonar Bain, who died in 2005. He trained to be an actor at Alberta's Banff School of Fine Arts where he met his artist wife, Monica Marjorie Sloan. They married in 1945 and had three children. He graduated in 1948 and went on to do stage performances, honing his craft.

In 1966, he had a recurring role on the TV series "Dark Shadows," as an innkeeper and in 1970 on "The Edge of Night," a television soap opera.

In 1970, Norman Lear claims to have "discovered" him when he was 49 years old for the role of Dr. Arthur Harmon on the series "Maude" which was a spin-off of "All in the Family" of Archie Bunker fame. In 1978, he was offered his own series "Diff'rent Strokes" which ran until 1986.

After a short-lived 1987 series "Mr. President" created by Johnny Carson, he returned to the stage for several stints, the last in 1992. He had minor roles in several movies, but his last appearance seems to have been on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" as Phillip Drummond in 1996. He tried his hand at screenwriting, but retired to Brentwood, California. In 2008, he moved to a Livermore, CA with his wife, who died one year later.

Conrad Bain died January 14, 2013 in Livermore, CA, just short of his 90th birthday of natural causes.

Tony Musante

Tony Musante, as Toma
Tony Musante, as Toma | Source
Tony Musante, in a 2013 photo
Tony Musante, in a 2013 photo | Source

Tony Musante

Tony Musante was born June 30, 1936 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

He was probably best known to baby boomers for his detective role of "Toma," a biographical series about a Newark NJ detective named David Toma. The 1973 television series only ran one season. Toma was repackaged and became ABC's Baretta, starring Robert Blake which ran from 1975 to 1978.

Before becoming an actor in off-Broadway stage performances in 1960, he worked as a school teacher. In 1962, he married Jane Sparkes.

Newer fans will know him as Nino Chibette from the HBO show "Oz". He also was in "The Incident" a movie with Martin Sheen in 1967, and the 1976 theater production of "27 Wagons Full of Cotton" with Meryl Streep. He received an Emmy nomination for his role on the series Medical Story in 1975.

Tony Musante died from complications after heart surgery at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital at the age of 77 on November 26, 2013. He is survived by his wife Jane Sparkes Musante.

Don Mitchell (Mark Sanger)

Don Mitchell in 1973
Don Mitchell in 1973 | Source
Don Mitchell, as Mark Sanger, with the cast of Ironside.
Don Mitchell, as Mark Sanger, with the cast of Ironside. | Source

Don Mitchell

Don Mitchell is best known as Mark Sanger, aide, bodyguard and companion to Raymond Burr's Ironside, the 1967 series which was resurrected again in 1993.

He was born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1943 in Houston, Texas. He left home to attend UCLA taking Fine Arts courses and was discovered there by a producer, Collier Young. Before working on the Ironside series, he appeared in "I Dream of Jeannie" in 1965-66 in the recurring role "Sergeant."

He states his acting mentor was the late Raymond Burr, star of the series Perry Mason and Ironside. After Ironside, he appeared in a film Short Walk To Daylight in 1972, in Scream, Blacula, Scream in 1973, and in the Return of Ironside in 1993. He had small parts on series television, which included Matlock and MacMillan and Wife. He played the part of Ed Lawrence on the soap opera Capitol.

He was married in 1969 to Emilie Blake Walker, had one child and divorced in 1970. In 1972 he married actress Judy Pace and they had two children. They divorced in 1986. He never remarried.

His daughter, Julia Pace Mitchell appears on the soap opera The Young and Restless. She presented Don Mitchell with his first grandson on May 22, 2013.

Don Mitchell died of natural causes at his home in Encino, CA on December 8, 2013.

Tom Laughlin

Tom Laughlin in the character Billy Jack, circa 1970.
Tom Laughlin in the character Billy Jack, circa 1970. | Source
Tom Laughlin in 1991
Tom Laughlin in 1991 | Source
Tom Laughlin and his wife Delores in 2005 when they were planning another Billy Jack movie
Tom Laughlin and his wife Delores in 2005 when they were planning another Billy Jack movie | Source

Tom Laughlin (Billy Jack)

Tom Laughlin is best known for writing (along with his wife Delores Taylor Laughlin), producing, directing and starring in the Billy Jack movies.

Tom was born August 10, 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, married Delores Taylor in 1954 and together they had three children. Delores, an actress, was very active in co-writing and co-producing the Billy Jack movies. His first acting jobs were small parts in “Tea and Sympathy,” "Gidget" and “South Pacific.” His first starring role was in 1957 "The Delinquents," directed by Robert Altman.

His first directing job was “The Proper Time” in 1957 which lead to writing, directing and starring in “The Young Sinner” in 1960.

He left movies for a short time in the early 1960s to start a Montessori pre-school in Santa Monica, California which went on to become the largest school of its kind in the United States.

But he never lost the urge to write and keep making movies. Tom Laughlin created the Billy Jack character in the 1967 movie The Born Losers, a motorcycle gang movie which he wrote and directed using the name T. C. Frank, a name he used often along with the name Frank Laughlin, which is his son's name. For years, Tom always said he would try to make a fifth Billy Jack movie until his health failed him. He suffered from tongue cancer and a series of strokes.

To protect the character ownership, he created a corporation called Billy Jack Rights LLC, which is overseen by his three children. The first Billy Jack movie cost $800,000 to make in 1969, but two years later Warner Brothers still wouldn't release the movie. Tom Laughlin tried and failed to get financial backing for the first movie, and no support from the Hollywood big-wigs or from theater chains. In 1971, out of desperation, he was one of the first people to rent a number of movie houses all over the United States and collected 100 percent of the box-office money. To keep the cashiers honest, he hired Mormons to work the ticket booths, because he said "they could be trusted with the money." The first week of theater sales took in over $32 million nationwide. He then turned around and sued Warner Brothers so he could keep the rights to his movie. His advertising campaign on television was also a first, because he opened his movie nationwide, which was not normally done. The practice was to release a movie in various sections of the country, before going nationwide.

Tom Laughlin also ran for President of the United States in 1992, 2004 and 2008. His biography states he tried out for the NFL team Chicago Cardinals and that he was a running back on the University of Minnesota football team.

Laughlin is the author of several books on psychology and has done extensive research on Jungian psychological and alternative cancer treatments.

Tom Laughlin died near his home at Thousand Oaks, CA on December 12, 2013 at the age of 82. He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Delores and their three children Frank Laughlin, Teresa Laughlin Kelly and Christina Laughlin.

The death announcement appears on his website here.

Jeffrey Pollack, Producer Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Jeffrey Ian Pollack, producer
Jeffrey Ian Pollack, producer | Source

Jeffrey Pollack, Producer

Jeffrey Ian Pollack, born in 1959, was a writer, producer and director. He helped to create the television series Fresh Prince of Bel Air in 1990 and wrote many episodes. His other credits include consultant on the Tyra Banks Show, and writer, director and producer of 1993 movie Above The Rim, in 1997 Booty Call, and in 1999 Lost & Found.

Pollack died December 23, 2013 at age 54 while out exercising. His body was found by a jogger and his death is attributed to natural causes.

Jane Kean

Jane Kean as Trixie in the Honeymooners, shown here with Art Carney, circa 1970's
Jane Kean as Trixie in the Honeymooners, shown here with Art Carney, circa 1970's | Source
Jane Kean circa 2012
Jane Kean circa 2012 | Source

Jane Kean (Trixie)

Jane Kean was best known as Trixie, wife of Ed Norton, on the 1970s revival of the series The Honeymooners. She played Trixie for five years, leaving to work shows in Las Vegas and to do voiceover work. The part of Trixie was originally played by Joyce Randolph. Jane had been friends with Jackie Gleason since the 1940s when they worked in vaudeville.

Jane was born April 10, 1923 in Hartford Connecticut. Her mother pushed her and her sister into show business. Her sister was older by eight years and when she became a success, Jane followed her into films.

Jane made her film debut in 1941 and made several films before concentrating on live stage performances. In 1945, she and her sister Betty Kean became a singing and dancing nightclub act while working in Broadway musicals, playing vaudeville acts, appearing in the 1940s and 1950s on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, and in 1956 at the London Palladium. In Jane's senior years, she performed in dinner theaters, on college campuses and on cruise ships.

She married Richard Linkroum in 1962 but divorced in 1969. She then married her manager, Joe Hecht in 1970 and remained married until his death in 2006. She never had any children.

In September 2012, at the age of 89, she appeared in her one woman show "An Evening with Jane Kean" at the Colony Theater in Burbank, CA. She also wrote a memoir "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Honeymooners...I Had A Life."

She died November 26, 2013 at Providence Medical Center in Burbank, CA where she had been hospitalized after a fall. The cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke.

Eleanor Parker

Eleanor Parker in 1935
Eleanor Parker in 1935 | Source
Eleanor Parker in 1965 Sound of Music
Eleanor Parker in 1965 Sound of Music | Source
Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Parker | Source

Eleanor Parker

Eleanor Jean Parker was born June 26, 1922 in Cedarville, Ohio. Graduating high school at age 18 she was discovered by a Warner Brother's talent agent at the Pasadena Playhouse who sat in the audience. She had only one semester under her belt and was signed by Warner Brothers in 1941. She played many B-list movies until 1946 when she played a character that made Bette Davis a star, Mildred Rogers in "Of Human Bondage," but the movie flopped. In 1950 she played an inmate in "Caged," a prison movie considered brutal in the 1950s, garnering a best actress award at the Venice Film Festival.

She was nominated for the Academy Award, but did not win. Although she was nominated for the Academy Award several times, she attributes never winning the award to the fact that she played primarily character roles.

Her best known role was as the scheming Baronness von Trapp in 1965 musical The Sound of Music. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6340 Hollywood Boulevard.

Eleanor Parker was married four times, divorced three times and has four children. Her last husband, Raymond Hirsch, died in 2001. She retired quietly to Palm Springs, California in 2003.

She died from complications of pneumonia on December 9, 2013 at age 91 at a medical facility near her home in Palm Springs, CA.

Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine from the movie Serenade in1956
Joan Fontaine from the movie Serenade in1956 | Source
Joan Fontaine at the 1978 Academy Awards
Joan Fontaine at the 1978 Academy Awards | Source

Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine was the famous younger (by 16 months) sister of actress Olivia de Havilland.

Joan was born in Japan on October 22, 1917 as Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland. Her parents divorced in February 1925. Although Joan was born to British parents, due to her poor health as a child, after her parents separated, her mother moved her and her sister Olivia to Saratoga, California. Her mother remarried there in 1925 to George Fontaine.

Joan's mother, Lillian, always wanted to be an actress, but didn't gain acting roles until 1945 when both her daughters were well established as actresses. While Olivia pursued an acting career on stage, Joan went to live with her father in Japan, attending school and graduating from Japan's American School in 1935.

Moving back to California, after seeing her sister Olivia's success on stage, Joan didn't want to use the same last name. Some accounts say her mother forbade it. Using the name Joan Burfield, she screen-tested and won the leading role in MGM's "No More Ladies." However, she was idle waiting for more roles for well over a year. Ever watchful of her sister having good success in movies, Joan changed her last name to her stepfather's name, Fontaine. In 1937, she was hired to play Trudy Olson and her movie career finally took off.

Interesting Facts: Joan Fontaine was a balloonist, an expert horse rider, prize winning tuna fisher-woman, golfer, a Cordon-Bleu chef, a licensed pilot, and a licensed interior decorator. While the average IQ is 100, Joan scored 160 on an IQ test at the age of three. Joan and Olivia had many falling outs over movie roles, various acting awards, and dislike of husbands. Joan stopped speaking to her sister in 1975 when she was not "invited" to her mother's funeral. Olivia says Joan just didn't show up.

She was nominated for an Academy Award three times. In 1940, she was nominated for "Rebecca," which won for Best Picture but Best Actress went to Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle, in 1941 for "Suspicion" which she won Best Actress. She is known as the only actress ever to win an Oscar for an Alfred Hitchcock film. In 1941, Joan defeated her older sister Olivia for the Academy Award, which added fuel to their already very fiery relationship. In 1943, Joan was nominated for "The Constant Nymph" but lost out to Jennifer Jones for The Song of Bernadette.

In her 1978 autobiography "No Bed of Roses", Joan Fontaine talks about the legendary feud with her sister. She also appeared on Broadway and TV, and was nominated for an Emmy for her guest role on the soap opera Ryan's Hope.

Joan married and divorced four times, had one daughter, Deborah and an adopted daughter from Peru named Marita, with whom she has been estranged since Marita was sixteen years old. Joan had promised Marita's parents she would give her a good life when she adopted her at age four, and that when Marita turned 16, she would send her back to Peru for a visit. Marita refused to go and ran away from home. Joan never patched it up with her, saying that she was not welcomed in her life until she went back to visit her parents. She never did. Both daughters kept in touch with their Aunt Olivia, which Joan learned about and stopped bothering with both daughters up to her death.

The de Havilland-Fontaine sisters have a well known rivalry in Hollywood circles, which continued until Joan's death of natural causes on December 15, 2013, at age 96 at her home in Carmel, California.

Ray Price

Ray Price, Country Classics, Album cover 1951-1962
Ray Price, Country Classics, Album cover 1951-1962 | Source
Ray Price tours an exhibit honoring his career in August 2006
Ray Price tours an exhibit honoring his career in August 2006 | Source

Ray Price

Ray Price, born January 12, 1926 in Perryville, Texas, was a baritone who became one of the best known singers in country music. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

He began performing in the 1940s on radio stations in the late 1940s and moved to Nashville after signing with Columbia Records. His hits include "Talk to You Heart," "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes," and "Heartaches by the Number."

In the 1960s, his song "Make the World Go Away," went to number two on the charts. He released his most recent album, Last of the Breed, in 2007. He won a Grammy for his record "Lost Highway" with Willie Nelson in 2008. Ray Price had been working on a new album, Love Songs In Nashville, which is expected to be released in 2014.

After six months of chemotherapy, he confirmed to a San Antonio newspaper in November 2012 that he was battling pancreatic cancer. Surgical removal of his pancreas was offered as a cure treatment, but it meant a long recovery in a nursing rehabilitation center, which he didn't care for.

By February 2013, it looked like he was in remission, but he was hospitalzied in May 2013 with severe dehydration. After a hospitalization in December 2013 for what looked to be the final stages of pancreatic cancer, he opted to go home to Mt. Pleasant, Texas to continue home hospice care.

He died on December 16, 2013. His son, Cliff Price, survives him.

Judy Garland's Rendition of "That's Entertainment"

Jonathan Winters

Jonathan Winters performing in 1956 on The NBC Comedy Hour
Jonathan Winters performing in 1956 on The NBC Comedy Hour | Source
A young Jonathan Winters, 1960's
A young Jonathan Winters, 1960's | Source
Jonathan Winters in character
Jonathan Winters in character | Source
Jonathan Winters in his senior years
Jonathan Winters in his senior years | Source

Jonathan Winters

He was born Jonathan Harshman Winters III on November 11, 1925 in Bellbrook, Ohio and is best known as a comedian, although he was also an actor and artist. He hails Native American ancestry and was an accomplished painter. His family owned Winters National Bank in Dayton Ohio which failed in the Depression. His father and grandfather lost everything. His parents divorced in 1932 and his mother moved them to Springfield, Ohio to live with her mother.

There he found a kindred spirit in his grandmother's comedic talent. By studying her, he quickly learned timing and comedy from her. He spent many hours alone in his room, talking to himself, making up characters and creating sound effects, a talent that attracted Robin Williams to become a comedian.

He quit high school in his senior year to join the US Marines serving two years in the Pacific. He studied cartooning at Dayton Art Institute, where he met his future wife, Eileen Schauder. They married in September 1948.

The story goes that Jonathan lost a wristwatch and they were too poor to replace it with a new one. So he entered a talent contest where first prize was a wristwatch. His performance landed him a job as a disc jockey where he was supposed to announce songs, but his ad libs and antics stole the show. After a salary dispute revolving around a $5 raise, "Johnny Winters" left the show in 1953 and moved to New York, leaving his wife behind in Ohio. He promised her that if he wasn't a success within a year, he would return to Dayton.

Staying with friends in Greenwich Village, he got an agent and worked at stand-up routines. In 1954 appeared on "A Chance of a Lifetime" program on the DuMont TV network. The program chose a winner by way of an applause meter and the winner won $1000, a gig in a popular nightclub and the chance to return the following week to compete again. He was off and running for the next fifty years.

Jonathan Winters created the character Maud Fricket after an aunt, and many of his characters were fashioned in some way from someone he met over the years. He suffered from bipolar disorder but it never deterred him from his many activities, which include abstract painting, authoring six books, appearing in many television programs and over forty films.

Eileen, his wife of over sixty years, died after a 20 year battle with breast cancer in January 2009. They had two children, Jay and Lucinda. Jonathan Winters died at the age of 87 of natural causes at his home in Montecito, CA on April 13, 2013.

Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello with Frankie Avalon in the beach movies 1962
Annette Funicello with Frankie Avalon in the beach movies 1962 | Source
Annette Funicello with her husband Jack Gilardi, around 1970.
Annette Funicello with her husband Jack Gilardi, around 1970. | Source
Annette Funicello around 1990.
Annette Funicello around 1990. | Source

Annette Funicello

Perhaps the most famous of Walt Disney's Mouseketeers, Annette Joann Funicello was born in Utica, New York on October 22, 1942. Walt Disney spotted her at a ballet recital performing in Swan Lake at the age of 12, in 1955. She was cast in a number of Disney programs in addition to The Mickey Mouse Club.

When she sang "How Will I Know My Love" on the Annette program, Walt Disney issued it as a single, and it became a hit. He didn't want to give her a recording contract but he did and she made many recordings through 1950s and 1960s. Paul Anka's "Puppy Love" is said to be inspired by Annette when he confessed to having a crush on her in 1960. Disney being very overprotective chased away many a suitor.

After leaving Disney, she ultimately became a teen idol. She signed with American International Pictures for a series of "Beach Party" movies starring with Frankie Avalon which are still popular. In 1979, she became the spokesperson for Skippy Peanut Butter.

In 1994, she dictated her autobiography to Patricia Romanowski entitled "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story," which was made into a feature length made for TV movie. Annette, already wheelchair bound with Multiple Sclerosis, appeared in a scene at the end of the 1995 movie. At around the same time, she developed a line of teddy bears called Annette Funicello Collectible Bear Company, the last bear issued in 2004.

In her private life, her best friend was Shelley Fabares and kept in touch with many of her Mouseketeer friends over the years. She developed Multiple Sclerosis in 1987 but didn't announce it until 1992. She had brain surgery to help control the tremors from MS in 1999. She eventually ended up completely dependant for all her personal care.

She married twice, first to talent agent Jack Gilardi from 1965 to 1983. They have three children together. In May 1986, she married horse trainer and actor Glen Holt, who survives her. One report says she had been in a coma for a few years and the family discontinued life support.

Annette Funicello died at age 70, from complications of Multiple Sclerosis, on April 8, 2013 at Mercy Southwest Hospital near her home in Bakersfield, CA surrounded by her family.

Cory Monteith, Canadian actor best known as Finn on the TV show Glee - Born May 11, 1982 to July 13, 2013 Cause of Death: Heroin and Alcohol Overdose

Michael Ansara, Syrian American actor, best known for his portrayal of Cochise in the TV series Broken Arrow (1956) and the character Kang on the Star Trek Deep Space Nine series - Born April 15, 1922 to July 13, 2013 Cause of Death: Complications of Alzheimer's Disease

Allan Arbus, American Actor best known for his performance of Dr. Sidney Freedman on the series M*A*S*H - Born February 15, 1918 to April 19, 2013 Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

Karen Black, American actress played in Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and The Great Gatsby - Born July 1, 1939 to August 8, 2013 Cause of Death: Ampullary Cancer

Eydie Gorme, American singer married to singer Steve Lawrence - Born August 16, 1928 to August 10, 2013 Cause of Death: Undisclosed

Lisa Robin Kelly, American actress best known for her roles on Married With Children and That 70's Show - Born March 5, 1970 to August 14, 2013 Cause of Death: Probable drug overdose

Other Mentions

George Jones, Country Music Icon - Born September 12, 1931 to April 26, 2013 Cause of Death: Respiratory Failure

Roger Ebert, American Journalist and Film Critic best known for his program Siskel & Ebert which ended in Siskel's death in 1999 - Born June 18, 1942 to April 4, 2013 Cause of Death: Thyroid Cancer, Salivary Gland Cancer

Jeanne Cooper, American Actress best known for appearing on soap opera The Young and Restless - Born October 25, 1928 to May 8, 2013 Cause of Death: COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Dr. Joyce Brothers, American Psychologist and later actress who won the $64,000 Question Game Show (1955) on the Boxing category and went on to win $70,000 more on game show $64,000 Challenge (1956) - Born October 20, 1927 to May 13, 2013 Cause of Death: Respiratory Failure

Steve Forrest, American Actor and brother of actor Dana Andrews, best known for his role as Hondo on the TV show S.W.A.T. - Born September 25, 1925 to May 18, 2013 Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Deanna Durbin Canadian Singer and Actress reported to have been the highest paid child star by age 21 at $400,000 per movie, retired from public view in 1949 to live in Paris - Born December 4, 1921 to April 20, 2013 Cause of Death: None given

James Gandolfini, Italian American actor born in New Jersey but died in Rome, Italy, best known as mob boss Tony in The Sopranos - Born September 18, 1961 to June 19, 2013 Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Elmore Leonard, American author and producer most notable for writing 3:10 to Yuma and Jackie Brown, developed TV series Justified - Born October 11, 1925 to August 20, 2013 Cause of Death: Complications from stroke

Julie Harris, American actress most notable for her role in East of Eden and on TV Series Knots Landing - Born December 2, 1925 to August 24, 2013 Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

Tommy Morrison, professional boxer who won against George Forman and announced in 1996 he was HIV positive - Born January 2, 1969 to September 1, 2013 Cause of Death: Complications from HIV

Richie Havens, singer (Woodstock fame) - January 21, 1941 to April 22, 2013 Cause of Death: Heart Attack.

Continued in Famous Deaths of 2013, Part Two

© December 2013 Mary McShane

© 2014 Mary McShane

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  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Wonderful hub Mary. i hadn't heard that most of these people had died during the year, so this was very informatve. I need to read chapter two now. It is a fitting tribute to some great entertainers and famous others.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I missed a few of these announcements during the year. I had no idea Patty Andrews died....listened to those sisters when I was young. Well, interesting and well done, Mary.

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