Cultural figures who died of COVID-19 as the United States approaches one million: NPR

Playwright Terrence McNally pictured at a Tony Awards ceremony in 2019.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro

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Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro

Cultural figures who died of COVID-19 as the United States approaches one million: NPR

Playwright Terrence McNally pictured at a Tony Awards ceremony in 2019.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro

Here are some of the many cultural figures, trailblazers, and creative forces the United States has lost to COVID-19.

Mike Longo, 83 years old – Prominent jazz pianist and longtime musical director of Dizzy Gillespie passed away on March 22, 2020.

Nashom Bois, 50 – A force of New York nightlife, the scintillating performance artist and drag legend died on March 23, 2020.

Terrence McNally, 81 – The Tony Award-winning playwright and true gentleman of theater died on March 24, 2020.

Chef Floyd Cardoz in the kitchen.

Kris Connor/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Floyd Cardoz, 59 – The chef, who married regional Indian cuisine with French and New American flavors, died on March 25, 2020.

Orlando McDaniel, 59 – The track star, whose speed got him drafted to the Denver Broncos, died on March 27, 2020.

Joe Diffie, 61 – The ironic country traditionalist died on March 29, 2020.

Alby Kass, 89 – The Yiddish folk singer and California resort operator died on March 31, 2020.

Jennifer Arnold, 67 years old – The Broadway costume designer with a deep sense of humor died on April 1, 2020.

Musician Adam Schlesinger at the ASCAP / Tribeca Music Lounge at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival

Scott Gries/Getty Images for the Tribeca Film Festival

Adam Schlesinger, 52 years old – The prolific songwriter and co-founder of Fountains of Wayne passed away on April 1, 2020.

Jazz legend Ellis Marsalis performs at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Ellis Marsalis, 85 years old – The jazz pianist, educator and patriarch of New Orleans’ most famous musical family, died on April 1, 2021.

Patricia Bosworth, 86 – Known for his intense energy and biographies of Hollywood stars, the actor-turned-author died on April 2, 2020.

Lee Fierro, 91 – The actor, best known for his role as Mrs. Kintner in Jawspassed away on April 5, 2020.

Hélène Aylon, 89 years old – The groundbreaking artist brought a feminist slant to her work on gender, eco-activism and Gd. She passed away on April 6, 2020.

John Prine performs at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater

Jean Prine, 73 years old – One of the nation’s great lyricists, the postman-turned-bard died on April 7, 2020.

Charles Gregory Ross, 68 – The Emmy-nominated hairstylist, who frequently collaborated with Tyler Perry on his movies and TV shows, died on April 8, 2020.

Therese M. Korn, 93 – The first woman accepted into Carnegie Tech’s engineering program and author of computer science and math books died on April 9, 2020.

Hélène Damico, 89 years old – the Beowulf scholar, who changed the way historical and fictional women in her field were studied, died on April 14, 2020.

Margit Feldman, 90 years old – The Holocaust survivor recounted her experiences in Margit: A Teenage Girl’s Journey Through the Holocaust and Beyond. She passed away on April 14, 2020.

Ella King Russell Torrey, 94 – The newspaper’s editor, human rights activist and public information officer for Eleanor Roosevelt died on April 14, 2020.

Iris Love, 86 – The dynamic archaeologist, best known for her rediscovery of the Temple of Aphrodite, died on April 17, 2020.

Bernice Silver, 106 – The “Queen of Potpourri” puppeteer passed away on April 18, 2020.

Madeleine Kripke, 76 years old – With some 20,000 editions in her West Village apartment, she had one of the largest private collections of dictionaries in the world. The book collector died on April 25, 2020.

Rana Zoe Mungin, 30 years old – A Brooklyn teacher and aspiring author who was denied two tests and treatment before her condition worsened, she died on April 27, 2020.

Alyce Gullattee, 91 – One of the nation’s leading voices on drug addiction and a DC legend, she died on April 30, 2020.

Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite, 92 years old – The last living Monuments woman helped save cultural treasures during World War II. She passed away on May 4, 2020.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, 91 – The former White House butler, who served 11 presidential administrations, died on May 16, 2020.

John H. Glenn Jr., a senator from Ohio and one of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts, poses with his wife Annie before their return flight to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  (photo from Nasa)

Annie Glenn, 100 years old – The speech impairment lawyer and wife of astronaut and Senator John Glenn died on May 19, 2020.

Mary J. Wilson, 83 – The Maryland Zoo’s first black senior zookeeper died on May 21, 2020.

Pat Dye, 80 – The Auburn football coach died on June 1, 2020.

Marlene Sekaquaptewa, 79 years old – The gifted Hopi quiltmaker and political leader passed away on June 24, 2020.

Nick Cordero and Amanda Kloots and the 'Bullets Over Broadway' Cast perform onstage at the 68th Annual Tony Awards

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards productions

Nick Cordero, 41 years old – The Broadway actor and Tony nominee died on July 5, 2020.

Helen Jones Woods, 96 – The groundbreaking trombonist of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm – one of America’s first integrated female big bands – died on July 25, 2020.

American singer, guitarist and actor Trini Lopez

Harry Benson/Getty Images

Trini Lopez, 83 years old – Best known for his upbeat cover of “If I Had a Hammer,” the musician and actor died on August 11, 2020.

Tom Seaver, 75 years old – The NY Mets pitcher and Hall of Famer died on August 31, 2020.

Arnie Robinson Jr., 72 – The two-time Olympic long jump medalist died on December 1, 2020.

Phyllis Eisenstein, 74 years old – The Hugo Award-nominated author died on December 7, 2020.

Harold Budd, 84 – The composer, whose music oscillated between ambient, minimalist composition and dream-pop, died on December 8, 2020.

Carole Sutton, 76 years old – The New Orleans star has appeared in over 100 movies, plays and TV shows. She passed away on December 10, 2020.

Charley Pride performs onstage during the 2018 CMA Music Festival

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Charley Pride, 86 – Country music’s first black superstar died on December 12, 2020.

Kim Chernin, 80 years old – The feminist writer who explored body dysmorphia and the modern woman’s search for identity died on December 17, 2020.

Pang Xiong Sirirathasuk Sikoun, 76 years old – Known for her intricate paj ntaub quilts, the Hmong artist celebrated the rich history and spirit of her culture. She passed away on December 22, 2020.

Actress Dawn Wells and producer Sherwood Schwartz attend a ceremony honoring her with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Dawn Wells, 82 – Best known for her role as Mary Ann Summers on the sitcom Gilligan’s Island, the actress died on December 30, 2020.

Phil Spector, 81 – The groundbreaking producer and convicted murderer responsible for pop music’s “sound barrier” and the death of Lana Clarkson died on January 16, 2021.

Sékou Smith, 48 years old – The NBA journalist and analyst died on January 26, 2021.

Actor Cloris Leachman signs an autograph for a fan at the film premiere of "Spanish"

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Cloris Leachman, 94 years old – One of Hollywood’s most decorated and versatile entertainers, the actress died on January 27, 2021.

Carmen Vazquez, 72 years old – The writer and champion of LGBTQ+ causes died on January 27, 2021.

Anne Feeney, 69 years old – The lawyer, activist and folksinger has embraced the power of music to make the world a better place. She died on February 3, 2021.

Judy Irola, 77 years old – The pioneering filmmaker, documentary filmmaker and educator was the third woman accepted into the American Society of Cinematographers. She died on February 21, 2021.

Mo Pinel, 80 years old – Known for his innovative and sometimes controversial bowling ball designs, the mechanical engineer died on March 5, 2021.

John Davis, 66 years old – One of the real singers behind Milli Vanilli, he passed away on May 24, 2021.

JR Richard, 71 years old – The Houston Astros pitcher died on August 4, 2021.

Carol Fran, 87 years old – The Louisiana blues singer died on September 1, 2021.

Andre Leon Talley backstage at Carolina Herrera's Spring/Summer 2013 show

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

André Leon Talley, 73 – The glamorous fashion journalist and former editor-in-chief of vogue died on January 18, 2022.

Meatloaf, 74 – The singer and actor, best known for his 1977 album Bat out of helldied on January 20, 2022.

DJ Kay Slay, 55 – The famous hip-hop entertainer with a flair for drama passed away on April 17, 2022.


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