2004 Obituaries

Obituaries | 2004 Year in Review

Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

Ronald Reagan

· 93; June 5 | 40th president of the United States, remembered as the "Great Communicator," whose eloquence promoted revolutionary economic policies at home and confrontational pursuits abroad, leading to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Yasser Arafat

· 75; Nov. 11 | Arab leader of the Palestinian Authority who founded Fatah, forerunner of the terrorist-oriented PLO, but fell short of establishing a Palestinian state.

Geoffrey Beene

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· 77; Sept. 28 | Innovative brand-name-labeled designer of men's and women's clothing.

Marlon Brando

· 80; July 1 | Academy Award-winning Hollywood actor who starred in numerous films, including On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Godfather, and Apocalypse Now.

Ken Caminiti

· 41; Oct. 10 | 1996 National League MVP, who later admitted he won the award while using steroids; spent most of his 15-year career with the Astros and the San Diego Padres.

Ray Charles

· 73; June 10 | Blind singer, pianist, composer, rock pioneer, and 12-time Grammy Award winner whose soulful tunes combined gospel, blues, pop, country, and jazz.

Julia Child

· 91; Aug. 13 | Emmy Award-winning chef, author, and TV personality whose skill and buoyant style demystified French cooking for generations of Americans.

Rodney Dangerfield

· 82; Oct. 5 | Comic and actor whose self-deprecating one-liners brought him stardom in clubs, television, and movies and made his lament "I don't get no respect" a catchphrase.

Skeeter Davis

· 72; Sept. 19 | Long-time Grand Ole Opry star who hit the top of the pop charts with "The End of the World" in 1963.

Lowell "Cotton" Fitzsimmons

· 72; July 24 | NBA coach who won 832 basketball games in 21 seasons with five teams.

J.J. Jackson

· 62; March 17 | Longtime radio station disc jockey who in the 1980s helped usher in the music video era as one of MTV's first VJs.

Howard Keel

· 85; Nov. 7 | Baritone who romanced his way through a series of glittery MGM musicals (Kiss Me Kate and Annie Get Your Gun).

Bob Keeshan

· 76; Jan. 23 | For nearly 30 years television's gentle father figure, Captain Kangaroo.

Estée Lauder

· 97; April 24 | Entrepreneur who started a kitchen business blending face creams and built it into an international cosmetics empire.

Janet Leigh

· 77; Oct. 3 | The compelling beauty who co-starred with James Stewart, John Wayne, and Frank Sinatra in films of the 1940s to 1960s and achieved her most lasting fame as the victim of a shower slashing in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

Tug McGraw

· 59; Jan. 5 | Left-handed relief pitcher (180 saves in 19 years) who helped the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies capture World Series championships.

Jack Paar

· 85; Jan. 27 | Comedian who pioneered late-night talk as the unpredictable, intelligent host of "The Tonight Show" from 1957 to 1962.

Tony Randall

· 84; May 17 | Theater, film, and television actor best known for his role as the persnickety Felix Unger in the television series "The Odd Couple."

Christopher Reeve

· 52; Oct. 10 | Courageous actor who became a movie icon with the title role in 1978's Superman and continued to work after a fall from a horse in 1995 left him paralyzed and a tireless advocate for embryonic stem-cell research.

Marge Schott

· 75; March 2 | Chain-smoking, tough-talking former auto dealer who became the first woman to own a Major League Baseball team when she bought the Cincinnati Reds in 1984, winning the World Series in 1990 but forced out over her fractious ways and offensive remarks.

Peter Ustinov

· 82; March 28 | Brilliant wit and mimic who won two Oscars for an acting career that ranged from the evil Nero in Quo Vadis to Agatha Christie's quirky detective Hercule Poirot, and who also wrote novels, plays (Romanoff and Juliet), and movies (Billy Budd).

Fay Wray

· 96; Aug. 8 | Plucky film actress who won everlasting fame as the shrieking damsel held atop the Empire State Building by the giant ape in the 1933 classic King Kong.

Other notable deaths

Abu Abbas 55; March 8 | Former Palestine Liberation Front terrorist leader who organized the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship.

Paul N. "Red" Adair 89; Aug. 7 | Oil-field firefighter instrumental in capping the hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi army in 1991.

Brock Adams 77; Sept. 10 | Six-term member of Congress who became President Carter's transportation secretary in 1977 and U.S. senator in 1986.


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