Robert Bork
Associated Press/Photo by John Duricka
Robert Bork

December deaths

2012 News of the Year | A continuation of "2012 Departures" (from our Dec. 29 issue)

Issue: "Roe v. Wade turns 40," Jan. 26, 2013

Joe L. Allbritton

87, Dec. 12 | Internationally well-connected financier and media mogul, once known as the richest banker in America, owner of TV stations, and former publisher of the now defunct Washington Star newspaper.

Robert Bork

85, Dec. 19 | Towering conservative legal scholar, former Yale law professor, federal appeals court judge who at President Nixon’s behest fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and whose 1987 nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Reagan was rejected by the Senate—marking cultural and political divides that persist to this day. 

Dave Brubeck

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91, Dec. 5 | One of the great jazz masters of all time as highly awarded composer, bandleader, and pianist of the famed Brubeck Quartet, whose “Take Five” was one of the best-selling jazz singles ever. (See p. 28.)

Harry Carey Jr.

91, Dec. 27 | Venerable character actor who appeared in more than 100 films (Tombstone, Wagon Master, The Long Gray Line), was a frequent co-star with John Wayne, and also appeared in dozens of TV Westerns. 

Jane Dixon

75, Dec. 25 | Second female bishop in the Episcopal Church, who created an uproar in 2001 when she ousted from a Maryland church in the D.C. diocese a duly called priest for his conservative, traditionalist theological views. 

Charles Durning

89, Dec. 24 | Reputed “king of character actors” known for his many roles in stage (That Championship Season), film (he was the corrupt cop in The Sting in 1973 and the Nazi colonel in To Be or Not to Be in 1984), and television productions (the small-town doctor on the Evening Shade series in the 1990s). 

William House

89, Dec. 7 | Medical researcher who invented the cochlear inner-ear implant, an electronic device considered to be the first to restore a human sense, and who developed a surgical procedure to prevent vertigo and enable the first American in space to travel to the moon.

Daniel Inouye

88, Dec. 17 | World War II hero from Hawaii and influential, nine-term, second-longest-serving U.S. senator in history.

Chester Jump

94, Dec. 13 | Renowned American Baptist missionary to the Congo, where, in evangelistic outreach alongside local church workers, he examined and baptized nearly 10,000 new believers from December 1951 to October 1953. By the end of his second term, more than 32,000 had been baptized. He went on to head up American Baptist International Ministries for 18 years.

klugman0126.jpgJack Klugman

90, Dec. 24 | Actor loved by millions for his roles as the messy one in TV’s The Odd Couple and the crime-fighting coroner in Quincy, M.E.

Jimmy McCracklin

91, Dec. 20 | Blues singer, pianist, and composer of nearly 1,000 songs, some of them hits on the pop charts, with 20 albums to his credit.

Larry Morris

79, Dec. 19 | All-American and collegiate Hall of Fame football star at Georgia Tech, and All-Pro linebacker for the Chicago Bears, where he was named to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1960s.

Cliff Osmond

75, Dec. 22 | Prolific character actor in many films (the police sergeant in Irma La Douce, songwriter Barney Milsap in Kiss Me, Stupid) and television shows (Gunsmoke, Here’s Lucy, Kojak), and a career teacher of thousands of actors.

Jenni Rivera

43, Dec. 9 | Popular Mexican-American singer from Los Angeles with sales of more than 15 million records, and reality television star known as “the Diva of Banda,” a brassy, percussive style of pop music; killed in a plane crash in Mexico. 

Norman Schwarzkopf

78, Dec. 27 | The U.S. general who led Operation Desert Storm, which liberated Kuwait from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1991. 

Ravi Shankar

92, Dec. 11 | A virtuoso player of the sitar, a plucked string instrument used in Indian classical music, whose collaboration with George Harrison of the Beatles made him a hippie musical icon of the 1960s.

Norman Woodland

91, Dec. 9 | Co-inventor of the bar code that labels nearly every product in stores. It was slow to catch on; he and a fellow former tech student sold their 1952 patent for it to Philco for $15,000—all the money they ever earned for it.

Edward E. Plowman
Edward E. Plowman


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