Celebrity Deaths

John Wooden, Dead at 99

In MemoriumJohn Wooden was 99. He was college basketball's gentlemanly Wizard of Westwood who built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports at UCLA and became one of the most revered coaches ever.

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Rue McClanahan, Dead at 76

In MemoriumRue McClanahan was 76. She was the actress known for her roles as the blowzy best friend Vivian on "Maude" and as the prowling Southern belle Blanche on "The Golden Girls."

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Dennis Hopper, Dead at 74

In MemoriumDennis Hopper was 74. He was the actor best known for directing and starring in the 1969 cult classic "Easy Rider."

I loved him in True Romance.

And as Shooter in Hoosiers.

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Gary Coleman, Dead at 42

In MemoriumGary Coleman was 42. He was the child star best known for his stint on "Diff'rent Strokes," which aired from 1978 to 1986.

I loved Diff'rent Strokes as a kid, but I was first introduced to Gary Coleman in The Kid with the 200 I.Q.

Whatchu talkin' bout, everyone.

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Art Linkletter, Dead at 97

In MemoriumArt Linkletter was 97. He was host of People Are Funny, House Party and Kids Say The Darndest Things.

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Jose Lima, Dead at 37

In MemoriumJose Lima was 37. He was an All-Star right-hander who spent 13 years in the major leagues, going 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA in 35 starts for the NL Central champion Houston Astros in 1999.

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Ronnie James Dio, Dead at 67

In MemoriumRonnie James Dio was 67. He was a singer with the bands Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio, whose powerful, semioperatic vocal style and attachment to demonic imagery made him one of the best-loved figures in classic heavy metal.

If you want to see some great Dio footage, watch "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey". Here's my review of that very cool documentary.

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Charlie Francis, Dead at 61

In MemoriumCharlie Francis was 61. He was the sprint coach most noteworthy for being the trainer of sprinter Ben Johnson, the first competitor to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs, and sprinters Angella Issajenko, Mark McKoy and Desai Williams. Francis was banned by Athletics Canada following his admissions at the 1989 Dubin inquiry that he had introduced Johnson to steroids.

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Lena Horne, Dead at 92

In MemoriumLena Horne was 92. She was the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical "Stormy Weather." Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her signature piece.

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Gwyn "Jocko" Thomas, Dead at 96

In MemoriumGwyn "Jocko" Thomas was 96. He was the Toronto Star's chief police reporter for 60 years.

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