Garry Shider was 56. He was the longtime musical director of Parliament-Funkadelic whose funky guitar work, songwriting skills and musical arrangements thrilled fans around the globe and earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Dean was 81. He was the country music legend for his smash hit about a workingman hero, "Big Bad John," and an entrepreneur known for his sausage brand.
John 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.
Rue 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."
Dennis 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.
Gary Coleman was 42. He was the child star best known for his stint on "Diff'rent Strokes," which aired from 1978 to 1986.
Whatchu talkin' bout, everyone.
Art Linkletter was 97. He was host of People Are Funny, House Party and Kids Say The Darndest Things.
Jose 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.
Ronnie 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.
Charlie 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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