Some notable deaths in 2016

I don’t know how you’d go about proving that a larger number of notable people died in the first 112 days of 2016 than in the usual year, but there sure do seem to have been a lot of them. Just looking through Wikipedia’s list of notable deaths in 2016, here are the names I recognize:

  • Prince, musician
  • Guy Hamilton, filmmaker
  • Victoria Wood, comedian
  • Chyna, professional wrestler
  • Milt Pappas, baseball player
  • Billy Redmayne, motorcycle racer
  • Pete Zorn, musician
  • Duane Clarridge, highly publicized secret agent
  • Yuri Bychkov, art historian with a name that makes teenage boys laugh
  • Doris Roberts, actor
  • David Gest, man who married Liza Minnelli
  • Ed Snider, hockey team owner
  • Howard Marks, marijuana smuggler
  • William Hamilton, cartoonist
  • Jimmie Van Zant, musician
  • Merle Haggard, musician
  • Ogden Phipps, horse breeder
  • Antonin Scalia, jurist
  • Henry Harpending, anthropologist
  • Patty Duke, actor
  • James Noble, actor
  • Winston Moseley, serial killer
  • Mother Angelica, nun
  • Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, military strongman
  • Lester Thurow, economist
  • Garry Shandling, comedian
  • Nicholas Scoppetta, civil servant
  • Tibor Machan, philosopher
  • Earl Hamner, screenwriter
  • Maggie Blye, actor
  • Tom Whedon, screenwriter
  • Ken Howard, actor
  • Joe Garagiola, baseball player, media personality
  • Rob Ford, politician
  • Joe Santos, actor
  • Bandar bin Saud bin Abdulaziz al Saud, nobleman
  • Ralph Abernathy III, politician
  • Frank Sinatra Jr., musician
  • Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, musician
  • Martin Olav Sabo, politician
  • Hilary Putnam, philosopher
  • Louise Plowright, actor
  • Pat Conroy, novelist
  • Ben Bagdikian, reporter
  • Anita Brookner, writer
  • Ken Adam, set designer
  • Sir George Martin, record producer
  • Wally Bragg, footballer
  • Paul Ryan, cartoonist
  • Nancy Reagan, political spouse
  • George Kennedy, actor
  • Douglas Slocombe, cinematographer
  • Peter Mondavi, wine mogul
  • Harper Lee, novelist
  • Umberto Eco, philosopher and novelist
  • Humbert Allen Astredo, actor
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali, diplomat
  • Edgar Mitchell, astronaut
  • Bob Elliott, comedian
  • Buddy Cianci, politician
  • Abe Vigoda, actor
  • Marvin Minsky, prophet of AI
  • Cecil Parkinson, politician
  • Dan Haggerty, actor
  • Sylvan Barnet, literary critic
  • Richard Libertini, actor
  • Kitty Kallen, singer
  • Judith Kaye, jurist
  • Florence King, writer
  • Pat Harrington, actor
  • Pierre Boulez, musician
  • Helmut Koester, historian
  • Dale Bumpers, politician
  • Guido Westerwelle, politician
  • Ronnie Corbett, comedian
  • Cliff Michelmore, whom I miss every election night
  • David Bowie, musician
  • Carolyn D. Wright, poet
  • Alan Rickman, actor
  • Glenn Frey, musician
  • Forrest McDonald, historian

That’s enough that it overwhelms “the Rule of Threes.” I certainly hope it does; for example, Ken Howard and James Noble were both featured in the 1972 film 1776, so if the Rule of Threes applies, another of the surviving members of that cast is doomed to die soon.

There are other pairs. Just to name a few, there are two judges, Judith Kaye and Antonin Scalia; two men who openly committed crimes before, during and after their time as mayors of major North American cities, Toronto’s Rob Ford and Providence, Rhode Island’s Buddy Cianci; two former cast members of late-60’s soap opera Dark Shadows, Humbert Allen Astredo and Abe Vigoda; two screenwriters, Earl Hamner and Tom Whedon; two baseball players, Joe Garagiola and Milt Pappas; and two Anglo-American eccentrics, Florence King and David Bowie.

 

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