Death – Famous people who died in 2021

Death – Obituary

Scores of notable people around the globe passed away in 2021. They came from all corners and all walks of life.

Here are their stories.


George Whitmore, 89: The longtime conservationist, who helped establish the Kaiser Wilderness and the California Wilderness Act of 1984, was a member of the first team to scale El Capitan at Yosemite; Jan. 1

Paul Westphal, 70: The Basketball Hall of Famer played for Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns teams that won championships, then later coached at the collegiate and NBA levels; Jan. 2

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda died Jan. 8. He was 93. (Associated Press Archives)

Eric Jerome Dickey, 59: The bestselling novelist, who wrote about contemporary Black life, wrote more than 29 books, including such novels as “Sister, Sister” and “Naughty or Nice”; Jan. 3

Gerry Marsden, 78: The musician was the lead singer for Gerry and the Pacemakers, and his version of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is an anthem for scores of soccer fans; Jan. 3

Tanya Roberts, 65: The model and actress was best known for roles in the James Bond film “A View to a Kill” and on TV on “That ’70s Show”; Jan. 4

Gregory Sierra, 83: The actor, who appeared in dozens of TV and film roles, was best known for his roles on “Barney Miller” and “Sanford and Son”; Jan. 4

Michael Apted, 79: The British filmmaker helmed such films as “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “The World is Not Enough” and the “Up” series of documentaries; Jan. 7

Tommy Lasorda, 93: The Baseball Hall of Famer was the longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was considered to be one of the game’s most passionate ambassadors; Jan. 7

Neil Sheehan, 84: The former New York Times reporter who broke story on Pentagon Papers also won a Pulitzer Prize for his book about the Vietnam War; Jan. 7

John Reilly, 86: The TV actor appeared in such shows as “General Hospital,” “As the World Turns” and “Dallas”; Jan. 9

Sheldon Adelson, 87: The casino magnate, who led efforts to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas, was considered the nation’s most influential GOP donor over the final years of his life; Jan. 11

Howard Johnson, 79: The tuba virtuoso was an in-demand sideman who performed with dozens of high-profile musicians and also worked on “Saturday Night Live”; Jan. 11

Siegfried Fischbacher, 81: The illusionist was half of the famed Siegfried & Roy duo, who performed for decades in Las Vegas; Jan. 13

Sylvain Sylvain, 69: The musician was a co-founder and rhythm guitarist for the legendary early 1970s proto-punk quintet the New York Dolls; Jan. 13

Joanne Rogers, 92: The concert pianist, who was an advocate for the arts, was married to TV’s Mister Rogers and worked to protect his legacy after his death in 2003; Jan. 14

Phil Spector, 81: The revolutionary music producer transformed rock with his “Wall of Sound” method, but later was convicted of murder; Jan. 16

Harry Brant, 24: The model and cosmetics entrepreneur was the son of model Stephanie Seymour; Jan. 17

Hank Aaron, 86: T​he baseball legend famously broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, also setting several other records during his 23-year career, but also is remembered for his dignity in dealing with racist threats in pursuit of that historic record; Jan. 22

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.