They each turned a moment of violence into a call to action. For James Brady, that moment came when he was shot and wounded by a would-be presidential assassin. For Chung Eun-yong, it was the killings of his two children during the Korean War.
Brady took up a personal campaign for increased gun control after surviving a head wound when a man tried unsuccessfully to kill President Ronald Reagan, for whom Brady was press secretary. Chung began a years-long quest for justice, which eventually prompted the U.S. Army to acknowledge having killed civilian refugees at No Gun Ri.
Brady and Chung, who died within days of each other in August, are among the notables who left the world in 2014.
Others included political figures who catalyzed war and peace and scientists who changed our lives. And we lost beloved entertainers, some remembered for bringing audiences decades of smiles and tears and others who left the stage long before their time.
Among the political figures who died in 2014 was Ariel Sharon a hard-charging Israeli general and prime minister whose efforts to reshape the Middle East caused some to call him a war hero and others a war criminal. Another was Marion Barry, the former Washington, D.C., mayor whose accomplishments were often overshadowed by his arrest for drug use.
British politician Tony Benn, former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski and former Georgia president Eduard Shevardnadze also died this year.
Among scientists and innovators was Rostislav Belyakov, the chief designer of the Russian MiG fighter jets, Nobel Prize winner Martin Perl, who discovered a subatomic particle, and S. Donald Stookey, the inventor of Corningware.
A feeling of untimeliness defined several of the deaths in the entertainment arena in 2014.
The suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams touched off a national conversation about depression. The overdose deaths of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, model Peaches Geldof and heavy metal frontman Dave Brockie were reminders of the scourge of drug use.
Other artists and entertainers included: actors Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Suchitra Sen, Harold Ramis, Lauren Bacall, Ken Takakura and Eli Wallach; musicians Pete Seeger, Sabah, Tommy Ramone, Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Cerati and Big Bank Hank; filmmakers Mike Nichols and Run Run Shaw; radio host Casey Kasem; comedian Joan Rivers and writers Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2014. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
Saul Zaentz, 92. Music producer whose second career as a filmmaker brought him best-picture Academy Awards for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Amadeus” and “The English Patient.” Jan. 3.
Run Run Shaw, 107. Pioneering Hong Kong movie producer whose studio popularized the kung fu genre that influenced Quentin Tarantino and other Hollywood directors. Jan. 7.
Amiri Baraka, 79. Militant man of letters and tireless agitator whose blues-based, fist-shaking poems, plays and criticism made him a groundbreaking force in American culture. Jan. 9.
Ariel Sharon, 85. Israeli general and prime minister who was admired and hated for his battlefield exploits and ambitions to reshape the Middle East. Jan. 11.
Suchitra Sen, 82. Legendary Indian actress known for her memorable roles in both Bengali-language and Hindi Bollywood films. Jan. 17.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46. He won a best actor Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in “Capote” and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and slightly dissipated comic figures. Feb. 2. Apparent heroin overdose.
Joan Mondale, 83. She burnished a reputation as “Joan of Art” for her passionate advocacy for the arts while her husband, Walter, was vice president and a U.S. ambassador. Feb. 3.
Ralph Kiner, 91. He slugged his way to the baseball Hall of Fame and then enjoyed a half-century career as a popular broadcaster. Feb. 6.
Shirley Temple, 85. Dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers. Feb. 10.
Harold Ramis, 69. Comedy actor, director and writer best known for his roles in movies such as “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes.” Feb. 24.
Sheila MacRae, 92. Veteran stage, film and TV performer best known for playing Alice Kramden in the 1960s re-creation of “The Honeymooners.” March 6.
Tony Benn, 88. Committed British socialist who irritated and fascinated Britons through a political career spanning more than five decades and who renounced his aristocratic title rather than leave the House of Commons. March 14.
L’Wren Scott, believed to be 49. She left her small-town Utah home as a teenager to become a model in Paris, then a top Hollywood stylist and finally a high-end fashion designer best known as the longtime girlfriend of Mick Jagger. March 17. Apparent suicide.
Jeremiah Denton, 89. Former Alabama senator who survived 7½ years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and alerted the U.S. military to conditions there when he blinked the word “torture” in Morse code during a television interview. March 28.
Mickey Rooney, 93. Pint-size actor and all-around talent whose more than 80-year career spanned silent comedies, Shakespeare, Judy Garland musicals, Andy Hardy stardom, television and the Broadway theater. April 6.
Peaches Geldof, 25. Model and media personality who was a daughter of Irish singer Bob Geldof and member of a talented, troubled family who grew up in the glare of Britain’s tabloid press. April 7. Heroin overdose.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, 76. Boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice. April 20.
Bob Hoskins, 71. British actor whose varied career ranged from noir drama “Mona Lisa” to animated fantasy “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” April 29.
Walter R. Walsh, 106. He captured gangsters as an FBI agent in the 1930s and went on to train Marine Corps snipers and become the longest-lived Olympian. April 29.
Jeb Stuart Magruder, 79. Watergate conspirator-turned-minister who claimed in later years to have heard President Richard Nixon order the infamous break-in. May 11.
Jerry Vale, 83. Beloved crooner known for his high-tenor voice and romantic songs in the 1950s and early ’60s. May 18.
Jack Brabham, 88. Three-time Formula One champion who famously pushed his car to the finish line to claim his first season title. May 19.
Ruth Ziolkowski, 87. She carried on her late husband’s dream of honoring Native Americans by carving the massive likeness of warrior Crazy Horse into the Black Hills in South Dakota. May 21.
Jaime Lusinchi, 89. Former Venezuelan president who struggled to tame an economic crisis sparked by plunging oil prices in the late 1980s and then saw his reputation tarnished by allegations of corruption after leaving office. May 21.
Wojciech Jaruzelski, 90. Communist leader who imposed harsh military rule on Poland in 1981 in an attempt to crush the pro-democracy Solidarity movement but later allowed reforms that ended up dismantling the regime. May 25.
Bunny Yeager, 85. Model turned pin-up photographer who helped jump-start the career of then-unknown Bettie Page. May 25.
Maya Angelou, 86. Author and poet who rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page. May 28.
Ann B. Davis, 88. Emmy-winning actress who became America’s best-known housekeeper as the devoted Alice Nelson of TV’s “Brady Bunch.” June 1.
Alexander Shulgin, 88. Respected chemist famed for dusting off a decades-old recipe for the psychedelic drug ecstasy. June 2.
Chuck Noll, 82. Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers. June 13.
Casey Kasem, 82. Radio broadcaster with a cheerful manner and gentle voice who became the king of the top 40 countdown with a syndicated show that ran for decades. June 15.
Tony Gwynn, 54. Hall of Famer whose sweet left-handed swing made him one of San Diego’s best-loved athletes and earned him the nickname “Mr. Padre.” June 16. Cancer.
Eli Wallach, 98. Raspy-voiced character actor who starred in dozens of movies and Broadway plays and earned film immortality as a quick-on-the-draw bandit in the classic Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” June 24.
Howard H. Baker Jr., 88. Moderate Republican ex-senator who, during the 1973 Watergate hearings, sought to learn Richard Nixon’s role by asking what the president knew and when he knew it. June 26.
David Greenglass, 92. He served 10 years in prison for his role in the most explosive atomic spying case of the Cold War and gave testimony that sent his brother-in-law and sister, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, to the electric chair. July 1.
Louis Zamperini, 97. Olympic distance runner who, during World War II, survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps; subject of the book and movie “Unbroken.” July 2.
Metropolitan Volodymyr, 78. Head of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church who was credited with stabilizing the church. July 5.
John Seigenthaler, 86. He edited The Tennessean newspaper, helped shape USA Today and worked for civil rights during the Kennedy administration. July 11.
Tommy Ramone, 65. Co-founder of the seminal punk band the Ramones and last surviving member of the original group. July 11.
Alice Coachman Davis, 90. First black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. July 14.
Dick Smith, 92. Oscar-winning “Godfather of Makeup” who amused, fascinated and terrified moviegoers by devising unforgettable transformations for Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” and Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” among many others. July 30.
Chung Eun-yong, 91. Ex-policeman whose half-century quest for justice for his two slain children led the U.S. Army in 2001 to acknowledge the Korean War refugee massacre at No Gun Ri. Aug. 1.
James Brady, 73. Affable, witty press secretary who survived a devastating head wound in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, then undertook a personal crusade for gun control. Aug. 4.
Robin Williams, 63. Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades. Aug. 11. Apparent suicide.
Lauren Bacall, 89. Slinky, sultry-voiced actress who created on-screen magic with Humphrey Bogart in “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep” and off-screen magic in one of Hollywood’s most storied marriages. Aug. 12.
Jay Adams, 53. Colorful rebel who helped transform skateboarding from a simple street pastime into one of the world’s most spectacular sports. Aug. 14. Heart attack.
Richard Attenborough, 90. Actor and Oscar-winning director whose film career on both sides of the camera spanned 60 years. Aug. 24.
Andrew Madoff, 48. Bernard Madoff’s last surviving son, he turned his father in and insisted he had been duped into believing history’s most notorious Ponzi king was an honest financier. Sept. 3. Cancer.
Joan Rivers, 81. Raucous, acid-tongued comedian who crashed the male-dominated realm of late-night talk shows and turned Hollywood red carpets into danger zones for badly dressed celebrities. Sept. 4. Fatal complication during a medical procedure.
S. Truett Cathy, 93. Billionaire founder of the privately held Chick-fil-A restaurant chain. Sept. 8.
Rev. Ian Paisley, 88. Protestant firebrand who devoted his life to thwarting compromise with Catholics in Northern Ireland only to become a peacemaker in his twilight years. Sept. 12.
Deborah Mitford, 94. Dowager duchess of Devonshire and the last of the witty, unconventional Mitford sisters. Sept. 24.
James Traficant, 73. Colorful Ohio politician whose conviction for taking bribes and kickbacks made him only the second person to be expelled from Congress since the Civil War. Sept. 27.
Jean-Claude Duvalier, 63. He presided over what was widely acknowledged as a corrupt, brutal regime as the self-proclaimed “president for life” of Haiti until an uprising sent him into a 25-year exile. Oct. 4. Heart attack.
Oscar de la Renta, 82. Worldly gentleman designer who shaped the wardrobe of socialites, first ladies and Hollywood stars for more than four decades. Oct. 20.
Gough Whitlam, 98. Flamboyant Australian prime minister and controversial social reformer whose grip on power was cut short by a bitter constitutional crisis. Oct. 21.
Ben Bradlee, 93. Hard-charging editor who guided The Washington Post through its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Watergate scandal and invigorated its newsroom for more than two decades. Oct. 21.
Jack Bruce, 71. British musician best known as the bass player and vocalist of the power blues trio Cream. Oct. 25.
Thomas Menino, 71. Boston’s longest-serving mayor whose mumbling and occasional bumbling belied his political ingenuity and endeared him to a city whose skyline he helped reshape. Oct. 30.
Tom Magliozzi, 77. He was one half of the brother duo who hosted National Public Radio’s “Car Talk,” where they bantered with callers and commiserated over their car problems. Nov. 3.
S. Donald Stookey, 99. He was the scientist who forever changed cooking with the invention of CorningWare, a versatile glass found in millions of American kitchens. Nov. 4.
Mike Nichols, 83. Director of matchless versatility who brought fierce wit, caustic social commentary and wicked absurdity to such film, TV and stage hits as “The Graduate,” “Angels in America” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” Nov. 19.
Marion Barry, 78. Former District of Columbia mayor whose four terms were overshadowed by his 1990 arrest after being caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine. Nov. 23.
Sabah, 87. Lebanese singer and actress who was an icon of Arab music. Nov. 26.
Herman Badillo, 85. Bronx politician who became the first person born in Puerto Rico to become a U.S. congressman. Dec. 3.
Queen Fabiola, 86. She was inseparable from her husband, the late King Baudouin, and popular across much of Belgium. Dec. 5.
Ralph Baer, 92. Video game pioneer who created both the precursor to “Pong” and the electronic memory game Simon and led the team that developed the first home video game console. Dec. 6.
Joe Cocker, 70. Raspy-voiced British singer with a contorted performing style, known for his frenzied cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends” and the teary ballad “You Are So Beautiful.” Dec. 22.