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News / Life / Lifestyles

Those we lost in 2023

By Bt Jami Ganz and Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News
Published: January 6, 2024, 6:00am
12 Photos
Actory Richard Roundtree died Oct. 24 at age 81.
Actory Richard Roundtree died Oct. 24 at age 81. (Charles Sykes/Invision) Photo Gallery

NEW YORK — 2023 saw a return to form following the loss of so much to the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic. But during this time of recovery, the world also said goodbye to titans of television, history-making politicians, and so many more who will stay in our minds long after they’re gone.

Here are some of the most notable names we lost this year.

  • Matthew Perry

The “Friends” star, who spent years speaking candidly about his battle with drug abuse and alcoholism, died at home on Oct. 28 at the age of 54. Tributes promptly poured in to honor the spirit and humor of the five-time Emmy nominee, who loved ones say was happy and sober in his final weeks.

  • Henry Kissinger

The former secretary of state who directed Richard Nixon’s foreign policy with deadly consequences for people worldwide died on Nov. 29 at age 100. While America’s ruling class applauded Kissinger’s Cold War pragmatism, he was reviled worldwide for his decision-making, which upended democratic regimes worldwide and brought suffering on millions.

  • Rosalynn Carter

Known for her enduring kindness and true partnership with Jimmy Carter, the former first lady died Nov. 19 at age 96. She was remembered in several ceremonies, with her husband making rare public appearances despite his own illness. In life, Carter worked tirelessly as an advocate for those less fortunate than her.

  • Tina Turner

The iconic diva was “Simply the Best” and, after a long illness, died at her Swiss home on May 23 at age 83. The Grammy winner, who first came to fame as one half of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, revived her career after shedding the weight of her abusive ex-husband. Her solo legacy includes hits like “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and a solo induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

  • Sandra Day O’Connor

As the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, O’Connor became a role model to millions nationwide. During her 25 years on the court, O’Connor cast deciding votes in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe v. Wade, and Bush v. Gore, which functionally decided the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. She died Dec. 1, 17 years after her retirement, at age 93.

  • Jeff Beck

Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck — ranked by Rolling Stone as the fifth-best ever — died at age 78 on Jan. 10 after he unexpectedly contracted bacterial meningitis. Beck was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame both for his time with Yardbirds, when he replaced Eric Clapton, and again for his solo artistry.

  • Bob Knight

The irascible Indiana basketball coach defined a generation of hoopers and their coaches with his no-nonsense style and explosive temper. Despite his undeniable success, his outbursts cost him jobs at Indiana and Texas Tech after he was accused of assaulting players at both schools. In 1994, he requested to be buried upside down, so “my critics can kiss my ass.”

  • Dianne Feinstein

California’s longest-serving senator, Feinstein used her powerful position to campaign against guns and in defense of the environment all the way until her death on Sept. 29 at age 90. Her crowning achievement was the 1994 assault weapons ban, which was inspired in part by the event that catapulted Feinstein onto the national stage: the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone.

  • Harry Belafonte

A multi-talented performer and constant fighter for human rights, Belafonte died April 25 at age 96. Belafonte first gained fame for his beautiful voice, becoming the first person to ever sell 1 million copies of a full length album. But he parlayed that fame into rights for others. Friend of both Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, Belafonte became a crucial force in the civil rights movement.

  • Jimmy Buffett

The “Margaritaville” singer-songwriter died Sept. 1 at 76, spurring heartfelt tributes from loved ones and “Parrotheads” alike. Buffett’s beachy breezy aesthetic spawned the mega-successful “Margaritaville”-themed restaurants, hotels and shops, for which tropical tranquility has remained the name of the game.

  • Norman Lear

The pioneering television creator, behind household favorites like “All in the Family,” and “The Jeffersons,” never shied away from spotlighting faces and issues that rarely got their due. Lear’s life and legacy, which included a fair share of political activism in the name of free speech and voting rights, spanned generations and mediums before he died Dec. 5 at the age of 101.

  • Tony Bennett

The Astoria-bred crooner was 96 when he died July 21 at his home near Central Park, following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. A favorite of Frank Sinatra, Bennett earned 20 Grammys over six decades, and a Recording Academy lifetime achievement award in the early aughts.

  • Bob Barker

The game show host, known as the face of “The Price is Right” for 35 years and “Truth or Consequences” for 20, died of natural causes at his home on Aug. 26 at age 99. A noted animal activist, Barker took a stand against fur coats dispensed by the Miss Universe pageant and donated a significant amount to animal organization PETA, which remembered him for “using his voice and prominent position to protect animals.”

  • Raquel Welch

The multi-hyphenate actress and sex symbol died at age 82 on Feb. 15 “after a brief illness.” In addition to breaking out in 1966’s “Fantastic Voyage” and “One Million Years B.C.,” Welch in the 1990s was one of the posters hung in Andy’s cell in “The Shawshank Redemption.” She also had a cameo in an episode of “Seinfeld.”

  • Burt Bacharach

The Grammy-winning composer behind the likes of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” died on Feb. 8 at age 94.

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  • Alan Arkin

The native New Yorker’s Oscar-winning role in “Little Miss Sunshine” introduced him to a new generation of filmgoers, cemented only by his Academy Award-nominated turn in “Argo.” The Emmy-nominated star of “The Kominsky Method” died June 29 at age 89.

  • Lisa Marie Presley

The singer-songwriter, who was the only daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, died Jan. 12 at age 55, due to complications from a small bowel obstruction. Presley and her mother were together at the Golden Globes just two days prior, successfully rooting for Austin Butler to take home the award for his portrayal of the King of Rock and Roll in the biopic, “Elvis.”