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2017 Necrology
What is a necrology? A necrology is a listing of people who have died during a specific time period. Find A Grave necrologies let you browse the names and faces of the 75 most famous people who have died during a selected year, all the way back to 1900. They are listed in order of their Find A Grave 'fame ranking', as voted by Find A Grave contributors. To view a necrology, simply select a year from the pop up list below. You can optionally select a category to restrict the list even further (just actors, just politicians, etc.). To visit the memorial page for any of the names listed on a necrology, click on their name or photo.
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Mary Moore (1936 - 2017)
American Actress, Television Icon. She was a vivacious actress best known for her roles on both the 1960s sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and the 1970s sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Originally a dancer, she got her start in television as a dancing elf "Happy Hotpoint" in Hotpoint Appliance com...
 
Chuck Berry (1926 - 2017)
Singer. Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry, he was considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll music with such big hits as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958). He grew up in a family proud of its African-American and Native...
 
Don Rickles (1926 - 2017)
Actor, Comedian. Born Donald Jay Rickles, he was best known for a cheerfully belligerent brand of humor that relied heavily on ad-libbed insults and broad cultural stereotypes. At age 18 he enlisted in the navy and served in the Philippines during World War II. After being discharged, he studied...
 
Roger Moore (1927 - 2017)
Actor. Handsome, suave and debonair, he will be remembered for inheriting the role of British spy “James Bond, 007” from Sean Connery, beginning with “Live and Let Die” (1973) and concluding with “View to a Kill”. His father was a police officer (bobby), his mother was a homemaker, Roger took a liki...
 
Adam West (1928 - 2017)
Actor. Forever and fondly remembered for playing the roles of ‘Bruce Wayne/Batman’ in the television series “Batman” (1966 to 1968). The series elevated West to cult television star status for generations of audiences. Born William West Anderson, his father was a wheat farmer, his mother was a conce...
 
Martin Landau (1928 - 2017)
American Actor. Landau was an award-winning actor who appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows during his prolific career. He worked as a cartoonist before starting his acting career in the '50s. His big break came in 1966 when he was cast as Rollin Hand in the 'Mission: Impossible' TV series along...
 
Bill Paxton (1955 - 2017)
Actor and Director. Born the son of Mary Lou Gray and John Lane Paxton, in Fort Worth, Texas. At 18, he moved to Los Angeles, where he found work as a set dresser for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. He made his film debut with them in an uncredited role in “Crazy Mama” (1975). He then moved to Ne...
 
Gregg Allman (1947 - 2017)
Rock Musician. He was a founding member of the "Allman Brothers Band" and a pioneer of the Southern Rock and Blues genre. Along with his brother, Duane, who was born 13 months before him, they became interested in music after seeing a 1960 concert by R&B singer Jackie Wilson. While in his teens, Gre...
 
Robert Osborne (1932 - 2017)
Television Personality. Born Robert Jolin Osborne, he was best known to television viewers as the long time host for Turner Classic Movies (TCM). He graduated from the University of Washington's School of Journalism. After college, he began his career as a contract actor for Desi Arnaz and Luc...
 
Chuck Barris (1929 - 2017)
Entertainer, Producer, Author. Best known as the host of the zany TV program "The Gong Show" (1976 to 1980). Born Charles Hirsch Barris, into a Jewish family, his father was a dentist, Chuck was educated at Lower Merion High School and later at Drexel University. While attending the later, he had a ...
 
Mike Connors (1925 - 2017)
Actor. Best remembered for playing the tall, ruggedly, handsome 'Joe Mannix' in the TV detective series "Mannix" (1967 to 1975). Born Kreker (some sources state spelling is Krekor) Ohanian, to parents of Armenian descent, he served with the United States Army Air Force during World War II. Following...
 
Powers Boothe (1948 - 2017)
Actor. Remembered for his role as 'Philip Marlowe' in the TV series "Philip Marlowe, Private Eye" (1983 and 1986). Born Powers Allen Boothe, his father was a sharecropping farmer, Powers played football during his years at Snyder High School in Texas. After enrolling at Southwest Texas State Univers...
 
Arthur Jackson (1924 - 2017)
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He received this award from President Harry S. Truman at the White House on October 5, 1945 for his actions on September 18, 1944 as a Marine Corps Private First Class assigned to the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division against...
 
Bill Dana (1924 - 2017)
American Actor, Writer and Author. Born William Szathmary, he created and starred as the character at the center of the "My Name … Jose Jimenez" routine that made him one of America's most beloved comic performers of the 1960s. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star as...
 
Helmut Kohl (1930 - 2017)
German Statesman. He served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1982 until 1998 (Germany from 1990 until 1998). He held the distinction of being the first and longest serving Chancellor of postwar unified Germany. During his tenure, he saw the conclusion of the "Cold War" and the removal of the Berli...
 
John Hurt (1940 - 2017)
British Actor. He was a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor of stage and screen whose career spanned six decades. He studied art in his youth and went on to earn an art teacher's diploma. He decided to change careers and moved to London, where he won an acting scholarship at the Royal Academy of ...
 
Eugene Cernan (1934 - 2017)
American Astronaut. He, as commander of Apollo 17, was the last person to walk on the Moon. He attended Purdue University and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He was commissioned in the United States Navy in 1956 and earned his master's degree in aeronau...
 
Barbara Hale (1922 - 2017)
American Actress. She will best be remembered for her role as legal secretary Della Street on the long-running television series, 'Perry Mason'. At age twelve, she began taking lessons in ballet and started to participate in local theater plays. After she graduated from high school, she enrolled in ...
 
John Heard (1945 - 2017)
American Actor. Born John Matthew Heard, Jr., he was a prolific actor whose career spanned five decades, appearing in nearly 100 films. The son of an actress who was involved in the arts and appeared in community theatre, and whose father worked for the office of the Secretary of Defense, he attende...
 
Joseph Wapner (1919 - 2017)
Superior Court Judge, Television Personality. He was a fixture on the popular TV program “The People’s Court” from 1981 to 1993, appearing in nearly 2,500 episodes. A graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) Law School, he served in the U.S. Army’s 132nd infantry during the Second Wor...
 
June Foray (1917 - 2017)
American Voice Actress. Born June Lucille Forer, she will best be remembered for voicing Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale of Boris and Natasha fame in the 1960s animated 'The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show’. She was also the voice behind Looney Tunes’ Witch Hazel, Nell from 'Dudley Do-Right',...
 
Thomas Kinsman (1945 - 2017)
Vietnam Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He received the award from President Richard M. Nixon at the White House on May 17, 1969 for his actions on February 6, 1968 as a Private First Class of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division US Army, near Vinh Long in...
 
Al Jarreau (1940 - 2017)
Singer. Born Alwin Lopez Jarreau, he was a Grammy-winning tenor who crossed different music genres. He got started in singing at an early age, singing with his family in church concerts and benefits. He continued singing through college and while he worked as a rehabilitation counselor in San Fr...
 
Chris Cornell (1964 - 2017)
American Musician, Singer and Songwriter. Born Christopher John Boyle, he was best known as the frontman for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. In 1984, he helped form Soundgarden, which released the its first single, "Hunted Down" in 1987, followed by two EPs. Their debut album 'Ultramega O...
 
Chester Bennington (1976 - 2017)
American Musician, Singer and Songwriter. Bennington was the lead singer for the American rock band, Linkin Park. He began his career singing in a band called Sean Dowdell and His Friends, releasing a three-track cassette in 1993. Bennington later formed a new band, Grey Daze, a post-grunge band fro...
 
Erin Moran (1960 - 2017)
Actress. She is best known for her recurring role as 'Joanie Cunningham' on the popular and successful television situation comedy series "Happy Days", which ran for 11 seasons between 1974 and 1984. She later co-starred in the short-lived spinoff "Joanie Loves Chachi", which lasted for just two sea...
 
Roger Smith (1932 - 2017)
American Actor and Screenwriter. As a child, he loved to sing and dance, and when the family moved to Nogales, Arizona, he appeared in every theatre production at Nogales High School, where he was president of the school's acting club and was also a star linebacker on the high school football team. ...
 
Elsa Martinelli (1935 - 2017)
Actress. Born Elisa Tia, she was best known to the American film audience for her "breakout" role in the 1955 film "The Indian Fighter" opposite Kirk Douglas. She began her career as a model, appearing in the pages of Vogue and on the front cover of Life. In 1953 she started her acting career b...
 
Kristine Jepson (1962 - 2017)
Opera Singer. A mezzo soprano who earned praise the world over, she is probably best remembered for her career at the Metropolitan Opera. Raised in rural Iowa, she graduated from Morningside College and from Indiana University's famed Jacobs School of Music prior to starting a professional career wh...
 
Leonard Landy (1933 - 2017)
Former Child Actor. Landy appeared in 21 of the 'Our Gang' comedies between 1938 and 1941 under the names Leonard, Percy, Deacon or "Phooey". Among some of the shorts he had roles in were 'Feed 'em and Weep', 'Alladin's Lantern', 'Clown Princes', 'Football Romeo', 'Practical Jokers', 'Alfalfa's Aunt...
 
Red West (1936 - 2017)
Actor, Stuntman. He went from being a body guard and confidant for Elvis Presley to becoming a Hollywood stuntman and respectable actor. Born Robert Gene West, he was a well-rounded athlete during his youth and participated in high school football and later was a Golden Gloves boxer and karate instr...
 
Elena Verdugo (1925 - 2017)
Actress. Born Elena Angela Verdugo, she will be remembered by television viewers in the role of the devoted office assistant and nurse Consuelo Lopez on the 1970s ABC drama "Marcus Welby M.D.". She got her start in acting at the age of 6 in the 1931 film "Cavalier of the West". She would go on to ap...
 
Michael Bond (1926 - 2017)
Author. Born Thomas Michael Bond, he was best known for creating the Paddington Bear character that is well loved by generations of children worldwide. He attended Presentation College in Reading, Berkshire, England, but left school after awhile and went to work in a solicitor's office for a year ...
 
George Romero (1940 - 2017)
Motion Picture Director. Considered to be the father of the modern zombie film genre, he was born in The Bronx borough of New York City. The son of a commercial artist, his interest in movies began at an early age. He enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University where he showed interest in art, theater, d...
 
Jonathan Demme (1944 - 2017)
American Director, Writer and Producer. Born Robert Jonathan Demme, he was an Academy Award-winning director best know for such blockbuster hits as 'Silence Of The Lambs' (1991) and 'Philadelphia' (1993). A graduate from the University of Florida, he first made his debut co-writing the 1971 biker fi...
 
Miguel Ferrer (1955 - 2017)
Actor. Fondly remembered for playing 'Dr. Garret Macy' in the television series "Crossing Jordan" (2001 to 2007) and as 'Owen Granger" in the TV program "NCIS: Los Angeles" (2012 until his death). Born into a family of distinguished, well-known entertainers, his father was Academy Award winner Jose...
 
Miriam Colon (1936 - 2017)
Actress. She was trained at the Actors Studio and made her professional debut in the Broadway production "In the Summer House" (1953 to 1954). During this period, she began her lengthy association with television and created strides for Hispanic performers, as she appeared on such programs as "Peter...
 
Jimmy Piersall (1929 - 2017)
Major League Baseball Player, Broadcaster, Motion Picture Subject. For seventeen seasons (1950 and 1952 to 1967), he played in the outfield (mainly centerfield) with the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, New York Mets and Los Angeles/California Angels. Piersall was portrayed by...
 
Dina Merrill (1923 - 2017)
Actress. Born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton, she was well known for her numerous appearances on television, in film, and on the stage during a career that spanned six decades. She was born to a wealthy family and attended George Washington University for one term before dropping out and going to the Am...
 
Liu Xiaobo (1955 - 2017)
Nobel Laureate Political Activist. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in trying to bring about democratic change in his home country of China. He graduated from Jilin University in 1982 and continued his studies at Beijing Normal University, earning a Ph.D. in 1988. By then he ha...
 
Gary DeCarlo (1942 - 2017)
Musician. He achieved success as a founding member and lead vocalist with the music ensemble "Steam". They will be remembered for scoring a gold record with their classic hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" (1969). Born in Connecticut, into a family who was fond of music, Gary's parents divorced du...
 
Snooty the Manatee (1948 - 2017)
Noted Animal Figure. Snooty was a male Florida manatee that resided at the South Florida Museum's Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Florida. He was one of the first recorded captive manatee births, and at age 69, he was the oldest manatee in captivity, and possibly the oldest manatee in the worl...
 
Dallas Green (1934 - 2017)
Major League Baseball Player, Manager, Executive. As a manager, he guided the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980. Born George Dallas Green, he attended Concord High School in Delaware. He played collegiate baseball and basketball at the University of Delaware, prior to b...
 
Sonny Randle (1936 - 2017)
Professional Football Player, College Football Coach. For ten seasons (1959 to 1968), he played at the split-end and wide receiver positions in the National Football League with the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. He has the distinction of catching the most touch...
 
J. Geils (1946 - 2017)
Rock Musician. A guitarist, he was a founding member of the music ensemble "The J. Geils Band". They shall be remembered for their gold singles "Centerfold" (1981) and "Freeze-Frame" (1981). Born John Warren Geils, Jr., he was raised in New Jersey. Brought up on heavy doses of jazz music (a love of ...
 
Ralph Regula (1924 - 2017)
US Congressman. A member of the Republican Party, he served the State of Ohio's 16th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 2009. He served with the United States Navy during World War II and following his return home, he enrolled at the William McKinley Sc...
 
Stephen Furst (1955 - 2017)
Actor. Born Stephen Nelson Feuerstein, he was best known for his role of Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the 1978 film classic "National Lampoon's Animal House". He was a graduate of the theater program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He got his first acting role in 1975 in the television se...
 
Belton Richard (1939 - 2017)
American Musician, Cajun Music Legend. He was an accomplished accordionist and singer. His interest in music began at the age of seven. He learned to play on the accordion. In his early teens he became interested in rock and roll and played with a couple of the local groups. In 1959, he founded the ...
 
Cuba Gooding (1944 - 2017)
Singer. Legendary lead singer for the musical group The Main Ingredient, and to the following generation as the father of an Oscar-winning actor, Cuba Gooding, Jr. In 1971 he took over as lead singer in The Main Ingredient replacing Donald McPherson, who died of leukemia. The group had had a a strin...
 
Glenne Headly (1955 - 2017)
Actress. Raised by her mother in San Francisco and later in New York City, she studied ballet at the Robert Joffrey School of Ballet. She continued her studying of Modern Dance at the Martha Graham Studios, in addition to graduating from the High School of Performing Arts with high honors. She made ...
 
Ruben Amaro (1936 - 2017)
Major League Baseball Player, Coach. For eleven seasons (1958 and 1960 to 1969), he played as an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and California Angels. Signed by the Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1954, he made his Major League debut with St. Lo...
 
Jimmy Breslin (1928 - 2017)
Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Author. While writing for the New York Daily News, he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1986. Additionally, his novel "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" (1969), was made into a 1971 motion picture adaptation. Born James Earl Breslin, he...
 
Alice Ludes (1912 - 2017)
Entertainer. She was best know as a member of Bing Crosby's singing ensemble "The Music Maids". As a member of the group, she appeared in numerous Hollywood musicals during the 1940s. One of eight siblings, she found her interest in performing at an early age and following graduation from high schoo...
 
Richard Hatch (1945 - 2017)
American Actor, Writer and Producer. A prolific actor of television, he will best be remembered for his role as Captain Apollo in the original 'Battlestar Galactica' TV series. His career started in 1971 with a stint on the daytime soap-opera 'All My Children' as Philip Brent and would go on to appe...
 
Wilburn Ross (1922 - 2017)
World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. He received this award from Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch III at Zeppelin Stadium, Nuremberg, Germany on April 23, 1945 for his actions on October 30, 1944 as a Private assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division near Saint-Jacques, France. He also fought in the Korean...
 
Wendell Burton (1947 - 2017)
Actor. Remembered for playing ‘Jerry Payne’ opposite Liza Minnelli in the Oscar nominated picture “The Sterile Cuckoo” (1969). His father a Air Force technical sergeant died in a plane crash when Wendell was only five years old. His family moved to Washington State following his father’s death and W...
 
Bill White (1939 - 2017)
Professional Hockey Player. Born William Earl White, he was one of the most notable defensemen during his National Hockey League career which span from 1967-68 to 1975-76. He turned professional in 1960 after playing junior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association. Due to ...
 
Jim Bunning (1931 - 2017)
Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Player, US Senator, US Congressman. A member of the Republican Party, he served the 4th Congressional District of the State of Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 until 1999. He served the State of Kentucky in the United States Senate f...
 
John Avildsen (1935 - 2017)
Academy Award Winning Film Director. He was best known for directing the 1976 Oscar winning film "Rocky". He graduated from the prestigious Hotchkiss School and New York University. He started out in the film business as an assistant director on movies by Arthur Penn and Otto Preminger. He made...
 
Michael Parks (1940 - 2017)
Actor, Singer. A handsome leading man during the first half of his career, he made a name for himself playing the main character 'Jim Bronson' in the TV series "Then Came Bronson" (1969 to 1970). He would go on to settle in character roles and remain an in-demand actor until his death. Born Harry Sa...
 
Frank Deford (1938 - 2017)
Sports Journalist, Author. A writer with Sports Illustrated for fifty-years, he will also be remembered as a contributor to the TV program "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" for 20-years (1995 to 2015). In addition, he was familiar to radio audiences for thirty-seven years with his commentaries on the...
 
Bob Kuzava (1923 - 2017)
Major League Baseball Player. For ten seasons (1946 to 1947, 1949 to 1955 and 1957), he was a left-handed pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. Born Robert Le...
 
Clifton James (1920 - 2017)
Actor. Born George Clifton James, he was a character actor best known for his roles as Sheriff J.W. Pepper alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond films "Live and Let Die" (1973) and "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974), the sheriff in "Silver Streak" (1976), and as the owner of the scandalous 1919...
 
Lorna Gray (1917 - 2017)
Actress. She was also billed as Adrian Booth during the second half of her career. Born Virginia Pound, her father was the proprietor of a company which made women's hats, his business was ruined during the "Great Depression". She initiated her career in entertainment as a singer who performed under...
 
Gene Conley (1930 - 2017)
Major League Baseball Player, Professional Basketball Player. He held the distinction of experiencing a world championship in two different professional sports, when he accomplished these feats with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and the Boston Celtics from 1959 to 1961. Born Donald Eugene Conley, he ...
 
David Rockefeller (1915 - 2017)
Banker, Statesman. He was well known as a leading international figure who was a key player in the drive to integrate economics and politics into a single worldwide system. He was born the youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He received a B.S. degree from Har...
 
Bobby Taylor (1934 - 2017)
Singer and Record Producer. He was a member of the soul band from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers. In the early 1960's, while in San Francisco, he met Little Daddy and the Bachelors, made up of vocalist Tommie Melton, guitarist Tommy Chong, bassist Wes Henderson, ...
 
Leo Thorsness (1932 - 2017)
Vietnam Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He received this award from President Richard M. Nixon at the White House on October 15, 1973 for his actions on April 19, 1967 as a major assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhil Royal Air Force Base in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Bo...
 
Joni Sledge (1956 - 2017)
Singer. She was best known for being a part, along with her sisters Debbie, Kim, and Kathy, of the 1970s disco pop group Sister Sledge. The four sisters were trained in singing by their grandmother Viola Williams, a former lyric soprano opera singer. Under the grandmother's guidance, they sang a...
 
Emma Morano (1899 - 2017)
Supercentenarian, Folk Figure. She was an Italian supercentenarian who, before her death at the age of 117 years and 137 days, was the world's oldest living person whose age had been verified, and the last living person to have been verified as being born in the 1800s. She was the oldest Italian per...
 
Skip Homeier (1930 - 2017)
American Actor. Born George Vincent Homeier, he was billed as Skippy Homeier when he made his onscreen debut at age 14 as a Nazi teen in 1944's 'Tomorrow, the World!'. In a career that spanned five decades, the versatile character actor would go on to appear in dozens of television series and movies...
 
Charismatic (1996 - 2017)
Champion Race Horse. The thoroughbred distinguished himself as the winner of both the 1999 Kentucky Derby and the 1990 Preakness Stakes winner. He was unsuccessful for his bid at the Belmont Stakes that year. The chestnut colt was the offspring of 1999 Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall and Bali ...
 
Don Gordon (1925 - 2017)
American Actor. Born Donald Walter Guadagno, he was a prolific character actor who was best known for his affiliation and friendship with Steve McQueen, as the two appeared together in several films as well as a television series. In a career spanning eight decades, he had roles in such films as 'Tw...
 
Tom Graham (1950 - 2017)
Professional Football Player. For seven seasons (1972 to 1978), he played at the middle-linebacker position in the National Football League with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills. Born Thomas Lawrence Graham, he played collegiate football at the University ...
 
Nelsan Ellis (1977 - 2017)
Actor. He was best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series "True Blood" from 2008 to 2014. After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps, but quit not long afterwards. He later attended Illinois State University and then at the age of 21 in 1998, he w...
 

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