Each year we must say goodbye to a host of our favorite celebrities, some of who have changed our world in extremely significant ways, and 2012 was definitely no exception. It is with a heavy heart that I have made a list of those who have gone this year, but will live on in our hearts forever. Some of these individuals accomplished things that are literally out of this world, and some we mourn because there was so much talent that these people still yet had to offer, that will never be realized because of their untimely passing. It only goes to prove that death is a respecter of no person and it is an inevitable part of life. We can only hope that the circle of life will bring us a new group of talented individuals, who could certainly never take the place of those who we have lost, but may ease our mourning with a ray of hope for the future that the world will continue to go on, despite the lose of these irreplaceable, talented people. Our love goes out to each and every one, and we hope that you rest in the peace of the knowledge that you changed our world and helped to shape it in so many ways. With my deepest respect, I give you 2012’s list of deceased celebrities:
1.) Neil Armstrong - 1930 - 2012. Armstrong was chosen by NASA to be the first man to step on the moon’s surface, and is famous for the words that will forever be a part of history, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. It was definitely one of the most defining moments of the history of the United States, as we watched Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk around the moon and explore another world for the first time in world history. Neil Armstrong landed the moon lander with great skill, and was welcomed back to the United States as a hero, and although he disliked the notoriety that came with his job, he loved being an astronaut and he was one of the best of all time. He died on August 25, 2012 at the age of 82 from complications resulting from an operation on his heart.
2.) Dick Clark - 1929 - 2012. Dick Clark became a household name back in the 60’s when he became the host of the popular television show, “American Bandstand”. It was a show which played the most popular music in America, including having special guest musicians that played live, while a host of teenage girls and boys danced to the tunes. In 1972, Dick Clark produced and hosted the first, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and it became so popular that it continued as an annual event in New York‘s Time Square, and he continued to host the show even after suffering a stroke in 2004. Since his stroke, he began to co-host the show with his protégé, Ryan Seacrest since he knew his health was failing. He died on April 18 of a massive heart attack, and Seacrest took over the show this year by himself and did a fantastic job. Dick Clark was truly missed this year, but he would have been proud of the job that Ryan Seacreast did, and he will always be remembered every year as the ball drops in New York’s Time Square.
3.) Whitney Houston - 1963 - 2012. Whitney Houston was perhaps the most talented female singer of all time. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. She sang with the voice of an angel, and even did a bit of acting, starring in “The Bodyguard” in 1992. She had a roller coaster romance with Bobby Brown that ended with divorce, and by the time the relationship had ended, Houston was an admitted addict to Cocaine. She also became an alcoholic and was hooked on prescription medication. Whitney was expected to perform at the pre-Grammy awards, and had spent the day of February 9, 2012 with Clive Davis and other singers at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills to rehearse. On February 11, Houston was found unconscious in room 434, naked in the bathtub by the maid. She was later pronounced dead, and initially ruled an accidental drowning. When the toxicology reports came back to the coroners office, it was revealed that she had a great deal of Cocaine in her system, along with other drugs, such as Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana, and Flexeril. The manner of death stayed listed as an accident.
4.) Michael Clarke Duncan - 1957 - 2012. As an actor, Duncan was one of the best. He starred in a number of movies, and excelled in each one, giving performances that always left a lasting impact. His films included, “The Green Mile”, “The Whole Nine Yards”, “Planet of the Apes”, “The Green Lantern”, and so many more. He was one of Hollywood’s elite actors, who was taken far too soon. On July 13, 2012, Duncan was taken to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. His girlfriend had tried to save his life by performing CPR, and he survived at the hospital, and was even moved from the Intensive Care Unit at one point. We all thought he was recovering, but on September 3, 2012, Duncan’s heart gave out and he passed away. He will be missed.
5.) Sally Ride - 1951 - 2012. Ride was an American physicist and astronaut. Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978, and at the age of 32, became the first woman astronaut to enter low earth orbit in 1983. She paved the way for women astronauts everywhere, and to that we owe her a debt of gratitude. Ride also remains the youngest astronaut to be launched into space. Sally Ride was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and lost her battle on July 23, 2012 at age 61.
6.) Andy Griffith - 1926 - 2012. Andy Griffith was an American actor, famous for his sitcom, “The Andy Griffith Show”, but he was also a television producer and a Grammy winning Southern Gospel singer. There are few people that can’t recall the episodes that still run to this day of “The Andy Griffith Show”, which featured Ron Howard as Opie, and Don Knotts, as Deputy Barney Fife. Small towns in America are still sometimes referenced to the town of Mayberry, which was the fictional small town in which the episodes took place. On July 3, 2012, Griffith died of a heart attack in his home in North Carolina. He was buried in the Griffith Family Cemetery within 5 hours of his death.
7.) Phyllis Diller - 1917 - 2012. Phyllis Diller was an actress and comedian who created a stage persona of a wild haired, eccentrically dressed housewife who liked to make jokes at her own expense at her appearance and age. Before her death, she had 41 films to her credit. People loved her comedic style, and her ability to make everyday situations funny. Diller began to suffer from health problems, including a heart attack in 1999. After a hospital stay, she was fitted with a pacemaker and released. In 2007, Diller had fractured her back, and had to cancel her appearance on “The Tonight Show”, which was to celebrate her 90th birthday. On August 20, 2012, Phyllis Diller died with a smile on her face in her Brentwood, California home at the age of 95.
8.) Larry Hagman - 1931 - 2012. Larry Hagman was famous for his starring role in the popular television series, “Dallas”. It was a sort of night time soap opera, in which most housewives never missed an episode. His part in the program was JR Ewing, a ruthless oil baron. He was also famous for his role as an astronaut in the 60’s sitcom, “I Dream of Jeannie”. He was terrific in both roles, which showed his versatile abilities as an actor. Hagman passed away on November 23, 2012, in a Dallas hospital following complications from throat cancer. His “Dallas” co-stars, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were at his bedside when he passed away, citing over 35 years of friendship.
9.) Norman Schwarzkopf - 1934 - 2012. A General in the Army, who served in 3 different wars, including the Vietnam War, Granada, and the Persian Gulf War, was one of the greatest hero’s of our time. Our country owes him a great debt of gratitude, as he went fearlessly into battle to fight for our freedoms, and was one of the greatest leaders that this generation has seen. His uniform alone speaks for itself, when you see all the medals of achievement that this man had earned over his military career. Sadly, Schwarzkopf died on December 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida at age 78, due to complications from pneumonia.
10.) Jenni Rivera - 1969 - 2012. Rivera was an American singer-songwriter of Mexican heritage. She performed mainly Latin music. Her career had been taking off for quite some time, although we rarely heard her name mentioned in the mainstream billboard charts, because she focused a lot of her time performing in Mexican cities. She was the modern day version of Selena, and every bit as talented. She had the potential to take her career all the way to the top. A very talented and beautiful girl, she was taken from us far too soon when her small plane crashed not long after take-off, following a concert in Monterrey, Mexico, on it‘s way to Toluca. There were five passengers on board, and no survivors. The snow covered wreckage was not found until the next day.
My thoughts and prayers are with all the family and friends of all of the deceased. Sometimes it is easy to forget that celebrities are regular people like us, and when they die they leave behind a trail of grieving families and friends, just as we all do. It is my prayer that they find peace in their time of mourning. My deepest sympathies to you all.