Reuters

Notable deaths of 2012

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Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away in August. He was 82. REUTERS/NASA

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Indian sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar, who helped introduce the sitar to the Western world through his collaborations with The Beatles, passed away in December. He was 92. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw

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Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, a towering patriarch of modern architecture who shaped the look of contemporary Brazil, passed away in December. He was 104. REUTERS/Bruno Domingos

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Whitney Houston, the only singer to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard 100 hits, and the only female to have two No. 1 Billboard 22 Album awards, passed away in February. She was 48. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees and an instant teen idol right from the debut of the show, passed away in February. He was 66. REUTERS/Dan Chung

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Screenwriter and essayist Nora Ephron, who penned the films When Harry Met Sally..., and Sleepless in Seattle, and author of a number of candid memoirs passed away in June. She was 71. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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Dave Brubeck, the celebrated jazz pianist whose quartet recorded the jazz classic Take Five, passed away in December. He was a day short of 92. REUTERS/Kimberly White

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Larry Hagman who played J.R. Ewing on the 1980s primetime television series Dallas, passed away in November. He was 81. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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Dick Clark, the radio personality and host of American Bandstand, who helped introduce rock and roll to many Americans, passed away in April. He was 82. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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Author and essayist Gore Vidal, who penned the historical novels Burr and 1876, and a foremost commentator on the American left, passed away in July. He was 86. REUTERS/File

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Donna Summer, who recorded the disco classics "Hot Stuff" and "Love to Love You Baby", passed away in May. She was 63. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

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Joe Paterno, who coached Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011, but whose career ended with dismissal for his role in the Penn State sex scandal, passed away in January. He was 85. REUTERS/Scott Audette

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Famed hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, credited with creating the simple geometric hair style known as the wedge bob, and an early champion of the 'wash and wear' philosophy, passed away in May. He was 84. REUTERS/File

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Helen Gurley Brown, who served as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for 32 years, and was an outspoken advocate of women's sexual freedom and independence, passed away in August. She was 90. REUTERS/File

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Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to enter into low Earth orbit, the only person to serve on two space shuttle disaster investigation panels - for Challenger and Columbia, and still the youngest American ever launched into space, passed away in July. She was 61. REUTERS/NASA

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Actor Andy Griffith, star of the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and later of the legal drama Matlock, passed away in July. He was 86. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

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Comedienne Phyllis Diller, whose iconic stand-up comedy persona featured her as an eccentrically dressed housewife, passed away in August. She was 95. REUTERS/Rose Prouser

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Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, seen at right, passed away in May. He was 47. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Director Tony Scott, seen with his wife Donna, whose films included Top Gun, Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout, Spy Game and Untouchable, passed away in August. He was 68. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Actor Ernest Borgnine, who won an Oscar for his 1955 role in Marty, played Quinton McHale in the 1962 -1966 series McHale's Navy, passed away in July. He was 95. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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American Indian activist Russell Means, who was one of the leaders of the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, passed away in October. He was 72. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

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Senator Arlen Specter, who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 2011, and before that served as assistant counsel for the Warren Commission and then as the District Attorney for Philadelphia from 1966 to 1974, passed away in October. He was 82. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by four LAPD officers, and the acquittal that followed, sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, passed away in June. He was 47. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb passed away in May. He was 62. REUTERS/Regi Varghese

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Don Cornelius, who created, produced, and hosted the long-running show Soul Train, which provided a national platform for up-and-coming stars like James Brown and Aretha Franklin, passed away in February. He was 75. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Former Puerto Rican welterweight boxing champion Hector Macho Camacho, the first boxer to ever be recognized as a septuple champion, passed away in November. He was 50. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

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George McGovern, who ran as the Democratic candidate in the 1972 presidential election against Richard Nixon, passed away in October. He was 90. REUTERS/Alex Brandon/Pool

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Etta James, considered one of the greatest singers of her generation, and the voice behind such classics as At Last, Tell Mama and I'd Rather Go Blind, passed away in January. She was 73. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

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Levon Helm, who acheived fame as the drummer and frequent lead vocalist for The Band, passed away in April. He was 71. REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell

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Sherman Hemsley, best known for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series The Jeffersons, passed away in July. He was 74. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

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Science fiction author Ray Bradbury, perhaps best known for his dystopian novel Farenheit 451, passed away in June. He was 91. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

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Michael Clarke Duncan, best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile, passed away in September. He was 54. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

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