Doris Day

(Actress/Singer/Activist)

3 April 1922 – 13 May 2019 (Aged 97)

Doris Day was an American actress, singer, and animal welfare activist, who began her career as a big band singer with Les Brown & His Band of Renown in 1939, achieving commercial success in 1945 with two No. 1 recordings.

In 1947, Day embarked on a prolific solo career, going on to record more than 650 songs until 1967.

Day began her 20-year film career towards the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Among her best-known films are Calamity JaneThe Man Who Knew Too Much, The Thrill of It All, and Pillow Talk, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Having been one of the biggest film stars of the 1960s, Day ended her film career in 1968, before going on to star in her own sitcom The Doris Day Show until 1973.

Following an acclaimed career, Day received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures.

Outside of her entertainment career, Day was a devoted animal rights activist. In 1971, she co-founded Actors and Others for Animals and denounced the wearing of fur.

In 1978, Day founded what is now the Doris Day Animal Foundation, with a mission of helping animals and the people who love them.

Day actively lobbied the United States Congress in support of legislation designed to safeguard animal welfare.

In 1995 she originated the annual Spay Day USA, later World Spay Day, promoting spaying & neutering as a means of saving the lives of stray cats and street dogs who might otherwise be put down in a shelter or killed on the street.

Day was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, by U.S. President George W. Bush, for her achievements in the entertainment industry and for her work on behalf of animals.

On 13 May 2019, Doris Day died at the age of 97, after contracting pneumonia. By her own request, there was no funeral service or gravesite.

I.M. Pei

(Architect)

26 April 1917 – 16 May 2019 (Aged 102)

Pei was an acclaimed Chinese-American architect. He was raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, before moving to the United States in 1935.

After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design. From 1948, Pei worked with New York City real estate magnate William Zeckendorf for seven years.

In 1955, Pei established his own independent design firm, I. M. Pei & Associates, which became I. M. Pei & Partners in 1966 and later in 1989 became Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

Pei’s first major recognition came with the Mesa Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. This led to him being the chief architect for the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts.

Among his most famous work is the glass-and-steel pyramid for the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

Throughout his distinguished career, Pei won numerous architectural awards, including the AIA Gold Medal in 1979, the Pritzker Prize in 1983, sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum in 2003.

Following his retirement in 1990, Pei worked as an architectural consultant, mainly from his sons’ architectural firm Pei Partnership Architects. In December 1992, Pei was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President George H. W. Bush.

In 2014, Pei’s wife of over 70 years, Eileen Loo, died, before he passed away peacefully on 16 May 2019 at the age of 102.

Niki Lauda

(Formula One Driver)

22 February 1949 – 20 May 2019 (Aged 70)

Lauda was an Austrian Formula One driver and aviation entrepreneur, who became a three-time World Drivers’ Champion, with victories in 1975, 1977 and 1984.

In 1976, while leading the driver’s championship, which he had won the previous year, Lauda was seriously injured in a crash in the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

The crash saw Lauda’s Ferrari burst into flames, with him coming close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. However, he recovered sufficiently to race only six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix.

Lauda ended up losing that year’s title by a single point to James Hunt. He went on to win his second championship the following year. In the 1980s, Lauda returned from a two-year hiatus to win the 1984 title by half a point over his McLaren teammate Alain Prost.

Lauda was the only driver in Formula 1 history to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport’s two most successful constructors.

After retiring from racing, Lauda spent time as a consultant for Ferrari’s racing division and was team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years.

Lauda also worked as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends and was a non-executive chairman of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, of which he owned 10%.

As an aviation entrepreneur, Lauda founded and ran three airlines: Lauda Air, Niki, and Lauda. He also served as a Bombardier Business Aircraft brand ambassador.

On 20 May 2019, Lauda died in his sleep at the age of 70, while undergoing dialysis treatment for kidney problems at the University Hospital of Zürich. He is widely considered one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.

Frank Robinson

(Baseball Player & Manager)

31 August 1935 – 7 February 2019 (Aged 83)

Robinson was a legendary American outfielder in Major League Baseball from 1956 to 1976. He was the only player to ever be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of both the National League and the American League.

In 1961, he was named the NL MVP after leading the Cincinnati Reds to the pennant and was named the AL MVP in 1966 after winning the Triple Crown with the Baltimore Orioles.

Robinson‘s 49 home runs (HR) in 1966 tied for the most by any player between 1962 and 1989 and stood as a franchise record for 30 years. He helped lead the Orioles to the first two World Series titles in their history in 1966 and 1970.

After leading the Orioles to a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1966, he was named the Series MVP. In 1975, Robinson became the first black manager in American League history, as the Cleveland Indians’ player-manager.

During the 1960s, Robinson also became an active and vocal member of the Civil Rights Movement after witnessing the segregated housing and real-estate bigotry in Baltimore.

After retirement, he managed the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. Robinson also served in various executive MLB positions, finally ending up as an honorary President of the American League.

A groundbreaking career saw Robinson become a 14-time All-Star, leading his league in slugging four times and in runs scored three times. His 586 career home runs ranked fourth in major league history at the time of his retirement.

Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1982. In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush awarded Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On 7 February 2019, Robinson died of bone cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 83.

Carol Channing

(Actress/Entertainer)

31 January 1921 – 15 January 2019 (Aged 97)

Channing was an American actress, singer, and entertainer, best known for starring in Broadway and film musicals. Her characters usually radiated a fervent expressiveness and an easily identifiable voice, whether singing or for comedic effect.

Channing began her career as a Broadway musical actress starring in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In 1964, her performance in Hello, Dolly! won her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

In 1967, she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Channing became the first celebrity to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show in 1970 and is one of a select group to have performed at more than one halftime show.

In recognition of her life’s work, Channing was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1981 and received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995. 

Channing continued to perform into her 90s, singing and sharing stories with fans, cabaret-style. In 2012, Larger Than Life, a documentary film about her career, was released.

On 15 January 2019, Channing died of natural causes at her California home at the age of 97, days shy of her 98th birthday. The lights on Broadway were dimmed the following night in her honor.

Keith Flint

(Singer)

17 September 1969 – 4 March 2019 (Aged 49)

Flint was a renowned English singer and motorcycle racer, who was a founding member of the electronic dance act The Prodigy.

Having started out as a dancer, Flint became the frontman of the group and performed on the group’s two UK number one singles in 1996, “Firestarter” and “Breathe”.

Flint owned a motorcycle racing team, Team Traction Control, which won three Isle of Man TT races in 2015 and also competed in the British Supersport Championship.

On 4 March 2019, Flint was found dead in his Essex home as a result of hanging.

Gordon Banks

(Footballer)

30 December 1937 – 12 February 2019 (Aged 81)

Banks was a legendary English professional football goalkeeper. He made 679 appearances during his 20-year career, winning 73 caps for England, which included a starring role in their 1966 World Cup victory.

Despite enjoying club success with Leicester City, and his World Cup win in 1966, Banks was dropped and sold to Stoke City for £50,000 in April 1967.

In the 1970 World Cup, Banks made what is recognized as one of the greatest ever saves to prevent a Pelé goal against Brazil. He was forced to miss the quarter-final against West Germany due to illness, which played a role in England being beaten.

In October 1972, Banks was still Stoke City and England’s number one goalkeeper when a car crash cost him the sight in his right eye and eventually cost him his career.

Banks played his two last seasons in the United States for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Despite only having his vision in one eye, he was named NASL Goalkeeper of the Year in 1977.

Regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Banks was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions. The IFFHS named Banks the second-best goalkeeper of the 20th century, after Lev Yashin and just ahead of Dino Zoff.

On 12 February 2019, Banks died in his sleep at the age of 81.

Bruno Ganz

(Actor)

22 March 1941 – 16 February 2019 (Aged 77)

Ganz was a gifted Swiss actor whose career in German-language film and television lasted for over fifty years. 

Among his best-known films are The Boys from BrazilNosferatu the Vampyre, and Wings of Desire in 1987. Possibly Ganz’s most acclaimed role was his portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the Oscar-nominated film Downfall from 2004.

The Republic of Austria’s Iffland-Ring, which is passed to the actor judged to be the most worthy actor of the German-speaking theatre, was held by Ganz from 1996 until his death.

In 2006, Ganz was honored with the Order of Merit of Germany and he was also made a Knight of the French Légion d’honneur.

On 16 February 2019, Ganz died at his Swiss home at the age of 77.

Emiliano Sala

(Footballer)

31 October 1990 – 21 January 2019 (Aged 28)

Sala was an Argentine professional footballer who played as a forward, whose tragic death made headlines around the world.

After playing youth football in Argentina, Sala made his professional debut in February 2012 with French club Bordeaux.

In 2015, he signed for Nantes, where he made more than 100 league appearances and finished as the club’s top goalscorer for three consecutive seasons.

Sala’s form prompted Cardiff City to pay a club-record fee of £15 million (€18 million) in January 2019.

After completing his medical at Cardiff, Sala returned to Nantes on Saturday 19 January to say his goodbyes to his team-mates, collect his personal belongings and organize arrangements for his beloved pet dog.

On his return journey to Cardiff, Sala was involved in a plane crash on 21 January 2019, while aboard a Piper Malibu light aircraft. An initial three-day search covered 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2) across the English Channel.

Two subsequent private searches were launched following a GoFundMe fundraising drive, with the support of many fellow footballers. These searches resulted in the discovery of the wreckage on 3 February, from which Sala’s body was recovered four days later.

Toxicology tests on Sala’s body revealed exposure to carbon monoxide. The AAIB considered it was likely the pilot would have been exposed to the gas, leading to drowsiness or unconsciousness.

Tragically, no trace of the pilot David Ibbotson’s body has since been found.

Remembering also…

Jacques Chirac (French President) (Aged 86)
Albert Finney (Actor) (Aged 82)
Peter Fonda (Actor) (Aged 79)
Karl Lagerfeld (Fashion Creative Director) (Aged 85)