Friday, January 3, 2014

Noteworthy Personalities Who Passed In 2013

By Darlene Donloe

A number of noteworthy people closed their eyes for the last time this year. They were writers, actors, directors, musicians, activists and politicians. All were influential in their own way and,  before leaving the planet, touched the lives of many.  This column pays tribute to those who passed away in 2013.


Jan. 3 – Richard A. Long, black history author and professor at Emory.  He was 85.

Jan. 5 – Freddy E., rapper. He was 22.

Jan. 5 - Faye Bellamy Powell, a warrior in SNCC. She was 75.

Jan 18  - Robert F. Chew, actor on HBO’s The Wire. He was 52. 


Jan. 18 – James Hood, one of the first black students enrolled at the University of Alabama a half century ago in defiance of racial segregation. He was 70.


Jan. 18 – Frances McClurkin, mother of gospel singer, Donnie McClurkin.


Jan. 26 - Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, frontman for the Ohio Players. He was 69.

Jan. 31 – Cecil Womack, R&B singer. He was 65.


Feb. 3 – Cordiss Collins, the first African-American woman to represent Illinois in Congress. She was 81.

Feb. 4 – Donald Byrd, jazz trumpeter. He was 80.

Feb. 14 – Goldie Harvey, Nigerian pop artist. She was 31.

Feb. 14 – Tim Dog, Bronx rapper. He was 46.

Feb. 18 – Damon Harris, former Temptations member. He was 61.

Feb. 19 – Lou Myers, actor on A Different World. He was 77.

Feb. 21 – Magic Slim, blues singer and guitarist. He was 75.

Feb. 21 – Cleotha Staples, gospel singer. Also was a member of The Staples Singers. She was 77.

Feb. 25 – Virgil Johnson, a doo-wop singer with The Velvets. He was 77.

Feb. 27 – Richard Street, member of The Temptations. He was 70.


March 1 – Magic, a rapper best known for his song, ‘Sky’s the Limit.’  He was 37.

March 1 – Jewel Akens, R&B singer. He was 79.

March 1 - Graham Armstrong, program director, music journalist. He was 60.

March 3 – Bobby Rogers, a founding member of the Motown group The Miracles.  He was 73.

March 16 – Bobby Smith, lead singer of The Spinners. He was 77.

March 21 - Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian writer. He was 82.

March 22 – Babe Valdes, a pianist and bandleader who recorded with Nat King Cole.  He was 94.

March 28 - Bob Teague, who joined WNBC-TV in New York in 1963 as one of the city’s first black television journalists and went on to work as a reporter, anchorman and producer for more than three decades. He was 84,


Apr. 14 – George Jackson, singer/songwriter who wrote/co-wrote ‘One Bad Apple’ and ‘Old Time Rock and Roll.’ He was 68.

Apr. 18 - Cordell ‘Boogie’ Mosson, the bass player for the Parliament-Funkadelic. He was 60.  

Apr. 22 – Richie Havens, folk singer. He was 72.

May 1 - Rapper James Chris Kelly of “Kriss Kross”. He was 34.

May 3 - Cedric Brooks, famous reggae musician known for his work with The Skatalites. He was 70.

May 11 – David Connell, character actor. He was 77.

May 26 – Clarence Burke Jr., The Five Stairsteps


May 29 – Marvin Junior, singer with The Dells. 


June 2 – William Demby, novelist and reporter who spend much of his career in Italy writing subtitles for Fellini and Rossellini movies. He was 90.

June 3 – David ‘Deacon Jones’, NFL player. He was 74.

June 5 - Rev. Will Campbell. Civil Rights reverend was the only white person asked to join MLK’s efforts in the beginning. He was 88.

June 20 – Lil Snupe. Rapper. He was 18.

June 22 – Rena Price.  Her and son’s arrests sparked Los Angeles riots 48 years ago. She was 97.

June 23 – Bobby Blue Bland.  Southern blues and soul singer. He was 88.

June 29 – James “Jim” Kelly. Best known for his performance as Williams in the 1973 Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon. He was 67.


July 1 – William Bill Gray, Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Philadelphia minister. He was 71.


Aug. 6 – George Duke, legendary musician. He was 67.

Aug. 19 – Cedar Walton, jazz pianist. He was 79.

Aug.19 – Lee Thompson Young, actor on Rizzoli and Isles.  Also appeared on The Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson and appeared in the film, Friday Night Lights. He was 29.

Aug. 20 - Marion McPartland, jazz pianist, NPR radio host. She was 95.


Sept. 13 - Patti Webster, entertainment publicist.  She was 49.

Sept. 18 – Ken Norton, former Heavyweight Champion. He was 70.

Sept. 30 - Singer/songwriter ZULEMA (Cusseaux) who recorded on Clarence Avant's Sussex Records and RCA Records (and was also a member of Faith, Hope & Charity)


Oct. 14 - Maxine Powell, Motown etiquette maven. She was 98.

Oct. 15 – Gloria Lynne, jazz singer. She was 83.

Oct. 26 – Al Johnson, lead singer of the Unifics. He was 65.


Nov. 4 - Ron Dungee. Radio, newspaper and public relations personality. He was 75. 

Nov. 22 - Poet Wanda Coleman. She was 67.

Nov. 26 – Jazz drummer Chico Hamilton. He was 92.

Nov. 28 – Jerry ‘The Radio Doctor’ Boulding. UAC/Urban Editor at All Access. President of Urban Network magazine. He was 75.

Nov. 29 – Oliver Chetham. Best known for the 1983 dance hit "Get Down Saturday Night." He was 65.


Dec. 5 – Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa, Humanitarian, Freedom Fighter

Dec. 8 – Actor Don Mitchell. He was 70.

Dec. 14 – Fred Benjamin, jazz dance teacher. He was 69. 

Dec. 23 - Ricky Lawson. Noted drummer and founding member of The Yellowjackets.  He was 59.

Dec. 23 - Yusef Lateef, musician and UMass professor. He was 93.

Dec. 23 - Chuck Patterson, Broadway actor.  Played manager Jimmy Potter in 'The Five Heartbeats.' He was 68.

Dec. 31 - James Avery, actor best known as 'Uncle Phil' on 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air.' He was 68.
Other people of note who passed away this year include:
Cory Monteith
James Gandolfini
Peter O’Toole
Jean Stapleton
Bonnie Franklin
Marcia Wallace
Esther Williams
Ton Clancy
Paul Walker
Roger Ebert
Helen Thomas
David Frost
Margaret Thatcher
George Jones
Lou Reed
Lisa Robin Kelly
Michael Ansara
Annette Funicello
Richard Griffiths
Clive Burr
Peter Banks
Dale Robertson
Cecil Fergerson
Joan Fontaine

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