This page lists the obituaries of people who made news during their lifetimes. Obituaries of historians can be found here.
Nick Ashford, who with Valerie Simpson, his songwriting partner and later wife, wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough“ and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and later recorded their own hits and toured as a duo, died Monday at a hospital in New York City. He was 70 and lived in Manhattan.
Mr. Ashford had throat cancer and was undergoing treatment, but the cause of his death was not immediately known. His death was announced by Liz Rosenberg, a friend who is a longtime music publicist.
One of the primary songwriting and producing teams of Motown, Ashford & Simpson specialized in romantic duets of the most dramatic kind, professing the power of true love and the comforts of sweet talk. In “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” from 1967, their first of several hits for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, lovers in close harmony proclaim their determination that “no wind, no rain, no winter’s cold, can stop me, baby,” but also make cuter promises: “If you’re ever in trouble, I’ll be there on the double.”...
Jerry Leiber, the lyricist who, with his partner, Mike Stoller, wrote some of the most enduring classics in the history of rock ’n’ roll, including “Hound Dog,” “Yakety Yak,” “Stand By Me” and “On Broadway,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 78.
The cause was cardio-pulmonary failure, said Randy Poe, president of Leiber & Stoller Music Publishing.
The team of Leiber and Stoller was formed in 1950, when Mr. Leiber was still a student at Fairfax High in Los Angeles and Mr. Stoller, a fellow rhythm-and-blues fanatic, was a freshman at Los Angeles City College. With Mr. Leiber contributing catchy, street-savvy lyrics and Mr. Stoller, a pianist, composing infectious, bluesy tunes, they set about writing songs with black singers and groups in mind.
In 1952, they wrote “Hound Dog” for the blues singer Big Mama Thornton. The song became an enormous hit for Elvis Presley in 1956 and made Leiber and Stoller the hottest songwriting team in rock ’n’ roll. They later wrote “Jailhouse Rock,” “Loving You,” “Don’t,” “Treat Me Nice,” “King Creole” and other songs for Presley, despite their loathing for his interpretation of “Hound Dog.”...
One of the most highly decorated Allied secret agents of World War II, Nancy Wake, has died in London aged 98.
Born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, she is credited with helping hundreds of Allied personnel escape from occupied France.
The German Gestapo named her the "White Mouse" because she was so elusive.
Working as a journalist in Europe, she interviewed Adolf Hitler in Vienna in 1933 and then vowed to fight against his persecution of Jews.
After the fall of France in 1940, Mrs Wake became a French Resistance courier and later a saboteur and spy - setting up escape routes and sabotaging German installations, saving hundreds of Allied lives.
She worked for British Special Operations and was parachuted into France in April 1944 before D-Day to deliver weapons to French Resistance fighters....
Hugh L. Carey, the governor who helped rescue New York from the brink of financial collapse in the 1970s and tamed a culture of ever-growing spending, died Sunday at his summer home on Shelter Island, N.Y. He was 92.
His death was announced by the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. “Governor Carey led our state during a time of great financial turmoil and pulled us back from the brink of bankruptcy and economic ruin,” Mr. Cuomo said in the statement.
From 1975 through 1982, as the state’s 51st governor, Mr. Carey led a small group of public servants who vanquished the fiscal crisis that threatened New York City and State — the direst emergency a governor had faced since the Depression — by taking on powers over the city’s finances that no governor had wielded before and none has wielded since.
A liberal Democrat, Mr. Carey reversed the upward spiral of borrowing, spending and entitlement under one of his predecessors, Nelson A. Rockefeller, a Republican who had presided in an era of limitless government promise. But even after eight years as governor, Mr. Carey remained an enigma. The witty storyteller who could charm an audience alternated with the irascible loner who alienated many of his allies. The brooding, private man, father of more than a dozen children, who mourned the deaths of his wife and, earlier, two sons killed in a car crash, gave way to a man who engaged in an exuberant, very public romance that led to a second marriage....
Richard F. Pedersen, a United States diplomat who left a career imbued with cold war politics to become president of the American University in Cairo, died on July 11 at his home in Greenport, Long Island. He was 86.
His wife, Nelda, confirmed the death.
Mr. Pedersen’s government career of more than 20 years encompassed posts at the United Nations and the State Department and in Hungary, where he was the United States ambassador. At the United Nations, starting in 1953, he worked under five United States ambassadors, including Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in the Eisenhower administration and Adlai E. Stevenson under President John F. Kennedy, assisting Mr. Stevenson in tense negotiations during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962....