Cultural figures who died in the United States of COVID-19: NPR
Cultural figures who died in the United States of COVID-19: NPR

Cultural figures who died in the United States of COVID-19: NPR

Playwright Terrence McNally photographed at a Tony Awards party in 2019.

Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro


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Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro


Playwright Terrence McNally photographed at a Tony Awards party in 2019.

Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro

Here are just a few of the many cultural personalities, pioneering and creative forces the United States lost to COVID-19.

Mike Longo, 83 – That prominent jazz pianist and longtime musical director of Dizzy Gillespie died March 22, 2020.

Nashom Wooden, 50 – A force of nightlife in New Yorkthe glittering performance artist and dragon legend died March 23, 2020.

Terrence McNally, 81 – The Tony Award-winning playwright and true gentleman of the theater died March 24, 2020.

Chef Floyd Cardoz in the kitchen.

Kris Connor / Getty Images for NYCWFF

Floyd Cardoz, 59 – The chef, who married the regional Indian cuisine with French and new American flavors, died March 25, 2020.

Orlando McDaniel, 59 – The track star whose speed got him drafted for the Denver Broncosdied March 27, 2020.

Joe Diffie, 61 – The crooked country traditionalist died March 29, 2020.

Alby Kass, 89 – The Jewish folk singer and resort operator in California died March 31, 2020.

Jennifer Arnold, 67 – The Broadway costume dresser with a deep sense of humor died April 1, 2020.

Musician Adam Schlesinger at ASCAP / Tribeca Music Lounge at The 2007 Tribeca Film Festival

Scott Gries / Getty Images for the Tribeca Film Festival

Adam Schlesinger, 52 – The prolific songwriter and co-founder of Fountains of Wayne died April 1, 2020.

Jazz legend Ellis Marsalis performs at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Ellis Marsalis, 85 – The jazz pianist, educator and patriarch of New Orleans’ most famous musical familydied April 1, 2021.

Patricia Bosworth, 86 – The actor, known for his intense energy and biographies of Hollywood stars, died on April 2, 2020.

Lee Fierro, 91 – The actress, best known for her role as Mrs. Kintner in Jawsdied April 5, 2020.

Helene Aylon, 89 – The groundbreaking artist brought a feminist leaning to her work gender, eco-activism and Gd. She died April 6, 2020.

John Prine performs at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater

John Prine, 73 – One of the country’s great lyricists, the postman who was bard died April 7, 2020.

Charles Gregory Ross, 68 – The Emmy-nominated hairdresser, who often collaborated with Tyler Perry on his films and TV shows, died on April 8, 2020.

Theresa M. Korn, 93 – The first woman to be admitted to the engineering program at Carnegie Tech and author of books on computers and mathematics died on April 9, 2020.

Helen Damico, 89 – That Beowulf researcher who changed how historical and fictional women in her field were studied died April 14, 2020.

Margit Feldman, 90 – Holocaust survivors told about their experiences in Margit: A teenager’s journey through the Holocaust and beyond. She died April 14, 2020.

Ella King Russell Torrey, 94 – The newspaper editor, human rights activist and information officer for Eleanor Roosevelt died on April 14, 2020.

Iris Love, 86 – The dynamic archaeologist, best known for his rediscovery of the Temple of Aphrodite, died on April 17, 2020.

Bernice Silver, 106 – The puppet-playing “Queen of Potpourri” died on April 18, 2020.

Madeline Kripke, 76 – With about 20,000 editions in her West Village apartment, she had one of the world’s largest private collections of dictionaries. The book collector died on April 25, 2020.

Rana Zoe Mungin, 30 – Rejected tests and treatment twice before her condition worsened, the Brooklyn teacher and aspiring author died on April 27, 2020.

Alyce Gullattee, 91 – One of the country’s leading voices on drug abuse and a DC legend, she died April 30, 2020.

Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite, 92 – The last living monument woman helped save cultural treasures during World War II. She died May 4, 2020.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, 91 – The former White House butler, who served 11 presidential administrations, died May 16, 2020.

John H. Glenn Jr., a senator from Ohio and one of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts, poses with his wife Annie before their return flight to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  (photo by NASA)

Annie Glenn, 100 – Speech Disorder’s lawyer and wife of astronaut and senator John Glenn died May 19, 2020.

Mary J. Wilson, 83 – The first black senior pet sitter at Maryland Zoo died May 21, 2020.

Pat Dye, 80 – Auburn’s football coach died on June 1, 2020.

Marlene Sekaquaptewa, 79 – The gifted quilt maker and Hopi political leader died June 24, 2020.

Nick Cordero and Amanda Kloots and the cast 'Bullets Over Broadway' perform on stage at the 68th annual Tony Awards

Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Nick Cordero, 41 – The Broadway actor and Tony nominees died July 5, 2020.

Helen Jones Woods, 96 – The groundbreaking trombonist of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm – one of America’s first integrated female big bands – died on July 25, 2020.

American singer, guitarist and actress Trini Lopez

Harry Benson / Getty Images

Trini Lopez, 83 – Best known for his optimistic cover of “If I Had a Hammer” the musician and actor died on August 11, 2020.

Tom Seaver, 75 – NY Mets pitcher and Hall of Famer died 31 August 2020.

Arnie Robinson Jr., 72 – The two-time Olympic long jump medalist died on December 1, 2020.

Phyllis Eisenstein, 74 – The Hugo Award-nominated author died December 7, 2022.

Harold Budd, 84 – The composer whose music hovered between ambient, minimalist composition and dream pop, died December 8, 2020.

Carol Sutton, 76 – The New Orleans star appeared in more than 100 movies, plays and TV shows. She died on December 10, 2020.

Charley Pride will perform on stage during the 2018 CMA Music Festival

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

Charley Pride, 86 – Country music’s first black superstar died December 12, 2020.

Kim Chernin, 80 – The feminist author who explored body dysmorphy and the modern woman’s quest for self-identity died on December 17, 2020.

Pang Xiong Sirirathasuk Sikoun, 76 – The Hmong artist, known for his intricate paj ntaub duvets, celebrated the rich history and spirit of his culture. She died December 22, 2020.

Actress Dawn Wells and producer Sherwood Schwartz attend a ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Dawn Wells, 82 – Best remembered for her role as Mary Ann Summers in the sitcom Gilligan’s Islandthe actress died December 30, 2020.

Phil Spector, 81 – The groundbreaking producer and convicted killer, responsible for pop music’s “wall of sound” and the death of Lana Clarkson, died January 16, 2021.

Sekou Smith, 48 – The NBA Reporter and Analyst Died January 26, 2021.

Actor Cloris Leachman is signing an autograph for a fan during the film premiere "Spanish"

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Cloris Leachman, 94 – One of Hollywood’s most decorated and versatile artists, the actress died January 27, 2021.

Carmen Vázquez, 72 – The author and champion of LGBTQ + cases died on January 27, 2021.

Anne Feeney, 69 – The lawyer, activist and folk singer embraced the power of music to make the world a better place. She died February 3, 2021.

Judy Irola, 77 – The groundbreaking filmmaker, documentary filmmaker and educator was the third woman to be admitted to the American Society of Cinematographers. She died February 21, 2021.

Mo Pinel, 80 – Known for his innovative and occasionally controversial bowling ball designs died on March 5, 2021.

John Davis, 66 – One of the real vocalists behind Milli Vanilli, he died May 24, 2021.

JR Richard, 71 – The Houston Astros pitcher died August 4, 2021.

Carol Fran, 87 – The Louisiana blues vocalist died September 1, 2021.

Andre Leon Talley backstage at the Carolina Herrera fashion show for spring 2013

Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

André Leon Talley, 73 – The glamorous fashion journalist and former editor of Vogue died January 18, 2022.

Meat Loaf, 74 – The singer and actor, best known for his 1977 album Bats out of helldied January 20, 2022.

DJ Kay Slay, 55 – The famous hip hop artist with flair for drama died April 17, 2022.

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