July 14, 2018
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Nancy Sinatra, first wife of singer Frank Sinatra, died on Friday night at age 101.

Her daughter, also named Nancy Sinatra, confirmed on Twitter that Sinatra died "peacefully," calling her a "blessing and the light of my life." Sinatra, born Nancy Barbato, was Frank Sinatra's childhood sweetheart, marrying the singer in 1939, reports The Associated Press. She had three children with him before they divorced in 1951, but remained friendly with him for years, dining together as a family and talking on the phone until the singer's death in 1998.

Sinatra was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, California, reports The New York Times, where she moved when her husband's singing career took off in the 1940s. There, Sinatra raised her children and did charitable work as all three of them entered show business. Her daughters Nancy and Tina survive her, while her son Frank Jr. died in 2016 while on tour in Florida. Read more about Sinatra's life at The New York Times. Summer Meza

July 9, 2018
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Actor and '50s heartthrob Tab Hunter, best known for his roles in Battle Cry and Island of Desire, died Sunday. He was 86.

Hunter's husband, Allan Glaser, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday they were at home in Santa Barbara, California, when Hunter went into cardiac arrest after a blood clot in his leg went to his lung. "It was more important that Tab was known for being a good human being," Glaser said. "That was most important to him than being an actor and a recording artist. He didn't place importance on his movie career or his celebrity." Hunter was three days shy of turning 87.

Born Arthur Gelien, Hunter was discovered while working as a stable boy in Los Angeles, and his agent gave him the name Tab Hunter. He starred in movies like Track of the Cat and The Sea Chase, and recorded the song "Young Love," which was so successful his movie studio head, Warner Bros.' Jack Warner, launched Warner Bros. Records in 1958 in order to profit from Hunter's hit. Hunter was romantically linked to several actresses, after being forced to hide that he was gay and in relationships with men, including actor Anthony Perkins, the Times reports. After retiring from acting, Hunter moved to Santa Barbara to ride horses, and Glaser said he volunteered his time working with paralyzed veterans and animals. Catherine Garcia

June 28, 2018
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Harlan Ellison, the award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer, died Thursday. He was 84.

Ellison's death was confirmed by his fifth wife, Susan, who said he died in his sleep. He wrote novels, comic books, television scripts, and short stories, with his first published piece an article for the Cleveland News when he was 15. Born in Cleveland in 1934, Ellison worked numerous jobs, including as a bodyguard and truck driver, before attending Ohio State University; he was expelled in 1953 after trying to punch a professor critical of his writing.

He then moved to New York City, where he joined a Brooklyn gang called the Barons in order to have material for his debut novel, Web of the City. In 1962, he was fired by Roy Disney almost immediately after he was hired by Walt Disney Studios, after Disney overheard him making a joke about making a pornographic film starring Disney characters.

Ellison spent decades writing scripts for television, and when he wasn't pleased with a final product, asked to be credited for his work under the fake name Cornwainer Bird. He wrote the 1967 Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," one of the most critically-acclaimed episodes of the series, but he wasn't happy with the revised script, and asked for Cornwainer Bird to receive credit, The Hollywood Reporter said. Gene Roddenberry denied the request and used Ellison's name, causing friction; Ellison's original script received a Hugo Award and was named the best episodic drama of the year by the Writers Guild of America. Catherine Garcia

June 24, 2018
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Donald Hall, the poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007, died Saturday at his home in New Hampshire. He was 89.

Hall began writing at age 12, and over his career wrote more than 40 books, with half of them being poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the National Medal of Arts in 2010 and the National Book Critics Circle prize. Hall wrote often about his childhood, baseball, and the loss of his second wife, poet Jane Kenyon, and lived at Eagle Pond Farm, property that his family has owned since the 1860s.

During a 2012 interview with NPR's Fresh Air, Hall said that his "body causes me trouble when I cross the room, but when I am sitting down writing, I am in my heaven — my old heaven." Catherine Garcia

June 23, 2018

Drummer Vinnie Paul, a founding member of the metal band Pantera, has died, the band's Facebook page announced late Friday. He was 54. "Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah," the brief statement said. "No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time."

Paul cofounded Pantera with his brother, known as Dimebag Darrell, and vocalist Terry Glaze in 1981, and their work proved widely influential for heavy metal in the following decades. The Texas-based group split in 2003. Bonnie Kristian

June 21, 2018
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Conservative columnist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer died Thursday, just weeks after he revealed that he had an aggressive form of cancer. He was 68.

Krauthammer wrote a syndicated weekly column for The Washington Post, which garnered him a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, and earlier this month he announced in a letter published in the Post that doctors told him his cancer had returned and he only had a few weeks left to live. "This is the final verdict," he wrote. "My fight is over." Krauthammer regularly appeared on Fox News, and over his career he wrote for outlets across the political spectrum, including Time, The New Republic, and The Weekly Standard.

Krauthammer was born in New York in 1950, and grew up in Montreal. During his first year studying at Harvard Medical School, he had a diving accident that severed his spinal cord. He is survived by his wife, Robyn, and son, Daniel. Catherine Garcia

June 21, 2018

Koko, the western lowland gorilla who was taught sign language by Dr. Francine Patterson in the early 1970s, died this week in her sleep at the age of 46, the Gorilla Foundation said Thursday.

Koko famously appeared on the 1978 cover of National Geographic in a photo she took of herself in a mirror. Koko "revealed the depth and strength of a gorilla's emotional life," NPR writes, mourning her adopted kitten, Ball, when it was hit by a car in 1984. "Cat, cry, have-sorry, Koko-love," Koko had signed to Patterson in response to the question "What happened to Ball?" She reportedly knew some 1,000 signs, and 2,000 words of spoken English, the New York Post reports.

The Gorilla Foundation wrote that Koko's "impact has been profound and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world." Learn more about Koko in the documentary below. Jeva Lange

June 6, 2018
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Actor Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin from the 1939 classic Wizard of Oz, died last month in San Diego. He was 98.

Maren was one of the 124 munchkins who made up the Lollipop Guild in the Wizard of Oz, and was known for handing Judy Garland's Dorothy a lollipop during one scene. He told The Independent in 2009 that working on the movie was "the greatest fun I ever had in my life," and Garland was "an angel." In 2007, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of all of the munchkins.

Maren appeared in several other movies and television shows, including Planet of the Apes and Seinfeld. TMZ reports that in his later years, he suffered from dementia. His wife, actress Elizabeth Barrington, died in 2011. Catherine Garcia

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