Jackson, Cronkite among arts world deaths in 2009
It was only a rehearsal, and he was twice the age of the dancers accompanying him. But the video doesn't lie: Michael Jackson was looking ahead to a smash opening in London - and giving it his all.
And then he was gone.
With his thrilling music and dance, enigmatic personality and worldwide reach, Jackson led the list of notables in the worlds of art, entertainment and popular culture who died in 2009.
Some, like Jackson, departed without warning. Some, like actor Patrick Swayze, waged a very public struggle with illness.
But others were still active in their 80s and 90s, including choreographer Merce Cunningham, painter Andrew Wyeth, broadcaster Paul Harvey and those two giants of broadcast journalism, Walter Cronkite and Don Hewitt.
We also said goodbye to writers John Updike, Horton Foote, John Hope Franklin, Marilyn French, Budd Schulberg, Larry Gelbart and Hortense Calisher.
TV fans mourned sidekick Ed McMahon, delightfully sharp-tongued Bea Arthur, "Kung Fu" star David Carradine; and the decorative Farrah Fawcett.
We also lost the scholar who helped make sense of all this when he coined the term "popular culture."
Here, a roll call of some of the notable people in art, entertainment and popular culture who died in 2009. (Cause of death cited for younger people if available.)
Johannes Mario Simmel, 84. Austrian-born author; topped German-language best-seller lists. Jan. 1.
Jett Travolta, 16. John Travolta's son. Jan. 2. Seizure.
Pat Hingle, 84. Tony-nominated stage actor; Commissioner Gordon in "Batman" movies. Jan. 3.
Ned Tanen, 77. As Paramount and Universal chairman, he greenlighted a string of hits ("Top Gun," ''E.T"). Jan. 5.
Ron Asheton, 60. Guitarist for the Stooges, whose raw sound helped inspire punk rock. Jan. 6.
Cheryl Holdridge, 64. Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club." Jan. 6.
Coosje van Bruggen, 66. Artist; collaborated with husband Claes Oldenburg on his giant sculptures. Jan. 10.
Patrick McGoohan, 80. Emmy-winning actor; star of TV classic "The Prisoner." Jan. 13.
Hortense Calisher, 97. Fiction writer known for dense prose ("False Entry"). Jan. 13.
Ricardo Montalban, 88. Actor in splashy MGM musicals; Mr. Roarke on "Fantasy Island." Jan. 14.
Andrew Wyeth, 91. Acclaimed artist whose portraits and landscapes combined traditional realism, modern melancholy. Jan. 16.
David "Fathead" Newman, 75. Jazz saxophonist; played with wide range of luminaries. Jan. 20.
James Brady, 80. Author, Parade magazine celebrity columnist. Jan. 26.
John Updike, 76. Pulitzer-winning novelist, essayist. Jan. 27.
Hans Beck, 79. Created colorful Playmobil toy figures. Jan. 30.
Lux Interior, 62. Lead singer of horror-punk band the Cramps. Feb. 4.
James Whitmore, 87. Many-faceted actor; did one-man shows on Harry Truman, Will Rogers. Feb. 6.
Molly Bee, 69. Country singer ("Don't Go Courtin' in a Hot Rod Ford"). Feb. 7.
Blossom Dearie, 84. Jazz singer with unique baby-doll voice. Feb. 7.
Robert Anderson, 91. Broadway playwright ("Tea and Sympathy"). Feb. 9.
Estelle Bennett, 67. One of Ronnettes, '60s girl group ("Be My Baby"). Feb. 11.
Hugh Leonard, 82. Irish playwright; won Tony for father-son drama "Da." Feb. 12.
Louie Bellson, 84. Jazz drummer; performed with Duke Ellington, wife Pearl Bailey. Feb. 14.
Al-Tayeb Saleh, 80. One of Arab world's top novelists. Feb. 18.
Howard Zieff, 81. Directed films ("Private Benjamin"), TV ads (Alka-Seltzer's "Spicy Meatballs." ) Feb. 22.
Sverre Fehn, 84. Norwegian architect; won prestigious Pritzker award. Feb. 23.
Paul Harvey, 90. Radio news and talk pioneer; one of nation's most familiar voices. Feb. 28.
Ernie Ashworth, 80. Grand Ole Opry singer ("Talk Back Trembling Lips"). March 2.
Sydney Chaplin, 82. Tony-winning actor; son of Charlie Chaplin ("Bells Are Ringing"). March 3.
Horton Foote, 92. Playwright ("The Trip to Bountiful") and screenwriter ("To Kill a Mockingbird"). March 4.
Hank Locklin, 91. Smooth-voiced country singer ("Send Me the Pillow You Dream On"). March 8.
James Purdy, 94. Author of underground classics ("Cabot Wright Begins"). March 13.
Anne Wiggins Brown, 96. Soprano; the original Bess in Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess." March 13.
Betsy Blair, 85. Actress, Oscar-nominated for role as shy woman courted by homely Ernest Borgnine in "Marty." March 13.
Ron Silver, 62. Won Tony as tough Hollywood producer in David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow." March 15.
Natasha Richardson, 45. Gifted heiress to British acting royalty ("Patty Hearst"). March 18. Skiing accident.
Jade Goody, 27. British reality TV star, hailed in final months for her courage. March 22. Cancer.
Uriel Jones, 74. Drummer whose passionate beat fueled Motown hits. March 24.
John Hope Franklin, 94. Towering scholar of African-American studies. March 25.
Steven Bach, 70. Movie executive who oversaw the debacle "Heaven's Gate"; later wrote memoir about it. March 25.
Irving R. Levine, 86. Bow-tied NBC newsman who explained the fine points of economics. March 27.
Helen Levitt, 95. Photographer famed for scenes of New York street life. March 29.
Maurice Jarre, 84. Oscar-winning film composer ("Lawrence of Arabia," ''Doctor Zhivago"). March 28.
Tom Braden, 92. Helped launch CNN's "Crossfire"; wrote memoir "Eight is Enough" that inspired a TV show. April 3.
Dave Arneson, 61. Co-creator of groundbreaking Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game. April 7.
David "Pop" Winans Sr., 76. Grammy-nominated patriarch of gospel music family. April 8.
Marilyn Chambers, 56. She helped bring adult films into mainstream with "Behind the Green Door." April 12. Heart disease.
Peter Rogers, 95. Produced British "Carry On" films, hallmarks of lowbrow comedy. April 14.
J.G. Ballard, 78. British author known for dark vision ("Empire of the Sun"). April 19.
Jack Cardiff, 94. Oscar-winning cinematographer famed for innovative use of Technicolor ("The Red Shoes"). April 22.
Ken Annakin, 94. Directed World War II epics "Battle of the Bulge," ''The Longest Day." April 22.
The Rev. Timothy Wright, 61. Grammy-nominated gospel singer, and composer ("Jesus, Jesus, Jesus"). April 23.
Bea Arthur, 86. Her sharp delivery propelled "Maude," ''The Golden Girls"; won Tony for "Mame." April 25.
Vern Gosdin, 74. Country singer ("Chiseled in Stone"). April 28.
Marilyn French, 79. Feminist writer; her 1977 novel "The Women's Room" sold millions. May 2.
Dom DeLuise, 75. Portly actor with offbeat style ("The Cannonball Run"). May 4.
Mickey Carroll, 89. One of last surviving Munchkins from "The Wizard of Oz." May 7.
Wayman Tisdale, 44. Accomplished jazzman; earlier, a college, NBA basketball star. May 15. Cancer.
David Herbert Donald, 88. Pulitzer-winning Civil War historian; expert on Lincoln. May 17.
Mario Benedetti, 88. Renowned Uruguayan author ("The Truce"). May 17.
Amos Elon, 82. Israeli author ("The Israelis: Founders and Sons"). May 25.
Koko Taylor, 80. Regal, powerful singer known as "Queen of the Blues." June 3.
Shih Kien, 96. Veteran Hong Kong actor; Bruce Lee's archrival in 1973's "Enter the Dragon." June 3.
David Carradine, 72. Actor ("Kung Fu," ''Kill Bill"). June 4.
Bob Bogle, 75. Guitarist, co-founded instrumental band The Ventures ("Walk, Don't Run"). June 14.
Ed McMahon, 86. Ebullient "Tonight" show sidekick who bolstered Johnny Carson. June 23.
Farrah Fawcett, 62. 1970s sex symbol, star of "Charlie's Angels." June 25.
Michael Jackson, 50. The "King of Pop." June 25.
Gale Storm, 87. Perky actress; one of early television's biggest stars ("My Little Margie"). June 27.
Billy Mays, 50. Burly, bearded television pitchman. June 28. Heart disease.
Harve Presnell, 75. His booming baritone graced Broadway musicals ("The Unsinkable Molly Brown"). June 30.
Karl Malden, 97. Oscar-winning actor; a star despite his plain looks ("A Streetcar Named Desire"). July 1.
Allen Klein, 77. No-holds-barred music manager; worked with the Beatles, Rolling Stones. July 4.
Sir Edward Downes, 85. One of Britain's most renowned conductors; longtime head of the BBC Philharmonic. July 10.
Walter Cronkite, 92. Premier TV anchorman of the networks' golden age. July 17.
Gordon Waller, 64. Half of the British Invasion pop duo Peter and Gordon ("A World Without Love"). July 17.
Frank McCourt, 78. Former schoolteacher who enjoyed post-retirement fame, and a Pulitzer, for memoir "Angela's Ashes." July 19.
E. Lynn Harris, 54. Best-selling author who pioneered gay black fiction ("Love of My Own"). July 23. Heart disease.
Merce Cunningham, 90. The avant-garde dancer and choreographer who revolutionized modern dance. July 26.M
Naomi Sims, 61. Pioneering black model of the 1960s. Aug. 1.
Budd Schulberg, 95. Novelist ("What Makes Sammy Run?") and Oscar-winning screenwriter ("On the Waterfront"). Aug. 5.
John Hughes, 59. Writer-director of smash youth-oriented comedies ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off," ''Home Alone"). Aug. 6. Heart attack.
Willy DeVille, 58. Singer, songwriter; founded punk group Mink DeVille. Aug. 6. Pancreatic cancer.
John Quade, 71. Character actor; the heavy in several Clint Eastwood movies. Aug. 9.
Andy Kessler, 48. Trailblazer of NYC's skateboarding scene; designed skate parks. Aug. 10. Heart attack after wasp sting.
Les Paul, 94. Guitar virtuoso; invented solid-body electric guitar, multitrack recording. Aug. 13.
Virginia Davis, 90. As child actress, appeared in Walt Disney's "Alice" films in 1920s. Aug. 15.
Hildegard Behrens, 72. German-born soprano hailed as one of the finest Wagnerian performers of her generation. Aug. 18.
Don Hewitt, 86. TV news pioneer who created "60 Minutes," produced it for 36 years. Aug. 19.
Elmer Kelton, 83. Acclaimed Western novelist ("The Good Old Boys"). Aug. 22.
Ellie Greenwich, 68. Co-wrote some of 1960s' most enduring songs ("Be My Baby"). Aug. 26.
Dominick Dunne, 83. Best-selling author who told stories of shocking crimes among the rich and famous. Aug. 26.
Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, 36. Celebrity disc jockey; also a reality TV figure who attempted to help fellow drug addicts. Aug. 28. Overdose.
Marie Knight, 84. Gospel music legend ("Beams of Heaven"). Aug. 30.
Erich Kunzel, 74. Conductor, longtime head of Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Sept. 1.
Keith Waterhouse, 80. British playwright, novelist ("Billy Liar"). Sept. 4.
Army Archerd, 87. His breezy Daily Variety column kept tabs on Hollywood doings for more than a half-century. Sept. 8.
Frank Batten Sr., 82. He built media giant Landmark Communications, created The Weather Channel. Sept. 10.
Jim Carroll, 60. Poet, punk rocker; wrote "The Basketball Diaries." Sept. 11. Heart attack.
Larry Gelbart, 81. Slyly witty writer for stage and screen ("Tootsie," ''M-A-S-H"). Sept. 11.
Pierre Cossette, 85. Record label founder; turned Grammy Awards into a popular televised ceremony. Sept. 11.
Zakes Mokae, 75. Tony-winning South African actor (Athol Fugard's "Master Harold ... and the Boys"). Sept. 11.
Paul Burke, 83. Two-time Emmy nominee for his role as Detective Adam Flint in the gritty crime drama "Naked City." Sept. 13.
Patrick Swayze, 57. Dancer turned movie superstar for "Dirty Dancing," ''Ghost." Sept. 14. Pancreatic cancer.
Henry Gibson, 73. Comic character actor; recited offbeat poetry on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." Sept. 14.
Trevor Rhone, 69. Jamaican playwright; co-wrote the reggae film "The Harder They Come." Sept. 15.
Mary Travers, 72. One-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary ("If I Had a Hammer"). Sept. 16.
Art Ferrante, 88. Half of the piano duo Ferrante and Teicher ("Exodus"). Sept. 19.
Alicia de Larrocha, 86. Spanish pianist who thrilled music listeners for decades. Sept. 25.
William Safire, 79. Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist and word warrior. Sept. 27.
Mercedes Sosa, 74. Argentine folksinger; the "Voice of Latin America" who inspired pro-democracy activists. Oct. 4.
Ben Ali, 82. Founded Ben's Chili Bowl diner, a Washington landmark. Oct. 7.
Irving Penn, 92. Photographer famed for stark simplicity in portraits, fashion shots. Oct. 7.
Al Martino, 82. Singer ("Spanish Eyes"); played the Frank Sinatra-type role in "The Godfather." Oct. 13.
Daniel Melnick, 77. Producer of acclaimed films "Straw Dogs," ''Network." Oct. 13.
Vic Mizzy, 93. Songwriter; did catchy sitcom themes ("The Addams Family"). Oct. 17.
Soupy Sales, 83. Rubber-faced comedian whose anything-for-a-chuckle career was built on thousands of pies to the face. Oct. 22.
Ray Browne, 87. Bowling Green State professor credited with coining the phrase "popular culture." Oct. 22.
Michelle Triola Marvin, 76. She fought a landmark "palimony" case in the 1970s against former lover Lee Marvin. Oct. 30.
Francisco Ayala, 103. Spanish novelist, sociologist; went into exile during the country's Franco dictatorship. Nov. 3.
Sheldon Dorf, 76. Founded Comic-Con International comic book convention that draws more than 100,000. Nov. 3.
Jeanne-Claude, 74. With her husband, Christo, she created large-scale, highly publicized art projects. Nov. 18.
Elisabeth Soderstrom, 82. Swedish soprano who performed on world stages. Nov. 20.
Al Alberts, 87. Member of singing Four Aces ("Love is a Many Splendored Thing"). Nov. 27.
Aaron Schroeder, 84. Songwriter (Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never"). Dec. 1.
Richard Todd, 90. Acclaimed British actor ("The Longest Day"). Dec. 3.
Vyacheslav Tikhonov, 81. Popular Russian actor; starred in Oscar-winning Soviet production of "War and Peace." Dec. 4.
Liam Clancy, 74. Last of Clancy Brothers Irish folksong troupe whose songs struck sentimental chord worldwide. Dec. 4.
Gene Barry, 90. TV's well-dressed man of action in "Bat Masterson," ''Burke's Law," ''The Name of the Game." Dec. 9.
Thomas Hoving, 78. Former director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art; championed "blockbuster" exhibits. Dec. 10.
Roy E. Disney, 79. Nephew of Walt Disney; exerted strong behind-the-scenes influence on The Walt Disney Co. Dec. 16.
Jennifer Jones, 90. Oscar-winning actress ("The Song of Bernadette"). Dec. 17.
Dan O'Bannon, 63. Screenwriter ("Alien," ''Total Recall"). Dec. 17.
Brittany Murphy, 32. Actress ("Clueless"), voice of Luanne Platter on "King of the Hill." Dec. 20. Apparently natural causes.
Arnold Stang, 91. Character actor memorable for nerdy looks, distinctive nasal voice. Dec. 20.
Brittany Murphy, 32. Actress ("Clueless"), voice of Luanne Platter on "King of the Hill." Dec. 20. Apparently natural causes.
James Gurley, 69. Influential Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist; backed Janis Joplin. Dec. 20.
Yves Rocher, 79. Founded beauty products company stressing natural ingredients. Dec. 26.
David Levine, 93. Artist whose caricatures delighted New York Review of Books readers for decades. Dec. 29.