2012 is a new year with new beginnings. But the past, and the people who helped create it, can hardly be forgotten. Among these are some public figures who entertained and inspired us in years past, and will continue to influence despite not being physically present.
Here is my personal list of the most cherished celebrities and public figures who passed away in the last ten years. They will be most missed in 2012, and beyond.
1. Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)
A multi-talented musician, singer, and songwriter Amy Winehouse rose to fame in the UK in the early 2000s and in the world with her albums Frank and Back to Black. She was known for her sultry voice and creative oldies-inspired musical style.
Amy passed in the summer of 2011 of after struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
2. Aaliyah (1979-2001)
Aaliyah Haughton was an R&B singer and dancer popular in the ’90s and early 2000s. Her hip-hop influenced music and dance videos captured the hearts of audiences who grew to love her unique personal style and genuinely sweet personality.
Aaliyah and eight others died after their plane crashed while leaving the Bahamas. They were returning to the United States after shooting the music video for “Rock the Boat”.
3. Michael Jackson (1958-2009)
The most successful music artist of all time, King of Pop Michael Jackson was not just a musician but an icon. He is known globally as a transformative figure — his talent and style inspired and created generations of music, and people.
Michael died in 2009 of medication-induced respiratory arrest. His death caused shock and grief worldwide.
4. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (1971-2002)
Lisa Lopes, also known as Left Eye, was a rapper and singer best known as a member of the R&B trio TLC. Her unique and honest rapping added the hip-hop element to TLC which contributed greatly to its success.
Lisa died in April 2002 when her car swerved off a road in Honduras.
5. Paul Newman (1925-2008)
Paul Newman was an actor and heartthrob popular in the ’60s through the ’80s. He is known for films such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Color of Money, as well as his cool personality and ice blue eyes.
Paul passed away in 2008 at age 83, after a long history in show business as an actor and director.
6. Luther Vandross (1951-2005)
Luther Vandross was a soul and R&B singer whose career spanned over two decades. His romantic ballads and soulful voice sold millions of albums and inspired musicians to come who emulated his timeless musical style. He is known for songs such as “Never Too Much” and “Here and Now”.
Luther died of a heart attack in 2005.
7. Naomi Sims (1948-2009)
Naomi Sims was an editorial and print model turned writer widely known as the first black American supermodel. Naomi was the first black model to appear on the covers of Life and Ladies’ Home Journal. She broke through the boundaries of the modeling world and paved a way for a new definition of beauty and elegance.
Naomi died of breast cancer in August of 2009.
8. Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)
Elizabeth Taylor was a film actress and social icon known as much for her roles as for her looks and lifestyle, including numerous marriages. She appeared in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Paul Newman, and played Cleopatra in the film of the same name.
Elizabeth died in 2011 at age 79.
9. Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009)
An original Charlie’s Angel, Farrah Fawcett was an TV and film star noted for her big, layered hair and sweet-as-American pie personality. She showed she was not just a pretty face by playing diverse roles on the big screen and small screen.
Farrah died in 2009 at the age of 62.
10. Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Inventor and businessman Steve Jobs was best known as co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc. Under his direction, Apple changed the world of digital media with products such as the Mac, iPod, and iPhone, thus changing the modern world as we know it.
Steve died of pancreatic cancer at his home in October of 2011.
Other Notables: Bernie Mac, Brittany Murphy, Eartha Kitt, Heath Ledger, Lena Horne, Marlon Brando, Patrick Swayze, Ted Kennedy
Who will you most miss in 2012?