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Photos: Celebrity curtain calls 2011

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  1. Maria Schneider

    Maria Schneider, who gained worldwide notoriety with Bernardo Bertolucci's 1972 movie "Last Tango in Paris," died Feb. 3 at the age of 58 following a long battle with cancer.

    Schneider was just 19 when she starred in "Tango," a film in which she had graphic sex scenes with Marlon Brando, who was 48 at the time. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Jane Russell

    Jane Russell, the busty brunette who shot to fame as the sexy star of Howard Hughes' 1941 Western "The Outlaw," died Feb. 28 of respiratory failure at age 89.

    With her sultry look and glowing sexuality, Russell became a star before she was ever seen by a wide movie audience. The Hughes publicity mill ground out photos of the beauty in low-cut costumes and swimsuits, and she became famous, especially as a pinup for World War II GIs. (AP file) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Elizabeth Taylor

    Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film goddess whose sultry screen persona, stormy personal life and enduring fame and glamour made her one of the last of the old-fashioned movie stars and a template for the modern celebrity, died March 23 at age 79 from congestive heart failure.

    Taylor, pictured in 1988, was the most blessed and cursed of actresses, the toughest and the most vulnerable. She had extraordinary grace, wealth and voluptuous beauty, and won three Academy Awards, including a special one for her humanitarian work. (Terry O'neill / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Sidney Lumet

    Oscar-winning director Sidney Lumet, who helmed over 40 movies -- including "12 Angry Men," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Network," died April 9 at age 86.

    Lumet received four Oscar nominations for his work but surprisingly never took a statue home until he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2005.

    His directing style also benefited those who worked with him, garnering 17 Oscar nominated-performances from his actors, including Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando, to name a few. Lumet's films racked up more than 40 Academy Award nominations total. (Jeff Haynes / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Phoebe Snow

    Phoebe Snow, a singer and songwriter who gained fame with her 1974 self-titled album that featured the hit single "Poetry Man," died April 26. She was 60.

    In 1975, Snow gave birth to a daughter, Valerie Rose, who was found to be severely brain-damaged. Her husband split from her soon after the baby was born. At a time when many disabled children were sent to institutions, Snow decided to keep her daughter at home and care for the child herself. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Jackie Cooper

    Jackie Cooper, the former child movie star who won a best actor Oscar nomination at the age of 9 for "Skippy" and grew up to play The Daily Planet editor in Christopher Reeves' four "Superman" movies, died May 3. He was 88.

    Cooper reigned with Shirley Temple as one of the most popular child stars of the 1930s. Starting in comedy shorts, he rose to top ranks with "Skippy," a sentimental adaptation of a popular comic strip. He followed with such hits as "The Champ," "The Bowery," "Treasure Island" and "O'Shaughnessy's Boy," all co-starring Wallace Beery. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Jeff Conaway

    Jeff Conaway, who starred in "Taxi" and played Danny Zuko's buddy Kenickie in 1978's "Grease," died May 27 at age 60. The actor spent two weeks in a coma after he tried to treat himself with pain pills and cold medicine while in weakened health.

    Conaway had publicly battled addiction issues, and was treated by Dr. Drew Pinsky on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab." In 2008, he told radio host Howard Stern, "I've tried to commit suicide 21 times." (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. James Arness

    James Arness, the 6-foot-6 actor who towered over the television landscape for two decades as righteous Dodge City lawman Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke," died June 3. He was 88.

    The actor was 32 when friend John Wayne declined the lead role in "Gunsmoke" and recommended Arness instead. Afraid of being typecast, Arness initially rejected it. "Gunsmoke" went on to become the longest-running dramatic series in network history until NBC's "Law & Order" tied in 2010. (Anonymous / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Clarence Clemons

    Clarence Clemons, the legendary saxophonist in the E Street Band who played alongside Bruce Springsteen for the past 40 years, died on June 18 from complications from a stroke. He was 69.

    Clemons -- known affectionately to fans and friends as the Big Man -- was the backbone of the E Street Band. He played on countless Springsteen songs, including "Born To Run," "Thunder Road," "Jungleland," "Dancing In The Dark," "Badlands" and "The Promised Land." "He always lifted me up," Springsteen said in 1999. "Way, way, way up." (Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Ryan Dunn

    Ryan Dunn, one of the daredevil stars of the MTV series "Jackass," died in a fiery car crash in suburban Philadelphia on June 20. He was 34.

    The reality TV star known for his on-camera stunts was reportedly traveling more than 130 mph in his Porsche when it jumped a guardrail and flew into a wooded ravine, police said. The wreck also killed passenger Zachary Hartwell. (Michael Buckner / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Peter Falk

    Actor Peter Falk, known to millions as the rumpled star of the television crime drama "Columbo," died June 24 after reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.

    Falk first played Lt. Columbo (his first name was never clearly announced, though one badge image lists it as "Frank") in a 1968 TV movie. Its popularity led to a second film and then to the series, which ran from 1971 to 1978.

    Falk made his film debut in 1958 with "Wind Across the Everglades" and established himself as a talented character actor with his performance as the vicious killer Abe Reles in "Murder, Inc." (Bob Riha Jr / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Amy Winehouse

    The beehived soul-jazz diva whose self-destructive habits overshadowed a distinctive musical talent was found dead July 23 in her London home at age 27. The coroner later ruled she died as the unintended consequence of drinking too much alcohol.

    Winehouse shot to fame with the album "Back to Black," whose blend of jazz, soul, rock and classic pop was a global hit. It won five Grammys and made Winehouse, shown here in 2007, one of music's most recognizable stars. (Steffen Schmidt / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Nick Ashford

    Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson, died Aug. 22 at age 70. He had been suffering from throat cancer.

    The duo penned elegant, soulful classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others. Though they had some of their greatest success at Motown with classics like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Ross and "You're All I Need To Get By" by Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ashford & Simpson also created anthems for others, like "I'm Every Woman" by Khan (and later remade by Whitney Houston). Ashford & Simpson also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the best-known song they sang was the 1980s hit "Solid As A Rock." (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Cliff Robertson

    Actor Cliff Robertson, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of a mentally disabled man in "Charly," died of natural causes on Sept. 10, a day after turning 88.

    Robertson never elevated into the top ranks of leading men, but he remained a popular actor from the mid-1950s into the following century. His later roles included kindly Uncle Ben in the "Spider-Man" movies (Vince Bucci / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Andy Whitfield

    Actor Andy Whitfield, the 39-year-old star of the cable series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," died of lymphoma on Sept. 11.

    The actor -- who was born in Wales and moved to Australia in 1999 -- was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the legendary Thracian slave in "Spartacus," a role made famous by Kirk Douglas in the 1960 Stanley Kubrick film. Whitfield appeared in all 13 episodes of the first season that aired in 2010. (Jason Decrow / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Dolores Hope

    Dolores Hope, the wife of late entertainer Bob Hope, died on Sept. 19 of natural causes at the age of 102.

    She had a singing career in New York before she met her entertainer husband and married him. Together, they moved to Los Angeles so he could pursue a career in film and television. The were married 70 years until his death at age 100 in 2003.

    Like her husband, Delores Hope was a keen golfer and received multiple awards for her humanitarian work, especially for causes that benefited the poor. (Fred Prouser / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Heavy D

    Rapper Heavy D, the "overweight lover" who rose to stardom in the late 1980s, died Nov. 8 at age 44.

    Born Dwight Arrington Myers, he found success with his 1987 debut album, "Living Large" and even more with the 1989 followup "Big Tyme," which spawned hits such as "We Got Our Own Thang" and “Gyrlz, They Love Me."

    Just hours before collapsing outside his Beverly Hills home, his final tweet read, "BE INSPIRED." (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Bil Keane

    "Family Circus" cartoonist Bil Keane, who for more than half a century entertained readers with a mix of humor and traditional family values, died Nov. 8 at age 89.

    Keane started drawing the one-panel cartoon featuring Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, P.J. and their parents in February 1960. He said in a 1995 interview with The Associated Press that the cartoon endured because of its consistency and simplicity. "It’s reassuring, I think, to the American public to see the same family," he said

    The strip is featured in nearly 1,500 newspapers across the country. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Judy Lewis

    Judy Lewis, the secret daughter of stars Clark Gable and Loretta Young, died Nov. 25 of cancer at age 76.

    Lewis was raised in Los Angeles by Young as her adopted daughter and was an adult when she learned that Young, a devout Roman Catholic, conceived her during an affair with Gable in the 1930s.

    Lewis performed on Broadway and television in her own career. She also produced the soap opera "Texas," a spinoff of "Another World." In the 1980s, she earned psychology degrees, advocating for children's rights and counseling teenagers. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Patrice O'Neal

    Veteran stand-up comic Patrice O'Neal, who gained a wider following through TV and radio and helped roast Charlie Sheen, died Nov. 29 from complications of a stroke. He was 41.

    O'Neal appeared on Conan O'Brien's and David Letterman's TV shows and was a frequent guest on the "Opie & Anthony" radio show on Sirius XM. He had half-hour specials on Showtime and HBO and was the host of "Web Junk 20" on VH1. He appeared in numerous television shows including "Arrested Development," "Chappelle's Show" and "The Office." (Christopher Polk / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Dobie Gray

    Singer Dobie Gray, who had an enormous hit with 1973's "Drift Away," died on Dec. 6 at age 71.

    Gray's other songs included "Look at Me," "The 'In' Crowd," and "Loving Arms," but nothing hit as big as the wonderfully wistful "Drift Away," which sold over a million copies. The song is almost best known not by its title, but by the repeated lyric, "Gimme the Beat, Boys," often misheard as "Gimme the Beach Boys." (Steve Morley / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Harry Morgan

    Emmy-winning character actor Harry Morgan, whose portrayal of the fatherly Col. Potter on television's "M*A*S*H" highlighted a show business career that included nine other TV series, 50 films and the Broadway stage, died Dec. 7. He was 96.

    Morgan appeared in mostly supporting roles on the big screen, playing opposite such stars as Henry Fonda, John Wayne, James Garner, Elvis Presley and Dan Aykroyd.

    On television, he was more the comedic co-star, including roles on "December Bride," its spin-off "Pete and Gladys," as Sgt. Joe Friday's loyal partner in later "Dragnet" episodes and on CBS-TV's long-running "M*A*S*H" series. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
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