Remarkable Deaths In 2021!
Remembering the notable people that passed away this year and left us with their contributions to science, art, and humanity.
From “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” through “The Golden Girls,” Betty White (born January 17, 1922, died December 31, 2021) was one of television’s most recognisable and beloved faces for a generation. She played against the lovely image of her smiling eyes and dimpled cheeks on numerous occasions.
When White was a young man, he performed on the radio and on an experimental television station in Los Angeles during the Great Depression. She began hosting a live variety show called “Hollywood on Television” in 1949 after serving in the American Women’s Voluntary Services during World War II. The Betty White Show and the sitcom “Life With Elizabeth” were two of her many roles in the 1950s.
On such series as “What’s My Line?” and “It Takes Two,” among others, she met her husband, host Allen Ludden, who was also the show’s producer.
One screenplay for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” portrayed Sue Ann Nivens as “a sickeningly lovely Betty White type” during the show’s fourth season. As well as devious, conniving, and absurdly lusty, this character is sweet. When she won two of her five Emmys for the role, White had cemented herself as a series mainstay.
The “nymphomaniac” of the area was “her,” White said in 2011 on “Sunday Morning.” “They’d also quiz my husband, Allen Ludden, on how close Sue Ann is to Betty. Betty can’t cook since she doesn’t have a kitchen, therefore they’re basically the same person.”
She went on to play Rose Nylund in “The Golden Girls,” a role she won a third Emmy for.
White, a self-described workaholic, continued to appear as a guest star on various shows, write more than a half-dozen books, and raise money for animal welfare organisations. TV show “The Pet Set” was written, produced, and hosted by her.
For more than three decades, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, a lion of the Senate (born on December 2, 1939, and died on December 28, 2021), was recognised as one of Congress’s toughest dealmakers. “I would rather dance than fight, but I know how to fight,” he famously said, referring to his amateur boxing career.
The son of an alcoholic father who took his own life while Reid was a child in Searchlight, Nevada, where he allegedly claimed there were 13 brothels and not much else, Reid grew up in poverty. His mother worked as a prostitute’s housekeeper. He would work as a Capitol Police officer at night while attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C.’s school of law.
Reid was elected to the Nevada Assembly at the age of 28 and, at the age of 30, became the state’s youngest lieutenant governor. Reid was previously the target of a rudimentary vehicle bomb detonated because he was the former head of the Nevada Gaming Commission and had participated in sting operations against organised crime.
A knee injury ended his playing career. John Madden (April 10, 1936 – December 28, 2021) coached the Oakland Raiders to seven AFC crowns and a Super Bowl win in 1977. His 103-32-7 regular-season record is the best among all NFL coaches with over 100 wins.
And he never stopped coaching, making a complicated game exciting and understandable for millions of spectators on CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC. A funny sound effect (a “Boom!” or “Doink!” at the proper occasions) and a video marker tracking player movements garnered him 16 Emmys in 30 years on the air. Between 1979 and 2009, he worked 11 Super Bowls, retiring after XLIII.
In 1988, he launched “John Madden Football” (later “Madden NFL”), an EA Sports game that has sold over 130 million copies.
“Are you a coach, a broadcaster, or a video game guy?” Madden revealed his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction date. “I’m a coach.”
Reid was elected to the Nevada Assembly aged 28 and became the state’s youngest lieutenant governor at 30. Former Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Reid was once attacked with a crude vehicle Bomb.
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Sandra Jaffe (March 10, 1938 – December 27, 2021) and her husband Allan stopped in New Orleans to seek for jazz albums in 1961 on their way back to Philadelphia following a Jack Kerouac-style honeymoon in Mexico. They found a French Quarter art gallery with free jazz concerts. A few years later, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band relocated to New Orleans, where they helped found the New Orleans Society for Preservation of Traditional Jazz.
The ensemble has been improvising brass band jazz for 60 years, many of them from generations of New Orleans musicians. They’ve also travelled the world, spreading New Orleans jazz.
Despite Louisiana’s segregation laws, The Hall became the South’s first fully integrated music venue. After her husband (who played the tuba) joined the band on stage in 2014, Sandra Jaffe said they both had to face the music. “Allan and I would be at night court a lot,” she joked. As Judge Babylon banged his gavel, rebuking the carpetbaggers, declaring, ‘We don’t mix cream with our coffee in this here town!’
A uncommon site for mixed bands to play and for Blacks and Whites to socialise even after the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended legal discrimination.
President George W. Bush honoured Sandra and her son, Ben Jaffe, the Preservation Hall’s artistic director (who also plays sousaphone and string bass).
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
South Africa’s first Black Archbishop, Desmond Tutu (October 7, 1931-December 26, 2021), courageously battled apartheid’s harsh racism.
Tutu, a small pastor from the settlement of Klerksdorp, was a global crusader for racial equality and human rights who would receive the Nobel Peace Prize. During the 1980s, when a state of emergency gave police and military vast powers, his commitment to overthrow the apartheid system nonviolently (including pushing for sanctions against South Africa in response to its aparthed restrictions) only grew stronger.
His famous words are: “White people don’t want to hear this, but the government is the biggest source of violence and terrorism in this country. Stability in this country will remain a fantasy as long as the current system continues.”
While serving as a clerk at the Supreme Court, Sarah Weddington (February 5, 1945 – December 26, 2021) argued for Roe v. Wade, which was decided 7-2 in 1973 and legalised abortion.
When Weddington and former classmate Linda Coffee filed a class action lawsuit against a Texas statute that largely outlawed abortions, they were both fresh graduates of the University of Texas Law School. They brought the lawsuit against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade on behalf of “Jane Roe,” a pregnant woman whose real name was Norma McCorvey.
He’s been dubbed “the father of sociobiology” and “the new Darwin,” and the most of his accomplishments can be traced back to ants. Edward Osborne Wilson (June 10, 1929-December 26, 2021) was a biologist and naturalist who used myrmecology (the study of ants) to test and rewrite theories about evolution, ecology, social orders, and human nature. Wilson believed that genetics has played a greater role in human development than culture or religion, and he died on December 26, 2021.
His fascination with ants stems from an eye injury he suffered as a child, which caused him to be better at concentrating on minute insects rather than larger birds and mammals. An ant’s ability to communicate with one another through the use of chemical molecules known as pheromones was one of his initial discoveries.
Seligman’s first three books – “The Insect Societies,” “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,” and “On Human Nature” (which won the first of his two Pulitzer Prizes) – investigated the evolution of insect communities and behaviours, and made comparisons between insects and vertebrates, as well as between insects and humans, in terms of developing social structures and human-like characteristics such as altruism.
There are many personalities who died in 2021 but these are the few important ones who died back in 2021.