They each turned a moment of violence into a call to action. For James Brady, that moment was when he was shot and wounded by a would-be presidential assassin. For Chung Eun-yong, it was the killings of his two children during a Korean War massacre.
Brady took up a personal campaign for increased gun control after surviving a head wound when a man tried unsuccessfully to kill President Ronald Reagan, for whom Brady was press secretary. Chung began a years-long quest for justice, which eventually prompted the U.S. Army to acknowledge having killed civilian refugees at No Gun Ri.
Brady and Chung, who died within days of each other in August, are among the notables who left the world in 2014.
Others include political figures who catalyzed war and peace and scientists who changed our lives — the inventor of Corningware, for instance. And we lost beloved entertainers, some remembered for bringing audiences decades of smiles and tears and others who left the stage long before their time.
Among the political figures who died in 2014 was Ariel Sharon a hard-charging Israeli general and prime minister whose efforts to reshape the Middle East caused some to call him a war hero and others a war criminal. Another was Marion Barry, the former Washington, D.C., mayor whose accomplishments were often overshadowed by his arrest for drug use.
British politician Tony Benn, former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski and former Georgia president Eduard Shevardnadze also died this year.
Among scientists and innovators was Rostislav Belyakov, the chief designer of the Russian MiG fighter jets, Nobel Prize winner Martin Perl who discovered a subatomic particle and S. Donald Stookey, the Corningware inventor.
A feeling of untimeliness defined several of the deaths in the entertainment arena in 2014.
The suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams touched off a national conversation about depression. The overdose deaths of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, model Peaches Geldof and heavy metal frontman Dave Brockie were grim reminders of the scourge of drug use.
Other artists and entertainers included: actors Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Suchitra Sen, Harold Ramis, Lauren Bacall, Ken Takakura and Eli Wallach; musicians Pete Seeger, Sabah, Tommy Ramone, Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Cerati and Big Bank Hank; filmmakers Mike Nichols and Run Run Shaw; radio host Casey Kasem; comedian Joan Rivers; and writers Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka.
Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2014. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)
Juanita Moore, 99. Groundbreaking actress and an Academy Award nominee for her role as Lana Turner’s black friend in the classic weeper “Imitation of Life.” Jan. 1.
Saul Zaentz, 92. Music producer whose second career as a filmmaker brought him best-picture Academy Awards for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” ”Amadeus” and “The English Patient.” Jan. 3.
Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, 71. Soccer player who was born into poverty in Africa and became one of the world’s top scorers during the 1960s. Jan. 5.
Run Run Shaw, 107. Pioneering Hong Kong movie producer whose studio popularized the kung fu genre that influenced Quentin Tarantino and other Hollywood directors. Jan. 7.
Thomas V. Jones, 93. He was CEO of Northrop Corp. — now known as Northrop Grumman Corp. — for 30 years and took it to the top ranks of aerospace companies while weathering a series of scandals. Jan. 7. Pulmonary fibrosis.
Amiri Baraka, 79. Militant man of letters and tireless agitator whose blues-based, fist-shaking poems, plays and criticism made him a groundbreaking force in American culture. Jan. 9.
Franklin McCain, 73. He helped spark a movement of nonviolent sit-in protests across the South by occupying a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in 1960. Jan. 9.
Ariel Sharon, 85. Israeli general and prime minister who was admired and hated for his battlefield exploits and ambitions to reshape the Middle East. Jan. 11.
Russell Johnson, 89. Actor who played “The Professor,” the fix-it man who kept his fellow castaways on TV’s “Gilligan’s Island” supplied with gadgets. Jan. 16.
Hiroo Onoda, 91. Last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding in a jungle in the Philippines and surrender, 29 years after the end of World War II. Jan. 16.
Suchitra Sen, 82. Legendary Indian actress known for her memorable roles in both Bengali-language and Hindi Bollywood films. Jan. 17.
Jose Emilio Pacheco, 74. He was widely regarded as one of Mexico’s foremost poets and short story writers. Jan. 26.
Pete Seeger, 94. Banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage. Jan. 27.
Maximilian Schell, 83. Austrian-born actor and a fugitive from Adolf Hitler who became a Hollywood favorite and won an Oscar for his role as a defense attorney in “Judgment at Nuremberg.” Feb. 1.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46. He won a best actor Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in “Capote” and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and slightly dissipated comic figures. Feb. 2. Apparent heroin overdose.
William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke, 65. Husky-voiced lead singer of internationally popular reggae band Third World. Feb. 2. Leukemia.
Joan Mondale, 83. She burnished a reputation as “Joan of Art” for her passionate advocacy for the arts while her husband, Walter, was vice president and a U.S. ambassador. Feb. 3.
Ralph Kiner, 91. He slugged his way to the baseball Hall of Fame and then enjoyed a half-century career as a popular broadcaster. Feb. 6.
Els Borst, 81. Former Dutch health minister who drafted the nation’s landmark 2002 law permitting euthanasia. Feb. 10.
Shirley Temple, 85. Dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers. Feb. 10.
Arvella Schuller, 84. She helped her pastor husband found the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Southern California and “Hour of Power” televangelism program seen by millions around the globe. Feb. 11.
Sid Caesar, 91. Prodigiously talented pioneer of TV comedy who paired with Imogene Coca in sketches that became classics and who inspired a generation of famous writers. Feb. 12.
Ralph Waite, 85. He played the kind-and-steady patriarch of a tight-knit rural Southern family on the TV series “The Waltons.” Feb. 13.
Mavis Gallant, 91. Montreal-born writer who carved out an international reputation as a master short-story author while living in Paris for decades. Feb. 18.
Maria von Trapp, 99. Last surviving member and second-eldest daughter of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music.” Feb. 18.
Walter D. Ehlers, 92. During the D-Day invasion, he accomplished awe-inspiring acts of bravery, earning a Medal of Honor for knocking out two German machine-gun nests and saving countless Allied soldiers’ lives. Feb. 20.
Alice Herz-Sommer, 110. Believed to be the oldest Holocaust survivor. Feb. 23.
Harold Ramis, 69. Comedy actor, director and writer best known for his roles in movies such as “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes.” Feb. 24.
Henry Casso, 82. Longtime civil rights leader in New Mexico who worked his way out of an orphanage to become a noted educational scholar and a founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Feb. 25.
Huber Matos Benitez, 95. He helped lead the Cuban Revolution as one of Fidel Castro’s key lieutenants before his efforts to resign from the burgeoning communist government landed him in prison for 20 years. Feb. 27.
Rostislav Belyakov, 94. Chief designer of the Russian MiG fighter jets. Feb. 28.