Notable deaths last week
Ariel Sharon was a farmer-turned-soldier, a soldier-turned-politician, a politician-turned-statesman -- a hard-charging Israeli who built Jewish settlements on war-won land, but didn't shy away from destroying them when he deemed them no longer useful.
Sharon died Saturday, eight years after a debilitating stroke put him into a coma.
His death was greeted with the same strong feelings he evoked in life. Israelis called him a war hero. His enemies called him a war criminal.
Robert Nugent, a Catholic priest who became nationally known for his pastoral work with gay men and lesbians, a ministry that was officially ended in 1999 when the Vatican declared it "erroneous and dangerous," has died at a religious retirement community in Milwaukee. He was 76.
Larry Speakes, who spent six years as acting press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, died Friday in his native Mississippi. He was 74.
Speakes became Reagan's acting spokesman after Press Secretary James Brady was wounded during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.
Peter Roussel, who worked with Speakes in the Ford and Reagan press offices, said Speakes conducted more than 2,000 press briefings. "Larry set high performance standards for himself and for those who worked for him," Roussel said.
Former Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter and columnist Bill Conlin, whose long career came to an end following multiple allegations of child abuse, has died. He was 79.
Franklin McCain, who helped spark a movement of nonviolent sit-in protests across the South by occupying a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter in 1960, has died, his son said Friday. He was 73.
Franklin McCain was one of four freshmen students from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro who sat down at the local "whites only" lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960.
"The best feeling of my life," McCain said in 2010, was "sitting on that dumb stool."
"I felt so relieved," he added. "I felt so at peace and so self-accepted at that very moment. Nothing has ever happened to me since then that topped that good feeling of being clean and fully accepted and feeling proud of me."
Robert A. Pastor, an influential scholar and policymaker who spent decades working for better inter-American relations and democracy and free elections in the Western Hemisphere, has died after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 66.
Amiri Baraka, the militant man of letters and tireless agitator whose blues-based, fist-shaking poems, plays and criticism made him a provocative and groundbreaking force in American culture, has died. He was 79.
Thomas V. Jones, who was Northrop Corp.'s chief executive officer for 30 years and took it to the top ranks of aerospace companies during the Cold War while weathering a series of scandals, has died. He was 93.
Nobel laureate and longtime Northwestern University economics professor Dale Mortensen has died.
Mortensen shared the Nobel economics prize with two other Americans in 2010 for their work explaining how unemployment can remain high despite a large number of job openings.
Mortensen died Thursday at his home in Wilmette, said his personal assistant and close family friend, Sue Triforo. He was 74.
Former NFL and Florida State offensive tackle Todd Williams was found dead in a Tampa Bay area hotel this past week.
The 35-year-old Bradenton native had reportedly complained to his mother of feeling sick on Friday. She found his body Monday.
Emmy-nominated actress Carmen Zapata, who started a foundation to promote Hispanic writers because jobs were so scarce, has died of heart problems, colleagues say. She was 86.
Zapata started her career in 1945 in the Broadway musical "Oklahoma" and went on to perform in "Bells Are Ringing," "Guys and Dolls" and many plays.
Run Run Shaw built a Hong Kong movie and TV empire that nurtured rising talents like actor Chow Yun-fat and director John Woo, inspired Hollywood filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and produced the 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner."
Shaw's prolific studio helped bring kung fu films to the world but he also passed on the chance to sign one of the biggest names in that genre: the young Bruce Lee.
His studio gave his age as 107.
His Shaw Brothers Studios, once among the world's largest, churned out nearly 1,000 movies and gave young directors like Woo their start. He produced a handful of U.S. films that also included the 1979 disaster thriller "Meteor."
Larry D. Mann, who voiced Yukon Cornelius in the animated Christmas favorite "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," has died. He was 91.
Karel Gut, a high-scoring defenseman who also coached Czechoslovakia to two world ice hockey titles and an Olympic silver medal, has died. He was 86.
Three-time English champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe has died. He was 72.
Eusebio, the Portuguese soccer star who was born into poverty in Africa but became an international sporting icon and was voted one of the 10 best players of all time, has died at age 71.