A tribute

Michael Rhee, Staff Writer


David Bowie, singer, songwriter, and actor. One of the best-selling music artists in the world, Bowie first earned his popularity in 1969 with his song “Space Oddity.” He emerged in 1792 as the flamboyant Ziggy Stardust, and had incredible success in both the UK and the US, reaching his commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance. Bowie remained a prolific musician until he died of liver cancer on January 10 at the age of 69.

   Harper Lee, bestselling writer of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Published in 1960, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was immediately successful and won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize, as well as earning Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature in 2007. Her work gave readers a new perspective towards life in the Deep South of America’s 1930’s, exploring the irrationalities of adults regarding racial bias. Lee died in her sleep on February 19 at the age of 89.

   Prince, singer and songwriter. Known for his flamboyant performances, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal ranges, Prince sold over 100 million records worldwide. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, an American Music Award, and an Academy award for the film Purple Rain. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 (his first year of eligibility), he was ranked at 27 on a list of 100 Greatest Artists by Rolling Stone. He died on April 21 at the age of 57.

   Muhammad Ali, professional boxer and activist. Widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century, he won his first gold medal at age 18 in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. In 1964, he won the WBA, WBC, and lineal heavyweight titles from Sonny Liston, and then converted to Islam. Changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, he set an example of racial pride for African Americans during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. He later refused to be conscripted into the US military during the Vietnam War, and was arrested and stripped of his boxing titles. Ranked the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, Ali was eventually diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984. He died on June 3 at the age of 74.

   Anton Yelchin, actor for the iconic Pavel Chekov in Star Trek. Although he was born to a Russian Jewish family in Leningrad, Yelchin relocated to the US as an infant. His career in the performing arts began in the late 1990’s as he appeared in several television roles and two Hollywood films. His role as Jacob Clarke in the Taken miniseries significantly furthered his career as a child actor, and he appeared in multiple films from 2007 to 2016, including Terminator Salvation, The Smurfs, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond. Yelchin was killed by a freak accident on June 19 at the age of 27.

   Arnold Palmer, professional golfer. Nicknamed “The King,” Palmer was regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history. With a humble background and plain-spoken popularity, he changed the perception of golf from an upper-class pastime to a sport accessible to the middle and working classes. He was part of the “Big Three” in golf during the 1960’s, and is credited with popularizing and commercializing the sport around the globe (along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player). Between 1955 and 1973, he won 62 PGA Tour titles, placing him at fifth on the Tour’s all-time victory list. In 1974, he was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Palmer died on September 25, while awaiting heart surgery, at the age of 87.

   Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Known as an actress with “European flair and style,” as well as a charming and graceful personality, Gabor was a popular actress and acted in multiple films from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. She was also a regular guest on television shows, from the Dean Martin Roasts, Hollywood Squares, and the Late Night show with David Letterman. She died on December 18 at the age of 99.
   Carrie Fisher, American actress, writer, and humorist. Her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars rocketed her into popularity after the film’s commercial success. She appeared in various films from then on, including The Blues Brothers, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. Fisher was also one of the top script doctors in Hollywood, doing uncredited polishes on movies between 1991 and 2005. George Lucas hired her to polish scripts for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the dialogue for the Star Wars prequels. She voiced Angela on Family Guy, wrote and performed her one-woman play Wishful Drinking, and published her autobiography, also titled Wishful Drinking. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and was addicted to cocaine and prescription medication. Fisher died on December 27, following a medical emergency while en route from London to Los Angeles, at the age of 60.