Jacques Chirac, 86, who molded the legacy of Charles de Gaulle into a personal power base that made him one of the dominant leaders of France across three decades and a vocal advocate of European unity, died Thursday. At his death, he was most remembered for his defiant stand against the U.S.-led war in Iraq, his ability to preside over a state in which power was divided between the left and the right — comity that is hardly imaginable today — and his championing the European Union.
Robert Hunter, 78, the man behind the poetic and mystical words for “Truckin,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Box of Rain,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “St. Stephen,” and many other Grateful Dead songs, died Monday at his Northern California home. Hunter released nearly a dozen albums of his own, co-wrote songs with Bob Dylan and published several volumes of poetry and two books translating the works of German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Although proficient on a number of instruments, Hunter never appeared on stage during the group’s 30-year run that ended with the 1995 death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, his principal songwriting partner.
George Lardner Jr., 85, an investigative reporter at The Washington Post who won a 1993 Pulitzer Prize for a story about the murder of his daughter by an abusive former boyfriend and who covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the civil-rights movement, the Watergate affair, bank malfeasance and assorted high-profile trials and scandals, died Sept. 21 after several strokes at a hospice center in Aldie, Virginia.
Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, 85, the 1955 Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State and running back for the Detroit Lions, died Friday in Tampa, Florida.
Cassady also played baseball at Ohio State and was a longtime coach in the New York Yankees organization. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. When he left Ohio State, he held school records for career rushing yards, all-purpose yards and scoring.
Cassady, whose No. 40 jersey number was retired by Ohio State in 2001, was nicknamed “Hopalong” by local sports writers in his first game when he scored three touchdowns in a 33-13 win over Indiana and “hopped all over the field like the performing cowboy.” It was an ode to the movie actor Hopalong Cassidy, the cowboy star of the 1950s who would pose with the football star for a memorable photo at the 1955 Rose Bowl.
John Keenan, 99, the police official who led New York City’s manhunt for the Son of Sam killer and eventually took a case-solving confession from David Berkowitz, died of heart failure Sept. 19. He was the New York Police Department’s chief of detectives during the killings, which terrified the city in 1976 and 1977 as a gunman stalked his victims with a .44-caliber handgun, killing six and wounding seven others.
Anthony Mancinelli, 108, a dedicated barber who never stopped cutting hair — except to join the Army and serve in World War II — and in his 90s was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest working barber, died on Sept. 19, at his home in New Windsor, N.Y.
Suzanne Whang, 56, actress, comedian and former host of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” died Sept. 17 after a long battle with breast cancer. She served as the host and narrator for “House Hunters” from 1999 to 2008. She also hosted the spinoff series “House Hunters International,” from 2006 to 2008.