Beckett Cypher, 21, the son of Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge and former partner Julie Cypher, has died. Etheridge said opioid addiction was behind Beckett Cypher’s death. “My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today,” she said in a statement Wednesday. Beckett Cypher and his sister, Bailey Jean Cypher, were conceived with sperm from Rock & Roll Hall of Famer David Crosby. Etheridge, 58, also has 13-year-old twins.
Carolyn Reidy, 71, a visionary publishing executive who steered Simon & Schuster through a deep recession and a digital revolution, died Tuesday in Southampton, New York. The cause was a heart attack. At her death, at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, she was chief executive of the company and one of the few women in the industry to lead a major publishing house. She was known to be tough and generous and for her meticulous engagement with every aspect of the publishing process, from cover art and font type to publicity and marketing.
Aimee Stephens, 59, one of the plaintiffs at the center of a Supreme Court decision that will determine if employees can be discriminated against for being LGBTQ, died Tuesday at home in Detroit of complications from kidney disease. The former funeral director was fired in 2013 after telling her employer she was transgender.
Jerry Stiller, 92, who for decades teamed with wife Anne Meara in a beloved comedy duo and then reached new heights in his senior years as the high-strung Frank Costanza on the classic sitcom “Seinfeld” and the basement-dwelling father-in-law on “The King of Queens,” died Monday, announced his son Ben Stiller.
Jerry Stiller was a multi-talented performer who appeared in an assortment of movies, playing Walter Matthau’s police sidekick in the thriller “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” and Divine’s husband Wilbur Turnblad in John Waters’ twisted comedy “Hairspray.”
Betty Wright, 66, the singer-songwriter, producer and key player in the Miami funk sound of the ’70s best known for her 1971 soul-disco classic “Clean Up Woman,” died May 10 at her home in Miami of cancer. Wright was also responsible for the R&B classics “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker,” “Shoorah Shoorah” and “Tonight Is the Night” and won a Grammy in 1974 for the disco-infused song “Where Is the Love?”
As a songwriter, arranger and producer, Wright’s list of credits included Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper, Jennifer Lopez, Erykah Badu, Bob Marley, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, Keyshia Cole, Nas, P. Diddy, David Byrne and Kelly Clarkson, among others.
Little Richard, 87, the flamboyant, piano-pounding showman who injected sheer abandon into rock ‘n’ roll in its early days, only to abandon the music again and again because it conflicted with his religious yearnings, died May 9.
In hits such as “Tutti-Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” he pushed the limits of tempo and vocal intensity, creating frantic explosions of sonic confetti. His records entered a pure, primal realm that transcended verbal expression, embodied in his falsetto whoops and signature incantation: a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom.
His raucous sound fused gospel fervor and R&B sexuality into an enduring template, exerting a profound influence on the Beatles. Other notable artists with an affinity for Richard include Bruce Springsteen, James Brown (who succeeded him in one of his early bands), Jimi Hendrix (one of his backup musicians in the mid-’60s) and John Fogerty.
Paul Vasquez, 57, whose ecstasy at the sight of a double rainbow brought joy to tens of millions of viewers on YouTube, died May 9 at a hospital in Mariposa County, California. He shared on Facebook that he was being tested for COVID-19 a couple of days before he died in the emergency room.
Roy Horn, 75, who levitated tigers, made elephants disappear, turned himself into a python and mesmerized Las Vegas audiences for decades as half of the famed illusionist team Siegfried & Roy, died from complications of COVID-19 on May 8, in Las Vegas.
The German-born performers’ long-running production, one of the most successful in Las Vegas history, ended Oct. 3, 2003, when Mr. Horn, on his 59th birthday, was mauled by a 400-pound white tiger that lunged at his throat and dragged him offstage. He underwent lengthy rehabilitation.