Peter Robbins, 65, the original voice of beloved Peanuts character Charlie Brown, has died. Robbins died by suicide, according to a statement his friend and agent, Dylan Novak, sent to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. It is unclear when Robbins died.
Robbins began voicing Charlie Brown in 1963 and is credited for his work on the holiday classics “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.” As a child actor, his credits included playing Patricia Harty’s son Alexander Bumstead in the late 1960s comedy “Blondie.” He also appeared in television’s “The Munsters,” “Get Smart” and “The Boatniks.” Robbins long suffered from mental illness, Novak said, and was open about it.
Sheldon Silver, 77, the former New York Assembly speaker who was one of the most powerful figures in state government for two decades before his 2018 conviction on corruption charges, died Monday, the federal Bureau of Prisons said. He had been serving his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, but he was in a hospital in nearby Ayer, Massachusetts. The Manhattan Democrat was serving a more than six-year sentence for using his clout to benefit real estate developers.
Fatma Girik, 79, a beloved Turkish screen actress of the 1960s and 1970s and one-time district mayor, died Monday in a hospital in Istanbul of multiple organ failure while being treated for COVID-19-related pneumonia.
Along with Turkan Soray, Filiz Akin and Hulya Kocyigit, Girik was considered one of the four most iconic actresses of the Turkish film industry. She starred in some 180 films, often portraying strong, combative characters. In 1989, Girik was elected mayor of Istanbul’s Sisli district for the now-defunct Social Democratic Populist Party. Girik held the position until 1994. In more recent years, she appeared in several Turkish TV series.
Edgar S. Cahn, 86, a lawyer who sought to harness the power of the law to promote social justice, helping establish the largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans and training like-minded future lawyers as a founder of the old Antioch School of Law in Washington, died Jan. 23 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. The cause was congestive heart failure.
Justice can be achieved, as Cahn demonstrated throughout his career, through the unglamorous but important work of taking on clients — regardless of their ability to pay — and guiding them through Byzantine processes of the law and bureaucracy to fight such challenges as an eviction notice, the repossession of a car or the denial of government benefits.
Thierry Mugler, 73, the outrageous, genre-busting French designer who dominated European runways in the late 1980s and early 1990s, died Jan. 23. Further details were not available. Mugler, born in Strasbourg, France, was one of the principal architects of a late 1980s aesthetic that married S&M and high fashion. His silhouette was a kind of inverse triangle with giant shoulders and a nipped waist. He loved latex, leather and curves. Mugler’s brand was purchased by Clarins, the beauty conglomerate, in 1997.
Don Wilson, 88, the co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the instrumental guitar band The Ventures, surf rockers who helped put Washington state on the rock ’n’ roll map, died Jan. 22 in Tacoma of natural causes.
The band’s hits included “Walk, Don’t Run,” and the theme song for “Hawaii Five-O.” They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. The Ventures had 14 singles in the Billboard Hot 100. With more than 100 million records sold, the Ventures are the best-selling instrumental band of all time.
Ventures founders Bob Bogle and Wilson were bricklayers when they bought guitars and chord books at a pawnshop in Tacoma in 1958. The pioneering band’s rise came years before the careers of fellow Washingtonians and eventual Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Jimi Hendrix and Heart. The Ventures were an integral part of the Pacific Northwest’s garage rock boom in the 1960s, alongside acts like Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Kingsmen out of Portland, and fellow Tacoma bands The Fabulous Wailers and The Sonics.
Thich Nhat Hanh, 95, Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was one of the world’s most influential Zen masters, spreading messages of mindfulness, compassion and nonviolence, died Jan. 22 at home in the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. The death was announced by Plum Village, his organization of monasteries. He suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2014 that left him unable to speak, though he could communicate through gestures.
The prolific author, poet, teacher and peace activist was exiled from Vietnam after opposing the war in the 1960s and became a leading voice in a movement he called “engaged Buddhism,” the application of Buddhist principles to political and social reform. In 2018, he returned home to Hue to live out his last days.
Dennis Smith, 81, a teenage hellion and high-school dropout who transformed himself into a famed New York City firefighter, a gritty bestselling author and a leading advocate for the safety of his colleagues and the public, died Jan. 21 in Venice, Florida. His death in a hospital was caused by complications of COVID-19, his son Sean Smith said.
The first of 16 books, “Report from Engine Co. 82” (1972), was a chronicle of the city’s busiest firehouse. The book sold some 3 million copies, ennobled Smith as a champion of his profession and inspired countless men and women to become firefighters. His “Report From Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center” (2002) was No. 2 on The New York Times’ bestseller list.
Nino Cerruti, 91, the dashing Italian fashion designer and textile scion who modernized menswear with his soft, unstructured tailoring and dressed generations of movie and television stars on screen and off, died Jan. 15 in Vercelli, Italy. His death, in a hospital, resulted from complications of hip surgery, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Cerruti was “the founding father of the postwar designer revolution,” Suzy Menkes, fashion critic of The International Herald Tribune, wrote in 2001, adding that he had presaged “the Made in Italy revolution, in which traditional workmanship was parlayed into a streamlined factory-made luxury product.” Cerruti gave wings to many designers such as Giorgio Armanu and Narciso Rodriguez.
Jana Bennett, 66, influential American-born broadcast executive and program-maker at the BBC who helped redefine the presentation of science on television, died Jan. 11 at home in Oxfordshire, England. The cause was glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer, which was diagnosed in 2019.
She began her more than three-decade career at the BBC in 1979 as a news trainee and rose to become director of BBC Television. During her tenure, the BBC introduced several new formats and programs, including “Sherlock,” “Planet Earth,” “Strictly Come Dancing,” and a modernized “Doctor Who.”
Norman Winn, 82, a Seattle attorney and mountaineer, and one of the biggest defenders of Pacific Northwest wildlife, died late last month. Winn spent decades climbing Washington state’s tallest peaks, protecting its wilderness from deforestation and mining, and lobbying for legislation that to this day protects parks, lakes and wildlife reserves as far as the Arctic Circle.
He was a managing partner of Smith, Brucker, Winn and Elhert from 1974 to 1994. Over several decades, Winn became involved in a dizzying number of conservation groups and policy efforts, all while climbing so many mountains that he became a highly respected figure in the outdoor community. His longest tenure was with The Mountaineers, where he served as the organization’s trustee in 1985 and 1986, board president from 1975 to 1977 and, for several years, chair of the outdoor division and conservation.
Winn worked with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., during the Plum Creek land exchange, which was approved by Congress in 1999 and involved swapping with a timber company more than 42,000 acres of forest land in the Cascade Mountains. Of the many books he helped publish, “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land” was possibly the most impactful, as it temporarily prevented — with the help of Sens. Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. — oil drilling in parts of the Arctic.