By The Associated Press
2013-12-31 10:42 PM
-- Barbara Piasecka Johnson, 76, a Polish farmer's daughter who emigrated to the United States, a maid who worked for a wealthy American heir, a third wife who inherited much of the Johnson & Johnson drug fortune after a sensational court battle with her six stepchildren, near Wroclaw, Poland after a long illness.
Milo O'Shea, 86, an Irish actor whose many roles on stage and screen included a friar in Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet," an evil scientist in "Barbarella" and a Supreme Court justice on "The West Wing," in New York. No cause of death was given
-- Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, 85, a German-born two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter and award-winning novelist, In New York after a long illness.
-- Georges Corvington, 88, a prominent Haitian historian best known for his exhaustive study of the Caribbean nation's capital of Port-au-Prince, in that city of heart failure.
-- Victor Carranza, 77, known as Colombia's "emerald czar" who survived at least two assassination attempts and avoided criminal conviction despite his alleged role as a leading promoter of far-right militias, in Bogota. He had lung cancer.
-- Roger Ebert, the most famous and most popular American film reviewer of his time who became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism and, on his long-running TV program, wielded the nation's most influential thumb in judging movies, in Chicago. He had cancer.
-- Anna Merz, 83, a conservationist who sought to protect the rhinoceros from systematic poaching that has severely depleted its numbers in Africa, in South Africa. No cause of death was given.
Lilly Pulitzer, 81, a fashion designer known in part for starting her own line of tropical print dresses by accident, in Palm Beach, Florida. No cause of death was given.
-- Margaret Thatcher, 87, the combative "Iron Lady" who infuriated European allies, found a fellow believer in Ronald Reagan and transformed her country by a ruthless dedication to free markets in 11 bruising years as prime minister, in London after a stroke.
-- Annette Funicello, who became a child star as a perky, cute-as-a-button Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, then teamed up with Frankie Avalon in a string of '60s fun-in-the-sun movies with titles like "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "Bikini Beach," in Bakersfield, California, of complications from multiple sclerosis.
-- Sara Montiel, one of Spain's most important film actresses and the first to have crossed the Atlantic to also become a Hollywood star, in Madrid. No cause of death was given.
-- Francois-Wolff Ligonde, 85, a former Haitian bishop who presided over the lavish wedding of former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier and was viewed as a supporter of the regime, in Haiti. No cause of death was given, but he had suffered from heart complications and diabetes.
-- Robert Edwards, 87, a Nobel prizewinner from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby and has since brought millions of people into the world, near Cambridge, England of apparent natural causes.
-- Jonathan Winters,87, the cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, in Montecito, California, of natural causes.
-- Anne Firestone Ball, 79, tire company heir and philanthropist in Bridgeport, Connecticut, of complications after surgery for injuries she sustained in a kitchen fire in her Greenwich home.
-- Colin Davis 85, the former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and one of Britain's elder statesmen of classical music, in London after a short illness.
-- Efraim "Efi" Arazi, 76, pioneer of Israel's powerful high-tech industry who helped develop technology that allowed for a video recording of the first moon landing, in Israel. No cause of death was given.
-- Sal Castro, 79, a social studies teacher who played a leading role in 1960s Chicano student walkouts in California, in Los Angeles. He had thyroid cancer.
-- Pedro Ramirez Vasquez, 94, an architect who designed some of Mexico's biggest landmark modernist structures, including the new Basilica of Guadalupe, the Anthropology Museum and the Azteca Stadium, all in Mexico City, in Mexico City of pneumonia.
-- Richard LeParmentier, 66, a character actor who as a young Death Star commander learned the hard way that Darth Vader brooks no disrespect, in Austin, Texas. No cause of death was given.
-- George Beverly Shea,104, whose booming baritone voice echoed through stadiums, squares and souls during a decades-long career with evangelist Billy Graham, in Asheville, North Carolina, after a brief unspecified illness.
-- Ali Kafi, 84, who led Algeria for two years after the 1992 military coup that aimed to stop Islamists from winning a national election, in Geneva. No cause of death was given.
-- Storm Thorgerson, 69, an English graphic designer whose eye-popping album art for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin encapsulated the spirit of 1970s psychedelia, in Britain. No cause of death was given.
-- Alan Wood, 909, a World War II veteran credited with providing the flag in the famous flag-raising by U.S. Marines on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, in Sierra Madre, California. No cause of death was given.
-- Robert Earl Holding, 86, a billionaire whose business empire included ownership of Sinclair Oil and two world-class ski resorts in the western U.S., in Salt Lake City of complications from a stroke.
-- E.L. Konigsburg, 83, an author who twice won one of the top U.S. honors for children's literature, in Falls Church, Virginia, after suffering a stroke a week ago.
-- Al Neuharth, 89, who changed the look of American newspapers when he founded USA Today, filling it with breezy, easy-to-comprehend articles, attention-grabbing graphics and stories that often didn't require readers to jump to a different page, in Coco Beach, Florida. No cause of death was given.
-- Alfredo Guevara, 87, a prominent Cuban filmmaker, intellectual and cultural leader who was a close associate of Fidel and Raul Castro when they were young rebel leaders, in Havana of a heart attack.
-- Deanna Durbin, 91, a star whose songs and smile made her one of the biggest box office draws of Hollywood's Golden Age, near Paris. No cause of death was given.
-- Chrissy Amphlett, 53, raunchy lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls whose hit "I Touch Myself" brought her international fame in the early 1990s, in New York of complications from breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.
-- Richie Havens, 72, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at the 1969 Woodstock festival that continues to define the popular culture of the 1960s, in New Jersey after a heart attack.
-- Jagdish Sharan Verma, 80, the former Indian chief justice who helped lead the charge for tough new laws to protect women in the wake of a gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus, in a New Delhi suburb of multi-organ failure after a brief illness.
-- Shamshad Begum, 94, a legendary Indian singer whose clear and pure voice touched the hearts of many listeners, in Mumbai. No cause of death was given.
-- Pierre Sadek, 76, Lebanon's leading caricaturist who was famous for his decades of work poking fun at politicians, in Beirut after a long illness.
Laurie Kay, 67, a South African pilot best known for flying a Boeing 747 passenger jet low over a Johannesburg stadium before the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, near Kruger, South Africa, of an apparent heart attack.
-- Aloysius Jin Luxian, 96, who revived the Roman Catholic church in China's financial hub of Shanghai after years of Maoist persecution, in Shanghai. No cause of death was given.
Janos Starker ,88, a Hungarian-born, award-wining cellist of international renown best known for his command of Bach, in Bloomington, Indiana, after months of declining health. No cause of death was given.
-- Sandor Racz, 80, a labor activist and leading figure during Hungary's anti-Soviet Revolution of 1956, in Budapest where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness at an oncology institute.