Famous 2004 Deaths

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1.
Ronald Reagan
Production Manager, General Electric Theater
Ronald Reagan is, arguably, the most successful actor in history, having catapulted from a career as a Warner Bros. contract player and television star, into serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild, the governorship of California (1967-1975), and lastly, two terms as President of the United States (1981-1989)...
 
2.
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949...
 
3.
Christopher Reeve
Actor, Superman
Christopher D'Olier Reeve was born September 25, 1952, in New York City, to journalist Barbara Johnson (née Barbara Pitney Lamb) and writer/professor F.D. Reeve (Franklin D'Olier Reeve). He came from an upper-class family; his paternal grandfather was CEO of Prudential Financial, and one of his maternal great-grandfathers was Supreme Court justice Mahlon Pitney...
 
5.
Janet Leigh
Actress, Psycho
Janet Leigh was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Janet was a bright child who skipped several grades and finished high school when she was 15. A lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theaters. She was a student, studying music and psychology...
 
6.
Jerry Orbach
Jerry was born in the Bronx. His father, Leon, was a former vaudevillian actor, and his mother, Emily, was a radio singer. His family moved frequently and eventually settled in Waukegan, Illinois where he went to high school. The constant moving made him the new kid on the block and forced him to become "a chameleon" to blend in his new settings...
 
7.
Rodney Dangerfield
Rodney Dangerfield was born Jacob Cohen on November 22, 1921 in Deer Park, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. He was the son of Dorothy "Dotty" (Teitelbaum) and Phillip Cohen, who performed in vaudeville under the name Phil Roy. His father was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents, and his mother was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant...
 
8.
Peter Ustinov
Actor, Robin Hood
Peter Ustinov was a two-time Academy Award-winning film actor, a director, writer, journalist and raconteur. He wrote and directed many acclaimed stage plays and led numerous international theatrical productions. He was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov on April 16, 1921, in Swiss Cottage, London...
 
9.
Howard Keel
Actor, Dallas
He was the Errol Flynn and Clark Gable of "golden age" movie musicals back in the 1950s. With a barrel-chested swagger and cocky, confident air, not to mention his lusty handsomeness and obvious athleticism, 6'4" brawny baritone Howard Keel had MGM's loveliest songbirds swooning helplessly for over a decade in what were some of the finest musical films ever produced...
 
10.
Mercedes McCambridge
Actress, The Exorcist
Mercedes McCambridge is a highly-talented radio performer who won a best supporting Actress Oscar for her film debut. Mercedes McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, to Marie (Mahaffry) and John Patrick McCambridge, a farmer. She was of mostly Irish (with a small amount of English and German) ancestry...
 
12.
Paul Winfield
Signifying intelligence, eloquence, versatility and quiet intensity, one of the more important, critically acclaimed black actors to gain a Hollywood foothold in the 1970s was Paul Winfield. Born in 1939 in Los Angeles, he lived there in his early years before moving with his family to Los Angeles' Watts district...
 
13.
Robert Pastorelli
Beefy, roughhewn actor Robert Pastorelli was a former boxer and an admitted drug addict before he cleaned up his act and pursued theater work in New York in such 1970s productions as "Rebel Without a Cause," "The Rainmaker," and "Death of a Salesman," he headed west and turned to film and TV in 1982...
 
15.
Ann Miller
Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas. She lived there until she was nine, when her mother left her philandering father and moved with Ann to Los Angeles, California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and unable to hold a job...
 
16.
Ray Charles
Soundtrack, The Help
A tragic fate may have given this visionary a heightened sensitivity, perception, awareness, even expansion to his obvious musical gifts that he may have never touched upon had he not suffered from his physical affliction. Whatever it was, Ray Charles revolutionized American music and was catapulted to legendary status by the time he died in Beverly Hills at age 73...
 
17.
Jerry Goldsmith
Music Department, Total Recall
Born on February 10, 1929, Jerry Goldsmith studied piano with Jakob Gimpel and composition, theory, and counterpoint with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He also attended classes in film composition given by Miklós Rózsa at the Univeristy of Southern California. In 1950, he was employed as a clerk typist in the music department at CBS...
 
18.
Fay Wray
Actress, King Kong
She was born Vina Fay Wray near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907. Fay was from a large family that included five siblings. She moved to Arizona when she was still small in order for her father to find better work than what was offered in Alberta. After moving again to California, her parents divorced...
 
19.
Isabel Sanford
Isabel Sanford was a Broadway actress for over thirty years before moving to Hollywood. She made numerous guest appearances on TV, including a stint as a supporting cast member on The Carol Burnett Show. Until her passing, Isabel continued to act frequently, most recently in a series of commercials for Old Navy stores with The Jeffersons co-star...
 
20.
John Randolph
Actor, Serpico
Veteran performer John Randolph was a Tony Award-winning character actor whose union and social activism in the '40s and '50s caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era. The balding performer may not have been a household name, but he was a regular face in movies and TV for over four decades...
 
21.
John Drew Barrymore
American actor with a sporadic career, the son of stage and screen legend John Barrymore. His father and mother, actress Dolores Costello divorced in his infancy and he claimed to remember seeing his father only once. His mother attempted to keep him from the acting life, sending him to St. John's Military Academy and intending that he attend college...