Notable figures from U.S. arts, science, politics who died in 2015

Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:06am EST
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By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - From the king of slasher films to a cerebral New York-based neurologist, the list of prominent Americans who died in 2015 returned to the spotlight a range of characters including Hollywood stars, celebrated athletes and a famous dog.

"You get one last chance in your death to remind people not only of who you were, but what you did and why it was important," said Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University.

Among political figures was Mario Cuomo, a three-term governor of New York who turned down several invitations to see the Democratic presidential nomination. He died just as the year began, at the age of 82, on the day his son, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, delivered his second inaugural address.

Oliver Sacks, a British-born neurologist who spent his professional life in the United States studying the brain, died in New York of cancer at age 82. Sacks was known for writing bizarre case histories about his patients in his 1985 book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat."

David Carr, a longtime New York Times journalist, collapsed in the newspaper's newsroom and died from complications related to lung cancer at age 58. Carr, celebrated for his coverage of media and culture, had chronicled his struggle with cocaine addiction in his memoir.

Figures from the arts and entertainment world included Jackie Collins, best-selling author of dozens of steamy novels about Hollywood, who died in September of breast cancer at the age of 77.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing Mr. Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, died at age 83 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Sam Simon, a co-creator of the long-running animated series "The Simpsons" died in March of colon cancer at the age of 59, three years after his doctors had given him three to six months to live. He spent much of his final years supporting animal-related causes.   Continued...

American actor Leonard Nimoy, known for his role as Mr. Spock of the Star Trek franchise, died on February 27, 2015 aged 83. REUTERS/Fred Prouser