Their lives were filled with accomplishments, fame, exciting adventures and some tough times to overcome.Take a look back in memoriam of 15 celebrities, athletes and other notables who passed away in 2015:
Ernie Banks (Jan. 31, 1931-Jan. 23, 2015)
“Mr. Cub,” the Hall of Famer and 11-time All-Star, was known by generations well beyond the playing career that ended in 1971 as the effervescent franchise ambassador who loved the game so much, playing once a day wasn’t enough. “Let’s play two,” was his catchphrase.
Banks played 2,528 games — a Cubs record — but none in the postseason. That’s a major league record for games without a playoff appearance.
His 19-year career, all with the Cubs, had just one winning season among the first 14, but he was the National League MVP in 1958 and ’59, two of those losing seasons.
He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1977 but the impact of his contributions beyond his playing days was underscored when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. He died at age 83.
Yogi Berra (May 12, 1925-Sept. 22, 2015)
Berra was perhaps the greatest catcher who ever lived, winning 10 World Series championships with the New York Yankees before entering the Hall of Fame. He may have been just 5-foot-7½, but, few baseball men ever stood taller.
He became the world’s greatest unintentional philosopher, uttering phrases that will remain forever, with Yogi unaware of his own inventive use of the language.
He wasn’t just a great ballplayer, and a manager, but a huge personality, gaining fame as a broadcaster and featured in commercials.
“I never said half the things I said,” Yogi once said.
Who knows if Yogi actually ever uttered: “Déjà vu all over again.” But the phrase was attributed to him, and now lives forever, just like memories of the man.
Beau Biden (Feb. 3, 1969-May 30, 2015)
Attorney General candidates Joseph “Beau” Biden III and F
Biden, a two-term attorney general for the state his father, Vice President Biden, represented in the Senate for 36 years, was a Democratic candidate for governor in 2016.
The former Delaware attorney general died of brain cancer at age 46.
He worked in the U.S. Justice Department for nearly a decade before winning election as state attorney general. He served as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, and spent a year of his first term deployed to Iraq, where he was awarded the Bronze Star.
As attorney general, his focus was on prosecuting child sexual abuse cases and protecting homeowners from foreclosure.
Julian Bond (Jan. 14, 1940-Aug. 15, 2015)
Julian Bond dedicated his life to fighting for civil rights. He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a former chairman of the NAACP, and a longtime Georgia lawmaker. VPC
Bond, the civil rights icon and former NAACP chairman, will be remembered as a hero who helped lead a generation against racism.
After serving in the Georgia House, Bond spent six terms in the Georgia Senate, from 1975 to 1986. In 1968, he led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention and became the first black American to be nominated for vice president, but he had to withdraw because he was too young.
His opposition to the Vietnam War caused white members of the Georgia House of Representatives to refuse to seat him when he was elected in 1965. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor, forcing the House to swear him in on Jan. 9, 1967.
In 1998, he took over as chairman of the then-troubled, 500,000-member NAACP and served until 2010.
He was also president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., from its founding in 1971 until 1979 and was later on its board of directors. He died at age 75.
Bobbi Kristina Brown (March 4, 1993-July 26, 2015)
Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, has passed away at the age of 22. In a statement, her family says “she is finally at peace in the arms of God.” VPC
Brown, the little-girl-lost daughter of the late, legendary Whitney Houston, died at age 22 in an Atlanta-area hospice, nearly six months after she was found unconscious in her Georgia home.
She never regained consciousness to explain what happened before she was found Jan. 31, face down and unresponsive in her bathtub.
Her death, coming three years after her mother’s eerily similar demise, marks a double tragedy, one of the most heartbreaking of the celebrity world.
Jackie Collins (Oct. 4, 1937-Sept. 19, 2015)
It’s relatively rare to find a star who’s a hit in multiple arenas — publishing, movies, television, even the stage — but Collins left a legacy in all.
She was selling zillions of erotic novels — more than four times as many — long before the three Fifty Shades of Grey books, by British novelist E.L. James, which have sold about 90 million.
Collins’ books might not be included in the literary canon compiled by stuffy academics, but for millions they were huge fun to read.
Those novels, as delectable as cupcakes and just as filling, combined a distinctive form of sex-saturated female empowerment, Hollywood glamour, pots of money and fame, and a rollicking good time — or “bonkbusters,” as the British put it.
The British-born beauty passed away from breast cancer at age 77.
Yvonne Craig (May 16, 1937-Aug. 17, 2015)
Yvonne Craig portrays the crime-fighting Batgirl in the 1960s TV hit “Batman.” (Photo: AP)
As Batgirl in the 1960s Batman TV show, Craig inspired a generation of women to see themselves as superheroes.
In addition to fighting alongside the Caped Crusaders, Craig appeared in several hit television shows in a career that spanned seven decades, including Gidget, Perry Mason, McHale’s Navy, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, My Three Sons, Mod Squad, Kojak,The Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch and Fantasy Island, according to IMDB.com.
She also famously played Marta, the green slave girl who wanted to kill Captain Kirk in the third season of Star Trek. She died at age 78.
Wes Craven (Aug. 2, 1939-Aug. 30, 2015)
Writer-director Wes Craven died at his home in Los Angeles after battling brain cancer. He was best known for his razor-fingered creation of Freddy Krueger in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and the ‘Scream’ franchise. He was 76. VPC
Craven was a master horror director whose nightmarish creation, Freddy Krueger, clawed to life on the big screen.
He made his most indelible mark with A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, introducing the fedora-wearing, metal-glove-clad serial killer Krueger (played by Robert Englund) to pop culture.
Starring Johnny Depp in one of his earliest roles, the horror triumph was continued by eight sequels (the most recent, a 2010 reboot of the same name).
Craven’s other horror touchstone includes the tongue-in-cheek Scream franchise, revived this summer as a MTV series of the same name (on which he was a producer). The first movie in the series (1996) starred Drew Barrymore, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell and made off with $103.1 million.
He died at age 76 after a battle with brain cancer.
Mario Cuomo (June 15, 1932-Jan. 1, 2015)
Mario Cuomo, the three-term New York governor and father of the current governor Andrew Cuomo, died Thursday at the age of 82. VPC
Cuomo is among the most iconic New York governors of the 20th century, known for his liberal views, soaring speeches and deeply held beliefs that made him among the most prominent Democrats of his time. His death came the same day as his son, Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for a second term to the post the elder Cuomo occupied a generation earlier.
Mario Cuomo decided at the last minute against a run for president in 1991, leaving an airplane on the tarmac in Albany that was destined to take him to New Hampshire to campaign. His decision opened the door for Bill Clinton to win the party’s nomination and the presidency a year later.
A father of five, Cuomo took great pride in his humble upbringing.
He was the son of Italian immigrants who worked in his father’s grocery store in Queens before becoming a politically active attorney and ascending to the governorship in 1983.
Donna Douglas (Sept. 26, 1932-Jan. 1, 2015)
Douglas played hillbilly bombshell Elly May Clampett on the Baby Boomer-beloved 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies.
The Beverly Hillbillies was a classic fish-out-of-water comedy about a poor backwoods Ozark family transplanted to California after striking oil (“black gold” as the banjo-inflected theme song went) on their land.
It consistently ranked in the top most-watched programs on TV during its run, even though critics didn’t care for it.
Douglas also will be remembered as co-starring opposite Elvis Presley in the 1966 film Frankie and Johnny, and for an especially creepy Twilight Zone episode, “The Eye of the Beholder.” She died at 82.
B.B. King (Sept. 16, 1925-May 14, 2015)
B.B. King performs at the 2014 Big Blues Bender at the Rivera Hotel & Casino on Sept. 26, 2014, in Las Vegas. King died Thursday, May 14, at the age of 89, according to
“I don’t play nothin’ like I’d like to play. There is a sound I’ve been searching for all these years. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll know when I hear it. I guess what I’m saying is, when I really learn how to play I’ll let you know.”
That was King: A humble, straight-talking, one-of-a-kind blues singer/musician who grew up in Kilmichael, Miss., and spent part of his teen years in Indianola, Miss.
At last count, he had played in 90 countries, including the former Soviet Union. He won 15 Grammy Awards and was given the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. Two of his songs — Sweet Little Angel and The Thrill Is Gone — were selected among the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 songs that shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll.
He was a pioneer on the electric guitar. King was one of the first to discover how to make an electric moan and cry and beg.
It would become his signature style, one that intrigued many of the artists who were part of the British Invasion in the early 1960s, such as the Rolling Stones and theBeatles.
He died at age 89.
Moses Malone (March 23, 1955-Sept. 13, 2015)
USA TODAY Sports discusses the passing of basketball legend Moses Malone at age 60. USA TODAY Sports
Malone played for five seasons with the Houston Rockets before joining the Philadelphia 76ers in 1982. Teamed with Julius Erving, the Sixers won the 1982-83 NBA championship. Malone averaged 31.9 points and 12.8 rebounds during the playoff run.
A member of the Hall of Fame, Malone was named one of the 50 greatest NBA players in 1996.
He was named NBA MVP in 1978-79, 1981-82 and 1982-83.
“Known to his legions of fans as the ‘Chairman of the Boards,’ Moses competed with intensity every time he stepped on the court,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. He died at age 60.
Maureen O’Hara (Aug. 17, 1920-Oct. 24, 2015)
Actor Maureen O’Hara photographed in her front yard in Los Angeles in 1960. O’Hara, known for such classics as “The Quiet Man” and “How Green Was My Valley,” has died. Her manager says O’Hara died in her sleep Oct. 24, 2015, at her home in Boise, Idaho
O’Hara, the flame-haired Irish movie star who appeared in classics ranging from the grim How Green Was My Valley to the uplifting Miracle on 34th Street and bantered unforgettably with John Wayne in several films died at age 95.
O’Hara came to Hollywood to star in the 1939 The Hunchback of Notre Dame and went on to a long career.
During her movie heyday, she became known as the Queen of Technicolor because of the camera’s love affair with her vivid hair, pale complexion and fiery nature.
Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931-Feb. 27, 2015)
Leonard Nimoy played scores of roles in a showbiz career which lasted more than six decades, but none more memorable than “Spock” on the science fiction franchise “Star Trek.” Nimoy passed away at the age of 83 in his Bel Air, California home.
Nimoy played scores of roles in a showbiz career which lasted more than six decades.
But Nimoy, who died at age 83, will be most remembered and loved as the character known simply as Spock.
With his stark bowl haircut, the famous Vulcan hand gesture (which Nimoy developed) and the phrase “Live long and prosper,” Nimoy’s Mr. Spock earned a place in the American psyche.
The half-human, half-Vulcan Spock would define the culture-changing science fiction franchise Star Trek as powerfully as the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, James T. Kirk (leading man William Shatner).
Nimoy portrayed the character in the original TV series, animated series, comic books and eight Star Trek feature films.
Rowdy Roddy Piper (April 17, 1954-July 31, 2015)
Former professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper died July 31, 2015, reportedly of natural causes, at his home in Hollywood, California. (Photo: Jason Kempin/WireImage)
Wrestling legend Piper never won the WWE title, but was one of the most popular wrestlers in the business for decades.
Roderick George Toombs started wrestling as a teenager, and after joining the WWE in 1984 went on to main event WrestleMania I. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
“Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in the WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world,” said professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon.
He died at age 61 after suffering a heart attack.