In Memoriam: The Deaths Of Summer 2009
First Published: September 4, 2009 8:08 PM EDT Credit: Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- “Too many friends died” this summer, Barbara Walters Tweeted earlier this week.
Indeed, summer 2009 was full of high-profile passings, from the King of Pop to the “Lion of the Senate.” Some came as a shock, while others after long battles with disease — but all were mourned by families, friends and colleagues in the world of Hollywood and beyond.
Below, Access Hollywood remembers those died over the summer of 2009.
June 3 - David Carradine, age 72 The star of “Kung Fu” and the “Kill Bill” films was found dead in a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand, hanging from a rope in his closet. The star had been filming his latest movie, “Stretch.”
June 23 - Ed McMahon, age 86 The comedian was best known for his role as Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” sidekick and left a lasting legacy in Hollywood as the host of “Star Search” and other programs.
June 25 - Farrah Fawcett, age 62 Beloved for her iconic role in “Charlie’s Angels,” Farrah went on to a distinguished career across television and the big screen. In recent years, she battled and ultimately succumbed to anal cancer, with her heroic struggle documented in “Farrah’s Story.”
June 25 - Michael Jackson, age 50 The King of Pop was rushed to the hospital after going into cardiac arrest in Los Angeles on the eve of his “This Is It” concerts at London’s 02 Arena. The LA County Coroner ruled the death a homicide, with the anesthetic propofol and several other prescription medicines contributing to his cause of death.
June 28 - Billy Mays, age 50 The television pitchman was known for his enthusiastic promotion of products such as OxiClean and Orange Glo. After being found dead by his wife, a toxicology report determined that heart disease was the primary cause of death, with the presence of cocaine a factor — a report disputed by the star’s family.
July 4 - Steve McNair, age 36 The football great, who was a three-time Pro Bowler, was shot by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi, who then committed suicide, police stated.
July 17 - Walter Cronkite, age 92 The veteran news anchor, once dubbed “the most trusted man in America,” died at his New York home of cerebral vascular disease.
July 19 - Frank McCourt, age 78 The author was best known for “Angela’s Ashes,” the story of his childhood, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.
July 21 - Gidget, age 15 Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, became a pop culture icon in the late ‘90s with the catchphrase, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”
August 6 - John Hughes, age 59 The film director died of a heart attack in New York. Also a producer and writer, his resume featured a host of classic movies, from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” to later hits such as “Home Alone” and “Uncle Buck.”
August 11 — Eunice Kennedy Shriver, age 88 Sister to Bobby, Ted and John F. Kennedy and mother of Maria Shriver, Eunice wasn’t just known for her famous family — she founded and helped popularize the movement that became the Special Olympics. Upon the news of her death, Pope Benedict XVI himself sent a condolence letter to the Kennedy clan.
August 13 — Les Paul, age 94 The guitar legend’s innovations included the birth of the electric guitar and modern multi-track recording, which paved the way for rock ‘n’ roll.
August 25 - Edward Kennedy, age 77 The “Lion of the Senate” and the last of the famous Kennedy brothers, Edward — nicknamed “Ted” – spent decades as a respected senator on Capitol Hill before finally losing his battle with brain cancer.
August 28 — Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein, age 36 The in-demand DJ was found dead in New York City less than a year after surviving a fatal plane crash last September with fellow musician Travis Barker. Before that, he earned headlines for romances with Mandy Moore and Nicole Richie, his former fiancee. Shortly before his death, he filmed a reality series for MTV about helping drug addicts called “Gone Too Far” — it is unknown if the show will air. Police sources previously told Access that the musician is believed to have died of a drug overdose.
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