Those We Lost in 2020

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A Brief History

On December 28, 1999, Western actor/action hero Clayton Moore died.  If you are not familiar with this star of the small and large screen, he played The Lone Ranger from 1949 to 1957 on television and starred in 2 related big screen movies about the same character.  Even if you never saw the Clayton Moore versions of the Lone Ranger,  you are probably familiar with “The William Tell Overture” by Rossini, the theme music played for Moore’s Lone Ranger character.  In the Covid-19 plagued year of 2020, we have lost another host of notable people, both to the pandemic as well as the usual reasons.  Today we list some of the most notable of those folks that died in 2020, or some of the more interesting (to the author, if not the reader!).  Some of these folks may not be familiar to you, so feel free to look them up and see if they impacted your life in any way.  Feel free to add whomever you believe should be noted on such a list in the comments section below.  (Yes, this abbreviated list is American-centric, so all you footballers and cricketeers feel free to name your fallen idols.)  In this bizarre year of 2020, we also had Murder Hornets, Squirrels with Bubonic Plague, ruined college and high school sports, and a postponed Summer Olympics.  Holy Moly!  And we are just scratching the surface.  Our best wishes to you and yours for a MUCH better 2021.

Sadly, in the year 2020, the world has lost something like 2 million dead and the United States has lost something around 340,000 dead, victims of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  If any of your loved ones were victims, we offer our sincere condolences. 

Digging Deeper

World of Sports (Too many to name them all!)

Diego Maradona, Soccer (“Football” to non-Americans)

Kobe Bryant, Wes Unseld, Jerry Sloan, Tommy Heinsohn, Eddie Sutton, Curly Neal, David Stern, KC Jones, Basketball

Rocky Johnson, Mr. Wrestling II, Howard Finkel, and Kamala, Professional Wrestling

Dale Hawerchuk, Hockey

Stirling Moss, Auto Racing

Don Larsen, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Ron Perranoski, Whitey Ford, Phil Niekro, Baseball Pitchers

Lou Brock, Dick Allen, Baseball

Roger Mayweather, Boxing

Shmoo, Surfer

Herb Adderley, Fred Dean, Paul Hornung, Gayle Sayers, Don Shula, Mike Curtis, Tom Dempsey, Willie Wood, Sam Wyche, Kevin Greene, Lloyd Phillips, Football

Rafer Johnson, Olympic Decathlon Champion/Actor

Entertainment (Way too many to name them all!)

Chadwick Boseman, Kelly Preston, Wilfred Brimley, Brian Dennehy, Diana Rigg, Olivia de Haviland, Kirk Douglas, Max von Sydow, Honor Blackman, Orson Bean, Edd Byrnes, Nick Cordero, Rhonda Fleming, Allen Garfield, Ian Holm, Norm Crosby, Naya Rivera, Robert Conrad, Paula Kelly, Dawn Wells, Actor

David Prowse, Darth Vader

Sean Connery, Original James Bond

Regis Philbin, television host

Buck Henry, Film and Television

Fred Silverman, Television

Eddie Van Halen, Spencer Davis, Little Richard, Len Barry, Wayne Fontana, Rock music

Kenny Rogers, Chad Stewart, Singer

Phyllis George, Beauty Queen/Television Hostess

Benjamin Keogh, Grandson of Elvis Presley

John Prine, KT Oslin, Singer/Songwriter

Carl Reiner, Actor/Producer/Director/television maven

Mary Higgins Clark, Novelist

Hugh Downs, Broadcaster

Bonnie Pointer, Millie Small, Helen Reddy, Charlie Pride, Johnny Nash, Singer

Alan Merrill, Singer/Songwriter

Alex Trebek, Host of Jeopardy

Ken Spears, Scooby-Doo creator

James Randi, Magician/Paranormal Skeptic and atheist

Charlie Daniels, Singer/Songwriter

Clive Cussler, John le Carré, Writer


Luke Letlow, American Congressman-elect (of Covid-19 before he could be sworn in)

Pierre Cardin, fashion icon

Herman Cain, Presidential Candidate/Pizza Magnate

John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist/Politician

Pranab Mukherjee, Indian President

Qaboos bin Said Al Said, Sultan of Oman

David Dinkins, Mayor of New York City

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court Justice

Brent Scowcroft, General and National Security Advisor

Robert Trump, Brother of President Trump

Annie Glenn, Widow of Astronaut/Senator John Glenn and Advocate for those with Disabilities

Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Mrs. Butterworth, Fictional Advertising Characters (due to racial sensitivity, and Mrs. Butterworth is not even a Black character!)


Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, et al, African Americans Killed by Police resulting in civil unrest

Qasem Soleimani, Iranian General and terror leader

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. (aka, Grim Sleeper), Serial Murderer

Dmitry Yazov, Last Marshal of the Soviet Union

Bill Gates, Sr., Father of Bill Gates (Microsoft)

Bennie Adkins, Ronald J. Shurer, War Hero (Medal of Honor)

Leanza Cornett, Miss America 1993

Peter Sutcliffe, British Serial Killer (Yorkshire Ripper)

Samuel Little, American Serial Killer

Joe Clark, Bat Wielding American Principal

Scott Erskine, David Owens Brooks, American Serial Killers

William Terence Montague Clark, RAF Pilot/Veteran of Battle of Britain

Mad Mike Hoare, Infamous British Mercenary

Chuck Yeager, Fighter Pilot Ace and First Man Supersonic

Prom, large weddings, large funerals, graduations, etc.

Question for students (and subscribers): What famous person that died in 2020 do you miss the most? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Brown, John. I Survived 2020 Journal. Independently published, 2020

Staff. Time Magazine ( October 5 / 12 , 2020 ) – The 100 Most Influential people. Time Magazine, 2020

The featured image in this article, a photograph by RobVanDerMeijden, is licensed under the Pixabay License.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.