Steven Holcomb was a U.S. bobsledder who won three Olympic medals, including gold in 2010, and was a five-time world champion. He was found dead May 6 in his room at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. He was 37. The coroner in Essex County, N.Y., said there were no signs on foul play. Holcomb overcame a disease that threatened his vision and piloted his four-man sled to a win at the Vancouver Games, ending a 62-year gold-medal drought for Americans in bobsled’s signature race. He drove to bronze medals in the two- and four-man events at the 2014 Sochi Games and was expected to be part of the team headed to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Michael Parks was a prolific character actor who found early fame in 1960s countercultural roles and later became a favorite of directors including Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith. He died May 9 in Los Angeles, his agent, Jane Schulman, said Wednesday. No cause of death was announced. He was 77. Parks acted in more than 100 films and TV shows in a career that spanned six decades. He starred as a disillusioned, motorcycle-riding newsman in the 1969 series “Then Came Bronson.” He played Canadian drug runner Jean Renault on David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” Parks played multiple roles in both parts of Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and the “Death Proof” half of 2007’s “Grindhouse.” He also appeared in Smith’s 2014 film “Tusk,” which paired him with Johnny Depp.
Anne Morrissy Merick was a reporter who successfully fought for equal treatment of female reporters during the Vietnam War. She died May 2 of complications from dementia in Naples, Fla., according to her daughter, Katherine Anne Engleke. She was 83. ABC had assigned Morrissy Merick to cover the war in 1967 when U.S. commander Gen. William Westmoreland ordered that female reporters could not spend the night in the field with the troops. That made it impossible for them to go on most combat missions since there would be no way for them to return to the base at night. She and Overseas Weekly editor Ann Bryan Mariano organized the half-dozen female reporters covering the war to challenge Westmoreland’s order. They appealed to the Defense Department, which overrode Westmoreland.
Christopher “Big Black” Boykin was a former MTV reality show star. He died May 9 at a Plano, Texas, hospital, his ex-wife Shannon Turley told “Entertainment Tonight.” He was 45. Turley said Boykin suffered from congenital heart failure and doctors said he likely needed a transplant. Boykin starred alongside former pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek in MTV’s “Rob and Big” from 2006 to 2008.
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Yale Lary was a Hall of Fame safety who helped the Detroit Lions win three NFL titles in the 1950s. He died May 12 Friday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, the Lions said. He was 86. Lary had 50 interceptions during 1952-53 and 1956-64 and also averaged 44.3 yards as a punter. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
George Irvine was a former ABA player who became an NBA coach for the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. He died after battling cancer, and the Pacers announced his death May 9 after speaking with Irvine’s family. He was 69. He averaged 9.5 points per game in 325 ABA games over five seasons for the Virginia Squires and three games with the Denver Nuggets before he suffered a career-ending knee injury in the 1975-76 season. He coached the Pacers during 1984-86 and again as interim coach in 1988-89. Irvine also coached the Pistons during 1999-2001 and finished his coaching career with a 100-190 record.
Lloyd Cotsen made a fortune as chairman of the Neutrogena soap and cosmetics company and devoted millions to charity. He died May 8 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 88. He joined his father-in-law’s cosmetics firm, and by 1967 he was president. He marketed Neutrogena by getting luxury hotels to buy it and dermatologists to recommend it. The company was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 1994 for $924 million, of which Cotsen received about $350 million. He donated millions to UCLA, which renamed its archaeology institute in his honor.
Stan Weston was a creator of the original G.I. Joe action figure, one of the most popular toys ever produced. He died May 1 at his home in Santa Monica, Calif., of complications from surgery, said his daughter, Cindy Winebaum. He was 84. Weston took his idea for an outfitted military figure to Hasbro, then called Hassenfeld Bros., which purchased the concept for a reported $100,000. Sales later reached into the billions. He sued over rights to the toy and reached a settlement last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Miriam Gannon was a Massachusetts woman who became a foster mother to more than 70 children. She died May 5 of lymphoma at her home in Braintree, The Boston Globe reported. She was 82. She and her husband, Matthew, were attending Sunday Mass in the 1960s when the priest pleaded for foster homes for children. Gannon and her husband adopted nearly two dozen of their foster children over the years and became legal guardians to many more. She said in 2010 the children knew they were loved “the minute they walked in the door.”
Mauno Koivisto was Finland’s last president during the Cold War. He died May 12 at a Helsinki hospital. He was 93. His wife, Tellervo Koivisto, said earlier this year that he suffered severely from Alzheimer’s disease. Koivisto served two six-year terms between 1982 and 1994. His down-to-earth manner and dry humor, often laced with sarcasm and philosophical pondering, made him popular among ordinary Finns, but also led to political opponents.
Qian Qichen was a former Chinese vice premier and top diplomat who oversaw the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. He died May 9 of an unspecified illness, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing an official statement. He was 90. He was chairman of a committee China appointed to prepare for Hong Kong’s change of sovereignty in 1997.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org