Doreen Tracey was a former child star who was one of the original Mouseketeers on “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s. She died Jan. 10 at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., from pneumonia following a two-year battle with cancer. She was 74. Tracey appeared on the Disney series when it aired for four years (1955-1959) on ABC. The black-and-white series was syndicated in 1962-65. She later served as a publicist to musician Frank Zappa and worked at Warner Bros.
Ray Thomas was a flutist, singer and founding member of British rock group The Moody Blues. He died Jan. 4 at his home in Surrey, south of London. No cause of death was given, but Thomas disclosed in 2014 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 76. Thomas was with the Moody Blues when the group formed in 1964, and left around the turn of the millennium due to poor health. He wrote several songs for the band, and his flute solo was a key ingredient on one of the group’s biggest hits, “Nights in White Satin.” The band is due to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
John V. Tunney was a Democratic senator from California whose successful campaign became the basis for the 1972 Robert Redford film “The Candidate.” He died Jan. 12 of prostate cancer in Los Angeles. He was 83. Tunney, son of former heavyweight champion boxer Gene Tunney, was among the youngest people elected to the U.S. Senate in the past century when he won his seat in 1970 at age 36. He then became one of the youngest in recent history to lose a Senate seat when he was defeated after just one term. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1964 until his Senate election.
Anna Mae Hays was an Army nurse who became the first female general in American military history in 1970. She died Jan. 7 at a retirement home in Washington, D.C. She was 97. Hays served in a mud-caked jungle hospital in World War II, treated some of the earliest casualties of the Korean War and guided the Army Nurse Corps through the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War. She helped push through Army policy changes that paved the way for women in the military, including the 1970 establishment of maternity leave for female officers.
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Horace Ashenfelter was an FBI agent who set a world record in the steeplechase at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. He died Jan. 6 in a nursing home in West Orange, N.J. He was 94. Ashenfelter defeated the overwhelming favorite in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Vladimir Kazantsev of the Soviet Union, in what was billed as a test of Cold War supremacy. He won the Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete of 1952 and entered the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1975. He left the FBI in 1959 after nine years as an agent.
Edgar Ray Killen was a 1960s Ku Klux Klan leader who was convicted decades later in the “Mississippi Burning” slayings of three civil rights workers. He died Jan. 11 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. He was 92. Killen, a part-time preacher and lumber mill operator, was convicted of three counts of manslaughter in 2005, 41 years to the day after James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were ambushed and killed by Klansmen. Prosecutors said Killen masterminded the slayings, then went elsewhere so he would have an alibi.
Edward “Fast Eddie” Clarke was a former guitarist for the British hard rock band Motorhead. He died Jan. 10 at a London hospital while being treated for pneumonia, the band said. He was 67. Clarke joined Motorhead soon after it was founded in 1975 by former Hawkwind bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. His time in Motorhead produced some of the band’s biggest hits, including the ferocious anthem “Ace of Spades.” He left Motorhead in 1982 and later formed the band Fastway.
Denise LaSalle was a blues and soul singer and songwriter whose hit “Trapped by a Thing Called Love” topped the R&B charts in 1971. She died Jan. 8 in Jackson, Tenn. She was 78. LaSalle had a string of successful singles in the 1970s and the early 1980s. She founded the National Association for the Preservation of the Blues to bring more attention to the “soul/blues” style in 1986 and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis in 2011.
Dave Toschi was a colorful San Francisco police detective who spent nine futile years as one of the principal investigators chasing the so-called Zodiac killer. He died Jan. 6 at his home in San Francisco. He was 86. The Zodiac case, which remains unsolved, involved a string of murders in Northern California in 1968 and 1969. The killer sent taunting letters and cryptograms to the police and newspapers. Toschi was removed from the case when he acknowledged writing and mailing anonymous fan letters to the San Francisco Chronicle lauding his own work.
Carole Hart was a writer and television producer who was part of the startup of “Sesame Street” before having an instrumental role in Marlo Thomas’ groundbreaking children’s project, “Free to Be … You and Me” in the 1970s. She died Jan. 12 in New York of cancer, her sister said. She was 74. Hart and her husband, Bruce Hart, were asked to come up with sample material for a show that would eventually be named “Sesame Street” and make its debut in 1969. Her husband, who was credited with writing the lyrics for the “Sesame Street” theme song, died in 2006.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org.