Charles Neville was a New Orleans-born saxophone player who once backed up B.B. King and later gained fame with the Neville Brothers band. He died April 26 at his home in Huntington, Mass., months after he disclosed he was fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 79. Neville was best known for three decades of performances with his siblings Aaron, Art and Cyril as the Grammy-winning Neville Brothers band. The band was formed in the 1970s and gained fans with high-energy performances featuring a distinctive fusion of funk, jazz and New Orleans rhythm and blues.
Verne Troyer was an actor known for his role as “Mini-Me” in two of the three “Austin Powers” movies. He died April 21. He was 49. Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon as the clone and sidekick of villain Dr. Evil in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999) and “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002). He also had roles in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001) and “The Love Guru” (2008).
Bob Dorough was a pianist and singer who performed with jazz greats Charlie Parker and Miles Davis but was perhaps best known for his whimsical compositions for the animated video series “Schoolhouse Rock!” He died April 23 at his home in Mount Bethel, Pa. He was 94. Dorough was musical director for the educational cartoon series between 1973 and 1985, according to his biography. Some of his most memorable songs from the series include “Conjunction Junction,” “The Shot Heard ’Round the World,” and “I’m Just a Bill.”
Dave Nelson was an All-Star infielder who spent 10 seasons in the majors, including two with the Royals. He died April 23 after a battle with liver cancer. He was 73. Nelson played for the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators and Texas Rangers before joining the Royals for his final two seasons in 1976 and 1977. He made the 1973 AL All-Star team with the Rangers. He also coached for several teams in the majors, did some broadcasting for the Royals, and was a television analyst for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Dee Hardison was a defensive lineman who played 11 seasons in the NFL, including one with the Chiefs. He died April 21 at a hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 61. Hardison played at North Carolina and was chosen first-team All-American by The Associated Press in 1977. He was a second-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in 1978 and also played for the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers before finishing his NFL career in Kansas City in 1988.
Bennie Cunningham was a versatile tight end who won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He died April 23 of cancer at a hospital in Cleveland. He was 63. Cunningham was a first-round draft pick out of Clemson in 1976 and played 10 seasons with Pittsburgh. He was chosen to the Steelers’ all-time team in 2007 in conjunction with the franchise’s 75th anniversary.
Roy Hawthorne Sr. was one of the last surviving Navajo Code Talkers, who used their native language to confound the Japanese in World War II. He died April 21. He was 92. Hawthorne enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at 17 and became part of a famed group of Navajos who transmitted hundreds of messages in their language without error. The code was never broken. He was one of the most visible survivors of the group, appearing at public events and serving as vice president of a group representing the men.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, email@example.com.