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Obituaries

Ballet star Violette Verdy dies at age 82

Violette Verdy, the French-born New York City Ballet star and one of the leading ballerinas of the 20th century, who was also the first female director of the Paris Opera Ballet and a distinguished dance professor, died Feb. 8 in Bloomington, Indiana. She was 82.

Robin Chandler Duke, career woman, ambassador’s wife and advocate for reproductive rights, dies at 92

Robin Chandler Duke, who went to work in modeling, in journalism and on Wall Street to support her family, then married a moneyed U.S. ambassador and deployed her social connections and personal charisma in a decades-long campaign for women’s reproductive rights, died Feb. 6 at a retirement community in Charleston, South Carolina. She was 92.

Joe Alaskey, ‘voice of many childhoods’ as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, dies at 63 (+video)

Joe Alaskey lived through his characters. “Even at 3 years old,” he once said, “I was always looking for a pair of sunglasses or people’s cigar butts to grab to do characters, and that led into me working on impressions, and that led into theater.”

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Thornton Dial, who turned scrap metal, animal bones and other found objects into museum art, dies at 87 (+video)

Thornton Dial, a sharecropper’s son who for decades spent his spare time soldering scrap metal, animal bones and other found objects into representations of black life in America - creations that were eventually recognized as artwork worthy of inclusion in the most prestigious museums of the United States, died Jan. 25 at his home in McCalla, Alabama. He was 87.

Abe Vigoda, sunken-eyed ‘Godfather,’ ‘Barney Miller’ actor, dies at 94 (+video)

Abe Vigoda, an actor who used his sunken eyes, gravelly voice and projection of gloom to memorable effect as characters on both sides of the law, from a doomed mafia capo in “The Godfather” to a worn-down police detective on the sitcom “Barney Miller,” died January 26 at a daughter’s home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. He was 94.

Retired major rode in one of the Army’s last horse cavalry units

William A. Richardson, a retired Army major who died Nov. 29 at 94, began his military career as a mounted soldier in one of the Army’s last horse cavalry units. He ended his service as a civilian officer in the Army Intelligence and Security Command, an agency that gathers and processes vital information and intelligence for military and civilian leaders.