Hugh Hefner, Roger Ailes, David Rockefeller: The Year in DeathsBy
Playboy magazine founder, Fox News chief, oldest billionaire
Notable obituaries in business, finance and government in 2017
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, Fox News Channel Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes and billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller were among newsmakers in business, finance and public affairs who died in 2017.
The business world lost Raymond Sackler, who bought Purdue Pharma LP, producer of the controversial pain pill OxyContin; Taizo Nishimuro, former head of Toshiba Corp. and the Tokyo Stock Exchange; Jeffrey Brotman, co-founder of Costco Wholesale Corp.; Paul Otellini, former CEO of chipmaker Intel Corp.; and Joan Tisch, the billionaire matriarch of the clan that started Loews Corp.
Financial leaders who died included Henry Hillman, who provided startup funding for venture-capital pioneer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and private-equity firm KKR & Co.; Liliane Bettencourt, the L’Oreal SA heiress who was the world’s wealthiest woman; and James Maguire, who matched buyers and sellers of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares as Warren Buffett’s New York Stock Exchange floor specialist.
Among deceased public sector figures were Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator who was ousted by a U.S. invasion and imprisoned for drug trafficking; Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor who oversaw his country’s reunification after the Cold War; and Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser.
Here are the year’s notable deaths, with each name linked to a previously published obituary. A cause of death is provided when known.
Luc Coene, 69. Belgian economist who was a member of the European Central Bank’s supervisory unit, where he defended the stimulus policies enacted under President Mario Draghi, and a former governor of the National Bank of Belgium. Died Jan. 5.
Mario Soares, 92. Prime minister who helped consolidate Portugal’s transition to democracy and in 1976 became the first freely elected premier after a revolution ended almost five decades of dictatorship. Died Jan. 7.
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 82. Co-founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran who served two terms as president and was a key ally of President Hassan Rouhani. Died Jan. 8 from heart failure at a hospital in Tehran.
Walter Lange, 92. Fled Germany in 1948 and returned four decades later to resurrect the high-end watchmaker A. Lange & Soehne, which is now owned by Swiss luxury-goods maker Richemont. Died Jan. 17.
Mary Tyler Moore, 80. American actress who made lasting changes to how women and marriage are portrayed in popular culture through the characters she portrayed in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Died Jan. 25.
Ken Morrison, 85. Turned his father’s local grocery store into the U.K.’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain, Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, which operates more than 500 stores. Died Feb. 1 at his home in Yorkshire, in northern England, after a brief illness.
Lorenzo Servitje, 98. Co-founder of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, who helped expand the company into the world’s largest bread maker. Died Feb. 3 in Mexico City.
Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, 66. The wife of former two-term Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, she was charged in connection with Brazil’s long-running probe into bribes involving the state-run oil company Petrobras. Died Feb 3. at the Sirio-Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo after a stroke.
William Cooper, 73. Led TCF Financial Corp. for three decades, expanding the Wayzata, Minnesota-based bank to more than 300 branches in the Midwest. Died Feb. 7 from cancer at a Minneapolis-area hospital.
Mike Ilitch, 87. Billionaire who used the fortune he built as the founder of closely held Little Caesars Enterprises Inc., the No. 3 U.S. pizza chain, to buy local sports teams and spur development in financially strapped Detroit. Died Feb. 10 at a Detroit-area hospital.
Robert Michel, 93. Republican congressman serving Illinois who emphasized consultation and civility as House leader from 1981 to 1995 before making way for Newt Gingrich and a more combative approach to governing. Died Feb. 17 from pneumonia at a hospital in Arlington, Virginia.
Vitaly Churkin, 64. Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations since 2006 who defended his nation’s foreign policy as it waged war with Georgia, annexed the Crimean peninsula and supported separatists in Ukraine. Died Feb. 20 in New York.
Kenneth Arrow, 95. The U.S. scholar whose study of how the various parts of an economy work toward equilibrium won him the Nobel Prize in 1972 and established him as one of the founders of modern economics. Died Feb. 21 at his home in Palo Alto, California.
Irvine Sellar, 82. U.K. real estate developer whose Sellar Property Group developed London’s Shard skyscraper, the tallest tower in western Europe. Died Feb. 26 following a brief illness.
Mark Czarnecki, 61. Rose from assistant branch manager to president and chief operating officer at M&T Bank Corp. during four decades at the Buffalo, New York-based lender. The bank’s largest shareholders include Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., with a stake of about 3.5 percent. Died Feb. 26 at a hospital in Buffalo, New York, following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Joe Rogers, 97. Co-founded in 1955 the Waffle House chain of U.S. roadside diners specializing in Southern-style breakfasts served 24-hours-a-day at more than 1,800 locations. Died March 3.
Stephen Ross, 73. Economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology best known for developing arbitrage pricing theory in 1976 and other models that shaped economic theory and investment management. Died March 3 from cardiac arrest at his home in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Gershon Kekst, 82. Founded New York-based Kekst & Co., the dominant public-relations firm for mergers and acquisitions, with clients such as former Citigroup Inc. CEO Sanford Weill and billionaire investor Henry Kravis. Died March 17 in a New York-area hospital.
David Rockefeller, 101. The U.S. banker, philanthropist, presidential adviser and heir to one of history’s most fabled fortunes was also the world’s oldest billionaire. Died March 20 from congestive heart failure at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York.
Martin McGuinness, 66. Former Irish Republican Army leader and Sinn Fein leader who helped negotiate peace in Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian violence. Died March 21.
Charles Murphy, 56. Partner at hedge-fund manager Paulson & Co. in New York and an architect of the firm’s activist push at American International Group Inc. Died March 27 after leaping out a window at a New York hotel.
Ahmed Kathrada, 87. Anti-apartheid activist who, along with Nelson Mandela, spent more than two decades in prison for plotting to overthrow South Africa’s white-minority government. Died March 28 in a Johannesburg hospital following brain surgery.
Henry Hillman, 98. Billionaire who diversified his family’s Pittsburgh-based coal and coke fortune and provided startup funding for private-equity firm KKR & Co. and Silicon Valley venture-capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Died April 14 at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Graef “Bud” Crystal, 82. He became the foremost critic of excessive compensation after four decades advising board directors on how to justify paying their chief executives top dollar. Died April 18 from heart disease at his home in Las Vegas.
Harvey Krueger, 88. The Lehman Brothers Inc. executive who opened an early investment pipeline between Wall Street and Israel that helped finance companies such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s largest generic drugmaker. Died April 23 at his home in Manhattan.
Raj Kumar Bagri, 86. Rose from filing clerk at a Calcutta trading company to chairman of the London Metal Exchange. Died April 26.
Thomas Forkner, 98. Co-founded Waffle House, the chain of 1,800 roadside diners spread across half the U.S. serving Southern-style breakfasts around the clock. Died April 26 at a retirement home in Johns Creek, Georgia. Co-founder Joe Rogers died in March at age 97.
Allan Meltzer, 89. Economist and Federal Reserve historian who was critical of the central bank’s recent policies, such as keeping interest rates low during the housing boom that fueled the credit crisis in 2008. Died May 8.
John F. Donahue, 92. Founder and longtime leader of Federated Investors Inc., a Pittsburgh-based investment-management firm best known for its money-market funds. Died May 11 in Naples, Florida.
Mauno Koivisto, 93. Former president of Finland who steered the Nordic nation through the collapse of the Soviet Union and toward entry into the European Union. Died May 12 at a hospital in Helsinki.
Brad Grey, 59. The former talent agent who led Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures for 12 years before his ouster in February and had produced the groundbreaking television series “The Sopranos.” Died May 14 from cancer.
Roger Ailes, 77. Former U.S. presidential adviser who in 1996 started the Fox News Channel with Rupert Murdoch to promote a Republican agenda and built it into the most-watched U.S. cable news network before resigning amid sexual harassment allegations. Died May 18 from injuries sustained in a fall at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Donald Stone, 93. Floor specialist who helped govern the New York Stock Exchange for more than two decades and rose to become its vice chairman. Died May 20 at his home in Scarsdale, New York.
Jerry Perenchio, 86. Former talent agent and sports promoter who built Univision Communications Inc. into the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. and was regarded as a consummate Hollywood dealmaker. Died May 22 of cancer at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, 89. President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, who advocated a hard line toward the Soviet Union and helped develop the unsuccessful military mission in 1980 to rescue American hostages held in Iran. Died May 26.
Jim Bunning, 85. Hall of Fame baseball player who in 1964 pitched the first perfect game in the National League in more than 80 years and later served two terms as a U.S. senator from Kentucky. Died May 26 from a stroke.
Constantine Mitsotakis, 98. Former Greek prime minister who strengthened ties with the European Union and attempted unpopular cuts to government spending and state-asset sales in the early 1990s. Died May 29.
Manuel Noriega, 83. Panamanian dictator who was ousted by a U.S. invasion in 1989, convicted on charges of cocaine trafficking, racketeering and money laundering, and spent more than two decades in prison. Died May 29 from complications following the removal of a brain tumor earlier in the year.
Robert Campeau, 93. Canadian businessman who in the 1980s engineered the takeover of Allied Stores Corp. and Federated Department Stores Inc., which shook up the U.S. retail industry until his company collapsed from the weight of excessive debt. Died June 12 at his home in Ottawa.
Helmut Kohl, 87. German chancellor who oversaw his country’s 1990 reunification after the Cold War, helped forge Europe’s economic and monetary union and gave current chancellor Angela Merkel her first cabinet post. Died June 16 at his home in the western German city of Ludwigshafen.
Desh Bandhu Gupta, 79. Billionaire founder and chairman of Lupin Ltd., India’s second-biggest drugmaker, which grew from a domestic business into a global powerhouse as a producer of generic drugs. Died June 26.
Simone Veil, 89. Holocaust survivor who became one of the first female ministers in the French government when she was appointed health minister and helped build support for the 1975 law that legalized abortion in France. Died June 30.
Neal Patterson, 67. Billionaire co-founder and CEO of Cerner Corp., a health-care information technology company based in Kansas City, Missouri, which capitalized on the 2009 federal law requiring U.S. hospitals to digitize patient records. Died July 9 from complications related to cancer.
Americo Amorim, 82. Portuguese billionaire who turned his family’s cork producer, Corticeira Amorim SGPS SA, into a global giant and expanded into energy and financial industries. Died July 13.
Liu Xiaobo, 61. China’s most prominent political prisoner, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while jailed for advocating a pro-democracy charter that called for direct elections and the right to freedom of assembly. Died July 13 from complications related to liver cancer.
Raymond Sackler, 97. With his brother Mortimer, in 1952 he bought Purdue Pharma LP, which would develop the controversial blockbuster pain pill OxyContin, and in later years gave away millions of dollars to cultural and educational institutions. Died July 17.
Magnus Bocker, 55. He began his career at OMX AB and helped engineer the 2008 deal to sell OMX to Nasdaq for $4.9 billion, serving as president of the combined organization before leaving to become CEO at Singapore Exchange Ltd. Died July 26 from cancer.
Harold Williams, 89. He led the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, calling for more control of corporate boards by independent directors and separating the jobs of CEO and chairman. Died July 30 at his home in Santa Ynez, California.
Jeffrey Brotman, 74. Co-founder of Issaquah, Washington-based Costco Wholesale Corp., which helped trigger a movement that spread warehouse-style shopping to much of the world. Died Aug. 1.
Rick George, 67. Helped pioneer Canada’s oil-sands industry during two decades as CEO at Suncor Energy Inc. Died Aug. 1 from acute myeloid leukemia.
Dick Gregory, 84. U.S. comedian and activist who inspired a generation of black stand-up performers and joined Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in the struggle for civil rights. Died Aug. 19 in Washington from a severe bacterial infection.
James Maguire, 86. Won praise from Warren Buffett for efficiently matching buyers and sellers of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares as the company’s New York Stock Exchange floor specialist. Died Aug. 21 at his home in Short Hills, New Jersey.
Pierre Berge, 86. He helped make Yves Saint Laurent one of the world’s most acclaimed fashion designers and later became a well-known media and cultural figure in France. Died Sept. 8 at his home in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in the south of France after a long illness.
Edith Windsor, 88. Manhattan resident whose landmark legal case led the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 to establish federal rights for same-sex married couples in more than a dozen states. Died Sept. 12 in New York.
Pete Domenici, 85. Six-term Republican senator from New Mexico who broke with his party by opposing the supply-side economic policies of President Ronald Reagan. Died Sept. 13 at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, following recent abdominal surgery.
Herbert Kalmbach, 95. President Richard Nixon’s personal attorney who distributed cash to the Watergate burglars and later was imprisoned for breaking campaign-finance laws and selling ambassadorships. Died Sept. 15 in Newport Beach, California.
Liliane Bettencourt, 94. The only child of L’Oreal SA founder Eugene Schueller, she owned about one-third of the Paris-based company’s shares, making her the world’s wealthiest woman. Died Sept. 20 at her home in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris.
Hugh Hefner, 91. Founder of Playboy magazine who turned his swinging lifestyle into a professional calling and showed Americans how to be more open about sex. Died Sept. 27 at his home, the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles.
Samuel “Si” Newhouse Jr., 89. Billionaire who as head of Conde Nast Publications in New York oversaw some of the best-known U.S. magazines, including Vogue, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Died Oct. 1.
Dimitris Lois, 56. CEO since 2011 at Coca-Cola HBC AG, formerly called Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co., based in Zug, Switzerland. Died Oct. 2 while on medical leave for an undisclosed illness.
Paul Otellini, 66. Intel Corp.’s CEO from 2005 to 2013, who pushed the chipmaker to record profits by emphasizing processors for the lucrative computer server market and guiding a partnership with Apple Inc. to bring Intel processors to Mac computers. Died Oct. 2.
Roger Dubuis, 79. Watchmaker who spent 14 years at Patek Philippe developing complicated luxury timepieces before starting his own Geneva-based brand in 1995, then selling the firm to Richemont. Died Oct. 14.
Taizo Nishimuro, 81. He held enormous influence over corporate Japan for decades as head of Toshiba Corp., Japan Post Holdings Co. and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. No details were given.
Joan Tisch, 90. Billionaire matriarch of the family that co-founded Loews Corp. and co-owns the New York Giants football team. Died Nov. 2 after a brief illness.
Richard Gordon Jr., 88. The Apollo 12 astronaut who in 1969 orbited the moon as command-module pilot during NASA’s second manned moon-landing mission. Died Nov. 6.
Salvatore “The Beast” Riina, 87. Sicilian mafia godfather imprisoned for life after ordering the killings of judges, politicians, mobsters and informers while head of the Corleone crime family. Died Nov. 17 at the section for prisoners in Parma’s hospital, in northern Italy.
Charles Manson, 83. Imprisoned cult leader who in 1969 masterminded the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people in Los Angeles. Died Nov. 19 at Kern County Hospital in California.
Manjit Wolstenholme, 53. Executive chairman of U.K. subprime lender Provident Financial Plc, who had been in charge since August, when the troubled company’s CEO stepped down. Died Nov. 23.
Belmiro de Azevedo, 79. He became Portugal’s richest person after transforming a local wood-panel manufacturer into a global enterprise involved in retailing, telecommunications and shopping-center development. Died Nov. 29.
John Anderson, 95. Former Republican congressman from Illinois who challenged the two-party system by running as an independent candidate in the 1980 presidential election. Died Dec. 3 in Washington.
Christine Keeler, 75. Former model whose scandalous affairs with U.K. government minister John Profumo and a Soviet spy in the 1960s led the Conservative Party to lose power. Died Dec. 4 at a hospital near Farnborough, England.
E. Hunter Harrison, 73. Turned around three railroad carriers during a five-decade career before being tapped by CSX Corp. to improve the company’s lackluster performance. Died Dec. 16 in Wellington, Florida, days after taking medical leave from his role as CEO.
Robert Wilmers, 83. Expanded M&T Bank Corp. from its upstate New York roots into the 13th-largest U.S. lender and counted Warren Buffett among his biggest fans. Died Dec. 16 at his home in New York City.
William Agee, 79. One-time corporate star whose career foundered with an ill-fated acquisition attempt while CEO at Bendix Corp. in the 1980s and the collapse of construction company Morrison Knudsen Corp. in the 1990s. Died Dec. 20 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle of complications from respiratory failure and scleroderma, a connective tissue disease.
Maria del Carmen Franco y Polo, 91. The only child of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who as honorary chairman of the National Francisco Franco Foundation protected her father’s legacy following his death in 1975. Died in Madrid from cancer.