But the video doesn't lie: Michael Jackson was looking ahead to a smash opening in London - and giving it his all. And then he was gone. With his thrilling music and dance, enigmatic personality and worldwide reach, Jackson led the list of notables in the worlds of art, entertainment and popular culture who died in Some, like Jackson, departed without warning. Some, like actor Patrick Swayze, waged a very public struggle with illness.
But others were still active in their 80s and 90s, including choreographer Merce Cunningham, painter Andrew Wyeth, broadcaster Paul Harvey and those two giants of broadcast journalism, Walter Cronkite and Don Hewitt.
We also lost the scholar who helped make sense of all this when he coined the term "popular culture. Cause of death cited for younger people if available. Johannes Mario Simmel, Austrian-born author; topped German-language best-seller lists. Tony-nominated stage actor; Commissioner Gordon in "Batman" movies. Guitarist for the Stooges, whose raw sound helped inspire punk rock.
Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club. Coosje van Bruggen, Artist; collaborated with husband Claes Oldenburg on his giant sculptures. Emmy-winning actor; star of TV classic "The Prisoner. Fiction writer known for dense prose "False Entry". Actor in splashy MGM musicals; Mr. Roarke on "Fantasy Island. Acclaimed artist whose portraits and landscapes combined traditional realism, modern melancholy.
David "Fathead" Newman, Jazz saxophonist; played with wide range of luminaries. Author, Parade magazine celebrity columnist. Created colorful Playmobil toy figures. Lead singer of horror-punk band the Cramps. Many-faceted actor; did one-man shows on Harry Truman, Will Rogers.
Jazz singer with unique baby-doll voice. Broadway playwright "Tea and Sympathy". One of Ronnettes, '60s girl group "Be My Baby". Irish playwright; won Tony for father-son drama "Da. Jazz drummer; performed with Duke Ellington, wife Pearl Bailey. One of Arab world's top novelists. Norwegian architect; won prestigious Pritzker award. Radio news and talk pioneer; one of nation's most familiar voices.
Author of underground classics "Cabot Wright Begins". Anne Wiggins Brown, Soprano; the original Bess in Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess. Actress, Oscar-nominated for role as shy woman courted by homely Ernest Borgnine in "Marty. Gifted heiress to British acting royalty "Patty Hearst". British reality TV star, hailed in final months for her courage.
Drummer whose passionate beat fueled Motown hits. John Hope Franklin, Towering scholar of African-American studies. Movie executive who oversaw the debacle "Heaven's Gate"; later wrote memoir about it. Bow-tied NBC newsman who explained the fine points of economics. Photographer famed for scenes of New York street life. Oscar-winning film composer "Lawrence of Arabia," "Doctor Zhivago". David "Pop" Winans Sr. Grammy-nominated patriarch of gospel music family.
She helped bring adult films into mainstream with "Behind the Green Door. Produced British "Carry On" films, hallmarks of lowbrow comedy. British author known for dark vision "Empire of the Sun". Oscar-winning cinematographer famed for innovative use of Technicolor "The Red Shoes". Grammy-nominated gospel singer, and composer "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus". Country singer "Chiseled in Stone". Feminist writer; her novel "The Women's Room" sold millions.
Portly actor with offbeat style "The Cannonball Run". One of last surviving Munchkins from "The Wizard of Oz. Accomplished jazzman; earlier, a college, NBA basketball star. David Herbert Donald, Pulitzer-winning Civil War historian; expert on Lincoln. Renowned Uruguayan author "The Truce". Israeli author "The Israelis: Regal, powerful singer known as "Queen of the Blues. Actor "Kung Fu," "Kill Bill". Ebullient "Tonight" show sidekick who bolstered Johnny Carson. The "King of Pop.
Perky actress; one of early television's biggest stars "My Little Margie". Burly, bearded television pitchman. Oscar-winning actor; a star despite his plain looks "A Streetcar Named Desire". No-holds-barred music manager; worked with the Beatles, Rolling Stones. Sir Edward Downes, Premier TV anchorman of the networks' golden age.
Former schoolteacher who enjoyed post-retirement fame, and a Pulitzer, for memoir "Angela's Ashes. Best-selling author who pioneered gay black fiction "Love of My Own".
The avant-garde dancer and choreographer who revolutionized modern dance. Pioneering black model of the s. Novelist "What Makes Sammy Run? Singer, songwriter; founded punk group Mink DeVille. Character actor; the heavy in several Clint Eastwood movies. Trailblazer of NYC's skateboarding scene; designed skate parks. Heart attack after wasp sting.
Guitar virtuoso; invented solid-body electric guitar, multitrack recording. As child actress, appeared in Walt Disney's "Alice" films in s. German-born soprano hailed as one of the finest Wagnerian performers of her generation. TV news pioneer who created "60 Minutes," produced it for 36 years. Co-wrote some of s' most enduring songs "Be My Baby".
Best-selling author who told stories of shocking crimes among the rich and famous. Celebrity disc jockey; also a reality TV figure who attempted to help fellow drug addicts. Gospel music legend "Beams of Heaven". Conductor, longtime head of Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. British playwright, novelist "Billy Liar". His breezy Daily Variety column kept tabs on Hollywood doings for more than a half-century. Poet, punk rocker; wrote "The Basketball Diaries.
Record label founder; turned Grammy Awards into a popular televised ceremony. Dancer turned movie superstar for "Dirty Dancing," "Ghost. Jamaican playwright; co-wrote the reggae film "The Harder They Come. Half of the piano duo Ferrante and Teicher "Exodus".