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Prominent world talents who left us in 2015

Yogi Berra, 90, died Sept. 22. One of the greatest catchers in baseball history and a mainstay of the dominant New York Yankees teams of the 1950s, he went on to manage the Yankees and the New York Mets. Famous for aphorisms like “It ain’t over till it’s over,” he appeared in 21 World Series as player, coach and manager.

Julian Bond, 75, died Aug. 15. Prominent among the leaders in the civil rights movement, he helped establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while still at Morehouse College. He served 20 years in the Georgia state legislature and 12 years as head of the NAACP.

Mario Cuomo, 82, died Jan. 1. The three-term governor of New York State was a liberal standard-bearer during the conservative Reagan years in the 1980s. His keynote speech at the Democratic national convention in 1984 made him a favorite to run for the Oval Office in 1988 and 1992, but he declined to seek the nomination.

Frank Gifford, 84, died Aug. 9. A Pro Football Hall of Famer, he went on to become an Emmy Award-winning television sportscaster. He played 12 years as a running back and flanker with the New York Giants, then appeared for 27 years as an announcer and commentator on “Monday Night Football.”

B. B. King, 89, died May 14. A singer, guitarist and songwriter, he is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time. An R&B star in the 1950s, he won new generations of fans with his Grammy Award-winning hit, “The Thrill Is Gone,” and by touring tirelessly, playing more than 300 dates a year.

Leonard Nimoy, 83, died Feb. 27. The actor, author and film director made an indelible cultural impact as Mr. Spock, the beloved pointy-eared Vulcan in the “Star Trek” science fiction television series and in eight subsequent feature films.

Paul Prudhomme, 75, died Oct. 8. The colorful celebrity chef popularized Creole and Cajun cooking, wrote successful cookbooks and developed sauces and seasonings. He cemented his reputation in the 1970s by turning a failing New Orleans restaurant, Commander’s Palace, into a gourmet destination.

Omar Sharif, 83, died July 10. A movie star in his native Egypt, he earned an Oscar nomination in his first English-language film, the desert epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” then went on further acclaim as co-star in a series of major productions such as “Doctor Zhivago” and “Funny Girl.”

Fred Thompson, 73, died Nov. 1. A candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2008, he began as a lawyer and lobbyist, then pursued a successful career as an actor in films and television, most notably the “Law & Order” franchise. In 1994, he was elected to finish then-Vice President Al Gore’s unexpired term as senator from Tennessee.

Lee Kuan Yew, 91, died March 23. The first prime minister of Singapore, he adopted social and fiscal policies that turned the sleepy former British colony into an economic powerhouse and provided a model for other developing nations, notably China.

King Abdullah, 90, died Jan. 23. Son of Ibn Saud, founder of modern Saudi Arabia, he reigned for nearly 10 years.

Ernie Banks, 83, died Jan. 23. Nicknamed “Mr. Cub,” the popular slugger was the signature player for Chicago’s National League baseball team at shortstop and first base in the 1950s and 1960s.

Beau Biden, 46, died May 30. Son of Vice President Joe Biden, he served eight years as attorney general of Delaware.

Jackie Collins, 77, died Sept. 19. The British-born romance novelist wrote 32 best-selling books that sold more than 500 million copies.

Wes Craven, 76, died Aug. 30. A master of the slasher film, he created the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” series, featuring the serial killer Freddy Krueger.

Andrae Crouch, 72, died Jan. 8. A singer, songwriter, record producer and pastor, he was considered the father of modern gospel music and helped bring contemporary Christian songs into churches.

Darryl Dawkins, 58, died Aug. 27. The first National Basketball Association player to be drafted directly out of high school, he was famous for his powerful dunks, which led the league to adopt breakaway rims.

Gunter Grass, 87, died April 13. The German novelist, poet and playwright, author of “The Tin Drum,” won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

Moses Malone, 60, died Sept. 13. The three-time NBA most valuable player holds numerous records for rebounds. He was traded to Houston after appearing in two games with the Buffalo Braves in 1976.

Anne Meara, 85, died May 23. The actress and comedienne was half of the leading 1960s comedy duo Stiller and Meara with her husband, Jerry Stiller, and the mother of actor Ben Stiller.

Maureen O’Hara, 95, died Oct. 24. The red-haired beauty who played action film heroines was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, 61, died July 31. The outspoken pro wrestling star, considered the sport’s top villain, did much to popularize the World Wrestling Federation and acted in dozens of films and TV shows.

Oliver Sacks, 82, died Aug. 30. The neurologist and medical author was known for writing best-selling accounts of his patients’ disorders, notably “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat.”

Bob Simon, 73, died Feb. 11. The longtime correspondent for the CBS newsmagazine show “60 Minutes” earned 27 Emmy Awards and covered crises, wars and unrest in 67 countries.