Percy Sledge: He Sang ‘When A Man Loves a Woman’

Back in 1966, a soul singer named Percy Sledge scored a No. 1 hit with his first single, “When a Man Loves a Woman” — a plaintive ballad about obsessive, all-consuming passion and the heartbreak it inevitably inflicts. The Alabama native, who died April 14 at age 74 in Baton Rouge, La., managed to put himself in the soundtrack of countless ’60s boomer romances. Here are some facts about a hit that still resonates and the man who created it. …

Michael Graves: Designer for Buildings and Bathtub Grab Bars

As a postmodernist architect, Michael Graves designed more than 350 buildings around the world, achieving renown for reinterpreting classical elements such as colonnades and loggias. But Graves, who passed away March 12 at age 80 in Princeton, N.J., became more famous than other giants of architecture because ordinary people could buy things he designed at Target. Graves moonlighted as a prolific industrial designer, creating everything from furniture to tea kettles to wheelchairs and adaptive devices for the disabled. Here are …

Rev. Theodore Hesburgh: Legendary Notre Dame President

When asked at his 1952 inauguration as president of Notre Dame to pose with a pigskin, as if he were a successor to Knute Rockne, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh said, “I’m not the football coach. I’m the president.” Indeed, during his 35-year career at the school, Hesburgh, who passed away Feb. 26 at age 97 on the campus in South Bend, Ind., became far more influential than any gridiron hero. He turned Notre Dame into an academic powerhouse, became a confidant …

Leonard Nimoy: The Pointy-Eared Icon of ‘Star Trek’

How powerful an impression has Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek portrayal of Spock left on American culture? Hold up your right hand in the split-fingered Vulcan salute that Nimoy invented for his relentlessly logical, dispassionate half-alien starship officer, and odds are that just about everybody in the room will get the reference. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 Here are some facts about Nimoy, who passed away on Feb. 27 at age 83 in Los Angeles, and his relationship with …

Earl Lloyd: First Black NBA Player

On Oct. 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd took the court as a member of the now-long-defunct Washington Capitols basketball team for a game against the Rochester Royals in New York. Lloyd’s six points and 10 rebounds were no game-changer, but his performance definitely was in another sense: It was the first time that an African American player appeared in a National Basketball Association game. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 Here are some facts about Lloyd, who passed away on …

Clark Terry: Master Jazz Trumpeter and Educator

The day before J.K. Simmons won an Oscar (best supporting actor) for his portrayal of a sadistic jazz teacher in Damien Chazelle’s pulsating, fictional movie Whiplash, legendary jazz trumpeter and educator Clark Terry died Feb. 21 at age 94 after a long battle with diabetes. Terry — known for his affable nature as much as his musical brilliance — was one of the main figures in another 2014 breakout film, Alan Hicks’ touching documentary Keep On Keepin’ On. That film …