In the last week many notable Americans passed away. This will cover a few of these amazing people from various walks of life that helped to shape American culture and life in some way.


Peter Hansen (1921-2017) was an actor who appeared in more than 100 TV shows and films. He was best known for his role as Lee Baldwin on "General Hospital." He played this role from 1965 to 1986, reprised the role briefly in 1990 and then one final time from 1992 to 2004. In 1979 Hansen won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the role.

Hansen died on April 9 at age 95.

John Warren "J." Geils Jr. (1946-2017) was a guitarist who was best known as the leader of the J. Geils Band (1967-1985). The band had several hits on the Billboard Top 100, like "Centerfold", "Love Stinks" and "Freeze-Frame" among others. The band broke up in 1985 but has had several reunion tours since 1999. Geils Jr. died on April 11 at age 71 from natural causes.

Charlie Murphy (1959-2017) was an actor, comedian and writer who appeared in many films and TV shows. He was also the older brother of comedian and actor Eddie Murphy. Murphy served in the U.S. Navy for six years as a boiler technician before starting his acting career. The performance that he was best known was his recurring role on sketches for "Chappelle's Show." Murphy died on April 12 at age 57 from leukemia.

Clifton James (1920-2017) was an actor who appeared in many TV shows and movies. James fought in the Pacific Theatre of World War II on the front lines, earning two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. He was best known as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in two James Bond films, "Live and Let Die" (1973) and "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1975).

James died on April 15 at age 96 of complications from diabetes.


Larry "Pretty Boy" Sharpe (1951-2017) was a professional wrestler, manager and trainer. In his wrestling career, Sharpe won the NWA Hawaii Heavy Championship, NAWF Heavyweight Championship and the Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship with Ripper Collins.

He was also a two-time winner of the NCW Heavyweight Championship and won the WWC North America Tag Team Championship twice with Jack Evans. In 1983 Sharpe and Buddy "Nature Boy" Rodgers opened the Monster Factory, a professional wrestling school in New Jersey. Since the school opened it has turned out graduates like Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul "Big Show" Wright, Raven, and Sheamus, among others. Sharpe died on April 10 at age 66 from liver disease.

Wayne Hardin (1926-2017) was a football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Pacific and got inducted into the school's athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. From 1959-64 he was the head coach at Navy, where he went 38-22-2. At Navy, he defeated rival Army five straight times and coached Heisman Winners Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach.

He would go on to coach Temple from 1970-82, where he went 80-50-3. In 1979 he coached what is considered Temple's greatest season ever, as they went 10-2, won the Garden State Bowl and finished the year 17th in the AP poll. He got inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. Hardin died on April 12 at age 91 after suffering a massive stroke.

Dan Rooney (1932-2017) was the 2nd President (1975-2002) and later Chairman (2003-17) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were extremely successful during Rooney's time, winning 7 AFC Championships and 5 Super Bowls. Rooney, who was the chairman of the NFL's diversity committee is credited with spearheading the 2003 "Rooney Rule" requiring team's to interview a minority candidate.

In 2000 he got elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 2009 to 2012. Rooney died on April 13 at age 84.


Harry Huskey (1916-2017) was a computer design pioneer. After getting his PhD from Ohio State he taught mathematics for a short time at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked on early computer projects like ENIAC, EDVAC and SEAC. He helped design and manage the construction of the Standard Western Automatic Computer and the G15 computer, perhaps the world's first "personal" computer. He later taught at the University of California, Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, helping to establish computer science programs. Huskey died on April 9 at age 101.