In the last week, many notable Americans have 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.


J.C. Spink (1972-2017) was a film producer. Spink and fellow producer Chris Bender established production management company Benderspink in 1998, with the company having dissolved last year. He worked as producer or executive producer on a variety of movies like, "The Ring", "The Butterfly Effect", "Monster-in-Law", "Red Eye" and "We're the Millers." His best-known work is from his role as executive producer in "The Hangover" trilogy and as producer of "The History of Violence." Spink died on April 18 at age 45.

The cause of his death has not been released, but it is suspected he died of natural causes.

Dick Contino (1930-2017) was an accordionist and singer. In 1947 he won the Horace Heidt/Philip Morris talent contest, which turned him into a star in the late 1940s and 1950s. His biggest hits were 1954's "Yours" which reached #27 on the U.S. pop charts and 1957's "Pledge My Love", which reached #42. He was drafted to serve in the Korean War, but got jailed for draft dodging following him fleeing the pre-introduction barracks after a panic attack. However, he did eventually serve and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant. He later acted in several B-movies, the most notable of which was the 1958 film "Daddy-O", which gained a small cult following after it was featured in an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Contino died on April 19 at age 87.

Cuba Gooding Sr. (1944-2017) was a singer and had a minor acting role in several movies. He is also the father of actor Cuba Gooding Junior. Gooding was best known as the lead singer of the soul and R&B group "The Main Ingredient", which has been active as a band since 1964. His biggest hits, "Everybody Plays the Fool" and "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely" came in the early 1970s.

Gooding Sr. died on April 20 at age 72 after being found unresponsive in his car. The cause of his death is still being investigated, but it is suspected he overdosed on drugs.

Erin Moran (1960-2017) was an actress whose best-known role was playing Joanie Cunningham on the popular TV sitcom "Happy Days" from 1974 to 1984. She also played the role in the short-lived spin-off show, "Joanie Loves Chachi." She starred in the 1981 sci-fi movie "Galaxy of Terror", which took on a cult following.

Moran died on April 22 at age 56 after being found unresponsive. The cause of her death is still unknown, but reports say it's suspected she overdosed on heroin.


Matthew Tapunu'u Anoa'i (1970-2017) was a professional wrestler and a member of the famous Anoa'i Samoan wrestling family. His brother is Leati Anoa'i, known in the WWE as Roman Reigns. Anoa'i, known by his wrestling name 'Rosey', signed with the WWE in 2001 and got assigned to the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA). Rosey and his cousin Eddie 'Umaga' Fatu won the HWA Tag Team Championship and were known as the 3-Minute Warning during their short time in the WWE together. He then teamed up with Gregory 'The Hurricane' Helms to form the tag team Rosey and the Hurricane.

In 2005 they won the World Tag Team Championship but would disband after failing to defend it. Rosey got released from the WWE in 2006 but still wrestled in various leagues. Rosey died on April 17 at age 47 from congestive heart failure.

Bill Anderson (1936-2017) was a tight end who played in the NFL for eight seasons, finishing his career with 178 receptions, 3,048 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played for the Redskins from 1958 to 1963 and made the Pro Bowl twice. He retired and spent a season as an assistant coach at his alma mater Tennessee. He then came back and spent two seasons with the Packers, winning an NFL Championship and Super Bowl I. In 1968 he started working as a color analyst for Tennessee football at the Vol network, a job he would hold until 1998.

Anderson died on April 18 at age 80.

Noah Salasnek (1970-2017) was a professional snowboarder, who had a major influence on the sport in the 1990s. Salasnek is famous for being one of the first snowboarders to combine the freeride and freestyle disciplines by bringing his skateboarding experience to the sport. He was one of the early pioneers of the sport and helped to develop early snowboarding tricks. Salasnek died on April 19 at age 47 from liver cancer.

Eddie Macon (1927-2017) was a halfback who played in the NFL, CFL, and AFL. He was the first black player to play on the Pacific Tigers college team, where he would have his number retired and be enshrined in the school hall of fame. Macon was also the first black player to play for the Chicago Bears, from 1952 to 1953.

He left the team to go play in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders in 1954. He also played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats from 1957 to 1959. In 1960 he signed with the Oakland Raiders in the AFL and played as a defensive back, being selected to the All-AFL team in his lone season. Macon died on April 22 at age 90 following a short illness.