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

Politics

Ralph Regula (1924-2017) was the United States Representative in the House for Ohio's 16th congressional district from 1973 to 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he served for 18th consecutive terms before retiring in 2009. He was an early champion of fuel cell technology as an alternative energy source, helping to make Ohio a leader in fuel cell research and development. Regula died on July 19 at age 92.

Entertainers

George Romero (1940-2017) was a producer, writer, and director best known for launching the modern day zombie film genre with his 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead.” He would go on to direct five more 'Dead' movies including 1978's “Dawn of the Dead” and 1985's “Day of the Dead.” Other movies he directed include “Martin” and “Creepshow.” Romero died on July 16 at age 77 due to lung cancer.

Evan Helmuth (1977-2017) was an actor who had 39 credits to his name performing various roles in TV and film. He is best known for playing Troy in the 2005 movie “Fever Pitch” and as Father David Keane in the 2012 movie “The Devil Inside Me.” He also had roles in TV shows like “Alias”, “Bones” and “Rizzoli & Isles.” Helmuth died on July 17 at age 40 due to complications from a stroke.

Red West (1936-2017) was a songwriter and actor. He was a close confidant of Elvis Presley, with the two having helped each other with songs in the early 1960s. West was fired as a member of Presley's entourage in 1976 and wrote a book titled “Elvis: What Happened?”, which was published weeks before the singer's death. West says the book was intended to help Presley with his drug issue. In his acting career he is best known for playing Red in the 1989 movie “Road House” and William in the 2008 film “Goodbye Solo.” West died on July 18 at age 81 after suffering an aortic aneurysm.

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Chester Bennington (1976-2017) was the lead singer of the band 'Linkin Park' starting in 1999. He was also the lead singer of 'Dead By Sunrise', a band he formed in 2005, and was also the frontman for 'Stone Temple Pilots' from 2013 to 2015. Prior to joining 'Linkin Park' he was a member of the band 'Grey Daze from 1993 to 1998. During his time with 'Linkin Park', the band sold over 70 million albums worldwide and won two Grammy awards. Bennington died on July 20 at age 41 after being found dead in his home. It was determined he committed suicide by hanging himself.

John Heard (1945-2017) was a veteran actor who had 179 different credits to his name in various TV shows and movies. He is best known for having played Peter McCallister in the “Home Alone” movies and Vin Makazian in “The Sopranos.” He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in 1999 for that role. Heard died on July 22 at age 72. He was found dead in his hotel after recovering from minor back surgery on Wednesday.

Sports

Tom Mitchell (1944-2017) was a tight end who played for 11 seasons in the AFL and NFL. He played his rookie season with the Oakland Raiders before not playing in the 1967 season. Mitchell then spent the next six seasons with the Baltimore Colts, winning the 1968 NFL Championship and Super Bowl V in 1971. He then spent his last three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. For his career, he had 239 catches, 3,181 yards, and 24 touchdowns. Mitchell died on July 16 at age 72 from cancer.

Others

Herbert Needleman (1927-2017) was a professor, pediatrician and child psychiatrist. He was known for his studies on the effects of lead poising on neurodevelopment development. These studies played a major role in significantly reducing lead poisoning and lowering blood lead levels among children in America by the start of the 1990s. They also helped to ensure some of the most significant environmental protections during the 20th century to combat lead poisoning. Needleman died on July 18 at age 89.

Jim Vance (1942-2017) was a TV news anchor in Washington D.C. He was one of the first African-Americans to serve as a co-anchor at a TV station when WRC-TV hired him in 1972. In 1989 he and Doreen Gentzler started working together at WRC-TV in what would become the longest-running anchor team in Washington television. For his work, Vance earned 19 local Emmy Awards and inducted into the National Association Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2007. Vance died on July 22 at age 75 from cancer.