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


Cecil Andrus (1931-2017) was a politician from the state of Idaho. In 1960, he was elected to the first of four terms in the Idaho Senate, becoming the youngest state senator in Idaho history. In 1970 he was elected governor of the state after having lost the nomination in 1966. He served as governor until resigning in 1977 to become the secretary of the Department of the Interior under the Carter Administration until 1981.

In 1987 he again became governor of Idaho and was eventually reelected for a historic fourth total term in 1991. During his time in politics, Andrus was noted for being a genuine conservationist and protector of the environment. In 1995 he decided not to run for reelection and instead established the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, which he chaired until his death. Andrus died on August 23 at age 85 from lung cancer.


Jerry Lewis (1926-2017) was an actor, comedian, director, producer, and singer. Lewis first rose to fame during his decade-long run (1946-56) with Dean Martin as part of the comedy duo Martin and Lewis, with the two men also hosting “The Colgate Comedy Hour.” Following their breakup, Lewis would become the biggest star at Paramount Pictures in the early 1960s.

It was during this time that he directed, produced, and wrote most of the films he starred in, including some of his best-known work in 1960's “The Bellboy” and 1963's “The Nutty Professor.” Lewis is also known for co-starring in 1982's “The King of Comedy” with Robert De Niro. He was also the host of “The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon” which he hosted from 1966 until 2010.

Lewis died on August 20 at age 91 from end-stage heart disease.

Jay Thomas (1948-2017) was an actor and comedian who performed in a variety of different roles. In TV he was best known for playing Remo DaVinci in “Mork & Mindy," Eddie LeBec on “Cheers," Jack Stein in “Love and War," Jerry Gold on “Murphy Brown," and Marty Grossman on “Ray Donovan.” For his role as Gold, he would win the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1990 and 1991.

In film, he was best known for playing Coach Bill Meister in “Mr. Holland's Opus," Hal in “Dragonfly," and the Easter Bunny in “The Santa Clause 2” and its sequel. Thomas was also an annual guest on David Letterman at Christmas time and also hosted his own radio show on SiriusXM, “The Jay Thomas Show.” Thomas died on August 24 at age 69 due to cancer.

Tobe Hooper (1943-2017) was a director, producer, and screenwriter, best known for directing horror films. His best known and most iconic work is 1974's “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the 1987 sequel he directed “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.” He is also well-known for directing the 1982 movie “Poltergeist” which was written and produced by Steven Spielberg. Hooper died on August 26 at age 74.