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.


William F. Goodling (1927-2017) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. Prior to his political career, he served in the US Army from 1946-48 and was president of the Dallas area school board. In 1974, he was elected to serve Pennsylvania's 19th district. From 1995 until his retirement from Congress and public service, Goodling served as Chairman of the U.S.

Housing Committee on Education and Labor. Gooding died on September 17 at age 89.


Ben Hammer (1924-2017) was an actor who had a career that spanned almost seven decades with almost 100 credits to his name. As a character actor, he was best known for portraying various authority figures like doctors, priests or judges. His most memorable roles include being in the films “Invasion of the Bee Girls," “The Beastmaster,” and “Survival Quest.” He also had a recurring role as Judge Herman Mooney on the hit TV show “Law & Order.” Hammer died on September 18 at age 92.

Charles Bradley (1948-2017) was a singer of soul and funk music who was known as the “screaming eagle of soul.” He started his music career late in life, moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator in 1996 at local clubs under the name Black Velvet.

He was then discovered by Bosco Mann, the co-founder of Daptone Records. In 2011, Bradley released his debut album “No Time For Dreaming.” In 2012, a documentary he was the subject of,“Soul of America," premiered at South by Southwest. In 2013 his second album “Victim of Love” came out and was followed up last year by his third album.

“Changes.” Bradley died on September 23 at age 68 from stomach cancer.


Bobby Heenan (1944-2017) was a professional wrestling manager and commentator. As a manager, he was considered one of the best of all-time. He started in 1967 and worked in the WWA and AMA before breaking into the WWF as a manager in 1984, forming what would become known as the Heenan Family.

In 1986, he also became a commentator for the WWF to go along with his managing duties. Heenan was renowned for his skill of drawing heel heat for himself and his wrestlers as a manager. As a commentator, he was known for his great on-screen rapport with Gorilla Monsoon. In 2004, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Heenan died on September 17 at age 72 from organ failure due to complications from throat cancer.

Jake LaMotta (1921-2017) was a professional boxer and former World Middleweight Champion. LaMotta, who had a professional record of 83-19-4, held the title as world champion from June 1949 until February 1951. He is also known for his rivalry with Sugar Ray Leonard, as they fought six times.

Following his boxing career, LaMotta owned and managed bars. He also did stand-up comedy and became a minor actor, appearing in over 15 films. In 1970 his memoir, “Raging Bull: My Story” was published. Ten years later the book was adapted into the critically-acclaimed film “Raging Bull.” In 1990 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. LaMotta died on September 19 at age 96 from pneumonia.

Bernie Casey (1939-2017) was a football player and later an actor. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1961-66 and the Los Angeles Rams in 1967-68. In his eight-year career, Casey had 359 catches for 5,444 yards and 40 touchdowns. His best season was 1967, where he made the Pro Bowl with 53 catches and a career-high 871 yards and 8 touchdowns.

His acting career started soon after his NFL career, playing Cassie in the 1969 film “Guns of the Magnificent Seven.” Casey had 78 credits to his name as an actor, including memorable roles as U.N. Jefferson in “Revenge of the Nerds” and Mr Ryan in “Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.” Casey died on September 19 at age 78.