Media deaths of 2012 include these eight people who shaped the industry while they were alive, and whose impact will live on even after their deaths. These people were more than just famous, they were media pioneers in their own personal ways.
1. Media Deaths: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012
Whitney Houston was one of the top recording artists of all time, with music that easily crossed genres and radio formats to make her beloved by millions. But it was her very public decline that will also be remembered, from her marriage to Bobby Brown to reports of alcohol and drug use. While she's not the first superstar singer to die an untimely death, Houston had to endure non-stop media scrutiny during her final years, which certainly made her battles that much more difficult to wage.
2. Media Deaths: Dick Clark, 1929-2012
Dick Clark was more than just a famous radio and television personality. Up until his death at 82, he was a media icon. He may have started in radio during rock and roll's early days, but through the years he built an empire by owning media businesses. During the 1980s, he appeared on all three major TV networks on different programs. His boyish looks hid his age, but during his later years he was praised for having the courage to continue appearing on his New Year's Eve special, despite having suffered a stroke.
3. Media Deaths: Mike Wallace, 1918-2012
Mike Wallace, a host and correspondent on the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes, was one of the 10 TV legends. When he died at 93, he left a void in TV journalism that will be impossible to fill. While he was a notoriously tough questioner, most will say he was never rude nor disrespectful while digging for the truth. Those who tried to be evasive would be caught in the act and exposed.
4. Media Deaths: Helen Gurley Brown, 1922-2012
When longtime Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown died at 90, she was hardly a retiree whose glory days were long in the past. Brown led the magazine's dozens of international editions with the same verve she had when she revolutionized Cosmopolitan in the 1960s, unafraid of the sexual taboos that were unspoken and unprinted until that time. A look at her work is a case study in effective magazine branding, because she instinctively knew her audience and what it wanted to read.
5. Media Deaths: Andy Griffith, 1926-2012
Generations of TV viewers will remember Andy Griffith as more than just a likeable TV actor. When he died at 86, it was as if millions of fans had lost a father figure. His iconic comedy, The Andy Griffith Show, debuted in 1960 and has aired in reruns ever since. That's more than a half-century. In some DMAs, the program airs in key time slots and still beats newer competition in the Nielsen ratings. Griffith's range as an actor was apparent when he shifted from comedy to drama as the star of the 1980s hit Matlock.
6. Media Deaths: Don Cornelius, 1936-2012
TV host and producer Don Cornelius had his life cut short at the age of 75 by an apparent suicide. His tragic death can't overshadow the importance of his life. His weekly syndicated program Soul Train helped put R&B and soul music in front of a national audience. Everyone from Aretha Franklin to Usher helped get a career boost thanks the exposure they received from Cornelius.
7. Media Deaths: Larry Hagman, 1931-2012
Cancer may have claimed the life of actor Larry Hagman at the age of 81, but nothing could stop his most famous role as J.R. Ewing on the blockbuster TV drama Dallas. While Hagman became known for his comedic role on I Dream of Jeannie in the 1960s, his scheming ways as an oil tycoon on Dallas made him immortal. In an 1980 cliffhanger episode, his character was shot, leaving the nation to ask "Who shot J.R.?" all that summer. The answer was revealed in a later episode that attracted an estimated 41 million viewers, a record at the time. At the time of Hagman's death, he was producing a remake of Dallas for TNT.