Looking Back: Those We Lost in 2014

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tags: obituary



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The deaths that tend to endure in the public memory are the ones that shock. We react to them as if they were wholly unwarranted assaults on the natural order of things. People will say: He was too young. She was in her prime. It isn’t fair.

The year now ending produced more than its share of such deaths, stunning the country if not the world. One was that of Robin Williams, 63, whose madcap, quicksilver comedy, resurrected in video-clip tributes, may have drowned out in our memories the more sensitive lines he delivered as an often underappreciated actor.

Another was that of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, whose performances were not just acclaimed but something of an event — must-see brilliance in action. A depressed Mr. Williams died by his own hand; a drug-afflicted Mr. Hoffman succumbed to his own excesses.




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