12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)

(Note: This is part two of our yearly mega-list of overlooked celebrity deaths. You can check out part one here.)

This is the official time of year for "celebrities we lost in 2017" features, but aren't you tired of seeing the same big names on those lists, you horrible, jaded death hipster? Well, we here at Cracked understand how messed up you are inside, which is why we like to pay tribute to those who got lost in the shuffle. So while everybody in the world is (quite rightly) wailing and lamenting the passing of THE Robert Guillaume, we'd like to pay our respects to ...

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June 8: The Hawaiian Pizza Guy

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)Panopoulos family, via CBC News

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Who?

Sam Panopoulos, inventor of the Hawaiian pizza.

How?

Undisclosed.

His Story:

In 1962, restaurateur Sam Panopoulos decided there weren't enough choices for pizza toppings. "The pizza in those days was three things," Panopoulos said, "dough, sauce, cheese, and mushroom, bacon, or pepperoni. That was it." So he did the unthinkable: He sliced up some ham and pineapple and made the most polarizing dish of all time.

Half of you just punched a hole in your screen.GANCINO/iStockHalf of you just punched a hole in your screen.

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Over half a century later, the debate rages on. Earlier this year, Iceland's president said he would ban pineapple on pizzas if he had that sort of power. On the other side of the argument, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation." We laugh now, but the future will look back on this moment as the start of the First Great Icelandic/Canadian War.

June 16: The Director Of Your Favorite Training Montages

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)United Artists

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Who?

John G. Avildsen, director of Rocky and the first three Karate Kid movies.

How?

Pancreatic cancer.

His Story:

Avildsen directed some of the best movies of the '70s and '80s, the most important of which was obviously The Karate Kid. But hey, Rocky wasn't bad either.

Avildsen wasn't all that interested in boxing when he first came across Sylvester Stallone's script for Rocky. He thought of boxing as "sort of a dumb thing." But he read on, and the script finally won him over when Rocky stopped to talk to Cuff and Link, his pet turtles. That bit charmed Avildsen, who then recognized it for the great character drama that it is. He made one hell of a movie, won the Best Director Oscar for it, and spawned a franchise -- all because of a couple of adorable reptiles.

That was before the sophisticated character study was replaced by <A TARGET=_blank HREF=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cku6oPGWW7Q>robot butlers</A> and <A TARGET=_blank HREF=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6K3IvJzJRg>cold war supervillains</A>.United ArtistsThat was before the sophisticated character study was replaced by robot butlers and cold war supervillains

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Yes, we know there's way more to the story. We choose to ignore it, and instead credit lil' baby turtles. You will never convince us that's wrong.

July 26: The Voice Of Your Saturday Morning Cartoons

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)CBS

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Who?

June Foray, voice actress.

How?

Cardiac arrest.

Her Story:

One of the most versatile voices in animation history, June Foray worked tirelessly to get voice acting and animation work the credit that it deserved. She lobbied to have award ceremonies dedicated to the craft, and was so persistent that the Oscars added a category for feature animation in 2001. Is it a coincidence that Monsters Inc., the best movie ever, came out in 2001? Well ... yes, probably, since Shrek won that year.

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Her most recognizable role is Rocky from The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle And Friends, but she also did characters on Garfield, The Real Ghostbusters, and DuckTales. We'd say she was the female Mel Blanc, but as her colleagues said, "Mel Blanc was the male June Foray."

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Aug 2: The Woman Who Saved Anne Frank's Diary

Who?

Judith Jones, legendary book editor.

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How?

Complications from Alzheimer's.

Her Story:

In 1950, Judith Jones was working for Doubleday Publishing when she snatched a book from the "rejected" pile and the face on the cover caught her eye. That face was Anne Frank's. Jones read the book cover to cover, pushed for her bosses to publish it, and the rest was history -- quite literally, as the book is taught in history classes across the world now.

Jones' next endeavor in persuading publishers to print risky manuscripts was 1961's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, co-authored by Julia Child. That book helped revolutionize the way Americans cook -- at least, up until the invention of the Hot Pocket, when everyone simultaneously agreed that cooking was no longer necessary.

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Aug. 7: The Man In The Godzilla Suit

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)Toho

Who?

Haruo Nakajima, actor.

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How?

Pneumonia.

His Story:

Nakajima was the original man in the Godzilla costume. For 12 consecutive movies, he leveled model towns and awkwardly wrestled papier mache insects. Japan was short on supplies after the war, so designers fabricated the original 1954 Godzilla costume out of ready-made concrete mix. Yep, Nakajima was stomping around in a blazing hot 220-pound rock suit that whole time. He also got to inhabit the Mothra and King Kong movie suits, before ultimately quitting to work in a bowling alley, as is the dream.

After having to wear this all day, carrying around a dozen bowling balls probably felt like a day at the park.TohoAfter having to wear this all day, carrying around a dozen bowling balls probably felt like a day at the park.

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Aug. 26: A Master Of Horror

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)Lionsgate

Who?

Tobe Hooper, movie director.

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How?

Natural causes.

His Story:

There's actually not all that much gore in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Instead, director Tobe Hooper created an aural and visual massacre of the senses, leaving viewers of the time shocked, unsettled, and often covered in urine (hopefully their own). He did the same with Poltergeist and his 1979 miniseries Salem's Lot.

There was some debate surrounding who really directed Poltergeist: Hooper or Steven Spielberg? The answer seems to be somewhere in the middle. Hooper was calling the shots, but if you have Spielberg strolling around your set, maybe a smart, humble person would ask what one of the greatest directors of all times thinks of a shot.

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Anyway, after changing the landscape of horror forever, Hooper mostly went on to create episodic TV. He died of natural causes at 74, leaving us one final massacre ... of the heart.

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Sept 12: An Icon Of The Gay Rights Movement

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)Rex Block

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Who?

Edith Windsor, computer technician and activist.

How?

Undisclosed, but she had struggled with heart issues for years.

Her Story:

In 1962, Edith Windsor met Thea Spyder while out dancing in New York. Intrigued by how close her name was to "The Spider," they struck up a relationship that lasted until 2009, when Spyder died. Since gay marriage was illegal at the time, Edith had to pay $363,000 in estate taxes, which she would have been exempt from if they'd been legally married.

The insane amount of money she owed was a harsh reminder that, and this may shock you, the government doesn't treat gay people the same as straight people. Since she was still grieving and mad as hell, Windsor sued and became the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court case which ultimately struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Her work eventually led to gay marriage becoming legal at the federal level, and Windsor herself legally married Judith Kasen in 2016.

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Sept. 17: The Biggest Jerk In Wrestling

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)WWE

Who?

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Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, pro wrestling manager.

How?

Throat cancer.

His Story:

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan heard more boos than anyone else in the 1980s. He trotted out vilified acts like Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, and Andre the Giant -- he even talked shit to America's own Hulk Hogan before we all knew he deserved it.

It does help in shit-talking when you’re backed up by a literal giant.WWEIt does help in shit-talking when you’re backed up by a literal giant.

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After his onscreen career finished, Heenan commentated on wrestling matches until throat cancer made it all but impossible for him to speak. And as any wrestling fan will tell you, they hated him with a passion until his dying day. But, you know, in a good way.

Oct. 16: The Voice Of A Song Of Ice And Fire

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)HBO

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Who?

Roy Dotrice, actor.

How?

Undisclosed.

His Story:

Roy Dotrice has been the reader for all of the audiobooks of George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series. He set the world record for "most characters voiced in a single audiobook," with an astounding 223 characters in A Game Of Thrones.

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He actually had a pretty decent acting career beyond that, winning a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play for A Moon For The Misbegotten in 2000. He even landed himself a role in the HBO adaptation of ASOIAF, playing Wisdom Hallyne, the Pyromancer -- you know, the guy secondhand-responsible for burning, like, all of your favorite characters.

Hey, it wasn't Roy's idea. Don't hold it against him.

Nov. 9: A Great Enemy Of Cancer

12 Famous People You Didn’t Notice Died In 2017 (Part 2)Johns Hopkins Medicine

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Who?

Donald Coffey, professor of urology.

How?

Heart failure.

His Story:

Donald Coffey wouldn't let trivial barriers like "lack of experience" or "no training" stand in the way of his scientific career. He led the Department of Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins, despite never taking a single pharmacology class. He founded the Cancer Center at Hopkins in 1973, despite not having a goddamn medical degree. He wasn't pulling a Catch Me If You Can or anything; he was just really good at his job.

He revolutionized our ideas about how DNA replicates, and changed how scientists view the nucleus of cells. At a time when academics believed the core of a nucleus to be empty, Coffey knew they had a skeleton. He came up with the idea of a "nuclear matrix," which is both the foundation of modern genetic science and one hell of a DJ name.

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Justin has a fun podcast here. He also has a funny blog! Lisa-Skye is an Australian comedian. Find more of her at thelisaskye.com or @thelisaskye on the social media things.

Death is a weird thing to contemplate, but a young Prince of Denmark does plenty of it. Read Hamlet today and seem smarter than other people.

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For more check out 17 Celebrities You Didn't Know Died In 2015 (Part 1) and 17 Celebrities You Didn't Know Died In 2015 (Part 2).

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