Arts and media stars we lost in 2016

Arts and media stars we lost in 2016 via @BBCNews

  • Brookner died in March, at the age of 87.
  • Cunningham died in June at the age of 87.
  • The Liverpool-born writer died in June, at the age of 90.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee died in February at the age of 89.
  • The writer AA Gill was described as a “giant among journalists” by the Sunday Times editor when he died at the age of 62 in December.

The arts and media worlds have said goodbye to stars including Dame Zaha Hadid, Peter Maxwell Davies, Harper Lee and AA Gill, over the past year.

@RIBA: Arts and media stars we lost in 2016 via @BBCNews

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee died in February at the age of 89. Her sequel to the classic novel, Go Set a Watchman, had only been published in 2015 – 55 years after her best-selling work about a white lawyer defending a black man, hit the shelves. She rarely gave interviews, despite her fame thanks to the success of her most famous work, which sold more than 40 million copies around the world.

Dame Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect whose highly-acclaimed designs included the London Olympic Aquatic Centre and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, died at the age of 65 in March. She was considered the world’s leading female architect. Dame Zaha had become the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) Gold Medal, in recognition of her work, the previous month. She had twice won the Riba Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award. Her other designs included the Guangzhou Opera House in China and the Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku.

Booker Prize-winning author Anita Brookner wrote 24 novels, having started writing fiction in her 50s following a successful career as an art historian. Her first novel, A Start in Life, was published in 1981, with a book then released nearly every year over the next three decades. She won the Booker in 1984 for Hotel du Lac, which tells the story of a romantic novelist banished by her friends after breaking off an engagement. Brookner died in March, at the age of 87.

Sir Arnold Wesker was born in the East End of London and had his plays performed all over the world. He brought working class struggles to life with works like Roots and Chicken Soup with Barley, writing more than 40 plays – as well as short stories, essays and poetry – over five decades. His experiences in the RAF inspired one of his most successful plays, Chips with Everything. Sir Arnold’s death in April, at the age of 83, came after a long illness.

The fashion photographer Bill Cunningham spent 40 years working for the New York Times, travelling across the city – usually wearing his trademark blue jacket and riding his bike – to catalogue its street styles. He was said to have a unique eye for emerging trends and captured “vivid, vivacious New York”, said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Such was his importance in the city that he was designated a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009. Cunningham died in June at the age of 87.

Arts and media stars we lost in 2016