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LeRoy Neiman, a prolific artist whose dynamically colored paintings and sketches honored heroic figures of sports and entertainment, died Wednesday.

He was 91. His New York-based publicist confirmed Neiman's death.

Throughout his life, Neiman was a larger-than-life yet approachable figure who came to epitomize the magazine with which he had a long association, Playboy.

Neiman

After studying and then teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Neiman's distinctive style originated by using quick brush strokes with the enamel paint that was being tossed out by a building janitor.

The Playboy association that became synonymous with his personal style and that of his art, began in the mid-'50s, when Hugh Hefner's magazine was new.

Once the publisher saw LeRoy Neiman's canvases with their energetic depictions of boxers and nightlife denizens, a professional marriage was born.

"I've had a lucky life," Neiman said in 2008. "I zeroed in on what you would call action and excellence. ... Everybody who does anything to try to succeed has to give the best of themselves, and art has made me pull the best out of myself."

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Rodney King, whose beating by L.A. police in 1991 was caught on tape and sparked riots after the acquittal of the officers involved, was found dead Sunday.

He was found in his swimming pool, local authorities said.

King's fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, found his body. He was 47.

Rodney King Pic

Police in Rialto, Calif., received a 911 call from King's fiancee, Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy DeAnda. Responding officers discovered King at the bottom of the swimming pool, removed him and attempted to revive him.

King was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

There were no preliminary signs of foul play, DeAnda said, and no obvious injuries on Rodney's body. Reports say Kelly is telling friends that Rodney had been drinking a lot Saturday and had smoked marijuana hours before his death.

Police are conducting a full investigation.

"His fiancee heard him in the rear yard," he said, and found King, who lived a troubled life before and after the infamous attack, in the pool outside.

King's beating after a high-speed chase and its aftermath forever changed Los Angeles, its police department and the dialogue on race in America.

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Yvette Wilson, an actress best known for portraying Andell Wilkerson alongside Brandy over the course of five seasons on Moesha, has passed away from cervical cancer. She was 48.

From The Parkers

Wilson went on to play the same role on The Parkers, a spinoff of Moesha, and also appeared on HBO's Def Comedy Jam. Her cancer had reached Stage 4 when she finally succumbed yesterday.

Tweeted former co-star Shar Jackson in response to the news: "F*ck Cancer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh God. My heart is soooo unbelievably broken. I wanna thank all my tweeties for their prayers but God has chosen to take my sister Yvette home." 

Our thoughts go out to Wilson's family and loved ones.

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Our thoughts go out Jennifer Love Hewitt today.

The actress has lost her mother Patricia, who passed away yesterday following a long battle with cancer.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cleavage

"Her family mourns her loss," says a rep for The Client List star. "She was an angel to all who knew her and they are grateful she is now in a better place. They ask for privacy at this difficult time. No further details are being provided."

Patricia worked as a a speech-language pathologist and is survived by her daughter and son, Dr. Todd Hewitt.

[Photo: WENN.com]

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Henry Hill, the real-life mobster whose life story became the basis for the famous movie Goodfellas, has passed away. He was 69 years old.

Hill passed away in an L.A. hospital Tuesday night after a long battle with an undisclosed illness, according to his longtime girlfriend, Lisa.

Lisa says, "He had been sick for a long time ... his heart gave out."

Henry Hill Mug Shot

Once a notorious criminal, he went to great lengths to make amends in life.

Hill had focused on mending relationships with estranged family members in recent years, and made "tremendous progress" before he passed on.

Famously portrayed by Ray Liotta in the 1990 film, Hill has two children.

Hill's exploits in the mob world were legendary, but he prided himself on reforming later on. He was a frequent guest on Howard Stern's show.

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Ann Rutherford, who played Scarlett O'Hara's sister Carreen in Gone with the Wind, died Monday evening in her Beverly Hills home. She was 94.

The actress, who made her mark opposite Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy's girlfriend Polly Benedict in the late '30s, had been in declining health.

Born in Vancouver to a singer father and a silent-film actress, Rutherford moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was nine years old.

As a teenager, she figured out that if she became a radio actress she could get out of school. So she became a radio actress. Simple as that!

Ann Rutherford Pic

Her first movie role - of more than 60 - was in the low-budget 1935 Waterfront Lady. She then made Westerns with John Wayne and Gene Autry.

After she began appearing in the Andy Hardy series, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer tried to prevent her from being in Gone with the Wind.

This was because he thought Carreen, who was Scarlett's understanding little sister, was "a nothing part," Rutherford said in later interviews.

But she prevailed upon the boss, and, as the Times quotes her as saying in 2009 how the "'nothing part' turned my golden years into platinum."

Her death leaves only one star alive from that 1939 classic: Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie. The two-time Oscar winner turns 96 July 1.

Married twice, including to Batman TV producer William Dozier, who died in 1991, Rutherford is survived by a daughter and two grandsons.

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Frank Cady, a career character actor best known as the general store owner on the famous sitcom Green Acres, has died. He was 96 years old.

Cady's daughter, Catherine Turk, reportedly told the Los Angeles Times that her father passed away Friday at his home in Wilsonville, Ore.

A cause of death has not been released at this time.

Frank Cady Pic

Cady played Sam Drucker, one of the less loony denizens of fictional Hooterville in Green Acres, for the show's entire run, from 1965-1971.

The show, centered about a Manhattan couple who left the big city to live in a rundown farm, became one of the staples of early television.

Cady also played the same character in Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies and played Doc Williams on Ozzie and Harriet.

He and his wife, Shirley, retired to Oregon in the 1990s. She died in 2008.

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Atlanta-based rapper Lil Phat was gunned down and killed in the parking lot of a Georgia hospital, officials confirmed Friday. He was only 19.

Two men seen running from the scene are being hunted by police.

Lil Phat (real name Melvin Vernell III) was murdered about 6:40 p.m. Thursday outside Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs north of Atlanta.

Lil Phat

Police say one of the two black men seen running away from the parking lot was short, wearing a red shirt, while the second was a tall and dressed in black.

The victim was taken to Northside Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police declined Friday to say why Vernell was in the hospital parking area.

The parking deck has video surveillance cameras but it was not known if they captured any useful images. Officials are investigating the footage.

Lil Phat was probably best known for his appearance on the 2008 hit "Independent" by Webbie and Lil Boosie, MTV reported. R.I.P.

[Photo: WENN.com]

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Bob Welch, a musician best known for playing with iconic rock band Fleetwood Mac between 1971 and 1974, has committed suicide. He was 66.

Bob Welch Pic

The artist's body was found inside his Nashville home today, police confirm, discovered there by his wife around noon local time. He reportedly shot himself in the chest and left a suicide note.

Following three years at the guitar and microphone with Fleetwood Mac, Welch formed British rock group Paris in 1976. He most well-known tracks include "Sentimental Lady" and "Ebony Eyes."

Our thoughts go out to his family.

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Ray Bradbury, a writer whose expansive flights of fantasy and vivid tales entertained the world and provided lasting, speculative blueprints for its future, has died. He was 91.

Bradbury died Tuesday night, his daughter, Alexandra Bradbury, told the AP.

He wrote at least 27 novels and story collections, most famously The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Just as notably, Bradbury wrote 600 short stories, and has frequently been credited with legitimizing and elevating the often-maligned reputation of science fiction.

Some say he singlehandedly helped to move the genre into mainstream.

Bradbury

"The only figure comparable to mention would be [Robert A.] Heinleinand then later [Arthur C.] Clarke," said Gregory Benford, a UC Irvine physics professor.

"But Bradbury, in the '40s, '50s and '60s, became the name brand."

Much of Bradbury's accessibility and ultimate popularity had to do with his gift as a stylist, and ability to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away.

At the same time, the worlds he anchored in the here and now became so memorable because of the sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity he instilled.

As influenced by George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare as he was by Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bradbury was a once-in-a-generation talent.

He will be missed, and he's even gone viral in the YouTube age. Follow the jump for a sexy, modern-day tribute to Ray from a much younger set of his fans:

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