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Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

It seemed like there was something for everybody at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Mark Ronson's high-spirited "Uptown Funk," featuring Bruno Mars, won Record of the Year. The songwriting award, Song of the Year, went to Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge's "Thinking Out Loud," while Taylor Swift won Album of the Year for 1989.

The nominations for the 58th annual Grammy Awards, though, were pitched as something of a showdown between pop and hip-hop. In certain ways, neither won outright — but both genres' reigning queen and king emerged as winners.

BMX rider Dave Mirra, who for years dominated his sport even as he helped others embrace it, has died at age 41. Police in Greenville, N.C., say they found Mirra "sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound."

Police found Mirra in a parked vehicle shortly after he had visited friends in Greenville, where he had lived for years as an active member of the community. Mirra is survived by his wife and two daughters.

The White House / flickr

While basketball didn’t take up residence in the White House in January 2009, the game nonetheless played an outsized role in forming the man who did, according to Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolff, author of The Audacity of Hoop: Basketball and the Age of Obama.

Health Matters Conference / Creative Commons

One thing we can all agree on regarding Barbra Streisand; she provokes strong reactions. Or, she used to. I don't think Millennials or Generation X and Y completely understand what Streisand was like when she was a central part of the American cultural conversation. 

Glenn Frey, 67, a founding member and guitarist of The Eagles, died on Monday in New York City of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, according to a statement on the band's official website:

"The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery. Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide."

Davidlohr Bueso / Creative Commons

The Academy is supposed to nominate the best actors, directors and writers for Hollywood's most prestigious Oscar awards; instead, they see only whites worthy of these lofty levels of achievement this year.

Piano Piano! on Flickr.com / Creative Commons

I was literally jotting down a few thoughts about Pierre Boulez – the modernist French composer/conductor/musical tastemaker, who died last week at 90 – when the news arrived about David Bowie.

British actor Alan Rickman, a veteran of dozens of films, has died at age 69. Recently, Rickman was most well-known for portraying the complicated villain Severus Snape in the films based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

"Rickman had been suffering from cancer," The Guardian reports.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Life changed dramatically for Illeana Douglas in 1969 when her parents fell in love with the two Harley-riding hippies in the Dennis Hopper - Peter Fonda classic, "Easy Rider." They decided to trade in their middle-class life for a wild ride filled with free spirits, free love and Hollywood.

Daniel Hartwig / Creative Commons

In "A Knight's Tale," Heath Ledger is invited to a dance among the nobles. He is a peasant, impersonating a noble and is anxious because he doesn't really know how to dance. His rival sneeringly asks him to show everybody a dance from Heath's homeland. What happens next is a breath-taking dance sequence in which pre-Renaissance music morphs into Golden Years by David Bowie .

Legendary rock musician David Bowie, who influenced generations of musicians and fans, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

Right after Mexican authorities announced the third capture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, we heard the real shocker: Just months before, Sean Penn had ventured into the Mexican jungle and secretly met with the kingpin.

Rock Icon David Bowie Dies At 69

Jan 11, 2016

Iconic rock musician David Bowie has died of cancer at age 69. The news was announced in a statement on Bowie's social media sites:

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," it read.

Bowie's death was confirmed by his son, Duncan Jones, who tweeted, "Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all."

The Mexican government shocked the world Friday, revealing that it had caught drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán nearly six months after his second escape from prison. On Saturday night, it was Sean Penn's turn to deliver a shock: In Rolling Stone, the actor revealed that he had spoken with the longtime head of the Sinaloa drug cartel during his time as a fugitive.

Narrowly beating a statute of limitations deadline to file charges, prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced felony sexual assault charges against comedian Bill Cosby on Wednesday. A former Temple University employee says Cosby drugged and assaulted her in January 2004.

Montgomery County, Pa., prosecutors have charged Cosby with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. The charges against him are second-degree felonies, each carrying a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Mike Grauer Jr, Creative Commons

Vin Baker was an Olympic basketball player and four-time NBA All Star. The journey from University of Hartford to professional basketball got him rich quick, but it was a lifestyle he couldn't keep up with.

Baker's struggle with alcoholism is well-documented, as is the fact he blew through $100 million. He lost his home and restaurant.

Former NBA Player Vin Baker: From Big Bucks to Starbucks

Dec 17, 2015
Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Vin Baker, who grew up in Old Saybrook, was a four-time NBA All-Star player. He attended the University of Hartford and eventually became an Olympian. He went from relative obscurity to the big time in a flash. 

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday he would not lift the ban on Pete Rose, meaning the legendary hitter also will not be eligible for the Hall of Fame, according to current rules.

This essay first appeared in the 2010 book This Is NPR: The First Forty Years, a collection of writing by NPR staff and contributors.


I should have cared more, but I didn't. I should have cried, but I didn't.

He meant so much to me.

But the day John Lennon died, my life and his music were never more distant.

Stephanie Riefe / WNPR

Actor Kevin Bacon, who's currently performing in “Rear Window” at Hartford Stage, took time on Wednesday to bring awareness to a culinary job training program in Hartford's community.

Gloria Steinem is 81 — a fact that the iconic women's movement leader describes as "quite bizarre."

"Eighty-one is an age that I think is someone else's age," Steinem tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I stop people on the street and tell them how old I am, because I'm trying to make myself believe it."

But Steinem isn't unhappy about aging. The co-founder of Ms. magazine says that as she approached 60, she felt like she entered a new phase in life, free of the "demands of gender" that she faced from adolescence onward.

Mark Garten / United Nations photo

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma turned 60 the other day.

That’s as good a reason as any to reflect for a moment on a life and career that seems about as well executed as that of any classical performing artist in our time, maybe ever.

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