Ten Most Notable People to Die in Colorado

Posts like our collection of the top ten "You know you're from Colorado when...." punchlines celebrate life in our fair state. But what about the opposite side of that coin? Turns out the last breath of many memorable folks was of our thin air. We've assembled a roster of the ten most notable passings. Check them out below — and let us know if there's anyone we missed.

Number 10: Michael Kennedy The son of the late Robert Kennedy, Michael Kennedy didn't put his mark on history as did so many other members of his famous clan. However, his death made headlines across the country and the world. He died on the slopes of Aspen, with numerous reports suggesting that he and other relatives were playing football on skis when he smacked into a tree and sustained fatal injuries. Unlike real football players, Michael wasn't wearing a helmet.

Number 9: John McWethy McWethy was one of the most honored journalists at ABC News from the late '70s until the early 2000s. His reports about his experiences on 9/11 — he was at the Pentagon during the terrorist attack there — were particularly memorable. He died in a skiing accident at Keystone in 2008. Page down to continue reading about the ten most notable people to die in Colorado.

Number 8: George Hickenlooper The cousin of Governor John Hickenlooper, George Hickenlooper was a director of growing renown when he died shortly after arriving in Colorado for the 2010 Starz Denver Film Festival, where his film Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey, was to be prominently featured. The fest was dedicated to his memory.

Number 7: Doak Walker Although Walker, a onetime Detroit Lions great and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, is generations removed from his pigskin heroics, his name continues to hold meaning for current ballers via the Doak Walker Award, given to the year's best college running back. He died in Steamboat Springs in 1998 as a result of injuries he suffered while, yes, skiing. He was 71. Page down to continue reading about the ten most notable people to die in Colorado.

Number 6: Barbara Bates Actress Bates was best known for her performance in the cinema classic All About Eve — but her end was particularly tragic. As evidence, we excerpt her mini-bio from

She basically abandoned her career in 1957 and, except for a 1962 appearance in the TV series "The Saint" (1962), was not heard of until her death. It was learned that she had retreated to her hometown of Denver and worked in various minor job capacities including stints as a secretary, dental assistant and hospital aide. Her much older husband and chief supporter, Cecil Coan, died of cancer in January of 1967, and Barbara fell apart. Although she remarried in December of 1968 to a childhood friend, sportscaster William Reed, she remained increasingly despondent and committed suicide, just four months later in her mother's garage, by carbon monoxide poisoning. Another sad, tragic ending to a promising Hollywood beauty who seemed destined to have it all.

Number 5: Alan Berg
Although radio-talk show host Berg was well known in Denver during his career, he became famous on a broader scale due to the manner of his death: In 1984, he was assassinated in his driveway by members of a white supremacist group called The Order because of his outspoken views. His life and demise inspired the Eric Bogosian play Talk Radio, which was adapted into a film by director Oliver Stone. Page down to continue reading about the ten most notable people to die in Colorado.

Number 4: Doc Holliday
Talk about a brilliant juxtaposition of descriptors: Gambler, Gunfighter, Dentist. Holliday is best known these days as a primary character in the American drama known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He gave up the ghost when he was just 36, while staying at the Hotel Glenwood in Glenwood Springs. His final words were reportedly, "Damn, this is funny."

Number 3: Brandon DeWilde The indelible image of Brandon DeWilde? The little boy dolefully calling the title character's name in the Western epic Shane. He met his maker circa 1972 in Denver at age thirty as a result of a traffic accident. After his camper struck a flatbed truck in Lakewood, he was transported to Saint Anthony's Hospital, where he later died. Page down to continue reading about the ten most notable people to die in Colorado.

Number 2: Linda Lovelace
Born Linda Susan Boreman, the woman known as Linda Lovelace became a celebrity when the 1972 porn film Deep Throat emerged as the unlikeliest kind of crossover success. She later became an anti-porn activist who shared horror stories from her years as a sexual object of desire. In 2002, she died in Denver after a car crash.

Number 1: William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody
The legendary Wild West showman not only died (of kidney failure) in Denver in 1917, at age seventy, but his Lookout Mountain grave remains an excellent local tourist attraction. We've got a feeling he would have liked that.