The Artists We Lost in 2022, in Their Words

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Compiled by Gabe Cohn

Music innovators who sang of coal country and “Great Balls of Fire.” An actress who made a signature role out of a devilish baker who meets a fiery end. The trailblazing heart of “In the Heat of the Night.”

The creative people who died this year include many whose lives helped shape our own — through the art they made, and through the words they said. Here is a tribute to just some of them, in their own voices.

“Life offered no auditions for the many roles I had to play.”

Sidney Poitier, actor, born 1927 (Read the obituary.)

“People in the past have done what we’re trying to do infinitely better. That’s why, for one’s own sanity, to keep one’s own sense of proportion, one must regularly go back to them.”

Peter Brook, director, born 1925 (Read the obituary.)

“Every song is a little piece of my life.”

— Ronnie Spector, singer, born 1943 (Read the obituary.)

“Dance is living. Dance is, for me, it’s survival.”

— Yuriko, dancer, born 1920 (Read the obituary.)

“The question is, how do you create with what you have?”

— Kirstie Alley, actress, born 1951 (Read the obituary.)

“Every painting has been a fight between the painting and me. I tend to win. But you know how many paintings I threw in the garbage?”

— Carmen Herrera, artist, born 1915 (Read the obituary.)

“I decided that in every scene, you’re naked. If you’re dressed in a parka, what’s the difference if you’re dressed in nothing at all, if you’re exploring yourself?”

— William Hurt, actor, born 1950 (Read the obituary.)

“You gotta have fun with a song, make somebody laugh. You gotta have character. A hard punchline can make you laugh, but you gotta know how to say it.”

— Takeoff, rapper, born 1994 (Read the obituary.)

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