Clockwise from top-left: Queen Elizabeth II, Shinzo Abe, Lata Mangeshkar, Mikhail Gorbachev, Fidel Valdez Ramos and Jean-Luc Godard.
Clockwise from top-left: Queen Elizabeth II, Shinzo Abe, Lata Mangeshkar, Mikhail Gorbachev, Fidel Valdez Ramos and Jean-Luc Godard. Image Credit: AP/AFP/Reuters/IANS/Supplied

One would have to go back hundreds of years to find a monarch who reigned longer than Queen Elizabeth II. In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernise the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals.

Here is a roll call of some influential figures who died in 2022.

Queen Elizabeth II , 96

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century. For most Britons, she was the only monarch they had ever known. Her death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year, prompting a collective outpouring of grief and respect for her steady leadership. (Sept. 8.)

Mikhail Gorbachev , 91

Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev

The last leader of the Soviet Union, he set out to revitalise it but ended up unleashing forces that led to the collapse of communism, the breakup of the state and the end of the Cold War. (Aug. 30).

Madeleine Albright , 84

Madeleine Albright

A child refugee from Nazi- and then Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe who rose to become the first female secretary of state and a mentor to many current and former American statesmen and women. (March 23)

Shinzo Abe , 67

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Shinzo Abe

Japan’s longest serving prime minister, he was also perhaps the most polarising, complex politician in recent Japanese history. Fatally shot during a campaign speech. (July 8)

Jiang Zemin , 96

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Jiang Zemin

He led China out of isolation after the army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989 and supported economic reforms that led to a decade of explosive growth. (Nov. 30)

Fidel Valdez Ramos, 94

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Fidel Valdez Ramos

The former Philippine president was a US-trained ex-general who saw action in the Korean and Vietnam wars and played a key role in a 1986 pro-democracy uprising that ousted a dictator. (July 31)

Sidney Poitier , 94

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Sidney Poitier

He played roles of such dignity and intelligence that he transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, becoming the first Black actor to win an Oscar for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw. (Jan. 6)

Lata Mangeshkar , 92

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Lata Mangeshkar

A legendary Indian singer with a prolific, groundbreaking catalogue and a voice recognised by more than a billion people in South Asia. (Feb. 6)

Olivia Newton-John , 73

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Olivia Newton-John

The Grammy-winning superstar who reigned on pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts with such hits as “Physical” and “You’re the One That I Want” and won countless hearts as everyone’s favorite Sandy in the blockbuster film version of “Grease.” (Aug. 8)

Jean-Luc Godard , 91

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Jean-Luc Godard

The iconic “enfant terrible” of the French New Wave who revolutionised popular cinema in 1960 with his first feature, “Breathless,” and stood for years among the film world’s most influential directors. (Sept. 13)

Jerry Lee Lewis , 87

Jerry Lee Lewis

The untamable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer whose outrageous talent, energy and ego collided on such definitive records as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and sustained a career otherwise upended by personal scandal. (Oct. 28)

Angela Lansbury , 96

The scene-stealing British actor who kicked up her heels in the Broadway musicals “Mame” and “Gypsy” and solved endless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series “Murder, She Wrote.” (Oct. 11)

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Angela Lansbury

Shane Warne, 52

Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne
Shane Warne

He was regarded as one of the greatest players, most astute tacticians and ultimate competitors in the long history of cricket. (March 4)