As 2022 draws to a close, it is fitting to look back at the year’s highs, lows, celebrations and ceremonies. There was no shortage of it pop culture events, eclectic trivia and celebrity updates filling news pages, websites and social media feeds – all of which provided inspiration for the annual Mammoth Year-in-Review Crossword, which appears in this newspaper’s print edition later this month. But whether you’re looking at the puzzle or not, it’s still the perfect time to recap some of the year’s highlights, lows, milestones and memories.
The world has seen a number of great talents and famous leaders die in 2022, including Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September after serving 70 years on the throne and becoming the longest-reigning British monarch in history. The spectacle of the Queen’s funeral was unlike anything seen in seven decades.
A few members of country music royalty also died in 2022: Loretta Lynn died at age 90 and Naomi Judd died at age 76. Other deaths in 2022 include actress Angela Lansbury, 96; actor Sidney Poitier, 94; former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, 91; NBA great Bill Russell, 88; former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, 84; singer Jerry Lee Lewis, 87; actor Paul Sorvino, 83; actor James Caan, 82; singer Meat Loaf, 74; singer/actress Olivia Newton-John, 73; actress Kirstie Alley, 71; actor William Hurt, 71; actor Ray Liotta, 67; comedian Gilbert Gottfried, 67; comedian/actor Bob Saget, 65; and Irene Cara (63). Also gone too soon were the rap star Coolio (59); actress Anne Heche, 53; drummer Taylor Hawkins, 50; TV personality/dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss, 40; singer Aaron Carter, 34; and rapper Takeoff, 28.
On a brighter note, a number of celebrities have had milestone birthdays. Actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, actress Glenn Close, filmmaker/actor Rob Reiner, singer Elton John and comedian/actor Larry David turned 75. Country superstar Garth Brooks and rocker Jon Bon Jovi turned 60, along with actors Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey. Actress/entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow turned 50, as did Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, actress Cameron Diaz, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and rapper Eminem. The singers Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Nick Jonas turned 30. So is Barney, the purple dinosaur.
Serena Williams, who retired with 23 Grand Slam titles, and Steph Curry, who was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, gave audiences something to cheer about this year. Other celebrations in the world of sports include the Golden State Warriors becoming the 2022 NBA champions; the Los Angeles Rams winning the Super Bowl; the Houston Astros who won the World Series; the Colorado Avalanche lift hockey’s Stanley Cup; Argentina wins FIFA’s World Cup; and Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, where Norway set a record for winning gold medals at a Winter Games.
Celebrations also took place this year for Britney Spears, who got married and started recording. Other celebrities who walked down the aisle included Lindsay Lohan, Lance Armstrong, Nikki Bella, Josh Duhamel and, perhaps most famously, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
On the other side of marital bliss, actor Sylvester Stallone was temporarily hit with divorce papers; Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen ended their marriage; and dating couple Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian called it quits.
Other unfortunate entertainment news of the year included Johnny Depp suing Amber Heard, Justin Bieber being struck with facial paralysis, Celine Dion being diagnosed with stiff person syndrome, and Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Speaking of the Oscars, CODA was the year’s best picture; Jessica Chastain won the Oscar for Best Actress; and the aforementioned Smith received the best actor Oscar.
At the Emmys, Succession won again for best drama series; Ted Lasso won again for Best Comedy Series; The White Lotus won the most Emmys; and, Lizzo’s Watch Out For the Big Grrrls was the best competition show.
The year 2022 also marked a number of notable anniversaries:
- Fifteen years ago, the first iPhone was released.
- Twenty years ago, the hugely popular dating show The Bachelor debuted.
- Twenty-five years ago, Diana, the Princess of Wales, died in a car accident in Paris while being chased by paparazzi.
- Thirty-five years ago, we first saw The Simpsons appear on TV, as an animated short on The Tracey Ullman Show.
- Forty years ago Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the year; Diet Coke was introduced; ABBA broke up first; and rocker Ozzy Osbourne bit a bat on stage.
- Forty-five years ago, Elvis Presley died.
- Fifty years ago, the Boston Marathon officially allowed women to participate in this famous road race; the Watergate scandal occurred; the airbag was invented; and the first official convention of Star Trek fans was held.
- Sixty years ago, the iconic actress Marilyn Monroe died and the Beatles released their first single Love Me Do.
- Seventy years ago, Mr. Potato Head was handed out for the first time.
- Seventy-five years ago, Jackie Robinson became the first Black player to hit the field in Major League Baseball; the Polaroid camera that took instant photos was invented; Miracle on 34th Street first appeared in theaters; the famous alleged UFO incident took place in Roswell, NM; and the Cold War with the Soviet Union began.
- A century ago, insulin was first used to treat diabetes; water skiing was created; Reader’s Digest begins publication; and King Tut’s tomb was discovered.
To test your trivia knowledge of this year, check out the 2022 Mammoth Year-in-Review Crossword in these Postmedia papers on the following dates:
Dec. 23: Saskatoon StarPhoenix
December 24: Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Regina Leader-Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.
December 27: National Post and Windsor Star.