We lost some pretty epic men over the past year. Men who were not only titans in their respective fields but who also had style to spare. From Joe Frazier to Steve Jobs to Christopher Hitchens, here are 10 legends who left us in 2011, along with what we can learn from the unique, iconic way each one carried himself. Stay classy, guys.
Al Davis was the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders. It’s hard to imagine the world of contemporary football without his large, looming presence coloring everything. Though he was oft maligned during his lifetime, nearly every coach now lives by his credo: “Just win, baby.” Style Tip: With the right attitude, even in your eighties you can look badass in a leather jacket and shades.
Few men can say they went the distance with Muhammad Ali. Fewer still can say they sent “The Greatest” to the hospital. Joe Frazier was a legendary boxer in a legendary era of the sweet science. Style Tip: Don’t be afraid to inject a little flava into your wardrobe with flashy accessories like chains, pinky rings and hats.
Christopher Hitchens proved that you can utterly annihilate someone while never using a single curse word. He forgot more about literature, philosophy and history than most men learn over a lifetime. Style Tip: Simple staples like a navy blazer paired with a collared shirt and chinos never go out of style.
Steve Jobs’ style extended past what he wore. The man created a revolutionary line of products that were both fashionable and functional. There’s nothing more stylish than that. Style Tip: If you hate choosing an outfit every day, pick one that’s versatile, functional and timeless.
A highly controversial figure known as “Dr. Death,” Dr. Jack Kevorkian was an advocate of physician-assisted suicide. Kevorkian went to bat for the right of terminally ill patients to die in a manner of their own choosing in court several times. Style Tip: One word—cardigans.
Jack Lalanne did more than almost anyone to share the benefits of fitness and nutrition with the masses. In his nineties he was in way better shape than most men a third his age. Style Tip: If you’ve got the guns for it, you can boldly rock workout gear outside of the gym.
Sidney Lumet burst out of the gate with his awe-inspiring debut, 12 Angry Men in 1957. He’s also the man behind such bona fide classics as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead. Lumet made high art for mass audiences quickly and relentlessly. Style Tip: The hipster thing can actually be done with a bit of restraint and class. Who else was rocking hoodies back in the day? Who rocks them this hard now?
Andy Rooney made his living ranting about things that peeved him. A trailblazer in this field, he was far less self-conscious about it than any who came after him. If we can all age as gracefully as he did, we’ll be lucky. Style Tip: You can really class things up with a conservative suit and a carefully chosen tie.
Professional wrestling might not be a sport, but it’s certainly an art. Randy “Macho Man” Savage was a Picasso in the ring and on the mic. His Wrestlemania III bout against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat topped nearly every “best of” list that year and many “best ever” lists. Style Tip: Don’t fear the beard, but definitely keep it groomed.
A self-described “bluesologist,” Gil Scott-Heron is arguably the most influential man in hip-hop and neo-soul this side of James Brown. His seminal poem and song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” has become shorthand for commodification and consumerism. Style Tip: Every man should own one good hat that looks gangbusters on him—and wear the hell out of it.
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