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Celebrity deaths 2021: All the actors, singers and more we lost this year
By Page Six Team
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January 18, 2023 | 2:11pm | Updated
Celebrity deaths 2023: Actors, singers and stars we lost this year
Jan. 17, 1922-dec. 31, 2021.
Beloved actress Betty White died on New Year’s Eve 2021 , her rep confirmed.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas said in a statement to People .
“I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband, Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
White passed away at age 99, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
1976-dec. 14, 2021.
Jason Hitch, one of the stars of the second season of the TLC series “90 Day Fiancé,” died due to complications from COVID-19 , according to the reality star’s sister.
Hitch — who was not vaccinated against the virus — passed away at the age of 45 in the ICU of an undisclosed Florida hospital. Hitch’s family was reportedly by his bedside for his final moments, holding his hands.
Sept. 30, 1980-nov. 28, 2021.
Virgil Abloh, the fashion designer who founded Louis Vuitton’s Off-White label, died on Nov. 28 after losing a two-year battle with cancer.
The LVMH fashion house revealed that the 41-year-old suffered from cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer, which he was privately diagnosed with in 2019.
July 27, 1985-nov. 17, 2021.
Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., better known as rapper Young Dolph, was reportedly shot and killed in his native Memphis, Tenn., on Nov. 17.
Local station FOX13 reported that his death was confirmed by three independent law enforcement sources.
The 36-year-old rapper allegedly walked into the shop Makeda’s Butter Cookies to buy cookies when an unidentified person drove up and shot him, the store’s owner, Maurice Hill, recounted to the station, based on employees’ accounts of the incident.
Captain Mark Howard, star of the first season of Bravo’s “Below Deck Mediterranean,” died in October at age 65. The cause of his death was not immediately made public.
“Our thoughts and sincerest sympathies are with the family and friends of the respected Captain Mark Howard,” Bravo wrote in a statement on Instagram. “As the captain of the first season of ‘Below Deck Med,’ he will always be remembered for his many contributions and mentorship and will forever remain part of the Bravo family.”
Sept. 12, 1955-oct. 22, 2021, willie garson, feb. 20, 1964-sept. 21, 2021.
Willie Garson, best known for his portrayal of Stanford Blatch in “Sex and the City,” died at the age of 57 on Sept. 21. Prior to his death, Garson had returned to NYC to reprise his beloved character in the upcoming “SATC” revival, “And Just Like That.”
Despite all of his career success, Garson’s favorite role in life was being a dad. The actor raved about his “special” son, Nathan, whom he adopted in 2009, during an interview with Page Six last year .
“He’s an adult and soon to be taking care of me which is really why I got him to be honest,” Garson said at the time. “He’s lovely and a really special guy. He’s wonderful and he’s in college in Ohio.”
Oct. 17, 1959-sept. 14, 2021.
Comedian and “Saturday Night Live” star Norm Macdonald died after a private nine-year battle with cancer in September. He was 61.
He was most proud of his comedy,” his friend Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was also his longtime producing partner, said. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered.”
She added, “Norm will be missed terribly.”
Michael K. Williams
“The Wire’’ actor Michael K. Williams was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose in his Brooklyn penthouse Monday, Sept. 6, law-enforcement sources told The Post.
Williams, 54, was discovered unconscious in the dining room of his luxury Williamsburg pad with what appeared to be heroin on the kitchen table, sources said.
The actor was pronounced dead by authorities at 2:12 p.m., sources said — adding that it appeared the TV star had fatally OD’d.
“No foul play indicated,” a police source said. “No forced entry, the apartment was in order.”
Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding died after a year-long battle with breast cancer on Sept. 5, 2021. She was 39 years old.
Harding’s mom, Marie, announced the sad news on the singer’s Instagram page the same day.
“Many of you will know of Sarah’s battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day. She slipped away peacefully this morning.”
Aug 18, 1955-sept. 1, 2021.
“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes’ husband, Gregg Leakes, died of cancer on Sept. 1, 2021. He was 66 years old.
A rep for the couple said in a statement that Gregg passed away “in his home surrounded by all of his children, very close loved ones and wife.”
Gregg was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018, but was deemed cancer free following six months of chemotherapy. In June 2021, however, NeNe confirmed that her husband’s cancer had returned.
June 2, 1941-aug. 24, 2021.
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died in a London hospital on Aug. 24, 2021. He was 80 years old.
The musician pulled out of the band’s rescheduled US tour earlier in August after he underwent an unspecified but “completely successful” medical procedure.
“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather,” a spokesperson said in a statement following his death, adding that he was “one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”
June 9, 1928-july 24, 2021.
Iconic Borscht Belt comedian Jackie Mason died on July 24 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan surrounded by his wife, Jyll, and a few friends. He was 93 years old.
April 8, 1964-July 16, 2021
Legendary New York rapper Biz Markie, famous for his hit “Just a Friend,” died on July 16 after a battle with complications from diabetes. The artist, born Marcel Theo Hall, passed away in a Baltimore hospital with his wife by his side. He was 57.
November 9, 1945 - July 11, 2021
Jeff LaBar, the longtime guitarist for the glam metal band Cinderella, died at his Nashville home on July 11, from undisclosed reasons , his family shared. He was 58.
Actor Charlie Robinson died July 11 from a cardiac arrest and organ failure due to septic shock and metastatic adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Over the course of his 50-year career, Robinson played various roles, including Mac on “Night Court.” He was 75.
March 27, 1947 - july 7, 2021.
Actor Chick Vennera passed away in his home in Burbank, Calif. at 74 years old after a battle with cancer. The multi-talented actor was best known for his recurring role as Enrique/Pepe on “The Golden Girls” and disco performance in the 1970s “Thank God It’s Friday.”
Dec. 11, 1922-july 7, 2021.
Bollywood icon Dilip Kumar, considered the “Tragedy King” of Hindi cinema, died July 7 after struggling with a prolonged illness. Kumar — whose career spanned over six decades and included more than 60 films such as “Shaheed” and “Andaz” — was hospitalized twice in June from breathlessness before he passed. He was 98 years old.
Robert Downey Sr.
June 24, 1936 - july 7, 2021.
Robert Downey Sr., the filmmaker, actor and father of Robert Downey Jr., died in his sleep July 7 – one month after celebrating his 85th birthday. The actor, best known for his appearances had been battling Parkinson’s disease for more than 5 years.
Downey Jr., 56, called his father a “true maverick” who remained “remarkably optimistic” in his tribute.
Matima "Swavy" Miller
TikTok star Matima Miller, better known as Swavy and Babyface.S, died July 6 after being fatally gunned down in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington. Miller, who boasted over 2.3 million followers on his dancing account, was 19.
April 12, 1957 - july 6, 2021.
Longtime actress Suzzanne Douglas, known for her roles both on and off-Broadway, died at her home in Martha’s Vineyard after complications from cancer on July 6. Douglas, who starred in the WB sitcom “The Parent ‘Hood,” had revealed in January that “two life-threatening cancers” had changed her world. She was 64.
March 24, 1933 - july 5, 2021.
William Smith, best known for his tough-guy roles in “Hawaii Five-O” and “Laredo,” died July 5 at the Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 88.
April 24, 1930-july 5, 2021.
Director Richard Donner died at the age of 91 of an unrevealed cause on July 5. Donner was best known for his role in directing star-studded films such as “Superman,” “The Goonies” and “Lethal Weapon.”
October 4, 1997 - july 4, 2021.
Daniel Mickelson, a rising actor and older brother of model Meredith Mickelson, passed away July 4 at 23 years old, his sister revealed. Mickelson was best known for his roles in the 2017 TV show “Mani” and had also announced the launch of his own clothing line back in January.
His death prompted an emotional response from several celebrities including supermodel Kaia Gerber and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
Feb. 5, 1937 - june 29, 2021.
Soap opera star Stuart Damon passed away on June 29 at the age of 84. Damon, who played Dr. Alan Quartermaine on “General Hospital,” had suffered from renal failure for several years.
“He loved playing Alan and was always so appreciative of that role and that job. It was his passion,” Damon’s son Christopher told Los Angeles station ABC7.
Aug. 7, 1965-june 26, 2021.
Former Skid Row singer Johnny Solinger reportedly died on June 26 at the age of 55. The news came about a month after he told fans that he’d been diagnosed with liver failure, according to reports.
The band, which Solinger was a part of from 1999 to 2015, posted a tribute to Solinger that read in part, “We are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.”
Gift of Gab
1971- june 18, 2021.
Gift of Gab, the co-founder of rap duo Blackalicious, died at the age of 50 on June 18. The rapper died of natural causes though he had been suffering from kidney problems, which required him to be on dialysis several times a week.
Clarence Williams III
Clarence Williams III, who broke new ground as “hippie” Detective Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” from 1968 to 1973, died in his home in Los Angeles on June 4 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 81.
March 5, 1928-june 10, 2021.
Emmy winner Ray MacDonnell, best known for playing Dr. Joe Martin on the ABC soap opera “All My Children” for more than four decades, died of natural causes at his Chappaqua, NY, home on June 10. He was 93 years old.
Jan. 29, 1947-june 3, 2021.
Ernie Lively, an actor, acting coach and the father of “Gossip Girl” star Blake Lively, died on June 3 at the age of 74. Ernie — who entered showbiz in the 1970s and played Blake’s father in two “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movies — died from cardiac complications, his family announced ( via The Hollywood Reporter ).
Ernie and wife Elaine Lively’s children — Blake, “Teen Witch” star Robyn Lively, Lori Lively, Jason Lively and Eric Lively — are all actors as well.
Jan. 23, 1936-may 31, 2021.
Sitcom veteran Arlene Golonka passed away on May 31 at the age of 85. The Chicago native, known for portraying Millie Swanson in the 1968 to 1971 series “Mayberry R.F.D.,” had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, her niece told Variety .
Feb. 28, 1931-may 29, 2021.
“The Love Boat” star Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing on the famed series after roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “McHale’s Navy,” died on May 29 . He was 90 years old.
“My heart is broken,” “Mary Tyler Moore” star Ed Asner posted on Twitter . “Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator.”
Aug. 7, 1942- may 29, 2021.
Grammy winner B.J. Thomas died in May at the age of 78. The singer, known for hits such as “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” announced in March that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Sept. 28, 1933-may 27, 2021.
TV actor Robert Hogan, best known for his roles on “Peyton Place,” “Law & Order” and HBO’s “The Wire,” died on May 27 after complications from pneumonia. Hogan, who was 87 years old at the time of his death, had been diagnosed with vascular Alzheimer’s in 2013.
December 3, 1988-may 26, 2021.
Kevin Clark, the child actor who played Freddy “Spazzy McGee” Jones in the 2003 film “School of Rock,” died after being fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle. He was 32.
Lois De Banzie
May 4, 1930-may 26, 2021.
Lois De Banzie, a Tony-nominated actress best known for the films “Annie” and “Sister Act,” has died. She was 90 years old.
Samuel E. Wright
November 20, 1946-may 25, 2021.
Samuel E. Wright, the legendary voice of the crab Sebastian in “The Little Mermaid” and Mufasa in Broadway’s “The Lion King,” died at his home in Walden, New York. He was 74.
November 17, 1965- May 19, 2021
Mark York, known for his performance as Billy Merchant opposite Steve Carell on “The Office,” died in May at the age of 55. The actor and inventor passed away “following a brief and unexpected illness,” according to an obituary posted by Kreitzer Funeral Home in Ohio, his home state.
April 21, 1935-may 18, 2021.
Iconic Hollywood actor Charles Grodin died of bone marrow cancer at his home in Wilton, Conn., on May 18. Known best for his comedic deadpan, Grodin starred in movies such as “Heartbreak Kid,” “Midnight Run” and “Beethoven.” He was 86.
Nov. 8, 1914-may 11, 2021.
Actor Norman Lloyd, best known for his roles in films such as “Dead Poets Society” and “St. Elsewhere,” died at the age of 106 of May 11. He reportedly died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home.
March 9, 1933-may 10, 2021.
Lloyd Price, an early rock ‘n roll star and singer-songwriter, died of complications from diabetes on May 10, his wife confirmed. Lloyd was best known for his up-tempo hits such as “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Personality” and the semi-forbidden “Stagger Lee.” He was 88.
Aug. 5, 1961-may 7, 2021.
Actress Tawny Kitaen, best known for her role in 1984’s “Bachelor Party” starring Tom Hanks and for turns in numerous music videos including Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again,” died in Newport Beach, Calif. , on May 7. She was 59 years old.
June 20, 1931-may 1, 2021.
Olympia Dukakis, Hollywood’s favorite late bloomer best known for her Oscar-winning turn in 1987’s “Moonstruck,” died at the age of 89 on May 1. Dukakis, a cousin of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, died at her home in New York City.
December 9, 1954 - april 2021.
John Paragon, known for his performance as the blue-faced genie Jambi on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” died in April at the age of 66. His death was confirmed in June by TMZ , although no official cause has been revealed.
March 18, 1941-april 29, 2021.
Action star Frank McRae, who appeared in films such as “License To Kill” and “Last Action Hero,” died of a heart attack on April 29. He was 80.
“The Rifleman” actor Johnny Crawford died at the age of 75 after battling COVID and pneumonia. News of the actor’s death was confirmed in late April.
June 12, 1961-april 24, 2021.
Fashion designer Alber Elbaz, formerly of the French design house Lanvin, died on April 24 at the age of 59. His cause of death was COVID-19, the New York Times reported , citing Richemont, the company backing Elbaz’s new AZ Factory fashion brand.
November 1, 1947- april 19, 2021.
Jim Steinman, the Grammy-winning hitmaker behind some of pop music’s most epic ballads, died in April at the age of 73.
Steinman passed away on Monday, April 19, in Connecticut, according to TMZ . Steinman had collaborated on chart-toppers for Meat Loaf and Celine Dion.
Nov. 12, 1955-april 20, 2021.
Scottish pop artist Les McKeown, the former lead vocalist for the Bay City Rollers, died at the age of 65 on April 20. His family did not disclose the cause of death and asked for “privacy after the shock of our profound loss.”
June 8, 1968-April 17, 2021
Harlem rapper Black Rob, best known for his 2000 hit “Whoa,” died in April at the age of 51. His passing was confirmed by former label mate Mark Curry.
August 17, 1968- april 16, 2021.
Helen McCrory, who appeared in the Harry Potter and James Bond film franchises, died in April at the age of 52.
McCrory’s husband, Damian Lewis, confirmed the actress had passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer.
Feb. 12, 1957-april 11, 2021.
“Jersey Boys” and “The Sopranos” actor Joseph Siravo passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 64.
“I was by his side when my dear father passed away this morning, peacefully, in his beloved Treehouse,” wrote Siravo’s daughter Allegra Okarmus on Instagram. “We are both so lucky to be so intensely loved. I am so immensely grateful to have had him here on earth and I know that he hasn’t gone very far.”
Feb. 13, 1932-jan. 4, 2021.
Barbara Shelley — the British horror film icon known as the “Queen of Hammer” for her work in 1950s and 1960s Hammer Horror films — died on Jan. 4 at the age of 88. According to her agent, the actress had contracted COVID-19, but, “It wasn’t the COVID that took her, she had underlying issues.”
December 18, 1970- April 9, 2021
Rapper DMX died on April 9 at the age of 50. The legendary performer, who was born Earl Simmons, had suffered a drug overdose earlier in the month that left him in a “vegetative state.”
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” his family said in a statement to Page Six. “He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever.”
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
June 10, 1921- april 9, 2021.
Britain’s Prince Philip died on April 9 at the age of 99. The husband of Queen Elizabeth II “passed away peacefully” at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace announced at the time.
Philip, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, was married to Elizabeth for 73 years and was the father to the royal heir Prince Charles . The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties in August 2017.
March 5, 1966-april 5, 2021.
British actor Paul Ritter died of a brain tumor at the age of 54. Ritter passed away “peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side,” his agent said.
The actor played Eldred Worple in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and Guy Haines in the 2008 James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace.” Prior to his on-screen tenure, Ritter was a stage actor and was nominated for an Olivier award in 2006 for his part in “Coram Boy.” He was also nominated for a Tony in 2009 for his starring role in “The Norman Conquests.”
Jan. 23, 1950-march 18, 2021.
Actor Richard Gilliland, husband of Jean Smart, died at the age of 71 on March 18 following a brief illness with an undisclosed condition. The actor — who appeared in shows including “The Waltons,” “Thirtysomething” and “Party of Five” — first met Smart on the set of her sitcom “Designing Women.” He was cast to play the on-again, off-again love interest of Annie Potts.
Jan. 31, 1941-march 24, 2021.
Emmy-winning actress Jessica Walter died at age 80 on March 24. The “Arrested Development” and “Archer” star reportedly died in her sleep.
Feb. 13, 1934-march 23, 2021.
Oscar-nominated actor George Segal passed away at age 87 on March 23 following complications from bypass surgery. His wife, Sonia Segal, announced the news of the “Goldberg” actor’s passing.
Oct. 25, 1968-march 14, 2021.
Iconic Troop vocalist Reggie Warren died at age 52 after several health issues. He passed away at home surrounded by his family, who said COVID didn’t play a role.
The quintet signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut album in ’88, which included their lead single “Mamacita.” Troop gained even more fame with their second album, “Attitude,” which included mega-hits “All I Do is Think of You” and “Spread My Wings.”
“Degrassi” star Jahmil French died at the age of 29 , a rep for the Canadian actor confirmed to Page Six on March 2. “It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of a dear friend and client Jahmil French,” the rep said in a statement. “He will be remembered by many for his passion for the arts, his commitment to his craft, and his vibrant personality. I ask that you keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”
French was best known for his role as Dave Turner on the teen series “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”
Jan. 12, 1951-feb. 17, 2021.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh died at age 70 in February. Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced the news of his passing a year after he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Nov. 1, 1942-feb. 10, 2021.
Controversial Hustler founder Larry Flynt, who also fashioned himself into a champion of the First Amendment, died on Feb. 10 of heart failure. He was 78 years old. He’d suffered from various health problems following a 1978 murder attempt that had left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Dec. 13, 1929-feb. 5, 2021.
Legendary actor Christopher Plummer died on Feb. 5 at age 91. “Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self deprecating humor and the music of words,” his longtime manager said in a statement.
The Oscar-winning actor, who starred in movies including “The Sound of Music,” “Beginners,” “All the Money in the World” and “Knives Out,” is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Elaine Taylor.
Jan. 7, 1977-feb. 1, 2021.
Dustin Diamond, who was best known for his role as Samuel “Screech” Powers on “Saved by the Bell,” died after a battle with stage 4 cancer . He was diagnosed with the brutal disease only three weeks prior to his Feb. 1 passing. Diamond was 44 years old.
SOPHIE (Sophie Xeon)
Sept. 17, 1986-jan. 30, 2021.
Grammy-nominated producer and artist SOPHIE died at the age of 34 after a “sudden accident” in Athens, Greece. “True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell,” the artist’s rep told USA Today . “She will always be here with us.”
In 2018, she told Paper magazine of being transgender: “For me, transness is taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul and spirit so the two aren’t fighting against each other and struggling to survive.”
Dec. 19, 1924-jan. 28, 2021.
Legendary actress Cicely Tyson, a Tony and Emmy winner who was Oscar-nominated for her role as a sharecropper’s wife in the 1972 film “Sounder,” died on Jan. 28 . She was 96 years old. The stage and screen star’s manager, Larry Thompson, called her passing a “peaceful transition.”
April 30, 1926-jan. 27, 2021.
Famed actress Cloris Leachman died on Jan. 27 of natural causes at 94 years old. She was best known for her roles in iconic film and television projects such as “Young Frankenstein” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
“There was no one like Cloris,” her longtime manager Juliet Green told Page Six. “With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh ’till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.”
Feb. 17, 1925-jan. 23, 2021.
Tony and Emmy-winning actor Hal Holbrook, famed for his portrayal of Mark Twain throughout his career and for playing Watergate informant Deep Throat in 1976’s “All the President’s Men,” died on Jan. 23 at the age of 95.
Nov. 19, 1933-Jan. 23, 2021
Legendary broadcaster Larry King died on Jan. 23 at the age of 87. It was reported early in 2021 that King, a multiple cancer survivor, had contracted coronavirus, and his sixth wife, Julia Alexander, told The Post that King’s cause of death was coronavirus. However, his wife Shawn later said what killed King was “an infection, it was sepsis.”
The former CNN star, who most recently worked for Ora Media, was for decades famed for his long-form sitdowns with the biggest celebrities and newsmakers. He interviewed every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.
Song Yoo Jung
June 8, 1994-jan. 23, 2021.
South Korean actress and model Song Yoo Jung died on Jan. 23 at the age of 26. A cause of death was not revealed.
Feb. 5, 1934-Jan. 22, 2021
Baseball legend Hank Aaron, who endured racist death threats as he broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in 1974, died on Jan. 22 at the age of 86. “Hammerin’ Hank” — a staunch civil rights advocate who spent 23 years in the major league, mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves — died “peacefully in his sleep,” the Braves said, but no cause of death was given.
Sept. 7, 1955-jan. 20, 2021.
Mira Furlan, who famously played Danielle Rousseau on TV’s “Lost” and Delenn on “Babylon 5,” died on Jan. 20 at the age of 65. Her manager told the New York Times that the cause of death was complications of the West Nile virus.
Randy Parton, a musician and the younger brother of Dolly Parton, died of cancer at the age of 67. Dolly said on Facebook that her duet with Randy on “Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You” “will always be a highlight in my own career.” She said Randy’s final musical recording, 2020’s “You Are My Christmas,” “will always be a favorite … and he shined on it just like he’s shining in heaven now.”
Baby CEO (Jonathon Brown)
Memphis rapper Baby CEO died at the age of 20 on Jan. 19. He was killed in a shooting in Frayser, Tennessee, according to Memphis NBC outlet WMC Action News . The controversial rapper , who was born Jonathon Brown, first made headlines at the age of 14 over a video that featured him pointing guns and rapping about drugs, gang signs and dreams of fame in his explicit lyrics.
Harry Brant, the flamboyant fashionista son of billionaire Peter Brant and supermodel Stephanie Seymour, died of an accidental prescription drug overdose at the age of 24, his family said. He died on Jan. 17 — just days before he was set to enter rehab again. Harry and his older brother, Peter Jr. — who were frequently described as the male version of wealthy celebrity sisters Paris and Nicky Hilton — were party and fashion show fixtures .
Dec. 26, 1939-jan. 17, 2021.
Legendary music producer Phil Spector died on Jan. 17 while still serving 19 years-to-life for murdering actress Lana Clarkson. He produced 20 top 40 hits between 1961 and 1965, including “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel,” as well as Righteous Brothers’ epic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” the 1965 hit said to be the song most played on radio and television in the 20th century.
Joanne Rogers, the widow of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” host Fred Rogers who served as chair of the board of Fred Rogers Productions, died at the age of 92 on Jan. 14. Fred Rogers, the beloved children’s TV icon, died in 2003 at the age of 74.
Feb. 14, 1951-jan. 13, 2021.
Sylvain Sylvain, guitarist for the iconic Lower East Side punk band New York Dolls, died on Jan. 13 at the age of 69. He had been battling cancer for the past two-and-a-half years.
June 13, 1939-jan. 13, 2021.
Siegfried Fischbacher, one-half of the famed magic act Siegfried and Roy, died of pancreatic cancer on Jan. 13. The star, who died at his Las Vegas home, was 81 years old. His passing follows the death of his longtime performing partner, Roy Horn, in May of complications from COVID-19 .
Former “Survivor” contestant Angie Jakusz died at the age of 40 after battling a rare form of colorectal cancer. She appeared on the 2005 season of the CBS reality series, where she was given the nickname “No Fun Angie” — despite her colorful tattoos. She died on Jan. 8.
Soap star John Reilly — famed for his longtime role as retired spy Sean Donely on “General Hospital” — died at the age of 84 . He also had roles on “Passions,” “Sunset Beach,” “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Dallas” throughout his career.
Feb. 10, 1941-jan. 7, 2021.
Michael Apted, who directed the famed “Up” documentaries series that followed 14 British children from ages 7 to 63, died at the age of 79 . His long directing career also included “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” (1980) “Nell” (1994), the James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) and recent TV projects including “Masters of Sex.”
May 10, 1947-jan. 7, 2021.
“Police Academy” star Marion Ramsey — who famously played Officer Laverne Hooks in the beloved comedies — died at the age of 73 on Jan. 7.
Deezer D (Dearon Thompson)
March 10, 1965-jan. 7, 2021.
Deezer D, who played nurse Malik McGrath on the medical drama “ER” and also had a career in hip-hop, died on Jan. 7 at the age of 55. His brother told TMZ the family believes Deezer died of a heart attack following major heart surgery roughly a decade earlier.
Oct. 15, 1955-jan. 4, 2021.
Actress and model Tanya Roberts — known for her roles as Midge in “That ’70s Show” and a Bond Girl in 1985’s “A View to Kill” — died on Jan. 4 , one day after her publicist mistakenly announced her death prematurely. The 65-year-old passed peacefully at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, where she’d been hospitalized since Christmas Eve after collapsing at her home following a hike.
Jan. 25, 1937-jan. 4, 2021.
Character actor Gregory Sierra, known for his roles as Julio Fuentes on TV’s “Sanford and Son” and Det. Sgt. Chano Amenguale on “Barney Miller,” and died on Jan. 4 from cancer. He was 83 years old.
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Celebrities who died in 2021
- We say goodbye to the famous people that touched our lives.
- Betty White, Michael K. Williams, Norm Macdonald, Cicely Tyson, and DMX died this year.
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Hank Aaron, 87
" Hammerin' Hank " had a 21-season Major League Baseball career, most of that time with the Milwaukee (and later Atlanta) Braves.
The hall of fame player hit his 715th career home run in 1974, breaking the record Babe Ruth held for close to 33 years. Aaron would end his career with 755 home runs (a record that would hold until Barry Bonds surpassed it in 2007).
"A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come," said former president Jimmy Carter in a statement to the Associated Press , who attended Braves games and called Aaron "a personal hero."
Aaron died of natural causes on January 22.
Ed Asner, 91
This iconic actor was known best for his Emmy-winning performance as Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
With Asner's loud roar of a voice and stocky stature, he spent his career playing a wide range of characters that were often intimidating but over time would prove he had a kind center.
That is most prevalent in one of his final best-known performances voicing the character of Carl in the Pixar classic, "Up."
"Words cannot express the sadness we feel," Asner's official Twitter account read following his death. "With a kiss on your head- Goodnight dad. We love you."
Asner died on August 29, no cause was given.
Peter Aykroyd, 66
Brother of Dan Aykroyd, Peter was a former cast member and writer for "Saturday Night Live."
Aykroyd joined in show in 1979 after a stint with "SCTV." He received an outstanding writing Emmy nomination with the rest of the writers of "SNL" in 1980.
He followed that with working with his brother on his movies. He had bit parts in movies like 1983's "Dr. Detroit" and 1987's "Dragnet." He also had the story credit alongside his brother in the 1991 comedy "Nothing But Trouble."
"SNL" announced his passing on the November 20th episode of the show by showing the short film he starred in titled "The Java Junkie." The cause of death was not made public.
—Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) November 21, 2021
Ned Beatty, 83
Beatty had a storied acting career that spanned from the early 1970s to the mid 2000s.
He had memorable roles movies like "Network" (which earned him an Oscar nomination), "All the President's Men," "Rudy," and "Toy Story 3" (voicing Lotso).
But his two most memorable was his debut feature role in the movie "Deliverance" as Bobby, and playing Otis, Lex Luthor's sidekick in 1978's "Superman."
In a statement to The Wrap , his manager Deborah Miller said: "Ned was an iconic, legendary talent, as well as a dear friend, and he will be missed by us all."
Beatty died of natural causes on June 13 at his home in LA surrounded by his family and those close to him, the Associated Press reported .
Sonny Chiba, 82
Legendary Japanese actor Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba was known best for playing the lead in numerous martial arts movies through the 1970s.
However, it was the 1974 movie "The Street Fighter" which led to international acclaim for Chiba. It also launched several sequels.
That hit caused his other movies like "Yakuza Cop" and "The Bullet Train" to find an audience.
Then in 2003 Chiba found wide acclaim when he was cast in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" as Hanzo, a sushi owner who is actually master sword maker.
"He was a great friend… humble, caring and friendly man. I will surely miss him," Chiba's manager Timothy Beal told Insider.
Chiba died on August 18 due to pneumonia caused by COVID-19.
Kevin Clark, 32
Clark is known best for playing the brash drummer Freddy "Spazzy McGee" Jones in the 2003 Richard Linklater movie "School of Rock," starring Jack Black.
Clark never acted again in a major film, but continued on as musician playing in a number of Chicago bands.
He died on May 26 after being hit by a car while biking, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Michael Constantine, 94
Character actor Michael Constantine was best known for his role as family patriarch Gus Portokalos in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
He reprised the role in the 2016 sequel and the short-lived TV sitcom "My Big Fat Greek Life."
Constantine won an Emmy in 1970 for his role as principal Seymour Kaufman in the ABC series "Room 222."
Nia Vardalos, the writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," paid tribute to Constantine on Twitter upon hearing of his death.
"Michael Constantine, the dad to our cast-family, a gift to the written word, and always a friend," she wrote. "Acting with him came with a rush of love and fun. I will treasure this man who brought Gus to life. He gave us so much laughter and deserves a rest now. We love you Michael."
Constantine died on August 31 in Reading, Pennsylvania, following a long illness.
Dustin Diamond, 44
Diamond was known best for playing the bumbling comic relief Samuel "Screech" Powers in the beloved 1990s TV series "Saved by the Bell."
"We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond's passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma," Diamond's representative said in a statement provided to Insider .
"He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system," the statement continued. "The only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution. Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."
Joan Didion, 87
As one of the faces of the "New Journalism" movement in the 1960s and 1970s, Didion's work became a major staple in the era.
Over the course of her career, Didion authored novels such as "Run River" (1963) and "Play It As It Lays" (1970) along with essay collections including "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" (1968) and "The White Album" (1979).
Over the decades she won the National Book Award, the American Academy of Arts & Letters Gold Medal in Criticism and Belles Letters, the National Medal of Arts and Humanities, and the PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award.
"We are deeply saddened to report that Joan Didion died earlier this morning at her home in New York due to complications from Parkinson's disease," Knopf said in a statement shared with New Republic reporter Alex Shephard .
Didion died due to complications from Parkinson's disease in her New York City home on December 23.
Rapper DMX (born Earl Simmons) moved a generation thanks to the pain and anguish he put into all his songs.
Nominated for a Grammy, his songs like "Get at Me Dog" and "X Gon' Give It to Ya" made him a major fixture in the gritty 1990s rap scene. But his talents went beyond music, as his performance as a drug dealer trying to get to kingpin level in 1998's "Belly" put him at cult icon status.
"DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world," Def Jam Records, the record label where DMX recorded some of his biggest hits, wrote in a statement following his death. "His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity... DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever."
DMX died on April 9, a week after having a heart attack at his home in New York.
Richard Donner, 91
One of the early architects of the Hollywood blockbuster, director Richard Donner's filmography is a legendary one.
From the original "Superman" in 1978 starring Christopher Reeve to "The Goonies" and the "Lethal Weapon" franchise, Donner's storytelling has touched generations.
Then there are the non-franchises that are also memorable: horror classic "The Omen," the Bill Murray-starrer "Scrooged," and the hit Western "Maverick."
And before movies, Donner made his mark in television, having directed the iconic "Twilight Zone" episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," which featured William Shatner convinced a monster is on the wing of the airplane.
Donner died on July 5 , was confirmed to Deadline by his wife and business manager Lauren Schuler Donner No cause of death has been revealed.
Robert Downey Sr., 85
Downey Sr. was a pioneer of the experimental filmmaking scene in New York City during the 1960s.
His film "Putney Swope," about a Black advertising executive who is accidentally put in charge of a big firm and proceeds to upend the business, was a landmark work of the time and would make Downey a star on the scene.
He also found work as an actor, appeared in everything from "The Twilight Zone" and "Matlock," to William Friedkin's neo-noir "To Live and Die in LA" and two Paul Thomas Anderson movies ("Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia").
The father of actor Robert Downey Jr., at five-years-old he made his screen debut in his father's 1970 movie "Pound" alongside his sister, Allyson, who was 7 at the time. He would go on to star in several more of his dad's films before becoming a global star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other blockbusters.
Father and son also costarred in movies not directed by Downey Sr., including 1988's "Johnny Be Good" and 1994's "Hail Caesar."
Downey Sr. died on July 7 after years battling Parkinson's disease .
Graeme Edge, 80
Edge was the drummer and last original member of the legendary rock band The Moody Blues.
The band, which was formed in 1964, had a revolutionary sound which has stood the test of time thanks to iconic songs like "Nights in White Satan" and "Tuesday Afternoon." The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
"It's a very sad day. Graeme's sound and personality [are] present in everything we did together and thankfully that will live on," the band's current lead singer and guitarist, Justin Hayward, wrote on the band's website .
"In the late 1960′s we became the group that Graeme always wanted it to be, and he was called upon to be a poet as well as a drummer," Hayward continued. "He delivered that beautifully and brilliantly, while creating an atmosphere and setting that the music would never have achieved without his words."
Edge died on November 11, no cause was given.
Larry Flynt, 78
The controversial publisher came into prominence in the early 1970s when he created the pornographic magazine, Hustler. Flynt went on to became a First Amendment cult hero in his continued court battles over regulations on pornography, leading to one of those cases being reviewed by the US Supreme Court in 1981.
That case would go on and become the basis of the 1996 movie "The People vs. Larry Flynt," starring Woody Harrelson in the lead role.
In 1978, while walking out of a Georgia courtroom fighting an obscenity charge, he and his lawyer were shot by a gunman. It left Flynt paralyzed with permanent spinal cord damage.
Flynt died of heart failure on February 10.
Willie Garson, 57
Garson was known best for playing talent agent Stanford Blatch, best friend of Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw, in the HBO series "Sex and the City."
He reprised his role in both films, and had been filming for the network's upcoming revival series "And Just Like That" at the time of this death.
Garson co-starred as con man Mozzie on USA Network's "White Collar," from 2009 to 2014. The versatile actor was also a mainstay in many films, such as "Little Manhattan," "There's Something About Mary," and "Groundhog Day."
Garson died on September 21 , the cause of death was pancreatic cancer .
Charles Grodin, 86
A master at deadpan humor, Charles Grodin became a comedy fixture in the 1980s and 1990s for roles in "The Great Muppet Caper," "Midnight Run," and "Beethoven."
Grodin was also known for writing a number of plays and books. He earned an Emmy for being one of the writers on the 1977 "Paul Simon Special."
In the 1990s, he showed a different side of his talents, talk show host, when he did "The Charles Grodin Show" on CNBC.
Grodin's son, Nicholas, said his father's cause of death was bone marrow cancer, according to The New York Times .
Grodin died on May 18.
David Gulpilil, 68
Indigenous Australian actor David Gulpilil found fame in the late 1970s "new wave" of Aussie filmmaking and then built an impressive on-screen career.
Starring in movies like 1971's "Walkabout," 1976's "Storm Boy," the "Crocodile Dundee" franchise, and 2002's "Rabbit-Proof Fence" made him a beloved actor in the country and brought a much-needed spotlight to the world on Aboriginal culture.
In a statement on the Gulpilil's passing, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall called the actor a "once-in-a-generation artist who shaped the history of Australian film and Aboriginal representation on screen."
Gulpilil died on November 29 after a two year battle with lung cancer.
Dusty Hill, 72
Hill was a longtime member of legendary rock band ZZ Top.
The bassist, along with lead guitarist Billy Gibbons, were known best for sporting long beards and stetson hats.
But the group, along with drummer Frank Beard, also knew how to make hits. ZZ Top had a number of hits starting in the early 70s, including "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs."
It resulted in Hill and the rest of his bandmates being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
"We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature, and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the 'Top,' " the band wrote on its Facebook . "We will forever be connected to that 'Blues Shuffle in C.' You will be missed greatly, amigo."
Hill died at his home in Houston, Texas, on July 28. His cause of death has not been made public.
Hal Holbrook, 95
The veteran actor was beloved in the industry for his work on movies, TV, and the stage. He won a Tony in 1966 for his one-man stage show, "Mark Twain Tonight!" and took home five Emmys over his career. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 2007's "Into the Wild."
In movies he's best known for are his commanding performances in movies like "Wall Street," "The Firm," and most memorably playing Deep Throat in 1976's "All the President's Men."
Holbrook died at his home in Beverly Hills on January 23. No cause was given.
Halyna Hutchins, 42
Hutchins was a rising star in the cinematography world.
Having been the director of photography on movies "Archenemy," "Snowbound," "Darlin,'" "Blindfire" and "The Mad Hatter," she was praised by those who worked with her thanks to a creative eye and dedication to her craft.
Hutchins died shockingly on the set of her latest movie "Rust" when a prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin killed her and injured the director.
Hutchins was born in the Ukraine and began her career working on British documentary productions in Eastern Europe. Moving to Los Angeles in the late 2000s, she attended UCLA's Professional Producing program and was a graduate of the AFI Conservatory, which in 2019 named her a raising star.
Hutchins died on October 21 due to her wounds.
Greg "Shock G" Jacobs, 57
One of the founders of legendary 1980s hip-hop group, Digital Underground, Shock G (born Greg Jacobs) would be forever known to rap fans for his alter ego Humpty Hump, who was the inspiration for the rap anthem "The Humpty Dance."
The thick glasses with fake big nose turned the Humpty character into rap's first comedic icon.
"34 years ago almost to the day we had a wild idea we can be a hip-hop band and take on the world through it all," wrote Digital Underground co-founder Jimi "Chopmaster J" Dright in tribute to Shock G on Instagram . "The dream became a reality and the reality became a nightmare for some. And now he's awaken from the fame long live shock G Aka Humpty Hump and Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs!!!"
Shock G's eye for talent was also realized when he brought on a then unknown Tupac Shakur to be a roadie for the band and then a background singer.
Shock G died on April 22, found dead in a hotel room in Tampa, according to his father . In June it was revealed that the cause of death was an accidental overdose .
Larry King, 87
The renowned broadcaster had been on radio or TV since the 1950s speaking to all types of people, and was regarded as one of the best interviewers ever thanks to his friendly style with his subjects.
He's most known for his "Larry King Live" show on CNN that ran from 1985 to 2010 and is the network's most-watched and longest-running show of all time. On it, King spoke to the most prominent figures of the time, including celebrities and presidents.
"For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television, and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," read the statement in a tweet from his handle the day of his death.
King died on January 23. He had been battling COVID-19 in the hospital for over a week before his death, but on February 13 it was announced that the cause of death was sepsis and two underlying conditions.
Yaphet Kotto, 81
The veteran character actor was known best for playing Bond villain Mr. Big in 1973's James Bond movie "Live and Let Die" and Parker in the sci-fi classic "Alien."
Known for his physically imposing characters, Kotto was a fixture in movie and TV for decades, including roles on the series "Homicide: Life on the Street" and FBI agent Mosely in the beloved comedy "Midnight Run" opposite Robert De Niro.
His wife, Thessa Sinahon, announced Kotto's passing in a Facebook post . It was confirmed by Kotto's agent, Ryan Goldhar, The New York Times reported .
Kotto died on March 15 near Manila in the Philippines. No cause of death was given.
Art LaFleur, 78
With close to 170 credits under his belt, you more than likely saw Art LaFleur in at least a movie or TV show in your life.
With an unmistakable look he could either play the goon or the kind-hearted uncle, and in his career he played all types of characters.
His most recognizable role was playing Babe Ruth in 1993 classic "The Sandlot."
Through the 1980s he showed up on countless TV shows, including "The Incredible Hulk," "Soap," "Webster," "The A-Team," and "Hill Street Blues."
For movies he has been in "Cobra," Field of Dreams," and "The Santa Clause 2."
"To say Art will be missed dearly would be an understatement," LaFleur's wife Shelley told USA Today in a statement . "He left a legacy larger than his personality and while his absence is a void that can never be filled, his warmth will always be felt. Art lives on through his work, stories about his life and the relationships he built with everyone he knew."
LaFleur died on November 17 after battling Parkinson's for 10 years.
Tommy Lasorda, 94
The hall of fame Major League Baseball manager is known best for leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Series championships. He did it with a love of the game and a colorful personality that led to him showing up in several movies and TV shows.
"I believe Tommy Lasorda had no boundaries," former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser told the Los Angeles Times when learning of his passing. "On a daily basis there were no boundaries to something positive, something about winning, that he could do."
Lasorda died on January 7 due to a cardiac arrest.
Cloris Leachman, 94
The versatile actress was known best for her comedic work, especially on TV ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Malcolm and the Middle") and in Mel Brooks movies ("High Anxiety," and the memorable Frau Blücher in "Young Frankenstein").
She won an Oscar for her performance as a timid school teacher in 1971's "The Last Picture Show" and her work on television earned her an astounding eight Emmy wins.
"Cloris was insanely talented," Brooks tweeted following her death. "She could make you laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. Always such a pleasure to have on set. Every time I hear a horse whinny I will forever think of Cloris' unforgettable Frau Blücher. She is irreplaceable, and will be greatly missed."
Leachman died of natural causes on January 27.
Gregg Leakes, 66
Former "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star NeNe Leakes' husband, Gregg Leakes, died of colon cancer .
Leakes became a cast member on the popular Bravo reality show 11 years after the two became married and the show documented the couple's divorce in 2011. They couldn't stay away from each other for long. By 2013, they were married again and their second wedding was filmed for a special limited series called " I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding."
"Today, the Leakes family is in deep pain with a broken heart. After a long battle with cancer, Gregg Leakes has passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all of his children, very close loved ones and wife NeNe Leakes," a representative for the couple told Insider.
He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and then said in 2019 that he was, at the time, cancer-free.
Leakes revealed in June that her husband's cancer had returned.
Rush Limbaugh, 70
Listened to by millions on his political call-in radio show since the 1980s, Limbaugh was a force in American media thanks to his right-wing views.
Vilified as much as he was revered over his career, Limbaugh was a controversial figure over the decades in which he was often accused of saying sexist and racist remarks. He also promoted the false theory that former president Barack Obama was not born in the US, something that Donald Trump also subscribed to before he became president.
Limbaugh would be a major voice in Trump's run for the presidency. In 2020, then president Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
"It is with profound sadness, I must share with you directly, that our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning due to complications from lung cancer," Limbaugh's wife, Kathryn, announced on his radio show on February 17 . "As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life. Rush will forever be the greatest of all-time."
Jackie Mason, 93
Known for mixing Jewish themes and political incorrectness in his routine, Jackie Mason became a fixture in the stand-up comic scene for decades.
The rabbi-turned-comedian had a legendary career that included countless stops on the late night TV circuit, Emmy wins for his stand-up specials in the 1980s and even the star of 1988's "Caddyshack II."
Mason died on July 24 after being hospitalized for more than two weeks at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, celebrity lawyer Raoul Felder told the Associated Press . No cause was given.
Norm Macdonald, 61
Known best for his straight-faced delivery on any topic regardless how crude or inappropriate, Macdonald forged a comedy career being the guy who would say anything at any time regardless the consequences.
The best example of this was during his time on "Saturday Night Live." As the anchor of Weekend Update from 1994 to 1997, he was taken off as anchor during the O.J. Simpson trial after his jokes constantly saying that Simpson murdered his ex-wife and her friend finally upset an NBC executive who was friends with Simpson.
It made him a legend in the comedy world and Macdonald went on to build a career in movies ("Dirty Work," "Billy Madison," and the "Dr. Dolittle" franchise), TV ("Norm" "The Orville"), and dozens of memorable late night show appearances.
Macdonald died on September 14 from cancer, which he had been battling for close to a decade, according to his longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra . He had kept it private from his fans.
John Madden, 85
John Madden was many things to sports fans: a Super Bowl-winning NFL head coach, a commentator, the face of a video game Goliath. Whatever generation you're in you came across the NFL Hall of Famer in one of these chapters in his life.
With a passion of the game unlike any others, Madden was a unique ambassador of the game of football thanks to his exuberant bravado and simple explanations to elements of the game that can be very complex.
Madden coached the Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl victory in 1971. After retiring he became a commentator on NFL telecasts where we found him in our homes for decades every Thanksgiving and Super Bowl.
Then in 1988 the "John Madden Football" video game was born and has now become such a phenomenon it's simply known as just "Madden."
"On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following Madden's passing. "We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather."
Madden died on December 28 , no cause was given.
Helen McCrory, 52
A veteran of the stage, television, and movies, McCrory is best known for playing Narcissa Malfoy in the final three "Harry Potter" films.
"I'm heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family," her husband, actor Damian Lewis tweeted following her death.
"She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you."
She was also known for playing Polly Gray on the series "Peaky Blinders" and roles in movies ranging from 2006's "The Queen" to the James Bond 2012 movie, "Skyfall."
McCrory died of cancer on April 16.
Eddie Mekka, 69
Mekka is best known for playing the lovable Carmine "The Big Ragu" Ragusa on "Laverne & Shirley."
Starring in over 50 TV shows and movies over his career, Mekka earned a Tony Award nomination playing the lead in the 1975 Broadway musical "The Lieutenant."
He died on November 27 at his home in Newhall, California, according to his brother Warren Mekjian.
Roger Michell, 65
The South African-born director was known for his work in movies, TV, and theatre.
He's best known for directing 1999's "Notting Hill." The rom-com, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, went on to become a box office hit.
His other credits include "Changing Lanes," starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson; "Venus," which earned Peter O'Toole an Oscar nomination; "Morning Glory," starring Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, and Diane Keaton; and "My Cousin Rachel" starring Rachel Weisz.
Michell died on September 22 , his cause of death is unknown.
Michael Nesmith, 78
The guitarist for the iconic 1960s pop band The Monkees, Nesmith was recognizable for being the tallest of the foursome and often sporting a wool cap.
The band was created at the height of The Beatles' popularity and became superstars thanks to being on the hit NBC series "The Monkees" in which Nesmith, along with bandmates Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz did silly comedy while performing chart-topping songs.
Song like "I'm a Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville," and "Daydream Beliver" made Nesmith and the group the first big American boy band.
Over his career, Nesmith won a Grammy and was an executive producer behind the 1984 cult classic movie "Repo Man."
Nesmith died of natural causes on December 10.
"With infinite love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes," his family said in a statement to Rolling Stone . "We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us."
Prince Philip, 99
Prince Philip , the husband to Queen Elizabeth II, became the longest-serving British consort in history.
"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the palace said in a statement obtained by Insider. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle."
Philip died on April 9, according to Buckingham Palace.
Jay Pickett, 60
Pickett was best known for his roles as Detective David Harper on "General Hospital" and as Frank Scanlon on its spinoff, "Port Charles." He also appeared as Dr. Chip Lakin in "Days of our Lives."
Born in Spokane, Washington, and grew up in Caldwell, Idaho. After receiving his MFA in acting from UCLA, he quickly entered the business and grabbed roles in top shows of the 1980s like "China Beach," "Perry Mason," and "Matlock."
On August 2 Pickett death happened suddenly as he was preparing to shoot a scene for the movie "Treasure Valley," Travis Mills, the movie's director, said on the movie's Facebook page .
No cause was given.
Christopher Plummer, 91
Plummer's storied career was far-ranging, as he found acclaim on the stage, and both the small and big screens.
He received two Tony awards, two Emmys, a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in the 2010 drama "Beginners" at the age of 82 (making him the oldest person ever to win an Academy Award), and had a slew of memorable roles in movies including playing Mike Wallace in "The Insider" and a wealthy author in "Knives Out."
But his most memorable role came as Captain Von Trapp in the 1965 movie adaptation of "The Sound of Music."
"Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humor and the music of words," Plummer's longtime manager, Lou Pitt, told Deadline . "He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots. Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come."
Plummer died on February 5, no cause was given.
Anne Rice, 80
With nearly 40 novels published, Rice will go down as one of the most popular gothic writers of all time.
Her first novel, "Interview with the Vampire," brought her instant fame and the book itself has become a classic. It also helped that the work was adapted into a popular 1994 movie starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as ageless vampires gallivanting around the world for centuries.
The success of the book would lead to 13 more novels known as "The Vampire Chronicles."
"In her final hours, I sat beside her hospital bed in awe of her accomplishments and her courage, awash in memories of a life that took us from the fog laced hills of the San Francisco Bay Area to the magical streets of New Orleans to the twinkling vistas of Southern California," her son, Christopher, wrote of her passing . "As she kissed Anne goodbye, her younger sister Karen said, 'What a ride you took us on, kid.' I think we can all agree."
Rice died on December 11 of complications from a stroke, according to her son.
Tanya Roberts, 65
The actress and model is best known for playing Bond girl Stacey Sutton in 1985's "A View to a Kill." Roberts also starred in the final season of "Charlie's Angels" in 1980 as Julie Rogers and played Midge Pinciotti in "That '70s Show."
"She was the sweetest person you'd ever meet and had a huge heart," said her longtime rep Mike Pingel. "She loved her fans, and I don't think she realized how much she meant to them."
Roberts died on January 4 due to complications from a urinary tract infection.
Peter Scolari, 66
Character actor Peter Scolari had a successful career on both the stage and screen for decades, but he is best known for starring opposite Tom Hanks in the 1980s TV show "Bosom Buddies."
The show starred the actors as two friends who disguise themselves as women to live in the only apartment building they can afford: an all-female building.
Scolari went on to earn an Emmy win for his work on the HBO series "Girls." He was also Emmy nominated for the comedy series "Newhart."
"I couldn't have been raised up by a better TV 'papa,'" "Girls" star and creator Lena Dunham said on Instagram . "Thank you, Scolari, for every chat between set ups, every hug onscreen and off and every 'Oh, Jeez.' We will miss you so much."
Scolari died of cancer on October 22.
Joseph Siravo, 66
Siravo's tough guy roles found him doing work in everything from the stage, to Brian DePalma's "Carlito's Way" (marking his movie debut), and playing Tony Soprano's dad in "The Sopranos."
Siravo mainly found work in theater, where he was part of Tony Award-winning productions of "Oslo" and "The Light in the Piazza." Most notably on television, he played Johnny Soprano in flashback scenes in "The Sopranos." Recently, he also played Fred Goldman, the father of Ronald Goldman in the FX mini-series, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story."
The actor died on April 11 following a "long, courageous" battle with colon cancer, according to his agent .
Stephen Sondheim, 91
Sondheim was one of the most treasured composers-lyricists that ever graced Broadway.
He became a staple in the musical theater world in the late 1950s when he penned lyrics for "West Side Story" and "Gypsy." Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, Sondheim composed and wrote lyrics for several of Broadway's most original and iconic musicals, including "Company," "Follies," "Sweeney Todd," "Sunday in the Park with George," "Into the Woods," and "Assassins."
His work is responsible for five Tony Award for best musical, and six of which won for best original score. His show, "Sunday in the Park with George," won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Three revivals of his shows won Tonys and he was awarded a Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 2008.
Sondheim's work also found success beyond Broadway. The song "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" for the 1991 film "Dick Tracy," won him an Academy Award. His song "Send In the Clowns" from "A Little Night Music" won song of the year at the Grammys in 1975.
The artist died on November 26 at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. No cause was given.
Phil Spector, 81
Known in the music world as a producer who worked alongside everyone from the Beatles to the Ronettes, Spector was known later in life for being convicted of murder.
In 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.
He died on January 16 of natural causes according to California state prison officials inside the San Joaquin General Hospital. Spector's daughter, Nicole Audrey Spector said he died due to complications of COVID-19 .
Dean Stockwell, 85
Stockwell was a Hollywood lifer. Started his acting career as a child actor, Stockwell starring alongside the likes of Frank Sinatra and Errol Flynn.
Always a fixture on stage between TV and movie gigs, Stockwell's highlight was starring in the 1957 Broadway production of "Compulsion." He later starred in the movie adaptation.
Stockwell is known best for playing Admiral "Al" Calavicci in the hit sci-fi TV series "Quantum Leap" in the early 1990s. But he had a slew of memorable roles on the small and big screen.
He played Brother Cavil in the early 2000s revival of "Battlestar Galactica."
Director David Lynch cast him in his 1984 adaptation of "Dune," and later chose him to played Ben in 1986's "Blue Velvet," in which he performs a memorable lip-synch of Roy Orbison's "In Dreams."
Stockwell formed a respected character actor filmography with movies like "To Live and Die in L.A," "Beverly Hills Cop II," and 1988's "Married to the Mob," in which he was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar.
He died at home of natural causes on November 7.
Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas, 70
Thomas founded Kool & the Gang in 1964 alongside several teenage friends, including brothers Robert "Kool" and Ronald "Khalis" Bell, Robert "Spike" Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West.
The group's mix of funk and jazz arrangements has become one of the popular, influential, and heavily sampled sounds in contemporary music and has been featured in several film soundtracks, including "Saturday Night Fever," "Rocky," and Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction.
"An original member of Kool & the Gang, Dennis was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, loved for his hip clothes and hats, and his laid-back demeanor," read the statement of his passing on the band's official Facebook page . "A huge personality while also an extremely private person, Dennis was the alto saxophone player, flutist, percussionist, as well as master of ceremonies at the band's shows."
Thomas died on August 7 in New Jersey "peacefully in his sleep," according to the statement by the band.
James Michael Tyler, 59
Known best as the lovable Central Perk barista Gunther on the hit show "Friends," James Michael Tyler's obsessive behavior over Rachael (Jennifer Aniston) brought laughs to millions.
"The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh 'Friend'), from the hit series 'Friends,' but Michael's loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband," Toni Benson, Tyler's manager, wrote in a statement provided to AP . "Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures."
Tyler passed away on October 24 from prostate cancer.
Cicely Tyson, 96
In a career that spanned more than 70 years , Cicely Tyson made her mark in every form of entertainment medium having won three Emmy awards, a Tony, honorary Oscar, and Peabody Award.
She's most known for her Oscar-nominated performance in the 1972 drama "Sounder," her Emmy-winning role as Ophelia Harkness in "How to Get Away with Murder," and her countless stage performances.
"My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next," Tyler Perry wrote in a statement on the loss of Tyson on his Instagram. Tyson starred in several of his movies.
"To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy," he continued. "She called me son. Well, today your son grieves your loss and will miss our long talks, your laughter from your belly, and your very presence."
Tyson died on January 28, the cause of death was not announced.
Jean-Marc Vallée, 58
Vallée quickly became a go-to filmmaker for stars thanks to projects that found Oscar and Emmy acclaim like "Dallas Buyers Club," which earned Matthew McConaughey a best actor Oscar win and the Emmy-winning HBO limited series "Big Little Lies."
With a naturalistic approach that seemed to elevate the actors he worked with, Vallée's style was one that was unique and grabbed the attention of both big and small screen audiences.
Reese Witherspoon, who starred in "Big Little Lies" and Vallée's 2014 movie "Wild" wrote on Twitter about the director's death: "My heart is broken. My friend. I love you."
—Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) December 27, 2021
Vallée died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City, Canada on December 26, according to the Associated Press . No cause was given.
Melvin Van Peebles, 89
Known as the godfather of Black cinema, if it wasn't for the work of Melvin Van Peebles there would be no "Shaft" or any of the other legendary work from the Blaxploitation movement and beyond.
The trailblazer wowed audiences with his 1971 movie "Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." Made for $50,000 from a loan Van Peebles got from Bill Cosby when the studios passed on it, Van Peebles starred, directed, wrote, edited, composed the music, and shot it over 19 days.
Focused on a lady's man (Van Peebles) who turns into a hero in the neighborhood after he goes on the run following an encounter with white police officers, the movie went on to earn over $15 million and proved to Hollywood that Black-focused stories could be profitable.
The work of Van Peebles can be found in everything from Spike Lee to Van Peebles' son, Mario Van Peebles ("New Jack City").
Van Peebles died at his home on September 21. No cause was given.
Mario Van Peebles described his father's legacy and the final moments of his life in this Instagram post.
A post shared by Mario Van Peebles (@mariovanpeebles)
Jessica Walter, 80
The Emmy-winning actress was known best for her memorable roles in "Arrested Development" and "Archer" later in her career. But her work spans decades and also includes starring opposite Clint Eastwood in the 1971 thriller "Play Misty for Me" and voicing a character in the popular 1990s series "Dinosaurs."
"It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica," Walter's daughter, Brooke Bowman, told Deadline . "A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through her storytelling both on screen and off. While her legacy will live on through her body of work, she will also be remembered by many for her wit, class and overall joie de vivre."
Walter died in her sleep at her home in New York City on March 24, according to Bowman.
Charlie Watts, 80
For nearly 60 years Watts was the quiet backbone of one of the biggest bands in the world.
As the drummer of The Rolling Stones, he didn't have the flash of its frontman Mick Jagger or the flamboyance of its lead guitarist Keith Richards, instead Watts kept in the background often staying quiet when the band had to do press.
Instead, he let his music do the talking.
He is widely recognized as one of the most skilled drummers of all time.
He was the third-longest-running Rolling Stones member, behind Jagger and Richards. His last concert with the band took place in Miami on August 30, 2019.
Weeks before his death he announced he was withdrawing for the band's upcoming US tour.
"Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation," the statement read following his death . "We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members, and close friends is respected at this difficult time."
Watts died on August 24, no cause was given.
Betty White, 99
White's career spanned more than seven decades . The comedic legend was best-known for roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Golden Girls," and, in recent years, "Hot in Cleveland."
She won eight Emmy awards and a Grammy for a spoken word recording of her best-selling autobiography, " If You Ask Me ."
White played the gullible Rose Nylund on "Golden Girls."
"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," Jeff Witjas, White's longtime agent and friend, told People magazine at the time of her death.
White died on December 31 at her home in Los Angeles due to complications of a stroke she had six days prior .
Michael K. Williams, 54
Responsible for crafting one of the most memorable TV characters of all time playing Baltimore gangster Omar Little in HBO's "The Wire," Williams went on to forge a respected career playing complex roles.
Williams followed up "The Wire" with delivering another memorable performance playing racketeer Chalky White in another acclaimed HBO series, "Boardwalk Empire."
That then followed with Emmy nominations for his roles in the 2015 movie "Bessie," the 2016 limited series "The Night Of," and the 2019 limited series "When They See Us."
More recently he was nominated in the upcoming Emmys for the 2020 HBO series "Lovecraft Country."
Williams began his career as a backup dancer for artists like George Michael and Madonna. He even choreographed the the dancing for the hit 1994 music video "Pure Love" by Crystal Waters.
Williams' acting was always a standout regardless the size of the role thanks to his deep voice and scar that went across his face.
Williams was reportedly found dead in his Brooklyn, New York City apartment on September 6, according to the New York Post . Later in the month the cause of death was ruled to be an accidental drug overdose .
Clarence Williams III, 81
After wowing audiences on the Broadway stage in the mid-1960s (earning a Tony nomination along the way), Clarence Williams III found mainstream stardom playing Linc Hayes in the hit TV series "The Mod Squad," which ran from 1968 to 1973.
Williams would then go on to have an impressive career in movies, TV, and the stage.
His performances always stood out for his stilled acting, booming voice, and intensity which could spark at a moment's notice.
Williams' memorable roles include playing Prince's abusive father in "Purple Rain," Mr. Simms in 1995's "Tales from the Hood," and playing the memorable Sampson Simpson in the 1998 cult hit "Half Baked," written by and starring Dave Chappelle.
Williams died on June 4 due to colon cancer .
Samuel E. Wright, 74
This two-time Tony Award-nominated actor did everything from play Dizzy Gillespie in Clint Eastwood's 1988 "Bird" to being the purple grapes character in a series of Fruit of the Loom underwear commercials, but he'll forever be remembered as the voice of Sebastian the Crab in the Disney classic "The Little Mermaid."
Samuel E. Wright's Trinidadian-accent turned Ariel's cautious sidekick in the 1989 animated movie into one of Disney's most memorable characters from that era of releases.
And Wright's singing of Oscar-winning song "Under the Sea" and nominated "Kiss the Girl" helped make the movie into an instant classic.
Wright died on May 24 after a three-year battle with prostate cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
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Celebrity Deaths 2021
Betty white, sam jones, harry reid, john madden : remembering notables who died in 2021.
John madden, morton wayne thiebaud, sarah weddington, desmond tutu, joan didion.
Sally Ann Howes
Carlos marín menchero, johnny isakson, gloria jean watkins, cara williams, vicente fernandez, michael nesmith, demaryius thomas, alfred unser, lina wertmüller, dewey lamarr hoyt jr., arlene dahl, virgil abloh, robert lee elder, stephen sondheim, william charles virdon, stu rasmussen, peter aykroyd, art lafleur, dave frishberg, graeme edge, frederik willem de klerk, robert dean stockwell, joseph cleland, morton sahl, colin powell, earl old person, gary paulsen, brian goldner, ruth tompson, raymond t. odierno, bernard tapie, melvin van peebles, jane powell, norm macdonald, george wein, manuel rubén abimael guzmán reynoso, michael k. williams, jean-paul belmondo, willard scott, michail theodorakis, charlie watts, rodrigue gilbert, tom t. hall, william freehan, joseph walton, jane withers, anthony esposito, carl thompson, richard trumka, ronald popeil, jackie mason, richard donner, robert downey sr., mohammed yusuf khan, raffaella maria roberta pelloni, donald rumsfeld, beverly joanne linville, clarence williams iii, gavin macleod, charles grodin, bobby unser, prince philip, duke of edinburgh, george segal, marty schottenheimer, leon spinks, christopher plummer, hal holbrook, dustin diamond, cicely tyson, cloris leachman, ted thompson, phil spector, siegfried fischbacher, paul westphal.
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Celebrity Deaths in 2021
1. mark eden.
Actor | Doctor Zhivago
Mark Eden was born on February 14, 1928 in London, England, UK. He was an actor, known for Doctor Zhivago (1965), London Belongs to Me (1977) and Doctor Who (1963). He was previously married to Sue Nicholls , Diana Eden and Joan Le Mesurier . He died on January 1, 2021.
2. Misty Morgan
Soundtrack | Come Early Morning
Misty Morgan was born on May 23, 1945 in Buffalo, New York, USA. She was previously married to Jack Blanchard . She died on January 1, 2021 in the USA.
3. Gerry Marsden
Soundtrack | Zodiac
Gerry Marsden was born on September 24, 1942 in Liverpool, England, UK. He was an actor, known for Zodiac (2007), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) and Beast (2017). He was previously married to Pauline Behan. He died on January 3, 2021 in Arrowe Park, Merseyside, England, UK.
4. Kerry Vincent
Self | Last Cake Standing
Kerry Vincent was born on June 2, 1945 in Wyalkatchem, Western Australia, Australia. She was previously married to Doug Vincent. She died on January 2, 2021 in Oklahoma, USA.
5. Barbara Shelley
Actress | Quatermass and the Pit
The sexy Barbara Shelley was born Barbara Kowin on February 13, 1932 in London, England. With her beautiful looks and stature, she worked as a model during her salad days. Her film career began in Italy in the mid-1950s in such tempting fare as New Moon (1955) and Nero's Mistress (1956), but when ...
6. Tanya Roberts
Actress | A View to a Kill
The younger daughter of a Jewish American pen salesman (Oscar Blum) and an English mother (Dorothy Smith), Tanya Roberts was born 1949 in Manhattan and grew up in the Westchester County suburbs Scarsdale and Greenburgh. Tanya dropped out of high school, got married and hitchhiked around the country...
7. James Greene
Actor | Sherlock Holmes
James Greene was born on May 19, 1931 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. He was an actor and writer, known for Sherlock Holmes (2009), Johnny English (2003) and What a Girl Wants (2003). He died on January 5, 2021 in the UK.
8. Brian Cowan
Actor | Taggart
Brian Cowan was an actor, known for Taggart (1983), Family Affairs (1997) and Serial Killers (2006). He died on January 2, 2021 in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, UK.
9. Marion Ramsey
Actress | Police Academy
Marion Ramsey was an American actress and singer from Philadelphia. She is primarily known for her role as the soft-spoken policewoman Laverne Hooks in the "Police Academy" film series (1984-1994). Hooks was depicted as a "diminutive, soft-spoken and unassertive woman" with a high-pitched voice. ...
10. Deezer D
Actor | Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Deezer D was born in 1965 in Los Angeles, California. He is not only an actor but a popular performer in the Christian and underground hip hop communities. His latest release is titled "Unpredictable". He also briefly hosted a Christian Rap radio show in Los Angeles on station 96.3 KFSG.
11. John Richardson
Actor | On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Classically handsome John Richardson began his career with small roles in British movies at the end of the 1950s. His first role of note was opposite Barbara Steele in the gothic horror classic Black Sunday (1960), directed by Mario Bava . His massive success was Don Chaffey 's One Million Years B.C. ...
12. Dave Creek
Animation_department | Youth in Revolt
Dave Creek was born on June 19, 1978 in Bellevue, Washington, USA. Dave is known for Youth in Revolt (2009), The Bob's Burgers Movie (2022) and Bob's Burgers (2011). Dave died on January 7, 2021 in California, USA.
13. Tommy Lasorda
Actor | Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco
Tommy Lasorda was one of the best managers in baseball until his retirement in July 1996. He was involved with the Los Angeles Dodgers for over 50 years. He managed the team from 1976 to 1996. He retired due to a heart attack. He thought being a manager would be too stressful.
14. Brad Venable
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Brad Venable was born on July 16, 1977 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA. He was an actor, known for Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019), Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection "F" (2015) and Nothing to Hide (2018). He was previously married to Kathryn Venable. He died on January 7, 2021 in Los ...
15. Tom LaBonge
Actor | Designed for Dreaming
Tom LaBonge was born on October 6, 1953 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He was an actor, known for Designed for Dreaming (2010), Clash of Colors: LA Riots of 1992 (2012) and The Hollywood Moment at Home Edition (2020). He was previously married to Brigid. He died on January 7, 2021 in Los Angeles,...
16. Michael Apted
Director | Rome
Michael Apted was born on February 10, 1941 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, UK. He was a director and producer, known for Rome (2005), Enigma (2001) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). He was previously married to Paige Simpson , Dana Stevens and Jo Apted . He died on January 7, 2021 in Los ...
17. Ed Bruce
Actor | Public Enemies
Ed Bruce was born on December 29, 1939 in Keiser, Arkansas, USA. He was an actor, known for Public Enemies (2009), American Honey (2016) and Catch and Release (2006). He was previously married to Patsy Bruce and Judith Woodlee. He died on January 8, 2021 in Clarksville, Tennessee, USA.
18. Jamie O'Hara
Soundtrack | An Unfinished Life
Jamie O'Hara was born on August 8, 1950 in Toledo, Ohio, USA. He was a composer, known for An Unfinished Life (2005), Lucky You (2007) and Two If by Sea (1996). He was previously married to Lola White. He died on January 7, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
19. Steve Carver
Director | Lone Wolf McQuade
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Steve Carver received his first camera when he was eight years old. At 13 he began his formal education in photography, attending the High School of Music & Arts in Manhattan where he received training in art and music. Fascinated by techniques of creating imagery, he ...
20. Diana Millay
Actress | Night of Dark Shadows
Diana became involved in show business at a very early age, tap dancing at seven and winning a beauty contest three years later. This led to modeling sun suits for Sears Department Stores, and, eventually, to becoming a Conover model for the John Robert Powers Agency in New York. She also acquired ...
21. Antonio Sabato
Actor | Grand Prix
Rugged Sicilian-born actor who came to international notice after playing Ferrari racing ace Nino Barlini in John Frankenheimer 's high octane blockbuster Grand Prix (1966). His charismatic performance saw Sabato nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Most Promising Newcomer. During the 1970s, he ...
22. John Reilly
Actor | General Hospital
John Reilly was born on November 11, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was an actor, known for General Hospital (1963), Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982) and Mortal Kombat: Conquest (1998). He was previously married to Lily Beth (Liz) Janred and Donna Reilly . He died on January 9, 2021 in the USA.
23. George Gerdes
Actor | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
George Gerdes was born on February 23, 1948 in Queens, New York, USA. He was an actor, known for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Bats (1999) and Hidalgo (2004). He died on January 1, 2021 in Glendale, California, USA.
24. Patricia Loud
Self | An American Family
Patricia Loud was born on October 4, 1926 in Eugene, Oregon, USA. She was previously married to Bill Loud . She died on January 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
25. Etienne Draber
Actor | Madame Bovary
Etienne Draber was born on March 26, 1939 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France. He was an actor, known for Madame Bovary (1991), Le fou du roi (1984) and Plus belle la vie (2004). He died on January 11, 2021 in Paris, France.
26. Julie Strain
Actress | Beverly Hills Cop III
Julie Strain was born in Concord, California, USA as Julie Ann Strain. She is an actress, known for Sex Court, (1998), Heavy Metal 2000 (2000) and Double Impact (1991), and Battle Queen 2020. She grew up in Pleasant Hill California and graduated from Diablo Valley College, in that town. Since she ...
27. Stacy Title
Director | Let the Devil Wear Black
Stacy Title was born on February 21, 1964 in Queens, New York City, New York, USA. She was a director and producer, known for Let the Devil Wear Black (1999), The Last Supper (1995) and Down on the Waterfront (1993). She was previously married to Jonathan Penner . She died on January 11, 2021 in Los...
28. Siegfried Fischbacher
Actor | Vegas Vacation
Siegfried Fischbacher was born on June 13, 1939 in Rosenheim, Germany. He was a producer and actor, known for Vegas Vacation (1997), Ocean's Eleven (2001) and Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (1999). He died on January 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
29. Angie Jakusz
Actress | Lucinda's Spell
Angie Jakusz was born on March 27, 1980 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA. She was an actress, known for Lucinda's Spell (1998), Survivor (2000) and TV Guide Specials: Survivor - Palau Preview (2005). She was previously married to Steven Calandra. She died on January 8, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana, ...
30. Joanne Rogers
Self | Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Joanne Rogers was born on March 9, 1928 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. She was an actress, known for Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018), Tattletales (1974) and Speedy Delivery (2008). She was previously married to Fred Rogers . She died on January 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
31. Peter Mark Richman
Actor | Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
This durable, granite-faced actor with the matching steel-edged voice was one of the most interesting and recognisable leads in 1950s and 1960s television. He was born Marvin Jack Richman in South Philadelphia to paper and roofing contractor Benjamin Richman and his wife Yetta Dora (née Peck), the ...
32. Sylvain Sylvain
Soundtrack | Kick-Ass
Sylvain Sylvain was born on February 14, 1951 in Cairo, Egypt. He was an actor and composer, known for Kick-Ass (2010), The Three Stooges (2012) and Up the Academy (1980). He was previously married to Wanda O'Kelley . He died on January 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
33. Storm Constantine
Self | The Write Stuff
Storm Constantine (12 Oct. 1956 - 14th January 2021) was a British science fiction and fantasy author, primarily known for her "Wraeththu" series, which began as one trilogy but has spawned many subsequent works. She was the author of over 30 published novels and non-fiction books, plus numerous ...
34. Duranice Pace
Soundtrack | L'effrontée
Duranice Pace was born on May 13, 1958 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She was an actress, known for L'effrontée (1985), The Crazy Story of the Three Musketeers (1983) and The Youngest Evangelist (2021). She died on January 14, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
35. Sam Phillips
Actor | Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Sam Phillips was born on March 18, 1948 in South Africa. He was an actor and writer, known for Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), Nna Sajene Kokobela (2001) and Nukie (1987). He died on January 16, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
36. Duke Bootee
Soundtrack | The Glass House
Duke Bootee was born on June 6, 1951 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. He was an actor, known for The Glass House (2001), Hamilton (2020) and Happy Feet (2006). He was previously married to Rosita. He died on January 13, 2021 in Savannah, Georgia, USA.
37. Jim Tilmon
Actor | Flight
Jim Tilmon was born on July 31, 1934 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, USA. He was an actor and producer, known for Flight (2012), ER (1994) and Tilmon Tempo (1972). He died on January 16, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
38. Dale Baer
Animation_department | The Emperor's New Groove
Dale Baer was born on June 15, 1950 in Denver, Colorado, USA. He is known for The Emperor's New Groove (2000), Species (1995) and Last Action Hero (1993). He was previously married to Jane Baer and Teddy. He died on January 15, 2021 in Irvine, California, USA.
39. Paul Varelans
Actor | ECW Hardcore TV
Paul Varelans was born on September 17, 1969 in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. He was an actor, known for Eastern Championship Wrestling (1993), ECW Hardcore Heaven 1996 (1996) and U-Japan (1996). He died on January 16, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
40. Phil Spector
Soundtrack | Top Gun
Phil Spector was born on December 26, 1939 in The Bronx, New York, USA. He was a composer and actor, known for Top Gun (1986), Mean Streets (1973) and Dirty Dancing (1987). He was previously married to Rachelle Marie Short , Janis Lynn Zavala, Ronnie Spector and Annette Lee Merar. He died on ...
41. Terry Lippman
Music_department | Empire Records
Terry Lippman is known for Empire Records (1995).
42. Neil Mahoney
Editor | Key and Peele
Neil Mahoney was born on March 7, 1977 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. He was an editor and producer, known for Key and Peele (2012), Freak Dance (2010) and Derek and Simon: The Show (2007). He died on January 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
43. Andy Gray
Actor | Boyz Unlimited
Andy Gray was born on September 13, 1959 in Perth, Scotland, UK. He was an actor and director, known for Boyz Unlimited (1999), Two Thousand Acres of Sky (2001) and The Wrong Guy (2015). He died on January 18, 2021 in Scotland, UK.
44. Juan Carlos Tabío
Director | Guantanamera
Juan Carlos Tabío was born on September 3, 1943 in Havana, Cuba. He was a director and writer, known for Guantanamera (1995), Horn of Plenty (2008) and Strawberry & Chocolate (1993). He died on January 18, 2021 in Havana, Cuba.
45. Jean-Pierre Bacri
Actor | Comme une image
Jean-Pierre Bacri was born on May 24, 1951 in Castiglione, Alger, France [now Bou Ismail, Algeria]. He was an actor and writer, known for Look at Me (2004), Family Resemblances (1996) and Same Old Song (1997). He was previously married to Agnès Jaoui . He died on January 18, 2021 in Paris, France.
46. Jacques Bral
Writer | Polar
Jacques Bral was born on September 21, 1948 in Téhéran, Iran. He was a writer and actor, known for Polar (1984), A Winter in Paris (2006) and Street of No Return (1989). He died on January 17, 2021 in Paris, France.
47. Paul Moore
Actor | Philadelphia
Paul Moore was born on February 16, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He was an actor, known for Philadelphia (1993). He died on January 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
48. David Richardson
Producer | The John Larroquette Show
David Richardson was born on December 24, 1955 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. He was a producer and writer, known for The John Larroquette Show (1993), Two and a Half Men (2003) and Empty Nest (1988). He was previously married to Charleen Easton . He died on January 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, ...
49. Richard Lindheim
Writer | The Equalizer
Richard Lindheim was born on May 15, 1939 in New York, New York, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for The Equalizer (2014), The Equalizer 2 (2018) and The Equalizer (2021). He died on January 18, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California, USA.
50. Catherine Rich
Actress | Les rois maudits
Catherine Rich was born on June 10, 1932 in Paris, France. She was an actress, known for Les rois maudits (1972), The Time to Die (1970) and The Burning Court (1962). She was previously married to Claude Rich . She died on January 18, 2021 in Paris, France.
51. Don Sutton
Actor | Wonderbug
Don Sutton was born on April 2, 1945 in Clio, Alabama, USA. He was an actor, known for Wonderbug (1976), The Krofft Supershow (1976) and Fantasy Island (1977). He was previously married to Patricia Luther and Mary Sutton. He died on January 19, 2021 in Rancho Mirage, California, USA.
52. Jimmie Rodgers
Soundtrack | The Devil All the Time
With over 40 top ten hits in the late '50s and '60s, smooth, folksy, honey-voiced singer Jimmie Rodgers was one of the early superstars of Rock & Roll. His biggest #1 hits include "Honeycomb", "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine", "It's Over", "Child of Clay", Oh Oh I'm Falling In Love Again" and "The Long ...
53. Renita Grigoryeva
Director | Malchiki
Renita Grigoryeva was born on July 13, 1931 in Moscow, RSFSR, USSR [now Russia]. She was a director and writer, known for Malchiki (1991), Govorit Moskva (1985) and Prazdniki detstva (1982). She died on January 19, 2021 in Moscow, Russia.
54. Randy Parton
Soundtrack | Rhinestone
Randy Parton was born on December 15, 1953 in Sevierville, Tennessee, USA. He was an actor, known for Rhinestone (1984), Dolly Parton & Friends (2007) and The Queens of Country (2009). He was previously married to Deb Parton. He died on January 21, 2021 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, USA.
55. Nathalie Delon
Actress | Le Samouraï
Nathalie Delon was born on August 1, 1941 in Oujda, French Protectorate Morocco [now Morocco]. She was an actress and writer, known for Le Samouraï (1967), They Call It an Accident (1982) and The French Dispatch (2021). She was previously married to Alain Delon and Guy Barthelemy. She died on ...
56. Jean Graton
Writer | Michel Vaillant
Jean Graton was born on August 10, 1923 in Nantes, France. He was a writer, known for Michel Vaillant (2003), Les aventures de Michel Vaillant (1967) and Heroes on Hot Wheels (1990). He was previously married to Francine Vandenbosch. He died on January 21, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium.
57. Donna Britt
Self | Sunblock
58. Mick Norcross
Self | The Only Way Is Essex: All Back to Essex
Mick Norcross was born on May 11, 1963 in Brentwood, Essex, England, UK. He died on January 21, 2021 in Bulphan, Essex, England, UK.
59. Rémy Julienne
Stunts | Double Team
Rémy Julienne was born on April 17, 1930 in Cepoy, Loiret, France. He was an actor and assistant director, known for Double Team (1997), GoldenEye (1995) and For Your Eyes Only (1981). He was previously married to Antonie Pedrocchi. He died on January 21, 2021 in Amilly, Loiret, France.
60. Hank Aaron
Actor | MacGyver
Baseball's all-time home run king, Hank Aaron did more than hit home runs. Sure, Aaron led the National League (NL) four times, he also was a two-time batting champion and led the league in RBIs four times and runs scored three times. He won the NL's Most Valuable Player award in 1957 and has a ...
61. Mira Furlan
Actress | Babylon 5
A leading actress of theatre, film and TV in the former Yugoslavia, Mira Furlan emigrated to the U.S. with her husband, Goran Gajic , in November 1991, due to the intolerable political circumstances in her homeland. Ms. Furlan starred in the Warner Brothers TV series Babylon 5 (1993) as "Ambassador ...
62. Bob Avian
A Chorus Line
Bob Avian was born on December 26, 1937 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. He is known for A Chorus Line (2016), Hey, Mr. Producer! The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh (1998) and Putting It Together (2010). He was previously married to Peter Pileski. He died on January 21, 2021 in Fort...
63. Gregory Sierra
Actor | The Towering Inferno
Lanky, balding, intense American character actor of Puerto Rican ancestry, born in New York's Spanish Harlem. Deserted by his parents, Sierra was brought up by an aunt in a rough, predominantly Irish neighbourhood from the age of six. Though briefly tempted by gang life as a teenager, he took up ...
64. Larry King
Actor | Ghostbusters
Larry King was born on November 19, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. He was a producer and actor, known for Ghostbusters (1984), Bee Movie (2007) and Enemy of the State (1998). He was previously married to Shawn Ora Engemann , Julie Alexander, Sharon Lepore, Alene Akins, Mickey ...
65. Sumiko Sakamoto
Actress | Erogotoshi-tachi yori: Jinruigaku nyûmon
Sumiko Sakamoto was born on November 25, 1936 in Osaka, Japan. She was an actress, known for The Pornographers (1966), The Ballad of Narayama (1983) and Watashi wa makenai (1966). She was previously married to Keijiro Ishii. She died on January 23, 2021 in Kumamoto City, Japan.
66. Tony Ferrer
Actor | Sabotage
Tony Ferrer was born on June 12, 1934 in Macabebe, Pampanga, Philippines. He is an actor and director, known for Sabotage (1966), Blackmail (1966) and Legs Katawan Babae (1981).
67. Charlene Gehm
Charlene Gehm was born on December 14, 1951 in Miami, Florida, USA. Charlene died on January 10, 2021 in New York City, New York, USA.
68. Ron Campbell
Art_department | Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Ron Campbell was born on December 26, 1939 in Seymour, Victoria, Australia. He was a director, known for Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (1994), Bionic Six (1987) and Cool McCool (1966). He was previously married to Engelina Koopman. He died on January 22, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
69. Walter Bernstein
Writer | The Front
Blacklisted writer in the 1950s, a victim of the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee), he still continued to write under pseudonyms as did many other blacklisted writers such as Ring Lardner Jr. and Dalton Trumbo , and his biggest contribution during that time was probably his writing work ...
70. Adrien Dorval
Actor | Shanghai Noon
Adrien Dorval was born on March 22, 1963 in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada. He was an actor, known for Shanghai Noon (2000), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). He was previously married to Angela Cruikshank . He died on January 5, 2021 in Vancouver, ...
71. Gerald Hiken
Actor | Crossings
Gerald Hiken was born on May 23, 1927 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He was an actor, known for Crossings (1986), Play of the Week (1959) and The Three Sisters (1966). He was previously married to Barbara Hiken . He died on January 6, 2021 in San Francisco, California, USA.
72. Martin Markinson
Colin Quinn: Long Story Short
Martin Markinson was born on December 23, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is known for Colin Quinn: Long Story Short (2011), Spotlight on Broadway (2013) and The 37th Annual Tony Awards (1983). He was previously married to Arlena. He died on January 7, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
73. Caroly Wilcox
Actress | The Muppet Movie
Caroly Wilcox was born on May 16, 1931 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA. She was an actress, known for The Muppet Movie (1979), Sesame Street (1969) and The Muppet Show (1976). She died on January 9, 2021.
74. Jerry Douglas
Writer | Buckleroos: Part I
Jerry Douglas was born on November 15, 1935 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. He was a writer and director. He was previously married to John Stellar. He died on January 9, 2021 in New York City, New York, USA.
75. Charlotte Cornwell
Actress | The Saint
Londoner Charlotte Elizabeth Cornwell was born on April 26 1949, the younger half-sister of novelist John le Carré -- whose real name was David Cornwell -- and his novel, 'The Little Drummer Girl', had a leading character based on her. Le Carré was disappointed that in the film version the star was...
76. Mona Malm
Actress | Fanny och Alexander
Mona Malm got her breakthrough at the Royal Dramatic Theater in 1957 as "Tintomara" in Almqvist's 'Drottningens juvelsmycke', directed by Alf Sjöberg . She played "Martha" in Edward Albee 's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' (1985) and the title role in Hjalmar Bergman 's 'Chefen fru Ingeborg' (1993)....
77. Gunnel Lindblom
Actress | Det sjunde inseglet
After acting studies at the Gothenburg City Theatre from 1950-52, she made her breakthrough debut in Gustaf Molander 's Kärlek (1952). When Ingmar Bergman became head of the Malmö City Theatre he asked her to join him there and with him as a director she played the role of Margareta in Goethe's...
78. Alberto Grimaldi
Producer | Gangs of New York
Alberto Grimaldi is a fine example of a lawyer who become film producer. His first contacts with cinema were of a legal nature, but these slowly led to production. By the early 1960s he had created his company Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA), and was very successful when he distributed Joaquín ...
79. Jeanette Maus
Actress | Your Sister's Sister
Jeanette studied Theater at Cornish College of the arts and soon after dove into the Seattle film scene where she began booking shorts, commercials, voice-overs and independent films such as World Enough and Time, The Stranger and the horror cult-favorite, Frayed. She booked the indie film The ...
80. Bruce Kirby
Actor | The Muppet Movie
One of those hard-working supporting actors whose face you know but whose name might not ring any bells. Italian-American Bruce Kirby (real name Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu) was steadily employed--primarily on the small screen--to play a gallery of often likeable, mainly unimposing characters in a ...
81. Peter Vere-Jones
Actor | Braindead
Peter Vere-Jones was born on October 21, 1939 in Cheshire, England, UK. He was an actor, known for Dead Alive (1992), Bad Taste (1987) and Meet the Feebles (1989). He died on January 26, 2021 in New Zealand.
82. Tseng Chang
Actor | 2012
Tseng Chang was born on May 18, 1930 in Beijing, China. He was an actor and assistant director, known for 2012 (2009), Shanghai Noon (2000) and Romeo Must Die (2000). He died on January 25, 2021.
83. Cloris Leachman
Actress | The Last Picture Show
The legendary actress set a record when at age 82, she appeared on Dancing with the Stars (2005). Cloris Leachman was born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa to Berkeley Claiborne "Buck" Leachman and the former Cloris Wallace. Her father's family owned a lumber company, Leachman Lumber Co. She ...
84. Sonny Fox
Producer | Brontë
Sonny Fox was born on June 17, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. He was a producer and actor, known for Brontë (1983), Mysterious Two (1982) and Tomorrow Coast to Coast (1973). He was previously married to Gloria June Benson. He died on January 24, 2021 in Encino, California, USA.
85. Cicely Tyson
Actress | The Help
Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem, New York City, where she was raised by her devoutly religious parents, from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Her mother, Theodosia, was a domestic, and her father, William Tyson, was a carpenter and painter. She was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine and...
Director | Sophie: It's Okay to Cry
Sophie was an experimental pop artist and producer and trans rights activist. Sophie's debut 2018 debut album "Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides" earned the musician a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album. She worked with Madonna in 2015 to co-produce the single "Bitch, I'm Madonna" and ...
87. Robert Cohan
Robert Cohan was born on March 27, 1925 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for Cell (1983), Martha Graham: An American Original in Performance (1957) and Music Now (1968). He died on January 13, 2021 in London, England, UK.
88. Goddess Bunny
Actress | Hollywood Vice Squad
Goddess Bunny was born on January 13, 1960 in Los Angeles County, California, USA. She was an actress, known for Hollywood Vice Squad (1986), The Three Trials (2006) and Scumbag (2017). She died on January 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
89. Allan Burns
Writer | Mary Tyler Moore
Allan Burns was born on May 18, 1935 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970), Lou Grant (1977) and Rhoda (1974). He was previously married to Joan Irene Bailey. He died on January 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
90. Double K
Soundtrack | Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Double K was born on August 1, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He was an actor, known for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011), Father of the Year (2018) and Tony Hawk's Underground (2003). He died on January 30, 2021 in the USA.
91. Marc Wilmore
Producer | The Simpsons
Marc Wilmore was born on May 4, 1963 in Fontana, California, USA. He was a producer and writer, known for The Simpsons (1989), The PJs (1999) and In Living Color (1990). He was previously married to Soumaya Wilmore. He died on January 30, 2021 in Pomona, California, USA.
92. Pierre-Paul Savoie
Pierre-Paul Savoie was born on January 14, 1955 in Maria, Quebec, Canada. Pierre-Paul is known for The Chairs (2014). Pierre-Paul was previously married to Arnold. Pierre-Paul died on January 31, 2021 in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
93. Jonas Gricius
Cinematographer | Niekas nenorejo mirti
Jonas Gricius was born on August 5, 1928. He was a cinematographer and actor, known for Nobody Wanted to Die (1965), The Gadfly (1955) and Hamlet (1964). He died on February 1, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania.
94. Jamie Tarses
Producer | The Mysterious Benedict Society
Jamie Tarses was born on March 16, 1964 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She was a producer and casting director, known for The Mysterious Benedict Society (2021), Primeval (2007) and My Boys (2006). She was previously married to Dan McDermott . She died on February 1, 2021 in Los Angeles, ...
95. Dustin Diamond
Actor | Saved by the Bell
Attended Zion Lutheran School in Anaheim, California. While in fifth grade, he portrayed 8th-grader Samuel "Screech" Powers in the television series Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1987), which evolved into Saved by the Bell (1989) and its various television movies and spin-offs. Also appeared in the ...
96. Ricky Powell
Actor | Airplane II: The Sequel
Ricky Powell was born on August 10, 1962 in Los Angeles County, California, USA. He is an actor, known for Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), Bewitched (1964) and Night Gallery (1969).
97. Hal Holbrook
Actor | Into the Wild
Hal Holbrook was an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor who was one of the great craftsmen of stage and screen. He was best known for his performance as Mark Twain , for which he won a Tony and the first of his ten Emmy Award nominations. Aside from the stage, Holbrook made his reputation primarily on...
98. Christopher Little
Actor | Gangsters
Christopher Little is known for Gangsters (2017).
99. Haya Harareet
Actress | Ben-Hur
Born in Palestine before the inception of the Israeli state in the city of Haifa, she first distinguished herself by winning one of the first beauty contests in the nascent Israel. Haya Harareet (also spelled Hararit) made her debut in Thorold Dickinson 's film Hill 24 Doesn't Answer (1955) ("Hill ...
100. Marie Harmon
Actress | The El Paso Kid
Marie Harmon was born on October 21, 1923 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA. She was an actress, known for The El Paso Kid (1946), Springtime in Texas (1945) and Nighttime in Nevada (1948). She was previously married to Dr. Wolfgang Kaupisch, Donald Currie and William G, Jones, Jr.. She died on January 25...
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In memoriam: Remembering the celebrities we lost in 2021
We're about to welcome a new year, but before we do, it’s time to say goodbye to 2021 — and to the actors, musicians, filmmakers and other pop culture icons we lost.
They inspired us, entertained us and their impact will never be forgotten.
Betty White 1922-2021
On the last day of 2021, Betty White — whose pioneering career as a TV star mirrored that of the medium itself — died . She was 99 years old, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas said in a statement given to TODAY. "I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband, Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."
White took the occasional guest role on TV series in the ‘60s before she landed the career-changing part as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” First appearing on the landmark comedy’s fourth season in 1973, White played a co-worker of Moore’s Mary Richards, earning a pair of Emmy Awards.
White’s career-defining role, though, would come in 1985 when she joined Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty to make up a quartet of senior citizens living together in Miami on the smash NBC comedy “The Golden Girls.”
Her portrayal of naïve Rose Nylund resonated with viewers and critics alike. The show was a ratings winner, and White snagged the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 1986. She would garner another six nominations for the role. The show itself remains a cultural phenomenon running strongly in syndication.
Ed Asner 1929 – 2021
The world lost a legend when actor, activist and two-time Screen Actors Guild president Ed Asner died Aug. 29 at the age of 91.
Asner starred in dozens of film and television series over the course of his 70-plus years in the entertainment industry, but there’s one character he’ll be remembered for more than any other — TV news director-turned-newspaper editor Lou Grant. It was a comedic role that he debuted on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1970 and one that carried over as a dramatic part in the character’s eponymous spinoff in 1977. Over the course of both series, Asner won five Emmy Awards for playing Grant.
With seven total Emmy acting wins, the late star also holds the distinction as the Primetime Emmys' most honored male entertainer.
Cicely Tyson 1924 - 2021
Hollywood icon and “Sounder” star Cicely Tyson collected accolades throughout her seven decades in show business, including three Emmys, one Tony, four Black Reel Awards, a Peabody and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The model-turned-actor created her path in film and television in a time when roles from Black women were scarce. And when Tinseltown finally started to come around, with the rise of stars like Viola Davis and Kerry Washington, Tyson declared it was “long overdue.”
“We have been a race of people that have been suppressed out of fear and finally we have been able to get a hold on the power that this industry wields,” she told NBC News.
Tyson died Jan. 28 . She was 96.
Jessica Walter 1941 - 2021
New York born actor Jessica Walter got her big screen break in 1964 in the drama “Lilith,” but her star power continued to rise throughout her nearly 80-year career.
The part she was best known for was one she began in 2003, that of Lucille Bluth on the sitcom “Arrested Development.” The Emmy winner went on to gain more acclaim for her voice role as Malory Archer on the FX adult animated series “Archer.” The most recent season of the spy comedy, released after her death, ended with her character retiring to a peaceful life.
Walter died March 24 at the age of 80.
Prince Philip 1921 - 2021
Philip was an 18-year-old Greek and Danish prince when he met a 13-year-old British princess who would change the course of his life. Though it was a few years longer before he’d discover the impact of their meeting.
Philip and Princess Elizabeth courted one another through letters while he was away in the Royal Navy. Upon his return from service, he married a then 21-year-old Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey in 1947. She became queen five years later, and he began his tenure as Britain’s longest serving royal consort.
After four children, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 73 years of marriage, the Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9 . He was 99.
Ned Beatty 1937 – 2021
While character actors are often regarded as secondary stars, Ned Beatty proved to be an absolute scene-stealer in his supporting work in a number of Hollywood hits, including his unforgettable performance in his debut big screen effort, 1972’s “Deliverance.”
From “Network” (1976) to “Toy Story 3” (2010) and from “All the President’s Men” (1976) to “Superman” (1978), Beatty tackled played villains, heroes and bumbling sidekicks with equal aplomb.
On June 13, Beatty died at the age of 83 .
Dustin Diamond 1977 – 2021
Former child star Dustin Diamond gained fame at the age of 12 playing the part of Samuel “Screech” Powers on the 1989 sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” But it was long after his Bayside High School days, in 2009, when he published a scandalous account of life behind the scenes on the teen comedy, one that accused his co-stars of a variety of sordid behaviors.
The actor later recanted the allegations made in “Behind the Bell,” and apologized to his former friends, alleging the claims were fabricated by a ghostwriter.
Diamond passed away Feb. 1 , just three weeks after turning 44 — and three weeks after being diagnosed with what his spokesperson referred to as a “brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer.”
Willie Garson 1964 – 2021
“Sex and the City” fans came to know Willie Garson for playing the part of Carrie Bradshaw’s devoted best friend — or at least best male friend. Garson brought Stanford “Stanny” Blatch to life during the series’ original six-season run on HBO, in both of the “Sex and the City” big screen releases and he even appears in the newly released HBO Max sequel series “And Just Like That...”
But that will be the last part of his work with the franchise. On Sept. 21, the 57-year-old star died from pancreatic cancer.
Charles Grodin 1935 – 2021
Stage-and-screen actor, deadpan comedian and author Charles Grodin died from bone marrow cancer May 18 at the age of 86.
Grodin starred in dozens of films, including “Catch-22” (1970), “Beethoven” (1992) and “The Comedian” (2016), and achieved success in a wide variety of television roles. He also made a name for himself as a comic foil on late-night TV in the 1970s and 1980s with his playfully aggressive banter with the likes of Johnny Carson and David Letterman.
Hal Holbrook 1925 – 2021
Hal Holbrook, Emmy and Tony-winning actor, director and screenwriter, had a long list of Hollywood credits to his name over the course of his 70 years in the industry. But despite appearing in many big screen hits, including “All the President’s Men” (1976) and “Wall Street” (1987), he’s best remembered for one role.
Holbrook took on the part of American novelist and humorist Mark Twain in his own one-man play “Mark Twain Tonight!” which he launched in 1954. He performed the play more than 2,200 times before retiring from the role in 2017.
The star died Jan. 23 at the age of 95.
Larry King 1933 -2021
Veteran television and radio personality Larry King died Jan. 23 . He was 87 years old. King was regarded as one of the great interviewers of his generation, honing his craft over a 60-plus-year career in broadcasting that included 35 years at the helm of CNN’s “Larry King Live.” According to CNN , King conducted more than 50,000 interviews during his life.
In 2013, King told TODAY’s Willie Geist , "I love asking questions. I’ve been doing it all my life. When I was 9 years old, I asked the bus driver, 'Why do you want to drive a bus?' And I’m still doing that, 'Why do you want to drive a bus?'"
Cloris Leachman 1926 – 2021
Like her former “Mary Tyler Moore Show” co-star, Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman holds an Emmy-winner distinction. With eight acting wins, she’s tied with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the winningest female entertainer in the history of Primetime Emmy Awards. She was nominated a total of 22 times.
And as with Asner, fans of this iconic actor and comedian were left mourning this year following her death in January at the age of 94.
During her 79 years on stage and screen, Leachman a number of other accolades for her many roles, including an Academy Award for her supporting performance in 1971's "The Last Picture Show."
Jackie Mason 1928 – 2021
Borscht Belt funnyman and stage, screen and radio star Jackie Mason died July 24 , just a month after he turned 93.
The Tony and Emmy winner was known for his no-holds-barred humor, one-man shows, as well as film and television roles that ranged from a part in Steve Martin’s 1979 comedy “The Jerk” to his recurring voice role as Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on “The Simpsons.”
But he’s also remembered for a legendary celebrity feud with Ed Sullivan, who banned him from his eponymous variety show after claiming Mason gave him the middle finger during a 1960s visit. It was a claim Mason later disproved in court.
Norm Macdonald 1959 – 2021
Former “Saturday Night Live” star Norm Macdonald died Sept. 14 . The 61-year-old had been privately battling cancer for nearly a decade.
Known for his numerous impersonations and his wry delivery on “SNL’s” “Weekend Update,” Macdonald worked steadily in film and television after leaving the sketch comedy show and was well admired by his peers.
Following the news of Macdonald’s death, Jim Carrey referred to him as “one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius.”
Gavin MacLeod 1931 – 2021
Yet another “Mary Tyler Moore Show” alum passed in 2021. Gavin MacLeod, who played Murray Slaughter on the 1970s series, died May 29 at the age of 90.
After making a name for himself on all 168 episodes of that classic sitcom, MacLeod gained even more recognition for his next long-running role — that of Captain Merrill Stubing on the ‘70s and ‘80s prime-time hit “The Love Boat.”
The actor also had recurring roles in “McHale’s Navy,” “Perry Mason” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”
Christopher Plummer 1929 – 2021
Christopher Plummer, the celebrated actor who played Captain Georg von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” (1965), died in his Connecticut home on Feb. 5 . He was 91.
The Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner also had more than 100 other film credits to his name, including “Malcom X” (1992), “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2011) and “Knives out” (2019), but it was his endlessly rewatchable performance as von Trapp , alongside Julie Andrews, that endures most in the minds of fans.
"The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend," Andrews told NBC News in a statement following Plummer’s death. “I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years."
Tanya Roberts 1955 – 2021
Model-turned-actor-turned-producer Tanya Roberts earned a devoted fan following for her work in the 1984 James Bond film “A View to a Kill,” starring as the title character in “Sheena” (1984) and for her role as “hot mom” Midge Pinciotti on “That ‘70s Show.”
But in January, those fans grieved the loss of the star more than once.
On the 3rd, Robert’s spokesperson, Mike Pingel, told TODAY and other publications the star had died. However, the next morning, it was announced that Roberts, while hospitalized, was still alive.
The correction only served to delay the sad news for a few hours though, as she passed away on the evening of Jan. 4 . Roberts was 65.
Peter Scolari 1955 – 2021
Peter Scolari, the actor known for his breakout work with Tom Hanks on "Bosom Buddies," in addition to later roles on the hit series “Newhart” and "Girls," died Oct. 22 at 66.
Hanks honored his friend just days after the Emmy winner’s death from cancer.
“I don’t know how many people truly do change your lives when you cross paths with them,” Hanks said during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” . “But he and I met, we picked up the scripts and we started screwing around, and I actually thought, ‘Oh, this is it. This is how this works. This is like a hand inside a glove.’”
Stephen Sondheim 1930 – 2021
Prolific American composer and musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim died Nov. 26 at the age of 91
The “West Side Story” lyricist also wrote the words and music for "Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "Company," "Follies," "Into the Woods" and many other iconic musicals.
Sondheim earned numerous accolades during his career, including eight Tony Awards, one Oscar, a Grammy and a Pulitzer Prize. And in 2015, President Barack Obama presented the icon with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Phil Spector 1939 – 2021
For most of his life, it seemed Phil Spector’s legacy would be that of an eccentric and wildly successful record producer who created the Wall of Sound — a production style that involved layering recordings until it resulted in a lush and full sound with instrumentation that could no longer be distinguished, perfected on the Righteous Brothers' 1964 release, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”
But Spector’s musical contributions faded to the background when he was convicted of murder in the death of actor Lana Clarkson, which he committed at his home in Alhambra, California, in 2003.
In 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life. The 81-year-old remained incarcerated at the time of his Jan. 16 death.
Dean Stockwell 1936 – 2021
Hollywood native Dean Stockwell kicked off his career in 1945, when, at just 9 years old, he starred in Tay Garnett’s “The Valley of Decision.” With the exception of a brief hiatus in the 1960s, the actor remained active on the big and small screens until his retirement in 2015.
Throughout his 70 years in entertainment, Stockwell delivered memorable performances with auteur directors, including David Lynch (in 1984’s “Dune” and 1986’s “Blue Velvet”) and Wim Wenders (in 1984’s “Paris, Texas). And he made an indelible mark on television in the early 1990s with “Quantum Leap.”
Stockwell died Nov. 7 . He was 85.
James Michael Tyler 1962 – 2021
James Michael Tyler, who played the role of barista Gunther on the hit ‘90s sitcom “Friends,” died Oct. 24 at the age of 59.
According to his family, he "passed away peacefully” at his Los Angeles home after “losing his life to prostate cancer.”
After his death, Jennifer Aniston shared a tribute to the actor on Instagram , writing, "Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed.”
Charlie Watts 1941 – 2021
Rolling Stones charismatic drummer Charlie Watts provided the rhythmic backbone of the band since he joined the act in 1963. But just weeks before his death, fans of the rock ‘n’ roll icon learned they wouldn’t get a chance to see him on the band’s tour, which was set to kick off in September.
“For once my timing has been a little off,” Watts said in a statement. “I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while.”
Watts died in a London hospital on Aug. 24 . He was 80.
Art LaFleur 1943 - 2021
Character actor Art LaFleur carved out a career of playing gritty cops, tough guys and a couple of unforgettable baseball players.
In 1993, LaFleur played Babe Ruth in the coming-of-age comedy “The Sandlot,” and before that, in 1989, he took on the role of Black Sox player Chick Gandil in “Field of Dreams.”
LaFleur died Nov. 17 following a battle with Parkinson’s. He was 78.
Michael K. Williams 1966 - 2021
Michael K. Williams was beloved for his work as shotgun-toting Baltimore stickup man Omar Little on HBO’s crime drama “The Wire.”
His death, on Sept. 6 at the age of 54, shocked fans and fellow stars. It was later determined that he died of a drug overdose.
Williams had been open about his past battle with drug addiction , telling the New York Times in 2017, “Addiction doesn't go away. It's an everyday struggle for me, but I'm fighting."
DMX 1970 -2021
Born Earl Simmons, rapper, composer and actor DMX achieved huge success with his first studio album, 1998’s “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
While he’d go on to release another six studio albums in his lifetime (and one posthumous release), he also pursued his acting ambitions in a number of films, including the 1998 crime drama "Belly," and the 2000 Jet Li action movie “Romeo Must Die.”
DMX was hospitalized on April 2 after suffering a heart attack. He died seven days later . He was 50.
Clarence Williams III 1939 – 2021
As the grandson jazz musician Clarence Williams and the son of actor and singer Eva Taylor, Clarence Williams III had roots in the entertainment industry long before he decided to become an actor.
Williams served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army before heading to Broadway in 1960. But it was eight years later before he landed the role that would elevate him to star, playing undercover police officer Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad.”
Williams died of colon cancer on June 7 . He was 81.
Peter Aykroyd 1955 – 2021
Former “Saturday Night Live” writer and featured player Peter Aykroyd died on Nov. 6 at the age of 65.
The Canadian actor, who got his start in the comedy troupe Second City, joined “SNL” in its fifth season, in 1979, four years after his older brother, Dan Aykroyd. He worked alongside his brother on several projects, including the films “Spies Like Us” (1985) and “Coneheads” (1993).
Richard Donner 1930 – 2021
While Richard Donner got his start as a television director in 1957, he found his greatest success as a big screen director.
He was behind some of the biggest box office hits of the 1970s and ‘80s, including “The Omen,” “Superman,” “The Goonies” and “Lethal Weapon.”
Donner died on July 5 . He was 91.
CORRECTION (Dec. 22, 2021, 7 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the birth year of Hal Holbrook. He was born in 1925.
Ree Hines is a freelance writer and editor who covers pop culture, lifestyle stories and trending news. She’s also a soul-music loving, coffee-obsessed member of both Team Cat and Team Dog. Ree lives in Tampa, Florida, and is a regular contributor to TODAY.com.
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- Interests See All
In Memoriam: Notable people who died in 2021
Betty white, 99.
Harry Reid, 82
John Madden, 85
E.O. WIlson, 92
Jean-Marc Vallee, 58
Sarah Weddington, 76
Desmond Tutu, 90
Joan Didion, 87
Wanda Young, 78
bell hooks, 69
Vicente Fernandez, 81
Anne Rice, 80
Michael Nesmith, 78
Al Unser Sr., 82
Lina Wertmuller, 93
Bob Dole, 98
Lee Elder, 87
Virgil Abloh, 41
Stephen Sondheim, 91
FW de Klerk, 85
Max Cleland, 79
Dean Stockwell, 85
James Michael Tyler, 59
Peter Scolari, 66
Jerry Pinkney, 81
Colin Powell, 84
Paddy Moloney, 83
Melvin Van Peebles, 89
Willie Garson, 57
Jane Powell, 92
Norm MacDonald, 61
Michael K. Williams, 54
Willard Scott, 87
Ed Asner, 91
Charlie Watts, 80
Don Everly, 84
Tom T. Hall, 85
Chuck Close, 81
Sonny Chiba, 82
Markie Post, 70
Dennis "D.T." Thomas, 70
Richard Trumka, 72
Sen. Carl Levin, 87
Johnny Ventura, 81
Robert Moses, 86
Biz Markie, 57
Suzzanne Douglas, 64
Richard Donner, 91
Donald Rumsfeld, 88
Ned Beatty, 83
F. Lee Bailey, 87
B.J. Thomas, 78
Sen. John Warner, 94
Eric Carle, 91
Paul Mooney, 79
Charles Grodin, 86
Edgar Harrell, 96
Olympia Dukakis, 89
Michael Collins, 90
Jim Steinman, 73
Walter Mondale, 93
Helen McCrory, 52
Ramsey Clark, 93
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, 99
Alcee Hastings, 84
Isamu Akasaki, 92
G. Gordon Liddy, 90
Beverly Cleary, 104
Larry McMurtry, 84
Jessica Walter, 80
George Segal, 87
Dick Hoyt, 80
Yaphet Kotto, 81
Marvin Hagler, 66
James Levine, 77
Bunny Wailer, 73
Vernon Jordan, 85
Rush Limbaugh, 70
Jessica McClintock, 90
Johnny Pacheco, 85
Larry Flynt, 78
Chick Corea, 79
Mary Wilson, 76
George P. Shultz, 100
Leon Spinks, 67
Christopher Plummer, 91
Sir Thomas Moore, "Captain Tom," 100
Dustin Diamond, 44
Cicely Tyson, 96
Cloris Leachman, 94
Hal Holbrook, 95
Larry King, 87
Hank Aaron, 86
Joanne Rogers, 92
Siegfried Fischbacher, 81
Sheldon Adelson, 87
Tommy Lasorda, 93
Michael Apted, 79
Neil Sheehan, 84
Tanya Roberts, 65
Dawn Wells, Pierre Cardin, Ann Reinking and other notable people who died in 2020
Slideshow of celebrities and trailblazers who left their mark on society and died in 2020.
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- What Is Cinema?
21 of the Biggest Celebrities Who Died in 2021
By Savannah Walsh
In 2021, there never seemed to be enough time with those we lost. Some beloved stars left us while at the top of their professional game—Michael K. Williams received his fifth Emmy nomination shortly before his death; Willie Garson passed while reviving his beloved Sex and the City character . And theater giant Stephen Sondheim died just days before an updated West Side Story — his first major musical as lyricist —opened to critical adoration. In chronological order, here are 21 stars who died in 2021 who made their mark with every minute.
Twenty-four hours after her death was prematurely announced, the Bond Girl and That ’70s Show star died on January 4 at age 65 of a urinary tract infection that spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver, and blood stream.
King became known for his probing interview style on CNN’s Larry King Live , talking to thousands of high-profile figures during his 25-year tenure, including Oprah Winfrey , Marlon Brando, and Vladimir Putin . He died of sepsis at age 87 in the weeks after being hospitalized for COVID-19.
Holbrook, who played memorable historical figures in All the President’s Men and Lincoln , died in his Beverly Hills home on January 23. The 95-year-old won a Tony for his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! in 1966 and at age 82 became the then-oldest Oscar nominee in the best-supporting-actor category for his performance in 2007’s Into the Wild .
Leachman died on January 27 at age 94 after seven decades spent in Hollywood. Over the course of her illustrious life , she won an Oscar in 1972 for best supporting actress in The Last Picture Show and earned two of her eight career Emmys for The Mary Tyler Moore Show .
“Ms. Cicely Tyson is elegance personified. She is excellence. She is courage. When I think of her, I think of the Stevie Wonder song: ‘Show me how to do like you. Show me how to do it,” Viola Davis wrote of Tyson , who died on January 28 at age 96 , for Vanity Fair in 2019. Over the course of her celebrated career, Tyson was honored with a Tony, three Emmys, and an honorary Academy Award. She passed away just days after releasing her memoir, Just As I Am .
Best known for playing the geeky Samuel “Screech” Powers on Saved by the Bell and two of its follow-up series, Saved by the Bell: The New Class and Saved by the Bell: The College Years , Diamond died on February 1 at age 44 of lung cancer.
Plummer, who died at age 91 on February 5, spent six decades in Hollywood, with roles ranging from Capt. von Trapp in The Sound of Music to Harlan Thrombey in Knives Out . He reached the height of his power in later years; all three of his best-supporting-actor nods came after age 80—in 2010 for The Last Station , 2012 for Beginners (for which he became the then-oldest person ever to win an Oscar), and in 2018 for All the Money in the World .
Segal, who earned an Oscar nomination for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and spent his final years on ABC’s The Goldbergs , died on March 23 of complications from bypass surgery at age 87. In the 1970s, Segal excelled in comedies—starring alongside Barbra Streisand in 1970’s The Owl and the Pussycat and co-leading 1977’s Fun With Dick and Jane next to Jane Fonda .
The Emmy-winning actor, known for exuberant performances in Arrested Development and Archer , died on March 24 at age 80 .
The Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter passed away on March 25 of heart failure at age 84. He adapted his own prolific writing into films and TV shows including Brokeback Mountain , Lonesome Dove , Terms of Endearment , and The Last Picture Show .
Dukakis, known for Steel Magnolias and her Oscar-winning performance as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck , passed away on May 1 at age 89 .
A prolific character actor known for Deliverance and Network (for which he earned a best-supporting-actor Oscar nomination), Beatty died of natural causes on June 13 at age 83.
Donner, the Hollywood director and producer responsible for the original Superman , Lethal Weapon , and The Goonies , died on July 5 at age 91.
Boasting more than 400 credits on IMDB, Asner made his mark with numerous iconic film and TV roles, including Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and his own titular spinoff), Santa in Elf , and the voice of Carl in Up , to name a select few. Asner, who won seven Emmys and five Golden Globes, died on August 29 at age 91 .
Michael K. Williams
The five-time Emmy nominee, who delivered indelible performances on TV series like Boardwalk Empire , Lovecraft Country , and The Wire , died of a suspected overdose at age 54. Two weeks later, he lost his fifth and final Emmy to The Crown ’s Tobias Menzies , who dedicated the award to Williams.
Macdonald, who spent five years behind the Weekend Update desk at Saturday Night Live in the 1990s, died at age 61 after a private nine-year cancer battle . Post- SNL , Macdonald headlined his own comedy series, The Norm Show , and became a mainstay on late-night TV, with Seth Meyers calling him “the gold standard.”
In the midst of reviving his Sex and the City character Stanford Blatch, best friend to Sarah Jessica Parker ’s Carrie Bradshaw, Garson died of cancer at age 57. Parker, who filmed three episodes of the SATC revival, And Just Like That… , with Garson prior to his death, wrote of her co-star : “Your absence a crater that I will fill with blessing of these memories and all the ones that are still in recesses yet to surface.”
Scolari, a revered actor of the stage and screen , died on October 22 at age 66 after a two-year battle with cancer. He got his start in TV alongside Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies before co-starring with Bob Newhart in Newhart and winning a 2016 Emmy for his recurring guest-actor role on Girls .
James Michael Tyler
Four months after disclosing his stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis, Tyler died on October 24 at age 59 . He was best known for appearing in a whopping 150 episodes of Friends as the ubiquitous Central Perk barista Gunther.
One of the most influential figures in musical theater died on November 26 at age 91. The landmark composer and lyricist created iconic musicals including Sunday in the Park With George , Into the Woods , Company , and Sweeney Todd . At the time of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner’s death, a revival of Company played on Broadway and a production of Assassins off Broadway, while Steven Spielberg ’s remake of West Side Story was about to hit theaters.
The bestselling author , who had seven of her novels adapted for the screen, including 1994’s Interview With a Vampire , died on December 11 at age 80 due to complications from a stroke.
By Maggie Coughlan
By Emily Kirkpatrick
By Keziah Weir
By Laura Regensdorf
By Vanity Fair
By Deanna Pai
- Best Of 2021
Celebrities Who Died in 2021
We're paying our respects to the stars we've lost in 2021.
We said goodbye to so many icons and heroes last year, and it certainly wasn't easy. And again this year, we've bid farewell to other celebrities who have touched our lives. On New Year's Day of 2021, singer and actor George Gerdes died after suffering a brain aneurysm and on New Year's Eve, Golden Girls star Betty White passed away at age 99 . Additionally, we lost author bell hooks , fashion designer Virgil Abloh , television legend Michael K. Williams , Harry Potter star Helen McCrory , The Parent 'Hood 's Suzzanne Douglas , actor and director Robert Downey Sr. , and more. Ahead, we're paying our respects to all the stars who have passed away in 2021.
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Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2021 (Photos)
A look at all the stars in movies, TV, music, sports and media we’ve lost so far this year
A look at all the stars in movies, TV, music, sports and media we've lost this year.
The "E.T." and "Back to the Future" casting director died Jan. 1 . He was 85 years old.
Joan Micklin Silver
The director known for acclaimed films "Hester Street" and "Crossing Delancey" died Jan. 1 due to vascular dementia. She was 85.
Gerry Marsden, lead signer of the British pop band Gerry and the Pacemakers, died Jan. 3 after an infection of the heart. He was 78.
"Food Network Challenge" judge and cake designing expert Kerry Vincent passed away Jan. 4. She was 75 years old.
Former Bond Girl and star of "A View to Kill" and "That 70s Show" Tanya Roberts was confirmed dead Jan. 5 after initial misleading reports that she had passed away, then was still alive. Roberts died of a urinary tract infection that spread to other organs, and she was 65 years old.
The other half of legendary Las Vegas magic and animal act Siegfried & Roy died on Jan. 13 of pancreatic cancer, according to the Washington Post . He was 81.
Cassandra Anne "Angie" Jakusz, a former contestant on "Survivor: Palau" who earned the nickname "No Fun Angie," died on Jan. 8 after battling cancer. She was 40 years old.
Acclaimed pianist and the widow to Fred Rogers, better known as beloved children's TV host Mister Rogers, died on Jan. 14 . She was 92.
Peter Mark Richman
The actor who appeared on series including "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Dynasty," died on Jan. 14 at the age of 93.
Tommy Lasorda • Tommy Lasorda, who spent 71 seasons playing with and managing the Los Angeles Dodgers, died Jan. 8 . He was 93.
Dave Creek • Lead character designer who'd worked on FOX's "Bob's Burgers" show since it debuted in 2011, died Jan. 8 after a skydiving accident. He was 42.
Michael Apted • Michael Apted, director of documentary films including "Up" and "The Coal Miner's Daughter," died Jan. 8. He was 79.
John Reilly • "General Hospital" star and " Beverly Hills 90210" actor John Reilly died Jan. 10 . He was 84 years old.
Marsha Zazula • Marsha Zazula, co-founder of Megaforce Records, the record label that launched Metallica's debut album and career, died Jan. 10 . She was 68.
Stacy Title • Stacy Title, director of films including "Let the Devil Wear Black," "The Last Supper" and "The Bye Bye Man," died Jan. 11 after a battle with ALS. She was 56.
Sheldon Adelson • GOP financier and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson died Jan. 12 . He was 87.
Jessica Campbell • "Freaks and Geeks" and "Election" actress Jessica Campbell passed away unexpectedly Dec. 29, but her family announced her death Jan. 13 . She was 38.
Joanne Rogers • Acclaimed pianist and the widow of Fred Rogers, better known as beloved children’s TV host Mister Rogers, died on Jan. 14 . She was 92.
Peter Mark Richman • The actor who appeared on numerous series, including “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Dynasty,” died on Jan. 14 at the age of 93.
Sylvain Sylvain • The guitarist and founding member of the pioneering rock group New York Dolls died on Jan. 13 following a battle with cancer. He was 69.
Philip J. Smith • The Tony Award winner, who led Broadway’s Shubert Organization for decades, died on Jan. 15 at age 89 . His cause of death was complications from COVID-19, according to his daughters Linda Phillips and Jennifer Stein.
Phil Spector • Music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector died of natural causes in a prison hospital in Stockton, Ca. Jan. 17 . He was 81.
David Richardson • Television writer David Richardson, who wrote on "The Simpsons" and "Two and a Half Men" died Jan. 18. He was 65.
Don Sutton • Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and former Los Angeles Dodger Don Sutton died Jan. 19 from natural causes. He was 75.
Mira Furlan • Actress Mira Furlan, who starred on "Bablyon 5" and "Lost," died Jan. 22 of complications from West Nile Virus. She was 65.
Hank Aaron • Baseball's former home run king and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron died on Jan. 22 . He was 86.
Bob Avian • Tony Award-winning choreographer Bob Avian died of cardiac arrest on Jan. 22. Avian worked on productions of including "Dreamgirls," A Chorus Line," and "Miss Saigon." He was 83.
Gregory Sierra • Actor Gregory Sierra's death was reported on Jan. 22, and a family spokesperson said Sierra died earlier in the month after a battle with cancer. The "Barney Miller" and "Sanford and Son" actor was 83.
Larry King • Legendary interviewer and newsman Larry King died on Jan. 23 after contracting COVID-19. King was 87.
Walter Bernstein • Oscar-nominated screenwriter Walter Bernstein, best known for his work "The Font," died Jan. 23 . He was 101 years old.
Perry Botkin Jr. • Composer Perry Botkin Jr., who created the theme for the soap opera "The Young and the Restless," died Jan. 23 . He was 87.
Bruce Kirby • Character actor Bruce Kirby, who starred in acclaimed films including "The Godfather" and "Crash," died Jan. 26 . He was 95 years old.
Sekou Smith • Award-winning NBA writer and NBA TV correspondent Sekou Smith passed away Jan. 26 . He was 48 years old.
Cloris Leachman • "Young Frankenstein" and "Phyllis" star Cloris Leachman died of natural causes in her sleep Jan. 27. She was 94.
Sonny Fox • Sonny Fox, former host of the 1950s children's show "Wonderama," died of COVID-19 complications Jan. 28. He was 95.
Cicely Tyson • Actress Cicely Tyson, whose career on stage and screen spanned over 60 years, died Jan. 28 . She was 96.
Duke Bootee • Rapper and educator Duke Bootee (real name Edward Gernel Feltcher), died at his home in Georgia Jan. 29 from heart failure. He was 69.
Hilton Valentine • The founding member of the band The Animals died on Jan. 29 at age 77. He helped bring the band to stardom with the hit "House of the Rising Sun."
Sophie Xeon • The Grammy-nominated musician, producer, and DJ died Jan. 30 at age 34 after an accidental fall in Greece.
Allan Burns • Burns co-created the hit television series "The Munsters" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and created animations for cartoon classics like "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and "Dudley Do-Right." He died on Jan. 31 at age 85.
Marc Wilmore • The brother of Larry Wilmore and a writer "F is for Family," "In Living Color," and "The Simpsons" died Jan. 31 at age 57 of complications from COVID.
Jamie Tarses • Tarses, the former ABC president who made history as the first woman to run a broadcast television network from 1996 to 1999, died Feb. 1 at age 56 after suffering complications from a cardiac event last fall.
Dustin Diamond • The former child star, best known for his iconic role as Samuel "Screech" Powers on the sitcom "Saved By The Bell" died Feb. 1 at age 44 from cancer.
Ricky Powell • Hip-hop and street photographer, and honorary "fourth Beastie Boy" Ricky Powell died Feb. 1. He was 59.
Hal Holbrook • Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Hal Holbrook, best known for playing Deep Throat in "All the President's Men," died Feb. 1 . He was 95 years old.
Jack Palladino • Private detective Jack Palladino, who worked for clients including Bill Clinton, R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein, died in an attack in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco Feb. 2. He was 76 .
Christopher Plummer • "Sound of Music" and "Beginnings" star Christopher Plummer died after falling and suffering a blow to the head Feb. 5 . He was 91.
Leon Spinks Jr. • Olympic gold medalist boxer Leon Spinks Jr. died Feb. 6 after a battle with multiple cancers. He was 67.
George Shultz • The former Secretary of State to Ronald Reagan died Feb. 7 . He was 100 years old.
Pedro Gomez • Longtime ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez died Feb. 7 . He was 58.
Billy Brown • The patriarch of the Brown family which starred on the Discovery show "Alaskan Bush People" died Feb. 8 after a seizure. He was 68.
Jean-Claude Carriere • Screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere, known for his films including "Belle de Jour" and an adaptation of Milan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," died Feb. 8 . He was 89.
Mary Wilson • Singer Mary Wilson, who co-founded the Supremes in 1961, died Feb. 9 . She was 76.
Larry Flynt • Hustler Magazine founder and publisher Larry Flynt died Feb. 10 . He was 78.
Katherine Creag • NBC News reporter Katherine Creag died suddenly Feb. 11. She was 47.
Chick Corea • 23-time Grammy Award-winning Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea died of cancer Feb. 11. He was 79.
Brayden Smith • Five-time "Jeopardy" champion Brayden smith died unexpectedly Feb. 5. He was 24.
Lynn Stalmaster • Casting director Lynn Stalmaster, who cast more than 400 films and TV shows and was the first casting director to receive an Academy Award, died Feb. 12 . He was 93 years old.
Johnny Pacheco • Dominican Salsa music bandleader and co-founder of Fania Records Johnny Pacheco, died Feb. 15 . He was 85.
Rush Limbaugh • Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose self-titled show ran for over 30 years on 600 radio stations, died Feb. 17 of advanced lung cancer. He was 70.
Harry Bring • Television producer Harry Bring, whose notable shows include "Criminal Minds," "X-Files" and "Army Wives," died Feb. 18 . He was 77.
Prince Markie Dee • Music producer, rapper and actor Mark Morales -- better known as Prince Markie Dee -- died Feb. 18 . The Fat Boys' co-founder was 52 years old.
Martha Ruth Stewart • Actress and singer Martha Ruth Stewart, who starred with Humphrey Bogart in "In a Lonely Place," died Feb. 22 . She was 98 years old.
Peter S. Davis • Producer Peter S. Davis, who worked on the "Highlander" series, died Feb. 23 . He was 79.
Alan Robert Murray • Sound editor Alan Robert Murray, who won Oscars for his work on "American Sniper" and "Joker," died Feb. 25 . He was 66 years old.
Fred Segal • L.A. fashion icon Fred Segal, whose retail store in West Hollywood has been a city mainstay since 1961, died Feb. 26 after suffering a stroke. He was 87 years old.
Irv Cross • Former NFL player and CBS Sports commentator Irv Cross died Feb. 28 . Cross was a broadcaster for 23 years and was 81 when he died.
Vernon Jordan • Jordan, a civil rights activist and advisor to former president Bill Clinton, died March 2 . He was 85.
Jahmil French • Actor Jahmil French, who starred in "Degrassi: The Next Generation" and "Soundtrack," died March 2 . He was 29.
Geoffrey Scott • "Dynasty" and "Dark Shadows" actor Geoffrey Scott died March 3 of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 79.
Josh Humiston • Humiston, a partner at the Agency for Performing Arts, died of a sudden stroke March 4 . He was 48.
Lance Waldroup • Walrdoup, one of the stars of Discovery Channel's "Moonshiners" show, died unexpectedly March 4. He was 30 years old.
Michael Wolf Snyder • The 35-year-old sound director, best known for his work on "Nomadland," died by suicide March 1.
Tony Hendra • The British satirist and star of "This Is Spinal Tap" died on March 5 at age 79 from Lou Gehrig's disease.
Michael Stanley • The Cleveland-based singer and radio personality died on March 6 at age 72. Stanley died in his sleep after losing a battle with lung cancer.
Mark Wilson • The '60's tv magician best known for the series "Magic Land of Allakazam" died March 8 . He was 91.
Leon Gast • Director Leon Gast, who worked on the Oscar-winning documentary "When We Were Kings," died March 8 following a long illness. He was 85.
Norton Juster • Author Norton Juster, who wrote acclaimed novels such as "The Phantom Tollbooth" and "The Dot and Line," died March 9 . He was 91 years old.
Roger Mudd • The longtime CBS and NBC News correspondent died March 9 at age 93. Mudd died due to complications from kidney failure.
Cliff Simon • The actor best known for playing Ba'al on "Stargate SG-1" died March 11 at age 58 in an accident while kitesurfing.
'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler • The boxing legend died March 13 at age 66. A cause of death was not immediately known.
James Levine • The longtime Metropolitan Opera conductor died March 17 at age 77. The famed conductor led more than 2,500 performances.
Jeffery M. Hayes • Hayes, a veteran TV producer who oversaw productions of "MacGyver" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" died March 9 at age 68 at his home in Los Angeles. His illness was not related to COVID.
Elgin Baylor • The legendary Los Angeles Lakers star and former general manager for the Los Angeles Clippers died March 22 at age 86 of natural causes.
Katherine Diaz • Diaz, a 22-year-old Olympic hopeful, was struck by lightning in a freak accident and died March 22 at age 22.
George Segal • "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" actor George Segal died March 23 after complications from a bypass surgery. He was 87 years old.
Houston Tumlin • "Talladega Nights" actor Houston Tumlin died by suicide March 24. He was 28 years old.
Bertrand Tavernier • French director, screenwriter and film critic Bertrand Tavernier, known for films including "'Round Midnight" and "A Sunday in the Country," died March 25 . He was 79.
Richard Gilliland • The veteran character actor known for his work "Designing Women" and "Airplane II: The Sequel" died March 25 at the age of 71.
Jessica Walter • Best known for playing matriarch Lucille Bluth on "Arrested Development" and for her role on "Archer," Bluth died March 25 at age 80.
Craig 'Mums' Grant • Mums, who appeared on all of HBO's "Oz" from 1997-2003, died March 25 at the age of 53.
Larry McMurtry • The author of "Lonesome Dove" and screenwriter of "Brokeback Mountain" died March 26 at age 84.
Beverly Cleary • The popular children's book author of "Ramona Quimby" and "The Mouse and the Motorcycle," died March 26 at 104.
G Gordon Liddy • The Watergate scandal operative died March 30 at his home in Virginia. He was 90.
Linda Torres • The "Big Ang" reality star died April 3 from COVID-19 at the age of 67.
BB Dickerson • The bassist and vocalist for the funk rock band War died April 4 from an undisclosed illness. He was 71.
Paul Ritter • The actor, best known for his roles in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Cherynobl" died April 6 from a brain tumor. He was 54.
Midwin Charles • The CNN and MSNBC legal analyst died April 6 at age 47. No cause of death was given.
Howard Weitzman • The powerful Hollywood lawyer whose clients included O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson died of cancer on April 8 at the age of 81.
James Hampton • The actor, best known for his roles in "The Longest Yard" and "F Troop," died from complications of Parkinson's Disease. He was 84.
Quindon Tarver • Best known for performing Prince's "When Doves Cry" in 1996's "Romeo and Juliet," died April 1 in a car accident. He was 38.
Anne Beatts • The original "Saturday Night Live" writer and creator of the hit show "Square Pegs" died April 8 at the age of 74.
Prince Philip • The longest serving royal in history died April 9 at age 99 after battling an array of health issues.
DMX • The legendary rapper, best known for his hit "Party Up (Up In Here) died on April 9 at age 50 of a heart attack.
Nikki Grahame • "Big Brother UK" contestant Nikki Grahame died April 10 after a battle with anorexia. She was 38 years old.
Joseph Siravo • The actor who played Tony Soprano's father on HBO's "The Sopranos" died April 12 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 66.
Gerren Taylor • Model and star of BET reality show "Baldwin Hills" Gerren Taylor died April 12 . She was 30 years old.
Richard Rush • Academy Award-nominated writer and director Richard Rush, known for his work on "The Stunt Man," died of natural causes April 12 . He was 91.
Lee Aaker • Lee Aaker, who starred in ABC's series "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" as a child actor, died of a stroke April 13 . He was 77.
Adam Perkins • Perkins, the young man who went viral for his "Welcome to Chili's" meme on the now-defunct social media platform Vine, died April 14 . He was 24.
Bernie Madoff • The investor and architect of one of the world's most notorious Ponzi schemes, Bernie Madoff died in prison April 14 . He was 82.
Robert Fletcher • Costume designer Robert Fletcher, who worked on all four "Star Trek" films and on Broadway, died April 14 . He was 98.
Helen McCrory • Actress Helen McCrory, known best for her work on "Peaky Blinders" and as Narcissa Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" series, died April 16 after battling cancer. She was 52.
Felix Silla • Silla, who played Cousin Itt in the ABC show "The Addams Family" and starred in "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," died April 16 . He was 84.
Black Rob • Robert Ross, better known by his hip-hop stage name Black Rob, died April 17 . He was 51 years old.
Sunday Burquest • Former "Survivor" contestant Sunday Burquest died after a battle with cancer April 18 . She was 50.
Walter Mondale • Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, who served Jimmy Carter from 1977-81, died April 19 . He was 93.
Anthony Powell • Oscar-winning costume designer Anthony Powell, who created the Cruella DeVille look for Disney's "101 Dalmatians," died April 20 at 85.
Jim Steinman • Rock composer Jim Steinman, who worked with musicians including Meatloaf and Celine Dion, died April 20 . He was 73.
Les McKeown • Scottish singer Les McKeown, who founded the '70s pop band Bay City Rollers, died April 22 . He was 65.
Shock G • Rapper Shock G, a founder member of the Digital Underground and producer of Tupac Shakur's breakout album "2Pacalypse Now," died April 22 . He was 57.
Charles Fries • Producer Charles Fries, who worked on TV's "Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Martian Chronicles," died April 23 . He was 92.
Marty Bauer • United Talent Agency co-founder Marty Bauer died April 24 at 74 years old.
Al Schmitt • Music engineer and 20-time Grammy Award-winner Al Schmitt died April 27 . He was 91.
Michael Collins • Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins died April 28 after a fight with cancer. He was 90.
Anne Douglas • Film publicist and widow of Kirk Douglas, Anne Douglas died April 29 . She was 102.
Johnny Crawford • Child star and Mouseketeer Johnny Crawford died April 30 at 75 years old.
Olympia Dukakis • Stage and screen actress Olympia Dukakis, who won an Oscar for her 1987 performance in "Moonstruck," died May 1 . She was 89.
Bobby Unser • Three-time Indy 500 racing champion Bobby Unser died May 3 . He was 87.
Jacques d'Amboise • Ballet dancer and star in musicals including "Carousel" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" Jacques d'Amboise died May 3 . He was 86.
Billie Hayes • Actress Billie Hayes, known for her role as Witchiepoo in the 1970s children's show "H.R. Pufnstuf," died May 3 . She was 96.
George Jung • Cocaine smuggler George Jung, who helped Pablo Escobar run drugs into the U.S. and was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the film "Blow," died May 5. He was 78.
Frank McRae • Action hero Frank McRae, who starred in blockbuster films including "License to Kill" and "Last Action Hero," died April 29 at age 80. His family announced his passing May 6.
Tawny Kitaen • Actress, model and video vixen Tawny Kitaen died May 8. She was 59.
Lloyd Price • Singer and songwriter Lloyd Price, who wrote the hit songs "Stagger Lee" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," died May 3 at age 88.
Norman Lloyd • "Dead Poet's Society" and "St. Elsewhere" actor Norman Lloyd died May 11. He was 106 years old.
Jerome "New Jack" Young • Pro wrestler Jerome Young, better known in the ring as New Jack, died May 15 of a heart attack. He was 58.
Charles Grodin • Film and television actor Charles Grodin, best known for his work in movies "Rosemary's Baby," "The Heartbreak Kid" and "Beethoven," died May 18. He was 86.
Paul Mooney • Comedian Paul Mooney, who was a "Chapelle's Show" regular and wrote for Richard Pryor, died of a heart attack May 19 . He was 79.
Mark York • Actor Mark York, who played Billy Merchant on NBC's hit sitcom "The Office," died May 24 . He was 55.
Samuel E. Wright • Oscar-winning actor and singer Samuel E. Wright, who voiced Sebastian in Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and sang its iconic song "Under the Sea," died May 25 . He was 74 years old.
Kevin Clark • The actor known for playing Freddy "Spazzy McGee" Jones in "School of Rock" died May 26 after being hit by a car while biking. He was 32.
Paul Soles • Soles, who voiced the title character in the 1960s "Amazing Spider-Man" animated series and the misfit elf Hermey in the 1964 Christmas classic film "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" died May 28 . He was 90.
Gavin Macleod • Veteran TV actor MacLeod, who starred in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Love Boat," died May 29 . He was 90.
BJ Thomas • Grammy-winning singer BJ Thomas, best known for his songs "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and "Hooked on a Feeling," died May 29 . He was 78.
Joe Lara • Actor Joe Lara, who played Tarzan in the "Tarzan: The Epic Adventures" TV series, died May 30 . He was 58 and killed in a Cessna plane crash with his wife.
Buddy Van Horn • Filmmaker Buddy Van Horn who directed Clint Eastwood (and served as his stunt double) in films "Any Way You Can" and "The Dead Pool," died May 31 . He was 92.
Romy Walthall • Actress Romy Walthall, who appeared in "Face/Off" and "The House of Usher," died May 19 of cardiac arrest. She was 57.
Robert Hogan • TV actor Robert Hogan, who starred in a litany of popular shows including "I Dream of Jeannie," "The Twilight Zone" and "Magnum P.I.," died of pneumonia May 27 . He was 87 years old.
F Lee Bailey • Celebrity attorney F Lee Bailey -- best known for representing OJ Simpson and Patty Hearst -- died June 3 . He was 87.
Clarence Williams III • Clarence Williams III, known for his starring role as Linc on the "Mod Squad" and Prince's dad in the "Purple Rain" film, died June 6 after battling colon cancer. He was 81.
Erin O'Brien • Singer and actress known for her role in "Sunset Strip" Erin O'Brien died at her home in Seattle May 20 . She was 87 years old.
Ernie Lively • Actor Ernie Lively, who starred in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "Passenger," died June 9 . He was 74.
Ned Beatty • Beloved character actor Ned Beatty, who starred in acclaimed films including "Deliverance" and "Network," died June 13 . He was 83.
John Gabriel • Actor John Gabriel, who starred in the popular soap opera "Ryan's Hope," died June 14 . He was 90 years old.
Lisa Banes • Actress Lisa Banes, who appeared in "Gone Girl" and "Cocktail," died June 15 after a hit-and-run accident . She was 65.
Frank Bonner • Frank Bonner, the actor who played radio-station sales manager Herb Tarlek on “WKRP in Cincinnati” died June 27 . He was 79.
John Paragon • Actor John Paragon, who played ambi the Genie on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” died June 17. He was 66.
Joanne Linville • Character actress Joanne Linville, who starred alongside Barbra Streisand in the 1976 “A Star is Born" and was in the original "Star-Trek" series, died June 21 . She was 93.
John Langley • "Cops" TV show creator John Langley died of a heart attack while auto racing in Mexico June 27. He was 78 years old.
Stuart Damon • "General Hospital" star Stuart Damon, who played Dr. Alan Quartermaine for more than 30 years on the soap, died June 29 . He was 84.
Richard Donner • Director Richard Donner, who directed films including 1978's "Superman" and the "Lethal Weapon" franchise, died July 5 . He was 91.
John Erman • Emmy-winning director Erman, who directed "Roots" and Season 3 of the original "Star Trek" series, died June 25 . He was 85.
Robert Downey Sr. • Director Robert Downey Sr., father to "Iron Man" star Robert Downey Jr. and director of the hit underground film “Putney Swope,” died July 7 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was 85.
Chick Vennera • "Golden Girls" actor Chick Vennera, who played Enrique Mas, died July 8 . He was 74.
William Smith • Actor and stuntman William Smith, who is credited in over 300 films including the Clint Eastwood film "Any Which Way You Can," died July 5. He was 88.
Paul Orndorff • WWE champion Hall of Fame wrestler Paul Orndorff died July 12 . He was 71 years old.
Jeff LaBar • Jeff LaBar, guitarist for chart-topping hair metal band Cinderella, died July 14 . He was 58.
Bergen Williams • The actress who played Big Alice on ABC soap opera “General Hospital” died on July 30 from Wilson's disease. She was 62.
Charlie Watts • Drummer Charlie Watts, who played for the Rolling Stones since 1963, died Aug. 24 . He was 80 years old.
Michael Nader • Actor who appeared on "Dynasty" and "All My Children" died on Aug. 23 from an untreatable form of cancer.. He was 76.
Lloyd Dobyns Jr. • The former NBC News anchor died on Aug. 25 from complications after a series of strokes. He was 85.
Serge Onik • The dancer and choreographer who made the Top 20 on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance" died on Aug. 24. He was 33.
Matthew Mindler • The child actor best known for his role in the 2011 film “Our Idiot Brother” was found dead on Aug. 28 after being reported missing from his university. His death was ruled a suicide due to sodium nitrate toxicity. He was 19.
Ed Asner • Emmy-winning character actor who broke out in the 1970s as a newsman in the CBS hits “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Lou Grant” died on Aug. 29. He was 91.
Lee “Scratch” Perry • Pioneering reggae musician who produced some of the genre’s most groundbreaking albums died in a Jamaican hospital on Aug. 29. He was 85.
Michael Constantine • Actor best known for his roles in the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” films and the TV series “Room 222” passed away on Aug. 31 of natural causes. He was 94.
Gregg Leakes • Husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member NeNe Leakes and staple on the Bravo reality show died on Sept. 1 after a long battle with cancer. He was 66.
Allison Payne • Longtime TV news reporter anchor for Chicago’s WGN died on Sept. 1 after suffering many health issues over the years, including a series of mini-strokes and bouts of depression. She was 57.
David Patten • Former NFL player known for his four seasons with the New England Patriots died in a motorcycle crash involving two other vehicles on Sept. 2. He was 47.
Fuquan Johnson • Comedian died on Sept. 3 from a suspected overdose after unknowingly using cocaine laced with fentanyl while attending a party in Venice, California. He was 42. R
Irma Kalish • TV writer and producer of shows like "My Favorite Martian,” “My Three Sons,” “F-Troop,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “All in the Family,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Too Close for Comfort” and “Good Times” died on Sept. 3 of complications from pneumonia. She was 96.
Erik Cowie • One of the zookeepers featured on Netflix’s “Tiger King” series, has died of acute and chronic alcohol use on Sept. 3. He was 52.
Willard Scott • Longtime weatherman for “The Today Show” and the original Ronald McDonald died on Sept. 4 of natural causes. The current “Today” weatherman Al Roker shared the sad news on Instagram, calling him his “second dad.” Scott was 87.
Sarah Harding • Singer and performer who was one of the founding members of the English-Irish girl group Girls Aloud, died Sept. 5 after a battle with breast cancer. She was 39.
Jean-Paul Belmondo • French cinema star best known for his performance in Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” in 1959 died on Sept. 6. He was 88.
Francesco “Nino” Castelnuovo • Italian actor who starred in the Palme D’Or winner “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and the Best Picture Oscar winner “The English Patient” died on Sept. 6 after a long battle with illness. He was 84.
Anthony “AJ” Johnson • Comedian and actor best known for his parts in “Friday” and “House Party” died after being found unresponsive in a store on Sept. 6. He was 55.
Michael K. Williams • Star of HBO’s “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire” was found dead of acute combined drug intoxication in his Brooklyn apartment on Sept. 8. He was 54.
Art Metrano • Stand-up comedian who played the stuck-up Lt. Ernie Mauser in the “Police Academy” films died at his home in Florida on Sept. 8. He was 84.
Freddie Combs • Minister and former fan-favorite contestant on “The X Factor” died on Sept. 10 after suffering from kidney failure. He was 49.
Ben Best • Co-creator and star of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down” with Danny McBride died on Sept.12. He was 46.
Norm Macdonald • Standup comedian and one of the most famous cast members on “Saturday Night Live” died on Sept. 14 after a nine-year battle with cancer. He was 61.
Gavan O’Herlihy • Actor who played Richie Cunningham's older brother, Chuck, on Season 1 of “Happy Days” died on Sept. 15. He was 70.
Jane Powell • Golden Age of Hollywood star known for such movie musicals as “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “Royal Wedding” with Fred Astaire died on Sept. 16 of natural causes. She was 92.
Patty Perez • Actress and internet sensation who made a cameo in two “Jackass” movies died on Sept. 17 after complications from diabetes. She was 57.
Tim Donnelly • Actor best known for playing fireman Chet Kelly on the 1970s TV series “Emergency!” died on Sept. 18 after complications following recent surgery. He was 77.
Sarah Dash • R&B singer and co-founder of Labelle best known for “Lady Marmalade” died on Sept. 20. She was 76.
George Holliday • The Los Angeles plumber who filmed the 9-minute video of LAPD officers beating Rodney King died of COVID-19 on Sept. 20.
Willie Garson • The actor best known for playing Stanford Blatch on HBO’s “Sex and the City” died on Sept. 21 after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
Al Harrington • The actor best known for his role of Detective Ben Kokua in the original “Hawaii Five-O” died Sept. 21 after suffering a stroke the previous week. He was 85.
Melvin Van Peebles • The icon of Black cinema who acted in and directed influential ’70s films like “Watermelon Man” and “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” died on Sept 21. He was 89.
Roger Michell • The director best known for films like “Notting Hill” and “Venus” died on Sept. 22. He was 65.
Jay Sandrich • The five-time Emmy-winner who directed dozens of episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Cosby Show” died on Sept. 22 from complications of dementia. He was 89.
Gabriel Salazar • The TikTok influencer better known as @gabenotbabe died on Sept. 26 of injuries sustained during a car crash in Zavala County, Texas. He was 19.
Tommy Kirk • The actor best known for his childhood roles in Disney classics like “Swiss Family Robinson” and “Son of Flubber” died on Sept. 28. He was 79.
Michael Tylo • The soap actor best known for his role of Quinton Chamberlain on “Guiding Light” died on Sept. 28. He was 72.
Cynthia Harris • The actress who spent years on the sitcom “Mad About You” Harris playing Paul Reiser’s mom, Sylvia Buchman, and in the miniseries “Edward & Mrs. Simpson” died on Oct. 3 after suffering from Type 1 diabetes most of life. She was 87.
Todd Akin • The former Republican congressman from Missouri died on Oct. 3 after battling cancer for years. He was 74. He was responsible for coining the phrase "legitimate rape."
Alan Kalter • David Letterman’s longtime announcer during his “Late Show” run died on Oct. 4. He was 78.
Fuller Goldsmith • The culinary wunderkind who competed on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef Junior" and Food Network’s "Chopped Junior" died on Oct. 6 at the age of 17. Goldsmith was a four-time cancer survivor and had been battling acute lymphoplastic leukemia since age 3.
Trevor Jones • The former contestant on Bravo’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” died of “a sudden Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome event” on Oct. 9. He was 34.
Granville Adams • Actor best known for his role of Zahir Arif in “Oz” died on Oct. 10 after a lengthy fight with cancer. He was 58.
Chris Pearson • The DJ and former contestant on the MTV show “Ex on the Beach” died on Oct. 10 after a reported stabbing. He was 25.
Ruthie Tompson • The legendary Disney animator who worked with Walt Disney Studios on classics such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Bambi” and “Sleeping Beauty” died on Oct. 10. She was 111.
Brian Goldner • The chairman and CEO of Hasbro died on Oct. 11, just two days after he had stepped away on medical leave. The cause of death was not given, though he disclosed last year he has been battling prostate cancer since 2014. He was 58.
Emani 22 • The R&B singer whose real name was Emani Johnson died on Oct. 11 from "injuries she sustained after a tragic accident." She was 22.
Ricarlo Flanagan • The former actor on Showtime’s “Shameless” and contestant on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” died on Oct. 12 of what his agent said appears to be COVID-19. He was 41.
Roy Horan • The American martial arts film star who performed during Hong Kong’s Golden Era of cinema died in Los Angeles on Oct. 12. He was 71.
Diane Weyermann • The Emmy-winning documentary producer who executive-produced the Oscar-winning feature docs “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Citizenfour" and was the chief content officer at Participant Media died on Oct. 14 after a battle with lung cancer. She was 66.
Colin Powell • The former top military officer who rose to become the first Black secretary of state under President George W. Bush died on Oct. 18 of complications from COVID-19. He was 84.
Ralph Carmichael • The versatile songwriter, composer and conductor whose prolific career spanned film and film (including incidental music for “I Love Lucy,” “December Bride,” “Bonanza” and “The Blob”) died on Oct. 18. He was 94.
Val Bisoglio • The character actor who worked in the industry for a half-century and starred in projects like “Saturday Night Fever,” “The Sopranos,” “M.A.S.H.” and “Quincy, M.E.” died on Oct. 18. He was 95.
William Lucking • The actor best known for playing biker character Piermont “Piney” Winston on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” died on Oct. 18. He was 80.
Leslie Bricusse • The acclaimed songwriter, composer and screenwriter who wrote the music and lyrics for "Doctor Dolittle," "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "Scrooge," "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," "Tom and Jerry: The Movie" and "Goldfinger" died on Oct. 19. He was 90.
Christopher Ayres • The prolific voice actor best known for his work on several anime series produced by Funimation died on Oct. 19 following a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 56.
George Butler • The filmmaker known for the bodybuilding documentary “Pumping Iron” about the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition between Arnold Schwarzenegger and future “Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno died of pneumonia on Oct. 21. He was 78.
Peter Scolari • The actor who co-starred with Tom Hanks on the ’80s sitcom “Bosom Buddies” and was series regular on “Newhart” died on Oct 22 after battling leukemia. He was 66.
James Michael Tyler • The actor best known for playing Gunther on “Friends,” the waiter at Central Perk who had a massive crush on Rachel, died Oct. 24 with advanced prostate cancer. He was 59.
Mort Sahl • The comedy legend whose provocative style influenced generations of performers to come, including George Carlin, Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce, died on Oct. 26. He was 94.
Jovita Moore • The Emmy award-winning news anchor at WSB-TV in Atlanta died on Oct. 28, seven months after being diagnosed with brain cancer diagnosis. She was 53.
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Stars we've lost in 2021
Betty White , the five-time Emmy Award-winning actress whose career spanned six decades and included pivotal roles on some of TV's most influential shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls , died at 99 years old on New Year's Eve. The legendary comedic actress would have turned 100 on Jan. 17. White officially hit the TV airwaves in 1949 on the local variety show Hollywood on Television and went on to produce and star in the show's domestic spin-off comedy, Life With Elizabeth . An assortment of short-lived roles followed, including an eponymous variety show and the first of her famed spots on game shows, from What's My Line to Make the Connection to Password. Years later, White appeared on other game shows, including Pyramid and Match Game , as well as hosted NBC's Just Men! (for which she won a Daytime Emmy). The first of White's two most famous TV roles began in 1973, when she joined the cast of the super-successful sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show , playing "happy homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens, which won her two Emmys. In 1985, she Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls . She was nominated for an Emmy during each of the show's seven seasons and won in its first. In her later years, White appeared on The John Larroquette Show , The Practice , Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, My Name Is Earl, and Community , and TV Land's Hot in Cleveland. She also had a memorable turn in the rom-com The Proposal.
Stephen J. Lawrence
Stephen J. Lawrence, a prolific composer best known for his work on Sesame Street and the children's entertainment album Free to Be… You and Me , died Dec. 30 in New Jersey. He was 82. Born Sept. 5, 1939, Lawrence would become a musical staple across the entertainment industry for five decades. He served most notably as a jack of all trades—composer, musical director, arranger, conductor—on Sesame Street , where he earned three Daytime Emmys for his achievements in music direction. Lawrence composed more than 300 songs and scores for the acclaimed children's series that are still known today, including the iconic "Fuzzy and Blue (and Orange)," which he wrote with David Axelrod. Lawrence's work in children's entertainment was a vital part of his career. He composed the score for The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss and worked on the popular 1972 children's album Free to Be… You and Me as a musical director and co-producer with Bruce Hart, composing the title song and two others, "When We Grow Up" and "Sisters and Brothers."
John Bowman, co-creator of the Martin Lawrence-starring comedy Martin and writer of In Living Color , died Dec. 28 at the age of 64, his son told The Hollywood Reporter . He also worked on other shows including Saturday Night Live , Murphy Brown, and The Hughleys , and also co-created the sketch comedy shows Cedric the Entertainer Presents and Frank TV. For his work on SNL , he shared an Emmy win for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program with Mike Myers, Conan O'Brien, Greg Daniels, Bob Odenkirk, Phil Hartman, and more. He was also nominated for two other Emmys: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program and Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program, both for In Living Color .
Tiffini Hale, who was a cast member on Disney Channel's All-New Mickey Mouse Club and pop group The Party, died at the age of 46 on Dec. 25.
"It is with the heaviest of broken hearts that we share the sad news of the passing of our beloved sister, Tiffini Talia Hale," reads a post on The Party's Facebook page signed by Hale's bandmates Deedee Magno Hall, Chase Hampton, Jeune Pierre, and Damon Pampolina.
"Early this month," they continued, "she suffered a cardiac arrest that resulted in her being left in a coma. After many prayers and with her family by her side, our dearest Tiff took her last breath Christmas morning. She is now resting peacefully."
Hale was an original member of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, which premiered in 1989. Hale and Hampton shared cohosting duties for the final season in 1994.
In 1990, Hale was chosen (alongside Hall, Hampton, Pampolina, and Pierre) to become part of Disney's new pop group The Party. The band released a total of two studio albums and three collections of outtakes and greatest hits, the biggest hit from which was a cover of Dokken's "In My Dreams."
John Madden, the football legend who coached the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl title, worked as a broadcaster for all four major networks, and lent his name and voice to the massively popular Madden NFL video game series, died Dec. 28 at 85 . A native of Austin, Minn., Madden played football in high school and college and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958. He took up coaching after a training camp injury ended his playing career, and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977. After coaching, he became a beloved color commentator, known for his distinctive voice, down-to-earth sensibility, and astute analysis. He won 16 Sports Emmys, and in 2006 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But for generations of football and gaming fans, Madden was perhaps best known for his namesake video game series, Madden NFL . Launched as John Madden Football in 1988, the franchise has sold more than 100 million copies across countless platforms.
Harry Colomby, a film and television producer known for Johnny Dangerously and Body Shots , among others, died Dec. 25 in Los Angeles at 92. A cause of death was not specified. Colomby worked as a schoolteacher in New York before pivoting to a career as a manager to the stars, including jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and actor Michael Keaton, when the latter first began his career as a stand-up comedian. A frequent Keaton collaborator, Colomby co-created, produced, and wrote for the actor's sitcoms Working Stiffs and Report to Murphy in the late 1970s and '80s, as well as the films Mr. Mom , Touch and Go , One Good Cop , and Speechless . Keaton paid tribute to his longtime friend on Instagram, writing, "The great Harry Colomby has moved on. Unlikeliest of matches, we thought the same, felt the same and laughed at the same things. He was kindhearted, curious, thoughtful and man, was he funny. Forget 'was.' To me he still is. I loved him and so did all who met him."
Jean-Marc Vallée , the director of the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club and HBO hits like Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects , died unexpectedly at the age of 58 in his cabin outside Quebec City over the Christmas weekend, his publicist confirmed to EW. A cause of death was not given. Over the course of his career, the filmmaker directed Marc-André Grondin in C.R.A.Z.Y. , Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria , Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club , Reese Witherspoon in Wild and Big Little Lies , Jake Gyllenhaal in Demolition , and Amy Adams in Sharp Objects .
Candy Palmater, an Indigenous comedian from Canada, died Dec. 25 at the age of 53 . She was best known for creating and hosting the comedy series The Candy Show , as well as her appearances on Trailer Park Boy s. A cause of death was not given at the time, but the comic revealed in mid-December that she was diagnosed with a rare condition called eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA).
Harvey Evans, an acclaimed actor, singer, and dancer who appeared in the original Broadway productions of West Side Story, Follies, and Hello, Dolly! , died Dec. 24 at the age of 80. A cause of death was not given. In addition to his many stage credits, his screen appearances include roles in both the original West Side Story , as a Jet named Mouthpiece, and Steven Spielberg 's 2021 remake , as a Gimbels security guard. He also appeared as a dancer in The Pajama Game , Enchanted , and Mary Poppins , in which he was one of the chimney sweeps.
Joan Didion , the groundbreaking journalist, memoirist, novelist, and screenwriter, died Dec. 23 at her home in Manhattan. She was 87. Paul Bogaards, an executive at Didion's publisher Knopf, said the cause of death was Parkinson's disease, The New York Times reported .
It's hard to pinpoint which genre most defined Didion—or which genre Didion did most to define—but she made her earliest mark as a young reporter. She graduated from Berkeley in 1956, where she won an essay contest that secured her a position at Vogue . Didion published her first novel, Run, River, in 1963, to lukewarm reviews, but she later won acclaim with the novels A Book of Common Prayer and Play It as It Lays , which she herself adapted into a screenplay.
Didion's most recent works include South and West: From a Notebook , published in 2017, and a collection of essays titled Let Me Tell You What I Mean , which was published in early 2021. She was also the subject of the recent Netflix documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold .
Wanda Young, an original member of the Motown girl group the Marvelettes, died Dec. 15 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 78. Young sang both backup and lead for the Marvelettes, singing lead most famously on the classic "Don't Mess With Bill," the last top 10 hit for the group.
Sally Anne Howes
Sally Ann Howes, the child actor who rose to fame in the cult film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang , died in her sleep on Dec. 19. She was 91. Howes' death was confirmed by her nephew, Toby Howes.
Howes was a prominent fixture in the entertainment world, racking up 40 credits in both film and television. Born in London, she made her acting debut at age 12 in the 1943 film Thursday's Child after being recommended for the role by a family friend. In the 1950s, she made the transition to theater while continuing to star in multiple films and television shows. She made her Broadway debut in 1958 as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady , taking over for original star Julie Andrews —a role that catapulted her career to another level. Howe went on to earn a 1962 Tony nomination for her performance as Fiona in Brigadoon at the New York City Opera, a role she reprised when the show was made into a TV series and the role that brought her to star in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Howes is survived by one son.
Jack Hedley, the prolific actor best known for appearing in the film For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore , died Dec. 11. He was 92 .
Born in London as Jack Hawkins in 1929, the actor changed his last name to Hedley to avoid being mistaken for another British actor of the same name. He started his acting career in the 50s, becoming a prominent fixture on both the big and small screen, with movie roles in The Scarlet Blade, Witchcraft , The Secret of Blood Island , as well as an uncredited role in Lawrence of Arabia .
Hedley's big break came when he was cast opposite Moore as Sir Timothy Havelock in the Bond film For Your Eyes Only . During his career, he amassed an impressive 99 credits over five decades across film, television, and theater, with roles in the British television shows Only Fools and Horses, Space Precinct , and Dalziel and Pascoe .
Sayaka Kanda, the actress and singer who recently voiced Anna in the Japanese-dubbed version of Disney's Frozen , died on Dec. 18 in Japan . She was 35. The star apparently fell from a 22-story hotel in the city of Sapporo. The daughter of actor Masaki Kanda and idolized pop star Seiko Matsuda, Kanda was known for her voice work in animes Idoly Pride and Star Blazers 2202, as well as the film Real Girl and TV series High School Chorus , among others. Prior to her death, Kanda was also prepared to hit the musical theater stage for productions of My Fair Lady and Galaxy Express 999 , based on a sci-fi anime written and illustrated by Leiji Matsumoto, in 2022.
Il Divo singer Carlos Marín died Dec. 19 following a hospitalization, according to the remaining members of the vocal group. He was 53.
David Miller, Sébastien Izambard, and Urs Bühler announced the news of their friend's death on their website .
"It is with heavy hearts that we are letting you know that our friend and partner, Carlos Marin, has passed away. He will be missed by his friends, family and fans. There wiIl never be another voice or spirit like Carlos," Il Divo shared.
Drakeo the Ruler
Drakeo the Ruler, the lionized Los Angeles rapper best known for "Impatient Freestyle" and "Betchua," among others, died on Dec. 18 after he was stabbed at the Once Upon A Time in LA festival held at Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park in Los Angeles. He was 28. The rapper, born Darrell Caldwell, was slated to perform at the single day hip hop event alongside notable headliners Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, Al Green, and more prior to his death. Throughout the course of his career, the influential rapper has released a series of mixtapes and albums, including The Truth Hurts , Thank You for Using GTL , So Cold I Do Em, and I Am Mr. Mosely.
Leonard "Hub" Hubbard, a founding member and bassist for the Roots , died Dec. 16 of myeloma, a form of blood cancer. He was 62. "It's with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard," the band said in a statement posted to Twitter . "May your transition bring peace to your family to your friends to your fans and all of those who loved you." Hubbard joined Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson , Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter , and the late Malik B. to form the Roots in 1992, and performed on seven of the group's albums starting with their 1993 debut, Organix . He departed the band in 2007 after he was diagnosed with cancer to focus on his work as a composer, his wife, Stephanie Hubbard, told The Philadelphia Inquirer . "He wanted to be known for the type of music he was composing," she said, "and before he died, he was sitting there at night listening to the music, and he was so happy with it."
Flow La Movie
Jose Angel Hernandez, known as the music producer Flow La Movie, died in a plane crash on Dec. 15. The 38-year-old Puerto Rico native made a name for himself producing songs for Bad Bunny and Ozuna, as well as artists across Latin America. Hits he produced included "Te Boté" and Bad Bunny and Drake's "Mia." Hernandez was one of seven passengers on a private plane when it crashed near Las Américas International Airport in the Dominican Republic, en route to Florida. His son, Jay, and his partner Debbie Von Marie Jimenez Garcia were also among the victims.
Jason Hitch, who appeared on the second season of 90 Day Fiancé , died Dec. 14 from complications of COVID-19. He was 45. Hitch was featured on the TLC reality series—which follows couples in long-distance relationships who must decide if they want to get married within three months to satisfy U.S. visa requirements—in 2014. An Army veteran, Hitch married Cassia Taraves after she moved from Brazil to his native Spring Hill, Fla. The couple separated in 2017 and filed for divorce the following year.
bell hooks, the trailblazing author, educator, and critic who indelibly shaped conversations about race and gender in the U.S., died Dec. 15 at her home in Kentucky from an undisclosed illness. She was 69. Born Gloria Jean Watkins on Sept. 25, 1952, in Hopkinsville, Ky., hooks took on her pen name as a tribute to her great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks. She published her first book, Ain't I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism , in 1981 and went on to publish dozens more titles over the course of her career, including essays, poetry, and children's books, that examined race, gender, class, spirituality, and more. hooks' writing inspired and influenced many artists and leaders of today, and she was also known for her pointed cultural analyses.
Ken Kragen, who produced The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Kenny Rogers' Gambler movies and was also the force behind the charitable events We Are the World and Hands Across America, died Dec. 14 of natural causes. He was 85. Kragen also managed the careers of Rogers and countless other entertainers, including Lionel Richie, the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Burt Reynolds, the Smothers Brothers, and Trisha Yearwood. For his efforts with We Are the World, he received the United Nations Peace Medal in 1985, making him one of only a small handful of private citizens to receive the honor.
Anne Rice, whose vampire fiction and other stories of the sexy supernatural enchanted readers ever since her 1976 debut novel, Interview With the Vampire , died Dec. 12 at her home in New Orleans due to complications from a stroke. She was 80. Rice set many of her most celebrated novels in her hometown, including Interview and the Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. Though she grew up Catholic, she abandoned organized religion while studying at San Francisco State University in the '60s. She wrote her best-selling novel Interview with the Vampire in 1976, after the death of her daughter, Michele, at age 5. In the decades following the book's success, Rice published dozens more enormously popular novels. She returned to the Catholic Church in the late '90s, at which time she moved away from vampire fiction and started exploring religious topics with her Christ the Lord series, her Songs of the Seraphim series, and a memoir of her spiritual transformation, Called Out of Darkness . In 2010, however, she posted to her Facebook page, where she was very active, that though she remained "committed to Christ as always," she was leaving the Church once again because "my conscience will allow nothing else." Rice's split from the church marked her return to gothic literature: 2012 brought the first book of the Wolf Gift Chronicles , which focused on werewolves, and in 2014, she revisited the bloodsucking antihero that made her famous with Prince Lestat .
Vicente Fernández, the Mexican singer who achieved fame for his soulful anthems and operatic voice, died Dec. 12 at 81. Born Vicente Fernández Gomez in 1940, the singer spent most of his early years in a rural settlement in Guadalajara, where his parents raised cattle. He dropped out of school in fifth grade, and as a teenager worked in Tijuana doing odd jobs. He started singing at 21 as a mariachi in Guadalajara, eventually graduating to restaurants and radio shows. Fernández, who was largely self-taught when it came to music, recorded more than 50 albums in Spanish and won Grammys and Latin Grammys for his work. He also created themes for numerous telenovelas and starred in more than two dozen moves in the '70s and '80s. In 1980, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Despite ongoing health issues that included prostate and liver cancer, Fernández continued to tour until 2013, when his farewell tour was cut short after he was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism.
Michael Nesmith, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist best known for his work as a member of the Monkees, died Dec. 10 at 78. Born in Houston, Texas, Nesmith auditioned to join the Monkees in 1965. Over the years, he amassed more songwriting credits than all the other members combined and wrote many of the band's most famous songs, including "Mary, Mary," "Circle Sky," "Listen to the Band," and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere." In 1968, Nesmith recorded his first solo album, Wichita Train Whistle Songs . He departed the Monkees in 1969 and started his own group, the First National Band. The group released two albums in 1970: Magnetic South and Loose Salute . He would also go on to create and produce TV shows and movies, such as Nickelodeon's PopClips and the films Repo Man and Tapeheads .
Rhonda Stubbins White
Rhonda Stubbins White, a former recurring actress on Days of Our Lives , died Dec. 6 at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer, her manager confirmed to PEOPLE .
Over her almost 30-year career, White appeared on a wide variety of hit shows, including NYPD Blue , ER , The West Wing , Charmed , and Shameless . But her most extended TV run came in 2000 when she played Lady Vi for 17 episodes on NBC's long-running soap, Days of Our Lives . White could most recently be seen starring on Tyler Perry's Ruthless .
Mexican actress, producer, and political figure Carmen Salinas died at the age of 82 on Dec. 9. Her family confirmed the news via social media.
Best known for starring in movies such as Danzón , Man on Fire , and Bellas de Noche , as well as soap operas and television series María la del Barrio and Mujeres Asesinas , Salinas was hospitalized after she suffered a stroke and was in intensive care in a Mexico City hospital back in November.
Despite coming from humble beginnings, the iconic actress enjoyed a six-decade long career in film and TV, and was also elected to a seat in the Mexican Congress representing the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2015. She's survived by her daughter, María Eugenia, and her grandchildren.
Skilyr Hicks, the singer who earned rave reviews on the eighth season of America's Got Talent for her impressive performance and original songwriting, died Dec. 6 in Liberty, S.C. She was 23. Hicks made headlines when she first appeared on the talent competition in 2013, performing an original song on her guitar for Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel. Although she earned four yeses from the judges, Hicks was eliminated before the show's live rounds. Still, her performance made an impact, with Klum telling her, "I feel like you won all of our hearts" while Mel B called her voice "way more mature" than one would expect from a 14-year-old.
Antony Sher, the South African-born actor best known for his Shakespearean roles and his association with the Royal Shakespeare Company died Dec. 3 at the age of 72. Sher joined the RSC in 1982 and played countless memorable roles there, including his career-defining turn as Richard III, Falstaff in Henry IV, Parts One and Two, and the title characters in Macbeth, King Lear, and Cyrano de Bergerac. Sher worked sparingly in film on projects such as Shakespeare in Love, Mrs. Brown, and The Wolfman. He won the Olivier award (the British equivalent of a Tony) for Best Actor twice.
Eddie Mekka, the veteran TV and stage actor best known for his role as Carmine Ragusa on the 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died on Nov. 27 . He was 69.
Mekka got his start in the industry as a voice instructor at the Worcester County Light Opera Company and attended the Berklee College of Music. He landed his first major part in 1975, making his Broadway debut in The Lieutenant and earning a Tony nomination for his work. Soon after, he moved out to Los Angeles to pursue acting and landed roles on two sitcoms created by Garry Marshall, Blansky's Beauties and Laverne & Shirley , the latter of which gave him his breakout role as the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams).
In addition to his two '70s sitcoms, Mekka appeared in films such as Beaches , Dickie Roberts: Former Child Sta r, Dreamgirls , and Hail Mary! He also had an iconic cameo in A League of Their Own , in a scene in which he stole a dance with Madonna 's character, Mae, at a bar.
Mekka's body of work included other television appearances: He guest-starred on soap operas such as The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful as well as on the shows It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia , Moonlighting, Family Matters, and The Love Boat .
Jonshel Alexander, who at 12 years old was one of the child stars of 2012 Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild , died from fatal gunshot wounds in New Orleans. She was 22. Police confirmed she and a man were shot while in a vehicle the night of Nov. 27. Alexander was known for playing Joy Strong in Beasts of the Southern Wild opposite lead star Quvenzhané Wallis.
Jacqueline Avant, the 81-year-old philanthropist and wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, was shot and killed during an apparent home invasion in Beverly Hills on Dec. 1.
The philanthropist and former model married Clarence, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in May, in 1967. The two shared son Alex and daughter Nicole. Nicole produced a 2019 Netflix documentary about her father called The Black Godfather , and is married to Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos.
Marcus Lamb, a televangelist who spoke out against coronavirus vaccines, has died after contracting COVID-19, Daystar Television confirmed on Nov. 30. He was 64.
Lamb was the co-founder and CEO of Daystar, a conservative Christian TV network that frequently served as a platform for anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown speakers and groups.
"It's with a heavy heart we announce that Marcus Lamb, president and founder of Daystar Television Network, went home to be with the Lord this morning," the network said on social media. "The family asks that their privacy be respected as they grieve this difficult loss. Please continue to lift them up in prayer."
Tommy Lane, an actor and stuntman best known for his roles in the popular 80s films Shaft and Live and Let Die , died on Nov. 29, following a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He was 83.
Lane, who was born as Tommy Lee Jones in 1937, was a fixture in several films in the 70s and 80s, including Cotton Comes to Harlem, Shamus , and Eureka , along with his big breakouts Shaft and Live and Let Die.
Lane also had television appearances in the shows Flipper , Shamus (with Burt Reynolds), and Simon & Simon . He also had a career as a jazz musician in the 80s, regularly playing the trumpet and flugelhorn at New York City's Blue Note.
Arlene Dahl, the actress who was best known for her role in the 1959 adventure film Journey to the Center of the Earth and had a fascinating second act as an author, beauty magnate, and astrologist, died Nov. 29 at 96 . A native of Minneapolis, Dahl began her screen career in 1947 with Life With Father and My Wild Irish Rose . Her other film credits included Three Little Words , Scene of the Crime , Here Come the Girls , and Sangaree . She was married six times, including to Fernando Lamas, with whom she had a son, the actor Lorenzo Lamas. Dahl also wrote a long-running syndicated beauty column, started her own cosmetics and lingerie lines, and cashed in on the astrology fad of the '80s with her own psychic hotline.
David Gulpilil, the Australian actor best known for his iconic role in Crocodile Dundee , died on November 29 . He was 68 years old.
Known as Australia's pioneering Indigenous actor, Gulpilil hailed from the Mandhalpingu clan of the Yolŋu people and grew up in Northern Australia. He made his mark on Australian cinema in the 1971 movie Walkabout when he was 16, before breaking out in the blockbuster comedy Crocodile Dundee.
His 50-year career included films such as The Tracker , Charlie's Country , Mad Dog Morgan , The Last Wave , and Rabbit-Proof Fence , for which he received a best supporting actor nomination from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. He also received a second award for the movie Charlie's Country , which acted as a personal comeback of sorts for the actor after spending time in jail for aggravated assault.
Gulpilil had been battling lung cancer for the past few years.
Virgil Abloh, the trailblazing artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear and one of Kanye West 's enduring creative collaborators, died of cancer on Nov. 28 . He was 41. Having befriended the rapper when they were interns at Fendi in 2009, Abloh helped run West's creative agency Donda, contributing to the art direction of major albums like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and West's 2011 collaboration with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, the latter of which garnered Abloh a Grammy nomination for Best Recording Package. Abloh later took the fashion world by storm with his irreverent brand Off-White, which was an LVMH prize finalist in 2015. In 2018, he was hired by Louis Vuitton, becoming the first person of African descent to lead the brand's menswear line. His shows were regularly packed with celebrities like Rihanna and led to gigs like designing Hailey Bieber's wedding dress for her marriage to Justin Bieber .
Stephen Sondheim, the legendary composer and lyricist considered by peers and theater professionals alike as the most influential musical creator bar none, died Nov. 26 at 91 , leaving behind a legacy as varied as the productions he penned during six decades in the business. In addition to just about every theater award imaginable, Sondheim was the recipient of eight Tonys, eight Grammys, and one Oscar (for the Madonna ballad "Sooner or Later," from the film Dick Tracy ), with a palette as rich as his own Georges Seurat in one of his most beloved musicals, Sunday in the Park with George (for which he won his sole Pulitzer). Taking his cue from mentor and friend Oscar Hammerstein II, the era of the collectible cast album reaches its zenith in the 1950s and '60s with Sondheim's early work, with galvanizing contributions to masterworks West Side Story , Gypsy , and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum achieving maximum overdrive as popular music in households all over the country in the 1960s. Nearly every theatrical endeavor touched thereafter was a hit, cult or otherwise, and even the misfires ended up becoming beloved by some faction of devotees, often many years after their premieres.
Thomas Wells, a former contestant on the Fox singing competition show The X Factor , died after a reported workplace accident earlier this month. He was 46.
While on the job at a tire manufacturing plant in Oklahoma, Wells became caught in an automatic conveyer belt that did not stop, his wife Jessica Wells told TMZ . He died at a Texas hospital on Nov. 13.
Born in 1975, Wells competed on the American version of The X Factor in 2011 and on NBC's vocal competition The Winner Is in 2013. He also reportedly auditioned for America's Got Talent and The Voice .
Joey Morgan, who starred in comedies such as Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocolypse and Flower , died on Nov. 21 at 28. No cause of death has been released.
Morgan made his acting debut as Augie Foster in 2015's Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse , starring alongside Tye Sheridan and Logan Miller. He also costarred as the lead in Compradres , playing a teen hacker in the Mexican-American comedy. His breakout role came in 2017 when he was cast in Max Winkler's Flower . Critics praised his performance as Luke Sherman, the troubled teen who befriends Zoey Deutch 's Erica, calling him a breakout talent.
On Instagram, Deutch paid tribute to her former costar, posting a picture from the film and calling Morgan "a deeply kind, talented, special person."
Morgan's other television and film work included the 2018 indie comedies Sierra Burgess Is a Loser and Camp Manna , the sci-fi comedy Max Reload , and an episode of Chicago Med .
Peter Aykroyd, former Saturday Night Live cast member and brother of Dan Aykroyd, has died. He was 66. Akyroyd's death was announced on the Nov. 20 episode of SNL with a title card that read "Peter Aykroyd 1955-2021." On Twitter , the sketch show also paid tribute to the comedian's popular short film "The Java Junkie."
Following roles in "The New Avengers" and SCTV," Aykroyd got his start in comedy after joining the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto. He joined SNL in 1979 and served as both a writer and featured player, earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program. He continued to work after leaving SNL , working alongside his brother with featured roles in Coneheads , Spies Like Us , and The Blues Brothers animated series.
A cause of death hasn't been disclosed at this time.
Art LaFleur, a prolific character actor known for his roles as Babe Ruth in The Sandlot and Chick Gandil in Field of Dreams , among many other movies and TV shows, died following a decade-long battle with Parkinson's disease. His wife, Shelley, announced his death in a Facebook post on Nov. 18, writing, "He was a generous and selfless man which carried over to his acting but more importantly it was who he was for his family and friends. I was so very lucky to have had a 43-year relationship with a man who cherished me and who I adored. Art was larger than life and meant the world to us." LaFleur's other credits included such TV classics as M*A*S*H and Hill Street Blues and movies including The Santa Clause 2 and 3 (in which he played the Tooth Fairy), 2008's Speed Racer , and more recent projects such as Key and Peele .
Jazz musician and songwriter Dave Frishberg — best known for contributing songs like "I'm Just a Bill" to ABC's Schoolhouse Rock! — died Nov. 17 at age 88. In addition to his work in writing jingles for the animated show, he also released The Dave Frishberg Songbook, Volume No. 1 to critical success and a 1982 Grammy nomination. He followed the album up with another nod for Volume No. 2, and would go on to record two more Grammy-nominated albums: 1985's Live at Vine Street and the 1987 release Can't Take You Nowhere .
Five months after her sibling's death, Bergen Williams' sister, Lynda, revealed on Twitter that the General Hospital star died due to complications from Wilson's Disease on July 20, 2021—six days after her 62nd birthday. Williams played the role of Big Alice on the TV soap opera between 2002 and 2015, and also played small roles on television shows like Raising Hope , Happy Endings , and Nip/Tuck .
Heath Freeman, the actor known for playing a calculating killer on the Fox procedural Bones , died in November at 41. A cause of death was not disclosed. Freeman portrayed Howard Epps, the first serial killer to appear on Bones , during the show's first two seasons. He previously studied acting and film at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Texas at Austin. His first acting credit was an episode of ER , and he also appeared on NCIS , The Closer , Without a Trace , and Raising the Bar . Freeman's final screen projects were the upcoming films Devil's Fruit and Terror on the Prairie .
Gavan O'Herlihy, the Irish actor known for playing Chuck Cunningham in early episodes of Happy Days , died Sept. 15 in England. He was 70.
O'Herlihy's agent, Michael Emptage, confirmed his death to EW. "He was a wonderful actor with a long and distinguished career in film, television, and theater and was respected as a man of directness, sincerity, and honesty," Emptage said in a statement. "Gavan was larger than life and is greatly missed by all who knew him, most particularly by his adoring wife and family."
Born in Dublin in 1951, O'Herlihy got his first major role in 1974 with the part of elder Cunningham sibling Chuck on Happy Days . However, he chose to leave the show after the first season, explaining in a 2007 interview , "I was going to come in, grunt, bounce a basketball once every couple of weeks for probably three or four years, and at 20 years old, that's not the gig you want to be doing." After O'Herlihy's exit, his character was briefly recast before disappearing from the show without explanation.
The actor went on to play numerous roles in such films and TV shows as Superman III , Lonesome Dove , Willow , Star Trek: Voyager , and Twin Peaks . He often portrayed villainous characters, such as Jack Petachi in the unofficial James Bond movie Never Say Never Again , the final film to feature Sean Connery as 007.
O'Herlihy's Happy Days costar and Willow director Ron Howard paid tribute to him on Twitter , writing, "RIP Gavan. I knew him as the 1st of 2 Chucks on #HappyDays & then as Airk in #Willow where I had the pleasure of directing him. A talented actor with a big free spirit."
Graeme Edge, drummer and founding member of the Moody Blues, died of cancer on Nov. 11. He was 80. Born in the United Kingdom during WWII, Edge grew up to form what was initially a rhythm and blues band in 1964, with their second single "Go Now" topping the U.K. charts that year.
The Moody Blues would go through slight ups and downs through the rest of the 60s, with two members leaving, and guitarist Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge joining. As the band got going, and their music got more progressive and experimental, Edge was the one writing the poems that were recited on albums like On the Threshold of a Dream .
When the band took a hiatus from 1974 to 1977, Edge took that time to sail on a round-the-world voyage on his yacht Delia . Reuniting in 1978, the band would reach another peak when the music video for their 1986 song "Your Wildest Dreams" became a staple on early MTV. Edge would stick around with the band, eventually becoming the sole original member still performing with them, until his retirement coincided with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Upon news of his death , Lodge said "his beautiful poetry, his friendship, his love of life and his 'unique' style of drumming that was the engine room of the Moody Blues" while Hayward said Edge "was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again."
Coronji Calhoun Sr.
Halle Berry 's Monster's Ball costar Coronji Calhoun Sr. died Oct. 13 at age 30. The former child actor's sole screen credit was the role of Berry's son, Tyrell, in the Lee Daniels-produced film. Both Berry and Daniels donated over $3,000 to Calhoun's family following his death.
Dean Stockwell, the award-winning actor who was best known for playing Admiral "Al" Calavicci on the popular sci-fi series Quantum Leap , died on Nov. 7 from natural causes. He was 85 .
Born Robert Dean Stockwell in 1936, the actor had a long and prominent career that spanned both film and television, with roles in features like Air Force One, David Lynch's Dune, Blue Velvet, The Rainmake r, and Married to the Mob, which earned Stockell a 1989 supporting actor Oscar nomination.
In 1989, he became a household name when he starred opposite Scott Bakula as Admiral "Al" Calavicci on the quirky NBC series Quantum Leap. The show ran for five seasons, earning Stockwell multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations as well as a Golden Globe win in 1990. In 1992, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his achievements.
Multiple television projects followed, including shows like Battlestar Galactica; JAG, The Tony Danza Show and NCIS: New Orleans .
Stockwell officially retired from acting in 2015 and spent the last few years creating and exhibiting art under his full name .
Terence Wilson, a founding member of the popular reggae band UB40, died following a short illness. He was 64.
Wilson was best known to fans as Astro. The official UB40 Twitter confirmed his death on Saturday in a statement that read: "We are absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Astro has today passed away after a very short illness. The world will never be the same without him."
UB40 was originally formed in England in the 1970s at the height of reggae's popularity. As four-time Grammy nominees, the band soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts with their covers of Elvis Presley's "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You" and Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine," also reaching No. 1 in the U.K. with their version of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe."
In 2013, Wilson left the original version of UB40 and formed his own iteration of the band with members Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue. They continued to perform and write music, with a 2022 tour planned to celebrate the release of their latest album, Unprecedented.
William Lucking, the actor best known for playing old-school biker Piney Winston on FX's Sons of Anarchy , has died. He was 80. A cause of death hasn't been disclosed at this time.
His Oct. 18 death in Las Vegas was announced by his longtime friend Stephen Macht on Facebook. Pals for 46 years, Macht called Lucking a "lion, and his memory will always be a blessing."
Lucking stayed busy with TV gigs — he was the original Colonel in NBC's The A-Team and played the green Bajoran on Star Trek Deep Space 9 — but he found a new community of fans with his role as an old biker on Sons of Anarchy.
Ronnie Wilson, who founded the popular funk and R&B group The Gap Band , has died. He was 73. His wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, confirmed his death in a Facebook post on Nov 2.
"The love of my life was called home this morning, at 10:01am," she wrote. "Ronnie Wilson was a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, Trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies. He will be truly missed!!!"
Wilson formed The Gap Brothers in the late 1960s alongside his brothers Charlie and Robert. Originally named The Greenworld Archer Pine Street Band (after the area in their Oklahoma town that was targeted during the 1921 Tulsa race massacre), the group rose to fame in the 70s and 80s releasing numerous albums and opening for The Rolling Stones . Over the years, their songs and sound have been sampled by iconic artists including Snoop Dogg , Janet Jackson , Nas, Mary J. Blige , Ice Cube, and more.
Internationally known jazz legend Pat Martino died Nov. 1 after a long illness, his longtime manager Joseph Donofrio confirmed to The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 77.
Born Patrick Azzara, Martino started his career early at the age of 15, where he studied under Philadephia music scholars. In 1967, at the age of 22, he released "El Hombre," the album that would put him on the map and start him on a six-decade career.
Martino was born with abnormal blood vessels in his brain that led him to have frequent seizures. In 1980, he suffered a life-threatening aneurysm that left him near death. Although saved by surgery, he lost his memory and spent years re-learning how to play the instrument that had defined his career.
According to Donofrio, Martino had been suffering from a respiratory disorder since 2018 that had put a pause to his career. He is survived by his wife, Asako.
Groundbreaking Canadian stand-up comedian Mort Sahl died Oct. 26 at age 94. The legend's friend, Lucy Mercer, told the Associated Press that Sahl died "peacefully" due to "old age" at his his Mill Valley, Calif. home, following a robust career that saw him blazing a trail for politically charged satirical comedy through the 1950s. In addition to appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Ed Sullivan Show, Sahl also appeared in films such as Johnny Cool, Don't Make Waves , and In Love and War , among others.
TV's Isis from the 1970s show The Secrets of Isis died at the age of 73 in Hawaii, a close friend of hers confirmed to EW. One of Cameron's costars on the DC Comics-inspired series, Joanna Pang Atkins, mentioned on social media that the actress died after suffering a stroke. Cameron was the first woman to play a title role on a superhero series, preceding Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman and Lindsay Wagner in Bionic Woman .
James Michael Tyler
James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on Friends , died on October 24 . He was 59. His manager confirmed to the BBC that Tyler died on Sunday, peacefully at his home. "If you met him once you made a friend for life," a statement from his manager read. "[He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life." In June, Tyler revealed he was battling stage 4 prostate cancer. "Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a... blood test as early as 40-years-old," his manager said, per the BBC. Tyler was well-known for his role as Gunther, the Central Perk coffee shop manager, who had an unrequited crush on Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) throughout the show's run. While best known for Friends , his other onscreen credits include Sabrina the Teenage Witch , Showtime's Episode s, and Scrubs .
Jay Black, frontman for '60s pop-rock group Jay and the Americans, died on Oct. 22 . He was 82. Black's family confirmed to Rolling Stone that he died of complications from pneumonia on Friday night. The mag reported he had also suffered from dementia. The band, known for hits including "Come a Little Bit Closer," and "This Magic Moment," shared a tribute to their former lead singer on Facebook on Saturday. "Today, we mourn the passing of David Blatt a/k/a Jay Black and we acknowledge the great successes we had with him both as a partner and as a lead singer," their post read. "We shared both wonderful and very contentious times, and much like an ex-wife, we are so proud of the beautiful children we created. We'll always remember The Voice." Black was born David Blatt in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the second "Jay" to front the Americans after John "Jay" Traynor left to pursue other musical projects.
Actor Peter Scolari , best known for his roles on the TV comedies Bosom Buddies , Newhart , and Girls , died of cancer at the age of 66 on Oct. 22 . While short-lived, Buddies introduced him to costar Tom Hanks who would become his lifelong friend. Scolari followed that breakout role by joining Newhart in 1984 as Michael Harris, a producer-boss to Bob Newhart 's local TV host character, and earned three Emmy nominations during the long run of the CBS show. After spending some time on Broadway in the aughts, appearing in productions like Hairspray , Scolari finally won an Emmy for playing Lena Dunham 's character's dad on the HBO show Girls , and would finish his career by frequently appearing across many shows shot in New York. He is survived by his wife, Tracy Shayne, and his four children: Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton, and Cali.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died at the age of 42 while working on the set of the Western film Rust , starring Alec Baldwin and Jensen Ackles. Baldwin had fired a prop gun that fatally wounded Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
Chris Ayres, a voice actor with over 200 credits to his name, best known for playing Frieza in the Dragon Ball series, died at the age of 56 on Oct. 18. Ayres' girlfriend and fellow actor Krystal LaPorte shared the sad news on social media, writing, "On October 18th at 8:40pm, my world went dark. Christopher Owen Ayres passed away peacefully, held close by his mother, brother, and girlfriend." Ayres first took on the role of Frieza in the Dragon Ball series after joining Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai . He continued to be a part of the franchise, ending with the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie. Ayres also provided a number of other anime performances throughout his career such as those in Maburaho, Black Butler, Sengoku Basara , Gantz, Tears to Tiara, Fairy Tail, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt , and many others. He also served as ADR director and scriptwriter for numerous English dubs.
Betty Lynn , the actress best known for playing Barney Fife's (Don Knotts) girlfriend Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show died at 95.
The Andy Griffith Museum, which the Surry Arts Council operates in Mount Airy, N.C., announced the news in a Facebook post on Sunday, Oct. 17: "It is with an extremely heavy heart that we announce the passing of Betty Lynn."
Lynn began acting professionally in TV and film in the late 1940s, including in Sitting Pretty (1948), starring Robert Young, Clifton Webb, and Maureen O'Hara. In the run-up to her most prominent role on Andy Griffith , Lynn had parts on the big screen in 1950's Cheaper by the Dozen (again, with Webb), and the short-lived Where's Raymond? television series, starring Ray Bolger from 1953-1954.
Ruthie Tompson, a Disney Legend honoree who began her long career with the company as a scene painter in the 1930s, died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 111.
Tompson had ties to both Walt and Roy Disney, dating back to her childhood. The Disneys lived in the same neighborhood, and on her way to school, Tompson would pass by the shopfront where the men and their animators worked. Her first job for the company was in the Ink & Paint Department, where she painted for the animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , which was released in 1937. Tompson spent four decades as a Disney employee, retiring in 1975.
"Ruthie was a legend among animators, and her creative contributions to Disney — from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Rescuers — remain beloved classics to this day," Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. "While we will miss her smile and wonderful sense of humor, her exceptional work and pioneering spirit will forever be an inspiration to us all."
Andrea Martin, a songwriter who worked on such R&B hits as En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)," Toni Braxton's "I Love Me Some Him," and Monica's "Before You Walk Out of My Life," died Sept. 27 in New York City. She was 49. Martin also wrote for artists including Sean Kingston, Leona Lewis, and Melanie Fiona. She was a skilled vocalist as well, and released a solo album, The Best of Me , in 1998.
Ravil Isyanov, the Moscow-born character actor whose numerous screen credits included NCIS: Los Angeles , GLOW , and Transformers: Dark of the Moon , died Sept. 29 after a long illness. He was 59. Isyanov was known for playing the Russian mobster Kirkin on NCIS: Los Angeles , who would sometimes help and sometimes double-cross the good guys. He appeared in seasons 4, 7, 9 and 10. Isyanov also had roles in such films as Goldeneye , The Saint , and Mr. & Mrs. Smith , and on TV series including The Americans , 24 , Alias , and GLOW .
Paddy Moloney, the founder of the popular Irish folk band the Chieftains, died Oct. 11 at 83 . The Chieftains won six Grammy Awards and collaborated with artists such as Mick Jagger, Luciano Pavarotti, Roger Daltrey, and Emmylou Harris. The band also worked on film soundtracks, including Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York .
Ricarlo Flanagan, a rapper, actor, and comedian whose credits included Shameless , Insecure , and Last Comic Standing , died in October after contracting COVID. He was 41. "Ricarlo was truly one of the nicest people on the planet, a wonderful performer and we are heartbroken by the news of his passing," his agent, Stu Golfman of KMR Talent, said in a statement.
The oldest surviving winner of the Miss America contest died at 97 in October in her California home. Born in 1923 in Florence, Ariz., Dennison joined her parents' traveling medicine show at a young age, singing, dancing, and performing on trick horses. She won the Miss America contest in 1942 at the age of 18 but later refused to wear bathing suits during her yearlong reign as Miss America. Dennison also signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, starring in movies such as The Jolson Story and Winged Victory . She married comedian Phil Silvers in 1945, but the couple divorced five years later. Dennison later appeared in the Dick Tracy series and worked behind the scenes on television productions. She married CBS producer and director Russell Stoneham. The couple also divorced but had two children.
Deon Estus, the bassist and singer known for his work with George Michael and Wham!, died Oct. 11 at age 65 . Born and raised in Detroit, Estus learned bass at an early age and was playing professionally by age 12. In the 1980s, he joined Wham!, the U.K. pop duo of Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael, and played bass on such hits as "Careless Whisper" and "I'm Your Man" before the group's split in 1986. After that, he continued collaborating with Michael, and performed with various other musicians over the years, including Tina Turner , Elton John , George Clinton, and Annie Lennox.
Chris Pearson, a reality TV personality, DJ, and music producer known for appearing on the first season of MTV's Ex on the Beach , died Oct. 10 at 25. According to TMZ, which first reported the news, Pearson was fatally stabbed in an early morning altercation in Los Angeles. Pearson appeared on Ex on the Beach in 2018. The dating show brings together reality show alums (and occasional non-reality folks like Pearson at the time) and then ambushes them with their exes.
Granville Adams, who starred on HBO's Oz , died after a lengthy battle with cancer . He was 58. Adams played Zahir Arif on Oz , which aired from 1997-2003. He was also known for playing Officer Jeff Westby in Homicide: Life on the Street .
His death was confirmed on social media by colleagues and friends, including Oz alum Dean Winters , who penned a tribute to Adams on Instagram : "His smile was infectious, his chuckle was intoxicating. He never, ever spoke ill of anyone and I defy anyone who knew him to say anything negative about this man. Granville was beloved, period. ... A humble, beautiful soul who just elevated the afterlife to a whole new level. You will be missed my friend. You are my brother and I'm a better human being for knowing you RIP G."
Fuller Goldsmith, the Alabama youngster who won Food Network 's Chopped Junior as a seventh-grader, died following a lengthy battle with cancer . He was 17.
Fuller had battled cancer from the age of 3, going in and out of remission. He went through several years of chemotherapy, spinal surgery, and a bone marrow transplant. Guy Fieri — one of his culinary idols — helped him through it, as the young man spent hours watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Big Bite as inspiration. "It was therapy," Fuller told EW of his watching marathons.
EW was there as Goldsmith met Fieri at the Stagecoach music festival in 2018. After a chat, where Goldsmith shared his love for cooking at tailgate parties, the pair prepared burritos together on site for Ashton Kutcher, who just happened to be passing by. Goldsmith had hoped to go to culinary school and one day open a restaurant.
Cynthia Harris, best known for playing Paul Reiser 's mother on the hit comedy Mad About You , died Oct. 3 at the age of 87. Her family confirmed the news.
A fixture on both the big and small screen, Harris appeared as the landlady of Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson in Three Men and a Baby as well as in the seven-part miniseries Edward & Mrs. Simpson , where she earned a BAFTA nomination for best TV actress for her role as Wallis Warfield Simpson. She also had appearances on shows like L.A. Law, The Bob Newhart Show, Rescue Me, Three's Company, and Knots Landing .
Harris joined Mad About You in 1993 as Sylvia Buchman and starred in 71 episodes during the show's original run, returning to her role for the 2019 reboot.
Harris was also a theater veteran who played the role of Sarah in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Company . She co-founded The Actors Company Theater in 1993, serving as both an actor and as artistic director.
Alan Kalter , who served as the longtime announcer for The Late Show With David Letterman , died on Oct. 3 at 78.
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn., confirms to EW that Kalter died at Stamford Hospital beside his wife Peggy and his daughters Lauren Hass and Diana Binger.
Kalter became Letterman's announcer in September 1995, taking over for the retired Bill Wendell and serving in the role until Letterman wrapped his run in May 2015.
In addition to announcing duties on Letterman, he occasionally appeared on the show in sketches, including one where he spoke to the camera and addressed divorcees in an amorous fashion.
Kalter also did announcing for a number of game shows, including To Tell the Truth and The $25,000 Pyramid .
Michael Tylo, the veteran actor who appeared on soap operas such as All My Children , General Hospital , The Young and the Restless , The Bold and the Beautiful , and Guiding Light , died Sept. 29. He was 73 .
Tylo's first soap opera appearance came in 1980 when he was cast on Another World . In 1981, he would go on to cement his soap star status with one of his best-known roles: wealthy archaeologist Quinton Chamberlain on Guiding Light , where his character was paired with Lisa Brown's Nola Reardon.
Tylo joined the University of Nevada in 2003 as a visiting professor in theater and film, later becoming the assistant dean for the College of Fine Arts while also teaching acting.
Melissa Yandell Smith
Nomadland actress Melissa Yandell Smith died on Sept. 7 at 64, following a battle with colon cancer. Smith had played Dolly, the sister of Frances McDormand 's character, Fern, in the 2021 Oscars Best Picture-winning film. Smith had been the longtime Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Calif., where she was also an acting teacher. She hailed from Louisville, Ky., and got her undergraduate degree — and later, her MFA in acting — from Yale. Smith and McDormand first met during the Oscar winner's first week at Yale, leading to a friendship that spanned four decades.
Status Quo founding member Alan Lancaster died at the age of 72. Lancaster, who played bass, and frontman Frank Rossi, originally started out in an early '60s band called the Spectres, before a later rebrand as Traffic Jam, before eventually settling on Status Quo as guitarist Rick Parfitt joined. He reunited with the band during 2013-2014 for some shows with a lineup dubbed the "Frantic Four." In a statement, the band's manager, Simon Porter, mourned Lancaster. "'This is such sad news and my sincere condolences go out to Dayle and the family," his statement read. "It was an absolute pleasure to be able to reunite the original line up for two sellout tours in 2013/2014 and to give Status Quo Frantic Four fans a final legacy and such a lasting memory. Although Alan was not in the best of health even then, he got through the tours with determination and grit and was a pleasure to work with." Lancaster had suffered for many years from multiple sclerosis.
Jay Sandrich, the Emmy-winning director known for his work on such beloved TV programs as The Mary Tyler Moore Show , The Cosby Show , and The Golden Girls , died Sept. 22 at 89. A native of Los Angeles, Sandrich was the son of Shall We Dance director Mark Sandrich and studied at UCLA before serving in the Army. He went on to work as an assistant director on I Love Lucy , The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour , and The Danny Thomas Show in the '50s and '60s and soon graduated to the ranks of director. His extensive directing credits included Get Smart , The Odd Couple , WKRP in Cincinnati , Soap , Night Court , The Bob Newhart Show , and the 1980 film Seems Like Old Times , starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. Over his lengthy career, Sandrich won five Emmys, received numerous Director's Guild and People's Choice Awards, and was named to the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Roger Michell, best known for directing the romantic comedy Notting Hill , died Sept. 22 at the age of 65 . Michell's publicist confirmed the news to the Associated Press .
The veteran director had a long career in theater, particularly in the U.K., where he was resident director at the Royal Shakespeare. He shot to stardom with Notting Hill which led him to direct projects such as the 2002's Changing Lanes with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson and 2006's Venus , which earned Peter O'Toole a final Oscar nomination.
Melvin Van Peebles
Melvin Van Peebles, a pioneering force in Black and independent cinema and a celebrated actor, playwright, filmmaker, novelist, and composer, died Sept. 21 at 89. He made an indelible mark on culture and the arts and was perhaps best known for directing, writing, editing, starring in, composing the score of, and even running the marketing campaign for the 1971 film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song . The film became highest-grossing indie release in history at the time, helped spark the blaxploitation craze of the 1970s, and delivered a potent political statement that remains resonant to this day. His son Mario Van Peebles, the actor and director, said in a statement, "Dad knew that Black images matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth? We want to be the success we see, thus we need to see ourselves being free. True liberation did not mean imitating the colonizer's mentality. It meant appreciating the power, beauty, and interconnectivity of all people."
Sex and the City and White Collar star Willie Garson died Sept. 21 at the age of 57. Some of the actor's earliest jobs saw him doing small parts on Family Ties , Cheers , and The New Gidget . As his television career grew, he got meatier roles on Newhart and Mr. Belvedere , where he had a seven-episode arc playing a character named Carl. In 1998, he joined Sex and the City as Carrie Bradshaw's gay bestie Stanford Blatch, a role he played across the films and into the spin-off series And Just Like That , set to be released this December on HBO Max. Garson also played Mozzie, the con man confidante of Matt Bomer's Neal Caffrey in White Collar from 2009-2014.
Sarah Dash, cofounder of the trio Labelle and best known for performing the original hit "Lady Marmalade" died Sept. 20 at age 76. Dash met Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx when she moved to Philadelphia in the mid-60s, and formed the group Labelle, who quickly gained attention for their unique sound and talent. The band found mainstream success and international acclaim with "Lady Marmalade," a song off their "Nightbirds" album. Dash continued to have a successful solo career after the group disbanded in 1977.
Tim Donnelly, who starred on the 1970s TV series Emergency! as fireman Chet Kelly, died on Sept. 17, his director brother Dennis Donnelly told The Hollywood Reporter . Donnelly died at his home in New Mexico due to complications from surgery.
Anthony "A.J." Johnson
Anthony "A.J." Johnson, the comedian and actor best known for costarring alongside Chris Tucker and Ice Cube in the movie Friday , died at age 55 . His rep confirmed the news on Sept. 20.
Johnson began his career performing stand-up comedy in the '90s and his breakthrough role came in the form of the character E.Z.E. in the 1990 Kid n' Play comedy House Party. He went on to appear on several other '90s TV shows including The Parent 'Hood , Malcolm & Eddie , Martin , and The Jamie Foxx Show, as well as in films such as Menace II Society , Lethal Weapon 3 , I Got the Hook-Up, I Got The Hook Up 2, and Office Staff .
Basil Hoffman, a veteran character actor who appeared in two films that won the Oscar for Best Picture — 1980's Ordinary People and 2011's The Artist — died Sept. 17 at 83. Over the course of his career, Hoffman accumulated more than 200 credits across television and film. His TV credits included The Waltons , Columbo , M*A*S*H , CHiPs , Square Pegs , Hill Street Blues , and Dynasty , and he appeared in such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind , All the President's Men , Night Shift , and Hail Caesar . The actor's final film role was the lead in the faith-based family comedy Lucky Louie . Beyond his work in front of the camera, Hoffman served as an acting teacher and coach, and penned three books on acting.
Patty Perez, the Internet sensation best known for appearing in the Jackass films, died Sept. 17 from health complications. She was 57.
Perez's most notable feature was in the Jackass movies, where she was known as "Goddess Patty" and played herself in a skit called "Magic Trick" with Jason "Wee Man" Acuna. The sketch features Perez jumping onto Acuna while he's lying on the bed, causing him to disappear, while Johnny Knoxville appears to ask where "Wee Man" has gone. She also starred in one episode of "My Big Fat Fetish."
Jane Powell, the effervescent star of Old Hollywood musicals, died Sept. 16 of natural causes. She was 92. Powell was best best known for her roles opposite Fred Astaire and Howard Keel in the musical classics Royal Wedding and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers . She had a lengthy film career, predominantly in musicals that showcased her dancing abilities and operatic soprano voice. But she also appeared on television in shows like Growing Pains and Law and Order: SVU , and performed in theatrical productions across the country.
Norm Macdonald, the beloved comedian known for his work as a cast member and Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live , died Sept. 14 after a previously undisclosed battle with cancer. He was 61. Macdonald had a five-year stint as an SNL cast member, and served as as Weekend Update anchor from 1994 to 1997. He developed several signature running gags during his time behind the Update desk, including recording a "note to self" on a tape recorder, referring to Germans' love of David Hasselhoff, and frequently mocking O.J. Simpson during the former athlete's murder trial. It has long been rumored that these jokes led to his firing from SNL in 1998, as NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer was a longtime friend of Simpson. (Ohlmeyer said Macdonald was fired simply because he was not funny.) Macdonald also helped create SNL 's famous Celebrity Jeopardy sketch featuring Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, with Macdonald frequently appearing as a defiantly uncooperative Burt Reynolds. Outside of his SNL tenure, Macdonald was highly regarded in comedy circles for his distinctive deadpan style, rambling stories, and incisive perspective.
Ben Best, best known as the co-creator of the HBO series Eastbound & Down , has died. The news was confirmed on Sept. 13. He was 46. No cause of death has been released at the time. Prior to creating Eastbound & Down , Best and Danny McBride teamed up on a number of projects including MTV Films' 2006 indie cult comedy The Foot Fist Way . In 2011, Best penned the 2011 period comedy Your Highness starring McBride, James Franco , and Natalie Portman . In addition to starring on the show as Clegg, Best appeared in films such as Superbad , What Happens in Vegas, Observe and Report , and Land of the Lost .
Art Metrano, the comedian and actor who starred as Mauser in the Police Academy films, died Sept. 8 at 84. Born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, he earned a football scholarship to junior college in Stockton, Calif., and once worked as an automatic telephone system salesman. Metrano's television career began in the 1960s, and across the decades he appeared on shows including All in the Family , Wonder Woman , The Ted Knight Show , The Incredible Hulk , WKRP in Cincinnati , Fantasy Island , Hill Street Blues , Cagney & Lacey , and Joanie Loves Chachi , which saw him playing Chachi's Uncle Rick Mastorelli. Metrano was well-known for playing the ambitious Mauser in the Police Academy franchise, who goes from lieutenant to captain to commandant before being relegated back to lieutenant. His character was also the butt of plenty of jokes, including when he famously lost his eyebrows after ripping them off with tape. Metrano suffered a career-impacting injury in 1989 when he fell off a ladder while renovating his home, breaking his neck in four places.
Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams, the actor known for his complex and compelling performances on shows such as The Wire , Boardwalk Empire , and Lovecraft Country , was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment Sept. 6 . He was 54. Williams' death came amid his most recent of five career Emmy nominations, for his performance in HBO's Lovecraft Country . He is considered to be one of the leading contenders in the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category this year. He previously scored three nods for Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (for Bessie , The Night Of , and When They See Us ) and one for Outstanding Informational Series or Special (as an executive producer of Vice ). In addition to his work on television, Williams' big-screen credits included Inherent Vice , Gone Baby Gone , The Purge: Anarchy , 12 Years a Slave , and Assassin's Creed .
French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo died on Monday, Sept. 5 . He was 88. Best known for his breakthrough role in Jean-Luc Godard 's Breathless , the quintessential film of the French New Wave movement, Belmondo had a career that spanned 50 years. While he was initially discouraged from pursuing lead parts, Belmondo eventually became the star of blockbusters like Cartouche and acted opposite screen icons like Sophia Loren, Jean Seberg , and Catherine Deneuve . The actor also won a César Award, the French equivalent of an Oscar, for his work in the 1988 film Itinerary of a Spoiled Child .
Tiger King zookeeper Erik Cowie died at age 52 on Friday, September 3. The zookeeper and one of the stars of the Netflix documentary series who worked closely with Joe Exotic was found dead in a residence in New York City on Friday evening, police officials told News 4 New York . Additionally, TMZ reported there was nothing suspicious about Cowie's death and no drugs were found on the scene, though a toxicology test will likely still be performed.
Character actor Michael Constantine, known for his role as Windex-obsessed patriarch Kostas "Gus" Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his Emmy-winning role as high school principal Seymour Kaufman on the ABC series Room 222 , died at his home in Reading, PA, on Aug. 31 , his agent confirmed. He was 94.
Sarah Harding of British girl group Girls Aloud died on Sunday, Aug. 5 of breast cancer. She was 39. Harding's group, Girls Aloud, were created on the British reality competition Pop Stars: The Rivals in 2002. The group, which disbanded in 2013, consisted of Harding, one-time X-Factor U.S. judge Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh. They amassed four singles that reached No. 1 on the U.K. charts, and 21 that hit the top 10. Harding went on to release her memoir, Hear Me Out , earlier this year, where she revealed she had tumors in her lungs and brain.
Gregg Leakes, husband to Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta alum NeNe Leakes, died on Sept. 1 , following a long battle with cancer. He was 66.
Gregg was first diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018, and NeNe revealed his official diagnosis on the season 11 premiere of RHOA . He went into remission, but earlier this summer, NeNe revealed that the cancer had returned, and Gregg had undergone surgery. Gregg was well known to Real Housewives viewers, having appeared on 12 seasons of the Atlanta franchise alongside his wife. NeNe and Gregg separated in 2010, and divorced in 2013. But, the pair reconciled later that year.
Ruth Marx, the singer of many classic TV commercial jingles and the mother of pop-rock singer Richard Marx, died Aug. 24 of lung cancer at her son's California home. She was 85. Ruth Marx performed several well-known jingles written by her husband, Dick Marx (who died in 1997), perhaps most famously the jingle for Chicken of the Sea tuna: "Ask any mermaid you happen to see, what's the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea!" Richard, the couple's only son, was born in Chicago in 1963. After his music career took off, Ruth Marx performed backup vocals on some of his songs, including "Streets of Pain," from 1991's Rush Street album.
Ron Bushy (second from left), the drummer for psychedelic hard rock legends Iron Butterfly, died on Aug. 29 at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital.
The drummer joined the band -- best known for its 17-minute song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" -- in the 1960s. Although there were lineup changes in Iron Butterfly over the years, he appeared on all of the rock outfit's albums, including 1968's Heavy , 1969's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida , and Ball , 1970's Metamorphosis , 1975's Scorching Beauty, and 1976's Sun and Steel . The band first broke up in 1971, but were later reformed in the same decade by Bushy, and guitarist. Erik Braunn.
Hollywood legend Ed Asner died "peacefully" on Aug. 29 , his family said in a statement. He was 91.
Asner's iconic hard-drinking newsman Lou Grant – who he first brought to life for seven seasons in 1970 in the iconic comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show and then played for five seasons in dramatic spin-off Lou Grant – netted the actor five Emmy wins. It wasn't only the character of Lou Grant that brought Asner accolades: The beloved actor was nominated five other times for Emmys, and took home trophies twice, once for his much-lauded work in legendary mini-series Roots , where he played slave trader Captain Davies; and on another mini, Rich Man, Poor Man , in the dark role of Axel Jordache. The bulk of Asner's work in the 1990s and beyond came from voiceovers, his most famous voice role, however, came in the 2009 Pixar film Up , as he brought to life the old-man character of Carl Fredricksen.
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Reggae artist, producer and dub pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry died at Noel Holmes Hospital, in Lucea, Jamaica , on Sunday, Aug. 29. He was 85.
Perry was born Rainford Hugh Perry in Jamaica in 1936. He started off his music career on the studio side in the late 1950s, and early 1960s, before releasing a host of influential music under his own name, and various pseudonyms starting in the late 1960s. He named his house band, The Upsetters after releasing the song, "I Am the Upsetter," and forming his Upsetters record label. He released albums as Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters, including 1972's Cloak & Dagger , 1973's Blackboard Jungle Dub , and Super Ape in 1976. Perry was well-known for his work with, and influence on Bob Marley & the Wailers. Perry was a sought-after producer and songwriter and worked with a host of artists over the years, including The Clash, Beastie Boys, Andrew W.K., and Linda and Paul McCartney on her 1998 LP Wide Prairie .
Serge Onik, the dancer and choreographer who gained national fame while competing on season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance , died in August at 33. Onik was born in Kharkov, Ukraine. His family moved to the U.S. when he was just 3. The trained ballroom dancer made it to the top 20 of SYTYCD in 2014, but was eliminated in week 4. Onik went on to perform on ABC's Dancing With the Star s and some dramas, including Marvel's Agent Carter on ABC, Fox's Bones , and the CW's Jane the Virgin . He also performed in the Warner Bros. film In the Heights .
Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones , died at age 80 on Aug. 24 . A statement from his spokesperson, posted to the band's social media accounts, said Watts "passed away peacefully in a London hospital," and was "surrounded by his family."
While he is thought to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time, and is the only member besides Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to have credits on every studio album, Watts managed to keep his other interests alive throughout his long career.
Having gone to art school, and became a graphic designer, he helped compose the Between the Buttons record sleeve, and would work with Jagger on conceiving elaborate staging for their tours. Watts also had a jazz quintet on the side, and organized tributes to Charlie Parker.
Night of the Living Dead actress Marilyn Eastman died at the age of 87 on Aug. 22. Eastman's passing was announced by her son, John, who revealed that she had died in her sleep.
In director George Romero's 1968 horror classic, Eastman played the character of Helen Cooper, one of several people who attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse in a remote farmhouse. She was also a founder of Image Ten Inc., the company which produced the film.
Brian Travers, the saxophonist and founding member of the British reggae-pop band UB40, died Aug. 22 at 62 , following a "heroic battle with cancer," his band said in a statement. Travers was a part of UB40's early lineup when they first formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978. The band found crossover success in the U.S. with songs including "Red Red Wine" and their version of the pop standard "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You." UB40 have been nominated for a total of four reggae-related Grammys.
Don Everly, one half of the famed Everly Brothers, died Aug. 21 at his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 84. Don and his brother Phil (who died in 2014) were known for their harmonious sound on songs like "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Bye Bye Love" (their first single), "Cathy's Clown," "Wake Up Little Susie," and "When Will I Be Loved." The highly influential early rock & roll siblings found success in the 1950s and 1960s, influencing the likes of the Beatles. Don and Phil broke up the band in 1973 (Phil famously smashed a guitar on stage in Southern California), and Don pursued solo success. They reunited a decade later.
Tom T. Hall
Tom T. Hall, the country singer and songwriter known as "The Storyteller," died Aug. 20 in Franklin, Tenn. He was 85. Born in Olive Hill, Ky., Hall started out as a songwriter at a young age, and even performed during his stint in the Army in the late 1950s. One of his best-known songs, "Harper Valley P.TA.," topped the country charts in 1968 when Jeannie C. Riley recorded it. Hall first found success as a songwriter in the early 1960s, before becoming a performer in the later part of the decade. Hall was nominated for six Grammys during his career, winning one for Best Album Notes for Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits in 1972. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Sinichi "Sonny" Chiba, one of the first Japanese actors to gain international fame through his martial arts skills, died April 19 of complications from COVID-19. He was 82. Born in Fukuoka, Japan, Chiba was the third child of a military test pilot and was a gifted athlete in high school and college. He began studying karate at Nippon Sport Science University and would go on to practice disciplines including ninjutsu, shorinji kempo, judo, and kendo. His long acting career began in 1960, and his first screen roles were on the TV shows Seven Color Mask and Messenger of Allah . His first martial arts film was 1973's Karate Kiba , and his international breakthrough came a year later with 1974's The Street Fighter . Chiba appeared in dozens of action films and TV shows in the subsequent decades, including a series called Shadow Warriors in which he played multiple generations of ninja characters each named Hattori Hanzo. Chiba reprised that role in Quentin Tarantino's 2003 film Kill Bill , in which Hanzo runs a sushi restaurant and crafts a special samurai sword for Uma Thurman's vengeful lead character. American audiences might also recognize Chiba from a cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift .
Francis 'Frankie' Mossman
Francis "Frankie" Mossman, the actor best known for his appearances on Spartacus: Blood and Sand , died Aug. 14 at his home in Sydney, Australia. The New Zealand actor also appeared on the soap opera Shortland Street and guested on shows like Americans in Oz and The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, as well as the web series The Horizon .
Sean Lock, the British comedian known for his regular appearances on panel shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats , died from cancer Aug. 16 , at 58. His agency, Off the Kerb Productions, confirmed his passing and issued a statement that said: "It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Sean Lock. He died at home from cancer, surrounded by his family. Sean was one of Britain's finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work, marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy." In addition to 8 Out of 10 Cats , Lock appeared on the show QI with host Stephen Fry, and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year alongside James Corden. He also won a British Comedy Award for Best Live Comic in 2000.
Prolific singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith died on Aug. 13 at 68. Griffith, whose music fell into the folk, country, and even pop realms, earned four Grammy Award nominations across her lengthy career that began in the late 1970s, with the release of her debut album, 1978's 'There's a Light Beyond These Woods.' She won her first and only Grammy in 1993 for Best Contemporary Folk Album for Other Voices/Other Rooms, which was released on Elektra records.
Actress Una Stubbs, a mainstay of British TV who appeared on such shows as Sherlock , Till Death Us Do Part , and EastEnders , died Aug. 12 at age 84 after an illness. Stubbs had a long and varied career on stage and screen, with her credits including Fawlty Towers , EastEnders , the beloved children's series Worzel Gummidge , and Midsomer Murders , among many others. Her last major role was as Mrs. Hudson, the title character's landlady on Sherlock , alongside Benedict Cumberbatch .
Chucky Thompson, a producer who was part of Bad Boy Entertainment's in-house team in the 1990s (also known as Puffy's Bad Boy Hitmen), died in early August . Thompson had a hand in records from countless R&B and hip-hop acts such as Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, the Notorious B.I.G., Usher, New Edition, TLC, Jennifer Lopez, SWV, Color Me Badd, and Mya, earning credits as either a producer or composer. His hits included the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa," Faith Evans' "You Used to Love Me," and Nas' "One Mic."
Trevor Moore, the comedian best known for founding the sketch comedy troupe the Whitest Kids U Know, died Aug. 6 in an accident . He was 41. Moore founded the Whitest Kids U Know at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1999, alongside Zach Cregger and Sam Brown. A self-titled television series followed and ran from 2007 to 2011 on IFC. Moore frequently collaborated with Comedy Central and Funny or Die and was the creator and host of Comedy Central's The Trevor Moore Show . He also wrote and directed Walk the Plank , a Disney XD series about kids who pull pranks on unsuspecting people.
Markie Post, the actress known for her roles in Night Court and The Fall Guy , died Aug. 7 at 70, after facing cancer for almost four years. Post was well-known for playing kindhearted public defender Christine Sullivan on more than seven seasons of the comedy Night Court . She joined the series after starring in the Lee Majors-fronted The Fall Guy from 1982-1985.
Dennis 'Dee Tee' Thomas
Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas, a founding member and longtime fixture of the legendary R&B group Kool & the Gang, died Aug. 7 in his sleep at age 70. Thomas was a member of Kool & the Gang for its entire existence, from the band's origins in the 1960s to its most recent efforts, appearing on every album including 2021's Perfect Union . His last performance with the group took place at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl on the 4th of July. "An original member of Kool & the Gang, Dennis was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, loved for his hip clothes and hats, and his laid-back demeanor," the band said in a statement posted to Facebook . "A huge personality while also an extremely private person, Dennis was the alto saxophone player, flutist, percussionist as well as master of ceremonies at the band's shows."
Gina Krasley, who was featured on the TLC reality series My 600-lb Life in 2020, died Aug. 1 at her home in Tuckerton, N.J. She was 30. Krasley appeared in the show's eighth season in an episode that spotlighted her weight struggles, which she said stemmed from physical and verbal abuse during her childhood. TLC Network issued a statement Friday saying, "TLC was deeply saddened by the loss of Gina Krasley, who shared her weight-loss journey on My 600lb Life. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time."
Better known as Timbo the Redneck, the 18-year-old TikTok star from Jennings, FL died after a fatal accident involving his truck that happened during the first weekend of August. Amassing over 202,000 followers on the social media platform, Hall made a name for himself posting videos of himself and friends having adventures in his pick-up truck. In wake of his death, his mother posted from his official TikTok account to share that "he loved TikTok and just believed in all the fans and everybody that supported him and it meant a lot to him."
Charles Connor, the influential drummer known for playing with Little Richard and pioneering the "choo-choo train" rhythm, died July 31 at 86 . "He was one of those drummers that was a bricklayer of creating that rock 'n' roll genre," his daughter, Queenie Connor Sonnefeld, told the Associated Press. "He played behind so many legendary musicians in the 1950s. He was a loving grandfather and was very proud of his family and took a lot of pride in his contributions to rock 'n' roll." Connor also performed with artists such as James Brown and Sam Cooke, and he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
During his career, he also played with James Brown, and Sam Cooke. In 2008, he wrote the motivational book, Don't Give Up Your Dreams: You Can be a Winner Too!
Thea White, who voiced Muriel on the cartoon Courage the Cowardly Dog, died July 30 at age 81 following a battle with liver cancer. White got her start in theater and was even once Marlene Dietrich's assistant, but she was best known for voicing the fearful pink dog's elderly Scottish owner in Cartoon Network's Courage . White also voiced Aunt Margaret in the 2011 movie Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur and reprised her role as Muriel in the film Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog, out in September.
Soap opera veteran Jay Pickett died July 30 while working on his Western drama film Treasure Valley in Idaho. He was 60. Pickett began his soap career as Dr. Chip Lakin on Days of Our Lives and later portrayed Det. David Harper on General Hospital in the 2000s. His most prolific work was playing Frank Scanlon on the ABC soap (and GH spinoff) Port Charles for over 700 episodes. Pickett also made appearances on series like Dragnet, Mr. Belvedere , Matlock , Dexter , NCIS: Los Angeles , and Queen Sugar.
Saginaw Grant, a character actor who appeared in Breaking Bad and The Lone Ranger film, died of natural causes on July 28 at age 85 . The Native American performer, who served as a Marine in Korea, had acted in numerous TV and film projects since the late 1980s. He played Auggie in Harts of the West , a television series starring Beau Bridges . Grant also appeared in My Name Is Earl , American Horror Story , the " Ozymandias " episode of Breaking Bad , Shameless , and Veep .
Ron Popeil, the tireless inventor and pitchman who became known to TV audiences nationwide through his infomercials for products such as the Chop-o-Matic, GLH (a.k.a. Hair in a Can), and the Showtime Rotisserie, as well as the countless parodies he inspired on shows like Saturday Night Live , died July 28 at 86. Popeil pioneered the informercial game and was known for his fast-talking delivery and catchphrases like "Set it and forget it" and "But wait, there's more!" He became a household name and was spoofed on shows including I Love Lucy and SNL . On the latter program, Dan Aykroyd mimicked him by hawking the Super Bass-O-Matic 76, and Eddie Murphy did a Popeil gag peddling the Popiel Galactic Prophylactic.
Dusty Hill, the longtime bassist for the rock band ZZ Top, died in late July at 72 . His bandmates Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons said in a statement, "We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the 'Top'. We will forever be connected to that 'Blues Shuffle in C.'" They added, "You will be missed greatly, amigo." Hill was born in Dallas and founded ZZ Top with Beard and Gibbons in 1969, after he and Beard moved to Houston. Known for their blues-influenced rock & roll, the band achieved crossover success in the 1980s when they became MTV stalwarts with hits like "Gimme all Your Lovin'" and "Sharp Dressed Man," which had stylish videos to match.
Joey Jordison, best known as a founding member of the heavy metal band Slipknot , died "peacefully in his sleep" on July 26, his family said in a statement. He was 46.
Jordison helped found Slipknot alongside Shawn Crahan and Paul Gray in the mid-'90s. They broke through with their self-titled album, which was released in 1999.
Slipknot parted ways with the drummer in 2013. Jordison went on to work in other metal groups, including Vimic, and later, Sinsaenum.
Rick Aiello, an actor who appeared opposite his father, Danny Aiello, in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, and also had a supporting role on The Sopranos , died July 26 of pancreatic cancer. He was 65.
Rick also worked with his father (who died in 2019 at 86) on the television series Dellaventura (1997-1998), which was about a former detective who intervenes for people when the law isn't able to. The father and son shared the screen in the 1998 film A Brooklyn State of Mind as well.
The actor appeared in many popular television shows over the years, with one of his earliest being the TV movie Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder in 1989. His resume also included roles on 21 Jump Street, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, Tales From the Crypt , CSI , and the original Walker, Texas Ranger.
Dieter Brummer, the actor best known for playing heartthrob Shane Parrish on the popular Australian soap opera Home and Away , died on July 24 at age 45 . Brummer joined the Home and Away cast at 15 and quickly became a beloved character throughout his time on the show in the 1990's. After leaving the series, he starred in numerous other Australian television shows, including the soap opera Neighbours where he had a 26-episode arc as Capt. Troy Miller.
Spanish surfer Óscar Serra died in mid-July. He was 22 years old. Serra fell from a 6-foot wave before hitting his head on the ocean floor in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Frankie Lons, Keyshia Cole's mother died at 61. Family members confirmed her death. Lons relapsed and overdosed on Sunday (her birthday) at her home in Oakland, Calif.
Lons appeared in Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is back in 2006 on BET and also was part of the spin-off series Frankie & Neffe (featuring Cole's older sister). She was also featured in Keyshia Cole: My New Life , a TV special that aired in 2019.
One of the founding members of the rock band Kansas who also served as frontman and violinist, Robert Steinhardt died July 17 after being hospitalized earlier in the year for acute pancreatitis. "On the day he was to be released from medical care and move to the rehabilitation center to build his strength, his body had other plans," his wife, Cindy, announced in a Facebook post.
The host of the popular podcast She Rates Dogs died after being struck by a driver in a hit-and-run accident in Beverly Hills. He was 26. The podcast, which George cohosted for just over a year, focused on relationship advice and dating stories. He was known for speaking openly about his experiences from an LGBTQ perspective.
Award-winning Spanish actress Pilar Bardem, the mother of Javier Bardem , died July 17 due to complications from lung disease not related to COVID-19. She was 82. One of Spain's most famous actresses, Pilar was best known for starring in the 1995 film Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto ( Nobody Will Speak of Us When We're Dead ), which garnered eight Goya Awards. She was nominated again in 2005 for Best Leading Actress in María querida .
Influential New York rapper Biz Markie died on July 16 at age 57. Known as the Clown Prince of Hip-Hop, the rapper was behind the infectious Top 40 hit "Just a Friend," as well as "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz," "Vapors," and more.
Actress Renée Dorléac, the mother of film icon Catherine Deneuve , died July 11 in Paris at the age of 109. Dorléac, who went by the stage name Renée-Jeanne Simonot, forged a career with her dubbing work, providing the French voice for characters played by stars like Judy Garland , Olivia de Havilland , Sylvia Sidney , Donna Reed, and Esther Williams.
WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff, who was known as Mr. Wonderful, died in July at the age of 71 . His son revealed the news, though he did not disclose a cause of death. Orndorff appeared in the main event of the first WrestleMania in 1985, facing off against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
Jeff LaBar, the guitarist best known for playing in the glam rock band Cinderella, died July 14 at age 58. LaBar replaced Cinderella's original guitarist, Michael Schermick, in 1985, right before the band recorded their debut album, Night Songs . Between their breakout single, "Nobody's Fool," and opening for Bon Jovi on tour, the band's first record ended up going triple platinum, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard 300. Another hit song, "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)," nabbed the group its highest Billboard Hot 100 placement at No. 12. The band put out a total of four albums, with the last one, Still Climbing, issued in 1994. After a brief hiatus, Cinderella reunited in 1996 and continued to perform live but never released any more studio material. LaBar also launched a solo career, releasing his debut record, One for the Road , in 2014.
Charlie Robinson, the veteran stage and screen actor known for playing the affable court clerk Mac Robinson on the long-running sitcom Night Court , died July 11 in Los Angeles at 75. The cause was cardiac arrest with multisystem organ failures due to septic shock and cancer. In a career spanning 50 years, Robinson also amassed stage credits including The Whipping Man , Fences , Death of a Salesman , and Some Old Black Man ; film credits including Set It Off , Antwone Fisher , Even Money , and The House Bunny ; and TV credits including Buffalo Bill , The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air , House , Hart of Dixie , Grey's Anatomy , NCIS , and Mom .
Suzzanne Douglas died on July 6 at age 64. The actress was best known for her role as matriarch Jerri Peterson on the WB sitcom The Parent 'Hood from 1995–1999. Douglas also had roles in movies such as Tap, Jason's Lyric , and Stella Got Her Groove Back . Most recently, the actress played Grace Cuffee in Netflix's, When They See Us .
William Smith, the burly character actor known for playing tough guys and getting into fisticuffs with Clint Eastwood in the 1980 film Any Which Way You Can , died July 5 at 88. His many TV credits included the detective series The Asphalt Jungle , the Western Laredo , the finale of Batman , and I Dream of Jeannie . His film appearances included Red Dawn and Conan the Barbarian . For Smith, one of his most memorable roles was in the 1976 miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man . "My favorite TV screen villain would be Falconetti from the Rich Man, Poor Man miniseries and Rich Man, Poor Man Book II ," he said in a 2010 interview. "I really enjoyed working with Nick Nolte and Peter Strauss. The fight scenes with Nick and I were good ones."
John Lawton, the rock and blues vocalist known for his stint as the lead singer of British rock band Uriah Heep in the 1970s, died June 29 of undisclosed causes. He was 74. Lawton joined Uriah Heep in 1976, following the departure of lead vocalist David Byron, and recorded three studio albums — Firefly, Innocent Victim , and Fallen Angel — with the band. "It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29 June 2021," the band wrote on Facebook . "Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible. He went peacefully with his wife at his side. John will be greatly missed."
Rockabilly and country performer Sanford Clark died July 4 from COVID-19. He was 85 . Clark began performing in the 1950s and had a Top 10 hit with his song "The Fool," which was later recorded by Elvis Presley. Clark's songs have been featured in numerous TV and film productions such as Nashville , It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia , Justified , and Amazon's Transparent .
Richard Donner , the director behind hits such as The Goonies , Lethal Weapon, and Superman , died on July 5 at age 91. Although he was widely known for his beloved films, Donner got his start in television, with credits including Route 66, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan's Island, Perry Mason and The Wild Wild West . Donner's first major outing as a film director was the now-classic horror film The Omen in 1976.
Stuart Damon, the actor known for playing the fan-favorite character Dr. Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital for more than three decades, died in late June at 84 . Damon appeared on the ABC daytime drama from 1977 to 2013, and also featured on the spin-off Port Charles . Though the character died in 2007, Quartermaine came back as a ghost. Damon won a Daytime Emmy for his work on GH in 1999, and his other TV credits included As the World Turns , Days of Our Lives , Diagnosis Murder , Hotel , and The New Mike Hammer .
Max Rosenthal, the father of Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and a recurring actor on the series, died in June. He was 95. A Holocaust survivor who escaped Germany in 1938, Rosenthal was active in his son's creative work with a recurring role on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond from 1996 to 2005, a part on the PBS series I'll Have What Phil's Having , and a turn on the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil .
Johnny Solinger, former lead vocalist for the band Skid Row, died at age 55 . His bandmates confirmed his death via an Instagram post, writing "we are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. Godspeed Singo. Say hello to Scrappy for us."
Solinger joined Skid Row in 1999, replacing Sebastian Bach as the lead vocalist in the group and remained with the band until 2015.
Gift of Gab
Gift of Gab, the verbally dexterous rapper known as half of the Bay Area hip hip duo Blackalicious, died June 18 of natural causes. He was 50. Born Timothy J. Parker, he was widely praised for such songs as Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics," with a fast-paced, tongue-twisting set of lyrics progressing through the letters of the alphabet in order.
John Paragon, best known for playing Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse (as well as writing and directing for the beloved children's show) died in April at 66 , according to TMZ. His cause of death was unknown. Paragon got his start as a part of the comedy troupe Groundlings, along with Paul Reubens and Cassandra Peterson (a.k.a. Elvira.)
Lisa Banes, who was best known for her role in Gone Girl and starred in numerous television shows and movies, died June 14 following a hit-and-run accident in New York City. In addition to her storied Hollywood career, Banes had a long career on Broadway, winning Drama Desk and Obie Awards for her performances.
John Gabriel, the actor and singer known for his long-running role as Dr. Seneca Beaulac on the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope , died June 13 at 90.
His daughter Andrea Gabriel, a fellow actor whose credits include Lost and The Twilight Saga , announced Gabriel's death on Instagram. "It is with an unspeakably heavy heart that I share the news of my father's passing," she wrote. "John Gabriel was my hero, my role model, and my champion, but above all, my daddy. I will love you forever."
Gabriel starred on Ryan's Hope from 1975 to 1985 and 1988 to 1989, and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for the role in 1989. He was also the original actor to play the Professor on Gilligan's Island , in the unaired 1963 pilot.
Character actor Ned Beatty died June 13 at age 83. Beatty garnered a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Academy Awards for his performance in Sidney Lumet's 1976 film Network. He also appeared in films like Superman, Deliverance, All the President's Men, Rudy, Toy Story 3 , and Hear My Song, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. Beatty also scored Emmy nods for Friendly Fire opposite Carol Burnett and Last Train Home.
Character actor Ernie Lively, who was also the father of actress Blake Lively, died June 3 of cardiac complications. Lively had a prolific list of credits, predominantly guest-starring on television. Some of his most notable roles came in The Dukes of Hazzard , Turner and Hooch , and two Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films (in which he played daughter Blake's onscreen dad).
Clarence Williams III
Clarence Williams III died June 4 from colon cancer at the age of 81. He is best known for playing one-third of the hip undercover cop trio known as The Mod Squad , opposite Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. The role made him one of the first Black actors to lead a TV series. Williams also starred in films including Purple Rain , Half Baked , American Gangster , and The Butler .
Robert Hogan, a veteran character and stage actor, died on May 27 at 87 from pneumonia. Hogan's impressive career included roles in more than 100 shows as well as roles in almost every daytime drama, including The Twilight Zone , Laverne and Shirley , The Mary Tyler Moore Show , I Dream of Jeannine , The Wire , M*A*S*H , Days of Our Lives , Young and the Restless , and Hogan's Heroes .
Wayne "Buddy" Van Horn
Celebrated director and stuntman, best known for working with Clint Eastwood on numerous films, died in May according to an obituary posted in the Los Angeles Times . Van Horn worked in Hollywood for more than 60 years as a stuntman, actor, and director. He directed three of Eastwood's films: 1980's Any Which Way You Can , 1988's The Dead Pool (starring Liam Neeson, Patricia Clarkson, and Jim Carrey), and Pink Cadillac in 1989.
Prolific television guest actress Romy Walthall died in May at age 57, her son Morgan Krantz and daughter Isabella Israel confirmed on social media. In addition to small parts on The X-Files , Quantum Leap , and L.A. Law , Walthall costarred alongside Jennifer Lopez in the short-lived CBS series Hotel Malibu in 1994. She also had roles in films like Face/Off , The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare , and the camp-horror classic The House of Usher .
B.J. Thomas , a five-time Grammy award winner and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, died from complications due to stage four lung cancer at his home in Arlington, Texas, on May 30. He was 78. The singer released a string of hits, including "Hooked on a Feeling," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," which earned the Best Original Song Oscar, a cover of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song."
Gavin MacLeod , the actor who famously played Captain Merrill Stubing on the classic TV show The Love Boat , died at 90.
MacLeod also played Murray Slaughter, the head news writer for the fictional WJM-TV in Minneapolis, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s.
Ed Asner, who co-starred with MacLeod in TMTMS , turned to Twitter to share his grief over the loss of his friend. "My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator.
Hollywood producer Jerome Hellman died at age 92 on May 26. Hellman took home the Best Picture Academy Award at the 42nd ceremony for Midnight Cowboy — the first and only X-rated film to nab the top prize. He was also behind 1978's Coming Home and 1986's The Mosquito Coast.
John Davis, one of the voices of the Real Milli Vanilli, died on May 24 at the age of 66 from COVID-19. Davis rose to fame with the legendary band by providing backing vocals that the band took credit for until their downfall in 1990. He later created his own band, The Real Milli Vanilli, releasing an album and three singles.
Eric Carle, the author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and dozens more beloved children's books, died May 23 at 91 . Carle's most famous work, first published in 1969, sold millions of copies across the globe, even if the author wasn't originally sure it would be a hit. "I didn't think it was going to be an extraordinary book," Carle told EW in 1994, as the book turned 25. "But children love it. Caterpillar reassures young kids that 'you scrawny, ugly little thing will grow up and fly and display your talent and beauty."'
Kevin Clark, the musician and former child star who played drummer Freddy "Spazzy McGee" Jones in the 2003 film School of Rock , died May 26 in Chicago after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle. He was 32. Former costar Jack Black paid tribute to Clark on social media, posting two photos of them and writing, "Devastating news. Kevin is gone. Way too soon. Beautiful soul. So many great memories. Heartbroken. Sending love to his family and the whole School of Rock community."
Samuel E. Wright
Samuel E. Wright, the Tony-nominated actor who voiced the beloved character Sebastian the Crab in Disney's The Little Mermaid and several sequels and spin-offs, died May 24 , at 74. Wright had a notable Broadway career, taking over for Ben Vereen as the Leading Player in the original production of Pippin and originating the role of Mufusa in the stage production of The Lion King .
Lois de Banzie
Lois de Banzie , who played First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in the theatrical release of Annie , died on May 24. She was 90. She had a lengthy career that spanned decades on stage, screen, and television. In 1980, she was nominated at the 34th annual Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her work in Mornings at Seven .
Marcus A. York
Marcus A. York, an actor best known for playing Billy Merchant on The Office , died May 19 after a "brief and unexpected illness." He was 55. York, who had been a paraplegic since 1988, memorably played a property manager brought in for Michael Scott's ( Steve Carell ) ham-fisted disability-awareness meeting. The actor also had roles in the films Profile and Fighting Words , and on the TV shows CSI: NY and 8 Simple Rules , among other credits.
Kentaro Miura, the manga artist behind the groundbreaking, long-running, yet unfinished series Berserk , died May 6 of an acute aortic dissection. He was 54. Born in Chiba, Japan, Miura began writing and drawing manga at a very early age but was best known for Berserk , which began publication in Young Animal magazine in 1989. Centering on the mercenary Guts, an incredibly powerful fighter who wields a massive sword, it went on to become one of the best-selling manga of all time.
Legendary comedian Paul Mooney died on May 19 at age 79 following a dementia diagnosis and a heart attack. The comedy staple rose to prominence as a writer for the late Richard Pryor, and gained further fame for his performances as Sam Cooke in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story , on Chappelle's Show and In Living Color , and in Spike Lee 's 2000 movie Bamboozled .
Midnight Run and Beethoven star Charles Grodin died May 18 from bone marrow cancer. He was 86. Grodin caught the attention of Hollywood after starring in a small but notable role in the 1968 film Rosemary's Baby . Throughout his career, the Emmy Award winner also appeared in The Virginian , Louie , and the 2016 miniseries Madoff .
Actor Norman Lloyd, whose prolific career spanned from the 1930s until his death, died May 10 at the age of 106 . Lloyd made his feature film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur as a Nazi spy who plunges to his death from the top of the Statue of Liberty. He had a notable career as a director and producer too. Other memorable roles include turns in St. Elsewhere, Dead Poets Society, and Trainwreck.
Lloyd Price, the singer-songwriter behind such hits as "Personality" and "Stagger Lee" who helped lay the groundwork for the rise of rock 'n roll, died May 3 of complications from diabetes. He was 88. Nicknamed "Mr. Personality" after his 1959 hit, Price became a crossover success early in his career with his song "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," which was successful with white and Black listeners alike years before the ascent of rock 'n roll. "I revolutionized the South. Before 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy,' white kids were not really interested in this music," Price later recalled.
Tawny Kitaen, the actress and model known for her role in Bachelor Party and for appearing in music videos for the rock band Whitesnake in the '80s, died May 7 of undisclosed causes. She was 59. Kitaen rose to fame as a "video vixen" in the 1980s, appearing in several music videos for Whitesnake, most famously the hit single "Here I Go Again" in 1987.
The English model and singer Nick Kamen died at the age of 59 on May 5, according to multiple reports . There's no information as to the cause of death available at this time.
The Essex-born star rose to fame at age 18, after he appeared in a Levi's 501 commercial, filmed in a launderette in 1985, where he strips off down to his underwear to do laundry, while onlookers ogle. He soon became a sex symbol. He later pursued a singing career, reaching the U.K. top 5 with a song penned by Madonna.
Billie Hayes, best known as Witchiepoo on H.R. Pufnstuf, died April 29. She was 96. Hayes reprised the character of Witchiepoo, a villanous witch obsessed with stealing magical Freddy the Flute, several times throughout her career, including in a 1970 film Pufnstuf. She also played the role of Mammy Yokum in Lil' Abner on Broadway, as well as a 1959 movie and 1971 TV special.
Former Menudo boybander Ray Reyes died on April 30 of a massive heart attack. He was 51. Reyes joined the group in early 1983 during its heydey, shortly before Ricky Martin and Draco Rosa.
Olympia Dukakis , the dry-witted stage and screen actress known for her Oscar-winning turn in the 1987 rom-com Moonstruck , died May 1 at age 89 . Dukakis toiled under the radar for nearly 30 years before becoming a household name with her scene-stealing turn as indomitable matriarch Rose Castorini in Moonstruck , which became one of the highest-grossing and most beloved films of 1987. With a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in hand, she soon landed high-profile roles such as the personnel director in 1988's Working Girl , the bemused widow Clairee in 1989's Steel Magnolias , and the hard-edged high school principal in Mr. Holland's Opus .
Johnny Crawford, who was nominated for an Emmy at age 13 for his portrayal of Mark McCain in the television series The Rifleman , died at 75 from COVID-19 and pneumonia on April 29. His career kicked off when he was cast as one of the 24 original Mousekeeters in the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club . He later appeared in acclaimed shows such as The Lone Ranger, The Count of Monte Cristo, Rawhide, and Hawaii 5-0 . His film credits included William Tell and The Marshal.
Hip-hop legend and Digital Underground founder Greg "Shock G" Jacobs died in late April at age 57. Their biggest hit, "The Humpty Dance," featured Shock G as his alter ego Humpty Hump, whose persona would become synonymous with the group. The rapper was also known for helping to put Tupac Shakur on the map. He produced his debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991, followed by his breakthrough single "I Get Around" and "So Many Tears." Shock G also famously produced hits for Dr. Dre, Bobby Brown, KRS-One, and others.
Lew McKeown, the former lead singer of the Bay City Rollers, died on April 20 at age 65. Though he was not a founding member of the Scottish pop-rock group, he was there for their peak in the 1970s, singing hits like "Saturday Night" and "Bye Bye Baby." While he left the group in 1978, he reunited with them in 2015, and even wrote a 2019 memoir about his time in the band titled Shang-a-Lang: My Life With the Bay City Rollers . He is survived by his wife, Keiko, and son Jubei.
Joe Long, the bassist for the iconic New Jersey band the Four Seasons, died on April 22 at the age of 88 . Long joined the group in 1965, replacing one of the original band members, and remained with them through most of the 1970s.
Burlesque icon and sex symbol Tempest Storm died April 20 at her home in Las Vegas. She was 93. The stripping legend — who continued her act well into her 80s — rose to prominence in the 1950s, starring in sold-out stage revues and sexy films alongside the likes of Bettie Page. She even caused a riot at the University of Colorado merely by removing her mink coat.
Monte Hellman, the cult director of Two Lane Blacktop and an executive producer on Reservoir Dogs , died on April 20 . His daughter, Melissa Hellman, confirmed the director died at Eisenhower Health hospital in Palm Desert a week after he had fallen in his home.
Jim Steinman, the songwriter and music producer who penned Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Meat Loaf 's breakthrough album Bat Out of Hell , died April 19 in Connecticut. He was 73. Steinman was known for his operatic pop-rock compositions and lyrics, and also wrote and produced such hits as Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing At All" and Celine Dion 's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now."
Rapper Black Rob, best known for the 2000 single "Whoa!," died at age 52 on April 17 from a cardiac arrest after contending with multiple other health issues, including lupus, kidney failure, diabetes, and multiple strokes. Black Rob became part of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs ' label Bad Boy Records in the '90s and in 2000 released his debut record Life Story , with "Whoa!" fast becoming a standout single.
Best known for originating the role of Cousin Itt on the 1960s ABC TV series The Addams Family, actor Felix Silla died April 16 . He was 84. He played the role of Cousin Itt 17 times in the show's two-year run. He also worked as a performer and stuntman on projects such as Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Black Bird, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and more.
Harry Potter and Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory died April 16th at age 52 after a long battle with cancer . McCrory was best known for playing the role of Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and had roles in Skyfall, Hugo , and The Queen.
Rusty Young, a founding member and the frontman of the country-rock band Poco, died April 16th from a heart attack . In his long career with Poco, Young was the lead singer/songwriter and he played the pedal steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, guitar, and mandolin. He wrote "Crazy Love," the band's only No. 1 top 10 hit. In 1974, Young was inducted into the Guitar Player's Magazine "Gallery of Greats" and in 2012, he was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
DMX , the hip-hop superstar known for such hits as "X Gon' Give It to Ya" and "Party Up (Up in Here)," died April 9 after he was hospitalized following a drug overdose the previous week. He was 50. Born Earl Simmons, DMX found massive success as a rapper despite a turbulent, troubled lifestyle that included a lifelong struggle with substance abuse. He was known for his distinctive snarling vocals and aggressive style, and appeared in films including Belly , Cradle 2 the Grave, Romeo Must Die , and Exit Wounds .
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died April 9 at age 99.
"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," a Buckingham Palace statement read. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle."
The British royal spent most of his adult life as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, whom he married in 1947. He'd previously been hospitalized in March to undergo surgery for a heart condition. He later left the hospital March 16 and reunited with Elizabeth at Windsor Castle to recover.
The musician and Vine star, who went viral on the former social media app for his seven-second "Welcome to Chili's" clip, died at the age of 24. His twin brother, Patrick Perkins, confirmed the news but did not disclose the cause of death.
Midwin Charles , a CNN and MSNBC legal analyst, died after an illustrious career that included TV commentary, news reporting, and practicing as a defense attorney. She was remembered by colleagues like Joy Reid and Bernice King, who called her a "light that brightened the way for others."
British TV star Paul Ritter died on April 5 at age 54 following a battle with a brain tumor. He was best known for his leading role on the hit English sitcom Friday Night Dinner as well as his ongoing role as part of the main cast of the Epix historical series Belgravia . His film work included small roles in major franchise productions like Quantum of Solace and Harry Poter and the Half-Blood Prince .
Walter Olkewicz, the veteran character actor known for playing bartender and croupier Jacques Renault on Twin Peaks , oil refinery worker Dougie Boudreau on Grace Under Fire , and Nick the cable guy on Seinfeld , died April 6 at 72. Over his long career, he also appeared on shows including Who's The Boss? , Night Court , Cheers , Taxi , Barney Miller , Married… With Children , Moonlighting , L.A. Law , The Rockford Files , Newhart , ER , Family Ties , Dharma & Greg , and Murder, She Wrote .
Mark Elliott, a voice actor heard in trailers for some of Disney's most beloved movies, died April 3 , at 81. Elliott's iconic vocals featured in promos for The Hunchback of Notre Dame , The Lion King , Hercules , Aladdin , Sleeping Beauty , and many other Mouse House movies. He also provided voice-overs for Star Wars radio spots and Muppet movie trailers, but he said his proudest work was doing the trailers for the 1981 film Chariots of Fire and the final episode of M*A*S*H . In addition to his behind-the-scenes work, Elliott appeared in the 1997 short film 5 Men and a Limo and portrayed himself in Lake Bell's 2013 comedy In a World .
Gloria Henry, who played Alice Mitchell, the mom of the titular character in the sitcom Dennis the Menace , died April 4. She was 98.
In the '50s, Henry could be seen in TV shows like Perry Mason and The Files of Jeffrey Jones, but her starring role was as Dennis's warmhearted mother in the comedy series based on the long-running comic strip. She appeared in all 146 episodes of its 1959-1963 run.
Beverly Cleary, the iconic children's author behind such books as Henry Huggins , Beezus and Ramona , and The Mouse and the Motorcycle , died March 25 in Carmel, Calif., where she had lived since the 1960s. She was 104. Cleary was famous for her iconic characters like the inimitable Ramona Quimby and her easily annoyed big sister "Beezus." Her first children's book — about a boy named Henry Huggins and his mutt Ribsy — was published in 1950, but more than half a century later, all her 40-plus novels remain in print.
American novelist Larry McMurtry died March 25, at age 84 . His best-known books included Lonesome Dove , The Last Picture Show , and Terms of Endearment — all of which were turned into beloved movies or, in Lonesome Dove 's case, a popular TV miniseries. McMurtry was an accomplished screenwriter in his own right, and won an Oscar (alongside co-writer Diana Ossana) for Brokeback Mountain , which they adapted from Annie Proulx's short story.
Jessica Walter, the actress best known for her portrayal of sarcastic Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development, died March 24 at the age of 80. Walter's career spanned five decades across the stage, television, and film. Her most memorable film roles included turns in Play Misty for Me , The Group , and Grand Prix . She possessed a staggering amount of TV credits, but had notable roles on Trapper John M.D. , Amy Prentiss , Streets of San Francisco , Dinosaurs , and Archer to name a few.
Richard Gilliland, the veteran character actor whose credits included Designing Women , 24 , Desperate Housewives , and many other TV shows and films, died March 18 after a brief illness . He was 71. Gilliland was married to his Designing Women costar Jean Smart , who he met while working on the CBS sitcom and wed in 1987. Gilliland had a recurring role on the series as J.D. Shackleford, the on-again, off-again love interest of Annie Potts ' Mary Jo. "I met him when he was kissing someone else," Smart quipped to EW in 2017.
Former child star Houston Tumlin died March 24 at age 28. Tumlin played Will Ferrell 's foul-mouthed son Walker Bobby in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Actor George Segal died on March 23 due to complications from bypass surgery. He was age 87. Segal , an Oscar nominee for his performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , became a household name for his television roles in Just Shoot Me! and later ABC's The Goldbergs . The actor's film credits include The Owl and the Pussycat , Blume in Love , Born to Win, For the Boys, and Flirting With Disaster , among others.
The former Top Gear host and German racing giant died March 16 at age 51 after a years-long battle with cancer. Her Top Gear family paid tribute to the star in remembering how she "radiated positivity, always wore her cheeky smile no matter how hard things got, and was a force of nature for female drivers in the motoring world."
Actor Yaphet Kotto died on March 15 at age 81. Kotto was best known for his roles in the films Alien and Midnight Run and the TV show Homicide: Life on the Street . Kotto's early film credits included 1968's The Thomas Crown Affair and 1972's The Limit , which he both directed and starred in, playing a highway patrolman. The following year, he portrayed the role of Bond villain Mr. Big in the 007 adventure Live and Let Die and was then nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Ugandan president Idi Amin in the 1977 TV movie Raid on Entebbe . He would go on to become a familiar face on the big screen, appearing in 1978's Blue Collar , 1987's The Running Man , and the 1991 horror sequel Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare , among other films.
Rising country singer Taylor Dee died March 14 after a car crash at age 33. Dee's first single, "The Buzz," was released in June 2019 and played on several Texas radio stations. Linda Wilson, president of the Texas Country Music Association, said Dee's death shocked the music community. "Taylor Dee was the real deal — a true talent with a heart and passion not only for her music but for people."
Reggie Warren, a member of famed R&B group TROOP, died on March 14 at age 52. TROOP (which stands for Total Respect of Other People) found a hit with 1989's "Spread My Wings," earning the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Souls Singles chart. During their reign, the quintet dropped three No. 1 hits and a total of 10 top 10 singles. TROOP's most popular hit singles include "Mamacita, "My Heart" and "Still in Love." The group's tunes "All I Do Is Think Of You" and "Sweet November" both peaked at No. 1. The group also appeared in the 1991 film New Jack City, starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and Chris Rock.
Author of beloved 1961 children's book The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster, died March 8 of complications from a stroke . Though the cult classic remained his greatest legacy, Juster wrote several books over his lifetime, including The Dot and The Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning animated short. He re-teamed with Tollbooth illustrator Jules Feiffer in 2010 for The Odious Ogre.
Filmmaker Leon Gast, whose documentary When We Were Kings won an Academy Award, died March 8 at age 85 . When We Were Kings chronicled Muhammad Ali and George Foreman's famous "Rumble in the Jungle" 1974 heavyweight championship boxing match. It took Gast 22 years to edit and finance the documentary. It was named best documentary feature at the 1997 Oscars.
Geoffrey Scott, an actor and stuntman who appeared on Dynasty and Dark Shadows, died Feb. 23 at the age of 79. His wife Cheri Scott confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Scott died of Parkinson's disease the day after his birthday.
On Dynasty, Scott portrayed Mark Jennings, the first husband of Linda Evans' character Krystle Carrington, from 1982 through 1984. His other soap opera roles include General Hospital , Where the Heart Is, and Guiding Light.
Jahmil French, an actor known for his role on Degrassi: The Next Generation , died March 1 of undisclosed causes at age 29. French played Dave Turner on the Canadian teen drama from 2009 to 2013, with his other credits including Netflix's Soundtrack , the Pop TV series Let's Get Physical , and the 2017 film Boost.
Bunny Wailer, the reggae icon who founded the Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, died on March 2 in Kingston, Jamaica at the age of 73 . A cause of death wasn't given at the time, but Wailer had been in and out of the hospital since his second stroke in 2020.
Prince Markie Dee
The Fat Boys' rapper Prince Markie Dee died at age 52 on February 18. Dee's death was confirmed on Twitter by the band's manager Louis Gregory on Thursday. The songwriter would have been 53 on Friday. No cause of death has been released. "Forever in my Heart," wrote Gregory. "Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends.
"My heart breaks today because I lost a brother," he added. "I'll always love you Mark and I'll cherish everything you taught me. Tomorrow is your birthday, swing my way big bro."
Conservative firebrand and long-running radio host Rush Limbaugh died Feb. 17, at 70 , a little more than a year after first telling listeners that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer . Limbaugh made a habit of riling up conservatives and horrifying liberals during his multi-decade radio career, and many Republican politicians credited him with improving their popularity among voters.
Brayden Smith, a recent five-game champion on Jeopardy , died Feb. 12 at age 24 of undisclosed causes. Smith's appearances were some of the final Jeopardy episodes hosted by Alex Trebek , who died in November. "[Trebek] did, I believe, really like Brayden," executive producer Mike Richards previously told EW . "I could tell that he very much enjoyed that young man, and that was fun to watch. I think that energized him."
Acclaimed jazz pianist Chick Corea died Feb. 9 from a rare form of cancer . He was 79. Corea was known for collaborating with numerous jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and Miles Davis. He played piano for Davis' group on albums such as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew , which helped usher in the fusion era. Corea was also recognized for his band Return to Forever, which he helped found in 1971. With 23 Grammy wins, Corea is also the artist with the most jazz Grammys in the awards' history.
Larry Flynt, the longtime publisher of Hustler who fought many high-profile legal battles over pornography and free speech, died of heart failure Feb. 10 at age 78 . Flynt was memorably portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt , which dramatized his rise to success and his legal battles with anti-pornography activists. He positioned himself as an advocate for free speech, arguing passionately throughout his career that pornography was protected by the First Amendment. "The question is, am I a smut peddler or a First Amendment crusader?" Flynt told EW in 1996 . "I'd say a little bit of both."
Mary Wilson, a co-founding member of Motown group The Supremes, died at the age of 76 on Feb. 8. As the longest-reigning member of The Supremes, she was there when the group was first known as The Primettes in the late 1950s and stayed until the group was officially disbanded in 1977.
Billy Brown, the patriarch from Discovery's Alaskan Bush People, died Feb. 7 after suffering a seizure . He was 68. The docudrama, which debuted in 2014, centered on Brown and his extended family living off the grid in Alaska and later in Washington. Brown's son Bear, who revealed the news, called his father "our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband and he will be dearly missed."
Christopher Plummer , whose career in film, on television, and in the theater spanned more than half a century and earned him an Academy Award, two Emmys, and two Tonys, died on Feb. 5 at age 91 .
For years, Plummer chafed against being typecast for his most famous role as Captain Von Trapp in the hit 1965 musical film The Sound of Music , which propelled him to worldwide stardom. But he continued to do varied work and late in his career scored Oscar nominations for the 2009 film The Last Station and the 2011 film Beginners , for which he became, at age 82, the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award. (He also earned a third nomination for 2017's All the Money in the World after replacing Kevin Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty.) In recent years, he also featured in the starry whodunnit Knives Out and the war film The Last Full Measure .
Dustin Diamond died on Feb. 1 from lung cancer at age 44 . Diamond was best known for playing nerdy sidekick Samuel "Screech" Powers in the original incarnation of Saved by the Bell , and continuing the role in Saved by the Bell: The College Years , Saved by the Bell: The New Class , and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas . Diamond then spent the 2000s picking up credits for independent films and playing himself in movies like Pauly Shore Is Dead and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star . The actor subsequently published a tell-all, Behind the Bell , which he would later claim was ghostwritten, and ran into personal problems in recent years , culminating in a short prison sentence . Diamond was absent from the 2020 Saved by the Bell revival series on Peacock, but prior to his death the actor's reps told EW he was in talks about possibly reprising his role in season 2 .
Jamie Tarses, the trailblazing TV executive and producer who became the first woman to serve as entertainment president of a broadcast network in 1996, died on Feb. 1 from heart complications at the age of 56. She suffered a stroke in the fall of 2020 and never regained consciousness. During her tenure as ABC president, Tarses launched such hits as Dharma & Greg , The Practice , and Sports Night . At NBC, she played a key role in developing Frasier , Friends , Mad About You , and Wings , among others. Her most recent triumphs included The Wilds on Amazon Prime and the upcoming The Mysterious Benedict Society on Disney+.
Allan Burns, the Emmy-winning writer and co-creator of The Munsters and The Mary Tyler Moore Show , died Jan. 30 at age 85 . Burns also wrote for the big screen and scored an Oscar nod for co-writing the 1979 film A Little Romance. In addition, he created the Cap'n Crunch character for Quaker Oats. Burns' writing partner James L. Brooks and Ed Asner both paid tribute to the TV veteran on social media, with the actor calling Burns "a mensch like no other, a friend and so incredibly talented."
Sophie Xeon, the experimental and influential pop music producer known for her collaborations with Charli XCX , Vince Staples , and more, died on Jan. 30 after an accidental fall. She was 34. Known mononymously as Sophie, the Glasgow native made her way onto the music scenes with singles "Bipp" and "Lemonade," before collaborating with Madonna on "Bitch I'm Madonna" in 2015. After the release of her song "It's Ok to Cry" two years later, she came out as a trans woman. Her 2019 album Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Pioneering Hollywood actress Cicely Tyson died Jan. 28, at 96 , only two days after the release of her memoir Just As I Am . Tyson excelled across film, television, and stage, winning three Emmy Awards, a Tony, and an honorary Oscar. She was also Oscar-nominated for her work in 1972's Sounder . As the first Black woman in a recurring role in a TV drama, Tyson made her mark as a trailblazer early, and continued to do so in her career-long refusal to take roles she viewed as demeaning or stereotypical. An icon of both stage and screen, she left behind a litany of memorable performances.
Cloris Leachman, the Emmy- and Oscar-winning actress known for her memorable roles in television shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show , movies like The Last Picture Show , and stage productions such as South Pacific , died Jan. 27 of natural causes. She was 94. Leachman was one of the most decorated performers in Primetime Emmys history, with eight wins, and her career spanned a stunning eight decades. Her other notable credits included Phyllis (spun off from Mary Tyler Moore ), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , Young Frankenstein , and Malcolm in the Middle .
Bruce Kirby, the veteran character actor most famously known for his roles in Columbo and L.A. Law , died on Jan. 24 at the age of 95. Throughout his decades-long career, he appeared in a mix of popular film and TV projects, including I Dream of Jeannie , Night Court , The Golden Girls, and Punky Brewster . One of his sons was When Harry Met Sally star Bruno Kirby, who died in 2006.
Tony and Emmy winning actor Hal Holbrook , who parlayed early fame performing a one-man show as Mark Twain into a long and celebrated career in film, television, and on the stage, died on Jan. 23 at age 95 . Holbrook, who for years was best known to movie audiences for playing Deep Throat in the 1976 hit All the President's Men , enjoyed a late-career resurgence following his critically acclaimed turn in the 2007 drama Into the Wild , which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Holbrook regularly performed Twain monologues on stage for decades, even as he found a wide range of other roles in films such as Magnum Force , Wall Street , and The Firm as well as '80s and '90s sitcoms like Designing Women and Evening Shade . Holbrook continued to act in his elderly years, appearing in Water for Elephants and Steven Spielberg's 2012 period epic Lincoln .
Larry King , the famed interviewer and longtime CNN host whose career spanned more than six decades, died on Jan. 23, 2021 . He was 87. King died early Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a statement shared on his social media accounts. A cause of death was not given, but King was hospitalized earlier in January with COVID-19.
Lost and Babylon 5 actress Mira Furlan died on Jan. 20 due to complications with West Nile virus, her manager confirmed in a statement to EW. She was 65. Lost creator Damon Lindelof and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski both shared tributes after her death.
Singer Jimmie Rodgers died on Jan. 18 of kidney disease. He had also previously tested positive for COVID-19. Known for songs like "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and his cover of Bob Merrill's "Honeycomb," the versatile singer landed hits on Billboard's pop singles, hot country and western sides and hot rhythm and blues sides charts through the 50s and 60s. While a mysterious 1967 car accident forever changed him physically, Rodgers still released new music through 1979.
Grammy Award-winning producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector died on Jan. 16 of natural causes. He was 80. Spector was the creator of the music production technique known as the Wall of Sound. He was also behind some music's biggest hits for The Beatles , the Ramones, The Righteous Brothers, among others.
New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain died on Jan. 13 at age 69 after a battle with cancer. The New York Dolls' self-titled 1973 debut album, as well as their 1974 sophomore effort, Too Much Too Soon , became acclaimed and influential punk rock records. Although short-lived, the band went on to influence groups like Guns N' Roses, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and the Smiths, whose frontman Morrissey helped reunite the surviving band members for a 2004 festival.
Peter Mark Richman
Peter Mark Richman, an actor with over 130 television credits, died on Jan. 14 at the age of 93 of natural causes. Richman notably held recurring roles on Three's Company as Reverend Snow — the father of Suzanne Somers' character Chrissy Snow — and on Dynasty as Andrew Laird, the attorney for Carrington family. He also appeared on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Longstreet and guest-starred on series such as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Murder She Wrote, The Fugitive , Bonanza , and Star Trek: The Next Generation. In his eight-decade career, Richman also produced works as a playwright. His one-man show 4 Faces was made into a movie in 1999, in which he also starred.
Joanne Rogers, the widow of television icon Fred Rogers died January 14 at the age of 92. She was married to Rogers for 50 years until his death in 2003. Rogers was the keeper of the flame for the "Mister Rogers" legacy, serving on the board of Fred Rogers Productions and helping celebrate his work in documentaries and feature films like It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Rogers was also an accomplished classically trained concert pianist and released two albums as part of a duo.
Siegfried Fischbacher, one half of the iconic Las Vegas magician duo Siegfried & Roy, died Jan. 13 of pancreatic cancer at age 81 . His death came less than a year after his longtime professional and romantic partner Roy Horn, who died of complications from COVID-19 last spring . "There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried," Fischbacher said at the time.
Veteran soap star John Reilly died on Jan. 9 from unknown causes. He was 84. For five decades, Reilly starred in hit soaps including General Hospital , As the World Turns , Passions , and Sunset Beach . He also made one brief appearance on Days of Our Lives in 2001. In the '90s, he starred as Bill Taylor, Kelly Taylor's ( Jennie Garth ) unpredictable father, on Beverly Hills, 90210 .
Angie Jakusz, a contestant on Survivor: Palau , died on Jan. 8 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 40.
British filmmaker Michael Apted died on Jan. 8, at 79 . Apted directed the long-running Up documentary series and Oscar-nominated features including Coal Miner's Daughter and Gorillas in the Mist. Apted was a researcher on the first installment of the groundbreaking Up series, 1964's Seven Up , and he helmed the rest, concluding with 63 Up in 2019. In a career spanning genres and decades, he directed features including Nell , The World Is Not Enough , Stardust , Gorky Park , The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader . Apted also served as president of the Directors Guild of America from 2003 to 2009 and received the organization's Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 2013.
Dearon 'Deezer D' Thompson
Dearon "Deezer D" Thompson died Jan. 7, at 55 . The actor was best known for portraying nurse Malik McGrath on the beloved NBC medical drama ER from 1994 until 2009, including the pilot and series finale. Thompson also appeared in movies such as Fear of a Black Hat , CB4 , Bringing Down the House , and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion .
Actress Marion Ramsey died Jan. 7, at 73 . She was best known for portraying Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy movies. Ramsey was also an accomplished stage actor, appearing on Broadway in Grind and Eubie , as well as touring the country in Hello, Dolly , starring opposite Bette Davis in Miss Moffatt , and costarring in two productions of Little Shop of Horrors . She was one of the three singers that the original Broadway show Dreamgirls was based on and also performed many voice roles, including in Robot Chicken and the animated series The Addams Family .
Former Bond girl Tanya Roberts died Jan. 4, at 65 , from a urinary tract infection that developed into sepsis. Roberts starred as Stacey Sutton in 1985's A View to Kill , opposite Roger Moore as 007. She also starred on That '70s Show as Donna's sweet-but-dim mother, Midge. The actress worked on Charlie's Angels in the '80s and appeared in the shows Fantasy Island , Hot Line , The Blues Brothers Animated Series , and Eve , and in films like Sins of Desire , Legal Tender , Sheena , The Beastmaster , Almost Pregnant , and Tourist Trap . Her last role was playing Elle in the series Barbershop in 2005.
British actress Barbara Shelley died Jan. 4, at 88 , after contracting COVID-19. She was best known for appearing in horror movies produced by Hammer Films, including 1958's Blood of the Vampire , 1966's Dracula: Prince of Darkness , and 1967's Quatermass and the Pit . Shelley also starred in 1960's non-Hammer horror classic Village of the Damned . Her many small-screen credits included the British TV shows Blake's 7 , Doctor Who , and Eastenders .
Eric Jerome Dickey
Best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey died Jan. 3, at 59 , after a long illness. Throughout the Memphis native's lengthy career, he published 29 novels, including multiple New York Times best-sellers: Milk in My Coffee , Cheaters , Chasing Destiny , The Other Woman , Sleeping With Strangers , Resurrecting Midnigh t, Sister, Sister , An Accidental Affair , and Decadence . Dickey also penned the 2007 Marvel Comics miniseries Storm , chronicling the epic love story between the Black superheroes Storm (of X-Men fame) and Black Panther.
Liverpool legend Gerry Marsden died Jan. 3, at 78 , after an illness related to a heart infection. Marsden was the lead singer of the '60s British band Gerry and the Pacemakers, known for "You'll Never Walk Alone," which was a rendition of the song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel . The group's version became the anthem of Liverpool Football Club.
George Gerdes died Jan. 1, at 72 . The actor appeared in the films The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo , Hidalgo , and Rumor Has It . He was a regular presence on TV, with roles in series such as L.A. Law , Seinfeld , NYPD Blue , The X-Files , Chicago Hope , Cold Case , ER , Lost , True Blood , and Dexter . Most recently, he appeared in Perry Mason and Grey's Anatomy , and portrayed Ray Scales in three episodes of Bosch.
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Remembering the celebrities we lost in 2021
Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do. Every year we say farewell to people in our lives — sometimes it’s to our loved ones, and sometimes it’s to the people who touched our hearts with their talent.
This year we mourned the loss of those who made us laugh, including beloved actors and funny people Norm Macdonald and Jessica Walter. We witnessed Beverly Cleary’s final life chapter. We bid so long and farewell to Christopher Plummer.
We also said goodbye to legends Larry King, Michael K. Williams and child star Dustin Diamond.
Here are some of the beloved celebrities we lost in 2021.
That ’70s Show and James Bond actor Tanya Roberts died on Jan. 4 at age 65.
Roberts was best known as Midge Pinciotti from That ’70s Show and she also played a “Bond girl” in A View to a Kill .
Roberts also starred on multiple television shows, including Charlie’s Angels and Fantasy Island , but was beloved by recent TV audiences for the role of Midge on That ’70s Show .
Marion Ramsey, the actor who played the tiny-voiced police officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy movies, died Jan. 7 at the age of 73.
It all started for Ramsey on Broadway, where she co-starred in productions like 1978’s Eubie! , a biographical musical about jazz pianist Eubie Blake, and toured the U.S. in the musical Hello Dolly! .
Up next came Police Academy . She starred in six of eight of the franchise’s movies, making her one of the most notable characters. As Hooks, she would get laughs from audiences whenever her soft-spoken demeanour broke into a fierce, powerful roar.
Ramsey was an avid supporter of AIDS awareness and often lent her talents to help fundraise for the cause.
John Reilly, a beloved soap-opera actor who’d spent decades in the genre, died Jan. 9 at the age of 84.
Reilly played Sean Donely on General Hospital for almost 30 years, starting in 1984, and starred in wacky soap opera Passions for eight years, from 2000 to 2008. He also appeared on As the World Turns , Sunset Beach and Dallas .
Afterwards, he appeared on Beverly Hills, 90210 as father to Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) for eight episodes, and had a multi-year stint on Passions . But he always made his way back to General Hospital , revisiting his Donely character in 2008 and once again in 2013.
Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the illusionist duo Siegfried & Roy — who at their peak were the most popular act on the Las Vegas Strip — died on Jan. 13 at age 81.
Fischbacher announced he had terminal pancreatic cancer in early January. The other half of the pair, Roy Horn, died at 75 in 2020 from complications of COVID-19.
The two became an institution in Las Vegas and performed six shows a week, 44 weeks per year.
They returned to the stage in February 2009 for what was billed as their one and only comeback performance, to raise funds for the new Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. The brief performance, which included the tiger Montecore, became the basis of an episode of the ABC television show 20/20 .
Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, died on Jan. 26. He was 81.
Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life.
In 1969, Spector was called in to salvage the Beatles’ Let It Be album, a troubled “back to basics” production marked by dissension within the band.
Although Lennon praised Spector’s work, bandmate Paul McCartney was enraged, especially when Spector added strings and a choir to McCartney’s The Long and Winding Road . Years later, McCartney would oversee a remastered Let it Be , removing Spector’s contributions.
The volume, and violence, of Spector’s music reflected a dark side he could barely contain even at his peak. He was imperious, temperamental and dangerous, remembered bitterly by Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and others who worked with him.
American talk show host Larry King died on Jan. 23, at age 87.
A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 King was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards.
King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews.
In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.
Actor and South Korean drama star Song Yoo-jung died on Jan. 23 at the age of 26.
Song launched her career as a model for Estee Lauder and Baskin Robbins before breaking into the K-drama world with Golden Rainbow in 2013. She later starred in the 2019 web series Dear My Name and appeared in several music videos during her career.
Cloris Leachman, an Oscar winner for her portrayal of a lonely housewife in The Last Picture Show and a comedic delight as the fearsome Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein and self-absorbed neighbour Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show , died Jan. 27 at the age of 94.
A character actor of extraordinary range, Leachman defied typecasting. In her early television career, she appeared as Timmy’s mother on the Lassie series. She played a frontier prostitute in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , a crime spree family member in Crazy Mama and Blucher in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein .
In 2008, Leachman joined the ranks of contestants in Dancing With the Stars , not lasting long in the competition but pleasing the crowds with her sparkly dance costumes, perching herself on judges’ laps and cussing during the live broadcast.
Cicely Tyson, the pioneering Black actor who gained an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecropper’s wife in Sounder , won a Tony Award in 2013 at age 88, and touched TV viewers’ hearts in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman , died Jan. 28 at the age of 96.
A one-time model, Tyson began her screen career with bit parts but gained fame in the early 1970s when Black women were finally starting to get starring roles.
Besides her Oscar nomination, she won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old formerly enslaved woman in the 1974 television drama The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman . A new generation of moviegoers saw her in the 2011 hit The Help .
Dustin Diamond, the actor best known for his portrayal of Samuel (Screech) Powers on the original Saved By the Bell series, died Feb. 1 from lung cancer. He was 44.
Diamond was one of the core cast members of the original Saved By the Bell series that ran from 1989 to 1992. He also appeared in followup series The College Years and The New Class , as well as Good Morning, Miss Bliss , Saved By the Bell ‘s predecessor.
He was the only original cast member not to appear in the recent reboot of the series — though former castmate and now-producer Mario Lopez said they had plans to bring him on the show in its current season.
Hal Holbrook, an award-winning actor acclaimed for his one-man portrayal of American literary legend Mark Twain and whose film work included portraying the mysterious “Deep Throat” in All the President’s Men , died on Jan. 23 at the age of 95.
In 2008, at age 82, Holbrook became the oldest male performer ever nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in Into the Wild .
But it was his recreation of the revered American novelist, humorist and social critic in Mark Twain Tonight that brought Holbrook his greatest fame. It earned him a Tony award for his Broadway performance in 1966 and the first of his 10 Emmy nominations in 1967.
Christopher Plummer , the Canadian actor who charmed us as Captain Von Trapp in the 1965 movie The Sound of Music , died Feb. 5 at the age of 91.
Plummer was a well-known veteran of stage and screen, playing iconic characters like Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Stratford Festival and starring in independent films like 2012’s Beginners , which landed him his only Academy Award at age 82 (he is the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar).
In what can only be described as an incredible career, Plummer also won two Emmy awards, two Tony awards, a SAG award, a BAFTA award and a Golden Globe.
Mary Wilson, the longest-reigning original Supreme, died on Feb. 8 at 76 years old.
Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard made up the first successful configuration of The Supremes. Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967, and Wilson stayed with the group until it was officially disbanded by Motown in 1977.
The group’s first No. 1, million-selling song, Where Did Our Love Go , was released June 17, 1964. Touring at the time, Wilson said there was a moment when she realized they had a hit song.
“I remember that instead of going home on the bus, we flew,” she told The Associated Press in 2014. “That was our first plane ride. We flew home. We had really hit big.”
Porn purveyor Larry Flynt , who built Hustler magazine into an adult entertainment empire while championing First Amendment rights, died Feb. 10. He was 78.
From his beginnings as an Ohio strip club owner to his reign as founder of one of the most explicit adult-oriented magazines, Flynt constantly challenged the establishment and became a target for the religious right and feminist groups.
Flynt’s company produced not only Hustler but also other niche publications. He owned a video production company, various websites, a Los Angeles-area casino and 10 Hustler boutiques. He also licensed the Hustler name to independently owned strip clubs.
Shot by a sniper in 1978, Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down and used a wheelchair the rest of his life. He fought battles with drug and alcohol addiction, and his fourth wife died of a heroin overdose.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh , who helped shape the modern Republican Party while pushing conspiracy theories, bigotry and racism for decades on radio, died of lung cancer on Feb. 17 at the age of 70.
Limbaugh was a pioneer of conservative radio. He launched his show in the 1980s and carried it forward for over three decades, until his cancer diagnosis forced him to quit in late 2020. He built a large and committed following over the years, and became a multi-millionaire in the process.
Limbaugh is widely credited as playing a key role in the Republicans’ takeover of Congress in 1994, and remained a force until his death. He has been a vocal supporter for many Republicans over the years, and he was also a frequent contributor on Fox News.
Canadian actor Jahmil French, who starred as Dave Turner in Degrassi: The Next Generation , died on March 1 at the age of 29.
French started his acting career with a role in the Canadian police drama Flashpoint in 2009, before landing the role of Dave on Degrassi . He appeared in 149 episodes of the show from 2009 until 2013, according to IMDb.
French went on to appear in several TV movies after Degrassi , before appearing in Let’s Get Physical and Soundtrack in recent years. He was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for a supporting role for his work in the film Boost in 2018.
George Segal, the banjo player-turned-actor who was nominated for an Oscar for 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and worked into his late 80s on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs , died on March 23.
Segal was always best known as a comic actor, becoming one of the screen’s biggest stars in the 1970s, when lighthearted adult comedies thrived.
Throughout his long acting career, Segal played the banjo for fun, becoming quite accomplished on the instrument he had first picked up as a boy. He performed with his own Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band.
Jessica Walter, the Emmy-winning actor best known as the sarcastic, acerbic mom Lucille Bluth on TV show Arrested Development , died on March 24. She was 80 years old.
Walter earned an Emmy nomination for supporting actress and two Screen Actors Guild nominations for her standout work as Bluth on Arrested Development . She had previously won an Emmy for her title character role in 1974 police drama Amy Prentiss .
She was also nominated for a best actress Golden Globe in 1971 for her work in the movie Play Misty For Me — Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut.
She loved playing difficult women because “those are the fun roles. They’re juicy, much better than playing the vanilla ingénues, you know — Miss Vanilla Ice Cream,” Walter said in an AV Club interview.
Beverly Cleary, the celebrated children’s author whose memories of her Oregon childhood were shared with millions through the likes of Ramona and Beezus Quimby and Henry Huggins, died on March 25. She was 104.
Cleary, a self-described “fuddy-duddy,” said there was a simple reason she began writing children’s books.
“As a librarian, children were always asking for books about `kids like us.′ Well, there weren’t any books about kids like them. So when I sat down to write, I found myself writing about the sort of children I had grown up with,” Cleary said in a 1993 Associated Press interview.
She was named a Living Legend in 2000 by the Library of Congress. In 2003, she was chosen as one of the winners of the National Medal of Arts and met President George W. Bush. She is lauded in literary circles far and wide.
Prince Philip , the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, died April 9 at Windsor Castle. He was 99.
Philip was a pivotal figure in the British Royal Family. He was the longest-serving consort to a monarch in British history, having been in the role for more than 60 years. The Queen — a deeply private person — once called him “her rock” in public.
In recent years, Philip suffered from heart disease and other ailments, including a bladder infection, and had stepped out of the public eye since he announced his retirement from royal duties in 2017.
As Duke of Edinburgh, Philip served as president or patron to hundreds of organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Philip became Britain’s longest-serving consort to a monarch in 2009.
Grammy-nominated rapper and actor DMX, real name Earl Simmons, died on April 9 following a days-long stint in hospital. He was 50 years old.
The musician had been open about his struggles with illegal drug use and had spoken about entering rehab in 2019 after serving time in federal prison on a tax fraud conviction.
DMX was one of the most successful and acclaimed rappers of the late 1990s and early 2000s, producing several hit songs including Ruff Ryders’ Anthem , X Gonna Give It to Ya , Party Up (Up In Here) , How’s It Goin’ Down and What’s My Name? He made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot , which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
He was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album for 1999’s …And Then There Was X . His first five albums each debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. He released seven albums in total and was named favourite rap/hip-hop artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.
Nikki Grahame, the bubbly, energetic British reality TV star who crossed over for Season 4 of Big Brother Canada , died on April 9 at the age of 38.
Grahame was a sweet, fan-favourite reality star who appeared on Big Brother U.K. in 2006 and Ultimate Big Brother in 2010. She also joined Big Brother Canada as one of two international contestants in 2016.
Grahame was open about her struggles with anorexia nervosa throughout her life, writing about it in two autobiographical books and discussing it in various television appearances.
Grahame’s mother told ITV that pandemic lockdowns had contributed to her daughter’s anorexia relapse, because she couldn’t work out at the gym to cope with her anxiety.
English stage and screen actor Helen McCrory, who appeared in several U.K. productions including Peaky Blinders , Skyfall and three Harry Potter films, died April 16 at the age of 52 from cancer.
The London-born actor appeared in many well-known TV and film franchises over her career. She starred as Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders and Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, in addition to roles in Penny Dreadful , Vampires of Venice , Doctor Who and the James Bond film Skyfall . She also played former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, in The Queen and The Special Relationship .
McCrory broke into film with 1992’s Interview with the Vampire .
Olympia Dukakis, the veteran stage and screen actor whose flair for maternal roles helped her win an Oscar as Cher’s mother in the romantic comedy Moonstruck , died on May 1. She was 89.
Dukakis won her Oscar through a surprising chain of circumstances, beginning with author Nora Ephron’s recommendation that she play Meryl Streep’s mother in the film version of Ephron’s book Heartburn . Dukakis got the role, but her scenes were cut from the film. To make it up to her, director Mike Nichols cast her in his hit play Social Security . Director Norman Jewison saw her in that role and cast her in Moonstruck .
Dukakis won the Oscar for best supporting actress and Cher took home the trophy for best actress.
Her Oscar victory kept the motherly film roles coming. She was Kirstie Alley’s mom in Look Who’s Talking and its sequel Look Who’s Talking Too , the sardonic widow in Steel Magnolias and the overbearing wife of Jack Lemmon (and mother of Ted Danson) in Dad .
Charles Grodin, the droll, offbeat actor and writer who scored as a caddish newlywed in The Heartbreak Kid and later had roles ranging from Robert De Niro’s counterpart in the comic thriller Midnight Run to the bedevilled father in the Beethoven comedies, died on May 18. He was 86.
Known for his deadpan style and everyday looks, Grodin also appeared in Dave , The Woman in Red , Rosemary’s Baby and Heaven Can Wait . On Broadway, he starred with Ellen Burstyn in the long-running 1970s comedy Same Time, Next Year , and he found many other outlets for his talents.
Amid his film gigs, Grodin became a familiar face on late-night TV, perfecting a character who would confront Johnny Carson or others with a fake aggressiveness that made audiences cringe and laugh at the same time.
Kevin Clark, who played drummer Freddy “Spazzy McGee” Jones in the 2003 hit movie School of Rock , has died after he was struck while riding his bike in Chicago on May 26. He was 32 years old.
Clark started playing drums at the age of three and spent his whole life around music. His sole acting role was in School of Rock , a comedy about a school teacher (Jack Black) who teaches a group of students to embrace rock and roll. Clark did not have any experience as an actor, but his drumming skills helped him land the role at the age of 12. School of Rock became a cult hit, but Clark opted to pursue music instead of chasing a career in Hollywood. He played in various bands over the following 20 years of his life and spent most of his time in his hometown of Chicago.
Joe Lara, star of the ’90s television series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures , and his wife Gwen Shamblin Lara, a diet guru and founder of the Remnant Fellowship Church, were killed in a plane crash along with five other people on May 29.
Joe rose to fame as an actor in the ’80s. In 1989, he had his breakout role when he played the title part in the TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan . He later went on to play the same role in the short-lived ’90s syndicated fantasy-action series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures .
In recent years, Joe appeared in a self-produced YouTube series called Life With Gwen and Joe .
B.J. Thomas, the Grammy-winning singer who enjoyed success on the pop, country and gospel charts with such hits as I Just Can’t Help Believing , Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head and Hooked on a Feeling , died on May 29. He was 78.
Thomas, who announced in March that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, died from complications of the disease.
Besides music, Thomas loved baseball as a kid and started calling himself B.J. because so many Little League teammates also were named Billy Joe. By his teens, he was singing in church and had joined a local rock band, the Triumphs, whom he would stay with into his 20s.
Gavin MacLeod, the veteran supporting actor who achieved fame as sardonic TV news writer Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and stardom playing cheerful Capt. Stubing on The Love Boat , died on May 29. He was 90.
MacLeod toiled in near anonymity for more than a decade, appearing on dozens of TV shows and in several movies before landing the part of Murray in 1970. MacLeod moved on to The Love Boat , a romantic comedy in which guest stars, ranging from Gene Kelly to Janet Jackson, would come aboard for a cruise and fall in love with one another.
Although scorned by critics, the series proved immensely popular, lasting 11 seasons and spinning off several TV movies, including two in which MacLeod remained at the cruise ship’s helm. It also resulted in his being hired as a TV pitchman for Princess Cruise Lines.
One major role he auditioned for: Archie Bunker in All in the Family . But he quickly realized that the character, immortalized by Caroll O’Connor, was wrong for him. “Immediately I thought, ‘This is not the script for me. The character is too much of a bigot.’ I can’t say these things,” MacLeod wrote in his memoir.
Ned Beatty, the Oscar-nominated character actor who starred in half a century of American movies, including Deliverance , Network and Superman , among many others, died on June 13. He was 83.
After years in regional theatre, Beatty was cast in 1972’s Deliverance as Bobby Trippe, the happy-go-lucky member of a male river-boating party terrorized by backwoods thugs. The scene in which Trippe is brutalized and forced to “squeal like a pig” became the most memorable in the movie and established Beatty as an actor whose name moviegoers may not have known but whose face they always recognized.
Beatty received only one Oscar nomination, as supporting actor for his role as corporate executive Arthur Jensen in 1976’s Network , but he contributed to some of the most popular movies of his time and worked constantly.
In a 1977 interview, he had explained why he preferred being a supporting actor.
“Stars never want to throw the audience a curveball, but my great joy is throwing curveballs,” he told The New York Times. “Being a star cuts down on your effectiveness as an actor because you become an identifiable part of a product and somewhat predictable. You have to mind your P’s and Q’s and nurture your fans. But I like to surprise the audience, to do the unexpected.”
Stage and screen actor Lisa Banes died on June 14 at the age of 65, a week after she was struck by a scooter in a hit-and-run incident in New York City.
Banes played Rosamund Pike’s mother in Gone Girl and appeared in dozens of other films and TV shows, including Cocktail , Nashville , A Cure for Wellness , NCIS and Masters of Sex .
Banes also appeared in many stage productions on and off Broadway over the years. She appeared in the Neil Simon play Rumors in 1988, as well as the musical High Society in 1998 and Present Laughter in 2010.
Banes was struck while crossing the street to visit Juilliard, her alma mater, in Manhattan on June 4.
John Langley, creator of the long-running TV show Cops , died at the age of 78 on June 26 after suffering a heart attack during a road race in Mexico.
He was an off-road racing enthusiast and died during the Coast to Coast Ensendada-San Felipe 250 off-road race in Baja.
Langley’s show Cops became one of the first reality television series when it launched on Fox in 1989, and it would go on to air for 32 seasons.
The show was well-known for its Bad Boys theme, its dizzying foot chases and its parade of shirtless suspects being arrested.
He also produced the 2009 film Brooklyn’s Finest , as well as the non-fiction series Jail , Vegas Strip and Anatomy of a Crime .
Filmmaker Richard Donner, who helped create the modern superhero blockbuster with 1978’s Superman and mastered the buddy comedy with the Lethal Weapon franchise, died July 5. He was 91.
Donner gained fame with his first feature, 1976’s The Omen . A then-unheard-of offer followed: $1 million to direct 1978’s Superman . Donner channelled his love of the character into making the film.
By the 21st century, the genre was dominating the box office in the U.S. and thriving overseas. The heads of Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment — producers of most of today’s superhero fare — both worked for Donner when they were starting out in Hollywood.
Adjusted for inflation, his films have generated more than $1 billion in box office receipts.
Away from the camera, Donner was known for his extraordinary kindness and generosity, covering college tuition for one Goonies star (Jeff Cohen, now an entertainment attorney) and paying for life-saving rehab for another (actor Corey Feldman).
Charlie Robinson, known for playing Mac the court clerk in the 1980s and ’90s sitcom Night Court , died July 11 due to cardiac arrest and cancer. He was 75.
Born in Houston, Robinson began his career as a theatre actor and singer for R&B groups Archie Bell and the Drells and Southern Clouds of Joy.
In the 1970s, Robinson acted in films such as Sugar Hill , The Black Gestapo , Caribe , A Killing Affair and The White Shadow . In his later career, he appeared in Beowulf , Malevolence , Land of the Free and Mercy Street .
Throughout his career, he guest-starred in television shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air , Key and Peele , This Is Us , Malcolm & Eddie and In The House .
Biz Markie, a hip-hop staple known for his beatboxing prowess, turntable mastery and the 1989 classic Just a Friend , died on July 16. He was 57.
Markie, whose birth name was Marcel Theo Hall, became known within the rap genre realm as the self-proclaimed “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” for his lighthearted lyrics and humorous nature. He made music with the Beastie Boys, opened for Chris Rock’s comedy tour and was a sought-after DJ for countless star-studded events.
Markie broke into mainstream music with his platinum-selling song Just a Friend , the lead single on his sophomore album The Biz Never Sleeps . The friend-zone anthem cracked Rolling Stone’s top 100 pop songs and made VH1’s list of 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time.
Markie kept his name relevant as he consistently booked more than 175 shows a year, according to the rapper’s website.
Joey Jordison, a founding member of Slipknot, who drummed for the influential metal band in its most popular period and helped write many of its best-known songs, died July 26 at the age of 46.
Jordison grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest of three children, and began playing drums at age 8. While performing with Slipknot, Jordison often wore a white mask with black paint drippings and a crown of thorns when he performed.
Jordison was dismissed from the band in 2013. He later said it was because he had transverse myelitis, a neurological condition that left him unable to play.
Jackie Mason, the sometimes-controversial standup comedian, died July 24. He was 93.
A stand-up comedian, he recurred on The Simpsons as the voice of Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, the father of Krusty the Clown, winning his second Emmy for his efforts in 1992.
In the 2004 TV special Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time , he was ranked No. 63.
The comic received a 1987 special Tony Award for his highly successful solo effort Jackie Mason’s The World According to Me! , which ran for 573 performances.
He was ordained as a rabbi — there had been many in his family — but ultimately resigned from his post at a synagogue to become a comedian.
Joseph “Dusty” Hill, the long-bearded bassist for the blues-rock band ZZ Top, died in his sleep on July 28 at the age of 72.
Hill was a member of the Texas trio for more than 50 years, dating back to shortly after their formation in 1969. He played with ZZ Top continuously for the remainder of his life, up until a hip injury forced him to bow out of their 2021-22 tour of North America.
It was ZZ Top’s first time performing without Hill in five decades.
ZZ Top released 15 studio albums and sold more than 25 million records in the U.S. over the decades. Hill and his bandmates were all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Markie Post, who played the public defender in the 1980s sitcom Night Court and was a regular presence on television for four decades, died on Aug. 7 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 70.
Post was a longtime television regular who appeared in shows from Cheers to Scrubs . But she was best-known for her seven-season run on NBC’s Night Court , the Manhattan municipal court sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1992 and starred Harry Anderson as Judge Harry T. Stone.
Post had two daughters with her second husband, TV producer and writer Michael A. Ross.
Jane Withers, the former child actor who bedeviled Shirley Temple on the screen and went on to star in a series of B movies, died on Aug. 7. She was 95.
After a series of minor roles as a child actor, Withers was cast by 20th Century Fox in the 1934 movie Bright Eyes , as the nemesis of lovable Temple, then Hollywood’s most popular star.
It didn’t turn out that way. Critics claimed that she stole the picture from Temple. Children wrote fan letters admiring what she did to Shirley “because she’s so perfect.”
As an adult she appeared in a few films and on television.
Trevor Moore, known for co-founding the Whitest Kids U’ Know comedy troupe at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, died on Aug. 7. He was 41.
A television program of the same name ran for five seasons on IFC from 2007 to 2011. The group is still active, posting regularly on Twitch and YouTube.
In addition to WKUK, Moore was also famous for Walk the Prank , Just Roll with It , and the Trevor Moore Talk Show , as well as multiple albums, sketches, and stage shows.
Don Everly, whose close-harmony singing with his brother, Phil, generated dreamy, chart-topping hits about teen romance in the late 1950s and early ’60s, died on Aug. 21 at the age of 84.
Isaac Donald “Don” Everly was born on Feb. 1, 1937, in Brownie, Kentucky, the son of two country musicians, Ike and Margaret Everly. Phil was born two years later and they were still boys when their musical careers began in their family band.
In the mid-’50s the brothers had their breakthrough hit, Bye Bye Love , rising to No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard pop charts. Soon after, Wake Up Little Susie rose to No. 1.
Don and Phil stopped speaking for a while, but reunited for a concert in Sept. 1983.
In 1997 the Everlys received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Charlie Watts, the longtime drummer for legendary rock band The Rolling Stones, died peacefully in hospital on Aug. 24 at the age of 80.
Watts joined the Stones early in 1963 and remained over the next 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest-lasting and most essential member.
He had his eccentricities — Watts liked to collect cars even though he didn’t drive and would simply sit in them in his garage.
From childhood, he was passionate about music — jazz in particular. He fell in love with the drums after hearing Chico Hamilton and taught himself to play by listening to records by Johnny Dodds, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and other jazz giants.
Ed Asner, the burly and prolific character actor who became a star in middle age as the gruff but lovable newsman Lou Grant, first in the hit comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later in the drama Lou Grant , died on Aug. 29. He was 91.
Asner was a journeyman actor in films and TV when he was hired in 1970 to play Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show . For seven seasons he was the rumpled boss to Moore’s ebullient Mary Richards at the fictional Minneapolis TV newsroom where both worked. Later, he would play the role for five years on Lou Grant .
Asner won three best supporting actor Emmys on Mary Tyler Moore and two best actor awards on Lou Grant . He also won Emmys for his roles in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man (1975-1976) and Roots (1976-1977).
In 2003, he played Santa Claus in Will Ferrell’s hit film Elf and also was the voice of the elderly hero in the hit 2009 Pixar release, Up .
Matthew Mindler, a former child actor who appeared in the 2011 film Our Idiot Brother , was found dead near his college campus on Aug. 28, at the age of 19.
Mindler was a first-year student at the school and his death was ruled a suicide.
The native of Hellertown, Pa., got his start in Hollywood around the age of eight, when he first appeared in an episode of As the World Turns .
He would later star alongside Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks in the 2011 comedy Our Idiot Brother , before landing a handful of additional TV and film short roles.
Bollywood actor and reality TV star Sidharth Shukla died on Sept. 2 at the age of 40, after he suffered a heart attack.
Shukla was best-known as the Season 13 winner of Bigg Boss , India’s answer to the reality show Big Brother .
Shukla started his career as a model in 2005 before breaking into acting and reality TV. Bigg Boss was his biggest claim to fame, but he also appeared in India’s Fear Factor and hosted India’s Got Talent .
Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams, who, as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on The Wire , created one of the most popular characters in television in recent decades, died Sept. 6 of acute drug intoxication.
The Brooklyn-born Williams was a ubiquitous character actor in other shows and films for more than two decades, including roles on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country , and in the films 12 Years a Slave and Assassin’s Creed .
Williams had been working with a New Jersey charity to smooth the journey for former prison inmates seeking to re-enter society, and was working on a documentary on the subject.
He spoke in an Associated Press story in 2020 of his rough time growing up, and said he had struggled with drug addiction.
Norm Macdonald, the sardonic comedian from Quebec who rose to stardom on Saturday Night Live , died after a prolonged battle with cancer on Sept. 14. He was 61.
Born in Quebec City on Oct. 17, 1959, Macdonald cut his teeth as a stand-up comic at comedy clubs in Canada before appearing as a contestant on the show Star Search in 1990, which helped him get a foothold in Hollywood. He spent a season writing for Roseanne before landing a role on SNL as a cast member in 1993.
Macdonald became a fixture as host of SNL ‘s Weekend Update segment for three seasons, and ultimately stayed with the cast until 1998. He was known for doing impressions of various celebrities including Burt Reynolds, whom he played opposite Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek in Celebrity Jeopardy!
He went on to launch The Norm Show , a hockey-inspired comedy which ran from 1999-2001, and later made a number of appearances on late-night TV shows. He also did voice work on several TV shows, including the recurring role of Death on Family Guy .
Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star of Hollywood’s golden age musicals who danced with Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding , died on Sept. 16 of natural causes. She was 92.
She performed virtually her whole life, starting about age five as a singing prodigy on radio in Portland, Oregon. On screen, she quickly graduated from teen roles to the lavish musical productions that were a 20th-century Hollywood staple.
Her 1950 casting in Royal Wedding came by default. June Allyson was first announced as Astaire’s co-star but withdrew when she became pregnant. Judy Garland was cast, but was withdrawn because of personal problems. Jane Powell was next in line.
“They had to give it to me,” she quipped at the time. “Everybody else is pregnant.”
Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch, Carrie Bradshaw’s friend on TV’s Sex and the City and its sequels, died on Sept. 21 of pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
Born William Garson Paszamant in Highland Park, N.J., Garson began studying acting at age 13 at the Actors Institute in New York. He made hundreds of appearances on TV and in motion pictures.
Besides Sex and the City , he was perhaps best known as Mozzie, a con man on the TV show White Collar , and also had recurring roles on NYPD Blue , Hawaii Five-0 and Supergirl .
Garson, who was an advocate for adoption agencies, adopted his son, Nathen, in 2009 and marked the adoption in a January Instagram posting that read: “Best day of my life. Always.”
Peter Scolari, whose television roles included a yuppie producer on Newhart and a closeted dad on Girls and who was on Broadway with longtime friend Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy , died on Oct. 22 after a two-year fight with cancer. He was 66.
He first gained attention as the then-unknown Hanks’ co-star in the 1980-82 sitcom Bosom Buddies , in which their characters disguised themselves as women to live in affordable, females-only housing.
The two actors went on to work together in projects including Hanks’ 1996 movie directorial debut That Thing You Do! and in 2013’s Lucky Guy , Nora Ephron’s play about newspaper columnist Mike McAlary.
Scolari also performed on Broadway in Wicked , Hairspray and 2014’s Bronx Bombers , in which he played baseball’s Yogi Berra.
James Michael Tyler
James Michael Tyler, an actor beloved for his portrayal of Gunther on Friends , died of prostate cancer on Oct. 24. He was 59.
The actor was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in September 2018. Tyler shared his story earlier this year, becoming a campaigner for individuals with prostates to get a first blood test as early as 40 years old.
Dubbed by fans as “the seventh ‘Friend,’” the actor was a series mainstay, first appearing in the second episode of Friends and returning as a guest star across the remainder of its 10-year run. He is the most frequently appearing recurring guest star across the series.
This year, Tyler’s spoken word performance of Stephan Kalinich’s poem If You Knew was adapted into a short video to help raise awareness for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Dean Stockwell, a Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age in the sci-fi series Quantum Leap and in a string of indelible performances in film, including David Lynch’s Blue Velvet , Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas and Jonathan Demme’s Married to the Mob , died of natural causes on Nov. 7. He was 85.
His Oscar-nominated role as Tony “The Tiger” Russo, a flamboyant gangster, in the 1988 hit Married to the Mob led to his most notable TV role the following year, in NBC’s science fiction series Quantum Leap . Both roles had strong comic elements.
“It’s the first time anyone’s offered me a series and the first time I’ve ever wanted to do one,” he said in 1989. “If people hadn’t seen me in Married To the Mob they wouldn’t have realized I could do comedy.”
Stockwell was active in the visual arts. He made photo collages and what he called “diceworks,” sculptures made of dice. He often used his full name, Robert Dean Stockwell, in his art projects.
Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theatre in the second half of the 20th century with his intelligent, intricately-rhymed lyrics, died on Nov. 26. He was 91.
Sondheim influenced several generations of theatre songwriters, particularly with such landmark musicals as Company , Follies and Sweeney Todd , which are considered among his best works. His most famous ballad, Send in the Clowns , has been recorded hundreds of times, including by Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins.
Six of Sondheim’s musicals won Tony Awards for best score, and he also received a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, five Olivier Awards and the Presidential Medal of Honor. In 2008, he received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement.
A 2013 HBO documentary revealed that he liked to compose lying down and sometimes enjoyed a cocktail to loosen up as he wrote. He even revealed that he really only fell in love after reaching 60, first with the dramatist Peter Jones and then in his last years with Jeff Romley.
Jonshel Alexander, a one-time child actor who played a supporting role in the 2012 Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild , was killed in a Nov. 27 shooting in her native Louisiana. She was 22.
At age 12, Alexander played the character Joy Strong in Beasts of the Southern Wild , a drama filmed near Houma recounting the story of a poor Louisiana bayou community struggling for survival. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.
Alexander was the youngest of three children. After graduating from high school, she worked as a hostess in restaurants and devoted herself to the care of her one-year-old daughter, De-vynne Robinson.
Anne Rice, influential author of Interview with the Vampire , among many other books, died on Dec. 11 due to complications resulting from a stroke. She was 80.
Born in New Orleans in 1941, Rice became renowned the world over as a writer of gothic fiction.
In the early 1970s, while grieving the death of her daughter Michelle, she began converting one of her stories into what became her first novel, the gothic horror Interview with the Vampire . The novel turns on vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, who tells the story of his life to a reporter. Michelle served as an inspiration for the child vampire Claudia.
The book was adapted by Neil Jordan as a 1994 film starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater, with Kirsten Dunst playing Claudia. Rice adapted the screenplay from her novel and the film gathered two Oscar nominations and a brace of BAFTA wins.
Monkees singer and guitarist Michael Nesmith died Dec. 10 from natural causes. He was 78.
Nesmith was known as the Monkee in the green wool hat with the thick Texas accent, and was a singer, guitarist and songwriter for the band, a made-for-television ensemble that would form the cast of the NBC series.
The prime-time hit was inspired in part by the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night and ran from the fall of 1966 to August 1968.
After the series was cancelled, Nesmith branched out with the First National Band, a country-rock band that produced several albums in the early 1970s. He also wrote hits for country stars Linda Ronstadt and Lynn Anderson. He then founded Pacific Arts Corp, a multimedia firm and won the first-ever Grammy Award for a music video in 1982.
Joan Didion, the revered author and essayist whose precise social and personal commentary in such classics as The White Album and The Year of Magical Thinking made her a uniquely clear-eyed critic of turbulent times, died on Dec. 23 at age 87 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Along with Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron and Gay Talese, Didion reigned in the pantheon of “New Journalists” who emerged in the 1960s and wedded literary style to nonfiction reporting.
Tiny and frail even as a young woman, with large, sad eyes often hidden behind sun glasses and a soft, deliberate style of speaking, she was a novelist, playwright and essayist who once observed that, “I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests.”
Or, as she more famously put it: “Writers are always selling somebody out.”
John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades, died on Dec. 28 at the age of 85.
The NFL said he died unexpectedly and did not detail a cause. He gained fame in a decade-long stint as the coach of the renegade Oakland Raiders, making it to seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl following the 1976 season. He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percentage is the best among NFL coaches with more than 100 games.
But it was his work after prematurely retiring as coach at age 42 that made Madden truly a household name. He educated a football nation with his use of the telestrator on broadcasts; entertained millions with his interjections of “Boom!” and “Doink!” throughout games; was an omnipresent pitchman selling restaurants, hardware stores and beer; became the face of Madden NFL Football , one of the most successful sports video games of all-time; and was a best-selling author.
Most of all, he was the pre-eminent television sports analyst for most of his three decades calling games, winning an unprecedented 16 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports analyst/personality, and covering 11 Super Bowls for four networks from 1979-2009.
“People always ask, are you a coach or a broadcaster or a video game guy?” he said when was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “I’m a coach, always been a coach.”
Jean-Marc Vallée, a French-Canadian director who helmed a string of high-profile films and series after his breakout movie C.R.A.Z.Y. — winning an Emmy for the hit HBO series Big Little Lies and multiple nominations for the 2013 drama Dallas Buyers Club — died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City on Christmas Day at age 58.
Vallée, acclaimed for his naturalistic approach to filmmaking, directed stars including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal over the past decade.
He also directed and executive produced the HBO limited series Sharp Objects , which was nominated for eight Emmys.
HBO called Vallée a “brilliant, fiercely dedicated filmmaker,” in a statement.
“A truly phenomenal talent who infused every scene with a deeply visceral, emotional truth,” the statement said. “He was also a hugely caring man who invested his whole self alongside every actor he directed.”
Legendary comedic actor Betty White died at the age of 99 on Dec. 31, mere weeks before her 100th birthday on Jan. 17.
White, TV’s Golden Girl, was as a pioneer of early television and had a career spanning over nine decades, working longer in that medium than anyone else in the television industry.
She was best known as Sue Ann Nivens on the 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and for playing Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls in 1985.
White also had her own series, Life with Elizabeth , in 1952. She has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and was known for her tireless efforts on behalf of animals.
— With files from The Associated Press
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