With COVID-19 vaccination programs underway in dozens of countries, 2021 is looking to be a much more positive year in terms of global health. Sadly, while the world is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the journey of some individuals ended before they could even make it onto the other side of the pandemic. Those people include a number of personalities from Hollywood, music, sports, and other industries. And if you’re wondering who they are, below is a list of celebs we lost in 2021 so far.
Judy Bagwell (died November 5th, aged 78)
Judy Bagwell, mom of former World Championship Wrestling (WCW) star Buff Bagwell, died on November 5th. She was 78.
Buff announced his mom’s passing on Twitter, writing: “It is with a heavy heart we must announce that this past Friday the matriarch of the Bagwell family has passed away. Judy Bagwell was blessed with three amazing children, a loving husband and so many great memories over the years. Thank you to everyone that has asked about her over the years, and have kept her in your prayers during her battle with dementia. Judy Bagwell was 78. RIP Judy 1943-2021.”
Judy made several appearances on WCW television during Buff’s tenure with the defunct promotion. This included Judy’s unlikely reign with Rick Steiner as WCW World Tag Team Champion and Judy’s titular role in the classic Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match at the 2000 New Blood Rising pay-per-view between Buff and Chris Kanyon.
Al Harrington (died September 21st, aged 85)
Al Harrington, best known for his role as Detective Ben Kokua in the original Hawaii Five-O series, died on September 21st in Honolulu, Hawaii after suffering a massive stroke. He was 85.
After graduating with a degree in history at Stanford University, Harrington returned to Hawaii where he taught history and coached football while moonlighting as an entertainer in a tourist show in Waikiki. He eventually became popular and earned the well-known moniker “The South Pacific Man.” His big break came in 1972 when he landed the role of Ben Kokua in the original Hawaii Five-O series, which ran for 12 seasons on CBS from 1968 to 1980. Harrington returned to the franchise when he was cast in the recurring role of Mamo Kahike in the CBS reboot of the police procedural show.
Outside of the Hawaii Five-O franchise, Harrington appeared in series like Charlie’s Angels, The Jeffersons, Magnum P.I., and Scrubs among many others.
Melvin Van Peebles (died September 22nd, aged 89)
Melvin Van Peebles, best known for directing the 1970s films Watermelon Man and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, died on September 22nd at his home in Manhattan, New York, at the age of 89.
Dubbed as the godfather of modern Black cinema, Van Peebles was considered by many as an influential link to a younger generation of African American filmmakers that includes Spike Lee and John Singleton. Aside from being a filmmaker, the Chicago native also was a novelist, theater impresario, songwriter, musician, and painter.
In a statement confirming his father’s passing, filmmaker Mario Van Peebles said: “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.”
Richard Buckley (died September 19th, aged 72)
Fashion journalist and editor Richard Buckley died on September 19th at age 72. Buckley’s passing was confirmed by representatives of his husband Tom Ford in a statement that read: “It is with great sadness that Tom Ford announces the death of his beloved husband of 35 years, Richard Buckley. Richard passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles last night with Tom and their son Jack by his side. He died of natural causes after a prolonged illness.”
Born in Binghamton, New York, and was educated at the University of Maryland’s Munich campus, Buckley wrote for Vogue Italia and New York magazine, and worked as an editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Vanity Fair, and Vogue Hommes. He served as the editor-in-chief of Vogue Hommes from 1999 to 2005.
Anthony Johnson (died September 6th, aged 55)
Anthony “AJ” Johnson, best known for his role as Ezal in 1995’s buddy stoner film Friday, died on September 6th at age 55. The comedian’s passing was publicly announced by his representative LyNea Bell on September 20th. “The world of Comedy has truly been shaken, again. Our BH Talent family is heartbroken about the loss of the iconic legend of stage and screen Mr. Anthony “AJ” Johnson,” Bell said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold.”
While no cause of death has been publicly shared, Johnson’s nephew told TMZ that the actor was found lifeless in a store in Los Angeles and was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Johnson’s other notable acting roles include Spootie in the 1997 sex comedy film Def Jam’s How to Be a Player, L’il Man in 1998’s dark dramedy movie The Players Club, and Little Brother in 1998’s crime comedy flick I Got the Hook-Up.
Clive Sinclair (died September 16th, aged 81)
Clive Sinclair, an English entrepreneur and inventor who was best known for creating the ZX range of cheap microcomputers in the 1980s, died on September 16th in London after battling a cancer-related illness for over a decade. He was 81.
In 1961, Sinclair founded Sinclair Radionics, an electronics company that developed hi-fi products, radios, calculators, and scientific instruments. After creating the first slim-line electronic pocket calculator called Sinclair Executive in 1972, Sinclair shifted his focus into the production of home computers and released the Sinclair ZX80 in 1980. The launch of Sinclair ZX80, which was U.K.’s first mass-market home computer for less than £100, was followed by the release of ZX81 in 1981 and the release of ZX Spectrum in 1982. The latter was widely recognized by consumers and programmers for its importance in the early days of the British home computer industry.
Sinclair also formed Sinclair Vehicles in 1983, and under that company, he released a battery electric vehicle called Sinclair C5 as well as a 13-pound bicycle called A-bike, which folds down small enough to be carried on public transport.
Reuben Klamer (died September 14th, aged 99)
Reuben Klamer, the creator and designer of the modern version of the classic Milton Bradley board game The Game of Life, passed away on September 14th at age 99. Klamer was also the inventor of the original Fisher-Price Preschool Trainer Skates, the Art Linkletter Hoop, Gaylord the Walking Dog, Moon Rocks, Dolly Darlings, Erector-Constructor Sets, and Busy Blocks and Zoo-It-Yourself.
Aside from being a toy designer, Klamer also worked as special effects and props designer on a few TV shows, including NBC’s spy fiction series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the classic Star Trek TV series. Klamer notably developed the phaser rifle used in the first Star Trek installments.
Norm Macdonald (died September 14th, aged 61)
Norm Macdonald, best known for his role as desk anchor on the Saturday Night Live sketch Weekend Update, died on September 14th after a nine-year battle with leukemia. His longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra was by his side at the time of his death. Macdonald was 61 years old.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra said in a statement, announcing Macdonald’s passing. “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. Norm will be missed terribly.”
After appearing as a cast member on SNL from 1993 to 1998, MacDonald starred in the 1998 comedy film Dirty Work and in his own sitcom, The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons 1999 to 2001. In 2013, Macdonald started a video podcast called Norm Macdonald Live, on which he interviewed comedians and other celebrities. In 2018, he starred in the Netflix series Norm Macdonald Has a Show, which has a similar premise to his podcast.
Art Metrano (died September 8th, aged 84)
Stand-up comedian Art Metrano, who was best known for his role as police captain Ernie Mauser in the second and third Police Academy films, passed away on September 8th at the age of 84. His son, Harry, told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died of natural causes at his home in Aventura, Florida.
Though Metrano had been acting in movies and TV shows since 1961, his big break came in 1970, when he appeared as a stand-up comic on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Aside from his most memorable performance as Ernie in the Police Academy franchise, Metrano also famously appeared in the 1969’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, 1972’s The Heartbreak Kid, and 1981’s History of the World: Part I. He also starred in a one-man stage show called Metrano’s Accidental Comedy, which he performed in a wheelchair and on crutches, following his 1989 accident, in which he fell off a ladder while working on the roof of his house.
Phil Valentine (died August 21st, aged 61)
FM radio station WWTN revealed on Twitter that its employee Phil Valentine died after battling COVID-19. A conservative radio talk show host, Valentine recently made headlines for his public skepticism regarding the dangers of the coronavirus. But in July 2021, he became severely ill with the disease and was put on a ventilator. By August, he was sustained with an ECMO machine for several weeks before he died.
On his program on WWTN, Valentine had repeatedly downplayed the importance of getting a vaccine against the virus, saying last December that he believed his personal odds of dying from COVID-19 were “probably way less than one percent.” His message, however, changed in late July when he had been hospitalized.
“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’, and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” Valentine’s brother Mark said in a statement last July. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. And that he regrets. This is a real threat; it is a real public health crisis and it is something that if he had to do over again … his cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.”
Jane Withers (died August 7th, aged 95)
Jane Withers, one of the most popular child stars in Hollywood in the 1930s and early 1940s, died in Burbank, California, surrounded by her loved ones. The cause of her death was not disclosed.
“My mother was such a special lady,” Withers’ daughter, Kendall Errair, said in a statement to Deadline. “She lit up a room with her laughter, but she especially radiated joy and thankfulness when talking about the career she so loved and how lucky she was.”
Withers started her entertainment career at the age of 3 when he hosted her own children’s radio program in her home city of Atlanta, Georgia. In 1932, she and her mother moved to Hollywood, where she appeared as an extra in several movies until landing her breakthrough role as the spoiled, obnoxious Joy Smythe opposite Shirley Temple’s angelic orphan Shirley Blake in the 1934 film Bright Eyes. After appearing in a total of 38 films, she retired at age 21 in 1947.
Withers, however, returned to the small and big screens as a character actor in the 1950s. She then found renewed popularity in the 1960s and ‘70s as Josephine the Plumber in a series of TV commercials for Comet cleanser.
Jay Pickett (died July 30th, aged 60)
Jay Pickett, who famously played Russell Stewart in 1995’s Rumpelstiltskin, died in Idaho while on the set of the Western film Treasure Valley. The exact cause of death is not known as of this moment, but the veteran actor reportedly died of a suspected heart attack while sitting on a horse.
“Jay Pickett, our leading man, writer, producer, and creator of this movie passed away suddenly while we were on location preparing to film a scene,” Pickett’s Treasure Valley costar Travis Mills wrote in a post on the movie’s official Facebook page. “There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack. Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy.”
Pickett got his big break in the late 1990s when he originated the role of Frank Scanlon on Port Charles. He then went on to play the roles of Lorenzo Alcazar and Detective David Harper, both on General Hospital. In addition to Rumpelstiltskin, his other notable movie credits included A Matter of Faith, Abandoned, and A Soldier’s Revenge.
Lisa Banes (died June 14th, aged 65)
Lisa Banes, known for her role as Marybeth Elliott in the 2014 thriller film Gone Girl, passed away after suffering severe head trauma sustained from being hit by a scooter in New York City earlier this June. The said scooter ran a red light in Manhattan’s Upper West and immediately fled the location following the accident. The NYPD said there are no arrests yet and the investigation remains ongoing.
Banes, who is survived by her wife Kathryn Kranhold, started her acting career in the 1980s. Aside from Gone Girl, Banes also starred alongside Tom Cruise in the 1988 film Cocktail. Her TV credits include CBS’ The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, FX’s Son of a Beach, and USA Network’s Royal Pains.
Banes was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1984 for her performance in Isn’t It Romantic? and won a Theatre World Award for her role as Alison Porter off-Broadway in Look Back in Anger in 1981.
Ned Beatty (died June 13th, aged 83)
Character actor Ned Beatty passed away at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by friends and loved ones. According to his manager Deborah Miller, Beatty died of natural causes.
Beatty made his movie debut in the 1972 thriller Deliverance, in which he played the role of Bobby Trippe, a genial vacationer that was brutally raped by a backwoodsman. Since then, Beatty went on to take on several film roles, including Arthur Jensen in 1976’s Network, Lex Luthor’s henchman Otis in 1978’s Superman and its 1980’s sequel Superman II, and Josef Locke in 1991’s Hear My Song. Beatty was also the voice of Lotso in 2010’s Toy Story 3.
Beatty was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 49th Academy Awards for his performance in Network. He also scored a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nod for his role in Hear My Song.
Paul Mooney (died May 19th, aged 79)
Comedian Paul Mooney died of a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California. Mooney, whose real name is Paul Gladney, was best known as a writer for comedian Richard Pryor. Mooney helped Pryor write his several stand-up performances and albums, including Live on the Sunset Strip and Is It Something I Said. Pryor also served as the head writer on The Richard Pryor Show, where Mooney helped break new comedic talents, including Robin Williams, John Witherspoon, Sandra Bernhard, and Tim Reid.
Mooney also took on a number of onscreen roles like Sam Cooke in 1978’s The Buddy Holly Story, Junebug in Spike Lee’s 2000 satirical film Bamboozled, and Negrodamus in Chappelle’s Show. While Mooney’s humor was generally made out of the African-American experience, it’s actually a satirical analysis of racial politics in the U.S., with many of his jokes and punchlines mirroring the deeper pain and injustice caused by racism.
Charles Grodin (died May 18th, aged 86)
Charles Grodin, who was best known for co-starring with Robert De Niro in the 1988 action-comedy film Midnight Run, died of bone marrow cancer at his home in Wilton, Connecticut.
Aside from Midnight Run, Grodin was also famous for appearing in 1992’s Beethoven, 1976’s King Kong, and 1972’s The Heartbreak Kid, which earned him a Golden Globe Best Actor nomination. After he retired from acting in the mid-1990s, Grodin wrote several autobiographies and became a talk show host on CNBC and a political commentator for 60 Minutes II. He returned to acting with a number of roles in the mid-2010s, including in Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie and Noah Baumbach’s 2014 film While We’re Young.
Don Kernodle (died May 17th, aged 71)
Ex-WWE star and multi-time NWA Tag Champion Don Kernodle had been suffering from several health issues prior to his passing. But in the May 18th episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer reported that Kernodle died by suicide after allegedly visiting the doctor to get his heart checked, and receiving a “bad diagnosis” in the process.
Kernodle, who served as a deputy sheriff with the Alamance County sheriff’s office in North Carolina, following his pro wrestling days, was scheduled to be inducted into the Lou Thesz/George Tragos Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in July.
Tawny Kitaen (died May 7th, aged 59)
Actress-model Tawny Kitaen, who starred as Tom Hanks’ fiancée in the 1984 comedy film Bachelor Party, passed away in her Newport Beach, California home on the morning of May 7th. Her cause of death has yet to be revealed.
Aside from Bachelor Party, Kitaen also starred in the movies Witchboard, White Hot, and Dead Tides. She’s also best known as the original music video vixen, appearing in many music videos for the hard rock band Whitesnake, including Here I Go Again, Still of the Night, and The Deeper the Love. Kitaen also starred in Ratt’s Back for More music video and appeared on the covers of two albums of the heavy metal band.
Nick Kamen (died May 4th, aged 59)
Model and singer-songwriter Nick Kamen died on May 4th after a long battle with bone marrow cancer. Bearing a resemblance to a young Elvis Presley, Kamen became a household name after starring in an advert for Levi’s 501 stonewashed denim back in the ‘80s.
The Levi’s ad led Kamen to the world of music. In 1986, the British celebrity released his first ever single titled Each Time You Break My Heart, which was written by Madonna herself and was originally intended as one of the tracks of her third album True Blue. Kamen also recorded the 1990 song I Promised Myself, which achieved success in Austria and Sweden where it topped the charts.
Anne Douglas (died April 29th, aged 102)
Anne Douglas, the widow of the late Oscar-nominated actor and Spartacus star Kirk Douglas, passed away in the afternoon of April 29th. The cause of her death was not disclosed, but family spokesperson Marcia Newberger said in a statement that she died “peacefully” at her home in Beverly Hills.
A philanthropist and publicist, Anne tied the knot with Kirk in 1954 and had two sons. Anne, who served as a co-executive producer in the 2009 documentary film Kirk Douglas: Before I Forget, is survived by her children Peter and Joel.
Michael Collins (died April 28th, aged 90)
NASA astronaut Michael Collins passed away after battling cancer. According to a statement posted on Collins’ Facebook page, Collins “spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side.”
Collins flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the Moon in 1969 while his crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made the first crewed landing on the surface. He was also a test pilot and major general in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.
In a statement, NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk called Collins “a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration.” Though some people called him “the loneliest man in history” while his colleagues walked on the moon for the first time, Jurczyk emphasized that Collins played a huge role in helping the U.S. achieve the historic milestone.
Prince Philip (died April 9th, aged 99)
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg, passed away at Windsor Castle two months before his 100th birthday on June 10th. The cause of death was not disclosed, but the British royal family said he died peacefully.
A Greece-born royal, Philip married his third cousin Queen Elizabeth in 1947. He became British consort to the sovereign after King George VI died in 1952, making him the longest-serving consort to a British sovereign. Philip retired from his royal duties in August 2017, having completed 22,000 solo engagements, 637 overseas visits, delivered an estimated 5,493 speeches, and worked as a patron to almost 800 organizations.
DMX (died April 9th, aged 50)
Rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, died at White Plains Hospital, a few days after he was placed on life support following a heart attack at his home possibly resulting from drug overdose.
DMX, aka Dark Man X, began rapping in the early 1990s and released his debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998. He went on to release seven more studio albums, including 1999’s …And Then There Was X, which earned him three Grammy nods, including a nomination in the Best Rap Album category. He also parlayed his growing fame into an acting career, appearing in a number of movies including, 2000’s Romeo Must Die and 2003’s Cradle 2 The Grave.
Sadly, DMX’s achievements as a rapper and actor were often overshadowed by his issues with substance abuse and run-ins with the law.
Jessica Walter (died March 24th, aged 80)
Award-winning actress Jessica Walter died in her sleep at her home in Manhattan, New York. The cause of her death was not disclosed.
Walter started her six-decade-spanning acting career in New York City where she appeared in several Broadway productions including Advise and Consent, A Severed Head, Nightlife, and Photo Finish, for which she won the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Newcomer. On the movie front, the Brooklyn native earned a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for her role in the 1971 psychological thriller film Play Misty for Me.
A few years later, Walter won an Emmy for playing the titular role on the NBC limited series Amy Prentiss, which was a spinoff of the crime drama Ironside. While she took on several other TV roles over the years, Walter was best known for her hilarious turn as Lucille Bluth in the beloved sitcom Arrested Development. In 2005, Walter got an Emmy nomination for her performance as Lucille.
Richard Gilliland (died March 18th, aged 71)
Character actor Richard Gilliland passed away following a short illness in Los Angeles, California. Gilliland was the husband of actress Jean Smart, whom he met on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. Gilliland played the recurring role of J.D. Shackelford in the Golden Globe-nominated series, while Smart was part of the main cast, portraying Charlene Frazier-Stillfield.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Gilliland rose to prominence for his stint as Sgt. Steve DiMaggio on the NBC police procedural series McMillan & Wife from 1976 to 1977. He then went on to appear as Lt. Nick Holden on ABC’s adaptation of Operation Petticoat in 1977 to 1978, and became a series regular on ABC’s Just Our Luck in 1983 and CBC’s Heartland in 1989. His most recent TV credits were Bravo’s Imposters and CBS’ Criminal Minds.
Cliff Simon (died March 9th, aged 58)
South African athlete and actor Cliff Simon was killed in a kiteboarding accident on Topanga Beach in California. The news of his passing was confirmed by his wife Colette Simon in a Facebook post on the actor’s account. “He was known to most of you on this page as the villain you loved to hate, Ba’al, from Stargate SG-1. But as he said, ‘acting is what I do, it’s only a part of who I am.’ And he was SO much more — a true original, an adventurer, a sailor, swimmer, dancer, actor, author,” wrote Colette. “There is a gaping hole where he once stood on this earth. He was loved by too many to mention and had a great impact on so many lives.”
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Simon, who was a gymnast and swimmer, moved the U.K. in the ‘80s to pursue his dreams of being in the Olympics. He then relocated to the U.S. in 2000 to get more acting projects. Aside from Stargate SG-1, Simon also appeared on NBC’s Days of Our Lives, FX’s The Americans, and Amazon Prime Video’s Personal Space.
Floyd Little (died January 1st, aged 78)
Football player Floyd Little died at his home in Nevada after years of fighting neuroendocrine tumors, a rare cell cancer. Little was a halfback for the Denver Broncos during his entire National Football League (NFL) career, which spanned from 1967 to 1975.
Little’s best season was 1971 when he won the NFL rushing title with 1,133 yards while playing on a team that finished last in its division with a record of 4-9-1. Little, who made the Pro Bowl five times, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Gerry Marsden (January 3rd, aged 78)
Gerry Marsden, the leader of the Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers, died at Arrowe Park Hospital in Northwest England after being diagnosed with a blood infection in his heart.
Formed in 1599, Gerry and the Pacemakers were the second group signed by Brian Epstein, next to the Beatles. Gerry and the Pacemakers’ hits include How Do You Do It, I Like It, and You’ll Never Walk Alone from the musical Carousel, which became the anthem for his hometown football team, Liverpool FC.
After the Gerry and the Pacemakers disbanded in 1966, Marsden had a low-key career on TV, including a regular slot in the British children’s television The Sooty Show.
Marion Ramsey (January 7th, aged 73)
Marion Ramsey, best known for her portrayal of the soft-spoken Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy films, passed away after a short illness.
Aside from starring in the six movies of Police Academy from 1984 to 1989, Ramsey was also a series regular on the ABC sketch comedy TV series Cos, in which she played various roles. She also provided the voice of D.I. Holler on ABC’s animated series The Addams Family.
John Reilly (died January 9th, aged 86)
John Reilly, popular for his role as Sean Donely in the daytime soap opera General Hospital, died of a heart attack. The Soap Opera Digest-nominated actor first appeared on the ABC series in 1984 and recurred through 2013.
In addition to General Hospital, Reilly also appeared on the NBC soap operas Sunset Beach and Passions. He also had a recurring role on Fox’s teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 and provided the voice to various characters in Iron Man: The Animated Series from 1994 to 1996.
Sylvain Sylvain (died January 13th, aged 69)
Musician Sylvain Sylvain, real name Sylvain Mizrahi, passed away after fighting cancer for two and a half years. He was a founding member of the American rock band New York Dolls, which gained a cult following partly because of its members’ androgynous look complete with makeup and high heels.
The band, whose original members included vocalist David Johansen, drummer Billy Murcia, and guitarists Johnny Thunders, Rick Rivets, and Arthur “Killer” Kane, has been credited with heavily influencing rock and New Wave music. Formed in 1971, the band split in 1977, reformed in 2004, and broke up again in 2011.
Siegfried Fischbacher (died January 13th, aged 81)
One-half of the magician duo Siegfried & Roy, Siegfried Fischbacher passed away in Las Vegas just two days after he announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Fischbacher’s death came eight months after his longtime professional partner and friend Roy Horn died in May from complications caused by COVID-19. Horn was 75.
Best known for their performances with white lions and white tigers, Fischbacher and Horn had a Las Vegas show called Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino, which ran from February 1st, 1990 until Horn’s career-ending injury on his birthday on October 3rd, 2003. Months later, Fischbacher and Horn started serving as executive producers on the short-lived NBC animated series Father of the Pride, which was partly based on their Las Vegas show.
Joanne Rogers (died January 14th, aged 92)
The death of Joanne Rogers, the widow of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood star Fred Rogers, was announced by non-profit organization Fred Rogers Productions. Her cause of death was not disclosed in the statement.
“Fred Rogers Productions is deeply saddened by the passing of Joanne Rogers,” read the announcement. “The loving partner of Fred Rogers for more than 50 years, she continued their shared commitment to supporting children and families after his death as chair of the board of Fred Rogers Productions.”
The company also called Joanne “a brilliant and accomplished musician” and “a wonderful advocate for the arts.”
Don Sutton (died January 19th, aged 75)
Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton died in his sleep at his home in California. Sutton lost his left kidney after being diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2002 and part of his lungs was removed the following year. In 2019, he fractured his left femur.
Sutton spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which retired his famed No. 20 jersey in 1998, the same year he was elected to the National Baseball (MLB) Hall of Fame. He also pitched for the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and the California Angels.
During his time in the MLB, he won 324 games, pitched 58 shutouts, and struck out 3,574 batters ― the seventh-most in MLB history. Following his playing career, Sutton worked as a broadcaster for several teams, notably for Atlanta Braves. He called Braves games on TV and radio for almost three decades.
Hank Aaron (died January 22nd, aged 86)
Baseball legend Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron died of natural causes in his sleep at his home in Atlanta. Nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank,” was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 following a distinguished MLB career highlighted by 755 home runs ― a career record that stood for more than 30 years.
Aaron famously broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in the face of racism. As he was trying to surpass Ruth’s record, Aaron was taunted at ballparks, received death threats and racist hate mails.
“There were times during the chase when I was so angry and tired and sick of it all that I wished I could get on a plane and not get off until I was someplace where they never heard of Babe Ruth,” Aaron wrote in his I Had a Hammer autobiography. “But damn it all, I had to break that record. I had to do it for Jackie Robinson [first African American to play in MLB in the modern era] and my people and myself and for everybody who ever called me a (N-word).”
Song Yoo-jung (died January 23rd, aged 26)
Song Yoo-jung was found dead on January 23rd. Though her management agency, Sublime Artist Agency, didn’t announce the cause of her death, her passing comes in the wake of multiple suicides from young entertainers in South Korea.
Song made her acting debut on the MBC series Golden Rainbow in 2013 and became more popular for her role in the 2014 drama Make a Wish that aired on the same cable channel. She also appeared in the KBS2 series School 2017.
Hal Holbrook (died January 23rd, aged 95)
Veteran actor Hal Holbrook, best known for his portrayal of Mark Twain, died at his home in California. Holbrook won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1966 for his portrayal of Twain in the one-man stage show Mark Twain Tonight!, which he developed himself. He performed the show for over 60 years, only retiring the show in 2017 due to his failing health.
Holbrook also appeared in several films and TV series during his career, which spanned for almost 70 years. He got an Oscar nomination for his performance as Ron Franz in the 2007 biographical drama film Into the Wild and won a total of five Emmys for his roles in The Bold Ones: The Senator, Pueblo, Lincoln, and Portrait of America. He also played the recurring role of Nate Madock on FX’s Sons of Anarchy.
Cloris Leachman (died January 27th, aged 94)
Film and TV icon Cloris Leachman died in her sleep from natural causes at her home in California. During her career of more than seven decades, Leachman won eight Emmys from 22 nominations making her the most nominated and, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, most awarded actress in Emmy history. She also won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role as the jaded wife of a closeted schoolteacher in the 1971 coming-of-age drama The Last Picture Show.
Leachman was also known for her performances in the sitcoms Raising Hope, Malcolm in the Middle, and Phyllis. Her most recent acting credits include Mad About You revival series, American Gods, and The Croods: A New Age.
Cicely Tyson (died January 28th, aged 96)
Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson, best known for her portrayal of strong African-American women, died just two days after her memoir, Just As I Am, was published. The cause of her death was not disclosed.
Tyson rose to prominence for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in the 1972 drama film Sounder, which earned her an Oscar nomination and an Emmy nod. Her portrayal of the title role in the 1974 TV movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman won her two Emmy Awards and a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her most recent acting roles include Ophelia Harkness on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder and Miss Luma Lee Langston on OWN’s Cherish the Day.
Marc Wilmore (died January 30th, aged 57)
TV writer and producer Marc Wilmore died while battling COVID-19 and other health issues at a hospital in California. Wilmore was best known for his work on The Simpsons. He wrote 12 episodes of the Fox animated series and served as producer on over 300 episodes.
Wilmore received 10 Emmy nods, winning the prize for the outstanding animated program in 2008 for a Simpsons episode titled Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind. Aside from The Simpsons, his writing credits also include the Netflix animated series F Is for Family, the 1990s comedy show In Living Color, and the NBC late-night talk show The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno.
Dustin Diamond (died February 1st, aged 44)
Dustin Diamond, who rose to fame for his portrayal of Screech in the original Saved by the Bell series, died three weeks after he was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, also known as lung cancer. Diamond’s girlfriend, Tash Jules, was by the actor’s side when he died.
After starring in Saved by the Bell, Dustin also appeared in a number of reality shows, including Celebrity Big Brother, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2, and Celebrity Championship Wrestling.
Dianne Durham (died February 4th, aged 52)
Artistic gymnast Dianne Durham died after a short illness at a Chicago hospital. Durham rose to prominence after winning the all-around senior title at the women’s U.S National Championships in 1983. Her overall performance in the competition earned her four gold medals and the distinction of being the first African American gymnast to become the U.S. all-around champion.
After injuries and competition stipulations prevented her from competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics, Durham retired from the competition the following year. Durham became a coach at the University of Illinois in Chicago and later ran her own gymnastics school Skyline Gymnastics. Durham was inducted to the U.S. Gymnastics Regional Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Her personality was bubbly and she was a very charismatic individual who was respected and admired by a lot of people,” Durham’s husband Tom Drahozal said of the late athlete-turned-coach. “Whether highest level or recreation class, all the students admired her because she treated them all the same.”
Leon Spinks (February 5th, aged 67)
Former world heavyweight champion Leon Spinks passed away at a hospital in Nevada two years after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Spinks represented the U.S. during the 1976 Olympics in Canada as a light heavyweight and won a gold medal. He, however, was best known for defeating Muhammad Ali in a split decision in Las Vegas in 1978. Seven months later, Spinks and Ali met had a rematch in New Orleans, where Ali won and reclaimed the heavyweight title.
Outside of boxing, Spinks also had a brief career as a professional wrestler in the 1990s, working for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) and holding the FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship in 1992.
Christopher Plummer (died February 5th, aged 91)
Christopher Plummer, best known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp in the 1965 musical drama film The Sound of Music, passed away at his home in Connecticut. According to his wife Elaine Taylor, Plummer died from a blow to the head resulting from a fall.
A trained Shakespearean actor, Plummer started his over 70 years of career in theater, winning Tony Awards for his work in stage productions of Cyrano and Barrymore almost a quarter-century apart. On the movie front, Plummer won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in the 2010 romantic dramedy Beginners, and got two other Oscar nominations for his performances in the 2009 biographical drama The Last Station and in the 2018 crime drama All the Money in the World.
His other notable roles include a Klingon general in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the voice of the villain in the Pixar animated movie Up, and his Emmy-winning role as Roscoe Heyward in the NBC miniseries The Moneychangers.
Pedro Gomez (died February 7th, aged 58)
Sports journalist Pedro Gomez died unexpectedly at home. No cause of death was given. Gomez joined ESPN in 2013 as a reporter, contributing to the network’s SportsCenter show until his death.
Prior to joining ESPN, Gomez was a sports columnist and national baseball writer for about six years at The Arizona Republic. He covered 25 World Series and 22 Major League Baseball All-Star Games throughout his entire career.
Mary Wilson (died February 8th, aged 76)
The Supremes founding member Mary Wilson died of high blood pressure as a result of artery blockages at her home in Nevada. Her death came just two days after she had announced on YouTube that she was planning to release new solo material with Universal Music Group, which she hoped would be released before her 77th birthday on March 6th.
Founded as The Primettes in Michigan in 1959, The Supremes are the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and are America’s most successful vocal group to date. Aside from Wilson, the two other original members of The Supremes are Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. After the group disbanded in 1977, Wilson became a New York Times best-selling author with the 1986 release of her first autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme.
Marty Schottenheimer (died February 8th, aged 77)
Former NFL linebacker and coach Marty Schottenheimer passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. Schottenheimer was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs for 10 seasons and finished with a 101-58-1 regular-season record, the highest total during any 10-year span in the franchise’s history. He also coached three other teams: the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers for five seasons each and the Washington Redskins for a season.
Eighth in career wins at 205 and seventh in regular-season wins at 200, Schottenheimer has the most wins of an NFL head coach to not win a championship. He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2010.
Celebs We Lost In 2020
Died December 10th, aged 76
Actress Carol Sutton died at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans due to complications from COVID-19. She was interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in New Orleans.
Sutton joined the Dashiki Project Theatre in the 1960s and began acting in New Orleans theater productions such as The Last Madam, Native Tongues, and A Raisin in the Sun. She made the leap to television in 1974, in which she appeared in the TV movie The Autobiography of Miss Pittman, starring Cicely Tyson in the title role. From there, Sutton went on to land roles in films like Monster’s Ball, Ray, Steel Magnolias and The Help. Her other TV credits include Tremé, True Detective, and Lovecraft Country.
Died November 8th, aged 80
The Canadian-born TV host had been a regular fixture on the small screen since 1963, but rose to mainstream fame and fortune as the host of Jeopardy since 1984, racking up an impressive 37 seasons at the helm of the popular game show.
Trebek was no strange to cameo appearances either, having appeared in everything from The X-Files to Orange Is the New Black, and following his passing after a long battle with pancreatic cancer his final credit will be for playing himself in Ryan Reynolds blockbuster Free Guy.
Died November 2nd, aged 67
Actor and comedian John Sessions built up an eclectic and diverse array of film and television projects throughout his career, dating back to one of his earliest roles opposite the esteemed likes of Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins and Daniel Day-Lewis in 1984’s The Bounty.
Sessions remained incredibly busy throughout his career until suffering a fatal hert attack, showing up everywhere from Gangs of New York and The Iron Lady to Sherlock and Outlander, via guest spots on virtually every major British panel show over the last three decades.
Died October 31st, aged 90
Sean Connery may have quietly retired from the public eye following his disastrous experience on comic book adaptation The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003 until his death, but the Scottish screen legend leaves behind an iconic legacy.
As well as his tenure as the first and arguably best James Bond, Connery starred in countless classics from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to The Rock, via an Academy Award-winning performance in crime classic The Untouchables.
Died October 16th, aged 77
You might not instantly recognize the name, but Vietnam veteran Anthony Chisolm was one of the most distinguished stage actors of his generation, with multiple awards and countless further nominations under his belt.
On the big screen, Chisolm worked with Spike Lee in Chi-Raq and appeared opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Premium Rush, as well as playing Burr Redding on three seasons of acclaimed and severely underrated TV drama Oz.
Died October 12th, aged 77
Conchata Ferrell might be best known as Two and a Half Men’s housekeeper Berta, a role that saw her land two Emmy nominations, but the actress had a solid career on television dating all the way back to 1974, right up to her passing last month at the age of 77.
Ferrell was seen everywhere from Edward Scissorhands, Mr. Deeds and True Romance to L.A. Law and Murder, She Wrote in a career based on her warm, fiercely outgoing and typically larger than life personality.
Eddie Van Halen
Died October 6th, aged 65
Quite simply one of the greatest and most influential guitarists that’s ever lived, Eddie Van Halen left behind a rock n’ roll legacy that few will be able to match, leaving behind a legacy that inspired generations.
Van Halen had been suffering from various health problems for years that had severely impacted his ability to perform, but even as his career started to wind down towards his eventual death from lung cancer at the age of 65 he still cast a shadow over all of rock music.
Died October 6th, aged 80
Johnny Nash was most famous for the 1972 classic “I Can See Clearly Now”, which is one of the most-played songs in history, but he had a long and varied career that covered a multitude of musical genres.
Nash was one of the first Americans to record reggae music in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, and while he was never very prolific following his heyday in the 1970s and 80s, he recorded seventeen studio and his most famous song has been featured in countless forms of media.
Died October 4th, aged 63
Clark Middleton may have been small in stature but he had a huge personality, and found a new lease of life as a cult favorite after starring as the scene-stealing Glen Carter in The Blacklist.
The diminutive actor also showed up in projects as diverse as Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Sin City, Fringe, Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where he was rarely found shrinking into the background.
Died September 10th, aged 82
Dame Diana Rigg may have landed her career-defining role as early as 1965 when she was cast as Emma Peel in British spy series The Avengers, but she found a whole new fanbase as Game of Thrones’ Olenna Tyrell in the later stages of her career.
Between those two impressive bookends, Rigg also starred in James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and will receive a posthumous credit for the last role completed before her death at the age of 82 in Edgar Wright’s upcoming horror Last Night in Soho.
Died August 28th, aged 43
Chadwick Boseman’s death at the age of 43 came as a monumental shock because the actor had kept his four-year battle with colon cancer a secret from everyone except his very closest friends and family.
The 43 year-old left behind a lasting legacy, most notably as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther, playing the lead role in a blockbuster that was less of a mere movie and more of a genuine cultural event.
Died August 18th, aged 72
Best known for playing the lead role of Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire, Ben Cross was also a respected stage actor that appeared in some of the biggest shows of the modern era on both London’s West End and New York’s Broadway.
While he never found a role as substantial or career-defining as Chariots of Fire again, Cross was a regular presence on film and television over the next four decades and cropped up everywhere from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek to found footage disaster movie The Hurricane Heist.
Olivia de Havilland
Died July 27th, aged 104
Olivia de Havilland’s death marked the end of an era, as she was the last surviving star from the Golden Age of Hollywood, as well as the oldest living Academy Award winner.
Gone with the Wind’s Melanie Hamilton was her most famous role, but de Havilland picked up five Oscar nominations in total and starred in a series of critical and commercial hits from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Died July 25th, aged 83
Anyone with even a passing interest in 1980s horror is more than familiar with John Saxon after he starred in Black Christmas and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but he initially broke out almost 30 years previously as a teen hearthhrob.
In his later years, Saxon’s square-jawed and all-American image were put to good use in a series of B-level projects, but for many people his career-defining role will always be opposite Bruce Lee as Enter the Dragon’s Roper.
Died July 25th, aged 73
As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green had long since ascended to legendary status in the music industry, and his guitar playing abilities were lauded by some true titans of the business like Eric Clapton and B.B. King.
A regular fixture at the top end of any list that attempts to rank the greatest guitarists in history, Green left behind a back catalog of stone-cold classics from Fleetwood Mac’s most well-known songs to some of the deeper cuts from his solo discography.
Died July 24th, aged 88
Regis Philbin more than lived up to the reputation frequently bestowed upon him as the hardest working man in show business, with vision presenter, talk show host, game show host, actor and singer listed among his various vocations.
A fixture on the small screen for over half a century, Philbin’s exuberant personality became synonymous with his work ethic, and he also made countless cameos as himself in a variety of movies and TV shows ranging from Little Nicky to Family Guy.
Died July 12th, aged 57
Eleven years after the loss of his son Jett, John Travolta suffered even more personal tragedy when his wife of almost 30 years Kelly Preston passed away after a privately fought battle against breast cancer.
Rising to fame in the 1980s, Preston showed expert comic timing and plenty of screen presence in movies like Twins, Jerry Maguire and Sky High, although her personal commitments had seen her slow down her output over the last decade.
Died July 8th, aged 33
There was an outpouring of grief when Naya Rivera’s body was recovered from California’s Lake Piru, with the former Glee star just 33 years of age and with her four year-old son when she was tragically drowned.
Rivera was on a break between seasons of TV series Step Up in which she played the lead role, and had a hugely bright future ahead of her in the industry before she was taken in the most tragic of circumstances.
Died July 6th, aged 91
A legendary composer, Ennio Morricone has been cited as a massive inspiration by artists as singular and wildly different as Quentin Tarantino and Metallica, both of whom have used his music throughout their own careers.
As well as selling over 70 million records, the Italian composed the iconic scores to numerous classic movies including Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy, Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and The Hateful Eight.
Died July 3rd, aged 102
Bermudan-born Earl Cameron was one of the first black actors to enjoy mainstream success in the United Kingdom, becoming the first to star on London’s West End before going on to play a major role in 1951 movie Pool of London.
Throughout his extensive career, Cameron would also show up in James Bond sequel Thunderball and make his final feature film appearance in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, and starred in some British TV classics like Doctor Who, The Prisoner and many, many more.
Died June 29th, aged 98
One of the finest comedians to ever grace Hollywood, Carl Reiner found a whole new legion of fans later in his career after playing the wizened old sage of Danny Ocean’s crew in Steven Soderbergh’s breezy blockbuster trilogy.
Long before that he’s carved out his niche as a regular collaborator of Mel Brooks, and played a huge part in launching Steve Martin’s career after co-writing and directing The Jerk and The Man with Two Brains.
Died June 22nd, aged 80
Joel Schumacher became something of a puncline later in his career owing to his reputation as the man that killed the Batman franchise with Batman & Robin, but he built up a solid filmography throughout his lengthy career in the upper echelons of Hollywood’s directorial elite.
The Lost Boys, Flatliners, The Client, Falling Down, A Time to Kill, Tigerland and Phone Booth are all distinctly different movies in terms of both tone and genre, proving Schumacher to be a talented and versatile filmmaker.
Died 19th June, aged 88
Audiences will continue to enjoy the work of Ian Holm for generations thanks to his appearances as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the classically trained thespian was already one of the most respected talents in the business long before then.
After scoring an Academy Award nomination for Chariots of Fire in 1981, Holm went on to appear in cult classics, awards season favorites and blockbusters alike including Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fifth Element, Garden State, The Aviator and Ratatouille.
Died June 18th, aged 103
One of the most popular entertainers in the United Kingdom during World War II, Dame Vera Lynn’ long-lasting legacy saw her top the country’s album charts in 2009 at the age of 92 and become the first centenarian to score a Top 10 album when her greatest hits were released to celebrate the landmark.
Known as the ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’, Vera Lynn traveled everywhere during the conflict to entertain and raise morale among British troops, and her contributions were never forgotten over the following seven decades.
Died May 26th, aged 77
Anthony James was never leading man material, but he still showed up in a number of fantastic movies, having spent the vast majority of his career being typecast as the bad guy or a henchman of some description.
James lent his distinctive looks to In the Heat of the Night, Vanishing Point, High Plains Drifter, The Naked Gun 2 ½ and many more. After appearing in so many Westerns, it was fitting that his final feature film role came in Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, one of the genre’s finest efforts.
Died May 26th, aged 87
A regular on the convention circuit after playing characters in beloved sci-fi shows V, Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager, not to mention his recurring appearances as George Costanza’s boss on Sienfeld, Richard Herd was just as energetic offscreen as he was on it.
Herd is also part of a unique piece of Hollywood trivia, as he made his feature film debut in 1970’s Hercules in New York, which also happened to mark the first appearance of a young Austrian by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Died May 15th, aged 88
Despite making his screen debut in 1966, it wasn’t until the last fifteen years or so that Fred Willard gained the most widespread mainstream recognition of his career after showing up to lend support in a series of hit comedies.
A regular collaborator of Christopher Guest dating back to This Is Spinal Tap, Willard appeared in some major box office successes in the comedy arena like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Anchorman and Wall-E, and was always a welcome presence.
Died May 16th, aged 54
Lynn Shelton was a unique and singular voice in American independent cinema, and many of her contemporaries were stricken with grief when she passed from acute myeloid leukemia at the age of just 54.
As well as directing nine feature films of her own, Shelton also stepped behind the camera for several of the finest shows of the modern era, calling the shots on episodes of Mad Men, Master of None, GLOW and Little Fires Everywhere.
Died May 11th, aged 92
While he may have eventually been eclipsed in terms of status and fame by his son Ben, Jerry Stiller had a solid career of his own dating back to the 1950s, and he formed a popular comedy duo with his wife Anne Meara.
It was a late-career resurgence as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld that brought him back into the public eye, leading to a series of scene-stealing supporting parts over the next two decades that showed he hadn’t lost any of his impeccable comic timing.
Died May 9th, aged 87
You don’t get a nickname like ‘The Innovator, the Originator and the Architect of Rock n’ Roll’ without leaving an indelible impact on the music industry, and that’s exactly what Little Richard did over a legendary career that spanned seven decades.
A charismatic showman with a flair for the theatrical, his stage presence and unique vocal range made him an icon and inspiration to countless musicians, and his influence can be felt everywhere from pop and rock to soul and funk
Died May 8th, aged 75
Magicians and entertainers Siegfried & Roy were genuine megastars during their pomp, commanding massive audiences and earning millions of dollars thanks to their legendary stage show.
Sadly, after an infamous incident where he was attacked onstage by a tiger in 2003, Roy Horn scaled back his onstage presence before retiring in 2010, and died in a Las Vegas hospital this year after suffering complications related to COVID-19.
Died April 30th, aged 56
Sam Lloyd was best known for starring 95 episodes of Scrubs as downtrodden lawyer and musical aficionado Ted Buckland, but he’d also appeared in some of the most popular shows of the era such as The West Wing, Seinfeld and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
He also recorded two studio albums with his a capella group The Blanks, and their numerous guest spots on scrubs saw them build up a large following thanks to the hit show’s sizable audience.
Died April 29th, aged 53
Irrfan Kahn had only made a few appearances in Hollywood movies, but they largely tended to be in massive blockbusters that did big business at the box office like Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider-Man and Jurassic World.
In his native India, Khan was a huge star that racked up plenty of awards recognition during his career and is widely regarded as one of the finest talents his country had seen for decades, making his death at the age of 53 all the more tragic.
Died April 15th, aged 77
Academy Award nominated cinematographer Allen Daviau was one of Steven Spielberg’s go-to collaborators in the 1980s after working with the director on E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun.
Picking up five Oscar nods in total during his career, Daviau was also responsible for lensing other movies such as Barry Levinson’s Avalon and Bugsy, Frank Marshall’s Congo and Stephen Sommers’ Van Helsing, which marked his last feature film credit.
Died April 15th, aged 81
A respected veteran of both stage and screen, Brian Dennehy had a trophy cabinet that housed an Oliver Award, two Tonys and a Golden Globe, as well as picking up six Emmy nods during a distinguished career.
His most famous film role was as the antagonist in Rambo: First Blood, but Dennehy kept busy right up until his death at the age of 81, and was most recently seen in a recurring role on The Blacklist.
Died April 5th, aged 94
Much like her contemporary Diana Rigg, who also passed away this year, Honor Blackman was also a star of spy series The Avengers before going on to become a Bond Girl as the iconic Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, arguably the best entry in the franchise’s illustrious history.
Blackman also played Hera in legendary Ray Harryhausen adventure Jason and the Argonauts in 1963, but despite slowing down her output in later decades, the 94 year-old still left behind an impressive legacy.
Died April 2nd, aged 16
A 16 year-old struggling with opioid addiction is a terrible thing to hear, and Logan Williams’ mother revealed her son had been battling against his demons for three years before a tragic overdose earlier this year.
The world looked to be at the youngster’s feet after starring in The Flash as a young Barry Allen, but the pressures of the industry became too much for the rising star and his last onscreen appearance came in TV series When Calls the Heart in 2016.
Died March 30th, aged 81
Although Bill Withers was the man behind several all-time classic songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean on Me”, “Lovely Day” and “Just the Two of Us”, winning three Grammys in the process, he was a professional musician for just fifteen years.
Withers was well into his 30s by the time he found success, and abandoned the music industry almost entirely after growing disillusioned with the behind the scenes politics of the recording business, but his most famous songs will endure forever.
Died March 24th, aged 72
He may never have established himself as an elite-level directorial talent, but Stuart Gordon was responsible for more than a few cult classics during his lengthy career as a feature filmmaker, theatrical director, writer and playwright.
Although he was best known for working in the horror genre having directed Re-Animator, From Beyond and Fortress, Gordon also wrote hit kids movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, proving that his output wasn’t solely restricted to scaring audiences senseless.
Died March 20th, aged 81
The perma-tanned country legend enjoyed a career that saw him find success in seven different decades before he retired from performing in 2017, selling well over 100 million records and gaining a well-earned reputation as a titan of the music industry.
Releasing 39 studio albums and writing some of the most popular songs of the modern era, Kenny Rogers’ legacy will last for a long time as countless new generations discover his work and the innumerable artists that name him as a direct influence and inspiration.
Died March 11th, aged 78
If you’ve been to even a halfway decent restaurant, then chances are you’ve been impacted by Michel Roux’s legacy on the culinary industry, with the chef and restaurateur revolutionizing modern cuisine alongside brother Albert.
He may have been an outspoken critic of cooking shows designed for entertainment, but any chef that’s fronted their own series owes a huge debt to Michel Roux with Gordon Ramsay just one of many celebrity chefs to have studied under his learning tree.
Max Von Sydow
Died 8th March, aged 90
Not many actors in film history can claim that they worked with as many legendary directors as Max Von Sydow, who collaborated with Ingmar Bergman, John Huston, William Friedkin, Sydney Pollack, David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and many more.
Over a career spanning 71 years, Von Sydow was renowned for his intensity and imposing screen presence, and whether he was appearing in atmospheric dramas or mega-budget blockbusters, he could always be relied on to deliver a memorable performance no matter how big or small the role.
Died March 3rd, aged 38
Nicholas Tucci was a Yale graduate who spent years flitting around various movies and TV shows in Hollywood without landing on that one big breakout role that would go on to define his career, which was sadly cut short at the age of just 38.
Best known for subversive 2011 horror You’re Next, Tucci also lent his voice to several video games and had guest spots on shows like Person of Interest, Homeland, Quantico, Daredevil, Pose and The Blacklist.
Died March 2nd, aged 93
James Lipton initially tried to make it as an actor, but he eventually found long-lasting fame as the host and dryly charismatic frontman of the Inside the Actors Studio series that he hosted for 24 years until stepping down in 2018.
As the dean of the institution itself, he was in the fortunate and knowledgeable position to interview many of the biggest names in the business, while his persona permeated pop culture and led to dozens of cameo appearances as himself on both the big and small screens.
Died February 7th, aged 91
Orson Bean used to poke fun at his own success by saying that he was famous just for being famous, having become a regular fixture on TV after first rising to prominence in L.A’s local theater scene, and he ended up making over 200 appearances on The Johnny Carson show.
A charismatic talker with a quick wit, Bean parleyed his natural talents and became a small screen mainstay appearing on almost every major talk show and tackling a series of dramatic film and TV roles running the entire genre spectrum from Being John Malkovich to Desperate Housewives.
Died February 5th, aged 103
The man born Issur Danielovitch was the embodiment of the American Dream, one of seven children being raised in poverty by immigrant parents who went on to become a matinee idol and one of the biggest movies stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Kirk Douglas was also hugely influential in launching Stanley Kubrick’s mainstream career and ending the industry’s blacklisting of certain talents, and he used that determination to forge a secondary career as a humanitarian and philanthropist.
Died January 26th, aged 41
One of the most famous and recognizable athletes on the planet, Kobe Bryant transcended the game of basketball to become a global icon, and even people with absolutely no interest in basketball were more than aware of his reputation.
And what a reputation it was, with Black Mamba comfortably ranking among the finest players the NBA had ever seen, spending his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers and eclipsing Magic Johnson in the eyes of many to be regarded as the finest talent to ever put on the team’s jersey.
Died January 21st, aged 77
The name Monty Python is enough to have fans quoted the troupe’s most famous lines back at each other for hours on end, and while he wasn’t an on-camera presence to the same level as his collaborators, Terry Jones was renowned as the creative driving force behind the scenes.
Anyone that had a hand in the writing and directing of Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life has already assured a place in the annals of big screen comedy history, but Jones was also an accomplished historian as well as a filmmaker.
Died January 15th, aged 75
A trailblazer and pioneer in the professional wrestling industry, ‘Soulman’ Rocky Johnson broke down barriers after making his in-ring debut in 1964, and along with tag team partner Tony Atlas they became the first black champions in the WWF after winning gold in 1983.
After his retirement in 1991, Johnson would train his son to follow in the family business, and the performer initially known as Rocky Maivia and later The Rock went on to become the biggest crossover star that the wrestling business has ever seen.
Died January 7th, aged 67
You’d have to travel far and wide to find any self-respecting drummer in any band of any genre that hadn’t found themselves in awe at Neal Peart’s jaw-dropping style, speed and technique as Rush’s resident tub-thumper from 1974 until his retirement from the band in 2015.
As well as selling millions of records and touring the world dozens of times over, Peart also published several memoirs and reinvented both his own playing style and drumming as a whole by incorporating jazz and swing influences into rock music to great success.
Died January 7th, aged 27
The son of actress and singer Jane Badler, who starred in cult sci-fi series V from 1983 to 1985, Harry Hains was well on the way to emulating his mother’s success after racking up a series of supporting roles on some big-name TV shows.
Appearing in American Horror Story: Hotel, Amazon’s Sneaky Pete and Netflix’s The OA, Hains was also a model and aspiring musician under the name Antiboy, but tragically passed away at the age of just 27 from a drugs overdose.
Died September 29th, aged 78
Dubbed the ‘Queen of 70s Pop’ and lauded as a feminist icon, the ‘I Am Woman’ singer became the poster child for the movement’s second wave, but boasted many more strings to her bow.
After retiring from the music industry in the early 2000s, Reddy earned a degree in her native Australia and began practising as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivation speaker before she got bitten by the performing bug again.
A decade later, she made a brief and intermittent comeback before being diagnosed with dementia and Addison’s disease in 2015, with the health conditions ultimately taking her life.
Died March 29th, aged 61
One of the most popular country music stars of the modern era, Joe Diffie had five number one singles on the Billboard Hot Country charts, and also wrote songs for many other notable artists.
He released eleven albums including a Christmas collection, with two each being certified gold and platinum respectively before he took a step back from releasing new music in recent years.
During the first wave of the pandemic in March, Diffie died from complications related to COVID-19, passing away just two days after publicly revealing that he was suffering from the condition.
Died July 6th, aged 83
A bluegrass, country and all-round Southern legend, Charlie Daniels and his band were at the forefront of the country music genre for decades, and his legendary reputation was cemented long ago.
Daniels was always politically active, straddling both sides of the party divide depending on what he agreed with at the time, and his opinions tended to split opinion down the middle.
He suffered from numerous health problems later in life including a battle with prostate cancer, a stroke and pneumonia, but died from a second stroke at the age of 83.