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Actress Carrie Fisher died Dec. 27 after suffering a heart attack on a flight days before. She was 60. Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds (who died the day after Fisher at age 84) and Eddie Fisher, was most known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, and recently chronicled her experience filming those movies in the 2016 memoir The Princess Diarist. She returned to the franchise in 2015 for a cameo in The Force Awakens. Aside from acting, Fisher was also heralded for being candid about her mental health: She openly discussed her struggles with substance abuse and bipolar disorder in multiple interviews and in her books, including 2011's Shockaholic, where she wrote about her experience with electroconvulsive therapy. She's survived by daughter Billie Lourd, an actress best known for her role on Scream Queens.
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Screen and stage legend Debbie Reynolds died Dec. 28 at age 84 after a possible stroke, just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died at age 60. “She wanted to be with Carrie,” Reynolds' son Todd Fisher told Variety. Spanning nearly seven decades, Reynolds' career dates back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, when she signed with Warner Bros. at 16 and went on to star in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). The American sweetheart's personal life drew as much press as her career; in 1959, her marriage to Eddie Fisher crumbled when the pop singer left Reynolds for close friend Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds later revealed she reconciled with Taylor when the icons found themselves on the same cruise before Taylor's death in 2011. A singer with a No. 1 Billboard hit under her belt ("Tammy" from her 1957 movie Tammy and the Bachelor), Reynolds was also known for her energetic live shows in Las Vegas. Throughout her multi-faceted career, Reynolds collected Hollywood memorabilia, including Marilyn Monroe’s white subway dress from The Seven-Year Itch, which she sold for $5.6 million in a 2011 auction.
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Singer-songwriter George Michael was found dead on Dec. 25 at his home in England. He was 53. As one-half of musical duo Wham! with bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, Michael catapulted up the music charts and into the hearts of teenagers in the early 1980s with hits like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and his shaggy hair and tight jeans. Bit by the solo bug, Michael traded bubblegum pop for risqué fare in 1987, declaring "I don't need no bible" in "I Want Your Sex," the first single from his first solo album, Faith, which also spawned the rockabilly-soul hit of the same name. The singer's art was overshadowed by his personal life in 1998 when Michael came out as gay following an arrest for lewd behavior. He went on to release new music — his 2004 album Patience was partly inspired by his relationship with former long-time partner Kenny Goss — and triumphantly belt his anthem "Freedom! '90" at the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony. Michael largely remained out of the spotlight following his Symphonica tour in 2012.
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Everybody Hates Chris actor Ricky Harris died Dec. 26. He was 54. His entered the entertainment world in the '90s when he appeared on HBO's Def Comedy Jam, and went on to star in 1993's Poetic Justice opposite Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. Aside from his roles on sitcoms Everybody Hates Chris and Moesha, Harris more recently appeared in 2015's Dope and on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
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Zsa Zsa Gabor
Actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor died Dec. 18 at age 99. Though she starred in such films as Moulin Rouge (1952), Lili (1953), and Ring Circus (1954), the Hungarian starlet was most famous simply for being famous. Decades before Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian became household names, Gabor’s sparkling personality caught the attention of the public — and of the men she married, of which there were nine. Her ex-husbands included actor George Sanders, Barbie creator Jack Ryan, and hotelier Conrad Hilton; upon her death, she had been married for 30 years to Frederic Prinz von Anhalt.
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NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager died Dec. 15 after a battle with leukemia. He was 65. The legendary reporter, known for his colorful wardrobe in addition to his sideline interviews, was the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story in May of this year. He was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame just days before his death.
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Actor Bernard Fox died of heart failure on Dec. 14 at the age of 89. The veteran character actor is best known for playing Dr. Bombay on Bewitched, got his first TV credit in 1955, after fighting in WWII with the Royal Navy, on the British series Sixpenny Corner. Over the course of his long career, he appeared on series including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, I Dream of Jeannie, Knight Rider, and Murder, She Wrote; in 1965, he began an eight-episode arc as Colonel Crittenden on Hogan’s Heroes. His many film credits include a voice role in The Rescuers movies and parts in The Mummy and Titanic.
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Actor, TV host, and songwriter Alan Thicke died Dec. 13 after suffering a heart attack while playing hockey. He was 69. The Canadian star was best known for playing Seaver family patriarch Jason on the family sitcom Growing Pains, which ran from 1985–1992. Thicke began his career in the 1970s working as a writer, producer, and talk show personality; his other behind-the-scenes work included writing the theme songs for shows including Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, and Wheel of Fortune. His more recent small screen credits include How I Met Your Mother, Scream Queens, This Is Us, and Fuller House. The father of three real-life sons (including singer Robin Thicke) in addition to his TV brood, Thicke also wrote two books about parenting.
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Astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn died Dec. 8, at the age of 95. After serving as a Marine pilot during World War II, Glenn set a speed record as an expert flyer for the Naval Air Test Center, all of which led to his being chosen for the first group of astronauts in NASA’s space program. In 1962, he became the first American to orbit the Earth. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974, where he represented Ohio as a democrat until 1997. In 1998, he was invited back into NASA’s space program to return to space on the space shuttle Discovery. On Oct. 29 of that year, he became the oldest person ever to travel in space, at the age of 77. He was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
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Actor Joseph Mascolo died Dec. 8 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 87. Best known for playing the iconic soap villain Stefano DiMera on Days of Our Lives, Mascolo studied under acting coach Stella Adler and then began an impressive stage career with roles in 1966’s Dinner at Eight and 1973’s That Championship Game. His film roles include Jaws 2, and Heat, amd his non-Days TV credits include appearances on All in the Family and Kojak as well as a brief stint on The Bold and the Beautiful.
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Actor Peter Vaughan, known for playing Maester Aemon on HBO’s Game of Thrones, died on Dec. 6 at the age of 93. Before joining Thrones in 2011, Vaughan had decades of stage and screen credits under his belt. His list of film roles includes 1960’s Village of the Damned, 1981’s Time Bandits, 1985’s Brazil, and 1993’s Remains of the Day; he was also well known for playing Harry “Grouty” Grout on the BBC sitcom Porridge in the 1970s.
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Actress Margaret Whitton died Dec. 4 after a battle with cancer. She was 67. Whitton began her career onstage, with 1973’s off-Broadway Baby Goya, but she is best known for her role in as a spiteful baseball team over in the 1989 film Major League. Her other film roles include that movie’s 1994 sequel, 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), The Secret of My Success (1987), Ironweed (1987), and The Man Without a Face (1993). Her TV credits include Hometown, A Fine Romance, and Good & Evil.
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Actor Don Calfa died Dec. 1 of natural causes at the age of 76. The prolific character actor is best known for playing the mortician Ernie Kaltenbrunner in 1985’s The Return of the Living Dead; he appeared in many other films, including New York, New York; 1941; and Weekend at Bernie’s, and his long list of television credits includes Barney Miller, Kojak, and Beverly Hills, 90210.
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Actress Alice Drummond died Nov. 30 at the age of 88. Often playing elderly women, in both comedic and dramatic roles, Drummond’s many film credits include Ghostbusters, Awakening, Doubt, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Pieces of April, and Synecdoche, New York; her TV appearances include roles on Dark Shadows, Law & Order, and Boston Legal.
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Actor Van Williams died Nov. 28 of renal failure. He was 82. Best known for starring in the 1960s TV series The Green Hornet as Britt Reid/The Green Hornet, Williams got his break when he was cast in the 1959 detective series Bourbon Street Beat. Other TV credits include The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Beverly Hillbillies, and he appeared in crossover episodes of Batman as Britt Reid as well.
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Actor, producer, and director Keo Woolford died Nov. 28 after suffering a stroke. He was 49. Best known for playing Det. James Chang on Hawaii Five-0 on CBS, Woolford also had roles in films including Happy Texas (1999), Act of Valor (2012), and Godzilla (2014). He made his feature directorial debut with the 2013 indie The Haumana, which he also wrote and produced and which he was working to follow up when he died. He also starred in The King & I at the London Palladium, playing the King of Siam in over 300 performances.
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Actor Ron Glass died of respiratory failure on Nov. 25. He was 71. Best known for playing Ron Harris on Barney Miller and Shepherd Book on Firefly and its movie sequel Serenity, Glass got his first role in the 1970s in All in the Family, and would go on to appear in such series as The New Odd Couple, Friends, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He also performed recurring voice roles in Rugrats and The Proud Family, and his films roles include Death at a Funeral and Lakeview Terrace.
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Actress Florence Henderson, best known for playing lovely lady and iconic TV mom Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, died Nov. 24 at the age of 82. She made her start as a teenager, enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and soon appearing in a slew of Broadway shows. While she would pick up roles on such series as The Love Boat; Murder, She Wrote; L.A. Law; Roseanne; Ellen; and 30 Rock and compete on reality shows The Surreal Life and Dancing With the Stars, she would always be best known for playing the warm Brady matriarch. She played Carol in the series’ original run from 1969–1974, two TV movies, and three spin-offs. She remained active in the industry until her death, hosting talk show The Florence Henderson Show and cooking show What’s Cooking with Florence Henderson.
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Actor Peter Sumner died Nov. 22 at the age of 74. Best known for playing Death Star security officer Lt. Pol Treidum, a small but memorable role in 1977’s Star Wars, Sumner had the distinction of being the only Australian to work on the seminal sci-fi film. His other credits included the film Ned Kelly and series Play School, Spyforce, Heartbreak High, and Cluedo.
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Soul singer Sharon Jones died Nov. 18 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 60. The lead singer of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Jones released her debut album, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, in 2002; she earned her only Grammy nomination for the Dap Kings’ 2014 album Give the People What They Want. Jones’ battle with cancer and return to the stage was documented in the 2015 documentary Miss Sharon Jones!
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Journalist Gwen Ifill died Nov. 14 following several months of cancer treatment. She was 61. The longtime co-anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour, Ifill was also the moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, and moderated the vice presidential debates during the 2004 and 2008 elections. “Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness, and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” said Sara Just, PBS NewsHour executive producer and WETA-TV SVP. “She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her.”
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Musician and songwriter Leon Russell died in his sleep on Nov. 13. He was 74. An inductee of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Russell famously collaborated with such iconic musicians as Elton John, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and the Rolling Stones over more than five decades in the industry, in addition to his solo work. He was the subject of a documentary, A Poem Is a Naked Person, made by Les Blank in 1974 but not released until 2015.
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Legendary singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen died in his sleep, following a fall, on Nov. 7. He was 82. He died just weeks after giving a lengthy interview in the New Yorker, in which he said, “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.” Cohen made his start as a poet with 1951’s award-winning collection Let Us Compare Mythologies, which he published at the age of 17. He released the first of his 14 studio albums, Songs of Leonard Cohen, in 1967; his last, You Want It Darker, came out just weeks before his passing. He is best known for having written such classic songs as “Suzanne,” “Sisters of Mercy,” and especially the oft-covered “Hallelujah.”
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Children’s author and illustrator Natalie Babbitt died Oct. 31, having recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. She was 84. Babbitt wrote and illustrated over 20 books over the course of her career, which began in 1967 with the publication of her picture book Dick Foote and the Shark She was most famous for the 1975 children’s novel Tuck Everlasting, which has been adapted twice for the screen and once for the stage. Her final books were 2011’s The Moon Over High Street and 2012’s The Devil’s Storybooks, an omnibus edition of two of her earlier books.
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Actor Michael Massee died of cancer on Oct. 20. He was 64. Best known for having played Ira Gaines, a villain in 2001’s first season of 24, Massee was prolific in both film and television, having had roles on Carnivàle, Alias, Supernatural, and Rizzoli & Isles. His film roles include 1994’s The Crow and 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man.
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Actress Cecilia Hart died Oct. 16 after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 68. The wife of James Earl Jones, whom she married in 1982 after meeting on the set of the crime drama Paris, the couple also appeared on Broadway together in a 1982 production Othello, with Jones playing the title character and Hart as Desdemona. Her other stage credits include The Heiress in 1976 and Tom Stoppard’s Dirty Linen & New-Found-Land in 1977; other TV roles include guest spots on such series as Three’s Company, MacGyver, and Law & Order.
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Writer and producer Agnes Nixon died Sept. 28 from pneumonia as a result of Parkinson’s disease. She was 93. Nixon, who was nicknamed the Queen of Soaps, created such long-running soap operas as One Life to Live and All My Children. She was known for writing socially relevant issues and controversial topics to her programs, and also frequently appeared on them herself. “The beauty of a soap, for me as a writer, is to go into the characters,” Nixon told EW in 2010. “I think daytime soaps are the form of entertainment that mirrors real life.”
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Filmmaker Curtis Hanson died Sept. 20, of natural causes, at the age of 71. He was most famous for 1997’s neo-noir L.A. Confidential, which he wrote, directed, and produced and for which he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He made his directorial debut in 1973 with the B-movie Sweet Kill, and his later credits include 2000’s Wonder Boys, 2002’s 8 Mile, and 2005’s In Her Shoes. Most recently, he co-directed and co-produced 2012’s Chasing Mavericks.
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Actress Charmian Carr died Sept. 18 of complications resulting from a rare form of dementia. She was 73. Carr was best known for playing 16(-going-on-17)-year-old Liesl, the oldest von Trapp child, in 1965’s The Sound of Music, when she was 21. Soon after making The Sound of Music, Carr appeared in a made-for-TV musical written by Stephen Sondheim, Evening Primrose, opposite Anthony Perkins. The 1966 program was her final credited screen role, as she soon left Hollywood to focus on her family.
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Celebrated playwright Edward Albee died Sept. 16 after a short illness. He was 88. Famous for his insightful examination of contemporary life, Albee was honored with three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, and a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement over the course of his decades-spanning career. He burst onto the scene in 1958 with his one-act The Zoo Story, but his best-known work is 1962’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, for which he won his first Tony and which was later adapted in Mike Nichols’ Oscar-winning film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He later won his three Pulitzers for 1967’s A Delicate Balance, 1975’s Seascape, and 1994’s Three Tall Women.
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Transgender actress Alexis Arquette died Sept. 11 at age 47, from complications related to AIDS. Born Robert Arquette, she was the fourth of five children in a family of actors; her siblings are David, Patricia, Rosanna, and Richmond Arquette. Arquette appeared largely in independent films, and also picked up credits on such films as Bride of Chucky and The Wedding Singer, and she chronicled her transition to a woman in 2007’s Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother. Her last role was in 2014’s Blended.
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Beloved writer, director, and actor Gene Wilder died Aug. 28 from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83. The comedy icon and two-time Oscar nominee got his breakout role in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, and his fruitful partnerships with Mel Brooks in the late ‘60s and ‘70s (The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein) and Richard Pryor into the ‘80s (Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil) made him a comedy legend. Following the death of his third wife, Saturday Night Live alumna Gilda Radner, whom he lost to ovarian cancer in 1989, Wilder became an activist for cancer awareness and founded the national cancer support group Gilda’s Club. His last onscreen appearance was an Emmy-winning role in Will & Grace in 2003, and in recent years, he devoted much of his energy to writing books.
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Actor Marvin Kaplan died in his sleep on Aug. 25 at the age of 89. Best known for playing Henry Beesmeyer on Alice and voicing the pink cat Choo-Choo on Top Cat, he made his film debut in 1949’s Adam’s Rib after being discovered by Katherine Hepburn. His other film credits include The Nutty Professor (1963); It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963); Freaky Friday (1976); and Wild at Heart (1990).
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Musician Matt Roberts died Aug. 20 at the age of 38. The cause of death is unknown. Roberts was the former guitarist for 3 Doors Down, and was one of its founding members, having formed the band in 1996 along with Brad Arnold and Todd Harrell. He left the band in 2012 due to health concerns. “Words cannot express our sadness as we hear of the loss of our brother, Matt,” the band posted to Facebook the day after his death. “He was a truly talented artist and great friend. His memory will live on through the songs we all created. He will be greatly missed.”
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Actor Jack Riley died from pneumonia on Aug. 19. He was 80. Best known for playing Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show and voicing Stu Pickles, Tommy Pickles’ father, on Rugrats, Riley had a long career in film and television which began in the 1960s, when he appeared on the sitcom Occasional Wife. His other TV credits include The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, Diff’rent Strokes, Seinfeld, and Friends; he also appeared in several Mel Brooks movies, including History of the World: Part I, High Anxiety, and To Be or Not to Be.
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Television host John McLaughlin died Aug. 16 at the age of 89. The moderator of PBS’ political commentary series The McLaughlin Group for over 30 years, McLaughlin had also hosted the series John McLaughlin’s One on One, McLaughlin, and McLaughlin’s Special Report during his time on the show. Before embarking on his long broadcast career, he was ordained as a priest, taught high school, wrote and edited for the Jesuit publication America, ran for office, wrote speeches for Richard Nixon, and wrote a column for the National Review.
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Actor Philip “Fyvush” Finkel died Aug. 14 at the age of 93, having had with heart problems in the time leading up to his death. Originally a Yiddish theater actor, Finkel made his Broadway debut in the original 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof as Mordcha, the innkeeper. Over the course of his career, he appeared in various productions of the show, sometimes as Tevye. Finkel is best known, however, for his role on Picket Fences, for which he won an Emmy in 1994. Later credits include a role on Boston Public and in the film A Serious Man.
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Star Wars actor Kenny Baker, who brought R2-D2 to life in the beloved film franchise, died on August 13. The British star was 81 at the time of his death in England, made his last appearance as the droid in 2005's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. "Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances," George Lucas said in a statement on the official Star Wars site. "A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him."
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Famed music producer Lou Pearlman died at the age of 62. The music manager was serving a 25-year prison sentence at the time of his death, after being found guilty of conspiracy and money laundering in 2008. Decades prior, Pearlman contributed to the early formation of Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC.
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Director Arthur Hiller died of natural causes on August 17, at the age of 92. Hiller had a long career as director of both film and television, and is best known for directing 1970’s beloved drama Love Story, starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. He picked up his one Oscar nomination for directing the tearjerker, and later went on to serve as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1993–1997. “I was a member of the Board during his presidency and fortunate enough to witness firsthand his dedication to the Academy and his lifelong passion for visual storytelling,” current Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said upon the news of his death.
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Actress Sagan Lewis died Aug. 7 after a long battle with cancer. She was 63. She was best known for co-starring in all six seasons of St. Elsewhere, from 1982–1988, as Dr. Jacqueline Wade. Her other TV credits include M*A*S*H, Moonlighting, The Philanthropist, and the TV movies Cocaine: One Man’s Seduction and Full Ride.
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Actor David Huddleston died Aug. 2 of advanced heart and kidney disease. He was 85. Best known for playing the title character in the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski, Huddleston was a prolific character actor on both the big and small screens beginning in the late 1960s. His other film roles include Blazing Saddles and the title role in the ‘80s cult comedy Santa Claus: The Movie; his many TV credits include appearances on The West Wing, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gilmore Girls, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Wonder Years (for which he was nominated for an Emmy), among many others. His stage credits include the 1984 revival of Death of a Salesman and the ‘90s revival of 1776.
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Actress Gloria DeHaven died on July 30, a few months after suffering a stroke, in hospice care. She was 91. The star of a long list of movie musicals during the Golden Age of Hollywood in the ‘40s and ‘50s, her film credits include 1944’s Step Lively with Frank Sinatra, 1950’s Summer Stock with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, and 1955’s So This Is Paris with Tony Curtis. Her career spanned over six decades, her final role being an appearance in a 2000 episode of Touched by an Angel.
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Weather Channel meteorologist Dave Schwartz died July 30 after a long battle with cancer. He was 63. He was first diagnosed 10 years ago, and had beat the disease twice before it came back in 2015. He spoke about his battle with cancer on the air earlier this year. His colleagues at the Weather Channel spoke about him as “the most creative personality” at the station whose “passion for weather was contagious.”
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Psychic Miss Cleo died on July 26. She was 53. Born Youree Dell Harris, the late TV personality rose to fame in the '90s as the star of a psychic hotline. She died in hospice after battling colon cancer.
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Singer Marni Nixon died July 24, of breast cancer, at the age of 86. She is best known for lending her stunning soprano to major stars in movie musicals in the ‘50s and ‘60s; her dubbing credits include Deborah Kerr’s roles in 1956’s The King and I and 1957’s An Affair to Remember, Natalie Wood’s songs in 1961’s West Side Story, and Audrey Hepburn’s part in 1964’s My Fair Lady. All of her uncredited voice work in these iconic films led TIME to name Nixon “the ghostess with the mostess” in a 1964 article; she later picked up credited roles in 1965’s The Sound of Music, in which she played Sister Sophia, and in Disney’s 1998 animated film Mulan, in which she provided the voice for Grandmother Fa.
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Writer, director, and producer Garry Marshall died July 19 from complications of pneumonia following a stroke. He was 81. He began his career in television, first as a writer and then as the creator and executive producer of such beloved sitcoms as Happy Days, The Odd Couple, and Mork & Mindy. He transitioned to directing films in the ‘80s, and had a breakout hit with 1990’s Pretty Woman, which also launched its lead actress Julia Roberts to stardom. His long list of later films includes Beaches, both Princess Diaries movies, and the ensemble romantic comedies New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. His last film, Mother’s Day, hit theaters earlier this year, and marked his third collaboration with Roberts. “There is no way to put into words, brief or expounded, how I feel about Garry,” the actress said upon Marshall’s death. “I do believe, at a time when the world seems to suffer so deeply, we could all benefit from remembering Garry’s ideals and stories of kindness and honesty – how good we can be if we just try.”
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Director Matt Villines died July 9 after a long battle with cancer. He was 39. Willines was best known for his work with Osmany Rodriguez, with whom he directed SNL digital shorts including “Sad Mouse” and the Emmy-nominated “(Do It In My) Twin Bed” as the duo Matt and Oz. The pair also directed an episode of Last Man on Earth, several Funny or Die shorts, and the feature film Brother Nature, which came out this year.
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Award-winning director Abbas Kiarostami died on July 4 at the age of 76. The filmmaker, who earned Cannes' Palme d'Or award for 1997's Taste of Cherry, passed away in Paris after a battle with gastrointestinal cancer. Born in Iran, the late artist's other credits include Close-Up and The Wind Will Carry Us.
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Actress Noel Neill died on July 3 after suffering from an extended illness. She was 95. The late star rose to fame as the first on-screen Lois Lane, appearing in Superman (1948), Atom Man vs. Superman (1950), and The Adventures of Superman. Born in Minnesota in 1920, Neill was remembered by her biographer Larry Ward, who wrote, "She was kind, selfless, hardworking, funny with a quick wit, and assertive — all the same qualities that embodied the character of Lois Lane."
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Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel died on July 2. He was 87. The famed writer and Holocaust survivor earned acclaim for his 1960 book Night about his time spent in Nazi concentration camps and continued to campaign for peace and morality over the course of his life. The late Wiesel was remembered by President Barack Obama, who said in a statement of the author, "As a writer, a speaker, an activist, and a thinker, he was one of those people who changed the world more as a citizen of the world than those who hold office or traditional positions of power. His life, and the power of his example, urges us to be better... Just imagine the peace and justice that would be possible in our world if we all lived a little more like Elie Wiesel."
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Director Michael Cimino died at the age of 77 on July 2. The filmmaker's death was confirmed by Thierry Fremaux, who wrote on Twitter, "Michael Cimino died peacefully surrounded by his family and the two women who loved him. We loved him too." The late Cimino won an Oscar and Golden Globe in 1979 for The Deer Hunter, also earning acclaim for Heaven's Gate, Year of the Dragon, and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
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Filmmaker Robin Hardy, best known for his work on 1973's The Wicker Man, died on July 1. He was 86. The late Hardy was remembered by director Edgar Wright after his death, who tweeted, "R.I.P Robin Hardy, director of hugely influential horror 'The Wicker Man'. There would be no 'Hot Fuzz' without it."
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Famed women's basketball coach Pat Summitt died on June 28. She was 64. The late Tennessee Lady Volunteers coach passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was remembered by her former colleague Joan Cronan, who said in a statement, "She was the ultimate leader who led by example with strength, character and integrity but also with care. She loved her family and players with a fierceness equalled only by that renowned stare of hers. The legacy she leaves is immense."
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Famed photographer Bill Cunningham died at the age of 87 on June 25. Beloved for his work with The New York Times, the late artist was the subject of an acclaimed 2010 documentary, Bill Cunningham New York. The photographer's death was confirmed by his assistant, John Kurdewan, who wrote on Instagram, "William John Cunningham, the genius who created the art form of street photography and had the most singular eye in fashion, died this afternoon from the complications following a stroke. In these last days as Bill was fighting to recover, I told him of all of your good wishes and expressions of love. There are no words for this loss. Bill Cunningham 1929-2016. #billcunningham #theBoss #legend"
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Anton Yelchin, best known for playing Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise, died on June 19 at the age of 27. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office said that the actor’s body “was found pinned between a car and a gate at a home in Studio City, California.” Yelchin began his acting career appearing in shows like ER, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, before going on to earn acclaim for performances in the crime drama Alpha Dog and the indie romance Like Crazy. J.J. Abrams, who directed Yelchin in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, paid tribute to the actor in a handwritten note posted on Twitter after his death. “You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented,” he wrote. “And you weren’t here nearly long enough.”
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Actor Ron Lester died on June 17. The late star, who was 45 at the time of his death, was moved to hospice care after suffering liver and kidney failure, his agent confirmed to EW. Lester made his on-screen debut in the 1997 with Good Burger, and went on to play Billy Bob in Varsity Blues, Seidleman in Freaks and Geeks, and Michael "Sugar Daddy" Bernardino in Popular. The performer was remembered after his death by his Varsity Blues costar James Van Der Beek, who wrote, "Sad day... #RonLester was a sensitive soul with a huge heart. Everything you loved about Billy Bob was authentically Ron. #RIP bud... I'll never forget how committed #RonLester was on every take - even when the camera wasn't on him."
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Singer Christina Grimmie died on June 11 at the age of 22. An alum of The Voice, the performer was tragically murdered in Florida. Grimmie was shot and killed after a concert in Orlando, with the Orlando Police Department releasing a statement after the incident reading, "With deep regret, we have confirmed Christina Grimmie has died from her injuries." The late star was remembered after her death by former Voice coach Adam Levine, who tweeted, "Behati and I are absolutely devastated and heartbroken by Christina Grimmie’s death. Our hearts go out to her family."
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MMA fighter Kimbo Slice died on June 6 at the age of 42. Born Kevin Ferguson, the late fighter expanded his career past the ring in his final years, making on-screen appearances in Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh, Locked Down, and The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption. The fierce figure was remembered for his kind spirit after his death, with wrestler Bill Goldberg tweeting, "We lost a very passionate and caring person in @KimboSlice .....don't let the image fool you."
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Famed boxer Muhammad Ali died on June 3 at the age of 74. Known widely as the "Greatest of All Time," Ali was hospitalized a few days before his death reportedly due to respiratory problems, which were complicated by his decades-long battle with Parkinson’s syndrome. The iconic athlete was celebrated by his friends, family members, and contemporaries after his death, including John Legend, who said, "The Champ was the towering figure of our times, in the boxing ring and beyond. He was a freedom fighter who used his fists and his wits, his force and his faith to make our world a better and more just place."
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Musician Dave Swarbrick died on June 3. He was 75. The British violinist, singer, and songwriter was beloved for his folk-rock sound, and released more than a dozen albums between his solo projects and work with bands such as Fairport Convention and the Ian Campbell Folk Group.
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Surfer Blood guitarist Thomas Fekete died at the age of 27 on May 30. The young performer's death was confirmed by his wife Jessica, who wrote on a GoFundMe page raising money for Fekete's cancer treatment, "Our sweet Thomas passed on last night, peacefully in his sleep, holding my hand. With one last sigh, he let go of the burden of pain and suffering that he has been bravely carrying for so long. I am full of comfort knowing that he is now free, and long for the day I get to be with him again."
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Illustrious British actor Burt Kwouk died on May 24. He was 85. The veteran star earned acclaim during his lifetime for appearances in multiple James Bond movies, the Pink Panther series, and A Shot in the Dark. Kwouk also earned small-screen credits for Doctor Who, The Avengers, and Tenko.
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CBS correspondent Jeanne Parr died May 23 at the age of 92. The mother of Sex and the City and Law & Order star Chris Noth, Parr began her pioneering career in broadcast journalism at a local station in Wisconsin before relocating to New York, where she joined CBS first as a weather girl on The Jim Jensen Show, then as a correspondent, which she remained throughout the ‘60s. She got her own talk show on CBS, The Jeanne Parr Show, in 1978. After her TV career, Parr produced documentaries and wrote the book The Superwives.
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Former Megadeth dummer Nick Menza died at the age of 51 on May 21. The musician died after collapsing in the middle of a performance with his band OHM in Los Angeles. Tributes poured in for Menza following his death, including one from his former Megadeth bandmate Marty Friedman, who wrote, "We all know the great and unique drummer that Nick Menza was, but he was also a trustworthy friend, a hilarious bandmate, as well as a very loving dad. I’m beyond sad, did not see this coming at all. RIP Brother."
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John Berry, a founding member of the Beastie Boys, died on May 19. He was 52. The musician died in Massachusetts after a battle with frontal lobe dementia. While he departed the group in the early '80s, Berry was an essential part of Beastie Boys' conception. Berry was remembered after his death by the members of Luscious Jackson, who released a statement reading, "We are heartbroken hearing the news of the passing of John Berry, the original guitarist and founder of the Beastie Boys. He was a good friend and rabble rouser, and if it wasn’t for him, there’d be no Beasties, no Luscious Jackson, no Grand Royal and god knows what else. John brought us all together in his crazy wooden house on the UWS… Rest In [Peace] friend.”
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Alan Young of Mister Ed fame died on May 19. He was 96. Young spent five years on the famed equine show as Wilbur Post after rising to fame with his own The Alan Young Show. The actor also earned voice credits as Scrooge McDuck in various Disney productions, and appeared in Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), Androcles and the Lion (1952), and The Time Machine (1960).
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Longtime 60 Minutes journalist Morley Safer died at the age of 84 on May 19. The newsman wrapped his run on CBS the same month after 46 seasons, saying in a statement at the time, "It’s been a wonderful run, but the time has come to say goodbye to all of my friends at CBS and the dozens of people who kept me on the air. But most of all I thank the millions of people who have been loyal to our broadcast."
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Comic book artist Darwyn Cooke died at the age of 53 on May 14. The celebrated cartoonist died in Florida after a battle with cancer. He was known for his work on such titles as DC: The New Frontier, Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Superman Confidential, and The Spirit.
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American Idol alum Rickey Smith died on May 6 at the age of 36. The singer, who competed in Idol's second season in 2003, died after a crash with an alleged drunk driver outside of Oklahoma City. Smith was remembered by his former competitor Clay Aiken, who tweeted, "Suffice it to say my heart is truly breaking today. Heaven's choir has a new beautiful voice. I love you and will miss you, Rickey."
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Famed French actress Madeleine Lebeau died at the age of 92 on May 1. The late big-screen star was known for her role of Yvonne in Casablanca and earned additional credits for Music for Millions and Cage of Gold. Lebeau also expanded her career to the stage, appearing on Broadway in The French Touch.
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Catfish subject Ashley Sawyer died April 30 of unknown causes at the age of 23. In a 2013 episode of the MTV reality show, Sawyer and her online crush, Michael Fortunato, had both been catfishing each other but decided after meeting that they both felt a connection despite their mutual deception. One month after the episode aired, Fortunato died at the age of 26.
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Singer Billy Paul, who rose to fame with his hit single "Me and Mrs. Jones," died on April 24. He was 81. The death of the acclaimed soul musician was confirmed on his website with a statement reading, "We regret to announce with a heavy heart that Billy has passed away today at home after a serious medical condition. We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife Blanche and family for their loss, as they and the world grieves the loss of another musical icon that helped pioneered todays R&B music. Billy will be truly missed."
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Iconic musician Prince died on April 21. He was 57. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, the Grammy winner was found dead in his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minn. after what has since been ruled as an accidental fentanyl overdose by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office. Prince's death was confirmed by his publicist in a statement, and sparked an immediate outpouring of tributes from stars, who remembered the performer for his innovative music and larger-than-life persona.
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Joan "Chyna" Laurer
Joan Marie Laurer, better known by her stage name of Chyna, died on April 20 at the age of 46. The performer rose to fame as a successful wrestling star, quickly becoming a WWF staple. She also found her way to reality TV, making appearances in The Surreal Life in 2005, The Surreal Life: Fame Games in 2007, and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008. Known as the "9th Wonder of the World," the late star was remembered by friends and colleagues after her death, including wrestler Triple H, who tweeted, "Someone who wasn't afraid to blaze her own trail & create a path for those who would follow. A pioneer whose star shined bright. #RIPChyna"
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Director Guy Hamilton died in April at the age of 93. The famed British filmmaker helmed multiple James Bond movies, including Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, also earning directing credits for An Inspector Calls (1954), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Battle of Britain (1969), and Force 10 from Navarone (1978), and screenwriting credits for A Touch of Larceny (1959).
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Filmmaker Rod Daniel died on April 16. He was 73. Daniel made a name for himself behind the camera for Teen Wolf 1985, going on to direct K-9 (1989), Like Father Like Son (1987), and Beethoven's 2nd (1993). Daniel expanded his work to the small screen, working on WKRP in Cincinnati, Filthy Rich, and Newhart, among other programs.
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