Stars we've lost in 2021
Larry King, the famed interviewer and longtime CNN host whose career spanned more than six decades, died on Jan. 23, 2021. He was 87. King died early Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a statement shared on his social media accounts. A cause of death was not given, but King was hospitalized earlier in January with COVID-19.
Lost and Babylon 5 actress Mira Furlan died on Jan. 20 due to complications with West Nile virus, her manager confirmed in a statement to EW. She was 65. Lost creator Damon Lindelof and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski both shared tributes after her death.
Grammy Award-winning producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector died on Jan. 16 of natural causes. He was 80. Spector was the creator of the music production technique known as the Wall of Sound. He was also behind some music's biggest hits for The Beatles, the Ramones, The Righteous Brothers, among others.
New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain died on Jan. 13 at age 69 after a battle with cancer. The New York Dolls' self-titled 1973 debut album, as well as their 1974 sophomore effort, Too Much Too Soon, became acclaimed and influential punk rock records. Although short-lived, the band went on to influence groups like Guns N' Roses, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and the Smiths, whose frontman Morrissey helped reunite the surviving band members for a 2004 festival.
Peter Mark Richman
Peter Mark Richman, an actor with over 130 television credits, died on Jan. 14 at the age of 93 of natural causes. Richman notably held recurring roles on Three's Company as Reverend Snow — the father of Suzanne Somers' character Chrissy Snow — and on Dynasty as Andrew Laird, the attorney for Carrington family. He also appeared on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Longstreet and guest-starred on series such as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Murder She Wrote, The Fugitive, Bonanza, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. In his eight-decade career, Richman also produced works as a playwright. His one-man show 4 Faces was made into a movie in 1999, in which he also starred.
Joanne Rogers, the widow of television icon Fred Rogers died January 14 at the age of 92. She was married to Rogers for 50 years until his death in 2003. Rogers was the keeper of the flame for the "Mister Rogers" legacy, serving on the board of Fred Rogers Productions and helping celebrate his work in documentaries and feature films like It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Rogers was also an accomplished classically trained concert pianist and released two albums as part of a duo.
Siegfried Fischbacher, one half of the iconic Las Vegas magician duo Siegfried & Roy, died Jan. 13 of pancreatic cancer at age 81. His death came less than a year after his longtime professional and romantic partner Roy Horn, who died of complications from COVID-19 last spring. "There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried," Fischbacher said at the time.
Veteran soap star John Reilly died on Jan. 9 from unknown causes. He was 84. For five decades, Reilly starred in hit soaps including General Hospital, As the World Turns, Passions, and Sunset Beach. He also made one brief appearance on Days of Our Lives in 2001. In the '90s, he starred as Bill Taylor, Kelly Taylor's (Jennie Garth) unpredictable father, on Beverly Hill, 90210.
British filmmaker Michael Apted died on Jan. 8, at 79. Apted directed the long-running Up documentary series and Oscar-nominated features including Coal Miner's Daughter and Gorillas in the Mist. Apted was a researcher on the first installment of the groundbreaking Up series, 1964's Seven Up, and he helmed the rest, concluding with 63 Up in 2019. In a career spanning genres and decades, he directed features including Nell, The World Is Not Enough, Stardust, Gorky Park, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Apted also served as president of the Directors Guild of America from 2003 to 2009 and received the organization's Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 2013.
Dearon 'Deezer D' Thompson
Dearon "Deezer D" Thompson died Jan. 7, at 55. The actor was best known for portraying nurse Malik McGrath on the beloved NBC medical drama ER from 1994 until 2009, including the pilot and series finale. Thompson also appeared in movies such as Fear of a Black Hat, CB4, Bringing Down the House, and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
Actress Marion Ramsey died Jan. 7, at 73. She was best known for portraying Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy movies. Ramsey was also an accomplished stage actor, appearing on Broadway in Grind and Eubie, as well as touring the country in Hello, Dolly, starring opposite Bette Davis in Miss Moffatt, and costarring in two productions of Little Shop of Horrors. She was one of the three singers that the original Broadway show Dreamgirls was based on and also performed many voice roles, including in Robot Chicken and the animated series The Addams Family.
Former Bond girl Tanya Roberts died Jan. 4, at 65, from a urinary tract infection that developed into sepsis. Roberts starred as Stacey Sutton in 1985's A View to Kill, opposite Roger Moore as 007. She also starred on That '70s Show as Donna's sweet-but-dim mother, Midge. The actress worked on Charlie's Angels in the '80s and appeared in the shows Fantasy Island, Hot Line, The Blues Brothers Animated Series, and Eve, and in films like Sins of Desire, Legal Tender, Sheena, The Beastmaster, Almost Pregnant, and Tourist Trap. Her last role was playing Elle in the series Barbershop in 2005.
British actress Barbara Shelley died Jan. 4, at 88, after contracting COVID-19. She was best known for appearing in horror movies produced by Hammer Films, including 1958's Blood of the Vampire, 1966's Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and 1967's Quatermass and the Pit. Shelley also starred in 1960's non-Hammer horror classic Village of the Damned. Her many small-screen credits included the British TV shows Blake's 7, Doctor Who, and Eastenders.
Eric Jerome Dickey
Best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey died Jan. 3, at 59, after a long illness. Throughout the Memphis native's lengthy career, he published 29 novels, including multiple New York Times best-sellers: Milk in My Coffee, Cheaters, Chasing Destiny, The Other Woman, Sleeping With Strangers, Resurrecting Midnight, Sister, Sister, An Accidental Affair, and Decadence. Dickey also penned the 2007 Marvel Comics miniseries Storm, chronicling the epic love story between the Black superheroes Storm (of X-Men fame) and Black Panther.
Liverpool legend Gerry Marsden died Jan. 3, at 78, after an illness related to a heart infection. Marsden was the lead singer of the '60s British band Gerry and the Pacemakers, known for "You'll Never Walk Alone," which was a rendition of the song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. The group's version became the anthem of Liverpool Football Club.
George Gerdes died Jan. 1, at 72. The actor appeared in the films The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Hidalgo, and Rumor Has It. He was a regular presence on TV, with roles in series such as L.A. Law, Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Chicago Hope, Cold Case, ER, Lost, True Blood, and Dexter. Most recently, he appeared in Perry Mason and Grey's Anatomy, and portrayed Ray Scales in three episodes of Bosch.