Stars we lost in 2018
The Goodfellas actor died Dec. 26 at the age of 83. He was best known for his role as Anthony Stabile in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film. The actor was also in Scorsese’s Raging Bull as Patsy and Casino as Rocky. He appeared in several other popular films as well, such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and True Romance.
The actor, director, and writer died Dec. 18 at the age of 84. As an actor, Masterson appeared in 1968’s Counterpoint, 1973’s The Exorcist, and 1975’s The Stepford Wives. As a director, he helmed the 1985 adaptation of The Trip to Bountiful, followed by titles like Full Moon in Blue Water in 1988, Night Game in 1989, and Arctic Blue in 1993. He famously wrote the book for the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Larry L. King, bringing the story of a brothel known as the Chicken Ranch to Broadway in 1978. Masterson also co-directed the musical and earned two Tony nominations for his work directing and writing the show.
Penny Marshall, who starred in Laverne & Shirley and directed hit films like Big and A League of Their Own, died on Dec. 17 due to complications from diabetes at the age of 75. In 1988, with Big, she became the first woman in Hollywood history to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office — and in 1992, she did it again with A League of Their Own. She also directed Jumpin' Jack Flash and Awakenings, which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
The founder of popular apps Vine and HQ Trivia died on Dec. 16 of a suspected overdose. He was 35.
The legendary jazz singer died on Dec. 13 at her home in Pioneertown, Calif., at the age of 81. Wilson — whose nicknames included “The Baby” and “The Girl With the Honey-Coated Voice” — released more than 70 albums over the course of her career. Her biggest hit was “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” in 1964, which earned her a Grammy Award for Best R&B Recording. She went on to win two more Grammys, in 2005 and 2007, for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Wilson was also a civil rights advocate who was honored with the NAACP Hall of Fame Image Award in 1998 and was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in 2005.
The Buzzcocks singer died Dec. 6 at the age of 63. Shelley formed the Buzzcocks with fellow singer Howard Devoto in 1976 and wrote their most famous song, 1978’s “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).” Following the band’s breakup, Shelley released a string of solo albums, including 1981’s Homosapien and 1983’s XL1. The Buzzcocks re-formed in 1989.
The reality TV personality died on Dec. 4 at the age of 34 following a battle with breast cancer. Strauss competed on cycle 8 of the competition series America's Next Top Model, earning fans for her fun-loving personality and eccentric fashion.
The actor, known for his roles on television shows F Troop and Mayberry R.F.D., died on Dec. 1. He was 85. His first big role was as Capt. Wilton Parmenter on F Troop, which he considered to be the highlight of his career. After the show ended, he appeared on the final season of the Andy Griffith Show as town councilor Sam Jones, and went on to appear as the same character on spinoff show Mayberry R.F.D. He also appeared on Carol Burnett Show spin-off Mama's Family, as well as in the films Herbie Rides Again and The Cat From Outer Space.
George H.W. Bush
The 41st president died on Nov. 30 at the age of 94. Bush served as the vice president for eight years before acting as commander in chief from 1989 to 1993 for one term. He was the last veteran of World War II to serve as president, and his term was highlighted by helping to usher the United States out of the Cold War. His son George W. Bush also served as the nation's 43rd president.
The creator of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants died Nov. 27 at the age of 57. Hillenburg revealed in March 2017 that he had been diagnosed with ALS, and he passed away from complications of the condition. SpongeBob SquarePants launched on Nickelodeon in 1999 with Tom Kenny as the voice of the titular energetic sea sponge. It went on to spawn animated and live-action films, as well as a Broadway musical. Before that, Hillenburg worked on Rocko’s Modern Life and Rugrats. In May of last year, SpongeBob was renewed through a 12th season, set to premiere in 2019.
The world-renowned Italian filmmaker died on Nov. 26. He was 77. Bertolucci was best known for his explicit depictions of sex and carnality in films like 1972’s Last Tango in Paris starring Marlon Brando. He also helmed features like The Spider’s Stratagem and The Conformist — both released in 1970. He won two Oscars over the course of his 56-year career, both for 1987's The Last Emperor, a historical drama that he wrote and directed.
The screenwriter died on Nov. 25 after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 76. She collaborated with her husband William Huyck on the screenplays for many films, including American Graffiti (directed and co-written by George Lucas), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (produced by Lucas), and Howard the Duck (directed by Huyck). A working relationship with Lucas also led to her contributions to Star Wars — polishing the script, contributing dialogue, and famously reshaping the character of Princess Leia.
The magician, actor, and writer died on Nov. 24 at the age of 72. Jay was widely regarded as among the most skilled magicians of his, or any, generation. Jay’s acting credits included director David Mamet’s 1987 thriller House of Games, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 film Boogie Nights, and the HBO TV show Deadwood. Mamet also directed Jay’s 1994 Broadway show, Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants. Jay’s books included 1986’s Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women and 2011’s Celebrations of Curious Characters.
The acclaimed British director died on Nov. 23 at the age of 90. He was best known for his work helming titles like Roald Dahl adaptation The Witches, The Man Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie, and the provocative Don’t Look Now.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter behind such classic films as All the President’s Men and The Princess Bride died at his Manhattan home on Nov. 16. He was 87. Goldman started his writing career as a novelist, penning books like Temple of Gold and Boys and Girls Together in the ’50s and early ’60s. He hit his stride as a screenwriter, however, and was responsible for classics including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Harper, Misery, and The Stepford Wives.
Country music trailblazer and Hee Haw host Roy Clark died at his home on Nov. 15. He was 85. Clark hosted Hee Haw for its entire 24-year run; the show ended in 1993. In addition to his hosting gig, Clark was a notable country musician himself, opening a theater in Branson, Missouri. His biggest hit was 1969’s “Yesterday When I Was Young.”
Katherine “Scottie” MacGregor, the actress who played the villainous Harriet Oleson on the long-running TV show Little House on the Prairie, died Nov. 13 at 93. While Oleson was originally intended to be an occasional guest character, MacGregor’s performance was so well received that she became a regular on the series, which aired from 1974 to 1982.
The torch-bearing writer, editor, and longtime Marvel Comics head honcho died Nov. 12 at 95. Lee’s innovations pushed comic books from the edge of obscurity to the cultural forefront as a legitimate American art form. And he helped usher in an era when superhero movies, including such global blockbusters as Marvel Studios’ Iron Man and Avengers franchises, rank as Hollywood’s most reliably bankable entertainment properties. Lee helped oversee the creation of countless iconic superheroes, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Black Panther, and The Fantastic Four. Modern audiences remembered him fondly for his winking cameos in Marvel films over the years.
The Canadian theater veteran best known for lending his voice to the artificially intelligent computer HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey died Nov. 11. He was 90. The Winnipeg native was hired by Kubrick to voice the onboard computer system guiding Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) through space as a replacement for the too-American voice of Martin Balsam. Rain also spent 32 seasons performing on stage as part of Canada's Stratford Company in nearly 80 productions between 1953 and 1998. In 1972, he received a Tony nomination for his supporting work in Vivat! Vivat Regina!
The Oscar-nominated actress and director died of bone and breast cancer on Nov. 3. She was 73. Locke rose to fame at the age of 24 with her award-nominated turn in the adaptation of Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. She also had memorable roles in The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose, Any Which Way You Can, and Sudden Impact. Locke also had a notable personal and professional relationship with Clint Eastwood, eventually ending in a publically acrimonious split in 1989. She also was noted for her skills as a director and stepped behind the camera for three films -- Ratboy, Impulse, and Do Me a Favor.
Actor James Karen, who had more than 200 screen roles to his credit, died Oct. 23 at his home. He was 94. Perhaps best known as real-estate developer Mr. Teague in 1982’s Poltergeist, Karen was a prolific character actor, appearing in a wide range of films including Mulholland Drive, Wall Street, and The China Syndrome, as well as thousands of commercials and numerous television roles.
Danny Leiner, the director behind stoner comedies Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Dude, Where’s My Car?, died on Oct. 19. Leiner passed away “after a long illness,” according to Ross Putman, who produced multiple films with Leiner. He was 57. The filmmaker also directed episodes of Felicity, Freaks and Geeks, Party of Five, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, The Sopranos, and The Office. He reunited with actor Seann William Scott from the Dude days for his final feature, Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach, in 2009.
Thee owner of the Nevada brothel where Lamar Odom was found unconscious from a drug overdose three years ago, was found dead at the Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada on Oct. 16. He was 72. Hof owned several legal brothels Nevada, including the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, which served as the prime location for the HBO reality show Cathouse: The Series. He was also running for a seat in the Nevada State Assembly.
The famed actress of the 1960s and ’70s, best known for her memorable turn on Star Trek, died Oct.7 at 74. She played Yeoman Martha Landon on the October 1967 episode “The Apple” opposite Chekov (Walter Koenig). She also appeared opposite Elvis Presley in the film Live a Little, Love a Little.
The Days of Our Lives star died Oct. 7. McCay joined the cast of Days of Our Lives in 1983 and portrayed Brady family matriarch Caroline for 35 years. She was nominated multiple times for Daytime Emmys for her work, though she won a Primetime Emmy for guest-starring on The Trials of Rosie O’Neill. The actress also received Primetime Emmy nominations for Cagney & Lacey and Woman on the Run: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story. She was 90.
Wilson, who rose to fame playing murderer Robert Hickock in 1967’s In Cold Blood and more recently was a series regular playing veterinarian-turned-farmer Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead, died Oct. 7 from complications from leukemia. He was 76.
The screenwriter died Oct. 5, one day before the release of her film The Hate U Give, following a long battle with cancer. Among her other credits are George of the Jungle, The Kid, The Game Plan, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, and Under the Tuscan Sun, which she also directed. She was 58.
The comics artist best known for co-creating the character Judge Dredd for the British sci-fi title 2000 AD died Oct. 2. He was 70.
The producer behind hits including Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back died Sept. 23 of cancer. Kurtz was an early collaborator of George Lucas’, producing American Graffiti and the first two Star Wars films before going on to produce Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal. He was 78.
The three-time Tony-nominated Broadway star died Sept. 13 following a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. Mazzie was nominated for her roles in Ragtime, Passion, and Kiss Me, Kate, and also starred in a wide range of productions including Spamalot, Next to Normal, and Bullets Over Broadway. Most recently, she replaced Kelli O’Hara in the Lincoln Center revival of The King and I. She was 57.