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.
The character actor perhaps best known for his role on The X-Files died Sept. 10. Donat played William Mulder, father of David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder, on six episodes of The X-Files, opposite Rebecca Toolan as Teena Mulder. On the big screen, he appeared in The Godfather Part II, War of the Roses, The Game, and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. He was 90.
The comic actor, who found breakout success as Major Healey on the hit 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie and also had notable roles on The Bob Newhart Show and Alf, died Sept. 8. He was 91.
Mac Miller died Sept. 7 at the age of 26. The rapper, born Malcolm McCormick, was found dead of an apparent overdose. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Miller started rapping as a teenager and first gained mainstream popularity with his 2011 song “Donald Trump.” Later that year, he released his debut studio album, Blue Slide Park, which topped the Billboard charts and eventually went certified gold. Miller’s death came just a month after he released his fifth studio album, Swimming.
The movie star famous for his macho swagger in films of the ’70s and ’80s died Sept. 6, at age 82. After early success on the TV Western Gunsmoke, Reynolds later ruled the box office in films like Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit. In the late ’90s, he had a career resurgence, earning an Oscar nomination for his work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.
The actor and nephew of President John F. Kennedy died Sept. 4. Lawford was an actor with more than 40 credits to his name, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Thirteen Days — a film about the Cuban Missile Crisis that featured his uncles John and Robert Kennedy as characters. Lawford had a robust career on television, guesting on a wide range of series, including Frasier, Chicago Hope, The O.C., All My Children, and General Hospital. He was also a correspondent on the entertainment news program Extra and the son of actor Peter Lawford. He was 63.
The Doctor Who production designer died in late August. He had signed on to the British time travel show in 2010 and oversaw the look of the series for 71 episodes in all, while the titular character was portrayed first by Matt Smith and then Peter Capaldi. He was 74.
Neil Simon, the prolific playwright whose Broadway hits included the newlyweds-in-Manhattan romp Barefoot in the Park, the prototypical bromance The Odd Couple, and the autobiographical Brighton Beach Memoirs, died on Aug. 25 in New York City of complications from pneumonia. He was 91.
John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona who was the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, died Aug. 25 after a battle with brain cancer. He was 81. While he will be remembered as a GOP maverick and war hero who spent more than five years as a prisoner in Vietnam, McCain spoke to EW in 2008 about his love of pop culture and made several appearances on Saturday Night Live.
Robin Leach, who showcased the “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” of the rich and famous in his decades of journalism for magazines and TV, died Aug. 24 at age 76. Leach was best known as the host of TV’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and also wrote for publications like the New York Daily News, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Star, and PEOPLE.
The former guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd who co-wrote the band’s iconic hit “Sweet Home Alabama” died Aug. 23. King’s musical career started in the ’60s as the guitarist for Strawberry Alarm Clock, a psychedelic rock band he co-founded. He was 68.
Craig Zadan, one of film and TV’s most prolific producers of musicals, died Aug. 20 of complications from shoulder replacement surgery. He was 69. Zadan, with his producing partner Neil Meron, worked on big-screen versions of Chicago and Hairspray, as well as five live musicals for NBC that began with The Sound of Music and included 2018’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. They also were behind the cult hit Smash and produced three Oscar telecasts.
The actress, who starred in Family Plot and Freak Friday, died Aug. 16 of lung cancer. Harris made a name for herself as an actress in the 1960s and ’70s, earning a 1967 Tony award for her performance in Broadway’s The Apple Tree and an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her work opposite Dustin Hoffman in 1971’s Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? She was 83.
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, died Aug. 16 at her home in Detroit. She was 76. One of the most successful musicians of all time, the “Respect” singer won 18 Grammys and placed 73 titles on Billboard’s Hot 100 during her seven decades in the music industry.
Mary Carlisle, who played ingenues in a wide range of studio films in the 1930s, died at the age of 104 on Aug. 1. She was known for starring opposite Bing Crosby in three musical comedies, including College Humor (1933). She also appeared in Grand Hotel opposite Greta Garbo and acted in films with the likes of John Barrymore, Jack Benny, Will Rogers, and Maureen O’Hara. Typecast as a perpetually girlish and innocent young woman, Carlisle retired from acting after 1943’s Dead Men Walk and ran an Elizabeth Arden beauty salon for many years.
The Hell’s Kitchen competitor and chef died Monday, July 30 following complications from colitis.Vogel first appeared on the Fox reality series in 2014, and finished in 12th place. The chef also appeared on the Food Network show Cutthroat Kitchen. She was 34.
Brian Christopher Lawler
The wrestler most famous for contending under the name Grandmaster Sexay died July 30. He often paired with Scotty 2 Hotty as the tag team Too Cool and was also well-known as the son of WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Elmarie Wendel, known for portraying the eccentric landlady Mrs. Dubcek on the ’90s sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun, died at age 89 on July 22. In addition to her role on 3rd Rock, Wendel appeared in several guest-starring roles on television, including as assembly line worker Gina on George Lopez from 2003 to 2007. She also made her mark as a voice actress as Aunt Grizelda in the 2012 big-screen Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax. In 2015, she lent her voice to the popular videogame Fallout 4.
Nicholas "Duffy" Fudge
Fudge, a fisherman featured on the National Geographic reality show Wicked Tuna, died at age 28 on July 19. “National Geographic and Pilgrim Media Group were saddened to learn that Wicked Tuna cast member Nicholas ‘Duffy’ Fudge passed away this week,” read a statement on the show’s official Facebook page. “Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel, and has appeared on both Wicked Tuna and our spinoff series Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.“
Neilson, a star of Bravo’s reality show Ladies of London, died July 17 at age 49. In addition to being a reality star, Neilson previously worked as a model and was close friends with supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, as well as the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Nancy Sinatra Sr.
Nancy Sinatra Sr., the first wife of legendary Rat Pack crooner Frank Sinatra and mother of his three children, died Friday, July 13 at 101. Born Nancy Barbato, she met Frank when they were both teenagers. The pair married in 1939 in Jersey City, New Jersey — Nancy Sr.’s hometown. The couple divorced in 1951, but she chose never to remarry, often speaking publicly of her wish to reconcile with Sinatra.
The 1950s matinee idol best known for his portrayal of Washington Nationals slugger Joe Hardy in the big-screen adaptation of the musical Damn Yankees died July 8 at the age of 86. Hunter was one of the last contract players of the studio era, starring in a range of films including Battle Cry, The Sea Chase, and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. He became a gay icon in later years when he confirmed rumors of his sexuality in his 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, which inspired an acclaimed 2015 documentary.
French director Claude Lanzmann died July 5. The filmmaker was best known for his nine-and-a-half-hour Holocaust documentary Shoah. Lanzmann received multiple awards from the likes of BAFTA, the Berlin Film Festival, and France’s César Awards for Shoah. The documentary, filmed in the 1970s, recounted events from the Holocaust through interviews with survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators in 14 countries. No historical footage was used. Instead, Lanzmann told these stories through testimonies and visits to the locations where crimes took place.
Richard Swift, a member of the Black Keys, died July 2, at 41. The acclaimed rock outlet’s bassist on tour in 2014, Swift also performed in bandmate Dan Auerbach’s other group, the Arcs, and had been a member of the Shins from 2011 to 2016. “He was the funniest person we ever met, one of the most talented musicians we have ever worked with and we feel so honored to have known him,” Auerbach and fellow Black Keys member Patrick Carney said in a statement. “RIP Richard.”
The legendary and reclusive comic artist — who with Stan Lee co-created iconic Marvel heroes including Spider-Man and Doctor Strange — died June 27 at the age of 90. Ditko left a strong influence on Marvel Comics during his heyday there, most notably devising iconic aspects of Spider-Man including his red-and-blue suit, webshooters, and more.