2016 was a rough year for losses of notable names in the sports, music, movies, pop culture, all around. We are probably at that time in our lives when those we admired, looked up to, watched, listened to and wanted to be like are passing on. Many of these people became popular at a time when celebrity and notoriety were new phenomena, becoming more and more in the public eye with cable channels and more visible availability to the general public. Some were behind the scenes and some in our faces and in our ears. While 2017 may or may not offer any reprieve from the onslaught of these deaths, let’s hope the list is at least smaller.
This is not, by any means, a full, comprehensive list of those we lost but I hope it’s a good tribute.
1.Vilmos Zsigmond, 85, American Hungarian cinematographer (McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind).
10. David Bowie, 69, musician.
Alan Rickman 1946-2016
14. Alan Rickman, 69, actor (Die Hard, Bottle Shock, Harry Potter series). René Angélil, 73, music producer and husband of singer Celine Dion.
18. Glen Frey, 67, musician.
23. Jimmy Bain, 68, musician (Rainbow, Dio, Phil Lynott).
26. Abe Vigoda, 94, actor (Godfather, Barney Miller)
28. Paul Kantner, 74, musician (Jefferson Airplane).Signe Toly Anderson, 74, musician (Jefferson Airplane).
30. Frank Finlay, 89, actor (Othello).
3. Joe Alaskey, 63, voice actor (one of Mel Blanc’s successors for Bugs Bunny, Yosemite
George Kennedy 1925-2016
Sam, etc.). Maurice White, 74, musician (Earth Wind & Fire).
4. Edgar Mitchell, 85, astronaut.
13. Antonin Scalia, 79, American Supreme Court Justice.
15. George Gaynes, 98, actor (Police Academy, Punky Brewster).
19. Harper Lee, 89, writer (To Kill a Mockingbird).
22. Douglas Slocombe, 103, British cinematographer (Indiana Jones series).
23. Donald E. Williams, 74, astronaut.
25. Tony Burton, 78, actor (Rocky series, one of only four characters to be in each film).
28. George Kennedy, 91, actor (Cool Hand Luke, Naked Gun).
5. Ray Tomlinson, 71, American computer programmer (invented the modern day email system).
6. Nancy Reagan, 94, American First Lady and actress.
8. Sir George Martin, 90, British record producer, composer, conductor (The Beatles). Claus Ogerman, 85, German composer, arranger, conductor (Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall).
10. Keith Emerson, 71, British musician (Emerson Lake & Palmer/Powell)
17. Larry Drake, 67, actor (Darkman).
George Martin 1926-2016
22. Rob Ford, 46, Canadian politician.
23. Ken Howard, 71, actor (1776, J. Edgar).24. Garry Shandling, 66, actor and comedian.
29. Patty Duke, 69, singer and actress (The Miracle Worker, Valley of the Dolls, The Patty Duke Show).
2. Amber Rayne, 31, porn actress.
6. Merle Haggard, 79, musician.
12. Balls Mahoney, 44, professional wrestler.
17. Doris Roberts, 90, actress (Everybody Loves Raymond, Remington Steele).
20. Guy Hamilton, 93, British film director (Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun). Chyna, 46, professional wrestler.
21. Prince, 57, musician.
24. Billy Paul, 81, musician.
2. Afeni Shakur, 69, activist and Tupac Shakur’s mother.
4. Bob Bennett, 82, American politician (R – Utah).
8. William Schallert, 93, actor (The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Teachers).17. Guy Clark, 74, songwriter, singer (“New Cut Road,” “The Carpenter”).
19. Alan Young, 96, actor (Mr. Ed).
21. Nick Menza, 51, musician (Megadeth, drummer).
3. Muhammad Ali, 74, boxer.
6. Kimbo Slice, 42, mixed martial artist. Peter Shaffer, 90, British playwright (Equus, Amadeus).
10. Gordie Howe, 88, Canadian ice hockey player. Christina Grimmie, 22, singer (winner of NBC’s The Voice).
Muhammad Ali 1942-2016
12. George Voinovich, 79, American politician (R – Ohio).
19. Anton Yelchin, 27, actor (Star Trek films).
23. Michael Herr, 76, American writer (screenplay co-writer: Full Metal Jacket). Ralph Stanley, 89, musician.
28. Scotty Moore, 84, musician (Elvis Presley). Pat Summitt, 64, college basketball coach.
2. Michael Cimino, 77, film director, screenwriter, producer and author (The Deer Hunter).
16. Nate Thurmond, 74, NBA player.
19. Garry Marshall, 81, actor, director, producer, writer, voice artist, and comedian (Happy Days, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride).
24. Marni Nixon, 86, American soprano (West Side Story, My Fair Lady).
25. Dwight Jones, 64, NBA player. Tim LaHaye, 90, evangelist and author (Left Behind).
30. Gloria DeHaven, 91, actress (Modern Times, Best Foot Forward).
2. David Huddleston, 85, actor (Blazing Saddles, The Big Lebowski). Terence Bayler, 86, actor (Time Bandits, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Brazil).
13. Kenny Baker, 81, actor (Star Wars (R2-D2)).
Gene Wilder 1933-2016
14. Fyvush Finkel, 93, actor (Picket Fences, Boston Public).
15. Bobby Hutcherson, 75, musician.
17. Arthur Hiller, 92, director (Silver Streak, Outrageous Fortune).
19. Lou Pearlman, 62, producer and fraudster (Backstreet Boys, ponzi schemes).
23. Steven Hill, 94, actor (Mission:Impossible, Law & Order).
25. Rudy van Gelder, 91, sound engineer (John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk).
28. Mr. Fuji, 81, professional wrestler/manager.
29. Gene Wilder, 83, actor (Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein).
Arnold Palmer 1929-2016
1. Jon Polito, 65, actor (The Big Lebowski, Homicide: Life on the Street).
5. Hugh O’Brian, 91, actor (The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Shootist). Phillis Schlafly, 92, American writer and political activist.
11. Alexis Arquette, 47, actor/activist (The Wedding Singer, Pulp Fiction).
16. Edward Albee, 88, writer (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?).
17. Charmian Carr, 73, actress (The Sound of Music).
20. Curtis Hanson, 71, director (LA Confidential, 8 Mile).
24. Bill Nunn, 62, actor (Do the Right Thing, Spider-Man).
25. Arnold Palmer, 87, golfer.
26. Herschell Gordon Lewis, 90, splatter horror film director.
Pete Burns 1959-2016
20. Michael Massee, 64, actor (The Crow, Spider-Man).
23. Pete Burns, 57, British singer (Dead or Alive).
24. Bobby Vee, 73, singer.
7. Leonard Cohen, 82, singer. Janet Reno, 78, first woman attorney general of the United States.
11. Robert Vaughn, 83, actor (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Bullitt, Magnificent Seven).
13. Leon Russell, 74, musician (“Lady Blue, “Tight Rope”).
14. Gardnar Mulloy, 102, tennis player.
15. Mose Allison, 89, musician.
16. Melvin Lair, 94, politician (R – Wisconsin).
18. Denton Cooley, 96, surgeon (implanted first artificial heart).
23. Andrew Sachs, 86, actor (Fawlty Towers).
24. Florence Henderson, 82, actress (Brady Bunch). Pauline Oliveros, 84, electronic art composer.
Leonard Cohen 1934-2016
25. Fidel Castro, 90, Cuban President. Ron Glass, 71, actor (Barney Miller, Firefly, Serenity).
1. Sammy Lee, 96, physician and Olympic diver.
6. Peter Vaughn, 93, actor (Remains of the Day, Game of Thrones).
7. Greg Lake, 69, musician (Emerson Lake & Palmer/Powell).
8. John Glenn, 95, astronaut. Joseph Mascolo, 87, actor (Days of Our Lives).
13. Alan Thicke, 69, actor, songwriter (Growing Pains, Diff’rent Strokes theme, Facts of Life theme).
14. Bernard Fox, 89, actor (Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes, Titanic).
17. Henry Heimlich, 93, surgeon and medical researcher (Heimlich maneuver).
18. Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, actress.
24. Richard Adams, 96, author (Watership Down). Rick Parfitt, 68, musician (Status Quo). Liz Smith, 95, actress (The Royale Family, The Vicar of Dibley).
Carrie Fisher 1956-2016
25. George Michael, 53, musician.
27. Carrie Fisher, 60, actress (Star Wars, Blues Brothers).
28. Debbie Reynolds, 84, actress (Singin’ in the Rain, mother of Carrie Fisher).
31. William Christopher, 84, actor (M*A*S*H).
That’s 114 notable names (if I counted them correctly) that we lost this year. Some of them I didn’t even know we lost until compiling this list. Ron Glass, Robert Vaughn, David Huddleston and William Christopher were a few I didn’t know about. Again, while 2017 may not be gentle on us either, we can hope. I think part of it is we’re used to only about one or two A-list celebs departing a year with more B- and C-listers, but this year, we had many A-listers. Many of them older than I thought. Hope you all have a great 2017!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising.” – Alan Rickman