Fuck 2020: The entertainers and creators we lost this year

Fuck 2020: The entertainers and creators we lost this year

Clockwise from top left: Naya Rivera (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty  
Images); Eddie Van Halen (Daniel Knighton/Getty Images); Kelly Preston  
(Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images); Regis Philbin (Rob Kim/Getty Images); 
Chadwick Boseman (Sarah Morris/FilmMagic via Getty Images); Alex Trebek 
(Astrid  Riecken/Getty Images); Dawn Wells (Monica Morgan/Getty 
Images); Sean Connery (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Clockwise from top left: Naya Rivera (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images); Eddie Van Halen (Daniel Knighton/Getty Images); Kelly Preston (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images); Regis Philbin (Rob Kim/Getty Images); Chadwick Boseman (Sarah Morris/FilmMagic via Getty Images); Alex Trebek (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images); Dawn Wells (Monica Morgan/Getty Images); Sean Connery (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Remembering those we lost in 2020.

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Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation author

Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation author

Elizabeth Wurtzel
Elizabeth Wurtzel
Photo: Neville Elder (Corbis via Getty Images)

Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of the bestselling memoir Prozac Nation, died Jan. 7 at the age of 52. The author and columnist passed away at a Manhattan hospital due to complications from breast cancer, reports The Washington Post. In her typical candid fashion, Wurtzel revealed the diagnosis in a 2015 editorial for Vice titled “And Now This.” Wurtzel underwent a double mastectomy and married Jim Freed, who tells the Post that the author’s cancer metastasized to her brain. She officially died from “leptomeningeal disease, which occurs when cancer spreads to the cerebrospinal fluid.” Wurtzel first rose to prominence in 1994 at the age of 26 with the publishing of her memoir, Prozac Nation, in which she detailed her struggles with atypical depression. The memoir was later adapted into a 2001 drama starring Christina Ricci as Wurtzel, and was followed two months later by the release of the author’s followup, More, Now, Again: A Memoir Of Addiction. It was a brutally honest and often unnerving document of Wurtzel’s drug addiction—spurred by a prescription for Ritalin—and ongoing struggles with depression. In the years since the release of Prozac Nation, Wurtzel went on to write for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, New York magazine, and Slate, providing frank and often personal commentary on everything from the passing of her friend and fellow author David Foster Wallace to learning her parents’ dark secret. [Brit Hayes]

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Buck Henry, The Graduate screenwriter and Get Smart co-creator

Buck Henry, The Graduate screenwriter and Get Smart co-creator

Buck Henry
Buck Henry
Photo: Vince Bucci (Getty Images)

Buck Henry, the screenwriter behind the cultural staple The Graduate and the co-creator of Get Smart, has died. Per The Washington Post, Henry succumbed to a heart attack on January 8 in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. His wife, Irene Ramp, confirmed the loss. He was 89. Henry established his command of comedy with an early start in improv. He was a go-to host during Saturday Night Live’s first five seasons where he created a number of beloved, returning characters like Mr. Dantley, a returning customer of John Belushi’s Samurai Fatuba, and Marshall DiLaMuca, the father of Bill Murray’s Todd in The Nerds sketches. In 1965 he and Mel Brooks premiered Get Smart, a satirical secret agent comedy series for NBC for which he also wrote. It lasted for five seasons—138 episodes—and resulted in a number of adaptations, including a 2008 film starring Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway. As a screenwriter, Henry received an Oscar nomination alongside Calder Willingham in 1979 for his adaptation of the 1963 novel, The Graduate. The film would also turn the word “plastics” into a signal of ‘60s counterculture as well as produce some of the most iconic scenes in cinema. [Shannon Miller]

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Neil Peart, drummer for Rush

Neil Peart, drummer for Rush

Neal Peart
Neal Peart
Photo: Mat Hayward (Getty Images)

Neil Peart, the longtime drummer for rock band Rush, died January 10. Widely considered to be one of the best and most technically proficient rock drummers of all time, the musician passed away on Tuesday morning in Santa Monica, California, from brain cancer, according to Rolling Stone. A representative for his family confirmed Peart had been struggling with the illness for the past three years. He was 67. Born in Ontario, Canada, Neil Peart began drumming in earnest when his parents bought him a pair of drumsticks and got him lessons at the age of 13. After struggling to find steady work as a drummer in his teenage years following graduation from high school, Peart was invited to join Rush after the departure of the group’s original drummer, John Rutsey. Demonstrating a flair for language, Peart quickly became the group’s lyricist on top of his duties behind the drum kit, and Rush soon became as well known for their thoughtful, literary-infused lyrics as for the virtuosity of the band’s playing. He played with Rush from the group’s second album on through to its final releases, culminating with the R40 Live Tour in 2015, after which Peart announced his retirement from performing to focus on spending more time with his family. [Alex McLevy]

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Terry Jones, author and co-founder of Monty Python

Terry Jones, author and co-founder of Monty Python

Terry Jones
Terry Jones
Photo: Stuart C. Wilson (Getty Images)

Terry Jones, director, author, scholar, and founding member of the iconic British comedy troupe Monty Python died Jan. 22. The family confirmed that the comedian died “after a long, extremely brave but always good humored battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.” Their statement continued: “We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades. His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programs, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.” He was 77 years old. Born in Wales in 1942, Jones attended Oxford University. While pursuing a degree in English he met future writing partner Michael Palin. Together they wrote and performed for a number of notable British programs like Do Not Adjust Your Set before ultimately forming Monty Python with Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Graham Chapman, and American animator Terry Gilliam. With Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Jones helped raise the bar for British comedy and laid the foundation for a worldwide phenomenon. Not only did he perform, he also wrote and directed their most renowned work including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life. [Shannon Miller]

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Jim Lehrer, PBS NewsHour co-founder

Jim Lehrer, PBS NewsHour co-founder

Jim Lehrer
Jim Lehrer
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

On Jan. 23, PBS confirmed that Jim Lehrer—the veteran anchorman and co-founder of the nightly newscast NewsHour—died, but did not provide any details as to the cause of death. He was 85 years old. Lehrer was born in Kansas and raised in Texas, where he first cultivated his career in journalism. Within the span of just a few years he had garnered experience at the The Dallas Morning News and then with The Dallas Times-Herald, covering the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It would ultimately become that event that would greatly impact the trajectory of his career. “What I took away and have taken away — and it still overrides everything that I have done in journalism since — what the Kennedy assassination did for me was forever keep me aware of the fragility of everything, that, on any given moment, something could happen,” Lehrer later recounted for NewsHour. “I mean, my God, if they could shoot the president.” Both Lehrer and new anchor Robert MacNeil reported on the Watergate hearings in 1973 for PBS. Two years later Lahrer was promoted from contributor to co-anchor—a change that would evolve the Robert MacNeil Report into The MacNeil/Lahrer Report. When they relaunched the newscast in September 1983, the pair renamed the program The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and then The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer after MacNeil departed in 1995. It would eventually become PBS NewsHour and through its numerous iterations, Lahrer’s journalistic integrity was its guiding force. He anchored the program for 36 years before stepping down in 2011. [Shannon Miller]

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Tyler Gwozdz, Bachelorette contestant

Tyler Gwozdz, Bachelorette contestant

Tyler Gwozdz
Tyler Gwozdz
Photo: The Bachelorette (Ed Herrera/ABC)

Former Bachelorette contestant Tyler Gwozdz died Jan. 22 of an apparent overdose in Florida. Gwozdz was a contestant on the 15th Bachelorette season last year, receiving the first one-on-one date, but left abruptly mid-season. His departure wasn’t given much of an explanation; Refinery 29 notes that Bachelorette Hannah Brown told the camera: “Tyler G. had to leave, and that’s upsetting because I really enjoyed my date with him.” Gwozdz’s Bachelorette bio lists him as a psychology graduate student who was a native of Boca Raton. He was 29. [Gwen Ihnat]

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Kirk Douglas, actor and philanthropist

Kirk Douglas, actor and philanthropist

Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

American actor, producer, director, author, and philanthropist Kirk Douglas died on Jan. 5. Son and fellow actor Michael Douglas confirmed his father’s passing in a statement to People Magazine: “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to. But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine [Zeta-Jones], a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband.” [Lara Unnerstall]

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Kobe Bryant, NBA star

Kobe Bryant, NBA star

Kobe Bryant in 2017 when the Lakers retired his jersey numbers.
Kobe Bryant in 2017 when the Lakers retired his jersey numbers.
Photo: Harry How (Getty Images)

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant has died on January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, a suburb of Los Angeles. Bryant, 41, was among its five passengers—all of whom were killed. The athlete was undeniably one of the greatest professional basketball players of all time, winning five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and being named the NBA Finals MVP twice, an 18-time NBA All-Star (one short of a league record), and a four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (a tie for the record). He also played for the U.S. basketball team at the Olympics and won gold medals in 2008 and 2012. Bryant even won an Academy Award in 2018 for Dear Basketball, an animated short based on a poem Bryant wrote for The Players Tribune in 2015 about his retirement from the NBA. [Sam Barsanti]

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Katherine Johnson, historic NASA mathematician and subject of Hidden Figures

Katherine Johnson, historic NASA mathematician and subject of Hidden Figures

Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

Katherine Johnson, the pioneering mathematician essential to America’s first trip to space and the main subject of the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures, died Feb. 24. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed her death via a statement: “Our @NASA family is sad to learn the news that Katherine Johnson passed away this morning at 101 years old. She was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten.” She was 101 years old. Born in West Virginia in 1918, Johnson always had a special fascination for numbers and math. After obtaining math and French degrees from West Virginia State College, she became a teacher at a Black public school in Marion, Virginia. She was the first Black woman to attend graduate school at West Virginia University, but left after one year to focus on her growing family with then-husband, James Goble. That did not hinder her from pursuing a career as a research mathematician and in 1953, Johnson accepted a job along with a group of women at National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which would later become NASA. Johnson was often referred to as a “human computer” who was originally responsible for aggregating information from black boxes of planes. When she was assigned to help the all-male flight team, her proficiency in analytic geometry made her a fixture in a position that was originally supposed to be temporary. Her by-hand calculations determined the trajectories, launch windows, and return paths for Project Mercury flights for astronauts Alan Shephard and John Glenn. Her ability to perform under high-pressure circumstances ensured both their safety and her inspiring legacy. [Shannon Miller]

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Clive Cussler, prolific author and explorer

Clive Cussler, prolific author and explorer

Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler
Photo: Ulf Andersen (Getty Images)

Clive Cussler, the prolific, bestselling writer behind dozens of maritime thrillers, died on Feb. 24. His publisher, Penguin Random House, confirmed his death, though no specific cause was given. He was 88. An explorer as well as a writer, Cussler scoured the ocean depths to explore a number of historic shipwrecks and uncover around 60 more, including the Manassas, the Confederacy’s first Civil War ironclad. He also served as the founder and chairman of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, an organization that existed in his books before it did the real world. “I have never made claim to being an archaeologist,” he wrote on the agency’s website. “I’m purely a dilettante who loves the challenge of solving a mystery; and there is no greater mystery than a lost shipwreck.” It was for his books, however, that most people know Cussler. A consistent presence at any airport retailer, Cussler began his career with two novels, The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg, that, per the Times, he only got published after posing as the old colleague of a prominent agent and, as part of the ruse, recommending they be published. But it was his third book, 1976's Raise The Titanic!, that made a real splash—it sold more than a hundred thousand copies before being made into a 1980 film with Richard Jordan and Jason Robards Jr. His greatest creation was Dirk Pitt, a charming undersea explorer who headlined 25 of Cussler’s novels, including 1992's Sahara, which was adapted into a 2005 film starring Matthew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz. [Randall Colburn]

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Dieter Laser, star of The Human Centipede

Dieter Laser, star of The Human Centipede

Dieter Laser in The Human Centipede
Dieter Laser in The Human Centipede
Photo: Bounty Films

Dieter Laser, the veteran German actor perhaps best known for orchestrating The Human Centipede’s grotesque, meme-spawning raison d’etre, died in Berlin on Feb. 29. He was 78. Born in Kiel, Germany in 1942, Laser embarked upon a career in theater at the age of 16 as a way of wriggling out of the fundamentalist Christian household in which he was raised. Per THR, he joked that becoming an actor meant making a “pact with the devil” and that he would one day pay for it “in hell.” But he made quite the splash in the theater world, working with acclaimed German director Peter Stein at the lauded Berliner Schaubühne. With Stein, Laser starred in a successful run of Henrik Ibsen’s epic Peer Gynt alongside Downfall’s Bruno Ganz that would be filmed for German TV. He’d go on to appear in a number of German films and TV series, and, due to his his tight crop of dark hair and severe features, often found himself playing the villain. He did, however, win a German Film Award in 1975 for his leading turn in Ulf Miehe’s John Glückstadt) and a subsequent nomination for a supporting role in The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum. As our review of The Human Centipede makes clear, Laser’s imposing presence could elevate even the most tasteless projects. [Randall Colburn]

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James Lipton, creator and former host of Inside The Actors Studio

James Lipton, creator and former host of Inside The Actors Studio

James Lipton
James Lipton
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic (Getty Images)

Iconic writer, actor, and teacher James Lipton—best known as the creator and longtime host of Inside The Actors Studio—died March 2. Lipton was also dean emeritus at Pace University’s Actors Studio Drama School in New York City, after having previously introduced the Actors Studio graduate program to New York’s New School. In addition, he had two distinct acting careers, one before transitioning into writing and teaching and one after he had become a pop culture figure due to Inside The Actors Studio. Lipton was 93. [Sam Barsanti]

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Nicholas Tucci, star of You’re Next and Channel Zero

Nicholas Tucci, star of You’re Next and Channel Zero

Nicholas Tucci
Nicholas Tucci
Screenshot: You’re Next

Nicholas Tucci, best known for his roles in genre fare like You’re Next and Channel Zero, died March 3. His father confirmed his death in a post shared on Nicholas’ Facebook page, saying the actor died of an unspecified illness this past Tuesday. He was 38. Tucci was born in Middletown, CT, and graduated from Yale before taking on roles in a number of independent horror films. In the indelible You’re Next, he helped anchor one of the genre’s best recent ensembles alongside Sharni Vinson, Amy Seimetz, Barbara Crampton, Joe Swanberg, and Larry Fessenden. He subsequently went on to appear in solid films like 2014 cult spooker Faults and 2018 slasher The Ranger. In addition to his work on Channel Zero: The Dream Door, Tucci also guested on series like Daredevil, The Blacklist, Pose, and Ramy. [Randall Colburn]

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Max von Sydow of The Seventh Seal and The Exorcist

Max von Sydow of The Seventh Seal and The Exorcist

Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow
Photo: Etienne George (Getty Images)

Max von Sydow, the prolific actor who appeared in Ingmar Bergman classics, Flash Gordon, and Game Of Thrones, has died. Deadline reports that von Sydow died on March 8 at the age of 90. “It is with a broken heart and with infinite sadness that we have the extreme pain of announcing the departure of Max von Sydow” reads a statement from his widow, Catherine von Sydow. Born in Sweden in 1929, von Sydow is known to many for his chess game with Death in Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. Bergman was a mentor to the actor, who met the director when he moved to Malmö in 1955. There, he acted in Bergman productions at the Malmö Municipal Theatre before appearing in films like 1957's Wild Strawberries and 1960's The Virgin Spring. We were especially fond of von Sydow’s work in 1958's The Magician: “More than an hour passes before Max von Sydow, the eponymous conjurer, even speaks a word, but his eyes—and Gunnar Fischer’s exquisite black-and-white cinematography—communicate all that is necessary about a man who works to sustain a practiced air of mystery.” [Randall Colburn]

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Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator and From Beyond

Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator and From Beyond

Illustration for article titled Fuck 2020: The entertainers and creators we lost this year
Photo: Getty Images

Stuart Gordon—the writer, director, and producer best known for his cult-classic horror films Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986)—died on March 24. He was 72. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Gordon first made a name for himself as a provocative figure in the already-provocative world of experimental theater, a passion that led Gordon and his wife, Carolyn Purdy Gordon, to found the Organic Theater Company in 1969. (The Organic Theater Company would go on to premiere David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity In Chicago, which was later adapted into the 1986 film About Last Night...) He made the transition to film in 1985, where he teamed up with producer Brian Yuzna and actors Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton for the first of what would be many projects together. That film was Re-Animator, an inspired adaptation of an obscure H.P. Lovecraft story that deftly rides the line between colorful camp and authentic horror and disgust. That blend of gleeful fun and shocking violence and sexuality would become Gordon’s calling card as a horror director, a style he applied to films like From Beyond (1986)—another Lovecraft adaptation also starring Combs and Crampton—Dolls (1987), Castle Freak (1995), and Dagon (2001). Gordon wasn’t exclusively a horror director, however, and he found equal success in science fiction films like Robot Jox (1990) and Space Truckers (1996). [Katie Rife]

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Terrence McNally, four-time Tony Award-winning playwright

Terrence McNally, four-time Tony Award-winning playwright

McNally photographed in his home on March 2, 2020
McNally photographed in his home on March 2, 2020
Photo: Al Pereira (Getty Images)

Terrence McNally, the longtime playwright responsible for modern classics of American theater like Love! Valor! Compassion! and Master Class, has died of complications from coronavirus in Sarasota, FL. on March 24. He was 81. In addition to winning back-to-back Tony Awards for the aforementioned plays in 1995 and 1996, McNally also took home honors for penning the books to 1986 musical Kiss Of The Spider Woman and 1998's Ragtime. Just last year, he was awarded the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement In The Theater, timed to the revival of his 1982 work Frankie And Johnny At The Clair De Lune, starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. He was also inducted into the American Academy Of Arts And Letters in 2018, the highest recognition of artistic merit bestowed by the United States. McNally spent six decades working in the theater, and along the way also won Emmys, Obies, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Grant. More controversially, he also drew attention—both of the good and bad kind—for his fantastic passion play Corpus Christi, which reenvisioned Jesus and his apostles as gay men in Texas. All told, McNally wrote more than 50 plays, musicals, operas, films, and TV screenplays. [Alex McLevy]

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Kenny Rogers, country artist

Kenny Rogers, country artist

Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers
Photo: John Shearer (Getty Images)

News of Kenny Rogers’ death broke March 27. The singer had been dealing with various health issues the past few years. On doctor’s orders, he canceled the final leg of his final tour in spring 2018 due to “health challenges” and was hospitalized for dehydration last May. He turned 81 last August. Although best known as a country artist, Rogers was one of the most successful musicians of all time in any genre, with hits that ran the gamut from rock to pop to folk—even if none of his other songs could ever quite live up to the story-song impact of “The Gambler,” the Don Schlitz-penned tune that not only gave Rogers his second Grammy (out of three), but also provided him with the persona he’d frequently adopt for the next four decades of his career. [William Hughes]

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Bill Withers, soul legend

Bill Withers, soul legend

Bill Withers
Bill Withers
Photo: Michael Buckner (Getty Images)

Bill Withers, the incomparable, Grammy-winning soul singer and writer who gifted the world timeless hits such as “Lean On Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lovely Day,” and many others, died of heart complications on March 30. Withers’ family confirmed his death in a statement to The Associated Press: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other. As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.” He was 81 years old. Bill Withers was born on July 4, 1938 in Slab Fork, West Virginia. The youngest of six children, Withers understood the value of hard work: He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served for nine years. There, he developed an interest in performing and songwriting while overcoming a stutter. After he discharged in 1965, he sold his furniture and used the profits—a total of $250—to move to Los Angeles and pursue a singing career. While recording demo tapes, he juggled his day job as a factory assembler and his nighttime gig as a club performer. Even after developing his debut album Just As I Am—the collection that included his first major hit, “Ain’t No Sunshine”—he held on to his day work until he was laid off months before its release, unsure that music would provide a steady enough living. [Shannon Miller]

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Adam Schlesinger, singer-songwriter and founding member of Fountains Of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger, singer-songwriter and founding member of Fountains Of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger
Adam Schlesinger
Photo: Maury Phillips (Getty Images)

Adam Schlesinger, the award-winning songwriter and producer died on April 1 of complications from coronavirus. He was 52 years old. Schlesinger was the co-founder of bands Ivy and Tinted Windows, as well as a contributing producer for Brooklyn-based duo Fever High. But he was perhaps most known for his founding contribution to Fountains Of Wayne, the rock outfit behind the inescapable 2003 hit, “Stacy’s Mom.” The catchy pop-rock anthem was nominated for two Grammys, Best New Artist and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Prior to that, however, he had written the bopping title track for the 1997 Tom Hanks-directed film That Thing You Do. In the musical comedy, the hit track is performed by the Beatles-esquel band The Wonders. Schlesinger was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The prolific musician also wrote, composed, and produced music for There’s Something About Mary, The Manchurian Candidate, Scary Movie, and a host of other well-known films. As a Tony-nominated writer, he had significant roots in the theater scene. He and co-writer David Javerbaum were nominated in 2008 for Cry-Baby. A year later, the creative duo was nominated for an Emmy for their song “Much Worse Things”, performed by Elvis Costello and Stephen Colbert on the television special and album A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! In 2012, Schlesinger and Javerbaum won the Emmy for their work on Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number in the 65th Tony Awards. Four years later, Schlesinger would nab two more Emmys for his contribution to the CW musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: one for his collaboration with co-creator and star Rachel Bloom on the theme song and another for his work on the season one track, “Settle For Me.” [Shannon Miller]

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Honor Blackman, Goldfinger and The Avengers star

Honor Blackman, Goldfinger and The Avengers star

Honor Blackman in 1965
Honor Blackman in 1965
Photo: Archive Photos (Getty Images)

English actor Honor Blackman, famous for her roles in the James Bond movie Goldfinger and in the action adventure series The Avengers, died April 5 in Sussex, England. At 94, she was the oldest living “Bond Girl” actress. Blackman was born in Essex, and started out on the stage as a teenager. She made her film debut in the ’40s with small parts in Fame Is The Spur (1947) and Quartet (1948), and made an appearance in the Titanic-themed movie A Night To Remember in 1958. After roles in English series like Probation Officer and The Four Just Men, she appeared as Hera in Jason And The Argonauts in 1963. She followed that with a huge splash as Cathy Gale in The Avengers, drawing on her years of judo experience. That skill also came in handy when she left the series to become iconic James Bond leading lady Pussy Galore in 1964’s Goldfinger. Galore had her own gang of female crime aviators, and winds up ditching her loyalty to Goldfinger to escape with Bond at the end of the film under a parachute. Blackman was one of the oldest “Bond girls,” 38 at the time, and five years older than her co-star Sean Connery. Entertainment Weekly proclaimed Pussy Galore second only to Ursula Andress’ Honey Rider on its best Bond girls list, pointing out that censors prevented the character’s name from being mentioned in early ads. [Gwen Inhat]

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John Prine, country folk legend

John Prine, country folk legend

John Prine
John Prine
Photo: Scott Dudelson (Getty Images)

John Prine, the iconic country folk singer-songwriter whose music was largely known for its humorous brand of social commentary, died on April 7. Per The New York Times, the family confirmed that the artist died due to complications from COVID-19. Prine had entered the hospital on Thursday, March 26 with severe symptoms. He was 73 years old. Prine was a two-time Grammy winner, taking home the statuette for Best Contemporary Folk Album in both 1991 (The Missing Years) and 2005 (Fair & Square). In 2001, he co-starred in Billy Bob Thornton’s comedy-drama film Daddy And Them. During the closing credits, you can hear Prine’s duet with Iris DeMent, “In Spite Of Ourselves.” Throughout the 2010s Prine was the subject of many tributes, including an album in 2010 from Oh Boy Records called Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: The Songs of John Prine and inclusion in the American Currents exhibit at the Country Music Hall Of Fame. In 2018—13 years after his previous album of original music— Prine released The Tree Of Forgiveness. It was his highest charting album on the Billboard 200. [Shannon Miller]

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Allen Garfield from The Conversation and Nashville

Allen Garfield from The Conversation and Nashville

Allen Garfield
Allen Garfield
Photo: Getty Images/Ron Galella Collection

Actor Allen Garfield—who appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, Robert Altman’s Nashville, and played the police chief in Beverly Hills Cop II—died on April 7. Ronee Blakley, who played Garfield’s wife in Nashville, said on Facebook that he died from the COVID-19 coronavirus, with his sister, Lois Goorwitz, later confirming the news. Garfield was 80. Born Allen Goorwitz (a name he occasionally used during his acting career as a tribute to his father) in New Jersey in 1939, Garfield worked as a sports reporter and an amateur boxer before attending The Actors Studio in New York. He worked with storied filmmakers Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan, building a name for himself as a stage actor before making the jump to film and television. He had a knack for playing nervous, jumpy characters, often villains, and he left a memorable impression in movies like the aforementioned The Conversation and Nashville, along with Coppola’s The Cotton Club and Richard Rush’s The Stunt Man. Though he had over 100 roles over the course of his nearly 40-year acting career, Garfield’s time in Hollywood was cut short when he suffered a stroke before appearing in Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate in 1999. He continued to appear in movies and TV after that, including Frank Darabont’s The Majestic and episodes of Sports Night and The West Wing, but he had another stroke in 2004 and stopped acting after that. [Sam Barsanti]

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Mort Drucker, iconic MAD caricature artist

Mort Drucker, iconic MAD caricature artist

Mort Drucker
Mort Drucker
Photo: Toronto Star/Getty Images

Cartoonist and longtime MAD magazine caricature artist Mort Drucker died April 9 at the age of 91. At the time of his death, his daughter Laurie told The Associated Press that he had experienced respiratory problems and had trouble walking, but she did not give the cause of his death. Drucker was born in Brooklyn in 1929 and began working professionally as a cartoonist on Bert Whitman’s newspaper strip Debbie Dean in 1947 thanks to a recommendation from legendary cartoonist Will Eisner. He assembled a portfolio of comics work over the next 10 years or so (including a run at National Periodical Publicans, which later became DC Comics), which he brought to MAD’s offices in 1956 in hopes of getting a regular cartoonist job. He hadn’t yet perfected his caricature style, and at the time the magazine had only done occasional pop culture parodies, but that quickly changed by the ‘60s when every issue began to have some kind of movie or TV parody—with most of them being drawn by Drucker during his five decades at MAD. [Sam Barsanti]

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Nobuhiko Obayashi, director of Hausu, Sada, and School In The Crosshairs

Nobuhiko Obayashi, director of Hausu, Sada, and School In The Crosshairs

Nobuhiko Obayashi in 2019
Nobuhiko Obayashi in 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Nobuhiko Obayashi, the former experimental filmmaker and ad man turned mainstream director whose eccentric, colorful style was a shot in the arm for the Japanese film industry in the late 1970s and ‘80s, has died. Obayashi had been battling lung cancer for years, far outliving his initial life expectancy—in August 2016, he was told he had three months to live—and he died at home in Tokyo on April 9. He was 82. Obayashi is best known abroad for the 1977 cult classic Hausu, a kaleidoscopic, surrealist horror film inspired by one of his young daughter Chigumi’s nightmares. An utterly unique and unforgettable movie-watching experience about a Scooby-Doo-esque gang of teenage girls tormented by a demonic cat in a psychedelic haunted house, the film is typical of Obayashi’s energetic, fantastical approach to filmmaking, which earned him the nickname “wizard of cinema” in his native country. [Katie Rife]

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Howard “The Fink” Finkel, beloved WWE ring announcer

Howard “The Fink” Finkel, beloved WWE ring announcer

Howard “The Fink” Finkel
Howard “The Fink” Finkel
Screenshot: WWE

Howard Finkel, the memorable WWE ring announcer known as “The Fink,” died on April 16. He was 69. “When considering the greatest ring announcers in the history of sports and sports-entertainment, you’d be hard-pressed to name one better than Howard Finkel,” the WWE said in a statement. “Finkel’s distinctive voice was instantly recognizable, and for more than two decades Superstars such as The Ultimate Warrior, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and more would have a title victory marked by The Fink’s signature call, ‘and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!’” Finkel was born in Newark, NJ in 1950, and made his ring announcing debut at Madison Square Garden in 1976 with WWE’s predecessor, WWWF. He went on to become WWE’s first employee following its inception in 1980, and is credited both with coining the Wrestlemania event name and the nickname of iconic grappler Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Finkel graduated to lead ring announcer in 1984, and would remain an onscreen presence for the brand throughout the 2000s, sometimes in feuds of his own. As both a face and a heel, Finkel worked storylines with wrestlers like Chris Jericho, X-Pac, Trish Stratus, and The Bushwhackers. Though he suffered a serious stroke in 2018, he was still seen backstage at WWE events as recently as last year. [Randall Colburn]

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Irrfan Khan, Bollywood icon and international film star

Irrfan Khan, Bollywood icon and international film star

Irrfan Kahn
Irrfan Kahn
Photo: Christopher Polk (Getty Images)

Irrfan Khan, the Bollywood mainstay who was known internationally for his roles in cinematic tentpoles Slumdog Millionaire and Life Of Pi, died on April 29. Per The Guardian, he was admitted to the hospital in Mumbai due to a colon infection. Khan’s representative confirmed his death in a statement: “It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away. Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him.” He was 53 years old. Born in Rajasthan, India, Khan jump-started his film career over 30 years ago with a small role in the Hindi-language drama Salaam Bombay! Thought the quick appearance was edited out of the final product, it was enough to propel him towards his next film the following year, where he starred opposite Roopa Ganguly in Kamla Ki Maut. He continued to appear in a number of critically beloved movies over the course of a decade, paving a path to his first international hit The Warrior from London-based director Asif Kapadia. The drama’s participation in international festivals introduced Khan to a global audience and inspired him to continue pursuing a film career. [Shannon Miller]

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John Lafia, Child’s Play co-writer and Child’s Play 2 director

John Lafia, Child’s Play co-writer and Child’s Play 2 director

John Lafia and Beau Bridges at the afterparty for “10.5" in 2004
John Lafia and Beau Bridges at the afterparty for “10.5" in 2004
Photo: Amanda Edwards (Stringer/Getty Images)

John Lafia, co-screenwriter of Child’s Play and director of The Blue Iguana and Man’s Best Friend, died on April 29. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Lafia, who named the vengeful doll at the center of the Child’s Play franchise, died by suicide. He was 63. In a statement shared with Variety by Lafia’s family, his Child’s Play collaborator Don Mancini said, “We’re devastated to hear of the passing of our friend John Lafia. He was a crucial part of the ‘Chucky’ family from the very beginning. He co-wrote the original Child’s Play script along with director Tom Holland and myself, and John directed Child’s Play 2—the consensus favorite film among Chucky fans. John was an incredibly generous artist. He let me tag along with him to every meeting, and shadow him on set; he taught me more about filmmaking during the production of that movie than several semesters in film school. John was also one of the most naturally curious and constantly creative people I ever met, someone who was always taking pictures, and jotting down ideas.” [Danette Chavez]

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Little Richard, musician

Little Richard, musician

Little Richard
Little Richard
Photo: Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan (Getty Images)

Little Richard, the legendary singer and pianist whose energetic performances laid the foundation for rock and roll in the 1950s, died May 9 at the age of 87. A consummate showman, Richard’s music combined gospel, boogie-woogie, and his own ferocious energy, creating something that created a blueprint for generations of rock and rollers, yet sounded like nothing recorded before or since. Debate still rages over when rock and roll actually started. Was it 1955, when Little Richard and Chuck Berry released their first rock singles a month apart? Was it 1951, when Ike Turner recorded “Rocket 88”? Does it go further back than that, to Richard’s big influence, Sister Rosetta Tharpe? There is no consensus. But if you had to pick one singular moment when the genre came into being, fully formed, it would be hard to top the day when Little Richard, working on a new song and frustrated that his drummer couldn’t get the rhythm right, simply sang the drum intro: “a wop bop a loo bop, a wop bam boom.” [Mike Vago and William Hughes]

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Jerry Stiller, legendary comedian

Jerry Stiller, legendary comedian

Jerry Stiller with Insult the Comic Dog
Jerry Stiller with Insult the Comic Dog
Photo: William B. Plowman (Getty Images)

Jerry Stiller, the comedic mainstay and actor who was known for multiple waves of success, died May 11 of natural causes. He was 92 years old. Son Ben Stiller confirmed the death with a tweeted statement: “I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad.” Born in Brooklyn, Jerry Stiller was a classically trained actor who studied at Syracuse University after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1953, as his career began with bit parts and some notable work with Shakespearean classics, he met future spouse Anna Maera in the lobby of a talent agency. Sensing that Maera would excel in comedy, Stiller entered a professional partnership with his wife. Following more than a decade of appearances and commercials, the duo split professionally (though they remained happily married until Maera’s death in 2015). Stiller found renewed popularity with his 30-episode stint on Seinfeld as Frank Costanza. After Seinfeld ended, Stiller gained a starring role in CBS’s long-standing Kevin James sitcom The King of Queens, which ran from 1998 to 2007. He acted in a range of films, however his bold delivery and scene-stealing energy was a consistent the factor in his varied performances. He was also an author, having released Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara. [Shannon Miller]

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Lynn Shelton, director of Humpday, Sword Of Trust, and Mad Men

Lynn Shelton, director of Humpday, Sword Of Trust, and Mad Men

Lynn Shelton
Lynn Shelton
Photo: Joshua Blanchard (Getty Images for IFC Films)

Celebrated independent film director Lynn Shelton—the mind behind Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and My Effortless Brilliance —died May 15 in Los Angeles as a result of a previously unidentified blood disorder. She was 54. Born in Ohio and raised in Seattle, Shelton started out as an aspiring actor and photographer. She was in her mid-30s when she finally ventured into filmmaking—first as an editor then a writer, producer, and director. Her first feature film, We Go Way Back, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2006. The film was awarded the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Award for Best Cinematography, establishing Shelton as a indie film darling. That debut was followed up in 2008 with the South by Southwest premiere of My Effortless Brilliance and the 2009 theatrical release of Sundance standout Humpday. Shelton became known for working with small crews that were mostly made up of her friends, working with just story outlines, encouraging actors to improvise, and grounding surreal circumstances in a believable way. In 2017, Shelton directed Marc Maron in both GLOW and his Netflix comedy special, Marc Maron: Too Real. Shelton began dating Maron; the two went public with their relationship while promoting their film Sword Of Trust last year. Shelton—who is survived by her son, Milo—most recently directed 2019 episodes Apple TV+’s The Morning Show and Dickinson, as well as Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere. THR reported that she had been collaborating with Maron on a script for what was to be her next film. [Patrick Gomez]

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Fred Willard, actor

Fred Willard, actor

Fred Willard
Fred Willard
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

Fred Willard died of natural causes on May 15. He was 86. One of the finest minds of multiple generations of comedy superstars, Willard was almost always one of the funniest parts of more than 300 projects—perhaps most prominently in Christopher Guest’s Best In Show and A Mighty Wind, but also literally hundreds of other endeavors—in a comedy career that stretched across nearly 6 decades of television and film. Barreling into almost any scenario imaginable with a comic energy that frequently outpaced performers 40 years his junior, the Ohio native projected warmth and chaos into everything he touched in equal measure. [William Hughes]

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Richard Herd, veteran character actor and Seinfeld’s Mr. Wilhelm

Richard Herd, veteran character actor and Seinfeld’s Mr. Wilhelm

Richard Herd
Richard Herd
Screenshot: Seinfeld

Richard Herd, a veteran character actor best known for his oddball turn as Seinfeld’s Mr. Wilhelm, died on May 26. His wife, the actor Patricia Crowder Herd, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he died of cancer-related causes in Los Angeles. He was 87. Born in Boston, Herd overcame a serious bone infection as a child and joined the U.S. Army before pursuing acting in New York City. After starring in several plays, Herd made his screen debut alongside a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1970's Hercules In New York. From there, he secured key roles in All the President’s Men and The China Syndrome, as well as recurring parts on series like Starsky And Hutch, Dallas, and T.J. Hooker. Sci-fi fans may also remember him as Supreme Commander John in NBC’s V and its sequel and as the Klingon L’Kor on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Though an accomplished dramatic actor, Herd was a comic highlight on Seinfeld, appearing in 11 episodes as George’s daffy boss, Mr. Wilhelm, a malleable, increasingly absurd character who was brainwashed by a carpet-cleaning cult before reappearing to steal George’s dream job scouting for the New York Mets. Herd stayed busy in his twilight years. He played the menacing Roman Armitage in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s The Mule and Ike Barinholtz’s The Oath. [Randall Colburn]

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Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart author and AIDS activist

Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart author and AIDS activist

Larry Kramer
Larry Kramer
Photo: Slaven Vlasic (Getty Images)

Acclaimed author, playwright, and AIDS activist Larry Kramer died on May 27. Kramer’s passing was confirmed to The New York Times by his husband, David Webster, who cited pneumonia as the cause of death. Kramer had struggled with various illnesses over the years, including liver disease and H.I.V.—the latter of which he was diagnosed with in 1988, seven years after Kramer founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the first organization created to help those who had tested positive for H.I.V. He was 84 years old. After he was kicked out of that group for his aggressive tactics, Kramer took his no-nonsense approach to Act Up, an outspoken organization known for its confrontational public demonstrations and protests intended to raise awareness about the growing AIDS crisis. Kramer’s efforts caught the attention of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who told the New York Times that Kramer was “essential” in speeding the development of H.I.V. treatments. Fauci took notice of Kramer when the latter published an antagonistic open letter to the doctor in a 1988 issue of The San Francisco Examiner, in which Kramer described Fauci as “an incompetent idiot.” The two later became friends. Among his numerous accomplishments, Kramer earned an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay for 1969's Women In Love, directed by Ken Russell, and was the author of acclaimed plays such as The Normal Heart (which Ryan Murphy adapted as a feature film for HBO) and The Destiny Of Me (a Pulitzer Prize finalist). Kramer remained creatively active in the last months of his life: A New York Times feature published on March 28 of this year revealed that Kramer was writing a new play in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, titled An Army Of Lovers Must Not Die. [Britt Hayes]

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Ian Holm, Lord Of The Rings, Alien, and Time Bandits star

Ian Holm, Lord Of The Rings, Alien, and Time Bandits star

Ian Holm
Ian Holm
Photo: Getty Images

Sir Ian Holm, the British actor with a wide and varied resume working with directors like Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, Terry Gilliam, and David Cronenberg, died June 19 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Holm’s agent confirmed the news in a statement to The Guardian, writing, “He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer…Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.” He was 88. A member of London’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, Holm began his film and TV career in the late 1950s, appearing in filmed productions of Shakespeare and Chekhov plays for British TV. He was primarily a stage actor until the mid-’70s, when an intense bout of stage fright caused him to turn to film work instead. From there, his role as android science officer Ash in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) launched a second act for Holm, who appeared in supporting roles in a number of sci-fi and fantasy films, including Gilliam’s Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985), Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch (1991) and eXistenZ (1999), and Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997), alongside his dramatic work. In this realm, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as running coach Sam Mussabini in Chariots Of Fire (1981), although he lost to John Gielgud in Arthur. He did win a BAFTA for that role, however, and was feted by several critics’ groups, for his leading role in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter in 1997. In recent years, Holm was perhaps best known as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings movies, playing the role in The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) and The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003), as well as the older Bilbo in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (2014). The latter would mark his last onscreen role. [Katie Rife]

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Joel Schumacher, director of Batman Forever and The Lost Boys Joel Schumacher in 2011.Photo: (Getty Images)

Joel Schumacher, director of Batman Forever and The Lost Boys Joel Schumacher in 2011.Photo: (Getty Images)

Joel Schumacher, the film director whose background as a costume designer brought stylish, over-the-top flare to movies like The Lost Boys, St. Elmo’s Fire, Batman Forever, and Batman And Robin, died June 22 after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 80. Born in New York City, Schumacher was a star design student who worked designing clothes with Halston and dressing window displays for the city’s famed department stores before breaking into the movie industry as a costume designer on the 1972 Tuesday Weld/Anthony Perkins vehicle Play It As It Lays. He had some success in this arena, designing costumes for Stephen Sondheim and Neil Simon adaptations and two films by his friend Woody Allen—including the sci-fi caper Sleeper in 1973. By 1981, he leveled up into directing theatrical features, beginning with the sci-fi spoof The Incredible Shrinking Woman with Lily Tomlin. For better or for worse, Schumacher never quite captured the same level of buzz around his post-Batman efforts, although he continued to work consistently up through the early 2010s. In between Batman films, he directed a pair of well-received John Grisham adaptations, The Client (1994) with Susan Sarandon and A Time To Kill (1996) with Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, and Samuel L. Jackson. Sarandon is the only actor to ever receive an Oscar nomination for her work in a Schumacher film, but he continued to attract A-list talent: He directed Nicolas Cage in 8MM (1999), Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Flawless (1999), and Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock in the largely forgotten Bad Company (2002). His final work as a director was on two episodes of the first season of Netflix’s House Of Cards in 2013. [Katie Rife]

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Carl Reiner, creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show

Carl Reiner, creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show

Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
Photo: Jeff Kravitz (Getty Images)

Carl Reiner, Jewish American comedian, director, author, creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show, and longtime comedy partner of Mel Brooks died of natural causes on June 29 at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 98. Over the course of Reiner’s career, he won—among other accolades— 12 Emmys, one Grammy award, the Mark Twain prize for American humor, and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In a 2015 interview with CBS News, Reiner said of writing, “I wake up every morning anxious to get to my…what do you call it? We used to call it a typewriter. My computer!” He carried over that energy and love for writing to Twitter, where he remained one of the oldest active celebrities on the social network, tweeting daily witticisms, photos, and chapter titles for upcoming books. Reiner recently reflected on his career in comedy with The A.V. Club, saying to make someone laugh is “the best feeling in the world.... It’s like when you’re handing somebody a good meal or something and they say thank you,” he said. “It’s food for the soul.” [Randall Colburn and Lara Unnerstall]

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Earl Cameron, pioneering Thunderball and Doctor Who actor

Earl Cameron, pioneering Thunderball and Doctor Who actor

Earl Cameron was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 2009
Earl Cameron was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 2009
Photo: Anthony Devlin/WPA Pool (Getty Images)

Earl Cameron, one of the first Black actors to star in a British feature film died on July 3. The Bermudian’s local paper, The Royal Gazette, reported that the pioneering actor—who shared the screen with Sean Connery in the James Bond movie Thunderball and Sidney Poitier in A Warm December—passed at the age of 102. Born in Pembroke, Bermuda in 1917, Cameron served in the British Merchant Navy during World War II and ended up living in England almost by accident. After seeing a play in the West End that featured a handful of black actors, Cameron asked a friend to help him get a part in the show. “He said no way. The show was cast but, strangely enough, three weeks later, he came by late one afternoon and said my big chance had come,” Cameron, who had been working in a kitchen at the time, said in a 2018 interview with the Royal Gazette. “He said a guy on the show hadn’t shown up, it was the third time he had missed a matinee so the director said to get someone else.” Cameron made his debut in the show that same evening. More stage work followed, and in 1951 Cameron got his big break in film with his role in director Basil Dearden’s noir crime drama Pool Of London, which is reportedly the first British film to portray an interracial relationship. Cameron worked steadily for almost 40 years, joining the 007 universe as Pinder, James Bond’s assistant in 1965's Thunderball. A year later, Cameron reportedly became the first Black actor to portray an astronaut on any film or TV series in the world when he starred in a supporting role on season four of Doctor Who. In 2009, Cameron was appointed a Commander of the British Empire for his professional accomplishments. His last major acting role was a small part in 2010's Inception. [Patrick Gomez]

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Ennio Morricone, Oscar-winning film composer

Ennio Morricone, Oscar-winning film composer

Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone
Photo: Pier Marco Tacca (Getty Images)

Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning Italian composer best known for his immersive work on Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, died on July 6 in a Rome hospital after falling and breaking his leg. He was 91. The Maestro’s vast body of work encompasses more than 500 films, from the iconic likes of Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables to less-reputable films like Exorcist II: The Heretic and Alberto De Martino’s Holocaust 2000. He was especially prolific throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, trading between bawdy comedies like the original La Cage aux Folles (1978) violent B-movies like Dario Argento’s The Cat O’ Nine Tails (1971), and works by visionaries like Roland Joffe, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodovar, and Giuseppe Tornatore, for whom he composed the celebrated score of Cinema Paradiso (1988). He received his first Oscar nomination in 1979, for the score for Terrence Malick’s Days Of Heaven, but it would be decades and hundreds of films later before he would finally win for 2015's The Hateful Eight. [Katie Rife and Randall Colburn]

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Nick Cordero, star of Broadway’s Waitress and Rock Of Ages

Nick Cordero, star of Broadway’s Waitress and Rock Of Ages

Nick Cordero
Nick Cordero
Photo: Vivien Killilea (Getty Images)

Nick Cordero, beloved star of such Broadway productions as Waitress, Bullets Over Broadway, and Rock Of Ages, died July 5 at the age of 41 following a protracted battle with COVID-19. Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1978, Cordero dropped out of university in Toronto to pursue a music career. He first gained notice for his lead performance in an off-Broadway production of The Toxic Avenger, based on the cult classic film of the same name. A Tony-nominated performer for his role in the Broadway production of Bullets Over Broadway, Cordero was also well-known and admired for his roles in Waitress, A Bronx Tale The Musical (co-directed by Robert De Niro), and Rock Of Ages. Following his Broadway and touring runs in the latter, Cordero had traveled to Los Angeles to reprise his role as Bourbon Room owner Dennis Dupree for an “immersive” production of the hit musical that began in January. The actor’s passing was announced by his wife, Amanda Kloots, who had been documenting her husband’s struggles over the past several months on social media. Cordero is additionally survived by the couple’s son, Elvis, who is just over a year old. [Britt Hayes]

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Charlie Daniels, country star and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” songwriter

Charlie Daniels, country star and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” songwriter

Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels
Photo: Gary Gershoff (Getty Images)

Charlie Daniels, the Southern singer and songwriter behind hits like “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” died July 6 of a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, TN. He was 83. Born in 1936, Daniels was renowned for his fusion of Southern rock, country, and bluegrass, as well as his mastery of the fiddle, which he flexed on albums by the Marshall Tucker Band and Hank Williams, Jr. He released his self-titled solo debut in 1971, and went on to release more than 30 studio albums throughout his long career, which saw him score subsequent hits with songs like “Uneasy Rider,” “In America,” and “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye.” In that time, he’s become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, and won a Grammy in 1979 for “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” a thrilling and fiery slice of mythic revisionism that, as we pointed out a few years back, carries some queasy undercurrents. Daniels’ reach moved beyond music, too. He voiced himself on two episodes of King Of The Hill and acted in episodes of 18 Wheels Of Justice and Murder, She Wrote, the latter of which found him playing a singer named Stoney Carmichael alongside Angela Lansbury. [Randall Colburn]

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Naya Rivera, Glee star

Naya Rivera, Glee star

Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera
Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto (Getty Images)

The body of Naya Rivera, the veteran actress and singer who was best known for her role as the straight-shooting Santana Lopez in Glee, was recovered from the Southern California’s Lake Piru on July 13 after a days-long search. The Ventura County sheriff’s department declared Rivera missing on July 8 after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was discovered alone on a boat. She was 33 years old. Born in Santa Clarita, Calif., Rivera began acting and modeling when she was baby, appearing in commercials and print. Her first significant job came at the age of 4, when she appeared as Hillary Winston in the CBS Sitcom The Royal Family. Though the show was short-lived, Rivera received a Young Artist Award nomination for her performance. Over the next decade, she became an instantly recognizable face thanks to a deluge of a guest appearances on network staples like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Smart Guy, and many, many others. She also appeared in The Bernie Mac Show in 2002, which led to a 10-episode guest run in its final season. While acting, she continued to work hard in various everyday jobs such as telemarketing and retail just to keep her dream of performing alive. That perseverance would ultimately lead to her biggest role: In 2009, Rivera landed a part in the hit musical comedy Glee as cheerleader and headstrong performer Santana Lopez. [Shannon Miller]

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Grant Imahara from MythBusters

Grant Imahara from MythBusters

Grant Imahara
Grant Imahara
Photo: Albert L. Ortega (Getty Images)

When former MythBusters host Grant Imahara reportedly died from a brain aneurysm on July 13. He was 49. Imahara was born in 1970 and studied electrical engineering and robotics at the University Of Southern California, which he managed to turn into a visual effects career by landing a job with Lucasfilm after college. He worked with the THX and Industrial Light And Magic, working on effects for major movies like the Star Wars prequels (where he somewhat famously updated and operated the R2-D2 robots used in filming), the Matrix sequels, and cult classic Star Trek homage Galaxy Quest. He was also a competitor on BattleBots, helped design the modern Energizer Bunny, and built Craig Ferguson’s robot sidekick Geoff for The Late Late Show. It was through ILM that Imahara met Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, who invited Imahara to join them on the MythBusters team in the show’s third season. Along with co-hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, Imahara was part of the “Build Team” and constructed machines and robots to test myths and—in a nod to his other career—recreate stunts and effects from movies and TV to see how viable or realistic they were. The playful banter and bickering between Hyneman and Savage was the highlight of the MythBusters segments they hosted, but Imahara, Byron, and Belleci brought an infectious enthusiasm and passion to everything they touched on the show. The three of them left MythBusters in 2014, shortly before the show itself came to an end. In 2016, Imahara reunited with Byron and Belleci for the one-season White Rabbit Project on Netflix. [Sam Barsanti]

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Charlie Balducci, actor and MTV’s True Life standout

Charlie Balducci, actor and MTV’s True Life standout

Charlie Balducci
Charlie Balducci
Screenshot: True Life

Charlie Balducci, an actor and one of MTV’s most recognizable reality figures, was found unresponsive in his bed on June 25. Balducci’s mother spoke with TMZ about his unexpected death, stating that her son did not exhibit any known illnesses or conditions. He was 44 years old. A proud Staten Island native, Balducci become an MTV reality legend when he and his wife, Sabrina, appeared on True Life: I’m Getting Married in 2002. Alongside two other couples, the pair allow the network to document the months leading up to their wedding. In the episode, Charlie ran into an issue with a very tardy limo driver. The unexpected setback and Charlie’s Wedding Day anxiety merged into an explosive rant where he—marching down the residential streets of Staten Island in a pearl white formal tuxedo—threatened to “gut” the driver if he failed to show up. His “I’ll Gut You” rant became one of the most recognizable and quoted moments in early reality television, leading some pop culture analysts to label him and his wife as pioneers within the genre. [Shannon Miller]

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Kelly Preston, actress

Kelly Preston, actress

Kelly Preston in 2018.
Kelly Preston in 2018.
Photo: Dave Kotinsky (Getty Images)

Actress Kelly Preston—the star of films like Jerry Maguire and Twins—died on July 12 after a private battle with breast cancer. She was 57. Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith, the Honolulu native grew up in Iraq and Australia before landing at the University of Southern California to study acting. When she began professional career, she took on the last name of her mom Linda’s second husband—and her adoptive father—Peter Palzis. (Her birth father drowned when she was 3 years old.) She started acting in commercials in her teens, and her first big film audition was reportedly for what would become Brooke Shield’s role in 1980's Blue Lagoon. As she continued to audition, she began using the surname Preston and booked her first major film role, popular Marilyn McCauley in 1985's Mischief. That was just the first of a string of teen films like Secret Admirer and Space Camp before roles in 1988's Twins and 1996's Jerry Maguire. Other notable credits include the films For Love Of The Game, Holy Man, and Nothing To Lose, as well as recurring roles on the Patricia Arquette’s NBC drama Medium and friend Kirstie Alley’s Showtime comedy Fat Actress. Preston’s most recent film role was starring opposite her husband, John Travolta, in the 2018 film Gotti. [Patrick Gomez]

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Regis Philbin, television host

Regis Philbin, television host

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin
Photo: Rob Kim (Getty Images)

Legendary TV host Regis Philbin died of natural causes on July 24, just one month shy of his 89th birthday. Philbin became a national star when his morning show Live! With Regis And Kathie Lee launched in 1988. He hosted the program with Kathie Lee Gifford for fifteen years before welcoming new co-host Kelly Ripa in 2001. Philbin became a primetime star when he launched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, serving as host of the game show from 1999 to 2002. (He returned for various specials and episodes of the syndicated version over the years, most recently appearing as the host of the show on a 2019 episode of Fresh Off The Boat.) Philbin’s other hosting credits include Million Dollar Password, the first season of America’s Got Talent, and a recurring co-host position on Rachael Ray. The A.V. Club interviewed Philbin in April when he guest starred on the ABC sitcom Single Parents, which was co-created by his daughter, JJ Philbin. The TV personality said the opportunity came together in “about twenty minutes. JJ called me and next thing I knew I was on set. She’s lucky I was available!” As for working with his daughter: “It was very exciting. And I could tell she enjoyed bossing me around. Maybe a little too much!” [Patrick Gomez]

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Olivia de Havilland, Oscar-winning centenarian star of Gone With The Wind

Olivia de Havilland, Oscar-winning centenarian star of Gone With The Wind

Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
Photo: Bettmann (Getty Images)

Olivia de Havilland died at her home in France on July 26. She was 104. Her centenarian status made de Havilland one of the last surviving members of Hollywood’s golden age, and the last surviving main cast member of the cinematic milestone Gone With The Wind. She holds the record for the longest length of time any actor has survived after the initial release of a film they starred in, from 1935 (83 years). She also has the Guinness Book world record for the most people thanked in an Oscar speech: 27. The actress started out in the 1930s, making her first big splash in her first of eight pairings with swashbuckler Errol Flynn with Captain Blood in 1935. The pair’s cinematic chemistry between the gregarious Flynn and the delicate de Havilland reached its zenith in 1938’s classic rendition of Robin Hood, with de Havilland as Maid Marian. The role she was to become most famous for happened a few years later: She was only 24 when she starred in the pic Gone With The Wind as the saintlike Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett O’Hara’s rival for the affections of her beloved Ashley Wilkes. The Civil War saga was a full-on sensation, garnering de Havilland an acting nod and winning the Best Picture Oscar for 1939. In her later years, de Havilland played in campier roles, as the success of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? in 1962 fueled movie audience’s desires to see their favorite aging screen queens in considerable peril. In 1964’s Lady In A Cage, she’s a rich woman trapped in an elevator and tortured by hooligans; that same year, she replaced Baby Jane star Joan Crawford in the goth thriller Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, playing alongside her friend, Bette Davis. [Gwen Inhat]

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John Saxon, B-movie stalwart

John Saxon, B-movie stalwart

John Saxon
John Saxon
Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

A veteran actor, whose battles alongside Bruce Lee, and against Freddy Krueger, were just two major highlights of a 60-plus year career, John Saxon appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows. He played killers, teen heartthrobs, cops—a lot of cops—and many other parts during his long tenure in Hollywood and abroad, exploring pretty much every angle on genre cinema in the process. Saxon died of pneumonia on July 27. He was 83. Saxon got his start as a contract player for Universal in the 1950s, eventually carving out space for himself as a teen idol with films like Rock, Pretty Baby, Summer Love, and multiple pairings with Sandra Dee. But he also wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty playing a creep, psychopath, or killer, and from there, the man just worked. From, say, 1956 to 1966—when he notched one of many career horror milestones by starring in Curtis Harrington’s early stuck-on-a-spaceship-with-a-monster flick Queen Of Blood—Saxon racked up a massive 20 credits in TV and film. And the subsequent decades were no less prolific; blessed with a face equally adept at the sleazy sneer or heroic stalwartness, Saxon was a constant blessing to the world of genre film. [William Hughes]

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Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac co-founder

Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac co-founder

Peter Green
Peter Green
Photo: Frans Schellekens/Redferns (Getty Images)

As one of the founding members of Fleetwood Mac, and a regular feature on lists cataloging the greatest guitar players of all time, Green shaped the sound of blues and rock guitar in the 1960s, filling it with wailing vibratos and haunting string bends. Per BBC News, he died the weekend of July 25 at the age of 73. Born in London in 1946, Green wasted little time before diving into the world of blues guitar, playing in several short-lived bands before stepping up as Eric Clapton’s replacement in John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. (Re-teaming, in the process, with once-and-future bandmate Mick Fleetwood.) It was with the Bluesbreakers that Green refined what would come to be his signature playing style, deployed most memorably on one of his first big instrumental credits, “The Supernatural.” In 1967, Green and Fleetwood broke out on their own, bringing in bass guitarist Jeremy Spencer (and, eventually, former Bluesbreaker John McVie) to form Fleetwood Mac. Green’s guitar—sad, sweet, soaring—defined the sound of the band’s first, most blues-y incarnation, on songs like “Albatross,” “Black Magic Woman,” and “Man Of The World.” And it was Green’s disconnection from the group that heralded the first of several forced transformations that would become synonymous with its name. Green went on to have a long and successful solo career—starting with his “middle period” between 1979 and 1984, when he released another six studio albums. He continued to tour and play throughout the 1990s and 2000s, most notably with the Peter Green Splinter Group, focused primarily on his blues roots. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, along with seven other members of Fleetwood Mac, from throughout the band’s long and twisting career. [William Hughes]

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Wilford Brimley, actor

Wilford Brimley, actor

Wilford Brimley
Wilford Brimley
Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen (Getty Images)

One of the great gruff old men of cinema—despite the fact that his first great “old guy” performance, Cocoon’s Ben Luckett, came when he was still just 49 years old—Brimley lent gravitas to everything from landmark sci-fi films, to John Grisham legal thrillers to, yes, oatmeal commercials and public statements about the perils of diabetes. The actor was reportedly on dialysis at the time of his death on August 1 at the age of 85. Born in Salt Lake City, Brimley came to the world of acting in that most tried-and-tested of manners: Serving as a blacksmith, shoeing horses on film and TV Westerns—which eventually transitioned to a job as a riding extra and occasional stuntman. That, in turn, developed into a regular role on The Waltons, and from there he began to acquire film roles, often with the encouragement and assistance of his old friend Robert Duvall. (The two would co-star in 1983's Tender Mercies.) [William Hughes]

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Sumner Redstone, media mogul

Sumner Redstone, media mogul

Sumner Redstone
Sumner Redstone
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

Sumner Redstone, the media mogul who transformed his father’s drive-in theater business into a prolific corporate empire, has died at his home in Los Angeles on August 11. He was 97. The Boston-born Redstone became CEO of his father’s company, National Amusements, in 1967 and operated under the professional belief that content was far more important than distribution, famously coining the phrase “Content is king.” In the 80s, Redstone made a fortune when he sold his stock in various film studios, including 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures—the latter of which he went on to acquire in 1994, seven years after his hostile acquisition of Viacom. Redstone used his wealth and power to build an empire that also included CBS and Simon & Schuster. The controversial Redstone remained involved with his business interests in his final years despite concerns about his mental capacity and age. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2018, it had become more difficult for Redstone to communicate, so he was given an iPad programmed with three responses: “Yes,” “No,” and “Fuck you.” [Britt Hayes]

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Chi Chi DeVayne, RuPaul’s Drag Race and All-Star alum

Chi Chi DeVayne, RuPaul’s Drag Race and All-Star alum

Chi Chi DeVayne
Chi Chi DeVayne
Photo: VH1/Viacom International Inc.

Chi Chi DeVayne, the high-spirited drag performer whose cleverness and positivity landed her spots on season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the highly competitive spin-off All Stars 3, died on August 20. The news was confirmed by a number of close friends, including fellow alum Ongina, who tweeted a tribute, “Rest in Power Angel! Seriously one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” DeVayne’s death comes days after he entered the hospital with pneumonia and suspected renal failure. He was 34 years old. DeVayne, whose real name was Zavion Davenport, proudly represented Shreveport, Louisiana while diligently competing for the Drag Race crown. Originally considered an underdog, DeVayne quickly flexed his resourcefulness and wit when he entered the work room in a dress made from trash bag, speaking French. His creativity and resilience set him apart from the rest of the contestants and carried him all the way to fourth place, leaving a lasting impact that rendered him a legend in his own right. DeVayne was asked to compete in All-Stars 3, where he continued his impassioned quest for title of Drag Race Superstar before getting eliminated in the fourth episode. After his Drag Race run, he continued to perform and tour alongside his fellow former competitors. He would also occasionally appear in offshoots of the popular franchise, like the show’s corresponding podcast, What’s the Tee with Michelle Visage. In 2018, DeVayne was diagnosed with scleroderma. He was rushed to the hospital on July 17 and then underwent dialysis treatment. On Saturday, DeVayne reentered the hospital, where he filmed a quick video message for his followers, asking for prayers. “Keep me in your prayers. I’ll be back soon,” he assured from his bed. [Shannon Miller]

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Justin Townes Earle, singer-songwriter

Justin Townes Earle, singer-songwriter

Alt-country singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle—son of outlaw country singer-songwriter Steve Earle—died on August 20 from an accidental overdose of fentanyl-laced cocaine. He was 38. Earle was born in 1982, with his parents partially naming him after his father’s mentor, Townes van Zandt. Though he ended up following a similar career path as his father, Earle has been open in interviews about the fact that his father left him and his mother when he was just a child, with the two only really reconnecting around the time Earle became a teenager. At one point he even joined his father’s backing band, the Dukes, but he was fired because of his excessive drug use—an unfortunate similarity between Earle and his father. Earle released eight solo albums, not counting his debut EP Yuma in 2007, including 2008's The Good Life, 2010's Harlem River Blues, and a trilogy of albums about family: 2014's Single Mothers, 2015's Absent Fathers, and 2017's Kids In The Street. His final album was 2019's The Saint Of Lost Causes. [Sam Barsanti]

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Peter Licassi, Killer Klowns From Outer Space star

Peter Licassi, Killer Klowns From Outer Space star

Peter Licassi (left) with Grant Cramer and Michael Siegel in Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Peter Licassi (left) with Grant Cramer and Michael Siegel in Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Screenshot: Trans World Entertainment

Peter Licassi, the actor who played Paul Terenzi in Killer Klowns From Outer Space, took his own life on August 27. His friend and co-star Michael Siegel confirmed the news on Facebook, saying the 61 year old struggled with depression. “In the prime of his life, Peter was incredibly talented,” Siegel wrote. “Funny, clever, an accomplished musician, (man, could he play the banjo) a wonderful actor and a brilliant comedian. His timing was impeccable and his ability to take an idea and turn it into an entertaining routine was his gift. But Peter was more than that. He was kind and generous and supportive and would do anything for you. He was tough too. he always stood up for what he believed in. He was a perfectionist and at times those moments were difficult to handle. But he was honest, protective and caring.” [Randall Colburn]

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Chadwick Boseman, actor

Chadwick Boseman, actor

Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman
Photo: Sarah Morris/FilmMagic (Getty Images)

As the star of Marvel’s Black Panther—to say nothing of his career-making performance as Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic 42—Boseman lent quiet dignity and irresistible charisma to some of the most iconic roles of the last 10 years of film-making. According to the Associated Press, Boseman died August 28 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43. Born in South Carolina, Boseman studied acting and directing at Howard University and Oxford, before making his way to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He then spent more than a decade working in the trenches of TV, notching single-episode stints on dramas like Third Watch, ER, and CSI: NY, and more regular roles on shows like Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown—the latter his first actual starring gig. But Boseman’s career suddenly skyrocketed in 2013, when he scored the role of barrier-breaking baseball star Robinson in Bryan Helgeland’s 42. Boseman drew praise for his performance, winning the approval of Robinson’s widow, and holding his own against an over-the-top Harrison Ford. (Our own review from the time, amusingly, refers to him as “a TV and film bit player,” before pointing out how well he embodied the role.) Now an established name, Boseman stayed in the biopic lane with his next major project, taking on the far more flamboyant part of James Brown for 2014's Get On Up. But it wasn’t until two years later that Boseman would step into a role that was truly his, rather than an impression or recreation. That, after all, was when he was cast in Captain America: Civil War, the first film in which he played T’Challa, future king of Wakanda—but already the Black Panther. [Sam Barsanti]

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Bruce Williamson, former Temptations lead singer

Bruce Williamson, former Temptations lead singer

Bruce Williamson at Palace Theatre in New York City in 2014.
Bruce Williamson at Palace Theatre in New York City in 2014.
Photo: Walter McBride/WireImage

Bruce Williamson, the former lead singer of The Temptations, died at his Las Vegas home after reportedly battling COVID-19 on September 6. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Williamson began singing gospel music in church at a young age. Eventually he began singing R&B in local clubs before moving to Las Vegas to front the popular cover and funk band BlackBerry Jam. He developed a friendship with Temptations member Ron Tyson and joined the group (which formed its original lineup in 1960 but has had a rotating roster in the decades since) in 2006 after the departure of member G.C. Cameron. Williamson recorded two albums with The Temptations and appeared alongside his bandmates as the original Temptations in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. At the time of his death, Williamson was reportedly working on a gospel project with BlackBerry Jam. [Patrick Gomez]

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Diana Rigg, actress

Diana Rigg, actress

Diana Rigg in 1978
Diana Rigg in 1978
Photo: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

Diana Rigg, the revered television, stage, and film actress who was most recently heralded for her role as Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones, died on September 10. “My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family,” Rigg’s daughter, Rachael Sterling, said in a statement. “She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words.” She was 82 years old. A celebrated acting virtuoso, Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg began preparing for her time in the spotlight when she enrolled Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1955. Two years later she made her stage debut with The Caucasian Chalk Circle. After a stretch with the Royal Shakespeare Company between 1959 and 1964, she began to juggle film, TV, and stage parts, including King Lear and a bit part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 1965, she landed her big TV debut with The Avengers, where she starred as Emma Peel (and earned two Emmy nominations) until 1968. The role secured both her immovable place within the action genre and her status as a style icon—two very important elements that led to her casting in the sixth Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Starring alongside George Lazenby as Countess Tracy di Vicenzo—or Tracy Bond—she is still the only character to have married Bond onscreen. [Shannon Miller]

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Toots Hibbert, reggae pioneer

Toots Hibbert, reggae pioneer

Toots Hibberd
Toots Hibberd
Photo: Venla Shalin/Redferns (Getty Images)

Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert—known to reggae fans the world over by his stage name, Toots—died September 11 from complications of COVID-19. He was 77. One of the pioneers of reggae music, and one of the longest and hardest working performers in the world of music, period, Toots Hibbert won Grammys, inspired generations to embrace the reggae sound, and helped put Jamaican music on the map in the mid-20th century. [William Hughes]

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Photo: Sarah Silbiger (Getty Images)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg—legal scholar, documentary film star, hero to many, occasional meme, Supreme Court Justice—died September 18, at the age of 87, after suffering from a long battle with pancreatic cancer, and an equal-length and exhausting bout of carrying the hopes of the entire American political left on her well-conditioned but aging back. Ginsburg is survived by two children, Jane and James, and a long career spent fighting, more often than not, for women’s rights and the needs of the marginalized in the highest court of the United States—although god only knows how long the latter are going to be able to hang on, now that she’s not there to protect them. [William Hughes]

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Armelia McQueen, star of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Ghost

Armelia McQueen, star of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Ghost

Armelina McQueen
Armelina McQueen
Photo: Ryan Miller (Getty Images)

Armelia McQueen, a prolific performer onstage and onscreen, died on October 3. Her death was confirmed by a friend, Dorian Hannaway, in a Facebook post, though the cause of death was unclear. She was 68. McQueen’s career took off after she appeared Off-Broadway with Nell Carter and Charlayne Woodard in 1978's Ain’t Misbehavin’, a production that found its way to Broadway’s Longacre Theatre before winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. McQueen continued to work in theater throughout her career, but she also appeared in a number of onscreen roles. She played Whoopi Goldberg’s onscreen sister in Ghost, and also played supporting roles in films like No Holds Barred, Bulworth, and Life. Throughout the ‘90s, she starred on the Disney Channel’s Adventures In Wonderland as the Red Queen and guested on a number of the decade’s most popular sitcoms, from Martin to Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air to Living Single to Mr. Belvedere. In recent years, she appeared on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hart Of Dixie, and That’s So Raven. [Randall Colburn]

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Eddie Van Halen, legendary musician

Eddie Van Halen, legendary musician

Eddie Van Halen in 2015
Eddie Van Halen in 2015
Photo: Daniel Knighton (Getty Images)

Eddie Van Halen, the beloved rocker whose namesake band dominated the charts, died on October 6 following a long battle with cancer. He was 65. Van Halen’s son, Wolf, also confirmed the news via Twitter. “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning. He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on or off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.” [Randall Colburn]

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Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now” singer

Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now” singer

Johnny Nash
Johnny Nash
Photo: Ron Case/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Johnny Nash—best known for his endlessly optimistic 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now”—has died. Nash’s son, John Nash III, told TMZ that he died at home of natural causes at age 80. Born in Texas in 1940, Nash started singing at church before getting a regular gig singing R&B songs on local TV as a teenager. That eventually led to him getting on national radio and then landing a record deal. Nash met an up-and-coming reggae artist named Bob Marley, who he signed to a record deal along with Bunny Wailer, Peter Rosh, and Rita Marley. Nash also started recording hit songs like “Hold Me Tight” and “Stir It Up,” but nothing compared to the reggae-infused song “I Can See Clearly Now,” which immediately went gold, hit number one on the Billboard charts, and established Nash as one of the first non-Jamaican artists to ever perform reggae music in Jamaica. Subsequent recordings failed to live up to “I Can See Clearly Now,” but Nash and his breakout hit enjoyed a resurgence in 1993 after Jimmy Cliff covered it for Disney’s Jamaican bobsled movie Cool Runnings. Nash also had a brief acting career, appearing in Take A Giant Step, Key Witness, and in the Swedish romance film Want So Much To Believe (he also co-composed the soundtrack with Marley). [Sam Barsanti]

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Luis Troyano, Great British Bake Off alum

Luis Troyano, Great British Bake Off alum

Luis Troyano and Sue Perkins on Great British Bake Off
Luis Troyano and Sue Perkins on Great British Bake Off
Screenshot: BBC/YouTube

Luis Troyano, the cheerful graphic designer who impressed fans with his creative bakes on series five of Great British Bake Off, died in early October. The news was confirmed by his management in a tweet that read, “Sadly, my lovely client lost his brave fight against Oesophageal cancer last week. A fantastic man with a love of baking that saw him get to the finals of GBBO, write a wonderful book, Bake It Great and do so much more. Always in our thoughts.” He was 48 years old. Born and raised in Stockport, Troyano found joy in exploring his family’s Spanish heritage through creative baking. He entered the Great British Bake Off in 2014 and, as a person without a formal culinary arts background, was considered by many as an underdog. He ultimately proved that he was worth his salt when he made it all the way to the finale. After his season he wrote a book titled Bake It Great: Tips And Tricks. [Shannon Miller]

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Sean Connery, actor

Sean Connery, actor

Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

Sean Connery, the Academy Award-winning actor who, among his dozens of stage and screen credits, played secret agent James Bond in seven films between 1962 and 1983, died October 31. The BBC reported that Connery died in his sleep while in the Bahamas; according to his son, Jason, Connery had been “unwell for some time.” He was 90. Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1930, the son of a cleaning woman and factory worker. He joined the Royal Navy as a young man but was discharged on medical grounds for a recurring ulcer problem. After a variety of odd jobs (including lifeguard, artist’s model, and coffin polisher), Connery began working backstage at King’s Theater in 1951. Two years later during a bodybuilding competition—another of Connery’s early youthful passions—a fellow competitor mentioned theater auditions taking place that week, and Connery ended up joining the traveling production of South Pacific as a member of the chorus. Over the next few years, Connery worked in both the theater and netting small roles in film and television, starting as an extra and working his way up to small speaking roles, before landing larger turns in movies like Another Time, Another Place and the Disney film Darby O’Gill And The Little People. Connery rocketed to fame following his star turn in the first James Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962. In 1987, Sean Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables alongside Kevin Costner. This was followed by a string of high-profile hits, including Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, The Hunt For Red October, The Rock, and Entrapment. Unfortunately, a string of box-office and critical disappointments ending with 2003’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen led to Connery’s subsequent decision to retire from acting, an announcement he made official in 2006. [Erik Adams and Alex McLevy]

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King Von, Chicago rapper

King Von, Chicago rapper

King Von
King Von
Screenshot: King Von/YouTube

Chicago-born, Atlanta-based rapper King Von died November 6, just a week after releasing his debut album. Per Pitchfork, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department confirmed that the still-nascent artist was fatally wounded in a shooting that took place outside of an Atlanta nightclub early that morning. The altercation involved two groups of men and two off-duty police officers (neither of which were injured), culminating in a total of three deaths, including the the performer. He was 26 years old. Born Dayvon Daquan Bennett, King Von officially began rapping in 2018 after fellow rapper and collaborator Lil Durk signed the new artist to his record label, Only The Family. He released his debut and most popular single, “Crazy Story,” on Durk’s Only the Family Involved Vol. 2 compilation. The song would lead a three-part suite of singles aptly titled “Crazy Story 2.0" and “Crazy Story Pt. 3.” The second track would ultimate land on Billboard’s radar, peaking at no. 4 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100. Von finally released a mixtape last September, Grandson, Vol. 1, followed by the Levon James project in March of this year. On October 30 he released his debut album, Welcome To O-Block, on Only The Family records and Empire. [Shannon Miller]

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Viola Smith, known as the “fastest girl drummer in the world”

Viola Smith, known as the “fastest girl drummer in the world”

Viola Smith
Viola Smith
Photo: FPG/Archive Photos (Getty Images)

Viola Smith, the pioneering musician known as the “fastest girl drummer in the world,” died in her Costa Mesa, California home on October 21. She was 107 years old. A Wisconsinite, Smith grew up in a large family of musicians. She played in a jazz band alongside her seven sisters called Schmitz Sisters Orchestra, which was formed by their father. The troupe toured via the Radio-Keith-Orpheum vaudeville circuit while also taking on stray gigs at state fairs and movie theaters in-between. Once the band dissolved, she started another all-female group known as the Coquettes. The ensemble enchanted national audiences in the late 1930s, but Smith’s precision and vibrant energy required its own well-earned spotlight, making her the first female star of jazz drumming. Smith was known for her ambitious signature set-up: 13 drums, complete with two 16-inch tom-toms at shoulder height. She retired after the end the the Big Band era and ultimately settled in California, where she spent her days playing bridge and enjoying her community. Though she made such an indelible impact in music, especially with following generations of female drummers, the breadth of her legacy still took her by surprise. “It’s all amazing to me what I see now on the internet,” she told Tom Tom Magazine in 2013. “Everything comes as a great surprise. I’m very thankful that I’m accepted as a girl drummer because, one time, there was no such thing.” Despite her modesty and her respect for other jazz drumming legends like Gene Krupa, nobody got away with dubbing her as the “female version” of her male counterpart. In fact, she was known for issuing an affectionate, but swift correction, letting others know that Krupa was the male Viola Smith. [Shannon Miller]

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Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! host

Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! host

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek
Photo: Astrid Riecken (Getty Images)

Alex Trebek, the longtime host of the syndicated TV game show Jeopardy!, died on November 8 after a public battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Trebek, who was born in Ontario, Canada in 1940 but became a naturalized United States citizen in 1998, grew up in a bilingual French-English home and graduated from the University of Ottawa with a philosophy degree. While finishing up his college career, he began working for the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1961. Originally with an eye toward broadcast journalism, Trebek spent several years working as an announcer for a wide variety of news and sporting events for the radio division of the CBC. His television career began in 1963 as host of a Canadian music program called Music Hop, and throughout the ensuing decade Trebek worked as a host for a variety of CBC programs, including game shows, classical music programs, and even a weekly skating show. In 1973, he moved to Los Angeles and began a new phase of his life hosting American game shows, more than half a dozen between 1973 and 1983. However, it was with the daily syndicated revival of the ’60s-era game show Jeopardy! that Trebek found his subsequent livelihood, taking on the role of host from its debut in 1984 until the end of his life. [Alex McLevy]

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Dave Prowse, Darth Vader actor

Dave Prowse, Darth Vader actor

Dave Prowse
Dave Prowse
Photo: Carlos Alvarez (Getty Images)

David “Dave” Prowse, the former weightlifter and tower figure who was best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on November 28. Per the New York Times, the actor’s agent, Thomas Bowington, confirmed that he died in a London hospital, but did not confirm the cause of death. He was 85 years old. Standing at 6-foot-6, Prowse was known as a gentle giant within the film and fitness industries. As a British heavyweight weightlifting champion, Prowse parlayed his unforgettable stature into a career in character acting. An uncredited role in Casino Royale marked the start of his impact in a number of immovable works in both TV and film, including the Frankenstein series, Doctor Who, and A Clockwork Orange. In fact, it has his role as a guard in the Stanley Kubrick classic that garnered the attention of George Lucas and would lead to the biggest role of his career. [Shannon Miller]

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Natalie Desselle-Reid, B.A.P.S. and Madea’s Big Happy Family actress

Natalie Desselle-Reid, B.A.P.S. and Madea’s Big Happy Family actress

Natalie Desselle-Reid
Natalie Desselle-Reid
Photo: John Shearer (Getty Images)

Natalie Desselle-Reid—best known for appearing on Eve and in films like B.A.P.S. and Madea’s Big Happy Family—died on December 7 from colon cancer. She was 53. Desselle-Reid was born in Louisiana in 1967 and studied theater while in college. Her first credited acting role was a small appearance on Family Matters in 1996, but just a year later she starred in B.A.P.S. alongside Halle Berry. The film, directed by Robert Townsend, wasn’t especially well-received when it premiered (Roger Ebert’s review is particularly scathing), but it managed to develop a following over the years. In fact, just a few days ago, Berry posted a throwback video on her Instagram of her and Desselle-Reid walking around Los Angeles in-character that was met with a significantly warmer reception. Today, after hearing of Desselle-Reid’s death, Berry posted another message saying she was “in total shock” and “completely heartbroken.” Desselle-Reid also appeared in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Brandy, Whitney Houston, and Whoopi Goldberg, and later had a major role on Eve. In the last few years, she popped up in Madea’s Big Happy Family, A Mother’s Rage, Zoe Gone, and The D. [Sam Barsanti]

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Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr., wrestler and actor

Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr., wrestler and actor

Tom Lister Jr.
Tom Lister Jr.
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr. has died December 10 after reportedly displaying symptoms of COVID-19. He was 62. Although Lister gained some acclaim from a short-lived wrestling career in the WWF in the early 1990s, he was best known as an actor, contributing his unforgettable physical presence to literally hundreds of TV shows and movies across a 30-plus-year career. As the villainous Deebo in the Friday films, the no-nonsense president in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, and a nameless, noble prisoner in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Lister intimidated, elevated, and impressed in equal parts. [William Hughes]

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Actress Carol Sutton, from Steel Magnolias, Queen Sugar, and more

Actress Carol Sutton, from Steel Magnolias, Queen Sugar, and more

Carol Sutton
Carol Sutton
Photo: Rachel Luna (Getty Images)

Carol Sutton, an institution in the New Orleans theater and acting scenes, died December 10 of complications from COVID-19. She was 76. Originally emerging into the world of New Orleans theater in the 1960s, Sutton worked prolifically throughout her career, both in the theater and in front of the camera. Her first on-screen role came in 1974 with The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman; one of her last came just a few months ago, when she had a small role on HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Along the way, she played Nurse Pam in Steel Magnolias, lent her talents to American Horror Story, and had a prominent single-episode appearance on Queen Sugar. Sutton was remembered in the days after her death by the New Orleans theater community, and by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who dubbed her “practically the Queen of New Orleans theater,” praising Sutton for her performances in many of the city’s most prominent theatrical productions, including turns in 4000 Miles and A Raisin In The Sun. [William Hughes]

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Jeremy Bulloch, original Boba Fett actor

Jeremy Bulloch, original Boba Fett actor

Jeremy Bulloch
Jeremy Bulloch
Photo: John Phillips (Getty Images)

British actor Jeremy Bulloch—best known for his work in the Star Wars franchise, where he embodied iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi—died December 17 following several years of living with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 75. Bulloch originally came up through British children’s entertainment and soap operas, scoring an early win with The Newcomers in 1965 before popping up in small film roles, or with the occasional appearance on Doctor Who. (He played two different parts in the long-running franchise, a feat he’d repeat with the James Bond movies a few years later.) Bouncing between film, TV, and theater, Bulloch spent the 1970s living a fairly standard-seeming version of the working actor’s life—until, in 1979, a non-speaking performance in the sequel to an unlikely sci-fi blockbuster altered the trajectory of his life. [William Hughes]

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John le Carré, novelist and former spy

John le Carré, novelist and former spy

John le Carré
John le Carré
Photo: Andreas Rentz (Getty Images)

British novelist John le Carré—best known for his many spy novels, including The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy—died December 12 after a “short illness” that was reportedly unrelated to COVID-19. He was 89. Le Carré, born David John Moore Cornwell in 1931, famously worked as an actual spy in addition to just writing about them. In the ‘50s, after studying foreign languages, he got a job with the British military interrogating German people who had crossed from the East into the West. With the Cold War still in full-swing, he later started working with MI5 to investigate far-left Soviet sympathizers at a college in Oxford. He eventually became a full-blown MI5 officer, albeit covertly, running various clandestine operations and working as a teacher. He started writing his first novel, Call For The Dead, around this time, and in 1960 he was transferred to MI6, England’s foreign intelligence service. Subsequent books like A Murder Of Quality and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold had to be written under a pseudonym, then, as per the government’s rules against foreign agents publishing with their own name to protect their identities. Le Carre’s books have also been reliable source material for adaptations, like The Little Drummer Girl, Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie’s version of The Night Manager or the 2011 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Gary Oldman as Smiley (and a whole host of famous faces alongside him). [Sam Barsanti]

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Charley Pride, country music legend

Charley Pride, country music legend

Charley Pride
Charley Pride
Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA

Charley Pride died December 12 of complications from COVID-19. He was 86. A pioneer in the world of country music, with dozens of hit singles, a boatload of awards, and the rare distinction of being one of only three Black performers to be a member of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Pride helped define the voice of country music as it launched a rising takeover of pop music in the 1960s and 1970s. Across his long career, he was credited with breaking barriers, helping to reduce tension during The Troubles in Ireland, and also penning and singing an unimaginable number of damn fine country songs. Signed by RCA after executives heard a demo tape in the mid-’60s, Pride—a former player for the Negro American League—had his first breakout hit in 1965, with his third single, “Just Between You And Me.” From there, the rise was more-or-less meteoric; it’s worth noting that Pride had a million-selling “Best Of” album by 1969—two years before releasing his most popular song ever, “Kiss An Angel Good Morning.” So undeniable was his rich tenor voice and heartfelt sentimentality, it blew straight through many of the biases or prejudices his audience might otherwise have harbored toward a Black musician working in traditionally white spaces; Pride famously joked about his “permanent suntan” to break the tension during his first major gig, and became the first Black man to perform at the Opry in 26 years in 1967. [William Hughes]

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William Link, co-creator of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote

William Link, co-creator of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote

William Link in 2010
William Link in 2010
Photo: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times (Getty Images)

TV writer and producer William Link—co-creator of Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Mannix, and a number of other things—has died from congestive heart failure on December 27 at age 87. Link frequently collaborated with fellow writer and producer Richard Levinson, with whom he co-created all three of the aforementioned shows, up until Levinson’s death in 1987. Link and Levinson somewhat famously began their collaborative writing careers as children, becoming friends in junior high school and quickly working together on scripts for radio dramas. They eventually moved on to plays and short stories, and Deadline says the duo consciously transitioned over to television after recognizing the nascent medium’s ability to “capture the current scene and contribute to the national discussion about such subjects as race relations, student unrest, and gun violence.” They wrote scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Fugitive, and in 1960 they created their own detective character for an episode of NBC’s The Chevy Mystery Show. That character, Columbo, went on to get his own series starring Peter Falk. In the ‘80s, Link and Levinson were approached by CBS to create a new mystery series, which ended up being Murder, She Wrote. Over the years, Link won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes, a Peabody, and was inducted into the Television Academy’s hall of fame. [Sam Barsanti]

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Dawn Wells, Gilligan’s Island actress

Dawn Wells, Gilligan’s Island actress

Dawn Wells
Dawn Wells
Photo: Monica Morgan (Getty Images)

Dawn Wells, the actress who helmed the iconic role of Mary Ann in Gilligan’s Island and long served as the girl-next-door archetype for film and television, died December 30 due to complications from COVID-19. She was 82 years old. Born in Reno, Nevada, Wells first claimed her spotlight in 1959 when she was crowned Miss Nevada, leading her to represent her state in the Miss America pageant in 1960. Her time as a beauty queen led to the beginning of her television career, earning her a host of guest appearances in 1961, including Maverick and a reoccurring stint on 77 Sunset Strip. After years of brief appearances and walk-on bits, she auditioned against 350 actresses for the role that would ultimately cement her spot in television history: Gilligan’s Island premiered in September of 1964 with Wells taking on the gingham-adorned role of Mary Ann, the demure counterpart to Tina Louise’s sultry and glamorous Ginger. The character set such a potent example that it became hard for Wells to escape it herself, often reprising her role in numerous guest spots throughout the decades in shows like Alf and Baywatch. After the show ended in 1967, she signed on to play a sex worker in the rom-com The Owl And The Pussycat, a role that she discussed with Smashing Interviews Magazine in 2019:Mary Ann was a good girl. She was polite. She was a hard worker. She would be your best friend. She cooked. She cleaned. She did all of those things, and she was a really good role model. But the first thing you want to do is break that character and go do something else.” That “something else” included a long theater career packed with numerous stage productions and national tours, including Steel Magnolias, The Odd Couple, and The Vagina Monologues. She also co-authored a book with Steven Stinson called What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide To Life, released a cookbook in 1993, and engaged in years of humanitarian work that supported the disabled community. [Shannon Miller]

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MF DOOM, rapper

MF DOOM, rapper

MF DOOM
MF DOOM
Photo: Peter Kramer (Getty Images)

Daniel Dumile, the musician and producer best known as the masked MC MF DOOM, died on October 31, his wife, Jasmine, revealed on Instagram the final day of 2020. No cause of death has been reported. Dumile was 49. The London-born rapper began his long-gestating career in 1988 as a member of KMD, a hip-hop trio that he formed with his younger brother DJ Subroc and emcee Rodan (who would later be replaced by Onyx The Birthstone Kid). At the time, Dumile’s stage name was Zev Love X. The group was signed to Elektra Records and made its recording debut on group 3rd Bass’s song “The Gas Face.” Their first album, Mr. Hood, gained popularity thanks to heavy airplay on Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City. KMD hit an irreparable rough patch in 1993, when in the span of a week, DJ Subroc died in a vehicular accident and the remaining members were dropped from their record label. Dumile took a step back from the hip-hop scene from 1994 to 1997, taking time to recover from the hefty blows from an unforgiving industry. When KMD’s second album, Black Bastards—a previously stalled project—was later bootlegged, it garnered enough of an audience to culminate in a solid underground following. Dumile would reemerge with a brand-new identity, complete with a mask and stage name inspired by the Marvel Comics supervillain Doctor Doom. Although his final solo album was released in 2009, he spent the last few years engaging in a number of collaborations with the likes of Ghostface Killah, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, and Khujo Goodie of Goodie Mob. As recent as December, BADBADNOTGOOD dropped the MF DOOM collab “The Chocolate Conquistadors” for the latest Grand Theft Auto update, Cayo Perico Heist. [Erik Adams and Shannon Miller]

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All slides

  1. Fuck 2020: The entertainers and creators we lost this year
  2. Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation author
  3. Buck Henry, The Graduate screenwriter and Get Smart co-creator
  4. Neil Peart, drummer for Rush
  5. Terry Jones, author and co-founder of Monty Python
  6. Jim Lehrer, PBS NewsHour co-founder
  7. Tyler Gwozdz, Bachelorette contestant
  8. Kirk Douglas, actor and philanthropist
  9. Kobe Bryant, NBA star
  10. Katherine Johnson, historic NASA mathematician and subject of Hidden Figures
  11. Clive Cussler, prolific author and explorer
  12. Dieter Laser, star of The Human Centipede
  13. James Lipton, creator and former host of Inside The Actors Studio
  14. Nicholas Tucci, star of You’re Next and Channel Zero
  15. Max von Sydow of The Seventh Seal and The Exorcist
  16. Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator and From Beyond
  17. Terrence McNally, four-time Tony Award-winning playwright
  18. Kenny Rogers, country artist
  19. Bill Withers, soul legend
  20. Adam Schlesinger, singer-songwriter and founding member of Fountains Of Wayne
  21. Honor Blackman, Goldfinger and The Avengers star
  22. John Prine, country folk legend
  23. Allen Garfield from The Conversation and Nashville
  24. Mort Drucker, iconic MAD caricature artist
  25. Nobuhiko Obayashi, director of Hausu, Sada, and School In The Crosshairs
  26. Howard “The Fink” Finkel, beloved WWE ring announcer
  27. Irrfan Khan, Bollywood icon and international film star
  28. John Lafia, Child’s Play co-writer and Child’s Play 2 director
  29. Little Richard, musician
  30. Jerry Stiller, legendary comedian
  31. Lynn Shelton, director of Humpday, Sword Of Trust, and Mad Men
  32. Fred Willard, actor
  33. Richard Herd, veteran character actor and Seinfeld’s Mr. Wilhelm
  34. Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart author and AIDS activist
  35. Ian Holm, Lord Of The Rings, Alien, and Time Bandits star
  36. Joel Schumacher, director of Batman Forever and The Lost Boys Joel Schumacher in 2011.Photo: (Getty Images)
  37. Carl Reiner, creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show
  38. Earl Cameron, pioneering Thunderball and Doctor Who actor
  39. Ennio Morricone, Oscar-winning film composer
  40. Nick Cordero, star of Broadway’s Waitress and Rock Of Ages
  41. Charlie Daniels, country star and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” songwriter
  42. Naya Rivera, Glee star
  43. Grant Imahara from MythBusters
  44. Charlie Balducci, actor and MTV’s True Life standout
  45. Kelly Preston, actress
  46. Regis Philbin, television host
  47. Olivia de Havilland, Oscar-winning centenarian star of Gone With The Wind
  48. John Saxon, B-movie stalwart
  49. Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac co-founder
  50. Wilford Brimley, actor
  51. Sumner Redstone, media mogul
  52. Chi Chi DeVayne, RuPaul’s Drag Race and All-Star alum
  53. Justin Townes Earle, singer-songwriter
  54. Peter Licassi, Killer Klowns From Outer Space star
  55. Chadwick Boseman, actor
  56. Bruce Williamson, former Temptations lead singer
  57. Diana Rigg, actress
  58. Toots Hibbert, reggae pioneer
  59. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice
  60. Armelia McQueen, star of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Ghost
  61. Eddie Van Halen, legendary musician
  62. Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now” singer
  63. Luis Troyano, Great British Bake Off alum
  64. Sean Connery, actor
  65. King Von, Chicago rapper
  66. Viola Smith, known as the “fastest girl drummer in the world”
  67. Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! host
  68. Dave Prowse, Darth Vader actor
  69. Natalie Desselle-Reid, B.A.P.S. and Madea’s Big Happy Family actress
  70. Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr., wrestler and actor
  71. Actress Carol Sutton, from Steel Magnolias, Queen Sugar, and more
  72. Jeremy Bulloch, original Boba Fett actor
  73. John le Carré, novelist and former spy
  74. Charley Pride, country music legend
  75. William Link, co-creator of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote
  76. Dawn Wells, Gilligan’s Island actress
  77. MF DOOM, rapper