It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year of tremendous loss. Even before coronavirus brought major devastation and claimed lives of many, the shocking accidental death of Kobe Bryant in late January started the year on a tragic note for his loved ones and fans, uniting the world in grief. The year has also seen the losses of a number of other notable and beloved stars, including Regis Philbin, Naya Rivera, civil rights leader John Lewis, Oliva de Havilland, Carl Reiner, Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Little Richard, actor Kenny Rogers, soul singer Bill Withers, and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. They are but a few of the memorable stars who died in 2020 who made us laugh, cry, and cheer throughout their careers; though they're gone, they live on through the enormous impact they made on Hollywood and the world at large. In celebration of their lives and contributions, TV Guide honors the stars we lost in 2020.
Dawn Wells, best known as Gilligan's Island's Mary Ann, died Dec. 30 of COVID-19 complications. She was 82. Wells got her start as a beauty queen, representing Nevada in the Miss America pageant in 1959 before segueing into show business. After early roles in shows like Maverick and Bonanza, she was cast as pigtailed castaway Mary Ann Summers -- the "good girl" counterpoint to Tina Louise's sultry movie star, Ginger -- in the CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island, which ran for only three seasons in the mid 1960s but would define her career. She went on to reprise the role in a number of other shows and TV movies. Wells' other TV work included appearances on shows like Columbo, Growing Pains, Baywatch, and The Love Boat.
William Link, co-creator of the classic TV shows Columbo and Murder, She Wrote, died Dec. 27. He was 87. Link was best known for his prolific, decades-spanning collaboration with Richard Levinson; together, the two created Columbo and (along with Peter S. Fischer) Murder, She Wrote, as well as a number of other shows, including Jericho (1966), Mannix (1967), Tenafly (1973), Ellery Queen (1975), and Blacke's Magic (1986). Tenafly was one of the first shows to feature a Black protagonist, and Link and Levinson's TV movies -- including My Sweet Charlie (1970) and That Certain Summer (1972) -- were often similarly groundbreaking. The awards Link and Levinson won together include two Emmys, two Golden Globes, four Edgar Awards, the Ellery Queen Award, the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame, and the Television Academy Hall of Fame. In 2018 Link was made Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.
Broadway actress Rebecca Luker died on Dec. 23 at 59 years old. A three-time Tony nominee, Luker had a prolific stage career, having made her Broadway debut in the original production of The Phantom of the Opera and going on to star in shows like The Secret Garden, 1998's Sound of Music revival, and Show Boat, for which she earned her first Tony nomination. She also received nominations for her performances in the 2000 The Music Man revival and the original Broadway production of Mary Poppins.
Peter Lamont, the Oscar-winning Titanic production designer who worked on 18 James Bond movies, died Dec. 18. He was 91. Before his win for Titanic, Lamont was nominated for three earlier Academy Awards for his production design on Fiddler on the Roof, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Aliens. He was best known for his decade-spanning work on the Bond franchise, from 1964's Goldfinger to 2006's Casino Royale. In that time, he missed only one James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, which was due to Titanic. Bond movie producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli confirmed Lamont's passing on the official James Bond Twitter account, writing that he was "inextricably linked with the design and aesthetic of James Bond since Goldfinger."
Star Wars fans mourned the passing of Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played fan-favorite Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy. Bulloch, the half brother of Star Wars producer Robert Watts, was 75 and died after an unspecified illness. He played the mysterious bounty hunter in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. His career also included appearances on Doctor Who and Robin of Sherwood. Bulloch also appeared in Empire without a mask, playing an Imperial officer on Cloud City. He also had a cameo in 2005's Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. The news of his death was confirmed by Daniel Logan, who played a younger version of the character in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Broadway star Ann Reinking died on Dec. 14 at 71 years old. A Tony Award-winning choreographer, Reinking was best known for her role as Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of Chicago, which she played in 1977 and reprised again in the 1996 revival, a production she also choreographed. She also played Grace in the 1982 film version of Annie. Reinking acted as a fictionalized version of herself in All That Jazz, Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical account of his own life and career, and co-created, co-directed, and co-choreographed Fosse, a musical showcasing Fosse's choreography.
Country music legend Charley Pride died on Dec. 12. He was 86 years old, and passed due to complications with COVID-19. Pride had a storied career, being featured on over 50 Top 10 hit songs and winning four Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. In 2000, he became the first Black artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Before becoming a musician, Pride was a professional baseball player, pitching for the Memphis Red Sox.
Chuck Yeager, U.S. Air Force officer and test pilot, died on Dec. 7. He was 97 years old. After serving in World War II, Yeager began his career as a test pilot, which eventually led to his historic breaking of the sound barrier in October 1947 when he flew the experimental Bell X-1 rocket-engine powered plane. Sam Shepard portrayed Yeager in the 1983 film The Right Stuff, which centered on the early days of the space program.
Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid died Dec. 7 at the age of 53. The news was confirmed via a statement on the star's Instagram. Desselle-Reid is best known for playing Mickey opposite Halle Berry in B.A.P.S., but her credits also include the UPN series Eve, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, How to Be a Player, and Madea's Big Happy Family. "Natalie was a bright light. She was an amazing actress and comedienne, but also an awesome mother & wife," Desselle-Reid's manager, Dolores Robinson, said via Twitter.
Actor David Lander, most famous for his role as Squiggy on the classic sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died on Dec. 5 at age 73. He passed away due to complications with multiple sclerosis, which he lived with for 37 years. Lander played Squiggy throughout all eight seasons of the show, and made other memorable appearances in shows like Happy Days and Twin Peaks and films like A League of Their Own.
Emmy-nominated actress Abby Dalton died on Nov. 23 at 88 years old. Dalton was best known for her roles in shows like Hennessey, The Joey Bishop Show, and the soap opera Falcon Crest. Throughout the '70s, Dalton was also a regular fixture on game shows, appearing on shows like Hollywood Squares, Match Game, and Super Password.
Actor and bodybuilder David Prowse died on Nov. 28 at the age of 85. Prowse played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, having been cast to don the suit because of his imposing height, though the character's voice was provided by James Earl Jones. He also acted in films like A Clockwork Orange and the 1967 James Bond parody Casino Royale, and was well known in the U.K. as the first Green Cross Code Man, a character used in road safety campaigns aimed at children.
Italian actress and screenwriter Daria Nicolodi died on Nov. 26 at 70 years old, her daughter Asia Argento confirmed via Instagram. Nicolodi was known for her collaborations with her former romantic partner, director Dario Argento, including co-writing the 1977 horror classic Suspiria. She also acted in a number of his films throughout the '70s and '80s, including Inferno, Deep Red, Tenebrae, Phenomena, and Opera. In 2007, Nicolodi acted alongside her daughter in The Mother of Tears, the thematic sequel to Suspiria and Inferno.
Argentinian soccer icon Diego Maradona died Nov. 25 at the age of 60. He passed away two weeks after being released from the hospital following brain surgery. Maradona's career, in which he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals for the Argentina national team, spanned two decades. He famously helped win his country the 1986 World Cup, led Argentina to the finals of the 1990 tournament in Italy, and managed the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was one of two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.
MasterChef Junior contestant Ben Watkins died Nov. 16 from a rare form of cancer. He was 14 years old. Watkins was diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, which he was being treated for at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, his family shared after his death. He competed on the sixth season of the Fox reality show when he was 11.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died on Nov. 8 after a long, very public battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old. Trebek has hosted the game show since its revival in 1984, and became famous for his knack for accents, his signature mustache, and his encyclopedic knowledge of world history and culture. In 2014, Alex Trebek became the Guinness World Record holder for most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter as he reached his 6,829th episode of Jeopardy! Trebek won several Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on Jeopardy! and even collected a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Emmys in 2011. He previously earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.
Sean Connery, who first became a household name originating the film version of James Bond, died on Oct. 31. He was 90 years old. Connery's performance as the action star and sex icon launched him to stardom and cemented a career that lasted more than four decades. In all, he appeared in seven Bond films as the suave super spy, building the foundation of a franchise that is still going strong today. His first Bond film was Dr. No, and among Connery's other Bond titles are From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, You Only Love Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever. He handed the role over to Roger Moore to allow him to pursue other acting opportunities, which included iconic roles in the Indiana Jones franchise, The Hunt for Red October, Finding Forrester, and The Untouchables, for which he won an Academy Award.
Emmy-nominated actress Conchata Ferrell died Oct. 12 at the age of 77. Ferrell was known for her role as housekeeper Berta on Two and a Half Men, a performance that landed her Emmy nominations for supporting actress in a comedy in 2005 and 2007. She had previously been nominated for an Emmy for in 1992 for her work in L.A. Law. Her other credits include TV shows like Good Times, Grace and Frankie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Friends, along with films like Mystic Pizza and Erin Brockovich. Ferrell was also a decorated theater actress whose work in 1974's off-Broadway production of The Sea Horse won her the Drama Desk Award, the Obie Award, and the Theatre World Award. Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer memorialized Ferrell on Twitter, writing, "She was a beautiful human. Berta's gruff exterior was an invention of the writers. Chatty's warmth and vulnerability were her real strengths. I'm crying for the woman I'll miss, and the joy she brought so many."
Singer and songwriter Johnny Nash passed away on Oct. 6 at the age of 80. He reportedly passed of natural causes at his home. Nash was most famous for his hit song, "I Can See Clearly Now," which he released in 1972. Nash's son, John Nash III, released a statement to TMZ confirming his father's death and said, "He was a wonderful father and family man. He loved people and the world. He will be missed within his community. Family was his everything."
Eddie Van Halen, famous guitarist and co-founder of the rock band Van Halen, died on Oct. 6 at the age of 65. He reportedly passed at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. His son, Wolf Van Halen announced the news on Twitter, writing, "He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss."
Actor, director and producer Clark Middleton died Oct. 4 at the age of 63. His wife Elissa Middleton confirmed he died as a result of West Nile Virus. "With heavy hearts we announce the passing of a life eminently worthy of celebration: Clark Tinsley Middleton, 63 – beloved actor, writer, director, teacher, hero, husband, beacon, friend," Elissa wrote in a statement. "Clark transitioned on October 4th as a result of West Nile Virus, for which there is no known cure. Clark was a beautiful soul who spent a lifetime defying limits and advocating for people with disabilities." Middleton was best known for his roles in Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Blacklist, and Snowpiercer.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd, best known for appearing in several Spike Lee films, died on Oct. 3 at 70 years old. Lee announced Byrd's death on Instagram, writing that the actor was murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. Byrd acted in eight of Lee's films, including Clockers, He Got Game, and Chi-Raq, as well as the Netflix series She's Gotta Have It, based on Lee's movie of the same name. In addition to his screen roles, Byrd was also an accomplished theater actor, and in 2003 was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in a revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Legendary football player Gale Sayers, who spent seven years in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, died Sept. 23. He was 77. Nicknamed the Kansas Comet after a college career with the Jayhawks, Sayers was selected fourth in the 1965 draft and was named Rookie of the Year. Over his short but illustrious career, during which he was known as one of the hardest players to tackle, Sayers earned four Pro Bowl appearances and five first-team All-Pro selections in his first five seasons. A series of injuries led him to retire in 1971, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. At just 34 years old at the time, he remains the youngest ever to be inducted.
Joe Laurinaitis, known to professional wrestling fans as the fearsome Road Warrior Animal, or simply Animal, died Sept. 23 at the age of 60. His death was confirmed by his family, which includes brothers John and Marcus, both of whom enjoyed wrestling careers, and son James, who played eight seasons as a linebacker in the NFL. Laurinaitis spent most of his career alongside his tag team partner, Hawk, aka Michael Hegstrand. Together they were known as The Road Warriors, one of the most successful and popular tag teams of all time. They enjoyed multiple successful stints in WWE, where they were known as The Legion of Doom, and won two WWE Tag Team titles. Laurinaitis was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
French actor Michael Lonsdale died Sept. 21 at 89 years old. Lonsdale had a prolific career that spanned over six decades, though he was best known for appearing opposite Roger Moore's James Bond in the 1979 film Moonraker. His other notable credits include the films The Day of the Jackal, The Remains of the Day, Of Gods and Men, and Ronin, and in the French TV series Maigret et la Grande Perche and Maigret et la Croqueuse de Diamants.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. Nominated by Bill Clinton, she became a feminist icon because of her lifelong work promoting equal rights for women in the workplace, and for women to have the same financial rights as men. She assumed a liberal leadership role on the Supreme Court even though she was a moderate. Ginsburg also became a pop culture sensation when law student, Shana Knizhnik, dubbed her the Notorious R.B.G., a play on the name of rapper Notorious B.I.G., who was Brooklyn-born, like the justice. SNL's Kate McKinnon further elevated Ginsburg's pop culture profile with her impression of the justice. After battling several types of cancer, she passed away at age 87. Ginsburg remains an inspiration to women of all ages.
Reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert died Sept. 11 at 77 years old due to complications with COVID-19. Hibbert was the frontman of Toots and The Maytals, a group that defined the reggae sound. Their song "Do the Reggay," which Hibbert wrote, was the first popular song to use the word "reggae," giving the genre its name. The group's hits include "Pressure Drop," "Monkey Man," "Bam Bam," "Sweet and Dandy," and "54-46, That's My Number." In August 2020, Toots and the Maytals released Got to Be Tough, which was Hibbert's first studio album in 10 years.
Professional wrestler and Jackass star Stevie Lee, who also went by the name Puppet the Psycho Dwarf, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 54 years old. He began his career as a wrestler with NWA: Total Nonstop Action in 2002 and received worldwide recognition after appearing in the 2010 film Jackass 3D. Lee's other credits include Death Match, American Horror Story: Freak Show, and Oz the Great and Powerful. He is survived by his brother Jim and wife Steph.
Dame Diana Rigg, the Emmy- and Tony-winning English actress who starred as Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones and as Emma Peel on the 1960s TV series The Avengers, died Sept. 10. She was 82. Rigg was a decorated performer, having been nominated for nine primetime Emmy awards throughout her career, winning one for playing Mrs. Danvers in a TV adaptation of Rebecca in 1997. She also appeared on Broadway three times and was nominated for a Tony award each time, finally winning for her performance in Medea in 1994. From 1989-2004, Rigg was the host of PBS' Masterpiece Mystery, then called Mystery! Her TV credits also include Masterpiece's Victoria and guest-starring roles on Extras, where she played herself, and Doctor Who.
Ronald "Khalis" Bell, the singer, songwriter, producer, and saxophonist who co-founded the funk group Kool & the Gang, died Sept. 9. He was 68 years old. Bell wrote and composed some of the band's biggest songs, including "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," and "Cherish." The group won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
Bruce Williamson, former lead singer of The Temptations, died on Sept. 6 after a battle with coronavirus. He was 49 years old. Williamson joined The Temptations in 2006 and sang with the group through 2015. During his time as a Temptation, he appeared on two albums, 2007's Back to Front and 2010's Still Here.
Star of Kojack and Knots Landing, Kevin Dobson, died Sept. 7 at the age of 77 due to complications from an autoimmune deficiency. The former military policeman was known for his prowess at depicting the lives of those involved in the criminal justice system, playing lawyers in both of his most famous roles.
Ian Mitchell, former bass player for the Bay City Rollers, died Sept. 2 at 62 years old. Mitchell replaced bassist Alan Longmuir in 1976 when he was 17, becoming the first non-Scottish member of the group, and went on to play on the album Dedication, as well as their cover of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be With You," which reached no. 12 on the U.S. charts.
NBA all-star and Survivor alum Cliff Robinson died at the age of 53. No cause of death was given by the University of Connecticut, his alma matter, which announced his death on Aug. 29. Robinson, also known as "Uncle Cliffy," played for the Portland Trail Blazers for eight years, helping the team reach the NBA finals twice. During his 18 years in the NBA, he won the 1993 Sixth Man of the Year award, was selected as an All-Star in 1994, and also played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and New Jersey Nets.
In 2014, Robinson competed on Survivor: Cagayan, the CBS series' 28th season. He came in 14th place.
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died Aug. 28 of colon cancer. He was 43. In a statement posted to his social media account, his family revealed Boseman was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in 2016 and had "battled" the disease since that time as it progressed to Stage IV, filming many of his biggest roles while receiving treatment. Boseman became a household name with movies like 42 and Marshall and starred as King T'Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He died in his home with his family by his side.
Scooby-Doo co-creator Joe Ruby died Wednesday at the age of 87 in Westlake Village, California. Ruby and his writing partner Ken Spears created many cartoons for Hanna-Barbera Productions in the late 1960s and '70s, including Scooby-Doo, Dynomutt and Jabberjaw. Scooby-Doo inspired decades of franchise spin-offs and continuations — from two live-action movies to numerous comic books, snack food tie-ins, animated show reboots, and animated movies, the most recent being this year's CGI-animated Scoob!
RuPaul's Drag Race star Zavion Davenport, who went by the stage name Chi Chi DeVayne, died at the age of 34 on August 20. The Drag Race star was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease scleroderma in 2018, and she was admitted to the hospital a week before she died. In a final video message to her fans, Davenport said, "Keep me in your prayers. I'll be back soon."
Todd Nance, drummer and founding member of the jam band Widespread Panic, died Aug. 20 at age 57. Nance drummed for the band from their first show in 1986 throughout their rise, ultimately remaining with them for 31 years and departing in 2016. After Widespread Panic, he formed Interstellar Boys and toured with his own revolving lineup of "Todd Nance and Friends."
Ben Cross, best known for his portrayal of British Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in Best Picture Oscar winner Chariots of Fire, died Aug. 18 following a short illness. He was 72. Born in 1947, Cross made his acting debut in A Bridge Too Far and would go on to appear in a wide range of stage and screen roles over the course of his career, including Billy Flynn in Chicago and Sarek in 2009's Star Trek. On the small screen, he appeared in The Citadel, the 1991 reimagining of Dark Shadows, the Cinemax action series Banshee, and the sci-fi series 12 Monkeys.
Ash Christian died on Aug. 13 at 35 years old. Christian was a prolific producer, director, and actor, coming onto the scene in 2006 with his film Fat Girls, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. He went on to win a Daytime Emmy in 2014 for producing mI Promise, and acted in several shows like The Good Wife, The Good Fight, and Law & Order. As a producer, he developed films like 1985, Hurricane Bianca, and Coyote Lake.
Linda Manz, best known for her role as Peewee in the film The Wanderers, died Friday, August 14 at age 58, according to her son, Michael Guthrie. Guthrie said she died of lung cancer and pneumonia. "She leaves behind a husband, two sons, and three grandchildren who all love and miss her tremendously," Guthrie posted on a GoFundMe page for her funeral services. "Linda was a loving wife, a caring mom, a wonderful grandma, and a great friend who was loved by many. Thank you and God bless. Rest in peace. We love you, Mom."
Sumner Redstone, the billionaire mogul who built Viacom and CBS into a media empire, died on Aug. 11 at 97 years old. Redstone, who began his career as a Harvard-trained lawyer before doing a stint as a code breaker during World War II, won control of Viacom in 1987 and was known for engaging in legal battles and acquisitions that eventually earned him holdings in Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster, Blockbuster, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.
Folk musician and actor Trini López died on Aug. 11 of COVID-19 complications. He was 83. López's biggest hit was his 1965 cover of the Pete Seeger-Lee Hays folk classic "If I Had a Hammer," and he was also known for his rendition of Will Holt's "Lemon Tree." He acted in Robert Aldrich's 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen and made other appearances in Marriage on the Rocks, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, The Phynx, as well as two episodes of NBC's Adam-12.
Actor Raymond Allen, best known for his role as Uncle Woody on Sanford and Son, died on Aug. 10 at 91 years old. Allen had been battling respiratory issues, and his daughter, Ta-Ronce Allen, confirmed the news in a Facebook post. In addition to Sanford and Son, Allen also notably played Ned the Wino on Good Times and had roles on The Love Boat, The Jeffersons, and Starsky & Hutch.
WWE wrestler James "Kamala" Harris, also known by his pro-wrestling alter-ego "The Ugandan Giant," passed away on Aug. 9 at the age of 70. Harris rose to fame in the WWF alongside Hulk Hogan but retired from wrestling in 1987 after health complications. His exact cause of death was not confirmed, but a close friend indicated that Harris' death was related to complications with coronavirus.
Film and TV star Reni Santoni passed away while in hospice care on Saturday, Aug. 1 first at 81 years old. His friend Tracy Newman confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter on Aug. 3. The actor is best known for his work as Clint Eastwood's rookie partner Chico in the film Dirty Harry, and as David Kolowitz in Carl Reiner's semi-autobiographical film Enter Laughing. Over the course of Santoni's 50-year career, he appeared in more than 100 films and shows including the big screen comedy Can't Hardly Wait and Sandra Bullock-led drama 28 Days, as well as small screen favorites like The Rockford Files, Seinfeld, Miami Vice, and Grey's Anatomy. He is survived by his son Nick.
Actor Wilford Brimley died on August 1 after two months of battling a kidney ailment. He was 85 years old. Brimley, who held a variety of jobs before he began acting, including a stint as Howard Hughes' bodyguard, found his breakout role in 1979's The China Syndrome. Throughout his career, he went on to have many memorable roles in films like Cocoon, The Thing, Absence of Malice, and The Firm, and later became the face of Quaker Oats in the '90s.
Director Alan Parker died July 31 after a long illness, the British Film Academy confirmed. He was 76. Parker was an exceptionally versatile filmmaker, directing everything from musicals like Bugsy Malone, Evita, and Pink Floyd – The Wall to horror movies like Angel Heart to dramas like Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning. Five of his films were nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and he received two Oscar nominations for Best Director, in 1978 for the prison drama Midnight Express and in 1988 for the civil rights thriller Mississippi Burning, which were also nominated for Best Picture. He was knighted in 2002 for his contributions to British cinema.
Herman Cain, business executive and onetime Republican presidential candidate, died on July 30 due to coronavirus. He was 74. Cain was admitted to the hospital on July 1 for treatment for COVID-19, 11 days after he attended President Trump's June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A Tea Party activist, Cain ran for the Republican party's nomination in the 2012 presidential race, but dropped out of the race in December 2011 due to sexual harassment allegations, which he denied. He also briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2000 election and ran for the U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2004.
Olivia de Havilland, one of the last remaining stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, died July 26 at her home in Paris of natural causes. She was 104. A celebrated actress with roles in nearly 50 films, de Havilland won two Academy Awards and garnered a total of five nominations over the course of her prolific career. Her Oscar victories came from starring roles in 1946's To Each His Own and the 1949 period drama, The Heiress, though she also appeared in iconic films like Gone with the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood. De Havilland also appeared on Broadway and made a handful of television appearances, including the miniseries Roots: The Next Generations. Later in life, de Havilland would be honored with a National Medal of Arts in 2008 by then President George W. Bush and a Damehood at the age of 100 in 2017 from Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen's promotion made de Havilland the oldest person to ever be bestowed with a Dame Commander distinction.
John Saxon, the actor best known for appearing alongside Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and for his role as Donald Thompson in three Nightmare on Elm Street movies, died on July 25. He was 83. Throughout his long career, Saxon appeared in a host of film and TV roles, including From Dusk Till Dawn, Joe Kidd, The Unguarded Moment, Black Christmas, The Appaloosa, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest.
Regis Philbin died on July 24 at the age of 88. Philbin was best known as the host of programs like Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and Live with Regis and Kelly. He was also the original host of the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? until his departure from the series in 2002. Philbin also guest-starred on many TV series as himself over the years, including Single Parents, New Girl, and 30 Rock.
Peter Green, who co-founded the popular British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, died July 25 in his sleep. He was 73. Born Peter Allen Greenbaum on Oct. 29, 1946, Green was an influential blues guitarist who filled in for and eventually replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers before going on to co-found Fleetwood Mac in the late 1960s with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Jeremy Spencer. Despite his immense talent, Green's career was cut short due to mental illness and the use of psychedelic drugs, and he left the band in 1970. He returned to performing in the 1990s with the Peter Green Splinter Group, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 with the past and present members of Fleetwood Mac.
John Lewis, civil rights icon and longtime Georgia congressman, died on July 17 at the age of 80, after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Lewis was a prolific, towering figure in the civil rights movement. He was among the original 13 Freedom Riders and helped organize the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the main speaker. He also led the marches from Selma to Montgomery, and it was then that he was brutally beaten by a state trooper and suffered injuries to his skull. The images of the incident at Selma's Edmund Pettis Bridge sparked national outrage, and shortly thereafter, Lewis and other civil rights leaders were invited to President Lyndon B. Johnson's signing ceremony for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racial discrimination in voting. During his tenure serving in the House of Representatives, Lewis was often referred to as "the conscience of the Congress" for his relentless pursuit of justice.
Stage star and notable character actress Phyllis Somerville died July 16 at the age of 76. Her scene-stealing performances on The Big C, House of Cards, The Good Wife, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Castle Rock, and many more series won her scores of fans who've followed her career for decades. Somerville played memorable parts in a slew of movies as well, including Little Children, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and 2019's cult hit Poms. Somerville's last stage performance was Aaron Sorkin's 2018 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Grant Imahara, the host of the long-running science show MythBusters and Netflix's White Rabbit Project, died after a brain aneurysm on Monday, July 13 at the age of 49. In addition to MythBusters and White Rabbit, Imahara was enmeshed in the geek pop culture scene, appearing in several Star Trek fan films; a Sharknado movie; the BattleBots series; and more.
Glee star Naya Rivera was found dead at the age of 33 on July 13. The actress was initially reported missing on July 8 after her 4-year-old son was found sleeping alone on a boat they'd rented in Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. After an extensive search by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Rivera's body was recovered by authorities. Rivera was known for her role as Santana Lopez on Fox's hit musical comedy Glee, which she starred in from 2009-2015. She also had a recurring role as Blanca Alvarez in Devious Maids and starred as Collette Jones in the YouTube Premium series Step Up: High Water. In addition to acting, Rivera was also a singer, writer, and philanthropist. In 2016, she released her memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.
YouTube star Nicole Thea died on July 12 at the age of 24, alongside her unborn son. Thea gained notoriety on YouTube for beauty and dance videos before going viral by documenting her pregnancy on the platform. It's unclear what caused the death of Thea and her unborn child.
Actress Kelly Preston died at the age of 57 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. Her husband John Travolta announced her death on July 13. Preston was best known for her work in films, including her performances as Marnie Mason in 1988's Twins, Avery Bishop in 1996's Jerry Maguire, and Jane Aubrey in 1999's For Love of the Game. Preston, who was born in Hawaii with the given name Kelly Kamalelehua Smith, is also known for her roles in movies like SpaceCamp, Nothing to Lose, Holy Man, Jack Frost, Sky High, and The Cat in the Hat.
Disney star Sebastián Athié died on July 4 at the age of 24. Disney Channel Latin America announced his death on Instagram, writing, "We will always remember him for his talent, companionship, professionalism and above all, enormous heart." Athié was best known for his role as Lorenzo Guevara in the Argentine TV series O11CE, and for appearing on the Mexican drama La Rosa de Guadalupe.
Country music legend Charlie Daniels died on July 6 from a stroke. He was 83. Daniels, who started his famed career as a session musician, was a notable guitarist, fiddler, and singer. "Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Long Haired Country Boy," and "Uneasy Rider" were among his greatest hits. The Country Hall of Famer was a regular at the Grand Ole Opry and launched Volunteer Jam in 1974, a country music festival.
Ennio Morricone, the prolific film composer, died on July 6 at 91 years old. In his decades-spanning career, he crafted the music for over 500 films, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Mission, The Untouchables, Cinema Paradiso, and many more. In 2007, he became the second of only two composers to receive an honorary Oscar, and in 2016, he won a competitive Academy Award for his work in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.
Broadway actor Nick Cordero died July 5 of complications from COVID-19. Cordero was 41. Nominated for a Tony for his role in Bullets Over Broadway, he appeared in productions of Waitress, A Bronx Tale, and Rock of Ages. Cordero died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he'd been battling COVID-19 for more than 90 days. He is survived by wife Amanda Kloots and son Elvis.
Actor Earl Cameron, who is considered to be Britain's first Black movie star, died at the age of 102 on July 3. Cameron, who was born in Bermuda, broke barriers with his leading role in 1951's noir crime film Proof of London. He was also known for his work in series like Doctor Who, Secret Agent, and Jackanory and movies like The Heart Within, Sapphire, and The Message. In 2009, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2019, the Bermuda Arts Council established the Earl Cameron Award in his honor.
Hugh Downs, whose career in TV news included two decades on 20/20 and nine years as the lead on NBC's Today show, died July 1. He was 99. Once serving as Jack Paar's sidekick for five years on The Tonight Show, he also hosted the game show Concentration for nearly a decade. Downs once held the record for the most hours on network commercial television until Regis Philbin surpassed him in 2004. He hosted Today from 1962 until 1971; by 1979 he was at 20/20, where he was joined by friend Barbara Walters. He remained there until his retirement in 1999.
Carl Reiner, the comedian, actor, director, and writer who helped shape the comedy landscape in Hollywood, died at the age of 98 on June 29. Reiner specialized in dark, observational humor that translated into his work as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show and director of classic Steve Martin-starring films The Jerk and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. He made up one half of a comedy duo with longtime friend and collaborator Mel Brooks, and their sketch, The 2000 Year Old Man, stands as an enduring influence on modern comedy. Reiner was the recipient of nine Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, and The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2000. In his later years, Reiner spent much of his time writing books such as All Kinds of Love, I Remember Me, and NNNNN.
Steve Bing, a real estate heir, writer, and producer died at 55 on June 22. Producer of Get Carter, Rules Don't Apply and Rock the Kasbah and the writer of Kangaroo Jack, Bing died by an apparent intentional fall from a building in Los Angeles. In 2000, Bing founded Shangri-La Entertainment, which produced and financed films including The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007), among others. He was also a philanthropist who invested in Democratic causes.
Director Joel Schumacher died on June 22 from cancer. He was 80. Schumacher began his Hollywood career as a costume designer before transitioning to screenplays in the '70s, writing Sparkle, Car Wash, and The Wiz, and made his directorial debut with 1981's The Incredible Shrinking Woman. He had hits in the '80s with Brat Pack movies St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys, and in the '90s with John Grisham adaptations The Client and A Time to Kill. He also directed the infamously jokey mid-'90s Batman movies Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Later career highlights include 2004's The Phantom of the Opera and two episodes of House of Cards.
Decorated English actor Ian Holm, star of The Lord of the Rings and Alien, died June 19. He was 88. Holm played Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings film series and later reprised his role as the elder version of the character in The Hobbit movies, which marked his final on-screen performances. His breakout film role came in Alien in 1979, followed two years later by Chariots of Fire, for which he won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Academy Award. A Tony Award-winning stage actor, Holm also appeared in a number of Shakespearean adaptations, including Kenneth Branagh's Henry V and Mel Gibson's Hamlet, and he won an Olivier Award for his performance in King Lear. Holm's other film work included Ratatouille and The Fifth Element.
K-pop star Yohan of the boy band TST died Tuesday, June 17 of an unspecified cause. Born Kim Jeong-hwan, he was 28. He joined TST in 2017, helping the group reach the South Korean Top 30 with albums including Time's Up and Wake Up.
Bollywood actor died on June 14 in his Mumbai home at the age of 34. According to multiple reports, the cause of death was suicide. Rajput was known for his work in films like Kai Po Che! and M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and TV series such as Sacred Ties and Pavitra Rishta, for which he won best actor at the Indian Television Academy Awards.
This Is Us writer Jas Waters passed away in June 2020. She was 39 years old. Her death was confirmed by the This Is Us writers' room with a statement on Twitter. Waters wrote 18 episodes of the NBC hit and includes Kidding, Hood Adjacent with James Davis and What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson among her credits.
"Jas was absolutely brilliant and had so many stories still to tell," This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman shared in his own statement. "She made an indelible mark on our show and my heart breaks for her loved ones."
Bonnie Pointer, one of the founding members of the Pointer Sisters, died of cardiac arrest on June 8 at 69 years old. With her sisters, Anita, June, and Ruth, the group released a string of hits, including "Yes We Can Can" and "Fairytale," which went on to win them their first Grammy in 1974. Pointer recorded five albums with her sisters before pursuing a solo career and scored her biggest solo hit with the 1978 disco track, "Heaven Must Have Sent You."
Mary Pat Gleason, an actress with more than 100 credits to her resumé, died at the age of 70 on June 2 after a long battle with cancer. She was best known in recent years for her recurring role on CBS's comedy Mom, in which she played an AA member named Mary. She also appeared in The Middleman, Desperate Housewives, and Will & Grace.
Michael Angelis, the narrator of the Thomas the Tank Engine series Thomas and Friends, died on May 30. He was 76. He was best known for lending his voice to the children's show from 1991 to 2012, a role he took over from Ringo Starr. He also appeared in a host of other British series, including September Song, Boys from the Blackstuff, The Liver Birds, and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
Playwright and outspoken AIDS activist Larry Kramer died May 27 of pneumonia. He was 84. His groundbreaking 1985 play The Normal Heart was revived on Broadway to great acclaim -- and multiple Tony wins -- in 2011 and was adapted into an Emmy-winning 2014 film directed by Ryan Murphy. Kramer wrote the play as a thinly veiled account of his experience co-founding and later being ousted from the Gay Men's Health Crisis. He went on to found grassroots organization ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in 1987. Kramer was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his 1992 play The Destiny of Me, a sequel to The Normal Heart.
Legendary character actor Richard Herd died from cancer-related complications on May 26 at the age of 87. Herd was most well known for playing Mr. Wilhelm on Seinfeld, Supreme Commander John in the sci-fi cult classic V, and various roles across three installments of the Star Trek franchise. Herd also played memorable parts in films like All the President's Men, The China Syndrome, and Sgt. Bilko.
Hana Kimura, Japanese wrestler and Terrace House star, died on May 23 at 22 years old. The cause of her death is currently unknown, but she had recently made posts on social media that referenced the online bullying she'd been enduring. Kimura began her career in wrestling in 2016 at Wrestle-1, quickly going on to win the JWP Junior Championship title. She joined Stardom Wrestling in 2019, and received Stardom's Fighting Spirit Award later that year.
NBA coach Jerry Sloan died May 22 of complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia. He was 78. Sloan was the head coach of the Utah Jazz for 23 years and led the team to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. He is one of only two NBA coaches to record 1000 wins with the same team. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. As a player, Sloan spent most of his career with the Chicago Bulls and had his number retired by the team in 1978.
Professional wrestler and actor Shad Gaspard died on May 17 in a tragic drowning accident after he was caught in a rip current at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. He was 39. The 6'7" Brooklyn native began his career in entertainment as a bodyguard for celebrities including Britney Spears, Sean Combs, and Mike Tyson, before transitioning to pro wrestling in 2002. In 2006-2007 and again in 2008-2010, he wrestled in the WWE with his partner JTE as the duo Cryme Tyme, before moving to the independent circuit. As an actor, he appeared on shows and movies including The Game, Key & Peele, and From Dusk til Dawn, and Get Hard. He also performed stunts for Birds of Prey and did motion capture for the video games Batman: The Enemy Within and God of War. He is survived by his wife Siliana and his son Aryeh.
Gregory Tyree Boyce, an actor best known for his role in the first Twilight film, died on May 13 of unknown causes. He was 30 years old, and was found dead alongside his girlfriend, Natalie Adepoju, in his Las Vegas home. In Twilight, he played Crowley, a fellow student who nearly hits Bella (Kristen Stewart) with his car, and he was also seen in the 2018 video short Apocalypse. In a Facebook post, his mother Lisa Wayne said that he had most recently been in the process of starting his own restaurant.
Ken Osmond, best known for his role as Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver, died on May 18 at the age of 76. Osmond was 14 when he landed the part of Eddie, a high school friend of Leave It to Beaver's Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow), in 1957. It was initially supposed to be a guest appearance, but Osmond's performance impressed the team behind the show, and Eddie was turned into a fixture on the classic sitcom, becoming the archetypal troublemaking suck-up. A child actor, Osmond's early roles included Lassie and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. After Leave It to Beaver, he appeared in shows like Petticoat Junction and The Munsters before joining the LAPD when typecasting made new roles hard to come by. Osmond later returned to acting and appeared in the CBS made-for-TV movie Still the Beaver (1983), revival The New Leave It to Beaver (1984-1989), Happy Days, and the 1997 feature Leave It to Beaver.
Well known comedic and improvisational actor Fred Willard died May 15 of natural causes at the age of 86. Born in Ohio, Willard was a founding member of the comedy group Ace Trucking Company and achieved a career breakthrough after winning a role in Fernwood 2 Night, a parody talk show, in 1977. During his long and impressive career in Hollywood, Willard frequently collaborated with Christopher Guest on films like Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. Willard also had a lengthy television career, and received three Emmy nominations for his performance as the father-in-law of Brad Garrett's character on Everybody Loves Raymond. He received another for his recurring role on Modern Family. His final role is in the upcoming comedy Space Force, playing Steve Carell's father.
Lynn Shelton, an indie filmmaker who helped to popularize mumblecore, died May 15 of a blood disorder at the age of 54. Shelton began her career as an editor before transitioning to directing in her 30s, beginning with 2006's We Go Way Back. Known for her films Humpday and Your Sister's Sister, Shelton also worked in TV, directing episodes of shows like Mad Men, The Mindy Project, New Girl, Dickinson, and, most recently, Little Fires Everywhere.
Trading Spaces star Frank Bielec died May 15 from complications following a heart attack. He was 72. Bielec, a former teacher who became an accomplished florist and artist over his lifetime, appeared on every season of the TLC home design series, including the 2018 revival, on which he was known for his quirky sense of style.
Pioneering sportscaster and former Miss America Phyllis George died May 14 at the age of 70 after a lengthy battle with a blood disorder. George's television career began as a host on Candid Camera, but she became a trailblazer when she joined CBS's The NFL Today as co-host, becoming one of the first women to have a nationally prominent role as a broadcaster for sports. During her career, George also hosted People, was a co-anchor for CBS Morning News, and even had her own show. She wrote multiple books and founded two companies, and was even the first lady of Kentucky from 1979 to 1983.
Jerry Stiller, the comedian and actor best known for his role as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, died of natural causes in May at the age of 92. His son Ben Stiller confirmed the news in a Twitter post on May 11. From 1993 to 1998, Stiller famously played Frank Costanza, the short-tempered, grievance-ridden father of Jason Alexander's George, on Seinfeld, for which he was nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor Emmy. From 1998 to 2007, he played Arthur Spooner, the father of Leah Remini's Carrie, on The King of Queens. Stiller has appeared in several of Ben Stiller's movies, including Zoolander, Heavyweights, The Heartbreak Kid, and Zoolander 2. In 2001, Stiller published a memoir about his time working with his wife, Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara.
Betty Wright, the legendary soul and R&B singer, died on Sunday, May 10 at age 66. With a prolific career spanning several decades, the Grammy-winning artist was a prolific vocalist and producer, having worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to David Byrne to Kendrick Lamar. Among her best-known hits were "Tonight Is the Night" and "Clean Up Woman," which was released when Wright was only 18 years old. In 1988, she became the first woman to achieve a gold record on her own label with her album Mother Wit, which featured the now-iconic song "No Pain (No Gain)."
Pioneering musician Little Richard died Saturday May 9 at age 87. An inspiration for a multitude of acts including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Elton John, Little Richard recorded songs -- "Tutti Frutti," "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Long Tall Sally" among them -- that essentially laid the groundwork for modern rock and roll. Known for an outrageous, over-the-top style that included big hair, mascara, and bright clothes associated with femininity, Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Ga. and grew up in the church. After leaving home at age of 15, he started playing secular music and by the mid 1950s released his first big hit Tutti Frutti," which reached No. 2 on the national R&B chart. Conflicted between his religious upbringing and secular, sexual side his entire life, Little Richard nonetheless became force, influencing everyone from James Brown to Elvis Presley, who covered four of his songs, to Prince. He was an inaugural inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and got a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, and appeared in films including Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
Andre Harrell, the groundbreaking music executive considered one of the architects of modern R&B and hip-hop music, died at age 59 on Friday, May 8. Best known for launching the careers of Sean Combs and Mary J. Blige, Harrell, a Harlem native, got his start as part of the rap duo Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde before going on to work for Russell Simmons at Def Jam in the 1980s. There, he became an executive and helped build the careers Run-DMC, LL Cool J and more. In the early 1990s, Harrell founded his own label, Uptown Records, which was influential in shaping acts including Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, and the Notorious B.I.G. Sean Combs, later known as Diddy, started as an intern at Uptown and, eager to push a more street-tough, hip-hop sound, was fired by Harrell though the two remained good friends afterwards. After Uptown, Harrell executive produced the TV drama New York Undercover, the 1992 Halle Berry comedy Strictly Business and Honey starring Jessica Alba. He became president and CEO of Motown Records from 1995 to 1997, continuing to mentor countless artists. He is to be the subject of a three-part series on BET that looks at his enormous influence in shaping music and pop culture.
Roy Horn, best known for his popular two-man Vegas show Siegfried and Roy, died May 8 due to coronavirus complications. He was 75-years-old. Horn and his partner Siegfried Fischbacher performed for decades as both illusionists and big-cat-trainers before an accident involving a tiger in 2003 ended Horn's career.
"Today, the world lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend," Siegfried Fischbacher said in a statement to Deadline. "From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Seigfried without Roy, and no Roy without Seigfried."
Sam Lloyd, an actor best known for his role as Ted Buckland on Scrubs, died on May 1 at age 56. Lloyd was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2019, and the GoFundMe page set up by his friends revealed that the cancer had also spread to his lungs, liver, spine, and jaw. Lloyd's agent confirmed to TV Guide that he succumbed to his illness. His last TV credits included guest starring roles on American Housewife and Modern Family.
Irrfan Khan, whose icon status in Bollywood earned him international acclaim in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi, died on April 28 at the age of 53. Prior to his passing, Khan was admitted to the ICU in Mumbai, India, due to a colon infection. In 2018, he announced that he had been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine tumor. Khan was a prolific actor, receiving national recognition for his roles in Bollywood films like Life In a... Metro and Paan Singh Tomar. In 2008, he was exposed to global audiences with his role in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. He went on to appear in Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Jurassic World, and was widely praised for his performance in 2013's The Lunchbox.
Ashley "Minnie" Ross of Lifetime's Little Women: Atlantadied April 27 at the age of 34. On the night of April 26, her car reportedly collided with another vehicle, and she succumbed to her injuries at the hospital the next morning. Ross' management team posted the following statement on the star's Instagram: "It is with profound sadness that we confirm on behalf of the family of Ashley Ross aka "Ms Minnie" of Little Women: Atlanta has succumbed to injuries from a tragic hit and run car accident today at the age of 34. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."
Actress Shirley Knight died April 22 of natural causes. She was 83 years old. Knight was a star on stage and on screen -- earning two Oscar nominations for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs and Sweet Bird of Youth. In the theater world, she made a name for herself playing Blanche in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, becoming a muse of the iconic playwright. In later years, Knight's credits included Desperate Housewives, Our Idiot Brother, and Mercy. She is survived by two daughters, Sophie Jacks and Kaitlin Knight, and stepdaughter Justine.
Tom Lester, best known for his role as Eb Dawson on Green Acres, died April 20 of complications due to Parkinson's disease. He was 81. Lester, who grew up on a farm in Mississippi, landed the role of the young farmhand on the 1960s sitcom because he was the only actor in contention who could milk a cow. The actor also appeared as Eb on Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies. His other work included guest-starring roles on shows like Little House on the Prairie and Knight Rider, as well as films like 1974's Benji. In 1990, Lester reunited with his Green Acres co-stars for the TV movie Return to Green Acres.
Actor Brian Dennehy, who appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows over the course of his long career and won two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play, died on April 15 from non-COVID-related natural causes, his daughter Elizabeth Dennehy confirmed. He was 81. Dennehy's most recognizable film and television roles include his breakout role as villainous Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood, Big Tom Callahan in Tommy Boy, the voice of Django the rat in Ratatouille, and as Teamster boss Mickey J. in the 30 Rock episode "Sandwich Day." In recent years, he recurred on The Blacklist as Dominic Wilkinson. His greatest success came on the Broadway stage, winning Tonys for his performances in Death of a Salesman in 1999 and Long Day's Journey Into Night in 2003. He won a Golden Globe in 2001 for his performance as Willy Loman in a TV movie version of Death of a Salesman.
Legendary ring announcer Howard Finkel died on April 16 at the age of 69. The Newark, New Jersey-born entertainer, affectionately nicknamed "The Fink," was best known for his signature booming voice which was featured throughout WWE's live events until 2000, when he transitioned into a behind-the-scenes role. Debuting as a ring announcer in 1977 at Madison Square Garden for the WWWF, which would eventually become the WWE, he became a fixture for the WWE and his voice is synonymous with the some of the company's most iconic moments. Finkle even stepped into the ring on several occasions, like in 1995 when he fought rival Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match. His legacy was solidified in 2009 when "Mean" Gene Okerlund inducted him into WWE's Hall of Fame.
Linda Tripp died on April 8 at age of 70. Tripp, a former White House and Pentagon employee, was made famous for her involvement in the Clinton sex scandal. She was considered a whistleblower on the case after she turned over her secretly recorded conversations with Monica Lewinsky about her physical relationship with the president to an independent prosecutor.
Thomas L. Miller, co-founder of Miller/Boyett productions, died due to complications from heart disease on Sunday, April 5 in Connecticut. He was 79. Miller was widely considered one of the most successful TV producers in history. Along with his production partner Robert L. Boyett, he was behind several TGIF hits including Family Matters, Step by Step, and Full House. In later years, Miller transitioned to Broadway, where he won a Best Play Tony in 2011 for "War Horse."
"Thomas Miller was born to entertain, infused with irrepressible passion and love for bringing joy to others through his life's work. And what a skill set he possessed. He was at once a thoughtful and tasteful executive, an extremely talented writer, and a highly successful producer whose many hit series will live long in the collective memory of fans around the world. Everyone at Warner Bros. Television Group and the Fuller House family will miss him deeply, and we send our love to his longtime partner Bob Boyett and to the Miller family," a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Studio said in a statement about Miller's passing. Miller was living with Boyett and their four boxer dogs when he passed away.
Allen Garfield, known for his roles in films like The Conversation and Nashville, died April 7. He was 80. According to his Nashville co-star Ronee Blakley, Garfield died of COVID-19. A prolific character actor from the late 1960s until the early 2000s, Garfield's other notable film roles include The Candidate, The Stunt Man, and The Ninth Gate, which he filmed after suffering a stroke in 1999. He also appeared on TV series like Sports Night, The West Wing, Chicago Hope, and Taxi.
John Prine, revered country songwriter and musician, died April 7 after contracting COVID-19 in March. He was 73. According to The New York Times, he passed away in a Nashville hospital. Over the course of his storied career, Prine wrote songs that went on to become classics, like "Angel From Montgomery" and "Hello in There," and counted Bob Dylan among his biggest fans. He was nominated for 10 Grammys over the course of his life and won the Recording Academy's Hall of Fame Award in 2015. He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019.
Music producer Hal Willner died on April 7 of coronavirus complications at the age of 64. He'd been a sketch music producer for Saturday Night Live since 1980, and he also produced for artists such as Marianne Faithfull, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, and Lucinda Williams.
Honor Blackman, known for her roles in the British spy show The Avengers and the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, has died. She was 94. Blackman's family said she passed away at her home in Sussex of natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus. Blackman, born in the London town of Plaistow, was an accomplished figure of both stage and screen who began her acting training when she was only 15 years old. She appeared in a number of films at the start of her career, includingQuartet, So Long at the Fair, A Night to Remember, and The Square Peg, but it was her role as Cathy Gale in the '60s British spy show The Avengers that brought her into prominence. Blackman's film career was wide and varied, appearing in Westerns like Shalako and Something Big, fantasies like Jason and the Argonauts, and comedies like Bridget Jones's Diary and Cockneys vs. Zombies. Her versatility also shined in her TV roles, appearing on the British soap opera Coronation Street, Doctor Who, Casualty, and The Upper Hand. he returned to the stage in the 2000s for productions of My Fair Lady and Cabaret. Blackman's own one-woman show, Word of Honor, which looked back at her life and career, premiered in 2006. In her later years, Blackman was an outspoken advocate for older women in the entertainment industry. "It's extraordinary how men with big beer bellies who look like hell still go on working -- no one tells them they look like the back of a cab," she remarked. "But once a woman gets past 40 everyone gets twitchy about them."
Forrest Compton, best known for his role on the soap opera The Edge of Night, died April 5 at the age of 94 due to coronavirus complications. Compton appeared on a host of soaps, including As the World Turns, One Life to Live, andAll My Children, and his other TV credits include The Twilight Zone, Gomer Pyle, USMC, and The Troubleshooters, among others.
Shirley Douglas, actress and mother of actor Kiefer Sutherland, passed away at age 86. Sutherland announced via Twitter that his mother passed April 5 due to complications from pneumonia and noted those complications were not coronavirus related. Douglas is best known for her roles in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers.
Childactor Logan Williams died at the age of 16 on April 3. No cause of death but his mother shared that he died "suddenly." He played Young Barry Allen on The Flash, and he also appeared in When Calls the Heart, The Whispers, and Supernatural.
Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of the rock group Fountains of Wayne, died April 1 from complications due to coronavirus. He was 52 years old. Schlesinger flirted with an EGOT, as a winner of three Emmys and a Grammy, and a nominee for an Oscar and a Tony. He won his Emmys for songwriting for Sesame Street, the 65th Tony Awards (his song "It's Not Just for Gays Anymore" was sung by host Neil Patrick Harris during the ceremony), and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, his most popular work outside of Fountains of Wayne. He received five Emmy nominations working with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom, winning in 2019 for the song "Antidepressants Are So Not a Big Deal." In 1997, Schlesinger's theme song for That Thing You Do! was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.
Andrew Jack, the British dialect coach and actor who appeared in a handful of Star Wars films, passed away on March 31 due to coronavirus complications. He was 76 years old. Jack had most recently been working on Matt Reeves' The Batman, which has been put on indefinite hold due to the virus. Star Wars fans will remember him for his role as Major Ematt in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but Jack was a prolific dialect coach, working on over 80 films, including the Lord of the Ringsseries, Avengers: Endgame, Sherlock Holmes, and Men In Black: International.
Bill Withers, the legendary soul singer-songwriter behind songs including "Lean on Me," "Ain't No Sunshine," and "Lovely Day," died March 30 from heart complications. He was 81. During his brief but accomplished recording career from 1970 to 1985, he won three Grammys and topped both the soul and Billboard Hot 100 charts with "Lean on Me." He performed that song at the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, and "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me" are on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Actor David Schramm, best known for playing airline owner Roy Biggins on the sitcom Wings, has died. He was 73. His death was announced March 29 by the Acting Company, a New York theater organization of which he was a founding member. A Juilliard graduate and accomplished Broadway actor who appeared in numerous plays, including Finian's Rainbow, The Misanthrope, and Bedroom Farce, he was best known to audiences around the world as obnoxious businessman Roy Biggins on the NBC workplace comedy Wings, which was about a small airline company on Nantucket. He was a regular on all eight seasons from 1990 to 1997. Other TV credits included Another World, Wiseguy, and Miami Vice.
Joe Diffie, a legend of the country music genre, died on March 29 at the age of 61 due to coronavirus complications. Diffie was known for his many '90s hits, including "Pickup Man," "John Deere Green," "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)," "Third Rock From the Sun," and more. Diffie won a Grammy Award in 1998 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for "Same Old Train" and also won the Academy of Country Music's Vocal Event of the Year Award for "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair."
John Callahan, best known for his roles on soap operas like All My Children and Days of Our Lives, died on March 27 at age 66 after suffering a stroke in his Palm Springs, California, home. A well-known presence on daytime TV, Callahan appeared in hundreds of episodes of All My Children and had roles on Santa Barbara,General Hospital, and the web series The Bay. His television credits also included Falcon Crest, Wash Over Me, and Ladies of the Lake.
Fred "Curly" Neal, who became a beloved member of the Harlem Globetrotters because of his legendary dribbling, died on March 26 at 77. Neal, who got his nickname as a reference to his trademark shaved head, played over 6,000 games and 22 seasons from 1963 to 1985. During his time on the Globetrotters, Neal's elaborate ball-handling routine, which involved him dribbling across the court and sliding on his knees, became one of the most well-known parts of every game. In 2008, the Globetrotters retired Neal's No. 22 jersey number, making him one of only four players in the team's history to be given the honor. Even after retiring, Neal continued his involvement with the Globetrotters, making public and promotional appearances for the team.
Mark Blum, a veteran actor of the stage and screen, died in March at the age of 69 of coronavirus complications. Born in Newark, New Jersey, on May 14, 1950, he was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of his career, Blum appeared in films such as Desperately Seeking Susanand Crocodile Dundee, as well as TV shows like The Sopranos, Frasier, Mozart in the Jungle, and You. A figure of the New York theater scene, he appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers and Gore Vidal's The Best Man, among other things. Blum also won an Obie Award for his performance in the Playwrights Horizons production of Gus and Al, a play by Albert Innaurato. He served on the Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA boards from 2007 until 2013.
William Dufris, who was the voice of Bob on the popular children's show Bob the Builder, died on March 25 after a battle with cancer. He was 62. Dufris's company, Pocket Plot, announced news of his passing, tweeting, "We are heartbroken to announce... William Dufris, has died from cancer. There is a hole in a lot of people's hearts right now. We will have more to say later. Bless you, Bill."
Floyd Cardoz, the winner of Top Chef Masters Season 3, died March 25 due to complications from coronavirus, People reports. He was 59. Born in Bombay, India (now known as Mumbai), Cardoz opened the Manhattan contemporary Indian restaurant Tabla in 1998 in partnership with restaurateur Danny Meyer's company. His other restaurants included North End Grill, Paowalla, and Bombay Bread Bar, all in New York City, and The Bombay Canteen and Bombay Sweet Shop in Mumbai. Cardoz took home the top prize on Bravo's Top Chef Masters in 2011.
Filmmaker Stuart Gordon, a director knowing for cult favorites like Re-Animator and From Beyond, died March 24 at the age of 72. His family confirmed the news to Variety, but Gordon's cause of death was not disclosed. Though he was best known for his work in independent horror, Gordon had a varied career, including co-creating the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise and founding the Organic Theater Company with his wife, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. His other directorial credits include Fortress, Space Truckers, and Edmond.
Terrence McNally, a Tony and Emmy winning playwright who unabashedly and prolifically penned works about love, homosexuality, and AIDS, died March 24 from coronavirus complications at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, ABC News reports. He was 81.
McNally's critics and admirers often described the St. Petersburg, Florida native as the "the bard of American theater" and he enjoyed an extended and varied career that spanned nearly 60 years. It wasn't always easy and his first Broadway play, And Things That Go Bump in the Night, received abysmal reviews. But McNally kept pushing and finally in 1969 his play Next became an off-Broadway hit. Other successes followed and included 1971's Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?and The Ritz, a 1975 Tony-nominated farcical comedy set in a gay bathhouse.
The award-winning phase of his career began when McNally nabbed an Emmy for his 1990 PBS American Playhousespecial Andre's Mother and continued with 1993's beloved musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. McNally won the Best Book of a Musical Tony for the show, which starred Chita Rivera. It was his first Tony but it wouldn't be his last. McNally went on to win Tonys for 1995's Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class a year later, and Ragtime in 1998.
Kenny Rogers, the country music singer and actor, died March 20 at age 81 from natural causes. Known for hits including "The Gambler," "Lucille," and "Islands in the Stream," -- one of many collaborations with friend Dolly Parton -- the Country Music Hall of Famer sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and produced more than 120 hit singles. He won three Grammys. In addition to singing, songwriting and producing, Rogers starred in The Gambler franchise of Western TV movies, based on the persona crafted in his hit song, and in 1982, he starred in the movie Six Pack. He served as host & narrator for the A&E series The Real West, and had memorable guest roles on a number of hit shows including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Touched by an Angel and How I Met Your Mother.
An actor with leading-man looks and an entrepreneurial edge, Lyle Waggoner died March 17 after a long illness, his son told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 84. Waggoner, a Kansas City, Kansas native, was best known for the seven seasons he co-starred on The Carol Burnett Show, until his departure in 1974. After that he joined the cast of Wonder Woman, where he famously played the father and son versions of Steve Trevor. But Waggoner's biggest career coup wasn't in acting. It was in the set trailers or Star Waggons he helped create and rent to studios so that casts and crews could use them as dressing rooms, make-up trailers and more. Star Waggons rakes in an estimated $17 million annually with a stable of 800 trailers, according to CNBC.
Stuart Whitman, who starred in the 1967 CBS Western Cimarron Strip and was nominated for an Oscar for his leading role in 1961's The Mark, died March 16. He was 92. Whitman's lengthy, varied career in Hollywood also included notable roles in the movies like The Sound and the Fury, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and The Comancheros -- his first role opposite John Wayne. Whitman also appeared alongside Wayne in the star-studded World War II epic The Longest Day. On television, Whitman left his mark as Marshal Jim Crow in the one-season Cimarron Strip, notable for being one of the earliest shows with 90-minute episodes. He also had regular roles in Highway Patrol and Superboy.
Swedish actor Max von Sydow died at the age of 90 on March 8. The actor was known for his close working relationship with director Ingmar Bergman, who cast von Sydow in several of his films, including The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring, Winter Light, Through a Glass Darkly, The Hour of the Wolf, Shame, The Passion of Anna, The Magician, The Touch, and Brink of Life.
The actor received his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his turn as an immigrant father in 1987's Pelle the Conquerer, and he was later nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his wordless turn as "The Renter" in 2011's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He was also celebrated for his work as Father Merrin in 1973's The Exorcist, which earned van Sydow his second Golden Globe nomination, following his nomination for his turn as Rev. Abner Hale in the 1966 drama Hawaii. Max von Sydow also appeared as Lor San Tekka in 2015's Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, and Game of Thrones fans will remember him as the Three-Eyed Raven from Season 6.
Dancer Danny Tidwell died on March 6 as a result of a car accident. He was 35. Tidwell was best known for being the runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance Season 3. He began dancing jazz as a child before switching to ballet as a teenager. Throughout his career, Tidwell performed with the American Ballet Theater, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and performed on Dancing with the Stars. He was survived by his husband David Benaym and his brother Travis Wall.
Actor Nicholas Tucci died at the age of 38 on March 3 at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. His father Alexander Tucci confirmed the actor's passing, sharing that Tucci chose to keep his unknown illness private in order to continue to pursue his career. Tucci recently appeared in episodes of Ramy, Pose, and Channel Zero. His other credits include Homeland, The Blacklist, and Daredevil.
The trans Latina TV scribe, actor and activist, Camila Maria Concepción, who is best known for her writing on the Netflix series Gentefied and Daybreak, died the week of Feb. 17 by suicide. She was 28. A representative for Concepción, confirmed her death with Variety.
"Camila was a one of a kind soul and we were so lucky to have worked with her," a spokesperson from the United Talent Agency said in a statement prepared for TV Guide regarding the Southern California native. Prior to pursuing TV writing, she studied English Literature at Yale University.
"She was a fierce advocate for all she believed in and was taken away from us way too soon," the spokesperson added. "She had many stories left to tell and we will continue to work on her behalf to ensure that those stories are shared with the rest of the world."
Lee Phillip Bell, the co-creator behind The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, died Feb. 25 in Los Angeles. She was 91. Bell and her husband William J. Bell, a former advertising agent and writer for Guiding Light and As the World Turns, started their own soap, The Young and the Restless, in 1973. The flagship soap has run on CBS ever since and earned Phillip Bell a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series two years after its premiere. In 1987, the Bells created the spinoff, The Bold and the Beautiful. Phillip Bell's husband preceded her in death in 2005. The couple is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.
Katherine Johnson, the scientist and mathematician whose life story inspired the movie Hidden Figures, died Feb. 24 at the age of 101. Johnson's history-making and barrier-breaking career at NASA included calculating the orbital trajectories that put a man on the moon. Taraji P. Henson played her in Hidden Figures.
Lifestyle icon Barbara Elaine Smith, professionally known as B. Smith, died on Feb. 22 at the age of 70 in her Long Island, New York, home after battling early-onset Alzheimer's for several years. At the peak of her career, the former model owned three restaurants, wrote three books on home entertaining and cuisine, and she had a line of decor and serve-ware products and her own furniture line. Smith hosted two lifestyle television shows -- B. Smith with Style in 1999 and B. Smith Style from 2004-2005 -- and often appeared on NBC's Today for cooking segments and enjoyed a guest appearance as herself on the ABC sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who starred in the 2016 Disney film Queen of Katwe, died at the age of 15, according to Ugandan media. The young actress was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, and although she was tumor-free in 2017, the tumor returned last year. Waligwa was known for playing Gloria in the Disney film, which told the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a 9-year-old chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda. Gloria explained the rules of chess to Phiona in the film. At the time of her death, Waligwa was a senior three student at Gayaza High School.
Caroline Flack, best known as the host of the hit U.K. reality series Love Island, died Feb. 15 at the age of 40. Flack rose to fame on the 2002 sketch comedy show Bo' Selecta! and then went on to host a number of reality programs for ITV, including I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here Now, The X Factor, and the Love Island spin-off Love Island: Aftersun. Flack stepped down as the host of Love Island after being charged with assault in late 2019.
Veteran screen and stage actress Lynn Cohen died Feb. 14 from undisclosed causes at the age of 86. During her lengthy career, Cohen was a staple of the New York theater community, receiving Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations. Film and TV fans will recognize Cohen from her roles in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Sex and the City, as well as her appearances on shows such as Damages, Law & Order, The Affair, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Actor Robert Conrad died at the age of 84 on Feb. 8. The actor was best known for his turn as Secret Service agent James West in CBS's The Wild Wild West and for portraying a World War II pilot, Maj. Greg "Pappy" Boyington, on NBC's Baa Baa Black Sheep, the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Conrad also starred in series like Hawaiian Eye, The D.A., and Centennial.
Actor and comedian Orson Bean died Feb. 7 at age 91, after being struck by a car in Venice, California. Bean -- born Dallas Frederick Burrows -- was best known as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, on which he appeared over 200 times with hosts Jack Paar and later Johnny Carson. As an actor, he was best known for his supporting role as Loren Bray on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; playing the title character in the Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis"; and voicing Bilbo Baggins in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of The Hobbit. He was also known for his role as Dr. Lester in the movie Being John Malkovich. He was nominated for a Tony in 1962 for his performance in the play Subways Are for Sleeping. He worked up until the end of his life, and can be seen in a Season 6 episode of Grace and Frankie.
Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas died Feb. 5 at the age of 103. Douglas starred in over 90 films throughout his career, including classics like Out of the Past, Ace in the Hole, The Bad and the Beautiful, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and his early collaborations with director Stanley Kubrick, Paths of Glory and Spartacus. In addition to his acting career, he was known for his philanthropy, donating $40 million to the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital retirement community to create and fund the Alzheimer's wing, named Harry's Haven, after Douglas' father. He was the father of actor Michael Douglas.
Kobe Bryant died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, at the age of 41. Considered one of the NBA greats, he played for 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2016. His illustrious career includes five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, and being named the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 2008. The 18-time all-star also holds the Lakers' record for most points scored with 33,643 -- which is the fourth most in NBA history. In 2018, he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball.
Tyler Gwozdz, a contestant on Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, died Jan. 22 from a suspected drug overdose. He was 29. Gwozdz, a psychology graduate student from Florida, appeared on two episodes of The Bachelorette, getting the first one-on-one date of the season, before being sent home off-camera.
Award-winning journalist Jim Lehrer, who co-founded and was the anchor of PBS NewsHour for more than three decades, died Jan. 23. He was 85. Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1934, Lehrer joined the Marines before becoming a journalist in 1959. Early on, he was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times-Herald, becoming the latter's city editor in 1968 before transitioning full-time into television. Over the course of his lengthy career, Lehrer covered several major events, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Watergate, the Clinton sex scandal, and 9/11. Lehrer also authored 20 novels and three memoirs, as well as a number of plays. He moderated 12 presidential debates, more than any other person, before retiring as the full-time anchor of NewsHour in 2011. He and his wife, Kate, a novelist, had three daughters -- Jamie, Lucy, and Amanda -- and six grandchildren.
Monty Python star Terry Jones died Jan. 21. He was 77. The actor had been diagnosed with dementia in 2015. Jones was known for his work on the sketch comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus, both on screen and as a writer for dozens of episodes. He also co-wrote and directed Monty Python's Life of Brian and co-wrote and co-directed Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam, in addition to starring in those films. The Meaning of Life won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival, and Jones was co-nominated for a BAFTA for the feature's original song "Every Sperm Is Sacred" in 1984. In 2004, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his writing on Medieval Lives, a documentary about the Middle Ages. In 2014, Jones reunited with Gilliam and other members of the Monty Python comedy crew -- John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin -- for a London stage show called Monty Python Live (Mostly).
Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, a WWE Hall of Famer and the father of wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, died Jan. 15 at the age of 75. Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, he started wrestling in Toronto in 1964, eventually joining the WWE in 1983. He found great success when he teamed up with Tony Atlas as the Soul Patrol, and the two became the first African American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history later that year. Johnson retired from the ring in 1991 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his son in 2008.
Stan Kirsch, the actor best known for his role as Richie Ryan on the syndicated fantasy drama Highlander: The Series, died on Jan. 11 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 51. Kirsch amassed a significant fan base playing an immortal on Highlander, which aired from 1992-98, but he also had small roles on JAG, Friends, and the daytime soap General Hospital. Kirsch, a former child actor, graduated cum laude from Duke University with a political science degree. He started the Los Angeles-based acting school Stan Kirsch Studios with his wife and fellow actor, Kristyn Green, in 2008.
Grease and 77 Sunset Strip actor Edd Byrnes died Jan. 9, 2020 of natural causes, his son Logan confirmed in a press release shared on Twitter. He was 87. A New York native, Byrnes moved to Los Angeles in 1955 on the day James Dean died. A few years later, he landed his career-shaping role as Kookie, a comb-wielding, hip-talking parking attendant on 77 Sunset Strip, which aired for six seasons on ABC from 1958-64. Byrnes briefly revived his career in 1978's Grease as dance show host Vince Fontaine. He later enjoyed small recurring roles on shows such as Fantasy Island, and Murder, She Wrote.
Known as both an award-winning screenwriter and droll comedic actor, Buck Henry died Jan. 8 of a heart attack. He was 89. Henry earned two Oscar nominations at the height of his career -- one for his adapted screenplay of The Graduate and another for directing the 1978 Warren Beatty movie Heaven Can Wait. In 1967, the same year The Graduate hit theaters, he won a writing Emmy for the small-screen spy spoof Get Smart, which he created with Mel Brooks. Buck was also known for his Saturday Night Live hosting turns during the beloved sketch show's first five seasons, and in recent years he had a memorable turn as Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey) dad, Dick, on 30 Rock.
Actor Harry Hains died Jan. 7 at age 27. His mother, actress Jane Badler, said he struggled with mental illness and addiction. Hains appeared on American Horror Story: Hotel, The OA, and Sneaky Pete.
Silvio Horta, the creator of ABC's hit series Ugly Betty, was found dead Jan. 7, Variety reports. He was 45. Horta served as showrunner and head writer of Ugly Betty, whichstarred America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams and ran for four seasons on ABC from 2006 to 2010. The series, an American adaptation of a Colombian telenovela, won two Golden Globes. Horta was a Miami native who attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts before moving to Los Angeles in 1996. He got his big break when he wrote the screenplay for the 1998 film Urban Legend, starring Jared Leto. He also wrote for sci-fi shows The Chronicle and Jake 2.0 before Ugly Betty became an ABC hit.