Beth Howland, who starred on the CBS sitcom Alice, died on Dec. 31, 2015. Her husband, Murphy Brown star Charles Kimbrough, didn't reveal that the actress had lost her battle with lung cancer until May 2016 to comply with Howland's wishes. Howland starred as the high-strung waitress Vera on Alice for nine seasons in the '70s and '80s. Her more recent television credits include Murder, She Wrote, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and The Tick.
Grammy-winning R&B musician Natalie Cole died Jan. 1 of congestive heart failure due to complications from a kidney transplant and Hepatitis C. She was 65. Her 1991 album Unforgettable... with Love spent five weeks at No. 1, sold 14 million copies and won six Grammy Awards. Using technical wizardry, she recorded the album's centerpiece, "Unforgettable," as a duet with her late father, jazz legend Nat King Cole. Cole recently canceled several concert dates in December and an upcoming one in February due to a recurrence of Hepatitis C linked to her past struggles with substance abuse.
Pat Harrington Jr., who played apartment building superintendent Dwayne Schneider on the sitcom One Day at a Time, died Jan. 6. He was 86 years old and had reportedly been suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Harrington won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Schneider, and his other TV credits included stints on The Beverly Hillbillies and Murder, She Wrote. A Korean War veteran, Harrington also had a master's degree in political philosophy.
A former child actor who starred as Nick Lighter on the Disney Channel series The Jersey in the early 2000s, Michael Galeota was found dead in his home on Jan. 10. He was 31 and had recently been hospitalized for abdominal pain.
News of David Bowie's death on Jan. 10 at age 69 shocked the world, as only his closest friends and family members knew that the legendary singer had been battling cancer. A musical icon whose most memorable hits included "Space Oddity," "Let's Dance" and "Modern Love," Bowie was also a visual artist and actor who is best remembered for his role in 1986's Labyrinth.
David Margulies, who played tough-talking Mayor Lenny Clotch in the original Ghostbusters movies, died Jan. 11 after a long illness. He was 78. Though his resume included appearances on TV shows like NYPD Blue, Law & Order and The Sopranos, as well as a number of film roles, Margulies was primarily a theater actor. He made his Broadway debut in The Iceman Cometh in 1973, and also played attorney Roy Cohn during the original Broadway run of Angels in America. Shortly before his death, he had also completed production on ABC's miniseries Madoff, playing author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
Alan Rickman's death on Jan. 14 at 69 after a quiet battle with cancer stunned the entertainment world. A star of stage and screen, Rickman had memorable roles in Love Actually, Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Truly, Madly, Deeply, but is perhaps best known for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. He was also a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared in many plays in Europe and on Broadway.
The iconic beard of Grizzly Adams belonged to Dan Haggerty, who played the woodsman the movie and TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. He was also a stuntman and animal trainer - in fact, it was his acumen with bears that earned him the role of Grizzly Adams, and he lived with wild animals he had tamed or nursed back to health after injury. He died Jan. 15 of spinal cancer. He was 73.
Glenn Frey was the co-founder, co-lead singer and guitarist of the Eagles, one of the most popular rock bands of the '70s. He sang some of the group's biggest hits, including "Take It Easy," "Tequila Sunrise," and "Lyin' Eyes." After the Eagles broke up, Frey embarked on a successful solo career. He inspired the Billy Crudup's rock star character in Cameron Crowe's film Almost Famous. Frey had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many years, which led to severe gastrointestinal problems. He died from complications after surgery on Jan. 18 at 67.
Tommy Kelly, who starred in The Adventures of Tom Sawyeras a child, died on Jan. 25 at the age of 90. In addition to his role in the 1938 film, Kelly appeared in Gone With the Wind, He Walked By Nightand The West Point Storybefore retiring from acting at 25. Kelly went on to become an administrator for the Peace Corps in Liberia and an international relations adviser for the Department of Agriculture.
Abe Vigoda, the character actor, died in his sleep at his daughter's home on Jan. 26. He was 94. He was best known for playing Det. Phil Fish on Barney Miller and Sal Tessio in The Godfather. He was also known for his frequent appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and for erroneous reports of his death, which became a running joke in media starting in the early '80s.
Joe Alaskey, who was the voice of several iconic Looney Tunes characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, died of cancer on Feb. 3. In addition to his voice acting, which also included work on Rugratsand Forrest Gump, Alaskey published a memoir, a horror novel and a collection of short stories.
The Earth, Wind & Fire founder and horn player Maurice White died on Feb. 4 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease. White first revealed his diagnosis when the band was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 2000, but he had shown symptoms as early as the '80s.
Disney and Pixar screenwriter Daniel Gerson died on Feb. 6 after a battle with brain cancer. Gerson began his writing career on TV shows, including The New Addams Family,before co-writing Monsters Inc, Big Hero 6and contributing to several other acclaimed Pixar films.
Prince's protégée Vanity died on Feb. 15 after battling kidney failure and a stomach illness. Before embarking on her solo career, Vanity was the lead singer of the '80s group Vanity 6, known for the hit single "Nasty Girl." Vanity battled crack addiction in the '90s and, after becoming sober, became a born-again Christian and was an active member of her church up until her death.
George Gaynes, best known for his role on Punky Brewsteras the titular character's adoptive father, died on Feb. 15 at the age of 98. In addition to Punky Brewster, Gaynes also appeared in Tootsie and Police Academy.
Lex McAllister, who competed on Jake Pavelka's season of The Bachelor,died Feb. 16 of an apparent suicide at the age of 31. McAllister overdosed on prescription pills and had a history of mental illness. She was the second contestant fromThe Bachelor's 14th season to commit suicide, after Gia Allemad took her own life in 2013.
Angela "Big Ang" Raiola died on Feb. 18 after losing her battle with throat, lung and brain cancer. The Mob Wivesstar was diagnosed with cancer in March 2015, when she had a large tumor removed from her throat. In the weeks leading up to her death, Raiola was hospitalized for Stage 4 cancer and announced that she had split from her husband Neil Murphy.
Nelle Harper Lee died on Feb. 19 at the age of 89. The reclusive author won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 for To Kill a Mockingbird. The iconic novel was Lee's only published book for more than 50 years, until Go Set a Watchman,a prequel to Mockingbird, was controversially released in 2015.
Tony Burton, who played Apollo Creed's trainer Duke in the Rockyfilms, died on Feb. 25. The actor had been in and out of the hospital for the past year, but was never officially diagnosed with any illness. Prior to appearing in six Rockyfilms, Burton had a short-lived career as a professional boxer.
Lee Reherman, best known as Hawk on American Gladiators, died on March 1. The 49-year-old had been complaining about not feeling well and was recovering from a hip replacement surgery in the week before his girlfriend found him dead at home. In addition to American Gladiators, Reherman also appeared on Jane the Virgin, The X-Filesand NCIS.
Tony Dyson, the robotics technician who built R2-D2 for Star Wars, died on March 4. His body was found in his Malta home after police were alerted by his girlfriend, who couldn't reach him. Dyson had also done special effects for Superman 2and Moonraker.
Famed tennis analyst Bud Collins died on March 4 at the age of 89. Collins became the first print journalist to successfully transition to an onscreen analyst in the 1960s. Collins, who was known for his colorful attire, covered tennis for The Boston Globe, NBC, ESPN, the Tennis Channel and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Country singer Joey Feek died on March 4 at the age of 40. Feek was famous for performing with her husband, Rory, in the duo Joey + Rory. Rory had also documented his wife's battle with cancer on his blog, where he announced Joey's death, saying: "My wife's greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven."
Former First Lady and Ronald Reagan's widow Nancy Reagan died on March 6 from congestive heart failure. Nancy starred in 12 films and on several TV shows before quitting acting when her husband announced he was running for governor of California. Following Ronald's battle with Alzheimer's, to which he ultimately succumbed in 2004, Nancy became an advocate for stem cell research.
George Martin, the music producer who was known as "the Fifth Beatle," died on March 9. Martin signed the Beatles to their first recording contract in 1962 and helped shape the band's iconic sound, working on every one of the group's original albums. Martin also was nominated for an Oscar for composing the score toA Hard Day's Night,and won several Grammys for albums includingSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Bandand The Who's Tommy.
Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor, died on March 22 after losing his long battle with cancer. Ford rose to fame in 2013 after he admitted to using crack cocaine while in office, prompting the city council to strip him of most of his powers. Despite this, he still ran for re-election until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. He then ran for and got elected to the Toronto city council, on which he served until his death.
Born February 12, 1926, Joe Garagiola played in the MLB in the 1940s and 1950s for teams including the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants. After his sports career, Garagiola worked as an NBC commentator for 25 years. He co-hosted Today Show from 1967-1973 and then again from 1991-1992. He also hosted a few game shows and occasionally stepped in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. He died March 23.
Born November 29, 1949, Garry Shandling rose through the ranks of Hollywood throughout his life, eventually cementing his fame on The Larry Sanders Show in the 90s. He was the recipient of numerous awards including two British Comedy Awards, eleven CableACE Awards and a BAFTA Award. The actor has also made numerous film appearance in features such as Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Zoolander and Dr. Dolittle. The actor had always remained a true classic comedian and actor, all the way until his passing on March 24.
Writer Jim Harrison, whose novellas Legends of the Fall were adapted into the 1994 film starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, died March 25 at age 78. An avid outdoorsman, Harrison wrote more than 30 books, and enjoyed friendships with members of the Hollywood elite including Jack Nicholson, who loaned him money to finish Legends. Harrison worked on scripts for films including Revenge with Kevin Costner and Wolf with Nicholson. He was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2007.
Patty Duke died on March 29 at 69 from a ruptured intestine. The third youngest Oscar winner ever, Duke won an Academy Award for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in 1963 when she was only 16. She went on to star in her own Emmy-nominated sitcom, The Patty Duke Show, and won three Emmys for her performances in three TV movies, including an adaptation of The Miracle Worker, in which she played Annie Sullivan. She is survived by her husband, Michael Pearce, and sons Mackenzie and Sean Astin, and Kevin Pearce.
Erik Bauersfeld served as the director of KPFA 94.1 FM in California for most of his life. However, most know him as the voice of Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar. While working on a radio project for LucasFilm, the producer was approached to read for the famous part, which he claims he had a voice for immediately upon seeing a photograph of the character. Later in life, Bauersfeld would go on to do work on Crimson Peak and A.I. Artificial Intelligence before returning for one more go-round as Ackbar in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released a mere months before his passing at the age of 93. He died April 3.
Blood, Sweat and Heels' Daisy Lewellyn lost her battle with cancer on April 8. The reality star was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer two years ago. In addition to appearing on the Bravo series, Lewellyn was an accessories editor for Essence and released a book in 2010.
Music producer and reality TV star David Gest died April 12 in London at age 62. He was best known for his brief, tumultuous marriage to singer and actress Liza Minnelli. Gest, who produced the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, was a household name in the UK, where he appeared on over a hundred TV series, including the reality shows I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and Celebrity Big Brother.
Born November 1925, Doris Roberts was an Emmy-winning actress, best known for her later work as Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She won four of her five Emmys for that role; she took home her first in 1983 for her turn on St. Elsewhere. She also appeared in numerous feature films, including Grandma's Boy and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The actress also participated in several charities, including extensive work with the group Puppies Behind bars. She died April 17 at the age of 90.
Former WWE women's champion wrestler and reality TV star Joanie Laurer, a.k.a. "Chyna," was found dead at her home in California on April 20. She was 45. Chyna rose to fame in the late 1990s as a female pro wrestling star who dubbed herself the "9th Wonder of the World." She was a member of the "D-Generation X" group and acted as a bodyguard for wrestler Triple H. In 1999, she was the first woman to ever enter the Royal Rumble. Chyna left the WWE in 2001 (later claiming she was fired) and went on to star on several reality TV shows, including The Surreal Life, Fear Factor and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Legendary musician Prince was found dead at his Minnesota estate on April 21. He was 57. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, the singer released his first album, For You, in 1978, blending funk, soul, R&B, pop, rock and disco. He released his seminal album, Purple Rain, the soundtrack to his film debut of the same name, in 1984, which included the hits "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy," and earned him an Oscar for original song score. During his career, the prolific, virtuosic performer released 39 studio albums, won seven Grammys and was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. He had been battling the flu in the weeks leading up to his death.
Actress Madeleine Sherwood, best known for playing Reverend Mother Superior Lydia Placido on the '60s sitcom The Flying Nun, died on April 23 at her home in Lac Cornu, Quebec. She was 93. She originated the role of Abigail Williams in the legendary play The Crucible in the original 1953 Broadway production, and was also in the original production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and its 1958 film adaptation, starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. She was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, and was arrested in Alabama while marching for civil rights in the 1960s. Her other TV credits include the soap operas One Life to Live, Guiding Light and As the World Turns.
Rickey Smith, who finished in eighth place on Season 2 of American Idol, was killed in a car accident in Oklahoma on May 5. He was 36. Smith's vehicle was struck head-on by a man who was driving the wrong way on the interstate, and was subsequently charged with DUI. Smith was known for chanting "Hercules! Hercules!" during his run on American Idol, and one of his more memorable musical performances was a duet with Season 6 contestant Melinda Doolittle.
The Patty Duke Show's William Schallert passed away on May 8 at the age of 93. Schallert starred on the Emmy-nominated sitcom as Martin Lane, the father and uncle to the identical cousins played by Oscar winner Patty Duke. The actor's other credits include Leave It to Beaver, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and True Blood.
Sitcom actress Tonita Castro lost her battle with stomach cancer on May 8 at the age of 63. Castro's first big TV break came with her recurring role on the Matthew Perry comedy Go On. She went on to land a recurring role on the Seth Green series Dads before appearing in The Grinder pilot and two episodes of Life in Pieces.
Morley Safer died on May 19, one week after retiring from 60 Minutes. The longtime correspondent, who was renowned for his coverage of the Vietnam War, joined 60 Minutes in 1970, where he was a part of the original team, including the late Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner.
Michael Dann died on May 27 at the age of 94. Dann served as CBS' programming chief from 1963 to 1970, during which time he delivered such hits as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, 60 Minutes and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Waldo, the original voice of Judy Jetson on The Jetsons and the last surviving member of the cast, died June 12 at 96. The actress amassed more than 100 credits over her career, including voice parts on Josie and the Pussycats, Shazzan, The Addams Family and The Scooby-Doo Show. She was controversially replaced by Tiffany as Judy Jetson in 1990's The Jetsons: The Movie, which she said left her "totally crushed."
Legendary boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali died from complications stemming from a respiratory illness on June 3. He was 74. Ali is widely considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history, defeating two of the sport's greats in Sonny Liston and George Foreman during boxing's glory days. Born Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name in 1964 during the Civil Rights movement and became the most vocal anti-war celebrity when he refused to be drafted for the Vietnam War. His celebrity later brought him to television on shows such as Vega$, Diff'rent Strokes and Touched By an Angel.
Born in Brooklyn, NY to Divina and Tony Saldana, Theresa Saldana died June 6 from an undisclosed illness at age 61. The actress had a nearly three-decade long career in film and television, including a role in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull alongside Robert De Niro. But she's best known for her TV work on ABC's 90s classic, The Commish, starring Michael Chiklis. She also had roles on The Twilight Zones, MacGyver and Law & Order. She is survived by her husband Phil Peters and daughterTianna Peters.
Michu Meszaros, who starred on Alf, passed away at the age of 76 on June 13. The actor and circus performer was found unresponsive at his home over a week prior and remained in a coma until his death.
Ronnie Claire Edwards was born in 1933 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was best known for her work on The Waltons, where she played Corabeth Godsey for over 100 episodes starting in the show's third season. In addition, Edwards appeared in many other series including Dynasty, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Falcon Crest, Dallas and Murder, She Wrote. On June 15th, 2016, it was announced the actress had died in her sleep.
Actor Anton Yelchin died June 19 at the age of 27 after an automobile accident on the site of his Los Angeles home. Best known for playing Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films,Yelchin began his acting career in 2000 with roles in indie films and TV shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, ER and Huff where he appeared for two years. Yelchin was born March 11, 1989 in what's now Saint Petersburg, Russia to figure skaters Irina and Viktor Yelchin, but moved to the States as a baby. Roles on TV propelled him into film, where he became a breakout star in Terminator Salvation, Fright Night and Green Room. Prior to his death, he'd been set to return to TV for a role in Stephen King's miniseries, Mr. Mercedes. He is survived by his parents and uncle, Eugene Yelchin, a children's author and painter.
Noel Neill, who starred as Superman's Lois Lane in the 1940s and '50s, died July 3 at her home in Tucson, Ariz. She was 95. Neill was initially cast as Lois Lane in 1948 for the serialized movie Superman, opposite Kirk Alyn in the title role. Later, she replaced Phyllis Coates in the role after one season the the television adaptation Adventures of Superman, and starred on the show until it was canceled in 1958. After Adventures of Superman, Neill quit acting, but made made several appearances at Superman fan conventions in the 1970s, and also had cameos in later versions, including 1978's Superman, the TV series The Adventures of Superboy and 2006's Superman Returns.
Teddy Rooney, a former child actor who was the son of Mickey Rooney and his third wife, actress/model Martha Vickers, died July 2 at a convalescent home in Southern California. He was 66 and had suffered from a long illness. Rooney acted opposite his parents and also had his own acting career, with credits including the movies It Happened to Jane and Seven Ways from Sundown and TV shows Wagon Train, Lassie, McHale's Navy and Shirley Temple's Storybook. In the 1960s, Rooney gave up acting to focus on music, performing with his brothers Mickey Jr. and Tim in the group The Rooney Brothers. He was also a member of the L.A. rock band The Yellow Payges.
The legendary Happy Days creator and Pretty Woman director died July 19 at 81 from complications of pneumonia after suffering a stroke. After getting his start as a writer on The Tonight Show Starring Jack Parr and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Marshall adapted Neil Simon's The Odd Couplefor ABC in 1970, which earned three Emmy nominations for comedy series. Happy Days, which premiered in 1974, made a household name out of Henry Winkler and spawned multiple spin-offs, including Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi. Marshall's film directing credits include Beaches, Overboard, The Flamingo Kid, The Princess Diaries, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve and Mother's Day, which opened three months before his death. A five-time Emmy nominee, Marshall was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997.
Youree Dell Harris -- better known as "Miss Cleo" -- was ubiquitous in the late-1990s as the star of infomercials promising to tell the futures of callers through the use of tarot cards. Her signature Jamaican accent implored viewers to "Call me now!" The character of Miss Cleo was later retired after the FTC shut down her promoters on charges of fraud.
Actor and talk radio host Jerry Doyle died July 27 at his home in Las Vegas. He was 60. His biggest acting role was as Chief of Security Michael Garibaldi on the '90s sci-fi series Babylon 5. In recent years he transitioned into conservative talk radio, and hosted the nationally syndicated Jerry Doyle Show. He was married to his Babylon 5 co-star Andrea Thompson from 1995 to 1997.
Actress Sagan Lewis died at her home in New York on Aug. 7 after a six-year battle with cancer. She was best known for playing Dr. Jacqueline Wade on St. Elsewhere and Judge Susan Aandahl on Homicide: Life on the Street. She was married to writer and producer Tom Fontana from 1982 to 1993 and again from 2015 until her death.
Steven Hill , who passed away on Aug. 23 at 94, was best known for playing district attorney Adam Schiff on the groundbreaking legal procedural, Law & Order. Hill, who also played Dan Briggs on the first season of Mission: Impossible, stayed with the Dick Wolf drama for its first 10 seasons, spanning from 1990 to 2000, before he retired from acting.
Legendary actor Gene Wilder died on Aug. 29 of complications from Alzheimer's disease at the age of 83. Wilder is best known for his work with Mel Brooks, including The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. He also originated the role of Willy Wonka is 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Born Robert Arquette in 1969, Alexis died from unknown causes on September 11. She was 47. A member of the well-known Arquette family, Alexis was an actress and transgender rights activist best known for her roles in The Wedding Singer and Pulp Fiction. Her transition was the subject of the 2007 documentary Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother. She appeared on The Surreal Life in 2006, bringing transgender visibility to the mainstream.
Robert Vaughn, best known for his role as suave spy Napoleon Solo on the '60s action series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., died Nov. 11 after a short battle with leukemia. He was 83. He won an Emmy in 1978 for acting in the miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors and was nominated for an Oscar in 1960 for the film The Young Philadelphians. He appeared in over a hundred movies and TV shows in a career that spanned more than 60 years.
Broadcast journalist and best-selling author Gwen Ifill passed away from breast cancer at the age of 61. The well-respected Washington veteran, who broke boundaries as one of the first female political pundits of color on TV, was host of PBS' Washington Week and served as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour.