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Stars We Lost In 2020

Stars We Lost 2020 Lead July

In memoriam…

Adolfo ‘Shabba Doo’ Quinones

(May 11, 1955 – December 30, 2020)

Adolfo Quinones died on December 30, 2020.
(c) Guillermo Proano/WENN

Talented 1980s breakdancing star and actor Adolfo Quinones passed away on the second-to-last day of 2020; he was 65 years old at the time of his death. Better known during his entertainment career as “Shabba Doo,” the actor and performer — who was born in Chicago and raised by a single mother — was an original member of The Lockers, a pioneering street dance group first formed in the 1970s. His best known role came as a star dancer and actor in the 1984 movie Breakin’.

Quinones’ death was sudden and unexpected, according to family members who first announced his passing to the media. Though he had tested negative for COVID-19 in the preceding days, he was apparently “feeling sluggish” all the same. Law enforcement sources reported to TMZ that he was apparently found unconscious by a roommate and later pronounced dead by authorities. He leaves behind a daughter and a son. So sad…

Dawn Wells

(October 18, 1938 – December 30, 2020)

Dawn Wells passed away on the penultimate day of 2020.
(c) WENN

A universally well-liked actress both during her career and in retirement, Dawn Wells was best known for her role as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, which had a memorable run on CBS for three seasons in the mid-1960s. She later reprised the role in three made-for-TV movie sequels which aired between 1978 and 1982, as well. She also had roles in several other major productions of the 1960s and 1970s, including 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Bonanza, and Alf.

Sadly, on the penultimate day of 2020, she succumbed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, passing away from “coronavirus complications” in Los Angeles according to multiple news reports. She was 82 years old. With her death, that leaves actress Tina Louise as the sole surviving member of that iconic original Gilligan’s Island cast.

Dave Prowse

(July 1, 1935 – November 28, 2020)

Dave Prowse darth vader acting death
(c) Avalon/WENN

The man who physically portrayed Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy passed away in November at the age of 85 after a short illness.

While the iconic baddie was voiced by James Earl Jones, Dave Prowse’s brawny 6’6 frame from years of bodybuilding made the Sith Lord’s presence on screen that much more formidable. The British-born star made his film debut in a 1967 James Bond parody Casino Royale playing Frankenstein’s monster, a role he played again in multiple horror films.

His performance in the 1971 film a Clockwork Orange, in which he played a bodyguard, caught the eye of George Lucas, who invited Prowse to audition for the roles of Vader and Chewbaca in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Prowse later told the BBC he chose Vader over Chewie because “you always remember the bad guys.”


Jeremy Bulloch

(February 16, 1945 – December 17, 2020)

Jeremy Bulloch Stars We Lost 2020
(c) Wheatley/WENN

Yet another OG Star Wars star gone…

You likely don’t know Jeremy Bulloch by his face as he kept it covered up as he played one of the most memorable characters in movie history, the enigmatic bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Bulloch was the man under the mask while another actor, Jason Wingreen, provided the voice for the silent character’s few lines (those were replaced in later editions by Temuera Morrison, who later took over the character and plays him to this day on The Mandalorian.

Jeremy’s death was first reported on his personal website, which explained:

“Jeremy died peacefully on 17th December 2020 following health complications, including several years living with Parkinson’s disease. He spent his final weeks in the wonderful care of staff at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, close to the house where he and his wife Maureen had lived together for more than fifty years. Maureen and two of his sons, Jamie and Robbie, were with him during his final days.

Ann Reinking

(November 10, 1949 – December 12, 2020)

Ann Reinking Stars We Lost 2020
(c) 20th Century Fox/YouTube

Ann Reinking was an actress, a dancer, a choreographer. But more than that, on Broadway she was an absolute legend.

She appeared in All That Jazz (above), Annie, and more — but was probably best known as Roxie Hart in Chicago — in both the late 70s and in the 90s revival. In the latter she also served as the show’s choreographer, for which she won a Tony.

Ann passed away peacefully while visiting family. She was 71 years old. Her family broke the news in an exuberant statement:

“The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party. She was visiting our brother in Washington state when she went to sleep and never woke up. We will miss her more than we can say. Heaven has the best choreographer available now. I’m sure they are dancing up a storm up there! Annie, we will love and miss you always!!!”

Charley Pride

(March 18, 1934 – December 12, 2020)

Charley Pride has passed away at 86 after battling coronavirus.
(c) WENN/Avalon

Born in Mississippi during the days of Jim Crow segregation, Charley Pride overcame a difficult path towards country music stardom, eventually selling millions of records and becoming the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. According to his publicist, the Kiss An Angel Good Morning singer died in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, December 12, due to complications relating to the coronavirus. He was 86 years old.

Dame Barbara Windsor

(August 6, 1937 – December 10, 2020)

Dame Barbara Windsor has died at 83 years old.
(c) John Rainford/WENN

British actress Barbara Windsor enjoyed a seven-decade career ranging from working on notable films like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to perhaps her best known role on the soap opera “EastEnders.” Thanks to her extensive on-camera work lasting decades, she was made a Dame (DBE) during the 2016 New Year Honors for her services to charity and entertainment. She’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2014; according to her husband, Scott Mitchell, she passed away at a care home in London on Thursday, December 10. She was 83 years old.

Natalie Desselle-Reid

(July 12, 1967 – December 7, 2020)

Natalie Desselle-Reid has died after a year-long battle with colon cancer.
(c) WENN

Natalie Desselle-Reid, best known for her supporting roles in the Madea sitcom Eve as well as the 1997 Halle Berry film B*A*P*S*, passed away at the age of 53. The longtime comedic actress died while in hospice care on Monday, December 7 due to complications from colon cancer. She’d been battling the disease for nearly a year after being diagnosed early in 2020. She leaves behind a husband and three children.

David Lander

David Lander passes away
(c) WENN

David Lander, known for playing Squiggy on ABC‘s Laverne & Shirley, has passed away at the age of 73. He died on Friday, December 4 of complications from multiple sclerosis. He’d been battling it for 37 years. Fans will remember the actor going public with the diagnosis in 1999. Other credits you may know him from include smaller roles on Twin Peaks and The Simpsons.

Hugh Keays-Byrne

Hugh Kaeys Byrne death rip
(c) Adriana M. Barraza/WENN

Hugh Keays-Byrne, best known for his roles in the Mad Max franchise, passed away on December 1 at the age of 73.

The actor’s death was announced by his friend and former movie director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who revealed that Hugh had passed away during a hospital stay. No other information surrounding the death was given, but a rep for the star confirmed he died peacefully and that his family was requesting privacy.

Keays-Byrne was born in India to British parents and moved to England as a child. He moved to Australia in 1973 for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and settled Down Under. In 1979, he memorably starred in the first Mad Max film opposite Mel Gibson, playing the villain Toecutter.

Over three decades later, director George Miller brought him back for Fury Road, where he played evil warlord Immortan Joe. Keays-Byrne also appeared in the 1974 biker movie Stone, the 1986 drama For Love Alone, the 1998 film Moby Dick, and 2011’s Sleeping Beauty. Mad Max: Fury Road was his final film.

His co-stars have remembered him as a kind and loving soul.


David Prowse

(July 1, 1935 – November 28, 2020)

(c) Mitchell Zachs/WENN

David Prowse was a bodybuilder and actor who found two absolute legendary ways to use his size.

First, he became a big screen icon as the man actually terrorizing all the heroes on the set of the Star Wars films as Darth Vader. It was him saying all the lines on set and fighting Luke Skywalker. It was his physical presence that imbued the character with its menace and majesty.

Second, and less well known in the US, he became the Green Cross Man, a children’s safety superhero character who taught British kids about safety in crossing the street for 20 years, earning him a prestigious MBE.

Prowse passed away at the age of 85 after a brief illness.

Luis Troyano

luis troyano of great british bakeoff dies at 48
(c) The Taste Kitchen/YouTube

Luis Troyano, runner up on Great British Bake Off in season 5, lost his battle with oesophageal cancer in late October, per a statement from his management team shared via Twitter on November 3:

“Sadly, my lovely client lost his brave fight against Oesophageal cancer last week. A fantastic man with a love of baking that saw him get to the finals of GBBO, write a wonderful book, Bake It Great and do so much more. Always in our thoughts.”

The tweet from Anne Kibel included a link to a fundraiser set up by Troyano’s wife, Louise, raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support. Included on the page was a statement from the baker himself:

“A special thank you to Macmillan Cancer Support, East Cheshire Hospice and the NHS including Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Stockport NHS Foundation Trust for trying to save my life and their tireless work to try and eliminate cancer. But more importantly a massive thank you to all the amazing professionals who really did try their absolute best for me, showed me absolute compassion and gave me more time than what was seemingly possible. I thank you sincerely.”


Nikki McKibbin

(September 28, 1978 – November 1, 2020)

'American Idol' alum Nikki McKibbin passed away at 42 years old.
(c) Avalon/WENN

Nikki McKibbin, who finished third place during the inaugural season of American Idol, sadly passed away at just 42 years old. The singer-songwriter was best-known publicly for her exceptional run on the first season of the reality TV music competition show, where she finished behind second-place singer Justin Guarini and eventual winner (and soon-to-be superstar) Kelly Clarkson. During her time in the spotlight, she would go on to appear on other reality shows like Sober HouseFear Factor, and Battle of the Network Reality Stars, as well as Dr. Drew‘s Celebrity Rehab where she worked through battles with substance abuse.

McKibbin is survived by her adult son Tristen Cole Langley and her husband Craig Sadler, who confirmed his wife’s passing. The star reportedly suffered a brain aneurysm and had been briefly kept on life-support in order to donate her organs to people in need before pulling the plug.


Eddie Hassell

(July 16, 1990 – November 1, 2020)

Actor Eddie Hassell dead at 30 after reportedly being shot and killed.
(c) Fayes Vision/WENN

Eddie Hassell, who had been best known for his high-profile supporting roles on NBC‘s Surface, ABC‘s Devious Maids, and Oscar-nominated film The Kids Are Alright — passed away after an apparent run-in with gun violence. He was just 30 years old. According to local reporting, Hassell was shot and killed over what appeared to be a carjacking attempt in Grand Prairie — a suburban neighborhood in the Dallas, TX area.

More than just a talented young actor gone far too soon, Hassell was also a published author who penned the book Someone Should Tell You: Startling Revelations and Truths to Help You Understand and Improve Your Life, which was released back in 2009. Following his tragic sudden death, his girlfriend shared a loving tribute via Instagram:

“You were dearer to me than all the bats in all the caves in the world, @eddie_hassell. I loved you more than the sky in Texas. You made me more mad than anyone I’ve ever met, and I loved every ounce of you for it. Rest In Peace. You’ll always have my heart.”


Sean Connery

(August 25, 1930 – October 31, 2020)

Sean Connery passed away at the age of 90.

Sean Connery, the Scottish-born actor best known for his legendary portrayal of James Bond, passed away at the age of 90. He was the first and was long-regarded to have been the best actor to portray Bond in the franchise after starring in a whopping seven films between 1962-1983. In 2000, Sean was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at the Holyrood Palace after nearly seven decades in the industry and his last acting role was in 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

In a statement to the BBC on his father’s passing, Jason Connery said the beloved actor died in his sleep at home in the Bahamas after being “unwell for some time.” He shared:

“We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time. A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”


Anthony Chisolm

(April 9, 1943 – October 16, 2020)

Tony-nominated actor Anthony Chisholm dies at 77 years old.
(c) Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Anthony Chisolm, a Tony-nominated actor passed away at age 77. No cause of death was listed in the official statement on his passing shared by The Katz Company on Instagram, which reads:

“The Katz Company is saddened to announce the passing of our longtime friend and client, Tony-Nominee, Anthony Chisholm. Affectionately called ‘Chiz,’ he was an actor and storyteller like none-other, embodying loyalty, devotion, and compassion to his artistry. We lost a great one today.”

The beloved actor served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War before embarking on an acting career. He made his screen debut in 1968 in Uptight, also appearing in films like Putney Swope, Beloved, and Spike Lee‘s Chi-Raq. Chisolm also booked roles in Law & Order: SVU, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and played Burr Redding on HBO‘s Oz for three seasons.


Conchata Ferrell

(March 28, 1943 – October 12, 2020)

conchata ferrell dead at 77
(c) TV Land/YouTube

Conchata Ferrell passed away at age 77 from complications following cardiac arrest. The actress was probably best known for her role as Berta on Two and a Half Men, but she was a seasoned veteran of both the stage and screen. She earned awards for her work in the theater as well as three Emmy nominations for her role in Men as well as her time on LA Law. She is survived by her husband, Arnie Anderson, and daughter Samantha.

Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen paid tribute to his co-star on Twitter, writing:

“An absolute sweetheart
A consummate pro
A genuine friend
A shocking and painful loss
your housekeeping was a tad suspect,
your ‘people’ keeping was perfect.”


Eddie Van Halen

(January 26, 1955 — October 6, 2020)

Eddie Van Halen died at 65 years old.
(c) Ray Garbo/WENN

Rock legend Eddie Van Halen died at 65 after what his son Wolfgang Van Halen called a “long and arduous battle with cancer.” The artist was best known as the lead guitarist for the Grammy-award winning band that shared his name. Born in the Netherlands, Van Halen went on to become one of the most celebrated guitarists of all time, with memorable solos including his iconic turn on Michael Jackson’s Beat It.

Van Halen is survived by his brother and bandmate Alex, wife Janie, and his son, who also served as the band’s bassist in later years. Wolfgang released an emotional statement to 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.
I love you so much, Pop.”


(May 5 1989 — October 2 2020)

Cookie Monsta died at age 31.
(c) Cookie Monsta/Instagram

Dubstep DJ Cookie Monsta (real name Tony Cook) died at the age of 31. Though the cause of death has not yet been released, Cook was open about his mental health struggles, cancelling shows in May 2019 in order to focus on healing.

His label Circus Records released a statement saying:

“Our beloved Tony Cook (aka Cookie Monsta) has left us. We are devastated, no words can contain our feelings on such a day. All of our thoughts go to Tony’s family, friends and our heart especially goes out to Tony’s son Olly, the Mini Monsta. The world will miss you Cookie, we will miss you brother. Out of respect for Tony’s family, we will hold off on commenting any further until deemed appropriate.”


Raymond Allen

(March 5, 1929 — August 10, 2020)

'Good Times' actor Raymond Allen died at 91 from a respiratory illness unrelated to COVID-19s.
(c) YouTube

Raymond Allen, who starred in classic 1970s sitcoms like Good Times and Sanford and Son, sadly passed away this summer from respiratory issues, unrelated to the novel coronavirus which also can impact breathing capabilities.

Allen made his acting debut in the 1946 film, Fight That Ghost where he portrayed the role of Fast Delivery Bill. His big break came much later with the recurring role of Uncle Woodrow Anderson on NBC‘s Sanford and Son in 1974, which marked the beginning of a successful working relationship with famed producer Norman Lear. Although he stopped appearing in any TV or film projects after 1985 reportedly due to an illness, decades later, his impact on the television industry is still celebrated. Raymond’s daughter Ta Ronce Allen confirmed the news via Facebook, noting “his warmth, kind heart, and cleaver sayings will be missed.”


Allan Rich

(February 8, 1926 — August 22, 2020)

Actor Allan Rich passed away at 94 years old.
(c) Adriana M. Barraza/WENN

Allan Rich was a Hollywood legend whose career as a screen actor and stage performer spanned over 80 years. After starring in stage productions from the 1930s to the 1950s, Allan landed one of his best-known roles playing District Attorney Herman Tauber in the 1973 film,  Serpico. He went on to appear in over 130 movies and TV shows throughout his life, but many will also recall his involvement in the Civil Rights movement, which contributed to him being blacklisted amid Communist witch hunts in the 1950s.

Rich passed away at the Lillian Booth Actors Home, an assisted-living facility in Englewood, New Jersey, at 94 years old. He is survived by kids Marian and David, as well as two grandchildren, Julia and Ruby.

Riley Gale

(February 2, 1985 — August 24, 2020)

Power Trip singer Riley Gale passed away 34 years old.
(c) Adam Bielawski/WENN

It was truly a sad day for thrash metal fans when Riley Gale, lead singer of the band Power Trip, unexpectedly passed away on August 24. He was only 34 years old. The beloved artist’s family confirmed his death in a statement shared to social media, which reads in part:

“Riley was a friend, a brother, a son. Riley was both a larger than life rock star and a humble and giving friend. He touched so many lives through his lyrics and through his huge heart. He treated everyone he met as a friend and he always took care of his friends.”

Gale started his band when he was a 22-year-old student attending the University of North Texas. As recently as this past year, he collaborated with Ice-T‘s heavy metal group Body Count on their song, Point the Finger. It’s unclear how or why his impressive career was cut short so soon as the cause of death was not revealed. We wish his fans and loved ones comfort as they mourn the sudden and tragic loss.

Chadwick Boseman

(November 28, 1976 — August 28, 2020)

Chadwick Boseman died in 2020 after suffering a private four-year battle with colon cancer.
(c) WENN/Avalon

The world was shocked to learn that Chadwick Boseman died at just 43 years old after suffering a private, four-year battle with colon cancer. The beloved actor shined playing legendary Black figures like Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up, but his star status was ultimately solidified by his portrayal of Marvel fictional character King T’Challa in the 2019 film, Black Panther. He delivered a career-defining performance while secretly fighting for his life the entire time. It was reported that Boseman was surrounded by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward and loved ones at home when he took his last breath.

His family’s statement public statement about his passing reads:

“Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV.

A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

The late star never uttered a word about his diagnosis, so this one really, really hurts. R.I.P.

Jack Sherman

(January 18, 1956 – August 18, 2020)

Jack Sherman, early guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, passed away at age 64. In their statement, the band called him a “unique dude,” thanking him “for all times good, bad and in between.”

Sherman was the band’s second guitarist, primarily playing with them between the departure and return of Hillel Slovak. In addition to joining RHCP’s first US tour, he co-wrote their 1985 album Freaky Styley and went on to contribute to Mother’s Milk. He later worked as a session musician for artists such as Bob Dylan, Tonio K and George Clinton.


Wilford Brimley

(September 27, 1937 — August 1, 2020)

Wilford Brimley dead
(c) YouTube

You know actor Wilford Brimley from his raspy American Diabetes Association commercials and mustache alone. But the actor had a long career in Hollywood. His movie credits go back to the 1970s and include Cocoon, The Natural and The Thing. He also starred in several television shows. Brimley passed away while hospitalized in St. George, Utah. He’d been at the ICU, where he was getting treatment for medical problems and was on dialysis. His manager Lynda Bensky shared:

“Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He had a tough exterior and a tender heart. I’m sad that I will no longer get to hear my friend’s wonderful stories. He was one of a kind.”


Olivia de Havilland

(July 1, 1916 — July 26, 2020)

Olivia de Havilland death
(c) Rachel Worth / WENN

This icon lived to be 104!! Olivia de Havilland rose to fame after starring in Gone With The Wind. The actress died of natural causes at her residence in Paris, where she lived for more than six decades. While she had a wildly success movie career, her off-screen lawsuit against her employer, Warner Bros., may have been her most notable achievement.

In 1943, de Havilland sued WB after they attempted to extend her seven-year contract. Under that studio system, actors faced suspension without pay if they turned down roles, and the suspension time was added to their already restrictive contracts. Her legal victory helped shift the power from studios to the celebs themselves! Queen!!

Peter Green

(October 29, 1946 — July 25, 2020)

Peter Green dead
(c) YouTube

Peter Green was one of the founding members of rock band Fleetwood Mac. The talented musician died peacefully at 73 years old.

John Saxon

(August 5, 1936 – July 25, 2020)

John Saxon dead
(c) John Cronise/ WENN

John Saxon was a legend, known for starring alongside Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. He also appeared in three Nightmare on Elm Street films. The actor fell ill due to pneumonia and fought till the very end in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, alongside his wife, Gloria. He was 83 at the time of his passing.

Regis Philbin

(August 25, 1931 – July 24, 2020)

Regis Philbin Stars We Lost
(c) Sheri Determan/WENN

Long before Ryan Seacrest, the hardest working man on TV was Regis Philbin. He even holds the Guinness World Record for most hours on television!

After his time in the Navy, Regis lived the show business dream, starting out as a page on The Tonight Show, working his way up to eventually getting his own show, Live! With Regis And Kathie Lee, which he co-hosted for 23 years, the final decade with Kelly Ripa, who took over after he left in 2011. He also hosted one of the most popular game show runs of all time, the primetime ratings juggernaut Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Regis passed due to cardiovascular disease. He was 88 years old.


Naya Rivera

(January 12, 1987 – July 13, 2020)

Naya Rivera stars we lost 2020
(c) WENN/Avalon

Naya Rivera passed tragically when she and her son went swimming in Lake Piru. Thankfully she was able to save the 4-year-old before she was lost below the water.

She was found on July 13, making her official date of death the exact same as Glee co-star Cory Monteith, seven years apart.

The singer and actress was beloved by all who knew her; she will be remembered for her kindness, bravery, and love for life.

Kelly Preston

(October 13, 1962 – July 12, 2020)

Kelly Preston Stars We Lost 2020
(c) FayesVision/WENN

Kelly Preston became best known later in life for her nearly three decade marriage to film star John Travolta, but even before that she was stealing hearts on the big screen in 80s classics like SpaceCampSecret Admirer, and Twins. And of course she was unforgettable as Tom Cruise‘s boss of a girlfriend in Jerry Maguire.

Preston passed away after a battle with breast cancer. She was 57.

Charlie Daniels

(October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020)

Charlie Daniels stars we lost 2020
(c) W.Wade/WENN

Charlie Daniels was a true living legend. With his Charlie Daniels Band the country/bluegrass/Southern rock star wrote and performed probably the most famous fiddle song that will ever exist, The Devil Went Down To Georgia. He also played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Leonard Cohen.

The Country Music Hall of Famer passed away at the age of 83 of a hemorrhagic stroke.

Nick Cordero

(September 17, 1978 – July 5, 2020)

Nick Cordero stars we lost 2020
(c) Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Nick Cordero was one of those actors not known very well outside of Broadway, but to fans of the stage he was a huge star. From Rock of Ages to Bullets Over Broadway to Waitress to A Bronx Tale, Cordero was consistently highly acclaimed, even getting nominated for a Tony Award.

Sadly he passed away due to complications from COVID-19. His long battle with the virus was well documented by his wife, Amanda Kloots, and the nation hoped and prayed and mourned when he succumbed. Nick was just 41 years old.

Joel Schumacher

(August 29, 1939 – June 22, 2020)

Joel Schumacher stars we lost in 2020
(c) WENN

The prolific director, who gave us such classics as The Lost BoysSt. Elmo’s FireFlatliners, A Time To Kill, and Tigerland — and the blockbuster sequels Batman Forever and Batman & Robin — passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 80.

Ian Holm

(September 12, 1931 – June 19, 2020)

Ian Holm Stars We Lost 2020
(c) Warner Bros/YouTube

The world of stage and screen lost one of its finest actors in Ian Holm. The classically trained thespian cut his teeth on Shakespeare before winning a Tony for Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming in 1967. He was also nominated for an Oscar for Chariots of Fire in 1981 and was critically acclaimed for his work in the tearjerker indie The Sweet Hereafter in 1997.

However, he is probably best known for his work in the world of sci-fi and fantasy as he played the malevolent android Ash in the original Alien in 1978 and later the mischievous hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which he spoke that immortal line:

“I thought up an ending for my book: ‘And he lived happily ever after, to the end of his days.'”

Holm was 88 years old.

Bonnie Pointer

(July 11, 1950 – June 8, 2020)

Bonnie Pointer, a founding member of the Pointer Sisters, passed away on June 8th
(c) Sheri Determan/WENN

One of the founding members of the iconic Pointer Sisters and a longtime singer and performer of worldwide renown, Bonnie Pointer passed away on the morning of June 8, 2020.

Though a cause of death was not released, sister Anita did offer a public statement about Bonnie’s passing to Variety, saying (below):

“It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of the Pointer Sisters that my sister Bonnie died this morning. Our family is devastated. On behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time. Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day. We never had a fight in our life. I already miss her and I will see her again one day.”

So, so sad.

Just a few months ago, she and Anita produced and released a tribute song to their family’s youngest sister, June, who passed away back in 2006. A spokesperson for the family confirmed the recording was Bonnie’s final one in a 50-year-long singing career, both with the family and as a solo artist.

She was 69 years old.

Chris Trousdale

(June 11, 1985 – June 2, 2020)

Chris Trousdale dies at 34 due to complications from COVID-19.
(c) FayesVision/WENN

Chris Trousdale was one of the founding members of the early 2000s-era boy band, Dream Street. Before becoming a teen heartthrob, he performed on Broadway as a child actor in productions of Les Misérables and The Sound of Music. After the band broke up, Trousdale transitioned into TV acting, appearing in Disney shows Austin & Ally and Shake It Up.

Sadly, he passed away just 34 years old due to complications of COVOD-19. He would’ve turned 35 just a few short weeks after his death on June 11.

Fred Willard

(September 18, 1939 – May 15, 2020)

fred willard RIP
(c) Guillermo Proano/WENN

Beloved comedic actor Fred Willard passed away at the age of 86 of natural causes at his home, his daughter Hope Mulbarger confirmed in a statement to multiple outlets:

“My father passed away very peacefully last night at the fantastic age of 86 years old. He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much!”

Willard’s credits over the years included roles in Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family. He was nominated for four Emmy Awards, three of them for his role in Everybody Loves Raymond, and a fourth for his character Frank Dunphy on Modern Family. In 2015, he won a Daytime Emmy for his arc on The Bold and the Beautiful, and was previously nominated for hosting What’s Hot, What’s Not in 1986.

Jamie Lee Curtis, whose husband, Christopher Guest, frequently worked with Willard, first shared news of the actor’s death.

Sam Lloyd

(November 12, 1963 – April 30, 2020)

sam lloyd passes away
(c) WENN

Sam Lloyd, best known for portraying lawyer Ted Buckland on Scrubs, died after complications from lung cancer at the age of 56.

Over the course of his career, he appeared in roles on series including Desperate Housewives, Modern Family, and Seinfeld, as well as films such as Flubber and Galaxy Quest. In addition to his acting work, he sang in the a cappella group The Blanks, and played bass guitar in The Butties, a Beatles tribute band.

Lloyd was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and cancer in January 2019, which spread to his lungs, jaw, liver and spine. He received his diagnosis weeks after his wife, Vanessa, gave birth to their first child. She shared with Variety:

“It doesn’t feel real. It never will. It just feels like he will walk through the door. The overwhelming outpouring of love and sharing your stories about working with or knowing Sam keeps his memory alive and our hearts strong. Sam loved his work. I want to continue his legacy, and hope to share some of the beautiful songs he was working on for his musical and our son, Weston.”

Shirley Knight

(July 5, 1936 – April 22, 2020)

shirley knight died on april 22 2020 RIP

Shirley Knight was an actress who appeared in over 50 feature films, television series, and television movies, as well as Broadway and off-Broadway productions. You may recognize her from recent works including Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, or her recurring role on Desperate Housewives.

She was previously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). In 1976, she won a Tony Award for her performance in Kennedy’s Children.

Knight died at her daughter Kaitlin Hopkins‘ home in San Marcos, Texas of natural causes at the age of 83.

Brian Dennehy

(July 9, 1938 – April 15, 2020)

brian dennehy passes away in 2020
(c) Ivan Nikolov/WENN

Brian Dennehy was an actor who was primarily known for his work in dramas, and got his start opposite Sylvester Stallone in First Blood as Sheriff Will Teasle.

He was a recipient of a Golden Globe Award, two Tony Awards, as well as an Olivier Award. He also received six Primetime Emmy nominations, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2010.

He passed away of cardiac arrest due to sepsis at his New Haven, Connecticut home and is survived by his wife Jennifer Arnott, and five children including actress Elizabeth Dennehy.

John Prine

(October 10, 1946 – April 7, 2020)

John Prine died of coronavirus complications
(c) WENN

John Prine was a legendary country folk singer who has won two Grammys and placed 15 albums on the Billboard 200 chart since his self-titled debut arrived in February 1971. He was was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019 and, just earlier this year, was honored by the Recording Academy as their 2020 lifetime achievement award recipient.

The singer-songwriter died on April 7 from complications of COVID-19 at 73 years old.

Shirley Douglas

(April 2, 1934 – April 5, 2020)

shirley douglas, mother of kiefer sutherland, died in april 2020
(c) Strombo/YouTube

Shirley Douglas, mother of Kiefer Sutherland and a Canadian actor and activist died of pneumonia complications three days after her 86th birthday. The A Few Good Men star announced the news via Twitter, specifiying that her passing was unrelated to coronavirus:

“Early this morning my mother, Shirley Douglas, passed away due to complications surrounding pneumonia (not related to COVID-19). My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life. Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming. To any families who have lost loved ones unexpectedly to the coronavirus, my heart breaks for you. Please stay safe.”

Douglas was the daughter of Tommy Douglas, the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party in Canada. Her acting career began at age 16, and she worked up until 2008 when she was a guest star in an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Due to a degenerative spine condition that caused her severe pain, she was in a wheelchair from 2009 onward.

In 1967, she moved to Los Angeles after marrying actor Donald Sutherland and became involved in the campaign against the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and later adovcated for womens and immigrants rights. In 2003, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the performing arts.

Honor Blackman

(August 22, 1925 – April 5, 2020)

Honor Blackman dead at 94
(c) WENN

Honor Blackman was a British actress best known for playing the Bond girl Pussy Galore in the 1964 film Goldfinger. Her other notable roles included Cathy Gale in the 1960s British espionage series, The Avengers, and Hera in the 1963 film Jason and the Agronauts.

According to reports, she died peacefully of natural causes unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak at the age of 94.

Adam Schlesinger

(October 31, 1967 – April 1, 2020)

Adam Schlesinger
(c) Nicky Nelson/WENN

Adam Schlesinger was known as one of the founding members of alternative rock band Fountains of Wayne, who gave us the smash hit Stacy’s Mom. But his real career was behind the scenes as a songwriter for others. He wrote songs for the musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and for the movies Music & Lyrics, Josie & The Pussycats, and That Thing You Do! — including the on hit wonder title track, which became an improbable actual pop hit in 1997. He was nominated for just about every award possible, including Grammys, Tonys, Emmys, and even an Oscar for his songwriting.

Adam died young, at the age of just 51, from complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Andrew Jack

(January 28, 1944 – March 31, 2020)

Andrew Jack stars we lost
(c) Lucasfilm/YouTube

Andrew Jack spent most of his movie career behind the scenes as one of the most accomplished dialect coaches in the business. He was responsible for actually creating the accents and dialects of all the various species in the Lord Of The Rings films. In 2015 he got a rare moment in front of the cameras as he acted as Resistance General Caluan Ematt in the new Star Wars trilogy.

He passed away at the age of 76 due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Bill Withers

(July 4, 1938 – March 30, 2020)

Bill Withers has died
(c) WENN/Avalon

Bill Withers was one of the most talented singer-songwriters in the history of R&B. After leaving the Navy he went straight to Hollywood to start a career in the music business — and within just 4 years had won himself a Grammy for one of the greatest breakup songs (or songs of any kind) of all time, Ain’t No Sunshine. Over the next couple decades he had more huge hits with Lovely DayJust The Two Of Us, and Lean On Me — immortalizing himself on vinyl multiple times over.

He passed away at the age of 81 due to heart complications.

Joe Diffie

(December 28, 1958 – March 29, 2020)

Joe Diffie stars we lost
(c) Joe Diffie/YouTube

Joe Diffie was a Grammy-winning country music superstar in the 1990s thanks to his catchy novelty songs and ballads like HomeThird Rock From The Sun, and Pickup Man. He died at the age of 61 due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Mark Blum

(May 14, 1950 – March 25, 2020)

Mark Blum
(c) Paramount Pictures/YouTube

The veteran character actor, best known for his high profile big screen roles as 1980s jerks in Desperately Seeking Susan and Crocodile Dundee, died at the age of 69 due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Kenny Rogers

(August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020)

Kenny Rogers has died at 81
(c) WENN/Avalon

Kenny Rogers, the legendary country music artist, passed away peacefully at home from natural causes at the age of 81.

He left an indisputable mark on the country music scene over his career which spanned more than six decades. He had 24 number-one hits, including: The Gambler, Lady, Islands In The Stream, and Lucille. He was a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame, and a three-time Grammy Award winner. In addition, Rogers was a six-time CMA Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015.

Max von Sydow

(April 10, 1929 – March 8, 2020)

Max Von Sydow in memoriam death
(c) WENN

Max von Sydow had appeared in over 100 films and TV series throughout his storied acting career.

Some of his most notable roles include the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones, Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Father Merrin in The Exorcist. He also appeared in classics like The Greatest Story Ever Told, Minority Report, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Diving Bell, and Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, in which his character, Antonius Block, famously played chess with Death.

He received his first Oscar nomination in 1988 for his role in Pelle The Conqueror, then a second nomination in 2012 for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. His wife, Catherine von Sydow, confirmed he died on March 8 at 90 years old.

His cause of death has yet to be revealed.

James Lipton

(September 19, 1926 – March 2, 2020)

James Lipton stars we lost in 2020
(c) Adriana M. Barraza/WENN

James Lipton began his career in show business way back in the 1940s, portraying The Lone Ranger‘s nephew on the famous radio show. After that he did a little bit of everything; he acted and wrote in soap operas, wrote lyrics for Broadway, even got a novel published.

But all of that was prelude to his most memorable gig as the host of the long-running interview show Inside The Actors Studio. For 24 years, from 1994 to 2018, Lipton would ask stars from Paul Newman to his own student Bradley Cooper about their early struggles, how they made it, and of course their favorite curse word. The Emmy-winning show, which Lipton created, served as a sort of lecture series for the acting students of Pace University — and of course any aspiring actors in the audience. His erudite, dramatic manner was so unforgettable his show was spoofed everywhere from MadTV to Mr. Show to SNL, and even The Simpsons, where he played himself. Lipton retired in 2018 after interviewing over 300 of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He was 93 years old.

Dieter Laser

(February 17, 1942 – February 29, 2020)

star of human centipede dieter laser dies in february 2020
(c) Six Entertainment Company

Dieter Laser, best known for his starring role in The Human Centipede died at the age of 78. The world was not infomed of his passing until April when an announcement was made via Facebook:

“We are very sorry to have to inform you that Dieter Laser passed away on February 29, 2020.”

Laser began his career at age 16 when he had ambitions of becoming a stage actor, and landed a last-minute role as an extra in a Christmas play at one of the most famous theaters in Germany, Deutsches Schauspielhaus. He went on to work on over 65 films throughout his career, and was described as a method actor by the Human Centipede cast and crew.

His cause of death has yet to be revealed.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa

(2004 – February 16, 2020)

Nikita Pearl Waligwa stars we lost 2020
(c) Disney/YouTube

Queen Of Katwe is a beautiful film about the true story of a young chess prodigy in Uganda. Unfortunately one of the real young women involved had a much more tragic real life.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who played Gloria in the film, was diagnosed with a brain tumor the year the movie came out. While she got treatment, the tumor returned in 2019. Her exact birthday is not widely known, but we know she was only 15 when she passed away.

Jason Davis

(October 14, 1984 – February 16, 2020)

Jason Davis stars we lost
(c) WENN/Avalon/Disney/YouTube

Jason Davis started his career early as a child actor, appearing in films like Rush Hour and Beverly Hills Ninja and on the original run of Roseanne. But his most well known role was voicing Mikey on the infinitely rerun Disney Channel cartoon Recess.

Davis was Hollywood royalty, the grandson of philanthropist Barbara Davis and studio chief Marvin Davis, who owned 20th Century Fox in the early ’80s.

In his later years Davis opened up about his struggles with addiction, appearing on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and co-founding substance abuse research foundation Cure Addiction Now. His cause of death is not yet known, but he was only 35 years old.

Amie Harwick

(May 20, 1981 – February 15, 2020)

Amie Harwick stars we lost 2020
(c) WENN

Amie Harwick helped a lot of women. And unfortunately seems to have been the victim of a horrible man.

Dr. Harwick first gained some fame as a Playboy model but went on to become a clinical psychologist focusing on family and sex therapy. She wrote the hit 2014 book The New Sex Bible for Women, a comprehensive guide for everything women wanted — and needed — to know about sex. As a well known celebrity sexpert, she also appeared in the documentary Addicted To Sexting.

Sadly, on February 15 police were called by Amie’s roommate reporting a man was assaulting her. She was found fatally injured on the ground below her third story apartment balcony, apparently having been thrown to her death. An ex-boyfriend was immediately identified as the suspect and arrested for her murder.

Caroline Flack

(November 9, 1979 – February 15, 2020)

Caroline Flack Stars We Lost 2020
(c) WENN/Avalon

Caroline Flack began her time in the spotlight as an actress but found her true calling in reality TV. After winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 she got a gig hosting the newly created Love Island the following year.

In late 2019 she was charged with assault after an incident with her boyfriend and had to step away from the show. Just months later she was found dead by apparent suicide. She was only 40 years old.

Orson Bean

(July 22, 1928 – February 7, 2020)

orson bean passes away at age of 91 in venice california
(c) Tony Forte/WENN

We lost a veteran star of the Hollywood stage when Orson Bean passed away at the age of 91.

Bean worked as a stage musician before transitioning into stand-up comedy, and was a favorite of Johnny Carson, appearing on The Tonight Show over 200 times. He was an active community member in Venice, California, where he lived from the mid-80s onward and was passionate about the local theater scene, even starring in a few plays himself. Recently, he appeared in episodes of Grace & Frankie, Superstore, and Modern Family.

Orson was tragically struck by two vehicles in Venice, California.

Kirk Douglas

(December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020)

Kirk Douglas died in 2020
(c) Universal Pictures

Hollywood lost one of the last surviving legends from its Golden Age when Kirk Douglas passed away at the age of 103.

The Spartacus star headlined more than 90 movies and television shows since beginning his career in the 1940s. He became a household name with his role as Midge Kelly in Championwhich earned him his first Oscar nomination in 1949. His career included roles in box-office smashes such as The Bad and the Beautiful and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Kobe Bryant

(August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020)

Kobe Bryant
(c) Adriana M. Barraza/WENN

The world was shocked when NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Kobe is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, becoming the first player in history to achieve 30,000 points and 6,000 assists. He led the Los Angeles Lakers to two championships and had two gold medals from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. After his retirement, he went on to create stories for children, including the animated short Dear Basketball, for which he won an Oscar.

He was just 41 years old.

Terry Jones

(February 1, 1942 – January 21, 2020)

Terry Jones

Terry Jones found fame as one of the members of the seminal absurdist comedy troupe Monty Python, writing and acting with them for many years and directing their most acclaimed and controversial film, The Life of Brian.

He went on to become a children’s author, a successful filmmaker, and a historian, writing and hosting many entertaining documentaries focused on everyday life as it was lived hundreds of years in the past. Terry also wrote one of our favorite films of all time, the ’80s Jim Henson fantasy classic Labyrinth.

Even more tragically for such a brilliant man, Terry suffered a rare form of dementia called FTD in his final years, eventually succumbing to it at the age of 77.

Rocky Johnson

(August 24, 1944 – January 15, 2020)

Rocky Johnson
(c) WWE/YouTube/WENN/Instar

Rocky “Soulman” Johnson was a legend in the world of professional wrestling even before he became known as the father of international superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

In 1983 he and partner Tony Atlas (their tag team name was “The Soul Patrol”) became the first black champions in the WWE, then the WWF. That was just one of dozens of championships he won over the years. He retired in 1991 and went on to train his son — who stood on his giant shoulders to become one of the most famous wrestlers and movie stars of all time.

Rocky was 75 years old, but the Hall of Famer’s death still caught his loved ones by surprise; The Rock revealed a few days later his father had suffered a deep vein thrombosis in his leg which led to a cardiac arrest.

Buck Henry

(December 9, 1930 – January 8, 2020)

Buck Henry
(c) WENN

You may know comic actor Buck Henry for his roles as a bumbling angel in Heaven Can Wait (which he co-directed) or more recently as Liz Lemon’s effervescent father on 30 Rock. But his biggest talent was as a screenwriter.

Henry wrote several comedy classics including the Barbra Streisand films What’s Up Doc? and The Owl and the Pussycat, the first adaptation of Catch-22, and the Oscar-nominated The Graduate; he also co-created spy spoof sitcom Get Smart with Mel Brooks. He truly inspired a generation of comedy writers.

Buck died of a heart attack at the age of 89.

Harry Hains

(December 4, 1992 – January 7, 2020)

Harry Hains
(c) Harry Hains/Instagram

Harry Hains was a promising young gender fluid star who was just beginning his career when he was taken from us.

The Australian adonis was a triple threat, having found success as a model, appeared as an actor in American Horror Story and The OA, and performed music under the name ANTIBOY.

He died at just 27 years old, and while the cause was not made public, his mother, actress Jane Balder posted afterward her son had “struggled with mental illness and addiction.”

Neil Peart

(September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020)

Neil Peart
(c) WENN/Avalon

Without exaggeration, Neil Peart was considered by many to be the greatest drummer in the world. The Canadian percussionist played with prog rock band Rush for over 40 years; he also wrote most of the lyrics for the band’s complex songs in addition to drumming. Peart still holds the record for the youngest person ever inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame at the age of just 30.

He lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 67.

Silvio Horta

(August 14, 1974 – January 7, 2020)

Silvio Horta
(c) Nikki Nelson/WENN

Silvio Horta began his Hollywood screenwriting career with the ’90s slasher film Urban Legend, which is not something you’d necessarily expect to lead to what he will always be remembered for. That of course is the adorable fashion comedy Ugly Betty, which he created.

Sadly there was another unexpected turn in his story when he died by suicide in January. He was just 45 years old.

Lexii Alijai

(February 19, 1998 – January 1, 2020)

Lexii Alijai
(c) Lexii Alijai/Instagram

The first celebrity loss of the year was just so unbelievably young.

Lexii Alijai was an up-and-coming rapper who scored viral fame with remixes of Drake and Nas songs. The phenom released her first two albums as a teenager and notably featured on Kehlani‘s Jealous; sadly we won’t get any more music from her. She died at just 21 years old of a suspected drug overdose.


[Image via Joseph Marzullo/WENN/Avalon.]

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Jan 22, 2020 14:54pm PDT

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