Entertainment

People we lost in 2019

Updated 12:02 PM ET, Fri January 3, 2020
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Syd Mead, the visionary artist who helped shape the look of "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049," died on December 30. He was 86. Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images
Jazz great Jack Sheldon, known for his work on "The Merv Griffin Show" and "Schoolhouse Rock!," died on December 27. He was 88. David Bohrer/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Don Imus, a former radio shock jock and media personality, died on December 27, according to his family. He was 79. Deborah Feingold/Corbis Historical/Getty Images
Lee Mendelson, the longtime executive producer of numerous specials for the TV animated series "Peanuts," died on December 25, his family said. He was 86. Jason Mendelson
Kelly Fraser, an award-winning Inuk singer and songwriter, died on December 24. She was 26. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
Jerry Herman, the Broadway composer and lyricist whose wit made classics out of musicals like "Hello, Dolly!" "Mame" and "La Cage aux Folles," died on December 26. He was 88. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Songwriter Allee Willis, known for writing the "Friends" theme song, died December 24 at the age of 72, according to her partner Prudence Fenton. Noam Galai/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame
Edward Aschoff, a college football reporter for ESPN, died on December 24, according to ESPN. It was his 34th birthday. University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications
Baba Ram Dass, psychedelic research pioneer, best-selling author and New Age guru who extolled the virtues of mindfulness and grace, died on December 22. He was 88. Denver Post/Getty Images
Joseph Segel, the founder of QVC, died December 21, according to a news release from the company that owns the shopping channel. He was 88 years old. QVC
Herman Boone, the tough, no-nonsense high school football coach played by Denzel Washington in "Remember the Titans," died on December 18. He was 84. AP
James "Radio" Kennedy, the mentally disabled man whose importance to a South Carolina football team inspired the Hollywood movie "Radio," died December 15. He was 73. Amber M. McCloskey/The Herald/AP
Danny Aiello, a prolific actor who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as pizzeria owner Sal in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," died on December 12. He was 86. Carlo Allegri/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Philip McKeon, the former child actor best known for his role on the CBS sitcom "Alice," died December 10, a family spokesman said. He was 55. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Singer Marie Fredriksson died December 9 after a 17-year battle with cancer, her management company confirmed. She was 61. Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer for Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, died on December 8, according to Sesame Workshop. He was 85. Brad Barket/Getty Images
Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve known for his battles against inflation in the late 1970s and early 1980s, died on December 8. He was 92. Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Rapper Juice Wrld, whose real name was Jarad Anthony Higgins, died December 8 at the age of 21, according to Natalia Derevyanny, spokesperson for the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for MTV
Ron Leibman, an acclaimed film, television and Tony-winning actor, died at the age of 82, his agent said on December 7. David McGough/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Jake Burton Carpenter, the snowboarding pioneer and founder of Burton Snowboards, passed away from complications related to cancer, his company announced on November 20. He was 65. John Lamparski/Getty Images
Actor Michael J. Pollard, known for his roles in "Bonnie and Clyde," "Star Trek" and "Dick Tracy," died November 20 at the age of 80. Everett Collection
Robert Norris, the rancher and philanthropist best known for playing the original "Marlboro Man," died November 3, according to a statement by Tee Cross Ranches. He was 90. Tee Cross Ranches
Willie Brown, a longtime defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, died October 21, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 78. Brown played for 16 seasons and was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1984. Tony Tomsic /TOMST/AP
US Rep. Elijah Cummings, a longtime Maryland Democrat and a key figure leading investigations into President Donald Trump, died at age 68, his office announced on October 17. He died of "complications concerning longstanding health challenges," his office said in a statement. Patrick Semansky/AP
Oscar-nominated actor Robert Forster died October 11 after a battle with brain cancer. He was 78. Forster's acting career spanned more than five decades, and some of his best-known roles came in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" and "Medium Cool." He also got an Oscar nomination for his role as a bail bondsman in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown." Miramax/Everett Collection
Ginger Baker, a notorious hellraiser and celebrated drummer in the supergroup Cream, died at the age of 80 on October 6. David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images
Actress Diahann Carroll, who in 1968 became the first African-American woman to star in a network sitcom, died October 4 after a battle with breast cancer, her publicist confirmed to CNN. She was 84. ABC Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images
International opera star Jessye Norman, described by the New York Metropolitan Opera as "one of the great sopranos of the past half-century," died on September 30. She was 74. Erika Davidson/Metropolitan Opera/AP
Mexican music icon José José died at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer, the Mexican Ministry of Culture announced on September 28. Vallery Jean/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, winner of three Emmys and a legend and trailblazer in broadcasting, died at the age of 75, ABC News announced on September 17. Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the new-wave rock band The Cars, died of heart disease on September 15, according to the New York City medical examiner's office.
He was 75.
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images
Eddie Money, the singer and songwriter that was known for hits from the 1970's and 1980's such as "Baby Hold On" and "Take Me Home Tonight," died September 13 following complications from esophageal cancer, his family announced. He was 70. Richard McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Legendary oil executive T. Boone Pickens, whose investments helped shape the American energy industry going back to the 1950s, died September 11 at the age of 91. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images/Concordia Summit
Emmy-winning actress Valerie Harper, who starred as Rhoda in the hit sitcoms "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," died August 30 after a long battle with cancer. She was 80. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Neal Casal, a prolific guitarist who was a member of The Cardinals and played alongside Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh and Chris Robinson throughout a busy solo career, died on August 26. He was 50. Katie Darby/Invision/AP
Isabel Toledo, the acclaimed Cuban-American designer best known for creating Michelle Obama's 2009 inauguration dress, died August 26, her husband, Ruben Toledo, told the New York Times. She was 59. Andrew Toth/FilmMagic/Getty
Iconic sports broadcaster Jack Whitaker died August 18 at his home in Devon, Pennsylvania, CBS Sports confirmed. He was 95. Whitaker's career spanned nearly four decades after starting at CBS Sports in the late 1950s. There, he covered a range of sports and a number of momentous events, including the first-ever Super Bowl in 1967 and Secretariat's Triple Crown victory in 1973. CBS/Getty Images
Cedric Benson, a former NFL running back who starred at the University of Texas, died in a motorcycle accident on August 17. He was 36. Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Richard Williams, the animator known for his work on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and two "Pink Panther" films, died on August 16, his family told PA Media, the UK national news agency. He was 86 years old. Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection
Actor Peter Fonda, the star of the film "Easy Rider," died at the age of 79, his manager, Alan Somers, told CNN on August 16. Fonda was the son of legendary actor Henry Fonda and the brother of actress and activist Jane Fonda. His daughter is actress Bridget Fonda. Pando Company Inc.
Toni Morrison, author of seminal works of literature on the black experience such as "Beloved," "Song of Solomon" and "Sula," died on August 5, her publisher Knopf confirmed to CNN. She was 88. Morrison was the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize. Michael Lionstar/AP
Pro wrestling legend Harley Race, an eight-time NWA world heavyweight champion, died August 1 following health complications. He was 76. World Wrestling Entertainment
Harold Prince, who directed some of the most famous Broadway musicals ever made, including "West Side Story" and "The Phantom of the Opera," died on July 31. He was 91. Walter McBride/Getty Images
Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse for more than three decades, died July 26, according to the Walt Disney Company. She was 75. The Walt Disney Company
Chris Kraft, NASA's first flight director, died July 22, two days after the agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He was 95. NASA
Rutger Hauer, a dashing Dutch actor who battled Harrison Ford in the science-fiction classic "Blade Runner" and excelled in bad-guy roles, died July 19 after a short illness, his longtime agent Steve Kenis told The Hollywood Reporter. Hauer was 75. Everett
Actress Denise Nickerson, best known for her role as chatty gum-chewer Violet Beauregard in 1971's "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," died July 10, according to multiple reports citing a Facebook post from her family. She was 62. Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection
Rip Torn, an Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in "Men in Black" and HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show," died July 9, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez. He was 88. Torn had a seven-decade career in film, television and theater, with nearly 200 credits to his name. Santi Visalli/Getty Images
Ross Perot, the billionaire tycoon who ran for president twice as a third-party candidate, died July 9, a family spokesman confirmed to CNN. He was 89 years old. Perot's 1992 campaign, in which he garnered nearly 19% of the vote and finished third behind Bill Clinton and incumbent President George H.W. Bush, remains one of the most successful third-party bids in American history. Ed Zurga/AP
Actor Cameron Boyce, who starred in Disney Channel television shows, died July 6, a Disney Channel spokesperson confirmed to CNN. He was 20. A spokesperson for his family told CNN that Boyce died in his sleep after a seizure resulting from an ongoing medical condition. David Bukach/Disney Channel/Getty Images
Auto industry icon Lee Iacocca, once one of America's highest-profile business executives and the man credited with rescuing Chrysler from near-bankruptcy in the 1980s, died on July 2. He was 94. Taro Yamasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died July 1, prompting the postponement of a game with the Texas Rangers, officials said.
Skaggs, 27, was found in a hotel room in a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, police said.
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Beth Chapman, who with her husband Duane "Dog" Chapman starred in the popular reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter," died June 26 in a Honolulu hospital, a spokesperson for the family confirmed to CNN. The 51-year-old had been recently placed in a medically induced coma as she battled cancer. Everett Collection
Gloria Vanderbilt, the famous fashion designer, artist and socialite, died June 17, according to her son, CNN's Anderson Cooper. She was 95. AP
Franco Zeffirelli, a legendary Italian director, died June 15 at the age of 96. His 1968 adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" earned him an Oscar nomination, while his film "The Taming of the Shrew," is one of the 20th century's most celebrated retellings of a Shakespearean comedy. Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images
Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., aka Dr. John, died from a heart attack on June 6. He was 77. The New Orleans music legend was a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a six-time Grammy winner. Tibor Bozi/Redux
Thad Cochran, who represented Mississippi in the US Senate for decades, died May 30 at the age of 81, his longtime spokesman said in a statement. Cochran resigned his seat last year because of health issues. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Bill Buckner, an elite hitter for 22 seasons whose All-Star career was overshadowed by an infamous fielding error he made in the 1986 World Series, died on May 27. He was 69. Focus On Sport/Getty Images
Bart Starr, the Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers quarterback who won the first two Super Bowl titles in the 1960s, died on May 26. He was 85. Vernon Biever/AP
Rod Bramblett, the decorated Auburn University sports announcer known as the "Voice of the Auburn Tigers," died in a car crash on May 25. His wife, Paula Bramblett, also died in the crash. From Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Niki Lauda, who recovered from a near-fatal accident to become one of racing's greatest drivers, died May 20 at the age of 70. The Austrian was a three-time Formula One champion. Sergio del Grande\Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
I.M. Pei, the acclaimed architect who designed the Louvre's pyramid, died on May 16, his firm said. He was 102. Pierre Gleizes/AP
Actor and comedian Tim Conway, best known for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show," died on May 14, according to his publicist. Conway was 85. CBS via Getty Images
Doris Day, the box-office queen and singing star whose wholesome, all-American image belied an often-turbulent personal life, died at the age of 97, her foundation announced on May 13. Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Peggy Lipton, an award-winning actress who starred in the television shows "Mod Squad" and "Twin Peaks," died of cancer on May 11. She was 72. ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images
Former "Wild Kingdom" host Jim Fowler, who brought his love of animals into the living rooms of a generation of Americans, died May 8 at the age of 89. Fowler, seen here at left, was a frequent guest of talk-show host Johnny Carson. Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo BankGetty Images
Peter Mayhew, the actor who originally brought the iconic Star Wars character Chewbacca to life, died on April 30. He was 74. Joel Aron/_MG_9026-81.jpg/Joel Aron /Lucasfilm Ltd.
John Singleton, a versatile director who made a splash with "Boyz n the Hood" and went on to a variety of projects -- including "2 Fast 2 Furious" -- died April 28 after suffering a stroke. He was 51. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Troy Dean Shafer, a reality star who showcased his contracting skills on the DIY Network's "Nashville Flipped," died on April 28. He was 38. A cause of death was not immediately shared. From diy Network
Basketball Hall of Famer and eight-time NBA champion John Havlicek, one of the greatest players ever for the Boston Celtics, died April 25 at the age of 79, the team announced. Cliff Welch/AP
Canadian model and actress Stefanie Sherk died April 20 at the age of 37, her husband, actor Demian Bichir, confirmed. Sherk appeared in TV offshoot "CSI: Cyber" and movies such as "Valentine's Day." Bichir did not detail the circumstances surrounding Sherk's death. David Livingston/Getty Images
Former US Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina died April 6 at the age of 97. He was a stalwart of South Carolina politics for decades, first as the state's governor and then as a US senator for 38 years. MARY ANN CHASTAIN/AP
Rapper Nipsey Hussle died March 31 after a shooting near a clothing store he owned, according to a high-ranking law enforcement official with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was 33 years old. Hussle was nominated for best rap album at this year's Grammys. Prince Williams/WireImage/Getty Images
French film director Agnès Varda -- an icon of feminist cinema and the sole female director to emerge from the French New Wave of the 1960s -- died on March 29. She was 90. FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images
Freeda Foreman, a former professional boxer and the daughter of two-time heavyweight champion boxer George Foreman, died March 9 at the age of 42. Harris County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tebben Lewis said in a statement that the death is an apparent suicide, adding that a "final determination on the cause of death will be made by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences." Harry How/Getty Images
Actor Luke Perry, who rose to stardom in the 1990s for his role on the hit television show "Beverly Hills, 90210," died March 4, after suffering a massive stroke, his publicist told CNN. He was 52. Snap/REX/Shutterstock
Golden Globe-winning actress Katherine Helmond, a frequent scene-stealer on shows such as "Who's the Boss?" and "Soap," died February 23, her talent agency APA told CNN. She was 89. ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images
Peter Tork, the bassist for The Monkees and a jokester on the band's popular 1960s television series, died February 21 at the age of 77. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most influential and recognizable fashion designers of the 20th century, died Tuesday, February 19. He was 85. See Lagerled's career in photos Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Acclaimed British actor and five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney died February 7 after a short illness. He was 82. Mary Evans/LINSEFILM/Everett Collection
Former Rep. John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress on record and a politician whose voice loomed large even after he left Capitol Hill, passed away on February 7. He was 92. Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Frank Robinson, the feared slugger who became the first black manager in Major League Baseball, died February 7 at the age of 83. The Hall of Famer hit 586 home runs in his career, which is 10th all time. He won two World Series titles with the Baltimore Orioles. Bettmann/Getty Images
James Ingram, the soulful, smooth voice behind R&B hits like "Just Once" and "I Don't Have The Heart," died at the age of 66, it was confirmed on January 29. The cause of Ingram's death was not revealed. Earl Gibson III/WireImage/Getty Images
Fatima Ali, the fan favorite of Bravo's "Top Chef" last season, died January 25 after a nearly yearlong battle with cancer, the network said. She was 29. Bravo/NBCUniversal/Getty Images
Comedian and writer Kevin Barnett, who co-created the TV series "REL," died January 22 at the age of 32, according to a statement from Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment. The cause of death was unknown. David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
Masazo Nonaka, a 113-year-old Japanese man recognized in April as the world's oldest man, died on January 20, according to Japanese public service broadcaster NHK. JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Tony Mendez, a CIA operative who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the 2012 Oscar-winning movie "Argo," died January 19, his literary manager Christy Fletcher said. "Argo" was based on the smuggling of six US citizens out of Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. It won three Academy Awards, including best picture. Mark Makela/Corbis News/Getty Images
John Coughlin, a champion American figure skater recently suspended from his sport, was found dead on January 18. A day before his death, the 33-year-old was temporarily suspended from US figure skating by the US Center for SafeSport amid a pending grievance, US Figure Skating officials said without disclosing details of the matter. The center is a US Olympic Committee agency with oversight of sexual misconduct and other abuse allegations reported to national governing bodies. Harry How/Getty Images
Legendary Broadway star Carol Channing died January 15 at the age of 97. With her raspy voice and huge smile, Channing was best known for her Tony Award-winning role as Dolly Levi in the hit Broadway musical "Hello Dolly!" Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Alfred K. Newman, one of the last remaining members of the Navajo Code Talkers, died January 13 at the age of 94. The Navajo group used their difficult-to-learn language to form an indecipherable code that helped the Allies win World War II. US Marines/Twitter
Bob Einstein, whose 50-year career as a comedy writer and performer ranged from "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" to Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," died on January 2. He was 76. Einstein's comedic resume included playing the fictional daredevil Super Dave Osborne. Christopher Polk/Getty Images North America/Getty Images