Death is, for all of us, imminent. A lot of us never know when, and rightly so, but some of our family and friends are gone too soon. We are still linked to the lost celebrities who, although they may not be our friends, have entertained us for years or decades. These lost celebrities are sorely missed, whether they come from the world of sports, red Hollywood carpets, behind the glass in the recording studio, or on TV and film screens. Some of these celebrities have existed since our parents were kids, others have arisen in recent years, but all made important contributions to our entertainment and influence. Remember all those lost celebrities for their selfless contributions to their fields. Their work still inspires us every day.
Kobe Bryant, best known on the court as the ‘Black Mamba, was one of the greatest basketball players ever to play the game, playing throughout his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers as a shooting guard. His experience, leadership, and competitive personality were the culmination of five NBA championships, 18 All-Star awards, and two-time NBA Finals MVP status. On retirement, he received the 2017 film’s Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, Dear Basketball. Traveling to a touring basketball match with his daughter, Gianna, their private helicopter fell fatally at the beginning of 2020.
Jarad Anthony Higgins was a former American rapper and singer out of Chicago, known worldwide as Juice Wrld. On Spotify, his hit ‘Lucid Dreams’ has been played over a billion times. Lucid Dreams allowed Juice Wrld, in addition to an earlier hit, to obtain contracts with Lil Bibby’s Grade A Productions and Interscope Productions, and All Girls Are the Same. During a flight from Van Nuys, California, to Chicago, Illinois, Higgins passed away after ingesting some unknown pills.
As one of the Eagle Eye plot pieces starring Shia Lebouf, and as the son of Adam Sandler in Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, Boyce may look familiar to the older audience. He was a mainstay on the Disney Channel, starring Jessie, Pretty Much Everything’s Gamer Guide as well as his work as a voice actor in Jake and the Never Land Pirates. At the young age of 20, Boyce died of complications from his epilepsy.
Although his son, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, leapfrogged him in the Fame Department, Rocky Johnson was the family’s original professional wrestler. Rocky, born in Canada, began his wrestling career in 1964, winning multiple titles for the National Wrestling Alliance. The pair won the 1983 World Tag Team Championship in 1983, alongside tag team partner Tony Atlas, and became the first black champions in World Wrestling Entertainment. Johnson died of pulmonary embolism, claiming in early January 2020 that he had thg a prospectivdoctor’s visit’s visitor’s appointment.
Rip Torn was a noted performer and voice actor, with a career that spanned over 60 years. He’s immortalized in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, as Patches O’houlihan, Zed in the Men in Black Franchise, and Arties on The Larry Sanders Show. Torn passed away from Alzheimer’s and its symptoms at the age of 88.
Neil Peart, known for being the youngest person to be inducted into the 1983 Modern Drummer Readers Poll Hall of Fame, was the principal lyricist and drummer of the band Rush. While incorporating fantasy, philosophy, and humanitarian themes into his lyrics, a noted poet, Canadian songwriter, and musician created several memoirs during his travels. Neil passed away from his glioblastoma fight at age 67 following a three-plus-year illness.
The popular Mexican-American actor, Chuy Bravo, born as Jesus Melgoza, was the sidekick of Chelsea Handler on her talk show, Chelsea Lately. During the early 90s, Bravo, who had immigrated to the California San Fernando Valley with his family at the age of 15, began acting. He also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean 2007: At the End of the World. Chuy founded the Bravo Academy in Los Angeles as one of his enduring decisions to help his Latin community talents find work in various entertainment projects.
Stephanie Sherk, who was born in Ontario, Canada, relocated to the US to further her career as a model, producer, and actress. You may recognize the actress from CSI: Cyber and for her role on #Hashtag: The Series. Writing credits include Valentine’s Day, Big Date, and Crash Landing.
Beth Chapman, the wife of the famous Dog the Bounty Hunter, co-starred with husband Duane “Dog” Chapman in the reality television series Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dog, and Beth: On the Most Wanted of the Hunt Dog with husband Duane “Dog” Chapman. Nevertheless, two years after the shooting of Dog’s show began, the two married in 2006. In 2019, at the end of June, she was put in a medical coma, passing away days later from cancer complications.
Former WWE wrestler, radio, TV host, glamorous model, Survivor: China contestant, Massaro. Massaro was best known for her career as a wrestler and joined WWE in 2005. She was first seen changing to SmackDown on the Raw brand! The WWE Tag Team champions are Paul London and Brian Kendrick. She quit and appeared in TV and music videos in July 2008 and also worked as a DJ for 94.3 The Shark.
Danny Aiello was a great Italian-descended American actor. His credits include Once Upon a Time in America, Cairo’s The Purpose Rose, Moonstruck, Harlem Nights, and, of course, Part II, The Godfather. Aiello was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Doing the Right Thing to portray Salvator ‘Sal’ Frangione.
John Weatherspoon (AKA Witherspoon) appeared in Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats, Brooklyn Vampire, TV shows such as The Boondocks and Wayans Bros. began his career in Hollywood in 1965 with The Tracy Morgan Show. In Jay-“I Z’s Just Wanna Love U,” LL Cool J’s “Ain’t Nobody,” and Goodie Mob’s “They Don’t Dance No Mo” music videos, the Detroit-born actors also appeared.
This official statement was released after Regis ‘passing – “His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him – for his warmth, his legendary sense of humor, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about,” the statement read. “We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career…”
On July 13th, 2020, MythBusters’ star Grant Imahara passed away from a brain aneurysm at 49. In season 3, the engineer entered the Discovery Channel project, quickly becoming a fan-favorite team member. His work in the show will never be forgotten by the fans.
The survivor of a horrific accident while spending the day on Lake Piru with her four-year-old son was Naya Rivera, best known for her time on ‘Glee.’ After they went swimming together, the young boy was found alone on the rental pontoon. Never again did she return to the boat.
Actress Kelly Preston battled cancer for two years before succumbing to it on July 12, 2020, at the age of 57. John Travolta’s late wife was best known for her roles in “Jerry Maguire,” “For Love of the Game,” and “What A Girl Wants.”
As a comedy writer, producer, and performer, Carl Reiner had over six decades of a long and illustrious career. On June 29th, 2020, at the age of 98, Reiner died of natural causes. His TV, film, and stage work contributed to nine American Humor Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, and the Mark Twain Prize.
Mary Pat Gleason
At 70, Mary Pat Gleason passed away on June 2nd, 2020. You may not be familiar with her name, but you know her face and her famous personality. Her list of acting credits continues, but French teacher Madame Oeuf on Saved by the Bell, dressing room attendant Lucille on Sex and City, elementary school teacher Mrs. Butters on Desperate Housewives, and homeless woman Sally on Will & Grace were the most memorable television roles. Her best-known film appearances were in A Cinderella Story, Intolerable Cruelty, The Crucible, and I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
Fred Willard was a legend of comedy and has been included in your long list of TV shows and favorite movies. He died of natural causes on 15 May 2020 and left behind a legacy that influenced both comedy and the genre of Hollywood greatly.
Actor and director Ben Stiller’s father, Jerry Stiller, died of natural causes on May 11, 2020. He tweeted, “He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you, Dad.” Jerry Stiller was known for his role in the show “Seinfeld” as Frank Costanza and about a decade later in the sitcom, “The King of Queens,” as Arthur Spooner.
On May 9, 2020, at the age of 87, Little Richard, the wild man of early rock ‘n’ roll, died following his bone cancer battle. He was responsible for such hits as “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.”
Comedy actor Sam Lloyd lost his battle with lung cancer on 30th April 2020. If you were a fan of ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Seinfeld,’ then certainly you know his face, and without his participation, what the shows would have been. Tweeted by actor Zach Braff, “Rest In peace to one of the funniest actors I’ve ever had the joy of working with.” “Sam Lloyd made me crack up and break character every single time we did a scene together. He could not have been a kinder man. I will forever cherish the time I had with you, Sammy.”
For the World Wrestling Federation, now known as WWE, the legendary Hall of Fame ring announcer was Howard Finkel. Finkel reportedly suffered a major stroke in 2018 and has been in poor health since then. Iconic is his deep, booming voice, bringing to the ring the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Ric Flair. On April 16th, 2020, he passed away.
Shirley Douglas, Keifer Sutherland’s mother and actress, died from complications of pneumonia on April 5, 2020. The actress appeared in the TV drama named “Lolita” as Mrs. Starch in director Stanley Kubrick’s “Dead Ringers” (1962) and David Cronenberg’s “Wind at My Back” (1988) and as a widowed mother during the Depression (1996). She received a Gemini Award for her role in the 1999 TV film “Shadow Lake,”
Regardless of the age at which you were born, it would be a sin not to know any of the songs that Bill Withers have written. He was the singer/songwriter for such hits as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me and “Use Me.” He died from a long battle with cardiovascular disease on March 20th, 2020.
Rogers was one of the real crossover stars in music, scoring both country and pop hits with songs like “Islands in the Stream” and “Lucille.” Rogers’ rep said, “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under hospice care and surrounded by his family. The family is planning a small private service out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow passed away in Provence, France on March 8th, 2020. He is most notable for his roles in ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Game of Thrones.’ He was known for the gravitas he brought to his roles as one of the most efficient Swedish actors ever.
At the old age of 93, James Lipton died after his battle with bladder cancer. He was the producer of ‘Inside the Actors Studio,’ where some of Hollywood’s biggest stars were interviewed about their acting methods and inspirations that made their careers so popular.
At the age of 66 in L.A., Esther Scott suffered a heart attack. She was best known for her works in ‘The Birth of a Nation’ and ‘Boyz n the Hood.’ In over seventy movies and countless TV shows, she made a career of being the caring yet stern maternal figure.
The iconic actor, Kirk Douglas, left the world at the age of 103. On Instagram, Michael wrote, “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103.” He continued, “To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in setting a standard for all of us to aspire to.”
The director was the first African American and the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director at the Academy Award when he was 24, and is known for directing Boyz n the Hood in 1991. Singleton has also directed 2 Fast 2 Furious, Shaft, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice and Rosewood, the 1997 drama. In April 2019, days before the stroke, after being taken off life support, Singleton passed away.
Sue Lyon became a model in the entertainment business at the very young age of 13. She would, however, earn a Golden Globe in the 1962 movie for her role as the title character, Lolita. Other credits for Lyon include The Iguana’s Night, Evel Knievel, Tony Rome, and 7 Women.
The Golden Globe was accepted by Silvio Horta for Best Comedy Series-Ugly Betty-mentioning, “Like most of us up here, Betty is an immigrant, and The American Dream is alive and well and in reach of anybody who wants it.” Often mispronounced as a humorous mention of their last name, the first ten Cuban-Americans started their own production company, Silent H Productions.
Elizabeth Wurtzel, best known as the American author/journalist for publishing Prozac Country, also based her reporting on her problems surrounding addiction, depression, and personal/work life. In this very personal writing style, her confessional-style memoirs became a Generation X voice, driving an uptick. At the age of 52, Wurtzel died in 2020 of complications related to metastasized breast cancer.
Known for having co-written What’s Up, Doc? With Henry, an American actor, producer, and screenwriter, Mel Brooks co-created Get Smart, the Graduate. Between 1976 and 1980, he hosted SNL 10 times and starred in Will & Grace, 30 Rock, and Hot in Cleveland as a guest. Henry passed away in 2020 after a heart attack in Los Angeles at 89.
Alexis Eddy was a contestant for MTV reality on Are You the One? Her substance addiction history has been a significant part of her screen identity. She referred to herself as “just a washed-up MTV reality star wondering why people still care what she’s up to….,” She died of cardiac arrest at her home in early 2020.
The American actor best remembered as the lead in 77 Sunset Strip was Edward Byrne Breitenberger, also better known as Eddy Byrnes. In 1978’s Grease, he was also a notable cast member as the teen-dance host Vince Fontaine. His uncle, Logan, an anchor for KUSI-TV News, San Diego, California, continues the Byrnes family television history.
A well-known YouTuber and TV presenter, Emily was from Britain. In 2012, her vlogs started and were released in Ten Reasons Why… series . Modern life, love, sex, relationships, and mental health have also been debated in her videos. She was killed by a vehicle in South West London while riding an e-scooter in July 2019. She is reportedly the first citizen to succumb in the country to accidents involving an e-scooter.
The first openly gay Latin trap singer, Kevin Fret, was another famous Puerto Rican rapper and vocalist. In Springfield, Massachusetts, Fret graduated from Roger L Putnam Vocational-Technical High School. In a country where gay people are still ridiculed, bullied, and murdered, the rapper was known for “breaking gender norms […] and stigma about being gay, gender nonconforming, and expressing gender identity freely – in a country where gay people still get mocked, bullied and killed,” mentioned queer activist and filmmaker, Samy Nemir Olivares. In January 2019, Fret was gunned down while riding his motorcycle.
At 53, Patric, a makeup artist on the Project Runway All-Stars, died from a heart attack in his sleep. Many stars in demand, such as Taylor Swift, Kate Moss, and Madonna, have collaborated with the singer. His friends noticed that, due to his warmth, imagination, and hearty mustache, he will be deeply missed.
Stan Kirsch started his entertainment career at just four years by appearing in many Campbell’s soup advertisements. He starred in the fast-living soap opera Riders at the Sky and General Hospital in 1992. The actor is recognized for his role as Richie Ryan in Highlander: The Series, but he has also starred in Friends, Family Law, and JAG.
Norma Michaels is best known for playing Josephine in The King of Queens, with a Hollywood career spanning 6 decades. Michaels got her to start the Jack Benny Show, but she would end up winning credits for her work in Modern Family, Highway to Heaven, Everybody Loves Raymond, and in the Wedding Crashers and Easy A movies.
The death of Chadwick Boseman was a complete surprise for the fans and costars, as his wife disclosed that for the past four years, he had been fighting colon cancer. All the while, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and, of course, King T’Challa, in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” were extremely determined to work through the treatment, giving the world performances.
Actress Dame Diana Rigg was most recently known as Olenna Tyrell for her appearance in ‘Game of Thrones’. Her daughter said that after being diagnosed in March 2020, she died of cancer at 84. She added, “She spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter, and a great pride in her profession.”
Legendary Jeopardy-host! One year prior to Alex Trebek’s announcement of pancreatic cancer. Luckily, that gave his fans time to appreciate what they had in the host and brace for what would be an unthinkable loss for all of them. During the pandemic, Trebek said, he spent the last year of his life doing small house projects as he was too immune to leave. At the age of 80, he was surrounded by his family and a small crowd of friends as he passed by. Trebek wrote about his expectations for his legacy in memoirs “I’d like to be remembered first of all as a good and loving husband and father, and also as a decent man who did his best to help people perform at their best,” he wrote. “I’ll be perfectly content if that’s how my story ends: sitting on the swing with the woman I love … my wonderful children nearby.”