Like it or not, death comes for us all. Many of us never know when our time will come, and rightfully so, but some of our friends and family have gone too soon. While they may not be our friends from down the street but we still a connection to the lost celebrities that have entertained us… for years or decades. Whether they be from the world of sports, red carpets of Hollywood, behind the glass in the recording studio, or simply on the television and movie screens, these lost celebrities are sorely missed. Some of these celebrities have been around since our parents were children, others have sprung up in the last few years but all have made notable contributions to our entertainment and influences. Let us remember each and every one of these lost celebrities for their selfless contributions to their respective fields. Their work still continues to inspire us each and every day.
As one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, Kobe Bryant, better known as “Black Mamba” on the court, played his entire 20-season career as a shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers. His skill, leadership, and competitive personality led to five NBA championships, 18 All-Star recognitions, and two-time NBA Finals MVP status. Upon retirement, he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for the 2017 film, Dear Basketball. In early 2020, while traveling with his daughter, Gianna, to a travel basketball game, their private helicopter tragically went down.
Known around the world as Juice Wrld, Jarad Anthony Higgins was a former American rapper and singer out of Chicago. His hit “Lucid Dreams” was played over one billion times on Spotify. In addition to an earlier hit – All Girls Are the Same -, Lucid Dreams helped Juice Wrld obtain contracts with Lil Bibby’s Grade A Productions and Interscope Productions. Higgins passed away upon ingesting several unknown pills during a flight from Van Nuys, California to Chicago, Illinois.
Boyce may look familiar to the older crowd as one of the plot pieces in Eagle Eye starring Shia Lebouf and as Adam Sandler’s son in Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. Otherwise, he was a mainstay on the Disney Channel, starring in Jessie, Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, and voice acting in Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Boyce passed away at the young age of 20 from complications of his epilepsy.
Although his son, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has leapfrogged him in the fame department, Rocky Johnson was the original professional wrestler in the family. Born in Canada, Rocky began his wrestling career in 1964, going on to win several National Wrestling Alliance titles. In 1983, alongside tag team partner Tony Atlas, the duo won the 1983 World Tag Team Championship, becoming the first black champions in World Wrestling Entertainment history. Johnson, believing he had the flu in early January 2020, ignoring a potential doctor’s visit, died of a pulmonary embolism.
Rip Torn, with a career that spanned over 60 years, was a noted actor and voice actor. He is immortalized as Patches O’houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Zed in the Men in Black Franchise, and as Arties on The Larry Sanders Show. At the age of 88, Torn passed away from Alzheimer’s and its complications.
Known for being the youngest person inducted into the Modern Drummer Readers Poll Hall of Fame in 1983, Neil Peart was the main lyricist and drummer of the band Rush. The Canadian songwriter and musician was also a noted author, crafting many memoirs during his travels while incorporating themes of fantasy, philosophy, and humanitarian themes in his lyrics. After a three-plus year illness, Neil passed away from his battle with glioblastoma at the age of 67.
Chuy Bravo, born as Jesus Melgoza, was the famed Mexican-American actor, sidekick to Chelsea Handler on her talk show, Chelsea Lately. Bravo, who had immigrated to the California San Fernando Valley with his family at age 15, began acting during the early 90s. He even appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End from 2007. As one of his lasting decisions, Chuy founded the Bravo Academy in Los Angeles to help its Latin Community talents find work in different entertainment projects.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Stephanie Sherk moved 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.
Famed wife of Dog the Bounty Hunter, Beth Chapman co-starred with husband Duane “Dog” Chapman on the reality television series Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dog, and Beth: On the Hunt, and Dog’s Most Wanted. The two married in 2006, however, two years after the filming of Dog’s show began. She was placed in a medical coma in 2019 in late June, passing away from cancer complications days later.
Massaro was a former WWE professional wrestler, radio personality, TV host, glamour model, and contestant on Survivor: China. Known best for her wrestling career, Massaro joined WWE in 2005. She was first seen in the Raw brand, moving to SmackDown!, and then the valet for the WWE Tag Team Champions, Paul London and Brian Kendrick. She left in July 2008, appearing on television and music videos, even working as a DJ for 94.3 The Shark.
Danny Aiello was a great American actor of Italian descent. His credits include Once Upon a time in American, The Purpose Rose of Cairo, Moonstruck, Harlem Nights, and of course, The Godfather Part II. Aiello was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Salvator “Sal” Frangione in Do the Right Thing.
Appearing in Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats, Vampire in Brooklyn, and appearances in TV shows like The Boondocks, The Tracy Morgan Show, and The Wayans Bros., John Weatherspoon (AKA Witherspoon), began his Hollywood career in 1965. The Detroit-born actors have also appeared in Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U,” LL Cool J’s “Ain’t Nobody,” and Goodie Mob’s “They Don’t Dance No Mo” music videos.
After Regis’s passing, this official statement was released – “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…”
MythBusters’ star Grant Imahara passed away on July 13th, 2020 from a brain aneurysm at 49. The engineer joined the Discovery Channel series in season 3, quickly becoming a fan-favorite member of the team.
Naya Rivera, best known for her time on ‘Glee’ was the victim of a tragic accident while spending the day on Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son. The young boy was found alone on the pontoon rental after they had gone swimming together. She never made it back onto the boat.
Actress Kelly Preston battled cancer for two years before succumbing to it at the age of 57 on July 12th, 2020. The late wife of John Travolta was best known for her roles in ‘Jerry Maguire’, ‘For Love of the Game’, and ‘What a Girl Wants’.
Carl Reiner had a long and illustrious career as a comedy writer, director, and actor for over six decades. Reiner passed away from natural causes on June 29th, 2020 at the age of 98. His work on television, film, and the stage, led to nine Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Prince Philip is regarded as one of the most involved and invested Royals having a packed schedule and showing a continuous devotion to his royal duties. He is always seen making someone smile. The Duke of Edinburgh received the title upon marrying Queen Elizabeth II, the title had not been given to anyone for just over 100 years. The Duke has an unbelievable life story after his family monarchy fell in Greece, they were exiled which prompted his move to Europe. He and the Queen met when she was just 13 years old, a true love story. Prince Philip has recently had multiple health issues which resulted in recent heart surgery and hospitalization for infection. He passed away on the 9th of April, 2021 a the age of 99-years old.
Earl Simmons has been making music in the authentic and hardcore rap genre since the 90s. His career really took off after Tupac and Biggie passed away, thus making him one of the original rap fathers. He has been in and out the spotlight his entire career but has had a major following since the start. He was signed with Ruffhouse Records label. His rapper name stands for “Dark Man X.” He managed to keep the rap style he started out with right until the very end which is something that differentiates him from most in the industry. DMX at the age of 50 had a heart attack where he was placed on life support, he passed on a few days later surrounded by his family.
Mary Pat Gleason
Mary Pat Gleason passed away on June 2nd, 2020 at 70-years-old. You might not have known her name but you surely know her face and iconic personality. Her list of acting credits goes on and on, but the tv roles that stood out included French teacher Madame Oeuf on Saved by the Bell, dressing room attendant Lucille on Sex and the City, elementary school teacher Mrs. Butters on Desperate Housewives, and homeless woman Sally on Will & Grace. Her most well-known film appearances were in A Cinderella Story, Intolerable Cruelty, The Crucible, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
Fred Willard was a comedy legend, appearing in a long list of your favorite tv shows and movies. He passed away on May 15th, 2020 from natural causes, leaving behind a legacy that made a grand impact on both the comedy genre and Hollywood as a whole.
Jerry Stiller, the father of actor and director Ben Stiller, passed away from natural causes on May 11th, 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 as Frank Costanza in the show “Seinfeld” and about a decade later, as Arthur Spooner in the sitcom, “The King of Queens.”
Little Richard, the wild man of early rock ‘n’ roll passed away at the age of 87 on May 9th, 2020 following his battle with bone cancer. He was responsible for such hits as “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally”.
On April 30th, 2020, comedic actor Sam Lloyd lost his battle with lung cancer. If you were a fan of ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Seinfeld’, then you surely know his face and what the shows would’ve been without his presence. “Rest In peace to one of the funniest actors I’ve ever had the joy of working with,” actor Zach Braff tweeted. “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.”
Howard Finkel was the legendary, Hall of Fame ring announcer for the World Wrestling Federation, now known as WWE. Finkel reportedly suffered a serious stroke in 2018 and had been in poor health ever since. His deep, booming voice is iconic, introducing the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Ric Flair to the ring. He passed away on April 16th, 2020.
Shirley Douglas, actress, and mother of Keifer Sutherland passed away April 5th, 2020 from complications from pneumonia. The actress appeared as Mrs. Starch in director Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” (1962) and in David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers” (1988) and as a widowed mother during the Depression in the television drama “Wind at My Back” (1996). She won a Gemini Award for her performance in the 1999 TV film “Shadow Lake.”
Regardless of which generation you were born in, not knowing Bill Withers’s songs would be a sin. He’s the singer/songwriter for such hits as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me” and “Use Me”. He passed away on March 20th, 2020 from a long battle with cardiovascular disease.
Rogers was one of music’s true crossover artists, scoring hits in both country and pop with songs like “Islands in the Stream” and “Lucille”. “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81,” his rep said. “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family. The family is planning a small private service at this time 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 on March 8th, 2020 in Provence, France. He is most well-known for his roles in ‘The Exorcist’ and in ‘Game of Thrones’. He was known for the gravitas he brought to his roles, making him one of the most successful Swedish Actors ever.
James Lipton passed away at the old age of 93 following his battle with bladder cancer. He was the creator and hod of ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ where he interviewed some of the top stars in Hollywood about their acting methods and inspirations that made their careers so successful.
Esther Scott suffered a heart attack at the age of 66 in L.A. She was best known for her roles in ‘The Birth of a Nation’ and ‘Boyz n the Hood’. She made a career of being the nurturing yet strict motherly figure in over seventy movies and countless TV shows.
Legendary actor, Kirk Douglas, passed away at the age of 103. “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael wrote on Instagram. “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 set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”
Known for directing 1991’s Boyz n the Hood, at the age of 24, the becoming director was the first African American and youngest person to ever have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. Singleton would also direct 2 Fast 2 Furious, Shaft, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice, and 1997’s drama, Rosewood. In April 2019, Singleton passed after being taken off life support, following stroke days prior.
At the young age of 13, Sue Lyon became a became model in the entertainment industry. However, she would go on to win a Golden Globe for her role as the title character, Lolita, in the 1962 film. Other credits of Lyon include The Night of the Iguana, Tony Rome, Evel Knievel, and 7 Women.
Silvio Horta, an American screenwriter, and producer, will be remembered for adapting the Columbian soap opera, Yo soy Betty, la fea, into ABC’s Ugly Betty. He accepted the Golden Globe 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”. The first-ten Cuban-American began his own production company, Silent H Productions, as a humorous mention to his last name often being mispronounced.
Best known as the American writer/journalist to publish Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel often focused her work on her personal struggles involving addiction, depression, and her personal/work lives. Because of her confessional-style memoirs, she became a voice of Generation X, driving an uptick in this very personal style of writing. Wurtzel died of complications related to metastasized breast cancer at the age of 52 in 2020.
Henry, an American actor, director, and screenwriter known for co-writing The Graduate, What’s Up, Doc? and co-creating Get Smart with Mel Brooks. He went on to host SNL 10 times within four years, between 1976 and 1980, and to guest star in Will & Grace, 30 Rock, and Hot in Cleveland. Henry passed away after a heart attack at 89 in Los Angeles, in 2020.
Alexis Eddy was an MTV reality contestant on Are You the One? Her past history of drug abuse became a large portion of her screen persona. She described herself as “just a washed-up MTV reality star wondering why people still care what she’s up to….,” She passed away from cardiac arrest at her home in early 2020.
Edward Byrne Breitenberger, yet better known as Eddy Byrnes, was the American actor best recognized as the lead in 77 Sunset Strip. He was also a notable cast member in 1978’s Grease as the teen-dance host – Vince Fontaine. The Byrnes-family television history continues with his son, Logan, who is an anchor for KUSI-TV News – San Diego, California.
Emily was a well known British Youtuber and TV presenter. Her vlogs began in 2012, published under the Ten Reasons Why… series. Her videos often discussed modern life, love, sex, relationships, and mental health. In July 2019, she was struck by a truck in South West London while riding an e-scooter. She is supposedly the first individual to succumb to injuries involving an e-scooter in the country.
Kevin Fret, the first openly gay Latin trap artist, was also a popular Puerto Rican rapper and singer. Fret graduated from the Roger L Putnam Vocational-Technical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Fret 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. Fret was gunned down while riding his motorcycle in January 2019.
Patric, a makeup artist on Project Runway All-Stars, passed away in his sleep at the age of 53 as the result of a heart attack. The artist had worked with many in-demand celebrities like Taylor Swift, Kate Moss, and Madonna. His friends noted that he would be greatly missed for his warmth, creativity, and hearty mustache.
At only four years old, Stan Kirsch began his entertainment career by appearing in several Campbell’s soup commercials. He appeared in the quick-lived Riders in the Sky and General Hospital soap opera in 1992. The actor is recognized for his role as Richie Ryan in Highlander: The Series but also had roles in Friends, Family Law, and JAG.
With a Hollywood career spanning six decades, Norma Michaels is best known for portraying Josephine in The King of Queens. Michaels got her to start on The Jack Benny Show but would end up earning credits for her work in Modern Family, Highway to Heaven, Everybody Loves Raymond, and in the films Wedding Crashers and Easy A.
The loss of Chadwick Boseman was a complete surprise to fans and costars as his wife revealed that he had been battling colon cancer for the past four years. All the while, he had been incredibly determined to work through the treatment, giving the world performances of Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and of course, King T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther”.
Actress Dame Diana Rigg was most recently well known for her role in ‘Game of Thrones’ as Olenna Tyrell. Her daughter said she died of cancer at the age of 84 after being diagnosed in March of 2020. She added, “She spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter, and a deep pride in her profession.”
The legendary host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, announced a year before his death that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. Fortunately, that gave his fans time to appreciate what they had in the host and time for everyone to prepare for what would be an unimaginable loss. Trebek said he spent the last year of his life during the pandemic doing little projects around the house since he was too immunocompromised to leave. At the age of 80, he was surrounded by his family and a small gathering of friends when he passed. Trebek wrote in his memoir about his hopes for his legacy. “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.”