2019 has been a sad year for television and cinema in so many respects, as we say goodbye and see a final bow from a really wide range of actors, actresses, writers and producers of all ages, races and genders. Death doesn’t discriminate and I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to some of these great names. Please let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anyone.
Died at the age of 76 on 1st January after a deterioration in his health. He was most well known for being an interviewer for WWF and WCW, one of the most well known and popular in the histories of those companies, being given the nickname Mean Gene by Jesse Ventura even though he was supposedly one of the nicest interviewers either company has had. His career spanned from 1970 through to 2018.
This Cuban actress died at the age of 82 on 4th January. As well as appearing in M*A*S*H and Love, American Style she was most well known for her film roles in movies including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Up in Smoke.
30th January saw the passing of Richard Miller at the age of 90 having appeared in movies and shows spanning a 60 year career including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Pulp Fiction, Batman: the Animated Series, Gremlins 1 & 2, The Terminator and Twilight Zone.
Passing away on 1st February aged 82, just days before turning 83 after being ill for a short period. Being an film and tv actor he was most well known and loved for some of his most memorable television roles in Keeping up Appearances, Inspector Morse, Doctor Who and Peak Practice amongst many.
Born Betty May Adams, she died on 3rd February aged 92. Her career saw her in iconic films such as the Incredible Hulk, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Creature from the Black Lagoon to name just a tiny selection.
Television, movie and theatre actor Albert Finney died on 7th February from a chest infection. A hard working, award winning actor, he was most well known for film roles in Tom Jones, Scrooge, Murder on the Orient Express, Erin Brockovich, Corpse Bride, Big Fish, Ocean’s Twelve, The Bourne Ultimatum, the Bourne Legacy, Skyfall and so much more including television roles too!
Having acted in Hawaii Five-0, Castle, The Godfather Part II, Kojak, Columbo, Chips, Cheers, LA Law, Matlock and so much more, passed away at the age of 75 on 10th February.
Died on 20th February, aged 72 after a battle with liver cancer. Vinny mainly played mobsters during his career and was most well known for parts in films like Donnie Brasco, Casino, Analyze That and Kill the Irishman, as well as television appearances in the Sopranos and Law & Order.
Real name Steven James Brody, passed away on 22nd February at just 48 years old from an apparent suicide after suffering from depression and bipolar disorder at the time. He was a stand-up comedian who spent a lot of time on talk shows but also acted in the Hangover Part 2 and Due Date amongst others and did voice work for shows like American Dad and Adventure Time.
Full name, Coy Luther “Luke” Perry III died aged just 52 on 4th March following a stroke. His movie work included Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Fifth Element and most recently Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (which he never saw released) whilst he was most well know for some of his TV work including 199 episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210.
King Kong Bundy
Christopher Alan Pallies was best known on television (as well as live of course) under his ring names of King Kong Bundy amongst others, wrestling for WWF from 1981 until 1985 and then again from 1988 until 1994 at which point he joined the independent circuit and retired. He died on 4th March from complications from diabetes.
Mya-Lecia was only 16 years old when she died on 7th April as a result of hanging herself at her home. However it was ruled that the cause of death was due to misadventure as it is widely thought that she most likely did not want to actually end her life and was acting through stress about GCSE’s – a very sad loss of life indeed. Her young career had already seen her act in Absolutely Fabulous, Cloud Atlas and Millie Inbetween.
Was shot on the doorstep of his own home on 17th April aged just 48. Welsh was a former boxer and general hard man who was returning home from the boxing gym he was running at the time. He is most well known for his part in T2 Trainspotting as well as documentaries Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men and the Boxer from Somewhere Else.
He acted in some small roles but was most well known as a director, writer and producer with Boyz n the Hood, Shaft and 2 Fast 2 Furious being his most well known directorial works, having also written the first 2. He died aged 51 on 28th April following a stroke.
Most well known as being Chewbacca making appearances in the franchise from the 1977 original right through to working on the Force Awakens in 2015, he was also a common fixture and most loved guests at many a comic convention. He died aged 74 on 30th April of a heart attack.
Real name César Cuauhtémoc González Barrón died on 11th May of a heart attack at the age of 51. He was a professional wrestler in Mexico, but was most well known internationally as having played Ramses, the villain in the Jack Black movie, Nacho Libre.
Born Margaret Ann Lipton, she died on 11th May aged 72. She was a television and film actress, with her most well known performances coming from her work during various seasons and movies of Twin Peaks.
Everyone knows the name Doris Day as an actress from the golden age of Hollywood appearing in films such as Romance on the High Seas, It’s a Great Feeling, Storm Warning, Calamity Jane, Move Over Darling and The Glass Bottom Boat amongst others. She passed away at the age of 97 on 13th May from pneumonia.
Massaro was a professional wrestler who worked for WWE from 2005 until 2008 and sadly passed about 10 days before her 40th Birthday on 16th May from an apparent suicide.
The 94 year old passed away on 12th June after a decline in her health. She had an acting career which spanned 50 years during which time she acted in films including Wall Street, Sleeping Beauty, Zero to Sixty, She-Devil, Farewell My Lovely and Midnight Cowboy.
Aged just 20, this young actor who played in Grown Ups 1 & 2, Descendants 1 & 2, Mrs Fletcher and voice roles in Spider-man and Ultimate Spider-man, died on 6th July as a result of an epileptic seizure.
Died at the age of 88 on 9th July. He was a prolific actor of both the big and the small screen with his tv roles including Columbo, Ghost Stories, Law & Order, Will & Grace and 30 Rock. His movies included Dodgeball, Men in Black 1 to 3, Freddy got Fingered, Hercules, RoboCop 3 and Cross Creek.
Whilst a very well known television actress appearing in 71 episodes of Dark Shadows and 130 episodes of the Electric Company, you’ll probably know her most from her 1971 portrayal of bubble gum addict Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She died on Pneumonia aged 62 on 10th July.
Died on 19th July, aged 75 after having fallen ill. He was a prolific actor in Dutch cinema but was most well known internationally for his work in Batman Begins and Sin City.
The brother of Jane Fonda died on 16th August aged 79 from lung cancer. His 57 year career included working on Easy Rider, Ulee’s Gold, 3:10 to Yuma, ER, CSI: NY Hawaii Five-0 and The Magic Hours & the Last Full Measure, both of which are yet to be released.
Was a screen writer and producer who worked on Doctor Who, Crossroads and Moonbase 3 as well as being a successful fiction book author with his screen writing career spanning 33 years. He passed away at the age of 84 on 29th August following a short illness.
On 21st September Sid Haig passed away following complications due in part to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease at the age of 80. He was a musician and incredibly active actor best known for his work with House of 1,000 Corpses, 3 From Hell, Devil’s Rejects, Kill Bill Volume 2 and Jackie Brown, but was also very active in television starring in shows including Batman, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, Charlie’s Angels, Jason of Star Command and MacGyver to name just a handful. He was best known as a horror actor thanks to Rob Zombie, but his lengthy career showed a huge depth to his talent. For me this was the saddest news of the year.
Porter was 86 when she passed away on 25th September and personally I know her best as the old lady at the end of the Tenacious D Video for Tribute, and gives an evil little cackle! However she was also a serious actress who was in Beauty and the Beast, Twin Peaks, Frasier, Murder she Wrote, ER, X Files, Diagnosis Murder, the King of Queens, How I Met your Mother, CSI and American Horror Story: Murder House.
Garrison died at the age of just 59 on September 27th as a result of problems with his liver and kidneys. He was most well known for his role in the Karate Kid movies as well as the Cobra Kai series, however also appeared in the Pledge, Columbo, MacGyver and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
Stephen Moore passed away on 4th October, leaving behind him a long career, with many parts such as Marvin in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Eldane in Doctor Who being in full make up or other outfits which disguised him but allowed his distinctive talent as a voice actor to shine alongside his traditional acting skills.
At the age of 78 he died on 11th October from brain cancer. he was a prolific television and movie actor having appeared in Transformers: Prime, CSI: NY, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Twin Peaks, Justice League Unlimited, Walker Texas Ranger, London has Fallen, the Descendants, Jackie Brown and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story, which was released on the same day as his death.
Witherspoon died on 29th October aged 77. He did more tv work than movies however acted in some well known films including Little Nicky and Dr Dolittle 2, but being most well known for being in the Boondocks, the First Family, Black Jesus and 101 episodes of the Wayans Bros.
Robert Hudson Walker Junior died at the age of 79 on 5th December having appeared in films such as Easy Rider, The War Wagon, Son of Blob and a television appearance on Star Trek.
This talented actor and voice actor died at the age of 82 on 6th December from pneumonia. His most widely known role was as Rachel Green’s father on Friends, but he also appeared in the Sopranos, Archer, Murder She Wrote, Law & Order and Rugrats.
René died at the age of 79 on 8th December of lung cancer. His most iconic role was as Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (also reprising this role as a voice actor in the video game, as well as other game appearances such as in Uncharted 2 and Fallout: New Vegas). He also acted in many more movies an television shows including King Kong, Police Academy 5, Batman Forever, Charlie’s Angels and Criminal Minds.
Is an unusual entry as he was not a conventional actor, but was able to convey so much emotion and life using puppets, making him one of the world’s most well known puppeteers playing the parts of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. He passed away at the age of 85 on 8th December.
At the age of 73 she died on 26th December. She was not a very prolific actress even though she won a golden globe for most promising newcomer in 1962. She is best known for her work in Lolita, the Night of the Iguana and Evel Knievel.
As I said earlier it really has been a sad year for film and television, having lost at least 3 actors / actresses from Twin Peaks, 2 actors from East Rider and another 3 Star Trek appearances, including 2 from Deep Space Nine. As I am getting older, as are the actors who helped shape the entertainment I grew up with, and it is sad to see many of these lights getting extinguished now, but love the fact that many of these familiar faces will remain far beyond we will, immortalized in their work.
Rest in peace all of you, you’ve all done a great service in your little ways to the entertainment industry and by proxy, the lives of so many! It is actually Sid Haig who spurred me on to writing this, as he represented my favorite character in cinema history, Captain Spaulding, so his passing really hit me, a lot more than a celebrity death usually would. It’s been a strange year like that as I’m not usually too emotional about celebrities, but as I mentioned the stars from my youth are starting to be affected and that makes a big difference to that emotional connection. Another example of this is a special mention to not a film star but again an amazing entertainer who has impacted my life and brightened it up so much for so many years, and that is Keith Flint of the Prodigy whom we sadly lost to an apparent suicide on 4th March this year at the tender age of 49.