These thirty-five people have all left a significant imprint on popular culture. In film, music or on television, their contribution to the heritage of humanity is undeniable. Although all of them icons in their own walks of life, it is possible that you have missed the news about some of them passing away. In a time where the proliferation of information is often confused with knowledge, this is nothing to be ashamed of; sometimes, what is really important can get lost in the clutter of the mundane. This article is written to remind you of 35 artists and their worthy achievements.
1. Harold Ramis
Ghostbuster Ramis died in 2014 after a long battle with an autoimmune inflammatory disease. Besides acting, he also directed and wrote screenplays. His legacy includes films such as Caddyshack, Animal House, Analyze This and the unforgettable Groundhog Day…
2. Leonard Nimoy
The one only Spock from the original Star Trek passed away aged 83 in 2015 after fighting a smoking-related disease. He was also a poet, activist. author and a musician: check out his songs, they are great!
3. Marcia Wallace
Even if you might not recognize her, you surely know Marcia Wallace’s voice. The renowned voice artist and actress is mostly remembered for her role as Mrs. Krabappel, Bart’s teacher on The Simpsons. She passed away a week before her 71st birthday in 2013 from breast cancer and pneumonia complications.
4. Chris Penn
Sean Penn’s brother Chris is remembered as Nice Guy Eddie from Quentin Tarantino’s iconic Reservoir Dogs. He died from heart disease in 2006, aged only 40.
5. Richard Attenborough
One of two legendary siblings, acting icon Richard’s brother is famous BBC broadcaster, David Attenborough. Richard died a few days shy of his 91st birthday in 2014 from heart disease. A two-time Oscar winner, Richard is remembered for his roles in The Great Escape and Jurassic Park.
6. Michael Clarke Duncan
This larger than life character was as imposing in stature and voice as he was likable. Michael had memorable roles in Armageddon, The Green Mile and Daredevil. He died at the age of 54 in 2012 from a heart attack.
7. John Spencer
In 2005, John Spencer had just landed a lead role on the famous political drama The West Wing. Soon afterward, he tragically died on set after having a heart attack. He was 58 years old. In his memory, the show rolled his name in the credits throughout the series.
8. Jean Stapleton
You probably remember Jean Stapleton as Archie Bunker’s wife in the famous American sitcom All In The Family. Jean lived a long healthy life dying of natural causes in 2013 at the age of 90.
9. Sunny Johnson
Beautiful Sunny went into 1980s folklore by playing figure skater Jeanie in the 1983 film Flashdance. She died the following year aged only 30.
10. Lisa Robin Kelly
Lisa Robin Kelly played Eric’s hot sister on That 70s Show where she had a recurring role on our favorite show. She was also struggling with substance abuse for numerous years and she passed away in 2013 aged 40 after overdosing in a rehab facility.
11. Gregory Hines
Gregory Hines was a versatile actor, dancer and singer, as well as an accomplished choreographer. This multi-talented man who has a number one Billboard hit single and an Emmy to his name sadly passed away at the age of 57 in 2003 after battling liver cancer.
12. Thuy Trang
Did you know the yellow Power Ranger was Vietnamese-born? Thuy Trang portrayed Trini Kwan in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers before tragically losing her life aged 27 in a car crash in San Francisco in 2001.
13. Richard Griffiths
Harry Potter lovers will instantly recognize Richard Griffiths as uncle Vernon from the movie series. The famous actor died aged 65 from complications during a heart surgery in 2013.
14. James Avery
James Avery is another uncle who didn’t come out from heart surgery. He is famous for playing Will Smith’s uncle in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The fatal surgery took place in 2013; Avery was 68.
15. James Rebhorn
James Rebhorn had appeared in over 100 films and TV shows before he died of melanoma in 2014 aged 65. The prolific actor is probably most widely known for his recurring roles in Homeland and White Collar.
16. Alice Playten
Famous for her roles in the 1980s movie Legend, Alice Playten also did extensive voiceover work, most famously in Heavy Metal. Alice died from heart failure in 2011 after a lifelong battle with diabetes. She was 63 years old.
17. Redd Foxx
A pioneer of stand-up comedy, Redd Foxx’s career as an actor, singer and comedian spanned six decades. He died from a heart attack on the set of his show The Royal Family in 1991. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked him 24th on the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time list.
18. Earl Hindman
Sadly, our favorite neighbor Wilson W. Wilson from Home Improvement is no longer with us. One of the least seen but most beloved characters in the sitcom world was played by Earl Hindman, who passed away from lung cancer in 2003. He was 61 years old.
19. John Cazale
John Cazale played numerous memorable roles in some of the best movies from the 1970s. You might remember him as Al Pacino’s accomplice in Dog Day Afternoon but he also had important roles in classics The Godfather and The Deer Hunter. Cazale passed away while filming The Deer Hunter; at the time rumors abounded that he and co-star Meryl Streep were romantically involved.
20. Cory Monteith
Cory Monteith was a beloved cast member of the television series Glee. In 2013, Monteith was found dead in his hotel room after having overdosed on alcohol and heroin. He was only 31.
21. Paul Walker
Ironically enough, heartthrob Paul Walker died in a high-speed car crash similar to the events in the film series he became known for: The Fast and The Furious. Many people also affectionately remember Paul for his role in the hit 90’s film, She’s All That. The fatal car crash in which he lost his life aged 40 happened in Valencia, California in 2013.
22. Brittany Murphy
The 8 Mile and Clueless star suddenly collapsed and passed away at home in 2009. The ruling of her death appeared to be a combination of legal drugs and complications from pneumonia. She was only 32.
23. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had struggled with drug addiction and depression for many years while delivering numerous unforgettable performances. He died in 2014 aged 46, after overdosing on cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and sedatives in his bathroom.
24. James Gandolfini
Jimmy Gandolfini played Tony Soprano – one of the most beloved characters in TV history – on HBO’s The Sopranos, which many regard as the best series ever filmed. The Emmy-winning actor died from a heart attack while vacationing in Italy in 2013. He was 51.
25. Natasha Richardson
London-born Natasha Richardson was a Tony Award winner who worked both in cinema and on Broadway. She lost her life after a skiing accident in Quebec, Canada in 2009 when she suffered a head injury that resulted in serious internal bleeding.
26. Bernie Mac
Emmy Award-winning comedian Bernie Mac passed away aged 50 in 2008. His death was attributed to chronic lung disease.
27. Diem Brown
MTV star Diem Brown fought ovarian cancer for 9 years before losing the battle in 2014 aged 34. Brown’s legacy includes founding MedGift, a website that provides a gift registry for patients and support pages to both people experiencing illnesses and their caregivers.
28. Gary Coleman
In 2010, former child actor Gary Coleman of Diff’rent Strokes passed away from a brain hemorrhage aged 42.
29. Peaches Geldof
The socialite and mother of two passed away aged 25 in 2014. She was a model, TV presenter, and daughter of musician and Live Aid founder Bob Geldof. Peaches died from a heroin overdose as did her mother Paula Yates in 2000.
30. L’Wren Scott
L’Wren Scott was a beloved fashion designer and Mick Jagger’s longtime girlfriend. She committed suicide in 2014 when she was 49 years old.
31. Stanley Kamel
Stanley Kamel is best known for his role as Dr. Charles Kroger on the American television series Monk until his death in 2008. Kamel suffered a heart attack aged 65.
32. Christopher Allport
Christopher Allport might be best remembered as Pete Campbell’s father in the first season of Mad Men. After Allport was killed by an avalanche near the Mountain High ski resort in California, his character was also killed off on the show.
33. Lee Thompson Young
Lee Thompson Young first appeared as a young Disney star in The Famous Jet Jackson. He had roles in numerous TV shows but committed suicide in 2013 when he was 29 years of age.
34. Barney Martin
Barney Martin played Jerry’s father in one of the most groundbreaking TV shows of all time, Seinfeld. He has an extraordinary life story, having served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigator during World War II and then spent twenty years working as an NYPD officer, working his way up to detective. Actually, his first roles came as he was still active on the police force. Barney died of lung cancer in 2005, aged 82.
35. Ricky Harris
The actor and comedian passed away from a heart attack in December 2016, aged 54. A versatile entertainer, Harris had a recurring role on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, appeared in the crime comedy-drama Dope and voiced several characters in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.