Heritage

A Look Back at All the Celebrities We Lost in 2017

Hollywood tragically said goodbye to some of its most memorable celebrities this year.
IMAGE GETTY
Comments

Here's a look back at all the famous faces we had to say goodbye to this year.

Jim Nabors (November 30)


Known for his role as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show Jim Nabors became well-known for his acting and operatic singing voice. The shy, Alabaman TV star passed away peacefully at his home in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 87. His husband, Stan Cadwallader, said Nabors' health had been declining ever since he underwent a liver transplant in 1994.

Mel Tillis (November 19)


A longtime country star, Mel Tillis was known as a singer, songwriter, comedian, and businessman. Tillis overcame a stutter and recorded over 60 albums during his lifetime, including three dozen top 10 singles. The country singer passed away at age 85 with respiratory failure as the suspected cause of death.

Della Reese (November 19)


Gospel-influenced singer and actress beloved for her role as Tess the angel in Touched by an Angel, Della Reese truly did touch the hearts of many over the course of her 70-year career. Reese passed away at her home in Encino, California at age 86.

Malcolm Young (November 18)


Malcolm Young was the rhythm guitarist and founding member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. Having suffered from dementia for the past three years, Young retired from the legendary rock band in 2014. Young passed away in Elizabeth Bay, New South Wales at the age of 64.

Liz Smith (November 12)


Legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith passed away due to natural causes at the age of 94. Smith's eponymous column ran for 33 years and became so well read around the world that she was deemed the "Dame of Dish." Today, Smith is remembered for her sweet southern manner and for chronicling the lives of New York's most rich and famous.

Robert Guillaume (October 24)

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Coming from humble beginnings in the slums of St. Louis, Robert Guillaume made a name for himself for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler Benson DuBois in the TV sitcoms Soap and Benson. Guillaume passed away at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 89.

Fats Domino (October 24)


From his quick-fingered piano skills to his easy baritone singing voice, Fats Domino forever changed the sound of music as a rock n' roll pioneer in the late '50s. Though he was often overlooked for his humility and shyness, Domino played a huge roll in the foundation of rock n' roll as a popular music genre. The musician passed away in Harvey, Louisiana at the age of 89.

Gord Downie (October 17)


Gord Downie, lead singer of iconic rock band the Tragically Hip, passed away at the age of 53 after suffering from terminal brain cancer. The young Canadian rock singer and his band made a name for themselves with their national hits about hockey and small-town life. Downie is remembered for his enthusiastic stage performances and contribution to the music scene.

Roy Dotrice (October 16)


Game of Thrones fans were heartbroken when news spread of Roy Dotrice's passing at his London home. Dotrice was 94. The legendary British actor was well-known for his role as Leopold Mozart in the Oscar-winning film Amadeus, as well as his several television roles and theater performances. Dotrice later gained popularity as the audiobook narrator for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Ralphie May (October 6)


After a brief battle with pneumonia, comedian Ralphie May passed away in Las Vegas at the age of 45. His cause of death was later confirmed to be cardiac arrest. The comic was beloved by fans and fellow comedians alike, including Kevin Hart and Gabriel Iglesias. May is succeeded by his wife, Lahna Turner, and their two children, April June, 10, and August James, 8.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Tom Petty (October 2)


Leader of the Heartbreakers and a legendary rockstar in his own right, Tom Petty's vocals and guitar skills got him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Petty was rushed to the hospital in October after suffering from a cardiac arrest and passed away at the age of 66.

Hugh Hefner (September 27)


As the founder of Playboy Enterprises, Hugh Hefner turned sexual desire into a worldwide multimedia empire. The CEO and millionaire passed away at his home in Holmby Hills, California. Hefner was 91 and suffered cardiac arrest and respiratory failure, according to his death certificate.

Harry Dean Stanton (September 15)


Known for playing bedraggled characters with deadpan voices, Harry Dean Stanton became a cult favorite actor for his roles in films such as Paris, Texas, Repo Man, and Pretty in Pink. Stanton passed away due to natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 91.

Don Williams (September 8)


Award-winning country singer Don Williams passed away on September 8, 2017 after suffering a short bout of illness. He was 78. Williams was known as country music's "Gentle Giant" and gained international popularity with such hits as "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good" and "It Must Be Love."

Troy Gentry (September 8)


One-half of the country music duo Montgomery Gentry, Troy Gentry was the victim of a helicopter crash due to engine failure. Gentry and the helicopter pilot passed away near Medford, New Jersey. Gentry was 50.

Richard Anderson (August 31)


Well-known for his roles on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, Richard Anderson died of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 91. Anderson's acting career spanned seven decades, and he is remembered today by many fans.

Jay Thomas (August 24)


Murphy Brown and Cheers actor Jay Thomas passed away at his home in Santa Barbara, California back in August after a battle with cancer. He was 69. Thomas is survived by his wife Sally and their sons Sam, Max, and J.T.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Jerry Lewis (August 20)


From his nasally voice to his memorable comedy bits, Jerry Lewis put a smile on the faces of thousands for over seven decades. The actor and filmmaker delighted audiences with films such as The Bellboy, The Family Jewels, and The Nutty Professor. Lewis passed away at his home in Las Vegas as a result of ischemic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart is unable to pump blood to the rest of the body due to coronary artery disease. He was 91.

Glen Campbell (August 8)


A groundbreaking country singer and guitarist, Glen Campbell was the voice behind 21 Top 40 hits over the course of his career. From "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Wichita Lineman" to "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," Campbell's hits gained him a huge fanbase. Campbell passed away in Nashville, Tennessee following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.

Jeanne Moreau (July 31)


Jeanne Moreau's seven-decade acting career made her into an award-winning actress known for her roles in films like Viva Maria! and The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea. Moreau passed away at the age of 89 in Paris, France.

Sam Shepard (July 27)


Pulitzer-winning playwright, actor, author, screenwriter and director Sam Shepard passed away at his home in Kentucky at the age of 73. Shepard died due to complications with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He wrote nearly 50 plays during his career, including Buried Child and Fool for Love, and he became the second most widely performed U.S. playwright by the age of 40.

Barbara Sinatra (July 25)


The fourth wife of legendary American singer Frank Sinatra, Barbara Sinatra was once a model and showgirl. She later became a philanthropist who raised millions of dollars to help abused children over the course of her life. At the age of 90, Sinatra passed away at her Rancho Mirage, California home due to natural causes. The non-profit Barbara Sinatra Children's Center still exists in her honor.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

John Heard (July 21)


Known for his roles as the father in Home Alone and a corrupt detective in The Sopranos, among many other roles, actor John Heard suffered a heart attack brought on by heart disease in July. Heard passed away in Palo Alto, California at the age of 71.

Chester Bennington (July 20)


Chester Bennington was the lead singer of famous rock band Linkin Park since 1999. The band rose to fame with hits such as "Numb" and "In the End." Bennington passed away by suicide in a Los Angeles home at 41. Linkin Park continues to share videos and photos in Bennington's honor with fans, and several singers have performed at tribute concerts in his honor.

George Romero (July 16)


American-Canadian filmmaker George Romero was known for his horror films and zombie movies, namely Night of the Living Dead, which quickly became a cult classic and inspired multiple remakes and homages. Romero reportedly died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, The Quiet Man, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, according to the LA Times.

Martin Landau (July 15)


An actor with a talent for taking on any role, Martin Landau was best known for his portrayal of such characters as aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994) and master of disguise Rollin Hand in the 1960s television show Mission: Impossible. Landau passed away due to "unexpected complications" at the UCLA Medical Center. He was 89.

Nelsan Ellis (July 8)


Best known for his portrayal of Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood, Nelsan Ellis was an American actor and playwright. The young actor passed away from heart failure due to alcohol-withdrawal complications. He was 39.

Michael Bond (June 27)


Children and adults alike have grown up with a love for author Michael bond's adventurous character Paddington Bear, whose stories have been translated into 30 languages. Bond passed away at home in London after a brief illness. He was 91.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Stephen Furst (June 17)


Actor Stephen Furst, known for his role as Flounder in the film Animal House, passed away due to complications with diabetes in June. He was 63. Furst was also known for his portrayal of Vir Cotto on the sci-fi series Babylon 5 and for his role as Dr. Axelrod on the television drama St. Elsewhere.

John Avildsen (June 16)


Film director John Avildsen was best known for directing the 1977 film Rocky. Avildsen was also recognized for directing Rocky V, 8 Seconds, Inferno, and the first three The Karate Kid films. The film director passed away from pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 81.

Adam West (June 9)


The actor known widely for his portrayal of Batman in the 1960s ABC superhero show passed away at the age of 88 after a battle with leukemia. West's Batman became a pop culture legend and the iconic actor is remembered for all the good-natured comedy he brought to the screen.

Glenne Headly (June 8)


Emmy-nominated TV actress and film star Glenne Headly passed away in Santa Monica, California from a pulmonary embolism back in June. She was 62. Headly was known for her roles on shows such as ER and Monk as well as for her involvement as an early member of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Roger Smith (June 4)


Married to actress Ann-Margret for 50 years, Roger Smith was an actor best known for starring as suave Detective Jeff Spencer on the television show 77 Sunset Strip. Smith passed away in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. He was 84.

Gregg Allman (May 27)


Legendary American singer-songwriter Gregg Allman passed away from liver cancer in Richmond Hill, Georgia. He was 69. The musician played an integral part in the creation of Southern rock music and is remembered for his powerful rock n' roll influence.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Sir Roger Moore (May 23)


Sir Roger Moore was an English actor best known for his portrayal of the classic film character James Bond in seven feature films. Moore passed away in Crans-Montana, Montana, Switzerland after a brief battle with cancer, leaving behind the heavy hearts of his family members and many Bond fans. He was 89.

Dina Merrill (May 22)


A rebellious New York City heiress, Dina Merrill lived her life like a movie, defying her wealthy parents' wishes for her and instead becoming an actress. The actress, businesswoman, and philanthropist was known for her roles in films such as Operation Petticoat, Suture, and Caddyshack II. Merill passed away from congestive heart failure in East Hampton, New York. She was 93.

Roger Ailes (May 18)


Outed for accusations of sexual harassment, Roger Ailes was best known as the Chairman and CEO of Fox News. Ailes was also a media consultant for such Republican presidents as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. The television executive passed away due to hemophilia complications after suffering a head injury in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 77.

Chris Cornell (May 17)


Best known as the frontman of rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, Chris Cornell suffered from depression throughout his career as a musician. Still, his nearly four-octave vocal range gained him and his bands a wealth of fans. Cornell died by suicide in Detroit, Michigan. He was 52.

Brad Grey (May 14)


An American television and film producer, Brad Grey was the chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. Grey earned several Emmys and Peabody awards for his work with shows such as The Sopranos and The Larry Sanders Show. The film producer passed away from cancer in Holmby Hills, California. He was 59.

Jonathan Demme (April 26)


American film director, producer, and screenwriter Jonathan Demme passed away from esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease in Manhattan, New York. He was 73. Demme is remembered as an Oscar-winning director and one of the greatest concert film directors ever.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Erin Moran (April 22)


Erin Moran was an American actress best known for her portrayal of Joanie Cunningham on the hit 1970s television show Happy Days and its spin-off series Joanie Love Chachi. Moran passed away due to complications from cancer in New Salisbury, Indiana. She was 56.

Charlie Murphy (April 12)


The older brother of famous actor and comedian Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy was an actor, comedian, and writer in his own right. Most well-known for his role as a cast member on Chapelle's Show, Murphy was also known for his roles in films such as Mo' Better Blues and Jungle Fever. Murphy died from leukemia in New York City, New York at age 57.

J. Geils (April 11)


Musician and founder of The J. Geils Band, J. Geils was an American rock, jazz, and blues guitarist. His band became known for such songs as "Centerfold," "Love Stinks," "Come Back," and "Freeze-Frame." Geils passed away from natural causes at his home in Groton, Massachusetts. He was 71.

Don Rickles (April 6)


The king of insult comedians, Don Rickles made a name for himself as a heckler of celebrities and the public alike. The stand-up comedian even insulted names as big as Frank Sinatra and never held back. Rickles passed away due to kidney failure at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 90.

Lola Albright (March 23)


Lola Albright was a star of the big screen, entertaining audiences with her charm and smoky singing voice. The actress and singer was perhaps best known for her portrayal of the sultry singer Edie Hart on the NBC-ABC series Peter Gunn. Albright passed away in her home in Toluca Lake, California due to natural causes. She was 92.

Chuck Barris (March 21)


An American game show creator and host, Chuck Barris was well-known for hosting The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, and The Gong Show. Barris also claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA in his book Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Biography, which became a fantastical film starring George Clooney in 2002. Barris passed away in his home in Palisades, New York at age 87 due to natural causes.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Chuck Berry (March 18)


Known as the Father of Rock n' Roll, Chuck Berry was a singer, songwriter, and musician recognized as one of the pioneers of rock n' roll music in the '50s. Berry's guitar and vocal skills earned him such hits as "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Johnny B. Goode," and "Rock and Roll Music." Berry passed away after a heart attack in Wentzville, Missouri. He was 90.

Bill Paxton (February 25)


Actor and film director Bill Paxton passed away after a stroke following heart surgery in Los Angeles, California. He was 61. The surgery was meant to replace a heart valve and correct an aortic aneurysm. Paxton was best known for his role in films from The Terminator and Weird Science to Apollo 13 and Nightcrawler.

Richard Hatch (February 7)


Richard Hatch was an actor, writer, and producer whose contribution to the sci-fi community spanned over four decades. Hatch is perhaps best known for his role as Captain Apollo in the original television series Battlestar Galactica. The actor passed away while under hospice in Los Angeles, California after a private battle with pancreatic cancer for several months. He was 71.

Sir John Hurt (January 27)


A versatile actor, Sir John Hurt moved people to tears with his role in the film The Elephant Man and terrified others with his role in Alien. The actor was also beloved for his role as the wand maker Ollivander in the Harry Potter franchise. Hurt passed away in after a battle with pancreatic cancer in Cromer, United Kingdom. He was 77.

Butch Trucks (January 25)


A friend and band member of Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks was most well-known as the co-founder and drummer of the legendary Southern rock group The Allman Brothers. Trucks passed away after committing suicide in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was 69.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Mary Tyler Moore (January 25)

Well known for her role as Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her role as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore was one of the most well-known actresses of her generation. The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress passed away from cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia at the age of 80. Today, she is remembered as a Hollywood legend and trailblazer for aspiring stars.

Miguel Ferrer (January 19)


Known for his stern character Assistant Director Owen Granger on the hit show NCIS: Los Angeles, Miguel Ferrer was an actor and cousin to George Clooney. Ferrer has also starred in films such as RoboCop and Blank Check and television shows like Twin Peaks and Crossing Jordan. The actor passed away from cancer at age 61 in Los Angeles, California.

William Peter Blatty (January 13)


Moviegoers were heartbroken to hear that one of the most influential horror filmmakers had passed away. William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist and screenwriter for the cult film of the same name, passed away from multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 89. His film is often credited as being the inspiration for multiple horror movies after 1973 and his legacy carries on in the filmmaking industry to this day.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Chanel Vargas
View Other Articles From Chanel Vargas
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
The Undoing is set in the tony New York City world of private-school parents.
 
Share
The legendary nose's latest creation for Bulgari recalls a childhood spent among trees.
 
Share
A retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris honors the midcentury design maestro.
 
Share
This year has been rife with numerous incarnations of the 'Streetwear X High Fashion' variety.
 
Share
"I am lucky to have such a Godfather, but we all are lucky to have such a Prince amongst us," she wrote.
 
Share
 
Share
 
Share
This is the first time in its 118-year history that Michelin chose to highlight a specific cuisine.
 
Share
Hong Kong's most generous givers gathered to give back to the Philippines' poorest families who are living on less than 50 U.S. cents a day.
 
Share
Watch out, Pappy Van Winkle-Japanese whisky is quickly becoming the most coveted spirit in the world.
 
Share
The five-floor fashion mecca on 57th Street will feature limited edition items.
 
Share
"Our technology companies still have a great deal to learn about the responsibilities that come with their significant power."
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US