As 2021 comes to a close, TVLine is remembering the television stars — and behind-the-scenes veterans — that we’ve lost throughout the year, including such legends as Betty White, Cicely Tyson, Larry King, Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner. Scroll through the gallery below to see the Hollywood names that left us in the last 12 months.
Vincent, a judge on Food Network Challenge, died in January at age 75, following an undisclosed illness. From 2006 to 2012, she appeared on 75 total episodes of Food Network Challenge, then hosted the nine-episode Save My Bakery in 2014. The Australian-born personality’s other credits included appearances on The Great Australian Bake Off, Holiday Gingerbread Showdown, The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Last Cake Standing.
Actress Roberts, best known for her work on Charlie’s Angels and That ’70s Show, died in January after becoming hospitalized for UTI complications, which then spread to her other organs and bloodstream. She was 65 years old. On That ’70s Show, Roberts played Midge, the mother of Laura Prepon’s Donna, appearing in 81 episodes from 1998 to 2004. She also had a year-long stint as Julie Rogers on Charlie’s Angels, while her other TV credits included The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Silk Stalkings.
Dearon “Deezer D” Thompson, who played nurse Malik McGrath on ER, passed away in January at the age of 55. He recurred throughout all 15 seasons of the medical drama, including the 1994 pilot and 2009 series finale; all told, he appeared in 190 episodes. Prior to ER, the actor had a starring role in the Chris Rock film CB4, while additional credits included Bringing Down the House, The John Larroquette Show and Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. Thompson also worked as a motivational speaker and hip hop performer.
GENERAL HOSPITAL, John Reilly, 1963-. © ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection
Veteran actor Reilly, whose daytime TV credits alone included General Hospital, Passions and Sunset Beach, died at age 86 in January. His early career began with arcs on As the World Turns, How the West Was Won, Quincy M.E. and Dallas, before he made his General Hospital debut as Sean Donely in 1984. Later, Reilly also voiced Hawkeye/Clint Barton on the animated Iron Man series and played the father of Jennie Garth’s Kelly on Beverly Hills, 90210; other credits included the short-lived spinoff General Hospital: Night Shift and the web soap The Bay.
Best known as the matriarch from the PBS docuseries An American Family, Loud passed away in early January at age 94; she died of natural causes. Created by Craig Gilbert and airing from January to March of 1973, An American Family is viewed by some as the first American reality TV series, following Loud, her husband and their five children throughout their daily lives in Santa Barbara, Calif. During her time on the series, Loud made guest appearances on The Dick Cavett Show and The Mike Douglas Show.
Campbell, whose acting credits included NBC’s beloved cult classic Freaks and Geeks, was just 38 years old when she died in January. She appeared in two episodes of Freaks and Geeks as Amy Andrews (aka Tuba Girl), a McKinley High student who briefly dated Seth Rogen’s Ken. Her first acting role was in the 1992 Sarah Jessica Parker-fronted TV movie In the Best Interest of the Children, and she later co-starred in the 1999 Reese Witherspoon film Election.
Jakusz, who competed on Survivor‘s 10th season, Palau, died at the age of 40 after losing a long-fought battle with cancer. During her time on the CBS reality show, Jakusz was 25 years old, working at the time as a bartender and artist in New Orleans; she was ultimately the sixth person voted out of the game that season.
Peter Mark Richman
Richman, a veteran character actor, died of natural causes in January at age 93. After headlining the NBC crime drama Cain’s Hundred, Richman popped up on any number of series, including The Fugitive, Outer Limits, Gunsmoke and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Other notable credits included Three’s Company (as Chrissy’s father), Santa Barbara (as C.C. Capwell), the original Dynasty, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Beverly Hills, 90210, among many others.
Furlan, best known for her roles as Minbari Ambassador Delenn on Babylon 5 and Danielle Rousseau on Lost, died at the age of 65 in January, following a battle with West Nile virus. A native of the former Yugoslavia, Furlan emigrated to the United States in 1991, though she was already an accomplished actress in her native country. She made her Babylon 5 debut in 1993 when the show premiered and remained part of the cast until it ended in 1998; six years later, she arrived on Lost and appeared in 20 episodes across six seasons. Additional TV credits included episodes of NCIS, Law & Order: Los Angeles and Just Add Magic.
Sierra, best known for his roles as Sgt. Miguel “Chano” Amanguale on Barney Miller and Julio Fuentes on Sanford and Son, died of cancer in January at age 83. A veteran New York actor of Puerto Rican descent, Sierra often broke down racial barriers and defied stereotypes by portraying a number of high-ranking law enforcement types and district attorneys on everything from Hill Street Blues to Miami Vice. His credits also included Falcon Crest, MacGyver and Something Is Out There, as well as small but notable guest-starring roles on Growing Pains, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Soap, It’s a Living and All in the Family.
Radio and TV talk show host King, whose impressive career spanned more than six decades, died of sepsis in January at the age of 87. After landing his first job as a radio host in 1957 at a Miami station, King built a local following and scored a national radio show in 1978; he later joined CNN and debuted his show Larry King Live there in 1985, becoming famous for his easygoing, off-the-cuff interview style. King hosted the nightly program for 25 years, signing off in 2010, then continued to host CNN specials until 2012. After leaving that network, King hosted Larry King Now for Ora TV, a production company he co-founded with Mexican businessman Carlos Slim.
Legendary comedic actress Leachman died of natural causes in January at the age of 94. After guest-starring on numerous shows in the 1950s and ’60s, Leachman booked her breakout role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970, portraying snooty neighbor Phyllis Lindstrom and winning a pair of Emmys for Best Supporting Actress; she also got her own spinoff, Phyllis, which lasted two seasons on CBS.
In 1986, Leachman joined The Facts of Life, taking over as the show’s den mother, then later played prickly Grandma Ida on Malcolm in the Middle and kooky grandmother Maw Maw on Raising Hope. In all, Leachman was nominated for 22 Emmys and won eight; scored a Golden Globe win in 1976 for Phyllis; and won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Last Picture Show in 1972.
Tyson, an Emmy-winning acting vet and Hollywood trailblazer, died in late January at age 96. During her nearly seven-decade-long career, Tyson made history as the first Black actress to co-star in a TV drama, playing secretary Jane Foster in CBS’ East Side/West Side. Later, in 1994, she co-starred as civil rights lawyer Carrie Grace Battle in the short-lived NBC drama Sweet Justice, then went on to guest-star or recur in numerous series over the years. Most recently, she recurred throughout How to Get Away With Murder’s six seasons as Ophelia Harkness, mother of Viola Davis’ Annalise Keating, a role that earned her four Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
Tyson ultimately took home Emmys in 1974 (for the TV movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman) and 1994 (for the miniseries Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All), and she earned nods for the miniseries Roots and King, among other projects. The actress also had a substantial film career, receiving Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her work as Rebecca Morgan in the 1972 drama Sounder.
Hal Holbrook has passed away at age 95 - 2/2/21
Holbrook, an Emmy-winning veteran of stage and screen, died in January at the age of 95. He was best known for his portrayal of author Mark Twain in the one-man play Mark Twain Tonight!, which earned Holbrook a Tony Award (and later, an Emmy nomination for CBS’ televised broadcast of the show). Among his many TV credits was Designing Women, where he recurred as attorney Reese Watson, and he won a total of five Emmys (for The Bold Ones: The Senator, Pueblo, Lincoln and Portrait of America). On the film side, Holbrook also notched an Oscar nomination in 2008 for his work as Ron Franz in Into the Wild.
Diamond, best known for playing Screech on Saved by the Bell, passed away in February at the age of 44, following a short battle with Stage 4 lung cancer. The actor portrayed Samuel “Screech” Powers in five seasons of Saved by the Bell, plus its two movies and predecessor Good Morning, Miss Bliss; from 1993 to 1994, he reprised the character for the series’ one-and-done College Years season, and returned to the role once again for another six seasons in Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Diamond was not, however, part of Peacock’s recent Saved by the Bell revival, though Screech’s absence was ultimately acknowledged and explained. In addition to his legacy on Bell, Diamond appeared on a number of reality shows including Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2, Celebrity Championship Wrestling and the U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother.
Hollywood legend Plummer, who won an Oscar and two Emmys during his long acting career, died in February at the age of 91. On the small screen, Plummer starred in numerous miniseries and TV movies throughout the years, ultimately earning five Emmy nominations and two wins (for the 1976 miniseries Arthur Hailey’s The Moneychangers and his 1994 narration of The New Adventures of Madeline). Most recently, he co-starred with Archie Panjabi in the Canadian drama Departure, which aired Stateside on Peacock.
But Plummer was best known for his film work, most notably his portrayal of Captain Georg von Trapp in the 1965 movie The Sound of Music. His extensive resume, which included dozens of films, yielded a Best Supporting Actor Oscar win in 2012 for Beginners, as well as nods in 2010 (for The Last Station) and 2018 (for All the Money in the World). His final credit was the war film The Last Full Measure.
Gomez, a veteran reporter for ESPN’s SportsCenter, died unexpectedly in February at 58 years old. He joined ESPN in April 2003 as a reporter based in Phoenix, serving as a correspondent on SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and other studio shows. A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and a voting member for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gomez came to the cable network from The Arizona Republic, where he had served as a sports columnist and national baseball writer since 1997. Prior to that, he was the Oakland Athletics’ beat writer for San Jose’s Mercury News and then The Sacramento Bee.
The star/patriarch of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People died of a seizure at the age of 68. “He was our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband and he will be dearly missed,” said his son, Bear. “He lived his life on his terms, off the grid and off the land and taught us to live like that as well. We plan to honor his legacy going forward, and to continue with his dream. We ask for privacy and prayers during this painful time! God bless everyone!”
Smith, the last five-time champion from the late Alex Trebek’s era of Jeopardy!, was just 24 years old when he died on Feb. 5, reportedly of surgery complications. Smith’s December 2020 appearances on the long-running game show were among the last hosted by Trebek, pre-taped before the Emmy-winning host’s Nov. 8 passing; Trebek had dubbed Smith “Billy Buzzsaw,” for his ability to cut through the competition. Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Smith was a 2020 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with intentions to attend law school. He was also looking forward to competing in Jeopardy!‘s next Tournament of Champions.
French, best known for portraying Dave Turner for several seasons on Degrassi: The Next Generation, was just 29 years old when he died in March. In addition to his work on Degrassi, which earned him a Canadian Screen Award nomination, French also appeared in Netflix’s short-lived musical drama series Soundtrack, as well as the Pop TV comedy Let’s Get Physical.
Kotto, best known to TV audiences as police lieutenant Al Giardello on Homicide: Life on the Street, died in March at age 81. He portrayed Al for all seven seasons of Homicide‘s run, then reprised the role for 2000’s Homicide: The Movie. Elsewhere, Kotto starred in the short-lived war drama For Love and Honor, earned a Primetime Emmy nomination in 1977 for the TV movie Raid on Entebbe, and appeared in episodes of Death Valley Days, Hawaii Five-O, Gunsmoke, Hill Street Blues and Murder, She Wrote, among others. On the film side, the actor’s notable roles included Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die and engineer Dennis Parker in Alien.
Schmitz, the German race car driver best known to TV audiences as a presenter on Top Gear, died in March at age 51, following a battle with cancer. During her impressive racing career, Schmitz gained wider recognition in 2004 after her inaugural appearance on Top Gear, where she bested Jeremy Clarkson’s best lap around the Nürburgring in a Jaguar S-Type by 47 seconds. Schmitz was brought back for two additional episodes during the Clarkson era, in 2005 and 2008, then returned as an official presenter of the post-Clarkson era. She made her final Top Gear appearance in October 2020, during Season 28.
ABC's "The Goldbergs" - Season Seven
Acting vet Segal, who had been playing patriarch Albert “Pops” Solomon on ABC’s The Goldbergs for the past eight years, died in March at the age of 87 due to complications from bypass surgery. The actor was also known for his starring role on NBC’s Just Shoot Me, where he portrayed magazine owner and publisher Jack Gallo for seven seasons. Segal scored an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best known for playing icy matriarch Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development, Walter passed away in March at her home in New York City at the age of 80. Walter earned an Emmy nomination in 2005 for playing Lucille on Arrested, and earlier won an Emmy in 1975 for the NBC cop drama Amy Prentiss. She also voiced Sterling Archer’s mother/boss Malory on the FX animated spy comedy Archer.
Henry, who played TV mom Alice Mitchell on Dennis the Menace, passed away in early April, just one day after her 98th birthday. On Dennis, Henry played Alice for four seasons (1959-1963) opposite her TV husband, actor Herbert Anderson. In more recent decades, her TV appearances included parts in Dallas, Falcon Crest, Hunter, Doogie Howser, M.D. and Parks and Recreation, which became her final acting credit in 2012.
Siravo, whose many TV roles included Tony Soprano’s father Johnny Boy on The Sopranos, died in April at age 64, following a battle with cancer. In addition to HBO’s acclaimed crime drama, Siravo’s TV credits included The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Dirty Sexy Money, The Blacklist, Elementary and New Amsterdam, among others. His final credit was ABC’s legal drama For Life, where he played prison commissioner Jerry McCormick.
Star Max Archive
Taylor, a former model and one of the original stars of the BET reality series Baldwin Hills, died of an undisclosed cause in April. She was 30. Taylor, whose legal name was Ashley Taylor Gerren, starred in all three seasons of Baldwin Hills, which ran from 2007 to 2009 and followed a group of African-American teenagers from the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. She also appeared in the 2007 documentary America the Beautiful, which delved into the nation’s obsession with beauty.
Quiz photocall - London
British actress McCrory lost her battle with cancer in April, at the age of 52. In recent years, she was perhaps best known on the small screen for Peaky Blinders, where she played Shelby family matriarch Aunt Polly through Season 5. But her long list of credits also included Penny Dreadful, where she stole scenes as the villainous Madame Kali, Anna Karenina, Fearless and Life; her last role was the voice of dæmon Stelmaria on HBO’s His Dark Materials.
Survivor Sunday Burquest
Burquest, a contestant from Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, died in April at 50 following a battle with esophageal and ovarian cancer. In June of 2020, she announced her diagnosis publicly, sharing that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and ovaries. At the time, doctors had given her just months to live. On the show, she was known for her social skills and relationships with the opposing millennial tribe, lasting 35 days total and landing in seventh place.
The stage and screen actress, who won an Oscar for her turn in 1988’s Moonstruck, passed away May 1 at the age of 89. Dukakis starred in more than 120 stage productions, as well as more than 60 films throughout her career. Her most recent TV credits included the 2019 Netflix revival of Tales From the City (where she reprised her role of Anna Madrigal from previous iterations of the show), and episodes of Mike & Molly, Bored to Death and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Tawny Kitaen Obituary
The 1980s music video star-turned-reality TV personality passed away May 7 in Newport Beach, Calif. Kitaen starred in a string of Whitesnake videos and acted opposite of Tom Hanks in the film Bachelor Party. She later appeared in reality TV series like The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. She was 59.
BEETHOVEN, Charles Grodin, 1992, (c)Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
Grodin, an Emmy-winning writer and actor who starred in films like Beethoven and The Heartbreak Kid, died of cancer in May at the age of 86. Throughout his career, Grodin was known for his extremely deadpan style of humor. In addition to his big-screen work, the actor had several TV roles over the years, including Fresno, Law & Order: SVU, Louie and Madoff, among others. In 1978, he took home a comedy-variety or music special Emmy for The Paul Simon Special.
The paraplegic actor, who memorably played wheelchair user Billy Merchant on The Office, died in May after a brief and unexpected illness at the age of 55. York debuted as Billy, who became a recurring foil for Michael Scott, in Season 2’s “The Injury,” appearing in a total of four episodes. His other TV credits include CSI: NY and 8 Simple Rules.
The Love Boat and Mary Tyler Moore Show actor passed away May 29 after being in and out of the hospital with varying illnesses. With over seven decades in the business, the actor also starred in shows like Hawaii Five-O, Hogan’s Heroes and Perry Mason, and accumulated five total Golden Globe nominations. He died at the age of 90, surrounded by his loved ones and caretakers.
Clarence Williams III
The Mod Squad actor passed away Friday, June 4 following a battle with colon cancer. In addition to his best known role as Squad member Lincoln “Linc” Hayes, his other TV credits included shows like Hill Street Blues, T.J. Hooker, The Cosby Show, Miami Vice, Twin Peaks, Walker Texas Ranger, Burn Notice, Empire and Justified.
The veteran character actor passed away in his sleep on June 13 at the age of 83. In addition to being remembered for films like Superman and Network, the actor’s TV credits included Homicide: Life on the Street, Roseanne and Szysznyk, as well as miniseries like Friendly Fire and Robert Kennedy and His Times.
RYAN'S HOPE, John Gabriel
The Daytime-TV vet, who is perhaps best known to soap opera fans from his role in Ryan’s Hope, died in June at the age of 90. In addition to his healthy career in soaps, Gabriel held a couple decades’ worth of guest-starring roles on series such as Hawaiian Eye, The Untouchables, 77 Sunset Strip and The Big Valley. In 1973, the actor landed a recurring gig on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as WJM sports reporter Andy Rivers. A cause of death was not made available.
WKRP IN CINCINNATI, Frank Bonner
Bonner, best known for playing WKRP in Cincinnati salesman Herb Tarlek, died in June as a result of complications from Lewy body dementia. The actor was 79. His subsequent TV credits included episodes of The Love Boat, Newhart, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Sidekicks, Just the Ten of Us and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. In 1991, he reprised his WKRP role in the series’ spinoff, The New WKRP in Cincinnati.
All My Children's Ray MacDonnell
All My Children vet MacDonnell died on June 10 of natural causes, at his home in Chappaqua, N.Y. He was 93. MacDonnell started his TV career with appearances on The Jack Benny Program and Armstrong Circle Theatre, before landing the role of The Edge of Night businessman Philip Capice, whom he played for eight years.
The soap vet best known as General Hospital‘s Alan Quartermaine died in late June at the age of 84. Damon’s character remained on hospital staff from 1977 until his death in February 2007, though the actor continued to appear sporadically as Alan’s ghost through 2008. His additional TV credits include Fantasy Island, The New Avengers and the sci-fi thriller The Champions.
Best known to TV audiences for her starring role as Jerri Peterson on the 1990s sitcom The Parent ‘Hood, Douglas died in July at the age of 64. In 2019, she held a supporting role as Grace Cuffe in Netflix’s acclaimed miniseries When They See Us. Douglas’ rep told TVLine: “The industry has lost a truly talented artist with the passing of Suzzanne Douglas. She touched everyone who knew her and was lovely in every sense of the word.”
The Night Court star passed away on July 11 of cardiac arrest and metastatic adenocarcinoma; he was 75 years old. Robinson appeared on TV shows like Buffalo Bill, Emergency! and The White Shadow before joining the cast of the NBC sitcom Night Court in Season 2. Robinson played court clerk and Vietnam vet Mac for the rest of the series’ run, which ended in 1992 after nine seasons.
The king of infomercials died on July 28 at the age of 86. An inventor and TV pitchman, Popeil starred in countless infomercials over the past half-century, hawking products like the Veg-O-Matic and the Pocket Fisherman directly to consumers. His enthusiastic pitches became a trademark, and he coined a number of phrases like “Set it and forget it,” “Now how much would you pay?” and “But wait, there’s more!”
The veteran soap opera actor passed away at the age of 60 on Friday, July 30. Pickett was best known for portraying Frank Scanlon for 762 episodes of Port Charles, which ran on ABC from 1997–2003. His other soap credits include Days of Our Lives and General Hospital, where he played Det. David Harper in 2007 and 2008.
Krasley, the subject of a Season 8 episode of TLC’s My 600-lb Life, was just 30 years old when she died in August. Though a specific cause of death was not announced at the time of her passing, TLC released the following statement on social media: “TLC was deeply saddened by the loss of Gina Krasley, who shared her weight-loss journey on [My 600-lb Life]. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.” Krasley’s episode of the docuseries, titled “Gina’s Story,” debuted on Jan. 29, 2020.
Moore, a co-founder of the sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U Know, passed away Friday, Aug. 6 as a result of an unknown accident. The comedian, actor and producer was 41. His other credits include Walk the Prank, a Disney XD series he wrote and directed, in addition to Comedy Central’s The Trevor Moore Show. Most recently, he co-created and executive-produced Disney Channel’s Just Roll With It, a part-scripted/part-improvised hybrid series.
Post passed away Aug. 7 following a nearly four-year battle with cancer. The actress is best known for playing Manhattan Municipal Court public defender Christine Sullivan in NBC’s Night Court. She followed that up with Hearts Afire, CBS’ Washington, D.C. comedy about a liberal political reporter (Post) attracted to a conservative senator’s staffer (played by John Ritter). Her other credits include Hart to Hart, The Love Boat, Cheers, Fantasy Island, The A-Team, 30 Rock, Scrubs and Santa Clarita Diet.
English actress Stubbs, best known Stateside for her role as Mrs. Hudson in PBS’ Sherlock, died in August following a brief illness. She was 84. Stubbs appeared in all 13 installments of Sherlock, through to 2017’s series-ending “The Final Problem.” Her credits also included U.K. series Worzel Gummidge, Till Death Us Do Part and EastEnders.
Serge Onik Dead So You Think You Can Dance
The ballroom dancer and So You Think You Can Dance contestant died in August at just 33 years old. The Ukraine native was a ballroom dance champion and competed in Season 11 of the Fox dancing competition, making the Top 20 before getting eliminated in Week 4. He also appeared on Dancing With the Stars, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agent Carter and Bones.
Nader, best known for playing Dex Dexter on the original Dynasty and Dimitri Marick on All My Children, died in August at the age of 76, after battling an untreatable form of cancer. In addition to Dynasty (where he was a cast member from 1983 to 1989) and All My Children (1991-2001, plus a brief return in 2013), Nader’s TV credits included roles on Cold Case, Law & Order: SVU, the original Flash, Magnum, P.I. and Gidget.
Veteran TV actor Asner, best known for playing Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and winner of a record-setting seven Emmy awards, passed away at the age of 91 in late August. After Mary Tyler Moore went off the air, Asner reprised his role on the CBS spinoff Lou Grant, a drama series that saw Grant working as the city editor of a Los Angeles newspaper. The actor didn’t slow down in his later years, either, putting in guest appearances on ER, The X-Files, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Good Wife and Modern Family.
NeNe Leakes, Gregg Leakes
The husband of Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes passed away of colon cancer on Sept. 1; he was 66 years old. Gregg made frequent appearances alongside NeNe on the Bravo reality show since it debuted in 2008. NeNe’s home life and marital issues became a hot topic on the show, with their divorce and remarriage and Gregg’s cancer battle all being chronicled by the reality TV cameras.
Scott, a veteran weatherman who spent 65 years at NBC and 35 as a Today show regular, passed away in early September at the age of 87. In 1959, the TV legend portrayed Bozo the Clown five days a week, and later, created the Ronald McDonald character for McDonald’s. He joined Today in 1980, where he remained until he stepped aside for Al Roker in 1996.
Michael K Williams
Michael K. Williams
Williams, who was best known for playing stickup man Omar Little on HBO’s highly acclaimed drama The Wire, was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Labor Day; the cause of death was later disclosed to be acute drug intoxication. His other TV credits included Lovecraft Country (for which he earned an Emmy nomination in 2021), Boardwalk Empire, Community, The Spoils Before Dying, The Night Of, When We Rise, Hap and Leonard and When They See Us.
The Tiger King star was found dead on Sept. 3 in an apartment in Brooklyn; he was 52 years old. Cowie worked as a zookeeper at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, formerly owned by “Joe Exotic,” and was featured in the hit Netflix documentary speaking about his time working at the zoo. He later testified against Joe Exotic at trial and appeared on the Tiger King reunion special hosted by Joel McHale.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Norm MacDonald, (Season 22, Episode 9, aired December 14, 1996), 1975-, ©NBC/co
Saturday Night Live veteran Macdonald died in September at age 61, following a private, years-long battle with an undisclosed type of cancer. The comedian was an SNL fixture from 1993 to 1998 and served as sole anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. As for his sketch work, he’s perhaps best remembered for playing Burt Reynolds, foe of Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek, on the show’s Celebrity Jeopardy! skits. Following SNL, Macdonald headlined ABC’s The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons between 1999 and 2001. He also recurred as Rusty Heck on fellow ABC comedy The Middle. More recently, he hosted the Netflix talk show Norm Macdonald Has a Show and voiced Yaphit on the Fox-turned-Hulu sci-fi saga The Orville.
Combs, a minister who gained fame while competing on the second season of Fox’s The X Factor, died in September following a brief illness. He was 49. In addition to the three episodes of The X Factor on which Combs appeared, he and his wife were featured in a 2010 TLC special called Ton of Love, which documented his weight loss struggle.
Garson, best known for playing Carrie’s gay best friend Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City and con man Mozzie on White Collar, passed away in September at the age of 57, his family confirmed. Garson had reportedly been battling cancer. The actor’s numerous other TV credits included Supergirl, Hawaii Five-0, John From Cincinnati and NYPD Blue.
Kalter, who served as announcer on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman for two decades, died in October at the age of 78. In addition to The Late Show, Kalter served as announcer on a number of game shows including To Tell the Truth and The $25,000 Pyramid, along with USA Network’s USA Saturday Nightmares and Commander USA’s Groovie Movies in the 1980s. His last televised appearance came in 2017, when Letterman was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor during a Kennedy Center PBS special.
The Oz actor passed away in October after suffering a long battle with cancer. He appeared in 48 episodes of the HBO drama, starring as Zahir Arif, a prisoner who reformed himself through Islam. Adams’ other credits include Homicide: Life on the Street and Empire.
Pearson, a professional DJ best known for participating in the first season of MTV’s Ex on the Beach, died in October after reportedly being stabbed during an altercation in Los Angeles. He was 25. Pearson appeared in all 11 episodes of Ex on the Beach‘s first U.S. season, which aired from April to June 2018. Unlike most of the other contestants, Pearson had not appeared on a reality TV show prior to hitting the Beach.
Peter Scolari Has Passed Away
Emmy-winning actor Scolari, known for his work on Bosom Buddies and Newhart, died in October following a battle with cancer. He was 66. Though Scolari received three Emmy nods for his work as Michael Harris on Newhart, he ultimately took home a trophy for HBO’s Girls, where he played Tad Horvath, the father of Lena Dunham’s Hannah. The actor’s extensive TV credits also included Ally McBeal, White Collar, The West Wing, ER, Gotham and, most recently, a recurring role on Evil, among many others.
James Michael Tyler Passed Away
James Michael Tyler
Tyler, best known for his recurring role as Central Perk manager Gunther on Friends, died Oct. 24 following a years-long battle with Stage 4 prostate cancer. He was 59 years old. He had revealed his cancer diagnosis during a June 21 interview with Today‘s Craig Melvin, disclosing that the cancer had been discovered during a routine physical when he was 56 years old. He had been treated with hormone therapy, but took a turn for the worse at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. His cancer had mutated, causing fractures in his bones and tumors up and down his spine. He was paralyzed from the waist down, and as a result chose to appear virtually during May’s Friends reunion on HBO Max.
The Below Deck Mediterranean star died in October at the age of 65. A yacht captain with nearly 30 years of experience, Howard was the captain on Season 1 of the Bravo reality series when it debuted in 2016. (In Season 2, he was replaced by captain Sandy Yawn, who has helmed every season since.)
QUANTUM LEAP, Dean Stockwell, 1989-93. © Universal Television / Courtesy: Everett Collection
Stockwell, best known for playing Admiral Al Calavicci opposite Scott Bakula’s Dr. Sam Beckett in NBC’s Quantum Leap, died in November of natural causes. He was 85. Stockwell’s Quantum Leap role earned him four Emmy nominations for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, as well as one Golden Globe win. He later recurred as the villainous John Cavil in Syfy’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica, while additional TV credits included JAG and 1997’s short-lived Tony Danza Show.
LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY, (back, from left): Phil Foster, Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Eddie Mekka, (
The actor best known for playing “The Big Ragoo” on Laverne & Shirley died in November at the age of 69. Mekka costarred as Shirley’s boxer boyfriend Carmine Ragusa, aka “The Big Ragoo,” appearing in 150 episodes from 1976 to 1983. His other TV credits include The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Family Matters, 24 and ER.
Douglas, who played The Young and the Restless patriarch John Abbott for more than three decades, died in November after a brief illness. He was 88. In addition to his time on the daytime drama, Douglas appeared in several other TV series, including Mannix, Police Woman, Mission Impossible, The Rockford Files, Cold Case, Melrose Place, Crash and Arrested Development. His film career included roles in Mommie Dearest, Avalanche and Oliver Stone’s JFK.
Hicks, a singer-songwriter who appeared on the eighth season of America’s Got Talent, died in December at the age of 23. Hicks’ mother, Jodi, told TMZ that her daughter was found lifeless at a friend’s home in Liberty, S.C. She went through the audition process for the NBC competition series in 2013 when she was just 14 years old, famously performing an original song titled “Second Chance,” which she wrote about her late father.
Nesmith, a member of the 1960s-era music group The Monkees and star of the NBC sitcom of the same name, died in December at the age of 78. The series lasted two seasons on the network, ending in 1968; Nesmith and his bandmates would continue to record and perform as The Monkees, though Nesmith officially left the group in 1970. He played reunion tours with The Monkees in 2012, and they released an album in 2016. Their final show together took place in November in Los Angeles.
The legendary NFL head coach and sportscaster died in December at the age of 85. After winning a Super Bowl as the coach of the Oakland Raiders, Madden moved to the broadcast booth in 1979, becoming a popular and trailblazing TV analyst with his enthusiastic “Boom!” commentary. He was also the face of the hit Madden video game franchise, which has sold tens of millions of copies since its 1988 debut.
The legendary actress, producer, animal-rights activist and all-around sweetheart died Friday, Dec. 31 at the age of 99. The Oak Park, Ill., native — best known for playing mantrap Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973-77) and ditzy Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (1985-92) — had most recently starred on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland (2010-2015). For her complete obituary, click here.