Actors And Actresses We Sadly Lost In 2021

What actors and actresses did we sadly lose in 2021? Celebrity deaths, though they happen often, frequently leave fans reeling. Who hasn't felt the pinch of shock and pain of grief when a beloved celebrity dies? 

Despite how common these feelings are, many people feel ashamed or confused about why they're so sad about the death of someone they never even met. But, according to the experts, mourning a celebrity's death is completely normal because, despite the distance of the relationship, it still meant something. "[In our heads], they're never supposed to die," grief counselor Dr. Jill Gross told Well+Good. "When they die a little part of us dies, too — our innocence dies with them."

Psychologist Dr. Natalia Skritskaya also told Well + Good that, "Feelings are important, and they're not to be ignored... Feelings are signals — if you feel sad about a loss, it's a signal it had some meaning to you." That's why it's perfectly okay to grieve the loss of the lives of the actors and actresses we sadly lost in 2021.

UPDATED ON August 30, 2021: It's been a tragic year for the performing arts. We want to pay our respects and remember these amazing stars and the projects they worked on, so we've updated this list to honor the actors who made their final bow in 2021.

Jahmil French from Degrassi: Next Generation died in January 2021

According to People, Jahmil French from the Canadian TV show "Degrassi: Next Generation" died on March 1, 2021. He was only 28 years old. Though the cause of death wasn't released, French's representation and coworkers were quick to post on social media their shock and grief, as well as messages of love for the young actor. "It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of a dear friend and client Jahmil French," one of French's reps said in a statement. "He will be remembered by many for his passion for the arts, his commitment to his craft, and his vibrant personality."

Melinda Shankar, one of French's "Degrassi" costars, posted a tribute to her friend on Instagram. "You will always hold such a special place in my heart," she wrote in the caption. "Thank you for being one of the most talented, compassionate, kindest, funniest friends I have. You were so loved." 

French was also known for his work on the Netflix show "Soundtrack," in which he starred alongside Christina Milian. Milian expressed her grief over French's death by commenting on his Instagram page, "You will be missed. Rest peacefully King."

We lost Cloris Leachman to a stroke

Actress Cloris Leachman died in January 2021 at age 94. According to People, the cause of death was a stroke, with COVID-19 a contributing factor. TMZ gave additional details, noting that she was with her daughter in her home in Encinitas, California when she died. 

Leachman's career spanned decades, beginning on the stage when she made her Broadway debut in 1947 in "John Loves Mary." The powerhouse actress then made the jump to the screen, appearing in several TV shows and movies. In 1971, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for "The Last Picture Show." 

Despite her many other successes, Leachman was best-known for her depiction of Phyllis Lindstrom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in the '70s and of Maw Maw in "Raising Hope." "It's been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time," manager Juliet Green told People. "With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face." Green also added that the Leachman family was asking that donations in her name be made to Last Chance for Animals or PETA.

Ronald Pickup from The Crown died "peacefully"

Ronald Pickup, a British actor well-known for his work in the Netflix hit "The Crown," died February 24, 2021 at age 80. "[Ronald] passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family," his agent told the BBC. "He will be deeply missed." 

Though Pickup was famous for his depiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury on "The Crown" and Neville Chamberlain in the movie "The Darkest Hour," he had an awe-inspiring career on the stage and in film and TV. After working at various theaters throughout Britain, the actor got his big break when he was cast in an episode of "Doctor Who" in 1964. 

According to his IMDb page, Ronald then went on to appear in a laundry list of shows including "Call the Midwife," "Downton Abbey," "Silent Witness," "Doc Martin," and "Coronation Street." Despite his massive credit list, Pickup did reveal his favorite role in 2012 (per BBC): George Orwell in the TV movie "Crystal Spirit: Orwell on Jura." As reported by Variety, Pickup is survived by his wife, Lans Traverse, and their two children.

Mira Furlan died from West Nile virus complications

Actress Mira Furlan died from complications of the West Nile Virus on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, as reported by the BBC. She was only 65 years old. "It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of Mira Furlan," her family said in a statement. "She was a woman full of kindness, strength and compassion." The statement went on to say that Furlan "died peacefully at her home in Los Angeles, surrounded by her family." 

According to her IMDb page and the BBC, Furlan was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and starred in sci-fi hit "Babylon 5" as Delenn from 1993 to 1998. She also portrayed Danielle Rousseau on "Lost." "Babylon 5" creator J Michael Straczynski tweeted his reaction to her death, writing, "It is a night of great sadness, for our friend and comrade had gone down the road where we cannot reach her... We will catch up with her in time, and I believe she will have many stories to tell us." And as her family's statement read, "We will all continue to celebrate her life and legacy, and know she'll always be here with us."

We sadly lost Christopher Plummer from The Sound of Music in February 2021

Canadian-born, world-famous actor Christopher Plummer died in early February of 2021 at the age of 91. As reported by Variety, he was in his Connecticut home when he died. 

Though his career spanned decades and mediums, from Broadway to film, Pummer is perhaps best known as Captain von Trapp from the movie adaptation of the musical "The Sound of Music." Who doesn't love the moment when he sings "Edelweiss" with his guitar? Plummer was also an Oscar winner, taking home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2021 for the movie "Beginners." Additionally, many fans don't know that, according to his IMDb page, Plummer also voiced the evil Charles Muntz in the Pixar hit "Up." 

"Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashioned manners, self deprecating humor and the music of words," Lou Pitt, Plummer's manager, told Variety. "He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots. Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come."

Tanya Roberts from That '70s Show died

Actress Tanya Roberts, as reported by Variety, collapsed while walking her dogs on December 24, 2020. The Bond Girl was hospitalized for several days and died on the evening of Monday, January 4, 2021 from a urinary tract infection that had spread to her bloodstream and several organs. She was 65 years old. 

Roberts began her time in the spotlight as a model and stage actress, but her career really took off when she played Bond Girl Stacey Sutton in the 1985 Bond flick "A View to a Kill." The bombshell then went on to warm hearts and crack smiles as Midge Pinciotti, hippie mother to Donna, on "That '70s Show" (via IMDb). 

Another Bond Girl, Britt Ekland, tweeted about Roberts' death. "Rip Tanya Roberts, once a Bond Girl always a Bond Girl," she wrote. Don Coscarelli, who directed the "The Beastmaster," also tweeted about his grief: "I just heard the sad news that actress Tanya Roberts passed away. Tanya was a beautiful person, inside and out. I will always remember Tanya for being incredibly sweet and for her genuine love of animals."

Dustin Diamond from Saved By the Bell died of cancer

Actor Dustin Diamond of "Saved By the Bell" fame died in early February of 2021 from carcinoma; he was 44, as reported by People. "He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution," Diamond's reps shared. "Dustin did not suffer."

Diamond's rep went on to mention his checkered past. "His actions, though rebukable, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly," they explained. The rep was most likely referring to the actor's stint in jail after allegedly attacking someone with a knife, his infamous sex tape that turned out not to be of him at all, and his drama-inducing tell-all book "Behind the Bell" (as per Global News). "Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored," the rep concluded in the statement. "We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team."

We sadly lost icon Cicely Tyson in January

Cicely Tyson, a true acting legend, died at age 96 in January 2021, as reported by People. "It's very exciting to know that you are, hopefully, making a roadway for someone else to follow," the powerhouse once told People in an interview — and make a roadway she did! Tyson worked in entertainment for more than 60 years, dedicating her entire life to depicting strong, inspiring Black women.

Additionally, Cicely Tyson was the first Black woman to be awarded an honorary Oscar, as well as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for a lead role. Tyson was also nominated for an Academy Award for "Sounder." Furthermore, she scored several Emmy nominations for her work in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," "Roots," and "King" (per IMDb). Tyson also won a Tony Award in 2013 for her work in the Broadway play "The Trip to Bountiful." "I used my career as my platform in an effort to address [race and gender]," Tyson revealed. "Every now and then when I receive an achievement award I realize... the sacrifices that I made as a result were worth it."

Peter Mark Richman from Three's Company died at 93

Peter Mark Richman, an actor best known for playing Reverend Snow on "Three's Company," died at the age of 93 on Thursday, January 14, 2021, as per People. "Peter Mark's family would like to thank all those who have been expressing their condolences and admiration for his extraordinary accomplishments," Richman's reps said in a statement. "The love he gave — to everything he did, and everyone he knew — will live forever."

Peter Mark Richman really had some "extraordinary accomplishments!" The Philadelphia native was a pharmacist before he joined the Actors Studio in the '50s and began an acting career that would include over 130 television credits. 

Richman's first TV appearance was in 1956 in the show "Friendly Persuasion," but he went on to have roles in such hits as "Dynasty" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" (via IMDb). He then gathered credits in movies from "The Strange One" to "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan." Even Richman himself was aware of his amazing life, writing in his memoir "I Saw A Molten White Light," "God has been good to me, in everything" (via People).

John Reilly's cause of death is to be determined

Actor John Reilly died at age 84 on January 10, 2021, as reported by People. Reilly's daughter, Caitlin Reilly, posted a heart-wrenching tribute to her father on Instagram, writing, "The brightest light in the world has gone out... Imagine the best person in the world. Now imagine that person being your dad." 

As per Reilly's IMDb page, his acting career began in the '60s when he appeared on several then-popular TV shows like "Gunsmoke," "Death Valley Days," and "Apple's Way." However, it was his work on "General Hospital" that made Reilly famous. 

John played WSB agent Sean Donely for over 11 years, but was written off of "General Hospital" when he decided not to renew his contact in 1994. Reilly did come back as Sean Donely for a brief moment when he appeared in the spinoff "General Hospital: Night Shift" for one episode in 2008, and the "General Hospital" 50th anniversary special in 2013. "I'm so grateful I got to love him," Caitlin Reilly added. "I love you forever Daddy."

Deezer D from ER may have died from a heart attack

Dearon Thompson, better known as Deezer D, died at age 55 on Thursday, January 7, 2021. According to TMZ, Deezer D's brother found him unresponsive in his LA home. His brother also told TMZ that he believes Deezer D died of a heart attack, though as of this writing, an official cause of death hasn't been announced. However, it would make sense that Deezer D died of heart problems, as back in 2009, he told Radar Online (via The Hollywood Reporter) that he'd gone through "over 10 episodes of heart failure in the last eight months alone." The actor added, "I have a heart valve that is leaking and the aorta had expanded to way beyond what it is supposed to be." 

As per his IMDb page, Deezer D appeared in 190 episodes of the hit TV drama "ER" as nurse Malik McGrath between 1994 and 2009. In addition to his acting, Deezer D was a Christian rapper and motivational speaker. Emmery Thompson, Deezer D's brother, wrote a tribute on Instagram: "My Big Brother! God is with you. I will miss you."

Marion Ramsey from Police Academy died at 73

"Police Academy" actress Marion Ramsey died on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at the age of 73. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she died at home in Los Angeles of unreported causes. Ramsey's management team from Roger Paul Inc. sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter about the actress's death, reading, "Marion carried with her a kindness and permeating light that instantly filled a room upon her arrival. The dimming of her light is already felt by those who knew her well. We will miss her and always love her."

Marion Ramsey's first acting credit was one episode of "The Jeffersons" back in 1976, as per IMDb. And though she was a regular on "Cos," Bill Cosby's sketch show, Ramsey is perhaps best known for playing Officer Laverne Hooks in six "Police Academy" movies from 1984 to 1989. She was also a voice over actress, playing characters in cartoon TV shows like "The Addams Family" and "Robot Chicken." Ramsey was also a devoted humanitarian, helping the annual "Divas Simply Singing" event raise money to fight and prevent AIDS.

We sadly lost Trisha Noble from Star Wars

As reported by the Daily Mail, actress Trisha Noble died from mesothelioma at the age of 76 in early February of 2021. Born in Sydney, Australia, Noble was originally a singer who got her start on the Australian variety show "Bandstand." Under her singing name Patsy Ann Noble, Trisha had several pop hits down under, including "Good Looking Boy" and "Busy Lips." She was even awarded the Best Female Singer of the Year Logie — similar to an Emmy — in 1961.

It wasn't until she moved to America in 1967 that Noble became an actress. According to her IMDb profile, some of Noble's earliest credits include TV shows like "The Rockford Files," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Columbo," and "Casablanca." However, it was her work in the "Star Wars" franchise that gave Noble a cult following. She played Jobal Naberrie, mother to Natalie Portman's Padme Amidala, in "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" and "Episode III — Revenge of the Sith."

Helen McCrory from Harry Potter died from cancer

On April 16, 2021, the New York Post reported that actress Helen McCrory died at the age of 52. Her husband, Damian Lewis, had tweeted out the news, writing, "I'm heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family." 

According to the New York Post, McCrory began her work in the arts when she studied at the Drama Centre in London. She won roles in various stage productions, but moved over to film and TV in 1994 when she appeared in the movie "Interview With a Vampire." Though she also appeared in many hits like "Peaky Blinders" and the James Bond flick "Skyfall," the British actress is perhaps best known for her work as Narcissa Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." 

"She died as she lived," her husband's tweet finished. "Fearlessly. God we loved her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly."

Sopranos star Joseph Siravo died at 66 years old

Joseph Siravo from "The Sopranos" died at the age of 66 in April of 2021. His family confirmed his death in a statement to the New York Post, saying "[The] acclaimed actor, director, and teacher died on Sunday, April 11, after a long, courageous battle with colon cancer." Though Siravo was most famous for portraying Tony Soprano's gangster father in "The Sopranos," he was a prolific actor with a laundry list of credits. As per his IMDb page, Siravo was in hits like "Law & Order," as well as "The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story."

However, it was the New York actor's stage work that is perhaps the most noteworthy. According to the New York Post, Siravo played more than 2,000 performances in the national tour of "Jersey Boys" and appeared in other stage productions like "Gemini," "Oslo," "Mad Forest," and "Dark Rapture." 

"I was by his side when my dear father passed away this morning," Siravo's daughter Allegra Okarmus wrote on Instagram (via BBC). "We are both so lucky to be so intensely loved. I am so immensely grateful to have had him here on earth and I know that he hasn't gone very far."

TV and film star Barbara Shelley died at the start of the year

As reported by the The Sun, actress Barbara Shelley died at the age of 88 in early January 2021. Shelley's agent Thomas Bowington revealed that, even though she had recently been in the hospital with a COVID-19 infection, "It wasn't the COVID that took her, she had underlying issues." The actress, a beloved star from the 1950s and 1960s, was perhaps best known for her starring roles in several Hammer Horror movies like "Rasputin: The Mad Monk," "The Gorgon," and "Dracula: Prince of Darkness." 

Barbara Shelley was also part of the famous "Doctor Who" franchise, appearing in a four-part episode titled "Planet of Fire" in 1984, and she scored roles in many other TV shows from "The Saint" and "The Borgias" to "Crown Court" and "EastEnders" (via IMDb). Despite her long career, it is her horror days that make her name so recognizable. "She really was Hammer's number one leading lady and the Technicolor queen of Hammer," her agent shared (via The Sun). "On-screen she could be quietly evil. She goes from statuesque beauty to just animalistic wildness."

DMX, rapper and actor from Romeo Must Die, was reported dead after an overdose

Actor and rapper DMX, who's real name was Earl Simmons, died on April 9, 2021, after a drug overdose and subsequent coma, as per Page Six. He was only 50 years old. His family released a statement to the publication, writing, "We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one ... passed away at 50 years old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days." 

As noted by Page Six, DMX took the rap world by storm with his 1998 release "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot," a rap album that topped the charts and went platinum nearly five times. He went on to release more rap albums and earn two Grammy nominations. DMX was also an actor with almost 60 credits in shorts, movies, and TV shows, including "Belly," "Romeo Must Die," and "Fast and Fierce: Death Race" (via IMDb). 

"Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end," his family's statement read. "He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl's music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever."

Harry Potter and Chernobyl actor Paul Ritter died in April at 54

Paul Ritter, a British character actor, died in early April 2021 from a brain tumor at the age of 54, as reported by The Guardian. Ritter's agent confirmed his death and revealed that Ritter was with his family in his home when he died. With a long list of credits ranging from stage productions and sitcoms to famous mini series and movies, Ritter and his talents will surely be missed. 

Ritter was most recently in the sitcom "Friday Night Dinner" and also appeared in other famous TV shows like "Catherine the Great" and the award-winning series "Chernobyl," as well as many hit movies like the James Bond flick "Quantum of Solace" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" (via IMDb). In addition to his screen work, Ritter was also an accomplished stage actor, snagging nominations for an Olivier award and a Tony award, as per The Guardian. "Devastated at this terribly sad news," Robert Popper, the creator of "Friday Night Dinner," tweeted. "Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with."

Actor Richard Gilliland left behind 'scores of loving, devastated friends'

As reported by Page Six, 71-year-old actor Richard Gilliland died on March 18, 2021. According to a statement from his representatives, he was briefly ill before he died. An accomplished character actor, Gilliland had been working in TV and film since 1974, as per his IMDb page. He had roles in popular series like "The Waltons," "Party of Five," "24," "Desperate Housewives," and "The Imposters." He was also known for his work in "Operation Petticoat," "The Love Boat," and more.

Some might argue that Gilliland's favorite role was that of husband and father. According to an interview his wife, Jean Smart, did with Northwest Prime Time, the pair met when "he was kissing someone else" while filming for "Designing Women," on which she starred. They married in 1987, and, as per Page Six, had two children together: Connor and Bonnie. In addition to his wife and children, Gilliland also left behind two sisters, a brother, and "scores of loving, devastated friends."

Arrested Development fans lost an icon when Jessica Walter died

Deadline confirmed that Jessica Walter from "Arrested Development" died in her sleep on March 24, 2021. Walter's daughter, Brooke Bowman, released a statement, sharing, "A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through her storytelling both on screen and off. While her legacy will live on through her body of work, she will also be remembered by many for her wit, class and overall joie de vivre."

Walter did have a prolific career. In addition to her portrayal of Lucille Bluth in "Arrested Development," she won hearts in big movies like "Play Misty for Me," "The Flamingo Kid," and "Grand Prix," and memorably voiced Mallory Archer in "Archer," as per her IMDb page. Walter also won awards, scoring two Golden Globe nominations, three SAG nominations, three Emmy nominations, and one Emmy win for the lead role in "Amy Prentiss." 

Her "Arrested Development" co-star Jason Bateman tweeted, "What an incredible career, filled with amazing performances. I will forever remember my time with her, watching her bring Lucille Bluth to life. She was one of a kind."

George Segal from The Goldbergs died at age 87

As reported by the New York Post, actor George Segal died at the age of 87 on March 23, 2021. His wife, Sonia Segal, confirmed he died from "complications from bypass surgery." While Segal had a long, long career on both stage and screen, he is best known for playing Nick in the movie version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," a role that would win him an Oscar nomination. The talented man was also nominated for three Golden Globes and took home two Golden Globe wins, one for "A Touch of Class" and another for "The New Interns."

More recently, Segal brought Albert "Pops" Solomon to life on the hit ABC sitcom "The Goldbergs." Adam F. Goldberg, the series creator, tweeted his despair over the loss, writing, "Today we lost a legend. It was a true honor being a small part of George Segal's amazing legacy. By pure fate, I ended up casting the perfect person to play Pops. Just like my grandfather, George was a kid at heart with a magical spark."

Felix Silla, Cousin Itt on The Addams Family, died from cancer

Actor Felix Silla was perhaps most famous for a role in which audiences never got to see his face or hear his voice: Cousin Itt on "The Addams Family." According to IMDb, Silla played the creepy family member for 17 episodes, stealing scenes with his floor-length hair, bowler hat, and incredible physical comedy. Though he was less than four feet tall, as per The New York Times, Silla was not at all short on personality or acting chops. The actor was also an Ewok in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," made an appearance in the "Star Wars" spoof "Spaceballs," and went unseen in other parts like that of a robot on the TV show "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."

Sadly, as reported by The New York Times, Silla died from cancer on April 16, 2021. He was 84 years old. The actor is survived by his wife and his daughter.

Tawny Kitaen from Bachelor Party died at age 59

Actress Tawny Kitaen died early May of 2021 at age 59, according to USA Today. While that publication reported her official cause of death was yet to be released, her brother told TMZ that he believes his sister died because she couldn't cope with the recent death of their father. "We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom," her children, Wynter and Raine, wrote on Instagram. "We just want to say thank you ... for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever."

Kitaen's most famous acting role was as Tom Hanks' fiancée in "Bachelor Party," but, according to her IMDb page, she also appeared in other hits like "Seinfeld," "Witchboard," and "Crystal Heart." But, as per USA Today, the actress was perhaps more famous for starring in several music videos in the '80s, including "Here I Go Again" and "Still of the Night" by Whitesnake and "Back for More" by Ratt.

Beethoven star Charles Grodin died from bone marrow cancer

As reported by The New York Times, actor Charles Grodin died in May of 2021 at his home in Connecticut from bone marrow cancer. He was 86 years old. Grodin had a very successful acting career that he credits to the Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift movie "A Place in the Sun." "It was two things," he told the Television Academy Foundation. "One is I think I developed an overwhelming crush on Elizabeth Taylor. And two, Montgomery Clift made acting look like, 'Well, gee, that looks pretty easy — just a guy talking.'" While the all-American comedian had lots of roles in movies like "Catch-22," "The Heartbreak Kid," "Heaven Can Wait," and "Midnight Run," as per IMDb, his most famous role was opposite a giant, drooling dog in the family comedy "Beethoven."

Grodin also had a long list of Broadway credits, including the famous Bernard Slade play "Same Time, Next Year," according to The New York Times. The publication also noted that he had his own talk show, collected more than 70 appearances on other talk shows, and even won an Emmy for a television special.

Samuel E. Wright, the voice of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, died from prostate cancer

While most people remember him best as the bossy Jamaican crab Sebastian in Disney's "The Little Mermaid," Samuel E. Wright was so much more than that. As reported by The New York Times, the prolific actor was in eight Broadway shows, and originating the role of Mufasa in the stage musical "The Lion King" — for which he won a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Wright was also in many other shows and movies like "All My Children" and "Law & Order," as per IMDb

But no one will ever deny how much he was loved for bringing Sebastian to life in "The Little Mermaid" and other spinoff movies, TV shows, and specials. Sadly, as per The New York Times, Wright died in 2021 at the age of 72 from prostate cancer. "Maybe not every actor would say this, but if I didn't want to be immortal I wouldn't be acting," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I do want to make my little mark on the world." Thanks to a singing cartoon crab and other memorable performances, he did.

Kevin Clark from School of Rock died after being hit by a car

"School of Rock" actor Kevin Clark died after being hit by a car in May of 2021. As reported by Chicago Sun Times, the former child star was riding his bike in the Northwest Side neighborhood of Chicago when he was hit. While paramedics took him to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, he was pronounced dead about an hour later. "The world lost an amazing soul," Clark's "School of Rock" costar Miranda Cosgrove wrote on Instagram. "I'll always remember your spirit and how kind you were to me. I'll never forget all the memories ..."

According to his IMDb page, "School of Rock" was the only movie Clark ever made. After, he turned his attention to music, writing songs, teaching kids at a School of Rock, and forming bands, as per Chicago Sun Times. The publication also reported that he'd recently started a new band that was gaining traction. "He told his bandmates just yesterday: 'You know, this is finally the life I want to live. And we're going to make it. You're my musical family — my family — and we're all going to make it,'" his mother, Allison Clark, told Chicago Sun Times.

The Love Boat's Gavin MacLeod died at age 90

Actor Gavin MacLeod, best known for "The Love Boat" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," died in May of 2021. According to The New York Times, the exact cause of his death is unknown, but his nephew did confirm MacLeod had been suffering from health issues before he died. As The New York Times also reported, the actor was almost 40 years old and seriously down on his luck when he auditioned for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1970. Though he was brought in for the role of Lou Grant, he asked if he could be considered for the role of Murray — which he booked. He went on to play Murray for 168 episodes of the comedy hit, according to IMDb. "Murray represented all the brown-baggers — not just in newsrooms, but in all sorts of professions," MacLeod wrote in his autobiography (via The New York Times). "People felt they knew me."

Right after "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," MacLeod scored the lead in "The Love Boat," bringing Captain Stubing to life from 1977 to 1987. He also had credits in other TV shows like "Perry Mason," "Combat!," and "Death Valley Days."

Romy Walthall of Face/Off died at age 57 from sudden cardiac arrest

Actress and model Romy Walthall died on May 19, 2021 from "sudden cardiac arrest," as reported by Variety. She was 57 years old. "I've resigned myself to the fact that there will never be any appropriate combination of earthly words to accurately describe my mother," Walthall's daughter wrote in an Instagram post, noting, "She was the most beautiful woman I've ever seen and she was wicked and fun and light and dark and she possessed the kind of magic that you truly just don't see."

According to Variety, Walthall got her start in the world of entertainment when she was just 17, working as a model in Europe. As per her IMDb page, one of her first movies was the thriller "Thief of Hearts." She later found the horror genre suited her, as she went on to famously star in a number of horror movies including "Howling IV: The Original Nightmare" and "The House of Usher." She also played John Travolta's secretary in "Face/Off," and scored many TV roles in shows like "The X-Files," "Camp Nowhere," "Quantum Leap," and "Love Boat: The Next Wave."

Arlene Golonka from The Andy Griffith Show died from Alzheimer's complications

Actress Arlene Golonka was perhaps most famous for warming hearts with her cheery, adorable portrayal of Millie Hutchins on the last season of "The Andy Griffith Show," according to IMDb. She ended up reprising her role in the CBS spinoff "Mayberry R.F.D." for three seasons, but that was far from the end of her career. She also appeared on other hit TV shows like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "M*A*S*H," and "All in the Family," as well as movies like "The Busy Body," "Airport '77," and "The End of Innocence." Golonka's stage career was equally impressive with Broadway credits like "Take Me Along," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and "Come Blow Your Horn."

Sadly, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Golonka died in her sleep at age 85 in June of 2021. She was in a memory care facility as she'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Clarence Williams III from Mod Squad died from colon cancer

The New York Times reported that actor Clarence Williams III died from colon cancer in early June of 2021 at age 81. Williams, also reported by The New York Times, was one of the stars of "Mod Squad" from 1968 to 1973 — making him one of the first Black actors with a lead role on a TV show. The procedural followed three "hippies" who were arrested and then found themselves on the other side of the interrogation table when they became plainclothes police officers.

The intense, engaging actor perhaps drew on his time in the military for his role in "Mod Squad," as, according to the same article, he was a paratrooper for the 101st Airborne Division before he fell into acting. Williams often performed on the stage, earning himself a Tony nomination for his work in "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground." As per his IMDb page, he also appeared in many movies from "Purple Rain" and "Sugar Hill" to "52 Pick-Up," and had small roles on almost 40 TV shows other than "Mod Squad," including "Hill Street Blues" and "Empire."

Ernie Lively, actor and father of Blake Lively, died in June of 2021

According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor and father Ernie Lively died of "cardiac complications" in June of 2021 at age 74. People previously wrote that he'd had an innovative surgery back in 2013 in which a surgeon injected stem cells into his heart to help heal damaged arteries. 

While Lively was famous for roles in big TV and movie hits like "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Turner & Hooch," "The West Wing," The Beverly Hillbillies," and "Passenger 57," The Hollywood Reporter also stated that he didn't get his start in Hollywood until after he served in Vietnam, earned the rank of Captain in the Marine Corps, and worked as an English professor. People also reported that Lively fathered five kids, all of whom have their own successful acting careers. Perhaps his most famous daughter, though, is actress Blake Lively, who he acted with in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2."

Deliverance actor Ned Beatty died at age 83

Actor Ned Beatty died at age 83 from natural causes in June 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Beatty is perhaps best remembered for his role in "Deliverance," the unforgettable survival story that sent waves through Hollywood in 1972. However, as The Hollywood Reporter also stated, Beatty only got the role that made him famous because he flirted with another man's wife at a lunch. "I was quite the heel," he told CBS (via The Hollywood Reporter), "and I think that's what [director] John Boorman liked. He said he thought I was the rudest person he had ever met."

Beyond "Deliverance," Beatty also starred in movies like "Mikey and Nicky," "Exorcist II: The Heretic," "1941," and "Charlie Wilson's War," according to IMDb. The actor was also the voice of the villainous Lotso in "Toy Story 3," and got an Oscar nomination for his role in "Network," even though he was only in the movie for about six minutes, as per The Hollywood Reporter.

Max Rosenthal, actor and Holocaust survivor, died at age 95

If everybody loves Phil Rosenthal, the creator of hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," then everyone really loves his father, Max Rosenthal. Rosenthal was a beloved actor, stealing scenes with a recurring role on his son's sitcom, as per IMDb. But he was also beloved just for being himself, as, according to Entertainment Weekly, he popped up in several episodes of the PBS show "I'll Have What Phil's Having" and the Netflix hit "Somebody Feed Phil," telling jokes and warming hearts. Rosenthal wasn't just a great actor and provider of jokes — he was also a Holocaust survivor. As reported by The New York Jewish Week, Rosenthal got out of Germany right after Kristallnacht, a night in 1938 during which Nazis burned Jewish property and killed around 100 people, via History

The world lost a true treasure when, in June of 2021, Rosenthal died at the age of 95. "As heartbroken as we are, we are so grateful that he was our dad, our grandpa, our friend, our favorite and funniest TV star," his son wrote on Instagram, adding, "You live on forever in us, your family, and the friends you've made around the world."

Suzzanne Douglas from When They See Us died in July of 2021

While Suzzanne Douglas had a long, successful career, she most recently fell into the public eye when she played Grace Cuffee in the Netflix hit "When They See Us," a dramatic miniseries about the Central Park Five. Her IMDb page also notes that she starred in the sitcom "The Parent 'Hood" from 1995 to 1999, as well as "School of Rock," "Bones," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," and "The Good Wife." 

Sadly, Douglas' agent told USA Today that she died in early July of 2021, issuing a statement that read: "The industry has lost a truly gifted and talented artist ... She touched everyone who knew her and was lovely in every sense of the word." The actress' PR representative later confirmed to USA Today that she died from cancer. She was 64 years old. "Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force ... A gentlewoman. A gem of a lady," "When They See Us" creator Ava DuVernay tweeted. "A confident, caring actor who breathed life into the words and made them shimmer. ... May she journey on in peace and love."

Lisa Banes from Gone Girl died after a hit-and-run accident

"Gone Girl" actress Lisa Banes died in June of 2021 from head injuries she sustained in a hit-and-run scooter accident in NYC, as reported by The New York Times. Banes was crossing the street on Manhattan's Upper West Side when she was hit by a scooter that had run the red light. The actress was hospitalized for 10 days before she died. In August, a man was arrested and charged with "leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and failure to yield to a pedestrian," as NBC News reported.

Though films like "Gone Girl" made her famous, Banes was a prolific stage actress with many Broadway credits from "Rumors" and "Arcadia" to "High Society" and "Present Laughter," as per The New York Times. According to IMDb, she also had more than 80 roles in film and TV, including "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill," "Royal Pains," "Nashville," and "The Orville." "Her stage presence, magnetism, skill and talent were matched only by her unwavering kindness and graciousness toward all of us," "The Orville" creator and star Seth MacFarlane tweeted. "A tremendous loss ..."

Robert Downey Sr., actor and father of Robert Downey Jr., died in his sleep

As per an Instagram post from Robert Downey Jr., his father, Robert Downey Sr., died in his sleep in July of 2021. The post details that Downey Sr. had been suffering from Parkinson's for several years and "remained remarkably optimistic throughout."

Downey Jr. also called his father a "true maverick filmmaker," as Downey Sr. worked in film for most of his life as both an actor and a director. According to Variety, the filmmaker directed the cult classic "Putney Swope," a satirical, dark comedy about an African American activist who ends up in charge of a Madison Avenue ad agency. Downey Sr. also acted in a collection of hit movies like "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia," and "The Family Man," as well as several popular TV shows like "The Twilight Zone," "Tales of the City," and "1st & Ten," as per IMDb. Variety also reported that he was married three times, and is survived by wife Rosemary Rodgers-Downey, son Downey Jr., and daughter Allyson Downey.

Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis died at age 89

With over 120 acting credits to her name, according to IMDb, it's easy to say that Olympia Dukakis was a legend. The actress' first onscreen role was in 1962 in the TV show "The Doctors and the Nurses," and she went on to make appearances in big hits like "Steel Magnolias," "Look Who's Talking," and "Tales of the City." IMDb also notes that she won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for "Moonstruck" in 1987.

Sadly, as per The New York Times, Dukakis died in early May 2021 at the age of 89. She is survived by her three children and four grandchildren. "Maybe good fortune comes to you for the same reason as bad," she once remarked to The Guardian, adding, "You learn a lot of things when you're struggling, and other things when you're what the world calls successful. Or perhaps it's just something that happens. Some days it's cold and some days [it's] hot."

Comedian Paul Mooney died from a heart attack

According to E! News, comedian and actor Paul Mooney died at age 79 on May 19, 2021. "Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him after he suffered a heart attack," his publicist said in a statement obtained by E! News. She added that he had been "staying with a family member who was a caregiver" and "had declining health that came with age."

Mooney was a successful writer, comedian, and actor with a career spanning more than 40 years. As per IMDb, he acted in TV shows and movies like "Hollywood Shuffle," "Chappelle's Show," and "Judge Mooney." He was also a writer on big hits like "The Richard Pryor Show," "The Roseanne Show," and "In Living Color." Stars took to social media to remember the comedian, with Viola Davis tweeting, "You were both funny and poignant. So happy to have witnessed your genius live. Rest well!" Holly Robinson Peete wrote, "Few people made me laugh the way Paul Mooney did. He was a brilliant comedian and writer. You will be so missed."

Actor Joe Lara, his wife, and five other people died in a plane crash

Actor Joe Lara, wife Gwen Shamblin Lara, and five other people died in a plane crash in late May 2021. According to New York Daily News, the plane was going from a small airport outside of Nashville to Palm Beach when it crashed into Percy Priest Lake in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The publication also reported that the local fire and rescue team are investigating the accident, but it "can take up to one to two years to complete."

Lara had a long acting career spanning from 1988 to 2018, as per IMDb. He was most famous for playing the titular character in "Tarzan in Manhattan," and then reprising that role in "Tarzan: The Epic Adventures," the name of both a TV series and a TV movie. Lara also had roles in other projects like "Conan," "The Magnificent Seven," and "Death Game." In a tribute on what appears to be the actor's Instagram page, a post read, "Joe's life was full of love, laughter and fun!"

Mani actor Daniel Mickelson was only 23 when he died

As per Deadline, model and actor Daniel Mickelson died at the age of 23 on July 4, 2021. His sister, model Meredith Mickelson, wrote a tribute to him on her Instagram, saying, "My heart is shattered & to write this feels so wrong and I don't even know what to say. Yesterday I lost my brother, best friend & the other half of my heart."

Deadline reported that Mickelson had launched a clothing line in January 2021 called Kids Back Home. In addition to his modeling and fashion career, Mickelson was also an actor. According to IMDb, he was in the horror flick "The Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man" and also had a recurring role in the TV series "Mani." "[There are] no words that can do him justice that I could write. To know him was to love him," his sister's Instagram post went on. "He was the happiest brightest smiley most sunshine human to exist and I'm so happy God chose me to be his sister for his whole amazing life."

Biz Markie, rapper and Men in Black actor, died from an unknown illness

According to NPR, rapper and actor Biz Markie died in July of 2021 from an unknown illness. His manager, Jenni Izumi, told the publication that he'd been sick "for months," but otherwise did not give a specific cause of death. He was 57 years old.

Born Marcel Theo Hall, Markie took the hip-hop scene by storm for decades, especially with his 1989 smash single "Just a Friend," as noted by NPR. In addition to being a celebrated rap artist, Markie was also a successful actor. His IMDb page lists 31 acting credits, including "Men in Black II," the popular children's series "Yo Gabba Gabba," and the comedy show "Crank Yankers," on which he was the announcer. As his manager told NPR, "Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years."

Action star William Smith died in July 2021

William Smith, famous for taking on Hollywood big-wigs in film fights, died at age 88 in July 2021. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the actor's wife did not reveal the cause of death. The Hollywood Reporter also gave clear reasoning behind Smith's success as an action star — he was built for it. Coming in at over six feet tall with 18-inch biceps, the actor could do 5,100 sit-ups in a row at the height of his career, had a martial arts black belt, and was even an arm-wrestling aficionado.

One of Smith's most famous fights was in the movie "Darker Than Amber," in which he battled Rod Taylor in an incredibly violent and realistic scene. "Fight choreography and staging went out the window when Rod decided to really hit me," Smith said in a 2010 interview (via THR), adding, "That was a real fight with real blood and real broken bones." He also famously fought Clint Eastwood in "Any Which Way You Can," and, as per his IMDb page, Smith appeared in more than 270 other projects throughout his career.

Actor and Mr. Universe Mike Mitchell died at age 65

As reported by Deadline, actor and former Mr. Universe Mike Mitchell died in July 2021 while on a boat off the coast of Turkey. He was only 65 years old, and, as per the publication, his family stated his death was from "natural causes." He is survived by his wife, Denise Mitchell, and their children.

Mitchell began his time in the public eye as a bodybuilder. As noted by Deadline, he was named Mr. Universe, Masters Mr. World (five times), winner of the World Fitness Federation Fitness World Championships, and winner of the World Fitness Federation's Living Legend Award. He was able to turn his bodybuilding into a successful acting career, with his first acting gig being an uncredited fighter in "Gladiator." In total, he accrued over 30 acting credits in works like "Braveheart," "Apocalypse Z," "One Day Removals," and "Dragon Kingdom," as per IMDb.

Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma actor Saginaw Grant died at age 85

Saginaw Grant was a longtime actor famous for portraying Native Americans in movies and TV shows. As per his IMDb page, Grant acted since 1988 in over 50 projects, including hits like "The Lone Ranger," "The World's Fastest Indian," and "Breaking Bad." As reported by NPR, he was also the hereditary chief of the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma and an avid participant in the California powwow scene. The actor and activist even traveled around the world to help teach people about Indigenous American culture, and, as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was also involved in the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans and worked to get Indigenous Americans recognition for their military service.

Sadly, NPR reported that Grant died in his sleep of "natural causes" in August 2021. He was 85 years old. Lani Carmichael, Grant's publicist, told the publication, "His motto in life was always respect one another and don't talk about one another in a negative way."

Soap star Jay Pickett died on a movie set

As per USA Today, Jay Pickett died in Idaho on set for the movie "Treasure Valley" in late July 2021 at the age of 60. According to a Facebook post on the movie's page, the soap star was on a horse waiting to film a scene when he collapsed. "There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack," the film's director Travis Mills wrote. "Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy."

Pickett was a successful soap opera actor with a long acting career spanning 34 years. He had memorable roles on TV hits like "General Hospital," "Days of Our Lives" and "Port Charles," as well as more modern shows like "Queen Sugar" and "NCIS: Los Angeles," according to IMDb. "Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person," Pickett's friend Jim Heffel wrote on Facebook. "Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer ... The way of a true cowboy."

Markie Post from Night Court died from cancer

Markie Post died from cancer in August of 2021 at age 70, as per Deadline. The actress had been living with the disease for almost four years. She's survived by her husband and two daughters, as well as one young granddaughter.

Post had a long and successful acting career that began in the late 1970s with small roles in TV shows like "The Incredible Hulk" and "The Lazarus Syndrome," according to IMDb. She went on to collect 76 acting credits, including her most famous roles on TV like "The Fall Guy" and "Night Court," the latter on which she played Christine Sullivan for 159 episodes. More recently, the actress appeared in hits like "Scrubs," "Chicago P.D.," and "There's Something About Mary." "Our pride is in who she was in addition to acting," her family wrote in a statement, as shared by Deadline. "A person who made elaborate cakes for friends, sewed curtains for first apartments and showed us how to be kind, loving and forgiving in an often harsh world."

Comedian Trevor Moore died in an accident

As reported by Deadline, actor Trevor Moore died in early August of 2021. He was only 41 years old. As of this writing, there is little information in regards to his cause of death other than it was an "accident." Moore was an actor, comedian, writer, and producer best known for co-founding the sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U Know. Some of his other credits include his Comedy Central show "The Trevor Moore Show," "The Midnight Show," "Breaking In," and "Just Roll With It," as per IMDb. According to Deadline, Moore was also the world's youngest published cartoonist, as he published his cartoon book "Scraps" when he was only 12 years old.

Moore is survived by a wife, Aimee Carlson, and a son, August. "He was known as a writer and comedian to millions, and yet to us he was simply the center of our whole world," his wife said in a statement (vid Deadline). "We don't know how we'll go on without him, but we're thankful for the memories we do have that will stay with us forever."

Jane Withers, aka the other Shirley Temple, died at age 95

Nearly everyone remembers Shirley Temple. But what about the other child stars of that era like Jane Withers? According to NPR, Withers got her big break when, in 1934, she was cast as the foil to Shirley Temple in the movie "Bright Eyes." "I had to play the meanest, creepiest little girl that God ever put on this planet," Withers shared in 2000. "I ran over Shirley with a tricycle, and a baby buggy. And I thought, 'Oh dear, everybody's going to hate me forever because I was so creepy mean to Shirley Temple!'" Luckily, it wasn't so.

Withers went on to be the "B list" Temple, starring in movies like "Ginger," "Paddy O'Day," "Little Miss Nobody," "Wild and Woolly" and "The Arizona Wildcat," according to her IMDb page. As reported by NPR, she was one of the biggest draws for movie-goers in both 1936 and 1937. Withers continued to act throughout her life, even earning the role of "Josephine the Plumber" in Comet commercials ​​in the '60s and '70s and voicing characters on "Looney Tunes." Sadly, Withers died in August of 2021 at the age of 95.

Tony winner Jackie Mason died in Manhattan

The famous — and often infamous — comedian and actor Jackie Mason died in July of 2021 in Manhattan at age 93, as reported by The New York Times. The publication detailed how Mason's background as a rabbi fed his comedy routines, allowing him to share his opinions of the world through whip-smart, cutting, and always hilarious observations. "My humor — it's a man in a conversation, pointing things out to you," he explained to The New York Times in a 1988 interview. "I see life with love — I'm your brother up there — but if I see you make a fool out of yourself, I owe it to you to point that out to you."

Mason was most famous for his one-man plays. "The World According to Me!" ran for two years on Broadway and led to a Tony Award and an Emmy for writing. According to IMDb, he also had roles in movies like "The Jerk," and he voiced Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on "The Simpsons."

Sherlock's Una Stubbs died in Scotland

British actress Una Stubbs died in Edinburgh in August of 2021 at age 84, as reported by The New York Times. Though Stubbs had a long and successful career, she was perhaps most famous for her portrayal of housekeeper Mrs. Hudson in the BBC's "Sherlock" starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The sweet and sassy actress often stole the show as Mrs. Hudson, winning over the audience with her sarcasm and endless quips. Interestingly, Mrs. Hudson was a rather small character in the original "Sherlock Holmes" books, so Stubbs and the "Sherlock" team got to get creative. The actress even drew from her own experiences as a mother for the character. "I am the mother of three sons, so I thought that would be a good angle to go on," Stubbs told The New York Times in a 2016 interview. "I once told Benedict that my sons go straight to the fridge and make themselves sandwiches, and he did that in one episode."

In addition to her work on "Sherlock," Stubbs had a long list of credits with roles on the likes of "EastEnders," "Fawlty Towers," "Starlings," "Call the Midwife," "The Worst Witch," and the sitcom "Till Death Us Do Part," as per IMDb.

Ed Asner from Up and The Mary Tyler Moore Show died at age 91

As per The New York Times, actor Ed Asner died at the age of 91 on August 29, 2021. His family announced his death on Twitter, writing, "We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully. Words cannot express the sadness we feel." Asner, according to IMDb, had over 400 acting credits from over 64 years in the entertainment business. His first role was in 1957, a small part in a TV show called "Studio One," and some of his last appearances were in "Grace and Frankie," "Cobra Kai," and "Dead to Me."

Asner was perhaps most famous for two roles: the grumpy yet adorable Carl in "Up" and the flat yet hilarious Lou Grant in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the spinoff "Lou Grant." As reported by The New York Times, he was the first actor to win both comedic and dramatic Emmys for the same character, as he won multiple times for playing Lou Grant on the original show and the spinoff. Actor and comedian Tom Arnold wrote on Twitter, "My friend Ed Asner was everything I've always wanted to be. Actor, author, activist, warm, lovable, gruff, lefty, patriot and a great father."

Comedian Norm Macdonald has a secret cancer diagnosis

Among hardcore comedy circles, the name Norm Macdonald elicits reverence and awe. A comedian's comedian, Macdonald was never more comfortable than when he was standing on a stage, microphone in hand, riffing on whatever absurdity popped into his hilariously skewed mind. Sadly, Macdonald was taken from us far too soon, dying at age 61 after nearly decade-long battle with cancer that he kept hidden from public view, as Variety reported.

The Canadian native's comedy brilliance landed him a role in the "Roseanne" writers' room before catching the eye of "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels. Not only was he hired for the cast, Macdonald was placed behind the coveted anchor desk on "Weekend Update." It was there, delivering the "fake news," that Macdonald truly shone, eliciting equal parts laughter and horrified gasps for his take-no-prisoners evisceration of the O.J. Simpson murder trial (which, according to "SNL" lore, led him to be abruptly fired from the show).

Macdonald also established himself as an actor, with highlights including the big-screen cult comedy "Dirty Work," his underrated TV sitcom "Norm," and many more TV roles. His death left the world a far less funny place.

Michael K. Williams will always be known for his fiercely indelible performance in The Wire

Michael K. Williams, a veteran of both television and film, tragically died in September 2010 at age 54 of a suspected drug overdose, according to BBC News. The late actor's IMDb page lists numerous film and TV credits, including memorable performances in HBO's "Lovecraft Country" as well as in the devastating Netflix account of the Central Park Five, "When They See Us," and in "Boardwalk Empire," in which he played Prohibition-era gangster Chalky White.

Despite those and other wildly memorable roles, one performance will forever define Williams: the murderously fierce, openly gay stickup man Omar Little on "The Wire," notorious for fearlessly ripping off Baltimore's toughest drug dealers in the gritty crime drama. Among the many iconic characters in "The Wire" — widely considered to be one of the most perfect TV shows ever made — there's little argument that Omar looms above them all, thanks to Williams' indelible portrayal.

As Williams recalled during a 2016 appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," being cast in "The Wire" proved to be a pivotal moment in his life. Playing Omar, he admitted, "put me on the radar a little bit," he said. "It was my breakout role, basically. Definitely changed my life."

French screen icon Jean-Paul Belmondo died at 88

No actor is more associated with the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s than Jean-Paul Belmondo, who was 88 when he died in France; a cause of death was not revealed. Throughout his lengthy screen career, noted the Associated Press in his obituary, Belmondo appeared in more than 80 movies. Among the acclaimed directors Belmondo worked with were Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, with his breakthrough coming in the latter's groundbreaking 1960 classic "Breathless."

"Breathless," in fact, propelled Belmondo to a level of international fame he never anticipated; as The New Yorker noted, he'd envisioned a career on the stage, not the screen. From that early success, Belmondo went on to demonstrate a versatility that ensured a long-lasting career, with roles ranging from ice-cool adventure hero in 1964's "That Man From Rio," comedic action star in 1981's "The Professional," and Jean Valjean in a 1995 adaptation of "Les Misérables."  

Accepting the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion lifetime achievement award in 2016, reported Reuters, Belmondo looked back at his career with satisfaction. "I would say I've done everything I wanted to," he said.

Night Court star Charles Robinson was a familiar face on TV screens for decades

When Charles Robinson lost his battle with cancer at age 75 in July 2021, he left behind an impressive body of film, television and stage work spanning from the early 1970s until the year of his death, as Deadline reported. From his first screen role, a small part in the Jack Nicholson-directed "Drive, He Said" in 1971, Robinson went on to become a staple of television screens, particularly during the '80s and '90s. His biggest success, however, came when he was cast as acerbic, wisecracking courtroom clerk Mac Robinson in the second season of NBC sitcom "Night Court," sticking with the show until it concluded its nine-season run.

While he never recaptured that level of success, Robinson continued to work steadily in television, particularly in sitcoms, appearing in such series as "Home Improvement," "Hart of Dixie," and "The Guest Book."

In a statement issued after his death, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, Robinson's widow, Dolorita Noonan-Robinson, described her late husband as "truly the working actor's actor, and of all his passions, his craft took center stage, with his family being the wind beneath his wings, so he could soar to unbelievable heights!"

Frank Bonner is best remembered as WKRP's sleazy salesman Herb Tarlek

Frank Bonner died in June 2021, with The New York Times reporting in an obituary that he died from the effects of Lewy body dementia at age 79. Launching his acting career in the 1960s, Bonner's IMDb page lists numerous guest-starring roles in TV series during the 1970s, ranging from "Police Woman" to "Love, American Style."

Bonner landed his breakthrough role in 1978, cast as polyester-clad radio sales rep Herb Tarlek in sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati." Reflecting the most garish fashion trends of the late '70s, Herb favored plaid leisure suits and fancied himself a suave ladies man — when he was anything but. After playing Herb for the entirety of the series' four-season run, he reprised the role a decade later in a short-lived revival, "The New WKRP in Cincinnati."

In addition to his acting, Bonner also established himself behind the camera. As The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, he directed six episodes of "WKRP," and went on to direct a number of other TV series, including "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," "Family Ties," "Who's the Boss?" and all 105 episodes of NBC sitcom "City Guys."

Legendary actor Norman Lloyd's career spanned an incredible nine decades

The world of showbiz lost a true legend with the death of Norman Lloyd at age 106 in May 2021. As Deadline's obituary recounted, he launched his career in the 1930s as a member of Orson Welles' famed Mercury Theatre, while his final role was playing the feisty resident of a seniors' home in Amy Schumer's 2015 comedy "Trainwreck."

In the numerous decades in between, Lloyd rubbed elbows with such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin. In addition to his voluminous screen credits, Lloyd also starred in 12 Broadway productions and directed two. On the big screen, Lloyd is remembered for his roles in such films as "The Age of Innocence" and "Dead Poets Society." On television, Lloyd appeared in series ranging from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in the 1950s to a 2010 episode of ABC sitcom "Modern Family." However, Lloyd was best known for playing Dr. Daniel Auschlander on quirky medical drama "St. Elsewhere," which ran from 1982 to 1988.

In a 2015 interview with The Telegraph, Lloyd attributed his longevity to luck, not lifestyle. "I eat everything, except shellfish," he said. "I drink wine, and I have a shot of whiskey before dinner."

Bond villain Yaphet Kotto was an imposing screen presence

Yaphet Kotto's death at age 81 in March 2021 closed the curtain on acting career that encompassed film, television, and theater. According to Variety, Kotto made his professional stage debut at 19 in a production of Shakespeare's "Othello," and he went on to star in "The Great White Hope" on Broadway.

As his IMDb roster of screen credits illustrates, during the late 1960s, he appeared in numerous bit parts in TV series such as "Bonanza" and "Hawaii Five-O" before being cast in a groundbreaking breakthrough role as the first Black Bond villain in the 1973 007 film "Live and Let Die." His other notable films included the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic "Alien" and the title role in a 1980 film adaptation of "Othello," reportedly the first time the Moorish character had been portrayed on screen by a Black actor. On television, he starred as Al Giardello in all seven seasons of crime drama "Homicide: Life on the Street."

In a 2015 interview with The Big Issue, Kotto reflected on the trailblazing roles he chose. "That was my plan, to play parts that would open up the doors for others, and it worked," he said.