2021’s biggest celebrity deaths

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2021’s biggest celebrity deaths


Veteran US talk show host Larry King died in January at age 87, weeks after coming down with Covid-19. (Instagram pic)

While the following isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, here’s a selection of big-name deaths in 2021, from Britain’s Prince Philip and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, to Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim and supernatural author Anne Rice.

January



Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the iconic Las Vegas magician duo Siegfried & Roy, died at age 81 of pancreatic cancer on Jan 13, less than a year after his longtime professional and romantic partner Roy Horn passed away from Covid-related complications.

Ten days later, Larry King, the braces-sporting American talk host who interviewed everyone who was anyone, died at 87.

Cloris Leachman, whose eight acting wins tied her with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the actress with the most Emmy awards, died at 94 on Jan 27 after an almost 80-year career.

February



Former child star Dustin Diamond, who played Screech in the sitcom “Saved By The Bell”, died of cancer at age 44 on Feb 1.

Veteran Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, star of “The Sound of Music”, died on Feb 5 aged 91.

Acclaimed jazz pianist Chick Corea died from a rare form of cancer on Feb 9. He was 79.


Jessica Walter was best known to modern audiences as the acid-tongued Jessica Bluth in the cult comedy ‘Arrested Development’. (AP pic)



March

Reggae legend Bunny Wailer passed away on March 2 aged 73.

Actor George Segal, who became a household name for his television roles in the sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs”, passed away on March 23 due to complications from bypass surgery at age 87.

The following day, Jessica Walter, who played lovably acerbic characters in “Arrested Development” and “Archer”, died at age 90.

April

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the 99-year-old husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, died on April 9.

American rapper DMX, 50, died the same day.

Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the largest financial scam in history, died in jail in North Carolina on April 14 aged 82.

Two days later British actress Helen McCrory – who starred in “Peaky Blinders”, “Harry Potter” and “The Queen” – died of cancer aged 52.

May

Olympia Dukakis, the dry-witted stage and screen actress known for her Oscar-winning turn in the 1987 rom-com “Moonstruck”, died May 1 at age 89.

And on May 18, stage and screen actor, deadpan comedian and author Charles Grodin died from bone marrow cancer at the age of 86.


Olympia Dukakis, who died on May 1, was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013. (AFP pic)

June

Actor Ned Beatty, whose credits include “All the President’s Men” (1976), “Superman” (1978) and “Toy Story 3” (2010), died June 13 at age 83.

Former United States defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, died aged 88 on June 29.

July

Richard Donner, director of the first “Superman” film and as well “The Goonies”, died on July 5 aged 91.

Two days later much-loved Bollywood veteran Dilip Kumar passed away at 98.

August

Don Everly, one half of the famed Everly Brothers, died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Aug 21. He was 84.

The next day, Brian Travers, saxophonist and founding member of the British reggae-pop band UB40, died at 62 following a “heroic battle with cancer”.

Then Charlie Watts, the drummer of the Rolling Stones, died aged 80 on Aug 24.

On Aug 29, film and TV actor Ed Asner, whose credits include “The Mary Tyler Moore” show, died aged 91.

September

Renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 96, who scored the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek” and resisted military dictatorship in Greece, died on Sept 2.

Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of “Breathless” and one of postwar French cinema’s biggest names, died aged 88 on Sept 6.

Michael K Williams, who played Omar in the cult US television series “The Wire”, died on the same day of an accidental overdose at age 54 in New York.


Michael K Williams was found dead in his apartment in New York City on Sept 6. (Instagram pic)

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Norm Macdonald died on Sept 14 at age 61, after privately battling cancer for nearly a decade.

“Sex and the City” actor Willie Garson, who made a final appearance in the HBO Max sequel series “And Just Like That”, died from pancreatic cancer at age 57 on Sept 21.

October

Colin Powell, United States war hero and the first Black secretary of state whose reputation was sullied by the invasion of Iraq, died from Covid-19 complications aged 84 on Oct 18.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died at the age of 42 while working on the set of the Western film “Rust”, when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that also injured director Joel Souza.

Actor Peter Scolari, best known for his roles on the TV comedies “Bosom Buddies” and “Newhart”, died of cancer at age 66 on Oct 22.

James Michael Tyler, who played the role of barista Gunther on the hit ‘90s sitcom “Friends”, died two days later of prostate cancer at the age of 59.

November

Peter Aykroyd, former cast member of “Saturday Night Live” and brother of Dan Aykroyd, passed away at age 66 on Nov 6.

That same day, Terence Wilson, a founding member of UB40, died following a short illness. He was 64.

Dean Stockwell, who is best-remembered as the holographic sidekick on “Quantum Leap”, died age 85 on Nov 7.

Zambia-born bestselling novelist Wilbur Smith, 88, who chronicled dramatic adventures on the African continent, passed away on Nov 13.

Stephen Sondheim, Tony-award-winning Broadway composer and lyricist of “West Side Story”, died on Nov 26 at age 91.


In 2015, then US president Barack Obama presented Stephen Sondheim, who died on Nov 26, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (AFP pic)

December

Michael Nesmith, singer, songwriter, and guitarist best known for his work as a member of the Monkees, died Dec 10 at age 78.

Two days later, Anne Rice, whose vampire fiction and other stories of the sexy supernatural have enchanted readers since “Interview with a Vampire” debuted in 1976, died aged 80.

Iconic American Black feminist author bell hooks, known for her trailblazing works on the intersection of gender, race and class, died on Dec 15 at 69.

US rapper Drakeo the Ruler died after an alleged altercation during the “Once Upon a Time in LA” festival on Dec 18, where he was stabbed. He was 28.

Il Divo singer Carlos Marín died on Dec 19 at age 53, according to the remaining members of the vocal group.

And “Dallas Buyers Club” director Jean-Marc Vallee, who also drew acclaim for his work on HBO series “Big Little Lies” and “Sharp Objects”, died at age 58 on Dec 26. FMT

2021’s biggest celebrity deaths


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