Baby Boomers

Notable Deaths of 2021

May they Rest in Peace.

Hank Aaron
Former Atlanta Braves’ slugger Hank Aaron, at a pregame ceremony in 2017.

HANK AARON🔹

Baseball great Hank Aaron was born on Feb. 5, 1934, in Mobile on the wrong side of segregation. He died on Jan. 22, 2021, as a national icon at age 86. Aaron reached the height of his fame on April, 8, 1974 — a misty night in Georgia when the Atlanta Braves outfielder hit an offering from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing over the left-field fence in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for his 715th home run in the big leagues.

Ed Asner
Ed Asner died on Aug. 29, 2021, at age 91.

ED ASNER

Ed Asner won seven Emmy Awards, five for playing the crusty Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later on his own “Lou Grant.” He was the only actor to win Emmys for playing the same character on both a sitcom and a drama. Asner’s other acclaimed work included Emmy-winning roles as slave ship master Captain Davies in the miniseries “Roots” and Axel Jordache in the miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man.”

Ned Beatty

Ned Beatty died Sunday, June 13, 2021.

NED BEATTY

Ned Beatty, the Oscar-nominated character actor who in half a century of American movies, including “Deliverance,” “Network” and “Superman,” was a booming, indelible presence in even the smallest parts, died at 83 on June 13, 2021, of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Apollo 11 moon landing celebrations
This March 30, 1969 photo from NASA shows the crew of the Apollo 11, from left, Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to the surface of the moon.

MICHAEL COLLINS

Michael Collins, one of three astronauts on the historic Apollo 11 moon mission was 90 years old. He died on April 28, 2021.

“Today the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module – some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’ – while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot.”

Collins’ family also released a statement on Twitter saying he died after a “valiant battle with cancer.”

Michael Constantine
Actor Michael Constantine.

MICHAEL CONSTANTINE

Michael Constantine, an actor best known for his Emmy-winning role as high school principal Seymour Kaufman in the TV series “Room 222″ from 1969 to 1974 and his portrayal of Kostas “Gus” Portokalos, the Windex bottle-toting father of the bride in the 2002 film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” died peacefully on Aug. 31 at age 94.

Constantine appeared on many popular TV shows prior to ” Room 222″ including “My Favorite Martian,” ” The Twilight Zone,” “Bonanza,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Fugitive.”

Stuart Damon
Stuart Damon, a longtime favorite on “General Hospital,” died in June 2021 at age 84.

STUART DAMON

Stuart Damon spent more than 30 years portraying Dr. Alan Quartermaine on ABC’s “General Hospital” and the spinoff series “Port Charles.” He receiveed six Daytime Emmy nominations and won in 1999 for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.

Ronald DeFeo Jr.
I
Nov. 15, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr., center, leaves Suffolk County district court after a hearing, on New York’s Long Island. DeFeo, the man convicted of slaughtering his parents and four siblings in a home that later inspired the book and movie “The Amityville Horror” died Friday, March 12, 2021, at Albany Medical Center, where he was taken Feb. 2 from a prison in New York’s Catskill Mountains, prison officials said Monday, March 15. He was 69.

RONALD DeFEO JR.

The man convicted of slaughtering his parents and four siblings in a home that later inspired the “The Amityville Horror” book and movies died at age 69.

Dustin Diamond as Samuel Powers, better known as Screech"
Dustin Diamond, better known as Screech” from the series “Saved by the Bell.” Diamond died on Feb. 1, 2021, after a three-week fight with carcinoma, according to his representative.

DUSTIN DIAMOND 🔹

Dustin Diamond, who gained fame on ’90s teen sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” died Feb. 1, 2021, at age 44. A San Jose, Calif. native, Diamond portrayed quirky nerd Samuel “Screech” Powers, for around 13 years across several iterations of the franchise, which debuted 1989 on NBC. Millions of viewers obsessed over “Saved by the Bell,” especially during the show’s ’90s prime. The show was heavily syndicated and the reruns were must-see after-school viewing for a generation of fans.

Richard Donner
Director/producer Richard Donner.

RICHARD DONNER

Filmmaker Richard Donner, who helped create the modern superhero blockbuster with 1978′s “Superman” and mastered the buddy comedy with the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, died at 91 on July 5, 2021.

Donner gained fame with his first feature, 1976′s “The Omen.” A then-unheard-of offer followed: $1 million to direct 1978′s “Superman.”

In 1987, Donner cast Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched police pair in the buddy-cop action film “Lethal Weapon.” The film was a smash, spawning several sequels and a TV show.Donner followed up with the Bill Murray hit “Scrooged” in 1988 and “Lethal Weapon 2” the next year. His other credits include “Maverick,” “Conspiracy Theory” and “Radio Flyer.”

Olympia Dukakis
F
Actress Olympia Dukakis is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her stage work in front of the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

Olympia Dukakis, the veteran stage and screen actor whose flair for maternal roles helped her win an Oscar as Cher’s mother in the romantic comedy “Moonstruck,” has died at 89 on May 1, 1921 at her home in New York City.

She also appeared as Kirstie Alley’s mom in “Look Who’s Talking” and its sequel “Look Who’s Talking Too,” the sardonic widow in “Steel Magnolias” and the overbearing wife of Jack Lemmon (and mother of Ted Danson) in “Dad.”

Everly Brothers
1964: The Everly Brothers, Phil, left, and Don, perform on stage. Don Everly, one-half of the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll Everly Brothers whose harmonizing country rock hits impacted a generation of rock music, died at age 84.

DON EVERLY

Don Everly, the last surviving member of the Everly Brothers and an inaugural inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died at his Nashville home on Aug. 21.

Beginning in 1957, he and his brother, Phil, recorded a series of hit singles for the Cadence and Warner Bros. labels. Their best known numbers included “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” Their harmonies inspired musical acts that followed in the 1960s including The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel.

Siegfried Fischbacher, surviving member of Siegfried & Roy duo, has died
2014: Siegfried Fischbacher, left, holds up a white lion cub as Roy Horn holds up a microphone during an event at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas.

SIEGFRIED FISCHBACHER🔹

Illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher, the surviving member of the duo Siegfried & Roy, died on Jan. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas at age 81. Fischbacher’s long-time show business partner, Roy Horn, died in 2020 at age 75. For years, Siegfried & Roy was an institution in Las Vegas, where Fischbacher and Horn’s magic and artistry consistently attracted sellout crowds.

Charles Grodin
Actor/comedian Charles Grodin.

CHARLES GRODIN

Charles Grodin, the comedic actor best known for films like “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Midnight Run” has passed away at 86 on May 18, 2021 of bone marrow cancer at his home in Wilton, Conn.

He starred as the lead in Elaine May’s comedy “The Heartbreak Kid” and did brilliant comedic work starring opposite Robert De Niro in “Midnight Run.” Grodin also played a perfect straight man in 1990s comedies like “Beethoven” and “Clifford,” the latter of which he starred with Martin Short.

hagler
April 1985: Marvin Hagler, right, and Thomas Hearns fight during the first round of a world championship boxing bout in Las Vegas.

MARVIN HAGLER

Marvin Hagler, the middleweight boxing great whose title reign and career ended with a split-decision loss to “Sugar” Ray Leonard in 1987, died on March 13, 2021. He was 66.

Hagler was 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts from 1973 to 1987. He was the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to his loss to Leonard at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on April 6, 1987.

Tom T. Hall
Tom T. Hall

TOM T. HALL

Tom T. Hall, the singer-songwriter who composed “Harper Valley P.T.A.” and sang about life’s simple joys as country music’s consummate blue collar bard, died at age 85 on Aug. 20 at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. Known as “The Storyteller” for his unadorned yet incisive lyrics, Hall composed hundreds of songs.

His breakthrough was writing “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” a 1968 international hit about small-town hypocrisy recorded by Jeannie C. Riley. Throughout the ‘70s, Hall became one of Nashville’s biggest singer-songwriters, with multiple hit songs including, “I Love,” “Country Is,” “I Care,” “I Like Beer,” and “Faster Horses (The Cowboy and The Poet.)” He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978.

Hal Holbrook
Hal Holbrook

HAL HOLBROOK

Hal Holbrook died January 23 at 95. He gained fame for his performance as Mark Twain in the one-man show “Mark Twain Tonight!” in 1954, later winning a Tony Award in 1966 for playing the author. Holbrook also won five Emmys and earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 2007 for his performance in “Into the Wild.” Holbrook also famously played Deep Throat, the secret government informant to Bob Woodward during The Washington Post’s investigation of the Watergate scandal, in the 1976 film “All the President’s Men.”

Larry King
Larry King died on Jan. 23, 2021.

LARRY KING🔹

Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died on Jan. 23, 2021. He was 87. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards.

Old Yeller
Tommy Kirk is pictured in a lobbycard for “Old Yeller,” 1957.

TOMMY KIRK

Tommy Kirk, a child star who played in Disney films such as “Old Yeller” and “The Shaggy Dog,” died at 79. Kirk’s longtime friend and former child star, Paul Petersen, said he was found dead in his Las Vegas home on Sept. 28, 2021. The cause of death has not been released. Petersen said Kirk lived a private life as a gay man and was estranged from what “remains of his blood family.”

Kirk started his career with several television shows including the Mickey Mouse Club’s serialized adventure “The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure” and “The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Ghost Farm,” which aired in 1956-1957. His big break came when he starred as Travis Coates in the 1957 film “Old Yeller,” a story about a teenage boy and his heroic yellow dog.

In “The Shaggy Dog,” Kirk portrayed a teenage boy who was cursed with occasionally turning into a sheepdog. He played the middle son alongside James MacArthur and Kevin Corcoran — who played his brothers — in the 1960 film “Swiss Family Robinson.” Kirk played in a slew of other films in the 1960s including “The Absent-Minded Professor” and its sequel “Son of Flubber.” He also starred in “The Misadventures of Merlin Jones.”

Yaphet Kotto
Actor Yaphet Kotto

YAPHET KOTTO

Yaphet Kotto, whose decades-long acting career included a memorable turn as a James Bond villain and prominent roles alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert De Niro, died at 81. The “Alien” actor’s death was announced on March 15, 2021, by his wife, who remembered him as a “legend.”

Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman a character actor whose depth of talent brought her an Oscar for the “The Last Picture Show” and Emmys for her comedic work in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and other TV series, died at 94.

CLORIS LEACHMAN

Cloris Leachman, the Oscar-winning actress best known for “The Last Picture Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” passed away on Jan. 26, 2021. She was 94. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, she earned 22 Emmy nominations and won eight, making her the most decorated winner in the award show’s history, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. As eccentric landlady Phyllis Lindstrom on the CBS sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Leachman won rave reviews along with the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress

G. Gordon Liddy
G. Gordon Liddy, a Watergate conspirator, died at age 90.

G. GORDON LIDDY

G. Gordon Liddy, the tough-guy Watergate operative who went to prison rather than testify and later turned his Nixon-era infamy into a successful television and talk show career, died on March 30, 2021, at his daughter’s house in Virginia. ,

While others swept up in the Watergate scandal offered contrition or squirmed in the glare of televised congressional hearings, Liddy seemed to wear the crime like a badge of courage, saying he only regretted that the mission to break into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters had been a failure.

Betty Lynn
Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou on “The Andy Griffith Show,” died Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, after a brief illness.

BETTY LYNN

The actress famous for portraying Thelma Lou on the “Andy Griffith Show” passed away. Betty Lynn, 95, the TV, radio and movie star who performed for American soldiers in war zones in Southeast Asia during WWII, died on Oct. 15, 2021, after a brief illness. Lynn, a Missouri native, played Barney Fife’s girlfriend, Thelma Lou, on the show for 26 episodes between 1961 and 1966. She also acted in television shows like the comedy, “Where’s Raymond,” “Peg O’ My Heart” and many others.

“Betty’s performances as Thelma Lou and in other roles will continue to entertain generations of appreciative audiences. More than that, all who ever encountered Betty are forever grateful to have known such a truly beautiful soul,” the Andy Griffith Museum announced.

Rush Limbaugh
Feb. 4, 2020: Rush Limbaugh reacts as first Lady Melania Trump, and his wife Kathryn, applaud, as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.

RUSH LIMBAUGH

Rush Limbaugh, the influential talk radio host, died on Feb. 17, 2021 at 70. Limbaugh announced he had stage 4 lung cancer in February 2020. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump at the State of the Union address shortly after he announced his diagnosis.

 

Gavin MacLeod, Georgia Engel
Gavin MacLeod

GAVIN MACLEOD

Gavin MacLeod, the veteran supporting actor who achieved fame as sardonic TV news writer Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and stardom playing cheerful Capt. Stubing on “The Love Boat,” died at 90 early on May 29, 2021, at his home in Palm Desert, California.

Among his final TV credits were “Touched by An Angel,” “JAG” and “The King of Queens.” MacLeod’s lighthearted screen persona was in contrast to his private life. In his 2013 memoir, “This Is Your Captain Speaking,” MacLeod acknowledged that he had struggled with alcoholism in the 1960s and 1970s. He also wrote that losing his hair at an early age made it hard for him to find work as an actor

Norm Macdonald
Norm Macdonald

NORM MACDONALD

Norm Macdonald, the standup comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, died at 61, after “a nine-year private battle with cancer.” Born in Quebec, Canada, Macdonald broke into show business as a standup comic in the mid-1980s before landing a job as a writer on “Roseanne” and a gig as a performer on the sitcom “Roseanne” in 1992.

Macdonald then landed a spot in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” where he worked from 1993 until 1999. Known for his impressions of Bob Dole, Larry King, Burt Reynolds and David Letterman, Macdonald left his mark on the show and all of entertainment as one of the most popular “Weekend Update” anchor’s in the late night comedy staple’s storied history.

Macdonald also appeared in many films like “Billy Madison,” “Dirty Work,” “Dr. Dolittle,” and television shows like “The Norm Show,” “A Minute with Stan Hooper,” “Family Guy” and “The Orville.”

Don Maddox
Don Maddox, formerly of The Maddox Brothers and Rose, performed at the Ryman Auditorium on June 5, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.

DON MADDOX

Don Maddox, the last surviving member of the pioneering country act The Maddox Brothers and Rose, died at age 98.

Known as “America’s Most Colorful Hillbilly Band,” the Alabama rooted Maddox Brothers and Rose earned fame for eye-catching costumes and high-energy performances during the 1940s and ‘50s. Don Maddox described their vibrant, hard-driving sound as an early model for rockabilly.

The Maddox family built its reputation by playing at festivals and fairs in the late 1930s and ‘40s. They recorded for 4-Star Records and Columbia Records, performed on radio shows and toured the United States as headliners. The group disbanded in the mid-1950s when Rose Maddox launched a solo career.

Jackie Mason
Actor/comedian Jackie Mason stands beside a bus displaying a sign advertising his TV show, 1992.

JACKIE MASON

Jackie Mason, a rabbi-turned-comedian whose feisty brand of standup comedy led him to Catskills nightclubs, West Coast talk shows and Broadway stages, died at 93.

Mason died on July 24, 2021, at 6 p.m. ET at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan after being hospitalized for over two weeks. The irascible Mason was known for his sharp wit and piercing social commentary, often about being Jewish, men and women and his own inadequacies. His typical style was amused outrage.

Les McKeown
Bay City Rollers singer Les McKeown died suddenly at the age of 65 on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

LES McKEOWN

Les McKeown, the former lead singer of the 1970s Scottish pop sensation Bay City Rollers, died suddenly at the age of 65. A statement from his family posted on social media said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown.” The Scottish singer died at home on April 20, it added.

Formed at the end of the 1960s, the Bay City Rollers enjoyed huge success in Britain and abroad with their tartan outfits and pop tunes like “Bye Bye Baby,” “Shang-a-Lang” and “Give a Little Love.” They had a fanatical teen following and sold more than 100 million records. Some in the British media called them the “biggest group since the Beatles”.

Walter Mondale
Former Vice President Walter Mondale, died Monday, April 19, 2021.

WALTER MONDALE

Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, a liberal icon who lost the most lopsided presidential election after bluntly telling voters to expect a tax increase if he won, died on April 19, 2021 at age 93.

Mondale followed the trail blazed by his political mentor, Hubert H. Humphrey, from Minnesota politics to the U.S. Senate and the vice presidency, serving under Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. His own try for the White House, in 1984, came at the zenith of Ronald Reagan’s popularity.

Roger Mudd
Roger Mudd

ROGER MUDD

Roger Mudd, the longtime political correspondent and anchor for NBC and CBS who once stumped Sen. Edward Kennedy by simply asking why he wanted to be president, has died. He was 93. CBS News says Mudd died on March 9, 2021, of complications of kidney failure at his home in McLean, Virginia.

During more than 30 years on network television, starting with CBS in 1961, Mudd covered Congress, elections and political conventions and was a frequent anchor and contributor to various specials. His career coincided with the flowering of television news, the pre-cable, pre-Internet days when the big three networks and their powerhouse ranks of reporters were the main source of news for millions of Americans.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II
Britain’s Prince Philip

PRINCE PHILIP

Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died on April 9, 2021, at 99 years old. The duke had suffered failing health in recent years, and retired from royal duties in 2017. A month prior to his death, Prince Philip was released from London’s King Edward VII hospital, after being admitted a month before as a “precautionary measure”. A week later Buckingham Palace said he was battling an “infection.” The prince married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, and the couple have four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

Christopher Plummer, the legendary actor known for his roles in “The Sound of Music” and “Beginners,” passed away on Feb. 5. He was 91. Plummer’s family confirmed he died peacfully at his home in Connecticut. Elaine Taylor, his wife of 53 years, was with him.

A veteran film and stage actor, the Canadian-born Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1954 before hitting the big screen in 1958 in Sidney Lumet’s “Stage Struck.” He appeared as Capt. Georg von Trapp in the beloved 1965 musical “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews.

Plummer would also earned widespread acclaim in films like “The Man Who Would Be King,” “The Insider,” “The Last Station” and “All the Money in the World.” Plummer earned an Oscar win for best supporting actor for his turn in 2010′s “Beginners.” Along with his Oscar win, he also received two Emmys, two Tony Awards a Golden Globe award, a Screen Actors Guild award and a BAFTA.

Markie Post
Markie Post, who played the public defender in the 1980s sitcom “Night Court” and was a regular presence on television for four decades, died at 70.

MARKIE POST

Markie Post, the actress best known for playing Christine Sullivan on the sitcom “Night Court,” ha

died after a battle with cancer. Born in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1950, she was the daughter of scientist Richard F. Post and Marylee Post. Her show business career began in game shows, working on “Split Second,” “Double Dare” (as a producer), “Card Sharks,” “The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour” and “The (New) $25,000 Pyramid.”

She landed a gig as series regular on the ABC drama “The Fall Guy,” before starring as public defender Christine Sullivan on the beloved NBC sitcom “Night Court” until the show’s end in 1992. She would also star on the CBS comedy show “Hearts Afire” with John Ritter.

Colin Powell
Colin Powell

COLIN POWELL🔹

Colin Powell served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but his reputation was forever stained when he went before the U.N. and made faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq. Fully vaccinated, he died of COVID-19 complications. 

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell rose to the rank of four-star general and in 1989 became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

In 2003, he went before the U.N. Security Council as secretary of state and made the case for U.S. war against Iraq at a moment of great international skepticism. He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed away weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had no such weapons represented “a web of lies,” he told the world body.

Jane Powell
Jane Powell

JANE POWELL

Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star of Hollywood’s golden age musicals who sang with Howard Keel in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and danced with Fred Astaire in “Royal Wedding,” died at 92.

Powell died on Sept. 16, 2021, at her Wilton, Connecticut, home of natural causes. Powell performed virtually her whole life, starting about age 5 as a singing prodigy on radio in Portland, Oregon. On screen, she quickly graduated from teen roles to the lavish musical productions that were a 20th-century Hollywood staple.

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” proved to be a 1954 “sleeper” hit. Audiences were overwhelmed by the lusty singing of Keel and Powell and especially by the gymnastic choreography of Michael Kidd. “Seven Brides” achieved classic status and resulted in a TV series and a Broadway musical.

After her movie career ended, musical theater offered plenty of work for a star of her prominence and talent. She sang in supper clubs, toured in such shows as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and “I Do! I Do!” and replaced Debbie Reynolds in the Broadway run of “Irene.” She frequently appeared on television, notably in the Judy Garland role in a new version of “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

Lloyd Price
2011:
Lloyd Price appears backstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, in New York.

LLOYD PRICE

Singer-songwriter Lloyd Price, an early rock ‘n roll star and enduring maverick whose hits included such up-tempo favorites as “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Personality” and the semi-forbidden “Stagger Lee,” died on May 3, 2021 at 88. He was at a long-term care facility in New Rochelle, New York, of complications from diabetes, his wife, Jacqueline Price said.

Tanya Roberts, Victoria Leigh Blum
Tanya Roberts stars as Kiri in the adventure movie “The Beastmaster,” on Dec. 16, 1981.

TANYA ROBERTS🔹

Former Bond girl and “That ’70s Show” star Tanya Roberts died on Jan. 4, 2021, at age 65 in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was hospitalized after a collapse at her home on Christmas Eve. She was placed on a ventilator but did not have COVID-19.

Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers signs an autograph for a fan in 1963.

JIMMIE RODGERS

Jimmie Rodgers, singer of the 1957 hits “Honeycomb” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” whose career in music and movies was disrupted by a severe head injury a decade later, at 87, died from kidney disease on Jan. 18, 2021, in Palm Desert, California.

With a style of singing and playing guitar that included elements of country, folk and pop, the Washington native recorded “Honeycomb” and many other Top 10 hits during the late 1950s, including “Secretly,” “Oh-Oh, I’m Falling in Love Again,” and “Are You Really Mine?”

Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld

DONALD RUMSFELD

Donald Rumsfeld, the two-time defense secretary and one-time presidential candidate whose reputation as a skilled bureaucrat and visionary of a modern U.S. military, died on June 29, 2021. He was 88. His family said he “was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”

Regarded by former colleagues as equally smart and combative, patriotic and politically cunning, Rumsfeld had a storied career in government under four presidents and nearly a quarter century in corporate America. … Rumsfeld is the only person to serve twice as Pentagon chief. The first time, in 1975-77, he was the youngest ever. The next time, in 2001-06, he was the oldest.

Mort Sahl
Mort Sahl in 1978.

MORT SAHL

Satirist Mort Sahl, who helped revolutionize stand-up comedy during the Cold War with his running commentary on politicians and current events and became a favorite of a new, restive generation of Americans, died on Oct. 25, 2021, at 94.

During a time when many comedians dressed in tuxedos and told mother-in-law jokes, Sahl faced his audiences in the ‘50s and ‘60s wearing slacks, a sweater and an unbuttoned collar and carrying a rolled-up newspaper on which he had pasted notes for his act. Reading news items as if seated across from you at the kitchen table, he made his inevitably cutting comments, often joining the laughter with a horsey bellow of his own and ending his routines by inquiring: “Is there any group I haven’t offended yet?”

Marty Schottenheimer
Coach Marty Schottenheimer

MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER🔹

Legendary NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, who won 200 regular-season games with four teams, died in Charlotte on Feb. 8, at 77.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and was moved to a hospice on Jan. 30. Schottenheimer was the eighth-winningest coach in NFL history, spending 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington and San Diego Chargers.

Peter Scolari
Peter Scolari

PETER SCOLARI

“Newhart” and “Bosom Buddies” star Peter Scolari is died at age 66 on Oct. 22, 2021, after a two-year battle with cancer.

Scolari first rose to fame for his role as Henry Desmond opposite Tom Hanks on the short-lived ‘80s sitcom “Bosom Buddies.” He was nominated for an Emmy three times for his role as Michael Harris on Bob Newhart’s TV show “Newhart,” and won an Emmy for his portrayal of Ted Horvath on HBO’s “Girls” as the father of Hannah (Lena Dunham).

His credits also include “Evil,” “Gotham,” “The Polar Express,” “Camp Nowhere,” “Murphy Brown,” “Perfect Harmony,” “Encyclopedia Brown,” “That Thing You Do!” and playing Wayne Szalinski in the ‘90s TV series adaptation of “Honey! I Shrunk the Kids.”

George Segal
Actor George Segal poses with a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in Los Angeles.

GEORGE SEGAL

George Segal, a Golden Globe winner who was equally adept at serious drama and lighthearted comedy, died on March 23, 2021, at age 87. Segal’s wife Sonia announced his death: “The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery.”

The actor was best known to contemporary TV viewers as Albert “Pops” Solomon, the eccentric grandpa on ABC’s long-running sitcom “The Goldbergs.” But Segal’s resume also included a tour de force role in the 1966 film version of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Segal, a native of Great Neck, New York, appeared in more than 60 movies during his lifetime and was equally prolific on television. He received two Golden Globes during his lifetime, in 1965 as New Star of the Year for “The New Interns,” and in 1974 as Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, for “A Touch of Class.”

Phil Spector
Phil Spector

PHIL SPECTOR

Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, died at 81. California state prison officials said he died on Jan. 16, 2021, of natural causes at a hospital.

Spector had been hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.”

Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life.

Muhammad Ali through the years
Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks exchange punches during their World Boxing Association heavyweight title bout at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Friday night, Sept. 16, 1978. Ali became the first man to win the heavyweight crown three times by defeating Spinks with a 15-round unanimous decision.

LEON SPINKS

Leon Spinks, who won Olympic gold and then shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight, died on Feb. 5, 2021, according to a release from a public relations firm. He was 67.

Spinks, who lived his later years in Las Vegas, had been battling prostate and other cancers. A lovable heavyweight, Spinks beat Ali by decision in a 12-round fight in 1978 to win the title. He was unranked at the time, and picked as an opponent because Ali was looking for an easy fight. He got anything but that, with an unorthodox Spinks swarming over Ali throughout the fight on his way to a stunning win by split decision.

DEAN STOCKWELL
Dean Stockwell

DEAN STOCKWELL

Dean Stockwell, the actor best known for his role on the television show “Quantum Leap,” passed away at 85 at his home. Born in North Hollywood, Stockwell began his career that spanned more than 70 years as a child actor in films like “Anchors Aweigh” and “Gentleman’s Agreement.”

Stockwell is probably best known for his performance as Rear Admiral Albert “Al” Calavicci on NBC series “Quantum Leap” from 1989 until 1993. The show starred Scott Bakula as a physicist who leaps through spacetime during experiments in time travel. Stockwell played his companion who appeared as a hologram and helped guide him through the series of misadventures.

He earned four Emmy nominations for the role, plus three Golden Globe nominations and one win.

B.J. Thomas
BJ Thomas

B.J. THOMAS

B.J. Thomas, the Grammy-winning singer who enjoyed success on the pop, country and gospel charts with such hits as “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” died at 78. Thomas, who announced in March that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, died from complications of the disease on May 29, 2021, at his home in Arlington, Texas.

A Hugo, Oklahoma-native who grew up in Houston, Billy Joe Thomas broke through in 1966 with a gospel-styled cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and went on to sell millions of records and have dozens of hits across genres. He reached No. 1 with pop, adult contemporary and country listeners in 1976 with ″(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.” The same year, his “Home Where I Belong” became one of the first gospel albums to be certified platinum for selling more than 1 million copies.

"Elvis Presley In Concert"
Ronnie Tutt

RONNIE TUTT🔹

Ronnie Tutt, a legendary drummer who spent years playing alongside Elvis Presley and teamed up with other stars ranging from Johnny Cash to Stevie Nicks, died at 83 on Oct. 15, 2021.

Elvis Presley Enterprises noted Tutt’s death in a statement on Oct. 15. Tutt drummed for Elvis with the TCB Band from 1969 until 1977, joining the band put together by James Burton for Elvis’ 1969 Las Vegas opening and staying with Elvis until his death in 1977.

Beyond Elvis, Tutt played with some of the biggest names in music, touring with Neil Diamond’s band and recording and playing with Cash, Nicks, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Elvis Costello, Michael McDonald and more, Elvis Presley Enterprises wrote.

Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson

CICELY TYSON

Cicely Tyson, a distinguished Hollywood actress who made her mark in movies, television and theater, died on Jan. 28, 2021, at age 96. She was an iconic presence in the entertainment world and the winner of three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, an honorary Academy Award, a Peabody Award for career achievement and more. During a career that spanned more than six decades, she appeared in movies such as “Fried Green Tomatoes” (based on a novel by Alabama native Flannie Flagg), “Sounder,” “The Help,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and more.

Jessica Walter
Jessica Walter

JESSICA WALTER

Jessica Walter, the actress best known for playing Lucille Bluth on the comedy series “Arrested Development, died at 80 on March 25, 2021.

Born in Brooklyn in 1941, Walter appeared on Broadway early in her career before acting in television shows like “Naked City,” “East Side/West Side,” “Ben Casey,” “The Defenders,” “Flipper” and “The Fugitive.” She then appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut “Play Misty for Me,” playing a young woman who stalks Eastwood’s disc jockey character. She earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the best actress in a drama. She would appear in other comedies like “The Flamingo Kid” with Matt Dillon and “PCU” with Jeremy Piven and David Spade.

Charlie Watts and The Rolling Stones
Charlie Watts, of the Rolling Stones

CHARLIE WATTS🔹

Charlie Watts, the self-effacing and unshakeable Rolling Stones drummer who helped anchor one of rock’s greatest rhythm sections and used his “day job” to support his enduring love of jazz, died at 80 peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family.

Watts had announced he would not tour with the Stones in 2021 because of an undefined health issue. The quiet, elegantly dressed Watts was often ranked with Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and a handful of others as a premier rock drummer, respected worldwide for his muscular, swinging style as the band rose from its scruffy beginnings to international superstardom. He joined the Stones early in 1963 and remained over the next 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest lasting and most essential member.

Clarence Williams III
Clarence Williams III

CLARENCE WILLIAMS III

Clarence Williams III, who portrayed Linc Hayes for five seasons on “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” passed away at 81 from colon cancer on June 4, 2021.

His breakout role was playing Lincoln Hayes as part of the counterculture hit “The Mod Squad,” which ran from 1968 to 1973 and co-starred Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole as Julie Barnes and Pete Cochran, respectively. The three played former miscreants hired as cops charged with using their street smarts to infiltrate high schools, acting classes, prisons, hippie newspapers, gangs, movie sets and other situations to root out criminals.

Nominated for a Tony Award for “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” in 1965, he also starred in several other plays, and numerous movies including “The General’s Daughter,” “Sugar Hill,” “Half Baked,” “Deep Cover,” “Hoodlum,” “The Brave,” “Happy Here and Now,” “The Legend of 1900” and “Life.”

Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson

MARY WILSON🔹

Mary Wilson, the longest-reigning original Supreme, died on Feb. 8, 2021, at age 76 at her home in Las Vegas. Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard made up the first successful configuration of The Supremes. Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967, and Wilson stayed with the group until it was officially disbanded by Motown in 1977. Motown founder Berry Gordy said he was “extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes. The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown.’”

Other Deaths

Gerry Marsden

Gerry Marsden, lead signer of the British pop band Gerry and the Pacemakers, died Jan. 3 after an infection of the heart. He was 78.

Tommy Lasorda   🔹

Tommy Lasorda, who spent 71 seasons playing with and managing the Los Angeles Dodgers, died Jan. 8. He was 93. 

Don Sutton🔹

 Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and former Los Angeles Dodger Don Sutton died Jan. 19 from natural causes. He was 75.

Gregory Sierra 

Actor Gregory Sierra’s death was reported on Jan. 22, and a family spokesperson said Sierra died earlier in the month after a battle with cancer. The “Barney Miller” and “Sanford and Son” actor was 83. 

Bruce Kirby 

Character actor Bruce Kirby, who starred in acclaimed films including “The Godfather” and “Crash,” died Jan. 26. He was 95 years old. 

Hilton Valentine 

The founding member of the band The Animals died on Jan. 29 at age 77. He helped bring the band to stardom with the hit “House of the Rising Sun.”

George Shultz

 The former Secretary of State to Ronald Reagan died Feb. 7. He was 100 years old. 

Mark Wilson 

The ’60’s TV magician best known for the series “Magic Land of Allakazam” died March 8. He was 91.

Katherine Diaz 

Diaz, a 22-year-old Olympic hopeful, was struck by lightning in a freak accident and died March 22 at age 22.

Larry McMurtry 🔹

The author of “Lonesome Dove” and screenwriter of “Brokeback Mountain” died March 26 at age 84.

Gloria Henry  

Henry, who played Alice Mitchell on TV’s “Dennis The Menace” died April 4 at age 98.

James Hampton 

The actor, best known for his roles in “The Longest Yard” and “F Troop,” died from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 84.

Joseph Siravo

 The actor who played Tony Soprano’s father on HBO’s “The Sopranos” died April 12 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 66. 

Lee Aaker  Lee Aaker, who starred in ABC’s series “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” as a child actor, died of a stroke April 13. He was 77. 

Bernie Madoff  

The investor and architect of one of the world’s most notorious Ponzi schemes, Bernie Madoff died in prison April 14. He was 82. 

Johnny Crawford 🔹

Child star and Mouseketeer Johnny Crawford died April 30 at 75 years old. 

Bobby Unser 

Three-time Indy 500 racing champion Bobby Unser died May 3. He was 87. 

F Lee Bailey

Celebrity attorney F Lee Bailey — best known for representing OJ Simpson and Patty Hearst — died June 3. He was 87. 

Frank Bonner 

Frank Bonner, the actor who played radio-station sales manager Herb Tarlek on “WKRP in Cincinnati” died June 27. He was 79.

Robert Downey Sr. 

Director Robert Downey Sr., father to “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. and director of the hit underground film “Putney Swope,” died July 7 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 85.

William Smith 

Actor and stuntman William Smith, who is credited in over 300 films including the Clint Eastwood film “Any Which Way You Can,” died July 5. He was 88. 

🔹denotes those I have interviewed, met or seen.

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6 replies »

  1. Amazing how few I remember passing this year. Many, younger than I.

    Great treatment on all you covered. I imagine this too quite a while.

    I find myself never disappointed on your shining of light on subjects from a well researched point of view.

    However, I was bummed that, as popular as Tommy Lasorsda was that you didn’t offer more on him. I have always despised the Dodgers, but was always a fan of Lasorsda.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kyle Kiel From my Mobile

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right about Tommy Lasorda. I’ve seen him at games a few times (one was against Houston Astros & was thrilled to see Yogi Berrea & Nolan Ryan there too.
      The big thrill was meet Lasorsda in an Italian Restaurant in San Antonio (Dodgers farm team was SA Missions then). He was exceptionally nice–said this was his favorite restaurant in the city because it reminded him of his mother’s cooking– recommended the ‘Straw & Hay’ meal. It was awesome. He sat at the table next to us & asked me how I liked the plate. I said it’s “a grand slam.” He laughed & have me an autograph.
      The cool thing was I was at a Missions game later & he was there and remembered me! “Straw & Hay: a grand slam!” he patted me on the back. We laughed. A guy named Randy Johnson was our pitcher that night. Later I saw him pitch a World Series win for the Dodgers. Serendipity at its best!
      Thank you for your kind words & readership. I have to confess. I was very tired after all the research and tapered off at the end.

      Like

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