Remembering the Celebrities We Lost in 2020
It’s never easy to lose someone you love, and that includes those celebrities who have entertained you and your family throughout the years. From watching Sean Connery in James Bond movies to attending a Los Angeles Lakers game to cheer on Kobe Bryant, these stars helped shape pop culture as we know it.
Join us as we honor and remember the celebrities we lost in 2020.
Tom Lister Jr.
“Friday” actor Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr. died of natural causes in his apartment on Dec. 10 at the age of 62.
Ice Cube, a “Friday” co-star, tweeted, “RIP Tiny ‘Deebo’ Lister. America’s favorite bully was a born entertainer who would pop into character at the drop of a hat terrifying people on and off camera. Followed by a big smile and laugh. Thank you for being a good dude at heart. I miss you already.”
Natalie Desselle Reid
Actress Natalie Desselle Reid passed away on Dec. 7 at age 53 after a private battle with colon cancer. She was best known for her roles in “Black American Princesses,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family” and the racially diverse remake of “Cinderella.”
Her “Black American Princesses” co-star, Halle Berry wrote an amazing tribute that read, “Natalie represented actual Black women, not what Black women are perceived to be. For that, she was often underrated, passed over — deprived of the platform she truly deserved.”
Best known as Squiggy in “Laverne & Shirley,” actor David Lander died on Dec. 4 at the age of 73 due to complications from multiple sclerosis, a disease he had been battling for some time.
His humor and ability to make people laugh are what many fans said they’ll miss most about him on Twitter.
English bodybuilder David Prowse was best known as physically portraying Darth Vader in “Star Wars” and was often in attendance at “Star Wars” conventions. He passed away on Nov. 28 at the age of 85 due to an unspecified illness.
A tribute to Prowse was made in the form of a Darth Vader figurine that appeared on a public pedestal in Bristol, England, Prowse’s birthplace.
Almost every family remembers growing up with “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebeck asking trivia questions on all 37 seasons of the show. The popular host died on Nov. 8 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 80 and had been contracted to continue hosting the show until 2022.
Chicago-born rapper Dayvon Bennett, aka King Von, was shot to death outside an Atlanta nightclub on Nov. 6. Barely even 26, he was young in the music scene but already had quite a following of fans.
His family posted to Twitter after his death: “By continuing to play his music and sharing your stories about how he has inspired and influenced you all, you’re keeping his legacy alive.”
He will forever be remembered as the original “Bond. James Bond.” But Sean Connery’s acting career left many other marks throughout his 90-year lifetime, perhaps most notably winning an Oscar in 1988 for his role in “The Untouchables.”
Connery died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas on Oct. 31.
John Lester Nash Jr.
Best known for his 1972 hit, “I Can See Clearly Now,” Johnny Nash was an influential American singer-songwriter who focused primarily on traditional pop and reggae music.
After declining health, he passed away from natural causes at the age of 80 on Oct. 6.
Eddie Van Halen
At age 65, Eddie Van Halen died of a stroke on Oct. 6. The rockstar was the lead songwriter and guitarist of the rock band, Van Halen.
He co-founded the band with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, and is considered one of the greatest guitar players in history. Just check out his guitar solo in the song, “Eruption,” and you’ll see why.
Model and actress Margaret Nolan died of cancer at the age of 76 on Oct. 5.
She was best known for her roles on screen in “Goldfinger,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and the “Carry On” films.
The British-French actor Michael Lonsdale is perhaps best known for his role as villain Hugo Drax in the James Bond film, “Moonraker,” but he’s acted in more than 180 films and TV shows.
He passed away at the age of 89 on Sept. 21.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs little introduction. She was a pillar in the political community for decades until her passing on Sept. 18 at the age of 87.
Her work towards gender equality led the path for many women and was portrayed in the 2018 film, “On the Basis of Sex.”
Pamela Hutchinson was most famous for the time she spent as an R&B singer with her two sisters in the family group, The Emotions. Their hit song, “Best of My Love,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Chart in 1977.
She died at the age of 61 on Sept. 18 due to “health challenges that she'd been battling for several years,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
Toots Hibbert, of "Toots and the Maytals" fame, passed away on Sept. 11 at the age of 77. It is unclear how he died, but there were reports that he was hospitalized because of COVID in late August.
Considered one of reggae's founding figures, Hibbert brought his Jamaican beats to the international stage.
An English stage and screen actress, Dianna Rigg played several notable roles throughout her career, but the most recent was as Olena Tyrell in "Game of Thrones."
Rigg passed away on Sept. 10 at the age of 82 from lung cancer.
National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Lou Brock passed away on Sept. 6 at 81.
He spent the majority of his career as a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and was best known for his talent at stealing bases, breaking several league records doing so.
It seems that actor Chadwick Boseman was just hitting his stride when he passed away from colon cancer on Aug. 28 at the age of 43.
Amazingly enough, he played some of his best roles, including the Black Panther superhero and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, as he battled the disease.
Justin Townes Earle
Son of country legend Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle's own career was beginning to take off in recent years after winning the Americana Music Award Emerging Artist of the Year in 2009.
The musician died on Aug. 20 at the age of 38 of a drug overdose.
On July 24, the world lost the famous talk show host and television presenter Regis Philbin. Once deemed "the hardest working man in show business" due to his Guinness World Record for most hours on U.S. television, Philbin was known for his work on "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and "America's Got Talent."
He died at the age of 88 from a heart attack due to coronary artery disease.
Actress Kelly Preston, known for her roles in "Jerry Maguire" and "For Love of the Game," died on July 12 of breast cancer at the age of 57.
The wife of John Travolta, the couple had been married since 1991.
"Glee" star Naya Rivera drowned on July 8 after getting her 4-year-old son safely back onto an unanchored boat that they had rented.
She was only 33 and is the third tragic death among "Glee" cast members, following the deaths of Cory Monteith and Mark Salling.
Actor, comedian, director and screenwriter Carl Reiner had a career that spanned seven decades. He got his start writing alongside Mel Brooks and Woody Allen writing sketch comedy for "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour" and became best known as the creator of "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
In the 2000s, he became popular with a new generation, starring in the "Ocean's" film series. He passed away on June 29 at age 98 of natural causes.
Tray Savage is another young, Chicago rapper that died this year on June 19.
Like King Von, Savage was shot too young at the age of 26.
British actor Ian Holm starred in well-known films throughout his career, including most recently as Bilbo Baggins in "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" film series.
He died at 88 on June 19 due to problems related to Parkinson's, a disease he had suffered from for awhile.
K-pop star Yohan, of TST boy band fame, passed away on June 16, marking a very difficult few years for the K-pop community.
While the cause of his death is yet to be confirmed, he is the third K-pop star to die in less than two years. The other two — Goo Hara and Sulli — died by suicide.
Mary Pat Gleason
Actress Mary Patrick Gleason played several roles throughout her 70-year life. Most recently, she had a recurring role on the television series, "Mom," alongside actresses Allison Janney and Anna Faris.
Gleason passed away on June 2 from cancer.
Actor and comedian Fred Willard was known for his roles in Christoper Guest's mockumentaries "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind," "For Your Consideration" and "Mascots." He also most recently played Phil Dunphy's dad on "Modern Family," a character that also happened to pass away on the show.
Willard died on May 15 at the age of 86 from cardiac arrest.
Comedian Jerry Stiller was best known for his part in the comedy duo Stiller and Meara alongside his wife, Anne Meara, to whom he was married for more than 60 years until she passed in 2015. He also played popular roles later in his life on shows like "Seinfeld" and "The King of Queens."
Father of actor Ben Stiller, he also played in numerous roles alongside his son. Stiller passed away on May 11 at the age of 92 from natural causes.
Known for his role in "Aliens" as well as television roles in "Emmerdale" and "Foyle's War," Jay Benedict was an English actor who also starred in several British television shows.
Benedict passed away due to complications from COVID on April 4 at the age of 68.
Kenny Rogers was an American singer and songwriter who was eventually inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, but he also acted in a few movies and television shows. He wrote numerous songs that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Chart.
On March 20, Rogers died from natural causes at the age of 81.
James Lipton passed away on March 2 at the age of 92 from bladder cancer.
Best known as the host, writer and executive producer of "Inside the Actors Studio," Lipton was particularly passionate about teaching. His TV show featured interviews with famous actors and directors who would share their knowledge.
Actress Lynn Cohen was famous for her roles as Magda in "Sex and the City" and Mags in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."
She passed away at age 86 on Feb. 14.
Actor Kirk Douglas had a long career in Hollywood, having received three Academy Award nominations and an Academy Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement. Some of his early work included starring roles in the films, "Lust for Life," "Bad & the Beautiful" and "Champion."
Living to the ripe old age of 103, he was one of the last-surviving actors from Hollywood's Golden Age. He was also the father of actor Michael Douglas.
On Feb. 7, the movie industry lost another long-time actor Orson Bean at the age of 91. He guest-starred on television talk shows like "The Ed Sullivan Show" and several television shows, including "Twilight Zone," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," Desperate Housewives" and "How I Met Your Mother."
He was fatally killed after being hit by two cars.
People are still shocked by the news that Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with seven others. He was 41, and she was 13.
Known as one of the best basketball players of all time, Bryant had a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships.