ET remembers the celebrities who died this year, including David Cassidy, Tom Petty, Hugh Hefner, Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell.
The actress, who played Louisa von Trapp in The Sound of Music, died in Frankford, Ontario, on Dec. 24. She was 68. Menzies-Urich had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer just four weeks earlier and was surrounded by children and other family members on Christmas Eve, her son, Ryan Urich, told Variety. She was the widow of Vegas star Robert Urich, who died in 2002. In addition to Ryan, Menzies-Urich is survived by two other children, a number of grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
The voice actress and daytime soap star died at her home in Studio City, California, on Nov. 30 after battling a long illness, her longtime friend, Jodie Mann, confirmed to ET. She was 71. North was the longtime voice of Daphne Blake on the TV show Scooby-Doo and played Sandy Horton on Days of Our Lives. She met her husband -- the late H. Wesley Kenney, an Emmy Award-winning soap opera producer and director who died in 2015 -- on the set of Days. North also appeared on TV shows like Gidget, The Monkees and Adam-12, in movies such as Git! and I Love My Wife, and on Broadway in The Girl in the Freudian Slip. She is survived by her son, Kevin, daughter-in-law Stephanie, stepdaughter Nina, stepson Wes, and granddaughter Jocelyn.
The Smithereens singer and songwriter died at age 62, the New Jersey rock group announced in a statement on their website Tuesday. "Pat was looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing his many fans and friends. Please keep Pat in your thoughts and prayers," the statement read. The cause of death was not revealed. The group, which has been active since 1980, is best known for their songs "Blood and Roses" and "A Girl Like You."
The beloved TV actor died at his home in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Nov. 30. He was 87. Nabors was best known for playing the character Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s, as well as on the spin-off series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. During his long career, Nabors also appeared in shows like The Love Boat, Knight Rider and The Carol Burnett Show, and was a pop culture personality on various variety comedy shows. Nabors, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991, is survived by his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader.
Julio Oscar Mechoso
The veteran film and television character actor died of a heart attack at his home in Burbank, California, on Nov. 25. He was 62. Mechoso, who began acting in his early 20s, was best known for his work in films like Little Miss Sunshine, Jurassic Park III and The Legend of Zorro, among many others. The Miami native also had recurring roles on numerous TV shows, including Greetings From Tucson, Coach and Miami Vice. He was a frequent collaborator with director Robert Rodriguez, and worked on several of his films, including Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Planet Terror and Machete Kills, as well as the TV series Matador.
The actor -- who was also the father of filmmaker Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard -- died in Los Angeles on Nov. 25. He was 89. The Oscar-winning director revealed the news of his father's death with a heartfelt tribute he posted to Twitter, writing, "Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons… He stood especially tall 4 his ability to balance ambition w/great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history. We love & miss U Dad." Rance's acting career spanned more than six decades. After his first movie role in 1956's Frontier Woman, Rance appeared in films like An Eye for an Eye (1966), Chinatown (1974), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Nebraska (2013). He also acted in several of Ron's films, including Splash, Cocoon, Parenthood and Apollo 13, as well as Ron's feature film directorial debut, Grand Theft Auto. He also worked with his son in TV, on the sitcom Happy Days.
The former Partridge Family star died on Nov. 21, nearly a week after he was rushed to a Florida hospital after suffering major organ failure. The performer died "surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long," Cassidy's rep told ET in a statement from the family. The performer had also been suffering with dementia, after being diagnosed with the disease over two years ago. Cassidy was best known for his role as Keith Partridge in the '70s hit The Partridge Family, which earned him a status as a teen idol. After his run on the series ended in 1974, Cassidy continued to act both in theater and television. Musically, the singer-actor went on to release songs like "I Think I Love You" and "Cherish," creating "Cassidymania" as he toured the globe with sold-out concerts. He released 14 albums over the course of his career, and continued touring and connecting with fans.
Former NFL receiver Terry Glenn died on Nov. 20, as a result of a rollover traffic accident in Dallas, Texas. He was 43. Police are investigating the cause of the accident. Glenn played in the NFL for 12 seasons, beginning in 1996 when he was drafted by the New England Patriots. In 2002 he was traded to the Green Bay Packers and played with the team for a year, after which he spent five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He is survived by his six children, as well as his fiancee, who was in the vehicle during the accident but suffered only minor injuries.
The musician and actress star died on Nov. 19, at her home in Encino, California. She was 86. She was best known for her role as Tess on the family drama Touched by an Angel. Reese found fame as a gospel and jazz artist and was well known for her 1959 hit, "Don’t You Know." As an actress, she also appeared on such TV shows as The Love Boat and MacGyver. She is survived by her husband, Franklin Lett, and children, Deloreese, James, Franklin and Dominique.
The iconic country singer-songwriter died at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, on Nov. 19, after a long battle with intestinal issues. He was 85. The prolific artist recorded over 1,000 songs and released over 60 albums throughout his career, which spanned six decades. The Country Music Hall of Famer's biggest years came in the 1970s with the release of his biggest hits "Good Woman Blues," "I Ain't Never" and "Coca-Cola Cowboy." In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts, which is the highest honor presented to artists by the government. He is survived by his six children -- country songstress Pam Tillis and songwriter Mel Tillis, Jr., as well as daughters Carrie April, Connie, Cindy and Hannah Tillis.
The stage and screen actor died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey, on Nov. 17. Hyman was best remembered as Russell Huxtable, the father of Bill Cosby's character Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. While Hyman made a name for himself with roles in various TV shows and soap operas, he was a groundbreaking theater performer who defied racial boundaries with celebrated performances on Broadway and in Europe, starring in roles that had traditionally been played solely by Caucasian performers. His stage career spanned six decades and he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in New York in 1997.
The celebrated stage and screen actress died in New York City on Nov. 16, after a long illness. She was 83. Wedgeworth is best known for playing Lana Shields on the ABC sitcom Three's Company, and Merleen Elldridge on the CBS sitcom Evening Shade. Other film and TV credits include a recurring role on the show Filthy Rich and the 1989 family dramedy Steel Magnolias. She was also an accomplished Broadway performer, and she earned a Tony award in 1978 for her performance in Neil Simon's Chapter Two. She is survived by her husband, acting coach Ernest Martin, as well as her two children and her stepson.
The beloved gossip columnist, known as the Grand Dame of Dish, died at her home in Manhattan on Nov. 12. She was 94. Smith's New York City-based gossip column -- which gave readers a coveted insight into the lives of America's rich and famous -- was, at its height of popularity, syndicated in nearly 75 newspapers internationally and had a readership of almost 50 million people daily. At the time, it was estimated that Smith was the highest-paid print journalist in America.
The TV star died at his home in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 9. He was 84. Hillerman is remembered fondly for playing the prim and proper British caretaker Jonathan Higgins -- opposite Tom Selleck's Thomas Magnum -- on the beloved CBS crime drama Magnum P.I. The role earned Hillerman a Golden Globe and an Emmy. He also made memorable appearances on TV shows like Ellery Queen, The Betty White Show, One Day at a Time, and played a key role in the 1974 neo-noir mystery Chinatown. Hillerman officially retired from acting in 1999 and moved back to his home state of Texas.
The former MLB pitcher died on Nov. 7, after crashing his plane into the Gulf of Mexico near Holiday, Florida. Halladay's career spanned 15 years, during which time he pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays -- from 1998 to 2009 -- and then for the Philadelphia Phillies until his retirement in 2013. The eight-time All-Star racked up an impressive legacy during his years on the mound, including two Cy Young Awards. In May 2010, Halladay made history when he pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins -- a feat that has only been accomplished 21 times in the history of modern baseball. Later that season, he became only the second player ever to pitch a no-hitter in the post-season against the Cincinnati Reds. The epic demonstrations marked the very first time any pitcher has ever thrown both a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season. Halladay is survived by his wife, Brandy, and their two sons.
The acclaimed soul singer died on Nov. 5, at home in Tennessee, after a short illness. He was 72. Knight is best known for his megahit 1967 recording of "Everlasting Love." The iconic crooner also found success with his other hits "Blessed are the Lonely," "Love on a Mountain Top," and "Isn't It Lonely Together."
The Veronica Mars actor died on Nov. 1. He was 34. Bufanda, who was best known for playing Felix Toombs on the popular WB/CW mystery drama, committed suicide at his Park La Brea apartment complex in Los Angeles. A rep for the actor told ET, "We are completely devastated, for he was an extremely talented young actor and a caring human being. He was reviving his career having just completed two movie and we are shocked and saddened by his passing." Bufanda appeared in the 2004 film A Cinderella Story, and had roles on Days of Our Lives, Malcolm in the Middle and Co-Ed Confidential. His two most recent projects, which are yet to be released, are Garlic & Gunpowder and Stan the Man.
Antoine 'Fats' Domino
The rock and roll pioneer died on Oct. 24, at his home in Harvey, Louisiana. He was 89. Domino was a revolutionary artist who changed pop and rock music forever with his dynamic sound that paid respect to traditional blues styles while incorporating entirely new musical elements. Domino was one of the first 10 musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the same year he received the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. During his life, he sold more than 65 million albums and is cited as a major source of inspiration by countless rock legends.
The Emmy Award-winning actor died on Oct. 24, at his home in Los Angeles after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 89. Guillaume was best known for his many TV performances, especially his role as Benson on the series Soap and its spinoff, Benson. Guillaume is also celebrated for playing Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night and voicing the beloved Rafiki in the Disney animated classic The Lion King, a role which ultimately landed him a GRAMMY for a spoken word recording. Guillaume was also a beloved stage star, and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1977 for his role in the Broadway production of Guys and Dolls. Guillaume is survived by his second wife, Donna Brown Guillaume, and three children. The actor's son, Jacques, died from AIDS in 1990.
The renowned German-born cinematographer died in Crete, Greece, on Oct. 23. He was 90. Lassally is celebrated for his storied body of work and was responsible for filming a myriad of beloved Hollywood classics including 1962's Electra, 1963's Tom Jones and 1964's Zorba the Greek, which earned him an Academy Award. He was also honored with the International Achievement Award by the American Society of Cinematographers in 2008. Lassally's last credit as a cinematographer came in 2001 for the film Crescent Heart. He made his acting debut in 2013, playing an aging writer in Richard Linklater's Before Midnight.
Scott Mitchell Putesky
The rock guitarist died on Oct. 22, in Boca Raton, Florida, after a long battle with colon cancer. Putesky, who performed under the pseudonym Daisy Berkowitz, is best known for co-founding the shock rock/metal group Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids in the late 1980s, after befriending the eponymous rocker. While Marilyn Manson took his moniker by combining the names of famed actress Marilyn Monroe and cult leader Charles Manson, Putesky's stage name was a combination of the iconic TV sex symbol Daisy Duke and the serial killer David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz. Putesky left the band in 1996, shortly before the release of their hit album, Antichrist Superstar, due to creative differences with Manson. Putesky continued to play in several other cult hit bands -- including Jack Off Jill, Kill Miss Pretty and Three Ton Gate, until his death. He was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in September 2013.
The veteran character actor died on Oct. 18, after a brief hospital stay following a serious fall that led to internal injuries. He was 56. Briscoe is best known for his performances in Parks and Recreation -- where he played J.J., the owner and proprietor of the town's favorite diner -- and the recent Twin Peaks revival, in which he played Detective Dave Macklay. The actor previously worked with David Lynch on his 2001 surreal drama, Mulholland Drive. Briscoe's other credits include Sling Blade, The Green Mile and A Simple Plan. Recently, Briscoe starred in the season four finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He is survived by his father, Carl, brother Kent and sister Shelley West.
The Canadian rock musician died of complications from brain cancer on Oct. 17. He was 53. Downie was best known for fronting the rock group The Tragically Hip, although he also released numerous solo albums. The singer's death was mourned by fellow musicians and fans the world over, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who released a statement praising Downie's legacy. "For almost five decades, Gord Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada,” Trudeau wrote in an official statement. “He was the frontman of one of Canada’s most iconic bands, a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country." Downie, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2015, is survived by his wife, Laura Leigh Usher, and their four children.
The fashion designer and popular Project Runway alum died on Oct. 17. He was 39. Knight's family released a statement in Obvious magazine, mourning his passing. "We are still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend, and uncle. Mychael meant everything to us and we loved him dearly," his family said. "He was generous and so full of life. This is how we choose to remember his legacy." Knight became known in the fashion world after placing fourth during season three of Project Runway in 2006. The designer, who won the Fan Favorite Award, went on to launch his own clothing line in 2007, as well as design for Starbucks. He also appeared on Project Runway: All Stars in 2013. No cause of death has yet been released.
The Trailer Park Boys star died on Oct. 16, after suffering from an unknown illness. He was 71. Dunsworth's daughter, Sarah, announced the news of her dad's passing in a statement shared to social media, where she called him an "amazing husband, father and grandfather." The veteran actor was best known for his role as Jim Lahey on the Canadian cult hit series Trailer Park Boys, as well as his role as Dave Teagues on the Syfy series Haven.
The celebrated British actor and audio book narrator died on Oct. 16 at his home in London, surrounded by family. He was 94. Dotice is best known for his roles in the Oscar-winning film Amadeus -- in which he played the eponymous composer's father, Leopold Mozart -- and HBO's Game of Thrones, where he played Wisdom Hallyne the Pyromancer in season two. However, his connection to George R. R. Martin's GoT universe runs much deeper. Dotice read the audiobooks for Martin's entire A Song of Ice and Fire series and holds the Guinness World Record for the most characters voiced by a single actor in an audiobook. The record was set by the 33-hour audiobook of saga's first novel, A Game of Thrones, which saw Dotice voice 233 different characters. The actor also took home a Tony Award in 2000 for his performance in a revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten. He is survived by his three daughters, as well as several grandchildren and a great-grandson.
The rock music icon died on Oct. 2 after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California. He was 66. Over four decades, Petty and his band, The Heartbreakers, released 13 albums, while the artist released three solo LPs. Many of Petty's classic tunes -- including "American Girl," "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down" and "Last Dance With Mary Jane" have become mainstays of classic rock radio stations and left an indelible mark on American pop culture. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and Petty was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year. Petty is survived by his wife, Dana York, daughters Adria and AnnaKim, stepson Dylan, and a grandchild, as well as his brother, Bruce.
S.I. Newhouse Jr.
The hugely influential publishing magnate died at his home in Manhattan on Oct. 1. He was 89. Newhouse and his brother inherited a large publishing empire from their father, and developed it into one of the largest family fortunes in America. Newhouse took charge of the magazine arm of the company, known as Conde Nast, and through his leadership and savvy developed the company's publications -- which include The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Pitchfork, Glamour, Wired and W, to name a few -- into some of the most popular in the world. The publishing titan is survived by his wife Victoria, son Samuel, daughter Pamela, and brother Donald, as well as five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
The host and co-creator of Let's Make a Deal died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, from heart failure on Sept. 30. He was 96. The TV host made his debut with Let's Make a Deal in 1963 and remained involved in the game show throughout the years, as owner of the show and occasional guest, after Wayne Brady took over as host in 2009. Hall is survived by his two daughters, Gleason and Sharon, as well as his son, Richard. His wife of almost 70 years, Marilyn Plottel, died in June.
The Playboy founder died on Sept. 27, at the famed Playboy Mansion, surrounded by his family. He was 91. Hefner started the iconic magazine in 1953 -- in part with a $1,000 loan from his mother -- and went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Hefner is survived by his wife, Crystal, and four grown children: Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years, David, Marston and Cooper, who currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at the company.
The French heiress, business woman and socialite died on Sep. 21. She was 94. Bettencourt, who was the daughter of L’Oréal founder Eugène Schueller, became the principle shareholder in the company in 1957 after her father's death. According to Forbes, Bettencourt was the single wealthiest woman in the world and 14th richest person overall at the time of her death, with a net worth of $44.3 billion. She is survived by her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, as well as two grandsons.
The actor and former NFL wide receiver died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sep. 19, after a brief illness. He was 78. Casey began his career in the NFL, playing for the San Francisco 49ers and later the Los Angeles Rams, from 1961-68. His first movie role came in the 1969 Western sequel Guns of the Magnificent Seven. He was best known for his performances in Boxcar Bertha, Never Say Never Again, Revenge of the Nerds, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. His most recent role came in the 2007 horror film Vegas Vampires.
The former middleweight champion boxer died due to complications from pneumonia at a nursing home in Miami, Florida, on Sep. 19. He was 95. LaMotta had 30 knockouts in his boxing career, that spanned from 1941 to 1954, and earned the nickname "Bronx Bull." His 1970 memoir was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's 1980 classic Raging Bull, in which Robert De Niro played the volatile pugilist, and the role earned the star his second Academy Award. LaMotta is survived by his fiancee, Denise Baker, and by four daughters, Jacklyn, Christi, Elisa and Mia. He had two sons, Jake Jr., who died of liver cancer in February 1998, and Joseph, who died in a plane crash later that same year.
The Goodfellas actor died in his sleep at the Allendale Nursing Home in New Jersey on Sept. 18. He was 89. Low's career in Hollywood began while working as a real estate developer in New York City and the Tribeca neighborhood. Low became friends with Robert De Niro, who was a tenant in one of his buildings, and the acclaimed star helped him with his acting career. Low is best known for his character Morrie in Goodfellas, alongside De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. He also appeared in several other movies including The Mission, The King of Comedy and Once Upon a Time in America, as well as a role on The Sopranos. He is survived by two children, a niece and two granddaughters
Harry Dean Stanton
The veteran actor died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sep. 15. He was 91. Stanton was best known for his roles in the 1979 horror masterpiece Alien, the HBO series Big Love, John Hughes' iconic Pretty in Pink, and the cult classics Escape From New York and Repo Man. With more than 190 credits to his name, Stanton's career spanned over 60 years. He was most recently seen on the Twin Peaks revival, in which he portrayed Carl Rodd.
The veteran actor, best known for playing tough guys and mafiosos, died of complications from heart surgery on Sept. 13 in New Jersey. He was 78. Vincent famously worked with Martin Scorsese on some of his most iconic gangster films, including Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino, and his most prominent role came playing mob boss Phil Leotardo on the hit HBO series, The Sopranos. He is survived by his wife Kathleen Vincent and their three children.
The influential comic book writer died on Sep. 10. He was 69. Wein was famous for co-creating the Marvel superhero Wolverine -- who went on to become one of the company's most beloved characters -- as well as DC's Swamp Thing. He was also celebrated for bringing the X-Men back from the brink of non-existence when he wrote "Giant Size X-Men #1" in 1975, which was the first X-Men story penned in over five years. Wein also served as an editor on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' groundbreaking series Watchmen. He is survived by his wife, Christine Valada.
The celebrated theatrical songwriter died in Manhattan on Sep. 9, due to complications from HIV/AIDS, according to the Public Theater, who announced his death. He was 41. The acclaimed, prolific musical composer was best known for co-creating Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a satirical off-Broadway musical that garnered a devoted critical following. Friedman wrote songs and served as the musical director on dozens of productions, and was working on multiple unfinished projects at the time of his death, including an adaptation of the video games documentary, The King of Kong.
The Shiloh star was found dead by a friend inside his Los Angeles-area home on Sep. 8. He was 35. ET has learned that there was no illicit drugs or alcohol found on the scene, and that the actor had been sick the last few days. In addition to Shiloh, Heron appeared in numerous TV shows, as well as the 2002 film We Were Soldiers. The actor’s latest project, a film titled Dirt, wrapped production this year.
The celebrated musician and co-founder of the iconic rock group Steely Dan died on Sept. 3. He was 67. In a statement released following his death, Becker's friend and fellow Steely Dan creator Donald Fagen described Becker as "smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter," as well as "cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny." Becker and Fagen were known for blurring the lines of jazz, pop, rock and soul through Steely Dan and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Becker also recorded two albums as a solo artist, 1994's 11 Tracks Of Whack and 2008's Circus Money.
The famed music documentarian died of kidney failure on Sept. 3 in New York City. He was 90. Lerner is best known for his extensive documentary Festival, which examined the Newport Folk Festival and was shot between 1963 and '66. The film includes recordings of performances by music icons like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, among many others. In 1981, Lerner earned an Oscar for Best Documentary for From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China, which looked at the influence of Western culture as it began to break through into China. Lerner is survived by his wife, Judith.
The acclaimed documentarian died at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on Sept. 2, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 62. Tuchman, who was a writer, director and producer, was best known for his TV documentary Voices of Civil Rights -- which earned him an Emmy award and a Peabody -- and The Man From Hope, a documentary about Bill Clinton which was featured during the 1992 Democratic Convention. Tuchman, who worked on more than 30 films over the course of his career, is survived by his girlfriend, Jackie Tepper, as well as his father, Marcel Tuchman, and younger brother, Peter.
The actress and renowned acting teacher died on Sept. 2. She was 65. Kemp appeared in a number of films and TV shows during her career, including the film He Knows You're Alone and the TV show Love of Life. However, she found her true calling as a teacher with The Actors Studio Drama School and became a mentor to a wide array of stars including Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman.
The actor and stand-up comic died from Alzheimer's-related complications at his home in Bell Canyon, California, on Sept. 1. He was 92. Berman was a groundbreaking comic whose GRAMMY-winning 1959 live record was the first comedy album to ever be certified gold by the RIAA. Berman was also the first comedian ever to perform stand-up at Carnegie Hall. Berman appeared in several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he played Larry David's father, Nat David, which also earned him an Emmy nomination in 2008. He retired from performing in 2014. Berman is survived by his wife, Sarah, whom he was married to for 70 years, their daughter, Rachel, and two grandsons.
The veteran stage and screen actress died on Sept. 1. She was 77. The Brooklyn-born performer was best known for roles on TV shows such as Law and Order: SVU, The West Wing, Sex and the City, and 30 Rock. She also earned critical acclaim for her role as an abusive foster mother in 2002's Antwone Fisher.
The veteran film and television star died on Aug. 31, at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 91. Anderson is best known for playing Oscar Goldman, the head of a clandestine scientific government organization on The Six Million Dollar Man and its spinoff, The Bionic Woman, in the 1970s. The actor appeared in over 180 movies and TV shows throughout his career, which spanned six decades, including the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, Stanley Kubrick's gritty WWI drama Paths of Glory and the recurring role of Police Lieutenant Steve Drumm on the beloved legal drama series Perry Mason. He is survived by his daughters, Ashley, Brooke and Deva.
The groundbreaking horror director died on Aug. 26, at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 74. The Los Angeles Coroner’s Office said he died of natural causes. Hooper is best known for directing the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which became one of the most influential slasher films of all time and spawned the iconic horror villain, Leatherface. Despite being banned in many countries for its extreme depiction of violence, it went on to become one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s. Hooper is also celebrated for helming such indelible icons of the genre as Poltergeist, Lifeforce and 1979 TV mini-series Salem's Lot, based on the novel by Stephen King. He is survived by two sons.
The movie producer and gay rights activist died on Aug. 24 at her home in Sherman Oaks, California. She was one of Hollywood's leading producers of LGBT films and media projects, including the 2007 romantic drama Shelter, which earned a GLAAD Media Award for Best Feature. During her career in film, Disalvatore was Outfest's festival manager, served on the board of directors at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and was honored with a West Hollywood Women in Leadership Award in March. She is survived by her sister Roanne and brother Carl.
The Murphy Brown star died on Aug. 24, after a long battle with cancer. He was 69. Thomas' publicist, Tom Estey, confirmed the news to ET, sharing, "Jay Thomas was one of the funniest and kindest men I have had the honor to call both client and friend for 25 years plus. He will be dearly missed by so many." Thomas had several notable roles on television over the span of his career. He played Rhea Pearlman's TV husband, Eddie LeBec, on Cheers, and went on to portray Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown from 1989 to 1998. His other TV credits include Law & Order: SVU, Cold Case, Boston Legal, Hung and, most recently, a recurring role on Ray Donovan. He is survived by his wife, Sally, and his sons, Sam, Max and J.T., who were with him when he died.
The three-time Tony Award-winning writer died on Aug. 22, at his home in Greenwich Village, New York, after a long illness. He was 88. Meehan is best known for adapting the long-running Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip into the megahit Broadway musical Annie. He also wrote the books for the musicals The Producers and Hairspray, all three of which ran for over 2,000 Broadway performances, making him the only writer to have penned three such successful shows. Meehan is survived by his wife.
The iconic comedian died of natural causes, surrounded by his family and friends, on Aug. 20. He was 91. Lewis rose to fame in the '50s as part of a double act with singer Dean Martin, though they ended their partnership in 1956 after a rocky relationship. Lewis then had a successful solo career, starring in films such as The Nutty Professor and The Bellboy. Later in life, Lewis became a world renowned humanitarian due to his fundraising efforts for research into muscular dystrophy, which included hosting the annual live Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, raising over $2.6 billion in donations for the cause over half a century. Lewis had five sons and adopted another child with his first wife, Patti Palmer. He also adopted a daughter with his second wife, SanDee Pitnick.
The pioneering Rockabilly singer and guitarist died on Aug. 18, at Baptist Health Medical Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was 88. Along with his band, the Pacers, Burgess was one of the early creators of the Rockabilly sound and created some of the genre's greatest songs from the 1950s, including "Red-Headed Woman" and "We Wanna Boogie." The Pacers toured throughout the '60s alongside artists like Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Burgess reunited with his fellow bandmates in the '90s and toured the world throughout the decade. They were later inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Europe's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The groundbreaking stand-up comedian and civil rights activist died in Washington, DC, on Aug. 19. He was 84. The news was confirmed by his son, Christian Gregory, in statement on social media. Gregory, born Oct. 12, 1932, appeared on many late-night TV shows in the '60s and '70s and was a civil rights activist for most of his life. Throughout his career, the comedian tried to include powerful statements about segregation and discrimination in his work, releasing popular spoken word albums such as In Living Black and White, Talks Turkey, So You See … We All Have Problems and The Two Sides of Dick Gregory. Most recently, he released the book Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies, writing on how communities should band together to end police brutality.
George A. Romero
John G. Avildsen
Sir Roger Moore
Christopher 'Big Black' Boykin
Cuba Gooding Sr.
Mary Tyler Moore
Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka
William Peter Blatty
The author, best known for penning The Exorcist and the 1973 Academy Award-winning screenplay of its film adaptation, died on Jan. 12 near his home in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 89. According to The New York Times, Blatty's wife, Julie, confirmed the cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. "RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote the great horror novel of our time," Stephen King tweeted following the tragic news. “So long, Old Bill." To this day, The Exorcist is Warner Bros.' highest-grossing film. It was also the first horror movie to ever be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Prior to writing the novel, Blatty specialized in comedy throughout the '60s, lending his talents to a number of feature films, including The Great Bank Robbery, The Pink Panther sequel, A Shot in the Dark, Promise Her Anything and What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?