The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.
Despite never meeting in person, some celebrity deaths can be devastating to their loyal fans.
From Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to Stephen Hawking to The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, we’ve said goodbye to some famous faces so far this year.
Take a look back at the celebrities we’ve lost in 2018.
Jerry Van Dyke
Actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke—brother of Dick Van Dyke—was best known for his role on the TV series “Coach.” According to his wife, Shirley Ann Jones, Van Dyke never fully recovered from a car accident he was in more than two years before his death on Jan. 5 at the age of 86.
In addition to his role as assistant football coach Luther Van Dam on “Coach,” he also performed as a stand-up comedian and worked as a spokesperson for Big Lots in the 1990s. Although his brother was the more famous of the two, Jerry remained proud of his sibling’s success, even joking to The Toronto Star in 1994, “I’m getting sick of Dick riding on my coattails. I just can’t prop up his career forever.”
Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards died at the age of 74 on Feb. 1—just two days shy of his 75th birthday. He had long been suffering from an illness, according to his booking agent Rosiland Triche. He will be remembered as “the ultimate showman.”
First joining the group in 1968, Edwards left and rejoined The Temptations over the years, and lent his vocals to a number of the band’s biggest hits, including “Cloud Nine,” “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone” and “I Can’t Get Next to You.” He also had success as a solo artist, and his 1984 album, “Don’t Look Any Further,” reached No. 2 on the Billboard R&B charts.
Best known in the U.S. for her role as Hugh Grant’s quirky sister in “Notting Hill,” Emma Chambers also had a long run on the British TV series “The Vicar of Dibley.” The actress died on Feb. 21 at age 53. While she was known for her upbeat and charming onscreen persona, in real life Chambers suffered from a multitude of health problems, including severe allergies and eczema.
“Emma was a very bright spark and the most loyal and loving friend anyone could wish for,” Dawn French, Chambers’ “The Vicar of Dibley” co-star told Mirror Online. “I will miss her very much.”
David Ogden Stiers
David Ogden Stiers, best known for his role as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on “M*A*S*H,” died on March 3 from complications related to bladder cancer. He was 75. He had acted on Broadway and worked as a voice actor, including as the announcer in “THX 1138” and as characters in Disney animated films, such as “Lilo and Stitch” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Stiers never married and came out as gay in 2009.
Billy Graham, the world-famous evangelist and preacher, met with every president from Harry Truman through Barack Obama. He died on Feb. 21 at the age of 99. Prior to his death, he suffered from a number of health problems, including fluid on the brain, prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
In 1983, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan, and was also honored with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award in 2000, for his monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom. He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth and is survived by their five children: Virginia Leftwich Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Ruth Graham, Franklin Graham and Nelson Edman Graham.
John Gavin had a successful career as an actor—you may know him from films like “Psycho” and “Spartacus”—before Ronald Reagan appointed him as the ambassador to Mexico. He passed away on Feb. 9 at age 86. Gavin began serving on the board of the Screen Actors Guild in 1965 and served as president from 1971 to 1973. He is survived by his wife, Constance Towers, as well as two children and two step-children.
Damone let his voice shine in “My Fair Lady” back in the 1950s. Even Frank Sinatra reportedly admired his voice, having once said Damone had “the best pair of pipes in the business.” He continued to perform into his 70s and remained a popular draw in nightclubs. He was suffering from a respiratory illness at the end of his life, and died due to complications from it on Feb. 11. He was 89.
Rapper Mac Miller died in September from a suspected overdose. He had dated singer Ariana Grande from August 2016 to May 2018. He was best known for songs like “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza” and “Self Care,” as well as the song “The Way” with Grande. Grande posted a tribute to Miller in the wake of his death, writing that he was “the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved.”
After an online comment accused Grande of “milking” Miller’s death after the singer posted an old photo of her and Miller on Thanksgiving 2018, the singer responded, “I pray you never have to deal with anything like this ever and I’m sending you peace and love.” Grande’s friend and fellow singer, Halsey, took up with some choicer words in defense of her pal.
Miller fans were also shocked to learn about the existence of a supposedly “secret” Instagram account —@cloudywithachanceofawesome69 — the rapper had created in the summer of 2017. The account has 10 posts all seemingly dedicated to vaping.
Actor Ken Berry died on Dec. 1 at the age of 85. The longtime TV actor will be remembered for his roles on “Mayberry R.F.D.,” “F Troop” and “Mama’s Family,” as well as appearances on variety shows such as “The Carol Burnett Show.”
You may not recognize Allison Shearmur’s name, but you definitely would recognize the films she worked on as executive producer of the “Hunger Games” series, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Shearmur died after battling lung cancer at the age of 54. Throughout her long career, she worked as an executive for Paramount, Lionsgate, Universal and Walt Disney Pictures. Shearmur was a quadruplet and had one brother and two sisters. In addition to her siblings, she is survived by her parents, her husband, Edward and their children, Imogen and Anthony.
“Fast” Eddie Clarke
The 67-year-old was the last surviving member of the band. He earned his nickname of “Fast” Eddie due to his agility on the guitar. In addition to his work with Motorhead, Clarke also worked as a recording producer and released records as a solo artist as well.
Clarke is pictured below (right), with bandmates Lemmy Kilmister (center), and Phil Taylor (left).
Jon Paul Steuer
Jon Steuer was a child actor known for his roles in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as well as “Grace Under Fire.” Later, he pursued a career in music and was part of the band P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S (pictured far right). He was 33 years old when he died on Jan. 1. His death was later ruled a suicide.
Prolific author Tom Wolfe passed away on May 14 at the age of 88. He began his career as a journalist and wrote for The Washington Post and the New York Herald-Tribune. Considered a pioneer of the literary style known as “New Journalism,” Wolfe penned a number of acclaimed nonfiction books, including “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” and “The Right Stuff.” He also went on to write best-selling fiction novels, including “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “I Am Charlotte Simmons.” A resident of New York City since 1962, Wolfe was also a prominent figure in the city’s literary and social scenes.
Actor Harry Anderson (center), best known for his role as Judge Harry Stone on the hit 1980s sitcom “Night Court,” passed away on April 16 at the age of 65. His cause of death was later determined to be from stroke.
Anderson began his career as a magician and later went on to perform as a comedian. In addition to his role on “Night Court,” he appeared on other iconic TV shows such as “Cheers” and “Saturday Night Live.” He also played humor columnist Dave Barry in the sitcom based on Barry’s life, “Dave’s World,” from 1993 to 1997 before largely retreating from the spotlight and relocating to Asheville, North Carolina, where he lived until his death.
Director Milos Forman, best known for his work on the Oscar-winning films “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus,” passed away on April 13 at the age of 86.
Forman fled communist Czechoslovakia in 1968 for the United States, and he became an American citizen in 1975. His parents died in Nazi concentration camps when he was a child, and he was brought up by two uncles and friends of his parents.
Mitzi Shore, the legendary owner of the Comedy Store, an iconic Los Angeles comedy club, passed away on April 11 at the age of 87. She had been battling Parkinson’s disease and was in hospice care prior to her death.
She co-founded the Comedy Store with her then-husband Sammy Shore in 1972 and acquired full ownership of the club as part of their divorce settlement in 1974. She influenced the careers of a number of famous comedians, including David Letterman, Jay Leno, Andy Kaufman Robin Williams and Bob Saget. Shore was the mother of comedian and actor Pauly Shore as well as three other children, Peter, Scott and Sandy.
Pauly paid tribute to her on Facebook, calling her a “giver.”
Producer and writer Steven Bocho was known for his hand in creating such hit TV shows as “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue.” Bocho died from a rare form of leukemia on April 1. He was 74. Throughout his career, he was nominated for an Emmy 30 times, winning 10. He was passionate about his work and often fought to ensure his artistic vision was fulfilled.
Actor Mark Salling died by suicide on January 30. He was 35. The former “Glee” star was weeks away from being sentenced for possession of child pornography. The case was dismissed posthumously a week later. According to a source close to the family, Salling had been battling “personal demons” prior to his death but had not sought help.
Simon Shelton Barnes
British actor Simon Shelton Barnes was known for playing the character of Tinky Winky on the hit children’s program “Teletubbies.” Barnes died on January 23 at the age of 52.
In addition to acting, Barnes was also a trained ballet dancer and choreographer. He left behind wife Emma Robbins and three children. In the wake of his death, friends and family took to social media to pay tribute to the late performer, including his niece and “The Inbetweeners” actress, Emily Atack, who called her uncle “the kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet” in a touching Instagram post:
Actor Hugh Dane, best known for his portrayal of Hank the security guard on “The Office,” died on May 16. He was 75. He appeared in a number of movies and television shows over the years, including “Bridesmaids,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Boy Meets World.” He was also an active stage actor. He was remembered by his colleagues for his comedic skill and as well as his kind personality.
Environmental activist Nathaniel Reed warned about the dangers of DDT, a once-prevalent pesticide that was eventually banned in the United States due to its deleterious effects. Reed died on July 11 at the age of 84. During a fishing trip in Canada, the outdoors enthusiast fell and sustained injuries that would eventually lead to his death.
Reed helped lead the Everglades Foundation and the Florida Conservation Coalition, and he was the co-author of the Endangered Species Act, the critical 1970s legislation that helps protect species that are at risk of going extinct.
Associated Press photographer Alan Diaz died on July 3 at the age of 71. Diaz was most well-known for capturing the iconic photo of Elian Gonzalez, a then-6-year old Cuban boy, looking terrified as an armed United States agent arrives to take him from his uncle’s Florida home and return him to his father in Cuba following an intense immigration custody dispute that gripped the world in 1999. His photograph earned him the Pulitzer Prize.
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer died on March 13 at the age of 68. Krauthammer was paralyzed in a diving accident while a student at Harvard Medical School but still went on to graduate at the top of his class. He later gave up medicine in favor of his passion for politics. His long career included stints at the Washington Post and as a commentator for Fox News.
Author Philip Roth died on May 22 at the age of 85. Roth wrote a number of acclaimed books, including the best-selling “Portnoy’s Complaint.” He was awarded many times throughout his career, including the prestigious National Book Award in 1959 for his first book, “Goodbye, Columbus.”
Musician Charles Neville died of pancreatic cancer on April 26. He was 79. The legendary saxophonist was a member of the Neville Brothers, the influential R&B band from New Orleans.
Best known as a 1950s movie star, Tab Hunter also died this year at the age of 86. He died in July from cardiac arrest after a blood clot moved from his leg to his lung.
Hunter portrayed Joe Hardy in the “Damn Yankees!” movie and was also a pop star with a hit song, “Young Love.”
French celebrity chef Joël Robuchon died at the age of 73 on Aug. 6 after a battle with liver cancer. He died in Geneva, Switzerland.
Robuchon, who was best known for making mashed potatoes, owned and ran restaurants on three continents and was the world’s most Michelin-starred chef, according to his website and his spokeswoman. He owned restaurants in cities across the world including Paris, Monaco, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Tokyo and Bangkok.
Benjamin Griveaux, a spokesman for the French government, said Robuchon would continue to “inspire the younger generation of chefs.”
We also said goodbye to actress Charlotte Rae this year when she passed away at the age of 92 in August. Rae was perhaps best known for her role as Mrs. Garrett on classic sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.” Rae had been battline bone cancer since at least April 2017, when she revealed the diagnosis. At the time, she told People the diagnosis came after an earlier cancer scare.
“Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer,” Rae said at the time. “About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — which is a miracle that they found it because usually it’s too late. My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew.”
Koko The Gorilla
Though she wasn’t a human, Koko the gorilla was most certainly a celebrity. She died June 19 in her sleep at the age of 46, according to The Gorilla Foundation.
Koko is best known for mastering sign language and showing the world what great apes can do.
“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy,” the foundation said in a release. “She was beloved and will be deeply missed.”
Nicholas ‘Duffy’ Fudge
The world also mourned the loss of Nicholas S. “Duffy” Fudge, a cast member on National Geographic Channel’s reality series about commercial tuna fisherman called “Wicked Tuna.” He died in July at the age of 28.
Fudge died “unexpectedly” on July 19, 2018, according to an obituary posted on the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home website. No cause of death was announced.
“Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel. We join his family and friends in mourning his untimely loss,” according to a statement from National Geographic.
Jessica Vogel, best known for her appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s cooking competition “Hell’s Kitchen” died at the age of 34 at the end of July. Known for her appearance on the 2014 season of the show, Vogel was being treated for colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, in New Jersey when her fiance says “her heart gave out.”
She finished in 12th place on the show and she also worked at multiple restaurants in New Jersey, studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Denver and appeared on the Food Network show “Cutthroat Kitchen.”
Just three days after Spade’s death on June 5, another celebrity suicide left the world stunned when chef Anthony Bourdain was found unresponsive in his hotel room in France on June 8. He was 61.
Bourdain was multi-talented, and his successful career included multiple TV shows, speaking engagement and best-selling books. In the wake of his death, Bourdain was remembered not only for his impressive professional accomplishments but for his good deeds and inspirational attitude, especially as it pertained to travel. His official biography will be written by friends who knew him best and is due out in fall 2019.
Designer Kate Spade was found dead at her home in New York City on June 5. The world was shocked to learn that Spade had died by suicide. She was 55. Her tragic death prompted a national conversation about a greater need for mental health awareness. She is survived by her husband, Andy, and their daughter, 13-year-old Bea.
The unforgettable lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, died Jan. 15 at the age of 46. The Irish singer had been recording new music at the time of her death.
O’Riordan battled mental illness throughout her life and survived a suicide attempt in 2013. She left behind four children: 20-year-old Taylor, 16-year-old Molly, 12-year-old Dakota and 9-year-old Donnie. Her cause of death has not been made public.
Jarrod Lyle was just 36 when he died in August after a long battle with cancer. The Australian professional golfer had five Top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour and continued to play the sport, despite his diagnosis. He became the second player to receive the PGA Tour’s Courage Award in 2015 for playing despite a disability or serious illness.
“Jarrod was a true inspiration in the way he faced cancer with a persistently positive attitude, and he carried himself with incredible grace, dignity and courage through the recurrences of this relentless disease,” Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, said in a statement.
Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson died on June 27 at the age of 89. Jackson was credited with launching the careers of his children, pop stars Michael and Janet Jackson, as well as sibling singing group, The Jackson 5.
He was often the subject of controversy due to allegations of abuse and harsh treatment of his wife and children that followed him throughout his life, resulting in mixed reactions to his death. Several of his family members spoke out publicly about their loss, including granddaughter Paris Jackson (daughter of the late Michael Jackson), who called her grandfather “the legend who started it all,” in a touching Instagram tribute.
Actress Margot Kidder, best known for portraying Lois Lane in the “Superman” movies opposite Christopher Reeve, passed away on May 13. She was 69.
Her last role was in the 2017 mafia drama “The Neighborhood.” Kidder was thrice married and divorced and had one child, daughter Maggie. Kidder was an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and was open about her own struggles with bipolar disorder. She was also an activist for animals and the environment.
Actor Verne Troyer, who played Mini-Me in two of the “Austin Power” movies, died on April 21 at the age of 49. He battled alcohol addiction and had a very high level of alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
Troyer had a rare type of dwarfism known as cartilage-hair hypoplasia and stood just 2 feet 8 inches tall. He got his start in entertainment as a stunt double for a 9-month-old baby in “Baby’s Day Out” in 1994. In addition to television and film roles, he also appeared in music videos and on reality TV shows, including “The Surreal Life” and “Celebrity Big Brother.”
Nancy Sinatra, first wife of singer Frank Sinatra, died on July 13 at the age of 101. After her divorce, she never remarried and devoted her life to charity. She is survived by her daughter, also named Nancy.
Stephen Hawking was as well-known for his quick wit as his theories about black holes. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) at the age of 21. Back in 2014, he showed off his comedic chops during an appearance on “Last Week Tonight” with host John Oliver. The brilliant physicist traded a number of barbs with the comedian, proving that his sense of humor was just as sharp as his intellect. Hawking died at age 76 on March 14.
Reg E. Cathey
Reg E. Cathey was known for his roles on shows like “House of Cards” and “The Wire.” He most recently appeared in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” with Oprah Winfrey. He was also a stage actor and notably played Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding in a London production of “The Shawshank Redemption” in 2009. Following a batter with cancer, he died on Feb. 9 at age 59.
John Mahoney, who started acting in his 30s, was best known for his role on the sitcom “Frasier.” He acted in such films as “The American President” and “Moonstruck.” Although he was born in England, he spent most of his adult life in the United States and even served in the U.S. Army. While most fans know him for his onscreen work, he was a prolific stage actor as well and performed in many productions at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. He died on Feb. 4 at the age of 77.
Robin Leach, best known for the syndicated television show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” died in August after suffering a stroke. He was 76 years old.
Leach’s family issued a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Despite the past 10 months, what a beautiful life he had. Our Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle and friend Robin Leach passed away peacefully last night at 1:50 a.m.,” the family said in a statement. “Everyone’s support and love over the past, almost one year, has been incredible and we are so grateful.”
Dennis Shields, the boyfriend of Bethenny Frankel of “Real Housewives of New York,” was found dead in his Manhattan apartment Aug. 10. Since no autopsy was performed, no cause of death was determined for Shields, who was 51 at the time of his death. Much of the pair’s relationship was documented on the Bravo reality show. Shields had been the CEO of LawCash, a litigation funding company.
DJ Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) died by suicide on April 28. He was just 28 years old. The Swedish artist had been plagued by a number of health problems throughout the years, including acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive alcohol consumption, as well as surgery ato remove his gallbladder and appendix. He retired from performing in 2016 but continued to make new music. In the wake of his shocking death, his contemporaries in the EDM world have paid tribute to his artistry and spoken out about Avicii’s struggles with the pressures that come with success.
John McCain, Arizona senator and former presidential candidate, died in August after a battle with brain cancer at the age of 81. McCain lived a remarkable life, serving as a naval bomber pilot and becoming a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
“It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make peace,” McCain wrote in his memoir. “I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes. I’ve suffered the deepest despair and experienced the highest exultation. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”
The prolific playwright Neil Simon died in August at the age of 91 from complications related to pneumonia. He is best known for works such as “The Odd Couple,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Lost in Yonkers.” At one point, there were four plays written by Simon running on Broadway at the same time. He wrote more than 40 plays in total, winning Tony Awards for “The Odd Couple,” “Biloxi Blues” and “Lost in Yonkers.” He also won a Tony for making an overall contribution to American theater and was nominated for 13 other Tonys.
After reports that Franklin was ill began circulating in mid-August, the Queen of Soul died at age 76 on Aug. 16 from an undisclosed illness. She could belt out a tune like no other, singing well-known hits such as “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.” She had an illustrious career that included singing at the inaugurations for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
She was also one of the most decorated artists in music history. She won 18 Grammy Awards (and received 44 nominations!), three American Music Awards and three NAACP Image Awards. Franklin was also been nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award, a Golden Globe and two MTV Video Music Awards.
Jim Bowen was a comedian and host of the popular British show “Bullseye.” He died March 14 at the age of 80. Bowen was well-known for his catchphrases, including “Super, smashing, great,” “You can’t beat a bit of Bully!” and “Let’s look at what you could have won.” In addition to his tenure on “Bullseye,” he also appeared in a number of television shows and hosted a morning magazine program on Radio Lancashire from 1990 to 2002. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, and their two children, Susan and Peter.
We are devastated to announce that our friend & Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen has passed away. Our love and thoughts go out to Jim's family.
Thank you for all the memories Jim, you will be greatly missed.
Andrew & Laura Wood
— Bullseye (@BullseyeTVshow) March 14, 2018
Actor Jackson Odell, best known for his role on the sitcom “The Goldbergs,” was found unresponsive in a sober living facility on June 8. He was in treatment for heroin addiction, but no official cause of death has been released. His family released a statement on his Twitter account in which they asked for privacy from the public as they mourn their “immeasurable loss.”
Odell was just 20 years old. In addition to acting, Odell was a singer-songwriter and wrote original songs for the 2018 movie “Forever My Girl.”
Fans of the reality show “Pawn Stars” suffered a loss in 2018 with the passing of Richard Harrison, known as “The Old Man” on the hit History Channel show. He died at the age of 77 on June 25 surrounded by people he loved.
“He was my hero and I was fortunate to get a very cool ‘Old Man’ as my dad,” his son and co-star Rick Harrison wrote on Instagram. “That I got to share him with so many others and they got to see what a great family man he was is something I am grateful to have experienced with him.”
Jóhann Jóhannsson scored films such as “The Theory of Everything” and “Arrival.” The Icelandic composer was nominated for an Oscar for his work on “Sicario.”
Prior to his death, he was also hired to score Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” a live-action/CGI movie based on the”Winnie the Pooh” classic book series by A.A. Milne. Set to premiere on August 3, the film is now being scored by Jon Brion in the wake of Johannsson’s untimely and unexpected death on Feb. 9 at the age of 48.
Barbara Alston, a member of the 1960s girl group “The Crystals,” died on Feb. 16 at the age of 74 following a two-week illness with the flu. The Crystals were known for such classics as “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then Kissed Me.” After she retired from performing, Alston enjoyed a quiet life as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whose hobbies included knitting and cross-stitching. She lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, and worked as a title agent and secretary.
“Hollywood’s oldest working actress” Connie Sawyer died at age 105 on Jan. 21. Sawyer was still working through the end of 2017, and had roles in scores of TV shows and films, including “When Harry Met Sally.” Born in 1912 (the same year the Titanic sank), she got her start in entertainment with dance lessons as a child followed by acting roles and a comedy act she performed on the Vaudeville circuit.
After a role in “A Hole in the Head” on Broadway in 1957, she began appearing in films. She enjoyed her career as a character actress and never regretted not being considered a leading lady.
Longtime Hollywood leading man Burt Reynolds died on Sept. 6 at the age of 82. The actor rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s with roles in films such as “Deliverance,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “The Longest Yard” and “Semi-Tough.” He earned an Oscar nomination for his role playing pornography director Jack Horner in 1997’s “Boogie Nights.”
Considered a major heartthrob in his day, Reynolds’ love life was often a topic of interest among his fans and the media. Earlier this year, he said that Sally Field, his co-star in “Smokey and the Bandit,” whom he dated for five years after meeting her on-set, was the true love of his life. He was married to English actress Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965 and actress Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993.
Ray Thomas was a founding member of the group The Moody Blues, as well as a vocalist and flutist. He died in January at the age of 76 at his home in Surrey, England. The group produced hits such as “Go Now” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”
The man behind the Marvel empire and such iconic superheroes as Spider-man, the Incredible Hulk, Black Panther and Iron Man died on Nov. 12 at the age of 95. Stan Lee‘s impact on the comic book world and, by extension, superhero films can’t be overstated. Marvel fans no doubt waited to catch Lee’s endearing cameos in every Marvel movie.
Lee started in the comic book industry in 1939, then served in the Army’s communications corps during WWII before returning to comic books and creating or co-creating some of his most famous superheroes. Lee’s wife, Joan, died in 2017 after nearly seven decades of marriage and he is survived by his daughter, J.C.
Trailblazing actress and director Penny Marshall died on Dec. 17 due to complications from diabetes. Marshall leapt into the public eye as Laverne DeFazio on ABC’s hit TV sitcom “Laverne & Shirley.” Later in her career, Marshall turned to directing and became the first female director to helm a film that grossed $100 million (“Big”). Marshall also directed such hits as “A League Of Their Own,” “Awakenings” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” She was preceded in death by her producer-director brother, Garry Marshall, who died in 2016.
Smith shot to fame in 1995 after winning the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants on the heels of her Miss Texas win that year. Smith died Sept. 8 at age 45 after a year-long battle with liver cancer.
Cristy Caserta, a Florida attorney and one-time “The Bachelor” contestant, died unexpectedly on Oct. 4. She was reportedly at a work training when she suffered a suspected seizure and was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The 38-year-old had appeared on “The Bachelor” season 15 in 2011, though she was eliminated in the first week.
Caserta described herself on her Twitter profile as “just an easygoing South Florida girl” and her social media feeds were filled with photos of Caserta with friends and family. Caserta’s season of “The Bachelor” featured Brad Womack in his search for love, and ended with Womack proposing to Emily Maynard (the two would later split up).
According to Access Hollywood, an autopsy to determine her cause of death was planned, but there’s been no official cause of death released as of yet.
Animator Bud Luckey worked on such memorable Pixar films as “Ratatouille” and “Cars”, and was the creator of Woody from “Toy Story. Earlier in his life, he’d done work on shows like “Sesame Street” and the original “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”
In addition to his animation work, Luckey provided voices for iconic characters such as Rick Dickler in “The Incredibles,” Chuckles the Clown in “Toy Story 3” and Eeyore in 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh.” He retired from animation in 2008 but continued to do voice work until 2014. Luckey died Feb. 24 at the age of 83.
Sunday Today paid a nice tribute to the accomplished artist:
— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) March 5, 2018