The past year was marked by the loss of numerous prominent figures who left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry. From the world of music to acting and sports, these famous folks have become a part of our cultural fabric and had many fans throughout the world. Although the news of their deaths shocked fans everywhere, their legacies continue to live on through their timeless contributions. Read on for the complete list of celebrities we lost in the past year, and raise a glass in celebration of their legendary lives.
Anne Heche, 53
Anne Heche has been a prominent figure in the entertainment industry since the 1990s. She received an Emmy Award nomination for her role in Gracie's Choice and a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Twentieth Century. Despite her thriving career, she was also known for her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. Tragically, Heche died in a car accident on August 5, leaving behind a long list of memorable performances.
Anne Heche drove into a home, which was ruled as an accident, and was in a coma for a week. She ultimately died from the damage and injuries from the inhalation of smoke and thermal burn.
The world lost a true legend on December 29th with the passing of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé. Regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time, Pelé's amazing play and his role in winning three World Cups for Brazil solidified his place in the sport's history. Throughout the late 1960s, Pelé was a household name, with his fame reaching new heights thanks to his humanitarian work, TV and film appearances, and endorsement deals.
Pelé's legendary status was cemented with multiple awards and recognition throughout his lifetime, including the International Peace Award, the title of Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee, and a starring role alongside Sylvester Stallone in the film Victory.
Gilbert Gottfried, 67
The entertainment world lost a true icon with the passing of Gilbert Gottfried on April 12, 2022. Known for his grating, distinctive voice, Gottfried rose to fame as a stand-up comedian in New York at just 15 years old. He later became a cast member on Saturday Night Live and went on to voice iconic characters such as the sarcastic parrot Iago in Disney's Aladdin and characters in SpongeBob Squarepants and Family Guy.
However, he sadly passed away from complications from myotonic dystrophy type 2, a rare genetic muscle disease that affected his heart.
John Aniston, 89
Hollywood has lost a legend with the passing of John Aniston, star of Days of Our Lives. Aniston was a master of his craft, bringing to life the character of Victor Kiriakis on the long-running soap opera for 36 years! He was honored with the 2022 Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by his daughter Jennifer Aniston, which took place less than six months before his passing.
It's believed he died of natural causes, and now John's legacy will live on through his numerous appearances on TV and incredible work on Days of Our Lives.
Kirstie Alley, 71
With her comedic skills and stunning looks, actress Kirstie Alley was one of the biggest stars of the 80s. From her memorable role as Rebecca Howe on Cheers to her award-winning performance in Look Who's Talking, Alley had a long career in Hollywood. She earned numerous accolades and nominations, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. However, after a lengthy private struggle with cancer, she passed away at the age of 71.
Kirstie Alley's last TV performance was on The Masked Singer, less than a year before her passing. Although she received the lowest number of votes from the panelists, it's a funny moment people will fondly look back on.
Julee Cruise, 65
Julee Cruise, the singer-songwriter behind the haunting hit "Falling," left a lasting impression on the world of music and television with her memorable work on David Lynch's series Twin Peaks. With her stunning voice and performances, Cruise became a staple of the cult classic show and its soundtrack, appearing several times as a roadhouse singer. Sadly, her husband revealed that she passed away from suicide on June 9, 2022.
She struggled with lupus, depression, and alcohol and drug addiction in the past, but the reason for taking her life is ultimately unclear. Her husband insists it's okay, and she is now at peace.
Louise Fletcher, 88
Actress Louise Fletcher has had an impressive career, winning the Best Actress Oscar for her iconic portrayal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She was known for being a versatile actress who left an indelible mark on the industry with her stunning performance in Exorcist II: The Heretic and Cruel Intentions. Though she had battled breast cancer twice by the time she was 80, the exact cause of her death was not disclosed.
However, her family shared she passed away in her sleep due to natural causes at the age of 88. Fans and colleagues alike will deeply miss this icon.
Irene Cara, 63
With a voice that could not be ignored, Irene Cara made her mark in the entertainment industry in the 80s. From her role as Coco Hernandez in the musical movie Fame to singing its iconic theme song, Cara's talent was undeniable. Her chart-topping performance in Flashdance was a standout hit and earned her a Grammy and an Oscar. Sadly, on November 25, the world lost a true talent as Cara passed away at 63.
The cause of her death was revealed only recently, with the official report pointing towards hypertension and high cholesterol as the sole cause of her sudden death.
Louie Anderson, 68
One of America's most beloved comedians, Louie Anderson, rose to fame after appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1984. This marked the start of a series of TV appearances, comedy specials, and film roles, including the classic films Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Coming to America. His many accomplishments collected him plenty of fans along the way. However, the last few years of his life weren't as easy as his family wished.
The iconic comic, who had a successful career spanning decades, passed away at the age of 68 after a tough battle with aggressive blood cancer.
Mike Hagerty, 67
Comedic actor Mike Hagerty passed away on April 29, leaving behind a memorable legacy in Hollywood. Known for his comedic timing and mustache, Hagerty first rose to prominence in the 1987 comedy Overboard. Throughout his career, he appeared in various movies and TV shows, including Cheers, Friends, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Despite his lovely and warm demeanor on-screen, the last months of his life were quite the opposite, full of much grim.
Mike passed away after he was given a new antibiotic that caused him to have a seizure and lapse into a coma, an absolute tragic passing.
Another tragic loss of 2022, the iconic rapper Collio passed away at just 59 years young. His hit song "Gangsta's Paradise" remains a classic and instantly transports you to one of the most memorable tracks of the 90s. He was a true innovator, and his music helped shape the genre. He died so suddenly when a friend found him in the bathroom unconscious. His friends continuously performed CPR, but he was unresponsive.
Ultimately it was later revealed that he experienced cardiac arrest. He was so young but undoubtedly made his mark in music.
Fred Ward, 79
Fred Ward was a talented character actor who captured the hearts of audiences with his tough-guy swagger and piercing eyes. His career spanned several decades and included memorable roles in films such as Escape from Alcatraz, The Right Stuff, and Tremors. With his impressive acting range and ability to bring depth to any character he played, Ward was a staple in Hollywood. However, news of his passing was shocking as people tried to figure out the cause.
His family declined to release information about how he passed away, so fans are left wondering how such a great actor was taken so soon.
Estelle Harris, 93
The world has lost a truly funny woman with the passing of Estelle Harris. With a career spanning decades in Hollywood, Harris is best known for her unforgettable portrayal of George Costanza's overbearing mother on the hit TV show Seinfeld. Her high-pitched voice and comedic timing made the show a classic! Despite having and beating cancer in 2013, her career didn't slow down. It wasn't until this past year that she passed away.
At 93, she died of natural causes while at her home in California. Yet her long list of credits in both film and television will live on.
Sacheen Littlefeather, 75
Sacheen Littlefeather is iconic for her bold move at the 1973 Oscars. When Marlon Brando won best actor for The Godfather, Littlefeather walked the stage to read his statement declining the award in protest of Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans. The actress and activist dedicated her life to Native American issues and will be celebrated for her bravery at the Oscars. Littlefeather passed away on October 2, leaving a legacy of activism and courage.
She passed away from breast cancer complications right after finally receiving an apology from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her treatment that evening.
Vivienne Westwood, 81
The fashion industry mourns the loss of the legendary Vivienne Westwood, who passed away on December 29th at 81. A trailblazer in the world of punk fashion, Westwood rose to fame in the 1970s; the Sex Pistols were the first to wear her designs! Her designs were worn by Dita Von Teese, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Princess Eugenie, among many others. So how did the icon so suddenly pass?
Well, it's unknown what caused her death, but her family reassured she was peacefully at home, surrounded by her loved ones.
Jason David Frank, 49
The entertainment world was shocked and saddened by the death of Jason David Frank, the famous Green and White Ranger from the hit TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Known for his karate moves and being an eighth-degree black belt, Frank's character was a fan favorite for over 100 episodes. Despite his celebrity status, he had struggled with mental health issues and depression. Unfortunately, these feelings all took over one night.
He passed away from suicide, leaving behind a legacy as a beloved power ranger and his wife and four children.
Ray Liotta, 67
Ray Liotta was one of Hollywood's most iconic tough guys. The New Jersey-born actor was known for his sinister laugh and unmistakable accent, which made him a fan favorite for over four decades. He went on to achieve true stardom in the 1990 classic Goodfellas. However, he was working on his latest film Dangerous Waters and filming in the Dominican Republic when suddenly things took a turn for the worst.
It was reported that Ray Liotta died in his sleep in May while still in the Dominican Republic, away from his young daughter and fiance.
Stephen "tWitch" Boss, 40
The entertainment world was saddened by the news of the sudden death of Stephen "tWitch" Boss, the talented DJ and dancer who became known for his time on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Millions of fans around the world loved his upbeat personality and infectious smile. Unfortunately, that same warmth and radiance he made others feel, he didn't feel himself. He ultimately took his own life, leaving a void in the hearts of his family, friends, and fans.
It was later revealed that he tragically died by suicide via a gunshot wound to the head.
Traci Braxton, 50
Traci Braxton was a beloved member of the famous Braxton family and a rising star in her own right. Known for her role in the hit reality series Braxton Family Values, Traci was a talented singer, actress, and reality star who entertained millions with her larger-than-life personality. Her second and last album, On Earth, was released in 2018. Sadly, Traci passed away in March at the age of 50 after a courageous year-long battle with esophageal cancer.
Though Traci's death was a devastating loss for her family and fans, she will always be known as a fierce and talented performer and a beloved member of the Braxton family.
Ivana Trump, 73
Ivana Marie Trump had quite a life and career. She was a socialite, fashion designer, and of course, former wife to Donald Trump. Her high-profile marriage to the former US president definitely catapulted her into the limelight, and she helped him build a real estate empire. In very unfortunate news, it was revealed that she fell off of her staircase and was severely injured from the accident, passing away shortly after.
Sadly she will be missed as her three children and grandchildren remember her as a brilliant and funny woman.
Philip Baker Hall, 90
The entertainment industry has lost a true icon with the passing of the legendary actor Philip Seymour Hall. With his distinct sad-puppy-dog look and gravelly voice, Hall left a lasting impression on audiences for decades. He had over 100 credits to his name. Although he had many memorable roles, Hall's appearance on Seinfeld will forever be a highlight of his career. Sadly, he passed away in June at 90 years old.
Not many people knew that he suffered from a lung condition called emphysema, which doesn't have a very long life expectancy. His passing was a sudden and devastating loss for the industry.
Robbie Coltrane, 72
Legendary British actor Robbie Coltrane was known for captivating performances that left a lasting impression on audiences. He rose to fame in the 1990s with his role in Cracker. Of course, no one could forget his character Hagrid and commanding presence in Harry Potter. Sadly, it was revealed that his passing could be attributed to multiple infections and sepsis, ultimately leading to organ failure, which is truly a devastating way to go.
Whether it was his talent, charisma, or the unforgettable characters he brought to life, the Harry Potter star left a lasting legacy that will be cherished by generations to come.
Tony Dow, 77
Tony Dow, best known for his role as Wally Cleaver in the beloved TV series Leave it to Beaver, passed away at 77. Before his acting career took off, Dow was a Junior Olympics diving champion and landed the role of Wally through a chance audition. He became a household name during the golden age of television and had many other roles in shows like General Hospital and Love, American Style.
In a bizarre turn of events, Tony Dow's death caused a frenzy on social media. A post on Facebook announcing the star's passing from cancer was deleted, only to be replaced with one claiming he was still alive. The confusion continued until official confirmation of his death was posted the following day.
Pat Carroll, 95
Legendary comedienne and voice actress Pat Carroll has passed away at 95. She won an Emmy for her role in the variety series Caesar's Hour in 1957. However, she is most remembered for her voice work, particularly as Ursula, the sea witch in Disney's classic The Little Mermaid. Her comedic skills and perky personality made her a beloved name in comedy. But her death still came as a shock despite being 95 years old.
The iconic actress was overcome by a bad case of pneumonia and passed away in her home. Pat's passing is a massive loss for the entertainment industry, but her talent and wit will live on through her timeless work.
Sally Kellerman, 84
Best known for her role as Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in Robert Altman's MASH, Sally Kellerman's stunning looks and unique voice made her a standout in any performance. With a career spanning over 60 years, Sally graced the screens of film and television, earning an Oscar nomination and leaving a lasting impact on audiences. Kellerman's talent shone through in each role she played. Sadly, she passed away after a five-year battle with dementia.
Kellerman's iconic performances and guest spots on TV shows like Touched by an Angel and Beverly Hills, 90210 prove her talent is unmatched.
Peter Bogdanovich, 82
A true legend was lost with the passing of Peter Bogdanovich on January 6. The critic-turned-filmmaker was known for his distinct filmmaking style and eye for talent. Bogdanovich's works, including The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, are timeless masterpieces. Despite later setbacks, including the tragic death of his girlfriend, Dorothy Stratten, in 1980, Bogdanovich remained a staple in Hollywood. He suffered from Parkison's disease much later in life, which took his life.
With his signature horn-rimmed glasses and neckerchief, he was a true filmmaker and cultural icon of a bygone era.
Pharoah Sanders, 81
Pharoah Sanders was a musical legend who left a lasting impact on the world of jazz. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Sanders' musical roots were influenced by church hymnals. As he journeyed to California and later New York, he expanded his musical horizons and became known for his unique blend of jazz, R&B, and avant-garde styles, later coined "spiritual jazz." He released his final album and passed away less than a year later.
A talented saxophonist and icon who helped popularize spiritual jazz, he will always be remembered for his beautiful and soulful music that continues to inspire generations.
Christine McVie, 79
The music world lost the incredible keyboardist and singer Christine McVie, who passed away in November 2022. Her bluesy vocals and signature keyboard skills played a significant role in the iconic sound of Fleetwood Mac. McVie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac in 1998 and is undoubtedly a revered musician. Sadly, her family announced her death on social media, revealing she passed away peacefully after a brief illness.
Although McVie had faced some health challenges in recent years, she never lost her passion for music and continued to inspire others with her artistry.
James Caan, 82
The talented and versatile actor, James Caan, is known as one of the greats of Hollywood. He captured audiences with his raw and powerful performance as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and received an Oscar nomination for the role. Caan's talent was not limited to film and television, as he also made a mark on the stage, receiving critical acclaim for his Broadway performances! Unfortunately, he suffered from congestive heart failure.
The world has lost a true Hollywood icon, but Caan's legacy lives on through his unforgettable performances and impact on the entertainment industry.
Julie Powell, 49
Julie Powell became known in the food world and the rest of Hollywood for her popular blog based on Julia Child's cookbook. Her experience writing this blog was soon turned into a movie, Julie & Julia, featuring powerhouses like Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. This shot her into the spotlight, and she soon became a trailblazer in food writing. However, it didn't last very long, as she tragically died before she reached 50.
Her husband shared that she had a heart attack at home and didn't survive. However, she managed to open the eyes of a new generation of food enthusiasts.
Angela Lansbury, 96
Angela Lansbury’s death is heartbreaking, but her legendary career will live on. Lansbury was a true Hollywood legend, from her Tony-winning stage performances to her Oscar-nominated roles on the big screen. Of course, Lansbury is best known for her role in the hit series Murder, She Wrote. The show eventually made her a household name! She was recognized for her contributions to the industry with a Tony for lifetime achievement before she passed.
Days before her 97th birthday, she died in her sleep. Though it's heartbreaking, her family is happy she went peacefully.
Leslie Jordan, 67
Leslie Jordan, the award-winning actor, and comedian, has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. From his performances on Will & Grace and Ugly Betty, Jordan's versatility was unmatched. He rose to social media fame during the COVID-19 pandemic with his hilarious and heartwarming videos on Instagram that offered a glimpse into his life as a Southern gay man. However, he tragically passed away after crashing into a building in Hollywood.
It was later discovered that he had a heart attack moments before that caused the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. His sweet demeanor and laugh-out-loud storytelling will be missed.
Betty Davis, 77
The music industry has lost one of its true pioneers with the passing of Betty Davis. The legendary funk singer was a trailblazer in the 1960s and 1970s with her soulful and innovative sound. Despite her success, Betty disappeared from the music scene in the mid-1970s, only to reemerge as a cult figure in recent years with the release of a documentary about her life and music, only to pass away a few years later.
Her death is a loss to the world of music; she was a driving force behind the funk movement and is credited with introducing Miles Davis to rock and influencing younger legends like Erykah Badu and OutKast.
Naomi Judd, 76
The music world was rocked by the sudden passing of country music legend Naomi Judd, who, alongside her daughter Wynonna, formed the iconic duo The Judds. The mother-daughter pair, known for their harmonious voices and heartwarming ballads, captured the hearts of fans worldwide with their chart-topping hits. Her family shared that Naomi was battling PTSD and bipolar disorder, and days before being abducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, she committed suicide.
Naomi died after a self-inflicted gunshot in her home. This sudden passing has left a void in the music industry and the hearts of fans everywhere.
Olivia Newton-John, 73
Olivia Newton-John, the legendary singer, actress, and cancer advocate, was most known for her role in Grease. With her vibrant voice and effervescent personality, she successfully released 26 studio albums and amassed a string of hit singles! Despite her fantastic career, she was diagnosed with cancer three times and was eventually overcome by the horrible sickness. She advocated for breast cancer screenings and left millions praising her career and inspiring spirit.
She remains an industry icon; her music and incredible body of work are proof enough of the legacy she made for herself.
Loretta Lynn, 90
Loretta Lynn was a country star who sadly left behind a legacy of music. Her music was deeply rooted in her life experiences and reflected the struggles and triumphs of working-class people in America. She paved the way for women in country music and was a trailblazer in the industry, breaking barriers and inspiring many other female country artists. She lived a full life and died of old age while fast asleep.
Loretta was one of country music's greatest legends and a true inspiration to many. Another great soul was lost in the year 2022.
Margaret Keane, 94
Her whimsical depictions of big-eyed children and animals captured the hearts of many and became synonymous with the pop-art movement of the mid-20th century. Despite her husband's attempts to take credit, Margaret's talent and style were soon recognized by art lovers and collectors alike. Her paintings can be found in galleries and museums worldwide. However, just this past year, she was unfortunately found dead in her home at 94 years old.
Ultimately heart failure took her life, a significant loss for the art community. Margaret was a true artistic icon, and the beautiful paintings she created continue to inspire new generations of artists.
Sidney Poitier, 94
Sidney Poitier was not only a fantastic actor but an advocate for civil rights in the 1960s. In 1963 he made history by winning an Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field and being the first Black actor to do so. He even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 from President Barack Obama. He had a life full of outstanding achievements but sadly suffered from several ailments near the end of his life.
The harsh effects of dementia, prostate cancer, and heart failure would ultimately contribute to his death.
Ronnie Spector, 78
An absolute legend of the music world, Ronnie Spector was once the lead singer of The Ronettes. As a young woman, she headlines for major musicians like The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and even The Beatles! She was rightfully inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! A few years ago, she released a solo album, but after unfortunately dealing with a spout of cancer, it was too hard to overcome.
She is another incredible musician and soul taken from the world, yet her footprint in the industry is made, and her music will be played for generations.
Scott Hall Aka Razor Ramon, 63
Scott Hall, the wrestler who became known for his Razor Ramon character, passed away at only 63. He never reached quite the success he wanted after an incident in which he shot someone he claimed was attacking him. Later in life, he had hip replacement surgery followed by three heart attacks. This traumatic incident was too much for his body, and he landed him on life support; he tragically didn't make it.
He is still remembered as an influential professional wrestler of the 90s, and his death comes as a reminder of how unfair life can be, genuinely heartbreaking.