As we finally turn the calendar on the Cruelest Year, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the memorable people we lost from the world of entertainment. Click through the photo gallery above.
Among those who passed during 2020 were big-screen Hollywood legends from Kirk Douglas and Olivia de Havilland to Sean Connery and Chadwick Boseman, sitcom favorites Jerry Stiller and Dawn Wells and two of the all-time showbiz multihyphenates in Carl Reiner and Buck Henry. Other actors who left us include Diana Rigg, Max Von Sydow, Brian Dennehy, Kelly Preston, Fred Willard, Naya Rivera, Nick Cordero, Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Indian stars Irrfan Khan and Soumitra Chatterjee.
The movie world also mourns filmmakers Alan Parker, Joel Schumacher and Kim Ki-duk, along with a man who would be on a Mount Rushmore for film composers: Ennio Morrocone.
Also gone this past year were such admired TV personalities as Regis Philbin, Alex Trebek, Jim Lehrer, James Lipton, Phyllis George, Hugh Downs and soap opera creator Lee Bell Phillips.
The music world will miss a number of legendary singers including Little Richard, Kenny Rogers, Bill Withers, Helen Reddy and Bonnie Pointer; Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Eddie Van Halen, Neil Peart and Peter Green; jazz legends McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Cobb; country stars Charley Pride, Charlie Daniels, Justin Townes Earle, K.T. Oslin and Joe Diffie; rappers John “Ecstasy” Fletcher and Juice WRLD; and reggae pioneer Toots Hibberd.
The business side of the industry said farewell to a trio of giants: Viacom and CBS magnate Sumner Redstone; pioneering TV exec and programming whiz Fred Silverman; and Jack Welch, the longtime chairman-CEO of General Electric, whose holdings included NBC and RCA.
Three iconic, revered and utterly American lives also were lost in 2020: longtime congressman and Civil Rights activist John Lewis, singular Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and test pilot extraordinaire and The Right Stuff subject Chuck Yeager.
And among the world-class and/or Hall of Fame athletes who left us were Kobe Bryant, Rafer Johnson, Diego Maradona, Curly Neal and Joe Morgan.
Chatterjee, Wells, Kim and Cordero were among those who succumbed to Covid-19 as the pandemic raged around the world in 2020. Other victims of the coronavirus included singers Adam Schlesinger, Armando Manzanero and Trini Lopez; musicians John Prine and Matthew Seligman; actors Julie Bennett, Forrest Compton and Lee Fierro; and theater veterans Jun Maeda and Wynn Handman.
A solemn toast to them and the others, and a happier new year to all.
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