Celebrity Deaths in 2016

Some of them were far too young

by Stuart Wright Jan 1, 2017 at 12:31 AM


  • Movies Article

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    Celebrity Deaths in 2016
    To call 2016 a sad year is somewhat of an understatement. The shocking news of superstar deaths has been relentless.
    Even if you’re not a fan, you are sure to respect the wealth of work by the musicians, writers, actors and other talented people who have left us this year.

    Here is a personal list of 57 notable people who passed away in 2016. Your list will be different and you’re invited to name those you will miss most in the comments.

    in 1967, Ed Stewart became one of the first DJs to join BBC Radio 1 and he worked at the BBC on and off until relatively recently.

    Stewart became a regular presenter of the BBC television programme Top of the Pops in 1971. He also presented the children's programme Crackerjack from 1973 to 1979, and had a short-lived programme Ed and Zed.

    For many years Stewart was the figurehead for children's magazine Look-in, the "Junior TV Times". Starting in 1971 with a feature on a day in his life, he was brought in as a regular with a feature called "'Stewpot's Look-out", which later became "'Stewpot's Newsdesk". They also used his name in other features such as "Stewpot's Starchart". Newsdesk ended in 1980, as did Stewart's association with the magazine.

    Stewart died at the age of 74 on 9 January 2016 in hospital in Bournemouth following a stroke. He was 74.

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    David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter and actor, a figure in popular music for over five decades, regarded by critics and musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

    On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public.

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    Ex-wife Angie Bowie created the best moment of reality television of the year when she quietly told her fellow Celebrity Big Brother contestant Tiffany Pollard the news that "David is Dead". Poor Tiffany thought Angie was talking about their other housemate David Gest and the ensuing roller coaster of emotions and confusion was hilarious at what should have been a solemn time.



    Sadly, David Gest makes an appearance later in this list.


    Alan Rickman was an English actor and director known for playing a variety of roles on stage and on screen.

    Rickman trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in modern and classical theatre productions.

    His first big television part came in 1982, but his big break was as the Vicomte de Valmont in the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. Rickman gained wider notice for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.

    In August 2015, Rickman suffered a minor stroke, which led to the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He concealed the fact that he had terminal cancer from all but his closest confidants. On 14 January 2016, Rickman died in London aged 69.

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    Dan Haggerty died January 15th 2016 aged 73. He is best known for portraying the character Grizzly Adams in the title role of the 1974 Sunn Classic Pictures feature, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. From this feature film evolved the NBC television series of the same name which ran from 1977 to 1978, and Haggerty became known to movie-goers for his portrayal of nature-loving James Capen "Grizzly" Adams.

    Haggerty appeared briefly in David Carradine's film Americana and provided a fighting dog for the production. In the film, he not only played the role of the dog's trainer but also assisted in set design and the restoration of a broken down carousel, which figured prominently in the film. He assisted in building the motorcycles featured in the film Easy Rider, and had a bit part as a "Hippie" in that film, as well as stunt work and supporting roles in numerous low-budget biker films of the era. He also starred in the 1989 film "Spirit of the Eagle".

    In Big Stan (2007), he played Tubby, and appeared as a lumberjack foreman in Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013). He has also appeared on the American reality TV show American Pickers.

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    Jimmy Bain was a talented bass guitarist who was asked to join Rainbow after Ritchie Blackmore had watched him performing at The Marquee in London. He recorded the studio album Rising with them and played on their following world tour. While on the tour, he played on Rainbow's first live album, On Stage. In January 1977, Bain was sacked from the band.

    In 1978, Bain formed a band called Wild Horses. Jimmy was the lead vocalist, songwriter, as well as bassist for the band, which also included ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, drummer Clive Edwards and guitarist Neil Carter (who went on to UFO and Gary Moore).

    In 1983, Bain linked up again with ex-Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio for the band Dio. A central figure within Dio, Bain co-wrote "Rainbow in the Dark", "Holy Diver" and two additional songs which appear on their 1983 released first album, Holy Diver. Bain co-wrote several other songs for the following albums, The Last in Line (1984), Sacred Heart (1985), Intermission (1986), Dream Evil (1987) and Killing the Dragon (2002).

    On January 23, 2016, aged 68, Jimmy Bain died while in his cabin on Def Leppard's "Hysteria on the High Seas" cruise. He was due to perform on the cruise with his group Last In Line the following day. The performance did not go ahead, and band members informed fans on the cruise that he had been battling pneumonia for some time. The cause of death was determined to be lung cancer. Bain had not been diagnosed with cancer and was only aware of his pneumonia.

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    Frank Finlay was an English stage, film and television actor. He was Oscar-nominated for his supporting role in Olivier's 1965 film of Othello and got his first leading role on television in 1971 as Casanova, which led to appearances on The Morecambe and Wise Show. He also appeared in the controversial drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire.

    Finlay portrayed Richard Roundtree's nemesis, Amafi, in Shaft in Africa (1973), before playing Porthos for director Richard Lester in The Three Musketeers (also 1973), The Four Musketeers (1974) and The Return of the Musketeers (1989). He appeared in several additional films, including The Wild Geese (1978).

    Finlay died on 30 January 2016 at his home in Weybridge, Surrey, England, aged 89, from heart failure after an unspecified illness.

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    Terry Wogan was an Irish radio and television broadcaster who worked for the BBC in the UK for most of his career. Before he retired in 2009, his BBC Radio 2 weekday breakfast programme Wake Up to Wogan had eight million regular listeners, making him the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe.

    Wogan was a leading media personality in Britain and Ireland from the late 1960s and was often referred to as a "national treasure". In addition to his weekday radio show, he was known for his work on television, including the BBC One chat show Wogan, presenting Children in Need, the game show Blankety Blank and Come Dancing. He was the BBC's commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest from 1971 to 2008 and its host in 1998. From 2010 to 2015 he presented Weekend Wogan, a two-hour Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 2.

    Wogan's health declined following Christmas 2015. He did not present Children in Need, complaining of back pain as the reason for his absence from the long-running annual show. His friend, Father Brian D'Arcy, visited him during January, and noticed he was seriously ill. He died of cancer, aged 77, on 31 January 2016, at his home in Buckinghamshire.

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    Drewe Henley has appeared in a number of film, television and theatre productions. These included episodes of Z Cars, UFO, The Avengers and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and a three-week run of Henry V in 1968 in which he played the lead role.

    He is best known for his role as X-Wing pilot "Red Leader" (Garven Dreis) in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a role for which he was mistakenly credited as "Drewe Hemley". Henley used an American accent for the part; the role had limited physical movement as Henley's character remained in the cockpit for much of the film which Henley found difficult. Unlike many of the actors in A New Hope, Henley's performance was not dubbed in post-production. Henley interpreted his character as an experienced battle veteran and so opted to play him without any excitement in his voice. Director George Lucas disagreed with this so they compromised so that Red Leader would at first be formal but as the battle progressed become more excited.

    The performance was Henley's final one on film, as he was diagnosed with manic depression shortly after completing his part and he retired from acting.

    When the Special Edition cut of A New Hope was released in 1997 it featured an additional scene of Henley in which he talked with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Biggs Darklighter (Garrick Hagon). Henley was pleased with the scene's addition, although his credit was not corrected.

    He appears posthumously in Rogue One as "Red Leader" using footage from Episode IV.

    On Valentine's Day 2016, Henley died at the age of 75.

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    George Kennedy was an American actor who appeared in more than 200 film and television productions. He is best remembered for portraying "Dragline" opposite Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the corresponding Golden Globe. He received a second Golden Globe nomination for portraying Joe Patroni in Airport (1970).

    Kennedy was the only actor to appear in all four films in the Airport series, having reprised the role of Joe Patroni three times. He was also widely recognized as Police Captain Ed Hocken in the Naked Gun series of comedy films and corrupt oil tycoon Carter McKay on the original Dallas television series.

    He died on the morning of Sunday, February 28, 2016, of a heart ailment at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Idaho, at the age of 91. He had a history of heart disease.

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    Frank Kelly was an Irish actor, singer and writer, whose career covered television, radio, theatre, music, screenwriting and film. He played Father Jack Hackett in the Channel Four sitcom Father Ted, and was also the son of the cartoonist Charles E. Kelly. He was best known outside Ireland for playing Father Jack Hackett in the comedy series Father Ted, which aired in the United Kingdom from April 1995 to May 1998. Father Jack is an old and offensively rambunctious priest who usually shouts only "feck!", "arse!", "drink!" and "girls!" and the occasional scream of "what!" and "women's knickers".

    Kelly died on 28 February 2016, aged 77 after suffering a heart attack.

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    Nancy Reagan was an American actress, and the wife of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. She served as the First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

    The First Lady launched the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign in 1982, which was her primary project and major initiative as first lady. Reagan first became aware of the need to educate young people about drugs during a 1980 campaign stop in Daytop village, New York. She remarked in 1981 that "Understanding what drugs can do to your children, understanding peer pressure and understanding why they turn to drugs is... the first step in solving the problem." Her campaign focused on drug education and informing the youth of the danger of drug abuse.

    On March 6, 2016, Reagan died at the age of 94, of congestive heart failure.

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    George Martin was an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician. He was referred to as the "Fifth Beatle", including by Paul McCartney, in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles' original albums. Martin had 30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits in the United States.

    Martin died in his sleep on the night of 8 March 2016 at his home in Wiltshire, England, at the age of 90.

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    Keith Emerson was an English musician and composer. He played keyboards in a number of bands before he found his first commercial success with the Nice, formerly P. P. Arnold's backing band, in the late 1960s. He became internationally famous for his work with the Nice, which included writing rock arrangements of classical music. After leaving the Nice in 1970, he was a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early progressive rock supergroups. Emerson, Lake & Palmer were commercially successful through much of the 1970s, becoming one of the best-known progressive rock groups of the era. Emerson wrote and arranged much of ELP's music on albums such as Tarkus (1971) and Brain Salad Surgery (1973), combining his own original compositions with classical or traditional pieces adapted into a rock format.

    Emerson died aged 71 on 11 March 2016 in Santa Monica, California, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His body was found at his Santa Monica home. Following an autopsy, the medical examiner ruled Emerson's death a suicide, and concluded that he had also suffered from heart disease and from depression associated with alcohol.

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    Sylvia Anderson was an English television and film producer, writer and voice actress, best known for her collaborations with Gerry Anderson, her husband between 1960 and 1981.

    In addition to serving as co-creator and co-writer on their TV series during the 1960s and early 1970s, Anderson's primary contribution was character development and costume design. She regularly directed the bi-weekly voice recording sessions, and provided the voices of many female and child characters, in particular Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds.

    On 15 March 2016 (twelve days before her 89th birthday), Anderson died, following a short illness.

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    Larry Drake is mostly remembered for his portrayal of developmentally disabled Benny Stulwicz in L.A. Law, from 1987 until the show's end in 1994, for which he won two consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards (1988, 1989). He returned to the role of Benny in L.A. Law: The Movie, a "reunion movie" that aired on NBC in 2002.

    He appeared in numerous film and television roles, including Time Quest, Dark Asylum, Paranoid, Bean, Overnight Delivery, The Beast, The Journey of August King, Murder in New Hampshire, Dr. Giggles, Darkman, Darkman II: The Return of Durant, The Taming of the Shrew, American Pie 2, and Dark Night of the Scarecrow. He was a regular on Prey. Drake provided the voice Pops in Johnny Bravo. In 2007, he co-starred in Gryphon, a Sci-Fi Pictures original film.

    On March 17, 2016, Drake was found dead in his Los Angeles home at the age of 67. Drake's manager, Steven Siebert, reported that the actor had some health problems in the months before his death. It was later reported that Drake suffered from a rare form of blood cancer that caused his blood to thicken. Other causes were cardiac arrest, hypertension and morbid obesity.

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    Cliff Michelmore was an English television presenter and producer. He was best known for the BBC television programme Tonight, which he presented from 1957 to 1965. He also hosted the BBC's television coverage of the Apollo moon landings, the Aberfan disaster, the 1966 and 1970 UK general elections and the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969.

    After leaving full-time television work, Michelmore became head of EMI's new video division. He was a regular presenter on BBC1's Holiday programme from 1969 to 1986, and presented other shows for BBC TV, ITV and BBC Radio. Michelmore returned to the BBC on 18 November 2007 to introduce a programme on the BBC Parliament channel, recalling the 1967 devaluation of the pound. He lived in South Harting, Sussex.

    He died 17 March 2016 aged 96.

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    Paul Daniels was an English magician and television presenter. Daniels achieved international fame through his television series The Paul Daniels Magic Show, which ran on the BBC from 1979 to 1994. He was known for his catchphrase of "You'll like this ... not a lot, but you'll like it" and also for his marriage to his assistant, Debbie McGee. He was awarded the "Magician of the Year’" Award by the Academy of Magical Arts in 1982, the first magician from outside the United States to receive it. He also won the Golden Rose of Montreux in 1985.

    Daniels was known for being outspoken on matters including politics and current affairs as well as magic, entertainment and fellow celebrities. He also appeared in reality television shows. He has been widely described as "The Godfather of Modern Magic" and was repeatedly credited with inspiring many top professional magicians to start in the profession.

    On 20 February 2016, Daniels had a fall and was taken to hospital, where he was treated by medical staff for suspected pernicious anemia. However it was later discovered that he had an incurable brain tumour. He died less than a month later on 17 March, at the age of 77.

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    Joe Santos was an Italian-American film and television actor.

    From 1974–1980, Santos played LAPD Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Dennis Becker, the friend of the easy going ex-convict-turned-private investigator Jim Rockford (played by James Garner) in The Rockford Files, and Lt. Frank Harper in the TV series Hardcastle and McCormick from 1985–1986. He had brief parts in several lesser-known films, and made a number of guest appearances on television shows throughout his acting career, frequently in the stock character role of a police officer. He also appeared on The Sopranos as Angelo Garepe in seven 2004 episodes.

    Santos suffered a heart attack on March 14, 2016, according to his son, Perry Santos. He died four days later at the age of 84.

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    Garry Shandling was an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer, best known for his work in It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show.

    Shandling began his career writing for sitcoms, such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. He made a successful stand-up performance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and became a frequent guest-host on the show. Shandling was for a time considered the leading contender to replace Carson (other hopefuls were Joan Rivers, David Letterman, and David Brenner). In 1986, he created It's Garry Shandling's Show for Showtime. It was nominated for four Emmy Awards (including one for Shandling) and lasted until 1990. His second show titled The Larry Sanders Show, which began airing on HBO in 1992, was even more successful. Shandling was nominated for eighteen Emmy Awards for the show and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1998, along with Peter Tolan, for writing the series finale. In film, he had a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He also lent his voice to Verne in DreamWorks Animation's Over the Hedge.

    During his three decade career, Shandling was nominated for nineteen Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, along with many other awards and nominations. He served as host of the Grammy Awards four times and as host of the Emmy Awards three times.

    On March 24, 2016, Shandling died in his home in Los Angeles, California at age 66. The Los Angeles Police Department reported that he suddenly collapsed in his home and was rushed to a hospital, suffering from an apparent medical emergency. However, by the time the paramedics had arrived, Shandling was already unconscious. In December 2016, the coroner said the cause of death was a blood clot in his heart following deep vein thrombosis in his legs.

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    Ronnie Corbett was a Scottish stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and broadcaster, best known for his long association with Ronnie Barker in the BBC television comedy sketch show The Two Ronnies. He achieved prominence in David Frost's 1960s satirical comedy programme The Frost Report (with Barker) and subsequently starred in sitcoms such as No – That's Me Over Here!, Now Look Here, and Sorry!

    Corbett's BBC television comedy show with Ronnie Barker, The Two Ronnies, ran from 1971 to 1987. Barker and Corbett performed sketches and musical numbers. Corbett presented a monologue. Sitting in a large easy chair (emphasising his small size), and usually wearing a Lyle & Scott golfing V-neck sweater, he would stretch telling a simple joke over several minutes, often allowing himself to appear to lose his train of thought.

    On 31 March 2016, Ronnie Corbett died at the age of 85, at Shirley Oaks Hospital in Shirley, London, surrounded by his family. He had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in March 2015.

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    Denise Robertson was a British writer and television broadcaster. She made her television debut as the presenter of the Junior Advice Line segment of the BBC's Breakfast Time programme in 1985, though is perhaps best known as the resident agony aunt on the ITV show This Morning from its first broadcast on 3 October 1988 until her death. In the course of her career, she dealt with over 200,000 letters from viewers seeking advice.

    Robertson died on 31 March 2016, aged 83, at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London after being diagnosed in early 2016 with pancreatic cancer.

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    Erik Bauersfeld was an American radio dramatist and voice actor. His most notable role was providing the voices of Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna in the third film of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi (1983). He reprised his role as the voice of Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    Bauersfeld was working at Lucasfilm on a radio project, with sound designer Randy Thom, when eventually he was approached by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt asked him to read for the part of Ackbar. According to Bauersfeld, he was shown a picture of Ackbar and instantly came up with the character's voice. Ackbar's lines, including the memorable exclamation "IT'S A TRAP!!!", took an hour for Bauersfeld to record.

    Bauersfeld died at his home in Berkeley, California, on 3 April 2016, at the age of 93.

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    David Gest was an American entertainer, comedian, producer, and television personality. Gest produced the television special Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration: The Solo Years in 2001, which was the last reunion of Michael Jackson and the Jacksons in 17 years, and Jackson's last solo concerts. Gest appeared on the 2006 series of the British reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! He became the first American to have three prime-time series in the UK. Gest appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in the UK in 2016 but due to illness had to leave after 13 days. He frequently made tabloid headlines during his marriage with Liza Minnelli.

    On April 12, 2016, Gest was found dead in his room at the Four Seasons Hotel in East London's Canary Wharf district, at the age of 62. His death was described by police as involving no suspicious circumstances. It was later reported that he had died from a stroke.

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    Gareth Thomas was a Welsh actor. He was best known for his role as Roj Blake in the BBC science fiction television series Blake's 7, but appeared in many other films and television programmes, including Shem in the ITV sci-fi series Star Maidens and Adam Brake in the fantasy series Children of the Stones.

    Thomas made many television appearances included The Avengers, Coronation Street, Z-Cars, Special Branch, Sutherland's Law, Public Eye, Who Pays the Ferryman?, Bergerac, By the Sword Divided, The Citadel, Knights of God, Boon, London's Burning, Casualty, Taggart, Heartbeat, Sherlock Holmes, How Green Was My Valley, Torchwood and Midsomer Murders.

    He died of heart failure on 13 April 2016 aged 71.

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    Victoria Wood was an English comedienne, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter and director. Wood wrote and starred in sketches, plays, musicals, films and sitcoms, and her live comedy act was interspersed with her own compositions, which she performed on piano. Much of her humour was grounded in everyday life and included references to quintessentially "British" activities, attitudes and products. She was noted for her skills in observing culture and in satirising social classes.

    Wood was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late 2015, but kept her illness private. She died on 20 April 2016 aged just 62.

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    Guy Hamilton was an English film director. He directed 22 films from the 1950s to the 1980s, including four James Bond films.

    Hamilton made his first James Bond film, Goldfinger in 1964. He was able to successfully merge the series' mix of action adventure, sexual innuendo and black humour. In the late 1960s, Hamilton directed two further films for Bond producer Harry Saltzman: Funeral in Berlin (1966) with Michael Caine, and the war epic Battle of Britain (1969).

    Hamilton returned to the Bond film franchise with the chase- and heavily gadget-dependent Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

    Hamilton died at the age of 93 on 20 April 2016 at his home in Majorca, Spain.

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    Prince was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He was a musical innovator who was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists, "the most influential artists of the rock & roll era".

    On April 21 Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, at the age of 57.

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    Burt Kwouk was a British actor, known for his role as Cato in the Pink Panther films. He made appearances in many television programmes, including a portrayal of Imperial Japanese Army Major Yamauchi in the British drama series Tenko and as Entwistle in Last of the Summer Wine.

    He was a stalwart of several 1960s ITC television series, such as Danger Man, The Saint and Man of the World, when an oriental character was required. Kwouk featured as one of the leads in the short-lived series The Sentimental Agent (1963) and had minor roles in three James Bond films. In Goldfinger (1964) he played Mr. Ling, a Chinese expert in nuclear fission; in the non-Eon spoof Casino Royale (1967) he played a general and in You Only Live Twice (1967) Kwouk played the part of a Japanese operative of Blofeld credited as Spectre 3. In 1968, he appeared with Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn in The Shoes of the Fisherman.

    He died on 24 May 2016, aged 85, at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead, of cancer.

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    Carla Lane was an English television writer responsible for several successful sitcoms, including The Liver Birds (co-creator, 1969–78), Butterflies (1978–83) and Bread (1986–91). Described as "the television writer who dared to make women funny", much of her work focused on strong women characters, including "frustrated housewives and working class matriarchs". In later years she became well known as an animal welfare advocate.

    In Butterflies, described as "undoubtedly ... her finest work", she addressed the lead character's desires for freedom from her "decent but dull" husband.

    In Bread, which ran for seven series, "she became the first woman to mine television comedy from sexual and personal relationships through a galère of expertly-etched contemporary characters, developed against a backdrop of social issues such as divorce, adultery and.. alcoholism." In the late 1980s, Bread had the third-highest viewing figures on British television, beaten only by EastEnders and Neighbours.

    Carla Lane died at Stapley Nursing Home in Mossley Hill, in Liverpool, on 31 May 2016 aged 87.

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    Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer and activist. He was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial, and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring.

    Ali is regarded as one of the leading heavyweight boxers of the 20th century. He remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion, having won the title in 1964, 1974 and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion. He is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He was ranked as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated and the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC. ESPN SportsCentury ranked him the third greatest athlete of the 20th century. Nicknamed "The Greatest", he was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the first Liston fight; the "Fight of the Century", "Super Fight II" and the "Thrilla in Manila" versus his rival Joe Frazier; and "The Rumble in the Jungle" versus George Foreman.

    Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, a disease that sometimes results from head trauma from activities such as boxing.

    Ali's bout with Parkinson's led to a gradual decline in his health, though he was still active into the early years of the millennium, promoting his own biopic, Ali, in 2001.

    Ali was hospitalized in Scottsdale on June 2, 2016, with a respiratory illness. Though his condition was initially described as "fair", it worsened and he died the following day, at the age of 74, from septic shock.

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    Anton Yelchin was an American film and television actor, known for portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series, Jacob Helm in Like Crazy and for several other prominent roles.

    He starred in two 2009 releases: the eleventh Star Trek film, in which he portrayed 17-year-old navigator Pavel Chekov, and Terminator Salvation, in which he was cast as a teenage Kyle Reese.

    He reprised the role of Chekov in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and played the lead in the thriller Odd Thomas (2013) and the horror comedy Burying the Ex (2014). In 2015, he starred in the independent horror film Green Room which premiered at the Cannes film festival that year and received limited theatrical release in May 2016.

    Shortly before his death on June 19, 2016, he had reprised his role as Chekov again in Star Trek Beyond, which was released on July 22, 2016.

    Early in the morning of June 19, 2016, Yelchin was found by friends pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar outside his home in Studio City, California, in what was described as a "freak accident". Yelchin exited his car while in his driveway, which is on a steep incline, when it rolled back and trapped him against the pillar and a security fence. He was pronounced dead later that day. The Jeep crushed his lungs, and he is believed to have died within 60 seconds of impact.

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    Carlo Pedersoli, professionally known as Bud Spencer, was an Italian actor, professional swimmer and water polo player. He is known for action-comedy roles with his long-time film partner Terence Hill. The duo "garnered world acclaim and attracted millions to theater seats".

    A successful swimmer in his youth, he obtained a degree in law and registered several patents. Spencer also became a certified commercial airline and helicopter pilot, and supported and funded many children's charities, including the Spencer Scholarship Fund.
    In 1967 film director Giuseppe Colizzi offered him a role in God Forgives... I Don't!. On the set Pedersoli met another unknown young actor, Mario Girotti (Terence Hill). Although Spencer had met Girotti before on the set of Hannibal in 1959, this was the moment they went on to become a film duo. The film director asked the two actors to change their names, deeming them to be too Italian-sounding for a Western movie: Pedersoli chose Bud Spencer, with Bud inspired by Budweiser beer and Spencer by the actor Spencer Tracy.

    While Hill's characters were agile and youthful, Spencer always played the "phlegmatic, grumpy strong-arm man with a blessed, naive child's laughter and a golden heart". Overall, Hill and Spencer worked together on over 20 Spaghetti Western films.

    Spencer died aged 86 on 27 June 2016 in Rome.

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    Gordon Murray was a British television producer and puppeteer. He created and wrote some of the most popular children's television programmes ever seen in Britain. Camberwick Green, Trumpton, and Chigley, collectively known as the Trumptonshire Trilogy, were all made by the company he set up.
    In 1950, Murray set up his own puppet company, Murray's Marionettes. Following an invitation to BBC producer Freda Lingstrom to one of his shows he was offered work, operating Spotty Dog in The Woodentops. Murray then became a producer in the BBC children's department, producing Sketch Club and Captain Pugwash. Initially the shows he worked on went out live but frustrated by the hit and miss approach of live work, he developed his own film studio and shot his own films. In 1958 he created the series A Rubovian Legend, which ran until 1963, with fellow puppeteers John Hardwick and Bob Bura who he would work with over the following twenty years.
    After the BBC Children's Department and Women's Programmes merged in 1964, he left the BBC to form an independent production company, Gordon Murray Puppets Productions, based in a converted church in Crouch End in North London.
    Here he made arguably his most enduring and loved programmes, The Trumptonshire Trilogy; Camberwick Green which broadcast in 1966 (the first children's programme in colour on the BBC), Trumpton in 1967 and Chigley in 1969. (Murray had originally named 'Camberwick Green' 'Candlewick Green', but then found the name had been misspelled on the contract: however, he did not mind, as he liked the new title and was in need of money, so he simply signed the contract). Murray would create the vehicles, puppets and scripts to the studio and Bura and Hardwick would create the animation. Realising that the string-based marionettes used previously would look old-fashioned, he looked to Eastern Europe for the stop motion animation technique he would use.
    One far-sighted contribution by Bura and Hardwick was their insistence on recording Camberwick Green in both monochrome and colour. Only Chigley first went out after BBC 1 adopted broadcasting in colour, but their decision meant that the programmes were broadcast regularly for longer than might otherwise have been the case.
    Following Chigley, in 1969 it was six years before Murray had a new series on television, a stop-motion remake of The Rubovian Legends called just Rubovia. His next work was Skip and Fuffy, which was broadcast within Multi-Coloured Swap Shop in 1978; his final series, The Gublins, was broadcast in 1979.

    Murray died on 30 June 2016, at the age of 95.

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    Caroline Aherne was an English comedienne and BAFTA-winning writer and actress, best known for performing as the acerbic chat show host Mrs Merton, various roles in the The Fast Show, and as the lead role in the The Royle Family, which she co-wrote. She was also known for narrating the Channel 4 reality television series Gogglebox.

    She rose to prominence in 1994 as her created character Mrs Merton on the mock chat show The Mrs Merton Show under her married name of Caroline Hook. The guests were real-life celebrities, not actors, who found themselves the subject of outrageous faux naïve questions – in one memorable example the wife of magician Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee, was asked "So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

    Between 1994 and 1997 she appeared in and wrote for the BBC comedy series The Fast Show. One of her most notable characters was the "Chanel 9 Neus" meteorologist Poula Fisch, who invariably reported a temperature for all locations of 45 °C while exclaiming "Scorchio!" with apparent surprise.

    Her most popular creation is the situation comedy The Royle Family, which she co-created and wrote with Craig Cash, and directed in its third series. The programme ran for three series from 1998 to 2000. Aherne starred alongside Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston, as their daughter Denise Royle.

    Aherne received BAFTAs for Best Sitcom in 2000 and 2007, and she won the BAFTA for Best Comedy Performance in 2000. She was nominated for directing in 2001.

    In 2014 she embarked on a programme of treatment for lung cancer. On 2 July 2016, Aherne died at her home in Timperley at the age of 52 on her own after a dramatic deterioration due to her illness.

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    Jerry Doyle was an American talk radio host, right-libertarian political commentator, television actor and founder of the content platform EpicTimes. His nationally syndicated talk show, The Jerry Doyle Show, aired throughout the United States on Talk Radio Network.

    As an actor, Doyle is known for his role as Michael Garibaldi in the science fiction series Babylon 5 (1994–1998).

    On July 27, 2016, Doyle was found unresponsive in his Las Vegas home, and declared dead shortly thereafter. The Clark County Coroner's Office later stated that Doyle died from natural causes, with complications from chronic alcoholism being a contributing factor.

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    David Huddleston was an American actor. An Emmy Award nominee, Huddleston had a prolific television career, and appeared in many films including Blazing Saddles, Crime Busters, Santa Claus: The Movie and The Big Lebowski.

    Known mainly as a character actor, Huddleston starred in the title role of 1985's big-budget film Santa Claus: The Movie, which featured a top-billed Dudley Moore as an elf.

    One of Huddleston's first roles came in the 1968 drama A Lovely Way to Die. Shortly afterward the actor became a frequent guest star on several of the leading television series of the 1960s and 1970s, among them, Adam-12, Then Came Bronson, Gunsmoke, Bewitched, Bonanza, Cannon, McMillan & Wife, The Waltons, The Rookies, Medical Center, Kung Fu, Emergency!, Spencer's Pilots, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Police Woman, Hawaii Five-O, Walker, Texas Ranger, Charlie's Angels, Sanford and Son, The Practice, and The Rockford Files.

    On August 2, 2016, Huddleston died of heart and kidney disease in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 85.

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    Kenny Baker was an English actor and musician. He is best known for portraying the character R2-D2 in the Star Wars science fiction movie franchise.

    In 1951 Baker was approached on the street by a woman who invited him to join a theatrical troupe of dwarves and midgets. This was his first taste of show business. Later, he joined a circus for a brief time, learned to ice skate and appeared in many ice shows. He formed a successful comedy act called the Minitones with entertainer Jack Purvis and played in nightclubs.

    While working with Purvis and the Minitones, Baker was selected by George Lucas to operate the robot ("droid") R2-D2 in Star Wars. Baker appears as R2-D2 in six of the episodic theatrical Star Wars films, and played an additional role in 1983's Return of the Jedi as Paploo, the Ewok who steals an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket, but he fell ill and that role was handed over to Warwick Davis. He revealed a feud between him and his co-star Anthony Daniels, claiming Daniels had been rude to him on numerous occasions, and stated that Daniels is rude to everyone, including fans.

    Baker continued his association with the R2-D2 character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released on 18 December 2015 in North America. He was going to be a member of the cast, but he served as consultant for the character instead. In November 2015 it was confirmed that Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2 in Star Wars: Episode VIII, replacing Baker.

    Baker died on 13 August 2016, eleven days before his 82nd birthday, following a brief illness.

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    Marvin Kaplan
    Marvin Kaplan is probably best known for his recurring role on the sitcom Alice where he portrayed a phone lineman named Henry Beesmeyer who frequented Mel's diner. He was with the cast from 1977 until the series ended in 1985. His first film role was as a court reporter in Adam's Rib (1949).

    Kaplan had a regular role in the radio sitcom and later television version of Meet Millie as Alfred Prinzmetal, an aspiring poet-composer. The program ran from 1951-54 on radio and continued on television from 1952-56. In addition, the actor was the voice of Choo-Choo on the 1960s cartoon series Top Cat and had a small role in the 1963 film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World playing a gas station attendant.

    He also made a brief appearance as a carpet cleaner in the 1976 film Freaky Friday. He joined the California Artists Radio Theatre In January 1984 and performed leading roles in over twenty 90 minute productions.

    In 1987, he reprised his role of Choo-Choo for Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats. At the same time, he actively returned to voice-over acting, playing roles in shows such as Garfield and Friends, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Johnny Bravo, and most recently, The Garfield Show in 2011. In addition to his role on Alice, he played Mr. Gordon on Becker alongside Ted Danson.

    Kaplan died of natural causes in his sleep on August 25, 2016, aged 89.

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    Gene Wilder was an American film and theater comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author.

    Wilder began his career on stage, and made his screen debut in an episode of the TV series The Play of the Week in 1961. Although his first film role was portraying a hostage in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde, Wilder's first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This was the first in a series of collaborations with writer/director Mel Brooks, including 1974's Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, which Wilder co-wrote, garnering the pair an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder directed and wrote several of his own films, including The Woman in Red (1984).

    Wilder died at the age of 83 on August 29, 2016, at home in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications of Alzheimer's disease.

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    Jon Polito was an American actor and voice artist. In a film and television career spanning 35 years he amassed over 220 credits. Notable television roles included Detective Steve Crosetti in the first two seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street and on the first season of Crime Story. He also appeared in several films including The Rocketeer, The Crow and Gangster Squad, but was mostly known for his work with the Coen brothers, appearing in five of their films. The Coens had seen Polito in the New York stage adaptation of Death of a Salesman in 1986 playing Howard Wagner. They approached him to play the part of The Dane in Miller's Crossing (1990), but after reading the script he turned them down saying he would only play the Italian gangster Johnny Caspar. The Coens auditioned several other actors but eventually used Polito after they made him read his entire role cold.

    He was offered the role of Lou Breeze in their next film Barton Fink (1991), in a role which was written especially for him. Again he turned down the Coens offer saying he wanted to play the part of movie producer Jack Lipnick. Actress Frances McDormand persuaded him to take the role saying it would change his career. He later appeared in The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) as an eccentric businessman, The Big Lebowski (1998) as a private detective and finally in 2001 as a flirtatious salesman in The Man Who Wasn't There.

    He died from cancer on September 1, 2016 aged 65.

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    Bill Nunn was an American actor known for his roles as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing and Robbie Robertson in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man film trilogy.

    Some of his other film credits include Lee's Mo' Better Blues and He Got Game, as well as Regarding Henry, Sister Act, Canadian Bacon, The Last Seduction, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, New Jack City, Runaway Jury, Spider-Man trilogy (as Joseph "Robbie" Robertson), Firehouse Dog, the television series The Job, Randy and The Mob, and the 2016 televised adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun.

    Nunn died on September 24, 2016 in his family’s home in Pittsburgh's Hill District, at the age of 62. His widow Donna acknowledged to the Associated Press that he had leukemia.

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    Jean Alexander was a British television actress. She was best known to British television viewers as Hilda Ogden in the soap opera Coronation Street, a role she played from 1964 until 1987, and also as Auntie Wainwright in the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine from 1988 to 2010. For her role in Coronation Street she received a 1987 BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Actress.

    In 2005 the UK TV Times poll voted her as the "Greatest Soap Opera Star of All Time". On 6 December 2010, Alexander spoke by telephone to ITV's This Morning to discuss her time on Coronation Street on the day of the drama's 50th anniversary episode.

    Her film credits include Scandal (1989) and Willie's War (1994). Alexander voiced Mrs Santa in the Robbie the Reindeer film Hooves of Fire (1999), and also appeared in Boon and as Lily in the children's series The Phoenix and the Carpet. She starred with Patricia Hodge and Lionel Jeffries in the comedy series Rich Tea and Sympathy, and appeared in the quiz show Cluedo. Later, she appeared in Barbara, Heartbeat, Where the Heart Is and The Afternoon Play.

    Alexander announced her retirement in 2012, two years after her last television appearance. Her acting career lasted for more than 60 years. She celebrated her 90th birthday on 11 October 2016, but was taken ill and died, at Southport Hospital, just three days later.

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    Pete Burns was an English singer-songwriter and television personality. He founded the pop band Dead or Alive in 1980, in which he was vocalist and songwriter, and who rose to mainstream success with their 1985 single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)". He later rose to further celebrity status in the British media following his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother 4, in which he finished in fifth place. He appeared on further television reality shows, including as a presenter.

    Burns first performed as a member of the short-lived Mystery Girls, who gave one performance only and comprised Burns, Pete Wylie and Julian Cope, who stated that Burns's performing style drew on that of the transgender punk performer Wayne County.
    Burns was next in Nightmares in Wax, a proto-Goth group that formed in Liverpool in 1979; they released a 12" single, "Black Leather", and a 7" single, "Birth of a Nation", each containing the same three songs, but never produced an album. In 1980, after replacing several members, Burns changed their name to Dead or Alive.

    After a minor hit in 1984 with a cover version of "That's the Way (I Like It)", the band had a number one hit in the UK in 1985 with "You Spin Me Round". The song went on to become a hit all over the world, including the US where it reached the Top 20.

    Pete Burns died following a sudden cardiac arrest on 23 October 2016 at the age of 57.

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    Jimmy Perry was an English actor and scriptwriter, best known for devising and co-writing the BBC sitcoms Dad's Army (1968–1977), It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974–1981), Hi-De-Hi (1980–1988) and You Rang M'Lord? (1988–1993), all with David Croft.

    Many of the sitcoms Perry co-wrote with Croft drew heavily on his personal experience: at 16 he joined the Watford Home Guard (Dad's Army); two years later he was called up into the full-time forces, and was sent to Burma with the Royal Artillery, where he joined the Royal Artillery Concert Party and reached the rank of sergeant ("It Ain't Half Hot Mum"). Demobbed and back in the UK, he trained as an actor at RADA, spending his holidays working as a Redcoat in Butlin's Holiday Camps ("Hi De Hi!").

    Perry died on 23 October 2016 in London after a short illness, aged 93.

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    Don Marshall was an American actor best known for his role as Dan Erickson in the television show Land of the Giants.

    In the 1960s he appeared in Star Trek portraying Lt. Boma in the episode "The Galileo Seven" (1967). Other TV series he appeared in were Tarzan (the series with Ron Ely), Dragnet 1967, and Ironside. In 1968, he appeared as Ted Neumann, the recurring love interest of Julia Baker, in the television series Julia, a series about an African-American widow raising her son on her own.

    Land of the Giants, created by Irwin Allen, featured Marshall as a competent African-American in a leading role. This was a first for an African American male in the 1960s to be featured so prominently in science fiction. The only other African American actors to be in such a position in the 1960s were Nichelle Nichols, known for her role as Lt. Uhura in the TV series Star Trek, and Greg Morris as electronics expert Barney Collier in Mission: Impossible.

    Don Marshall died on October 30, 2016, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles aged 80.

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    Robert Vaughn was an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work. His best-known TV roles include suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; wealthy detective Harry Rule in the 1970s series The Protectors; Morgan Wendell in the 1978-79 mini series "Centennial"; and the formidable General Hunt Stockwell in the 5th season of the 1980s series The A-Team. In film, he portrayed quiet, skittish gunman Lee in The Magnificent Seven, Major Paul Krueger in The Bridge at Remagen, the voice of Proteus IV, the computer villain of Demon Seed, Walter Chalmers in Bullitt, Ross Webster in Superman III, and war veteran Chester A. Gwynn in The Young Philadelphians which earned him a 1960 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

    As grifter and card sharp Albert Stroller, Vaughn appeared in all but one of the 48 episodes of the British television drama series Hustle (2004–2012). From January to February 2012, he appeared in the British soap opera Coronation Street as Milton Fanshaw, a love interest for Sylvia Goodwin.

    Robert Vaughn died in a hospice in Danbury, Connecticut, on November 11, 2016, eleven days before his 84th birthday, after a year-long battle with leukemia.

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    Peter Sumner was an Australian actor, director, and writer.

    His credits include parts in such films as Color Me Dead (1969), Ned Kelly (1970), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), The Survivor (1981) and Bush Christmas (1983), as well as a starring role in television series Spyforce along with his portrayal of Bill Hayden in The Dismissal. In an interview in 1978 for the Sir Joseph Banks High School newspaper, he revealed that he had an uncredited role off stage, controlling the Dianoga (garbage compactor monster) in Star Wars, as well as playing the role of Lieutenant Pol Treidum in that film. Sumner played Arnie in the first series of the British science fiction drama television series Jeopardy in 2002, filmed in Australia.

    He died after a long illness on 22 November 2016 aged 74.

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    Andrew Sachs was a British actor. Born in Berlin, he and his family emigrated to London in 1938 to escape persecution under the Nazis. He made his name on British television and rose to fame in the 1970s for his portrayals of the comical Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, a role for which he was BAFTA-nominated. He went on to have a long career in acting and voice-over work for TV, film and radio.

    In his later years, he continued to have success with roles in films such as Quartet, and as Ramsay Clegg in Coronation Street. Sachs was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, which eventually left him unable to speak and forced him to use a wheelchair.

    He died on 23 November 2016 at the Denville Hall nursing home in Northwood, London aged 86.

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    Peter Vaughan was a British character actor, known for many supporting roles in British film and television productions. He also worked extensively on the stage.

    He was best known for his role as Grouty in the sitcom Porridge (despite appearing in only three episodes and the 1979 film) and also had a recurring role alongside Robert Lindsay in Citizen Smith, written by John Sullivan. He also had parts as Tom Franklin in Chancer (1990–1991), playing the father of Anthony Hopkins's character in The Remains of the Day, and as Maester Aemon in HBO's Game of Thrones.

    Vaughan was partially blind. He died on 6 December 2016 at the age of 93.

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    John Glenn was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and Korea with six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters on his Air Medal.

    He was one of the Mercury Seven: military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA as the United States' first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission; the first American to orbit the Earth, he was the fifth person in space. He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.

    After Glenn resigned from NASA in 1964 and retired from the Marine Corps the following year, he planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. An injury in early 1964 forced his withdrawal, and he lost a close primary election in 1970. A member of the Democratic Party, Glenn first won election to the Senate in 1974 and served for 24 years until January 3, 1999.

    In 1998, still a sitting senator, Glenn was the oldest person to fly in space as a crew member of the Discovery space shuttle and the only person to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

    Glenn died on December 8, 2016 aged 95, at the OSU Wexner Medical Center; no cause of death was disclosed.

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    Ian McCaskill McCaskill joined the RAF in 1959 as part of his National Service and became an airman meteorologist, first in Scotland and then in Cyprus. He once joked that when he joined the RAF he was given a choice between Catering and Meteorology, he didn't know what meteorology was but he knew he couldn't cook. He left the RAF in 1961 and joined the Met Office, working at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Malta and Manchester.

    In 1978 McCaskill began working at the BBC Weather Centre, and presented the television weather forecast for the BBC. He retired on 31 July 1998.

    McCaskill was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. On 12 December 2016, his daughter announced that he had died two days previously.

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    Henry Heimlich was an American thoracic surgeon and medical researcher. He is widely credited as the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, a technique of abdominal thrusts for stopping choking, described in Emergency Medicine in 1974. He also invented the Micro Trach portable oxygen system for ambulatory patients and the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, or "flutter valve," which drains blood and air out of the chest cavity.

    Heimlich used the maneuver himself for the second time on May 23, 2016, almost 42 years after his work was published, successfully saving the life of a fellow resident of his senior living community, Patty Ris. He told the BBC in 2003 that he had used it for the first time on a man choking in a restaurant when he was about 80 years old.

    A statement from his family said Heimlich died at The Christ Hospital on December 17, 2016, after complications from a heart attack in his home in Hyde Park, Cincinnati, on December 12. He was 96 years old. According to some press reports and obituaries, it is believed that during the course of his lifetime, the Heimlich Maneuver may have saved the lives of at least 100,000 people in the United States alone.

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    Zsa Zsa Gabor was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Her sisters were actresses Eva and Magda Gabor.

    Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936. She emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1941. Becoming a sought-after actress with "European flair and style", she was considered to have a personality that "exuded charm and grace". Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At. She later acted in We're Not Married! and played one of her few leading roles in the John Huston-directed film, Moulin Rouge (1952). Huston would later describe her as a "creditable" actress.

    Outside her acting career, Gabor was known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, her glamorous personality, and her many marriages. In total, Gabor had nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders. She once stated, "Men have always liked me and I have always liked men. But I like a mannish man, a man who knows how to talk to and treat a woman — not just a man with muscles."

    Gabor died at the age of 99 of a heart attack at her home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, on December 18, 2016, less than two months before she would have become a centenarian. She had been on life support for the previous five years.

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    Liz Smith was an English character actress, known for her roles as Annie Brandon in I Didn't Know You Cared, as Bette and Aunt Belle in 2point4 Children, as Norma Speakman ("Nana") in the BBC comedy The Royle Family, as Letitia Cropley in the BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley and as Zillah in Lark Rise to Candleford.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, Smith appeared in many popular UK television programmes, including The Duchess of Duke Street, Within These Walls, In Loving Memory, The Gentle Touch, Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, One by One as Gran Turner, and The Lenny Henry Show. In 1984, Liz Smith received a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Maggie Smith's mother in A Private Function.

    Smith started the 1990s by appearing in 2point4 Children (as "Aunt Belle" and "Bette"), Bottom, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Lovejoy. In 1994, she played the lead role in the Children's BBC series Pirates and the supporting role of Letitia Cropley for seven episodes in The Vicar of Dibley. This made her a household name, but in the 1996 Easter Special episode the character died.

    Smith died on 24 December 2016 at the age of 95.

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    Rick Parfitt was an English musician, best known for being a singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist in the rock band Status Quo.

    Quo were highly successful in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand throughout the 1980s and 90s, and were the opening act for 1985's Live Aid, and they continue to be successful in the present day. By February 2015 they had sold over 118 million records worldwide. In 2013 and 2014, Parfitt and Rossi reunited temporarily with original Quo bandmates Lancaster and Coghlan for a series of reunion concerts on what would be called the "Frantic Four" tour.

    Parfitt and Rossi were appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours 2010. At the time of Parfitt's death, he and Rossi were the only remaining original members of the group, having remained in the band for its entire duration. He wrote some of their greatest hits, sometimes in collaboration with the group's keyboard player Andy Bown, among them "Whatever You Want", "Again and Again", and "Rain".

    Parfitt died in a Marbella hospital at lunchtime on 24 December 2016 from Sepsis, after being admitted the previous day, following an infection of a pre-existing shoulder injury. He was 68.

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    George Michael was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham! He is best known for his work in the 1980s and 1990s, including hit singles such as "Last Christmas" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", and albums such as Faith (1987) and Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990).

    Michael sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His debut solo album, Faith, sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Michael achieved seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, including "Careless Whisper" and "Freedom! '90". He ranks among the best-selling British acts of all time, ranked by Billboard magazine as the 40th-most successful artist ever. Michael won various music awards throughout his 30-year career, including three Brit Awards—he won Best British Male twice, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards from eight nominations. Michael, who came out as gay in 1998, was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser.

    In 2004, the Radio Academy named Michael the most played artist on British radio during the period 1984–2004. The documentary A Different Story (released in 2005) covered his career and personal life. Michael's first tour in 15 years, the worldwide 25 Live tour, spanned three tours over the course of three years (2006, 2007, and 2008).

    In the early hours of 25 December 2016, Michael, aged 53, was found dead in bed at his Oxfordshire home.

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    Carrie Fisher
    Carrie Fisher was an American actress, writer, producer, and humorist. She was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Fisher was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series. Her other film roles included Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The 'Burbs (1989), and When Harry Met Sally... (1989).

    Fisher was also known for her semi-autobiographical novels, including Postcards from the Edge and the screenplay for the film of the same name, as well as her autobiographical one-woman play and its nonfiction book, Wishful Drinking, based on the show. She additionally served as a script doctor, working on other writers' screenplays. In later years, she earned praise for speaking publicly about her experiences with bipolar disorder and drug addiction.

    Fisher died at the age of 60 on December 27, 2016, four days after going into cardiac arrest near the end of a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles.

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    Debbie Reynolds
    Debbie Reynolds was an American actress, singer, businesswoman, film historian, and humanitarian. Her breakout role was the portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. However, it was her first leading role in 1952 at age 19, as Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain, that set her on the path to fame. By the mid-1950s, she was a major star. Other notable successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy (1956 Golden Globe nomination), The Catered Affair (1956 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Winner), and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her performance of the song "Tammy" reached number one on the music charts. In 1959, she released her first pop music album, entitled Debbie.

    She starred in How the West Was Won (1963), and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), a biographical film about the famously boisterous Molly Brown. Her performance as Brown earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other notable films include The Singing Nun (1966), Divorce American Style (1967), What's the Matter with Helen? (1971), Mother (1996 Golden Globe nomination), and In & Out (1997). Reynolds was also a noted cabaret performer. In 1979 she founded the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in North Hollywood, which still operates today.

    In 1969 she starred in her own television show The Debbie Reynolds Show, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. In 1973 Reynolds starred in a Broadway revival of the musical Irene and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical.She was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance in A Gift of Love (1999) and an Emmy Award for playing Grace's mother Bobbi on Will & Grace. At the turn of the millennium, Reynolds reached a new younger generation with her role as Aggie Cromwell in Disney's Halloweentown series. In 1988 she released her autobiography titled, Debbie: My Life. In 2013, she released an updated version titled Unsinkable: A Memoir.

    Reynolds was a noted businesswoman, having operated her own hotel in Las Vegas. She was also a collector of film memorabilia, beginning with items purchased at the landmark 1970 MGM auction. She was the former president of The Thalians, an organization dedicated to mental health causes. Reynolds continued to perform successfully on stage, television, and film into her eighties. In January 2015, Reynolds received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 2016 she received the Academy Awards Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In the same year, a documentary about her life was released titled Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

    On December 28, 2016, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, Reynolds died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.

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    So that's my list of public figures who I was sad and often shocked to hear had died.
    Whose passing have you mourned this year? Let us know in the discussion thread.

    To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.

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