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2016 Celebrity Deaths

by Legacy Staff

Though these famous figures have died, their legacies live on and continue to inspire and delight us. Join us as we remember celebrities who died in 2016.

William Christopher (1932–2016) 

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Christopher played beloved character Father Mulcahy on the hit sitcom “M*A*S*H.”

View William Christopher’s obituary


Debbie Reynolds (1932–2016)

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The Hollywood legend starred in “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Reynolds died one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher.

View Debbie Reynolds’ obituary

Carrie Fisher (1956–2016)

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The actress and author will always be remembered for her beloved role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movie franchise.

View Carrie Fisher’s obituary

George Michael (1963–2016)

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The pop superstar sold over 100 million albums. His memorable hit songs include “Careless Whisper” with his group Wham! and “Freedom 90” as a solo artist.

View George Michael’s obituary

Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917–2016)

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Zsa Zsa Gabor was a Hollywood legend and socialite known for her European glamour and her many marriages.

View Zsa Zsa Gabor’s obituary

Ricky Harris (1962–2016)

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The actor and comedian had a recurring role as Malvo on the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris.”

View Ricky Harris’ obituary

Craig Sager (1951–2016)

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Sager was a longtime NBA sideline reporter beloved for his colorful attire.

Read Craig Sager’s obituary

Bernard Fox (1927–2016)

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Fox was a character actor was known for his role as the zany Dr. Bombay on the classic sitcom “Bewitched.”

View Bernard Fox’s obituary

Alan Thicke (1947–2016)

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The Canadian actor and singer-songwriter was best known for playing TV dad Dr. Jason Seaver on the 1980s hit sitcom “Growing Pains.”

View Alan Thicke’s obituary

John Glenn (1921–2016)


Astronaut John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth and later the oldest person to go into space at the age of 77.

View John Glenn’s obituary

Greg Lake (1947–2016)

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Lake was guitarist and singer for prog rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

View Greg Lake’s obituary

Billy Chapin (1943–2016)

Everett Collection

As a child actor, Chapin appeared in many movies and TV series in the 1950s including a memorable role in “The Night of the Hunter.”

View Billy Chapin’s obituary

Andrew Sachs (1930–2016)

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The British actor was best known for his role as the Spanish waiter Manuel on the comedy “Fawlty Towers,” one of the most popular comedies on the BBC.

View Andrew Sachs’ obituary

Van Williams (1934–2016)

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The actor starred in the 1960s TV series “The Green Hornet” and “Surfside 6.”

View Van Williams’ obituary

Margaret Whitton (1950–2016)

Everett Collection / ABC

Whitton starred in the 1980s comedy films “Major League” and “The Secret of My Success.”

View Margaret Whitton’s obituary

Fritz Weaver (1926–2016)

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Weaver appeared on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and a memorable episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

View Fritz Weaver’s obituary

Florence Henderson (1934–2016)

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Henderson was best-known for the role of Carol Brady, the patient, loving mother on “The Brady Bunch.”

View Florence Henderson’s obituary

Ron Glass (1945–2016)

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Glass was best known for his work on “Barney Miller” and “Firefly.”

View Ron Glass’ obituary

Gwen Ifill (1955–2016)

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The renowned television journalist served as moderator of the PBS talk show “Washington Week.”

View Gwen Ifill’s obituary

Leon Russell (1942–2016)

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The rock musician and singer-songwriter played with the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and Elton John.

View Leon Russell’s obituary

Robert Vaughn (1932–2016)

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Vaughn was best known for his starring role on TV’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

View Robert Vaughn’s obituary

Leonard Cohen (1934–2016)

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The poet/singer-songwriter enjoyed a decades-long career with classics such as “Hallelujah” and “Suzanne.”

View Leonard Cohen’s obituary

Julie Gregg (1937–2016)

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Gregg played Sonny Corleone’s wife in the first two “Godfather” movies.

View Julie Gregg’s obituary

Michael Massee (1955–2016)

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Massee starred as the villain “The Gentleman” in the “Amazing Spider-Man” movie and also had a memorable role as Ira Gaines on the first season of “24.”

View Michael Massee’s obituary

Arnold Palmer (1929–2016)

AP Photo / Tom Gannam

The legendary golfer had a legion of fans following him while he played called “Arnie’s Army.” Palmer won four Masters titles during his Hall of Fame career.

View Arnold Palmer’s obituary

Jose Fernandez (1992–2016)

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The Miami Marlins star pitcher was only 24 when he died in a tragic boating accident.

View Jose Fernandez’ obituary

Jean Shepard (1933–2016)

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Grand Ole Opry regular Jean Shepard was one of the first female country music stars.

View Jean Shepard’s obituary

Charmian Carr (1942–2016)

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Carr will be remembered for her role as Liesl Von Trapp in the movie “The Sound of Music.”

View Charmain Carr’s obituary

Alexis Arquette (1969–2016)

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The transgender actress had a role in the comedy “The Wedding Singer” and was the sister of actors David, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette.

View Alexis Arquette’s obituary

Anna Dewdney (1965–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Jumpstart for Young Children / Jason Kempin

The children’s book author wrote the popular Llama Llama series. Her last wish went viral: she requested that instead of a funeral service, people read to a child.

View Anna Dewdney’s obituary

Gene Wilder (1933–2016)

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The comic actor, known for movies including “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Young Frankenstein,” is indelibly associated with many of the funniest films of the 1970s.

View Gene Wilder’s obituary

Steven Hill (1922–2016)

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Hill was known best for his portrayal of District Attorney Adam Schiff for the first 10 seasons of “Law & Order.”

View Steven Hill’s obituary

John McLaughlin (1927–2016)

AP Photo / Kevin Wolf

McLaughlin was the host of the PBS political commentary show “The McLaughlin Report.”

View John McLaughlin’s obituary

Kenny Baker (1934–2016)

Getty Images / Michael Tullberg

The British actor played the role of R2-D2 in “Star Wars.”

View Kenny Baker’s obituary

John Saunders (1955–2016)

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The versatile sportscaster was a long-time presence on ESPN and ABC. At the time of his death, he was the host of ABC’s college football programming.

View John Saunders’ obituary

Jerry Doyle (1956–2016)

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Doyle was best known for his role as Michael Garibaldi, chief of space station security, on the sci-fi TV series “Babylon 5.”

View Jerry Doyle’s obituary

Gloria DeHaven (1925–2016)

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Singer and actress Gloria DeHaven starred in a number of MGM musicals as well as daytime television soap operas.

View Gloria DeHaven’s obituary

Garry Marshall (1934–2016) 

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The legendary producer and director created beloved TV sitcoms including “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley,” and directed hit movies such as “Pretty Woman.”

View Garry Marshall’s obituary

Noel Neill (1920–2016)

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The actress was well known for her role as Lois Lane in the classic Superman television series.

View Noel Neill’s obituary

Michael Cimino (1939–2016)

AP Photo / Andrew Medichini

Filmmaker Cimino won an Academy Award for directing “The Deer Hunter.”

View Michael Cimino’s obituary

Elie Wiesel (1928–2016)

AP Photo / Bebeto Matthews

Elie Wiesel turned his tragic personal experiences during the Holocaust into the gripping autobiographical novel “Night.” He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his work against violence, repression and racism.

View Elie Wiesel’s obituary

Pat Summitt (1952–2016) 

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The legendary coach for the University of Tennessee’s women’s college basketball team won 8 NCAA championships and has the record for most victories in college basketball in Division I history.

View Pat Summitt’s obituary

Buddy Ryan (1934–2016)

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As defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan helped lead the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985.

View Buddy Ryan’s obituary

Bud Spencer (1929–2016)

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Italian actor Bud Spencer, who was born Carlo Pedersoli, starred in many spaghetti western movies included the classic “They Call Me Trinity.”

View Carlo Pedersoli’s obituary

Ryan Jimmo (1981–2016)

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Jimmo was an Ultimate Fighting Champion veteran known as “Big Deal.” He had a career record in mixed martial arts of 19 wins and only five losses.

View Ryan Jimmo’s obituary

Bill Cunningham (1929–2016) 

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Cunningham was a legendary fashion photographer for the New York Times. He was known for walking around the streets of Manhattan daily with his camera while wearing a blue windbreaker.

View Bill Cunningham’s obituary

Bernie Worrell (1944–2016)

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The keyboardist was one of the founding members of legendary funk band Parliament-Funkadelic.

View Bernie Worrell’s obituary

Anton Yelchin (1989–2016)

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The actor was known for playing Chekov in the big screen Star Trek reboot. He had finished filming the third of the new Star Trek movies when he died in a tragic accident at the age of 27.

View Anton Yelchin’s obituary

Ron Lester (1970–2016)

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Lester was best known for supporting roles in movies such as “Varsity Blues” and “Not Another Teen Movie.”

View Ron Lester obituary

Ann Morgan Guilbert (1928–2016) 

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Guilbert played Millie Helper on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

View Ann Morgan Guilbert’s obituary

Theresa Saldana (1954–2016)

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Saldana starred opposite Robert DeNiro as Jake Lamotta’s wife in the movie “Raging Bull,” as well as on TV’s “The Commish” as Rachel Scali.

View Theresa Saldana’s obituary

Christina Grimmie (1994–2016)

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The YouTube singing sensation starred on season six of NBC’s “The Voice.”

View Christina Grimmie’s obituary

Muhammad Ali (1942–2016)

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The boxing titan named “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated magazine began boxing as a preteen. His amateur career culminated with a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, after which he moved on to a professional boxing career. He took to calling himself The Greatest, and the nickname stuck for obvious reasons.

View Muhammad Ali’s obituary

Gordie Howe (1928–2016)

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The Detroit Red Wings great known as “Mr. Hockey” played a record 26 seasons in the NHL, making the All-Star team in 23 of them.

View Gordie Howe’s obituary

Nick Menza (1964–2016) 

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Menza was the drummer for the pioneering thrash metal band Megadeth from 1989 until 1998. He performed with the band during their most successful period which included the albums “Rust in Peace” and “Youthanasia.”

View Nick Menza’s obituary

Morley Safer (1931–2016) 

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The legendary CBS reporter worked on “60 Minutes” for 46 years and also covered the Vietnam War.

View Morley Safer’s obituary

Guy Clark (1941–2016)

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Clark was a Grammy Award-winning country music singer-songwriter whose songs “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” were widely covered.

View Guy Clark’s obituary

Madeleine Lebeau (1923–2016)

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Lebeau, an actress known best for her role as Rick’s girlfriend in “Casablanca,” was widely believed to be the last surviving cast member of the classic Humphrey Bogart film.

View Madeleine Lebeau’s obituary

Richard Libertini

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Billy Paul (1934–2016)

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Paul was a Grammy Award-winning R&B and jazz singer known best for his 1972 No. 1 hit song “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

View Billy Paul’s obituary

Prince (1958–2016)

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The pop music legend gave us timeless songs such as “Purple Rain,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Raspberry Beret.”

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Chyna (1970–2016)

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The popular WWF wrestler also starred on reality TV shows such as “The Surreal Life.”

View Chyna’s obituary

Doris Roberts (1925–2016) 

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Roberts was known best for her role as Marie Barone on the popular TV comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The Emmy-winning actress was terrific playing the meddling mother-in-law in the Ray Romano sitcom.

View Doris Roberts’ obituary

Daisy Lewellyn (1980–2016)

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Lewellyn starred in the first two seasons on the reality TV show “Blood, Sweat & Heels.” The former magazine editor died of a rare form of liver cancer at the age of 36.

View Daisy Lewellyn’s obituary

Merle Haggard (1937–2016)

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Haggard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Part of the outlaw country music scene, his hit songs include “Okie From Muskogee.”

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Joseph Medicine Crow

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Joseph Medicine Crow, the last surviving war chief of Montana’s Crow tribe, was known best for his writings and lectures on the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

View Joseph Medicine Crow’s obituary

Zaha Hadid (1950–2016) 

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Zaha Hadid was one of the best-known women in architectural history. She designed the wave-shaped London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

View Zaha Hadid’s obituary

Patty Duke (1946–2016)

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Patty Duke found fame early when she won an Oscar at 16 for her role in “The Miracle Worker.” She then went on to star in “The Patty Duke Show” and later became an advocate for awareness of mental health issues.

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Nancy Reagan (1921–2016)

AP Photo

As Nancy Davis, she was a Hollywood actress in the 1940s and 1950s. After marrying in 1952, she became Nancy Reagan and would go on to become first lady of California and, later, first lady of the United States.

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Mother Mary Angelica (1923–2016)

AP Photo / Birmingham Post-Herald / Philip Holman

Mother Mary Angelica, a Roman Catholic nun who founded the Eternal Word Television Network, a global religious television network that reaches hundreds of millions of believers, died on Easter Sunday.

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Garry Shandling (1949–2016)

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The innovative comedian was known for creating and starring in “The Larry Sanders Show.”

View Garry Shandling’s obituary

Joey Feek (1975–2016)

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Joey Feek and her husband formed the popular country and bluegrass duo Joey + Rory. The duo were winners of the 2010 Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Vocal Duo.

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Pat Conroy (1945–2016)

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The best-selling author wrote “Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini.” Both were made into Oscar-nominated films.

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George Kennedy (1925–2016)

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The actor won an Oscar for his role as a tough prisoner in “Cool Hand Luke.” Later in his career he made fun of his tough guy roles in the “Naked Gun” movies.

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Cara McCollum (1992–2016)

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A former Miss New Jersey, she competed in the Miss America contest and went on to become a news anchor for “SNJ Today.”

View Cara McCollum’s obituary

Vanity (1959–2016)

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Singer and actress Denise Matthews, aka Vanity (1959–2016), fronted the music group Vanity 6, a collaboration with the legendary singer Prince.

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Katie May (1981–2016)

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The Sports Illustrated magazine model was also known as the Queen of Snapchat.

View Katie May’s obituary

Maurice White

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The Earth, Wind & Fire founder won a total of seven Grammys out of 21 nominations. He is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

View Maurice White’s obituary

Paul Kantner (1941–2016) 

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Kantner was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane. He was a guitarist, singer and songwriter for the band that pioneered psychedelic rock in the 1960s.

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Glenn Frey (1948–2016) 

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One of the founding members and guitarist for The Eagles, Frey sang lead vocals on such classic songs as “Take it Easy” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”

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Abe Vigoda (1921–2016) 

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Character actor Abe Vigoda was well loved for his role as Detective Fish in the classic sitcom “Barney Miller” and on the short lived series “Fish.” He also had a memorable role as Tessio in “The Godfather” movie.

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Noreen Corcoran (1943–2016) 

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Corcoran is best remembered for her role as Kelly Gregg on the popular sitcom “Bachelor Father.”

View Noreen Corcoran’s obituary

Dan Haggerty (1941–2016)

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Haggerty will be best remembered for his role as the bearded mountain man James “Grizzly” Adams on the television series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.”

View Dan Haggerty’s obituary

René Angélil (1942–2016)

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Angélil was the husband and former manager of singer Céline Dion.

Remembering René Angélil in Las Vegas

Alan Rickman (1946–2016)

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A versatile actor with an immediately recognizable voice, Rickman will be well remembered for his role as Professor Severus Snape of the “Harry Potter” film series.

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Sir George Martin (1926–2016)

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Sir George Martin was the brilliant creative mind behind the Beatles.

Read Sir George Martin’s obituary

David Bowie (1947–2016)

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The legendary rock star gave the world so much great music during his career. Paul McCartney said, “His star will shine in the sky forever.”

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Phife Dawg (1970–2016)

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Phife Dawg was a rapper and founding member of the influential hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest.

View Phife Dawg’s obituary

Keith Emerson (1944–2016)

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The keyboardist was a founding member of the seminal prog rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

View Keith Emerson’s obituary

Angus Scrimm

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Scrimm was a character actor best known for playing the terrifying “Tall Man” in the Phantasm horror film series.

View Angus Scrimm’s obituary

Pat Harrington Jr. (1929–2016)

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Character actor Pat Harrington Jr. will be always remembered for his memorable role as Schneider on the popular sitcom “One Day at a Time”.

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Angela Raiola (1960–2016)

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Raiola was better known as “Big Ang,” the bar owner was a star on the TV show “Mob Wives.”

View Angela Raiola’s obituary

Kitty Kallen (1922–2016)

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Pop singer Kitty Kallen was most popular during the swing era. Her best-known solo recording was 1954’s No. 1 hit “Little Things Mean a Lot.”

View Kitty Kallen’s obituary

Pierre Boulez (1925–2016)

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The world-renowned French conductor was a major force in modern classical music.

View Pierre Poulez’ obituary

Robert Stigwood (1934–2016) 

AP Photo / Suzanne Vlamis

Stigwood was a force in music, movies, and Broadway. He was the manager for Cream and the Bee Gees before producing a string of popular musicals and films including “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever.”

View Robert Stigwood’s obituary

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