Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > 2016 Celebrity Deaths

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) 

Getty Images / CBS

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

View William Christopher’s obituary

Advertisement


Debbie Reynolds (1932–2016)

Getty Images / Hulton Archive

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)

Getty Images / Sunset Boulevard

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)

Getty Images / Michael Putland

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)

Getty Images / Hulton Archive

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)

Getty Images / Jerod Harris

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

View Ricky Harris’ obituary


Craig Sager (1951–2016)

Getty Images / Christian Petersen

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

Read Craig Sager’s obituary


Bernard Fox (1927–2016)

Getty Images / ABC

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)

Getty Images / Corbis / Ann Johansson

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)

NASA

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)

Getty Images

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)

Getty Images / Photoshot

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)

Getty Images / ABC

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)

Getty Images / ABC

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)

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

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)

Getty Images / WireImage / Jon Kopaloff

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

View Ron Glass’ obituary


Gwen Ifill (1955–2016)

Getty Images / Frederick M. Brown

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

View Gwen Ifill’s obituary


Leon Russell (1942–2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Robert Knight

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)

Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection

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)

Getty Images / AFP / Valery Hache

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)

Getty Images / Archive Photos / Frank Edwards

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

View Julie Gregg’s obituary


Michael Massee (1955–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Albert L. Ortega

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)

Getty Images / Rob Foldy

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

View Jose Fernandez’ obituary


Jean Shepard (1933–2016)

Getty Images / Country Music Hall of Fame / Elmer Williams

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

View Jean Shepard’s obituary


Charmian Carr (1942–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Tibrina Hobson

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)

Getty Images / WireImage / SGranitz

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)

AP Photo / Capital Pictures / MediaPunch

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)

Getty Images / NBC

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)

Getty Images / Paley Center for Media / Larry Busacca

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)

Getty Images / Carlo Allegri

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)

Getty Images

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) 

Getty Images / AFP / Frederic J. Brown

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)

Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection

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) 

Getty Images / NBC / Paul Drinkwater

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)

Getty Images / Kidwiler Collection

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)

Everett Collection / Mondadori Portfolio

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)

Twitter / Fox Sports

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) 

Getty Images / WireImage / Skip Bolen

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)

Getty Images / Redferns / Clayton Call

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

View Bernie Worrell’s obituary


Anton Yelchin (1989–2016)

Getty Images / Pascal Le Segretain

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)

Getty Images / Mark Mainz

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) 

Getty Images / Randall Michelson

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

View Ann Morgan Guilbert’s obituary


Theresa Saldana (1954–2016)

Getty Images / Harry Langdon

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)

Getty Images / Noam Galai

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

View Christina Grimmie’s obituary


Muhammad Ali (1942–2016)

Stanley Weston/Getty Images

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)

Getty Images / Bruce Bennett Studios

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) 

Getty Images / Redferns / Mick Hutson

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) 

Getty Images / FilmMagic / D Dipasupil

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)

Getty Images / Redferns / Frans Schellekens

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)

Getty Images

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

Getty Images / ABC

Read more


Billy Paul (1934–2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Cary Hammond

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)

Getty Images / Kevin Winter

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

Read more


Chyna (1970–2016)

Getty Images / FilmMagic / Desiree Navarro

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

View Chyna’s obituary


Doris Roberts (1925–2016) 

Getty Images / WireImage / Albert L. Ortega

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)

Getty Images / WireImage / Jim Spellman

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)

Getty Images / Frazier Harrison

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.”

Read more


Joseph Medicine Crow

Getty Images / AFP / Jewel Samad

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) 

Getty Images / UIG / View Pictures

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)

Getty Images / Photoshot

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.

View Patty Duke’s obituary


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.

View Nancy Reagan’s obituary


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.

View Mother Mary Angelica’s obituary


Garry Shandling (1949–2016)

Getty Images / George Rose

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

View Garry Shandling’s obituary


Joey Feek (1975–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Frederick Breedon IV

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.

See More Women of Country Music


Pat Conroy (1945–2016)

Getty Images / Jeffrey Vock

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

See more writers


George Kennedy (1925–2016)

Everett Collection / Mirrorpix

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.

See more actors


Cara McCollum (1992–2016)

Getty Images / Donald Kravitz

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)

Getty Images / Paul Natkin

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

See more musicians


Katie May (1981–2016)

Getty Images / GenArt / Vivien Killilea

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

View Katie May’s obituary


Maurice White

Getty Images / Michael Putland

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) 

Getty Images / Redferns / Clayton Call

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.

View Paul Kantner’s obituary


Glenn Frey (1948–2016) 

Getty Images / Richard McCaffrey

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.”

View Glenn Frey’s obituary


Abe Vigoda (1921–2016) 

Getty Images / ABC

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.

See more character actors


Noreen Corcoran (1943–2016) 

Getty Images / ABC

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)

Frank Carroll/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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)

Getty Images / Thomas SAMSON

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

Remembering René Angélil in Las Vegas


Alan Rickman (1946–2016)

Getty Images / Laura Cavanaugh

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.

Read more


Sir George Martin (1926–2016)

Getty Images / Keystone / Chris Ware

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

Read Sir George Martin’s obituary


David Bowie (1947–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Ron Galella

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.”

See more


Phife Dawg (1970–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Chelsea Lauren

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)

Getty Images

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

View Keith Emerson’s obituary


Angus Scrimm

Getty Images / Michael Tullberg

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)

Getty Images / CBS

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

See more character actors


Angela Raiola (1960–2016)

Getty Images

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)

Everett Collection

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)

Getty Images / Paris Match Archive / Jack Garofalo

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

More Stories

Advertisement