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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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Actor William Christopher (1932–2016) played the beloved character Father Mulcahy on the hit sitcom M*A*S*H.

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Debbie Reynolds (1932–2016)

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Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds (1932–2016) starred in “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” She died one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher.

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Carrie Fisher (1956–2016)

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Actress and author Carrie Fisher (1956–2016) will always be remembered for her beloved role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movie franchise.

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George Michael (1963–2016)

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Pop superstar George Michael (1963–2016) sold over 100 million albums. His memorable hit songs include “Careless Whisper” with his group Wham and “Freedom 90!” as a solo artist.

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Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917–2016)

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Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917–2016) was a Hollywood legend and socialite known for her European glamour and her many marriages.

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Ricky Harris (1962–2016)

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Actor and comedian Ricky Harris (1962–2016) had a recurring role as Malvo on the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris.”

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Craig Sager (1951–2016)

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Craig Sager (1951–2016) was a longtime beloved NBA sideline reporter was known for his colorful attire.

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Bernard Fox (1927–2016)

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Bernard Fox (1927–2016) was a character actor was known for his role as the zany Dr. Bombay on the classic sitcom “Bewitched.”

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Alan Thicke (1947–2016)

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Canadian actor Alan Thicke (1947–2016) was best known for playing TV dad Dr. Jason Seaver on the 1980s hit sitcom “Growing Pains.”

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John Glenn (1921–2016)


Astronaut John Glenn (1921–2016) was the first American to orbit the earth and later the oldest person to go into space at the age of 77.

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Greg Lake (1947–2016)

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Greg Lake (1947–2016) was guitarist and singer for prog rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

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Billy Chapin (1943–2016)

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Child actor Billy Chapin (1943–2016) appeared in many movies and TV series in the 1950s including a memorable role in “The Night of the Hunter.”

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Andrew Sachs (1930–2016)

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British actor Andrew Sachs (1930–2016) was best known for his role as the Spanish waiter Manuel on the comedy “Fawlty Towers,” which was one of the most popular comedies on the BBC.

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Van Williams (1934–2016)

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Actor Van Williams (1934–2016) starred in the 1960s TV series “The Green Hornet” and “Surfside 6.”

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Margaret Whitton (1950 – 2016)

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

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Fritz Weaver (1926–2016)

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Fritz Weaver (1926–2016) appeared on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and a memorable episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

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Florence Henderson (1934–2016)

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Actress Florence Henderson (1934–2016) was best-known for the role of Carol Brady, the patient, loving mother on “The Brady Bunch.”

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Ron Glass (1945–2016)

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Actor Ron Glass (1945–2016) was best known for his work on “Barney Miller” and “Firefly.”

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Gwen Ifill (1955–2016)

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Renowned television journalist Gwen Ifill (1955–2016) served as moderator of the PBS talk show “Washington Week.”

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Leon Russell (1942–2016)

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Legendary rock musician and singer-songwriter Leon Russell (1942–2016) played with the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and Elton John.

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Robert Vaughn (1932–2016)

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Actor Robert Vaughn (1932–2016) was best known for his starring role on TV’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

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Leonard Cohen (1934–2016)

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Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934–2016) enjoyed a decades-long career with classics such as “Hallelujah” and “Suzanne.”

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Julie Gregg (1937–2016)

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Actress Julie Gregg (1937–2016) played Sonny Corleone’s wife in the first two “Godfather” movies.

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Michael Massee (1955–2016)

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Actor Michael Massee (1955–2016) 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.”

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Arnold Palmer (1929–2016)

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Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer (1929–2016) 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.

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Jose Fernandez (1992–2016)

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Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez (1992–2016) was only 24 when he died in a tragic boating accident.

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Jean Shepard (1933–2016)

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Grand Ole Opry regular Jean Shepard (1933–2016) was one of the first female country music stars.

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Charmian Carr (1942–2016)

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Actress Charmian Carr (1942–2016) will be remembered for her role as Liesl Von Trapp in the movie “The Sound of Music.”

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Alexis Arquette (1969–2016)

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Transgender actress Alexis Arquette (1969–2016) had a role in the comedy “The Wedding Singer” and was the sister of actors David, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette.

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Anna Dewdney (1965–2016)

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Children’s book author Anna Dewdney (1965–2016) wrote the popular Llama Llama series. Her last wish went viral: she requested that instead of a funeral service, people read to a child.

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Gene Wilder (1933–2016)

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Comic actor Gene Wilder (1933–2016), 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.

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Steven Hill (1922–2016)

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Actor Steven Hill (1922–2016) 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)

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John McLaughlin (1927–2016) was the host of the PBS political commentary show “The McLaughlin Report.”

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Kenny Baker (1934–2016)

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British actor Kenny Baker (1934–2016) played the role of R2-D2 in “Star Wars.”

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John Saunders (1955–2016)

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Versatile sportscaster John Saunders (1955–2016) 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.

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Jerry Doyle (1956–2016)

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Actor Jerry Doyle (1956–2016) was best known as Michael Garibaldi, chief of space station security, on the sci-fi TV series “Babylon 5.”

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Gloria DeHaven (1925–2016)

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Singer and actress Gloria DeHaven (1925–2016) starred in a number of MGM musicals as well as daytime television soap operas.

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Garry Marshall (1934–2016) 

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Legendary producer and director Garry Marshall (1934–2016) created beloved TV sitcoms including “Happy Days” and directed hit movies such as “Pretty Woman.”

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Noel Neill (1920–2016)

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Actress Noel Neill (1920–2016) was well known for her role as Lois Lane in the classic Superman television series.

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Michael Cimino (1939–2016)

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Michael Cimino (1939–2016) won an Academy Award for directing “The Deer Hunter.”

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Elie Wiesel (1928–2016)

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Elie Wiesel (1928–2016) 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.

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Pat Summitt (1952–2016) 

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The legendary coach for the University of Tennessee’s women’s college basketball team, Pat Summitt (1952–2016) won 8 NCAA championships and has the record for most victories in college basketball in Division I history.

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Buddy Ryan (1934–2016)

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As defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan (1934–2016) helped lead the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985.

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Carlo Pedersoli (1929–2016)

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Italian actor Bud Spencer whose born name was Carlo Pedersoli (1929–2016) starred in many spaghetti western movies included the classic, “They Call Me Trinity.”

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Ryan Jimmo (1981 – 2016)

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Ryan Jimmo (1981 – 2016), who died at 34, was an Ultimate Fighting Champion veteran known as “Big Deal.” He had a career record in mixed martial arts of 19 wins against only 5 losses.

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Bill Cunningham (1929–2016) 

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Bill Cunningham (1929–2016) 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.

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Bernie Worrell (1944–2016)

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Keyboardist Bernie Worrell (1944–2016) was one of the founding members of the legendary funk band Parliament-Funkadelic.

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Anton Yelchin (1989 – 2016)

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Actor Anton Yelchin (1989 – 2016) 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.

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Ron Lester (1970–2016)

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Actor Ron Lester (1970–2016) was best known for supporting roles in movies such as “Varsity Blues” and “Not Another Teen Movie.”

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Ann Morgan Guilbert (1928–2016) 

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Actress Ann Morgan Guilbert (1928–2016) played Millie Helper on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

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Theresa Saldana (1954–2016)

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Theresa Saldana (1954–2016) 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.

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Christina Grimmie (1994–2016)

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YouTube singing sensation Christina Grimmie (1994–2016) starred on season six of NBC’s “The Voice.”

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Muhammad Ali (1942–2016)

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Boxing titan Muhammad Ali (1942–2016), who was 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.

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Gordie Howe (1928–2016)

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The Detroit Red Wings great known as “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe (1928–2016) played a record 26 seasons in the NHL, making the All-Star team in 23 of them.

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Nick Menza (1964–2016) 

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Nick Menza (1964–2016) 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.

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Morley Safer (1931–2016) 

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Legendary CBS reporter Morley Safer (1931–2016) worked on “60 Minutes” for 46 years and also covered the Vietnam War.

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Guy Clark (1941–2016)

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Guy Clark (1941–2016) was a Grammy Award-winning country music singer-songwriter whose songs “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” were widely covered.

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Madeleine Lebeau (1923–2016)

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Madeleine Lebeau (1923–2016), 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.

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Richard Libertini

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Billy Paul (1934–2016)

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Billy Paul (1934–2016) was a Grammy Award-winning R&B and jazz singer known best for his 1972 No. 1 hit song “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

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Prince (1958–2016)

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Music legend Prince (1958–2016) 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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Popular WWF wrestler Chyna (1970–2016) also starred on reality TV shows such as “The Surreal Life.”

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Doris Roberts (1925–2016) 

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Doris Roberts (1925–2016) 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.

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Daisy Lewellyn (1980–2016)

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Daisy Lewellyn (1980–2016) 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.

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Merle Haggard (1937–2016)

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Merle Haggard (1937–2016) was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. The legendary musician was 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.

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Zaha Hadid (1950–2016) 

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Zaha Hadid (1950–2016) was one of the best-known women in architectural history. She designed the wave-shaped London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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Patty Duke (1946–2016)

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Patty Duke (1946–2016) 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)

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As Nancy Davis, she was a Hollywood actress in the 1940s and 1950s. After marrying in 1952, she became Nancy Reagan (1921–2016) 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)

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Mother Mary Angelica (1923–2016), 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. She was 92.

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Garry Shandling (1949–2016)

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Innovative comedian Garry Shandling (1949–2016) was known for creating and starring in “The Larry Sanders Show.”

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Joey Feek (1975–2016)

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Joey Feek (1975–2016) and her husband Rory 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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Best-selling author Pat Conroy (1945–2016) 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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Actor George Kennedy (1925–2016) 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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Former Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum (1992–2016) competed in the Miss America contest and then went on to become a news anchor for “SNJ Today.”

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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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Sports Illustrated magazine model Katie May (1981–2016) was also known as the Queen of Snapchat.

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Maurice White

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

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Paul Kantner (1941–2016) 

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Paul Kantner (1941–2016) 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, Glenn Frey (1948–2016) 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 (1921–2016) 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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Actress Noreen Corcoran (1943–2016) is best remembered for her role as Kelly Gregg on the popular sitcom “Bachelor Father.”

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Dan Haggerty (1941–2016)

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Actor Dan Haggerty (1941–2016) 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.”

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René Angélil (1942–2016)

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René Angélil (1942–2016), the husband and former manager of singer Céline Dion, died from cancer at the age of 73.

Remembering René Angélil in Las Vegas

Alan Rickman (1946–2016)

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A versatile actor with an immediately recognizable voice, Alan Rickman (1946–2016) 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 (1926–2016) was the brilliant creative mind behind the Beatles.

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David Bowie (1947–2016)

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Legendary British rocker David Bowie (1947–2016) 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 (1970–2016) was a rapper and founding member of the influential hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest.

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Keith Emerson (1944–2016)

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Keyboardist Keith Emerson (1944–2016) was a founding member of the seminal prog rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

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Angus Scrimm

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

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Pat Harrington Jr. (1929–2016)

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Character actor Pat Harrington Jr. (1929–2016) 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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Angela Raiola (1960–2016) Better known as “Big Ang,” the bar owner was a star on the TV show “Mob Wives.”

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Kitty Kallen (1922–2016)

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Pop singer Kitty Kallen (1922–2016) was most popular during the swing era. Her best-known solo recording was 1954’s “Little Things Mean a Lot,” which was a No. 1 hit.

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Pierre Boulez (1925–2016)

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World-renowned French conductor Pierre Boulez (1925–2016) was a major force in modern classical music.

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Robert Stigwood (1934–2016) 

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Robert Stigwood (1934–2016) was a major 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.

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