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

Actor William Christopher (1932–2016) played the 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

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.

View Debbie Reynolds’ obituary


Carrie Fisher (1956–2016)

Getty Images / Sunset Boulevard

Actress and author Carrie Fisher (1956–2016) 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

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.

View George Michael’s obituary


Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917–2016)

Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917–2016) 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

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

View Ricky Harris’ obituary


Craig Sager (1951–2016)

Getty Images / Christian Petersen

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

Read Craig Sager’s obituary


Bernard Fox (1927–2016)

Getty Images / ABC

Bernard Fox (1927–2016) 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

Canadian actor Alan Thicke (1947–2016) 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 (1921–2016) 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

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

View Greg Lake’s obituary


Billy Chapin (1943–2016)

Everett Collection

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.”

View Billy Chapin’s obituary


Andrew Sachs (1930–2016)

Getty Images / Photoshot

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.

View Andrew Sachs’ obituary


Van Williams (1934–2016)

Getty Images / ABC

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

View Van Williams’ obituary


Margaret Whitton (1950 – 2016)

Everett Collection / ABC

Margaret 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

Fritz Weaver (1926–2016) 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

Actress Florence Henderson (1934–2016) 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

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

View Ron Glass’ obituary


Gwen Ifill (1955–2016)

Getty Images / Frederick M. Brown

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

View Gwen Ifill’s obituary


Leon Russell (1942–2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Robert Knight

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

View Leon Russell’s obituary


Robert Vaughn (1932–2016)

Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection

Actor Robert Vaughn (1932–2016) 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

Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934–2016) 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

Actress Julie Gregg (1937–2016) 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

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.”

View Michael Massee’s obituary


Arnold Palmer (1929–2016)

AP Photo / Tom Gannam

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.

View Arnold Palmer’s obituary


Jose Fernandez (1992–2016)

Getty Images / Rob Foldy

Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez (1992–2016) 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 (1933–2016) was one of the first female country music stars.

View Jean Shepard’s obituary


Charmian Carr (1942–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Tibrina Hobson

Actress Charmian Carr (1942–2016) 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

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.

View Alexis Arquette’s obituary


Anna Dewdney (1965–2016)

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

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.

View Anna Dewdney’s obituary


Gene Wilder (1933–2016)

AP Photo / Capital Pictures / MediaPunch

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.

View Gene Wilder’s obituary


Steven Hill (1922–2016)

Getty Images / NBC

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)

AP Photo / Kevin Wolf

John McLaughlin (1927–2016) 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

British actor Kenny Baker (1934–2016) 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

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.

View John Saunders’ obituary


Jerry Doyle (1956–2016)

Getty Images / Carlo Allegri

Actor Jerry Doyle (1956–2016) was best known 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 (1925–2016) 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

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

View Garry Marshall’s obituary


Noel Neill (1920–2016)

Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection

Actress Noel Neill (1920–2016) 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

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

View Michael Cimino’s obituary


Elie Wiesel (1928–2016)

AP Photo / Bebeto Matthews

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.

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, Pat Summitt (1952–2016) 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 (1934–2016) helped lead the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985.

View Buddy Ryan’s obituary


Carlo Pedersoli (1929–2016)

Everett Collection / Mondadori Portfolio

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.”

View Carlo Pedersoli’s obituary


Ryan Jimmo (1981 – 2016)

Twitter / Fox Sports

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.

View Ryan Jimmo’s obituary


Bill Cunningham (1929–2016) 

Getty Images / WireImage / Skip Bolen

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.

View Bill Cunningham’s obituary


Bernie Worrell (1944–2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Clayton Call

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

View Bernie Worrell’s obituary


Anton Yelchin (1989 – 2016)

Getty Images / Pascal Le Segretain

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.

View Anton Yelchin’s obituary


Ron Lester (1970–2016)

Getty Images / Mark Mainz

Actor Ron Lester (1970–2016) 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

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

View Ann Morgan Guilbert’s obituary


Theresa Saldana (1954–2016)

Getty Images / Harry Langdon

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.

View Theresa Saldana’s obituary


Christina Grimmie (1994–2016)

Getty Images / Noam Galai

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

View Christina Grimmie’s obituary


Muhammad Ali (1942–2016)

Stanley Weston/Getty Images

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.

View Muhammad Ali’s obituary


Gordie Howe (1928–2016)

Getty Images / Bruce Bennett Studios

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.

View Gordie Howe’s obituary


Nick Menza (1964–2016) 

Getty Images / Redferns / Mick Hutson

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.

View Nick Menza’s obituary


Morley Safer (1931–2016) 

Getty Images / FilmMagic / D Dipasupil

Legendary CBS reporter Morley Safer (1931–2016) 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

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.

View Guy Clark’s obituary


Madeleine Lebeau (1923–2016)

Getty Images

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.

View Madeleine Lebeau’s obituary


Richard Libertini

Getty Images / ABC

Read more


Billy Paul (1934–2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Cary Hammond

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.”

View Billy Paul’s obituary


Prince (1958–2016)

Getty Images / Kevin Winter

Music legend Prince (1958–2016) 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

Popular WWF wrestler Chyna (1970–2016) 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

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.

View Doris Roberts’ obituary


Daisy Lewellyn (1980–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Jim Spellman

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.

View Daisy Lewellyn’s obituary


Merle Haggard (1937–2016)

Getty Images / Frazier Harrison

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.”

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 (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.

View Zaha Hadid’s obituary


Patty Duke (1946–2016)

Getty Images / Photoshot

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.

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 (1921–2016) 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 (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.

View Mother Mary Angelica’s obituary


Garry Shandling (1949–2016)

Getty Images / George Rose

Innovative comedian Garry Shandling (1949–2016) 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 (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.

See More Women of Country Music


Pat Conroy (1945–2016)

Getty Images / Jeffrey Vock

Best-selling author Pat Conroy (1945–2016) 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

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.

See more actors


Cara McCollum (1992–2016)

Getty Images / Donald Kravitz

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.”

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

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

View Katie May’s obituary


Maurice White

Getty Images / Michael Putland

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.

View Maurice White’s obituary


Paul Kantner (1941–2016) 

Getty Images / Redferns / Clayton Call

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.

View Paul Kantner’s obituary


Glenn Frey (1948–2016) 

Getty Images / Richard McCaffrey

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.”

View Glenn Frey’s obituary


Abe Vigoda (1921–2016) 

Getty Images / ABC

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.

See more character actors


Noreen Corcoran (1943–2016) 

Getty Images / ABC

Actress Noreen Corcoran (1943–2016) 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

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.”

View Dan Haggerty’s obituary


René Angélil (1942–2016)

Getty Images / Thomas SAMSON

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)

Getty Images / Laura Cavanaugh

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.

Read more


Sir George Martin (1926–2016)

Getty Images / Keystone / Chris Ware

Sir George Martin (1926–2016) was the brilliant creative mind behind the Beatles.

Read Sir George Martin’s obituary


David Bowie (1947–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Ron Galella

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.”

See more


Phife Dawg (1970–2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Chelsea Lauren

Phife Dawg (1970–2016) 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

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

View Keith Emerson’s obituary


Angus Scrimm

Getty Images / Michael Tullberg

Angus 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. (1929–2016) 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

Angela Raiola (1960–2016) 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 (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.

View Kitty Kallen’s obituary


Pierre Boulez (1925–2016)

Getty Images / Paris Match Archive / Jack Garofalo

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

View Pierre Poulez’ obituary


Robert Stigwood (1934–2016) 

AP Photo / Suzanne Vlamis

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.

View Robert Stigwood’s obituary

More Stories