Gone But Not Forgotten in 2016

It felt like a record number of familiar voices and faces from radio, movies, television, sports – beloved by baby boomers and seniors – passed away in 2016. Below, Merle Haggard, William Christopher (Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H), and Debbie Reynolds all passed away in 2016.

celebrity deaths 2016, died in 2016, cause of death, famous people died 2016, actors, singers, entertainers, harper lee, nancy reagan, frank sinatra jr, don francks, william schallert, muhammad ali, gordie howe, gene wilder, (2016 Gone but Not Forgotten Photo Montage: 50+World)

In order of their passing, here are some celebrity deaths in 2016 that you may have missed:

Muhammad Alimuhammad ali 1965, nee cassius clay, professional boxer, world heavyweight boxing champion, 1960 olympic light heavyweight gold medal, died june 3 2016, muhammad ali dead, memorial, 2016 celebrity deaths, American Olympic light heavyweight and professional World Heavyweight champion, civil rights activist nee Cassius Clay (born January 17. 1942 – died June 3, 2016; age 74). Cause of death septic shock; Muhammad Ali had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984 and was hospitalized with a respiratory illness when he died. (Muhammad Ali 1965 What’s My Line?)

Kenny Baker, diminutive English actor (The Elephant Man; Labyrinth, Mona Lisa, Amadeus, The Elephant Man, R2-D2 in Star Wars movies) (born August 24, 1934 – died August 13, 2016; age 81). Cause of death for Kenny Baker was unknown. 

david bowie 1974, younger, british singer, english rock singer, died january 10 2016, celebrity deathDavid Bowie, androgynous British actor, rock singer-songwriter (Let’s Dance, Space Oddity, Starman, The Jean Genie, Changes; Life on Mars?; Rebel Rebel; Under Pressure, Dancing in the Street), Rock & Roll Hall of Famer (born January 8, 1947died January 10, 2016; age 69). Cause of death for David Bowie was liver cancer. (David Bowie 1974 Photo: Beeld En Geluid Wiki)

Peter Brown, American actor (Lawman, Laredo, Kitten With A Whip, Days of Our Lives, One Life to Live), and octogenarian senior citizen (born October 5, 1935 – died March 21, 2016; age 80). Cause of death for Peter Brown was complications from Parkinson’s Disease. 

Don Calfa, American actor on TV and movies (Weekend at Bernie’s, The Return of the Living Dead, Cinderella Liberty, Foul Play, 10, The Rose) (born December 3, 1939 – died December 1, 2016; age 76). Don Calfa died of natural causes. 

Charmaine Carr, American singer, actress (The Sound of Music) (born December 27, 1942 – died September 17, 2016; age 73). Cause of death for Charmaine Carr was complications from dementia. 

William Christopher, American actor of stage and television (Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H, After MASH, Days of Our Lives, Gomer Pyle: USMC), movies (Hearts of the West), and autism philanthropist (born October 20, 1932 – died December 31, 2016; age 84). Cause of death for William Christopher was small-cell lung cancer

Leonard Cohenleonard cohen 2008, canadian singer songwriter, hit songs, hallelujah, suzanneolder, senior citizen, born september 21 1934, died november 7 2016, celebrity death, leonard cohen dead, Canadian musician and singer-songwriter (Hallelujah, Suzanne) (born September 21, 1934 – died November 7, 2016; age 82). Cause of death for Leonard Cohen was a fall, with cancer a contributing factor. (Leonard Cohen 2008 Photo: Rama)

Pat Conroy, American author (The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini) (born October 25, 1945died March 4, 2016; age 70). Cause of death not given, but Pat Conroy had said the month before he died that he was being treated for pancreatic cancer.

Ronnie Corbett, Scottish comedian, writer, broadcaster, and actor (No Sex Please, We’re British; The Two Ronnies; Sorry!) (born December 4, 1930 – died March 31, 2016; age 85). Cause of death for Ronnie Corbett was not stated; Corbett had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2015. 

Gloria DeHaven, American nightclub singer and actress in movies (Step Lively, Two Girls and a Sailor, Summer Holiday, Out to Sea, Summer Stock, Three Little Words, Thousands Cheer), the Broadway stage, and television (Ryan’s Hope; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; Who is the Black Dahlia?) (born July 23, 1925 – died July 30, 2016; age 91). Gloria DeHaven died of natural causes.

Patty Duke, American actress (The Patty Duke Show, The Miracle Worker) (born December 14, 1946 died March 29, 2016; age 69). Cause of death for Patty Duke was sepsis from a ruptured intestine; Patty Duke had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (then called manic depression) in 1982. 

Umberto Eco, Italian philosopher, professor, and author (The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum, Numero Zero; The Prague Cemetery) (born January 5, 1932 – died February 19, 2016; age 84). Cause of death for Umberto Eco was pancreatic cancer.

Carrie Fishercarrie fisher 2009, american actress, screenwriter, author, 1970s movies, princess leia, star trek, postcards from the edge, debbie reynolds daughter, born october 1 1956, died december 27 2016, celebrity death, carrie fisher dead, American born actress (Star Wars movies, When Harry Met Sally, Soapdish, The ‘Burbs, The Man With One Red Shoe), author, voice actress (Family Guy), and screenwriter (These Old Broads, Postcards from the Edge)  (born October 1, 1956 – died December 27, 2016; age 60). Carrie Fisher died of cardiac arrest. (Carrie Fisher 2009 Photo: matt klein)

Bernard Fox, Welsh actor on TV (Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes, Andy Griffith Show) and movies (Munster, Go Home!, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Mummy) (born May 11, 1927 – died December 14, 2016; age 89). Cause of death for Bernard Fox was heart failure.

Don Francks, Canadian jazz musician, composer, singer, and actor on stage, television (R.C.M.P.; Jericho; MisteRogers, La Femme Nikita), movies (Finian’s Rainbow, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Riel), voice actor (Star Wars: Droids, The Care Bears Family, This Land, Inspector Gadget) (born Feb. 28, 1932  died Apr. 3, 2016; age 84). Don Francks died from lung cancer

Glenn Frey, American musician, solo singer-songwriter (The Heat is On), guitarist with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group the Eagles (Take it Easy) (born November 6, 1948 – died January 18, 2016; age 67). Glen Frey was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis around 2000 and died from complications from it, as well as acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, after undergoing gastrointestinal tract surgery. 

Joe Garagiola Sr., American MLB catcher (St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Giants), The Today Show panelist (born February 12, 1926 – died March 23, 2016; age 90). Cause of death for Joe Garagiola Sr. not stated.

Ron Glass, American actor on TV (Barney Miller, The New Odd Couple; Teen Angel; Firefly, Rhythm & Blues) movies (Serenity), voice actor (Rugrats) (born July 10, 1945died November 25, 2016; age 71). Cause of death for Ron Glass was respiratory failure. 

John Glennjohn glenn 1998, american astronaut, first man on the moon, marine corps fighter pilot, united states senator, retired, senior citizen, first american to orbit the earth,, American pilot, astronaut, politician (born July 18, 1921died December 8, 2016; age 95). Cause of death not given; John Glenn had been hospitalized with various illnesses the week before his death. (John Glenn 1998 Photo: NASA)

Merle Haggard, American country music musician, singer-songwriter (If We Make it Through December, Okie from Muskogee, Mama Tried) (born April 6, 1937, died April 6, 2016; age 79). Cause of death for Merle Haggard was complications from pneumonia

Dan Haggerty, American actor (The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Grizzly Mountain, Escape to Grizzly Mountain, Puss in Boots, King of the Mountain, Condominium) (born November 19, 1942 – died January 15, 2016; age 73). Cause of death for Dan Haggerty was spinal cancer. 

Pat Harrington Jr., Emmy Award-winning American actor on stage and TV (One Day at a Time) voice actor, (born August 13, 1929 – died January 6, 2016; age 86). Cause of death stroke after a fall; Pat Harrington also had Alzheimer’s Disease

Florence Henderson, American singer, dancer, actress (The Brady Bunch, The Florence Henderson Show) (born February 14, 1934 – died November 24, 2016; age 82). Cause of death for Florence Henderson was heart failure.

Steven Hill, American actor in films and TV (Mission: Impossible, Law & Order) (born February 24, 1922 – died August 23, 2016; age 94). Cause of death for Steven Hill was cancer.

Arthur Hiller, Canadian-born TV and film director (Miracle of the White Stallions, Love Story, Plaza Suite, Silver Streak, Outrageous Fortune) (born November 22, 1923 – died August 17, 2016; age 92). Cause of death for Arthur Hiller was natural causes.

Robert Horton, American actor (Wagon Train, A Man Called Shenandoah) (born July 29, 1924 – died March 9, 2016; age 91). Cause of death for Robert Horton was natural causes after a fall in November 2015. 

Ken Howard, American actor (The White Shadow, Crossing Jordan, The Net, Clear and Present Danger, The Colbys) and Former President of the Screen Actors Guild (born March 28, 1944 – died March 23, 2016; age 71). Cause of death not given; before his death Ken Howard had been hospitalized with shingles, and was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in 2007. 

gordie howe 2015, canadian hockey player, nhl hockey player, mvp, detroit red wings player, hockey hall of famer, died june 10 2016, gordie howe dead, father mark howe, father marty howe, grandfather, strokeGordie Howe, Canadian NHL hockey player for 26 seasons and octogenarian senior citizen (born March 31, 1928 – died June 10, 2016; age 88). Gordie Howe had a major stroke in 2014 and suffered from dementia since 2012. (Gordie Howe 2015 Photo: Rana Vig)

Barry Jenner, American actor (Somerset, Another World, Knots Landing, Dallas, Family Matters, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) (born January 14, 1941 – died August 8, 2016; age 75). Cause of death for Barry Jenner was acute myeloid leukemia.

Harper Leeharper lee 2007, nelle harper lee, american author, novelist, to kill a mockingbird, 1951 pulitzer prize, go set a watchman,  baby boomer readers, seniors, octogenarian, senior citizen, atticus finch, friend truman capote, friend gregory peck, harper lee dead, died february 19 2016 , American novelist (To Kill A Mockingbird; Go Set a Watchman) (born April 28, 1926 – died February 19, 2016; age 89). No cause of death given; Harper Lee had a stroke in 2007. Harper Lee with Gregory Peck. (Harper Lee 2007 Photo: Eric Draper / White House

Paul Kantner, musician, songwriter, and singer (Somebody to Love, White Rabbit) for Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship (born March 17, 1941 – died January 28, 2016). Cause of death was multiple organ failure and septic shock; Paul Kantner had suffered a heart attack a few days before his death. 

George Kennedy, Academy Award-winning American actor in movies (Cool Hand Luke, Airport, Naked Gun movies) and TV (The Blue Knight, Dallas) (born February 18, 1925 – died February 28, 2016; age 91). Cause of death for George Kennedy was a heart ailment; he had a history of heart disease.

Don Marshall, American actor (Land of the Giants, Daktari, Julia, Capitol) and producer of documentaries and commercials (born May 2, 1936 – died October 30, 2016; age 80). Cause of death for Don Marshall is unknown. 

Garry Marshall, American comedian, actor (Soapdish, Murphy Brown) writer, director & producer (The Flamingo Kid, Pretty Woman, Laverne and Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Happy Days, Angie, The  Odd Couple) (born November 13, 1934 – died July 19, 2016; age 81). Cause of death for Garry Marshall was complications from pneumonia following a stroke.

George Martin, Academy and Grammy Award-winning English composer and record producer for The Beatles (Love Me Do, Please Please Me) (born January 3, 1926 – died March 8, 2016; age 90). Cause of death for George Martin was unknown.

John McMartin, American actor on stage, TV (Falcon Crest), and movies (Sweet Charity, All the President’s Men, Legal Eagles) (born August 21, 1929 – died July 6, 2016; age 86). Cause of death for John McMartin was cancer. 

George Michael, Greek-English singer (Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Last Christmas, Careless Whisper, I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), I Want Your Sex, Somebody to Love) (born June 25, 1963 – died December 25, 2016; age 53). Cause of death for George Michael was inconclusive. 

Agnes Nixon, Daytime Emmy Award-winning American TV soap opera creator and producer (One Life to Live, All My Children, Loving), writer (As the World Turns, Search for Tomorrow, Guiding Light, Another World) (born December 10, 1922 – died September 28, 2016; age 93). Cause of death for Agnex Nixon was pneumonia resulting from Parkinson’s Disease.

James Noble, American actor (The Brighter Day, As The World Turns, The Doctors, Benson) ( born March 5, 1922 – died March 28, 2016; age 94). Cause of death for James Noble was unstated, coming a week after a stroke. 

Hugh O’Brian, American philanthropist (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation), actor on TV (The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Search) and movies (Ten Little Indians, Come Fly With Me, The Shootist) (born April 19, 1925 – died September 5, 2016; age 91). Cause of death for Hugh O’Brian has not been stated.

Arnold Palmer, American pilot, PGA golfer, 4-time Masters Golf Tournament winner (born Sept. 10, 1929 – died Sept. 27, 2016; age 87). Cause of death for Arnold Palmer was complications from heart disease.

Prince, Academy Award (Purple Rain) and Grammy Award-winning American musician, singer-songwriter (1999, Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, Raspberry Beret, Let’s Go Crazy, Kiss, Sign o’ the Times, Batdance, Cream), and record producer (born June 7, 1958 – died Apr. 21, 2016; age 57). Cause of death for Prince was an accidental fentanyl (opioid) overdose. 

Nancy Reagan, nee Anne Robbins, American actress on TV and films (East Side, West Side; Hellcats of the Navy) and former First Lady and wife of President Ronald Reagan (born July 6, 1921 – died March 6, 2016; age 94). Cause of death for Nancy Reagan was congestive heart failure. 

debbie reynolds 1987, american singer, actress, 1950s movies, 1960s movies, 1970s movies, singing in the rain, tammy and the bachelor, the unsinkable molly brown, susan slept here, the tender trap, married eddie fisher, divorced, daughter carrie fisher, born april 1 1932, died december 28 2016, octogenarian, senior citizen, celebrity deaths, debbie reynolds deadDebbie Reynolds, American dancer-singer-actress in movies (Singin’ in the Rain, Tammy and the Bachelor, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Susan Slept Here, The Tender Trap), TV (Will & Grace), and voice actress (Rugrats) (born Apr. 1, 1932 – died Dec. 28, 2016; age 84). Cause of death for Debbie Reynolds is undetermined, stroke is suspected. (Debbie Reynolds 1987 Photo: Allan warren

Alan Rickman, English actor (Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Galaxy Quest, Truly Madly Deeply, Quigley Down Under, Die Hard, Harry Potter movies) (born Feb. 21, 1946 – died Jan. 14, 2016; age 69). Cause of death for Alan Rickman was pancreatic cancer. 

Doris Roberts, American author, philanthropist, actress on TV (Remington Steele, Everybody Loves Raymond) and movies (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Ruby and Oswald), (born Nov. 4, 1925 – died Apr. 17, 2016; age 90). Cause of death for Doris Roberts was stroke, after suffering from hypertension for many years. 

Morley Safer, Canadian-born broadcast news journalist for CBS (60 Minutes) (born Nov. 8, 1931 – died May 19, 2016; age 84). Cause of death for Morley Safer was pneumonia. 

Joe Santos, American actor in movies (The Panic In Needle Park, The Blue Knight) and TV (The Rockford Files, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Sopranos) (born June 9, 1931 – died March 18, 2016; age 84). Cause of death for Joe Santos was a heart attack. 

William Schallert, American actor with over 350 film credits in the movies (Pillow Talk, In the Heat of the Night, Matinee) and TV (The Patty Duke Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The New Gidget, The Torkelsons, Santa Barbara) (born July 6 1922 – died May 8, 2016; age 93). William Schallert said he had peripheral neuropathy in 2014. 

Garry Shandling, American comedian, actor, Emmy Award-winning writer, and producer (It’s Garry Shandling’s Show; The Larry Sanders Show) (born Nov. 29, 1949died Mar. 24, 2016; age 66). Cause of death for Garry Shandling was a blood clot in his lungs, following DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in his legs.

Madeleine Sherwood, blacklisted Canadian actress on stage, TV (The Flying Nun, The Secret Storm, One Life to Life), and movies (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Teachers, Hurry Sundown, Sweet Bird of Youth) (born Nov. 13, 1922 – died Apr. 23, 2016; age 93). Cause of death for Madeleine Sherwood was not stated.

frank sinatra jr 1969, american singer, crooner, actor in movies, a man called adam, frank sinatras son, nancy sinatras brother, senior citizens, baby boomers, kidnapped in 1963, tina sinatras brother, frank sinatra jr dead, born january 10 1944, died march 16 2016Frank Sinatra Jr., American actor (A Man Called Adam), crooner, and kidnapped son of Frank Sinatra (born Jan. 10, 1944 – died Mar. 16, 2016; age 72). Cause of death for Frank Sinatra Jr. was cardiac arrest. (Frank Sinatra Jr. 1969 Photo: CBS Television)

James Stacy, American actor in films (Summer Magic) and TV (The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Lancer, Wiseguy) (born Dec. 23, 1936 – died Sept. 9, 2016; age 79). Cause of death for James Stacy was an allergic reaction to medication. 

Alan Thicke, Canadian actor (Growing Pains, The Bold and the Beautiful, Hope & Gloria), talk and game show host (Pictionary, Fernwood 2 Night, The Alan Thicke Show),  (born Mar. 1, 1947died Dec. 13, 2016; age 69). Cause of death for Alan Thicke was aortic dissection. 

robert vaughn 1961, english actor, 1960s television series, 1960s tv shows, the man from uncle, 1950s movies, 1960s movies, the young philadelphians, the magnificent seven, hustle, escape to witch mountain, centennial, the protectors, octogenarian, senior citizen, celebrity death, born november 22 1932, died november 11 2016, robert vaughn deadRobert Vaughn, English actor (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Young Philadelphians, The Magnificent Seven, Hustle, Escape to Witch Mountain, Centennial, The Protectors, The A-Team, The Big Show) (born Nov. 22, 1932 – died Nov. 11, 2016; age 83). Cause of death for Robert Vaughn was acute leukemia. (Robert Vaughn 1961 Thriller

Abe Vigoda, American comedian and actor in the movies (The Godfather) and TV (Barney Miller, Fish, Dark Shadows, Santa Barbara, As the World Turns) (born Feb. 24, 1921 – died Jan. 26, 2016; age 94). Abe Vigoda died of natural causes.

Fritz Weaver

Tony Award-winning American actor on stage, TV and movies (Marathon Man, Black Sunday, The Thomas Crown Affair) (born Jan. 19, 1926 – died Nov. 26, 2016; age 90). Cause of death for Fritz Weaver is unknown. 

Maurice White, Grammy Award-winning American music producer, musician, singer-songwriter for Earth, Wind & Fire (Shining Star, September), member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (born Dec. 19, 1941 – died Feb. 4, 2016; age 74). Cause of death for Maurice White was from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, which he had been diagnosed with in the late 1980’s. 

gene wilder 2008, american comedian, actor, 1970s movies, 1980s movies, young frankenstein, silver streak, the woman in red, willy wonka and the chocolate factory, born june 11 1933, died august 29 2016, octogenarian, senior citizen, gene wilder deadGene Wilder, American author, screenwriter, comedian, actor (Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, The Woman in Red) (born June 11, 1933 – died Aug. 29, 2016; age 83). Cause of death for Gene Wilder was complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. (Gene Wilder 2008 Photo: Steve)

Van Williams, American actor (Bourbon Street Beat, Surfside 6, The Green Hornet, How the West Was Won, The Red Hand Gang, The Caretakers, The Tycoon) (born Feb. 27, 1934 – died Nov. 28, 2016; age 82). Cause of death for Van Williams was renal failure. 

zsa zsa gabor 1959, nee sari gabor, hungarian american actress, born in budapest hungary, born february 6 1917, older sister eva gabor, jolie gabor, daughter constance francesca hilton, marriages, divorces, husbands, affairs, burhan belge, turkey, kemal ataturk, conrad hilton, sr, nicky hilton, conrad hilton jr, george sanders, porfirio rubirosa, ramfis trujillo, herbert hutner, joshua s cosden jr, jack ryan, michael o'hara, magda gabor, felipe de alba, frederic prinz von anhalt, hans georg robert lichtenberg, health problems, stroke, blocked artery, hip replacement, leg amputation, lung infection, feeding tube, nonagenarian, senior citizen, died december 18 2016, zsa zsa gabor deadZsa Zsa Gabor, much-married Hungarian actress in movies (The Story of Three Loves, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Naked Truth; Up the Front; Boy’s Night Out) and TV (Ninotchka) (born Feb. 6, 1917 – died Dec. 18, 2016; age 99). Cause of death for Zsa Zsa Gabor was heart attack. (Photo: Rogers & Cowan)

Regretfully, in 2016 we have had to say farewell and a final goodbye to all of these celebrity entertainers. They will be missed. 

*Images are believed to be in the public domain and/or Creative Commons licensed & sourced via Wikimedia Commons, YouTube, or Flickr, unless otherwise noted*

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Celebrity Deaths in 2019

Celebrity Deaths in 2018

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & writer Anita Hamilton's articles are inspired by real historical events, places, and people. Her travel experiences, a lifelong keen interest in history, art, vintage music, books, silent films, classic movies, "golden age" television shows, fashion, & entertainment in general - combined with years of research - make her a subject matter expert with acquired knowledge & expertise on these topics. This, and a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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