THIS year we’ve sadly seen a lot of familiar faces pass away.

From actors and musicians to comedians and entertainers, we remember those well-known figures and famous faces who are no longer with us.


David Bowie, 69, singer, songwriter, actor and record producer​ 

One of the world's best selling recording artists, whose career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, died following an 18-month secret battle with cancer.  Angus Scrimm, 89, cult horror icon Film actor best known for his role as the Tall Man in the Phantasm horror movies.

Dale Griffin, 67, musician 

The drummer and founder member of 70s rock group, Mott the Hoople.

The band achieved chart success with hits including All The Young Dudes and Roll Away the Stone - written by David Bowie.

David Margulies, 78, actor

A versatile character actor who performed in scores of supporting stage, film and television roles. Best remembered for playing the common-sense mayor in Ghostbusters and Tony Soprano’s sleazy lawyer. He died from cancer. 

Rene Angelil, 73, music manager

The Husband and manager of award-winning Canadian singer Celine Dion died after a long battle with cancer.

Alan Rickman,  69, actor

Known for his distinctive voice, the much-loved actor has been a fixture on the big screen since his breakthrough role as Hans Gruber in 1988's Die Hard and gained legions of fans for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. He died from cancer.

Colin Vearncombe, 53, musician 

The singer, from Liverpool, had a global hit in 1987 with Wonderful Life, suffered swelling on his brain after a car crash near Cork Airport in Ireland on January 10, and died 16 days later. 

Dan Haggerty, 74, actor

He went from working on films as an animal trainer and stunt performer to starring as the gentle frontier woodsman in the popular 1970s television series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. He died from cancer.

Clarence Reid, 76, musician 

Hip-hop figure better known as funk/R&B singer Blowfly.

He wrote and produced tracks for artists like Sam & Dave and KC & the Sunshine Band, and his often R-rated solo songs were sampled by rappers like Snoop Dogg and Jurassic 5.

Glenn Frey, 67, musician

The Eagles guitarist and co-founder, Frey and Eagles drummer Don Henley wrote and sang most of the band’s hits including Best of My Love and Desperado. Frey also co-wrote the rock classic Take It Easy, with Jackson Browne.

Abe Vigoda, 94, actor

Character actor best known for his role as the earnest mobster Tessio in The Godfather and the dyspeptic Detective Phil Fish on the hit television sitcom Barney Miller.

Paul Kantner, 74, musician 

The guitarist and songwriter was an original member of seminal 1960s rock band Jefferson Airplane and the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship.

Signe Anderson, 74, musician 

The original Jefferson Airplane singer who was replaced by Grace Slick, died on the same day as band mate Paul Kantner. 

Frank Finlay, 89, actor 

Star of stage and screen, Oscar nominated for his role as Iago in Laurence Olivier's, Othello.

Sir Terry Wogan, 77, broadcaster

One of the most skilled, popular and enduring broadcasters of his generation, with more than 40 years at the top of his profession.


Maurice White, 74, musician 

Founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire, whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums and produced hits including September, Shining Star and Boogie Wonderland.

Dan Hicks, 74, musician 

The singer, songwriter and band leader of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, died after a two-year battle with throat and liver cancer.

Daniel Gerson, 49, screenwriter

He co-wrote several Walt Disney animated films including Monsters, Inc. and Big Hero 6. he died of brain cancer.

Harper Lee, 89, author

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the biggest selling novels of all time. 

Gorge Kennedy, 91, actor

Tough-guy character actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic Cool Hand Luke.

Frank Kelly, 77, actor 

Irish actor best known for his role as Father Jack Hackett on Father Ted, was also a veteran of stage and screen in a career lasting 60 years. He had more recent roles in Emmerdale and Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie. 


Tony Warren, 79, writer and creator of Corontation Street

One of the most remarkable and influential figures in British television, not only because he created the longest-running show in the world at the age of 24, but because he convinced Granada to make the first episode in the face of considerable scepticism and snobbery. 

Pat Conroy, 70, author

He used his tortured family life and the scenic marshlands of coastal South Carolina as unending sources of inspiration for his fiction, notably the novels The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides. 

Nancy Reagan, 94, former first lady and actress

A new kind of First Lady: a former actress who was glamorous and scrupulously well-dressed but also a president’s wife who was powerful in her own right. She died of congestive heart failure.

Sir George Martin, 90, record producer

The "Fifth Beatle" best known as a producer for The Beatles also worked with artists including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Dame Shirley Bassey and Cilla Black. 

Richard Davalos, 85, actor 

Best known for his role as James Dean’s brother Aron in Elia Kazan’s 1955 film East of Eden, and as convict Blind Dick in the 1967 classic Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman. He was 85.

Paul Daniels, 77, entertainer  

The magician and television personality died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. 

Keith Emerson, 71, musician

Founder and keyboardist of the progressive-rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Denise Robertson, 83, television personality

This Morning's resident agony aunt died of pancreatic cancer.  Sylvia Anderson, 88, producer and writer Thunderbirds co-creator and voice of the Lady Penelope puppet character.

Frank Sinatra Jr, 72, musician

Singer and son of Ol' Blue Eyes, died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest while on tour in Florida.

Joe Santos, 84, actor

Best known as Lt. Dennis Becker on popular American television show The Rockford Files.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 81, composer

As well as a composer he was an experienced conductor, holding the position of Associate Conductor/Composer at both the BBC Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic orchestras for 10 years, and guest-conducting orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Philharmonia. He died at his Orkney home after suffering from leukaemia. 

Ken Howard, 71, actor 

He became famous for his role as Ken Reeves in The White Shadow, a US drama in which he played a retired NBA player now coaching high school players. He also appeared in Dynasty, Melrose Place and Crossing Jordan. He also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

Garry Shandling, 66, comedian and actor

The award-winning comic, who created It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show, pioneered a form of docudrama comedy which influenced Ricky Gervais, among others. 

Jim Harrison, 78, author 

A novelist and essayist considered to be one of the great writers in contemporary American fiction who wrote Legends of the Fall.

Patty Duke, 69, actress

Oscar and Emmy-winning actress, former child star and mother of Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin, died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine. 

Johan Cruyff, 68, football legend

One of football’s most iconic players, won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and helped the Dutch reach the 1974 World Cup final, where they lost 2-1 to West Germany. 

Ronnie Corbett, 85, entertainer 

One of the nation's best-loved entertainers, best known for his partnership with Ronnie Barker in the Two Ronnies, was born in Edinburgh. 

Dame Zaha Hadid, 65, architect

Best known for her designs such as the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games and the Riverside museum in Glasgow, died from a heart attack aged 65.


Douglas Wilmer, 96, actor

Sherlock Holmes actor who donned the famous deerstalker and picked up the clay pipe in the mid-1960s to play Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous creation.  In 2012, at the very end of his acting career, he made a special cameo appearance in an episode of Sherlock as an irate old man at The Diogenes Club alongside current Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Merle Haggard, 79, musician

A giant of country music who celebrated outlaws and underdogs in hits such as Okie From Muskogee and Sing Me Back Home.  A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, he recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and number one hits. He died form pneumonia. 

David Gest, 62, music producer and reality TV star

He once made his living as a music producer and promoter, but was really famous for being the archetypal modern celebrity known for who he was married to (Liza Minnelli) and the reality shows he starred in (among them I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Big Brother) as well as his extensive plastic surgery. 

Gareth Thomas, 71, actor 

Best known for playing intergalactic resistance leader Roj Blake in the 1970s BBC show, Blake's 7, died of heart failure. 

Brian Asawa, 49, countertenor

One of the world’s foremost countertenors, whose repertoire ran from the Renaissance to Rorem, died from heart failure after a long illness.

Doris Roberts, 90, actress

An award-winning actress who became well-known for her matriarchal roles on television in the 1980s, but reached the peak of her fame in 1996 with one particular role: the manipulative, interfering, mother on the sit-com Everybody Loves Raymond.  

Victoria Wood, 62, comedian, actress and writer

Much loved for sketches, sit-coms and songs that delighted in the silliness of ordinary life.

She also created a long line of eccentric characters brought to life by her team of regular co-stars such as Celia Imrie and Julie Walters – characters like the scatty tea lady Mrs Overall and the sexually frustrated Freda, who would sing to her boyfriend Barry. She died after a short battle with cancer.

Chyna, 45, WWE star

The WWE icon, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, was one of the most popular female professional wrestlers in the late 1990s. 

Guy Hamilton, 93, film director 

Best known for directing Bond favourites Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun. 

Prince, 57, musician 

Singer, songwriter, producer, one-man studio band and consummate showman.  Prince sold more than 100 million records, won seven Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. 

Morag Siller, 46, actress

Best known for her role as Reverend Esther Warren in Coronation Street.

Billy Paul, 80, musician

The jazz and soul singer best known for the chart-topping ballad Me And Mrs Jones died from pancreatic cancer.


Jonathan Cainer, 58, astrologer 

A hugely successful astrologer who, through his website, books, phonelines, television appearances, and columns in the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror, built up a considerable business with a turnover of £2m a year and a staff of 30. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack. 

Kristian Ealey, 38, actor

Best known for his character Matt Musgrove, who appeared in Brookside between 1998 and 2000, and also Hollyoaks from 2000 to 2004, as well as the spin-off Hollyoaks: After Hours. 

Reg Grundy, 92, television mogul  

A media and television mogul who created the Australian soap opera Neighbours, which became a global hit in the 1980s and made stars of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.  

John Berry, 52, musician

The Beastie Boys musician, who is cited as the person who came up with the name for the band, died at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Carla Lane, 87, comedy writer and animal activist

Best known for her hit television sitcoms The Liver Birds, Butterflies and Bread.  Comedy writing was only one of the obsessions in Ms Lane’s life though – the other was animals. She campaigned vigorously against live exports from Britain and for many years ran a sanctuary from her home in Sussex. 


Dave Swarbrick, 75, musician and songwriter

Folk musician and member of Fairport Convention died from emphysema.

Muhammad Ali, 74, boxer

A legendary boxer whose influence was felt on politics, religion, art and history itself.

His extraordinary triumphs in the boxing rings were eclipsed by a greater victory. Simply, Ali transcended boxing, soared above the mere mundane matters of sport. 

Tom Leppard, 80, the leopard man of Skye

Born Tom Wooldridge, he was once considered the world's most tattooed man. 

Anton Yelchin, 27, actor

The young actor died in a freak accident shared top billing with Anthony Hopkins when he was only 12 and went on to play Chekov in the recent Star Trek series of films.


Robin Hardy, 86, author and film director

His most famous directorial work is The Wicker Man and his last project was a film adaptation of his novel Cowboys for Christ, which was retitled The Wicker Tree. 

Fred Tomlinson, 88, singer

He was the founder and leader of the Fred Tomlinson Singers, who provided vocals for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Two Ronnies and other television shows. 

Garry Marshall, 81, director, producer, writer and actor

He was a prolific director, producer and writer who created and wrote some of the biggest sitcoms and comedy films of the 20th century.

Most famous for Mork and Mindy, which made Robin Williams a star, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show and most famously Happy Days, the hugely popular nostalgic sitcom set in the 1950s. He also directed several major films including Pretty Woman. He died after a stroke. 

Caroline Aherne, 52, comedian and writer

A comedian and actress who became famous as the acerbic granny and chat show host Mrs Merton but whose great triumph was The Royle Family, her funny, wry and moving account of ordinary family life that skilfully reflected living rooms all over the country. She died of cancer. 

Maggie Macdonald, 63, Scottish Gaelic singer

She had one of the Scottish music scene's most distinctive and sweet-toned voices. As well as singing she was keenly involved in the music teaching organisation Feis Rois, teaching Gaelic singing, serving on the board and mentoring teachers who followed in her footsteps. She died after a short illness. 


Gene Wilder, 83, actor

The American actor was not only one of the great comedy icons of the late 20th Century; he was also – for many people –the definitive Willy Wonka thanks to his unforgettable portrayal of the children’s literary character in the classic 1971 family movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 

David Huddleston, 85, actor

A character actor who specialised in tongue-in-cheek portrayals of big blustering characters such as the mayor in Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles and the millionaire in The Big Lebowski. He was also a jolly Father Christmas alongside Dudley Moore in Santa Claus: The Movie. He died from heart and kidney disease. 

Barry Jenner, 75, actor

An American actor best known for his roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dallas, Family Matters, Knots Landing and Hsrt to Hart. 

Kenny Baker, 81, actor

He had a showbusiness career spanning more than 60 years, but was best-known for a single role in which he never got to show his face. In the Star Wars movies, he was the dwarf actor inside R2-D2, undoubtedly one of the most famous robots in popular culture. 

Brian Rix, Baron Rix, 92, actor and and president of Mencap

An actor and social activist who was a master of farce, at its most rumbustious and slapdash. No subtleties as in Feydeau but full of double-entendre, misunderstandings, mishaps and a much bemused Mr Rix invariably landing up with his trousers round his ankles. 


Alexis Arquette, 47, transgender actress and activist

Sibling of the actors David, Rosanna and Patricia Arquette.

Her long list of credits comprised mostly independent movies, although she also appeared in Last Exit to Brooklyn and Pulp Fiction. 

Fred Hellerman, 89, American folk singer and producer

Best known as one of the original members of The Weavers, together with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Ronnie Gilbert. He was also known for producing the record album Alice's Restaurant (1967) for Arlo Guthrie. 

John Hostetter, 69, actor An American actor, painter and musician

Best known for playing the steady stage manager in Murphy Brown. He also starred in GI Joe, A Real American Hero and Heartbreak Ridge. 

Charmian Carr, 73, actress and singer

An American actress best known for portraying Liesl von Trapp in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1965 film, The Sound of Music, in which she performed the song Sixteen Going On Seventeen. 

Curtis Hanson, 71, film director and writer

Writer and director who won a screenwriting Oscar for LA Confidential, the cult film about police corruption that helped make stars of Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe. He also directed the psychological thriller The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Eminem's tale of Detroit hip-hop, 8 Mile. 

Bill Nunn, 63, actor

An American actor best known for his roles as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing and Robbie Robertson in the Sam RaimiSpider-Man film trilogy. 

Terence Brady, 77, writer and actor

An actor and playwright who was one half of a husband-and-wife team who co-wrote some of Britain’s best loved television sitcoms and dramas including the first two series of Upstairs, Downstairs. 

Ann Emery, 86, actress

Best known for her role as Ethel Meaker in the 1970s children's TV programme, Rentaghost. She also played Billy Elliot’s grandmother between 2005 and 2010 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London. 


Angus R Grant, 49, musician and composer

One of the most distinctive figures on the Scottish traditional music scene. Bearded and long-haired, he became a part of the visual image of the band Shooglenifty in the same way as his fiddle playing contributed to the unique sound they forged at the beginning of the 1990s, a sound that was dubbed acid croft. 

Jean Alexander, 90, actress

As the singing, gossiping cleaning lady Hilda Ogden, she became one of the most beloved stars of Coronation Street. She was not in the original line-up conceived by creator Tony Warren in 1960, but by the 1970s she was an essential part of the show’s memorable cast of strong Northern women who would take no nonsense from men.  

Pete Burns, 57, singer-songwriter 

An androgynous, mouthy, provocative presence who was a pop star in the 1980s, a celebrity TV star in the 21st century and throughout his life a flamboyant product of his own sense of style. He died of a heart attack. 

Jimmy Perry, 93, actor and screenwriter

A comedy writer who drew on his own experience as a teenager in the Home Guard to create Dad’s Army, one of Britain’s best-loved and most enduring sitcoms - Private Pike was based on Perry himself.

Bobby Vee, 73, American pop singer

An American pop singer whose break into the business came when he was asked to fill in after the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly. He went on to have a number of hits in the 1960s including Take Good Care of My Baby. He died of Alzheimer's disease.

Kevin Curran, 59, American television writer

A comedy writer and producer who spent 15 years on The Simpsons died in Los Angeles after a long illness.

Bobby Wellins, 80, Scottish jazz saxophonist

Not only was he Scotland’s first great jazz tenor saxophonist but also an icon of British jazz whose influence would have lived on even if he had never played again after 1965, when he featured on the iconic album of Stan Tracey’s Under Milk Wood suite.

Colin George, 87, actor and director

Welsh actor known for his many roles in numerous theatre productions as well as as the founder of the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Michael Massee, 64, actor

American actor best known for his roles as Funboy in the 1994 film The Crow and The Gentleman in the 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man. He also reprised this role in the 2014 sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2.


Max Alexander, 63, comedian and actor

An American stand-up comedian and actor who appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show. His film rols included Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Trainwreck and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. He died from head and neck cancer.

John Carson, 89, actor

A prolific character actor who became known for sinister, velvety-voiced villains on television and in a number of the Hammer Horror films.

Leonard Cohen, 82, songwriter and novelist

A hugely influential and highly esteemed songwriter whose work has long had cross-generational appeal. Among his best-known songs is Hallelujah, which has been covered at least 300 times by other artists.

Julie Gregg, 79, film and stage actress

Best known for her portrayal of Sandra Corleone in The Godfather (1972). She was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in the 1968 musical The Happy Time. She died from cancer. 

Janet Reno, 78, American lawyer and politician

She was the first woman to serve as US attorney general (1993-2001) and was at the epicentre of several political storms during the Clinton administration. She famously told reporters "I don't do spin."

Sir Jimmy Young, 95, radio personality and singer 

For over 30 years he was one of the cornerstones of British broadcasting. Having had a successful pop career, he was one of the original DJs on Radio 1 when it was launched in 1967, but it was his Radio 2 lunchtime show that endeared him to listeners – his fans were said to include the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, who he interviewed 14 times.

Robert Vaughn, 83, actor

A debonair American actor who became a big star in the 1960s as one of the gunfighters in the classic western The Magnificent Seven and the suave spy Napoleon Solo in the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He died from leukemia.

Diz Russell, 83, singer

Albert 'Diz' Russell put himself on the rhythm and blues map as a low-voiced baritone singer in two pioneering doo-wop groups: The Regals and The Orioles. He died from congestive heart failure.

Florence Henderson 82, actress

An American actress who went from Broadway to become one of America's most beloved TV mothers (Carol) in The Brady Bunch.

Andrew Sachs, 86, actor 

A little-known jobbing actor in his mid-forties when he was cast as Manuel, the hopeless Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers.

Despite allegations of racism, Sachs went on to create a character who was not only one of the most iconic in the history of British sitcom, but the most popular character on one of Britain’s most loved shows.


Margaret Whitton, 67, actress

An American actress whose roles included Michael J. Fox's under-appreciated aunt in The Secret of My Success (1987), the spiteful baseball team owner Rachel Phelps in Major League (1989) and its sequel, Major League II (1994). She died from cancer.

Peter Vaughan, 93, actor

An accomplished character actor who specialised in menacing, steely-faced bad guys, most famously the prison hardman Harry Grout in the sitcom Porridge.  More recently, he had also become well-known among younger audiences for his recurring role in the cult HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones. 

Greg Lake, 69, singer and musician

A singer, guitarist and composer who, as the frontman of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, became one of the founding fathers of progressive rock. He died from cancer.

John Glenn, 95, American astronaut and politician

He became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission in 1962; 36 years later, while a United States senator, he became the oldest person in space when he flew as a crew member of the Discovery Space Shuttle.

Coral Atkins, 80, actress

Best known for her role as Ruth Jameson in the ITV soap Emmerdale. She also appeared in A Family At Wat, Survivors, Dixon of Dock Green and The Sweeney. She died from cancer. 

A. A. Gill, 62, writer and restaurant critic

The long-standing Sunday Times columnist and restaurant reviewer, who was born in Edinburgh and was known by his first name Adrian, He died from what he described as the “full English” of cancers.