As years go, it’s fair to say 2020 will be remembered with mixed emotion. In a backdrop of Brexit, wildfires and a global pandemic, we’ve also lost more famous faces. Here we compile an in memoriam, paying tribute to the celebrities, sports stars and larger than life personalities sadly no longer with us.
1.) Little Richard
Rock and Roll legend Little Richard passed away on May 9, aged 87.Real name Richard Penniman, the singer was famed for a number of songs throughout his career starting with chart topping hit Tutti Frutti.
2.) Max von Sydow
Actor Max von Sydow passed away on March 8, aged 90. His career spanned many cult favourites including Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
3.) Kobe Bryant
Retired LA Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant passed away on February 26, aged 41. The five-time NBA Champion and American Basketball sensation was tragically killed following a helicopter crash. The Shooting guard had a one club career with the Los Angeles side spanning 20 years. Kobe’s daughter also sadly passed away in the crash, along with several others.
4.) Kirk Douglas
Actor Kirk Douglas died on February 5 aged 103. The Hollywood legend was born Issur Danielovitch, and worked forty different jobs – including a stint in the United States Navy during World War II – before starting his acting career. Following his debut big screen appearance in the 1946 film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Douglas went on to star in nearly 100 movies, including the role he was most famous for, Spartacus.
5.) Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers died on March 20 aged 81. The country music legend had a career that spanned more than six decades, and featured chart topping hits like The Gambler and Islands in the Stream, his iconic duet with fellow country star Dolly Parton. His music earned him numerous awards, including two Grammys for tracks Lucille and The Gambler in 1977 and 1979 respectively. Rogers also turned his hand to acting, appearing in a number of TV movies inspired by The Gambler, as well as making cameos in various TV shows.
6.) June Bernicoff
Gogglebox star June Bernicoff died on May 5 aged 82 following a short illness. June and her husband Leon were the first couple to join the show when it started back in 2013. She left Gogglebox when Leon passed away in December 2017. In a statement, Channel 4 said the pair were “a huge part of the programme’s success. Their warmth, wit and contrasting personalities endeared them to the nation during the course of the first 10 series.”
7.) James Drury
James Drury died at the age of 85 on April 6. The Hollywood actor starred in The Virginian, one of the longest-running Westerns in television history. His assistant, Karen Lindsey, confirmed the sad news on Facebook, saying the actor had died of natural causes. The star also appeared in several Westerns on the big screen, including Ten Who Dares in 1960 and Ride the High Country in 1962. He was best known for his role as the no-nonsense foreman of the Shiloh Ranch in TV series The Virginian.
8.) Irrfan Khan
Actor Irrfan Khan on April 29 aged 53 after battling a colon infection. After starting his career on TV in the 1980s, Khan made a name for himself in Bollywood movies, and eventually crossed over to Hollywood with his role in 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire. He went on to appear in other big screen blockbusters including Jurassic World, Life of Pi and The Amazing Spider-Man.
9.) Honor Blackman
Bond Girl Honor Blackman died at the age of 94 on April 6. The actress was best known for her role as Pussy Galore, as well as starring in The Avengers and A Night to Remember. She died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Sussex. Her family said in a statement to The Guardian : “She died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by her family.”She was much loved and will be greatly missed by her two children Barnaby and Lottie, and grandchildren Daisy, Oscar, Olive and Toby.”
10.) Florian Schneider
Musician Florian Schneider died on May 6 aged 73. Schneider was a founding member of pioneering electro group Kraftwerk. He helped create the German band alongisde Ralf Hutter in 1970, and they later went on to define the genre, inspiring swathes of other music makers including David Bowie.
11.) Caroline Flack
TV presenter Caroline Flack died on February 15 aged 40 after taking her own life. A lawyer for the Flack family confirmed that Caroline took her own life and was found in her east London flat on Saturday. A family spokesperson today said: “We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February. “We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time.” Caroline fronted a number of shows during her career, including Gladiators, Love Island, The X Factor, and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now.
She also hosted a radio show on Heart alongside Gethin Jones, and appeared as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
12.) BJ Hogg
Actor BJ Hogg died aged 65. Hogg’s most famous role was that of Ser Addam Marbrand on hit HBO series Game of Thrones. The Irish star also featured on BBC Northern Ireland comedy show Give My Head Peace, as well as drama The Fall.
13.) Bill Withers
Singer Bill Withers died on April, 3, aged 81. The American music icon had lost a battle with an ongoing heart condition. Born on July 4, 1938 in Slab Fork, West Virgina, the soul singer was given the name of William Harrison Withers. Most famous for his smash hit Ain’t No Sunshine, Withers’ other well known tracks include Lean On Me, Lovely Day and Use Me Up.
14.) Terry Jones
Monty Python founder and star Terry Jones died on January 21, aged 77. According to a family statement Jones, who had been battling a rare form of dementia, died with with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side. Jones was an original member of the legendary comedy troupe, and was largely responsible for getting them together after meeting Michael Palin at Oxford University. Together, the Pythons created some of the world’s most famous comedy sketches of all time and released a number of hit movies, including Life Of Brian and The Holy Grail.
15.) Silvio Horta
Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta died on January 7, aged 45. He is believed to have taken his own life after being discovered in a motel room in Miami. Horta was the show-runner and head writer behind the hit ABC show starring America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams, which ran for four seasons between 2006 and 2010. He also wrote hit films Urban Legend and Urban Legend: Final Cut.