City Press remembers the actors who left us in 2016

2016-12-18 17:01

Johannesburg - 2016 has been a tumultuous year, made more so by the seemingly endless list of beloved celebrities who died this year.

The year started off with the news that Professor Severus Snape had left us, and ended with the death of Alan Thicke, from the 80s series Growing Pains.

Here are just some of the actors we said goodbye to in 2016:

Alan Rickman

The revered British actor died on 14 January after privately battling cancer. He was 69.

Though Rickman was perhaps best known for his role as the seemingly villainous Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, the award-winning actor had a storied career that included Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard and roles in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and made-for-TV movie Rasputin. He completed voice work for Alice Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, as the Blue Caterpillar.

Larry Drake

The two-time Emmy-winning actor for his role as Benny Stulwicz on LA Law, died on 17 March.

He had parts in films including Darkman (1990) and on such TV series as 7th Heaven, Boston Legal, Firefly and Six Feet Under. He also provided the voice of recurring character Pops on the animated series Johnny Bravo.

Ken Howard

Howard died at the age of 71 at his Los Angeles-area home on 23 March. He got his start in entertainment with a lead role in The White Shadow, which ran from 1978 to 1981, and would go on to have parts on TV shows such as Murder She Wrote, Melrose Place, Crossing Jordan and Cane.

Garry Shandling

Beloved comedian Garry Shandling died suddenly at the age of 66 on 24 March, prompting celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Andy Cohen, Ricky Gervais and Kathy Griffin to react on social media. He was best known for his standout role on The Larry Sanders Show.

Doris Roberts

Best known for playing Marie Barone on CBS’ long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Roberts died on 17 April, at age 90. She earned five Emmys throughout her career, including four as the concerned mother to Ray and Robert.

Anton Yelchin

The Like Crazy and Star Trek actor died at the age of 27 on 19 June, outside his home in LA’s Studio City neighbourhood. Friends found the Russian-born star pinned between his car and his brick mailbox pillar and a security fence in a freak accident.

Jack Riley

The actor best known for playing neurotic patient Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show and for voicing Stu Pickles in Rugrats, died on 19 August, after battling pneumonia and an infection.

Darrell Ward

The star of the History channel’s Ice Road Truckers, tragically died at age 52 in a plane crash near Rock Creek, Montana. The show’s network took to Facebook to share their condolences for Ward. “We are saddened by the tragic loss of Darrell Ward, a beloved member of the History family,” the organisation wrote. “He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

Gene Wilder

The Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory actor died at age 83 on 29 August at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. Wilder was also known for his collaborative work with Mel Brooks on The Producers and Young Frankenstein.

Alexis Arquette

Arquette died at age 47 on 11 September. Alexis, who was best known for playing a Boy George-inspired character in 1998’s The Wedding Singer, spent the majority of her time in the spotlight advocating for LGBT rights and shedding light on issues affecting the transgender community.

Keo Woolford

Best known for his role as Detective James Chang on Hawaii Five-0, Woolford passed away on 28 November, three days after suffering from a stoke. He was 49.

Florence Henderson

The Brady Bunch matriarch died of heart failure at age 82 on 24 November, just days after she was seen in the audience at the finale of Dancing With the Stars. She was surrounded by family and friends at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles when she passed away.

Alan Thicke

The beloved actor, best known for 1990s sitcom Growing Pains, passed away suddenly at the age of 69 in Los Angeles on 13 December. Thicke began his career as a musician and producer before making his name as a talk show host in his native Canada in the 1980s. The Emmy-nominated performer leaves behind wife Tanya, and adult children Brennan, Carter and Robin Thicke.

Robert Vaughn

Vaughn, who played secret agent Napoleon Solo on the 1960s spy comedy series Man From UNCLE, died 11 November at 83 from complications from acute leukaemia. He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his breakthrough role in The Young Philadelphians in 1959, and appeared on shows including Bonanza, Law & Order, The A-Team and Hawaii Five-O and films like Superman III, The Magnificent Seven and Bullitt.

Andrew Sachs

The world lost a truly beloved comedic voice in the passing of Andrew Sachs, known for his iconic role as Manuel in the BBC’s Fawlty Towers.

The actor passed away aged 86, following a four-year battle with dementia, though he continued to work for a further two years after his initial diagnosis.

Co-star John Cleese paid tribute to Sachs, proclaiming that: “I could not have found a better Manuel.” Indeed, Sachs’ impeccable sense of comedic timing transformed the hotel’s hapless, but well-meaning waiter into a tour de force of utter mishap and confusion; his perpetual mix-ups only fuelling the bubbling temper of Cleese’s Basil Fawlty.

(Sources: US Weekly, The Mirror)

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