Sadly, in 2021, prominent actors, athletes, and musicians who contributed their lives to the entertainment industry passed away. Now, their legacy lives on in the work they’ve shared with the world.
From Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond to baseball legend Hank Aaron, here are some celebrities who passed away in 2021.
Barbara Shelley appeared in over 100 films and television series during her career, predominantly in the horror genre. Some of her more iconic work includes Dracula, Prince of Darkness, The Mad Monk, and Rasputin.
Sadly, the horror film actress had an underlying illness that caught up with her. Shelley passed away on January 3, 2021.
Cicely Tyson had a career in the entertainment industry that lasted over seven decades. During that time, she brought powerful characters to both the big and small screens. Some of her more iconic roles include Constantine Jefferson in The Help, Ophelia Harkness in How to Get Away with Murder, and the title role in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
Tyson passed away on January 28, 2021, at the age of 96.
With a career spanning more than seven decades, Cloris Leachman was awarded many honors during her time in the entertainment industry. Some of her more prominent honors include eight Primetime Emmy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and a Golden Globe.
Her role as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein is not going to be soon forgotten. Leachman passed away on January 27, 2021.
Christopher Plummer had a seven-decade-long career that had him portraying some iconic characters, including Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire, and even Hal Fields in Beginners.
He even won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the latter film! Sadly, the entertainment lost a great talent when Plummer passed away on February 5, 2021.
Siegfried Fischbacher was one half of the German-American magician and entertainer duo Siegfried & Roy. He and his partner were best known for their appearance with white lions and tigers, a very exotic scene that helped make their Las Vegas show so popular.
On January 13, 2021, Fischbacher lost his battle with cancer and passed away.
An actress and singer, Mira Furlan was best known for her role as Minbari Ambassador Delenn in the television series Babylon 5. She played the role from 1993-1998 before moving on to portray Danielle Rousseau in Lost.
Sadly, the Croatian actress suffered from complications with West Nile virus and passed away on January 20, 2021.
Marion Ramsey began her acting career in 1975 when she landed a spot on the variety series Keep on Truckin’. From there, she appeared on popular series such as The Jeffersons, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Modern Family.
But Ramsey is arguably best known for her performance as Sgt. Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy franchise. Her final acting role was in 2018, and she passed away on January 7, 2021.
Tanya Roberts was a force in the ’80s and ’90s, landing roles such as Julie Rogers on the last season of Charlie’s Angels, Midge Pinciotti on That ’70s Show, and Stacy Sutton in the James Bond film A View to a Kill.
Roberts passed away on the evening of January 4, 2021.
Actor Dustin Diamond was arguably best known during his child actor days, when he played the role of the loveable character Samuel “Screech” Powers on the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell.
After the show, fans saw him performing in the professional wrestling circuit, including Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. Sadly, the actor lost a quick three-week battle with cancer, passing away on February 1, 2021.
Talk show host Larry King became a prominent force in the entertainment industry after his first call-in radio show in 1975, The Larry King Show. From there, he hosted multiple shows, including Larry King Now, Larry King Live, and Politicking with Larry King.
King passed away on January 23, 2021, at the age of 87.
Academy Award-winning actor Hal Holbrook passed away on January 23, 2021, at the age of 95. Starting his career in the 1950s, Holbrook moved from the stage to the silver screen, performing in movies such as The Group, Into the Wild, and Men of Honor.
Arguably, his most famous portrayal was as Mark Twain. He played the stage character for 60 years and won a Tony Award for Best Actor.
Hank Aaron was a baseball star who played right fielder for 23 seasons in the MLB, primarily with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. He ended his career setting a solid 755 home run record which stood for the next 33 years.
Aaron passed away on January 22, 2021, at his home in Atlanta.
Ed Asner was iconic, no matter the generation. He touched the older generation when he played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and younger ones when he appeared as Santa Claus in Elf and voiced Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar animated film Up.
He passed away on August 29, 2021, at the age of 91.
Every since the 1960s, Phil Spector has been a huge name in the music industry. As a producer who brought together records such as the Beatles’ 1970 album Let It Be, he was awarded many honors during his life. Some include a Grammy for Album of the Year and induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Spector passed away on January 16, 2021, at the age of 81.
Actor Jahmil French was best known for his role as Dave Turner in Degrassi: The Next Generation. Sadly, French passed away very young, at the age of 29, on March 1, 2021.
In a statement, his agent wrote, “He will be remembered by many for his passion for the arts, his commitment to his craft, and his vibrant personality.”
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, actor George Segal graced the silver screen in both dramatic and comedic roles, iconic, no matter the genre. Some of his more popular performances include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Blume in Love, and A Touch of Class.
Most recently, he played Albert “Pops” Solomon on The Goldbergs, his final on-screen performance before passing away on March 23, 2021.
A stage and screen actor, Joseph Siravo gave numerous iconic performances during his life. On Broadway, he appeared in Oslo, The Light in the Pizza, and The Boys from Syracuse.
On-screen, he gave memorable performances as Johnny Soprano in The Sopranos, John Gotti in the film The Wannabe, and Fred Goldman in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Siravo lost his battle with cancer and passed away on April 11, 2021.
The younger brother of Dolly Parton, Randy Parton, passed away on January 21, 2021, after losing his battle with cancer. A musician, Randy is known for playing the bass for his famous sister and for being the first person to record the 1982 song “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler).”
He also sang a song on the soundtrack for Rhinestone, a film Dolly starred in.
Tawny Kitaen got her start in Hollywood as a television actress, appearing in numerous TV films throughout the ’80s. Some of the more iconic films include Bachelor Party, Malibu, and California Girls.
During that time, Kitaen also starred in multiple heavy metal music videos, such as Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” Sadly, the 80s star passed away on May 7, 2021.
For those who watched Arrested Development, Jessica Walter stole the screen whenever she walked into a scene as Lucille Bluth. Of course, the dry humor of the Bluth family matron wasn’t her only role. Walter is also known for her voice acting work as Malory Archer in Archer.
Walter passed away on March 24, 2021, at the age of 80.
Starting his entertainment career in the 1970s, Richard Gilliland passed away on March 18, 2021, with a long resume filled with television performances and film appearances.
Some of his more notable work includes a recurring role on Designing Women, Captain Stan Cotter on 24, and serial killer Jeffrey Speidel on Matlock.
Even though Michael Constantine began his career in the 1950s as a stage actor, he is arguably best known as the crazy and loving Greek father Kostas “Gus” Portokalos in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding films.
Earlier, Constantine gained recognition for her work in television, primarily on the series Room 222, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award. He passed away on August 31, 2021.
Husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, passed away on April 9, 2021, two months before his 100th birthday.
Loved by the people, Prince Philip was a part of 780 organizations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature, that helped reduce human impact on the environment.
During her entertainment career, Helen McCrory was a forceful presence on both the stage and film. She portrayed some iconic characters, such as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, Lady Macbeth in the stage play Macbeth, and Clair Dowar in Skyfall.
McCrory passed away on April 16, 2021, at her home in London, England.
Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams appeared in numerous popular HBO series during his career, including The Wire, Lovecraft Country, and Boardwalk Empire. He also had supporting roles in critically acclaimed films, such as 12 Years Slave, The Road, and Gone Baby Gone.
On September 6, 2021, the award-winning actor passed away in his Brooklyn, New York, apartment.
Dearon “Deezer D” Thompson
Known professionally as Deezer D, Dearon Thompson passed away on January 7, 2021, after years in the entertainment industry. As an actor, he is best known for his role as Nurse Malik McGrath in the drama series ER and as Otis/Stab Master Arson in the parody film CB4.
Thompson was also an accomplished rapper, releasing three albums during his life, Delayed, But Not Denied, Living Up in a Down World, and Unpredictable.
Actor Paul Ritter found himself in a slew of different genres across television and film during his career. He went from playing wizard Eldred Worple in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to Martin Goodman in the comedy series Friday Night Dinner and Guy Haines in Quantum of Solace.
Ritter passed away on April 5, 2021, and his long-time friend Stephen Mangan wrote, “I was so lucky to know him and lucky too to work with him many times over the years. Wonderful man.”
While she wasn’t an actor in the typical sense, Angie Jakusz was a fierce competitor on the popular reality series Survivor. Competing on the tenth season of Survivor: Palau, Jakusz was known for her strong personality and ability to integrate herself with her TV tribe.
Sadly, after battling cancer for a few years, the reality star passed away on January 8, 2021.
Earl Simmons, better known by his stage name DMX, was a rapped who got his start in the 1990s when he released his first album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.
His most popular album, …And Then There Was X, was released in 1999 with tracks such as “Party Up (Up in Here).” The legendary rapper passed away on April 9, 2021.