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ENTERTAINMENT / Celebrity Gossip

Celebrity deaths of 2014

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

These fallen stars are gone but certainly not forgotten

Hollywood has already lost some incredible talent this year, from icons like Shirley Temple Black, to modern masters like Philip Seymour Hoffman. While we mourn the passing of these stars, we celebrate the mark they left on the world.

Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols

Photo credit: WENN.com

Considered a visionary in the entertainment industry, award-winning director Mike Nichols passed away suddenly on Nov. 19. The German-born director first made a name for himself with 1967's The Graduate, for which he won an Oscar. He was one of only 12 stars to win all four major entertainment awards — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Nichols is survived by his wife, ABC News presenter Diane Sawyer, and his three adult children from previous marriages.

Diem Brown

Diem Brown

Photo credit: Andres Otero/WENN.com

The Real World/Road Rules family — and the real world at large — lost a true light on Nov. 14 with the passing of recurring cast member 34-year-old Diem Brown. Brown, who was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the tender age of 23, succumbed to the disease after it metastasized to her colon and stomach. A fighter until the end, Brown never lost her trademark pluckiness and hope.

Carol Ann Susi

Carol Ann Susi

Photo credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

The lady behind the distinctive voice of Big Bang Theory's Mrs. Wolowitz, Carol Ann Susi died on Nov. 11 following an abbreviated battle with an aggressive form of cancer. Susi also guest starred on Seinfeld, Cheers, Grey's Anatomy, That '70s Show and more during her career.

Marcia Strassman

Marcia Strassman

Photo credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

Welcome Back, Kotter actress Marcia Strassman passed away on Oct. 25 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 66. Her many TV credits include The Patty Duke Show, MASH and Third Watch, though many fondly remember her for her role opposite Rick Moranis in the Disney movies Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Honey I Blew Up the Kid.

Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce

Photo credit: WENN.com

Music lost another pioneer in 2014 with the passing of iconic Cream bassist Jack Bruce. One-third of what is widely hailed as one of rock's greatest trios of all time, Bruce penned classic tracks like "White Room" and "Sunshine of Your Love." He was 71 at the time of his death.

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta

Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

On Oct. 20, the world mourned the loss of legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who died peacefully in his home surrounded by family, friends and his beloved dogs. The sophisticated designer left an indelible mark on the fashion industry, having spent four decades building the beautiful empire that now survives him.

Elizabeth Peña

Elizabeth Pena

Photo credit: WENN.com

Veteran actress Elizabeth Peña — known and loved for her roles in Jacob's Ladder, La Bamba and Batteries Not Included — passed away on Oct. 14 at the age of 55. Peña enjoyed a recurring guest role on Modern Family and, at the time of her death, had just wrapped the first season of El Rey Network's Matador. The cause of her passing has been reported as cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse.

Jan Hooks

Jan Hooks

Photo credit: DJDM/WENN.com

Comedian Jan Hooks died on Oct. 9 of unknown causes. The star, who was 57 at the time of her death, rose to prominence in the late-'80s golden age of Saturday Night Live. Among the legacy she leaves behind are her hilarious parody sketches of Ivana Trump, Tammy Faye Bakker and Sinead O'Connor.

Marian Seldes

Marian Seldes

Photo credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

For more than six decades, Marian Seldes ruled the New York theater scene with starring roles in the works of great playwrights from Tennessee Williams to Edward Albee. She also enjoyed steady work in TV and film with memorable roles like President Carr in Mona Lisa Smile. Seldes died Oct. 6 at her home in Manhattan, her family confirmed.

Misty Upham

Misty Upham

Photo credit: Apega/WENN.com

The death of SAG Award-nominated actress Misty Upham remains shrouded in mystery. Last seen on Oct. 5, the August: Osage County star's body was discovered Oct. 16 near the White River in Washington. Although presumed a suicide, her family contends she was fleeing from the cops "she was afraid of" when she accidentally fell to her death in a ravine.

Skip Lowe

Skip E. Lowe

Photo credit: WENN.com

The long-time host of Skip E. Lowe Looks at Hollywood, Skip Lowe died Monday, Sept. 22 due to complications from emphysema and other respiratory issues. During the 35-year tenure of his TV show, Lowe interviewed in excess of 6,000 celebrities, including greats like Bette Davis, Shelley Winters, Janet Leigh, Mickey Rooney and Lynn Redgrave.

Molly Glynn

Molly Glynn

Photo credit: Molly Glynn Facebook

Chicago Fire actress Molly Glynn was enjoying a scenic bike ride with her husband on a forest preserve trail just north of Chicago when a sudden storm hit. Her husband, fellow actor Joe Foust, yelled back to Glynn that the pair should find cover when a tree fell on Glynn, crushing her. The 46-year-old succumbed to her injuries on Sept. 6.

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

Photo credit: WENN.com

Actress, comedian, writer, producer, television host, mother... there weren't many hats Joan Rivers didn't wear. The first woman to host a late night network TV talk show, Rives was considered both controversial and widely respected. On Aug. 28, Rivers died unexpectedly during a reportedly minor throat procedure at an outpatient clinic in New York City. She died on Sept. 4 at the age of 81. Subsequent investigation into her death has uncovered multiple mistakes made by the clinic.

Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough

Photo credit: WENN.com

During a career that spanned six decades, Richard Attenborough enjoyed success as one of Britain's top actors and, later, an Oscar-winning director. Considered a man of "huge warmth and integrity" by his peers, Lord Attenborough will forever be endeared to American audiences thanks to his role as John Hammond in Jurassic Park. The then 90-year-old passed away on Aug. 24.

Stephen Lee

Stephen Lee

Photo credit: Seinfeld/YouTube

Prolific character actor Stephen Lee passed away in August after suffering a heart attack in his Los Angeles home. Best known perhaps for his role as the overly chatty cabinet installer on Seinfeld, Lee enjoyed an active career including appearances on Hill Street Blues, Nash Bridges, Quantum Leap, Grey's Anatomy, CSI, The West Wing and more. He was 58 at the time of his death.

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall

Photo credit: WENN.com

Silver screen siren Lauren Bacall passed away at her longtime Upper West apartment in The Dakota building following a massive stroke. The actress, who famously married fellow film icon Humphrey Bogart, found stardom after being cast in To Have and Have Not at the age of 19. She went on to star in other classic films such as Key Largo and Murder on the Orient Express. She was 89 at the time of her death.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Photo credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

Robin Williams was discovered unresponsive in his home on Monday, Aug. 11 and subsequently pronounced dead. The iconic actor — whose roster of work includes a slew of cult classics, such as Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting — was 63 at the time of his death. On the legendary comedian's passing, President Obama released a statement, saying in part, "He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit."

James Garner

James Garner

Photo credit: Dimitri Halkidis/WENN.com

Perhaps best known at the end of his career for his role as the aging Noah in 2004's romantic classic, The Notebook, 86-year-old James Garner passed away at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on July 19. The beloved actor was also known for his roles on the TV series Maverick and The Rockford Files. In 2005, he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Skye McCole Bartusiak

Skye McCole Bartusiak

Photo credit: Margery Epstein/WENN.com

Another star lost far too young, Skye McCole Bartusiak died on July 19 at the tender age of 21 from what relatives suspect to be epileptic seizures. Bartusiak made a lasting impression onscreen, thanks to her role as Mel Gibson's young daughter in the 2000 film The Patriot. The actress kicked off her career at only 6-years-old with a role in The Cider House Rules.

Tommy Ramone

In early July, the music world suffered a major loss when the last Ramone, Tommy, passed away at the age of 65. The Ramones' original drummer and producer, Tommy succumbed to his long battle with bile duct cancer. Dubbed the godfather of American punk, Tommy left behind a storied legacy of rock.

Meshach Taylor

Meschach Taylor

Photo credit: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com

Veteran actor Meschach Taylor, best known to the world as Anthony Bouvier in the 1986-1993 series Designing Women, passed away this June following a battle with cancer. The Emmy-award winning actor died at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by his family, including his wife of more than three decades, Biance Ferguson, and his four children, Tamar, Esme, Yasmine and Tariq.

Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem

Photo credit: WENN.com

Radio legend Casey Kasem passed away in June at a California hospital following long-suffering health issues. The icon's death was mired in controversy, due in large part to a bitter battle between his grown children and his second wife, Jean, over visitation with Kasem and his medical care.

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

Photo credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

Actress, writer, journalist and civil rights activist Ruby Dee died peacefully at her home in New York on June 11. The 91-year-old icon starred in such memorable films as A Raisin in the Sun, American Gangster and The Stand. Her many awards over the span of her impressive career include Grammys, Emmys, Obies, Screen Actors' Guild Awards and more.

Rik Mayall

Rik Mayall

Photo credit: WENN.com

Funny man Rik Mayall came to prominence in the entertainment world as part of the comedy group Comic Strip in the 1980s, but he will always be remembered in fans heart for roles like The Young Ones, The New Statesman and — of course — his beloved turn as the mischievous imaginary friend in 1991's Drop Dead Fred. He passed away at his home in London in June at the age of 56.

Ann B. Davis

Ann B. Davis

Photo credit: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com

Tragedy struck on June 2 when beloved showbiz veteran Ann B. Davis fell in her bathroom and hit her head, leading to her death. The 88-year-old actress was best known for her role as the lovable housekeeper Alice in the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch. She later went on to win two Emmy Awards for her work as secretary Schultzy on The Bob Cummings Show.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Photo credit: WENN.com

Beloved poet, author and activist Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home on May 28 after struggling with a prolonged illness. Among other works, her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is widely considered one of the most important modern literary contributions. In addition to inspiring people with her words, Angelou set a noble example through her benevolence and activism.

Malik Bendjelloul

Malik Benjelloul

Photo credit: Brian To/WENN

Director Malik Bendjelloul rose to fame in 2013 when he won an Oscar for his documentary, Searching for Sugar Man. According to Stockholm police, Swedish-born Bendjelloul passed away on Tuesday, May 13 at only 36 years old. Although cause of death has not officially been released, statements reveal foul play is not suspected as Bendjelloul reportedly committed suicide.

Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins

Photo credit: Joe Maher/WENN

British actor Bob Hoskins passed away on April 30 at the age of 71 after suffering a bout of pneumonia, according to his agent. The veteran star — best known for films like The Long Good FridayWho Framed Roger Rabbit? and Hook — retired from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

The Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior

Photo credit: WENN

One of the legends of the WWE '90s heyday, the Ultimate Warrior — aka James Hellwig — died from a massive heart attack following an appearance on the revived Raw. According to reports, the 54-year-old was walking his wife to her car on April 8 in Arizona when he grabbed his chest and collapsed. Although he was rushed to the hospital, the wrestler never regained consciousness.

Peaches Geldof

Peaches Geldof

Photo credit: James Shaw/WENN

On April 7, English socialite and television personality, Peaches Geldof, was found dead at her home in Kent. Although Geldof's death was ruled not suspicious initially, the coroner was awaiting toxicology reports before issuing an official cause of death. According to London's Times, the results are in and 25-year-old Geldof — like her mother, Paula Yates, in 2000 — died from a heroin overdose.

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney

Photo credit: WENN

An icon of the silent film era, Mickey Rooney passed away from natural causes at the age of 93. Rooney, who spent nearly his entire life in show business, rose to prominence in Hollywood playing the role of Andy Hardy in over a dozen classic films. He was also a notorious ladies' man — his eight wives included stunners Ava Gardner and Elaine Devry.

John Pinette

John Pinette

Photo credit: WENN

Comedian John Pinette was discovered dead in a hotel room in Pittsburgh on April 5. Perhaps most famously known as the mugged man in the Seinfeld finale, Pinette had — according to his personal physician — been struggling with liver and heart disease. As such, no foul play was suspected and an autopsy was not performed on the 50-year-old.

Frankie Knuckles

Frankie Knuckles

Photo credit: PNP/WENN

A pioneer in the music industry, Frankie Knuckles — affectionately known in the biz as the "Godfather of House Music" — passed away unexpectedly on April 1 at the age of 59. Some reports say Knuckles, whose real name was Francis Nicholls, died of complications that arose from his type 2 diabetes.

Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Temple Black

Photo credit: WENN

Most famous as the cherubic lead in films like Curly Top, Wee Willie Winkie and The Little Princess, Shirley Temple Black is, arguably, the most beloved child star of all time. As an adult, she became active in politics, turning into quite the diplomat. On Feb. 10, 85-year-old Black died in her home of natural causes. She was surrounded by family and friends.

James Rebhorn

James Rebhorn

Photo credit: PNP/WENN

What an incredible talent the world lost this March when James Rebhorn passed away at the age of 65. The actor, whose prolific filmography included more than 100 roles, was playing recurring characters on both Homeland and White Collar at the time of his death.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Photo credit: Apega/WENN

Hailed by the New York Times as "perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation," Philip Seymour Hoffman appeared in movies like Almost Famous, Cold Mountain, Capote, Doubt, Moneyball and, well, the list goes on and on. Tragically, Hoffman was found dead in February at the age of 46 in the bathroom of his Manhattan apartment. The subsequent autopsy report proved the actor died of an acute drug overdose.

Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis

Photo credit: WENN

Harold Allen Ramis may have been most famous for film roles like that of iconic Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, but he was also a widely-respected director and writer credited for influencing countless comedians and comedy writers. His work included classics such as Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, Groundhog Day and more. On Feb. 24, Ramis passed away in his home due to complications from vasculitis. He was 69.

L'Wren Scott

L'Wren Scott

Photo credit: Daniel Deme/WENN

A fashion designer, costume designer and model, L'Wren Scott — whose real name was Laura Bambrough — was found dead in her Manhattan apartment by her assistant on March 17. The police reported that Scott's death was the result of suicide by hanging. The fashion darling left her estate to Mick Jagger, her longtime boyfriend.

Other losses this year

  • Alice Coachman, Olympic gold medalist
  • Ariel Sharon, Israeli politician and general
  • Big Bank Hank, Sugarhill Gang rapper
  • Big Daddy V, professional wrestler
  • Bob Casale, Devo guitarist and keyboardist
  • Bob Hastings, McHale's Navy actor
  • Brad Halsey, professional baseball player
  • Cynthia Lynn, Hogan's Heroes actress
  • Dave Brockie, lead singer of the band Gwar
  • David Brenner, comedian, actor and author
  • David Lamb, Brown Bird singer
  • David Legeno, Harry Potter actor and MMA star
  • Dick Smith, celebrity makeup artist
  • DJ E-Z Rock, "It Takes Two" rapper
  • Don Zimmer, baseball legend
  • Don Pardo, the voice of Saturday Night Live
  • Edith Flagg, fashion designer
  • Efrem Zimbalist Jr., 77 Sunset Strip actor
  • Eileen Ford, founder of Ford Modeling Agency
  • Elaine Stritch, TV and Broadway legend
  • Eli Wallach, The Misfits actor
  • Elizabeth Norment, House of Cards actress
  • Eric Lynch, member of The Howard Stern Show's Wack Pack
  • EunB, Ladies' Code singer
  • Gavin Smith, Fox executive
  • Geoffrey Holder, former Bond villain
  • George Hamilton IV, country musician
  • George Shuffler, bluegrass guitar player
  • Gerald Francis "Jerry" Coleman, former Major League Baseball player and manager
  • Gerard Parkes, Fraggle Rock actor
  • Hal Douglas, voice actor
  • Horace Silver, jazz musician
  • J.J. Murphy, Game of Thrones actor
  • James Jacks, film producer
  • James Brady, assistant to President Reagan
  • James Shigeta, actor
  • Jay Adams, skateboarding pioneer
  • Jim Lange, American game show host and disc jockey
  • Jimi Jamison, Survivor frontman/musician
  • Jimmy Ruffin, Motown star
  • Joanne Borgella, American Idol alum
  • John Fasano, film director, producer and screenwriter
  • Johnny Winter, blues musician
  • Kate O'Mara, Dynasty actress
  • Katerina Netolicka, model
  • Leee Black Childers, photographer, writer and rock music manager
  • Margot Adler, NPR reporter
  • Mary Anderson, inventor of the windshield wiper
  • Marilyn Burns, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre actress
  • Maximilian Schell, actor, director and producer
  • Michael Gottlieb, Mannequin director
  • Michael Johns, American Idol alum
  • Michele Savoia, fashion designer
  • Nadine Gordimer, writer and activist
  • Nicky Da B, "Express Yourself" rapper
  • Paco de Lucía, Spanish virtuoso flamenco guitarist, composer and producer
  • Paul Mazursky, Academy-recognized actor/director
  • Peter "Pete" Seeger, folk singer and activist
  • Polly Bergen, Desperate Housewives actress
  • Ralph Waite, actor
  • Richard Kiel, former Bond villain
  • Rob Bironas, professional football player
  • Robert Gallagher, decorated war hero who inspired Black Hawk Down
  • Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, professional boxer
  • Sarah Goldberg, 7th Heaven actress
  • Scott Ross, professional football player
  • Sean O' Haire, professional wrestler
  • Sheila MacRae, actress, singer and dancer
  • Sid Caesar, comic actor and writer
  • Simone Battle, G.R.L. singer
  • Tony Gwynn, baseball player affectionately known as "Mr. Padre"
  • Walter Dean Myers, children's book writer
  • Wayne Static, former Static-X frontman
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