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Actors We Lost In 2019

There isn't a year that goes by without at least one big death in Hollywood, but 2018 was a particularly painful one for fans of the silver screen. Tinseltown legends Burt Reynolds and Stan Lee both left us, as did Austin Powers star Verne Troyer and Margot Kidder, who played the iconic role of Lois Lane in the Superman film series. The list goes on, but we've already had time to mourn these great talents — we're here today to discuss the lives and legacies of the actors that have passed away this year.

Sadly, it's shaping up to be another busy one in terms of Hollywood obituaries. We've already lost a number of stars, not only of the big screen, but of the small screen, too. Many of the actors we're going to look back on here flitted between movies and television over the course of their careers, while some made their biggest impact on Broadway. What they all have in common is a dedication to their craft and a fanbase that will miss them dearly. These are the actors we lost in 2019.

Dick Miller

You might remember him as Murray Futterman from the '80s classic Gremlins, but the man behind the paranoid WWII vet was named Dick Miller. In January 2019, Variety announced that Miller had passed away aged 90, hailing him as a "prolific screen actor [...] with a career spanning more than 60 years." According to the Hollywood trade, he is survived by his wife Lainie, daughter Barbara, and granddaughter Autumn.

The Bronx-born actor reportedly made quite the name for himself in the boxing ring while serving in the U.S. Navy, but his career path swerved when he met legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman. Miller began collaborating with Corman way back in 1950s. His biggest Corman role came towards the end of the decade, when he starred as murderous busboy Walter Paisley in 1959's A Bucket of Blood. Miller went on to play different versions of Paisley in several films, one of which (Hollywood Boulevard) was directed by Joe Dante.

Dante (who later directed Gremlins) was another filmmaker who returned to Miller time and again. "I always looked for a role for Dick, not just because he was my friend, but because I loved watching him act," Dante said in a tribute tweet. "But he leaves behind over 100 performances, a bio and a doc [2015's That Guy Dick Miller]. Not bad for a guy who hardly ever enjoyed a starring role." Miller also worked with Martin Scorsese (New York, New York) and James Cameron (The Terminator).

Paul Koslo

Another veteran character actor who left us in January of 2019, Paul Koslo sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer just nine days into the new year. He was 74 years old. According to a statement from the family (per Deadline), Koslo passed away in his California home surrounded by loved ones. The German-born Canadian began his acting career in the '60s, but wouldn't arrive on the scene proper until the following decade, when he became one of Hollywood's go-to guys for a villain and/or untrustworthy type.

The most notable movie from this period in his career is undoubtedly Nam's Angels (aka The Losers), an action flick that follows a gang of bikers tasked with rescuing an American diplomat from the clutches of the Vietnamese during the days of the war. Koslo's character, Limpy, drives a modified three-wheel Harley equipped with .50 caliber machine guns and a rocket launcher. It all sounds a little ridiculous, but Nam's Angels became a firm cult classic over the years, even getting a mention in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

Koslo did attempt to move away from the villainous roles in the days before he was typecast, delivering one particularly memorable, against-type performance alongside Charlton Heston in the sci-fi classic The Omega Man. "It was my first big movie," the actor said in an interview conducted in 2001. "I like it because it's different, totally different from any other film I've ever made. And being it was with Charlton Heston. He was a phenomenon... I loved that movie. "

Steven Levy (aka Steve Bean)

We weren't even a week into February when we got news of another death in the acting world, with Steven Levy (known professionally as Steve Bean) sadly succumbing to a rare form of cancer. Levy was diagnosed with sino-squamous cell carcinoma (otherwise known as nose cancer) in 2016. The comedian and actor went into great detail about his shock diagnosis in an essay titled My Year Without a Nose (published by Mel magazine in 2018), revealing that he'd been given a year to live. 

"My sense of humor came back about a month ago," he wrote. "Not a moment too soon either: The latest scans show yet another recurrence of the cancer. The doctors tell me I have nine to twelve months to live." Levy (who underwent several extensive facial surgeries as doctors repeatedly tried to stop the disease from claiming his life) managed to fight on for a while, passing away towards the end of January. He was 58.

According to Varietythe Massachusetts-native got his start on the stand-up scene, becoming a household name in Boston. He later moved to Los Angeles and started writing for the Tim Conway Show and ABC's Dot Comedy, which gave him a foot in the door. He scored minor parts in shows like Quantum Leap and Murder, She Wrote, carving out a career as a dependable television actor. He worked right up until his diagnosis, appearing in Shameless and Ray Donovan in 2016. Levy is survived by his wife, Caroline Carrigan, and his son, Jacob Randall Levy.

Vinny Vella

New York native Vinny Vella, best known for his roles in The Sopranos and the Martin Scorsese classic Casino, passed away in February 2019. He had been battling liver cancer, his family confirmed. "RIP to my father. I love you so much and I'm so heart broken," Vella's son, Vinny Jr., said (via The Independent). "You are no longer in pain — no more suffering pops." He was 72.

Born in 1947, Vella was a late comer to acting. 1995's Casino (in which he played inept Mafia underboss Artie Piscano) was only his second film appearance. He went on to make a career out of playing mobster types, appearing in Jim Jarmusch's Forest Whitaker-starring cult favorite Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), the Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal crime comedy Analyze That (2002), and The Sopranos. Vella played Jimmy Petrille, a member of the Lupertazzi crime family and secret turncoat, in three episodes of the HBO show in 2004. He got the chance to work under Scorsese again before his passing, playing the meat company yard manager in his Netflix gangster epic, The Irishman (2019).

Vella's rep praised his character in a statement, painting a picture of a man who was always the life of the party. "I'm sure that no one is more saddened than himself," the agent said. "Vinny loved life from his family to his friends and fans he was easily one of the funniest, endearing actors to have ever graced the screen."

Carmen Argenziano

Sci-fi fans will no doubt recognize him as guest-star-turned-regular Jacob Carter from Stargate SG-1, but Carmen Argenziano actually played a variety of roles throughout a long career in the business. He got his start in the early '70s, appearing in minor roles in gangster flicks like The Godfather: Part II and Capone. The Pennsylvania native settled into a career as a character actor in the decades that followed, becoming a regular on our TV screens. Argenziano's rep confirmed his death to People, while his personal appearance agent released a statement via Facebook.

"It is with a heavy heart and more sadness than anyone can realize right now that I announce the passing of client Carmen Argenziano at the age of 75," Event Horizon Talent said, calling the actor "a consummate gentleman" as well as a friend. The statement made special mention of Stargate SG-1, claiming that the late actor had "relished" being on the show for seven years. When he spoke to fan site Gateworld back in 2007, Argenziano said that the moment he found out he'd passed the Stargate SG-1 audition was one of the absolute highlights of his career.

"Very seldom an actor gets a role that affects his life in such a wonderful, dramatic way as this role has," he said. "Because journeyman actors don't usually have a kind of regular working situation where they're employed on a regular basis. And Stargate offered that to me, and I'm forever grateful." According to The Sun, Argenziano is survived by his wife, Lisa, and his three children.

Bob Einstein

Many will remember him as overly optimistic stuntman Super Dave Osborne, but writer and actor Bob Einstein was probably best-known for Curb Your Enthusiasm when he passed away in January 2019, just a few days into the new year. He died aged 76, not long after being diagnosed with cancer. Einstein and Larry David shared some truly memorable scenes on the cult HBO show, which Einstein relished being a part of. "Never have I seen an actor enjoy a role the way Bob did playing Marty Funkhouser on Curb," David said in a statement (via Deadline). "It was an amazing, unforgettable experience knowing and working with him. There was no one like him, as he told us again and again. We're all in a state of shock."

Einstein emerged as one of the funniest writers in Tinseltown during the early 1970s. He won his first Emmy for his early work on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and picked up his second win for Dick Van Dyke's mid-70s vehicle, Van Dyke and Company. He didn't have a whole bunch of feature-length appearances to his name (his most notable film role came in 2007 when he popped up as Agent Caldwell in Ocean's 13), but Einstein's pinpoint comic timing and unique, gravelly voice made him a regular on American television.

There was no official confirmation on the exact cause of death, but the Einstein family asked for any donations to be made out to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, according to Los Angeles Times.

Carol Channing

It seemed as though Carol Channing was going to go on forever, but the smiley star of enduring Broadway musical Hello Dolly! sadly died in January 2019. She was 97 years old. The Seattle-born actress won a Tony for her career-defining portrayal of matchmaker Dolly Levi in the long-running production, which paid tribute to her after learning of her death. "We are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Carol Channing," the current Hello Dolly! touring company said in a statement (via CNN). "She was a 'Dolly' for the ages, and a true icon of the American Theater."

She lost out to Marilyn Monroe when Hollywood adapted her first theatrical hit (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) for the big screen in the '50s, but that didn't stop Channing from trying to crack the whole moving picture thing. The following decade, she succeeded. The actress won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award after a memorable performance in 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie. Despite this, the Academy failed to recognize her during the in memoriam segment at the 2019 Oscars. 

Channing's publicist took to Facebook to complain about the omission, slamming the Academy over the snub. "I am inconsolably heartsick that the Motion Picture Academy would ignore one of its own members and an Academy award nominee, Carol Channing, in the in memoriam," Harlan Boll wrote. "It's inexcusable." Boll claims he was told that Channing just "wasn't that important" by a member of the Academy (via Fox News).

Albert Finney

Countless actors have played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, but the Albert Finney-led version of A Christmas Carol (released in 1970 under the name Scrooge) became one of the most endearing, and is still beamed into households across the UK every December. The Brit went on to play another famous literary character (Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot) in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express, but younger film fans will probably recognize him from Erin Brockovich (2000) and Skyfall (2012).

By the time he appeared in the critically-acclaimed James Bond flick, Finney had already fought kidney cancer and won. He was diagnosed in 2007, but was given the all-clear following some intense chemotherapy. "I didn't feel anything on the first two, then the third one, I thought, that's funny, I feel bad," he told the Manchester Evening News in 2012. "That got worse. It took me about a year or a year and a half to feel it was out of my system. But it saved me."

Finney stopped working, but he was able to go on for five more years before passing away aged 82 after a "short illness," his family confirmed (via BBC). In life, he shunned the limelight. Finney turned down a knighthood from the queen and was nominated for Oscars on no less than five occasions (four of those in the Best Actor category), but never showed up to the ceremony once. "It seems silly to go over there and beg for an award," he said.

Kaye Ballard

January 2019 was a sad month for Broadway. Just a week after we lost Carol Channing, a lawyer acting on behalf of Kaye Ballard confirmed that she had also passed away, aged 93. Ballard's name wasn't anywhere near as well-known as Channing's, but those who follow the theater know just how hard this hilarious actress worked over the course of her lengthy career. She worked well into her 70s, touring with traveling shows long after peers of her age had given up. 

When it comes to Broadway, Ballard's career highlights were Carnival! and The Golden Apple. The first-generation American (her parents immigrated from Italy) had "well-regarded runs" on both shows according to The New York Times, but in the mainstream, she became best-known for '60s sitcom The Mothers-In-Law. Despite her dedication to the theater, it was this short-lived NBC show that stuck in the public's memory. The actress played meddlesome mother-in-law Kaye Buell for two seasons.

"The show was on just long enough to typecast me as a loudmouth Italian actress, but not long enough to ensure that I would earn the kind of money where I wouldn't have to worry about being typecast," Ballard said in her memoir How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years. Shortly before her death she attended the Palm Springs International Film Festival to watch a screening of Kaye Ballard: The Show Goes On, a documentary about her extraordinary career. "She received a serenade of applause," festival chairman Harold Matzner told USA Today.

Julie Adams

She was described as a "comely brunette with the cascading curls" in The Hollywood Reporter's obituary, and that's how most of us will remember the late Julie Adams. She was one of Universal's leading ladies during the 1950s, starring in classic monster picture Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). According to THR, the studio once declared her legs "the most perfectly symmetrical in the world" and even insured them to the tune of $125,000, a staggering amount for the day. In February 2019, her son (TV editor Mitchell Danton) informed the Hollywood trade that Adams had passed away in Los Angeles. She was 92.

Her turn as Kay Lawrence (object of the lagoon-dwelling creature's affections) went down in horror movie history, but Adams was way more than just a damsel in distress. She starred opposite legends Elvis Presley (1965's Tickle Me) and John Wayne (1974's McQ) and made several forays into television over the course of a long career. And when we say long, we mean long — she made her first appearance in 1949 and her last (a short titled "The Lucky Southern Star") in 2018.

Guillermo del Toro (whose Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water was something of a spiritual successor to Creature from the Black Lagoon) was among the famous mourners. "I mourn Julie Adams passing," the Mexican filmmaker tweeted. "It hurts in a place deep in me, where monsters swim." Actor Patton Oswalt also left a tribute on Twitter, calling Adams' work in Creature from the Black Lagoon "iconic forever."

Louisa Moritz

Louisa Moritz was in the news right before her death, though sadly the headlines had nothing to do with her talents as an actress. When she passed in January 2019 at the age of 72, Moritz was in the middle of a lawsuit against shamed entertainer Bill Cosby. "Louisa Moritz was a brave woman who stood up against a powerful Hollywood icon, Bill Cosby, in an effort to restore her good name and reputation, after he publicly branded her a liar when she made public her allegations of sexual abuse and assault by Mr. Cosby," Moritz's attorney Joseph Cammarata said (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Moritz (who died of natural causes related to the heart, THR confirmed) was much more than a victim, however. Beyond Cosby, she leaves a legacy that spans back to the 1960s, when she made her first appearances in film and television. She would continue to jump between the two mediums in the coming decades, but she's best remembered for her work in two game-changing movies.

Moritz starred alongside Jack Nicholson in 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a film that is "generally considered to have left a lasting impact on the field of psychiatry," per The Telegraph. Her other notable film appearance left an indelible mark on stoner culture; she appeared alongside Cheech and Chong in 1978's Up in Smoke. "Critics hated it but it's now considered a comedy classic and is widely credited as being responsible for establishing the stoner comedy genre," Forbes reports.

Kristoff St. John

When 52-year-old The Young and the Reckless actor Kristoff St. John was found dead at his Los Angeles home in February 2019, authorities could not immediately confirm the cause. An announcement was put off "pending additional investigation," though St. John's ex-wife seemed to believe that he had taken his own life. Shortly after his shock passing, Mia St. John spoke to Entertainment Tonight, revealing that her former husband had never really recovered from the suicide of their son four years earlier.

A tearful Mia told of how she had spoken to the troubled star on the day that he died. St. John apparently claimed that he could see his late son, Julian, while on the phone with his former partner. "'Julian is at the door, I gotta get the door,'" Mia recalled her ex-husband saying. "[He] said, 'Okay, let's talk to Julian, bring Julian in.' Julian came in and he said, 'Julian is gonna take me for a walk now,' and I said, 'No you aren't going for a walk right now.'" 

When a friend showed up to check on him, St. John was unresponsive. According to People, he was pronounced dead on the scene. "They found him on the floor," Mia confirmed. "They tried CPR and he was already gone." Mia has since started a foundation to battle mental illness. "I'm going to make my boys proud," she said. 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Katherine Helmond

Sitcom veteran Katherine Helmond died in February 2019 of complications from Alzheimer's disease. She was 89 years old. Her talent agency confirmed that Helmond, whose film career started in the mid-1950s with biblical epic Wine of Morning, passed away at home in Los Angeles. "She taught me so much about life and inspired me indelibly by watching her work," former co-star Judith Light said (via Deadline). "Katherine was a gift to our business and to the world, and will be deeply missed."

Many will remember Helmond from Soap, a controversial parody of the conventional soap opera. She starred as naïve socialite Jessica Tate from 1977 until 1981, when the ABC show (which made Billy Crystal a star) stopped airing. Helmond reunited with ABC in 1984 when she agreed to play Mona Robinson in Who's the Boss?, the role that she would ultimately become best-known for. The two-time Golden Globe winner was on Who's the Boss? for eight years, appearing in almost 200 episodes in that time.

Helmond remained a sitcom stalwart in the years that followed (she popped up in Everybody Loves Raymond sporadically for the better part of a decade), but she was more than a TV star. She was a regular Terry Gilliam collaborator, appearing in three of the Monty Python vet's movies: she portrayed Mrs. Ogre in cult classic Time Bandits (1981), the surgery-loving mother in Brazil (1985), and she even had a role in drug-fueled tour de force Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), playing the hotel clerk.

Jan-Michael Vincent

Jan-Michael Vincent passed away in February 2019, but news of his death didn't reach the press until the following month when TMZ obtained a copy of the actor's death certificate. "Jan-Michael actually died back on February 10 after suffering cardiac arrest while a patient at a North Carolina hospital," the celebrity gossip site confirmed. "We're told no autopsy was performed and he was later cremated." He was 73 years old.

In terms of his career, Vincent was best-known for '80s TV series Airwolf. The Denver native portrayed cello-playing helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke on the show, a slight diversion from the tough guys and rebels he was used to playing. "The character is stiff," Vincent once said, according to The Guardian. "But as we've gone along we've been able to loosen him some. Now you'll sometimes see him crack a smile and say something funny. Even Clint Eastwood is mellowing, although I'll never be Burt Reynolds."

Away from the camera, Vincent had his troubles with the law. He pleaded guilty to drunk driving in 1997 after breaking his own neck in a collision, though he avoided jail. He wasn't so lucky in 2000, when he was sentenced to 60 days behind bars for assaulting his girlfriend. The actor reportedly struggled with alcoholism and clearly had some demons, but Vincent still had friends in Hollywood when he passed away. "God bless you Jan-Michael Vincent in the spiritual realm," Gary Busey (who appeared alongside the late actor in '70s surfer flick Big Wednesday) said in a tweet.

Luke Perry

He became a teen heartthrob playing Dylan McKay on decade-defining '90s drama Beverly Hills, 90210 and he'd experienced a recent resurgence on the CW show Riverdale, but the continuing career of Luke Perry was sadly cut short in March 2019. The actor was rushed to the hospital after suffering what his rep described as a "massive stroke" at his California home. He remained under observation for a further five days before passing away with his family by his bedside. He was 52 years old.

"The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning," Perry's rep told People. "No further details will be released at this time." The actor's fiancée Wendy Madison Bauer (who had been in a near-12 year relationship with Perry at the time of his passing) later opened up about losing him. "The past 11 and a half years with Luke were the happiest years of my life, and I am grateful to have had that time with him," she said.

Perry's Riverdale colleagues took the news hard, but star Cole Sprouse was determined to remember the good times. "Luke was one of those guys that I think would much rather have us laughing and telling stories about his life than lamenting it, but he was a good man," he told James Corden (via Teen Vogue). "He was one of the guys that you never heard a bad word said about him ever in Hollywood."

Jed Allan

Luke Perry isn't the only former Beverly Hills, 90210 cast member to pass away in 2019. Jed Allan (who played Steve Sanders' dad on the hit show) died in his California home at the age of 84, his family confirmed via his Facebook fan page. "So sorry to post the very sad news of my father's passing tonight," Allan's son Rick Brown said (via USA Today). "He died peacefully and was surrounded by his family and loved so much by us and so many others. Thank you for all who are part of this wonderful tribute to my dad on Facebook."

Allan's death was also mourned by his onscreen son, Beverly Hills, 90210's Ian Ziering. "So sad to hear we've lost another 90210 castmate," Ziering said in an Instagram tribute. "I had the pleasure of working with Jed Allan from 94 to 99. He played Rush Sanders, Steve's father. Such a great guy to work with, he will be missed." Prior to 90210, Allan was known for his time on Days of Our Lives. He appeared on the long-running show 102 times, but that was nothing compared to his lengthy stint on another soap opera, Santa Barbara — he played powerful patriarch C.C. Capwell over a thousand times between 1986 and 1993.

He may have passed away in California, but Allan was actually born in the Bronx. He made a living as a cabbie in New York before he caught the acting bug while working on off-Broadway productions.

Joseph Pilato

If you're a horror fan, chances are you'll recognize character actor Joseph Pilato, who passed away in March 2019 at the age of 70. Pilato starred in a number of genre films in the early stages of his career, which began in 1978 when zombie movie master George A. Romero gave him a minor role in Dawn of the Dead. He would go on to work with Romero in 1981's Knightriders (he played the disgruntled fairground worker in the bizarre biker-gang caper) and again in 1985's Day of the Dead, which marked Pilato's most famous film appearance. The Pittsburgh actor played mentally unstable antagonist Captain Rhodes in the grisly sequel, turning in a memorable performance despite being the character's polar opposite in real life.

"I was pretty left of center politically and was very influenced by my anti-Vietnam war experience," Pilato said during a 2010 interview with the Horror Channel, revealing that he was "chased and maced" by tactical police during protests. "Rhodes was everything antithetical to my political belief and it's usually very easy to play an opposite or villainous character. And Rhodes was the epitome." His name will forever be associated with Romero's cult zombie franchise, but what you probably don't know about Pilato is that he almost appeared in one of the most influential movies of the 1990s — he was cast as a Dean Martin lookalike in Quentin Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction, though unfortunately for him his scene wound up getting cut from the final film.

Denise DuBarry Hay

Denise DuBarry Hay was making a real difference in the world when she was cruelly struck down by a rare fungal infection. The Flying Misfits star (she played nurse Samantha Green in the NBC military drama) passed away in March 2019 shortly after her 63rd birthday, her husband confirmed to the Desert SunDuBarry Hay did her most notable onscreen work in the '70s and '80s, but in the decades that followed she started to make a name for herself as a savvy businesswoman and dedicated philanthropist.

DuBarry Hay was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998, and Response Magazine said that she was one of the people "leading us into the 21st century" in a write-up published in 2000. She made her biggest impact in the Coachella Valley area, where she had been working tirelessly with Olive Crest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping abused and at-risk children. Speaking to the Desert Sun, movie producer and Olive Crest board member Kim Waltrip revealed that she "fell through the floor" when she received a text message confirming that her friend and colleague had died.

"She was ahead of her time in terms of women supporting women," Waltrip said. "She was super-ambitious and always supportive of everything everybody did. I got her involved in Olive Crest and she donated money for those houses [for the children]. When Denise gets involved, she goes all-in and she hosted fundraisers at her house. She just made sure Olive Crest had everything it needed."

Richard Erdman

Richard Erdman's career in Hollywood spanned a whopping seven decades. He made his big-screen breakthrough when World War II was still ongoing, appearing as Scooper Nolan in 1944's Janie, an Oscar-nominated wartime rom-com. "We walked into a big room, and director Michael Curtiz came in," Erdman told The Oklahoman in 2015. "He looked at me and immediately said I was perfect for the role of Scooper. Warner Bros. signed me to a contract right away." 

WWII was also the setting of what was arguably his biggest movie, Billy Wilder's 1953 POW dramedy Stalag 17Much like Janie, Erdman won his part based on looks alone. "Mr. Wilder took one look at me and said 'You are Hoffy,'" he recalled. "And I got the role of Sgt. Hoffman." His biggest achievement, however, was the fact that he was still active when he passed away in March 2019, aged 93. Film buff and good friend Alan K. Rode told The Hollywood Reporter that Erdman had been suffering from age-related dementia.

Rode shared the sad news via Twitter, where some of Erdman's former co-stars made tributes of their own. The Oklahoma native played elderly student Leonard Rodriquez on hit show Community from 2009 to 2015, earning the respect of his younger colleagues. "Such a good and funny man," star Joel McHale tweeted. Ken Jeong used Facebook to deliver his tribute, thanking Erdman for "blessing us" with his brilliance. "Sweet, gentle and fearless," Jeong said. "Nailed every take. Always made me laugh hard."

Mitzi Hoag

She was born in 1932 as Margaret Myrtle Hoag, but this Cleveland actress became known as Mitzi Hoag professionally. She was primarily known for her work in television, making over a hundred appearances on the small screen during a lengthy career. Hoag passed away in February 2019 at the age of 86, her family confirmed. "She loved nature and animals, fostering wild birds, taking in strays and volunteering for many environmental and conservation organizations," her obituary revealed.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoag learned how to act at the world renowned Actor's Studio in New York City. She then cut her teeth in off-Broadway productions before heading out west. The aspiring film star arrived in Los Angeles in the late '50s and would eventually land a role in the 1963 Peter Fonda movie Tammy and the Doctor. She worked with Fonda again in 1967's The Trip, but in the years that followed she gravitated toward television.

Of her many TV roles, the one's she'll be best remembered for are Miss Essie, the schoolteacher wife of Bo Svenson's Big Swede on ABC's Here Come the Brides, and Evie Green, the adoptive mother of Mindy Cohn's Natalie Green in NBC's The Facts of Life. She also starred in short-lived CBS sitcom We'll Get By as Liz Platt, wife of lawyer George Platt (Paul Sorvino, pictured above with Hoag). She is survived by her husband of 47 years as well as a daughter, two grandsons, and the "numerous others for whom she was a loving presence," the family said.

Bibi Andersson

Best known for her work with influential Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, screen veteran Bibi Andersson passed away in April 2019. She was 83. "She has been sick for many years, but it is sad," director Christina Olofsson told Stockholm's Aftonbladet (via The Wrap). To simply call Andersson a Bergman collaborator would be a drastic understatement. As one of his muses, she appeared in 10 feature films and three TV movies by the celebrated filmmaker, not to mention a commercial that Bergman was forced to make when times got hard. A 15-year-old Andersson played a fairy-tale princess who gives a young farmer 100 kisses in exchange for soap. It wasn't exactly high art, but it was the start of a long and fruitful relationship.

The Scandinavian star was still acting as recently as 2010 (she reprised the role of Moder Rikissa when Swedish epic Arn was adapted for TV), but she did her most memorable work in the '50s and '60s under Bergman. The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), and Persona (1966) were all dubbed masterpieces by The Guardian, which praised the latter film in particular. "With Persona, Andersson became internationally recognised as a performer capable of great depth and complexity," the British newspaper said in its obituary. Andersson opened up about her relationship with Bergman during her promotion of the movie. "I've been influenced by Bergman's ideas on theatre and on cinema," she told reporters (via Europe of Cultures). "Even if I haven't been influenced in the human sense, if you will, in all of the roles."

Seymour Cassel

A veteran character actor with over 200 screen credits to his name, Seymour Cassel passed away in April 2019 following complications from Alzheimer's disease. Cassel's daughter confirmed the passing of her father, who was 84. Younger film fans will no doubt recognize Cassel from his work with Wes Anderson, but long before he caught the eye of the whimsical director, he was best known for his collaborations with indie auteur John Cassavetes. The inexperienced Cassel made his debut in Cassavetes' Shadows (1958), and when the director decided to move to Los Angeles the following year, he took the actor with him. The arrangement was mutually beneficial — Cassel was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his turn as free-spirited swinger Chet in 1968's Faces, one of Cassavetes' standout films.

The pair went on to work together in 1971's Minnie and Moskowitz, 1974's The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and 1984's Love Streams, but by the mid '80s, Cassel wasn't in a good place. His marriage imploded after he was forced to spend time behind bars on cocaine charges, and the death of Cassavetes in 1989 seemed to be the end of his career. The versatile actor bounced back in 1992, however, delivering a memorable performance in Alexandre Rockwell's The Soup, a performance that would get him noticed by Wes Anderson. Cassel played Jason Schwartzman's dad in 1998's Rushmore, and from then on he became one of Anderson's regular collaborators, later appearing in 2001's The Royal Tenenbaums and 2004's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Georgia Engel

We know that five-time Emmy nominee Georgia Engel passed away in New Jersey during the month of April, though her cause of death remains a mystery. According to her friend and executor John Quilty, Engel was a Christian Scientist and therefore did not seek medical attention when she fell ill, preferring to put her faith in God rather than doctors. "I know the world will be sad and sorry," agent Jacqueline Stander said of the actress, who was 70 (via ABC). "She touched so many people."

Engel was best known for her time on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The Washington-born actress played Georgette, a super sweet girl with a super sweet voice to match. Engel actually spoke in that same high-pitched tone in real life, which was why she used to dread dealing with the press. She was apparently much more comfortable in character. "It was such a magical time, and we made lifelong friends," she said of her The Mary Tyler Moore Show colleagues while speaking to the Denver Post in 2016. "I just happen to be very, very fortunate." 

The actress also had memorable runs on Everybody Loves Raymond and Hot in Cleveland. Tributes began to pop up on Twitter in the hours following Engel's death, with former co-stars and colleagues grieving her loss. "Georgia Engel was the sweetest, kindest, dearest woman, and crazy talented," Hot in Cleveland star Valerie Bertinelli tweeted, while Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal said that "we'll love and miss you and your brilliant talent always."

Mya-Lecia Naylor

There have been some shocking and unexpected deaths in the acting world in 2019, but the case of Mya-Lecia Naylor is particularly heartbreaking. The British actress was just 16 years of age when she died, leaving her family, friends and co-workers devastated. "It is with the deepest sorrow we have to announce that on Sunday 7th April Mya-Lecia Naylor, very sadly, died," London-based theatrical agency A&J Management confirmed in a tweet. "Mya-Lecia was hugely talented and a big part of A&J, we will miss her greatly. Our love and thoughts are with all her family and friends at this difficult time."

Naylor was well-known to kids and parents across the U.K., having starred in two popular shows on CBBC, the children's division of the BBC. When E! News reached out for comment, CBBC director Alice Webb said that they were "distraught and so terribly sad" over Naylor's untimely death. "It's unthinkable that she won't be part of our journey going forward," Webb said. "She was hugely popular with our audience, a very talented actress, dancer and singer, and a real role model for her young fans."

One neighbor told the Daily Mail that Naylor had "collapsed" prior to her passing, but the cause of death remained under investigation until September, when an inquiry concluded that the cause was "misadventure." Sadly, the talented teen appeared to be on the verge of going international when she died. She had a small part in 2012's Cloud Atlas as a kid, but more recently she was part of the pilot for Netflix's adaptation of The Witcher.

Tania Mallet

Tania Mallet only ever starred in one movie, but it was a truly iconic one. The beautiful Brit was earning good money as a model when she was offered the chance to act opposite Sean Connery in 1964's Goldfinger, which wasn't exactly a huge payday for her. "The money was dreadful," she told Bond website MI6 in 2003, revealing that she earned as little as £150 per week on the film. In the end, it was a sacrifice worth making — Goldfinger went on to become one of the most iconic entries in the long-running spy franchise. It was the official 007 Twitter account that announced Mallet's passing on March 31, 2019. She was 77. "We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger has passed away," the tweet read. "Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time." 

One family member who was hit particularly hard by the news was Helen Mirren, Mallet's cousin. "My sister and I grew up with her," Mirren told People. "She showed her Russian heritage in her very beautiful bone structure and eyes, that made her into one of the top models of the early '60s. However she was never vain, but a kind and generous person who used her model earnings to put her half brothers through school." Mallet returned to modeling after her stint as a Bond Girl. "I was always more comfortable in a small studio with just the photographer and his assistant," she told MI6.

Nadja Regin

2019 has not been the best year for Bond Girls. Not long after we lost Tania Mallet, Nadja Regin passed away at the age of 87, the official 007 Twitter account confirmed. Regin played nightclub dancer Bonita in 1964's Goldfinger, her second appearance in the franchise. A year earlier, the Serbian portrayed the mistress of MI6 boss Ali Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love. "I think [Goldfinger] was maybe given to me as compensation because I was meant to have more scenes in From Russia With Love," Regin once told 007 Magazine.

According to the BBC, the multi-lingual Regin (she spoke Serbo-Croat, Russian, English, French and German) moved to the U.K. in the 1950s and appeared in several British films prior to her Bond days. Post-Bond, she worked behind the scenes at fabled horror house Hammer and later co-founded her own publishing company. She released a book in 2016, a WWII-set novel called The Victims and the Fools. Sadly, the actress was able to draw from real life experience. 

In another interview with 007 Magazine, Regin revealed that her father (a Russian lecturer living in Serbia) was murdered by the Germans during a retaliatory massacre. "During the Partisan attack 50 Germans were killed and they took a hundred Serbs for each German killed," Regin recalled. "They collected 5,000 people in all; amongst them was my father. Somebody intervened to try to save him, because he was a Russian emigrant, but he refused to abandon his friends."

Larry 'Flash' Jenkins

His character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off didn't even have a name (he was credited as Attendant's Co-Pilot), but Larry "Flash" Jenkins had one memorable line in John Hughes' coming-of-age classic. Remember the scene in which the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California belonging to Cameron's dad is taken for a joyride by a valet? Jenkins was the guy in the passenger seat. "Yeah, man, we gotta do this again," he says as the pair return the stolen vehicle. That small contribution means Jenkins, who passed away from a heart attack at the age of 63, will always have his place in pop culture history.

Jenkins was represented by Spectrum Global Agency, who confirmed his passing in an email to Entertainment Weekly. "We have represented Larry theatrically for over eight years now," an agency rep said. "He was such a talented actor, producer, and director." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jenkins produced and directed gospel films in the latter stages of his career. In terms of acting, he did way more than just steal a Ferrari.

Outside of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jenkins is best-remembered as Gummy from the Chevy Chase vehicle Fletch (1985). He also popped up in several TV shows over the years, including an early appearance in M.A.S.H. and a stint on the NBC sports drama Bay City Blues. Actor Shavar Ross paid tribute to Jenkins in a tweet, sharing a photo of them together from the 2009 Frank and Son Collectable Show.

Jessie Lawrence Ferguson

Despite his age, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson's death came as a shock to his family. The 76-year-old actor (best known for playing crooked cop Officer Coffey in '90s classic Boyz n the Hood) appeared to be in perfect health when he passed away suddenly at his home in California. Speaking to TMZ, his son Jace revealed that he found his dad next to his bed with the television on. While the cause of death is unknown, sources say the police are not treating it as suspicious. "He was a strong, beautiful intelligent black man and he wanted the best for his son and all people," Jace said of his father. Ferguson's Officer Coffey was not such a nice guy, however. 

The actor was so convincing that his performance later drew comparisons to Samuel Jackson's Stephen from Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. "I feel some type of way about this," one Twitter user said after news of Ferguson's death broke. "Only behind the character Stephen from Django he played the most hated black man in cinema." Coffey wasn't Ferguson's only contribution to cinema, however. After making his debut on a 1979 episode of Starsky and Hutch, he worked steadily in television throughout the 1980s. He made one-off appearances in a number of well-known TV shows of the time, from The A-Team to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Ferguson's other notable film appearances include Prince of Darkness, Darkman, and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

Peter Mayhew

Three years on from the death of R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker, the man who brought Chewbacca to life in the original Star Wars trilogy has also passed away. In a statement, the family of Peter Mayhew confirmed that the towering actor died at his Texas home on April 30, 2019. The statement celebrated Mayhew's life, focusing on the experiences and lifelong friendships that came from his time as part of the Star Wars family. "As the films released and became more well-known he had his eyes opened to the possibilities of what he could achieve," it read. "For more than 30 years Peter traveled all over the world spending time with his fans and friends."

Mayhew did a lot more than just swan around the convention circuit, however. Over the years he became "heavily involved with the 501st Legion, Wounded Warriors, Make-A-Wish, and other non-profit organizations," his family added. This was the man that Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill knew. "He was the gentlest of giants," Hamill said in a tribute tweet. "A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly. I'm grateful for the memories we shared and I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete."

Against all odds, the previously wheelchair-bound Mayhew returned to play Chewbacca in 2015's The Force Awakens, his final on-screen appearance as the iconic Wookiee. He is survived by his wife, Angie Mayhew, and their three children.

Stefanie Sherk

Canadian actress Stefanie Sherk, wife of Oscar-nominee Demian Bichir, passed away "peacefully" in April 2019. The actor confirmed his wife's death in a heartbreaking Instagram post, calling it "the saddest and toughest time" of his life. "We don't know how much time it will take for us to overcome this pain," he captioned a photo of his late partner. "Stefanie's beautiful, angelical and talented presence will be immensely missed." The cause of death was soon confirmed as suicide.

After the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner made the information public, Bichir went into more detail about the "invisible affliction" that Sherk had been dealing with. "It was our hope that we would have some time to heal and grieve before we could talk about this issue that affects way too many people around the globe," the Mexican American actor said in a second (now deleted) Instagram post. "Depression has taken the lives of so many beautiful, wonderful, talented people such as my beloved wife, Stefanie."

Sherk made her feature debut in 2003 with a small role in the rom-com Easy. 2016 was the biggest year of her career — she popped up in CSI: Cyber and played Kay in Bichir's directorial debut, Un Cuento de Circo & A Love SongThe pair last worked together on the Sam Raimi-produced reboot of The Grudge, due for release in 2020.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Ken Kercheval

Indiana-born actor Ken Kercheval, who played oil tycoon Cliff Barnes on the CBS soap opera Dallas for its entire 14-season run, died in April 2019. He had battled lung cancer in the past (the actor had part of one lung removed in 1994 after his diagnosis), but the Frist Funeral Home, which confirmed his passing to Variety, did not give any details on the cause of death. He was 83.

Kercheval worked a number of side jobs as he learned his craft in the early '60s. According to The Guardian, the actor "sold encyclopedias door to door, photographed babies, sold plots at a Jewish cemetery and helped to build sewer tunnels beneath Manhattan" between appearances on the stage. He made his debut on Broadway in 1961, when he played Josh in the musical The Young Abe Lincoln, and he went on to land roles in productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret. He popped up in a number of well-known TV shows during the following decade (he was in multiple episodes of Kojak and Starsky and Hutch) but he'll forever be remembered as Cliff Barnes, the longtime rival of Larry Hagman's J.R. Ewing in Dallas.

The actor's former co-stars paid tribute to him after news of his death was confirmed. Victoria Principal, who played Cliff's sister Pamela Barnes, described Kercheval as "supremely talented, a wonderful storyteller, slyly humorous and always unpredictable," in an Instagram post. The actor is survived by five children from his three marriages.

Pua Magasiva

To international audiences, Samoan-born actor Pua Magasiva was best known for Power Rangers, having portrayed the Red Wind Ranger in the Ninja Storm season of the long-running show. At home in New Zealand, however, he was most recognized as nurse Vinnie Kruse from popular Kiwi soap opera Shortland Street. Magasiva's seven-year run as the character came to a sudden end in May 2019 when he was found dead at his home in Wellington (via Stuff). The circumstances were not suspicious, police said, and the cause of death was not revealed. He was 38.

South Pacific Pictures said that it was "absolutely devastated" in a statement, calling Magasiva "a much loved member of the South Pacific Pictures family." The actor's passing left his family in an "acute stage of grief" (via Otago Daily Times) and his friends took the news hard, too. "My heart goes out to the Magasiva family and the extended television alumni who had the honor of seeing the glint in his eye and the sound of his hearty laugh close hand," actor Shane Cortese said.

Magavisa's Power Rangers co-star Jason Chan also posted a touching tribute, calling him "the center of energy on set and off." Some Power Rangers fans paid their respects by creating compilations of the popular actor's best moments from the show and posting them to YouTube, where Ninja Storm was popular with reviewers. Magavisa is survived by his wife of one year and his daughter from his first marriage.

Peggy Lipton

Actress and former model Peggy Lipton, who first made a name for herself in the late '60s playing hippie cop Julie Barnes in groundbreaking counterculture show The Mod Squad, passed away from cancer in May 2019, her daughters confirmed. In a statement, Parks and Recreation actress Rashida Jones and her sister Kidada (Lipton's children with music mogul ex-husband Quincy Jones) said that their mother passed away surrounded by family at the age of 72. "She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side," the statement read (via Sky). "We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her. We can't put all of our feelings into words right now but we will say: Peggy was, and will always be our beacon of light, both in this world and beyond."

Despite winning a Golden Globe for her work in The Mod Squad, Lipton took a break from acting, sitting out most of the '80s. She re-announced herself on the scene in 1990 when she appeared as Norma Jennings in David Lynch's surreal TV series Twin Peaks. Speaking to the Georgian Journal in 2017 (the year she reprised the role in the critically-acclaimed comeback), Lipton recalled her first meeting with Lynch. "I arrived and he and Mark Frost, his co-writer and producer, sat at a large table with nothing on it but my photo," the actress said. "I shot the pilot and the feeling inside me was pure excitement. I loved being Norma."

Doris Day

Hollywood icon Doris Day died in May 2019, the Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed (via Variety). The singer and actress passed away at her home in Carmel Valley, California. She was 97. 

Born Doris Mary Kappelhoff, Day was a promising dancer as a child, but she had to give it up after a car accident. She was still able to sing, however, and that's what ultimately got her noticed. She almost left Los Angeles after separating from her second husband in 1948, but her agent convinced her to attend a party before leaving, where she ended up meeting composer Jule Styne. Day blew Styne away with her voice, and he put in a good word at Warner Bros. She went on to appear in a succession of period musicals for the studio, including 1953's Calamity Jane, her favorite role.

Day became the archetypal girl-next-door type under Warner Bros., but this wasn't part of some larger gameplan. "There never was any intent on my part either in my acting or in my private life to create any such thing as an image," Day revealed in her autobiography Doris Day: Her Own Story. She moved to Universal in the '60s and appeared in what The Guardian described as "a series of glossy, sex-battle romantic comedies" for the studio, three (including 1959's Pillow Talk, which earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination) opposite Rock Hudson. She was also known for her sitcom The Doris Day Show, which aired on CBS until 1973.

Isaac Kappy

In May 2019, actor Isaac Kappy leapt to his death from a highway bridge. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, two teenagers stopped their car when they saw Kappy perched on the edge and tried to physically restrain him, but were unable to stop him from jumping. He was 42.

"Troopers were called to Interstate 40 eastbound at Transwestern Road for a subject who forced himself off the Transwestern Road bridge onto Interstate 40," Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said in a statement (via People). "He was then struck by a passing car... Mr. Kappy died on-scene." The vehicle that struck Kappy was a Ford pickup truck, leaving him with little chance of survival. What caused him to take his life this way?

Kappy had a small part in Terminator Salvation, popped up as a prisoner in Breaking Bad and played the pet store clerk in Thor, but he hadn't appeared in anything since 2016. In recent years, he'd made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In 2018 he was accused of choking Paris Jackson at a party, and was also investigated over alleged harassment and stalking of actor Seth Green and his wife, Clare. In an Instagram post he made hours before his death, his fragile mental state was clear to see. "I have been a pretty bad guy throughout my life," Kappy wrote.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Barbara Perry

Younger viewers might remember Barbara Perry from How I Met Your Mother, but this star of the stage and screen plied her trade on numerous classic shows over a lengthy career. Perry appeared on The Twilight ZoneThe Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s, and later popped up in long-running '80s hits St. Elsewhere, Newhart, and Quantum Leap. She died of natural causes in May 2019, Deadline confirmed, at the age of 97.

Perry was just four years old when she made her stage debut, appearing in Madame Butterfly at New York's Metropolitan Opera. She was trained in ballet, but the Virginia native always had a passion for tap. "I was born wearing tap shoes," she once said. "I just danced, morning, noon, and night, even wore my tap shoes to bed." Her dancing took her to some of the swankiest clubs around. From London's iconic Café de Paris to the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, Perry performed at all the happening spots, opening for the likes of Lena Horne and Peggy Lee on occasion.

She made her big screen bow in pre-code drama Counsellor at Law in 1933. Perry (who was married to veteran Disney animator Art Babbitt) returned to London in the '50s to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which led to a leading lady role in George Formby musical Zip Goes a Million. "My London career was the most sterling part of my life," she said.

Geneviève Waïte

Geneviève Waïte was perhaps best known for her relationship with John Phillips (member of the Mamas and the Papas), but the South African model-turned-actress had a career of her own. Waïte made her big-screen debut in 1967's The Professor and the Beauty Queena South African drama. The following year she starred in the most notable movie of her career, playing the titular art student in London-set mod culture drama Joanna. "My mother's role in Joanna was groundbreaking for racial divides," said daughter Bijou Phillips, who revealed that the actress "passed away in her sleep" in a statement released to People. She was 71.

"She was a beautiful soul, and born from another planet," the statement read. "Her ideas, her songs, her voice, and her heart beat to a beautiful African rhythm no one else had and I am so thankful she was able to share it. She was a light, a fairy, and a gift of a creature... She was like a child in a way, who was too smart for her own good." The multi-talented Waïte went on to release music in the '70s. With Phillips' help, she recorded the album Romance Is on the Rise, dubbed "a masterpiece of music" by their proud daughter.

Bijou has happily followed in her mother's footsteps, dabbling in modeling and music as well as some acting. She had a complicated relationship with her late father, however — she filed for emancipation at the age of 14.

Lisa Sheridan

She was probably best-known for her engagement to Office Space star Ron Livingston at one stage (the pair met on the set of 2000's Beat), but Lisa Sheridan managed to hold her own in the industry after they split in 2003. She made appearances in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Without a Trace the following year, and in 2005 joined the cast of Invasion, starring in the ABC mystery series for two seasons. She would go on to land various supporting parts in a number of TV shows, but Invasion turned out to be an early peak in a career cut short.

In February 2019, Sheridan's manager confirmed that the actress had passed away, aged just 44. "We all loved Lisa very much and are devastated by the loss we all feel," Mitch Clem told People. "She passed away Monday morning, at home, in her apartment in New Orleans. We are waiting for a coroners report on cause of death." Former co-star Donna D'Errico paid tribute to Sheridan in a Facebook post, while filmmaker, journalist, and longtime friend Michael Dunaway lamented her loss on Instagram.

The wording of Dunaway's post apparently led some to believe that Sheridan took her own life (the director said he was comforted by the fact that she had left her "struggles and pain and grief" behind), but relatives have strongly denied this was the case. "The family has unequivocally confirmed that this is not a suicide," Clem's statement continued. "Any suggestion to the contrary is absolutely, 100 percent unfounded."

Gloria Vanderbilt

Manhattan-born railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt passed away at her New York home in June 2019, friends and family by her side. She had recently been diagnosed with an advanced form of stomach cancer, her son (CNN's Anderson Cooper) confirmed. She was 95.

Vanderbilt began her acting career in 1957, but she was already well-known by the time she made her debutShe was just 10 years old when she became the subject of a high-profile court battle between her widowed mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and her paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, both of whom sought "custody of her and control over her trust fund," as Deadline put it.

Vanderbilt set out to prove she was more than the "poor little rich girl" portrayed by the newspaper headlines. She landed roles on several Golden Era anthology shows during the late '50s and early '60s, including Studio One in Hollywood, Shirley Temple's Storybook and The Dick Powell Theatre, establishing herself as an actress. She also appeared in Adventures in Paradise, an exotic ABC show about a Korean War vet living in the Pacific, and The Love Boat, a cruise ship-set comedy that ran from 1977 to 1987.

She was known for much more than her acting, however, and her son was keen to highlight this in his statement. "Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms," Cooper said. "She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend."

Carmine Caridi

New Yorker Carmine Caridi, who played Carmine Rosato in The Godfather: Part II and Albert Volpe in The Godfather: Part III, died in May 2019. The actor, who was 85, was hospitalized after a fall and later developed pneumonia. "From Broadway, to film and television, Carmine spent over six decades entertaining audiences, and nothing made him happier," his manager said in a statement to TMZ. "His talent, wit, warmth and charm will be missed. Carmine passed peacefully, surrounded by friends and family."

Outside of the Godfather franchise, Caridi's most notable movie role was Brad Shirk, one of the two contractors working on Tom Hanks and Shelley Long's house in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit. He also plied his trade on a number of classic TV shows over the years (Starsky and Hutch, Fame and NYPD Blue to name but a few) and was still working before his fall — he made his last-ever appearance in a 2019 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He never did get the chance to make up with the Academy, however.

In 2004, Caridi was expelled for sharing VHS screeners. "I was doing a guy a favor and he screwed me," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Perhaps Carmine's biggest regret was his involvement in a scandal that left him expelled from The Motion Picture Academy," the late actor's manager said. "While exonerated by police and the FBI, Carmine was always deeply saddened by what had transpired."

Sylvia Miles

Famed New York socialite and two-time Oscar nominee Sylvia Miles passed away in an ambulance en route to a Manhattan hospital in June, 2019. She was 94. Speaking to Page Six, actress Geraldine Smith revealed that Miles had recently moved out of a care home. "She didn't want to die there," Smith, a longtime friend, said. "We went out for a big lunch to celebrate her coming home. She was very excited and telling us to order whatever we wanted. 'Order drinks; order desserts!' We had a wonderful time."

Miles was well-known for being the life of the party and was frequently spotted at swanky social events with fellow New York resident Andy Warhol. Speaking to People in 1976, the Greenwich Villager revealed that she was always on the guest list for the top soirées because she knew how to have a good time. "I get invited because I'm fun," she told the first celebrity magazine, which was only two years old at the time. "I have a good sense of humor. I look good. I'm not bad to have at a party." 

One of her most notable films (1972's Heat) was produced by Warhol, but Miles will no doubt be best remembered for her sassy turns in 1969's Midnight Cowboy and 1975's Farewell, My Lovely. Amazingly, she was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for both movies, despite only being onscreen for a combined total of 11 minutes.

Leo the cat

Leo, the animal actor who starred as reanimated cat Church in the 2019 adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Sematary, passed away just weeks after the movie was released. Animal trainer Kirk Jarrett decided to adopt the Maine Coon cat (who was more cute than creepy in real life) after working with him on the horror film, setting up an Instagram account to keep fans up to date with little Leo. It was via this dedicated account that the public learned of his death. "It is with deep sadness that we tell you that Leo has passed away," the post read. "He will be forever missed by his human and fur family. May his star always shine bright."

Church was actually played by four different cats, but Leo was the stand-out. Speaking to the A.V. Club prior to Leo's passing, Kirk Jarrett called the super furry feline a "confident sit-stay cat" who was just perfect for the part. "That was his whole purpose, to be the poster child," the trainer said. "The cat you see all across the different platforms, and in the trailer, almost any time he's in the undead makeup — that was Leo."

Tributes to Leo started to appear on social media when word of his passing spread. Lorenzo the Cat (another famous Maine Coon) said that it was "such sad news," and he wasn't the only Twitter user to take it badly.

Cameron Boyce

He was just 20 when he passed away in his sleep following a seizure, but Cameron Boyce was "already a veteran to show business," Disney said in a statement. The actor (whose death was linked to an ongoing medical condition, his family confirmed) played the mischievous Luke Ross in almost 100 episodes of Mouse House series Jessie, and later portrayed Carlos De Vil (son of Cruella) in the Descendants franchise. The California native also popped up in a number of adult orientated projects — he was in K-horror remake Mirrors (2008), and he also appeared in Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups (2010) as well as its 2012 sequel, playing the star's son. Boyce's last project was Mrs. Fletcher, an HBO comedy series that's due for release in Fall 2019.

"From a young age, Cameron Boyce dreamed of sharing his extraordinary artistic talents with the world," a Disney Channel spokesperson told CNN on behalf of the family. "He was an incredibly talented performer, a remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated son, brother, grandson and friend. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, castmates and colleagues and join his many millions of fans in grieving his untimely passing. He will be dearly missed."

Those who knew Boyce professionally took to social media to share their shock and grief. "Too young. Too sweet. Too funny," a broken-hearted Adam Sandler said (via People). "Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around. Loved that kid."

Rip Torn

He played founding MiB member Zed in 1997's Men in Black, but Rip Torn will always be remembered as producer Artie from The Larry Sanders Show. "The Emmy-winning performance was perhaps the best representation of Torn's unusual blend of toughness and tender sentimentality, a turn that was as often profane as it was unexpectedly moving," Variety said after Torn's passing in July 2019. According to his publicist (via The Hollywood Reporter), the Texas-born actor passed away peacefully at his home in Connecticut. He was 88.

Torn was nominated for an Emmy for every single season he appeared on The Larry Sanders Show (he plied his trade on the HBO series between 1992-1998), and he got another nod in 2008 after a memorable guest appearance on 30 Rock, playing Jack Donaghy's (Alec Baldwin) boss, Don Geiss. His work on the big screen was lauded, too. The multi-talented Torn was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category after portraying Mary Steenburgen's shotgun-happy dad in 1984's Cross Creek. The actor was familiar with firearms in real life, too — in 2010, he broke into a bank after hours while drunk, a loaded revolver in hand.

This was just one of many incidents that gave Torn his reputation as a troublemaker, but he never let that bother him. "What do they say about all the guys that are tremendous actors?" he once told The New York Times. "Don't they say they have a volatile temper and emotions? Yeah, sure they do!"

Denise Nickerson

Denise Nickerson retired from acting at age 21 to concentrate on a career in nursing, but she'll always be remembered for her iconic turn in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The New Yorker played gum-chewing preteen Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic novel, the second Golden Ticket winner to fall foul of the fanciful factory owner's inventions when Wonka's magic gum turns her into a human blueberry. The former actress suffered a devastating stroke in 2018, and complications left her in a coma-like state. She passed away in July 2019 after being removed from life-support, her family confirmed. She was 62.

"She's gone," her son Josh said (via Variety). "They just took off all the equipment. None of it was helping, but making her only more uncomfortable. We're telling her it's okay to let go." Sadly, Josh and his wife, Jasmine, were expecting a baby girl at the time. "He is just coming to terms with the reality of the situation and doesn't know how to process it," Jasmine said of her grieving husband. "He says to me a few minutes ago that she won't ever get to see or hold or know her granddaughter."

Nickerson was also known for her time as a member of the Short Circus on The Electric Company. She was apparently in contention to play Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist (her mother said no after seeing the script), and she reportedly auditioned for the part of Princess Leia, too.

Rutger Hauer

Best-known to international audiences for his engrossing performance as Blade Runner antagonist Roy Batty, Rutger Hauer passed away in July 2019 after a short illness, his agent confirmed (via Variety). He was 75.

Blade Runner was Hauer's second American movie, though he was already a veteran in the Netherlands by that stage. The towering Dutchman entered the industry after serving in the military (he ran away from home at age 15 to join the merchant navy), striking up a fruitful working relationship with his compatriot, Paul Verhoeven. The auteur cast him in the eponymous role for his TV series Floris (1969) and they would later work together on period drama Katie Tippel (1975), WWII epic Soldier of Orange (1977) and art-house drama Spetters (1980).

1982's Blade Runner was a critical flop upon release, but went on to become a cult classic. Hauer's "tears in the rain" monologue (which he wrote himself) is now considered an iconic moment in the history of cinema, a perfect example of his "gentle giant" nature. "I don't know who was more nervous on that first morning of the first day on set," director Ridley Scott said (via Entertainment Weekly). "We helped each other through the entire process because it was very challenging. I'll miss him."

Hauer became a prolific character actor in the years that followed, popping up in Sin City, Batman BeginsTrue Blood and countless genre films. He's survived by wife of 50 years, Ineke ten Cate, and daughter, actress Ayesha Hauer.

Stephanie Niznik

Maine-born actress Stephanie Niznik passed away unexpectedly in California on June 23, 2019. She was 52.

Niznik majored in Russian and theater and would go on to hone her acting skills at the California Institute of the Arts. After graduating from Cal Arts she landed a part in the Dan Aykroyd-led comedy Exit to Eden (1994), her feature film debut. Niznik became a TV regular in the years that followed, holding down recurring roles in Vanishing SonDiagnosis Murder, and Life Is Wild. She was perhaps best-known for her time on the WB show Everwood, in which she portrayed caring next door neighbor Nina Feeney.

"She continued that role off-screen by being an incredible friend, a nurturing mother figure to our younger cast members and an artist who brought warmth, compassion and humor to every episode and our set," Everwood creator Greg Berlanti and showrunner Rina Mimoun said in a joint statement following her shocking death (via TV Insider). "Everyone who was lucky enough to know and work with her will miss her dearly." Niznik was also well-known to Star Trek fans ⁠— she played Trill Starfleet officer Kell Perim in 1998 feature film Star Trek: Insurrection. She also later popped up in the Star Trek: Enterprise TV series, appearing as a humanoid Wraith in season one episode "Rogue Planet".

According to Variety, the actress is survived by "her mother and stepfather; brother and sister-in-law; her niece and nephews; aunt and uncle; and her beloved dogs Nucleus and Jake."

Russi Taylor

You might not recognize her face, but chances are you've heard her voice on countless occasions, especially if you're a Disney fan. Versatile voice actress Russi Taylor had almost 200 credits to her name when she passed away on July 26, 2019. She was 75. 

Taylor worked on a number of huge franchises in a career spanning four decades, including The Simpsons (she voiced Martin Prince), but she'll always be remembered as the voice of Minnie Mouse. For over 30 years Taylor voiced the iconic Disney character in everything from TV shows and movies to theme park attractions, making her "a Disney legend beloved by fans everywhere," Mouse House chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

"Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor," Iger added. "We're so grateful for Russi's talent as well as the tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did. It was a privilege to have known her and an honor to have worked with her, and we take comfort in the knowledge that her work will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come."

In a fairy tale worthy of Disney, Taylor fell head over heels for Mickey Mouse voice actor Wayne Allwine, who she married in 1991. She once told Variety that they rarely left each other's side. "Someone once said to us, 'What's wrong with you guys? Are you attached at the hip?' I said, 'No, we're attached at the heart.'"

Gabe Khouth

Canadian actor Gabe Khouth, who appeared in over 40 episodes of Once Upon a Time, passed away in July 2019 after going into cardiac arrest while riding his beloved motorcycle. "He went out doing what he loved and he's at peace now," Khouth's brother, Sam Vincent, revealed in a video posted to Twitter. He was 46.

Khouth was best-known for playing Sneezy (a.k.a Mr. Clark) in the aforementioned ABC fantasy drama, but he had a number of other notable appearances to his name. As a teen he played minor roles in the original 21 Jump Street and the TV adaptation of Stephen King's IT, and he went on to establish himself as a reliable voice actor in the years that followed, providing vocals on Ninja Turtles: The Next MutationX-Men: EvolutionStargate: Infinity, and Dragon Ball Z, to name but a few. More recent roles include guest spots on shows like SupernaturaliZombie, and Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

"Gabe has contributed to our industry in so many different ways as an entertainer, voice over artist, actor and creative soul," Khouth's agent Natasha Trisko Pezzente said in a statement (via Today). "He was a client and friend and he will be dearly missed by all the lives he has touched and will always be in our hearts." Actor and comedian Peter Kelamis paid tribute to his fallen friend in a heartfelt tweet, calling him a "kind soul" who never failed to "put a smile on everyone's face."

Charles Levin

The body of missing 70-year-old Charles Levin was found in a remote area of Oregon in July 2019, according to authorities. An appeal was launched after Levin, who was in the process of moving home, failed to contact family for several days. He was "almost always in the company of his fawn-colored pug dog, Boo Boo Bear," the local department of public safety advised (via The Independent). Sadly, neither Levin nor Boo Boo Bear were found in time.

A local resident spotted the actor's orange Fiat on an "almost impassable road," and State Troopers discovered his deceased dog inside. Human remains believed to belong to Levin were found nearby a few hours later. "Based on the circumstances, there is a high probability that the remains are those of Charles Levin," the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

Levin appeared in a number of movies and TV shows over the course of a career that began in the mid-'70s. He had minor roles in Woody Allen classics Annie Hall and Manhattan, and later played the manager of Disc'n'Dat in cult mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Levin was best-known for a memorable guest appearance in a 1993 episode of Seinfeld — he played the mohel that cuts the titular character's finger during a clumsy circumcision.

He's survived by daughter, Kate, and sons, Ben and Jesse. The latter doesn't suspect foul play. "I have no suspicions that this is anything other than a tragic accident," Jesse told RadarOnline.

Richard Carter

Australian character actor Richard Carter passed away in July 2019 after a short illness. "He was an esteemed actor, a storyteller, and someone who touched the lives of many," Carter's agency said in a statement (via The Sydney Morning Herald). "His generosity knew no bounds and his loss is too great to quantify. He will be sorely missed." He was 65.

Carter became a fixture on Australian TV over the course of a four-decade career, but internationally, he was best-known for his big screen collaborations with director George Miller. The Sydney-born actor played the detective in Babe: Pig in the City, worked on both Happy Feet movies, and delivered a memorable performance in 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, his final movie.

Carter played The Bullet Farmer in Miller's critically acclaimed return to the Mad Max universe. His maniacal character is instantly blinded but, undeterred by a lack of vision, charges forward with machine guns in each hand. The experience of filming in the deserts of Namibia was one that Carter cherished. Speaking to The Guardian, he recalled walking through a flock of "one and a half million greater and lesser flamingos," which was "the most awe-inspiring thing I think I have ever done in my life, apart from marrying my wife and the birth of our child."

Aussie comedian Julia Morris called Carter a "true gentleman," while fellow comic Adam Hills called him a "giant of Australian comedy." Carter is survived by his wife, Lindsey, and daughter, Amy.

David Hedison

Rhode Island-born actor David Hedison, known for his starring role in cult sci-fi show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, died in July 2019. Hedison "passed away peacefully" with his daughters by his side, his family confirmed. "Even in our deep sadness, we are comforted by the memory of our wonderful father," Hedison's daughters, Alexandra and Serena, said in a statement (via Deadline). "He loved us all dearly and expressed that love every day. He was adored by so many, all of whom benefitted from his warm and generous heart." He was 92.

Hedison studied under the legendary Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse and the equally revered Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio. He cut his teeth in a number of Off Broadway productions in the 1950s, and his Hollywood career began in earnest in '58 when he starred as ill-fated scientist Andre Delambre in the original version of The Fly. He worked steadily in the decades that followed, notably appearing as CIA agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond flicks (1973's Live and Let Die and 1989's Licence to Kill), but it was his turn as the dashing Captain Lee B. Crane in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968) that he'll be best remembered for.

When he spoke to Diabolique Magazine in 2013, Hedison revealed that he assumed Voyage would be canceled after the first episode. "But no, the show lasted four years with 110 episodes," he said. "Go figure. That's showbiz!"

Valerie Harper

TV star Valerie Harper, best known for playing brash window dresser Rhoda Morgenstern in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and itsspin-off series Rhoda, died on August 30, 2019. "My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06 a.m., after years of fighting cancer," her husband said in a statement, shared via their daughter's Twitter account. "She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria." She was 80.

Harper began her career on the stage, but the New Yorker wasn't spotted on Broadway. The actress got her big break when casting director and CBS vice president Ethel Winant saw her in a little production in Los Angeles. Winant asked Harper to audition for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the rest is history. "It was the easiest, most pleasant audition process I ever went through, and it had this extraordinary outcome," Harper told the Archive of American Television in 2009. "It was the wind in the sails of my entire career."

Harper became one of the biggest sitcom stars of the '70s playing the title character's unlikely best friend, and viewers got to know more about Rhoda Morgenstern when her own show debuted. The actress won a Golden Globe for her work in Rhoda, which ran from 1974 until 1978. Harper revealed that the show's cancellation halfway through its fifth season was her "biggest regret" in her book (via The Hollywood Reporter). Her final credit was a voice role in American Dad!.

Barry Coe

Actor Barry Coe died after a "courageous battle" with myelodysplastic syndrome, his family confirmed (via Idaho Mountain Express). The bone marrow disease took his life in August 2019. He was 84.

Born Barry Clark Heacock, Coe spent much of his childhood traveling with family in the United States and Canada. He went to high school in New Mexico and continued his studies at the University of Southern California. His career in Hollywood began with uncredited roles in '50s flicks House of BambooHow to Be Very, Very Popular; and D-Day the Sixth of June. He started to move up the industry ladder when he won a part in Elvis Presley's big screen debut Love Me Tender, which came out the year before Peyton Placehis best-known picture.

In 1960, Coe won the Golden Globe Award for most promising male newcomer after impressing in the musical comedy A Private's Affair. A few years later, he appeared in an episode of the then-fledgling Bonanza and was reportedly being considered as a replacement for series regular Pernell Roberts. According to Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa, the idea was shot down by series co-star Michael Landon, who was "jealous" of Coe and "considered him to be competition." His final film appearance was 1978's Jaws 2 in which he played Tom Andrews, the diver who suffers an embolism when he rushes to the surface too fast after seeing the shark.

Coe is survived by his wife of 60 years, three children, and ten grandchildren.

Barbara March

Those partial to easily-digestible cop dramas might recognize Barbara March from one-off roles in Night Heat and L.A. Law, but to sci-fi fans, she'll always be remembered for her contribution to the Star Trek franchise. The Canadian played formidable Klingon officer Lursa, the mastermind behind the House of Duras' drive to lead the Klingon Empire. The convention regular passed away in August 2019, her husband Alan Scarfe (who also guested on Star Trek) confirmed.

"My beloved Barbara, my partner in all things for more than forty years, passed through eternity's gate yesterday evening after a cruel battle with cancer," Scarfe said in a statement posted to Facebook. "She was wise and compassionate and beautiful and her brilliance, kindness and perspicacity touched many... all her family and friends will miss her terribly. But now, I know, she is truly free to dance."

March portrayed Lursa in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "Redemption," "Redemption, Part II," and "Firstborn;" the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Past Prologue;" and the 1994 feature film Star Trek Generations. She took on the role for the final time in 1998 when she voiced Lursa for the video game Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard.

"We have lost my (Duras) sister," Gwynyth Walsh, who played March's younger Klingon sibling B'Etor, said via her Facebook fan page. "She was a wonderful actress, filled with passion. Her heart was as big as the world. May choirs of angels sing her to her rest."

Peter Fonda

Veteran actor Peter Fonda, a member of one of Hollywood's most famous families and the star of counterculture classic Easy Rider, died of lung cancer in August 2019. He was 79. "I am very sad," his sister Jane Fonda said in a statement (via Variety). "He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing."

Fonda made his TV debut in 1962 with an appearance in the ahead-of-its-time cop drama Naked City, but it was 1966's The Wild Angels that set him on his trajectory towards stardom. Fonda co-starred with Nancy Sinatra and Bruce Dern in the Roger Corman-directed Hells Angels flick, and it was apparently a poster for this movie that gave him the idea for 1969's Easy Rider. "I understood immediately just what kind of motorcycle, sex, and drug movie I should make next," Fonda claimed in his 1998 autobiography Don't Tell Dad, his dad being legend of the stage and screen Henry Fonda.

The press predicted big things for Fonda in the wake of Easy Rider, but he wouldn't become a critical darling again until 1997, when he turned in an outstanding performance in family drama Ulee's Gold, earning a second Oscar nomination. Ten years later, he appeared in the Nicolas Cage-led Ghost Rider movie and played a bounty hunter in Western remake 3:10 to Yuma. 

Fonda is survived by his two children, Justin and Bridget, and his wife, Parky.

John Wesley

Louisiana native John Wesley passed away in September 2019 after a long battle with cancer, his manager, Gerry Pass, confirmed to USA Today"John Wesley was a gift to the world, for his kindness and grace are immortalized in his works of theatre, TV and film," Pass said in the statement. "I am heartbroken to have lost a dear friend today." Wesley had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that's formed by malignant plasma cells. He was 72.

Wesley had over a hundred acting credits to his name at the time of his death. He made his debut in 1963 as a policeman in My Three Sons, a long-running family comedy that began its life on ABC. He popped up in a few feature films during the '90s (most notably Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and The Little Rascals), but Wesley would become best known for his roles on the small screen. He played Streets Walker in the short-lived Dirty Dancing series, and he also appeared in the likes of The Man From U.N.C.L.EKnight Rider, and Baywatch. He will no doubt be remembered for his memorable appearance in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — he played the irritating doctor who gets punched in the face by Uncle Phil in the second episode of season 2.

Wesley served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam war, according to The Hollywood ReporterHe's survived by his wife, his mother, his two daughters, his stepson, and his grandchildren.

Robert Axelrod

Robert Axelrod passed away in Los Angeles in September 2019, his agent confirmed. "It is with great sadness that I must tell you that Robert passed away. He was a wonderful soul whose charismatic personality lit up a room. He will be greatly missed." He was 70 years old.

Axelrod transitioned from music to acting in the 1980s. He had a supporting role in the 1988 remake of The Blob, but he was best known for his work as a voice actor. The former guitarist made his debut in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, voicing Brainy Smurf in the 1983 U.S. version. He went on to voice over 150 characters in the years that followed, working on everything from the English dub of anime classic Akira to the animated Spider-Man series, but Axelrod was most recognized for Power Rangers — he voiced the villainous Lord Zedd in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. He reprised the role on numerous occasions, including 1995's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.

Besides Power Rangers, the New Yorker was a hero to Digimon fans, having voiced Armadillomon in the series and the movie. In terms of live-action TV, Axelrod played a Paul McCartney lookalike in Family Matters and also popped up in Star Trek: Voyager. He was a convention regular and absolutely loved meeting his fans. "Each fan is a new experience for me," he said at Anime Expo 2009. "I get a lot of joy out of seeing them."

Carol Lynley

Model turned Hollywood actress Carol Lynley passed away in September 2019. The New York native died after suffering a heart attack in her Los Angeles home, friend and actor Trent Dolan confirmed (via Variety). She was 77.

Lynley started modeling for Sears as a child. By the age of 15, she had appeared on the cover of Life magazine. She made her TV debut in 1956 when she appeared on the show Goodyear Playhouse, and she went on to land a role in the 1958 Disney flick The Light in the Forest. That same year, she played a pregnant 15-year-old girl desperately seeking an abortion in James Leo Herlihy's play, Blue Denim. Her career took off when she reprised the role for the big screen adaptation, even though it was heavily watered down compared to the Broadway version (the word "abortion" isn't mentioned once and, unlike the play, she has her baby).

As an adult, she appeared in films like the Laurence Olivier-led psychological thriller Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) and the horror comedy The Cat and the Canary (1978), but she was best known for her turn as cruise ship singer Nonnie Parry in the '70s disaster flick The Poseidon Adventure. "It was the most physically demanding role you can possibly imagine," Lynley said (via The Guardian). "We had to swim underwater, climb across tiny catwalks, walk over flames. They hosed us down at least 20 times a day. And there were no safety precautions for the first two weeks of shooting."

Brian Turk

Veteran TV actor Brian Turk died of complications from cancer in September 2019, his rep revealed to TMZHe was 49.

Turk was diagnosed with brain cancer a year before his passing, though he kept the devastating news to himself for as long as he possibly could. "Being the selfless and private person that he is, Brian kept this quiet so as not to concern his family and friends," a GoFundMe page set up to help raise funds for treatment confirmed. "Brian has impacted so many of us in a positive way whether it be on the football field, at Mater Dei or USC, on stage or in our personal lives. He has always been there for us in our times of need and celebration." Carlos Marlene Montiel, who organized the GoFundMe campaign, has asked for continued support now that Turk has passed away. The actor is survived by his wife and 8-year-old son.

Turk appeared in a number of big shows during his lifetime, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Beverly Hills, 90210; Two and a Half Men; ER; NCIS; Criminal Minds; General Hospital; and Boy Meets World. He was best known for playing professional strong man Gabriel in HBO's Emmy Award-winning series, Carnivàle. The hulking actor was also a favorite of Steven Spielberg, who cast Turk in minor roles on more than one occasion. The Colorado-native played an InGen employee in 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park and also popped up in 2001's A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

Aron Eisenberg

Hollywood native Aron Eisenberg, best known for playing Nog in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, passed away in September 2019 at age 50. "He was an intelligent, humble, funny, emphatic soul," his widow Malissa Longo wrote in a Facebook post, describing Eisenberg as her "love and best friend." She went on to say, "He sought to live his life with integrity and truth. He was so driven to put the best he had into whatever work was put before him. He lived his life with such vigor and passion."

Eisenberg stood five feet tall. According to Variety, the actor was born with just one kidney and received two kidney transplants during his lifetime. His kidney problems reportedly stunted his growth — though according to his former colleagues, he had a giant personality. "He was a man of conviction and enormous sensitivity and the best of humanity," Armin Shimmerman, who played Nog's uncle Quark in Deep Space Nine, said in a tweet. Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys) also took to Twitter to react, calling Eisenberg "one of the bravest people I knew," as did original Enterprise captain William Shatner. "I am sorry to hear of this, he was young," Shatner said. "Condolences to his wife Malissa and family."

Eisenberg appeared as Nog (the first Ferengi to enter Starfleet) in all seven seasons of Deep Space Nine, and he also had a guest spot on Star Trek: Voyager, playing Kazon warrior Karden. Other notable screen credits include The Wonder Years and The Secret World of Alex Mack.

Suzanne Whang

Actress and TV personality Suzanne Whang passed away in September 2019 after a 13-year battle with breast cancer, her partner Jeff Vezain confirmed. Whang was diagnosed with the disease in 2006 and remained open about it in the years that followed, keeping her fans up to date via social media right up until the end. She was 56. "She confronted cancer with courage, humor, determination and optimism," Vezain said in a Facebook post (via Variety). "Her audacious sense of humor blessed many, shocked a few, but allowed us to laugh in the face of adversity."

Whang studied psychology at Yale and Brown University before she got involved with acting in the 1990s. She appeared in minor roles in a number of TV shows, from NYPD Blue and Criminal Minds to Dexter, Two and a Half Men, and Arrested Development. She often plied her trade in medical shows, with credits in Strong MedicineNip/Tuck, and long-running ABC soap General Hospital, in which she played Carol Chang.

She had a few movies on her resumé, too (most notably the 2005 Keanu Reeves-led adaptation of Marvel comic book Constantine), but Whang was best known as the host of HGTV show House Hunters. "Suzanne was warm, funny and kind with a distinctive voice that made everyone feel at home," the network said in a statement following her passing. "Our HGTV family mourns her loss and wishes to express deepest condolences to her friends, fans and family who knew and loved her."

Sid Haig

California-born actor Sid Haig, best known for his collaborations with horror director Rob Zombie, died from a lung infection in September 2019. According to Variety, Haig suffered a fall in the weeks before his passing, which led to serious breathing complications. He was 80.

"On Saturday, September 21, 2019, my light, my heart, my true love, my King, the other half of my soul, Sidney, passed from this realm on to the next," Haig's wife Susan L. Oberg said in an Instagram post. "He has returned to the Universe, a shining star in her heavens. He was my angel, my husband, my best friend and always will be. He adored his family, his friends and his fans. This came as a shock to all of us."

Haig began his career in 1960 with a short film named "The Host" and went on to appear in a number of much-loved TV shows in the decade that followed, including Batman, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible. He starred opposite Pam Greer in a number of Jack Hill blaxploitation films during the late 1960s and '70s, and he popped up in George Lucas' feature-length debut, THX 1138. In later life, he worked with Quentin Tarantino (Jackie BrownKill Bill: Vol 2), but Haig will be best remembered for playing the clown makeup-wearing Captain Spaulding in the gruesome Rob Zombie flicks House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil's Rejects (2005) and, most recently, 3 From Hell (2019).

Robert Garrison

West Virginia native Robert Garrison, best known for playing Tommy in the Karate Kid movies and recent revival series Cobra Kai, died in September 2019. His family told TMZ that kidney and liver problems had kept the actor hostpitalized for over a month prior to his passing. He was 59. "My brother was a fun-loving guy," Garrison's brother, Patrick, said. "He enjoyed people and he enjoyed life. He liked to have fun and make people laugh up until the very end. He will definitely be missed."

Garrison's career began in the late '70s with an appearance in Christopher Lee-led Canadian sci-fi flick Starship Invasions. He landed roles in a number of popular TV shows throughout the 1980s (most notably The Littlest HoboMacGyver, and Columbo), but he'll be forever remembered for 1984's The Karate Kid. His character Tommy was a member of the Cobra Kai dojo, where a dishonorable form of karate is taught. Garrison (who had one of the film's most iconic lines: "Get him a body bag!") played a supporting villain in the franchise, but according to star Ralph Macchio, he was one of the good guys in real life.

"Rob Garrison was a kind gentleman from the 1st day I met him to the last day we spoke," Macchio tweeted. "I am so glad he had the opportunity to show his range & genuine heart w/his performance last season on Cobra Kai. His campfire scene was of my favs of Season 2. RIP my friend."

Linda Porter

Film and TV actress Linda Porter, best known for playing Myrtle Vartanian in NBC sitcom Superstore, passed away in September 2019 after a long battle with cancer. She was 86. "The Superstore team lost one of its best members," co-star Lauren Ash said in a tweet. "Always funny, always vibrant and ALWAYS enthusiastic. I don't know that anyone loved our show more than Linda. Both you and Myrtle will be deeply missed."

The Cleveland native's screen career began in the 1980s, when she was already well into her 50s. She made her debut in the first season of CBS fantasy drama Beauty and the Beast in 1988, and she popped up in her first-ever movie that same year, playing the painter in Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito comedy Twins. She would go on to land comedic supporting roles in a few more movies in the decades that followed, including Dude, Where's My Car? and, more recently, The House. But for the most part, Porter plied her trade on the small screen.

Her TV credits include the likes of FrasierRoseanneER, The X Files, Melrose Place, Malcolm in the Middle, Gilmore Girls, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother and American Horror Story — she was in controversial first season episode "Piggy Piggy," in which Evan Peters' Tate Langdon carries out a school shooting. She also appeared in the critically acclaimed revival of David Lynch's surreal cult show Twin Peaks as a disheveled and malnourished woman with a gambling addiction.

Rip Taylor

Flamboyant comedian and actor Rip Taylor, known for his love of tossing confetti, passed away in October 2019, his publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed (via The New York Times). According to Boll, Taylor suffered a seizure and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he later died. He was 88. "The greatest joy Rip had in life was from the result of making others laugh," Boll said. "He didn't have an easy childhood. Abused and bullied, he said he discovered early that they weren't hitting you if they were laughing."

Taylor turned his love of making other people laugh into a career in entertainment. His madcap behavior played well on game shows like The Hollywood Squares and Match Game, and he was often seen on the biggest variety shows of his time, including The David Frost Show, The Dean Martin Show and The Merv Griffin Show. His signature gag was born during an appearance on Griffin's show. "I was dying like hell on Merv Griffin's show," Taylor told TV historian Kliph Nesteroff in 2011. "The jokes were dumb, and I tore the five-by-eight cards, threw them up in the air and it became confetti."

The King of Confetti (one of Taylor's many nicknames) went on to appear in several movies in the decades that followed, often playing himself. Taylor plied his trade in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Wayne's World 2 (1993), The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) and often popped up in the Jackass franchise.

Diahann Carroll

Renowned actress Diahann Carroll, the first African-American woman to play a non-servant lead role in a TV series, passed away in October 2019. Carroll's daughter confirmed her death to the Associated Pressrevealing that the Oscar nominee and Tony Award winner had sadly succumbed to cancer. She was 84.

Carroll will be best remembered for her pioneering role in NBC's Julia, in which she played the titular character, a nurse whose husband was killed in the Vietnam War. Network execs were reportedly nervous about rolling out the show at the time (the sitcom premiered in 1968, a year "marked by protests, riots and deadly encounters between black citizens and police," per The Washington Post), but it was met with critical acclaim. The show did have some detractors, however. There were those who claimed that Julia Baker was an unrealistic character, but Carroll disputed this during an interview she gave in 1998. "They said it was a fantasy," she said. "All of this was untrue. Much about the character of Julia I took from my own life, my family."

Even if Julia Baker didn't represent a typical black woman in the late 1960s, the actress who brought her to life most certainly inspired the next generation. "Diahann Carroll walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep," director Ava DuVernay tweeted. "An icon. One of the all-time greats." Carroll's last appearance was in the 2016 film The Masked Saint. Other notable credits include Dynasty and Grey's Anatomy.

Lewis Dauber

Character actor Lewis Dauber passed away at his home in the Pacific Palisades in October 2019. Dauber died of liver cancer, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed. He was 70.

Dauber was born in New York in 1949, but moved to California to study. After earning a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, he landed a gig selling traveler's checks. He didn't start acting until the '80s, making his debut in a 1984 episode of M*A*S*H spin-off AfterMASH. The following year he appeared in The A-Team, and the year after that he popped up in The Twilight Zone, just two of the many well-known shows Dauber acted in over the course of his three-decade career.

Before long he'd become the industry's go-to priest — Dauber played a man of the cloth in numerous shows, including (but not limited to) Diagnosis MurderThe Bernie Mac Show, The LeagueMelrose PlaceNYPD Blue and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Dauber was more than just a rent-a-priest, however. He appeared in feature films like Jingle All The Way and The Island, and in later life he decided to resume his studies, earning a master's from Mount St. Mary's. According to Variety, he taught humanities in the school's department of film, media and social justice.

Other notable credits include the Lethal Weapon reboot series (his final appearance), Scrubs, and 24, in which he played Latham Group member Bob Jorgensen. He is survived by his wife, Disney publicist Paulette Dauber, and sons Jeff and Zach.

Robert Forster

Actor Robert Forster, best known for Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, died of brain cancer in October 2019. The actor passed away at his home in Los Angeles, his publicist confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 78.

Forster made his big screen debut alongside Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in sexually-charged drama Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), and would follow that up with cinéma vérité-style critical darling Medium Cool (1969). He starred in a few TV shows after that, but his career began to taper off. Things took a nosedive in 1979 when he led the line in the sci-fi failure The Black Hole, Disney's disastrous answer to Star Wars. By the 1990s, Forster's star was pretty much dead in the water. "I was taking whatever fell through the cracks," he told Chicago Tribune

That's when Tarantino came along and cast him in 1997's Jackie BrownThe filmmaker had been a big fan of Forster since childhood, and he wrote the part of bail bondsman Max Cherry specifically for him. When Tarantino handed Forster the finished script, the actor couldn't quite believe what was happening. "I said to him, 'I'm sure they're not going to let you hire me,'" Forster told Fandor. "He said, 'I hire anybody I want.'" The actor repaid the favor, turning in an Oscar-nominated performance as Cherry.

More recently, Forster played Sheriff Frank Truman in David Lynch's Twin Peaks revival, and he reprised his Breaking Bad role of Ed Galbraith in El Camino, his last ever screen appearance.

Bill Macy

Actor Bill Macy, best known for playing Bea Arthur's perpetually frustrated husband in '70s sitcom Maude, died in October 2019 at the age of 97. Macy's passing was confirmed by his manager Matt Beckoff, who shared the sad news on Facebook. "He was a spitfire right up to the end," Beckoff said. "My condolences to his beautiful wife, Samantha Harper Macy."

According to Variety, former taxi driver Bill met Samantha on the set of 1969 Off Broadway play Oh! Calcutta! He made the move to Hollywood after writer-producer Norman Lear spotted him "choking on a chicken bone" on stage and absolutely loved it. Lear cast him as a cop on his hit sitcom All in the Family, and then hired him to play strait-laced husband Walter Findlay on its spinoff show Maude, which Macy did dutifully from 1972 until 1978. He proved the perfect foil for Bea Arthur's character; a passionate feminist and a force to be reckoned with. "I'm glad the show isn't called Walter because the pressure would be on me," Macy told the Chicago Tribune in 1973 (via The Hollywood Reporter). "This way I can stay loose and go out and feed her lines."

Macy went on to appear in a few feature films (most notably Steve Martin's The Jerk and Robert De Niro-Billy Crystal mafia comedy Analyze This), but for the most part he remained a TV actor. His other screen credits include Columbo, Seinfeld, ER, NYPD Blue, and How I Met Your Mother.

Josip Elic

Josip Elic, best known for playing psych ward patient Bancini in Best Picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, passed away in October 2019. He died after complications following a fall, his manager told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 98.

The son of Croatian immigrants, Elic was born in Butte, Montana. He took the long road to Hollywood, working in a copper mine and then serving in the U.S. Navy before trying his hand at acting. He made his debut in an off-Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera in 1954, and by the 1960s he was booking TV roles. The 6'3” actor appeared twice on The Twilight Zone, first as an officer in a fictional totalitarian state and then as a bomb-shelter electrician in the employ of a vengeful millionaire. His most notable movie appearance that decade was 1967's The Producers (he's the violinist who gets champagne poured down his pants), but Elic will be best remembered for his work in 1975's Once Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Speaking to the North Jersey Record in 2018, Elic revealed that his iconic scene with Jack Nicholson was totally ad-libbed. "I'm sitting down there on the bench watching them play basketball, and all of a sudden somebody is on my shoulders with their legs over my shoulders and over my head," he recalled. "It was Jack Nicholson. I got up and said, 'I'll play the game with him,' and I started playing basketball. He had thighs like you wouldn't believe."


The suspected suicide of actress and K-pop star Sulli sent shockwaves through the Korean entertainment industry in 2019. The multi-talented performer was found dead in her home on October 14, with local outlets later reporting that she'd taken her own life. She was 25.

Sulli started out as a child actor, earning her first screen credit in 2007 drama Punch Lady and making her sophomore appearance in the rom-com Miracle of Giving Fool, released in 2008. She shifted her attention to K-pop the following year, debuting with the five-piece girl group f(x). Her music career was turbulent to say the least. Sulli broke a number of industry taboos, refusing to abide by the no dating rule and speaking up about the lack of protection afforded to idols. In 2015, she officially left f(x) and resumed her career as an actress, but it wasn't a clean break — the Busan-born star became the victim of a prolonged cyberbullying campaign.

In June 2019, just a few months before her passing, Sulli began co-hosting a show called Reply Night. She was given the chance to directly respond to malicious comments that had been made about her online, but the experience wasn't exactly cathartic. According to a friend, Sulli had been trying to quit the show for at least two months prior to her death, because it was having a negative impact on her mental health. "Her anxiety recently seemed to get much worse so we were very worried about it," they said (via Koreaboo).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

John Clarke

Indiana native John Clarke, best known for his career-defining role in the long-running NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives, passed away in October 2019, his family confirmed. A rep for his daughter, The O.C. star Melinda Clarke, revealed that the actor suffered a stroke in 2007 and had been in "declining health" over the past couple of years. "He passed peacefully from complications of pneumonia," the spokesperson said (via People). He was 88.

His father was a military man, so Clarke traveled a lot when he was growing up, moving from school to school. He followed in his dad's footsteps when the Korean War began in 1950, serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force for a spell. Clarke had earned a bachelor of arts in theater from the University of California before he joined the Air Force, however, and after the war he put it to good use. He began his 39-year stint as Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives in 1965, appearing in thousands of episodes between then and 2004.

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend and original cast member," NBC said in a statement (via USA Today). "A beloved member of the Days of Our Lives family, John will always hold a special place in our hearts and the hearts of our fans." Clarke's other notable appearances include The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Maverick, and the sci-fi feature film The Satan Bug.

Jerry Fogel

New Yorker Jerry Fogel, who spent two years being badgered by Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden in NBC comedy The Mothers-in-Law, died in October 2019, his family confirmed. The 6'3” actor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2008, according to Deadline. He was 83.

Fogel always wanted to be a soldier growing up. He attended military academy, but had a change of heart and decided to pursue showbusiness instead. He worked as a DJ before heading to Hollywood, spinning rock'n'roll records for a station in his native Rochester. He had a top-rated show, but his dream was to make it as an actor. "I remember telling my wife, 'This is something I am just going to have to do,'" he recalled in 2016. "I was very naive. She was willing to go along with it... If I hadn't done that, I would have lived the rest of my life saying, 'What if?'"

He arrived in Tinseltown in the mid-'60s, just as I Love Lucy creators Bob Carroll and Madelyn Pugh Davis finished penning a brand new show. Fogel landed the part of beleaguered newlywed Jerry Buell in The Mothers-in-Law, a role that he played from 1967 until 1969. He went on to appear in numerous TV shows in the decade that followed, most notably The White Shadow. Fogel had a recurring role in the high school basketball drama, which ran from 1978 to 1980. He's survived by his wife, Sandy, and sons David, Mark and Ross.

John Witherspoon

Detroit-born actor John Witherspoon, best known for playing Ice Cube's overbearing father in the cult Friday franchise, died in October 2019. Witherspoon's family confirmed his death via his official Twitter account. "It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband and father John Witherspoon has passed away," they said. "He was a legend in the entertainment industry, and a father figure to all who watched him over the years. We love you Pops, always and forever." Relatives told Deadline that the stand-up comedian died suddenly at his home in Sherman Oaks. He was 77.

Witherspoon got his big break back in 1977, appearing in the first ever episode of The Richard Pryor Show. The following year he popped up in The Incredible Hulk, and by 1980 he'd graduated to feature films, appearing in the Neil Diamond vehicle The Jazz Singer. He plied his trade in films like Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, and Little Nicky in the years that followed, but he'll always be remembered as grumpy dog catcher Willie Jones.

Witherspoon played Jones in 1995's Friday, 2000's Next Friday, 2002's Friday After Next, and was expected to reprise the role a final time in upcoming sequel, Last Friday. News of his unexpected death hit his on-screen son hard. "I'm devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon," rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube said in a tweet. "Life won't be as funny without him." He is survived by his wife, Angela, and his sons, JD and Alexander.

Brian Tarantina

New York-born character actor Brian Tarantina, best known for playing a comedy club emcee on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, was found dead at his Hell's Kitchen home in November 2019. Law enforcement sources informed TMZ that Tarantina had passed away from an apparent drug overdose (paramedics "found a white powdery substance near his body, believed to be alleged narcotics," the gossip site was told), but a rep later claimed that he'd been suffering from an illness. Publicist Laurie Smith told The New York Times that the actor died of "complications from a severe health crisis he experienced a few months ago." He was 60.

Tarantina's acting career took off in the 1980s, when he appeared in a number of Broadway productions (most notably Angels Fall and Biloxi Blues) as well as several TV shows and movies. He popped up in the John Hughes comedy Uncle Buck in 1989 and continued to land minor roles in big pictures well into the 1990s, appearing in Jacob's Ladder, Carlito's Way, Donnie Brasco, and Summer of Sam. It was during the '90s that Tarantina made his debut on soap opera One Life to Live, to which he returned in 2004.

He was also known for playing newsstand owner Bootsy in Gilmore Girls, but Tarantina will no doubt be remembered for his recent work as Jackie in the Emmy Award-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. A spokesperson has confirmed that Tarantina will appear in the third season of the show, which premieres in December 2019.

Andile Gumbi

Stage and screen actor Andile Gumbi, best known for playing the grown-up version of Simba in Broadway's The Lion King, passed away in Israel in October 2019. The South African star was playing the lead role of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel The Musical at the Jerusalem Theatre when he fell ill, Broadway World confirmed. Gumbi reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest and was in a coma for several days before he died. He was 36.

Speaking to Daily Sun, Gumbi's close friend Thokozani Nzima revealed that the actor had told him he was feeling tired right before his cardiac arrest. "The next thing he was lying in a hospital bed," Nzima said (via Sowetan Live). "I was there when we took him to the hospital. His life was cut short just when his star was rising." According to Nzima, the cast of Daniel The Musical all took turns sitting at Gumbi's bedside until his wife was able to fly to Israel to be with him. 

Gumbi appeared in a number of stage productions over the course of his career, but he was also a TV star. He appeared on the small screen in both Australia and Canada (he played Mamadu in 2015 CBC mini-series The Book of Negroes), while at home he was known for his roles in drama series Isibaya and prime-time comedy-drama Makoti. "He had done so much but he never made us feel like he was bigger than you," South African actress Nelisiwe Sibiya said.

Michael J. Pollard

New Jersey born actor Michael J. Pollard, best known for his Oscar nominated turn as getaway driver C.W. Moss in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, died of cardiac arrest in November 2019. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, longtime friend Dawn Walker confirmed that Pollard passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 80.

Often described as impish, Pollard's diminutive stature brought him the kind of roles that would later turn him into a cult actor. He learned his trade at the Actors Studio and went on to appear on Broadway, becoming the first person to play Hugo Peabody in Bye Bye Birdie and appearing alongside future Bonnie and Clyde co-star Warren Beatty in Loss of Roses. In 1963 he played Digby Popham in the Disney flick Summer Magic, impressing the main man in the Mouse House. Walt Disney was a big fan of Pollard and reportedly wanted him to become the face of his studio's family friendly films, but he couldn't nail him down. Pollard went on to appear in a string of comedies in the late 1980s (most notably RoxanneScrooged, and Tango and Cash) before working with Beatty again in 1990's Dick Tracy.

Other notable appearances include the original Star Trek series and the Rob Zombie gore-fest House of 1,000 Corpses. "I have always loved his work and his truly unique on screen presence," Zombie posted to Facebook following Pollard's death. "He will be missed." He is survived by his daughter, Holly, and his son, Axel.

Jane Galloway Heitz

Character actor Jane Galloway Heitz, best known for playing the former director of William McKinley High School's glee club in the hit Fox show Glee, passed away in November 2019. The Minneapolis native died of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Illinois, her daughter confirmed. She was 78.

Long before she appeared in the Glee pilot, Galloway Heitz had her own Chicago-based casting business. She helped launch the careers of stars like Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Richard Kind, and Eric Stonestreet (who "always credited her for the success he would achieve on Modern Family," according to The Hollywood Reporter) before she decided to concentrate on breaking into the industry herself. She cashed in on her agency business in 1997 and made her big screen debut two years later, playing Sissy Spacek and Richard Farnsworth's neighbor in the critically acclaimed David Lynch movie The Straight Story.

She popped up in the odd feature film in the years that followed, but for the most part Galloway Heitz plied her trade in television. On top of inspiring Matthew Morrison to chase his dreams in Glee, she made a rather memorable appearance on The Big Bang Theory. The former casting agent guested on the season 2 episode "The Friendship Algorithm" as Mildred, the grieving lady who Sheldon awkwardly tries to befriend in a book store. Other notable small screen credits include ERGrey's AnatomyPrison BreakShameless, Without a TraceCSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Monk, which was reportedly her favorite TV show.

Godfrey Gao

Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao, best known to western audiences for playing Magnus Bane in 2013 YA film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, died suddenly of cardiogenic shock in November 2019. Gao collapsed while filming an episode of the Chinese reality show Chase Me, which "pits celebrities against regular contestants in a variety of physical challenges," CNN reports. According to the South China Morning Post, Gao was rushed to hospital where attempts to revive him went on for hours, but he didn't regain consciousness. He was 35.

"He has unfortunately left us, leaving us extremely shocked and saddened, and we are still unable to accept this," Gao's agency JetStar Entertainment said in a statement. "Please understand Godfrey's family is experiencing deep sorrow and grief, and avoid excessive disturbance to them." Gao's family were not alone in their grief. The actor's fans took to Weibo to mourn (with many raising concerns about the physical strain that Chase Me places on contestants), and so did his peers. Chinese-Canadian actor and singer Aarif Rahman recalled chatting to Gao at a red carpet event overseas. "That memory left a deep impression on me, and I never thought that you would suddenly leave us," Rahman said. "Hope you rest in peace, and hope your family can bravely get through this pain."

Gao, who was the first Asian male to front a campaign for Louis Vuitton, had been a regular in Chinese film and TV for well over a decade at the time of his death.

René Auberjonois

René Auberjonois, who played gelatinous shape-shifter Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and was a regular on the convention circuit, died of metastatic lung cancer in December 2019. He passed away at his home in Los Angeles according to his son, actor Rèmy-Luc AuberjonoisHe was 79.

Auberjonois was born in New York in 1940. He spent his childhood in the Big Apple, Paris, and London, and he carried on this nomadic lifestyle after graduating from Carnegie Mellon, joining a number of theater groups in different parts of America. He got his shot on Broadway in 1968 (he played the Fool in King Lear) and his big Hollywood break came two years later, when he appeared as U.S. Army chaplain Father John Mulcahy in the '70s classic M*A*S*H.

He popped up in over 200 films and television shows in the years that followed, plying his trade across a variety of genres. He portrayed uptight chief of staff Clayton Runnymede Endicott III in the ABC sitcom Benson during the early '80s, and later enjoyed a run on Boston Legal as lawyer Paul Lewitson, but it was his six-year stint on Deep Space Nine that he'll likely be best remembered for. "He was a wonderful, caring, and intelligent man," fellow Star Trek actor George Takei said. "He shall be missed. When I look out to the stars, I shall think of you, friend."

Auberjonois' other notable credits include L.A. LawStargate SG-1, Frasier, Grey's Anatomy, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Caroll Spinney

Caroll Spinney, the man who portrayed the iconic Big Bird on Sesame Street for over five decades, passed away in December 2019. The actor and puppeteer had been living with debilitating muscular disorder dystonia, The Sesame Workshop confirmed in a statement. "Caroll Spinney's contributions to Sesame Street are countless," the show's co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said. "He not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he gave so much of himself as well. We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world." He was 85.

Spinney served in the U.S. Air Force before becoming a professional puppeteer. He met Muppets creator Jim Henson at a puppetry festival in 1962, and the pair hit it off. "He said, 'Why don't you come down to New York and talk about the Muppets?'" Spinney told NPR. "'I have some characters I want to build. One is a tall, funny-looking bird.'" It was Spinney's idea to change that funny-looking bird from the "dumb country yokel" he'd been written as to someone the children could learn alongside. "I said, 'I think I should play him like he's a child, a surrogate,'" Spinney recalled while speaking to The New York Times. "'He can be all the things that children are.'"

Spinney took home six Emmy awards during his time on Sesame Street, which was chronicled in the 2014 documentary I Am Big Bird.

Danny Aiello

New York native Danny Aiello, best known for his Oscar-nominated performance as Sal the pizzeria owner in 1989's Do the Right Thing, died in December 2019. The Italian-American actor passed away in New Jersey shortly after falling ill, his rep revealedHe was 86.

Aiello left school at 17 and joined the U.S. Army. When he returned from Europe (he was stationed in Germany, The Hollywood Reporter confirms) he moved from job to job, working as a package handler, a public address announcer, a trade union president, and later a comedy club bouncer/emcee. He didn't take up acting until the age of 35, when playwright Louis LaRusso II discovered him. "I'm not an actor," Aiello told LaRusso, who responded with, "Yes, you are, you just don't know it yet." Aiello starred in three consecutive Broadway shows for LaRusso, but most people will remember him for his work in Hollywood.

He worked with a number of respected directors over the years, most notably Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather: Part II), Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in America), Woody Allen (The Purple Rose of Cairo), Luc Besson (Leon)and, of course, Spike Lee. "Danny, we made cinema history together with Do the Right Thing," a heartbroken Lee said after Aiello's passing. "May you rest in paradise." Cher, who worked with Aiello in Moonstruck, called him "a genius comedic actor" in a tweet. Aiello also knew Madonna, having played her dad in the "Papa Don't Preach" music video.

Shelley Morrison

Actress Shelley Morrison, best known for playing maid Rosario Salazar in NBC's Will and Grace, died of heart failure in December 2019. Morrison, who was born in New York, passed away at a Los Angeles hospital, her publicist confirmed (via BBC)She was 83.

Morrison appeared in 68 episodes of the NBC sitcom, though that wasn't originally the plan. Rosario was supposed to be a one-off character, but she was written into the story after viewers responded positively to the immigrant from El Salvador. Morrison's small screen career stretches back to 1961, when she made her debut in Adventures in Paradise. She appeared in dozens of TV shows and feature films over the next few decades, and Will and Grace wasn't her first time playing the help — she portrayed a maid called Rosa in the 1989 comedy Troop Beverly Hills. Other notable credits include the Selma Hayak and Matthew Perry rom-com Fools Rush In and the DreamWorks animated film Shark's Tale, in which she voiced Mrs. Sanchez.

Numerous former Will and Grace cast members took to social media when news of Morrison's death broke, including Megan Mullally. "My heart is heavy," Mullally, who played Grace's assistant Karen Walker, said in a tweet. "Thank you for your friendship and partnership, Shell. You accomplished wonderful things in this world. You will be missed." Over on Facebook, Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland) called Morrison an "absolutely hilarious" person. "She was a part of our Will and Grace family and will be greatly missed."