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Annie Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

In 1982, the popular Broadway musical "Annie" received a star-studded film adaptation. Directed by filmmaking legend John Huston, "Annie" features an A-list cast including Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, and Tim Curry (via IMDb). The movie musical also introduced Aileen Quinn as the titular Depression-era orphan. Despite mixed reviews from critics, the movie enjoyed decent success at the box office, with Box Office Mojo records showing a box office total of just over $57 million. "Annie" also received nominations at the 1984 Oscars for art direction and music.

Huston's film, which tells the story of a young orphan girl who is adopted by an obscenely wealthy single man in the 1930s, completed a cycle of adaptation almost a century in the making. Starting with the 1885 poem "Little Orphan Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley, later turned into a comic strip of the same name by Harold Gray, the Broadway musical iteration was a smash hit when it started in 1977, winning seven Tony Awards (via Playbill). The story of an adorable orphan girl's determination to find solace during the Great Depression struck a chord with audiences during a decade marked by Watergate and the Vietnam War (via The Des Moines Register).

Given that "Annie" is approaching its 40th anniversary in 2022, it's unfortunately not surprising to learn that many recognizable actors from its cast have passed away. Here are some of the biggest names from "Annie" that you may not have known are dead.

Albert Finney played the lovable Daddy Warbucks

The crucial role of Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks in 1982's "Annie" is played by British acting legend Albert Finney. After a breakout performance as the title character in the 1964 Academy Award winner for best picture, "Tom Jones," Finney continued to gain notice in other films. This includes "Two for the Road" and "Murder on the Orient Express," per his IMDb profile, the latter of which earned him greater fame for his lead role as the diminutive but trenchant detective Hercule Poirot.

After "Annie," Finney remained highly visible on the silver screen for decades. In the '90s and '00s, he wowed audiences with notable turns in "Miller's Crossing," "Erin Brockovich," "Big Fish," "The Bourne Ultimatum," and "The Bourne Legacy," as seen on his IMDb page. These parts showcased his incandescent charisma and commanding range as an actor, from Julia Roberts' lawyer boss in "Erin Brockovich" to the colorful storyteller Edward Bloom in "Big Fish." His final onscreen role came in 2012 as Kincade, a stubbornly loyal groundskeeper, in the acclaimed James Bond film "Skyfall" (via IMDb). 

By the end of his hallowed career, Finney had received five Oscar nominations, as well as 13 BAFTA Awards nominations and two wins. The "Annie" alum passed away due to a chest infection on February 7, 2019, at the age of 82, per BBC News.

Geoffrey Holder took on the role of Daddy Warbucks' bodyguard

Punjab, Daddy Warbucks' bodyguard, is portrayed by Trinidadian-American actor Geoffrey Holder. Even with limited screen time in the 1982 movie, Holder's dance movements, booming voice, and distinct aura are absolutely unforgettable. Before "Annie," he was most recognizable to moviegoers as the villainous sidekick Baron Samedi in the 1973 James Bond film "Live and Let Die" (via IMDb). Before that, he appeared in Woody Allen's 1972 comedy "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)," according to the actor's IMDb page.

Holder's talent, however, was far from limited to the silver screen. A consummate artist, he was a prominent Broadway choreographer and a painter whose works were collected by famous patrons such as Lena Horne and William F. Buckley, Jr. (via BET). He was also a spokesman for the soft drink 7-Up (you can watch one of his commercials on YouTube). He won two Tony Awards in 1975 for direction and costume design on "The Wiz," the all-Black musical version of "The Wizard of Oz" (via Broadway World). Holder passed away on October 5, 2014, at the age of 84 due to complications from pneumonia (via Entertainment Weekly).

Ann Reinking brought her Broadway talents to the part of Grace Farrell

Venerated Broadway star Ann Reinking appears as Grace Farrell, Daddy Warbucks' personal secretary, in the live-action movie musical "Annie." Reinking is best known for playing Roxie Hart in the 1970s stage production of "Chicago" and later won a Tony Award for choreographing its revival — where she reprised her role as Roxie — in 1997 (via Playbill). Other notable stage productions she appeared in, according to Playbill, were 1986's "Sweet Charity" and 1999's "Fosse."

Reinking's film and TV credits were fairly limited, per her IMDb profile, with "Annie" and "All That Jazz" being the most notable entries in her small filmography. Her role as Grace was notably more substantive than the stage version, which Reinking noted in a 1982 interview with Bobbie Wygant. According to the stage performer, "Annie" director John Huston and screenwriter Carol Sobieski "wanted to create... a genuine family unit" to better connect with audiences.

Reinking was far more visible onstage than onscreen and later collaborated with composer Bruce Wolosoff to create a pair of new ballets (via The Creative Process). The first, "The White City," tells the tale of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It was met with great success, winning Best Dance Performance of 2011 from the Chicago Sun-Times (via Thodos Dance Chicago). The second, 2013's "A Light in the Dark," is inspired by the story of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan. The ballet received an Emmy nomination for outstanding achievement for arts programming (per Reel Chicago). Reinking passed away in her sleep in a Seattle hotel room on December 12, 2020, at the age of 71 (via CNN).

Edward Herrmann played President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Character actor Edward Herrmann was right at home in "Annie" as U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Just a few years before appearing in the 1982 movie, he played the former president in the 1976 miniseries "Eleanor and Franklin" (via IMDb). "Annie" was one of many eclectic turns from Herrmann, who also excelled in "The Great Gatsby," "Reds," "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "The Lost Boys," and "Nixon," per his IMDb profile. The actor's stately demeanor endeared him to audiences, whether it was as the suspiciously hospitable Max in "Lost Boys" or the stringent film censor Joseph Breen in "The Aviator."

Herrmann is arguably best known for his role as Richard Gilmore in the hit TV series "Gilmore Girls" more than any of his movie roles. His performance as the stern, loyal patriarch of the Gilmore family was not only popular with fans — it also helped the actor understand his personal struggles as a parent. "Working on the more acrimonious scenes between Lorelei and Richard reminds me of the foolishness I exhibited when I was a younger parent," he later said in an interview with author A.S. Berman for a "Gilmore Girls" companion book.

His sonorous voice gained him much work as a narrator for The History Channel and PBS, as noted on IMDb, bringing to life a wide array of subjects for viewers. Poignantly, his final narration was for the PBS documentary "Cancer: The Emperor Of All Maladies," which he saw through to the end despite collapsing on the first day of work from terminal brain cancer (via Deadline). Herrmann passed away at age 71 on December 31, 2014, due to brain cancer (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Lois de Banzie took on the role of famous First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

Scottish-born actress Lois de Banzie plays First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt alongside co-star Edward Herrmann's President Roosevelt in "Annie." Per De Banzie's IMDb profile, she got her first break as a television actor in 1957 by appearing in an episode of "Perry Mason." From there, she enjoyed a productive period of her career in the 1980s, with small roles in movies like "Tootsie," "Sudden Impact," and "Mass Appeal." This led to the actress popping up in hit '90s movies, including "Arachnophobia," "Addams Family Values," and "Sister Act." 

However, de Banzie was more prominent as a supporting player in many television shows. IMDb reminds us that, among her numerous onscreen credits, she appeared on "Cheers," "Home Improvement," "Taxi," Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories," and "Murder, She Wrote." Her turn in "Amazing Stories" was especially memorable, starring as Mark Hamill's mother in the 1986 episode "Gather Ye Acorns" (per IMDb).

De Banzie was also visible on Broadway. She established herself in the theater with her performance as Mrs. Prynne in 1978's "Da," and then went on to earn a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk Award for 1980's "Morning's At Seven" (via Playbill). Her passing is a very recent one. In April, de Banzie died at the age of 90 in Greenbrae, California, per The Hollywood Reporter).