Celebrity deaths 2021: The famous faces and notable figures we said goodbye to this year | Ents & Arts News | Sky News

Famous people who died 2021

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to commemorate the stars and notable figures we’ve said goodbye to over the last 12 months.

girls aloud star sarah harding, comedian sean lock, rolling stones drummer charlie watts, musical great stephen sondheim and, of course, Prince Philip are among those who sadly passed away in 2021.

Here’s a look back at the careers, legacies and tributes that followed the deaths of famous faces from the worlds of music, film, television, fashion, sports, politics and royalty.


American talk show host larry king had a career that spanned more than six decades and thousands of interviews, grilling world leaders and artists from bill clinton to tom cruise.


His television fame began in the 1970s with his radio show The Larry King Show and he went on to have his own television show, Larry King Live on CNN, between 1985 and 2010. More recently, he had hosted Larry King now on us streaming platform hulu.

died in a Los Angeles hospital, aged 87, a few weeks after contracting coronavirus. later US media reports said that the immediate cause of death for him was sepsis and not the virus.

barack obama led tributes following the death of trailblazing black actress cicely tyson at the age of 96.

The film, television and stage actress had a 60-year career that earned her three Emmy Awards and a Tony Award. He used her career to address issues important to her, such as race and gender, and her most praised performances came in landmark works like the 1972 film Sounder, in which she played a Louisiana sharecropper’s wife. .

“She had a heart like no other, and for 96 years, she left a mark on the world that few will match,” Obama said in a statement.

gerry marsden, of gerry and the pacemakers, was perhaps best known for covering the rogers and hammerstein song you’ll never walk alone with his band, which led to club liverpool football to adopt it as their official band. motto and anthem.

Born in the Toxteth area of ​​Liverpool in 1942, Marsden also wrote the 1960s hits Ferry Cross the Mersey and Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.

died in hospital at the age of 78, with his agent paying tribute to a musical “legend”.

Other notable stars and figures who passed away in January 2021 included:

  • the magician siegfried fischbacher
  • the oscar-winning actress cloris leachman
  • the only way is essex star mick norcross
  • coronation street star mark eden, who played the villain alan bradley
  • dj and producer sophie xeon
  • chef albert roux
  • police academy actress marion ramsey
  • bond girl tanya roberts
  • director and documentarian michael apted
  • star of horror barbara shelley
  • heavy metal musician alexi laiho
  • eurovision star and bagatelle frontman liam reilly
  • circus star gerry cottle
  • former music producer and convicted murderer phil spector


after inspiring the nation during lockdown by raising tens of millions of pounds for the nhs in 2020, captain sir tom moore has died aged 100 after contracting covid-19.

had become a national treasure and a household name after raising over £32m for the health service by circling his garden 100 times with his zimmer frame, and was knighted by the queen for his efforts in windsor castle.


“The last year of our father’s life was extraordinary,” his daughters hannah and lucy said in their tribute. he “rejuvenated himself and experienced things that he had only dreamed of.”

Actor Christopher Plummer was best known for playing Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, but more recently starred in Knifes Out, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and A Beautiful Mind.

Among the most decorated in his field, he won an Oscar, two Primetime Emmys, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA during his career.

died at home in the united states, aged 91, with dame julie andrews leading tributes to an “accomplished actor” and “dear friend”.

Soap star Johnny Briggs played Coronation Street’s Mike Baldwin for 30 years, an often unscrupulous character known for his affair with Deirdre Barlow and his longstanding feud with her husband, Ken.

A Cockney chancer, Baldwin had started life as a market stall owner in 1976, but once Briggs established the role, he quickly took ownership of the high street factory in a role that earned him an MBE and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 British Soap Awards.

corrie stars, including william roache, who played ken, sue nicholls (audrey roberts) and helen worth (gail platt), were among those who paid tribute to “one of the most memorable characters on the street”.

we also lost:

  • saved by bell star dustin diamond
  • controversial american radio host rush limbaugh
  • larry flynt, founder of hustler and first amendment activist
  • mary wilson, co-founder of the supremes
  • korean jazz pianist girl >


The voice of legendary formula one commentator murray walker provided the backing track to some of the sport’s most iconic moments, from james hunt’s 1976 championship victory over niki lauda, ​until nigel mansell’s title win in 1992.

his broadcasting career spanned over 50 years, for the bbc and itv, before retiring as a commentator in 2001.

“His passion and love for the sport inspired millions of fans around the world,” F1 said in tribute after his death at the age of 97.

Actor Yaphet Kotto, best known for his role as the James Bond villain in Live and Let Die, has died at the age of 81.

was the franchise’s first black antagonist, playing dr. kananga and his alter ego mr big in the 1973 film alongside the late sir roger moore as 007.

He also played technician Dennis Parker in Alien in 1979, opposite Sigourney Weaver, and William Laughlin opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 action film The Running Man.

reggae legend and three-time grammy winner bunny wailer, the last surviving member of the wailers, has died in jamaica at the age of 73.

The baritone singer, born Neville Livingston, formed The Wailers in 1963 with late superstars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

His death ended “the most vibrant period of the Jamaican musical experience,” Jamaican politician Peter Phillips wrote in a tribute post on Facebook.

Other notable figures who died in March 2021 include:

  • race car driver and top gear star sabine schmitz
  • vicar of dibley star trevor peacock
  • development actress jessica walter arrested
  • oscar nominated actor george segal
  • actor jahmil french


Prince Philip died at the age of 99, just two months shy of his 100th birthday.

He had been married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years and was the longest-serving consort in British history, with more than 22,000 solo engagements when she retired from public life in 2017.

Known for his mischievous sense of humor, as well as his occasional blunders, he once jokingly referred to himself as “the world’s most experienced license plate unveiler.”

Here’s a look at his life in pictures.

peaky blinders and harry potter actress helen mccrory died at the age of 52 after being diagnosed with cancer.

A versatile actress with a career on stage and screen spanning nearly 30 years, she played Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in both The Queen and The Special Relationship. She however, was best known as the matriarch of the Peaky Blinders Polly crime family, appearing on the show from 2013 to 2019.

her husband, actor damian lewis, star of homeland and millions, paid tribute to “a beautiful and powerful woman” who “shined so brightly”.

nikki grahame Broken to fame on Big Brother in 2006, she walked into the famous house dressed as a playboy bunny and became one of the series’ most memorable contestants.

While in the house, she became known for her tantrums, including the infamous “who is she?” rant in the chair in the newsroom. After Big Brother, she appeared in other versions of the show both in the UK and abroad, as well as having her own reality series, Princess Nikki.

died after a long battle with eating disorders, aged 38.

we also lost:

  • dmx rapper
  • friday night dinner and harry potter actor paul ritter
  • baytown the rollers singer les mckeown
  • the sopranos and the jersey boys star joseph siravo
  • songwriter jim steinman bat out of hell >
  • viral vine star adam perkins
  • addiams family star felix chair


Actor Charles Grodin was best known for his roles in Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run, and two Beethoven films.

steve martin was among those who paid tribute after his death, describing grodin as “one of the funniest people i’ve ever met.”

died at the age of 86.

eric carle was the man behind the children’s book the very hungry caterpillar, published in 1969, which told the story of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

The story sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, was translated into 60 languages, and became everything from stuffed animals to stage shows.

Michelle Obama was among those who paid tribute after Carle’s death at the age of 91, saying he had filled millions of lives “with wonder and joy.”

We also say goodbye to:

  • levi’s model and pop star nick kamen
  • tarzan star joe lara
  • the little mermaid and the lion king, broadway star samuel e wright
  • school of rock drummer kevin clark
  • american actor gavin macleod
  • actress romy walthall
  • the office us star mark york
  • moonstruck and steel magnolias star olympia dukakis


ned beatty was an Oscar-nominated character actor who appeared in dozens of movies and television shows throughout his career.

Rising to fame with a role in Liberation in 1972, which was controversial due to her character’s rape scene, she appeared in such films as Superman and Superman 2 alongside Christopher Reeve, Network, All the President’s Men and charlie wilson’s war.

He died at his home in Los Angeles, at the age of 83.

In June we also said goodbye to:

  • lost girl and cocktail party actress lisa banes
  • bill ben roberts actor
  • actor clarence williams iii
  • gogglebox star pete mcgarry
  • doctor who actress jackie lane


one of the best actors in hindi cinema, dilip kumar was a national treasure in india.

Known as the ‘king of tragedy’ and hailed as bollywood’s first superstar, he made more than 65 films in a career that spanned five decades, and is said to have turned down the role of sherif ali in the iconic lawrence of arabia by David Lean. , which was later played by omar sharif.

He died at the age of 98 after a long illness, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to “a legend of cinema”.

dusty hill was the bassist and vocalist for the American rock band zz top.

Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, he formed the group in Houston in 1969 with bandmates Frank Beard and guitarist Billy Gibbons, and soon after recorded their debut album, the first ZZ Top album, in 1970.

The band was still playing until not long before Hill’s death at the age of 72. “We, along with legions of zz’s greatest fans around the world, will miss his constant presence, his good nature, and his enduring commitment to bringing that monumental bottom to the ‘top,'” his bandmates said in tribute. /p>

we also lost:

  • filmmaker robert downey sr
  • superman, the goonies and lethal weapons director richard donner
  • soap actor jay pickett
  • former slipknot drummer joey jordison
  • home and away star dieter brummer
  • comedian and simpsons star jackie mason
  • comedian and game show host tom o’connor
  • country and rockabilly performer sanford clark
  • rapper and actor biz markie


Drummer Charlie Watts joined the Rolling Stones in 1963 and played on legendary rock hits, including I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Paint It Black and Brown Sugar.

He had grown up in Wembley, North London, and met his rock partner, Mick Jagger, when he was a teenager.

Some of music’s biggest names including elton john, paul mccartney and liam gallagher were among those paying tribute following his death at the age of 80, along with bandmates jagger, keith richards and ronnie wood.

Here’s a look at his life in pictures.

The death of comedian Sean Lock, best known for his panel showing 8 out of 10 cats and 8 out of 10 cats counting down, came as a huge shock in August. The 58-year-old star suffered from cancer but kept her diagnosis private.

lock’s first professional television appearances were in 1993, starring opposite rob newman and david baddiel newman and baddiel in pieces. In 1998, she edited the screenplay Is It Bill Bailey? on BBC Two and had his own show called 15 Minutes of Misery on BBC Radio 4, which was later expanded into a 15 Story TV series.

also appeared on panel shows, including got news for you, qi?, and they think it’s all over.

jimmy carr and ricky gervais were among the many who paid tribute to “one of the funniest and most influential comedians of a generation.”

una stubbs enjoyed a stellar television career that included appearances on eastenders, the catherine tate show, fawlty towers, heartbeat, benidorm, we’d like to apologize, and agatha christie’s marple.

but she was best known for her roles in till death do us part, summer vacation, sherlock and worzel gummidge.

died at the age of 84, with his family around him.

other stars who died in August included:

  • japanese actor and martial artist sonny chiba
  • emmy award winning actor and star ed asner
  • ub40 founding member brian travers
  • bollywood actor anupam shyam
  • gogglebox star andy michael
  • gogglebox star mary cook
  • veteran film actress jane withers
  • kool & founding gang member dennis thomas


Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding rose to fame with the all-female popstar group The Rivals in 2002, alongside Cheryl, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh.

The band hit Christmas number one that year with their debut single, Sound of the Underground, and went on to become one of the most successful pop groups in British music history.

Harding died aged 39 after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. “I know you will not want to be remembered for your fight against this terrible disease – you were a shining star and I hope that is how you are remembered.” instead, “Ella Marie’s mother wrote in tribute after her death.

Here’s a look at his life in pictures.

Actor michael k williams was nominated for multiple emmy awards and earned nominations for his roles in bessie, the night of, when they see us and, earlier this year, lovecraft country.

The Brooklyn-born star also won fans for his role as Chally White on the period gangster series Boardwalk Empire, but was best known for playing Omar Little on the hit crime drama The Wire.

Died at age 54 from accidental drug overdose, autopsy found.

john challis had an extensive television career, but was best known for playing unscrupulous second-hand car salesman terrance aubrey “boycie” boyce on the beloved long-running bbc sitcom just fools and horses.

Boycie was married to feisty Marlene, played by Sue Holderness, and their marriage became a running joke, with repeated jokes about his alleged promiscuity.

challis also starred in the spin-off of the series the green green grass from 2005 to 2009 and the itv benidorm sitcom from the seventh season.

died “peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer,” his family said, aged 79.

Jimmy Greaves was a Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and England legend who scored 382 goals in 579 club appearances during an illustrious playing career.

The 366 goals he scored in the top flight of England and Italy were a record for the top five European leagues until they were eventually eclipsed by Cristiano Ronaldo during Real Madrid’s 2016-17 campaign.

Greaves was part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, and remains fourth on the Three Lions’ all-time top scorers list.

died at the age of 81.

We also say goodbye to:

  • new york sex star willie garson
  • comedian and writer phil jerrod
  • comedian and saturday night live star norm macdonald
  • delays lead singer greg gilbert
  • ‘the godfather of film noir’ melvin van peebles
  • voice coach and wife of richard e grant, joan washington
  • actor of hawaii five-0 al harrington
  • actor juan pablo belmondo


The death of cinematographer halyna hutchins shocked the world. On the set in New Mexico working on the western film Rust, the 42-year-old died after a gun held by star and producer Alec Baldwin blew up during a rehearsal.

ms hutchins had been working as cinematographer on the film, a role she had previously held on the 2020 action flick archenemy. she had also worked on several other films including mad hatter and blindfire.

many of his colleagues and friends paid tribute to a “brilliant talent” after his death.

The actor james michael tyler was, without a doubt, best known for playing gunther in friends throughout the 10 series of the successful comedy, being famous for being in love with the character of jennifer aniston , rachel green.

Aniston led tributes to the star, thanking him for the laughs he “brought to the show and into all of our lives” and saying the friends “wouldn’t have been the same” without him.

tyler died at the age of 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.

British politics also lost two Conservative MPs this month: james brokenshire, who died of cancer at the age of 53, and sir david amess, who died after being stabbed in a surgery constituency.

southend west sir david MP, 69, had been a parliamentarian for 38 years and had first been elected to parliament in 1983. he never held a ministerial position during his long parliamentary career, although he was a parliamentary private secretary of former ministers edwina currie and michael portillo in the late 1980s.

Instead, he focused his efforts from the back benches of the house of commons, sitting on a number of commons committees during his time in westminster and also sponsoring many parliamentary bills, many of which focused on his keen interest in animal welfare and his ambition to eliminate energy poverty.

mr. Brokenshire, the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, was first elected to Parliament in 2005 and served as Home Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary. he had stepped down as security minister in July after being treated for lung cancer.

we also lost:

  • the swedish rapper einar
  • the indian actor puneeth rajkumar
  • willy wonka and the bond composer leslie bricusse
  • film and tv show composer alan hawkshaw
  • chieftains founder paddy moloney


Lionel Blair‘s entertainment career spanned seven decades, including appearances as an actor, tap dancer, host and choreographer.

He was best known as team captain on the television game show Give Us a Hint, appeared in the West End as the kid catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, and more recently appeared on reality shows such as the big brother of the celebrity and the real marigold hotel.

died at the age of 92, with stars like danny baker, julian clary and piers morgan paying tribute to “immeasurable talent”.

stephen sondheim was the composer and lyricist behind some of the world’s best-known musicals, including the lyrics to west side story and sweeney todd, during a career spanning 60 years.

When awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, Barack Obama said that Sondheim “reinvented the American musical.” In December 2019, a theater in London’s West End, currently home to Les Miserables, was named Sondheim in honor of his 90th birthday.

His death at the age of 91 was reported to be sudden, just hours after celebrating Thanksgiving with his family.

American fashion designer virgil abloh first rose to fame as the creative director of rapper kanye west, but later made history as the first african-american to lead the french luxury brand louis vuitton. he also founded the white label.

Often hailed as one of the most influential designers in the fashion industry, he was also a DJ, an artist and had degrees in civil engineering and architecture.

died at the age of 41 after a private battle with cancer.

other stars who died in November included:

  • quantum leap actor dean stockwell
  • best-selling author wilbur smith
  • take the road actress gwyneth guthrie
  • ub40 founding member astro
  • seinfeld and grays anatomy character actor lou cutell
  • saturday night live star peter aykroyd


Best known for her roles on The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, betty white had a career in entertainment that spanned eight decades.

The actress starred in such films as Marriage Proposal opposite Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, and Bringing Down the House, with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah, and won several Emmy Awards throughout her time in show business.

President Joe Biden and stars including Reynolds and Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Viola Davis were among those who paid tribute following his death at the age of 99, just weeks shy of his 100th birthday.

Real name Geoffrey Rowe, the comedian Jethro rose to fame in the 1980s and was best known for his unique style and observational comedy, which included bits about life in Cornwall.

A regular on television shows hosted by Des O’Connor, his other television credits include the 2001 Real Variety Show and Jim Davidson’s Generation Game.

died at the age of 72 after contracting covid-19.

With the 1960s pop group the Monkeys, Michael Nesmith found fame with hits like I’m a Believer, Daydream Believer and Last Train to Clarksville.

The group also appeared in a television series of the same name, which first aired between 1966 and 1968.

nesmith has died aged 78, just a few weeks after finishing a farewell tour of the monkeys with drummer micky dolenz, now the last surviving member of the group, who said: “i’m so grateful we got to spend the last months together doing what we love the most: singing, laughing and doing shtick. I will miss him a lot, especially shtick.”

il divo is a classic crossover group conceived by simon cowell in 2003. signed to his syco label, they released 10 studio albums and sold over 30 million records.

far from il divo, the singer carlos marin, 53, acted in several musicals, including the miserable ones, the fat one and the beauty and the beast.

The group announced his death following reports that he had been taken to hospital in Manchester. “There will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos,” they said in tribute.

anti-apartheid veteran desmond mpilo tutu was an outspoken critic of the country’s previous brutal system of oppression against the country’s black majority.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign of non-violent opposition to South Africa’s white minority government.

Other notable stars and figures we missed included:

  • interview with vampire author anne rice
  • mexican ranchera music legend vicente fernandez
  • bronski beat founder steve bronski
  • robbie shakespeare, of reggae rhythm duo sly and robbie
  • actor and director olivier sir antony sher award winner
  • rapper drakeo the ruler
  • architect of the millennium dome richard rogers
  • ray illingworth, former england cricket captain
  • jean-marc vallée, film director
  • radio host and former lead pop host janice long

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