Famous People We Lost You Didn’t Know Had Died

By Robin Mei - December 17, 2016

Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif is best known for his turns in Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, but the talented Egyptian actor was a force of nature in film for more than six decades, up to his latest turn in 2013’s Rock the Casbah. Younger fans may remember him from Antonio Banderas’ The 13th Warrior, or the Viggo Mortenson film Hidalgo.

In 2015, Sharif was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He suffered a heart attack later that year and passed away on July 10, 2015, in Cairo, Egypt.

Source: Omar Sharif

Amanda Peterson

In 1987, 15-year-old Amanda Peterson leaped into the spotlight and tugged at the public’s heartstrings with her breakout film, Can’t Buy Me Love. In the 10 years following its release, Peterson fell victim to drug addiction and was arrested for assault and drug possession.

In July 2015, Peterson’s body was found in her home after her family became concerned that she hadn’t talked with them for two days. The 43-year-old had a mix of drugs in her body, and cause of death was attributed to respiratory failure.

Source: ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ star Amanda Peterson died from drug overdose

Tony Burton

On February 25, 2016, 78-year-old former boxer and actor Tony Burton, always one to try and fight the good fight, lost his battle against pneumonia in the twelfth round. Burton was best known to movie fans as Duke, the tough-as-nails trainer in six Rocky movies.

Before he retired from the ring in 1959, he was a two-time light-heavyweight champ before hanging up his gloves.

Source: Sylvester Stallone Pays Tribute to Late ‘Rocky’ Co-Star Tony Burton

David Huddleston

You can’t watch The Big Lebowski without laughing out loud at David Huddleston’s execution as the Big Lebowski himself. Surrounded onscreen by veteran comedic actors, Hudleston was unforgettable without ever having to stand up.

Before making his splash in The Big Lebowski, Huddleston was a veteran film actor who was also known for his turns in Blazing Saddles and 2005’s The Producers. Following a lengthy fight with heart and kidney disease, Huddleston passed away in New Mexico on August 2, 2016, at the age of 85.

Source: David Huddleston obituary

Sir George Martin

Starting with Please, Please Me, the band’s 1963 debut release through to 1969’s Abbey Road, George Martin was a Beatle, working in tandem with the group to refine and expand the group’s ever-evolving sound.

Even after the Beatles disbanded, Martin remained within the inner circle, going on to produce solo albums for both Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, Including McCartney’s 1973 offering “Live and Let Die.” Martin passed away in his sleep on March 8, 2016.

Source: Sir George Martin

Nick Lashaway

Although his was never a household name, Nick Lashaway had potential that never quite reached as high as it should have gone. Recently, Lashaway was best known for playing Frank on HBO’s successful series ‘Girls.’

On a post uploaded to her Instagram account, ‘Girls’ star Lena Dunham praised Lashaway as a person and stated she feels “such gratitude for his gifts.” On May 8, 2016, 28-year-old Lashaway died as a result of a car accident.

Source: Girls actor Nick Lashaway dies aged 28

Rob Knox

Fans of the Harry Potter films know Rob Knox well — he portrayed Ravenclaw Marcus Belby in The Half-Blood Prince. His untimely death brought a tragic end to a young man who had a promising career ahead of him.

On May 24, 2008, Knox and his younger brother were in a London pub when a man armed with knives approached the duo. The attacker targeted Knox’s brother, but Rob jumped to his aid and was stabbed four times. He died later that day at the age of 18.

Source: Harry Potter actor Robert Knox stabbed to death protecting his younger brother

Arnold Palmer

On top of having a drink named in his honor, Arnold Palmer collected victories at 62 PGA Tour events between 1955 and 1973. In 1974, the World Golf Hall of Fame opened its doors and Arnold Palmer was one of 13 golfers were inducted.

Adding to the tributes was a 2012 Congressional Gold Medal, making Palmer only one of six athletes to have it bestowed upon them. On September 25, 2016, Palmer passed away at the age of 87 due to heart issues.

Source: Arnold Palmer

Kenny Baker

His was a voice you never heard, nor was his face one that you ever saw on the big screen. Despite this, Kenny Baker was one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood’s history. Starting with 1977’s StarWars: A New Hope, Baker gave R2-D2 a soul from within a robot suit.

Baker also landed roles in Willow, Time Bandits, The Elephant Man and Labyrinth. During this time, Baker suffered from a lung condition which would take his life on August 13, 2016, at the age of 81.

Source: Kenny Baker

Kimbo Slice

Clips on YouTube helped launch the impressive online career of Kimbo Slice, a mountain of a man who could be seen backyard brawling. In 2008, Slice (real name Kevin Ferguson) moved into the mixed martial arts ring, and his third pro match was the first MMA fight to make it onto primetime television.

This major step forward for the sport can be directly attributed to Slice, an individual people say was a “gentle giant’ in his private life. He died of heart failure on June 6, 2016.

Source: MMA fighter Kimbo Slice dies at age 42 after being hospitalized

Manute Bol

Basketball’s Manute Bol and his 2.4-meter-tall frame (7’7″) were an impossible sight to miss. With that height also came an intense focus on being a humanitarian, something that added to the sting of his loss.

After retiring, he shifted his focus to Sudan Sunrise, an organization he worked closely with to help build schools and houses across the country. Bol developed a condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome which took large patches of his skin. He also suffered kidney failure, passing away on June 19, 2010.

Source: Remembering Manute Bol and the favorite of many tall tales about him

Junior Seau

Junior Seau’s football career spanned two decades, and according to ESPN Seau was never officially diagnosed with a concussion during his playing years. On May 2, 2012, Seau shot himself in the heart.

The National Institutes of Health studied Seau’s brain, discovering the athlete suffered from severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). After 20 seasons in the NFL and hundreds of tackles and collisions, Seau’s brain was irreparably damaged, which may have been a contributing factor in his suicide.

Source: Junior Seau: The Life and Death of a Football Icon

Dino Bravo

Dino Bravo made an impression with WWF fans that made him a favorite amongst many. Bravo’s wrestling career carried him through most of the ’80s, but as the WWF continued to grow and change Bravo didn’t fit into its future plans.

His uncle enlisted him into the ranks of organized crime as part of a Quebec-based cigarette smuggling ring. On March 10, 1993, less than a year after joining the operation, Bravo was dead from 17 bullet wounds.

Source: SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Dino Bravo

Héctor Camacho

Héctor “Macho” Camacho was both an extraordinary boxer (79 wins against only six losses) but also a stellar presence in the ring. Watching him in action was equal parts entertainment and athletics, but despite the talent, Camacho’s life came to an abrupt end on November 24, 2012.

On that day, he was driving around with a friend when another vehicle drove up and opened fire. Camacho was hit and killed by one bullet directly to the head.

Source: Hector Camacho

Kirby Puckett

Popular Hall of Fame baseball player Kirby Puckett won two World Series with the Minnesota Twins. After Puckett’s passing, the MLB commissioner said, “He was revered throughout the country and will be remembered wherever the game is played.”

On March 5, 2006, the 45-year-old Puckett fell victim to a stroke and died the following day. Only 45 years old, he was the second-youngest Hall of Famer to pass away after being inducted, with legend Lou Gehrig being the youngest.

Source: Kirby Puckett dies day after suffering stroke

Craig Sager

TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager was the world of basketball’s equivalent to Price is Right announcer Rod Roddy — a big personality wrapped up in over-the-top suits that made him look more like a used car salesman than a television personality.

On December 15, 2016, Sager, then 65 years old, lost a two-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia. During an intense 20 rounds of chemotherapy, Sager received three bone marrow transplants, but to no avail.

Source: NBA broadcaster Craig Sager dies at 65

Reggie Lewis

Boston Celtic player Reggie Lewis was a name sports fans around the world knew and respected. The NBA legend was taken from the world long before his time, and his death shook the city of Boston to its core.

On July 27, 1993, Lewis collapsed during a team practice. It was not the first time this had happened, with the same occurring the previous spring during a playoff game. Two hours after this incident, Lewis was pronounced dead.

Source: Reggie Lewis dies

Windell Middlebrooks

It’s natural to ask, “Windell who?” when you hear the name Windell Middlebrooks, but odds are you know the man to see him. He played Kirby the security guard on The Suite Life On Deck and Curtis Brumfield on Body of Proof. He also racked up a list of one-line appearances in shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Hannah Montana.

Middlebrooks is no longer bringing his smile to the world of film and television, having passed away at the age of 36 on March 9, 2015.

Source: ‘Miller High Life’ delivery guy Windell Middlebrooks dies

Stevie Ryan

Stevie Ryan was a popular YouTuber who attracted millions of followers to her Little Loca show channel that gained notoriety for her impressions. The show’s popularity led to Ryan getting a spot on VH1, and Stevie TV ran for two seasons.

As happens to many working under the Hollywood sign, Ryan suffered from depression. Her condition worsened following the passing of her beloved grandfather and on July 1, 2017, Ryan hung herself.

Source: YouTube star Stevie Ryan ‘totally off anti-depressants,’ grieving death of grandfather just before suicide


After Talia Joy Castellano was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 7 she immediately set about making herself an example of being beautiful inside and out despite a condition that is often physically debilitating. She brought her love of makeup to her YouTube channel that focused on beauty tutorials, and she eventually found her way onto Ellen in 2012.

On July 16, 2013, Talia Joy Castellano passed away from the cancer she refused for so long to let hold her back from pursuing her dreams.

Source: Honorary CoverGirl Dies At 13 After Battle With Cancer

Gram Parsons

A former member of the Flying Burrito Brothers and The Byrds, Gram Parsons avoided the rockstar curse of the joining the 27 Club by unfortunately dying at the age of 26 on September 19, 1973.

According to Rolling Stone, Parsons’ passing lead to a bizarre series of events that would eventually see his ashes being buried in New Orleans — a decision rumored to have been made to stop Parsons’ stepfather from inheriting any of his stepson’s estate.

Source: Gram Parsons: The Mysterious Death – and Aftermath

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor was an actress who was impossible to miss onscreen or off, and as time went on she became known more for simply being herself than for any of the characters she portrayed onscreen.

Her career began in ’50s, and Gabor would eventually appear in 30 films. Gabor was the originator of the basic idea of being famous for being famous, but in 2002 she was partially paralyzed in a car accident. On December 18, 2016, she passed away from heart failure at the age of 99.

Source: Zsa Zsa Gabor dies aged 99

Glenn Quinn

Irish actor Glenn Quinn’s work was well-known to the fans of shows like Roseanne, where he played Becky’s dimwitted stud of a boyfriend and Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel. When he passed away at the age of 32 on December 3, 2002, he was living the Hollywood life.

Quinn’s death came after having been booted out of rehab for doing drugs while under the facility’s care. After passing out on a friend’s couch, he died from a heroin overdose.

Source: The tragic closing act of Hollywood hero Glenn Quinn

Ray Combs

Comedian Ray Combs had some big shoes to fill when he became the first person to take over the Family Feud hosting duties after the retirement of Richard Dawson in 1985. His stint was relatively shortlived compared to his predecessor, and he handed the mic back over to Dawson in 1994.

He returned to television with The Love Psychic, which failed miserably. On June 1, 1996, police were called to Combs’ home to find him attempting suicide. He was admitted to hospital where he hung himself the following day.

Source: The Tragic Life Of ‘Family Feud’ Host Ray Combs

George Reeves

Until the eerily similarly named Christopher Reeve donned the infamous red cape, George Reeves was the actor most people associated with the role. Reeves never enjoyed playing the role, frequently going on the record as saying portraying a television comic hero was beneath him.

When he died on June 16, 1959, both Reeves’ personal and professional lives had spiraled out of control, with him being branded as nothing more than a television actor on a kid’s show who wasn’t fit for film work.

Source: Who killed Superman?

Tab Hunter

Credits: Image: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Tab Hunter was a true golden boy of the 1950s. He was handsome, charming and a little bit shy — everything that Hollywood needed to make him a star and one of the biggest teen idols of the era.

His career skyrocketed in the mid-50s following movies like “Battle Cry” and “Damn Yankees,” but after he left the Warner Bros studio in the ’60s, his fame began to fade. Hunter died on July 8, 2018, in Santa Barbara, California. He was 86.

Source: Tab Hunter

John McCain

Senator John McCain died on August 25, 2018, at the age of 81 after a long battle with brain cancer. His active political involvement started in the early 1980s. When he retired from the Navy after 20 years of service, McCain was ready for new challenges.

From 1983 to 1987 McCain represented Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives, after which he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he spent the rest of his career. In 2008, he ran for president as the Republican Party’s nominee against Barack Obama.

Source: John McCain

Roy Clark

Musician and television personality Roy Clark died on November 15, 2018, and is remembered as one of the most admired country music performers in America who knew how to entertain the crowd both in venues big and small.

His outstanding showmanship was cemented with a 25-year-long stint on television’s “Hee Haw,” and his incredible musical talent made him famous around the world. He was one of the first to tour in the Soviet Union at a time when it was almost unimaginable.

Source: Roy Clark

Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall started her Hollywood career as an actress in the late 1960s, and won everyone’s heart in the mid-70s with her role on television’s “Laverne & Shirley.”

10 years later, Penny decided to try her hand at directing and became the first woman director to have a movie gross over $100 million at the U.S. box office with the Tom Hanks-starring “Big” in 1988. Marshall died on December 17, 2018, at the age of 75.

Source: Penny Marshall obituary

Stan Lee

Credits: Image: Gage Skidmore

The creative “father” of over 600 comic characters, including Spiderman, Hulk, Daredevil, Iron Man, the X-Men and many other superheroes we all know so very well, Stan Lee passed away on November 12, 2018. However, the legacy he left behind makes him forever immortal.

Thanks to his outstanding talent and dedication, he spearheaded the expansion of Marvel Comics and transformed it from being only a publishing house division into a leading multimedia corporation.

Source: Stan Lee

Scott Wilson

Credits: Image: Angela George

The news that saddened millions of “The Walking Dead” fans across the globe was last year’s passing of Scott Wilson, the actor who portrayed the iconic character of Hershel Greene in seasons 2, 3 and 4 of the popular series

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, the producers of the show announced his return in the upcoming season, but only a few hours later Wilson lost his battle with leukemia and died at the age of 76.

Source: ‘The Walking Dead’ Actor Scott Wilson Has Died, But Will Appear In Season 9

Burt Reynolds

Credits: Image: Alan Light (alan.light)

In his six-decade-long acting career, Burt Reynolds played over 150 characters in many films and TV series, including “Starting Over,” the legendary “Smokey and the Bandit” and more recently “Boogie Nights.”

The role of porn director Jack Horner in “Boogie Nights” brought him an Oscar nomination along with a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998. Reynolds died of a heart attack on September 6, 2018, at the age of 82.

Source: Burt Reynolds, Movie Star Who Played It for Grins, Dies at 82

Aretha Franklin

Credits: Image: Pete Souza

When the supreme queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away on August 16, 2018, the whole world immediately felt the musical void that opened up as a result. She was adored by millions of fans across the globe, not only for her fantastic voice but for her unique character.

Franklin was much more than just a celebrated musician. She was a devoted civil and women’s rights activist who didn’t hesitate to speak her mind; a humanitarian and a role model never to be forgotten.

Source: Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has died

Roger Perry

Roger Perry was a type of actor who rarely had a chance to shine in a leading role, but his appearances in series like the original “Star Trek” and nine seasons on the 1980s sitcom “The Facts of Life” are still well remembered.

His acting credits also include movies such as “Follow The Boys” from 1963, “The Thing With Two Heads” from 1972 and 1979’s “Roller Boogie,” among many others. Perry died on July 12, 2018, from prostate cancer at age 85.

Source: Roger Perry, ‘Falcon Crest’ and ‘Facts of Life’ Actor, Dies at 85

Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder will forever be remembered as Lois Lane from 1978’s Superman and the film’s three sequels. After the success of the Superman movie series, Kidder continued working through the 1980s and landed a few more than prominent roles.

Her struggle with bipolar disorder and a 1990 car accident that left her in a wheelchair for two years made life for Kidder an ongoing battle. She died in her sleep in 2018 from a “self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose.”

Source: Margot Kidder’s death ruled a suicide

Verne Troyer

Credits: Image: TinseltownThom

Verne Troyer’s role of Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies played a huge part in his career, even though it wasn’t the only one he will be remembered for. The actor had almost 60 roles in various movies and television shows.

According to the Los Angeles County medical coroner, Troyer died at the age of 49 from “sequelae of alcohol intoxication,” or alcohol abuse. His death on April 21, 2018 was ruled to be a suicide.

Source: ‘Austin Powers’ star Verne Troyer’s death ruled a suicide

Stephen Hawking

One of the most famous scientists of modern times, Stephen Hawking died on March 14, 2018. This British scientist was best known for his work on relativity and black holes, as well as being the author of “A Brief History of Time” and “The Theory of Everything.”

At the age of 22 he was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease and was given only a few years to live. He died at the age of 76.

Source: Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76

Dorothy Malone

Dorothy Malone was one of those actresses who were simply brilliant on both the big and small screen during her over a 50-year acting career.

She won everyone’s hearts as Constance Mackenzie in the primetime soap “Peyton Place” and impressed many with her role as Marylee Hadley in 1956’s “Written on the Wind,” which brought her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress the following year. Malone died from natural causes only days before her 94th birthday, on January 19, 2018.

Source: Oscar winner Dorothy Malone, mom on Peyton Place, has died

Dennis Edwards

Grammy winner Dennis Edwards was the lead singer of the Temptations and had several big hits during his solo career too.

During the Temptations times, he sang some of the group’s most popular hits like “I Can’t Get Next To You” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” which earned him and the band two Grammy Awards in the early 1970s. In 1989 he got his place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Edwards died on February 1, 2018.

Source: Temptations singer Dennis Edwards dies aged 74

Jerry Van Dyke

Jerry Van Dyke was an actor and a brilliant comedian, just like his brother Dick Van Dyke. He was best known for his role of Luther Horatio Van Dam, the assistant coach of the football team on nine seasons of the hit sitcom “Coach.” The role landed him four Emmy nominations.

Jerry also made appearances on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” his brother’s legendary sitcom. Van Dyke died of heart failure at the age of 86, on January 5, 2018.

Source: Actor Jerry Van Dyke, brother of Dick, dies at 86