FAREWELL TO THE SHOWBIZ STARS WE LOST IN 2021




This was a rough year for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but when it ended with beloved Betty White dying just weeks before her 100th birthday, breaking everyone’s heart. She was one of four members of the classic Mary Tyler Moore show cast who died this year, including Ed Asner, Gavin McLeod, and Cloris Leachman, all of them 90 or older. This was a year for people in their 90s to say farewell, including such icons as Stephen Sondheim, Jane Powell, Christopher Plummer, and Richard Donner. Norman Lloyd was the oldest one to die, this durable actor remaining active right up to his passing at 103. But it was way too early for Jessica Campbell, Matthew Mindler, Jahmil French, and Nikki Grahame. The music world lost Monkee Mike Nesmith shortly after he made his fellow tour with now last surviving Monkee Micky Dolenz. Other music people that said goodbye include Chick Corea, Biz Markie, Tom T. Hall, BJ Thomas, Jay Black, Billy Hinsche, and Jimmy Rodgers. The world is less funny without Mort Sahl, Paul Mooney, Jackie Mason, and Norm MacDonald. Former child stars Jimmy Garrett, Dustin Diamond, Jane Withers, Tommy Kirk, Lee Aker, and Johnny Crawford will remain forever young. While TV and movie memories just won’t be the same without Eddie Mekka, Charles Grodin, Felix Silla, Markie Post, Arlene Golonka, Gloria Henry, Gregory Sierra, and Betty Lynn. Sports figures that crossed into popular entertainment included Tommy Lasorda and John Madden. And I lost two famous friends – Jerry Lewis’s first wife Patti at 99, and my fellow writer and film historians Scott Allen Nollen at 58 and James Zeruk at 57.


This isn’t every showbiz figure who died in 2021, but it’s a pretty comprehensive list. We will continue to celebrate their work.


Listed Alphabetically:


Lee Aaker 77

Rick Aiello 63

Ed Asner 92

Lisa Banes 65

Claudia Barrett 91

Anne Beatts 72

Ned Beatty 83

Jean-Paul Belmondo 88

Joan Benny 86

Walter Bernstein 101

Val Bisoglio 95

Jay Black 83

Frank Bonner 79

Shane Briant 75

Leslie Bricusse 90

Steve Bronski 61

Lisa Brown 67

Ed Bruce, 81

Ron Bushy, 80

Joanna Cameron 60

Jessica Campbell 38

Bud Carlos 91

Linda Carlson 76

Steve Carver 75

Pierre Cassignard 56

Sonny Chiba 82

Kevin Clark 33

Joy Claussen 83

Don Collier 93

Marion Collier 90

Mary Collinson 69

Neil Connery 83

Michael Constantine 94

Alex Cord 88

Chick Corea 79

Jill Corey 85

Johnny Crawford 75

Lou Cutell, 91

Stuart Damon 84

Arlene Dahl 96

Henry Darrow 87

Sarah Dash 76

Prince Markie Dee 52

Martha DeLaurentis 67

Nathalie Delon 79

Jo-Carroll Dennison 98

Dominic DeNucci 89

David DePatie 91

Dustin Diamond 43

Joan Didion 87

DMX 51

Tim Donnelly 77

Richard Donner 91

Jerry Douglas 89

Robert Downey Sr 85

Olympia Dukakis 80

Marilyn Eastman 88

Mark Eden, 92

Richard Evans 89

Don Everly 84

Siegfried Fischbacher 81

Larry Flynt 78

Heath Freeman 41

Jahmil French 29

John Gabriel 90

Jimmy Garrett 67

Willie Garson 57

Leon Gast 84

Nicholas Georgiade 88

Richard Gilliland 70

Arlene Golonka 85

Ari Gold 46

Nikki Grahame 38

Saginaw Grant

Charles Grodin 86

David Gulpilil 68

Jean Hale 83

Tom T. Hall 85

James Hampton 84

Bridget Hanley 80

Sarah Harding 40

Marie Harmon 97

Cynthia Harris 87

Billie Hayes 97

Jerome Hellman 93

Monte Hellman 91

Gloria Henry 98

Mike Henry 90

Gerald Hiken 93

Dusty Hill 72

Billy Hinsche 70

Patricia Hitchcock 93

Robert Hogan 88

Hal Holbrook 96

Betty Lou Holland 94

Sally Ann Howes 91

Halyna Hutchins 42

Amy Johnston 74

Anthony “AJ” Johnson

Larry King 87

Bruce Kirby 92

Tommy Kirk 80

Tawny Kitaen 59

Gary Howard Klar 73

Yaphet Kotto 81

Jeff LaBar 58

Anita Lane 59

Jackie Lane 80

Joe Lara 59

Tommy Lasorda 93

Cloris Leachman 94

Art LaFleur 78

Patti Lewis 99

Reg Lewis 84

Rush Limbaugh 70

Joanne Linville 93

Norman Lloyd 106

Sean Locke 59

Pat Loud 94

William Lucking 80

Betty Lynn 95

Norm MacDonald 62

Joyce MacKenzie 92

Gavin MacLeoad 90

John Madden 85

Zygmunt Malanowicz 83

Ng Man-Tat 68

Phillip Margo 79

Biz Markie 57

Gerry Marsden 78

Jackie Mason 93

Joan Howard Maurer

Helen McClory 53

Ray McDonnell 93

Les McKeown 65

Larry McMurty 84

Frank McRae 77

Alfonso Meija 87

Eddie Mekka 69

Art Metrano 85

Diana Millay 85

Matthew Mindler 21

Paul Mooney 79

Trevor Moore 41

Joey Morgan 28

Michael Nader 76

Michael Nesmith 79

New Jack 58

Ivy Nicholson 88

Trisha Noble 76

Scott Allen Nollen 58

Erin O’Brien 86

Gavin O’Herlihy 70

Walter Olkewicz 72

Paul Orndorff

Nicola Pagett 75

Peter Palmer 90

Trevor Peacock 89

Rod Perry 86

Jack Pickett 60

Christopher Plummer 91

Markie Post 70

Jane Powell 92

Rosita Quintana 96

Marion Ramsey 73

Lois Ranson 100

Julie Redding 86

John Reilly 84

Anne Rice 80

John Richardson 86

Peter Mark Richman 93

Paul Ritter 53

Charles Robinson 76

Wanda Young Rogers 78

Richard Rush 91

Tanya Roberts 65

Jimmie Rodgers 87

Antonio Sabato Sr 79

Robert Sacchi 89

Mort Sahl 93

Camille Saviola 71

Peter Scolari 66

Geoffrey Scott 78

Willard Scott 87

George Segal 87

Larry Sellers 72

Barbara Shelley 88

Gregory Sierra 73

Felix Silla 83

Joseph Siravo 63

William Smith 88

Stephen Sondheim 91

Phil Spector 81

Leon Spinks 67

Dean Stockwell 85

Tempest Storm 92

Sylvain Sylvain 69

BJ Thomas 78

Dearon Thompson 55

Brian Travers 62

Vicki Trickett 82

James Michael Tyler 59

Kim Tyler 66

Michael Tylo 73

Cicely Tyson 86

Hilton Valentine 77

Jean-Marc Vallée 58

Buddy Van Horn 93

Melvin Van Peebles 89

Isela Vega 81

Chick Vennera 74

Mary Versini 81

Jessica Walter 79

Gloria Warren 95

Rusty Warren 91

Charlie Watts 80

Joan Weldon 90

Lina Wertmuller 93

Betty White 99

Yvonne Wilder 84

Cara Williams 96

Clarence Williams III 82

Michael K. Williams 55

Marc Wilmore 57

Mark Wilson 91

Mary Wilson 76

Jane Withers 95

May Wynn 93

Jerome Young (see New Jack)

James Zeruk 57



James L. Neibaur
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