Merle HaggardThe country music legend died on April 6, which was his 79th birthday. Known for hits including “Okie From Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” he had been battling pneumonia. A California native, he spent time in San Quentin State Prison following an attempted burglary, but found fame in the music world after his release. He received several Grammys and saw his song “Mama Tried” be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Oscar-winning actress died on March 29. She was 69. A child star, she won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award at 16 for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, a role she had originated on Broadway. Duke went on to appear in other movies, including Valley of the Dolls. However, she’s probably best remembered for playing identical cousins on The Patty Duke Show, and she won three Emmys for My Sweet Charlie, Captains and the Kings, and The Miracle Worker. The mother of actors Sean and Mackenzie Astin, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982 and became a passionate advocate for mental health.
The actor who’s best known for playing Governor Gatling on Benson died on March 28. The 94-year-old Texas native passed away at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut after suffering a stroke. In addition to playing the absentminded politico for seven seasons on the sitcom, he appeared on The Love Boat andPerfect Strangers.
The comedian died suddenly on March 24 after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 66. In his early days in Hollywood, he wrote for TV shows including Sanford and Son. After a few years, he decided to put his comedy chops on display doing standup and soon became known for his neurotic sense of humor. He later had his own shows, including It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show. He also hosted awards shows, including the Emmys, and appeared in many movies.
The president of SAG-AFTRA died March 23 at his home near Los Angeles. He was 71. A Long Island, New York, native you may recognize him from 30 Rock or, more recently, his part in the Jennifer Lawrence movie Joy. An Emmy and Tony Award winner, he also acted in TV’s The White Shadow, Murder, She Wrote, and Melrose Place.
The rapper, whose real name was Malik Taylor, died March 22 at the age of 45. He had health issues for several years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with diabetes. He was known best for being part of A Tribe Called Quest and also put out a solo album, Ventilation: Da LP, in 2000.
The former Bachelor contestant died March 21 when a small plane she was piloting solo crashed in Los Angeles. Storm, who vied for Matt Grant’s heart on the reality show, was engaged to be married.
The actor, who died March 17 at the age of 67, will be best remembered for his role onL.A. Law. He played developmentally disabled legal clerk Benny Stulwicz, earning two Emmy Awards for his work. He also voiced the role of Pops in the animated series Johnny Bravo.
Frank Sinatra Jr.
Famously kidnapped at the age of 19, the son of “Ol’ Blue Eyes” and his first wife, Nancy, passed away March 16. He was 72. A singer himself, he had a long musical career and was on tour in Florida when he unexpectedly died after suffering from cardiac arrest.
Known as “The Fifth Beatle,” the British music producer had a huge part in making the Fab Four as successful as they were. He went on to work with Elton John, the Who’s Pete Townshend, and Dire Straits, among others. He passed away March 8 at the age of 90.
Of course she was the first lady when her husband, Ronald Reagan, was President of the United States, but she had a film and TV career — mostly playing housewives and mothers — before politics took over her life. In her later years, Reagan became a leading activist for Alzheimer’s research. She passed away March 6 at the age of 94.
The country singer — who performed with her husband, Rory, as Joey + Rory — lost her long battle with cervical cancer on March 4. She was just 40.
The actor, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Cool Hand Luke, died on Feb. 28. The 90-year-old NYC native, whose last role was in 2014’s The Gambler, lived in Middleton, Idaho, where he passed away in his sleep as a result of a heart condition.
The novelist died in her sleep at her Monroeville, Alabama, assisted living facility on Feb. 19. She was 89. Her 1960 book To Kill a Mockingbird, which won her the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, catapulted her into a literary celebrity.
Angela Raiola, who is known to Mob Wivesfans as Big Ang, lost her battle to lung and brain cancer on Feb. 18. The Staten Island, New York, bar owner, who loved plastic surgery and her family, was 55.
The actor, who was best known for playingPunky Brewster’s foster dad and the absentminded commandant in the Police Academy movies, died at his daughter’s home in Washington on Feb. 15. Born in Helsinki, Finland, he was 98.
Denise Matthews, better known as Vanity, died Feb. 15 after battling kidney failure and an abdominal illness. She was Prince’s protégé and fronted the group Vanity 6. While she had her fair share of demons, Vanity eventually became an ordained minister. She was 57.
The blonde, who took part in Season 14 ofThe Bachelor, died of an apparent suicide in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 13. She was 31. She competed for Jake Pavelka’s heart on the ABC series.
The BMX rider extraordinaire, who hosted two seasons of MTV’s Real World/Road Rule Challenge, died on Feb. 4. A formerPeople magazine hottest bachelor, he died of an apparent suicide in a friend’s driveway in Greenville, North Carolina. He was 41.
The Playboy pinup and Instagram sensation died Feb. 4 after suffering a stroke. Only 34, the so-called “Queen of Snapchat” had a blockage in her carotid artery, which led to the catastrophic stroke.
The founder of the band Earth, Wind, & Fire was as smooth as they come, which you could hear on tracks including “September,” “Shining Star,” and “Boogie Wonderland.” He passed away on Feb. 3 at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
The actor was known by fans as “the man of a thousand voices” because, after Mel Blanc passed away in 1989, he landed the prized gig of voicing several of the Warner Bros. cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tweety. The 63-year-old died at home in New York on Feb. 3 while under hospice care after a battle with cancer.
The co-founder of psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane died on Jan. 28. Kanter, who was 74, had suffered a heart attack, which led to multiple organ failure. With his band, he played at Woodstock and was known for hits including “White Rabbit.”
Coincidentally, the same day Kanter passed, so did Anderson, who was the first female vocalist of Jefferson Airplane. A cause of death has yet to be revealed, but her former bandmate Jack Casady said she had recently entered into hospice care. She was also 74.
The Brooklyn native with the sunken eyes was best known for his starring role in TV’sBarney Miller as well as playing Salvatore Tessio, who tried to off Michael Corleone, in The Godfather. Although Peoplemagazine reported he had died in 1982, something he enjoyed poking fun at over the years, he died of old age on Jan. 26, while asleep at his daughter’s home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. He was 94 and “never sick” his daughter said.
There is some “Heartache Tonight” over the passing of Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of The Eagles, which is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time. The singer and guitarist, who also had a successful solo career, died Jan. 18 from “complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia,” according to his family. He was 67.
Dan Haggerty, the actor who played woodsman Grizzly Adams on both the big and small screen in the 1970s, passed on Jan. 15 at a Burbank, California, hospital after battling cancer for five months. An animal lover in real life too, was 74.
Céline Dion’s manager, mentor, and, most notably, husband passed away in Las Vegas on Jan. 14 after a long fight with throat cancer. The 73-year-old started his career as part of the Canadian pop rock group The Baronets before he transitioned to managing careers. Angélil discovered Dion when she was 12 and went on to marry her 14 years later.
The British actor best known for his roles inHarry Potter (Professor Snape!) and Die Hard succumbed to cancer, it was announced on Jan. 14. The Shakespeare-trained star got his start in theater and on TV, but made the jump to movies, for which he is best known. Rickman, who was 69, is survived by his wife Rima, whom he married in 2012 after a 40-year romance.
The New York City native, who passed away on Jan. 11, was best known for his role as the mayor in Ghostbusters and Tony’s lawyer in The Sopranos. The 78-year-old actor was survived by actress Lois Smith.
The rock legend’s death was a shock as it wasn’t public knowledge that Bowie had been battling cancer for 18 months before he passed on Jan. 10. The “Heroes” singer, who was 69, was a master at reinventing his image and had dropped his 25th album, Black Star, just two days before death. As much as the London native — who was married to supermodel Iman — will be remembered for his catalog, the stylish, endlessly cool crooner will be appreciated for giving a voice to misfits.
The actor who played Nick Lighter in the Disney Channel’s The Jersey passed away at home in Los Angeles on Jan. 10. A sufferer of diverticulitis, he had recently been hospitalized with abdominal pain. He was 31.
Pat Harrington Jr.
The actor was best known for his role as vest wearing, sleeve rolling, building superintendent Schneider on TV’s One Day at a Time. He died on Jan. 6, after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, at the age of 86.
A singer with the group The Whispers, his hits included “And The Beat Goes On.” He suffered congestive heart failure and passed away at home in San Francisco on Jan. 5. He was 71.
The character actor, who appeared in films including the Fletch franchise and Lily Tomlin’s All of Me, died Jan. 7 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 82.
Rest In Perfect Peace, Great Souls.