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Saying goodbye to those we lost from the stage and screen in 2016

Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Gene Wilder RIP.

PastedImage-52806 PA Wire PA Wire

AS MUSIC LEGEND David Bowie was mourned in the first fortnight of the year, another death shocked the world.

Actor of stage and screen Alan Rickman died, aged 69, on 14 January. From Hans Gruber to Snape, the British thespian was known for his brilliantly delivered, villainous lines.

It was as Eamon de Valera that many Irish people saw him at his most scathing.

theRealOsprey22 / YouTube

Just two weeks later, the BBC confirmed the death of Terry Wogan, aged 77.

He had also died after being sick with cancer for a short time.

Described by President Michael D Higgins as “one of the great figures of broadcasting”, the Limerick man was best known for helming Wake Up To Wogan on BBC Radio 2 and the TV chat show Wogan.

ODE / YouTube

“He was charming and cantankerous and humorous to the end.”

That was how director Peter Reid described his friend Johnny Murphy (of Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan fame from The Commitments) on 23 February following his death the night before. A trumpet player and accomplished theatre actor, the 73-year-old passed away after a brief respiratory illness. He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2011.

On the anniversary of Dermot Morgan’s death on 28 February, his Fr Ted co-star Frank Kelly died, aged 77.

Hat Trick / YouTube

Also on 28 FebruaryGeorge Kennedy – a star in Dallas, Airport and The Naked Gun – died. He was 91.

When Tony Warren was just 24 years old, he created one of the most famous and popular television shows in the world. Coronation Street has entertained audiences in the UK and Ireland since 1960. Warren remained a consultant on the show until his death, aged 79, on 1 March.

Irish actor Robert Carrickford – best known for playing Stephen Brennan in Glenroe – died at the age of 88 on 15 March.

Magician and TV personality Paul Daniels died on 17 March after being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour. He was 77 years old and is survived by his wife Debbie.


Star of The Larry Sanders Show sitcom, Gary Shandling died on 24 March, aged 66.

Diminutive comedian and TV mainstay, Ronnie Corbett passed away at the age of 85 on 31 March.

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Reality TV star and music producer David Gest died on 12 April, aged 62.

Victoria Wood‘s agent confirmed on 20 April that her client had lost a short battle with cancer and had passed away, aged 62. The comedian created, wrote and starred in the BBC sitcom Dinnerladies, as well as holding up a stellar stand-up career.

Joan Laurer, better known as Chyna from WWE (formerly WWF) died on 21 April, aged just 45.

“Not only was the Superstar dubbed “The Ninth Wonder of the World” a founding member of the groundbreaking faction D-Generation X, but she also holds the distinction of being the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble Match and the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship,” the WWE said in a statement.

A physically striking and talented performer, Chyna was a true sports-entertainment pioneer.

Burt Kwouk, who played martial arts expert, Cato, in the Pink Panther films died on 24 May. He was 85.

Hollywood was stunned on 20 June when Anton Yelchin was killed in a freak accident outside his house. “What a rare and beautiful soul with his unstoppable passion for life,” Jodie Foster said of the 27-year-old Star Trek actor.

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Michael Cimino, director of the Oscar-winning Vietnam War film The Deer Hunter, died at the age of 77 on 2 July.

Writer-director Garry Marshall, responsible for a string of TV hits that included Happy Days and the box-office successes Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, died at the age of 81 on 20 July.

Original Irish audiences of Neighbours – the Melbourne-based, popular soup – will remember the spiky Mrs Mangel who appeared between 1986 to 1988. The actress who portrayed her, Vivean  Gray, died on 29 July, aged 92.

On 13 AugustKenny Baker, the British actor who starred as the robot R2-D2 in the Star Wars movies, died at the age of 83.

One of Gene Wilder‘s most famous roles was as the titular Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the movie version of the classic Roald Dahl children’s book. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Producers in 1968. He died, aged 83, on 29 August.

Willy Wonka / YouTube


Alexis Arquette, the transgender character actress and sibling of actors David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia Arquette, died in Los Angeles on 12 September. She was 47 years old.

“Alexis was a brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor,” her brothers and sisters said.

We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth — that love is everything.


On October 15, one of the best known UK soap actresses of the last century, Jean Alexander, has died aged 90. She portrayed the sharp-tongued Hilda Odgen for over 20 years on Coronation Street.


Fawlty Towers’ star Andrew Sachs died at the age of 86. The BBC, which aired the famous 1970s sitcom, confirmed the news on 1 December.

British actor Peter Vaughan, best known for his role as Maester Aemon in hit television series Game of Thrones, died at the age of 93 on 6 December.

Zsa Zsa Gabor starred in more than 60 films during her glittering career. She died on 19 December at the age of 99.

The Royle Family’s Liz Smith died on 26 December, aged 95.

Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher fell ill on 23 December, reportedly having a heart attack on a plane from London to Los Angeles. She passed away at 8.55am on 27 December, leaving a strong legacy behind her.

Just a day later, her mother Debbie Reynolds suffered a stroke and died. She was 84 years old and had told her son Todd that she missed her daughter ‘so much’. “I want to be with Carrie,” were her last words.

Read: Bowie, Prince and Cohen: A year to remember musical genius

More: The year of the RIP: Is 2016 really taking away our most loved stars?

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