Celebrity deaths 2023: The famous faces and notable figures we said goodbye to this year – Sky News

Matthew Perry, Tina Turner, Sinead O’Connor, Sir Bobby Charlton, Paul O’Grady, Barry Humphries, Mohamed Al Fayed, Burt Bacharach, Jeff Beck, Jerry Springer, David Crosby, S Club 7’s Paul Cattermole, Martin Amis and Glenda Jackson were among the stars and notable figures who died in 2023.
Wednesday 27 December 2023 18:08, UK
As the year draws to a close, it is a time to commemorate those we have lost in the last 12 months.
Music icons including Tina Turner, Burt Bacharach and Sinead O’Connor are among the famous faces who sadly died in 2023, along with stars of stage and screen such as Raquel Welch, Matthew Perry and Sir Michael Gambon, and sporting legends Sir Bobby Charlton, Terry Venables and Gianluca Vialli.
Other celebrities who died this year include Paul O’Grady and Barry Humphries, along with well known names from the worlds of politics and business, such as Mohamed Al Fayed and Silvio Berlusconi.
As 2023 comes to an end, here’s a look back at the lives and careers of those from the worlds of music, film, TV, fashion, sport, royalty, politics and business who we’ve said goodbye to.
One of the most influential rock singers of the 1960s and 1970s, American singer-songwriter David Crosby co-founded both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills And Nash – later Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both groups, and also released several records as a solo performer.
Crosby died at the age of 81, following a long illness, with his wife, Jan, saying in tribute: “Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music.”
British rock legend Jeff Beck rose to fame with The Yardbirds and went on to become a solo star who incorporated hard rock, jazz, blues and even opera into his music.
Known for his love of improvising, he won eight Grammy awards and like Crosby was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice. In 2022, he released a collaborative album with his friend Johnny Depp, who was one of the many varied performers – including Luciano Pavarotti, Rod Stewart, Macy Gray, Chrissie Hynde, Joss Stone, Imelda May and Cyndi Lauper – he worked with over the years.
“I don’t care about the rules,” Beck once said when describing his music style. “In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least 10 times in every song then I’m not doing my job properly.”
He died aged 78 after “suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis”, his family said in a statement, with stars including Kiss’s Gene Simmons, Queen’s Brian May and Rolling Stones stars Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood paying tribute.
Italian football hero Gianluca Vialli was the son of a self-made millionaire, who grew up in a mansion in Lombardy – but money could not buy his natural skill as a footballer.
He was best known in the UK for his time with Chelsea, the club for which he scored 40 goals in 88 games between 1996 and 1999. He then became manager – winning the FA Cup with the club in both roles. Before his move to London he had played for Juventus, who signed him in what was a record deal back in 1992.
Following his death, aged 58, tributes described a hugely skiled footballer – but also a beloved man. His former teammate Graeme Souness, who played alongside him at Sampdoria, told Sky Sports: “I can’t tell you how good a guy he was. Forget football, he was just a gorgeous soul. He was just a truly nice human being.”
Obituary: Italy says goodbye to a footballing genius
As the only child of the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Lisa Marie Presley was the sole heir to her father’s Graceland estate and seemed destined to a life of music royalty.
She went on to have her own career in the spotlight, scoring two US Top 10 albums, and was famously married to both Michael Jackson and Nicholas Cage. But her life was beset by tragedy, including the loss of her son in 2020.
Presley died aged 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California, with her mother Priscilla describing her as “the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known”.
Read more: The tragic life of Lisa Marie Presley
Yorkshire-born actor Julian Sands was best known for his roles in films including A Room With A View, Arachnophobia, Leaving Las Vegas, and Warlock, as well as TV appearances in 24, Smallville and Banshee.
In the years before his death, he had appeared in one-man stage shows reciting the poetry of Harold Pinter, John Keats and Percy Shelley.
A keen hiker and mountaineer, the 65-year-old was reported missing in January 2023 after he failed to return from a trek in the Mount Baldy region of the San Gabriel mountains in California. His death was not confirmed until June, when his remains were discovered.
Giving a newspaper interview in 2020, Sands said he was happiest when he was “close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning”.
Obituary: ‘Endearing, eccentric and fearless’ actor died ‘doing what he loved’
Other stars and notable figures who died in January 2023 include:
Supermodel Tatjana Patitz, one of the five stars of George Michael’s Freedom video
Rapper Gangsta Boo
Founding Motown artist Barrett Strong
Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White
Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida
‘Grande Dame’ of British cinema Sylvia Sims
Rally driver and YouTube star Ken Block
Wednesday Addams actress Lisa Loring
24 star Annie Wersching
Author Fay Weldon
Bachman-Turner Overdrive drummer Robbie Bachman
One of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, Burt Bacharach penned more than 500 tracks – which went on to be performed by more than 1,200 different artists – across his seven-decade career. They include Magic Moments, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, I Say A Little Prayer, Walk On By, Close To You, to name just a handful of his accomplishments.
A skilled pianist as well as a composer, he was a six-time Grammy winner and three-time Oscar winner whose talent earned him comparisons with music greats including George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers. Over the years he collaborated or wrote for everyone, from Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin to Tom Jones and even Dr Dre.
Remixes and samples of his work kept him in the public consciousness long after he stopped turning out the hits, as did Hollywood’s use of many of his tunes in film soundtracks.
Chuck Jackson, an American R&B singer who was one of the first artists to record material by Bacharach and lyricist Hal David successfully, died just days after the composer, aged 85. Bacharach died at the age of 94, with tributes paid by artists of all ages. “RIP Maestro,” wrote Noel Gallagher in his. “It was a pleasure to have known you.”
Obituary: The composer who soundtracked generations
Raquel Welch was a Hollywood bombshell whose career spanned more than 50 years, including 30 films and dozens of TV series and appearances.
She won a Golden Globe for best actress in 1975 for her role in The Three Musketeers, and appeared in hit films including Legally Blonde later in her career.
However, thanks to its iconic publicity still featuring Welch in a deer-skin bikini, it is her role in the 1966 prehistoric adventure fantasy One Million Years BC she will be most remembered for, despite having just a few lines of dialogue in the film.
The star died aged 82 after a short illness, her management company said, and had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease.
De La Soul are regarded as one of the most innovative groups in rap history, and David Jude Jolicoeur – known as Trugoy the Dove and pictured centre above – was one of the founding members, alongside Kelvin “Posdnuos” Mercer and Vincent “Maseo” Mason.
Their debut studio album 3 Feet High And Rising was praised as a light-hearted and positive counterpart to harder rap offerings at the time of its release in 1989; sampling everyone from Johnny Cash and Steely Dan to Hall & Oates, De La Soul signalled the beginning of alternative hip-hop.
Jolicoeur, who died at the age of 54, five years after revealing he was suffering from congenitive heart failure, also co-wrote songs including Gorillaz’s Feel Good Inc. His death came just a month after it was announced that De La Soul’s classic back catalogue would be made available for digital streaming for the first time.
Baroness Betty Boothroyd was the first female female Speaker of the House of Commons, modernising the role by refusing to wear the traditional wig.
Born into a working-class family in Dewsbury in 1929, she was introduced to politics at an early age through her mother’s membership of the women’s section of the Labour Party. She became the Labour MP for West Bromwich in 1973 and for West Bromwich West – when the seat was split the following year – until her retirement in 2000.
Before her time as an MP in the UK, she worked on John F Kennedy’s campaign after he was elected as the Democratic candidate for president in the US, and also travelled across America with Democratic senator Estes Kefauver before moving on to work for left-wing Republican congressman Silvio Conte.
Following her death at the age of 93, Current Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle described her as an “inspiring woman… an inspirational politician, and someone I was proud to call my friend”.
Other stars and notable figures who died in February 2023 include:
Legendary sports commentator John Motson
Fashion designer Paco Rabanne
Chariots Of Fire director Hugh Hudson
World Of Sport presenter Dickie Davies
Walking Dead actor Jansen Panettiere
US financier Thomas H Lee
Beloved TV star and comedian Paul O’Grady rose to fame thanks to his drag queen persona Lily Savage, but later became a national treasure under his own name, too.
During his career, he hosted a number of shows including The Paul O’Grady Show, Blind Date and For The Love Of Dogs, as well as Blankety Blank in the late ’90s under the guise of Savage. He also featured on TV shows such as Dr Who and Holby City.
The presenter was honoured with an MBE for services to entertainment in 2008, adding to a list of achievements including a TV BAFTA, a British Comedy Award, and a National Television Award. He was also well known for his love of animals, particularly dogs, having been an ambassador of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home since 2012.
He died aged 67 after suffering a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, with everyone from Sir Elton John to the Royal Family paying tribute.
Read more: From a rubber gloves raid to work as a mortician
Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp released their first album in 1983, but rose to prominence with their fourth and fifth albums His ‘N’ Hers and Different Class in the 1990s. Steve Mackey, who joined in 1988, played bass.
His ‘N’ Hers, featuring songs including Babies, Lipgloss and Do You Remember The First Time? was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 1994, while Different Class – famous for hits including Common People, Disco 2000, Something Changed and Sorted For Es and Whizz – went on to win the award in 1996.
In 1995, the group became a late replacement for The Stone Roses to headline that year’s Glastonbury Festival and went on to play one of the most memorable sets in the event’s history. In 2011, following a break, their comeback “secret” set drew one of the biggest crowds ever to the festival’s Park Stage.
“Steve made things happen,” the band said in tribute as they announced his death at the age of 56. “In his life & in the band… Safe travels, Steve. We hope to catch up with you one day.”
Mystic Meg, whose real name was Margaret Lake, was the UK’s most famous astrologist, a regular feature on Saturday night TV with the National Lottery show in the 1990s, when she would appear with her crystal ball to predict who would win the weekly jackpot.
She also wrote daily horoscopes for The Sun newspaper for almost 23 years.
Her horoscopes and clairvoyant messages captured the imagination of the public and she received huge amounts of correspondence – including from angry Manchester United fans after she correctly predicted their team would lose to Everton in the FA Cup final in 1995.
She died aged 80 after being admitted to hospital while suffering with flu.
Actor Lance Reddick was best known for his role in the crime drama The Wire, which ran for five seasons between 2002 and 2008 and was set in his hometown of Baltimore.
He also starred in the John Wick movie franchise alongside star Keanu Reeves, and voiced Commander Zavala in the Destiny game series.
He died suddenly at the age of 60, with his family and The Wire co-stars leading the tributes to “a man of great strength and grace”.
Other stars and notable figures who died in March 2023 include:
Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down star Tom Sizemore
Ann Summers entrepreneur Jacqueline Gold
South African rapper Costa Titch
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist and sole constant member Gary Rossington
Fiddler On The Roof actor Chaim Topol
Star Wars and Harry Potter actor Paul Grant
Intel co-founder and microchip pioneer Gordon Moore
Composer Nicholas Lloyd Webber, son of Andrew Lloyd Webber
Drag queen Darcelle XV
Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid
Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
Brian Gillis, founding member of US boyband LFO
Comedian, satirist, author, producer, West End star, writer, painter, born entertainer: Barry Humphries did it all. His characters included Sir Les Patterson – the lecherous “phallus-brandishing” diplomat who once chased Kylie Minogue off stage at the Royal Festival Hall – and the “boring man of the suburbs” Sandy Stone.
But he was of course best known for Dame Edna Everage, a self-described giga-star known for her extravagant spectacles, rapier wit, double entendres and fondness for gladioli flowers, who was arguably Australia’s biggest comedy export.
He had been readmitted to hospital in Sydney after suffering complications following hip surgery, and died aged 89. “He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit,” his family said in tribute.
Farewell, Possum: Barry Humphries obituary
Harry Belafonte was a Grammy, Emmy and Tony winning singer and actor who became a civil rights activist.
Reluctantly nicknamed “The King of Calypso”, he was largely responsible for bringing Caribbean music to an international audience in the 1950s, and the first singer – in any genre – to sell a million records in a year.
His song Jump In The Line (Shake, Senora) had a recent resurgence before his death, going viral on TikTok in 2020. He was also one of the first black performers to gain a wide following on film, starring in movies including Carmen Jones, Island In The Sun, and Odds Against Tomorrow.
In 2022, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, becoming the oldest person ever to receive the honour. And alongside his career in entertainment, he was a committed activist who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
He died at the age of 96 with his wife by his side, according to a spokesperson.
Obituary: The singer who used helped break down racial barriers
Famous for The Jerry Springer Show – a ratings hit known for its strippers, food-fights and punch-ups – the politician-turned-presenter saw his work as a TV rebellion against the elite. “Take care of yourselves, and each other,” was his line to end every episode.
The show aired for 27 seasons, with nearly 5,000 episodes from 1991 to 2018, and even inspired Jerry Springer: The Opera. A UK version was made in 1999, and Too Hot For TV videos and DVDs were also released.
Speaking to Sky News in 2019, Springer defended the show’s contributors, who he said were frequently dismissed as “trash” – saying he saw them as “regular people involved in crazy situations”.
The presenter died aged 79 after being diagnosed with cancer. Fellow talk-show host Ricki Lake was among those paying tribute to a one-time “rival and friend”, who she described as “a lovely man”.
Paul Cattermole (left) found fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s as part of S Club 7, the pop group with hits including Reach, Don’t Stop Movin’ and Bring It All Back.
The band was also known for the BBC children TV shows Miami 7 and LA 7, which saw the seven bandmates play fictionalised versions of themselves.
Cattermole died suddenly of natural caused at the age of 46, just weeks after a big S Club 7 reunion tour had been announced. Members Rachel Stevens, Bradley McIntosh, Jo O’Meara, Jon Lee and Tina Barrett continued with the tour in October, while Hannah Spearritt, who was previously in a relationship with Cattermole, pulled out.
“We were so lucky to have had him in our lives and are thankful for the amazing memories we have,” S Club said in tribute following his death.
Read more: Steps, Blue and other pop peers remember S Club 7 star
Known for his sparkling wit and Strictly Come Dancing catchphrase of “sev-en!”, ​​​​Len Goodman turned to dance as a teenager after his football career was cut short by a foot injury. He went on to become a dancing national treasure.
With a warm humour and passion for Latin and Ballroom, Goodman was head judge on the BBCshow from its launch in 2004 to 2016. His final appearace came on the 2016 Christmas Day special, after which he was replaced by Shirley Ballas.
He also appeared on the American version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, from 2005 until his departure in 2022.
Strictly stars including presenter Claudia Winkleman and judge Craig Revel Horwood were among the many paying tribute to a man “full of twinkle, warmth and wit” following his death at the age of 78.
Other stars and notable figures who died in April 2023 include:
Nigel Lawson, chancellor to Margaret Thatcher
Fashion designer Mary Quant
Nora Forster, wife of Sex Pistols and PiL star John Lydon
Abba guitarist Lasse Wellander
Oscar-nominated actor Michael Lerner
The Script guitarist Mark Sheehan
Veteran banker Sir Win Bischoff
K-pop star Moonbin
Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitarist Tim Bachman
British Masterchef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo
Tina Turner was the Queen of Rock’n’Roll, the star with the electric stage presence and one of the greatest voices of the last few decades.
She rose to fame in the 1960s alongside ex-husband Ike Turner, with the classics River Deep, Mountain High, Proud Mary, and Nutbush City Limits among their hits. After their split she later spoke out about the domestic abuse he subjected her to, with an openness that was groundbreaking at the time.
Her comeback as a solo star in the 1980s, pushing back against those who told her that as a woman in her 40s she could not make it as a solo star, gave the world hits including Private Dancer, We Don’t Need Another Hero, What’s Love Got To Do With It, and of course, a biggest track, The Best.
Turner’s story was documented in a 1993 film starring Angela Bassett, which won three Oscars, and also immortalised in a popular West End show that continues in her memory.
She died aged 83 at her home in Switzerland, with stars including Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John and Diana Ross paying tribute to a “total legend on record and on stage”.
Obituary: The trauma and triumph of a music legend
Andy Rourke (pictured right above with Johnny Marr) was the bassist for alternative indie legends The Smiths, known for hits including This Charming Man, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.
The original line-up of the Manchester band comprised of Rourke, frontman Morrissey, guitarist Marr and drummer Mike Joyce.
Rourke also played with artists including The Pretenders, Sinead O’Connor and Badly Drawn Boy.
His death at the age of 59 was announced by Marr, who said he had been suffering with pancreatic cancer, describing Rourke as “one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like”.
Renowned British author Martin Amis published 15 novels, as well as several short fiction collections and non-fiction works, and was best known for his books Money: A Suicide Note, and London Fields.
He was twice listed for the Booker Prize for his novels Time’s Arrow and Yellow Dog, and his memoir Experience was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
He died of oesophageal cancer at his home Florida, aged 73, his wife Isabel Fonseca, also a writer, announced.
Obituary: A legend who was willing to examine the sordid side of his era
Other stars and notable figures who died in May 2023 include:
Singer Linda Lewis, who provided backing vocals for David Bowie and Rod Stewart
Convicted paedophile, former TV star Rolf Harris
Head of Britain’s richest family SP Hinduja
Thor and RRR actor Ray Stevenson
ITV journalist Emily Morgan
Demon Headmaster actor Terrence Hardiman
Three-time Olympic medallist sprinter Tori Bowie
Pirates Of The Caribbean and Men In Black actor Sergio Calderon
Glenda Jackson, who died at the age of 87, was both an Oscar-winning actress and a former Labour MP, an entertainer who turned to politics after more than three decades on stage and screen.
She won the Oscar for best actress in 1970 for her performance as a headstrong artist in director Ken Russell’s adaptation of DH Lawrence’s novel Women In Love, and again three years later for romantic comedy A Touch Of Class.
Despite her successful career in entertainment – she also won two Emmy Awards and a Tony – she never had any interest in the social and glamorous aspects of the industry, and devoted herself to politics in the 1990s, angered by the damage she believed was being inflicted on the working classes by former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
But a return to entertainment saw her win a BAFTA in 2020 for her portrayal of a woman suffering from dementia in Elizabeth Is Missing, and before her death had recently completed filming The Great Escaper alongside Michael Caine.
Obituary: An Oscar winner with comedy flair – but deadly serious about politics
The death of controversial former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi brought an end to one of the most colourful and controversial political careers of recent times.
Famous for his notorious “bunga bunga” parties, the 86-year-old senator and leader of the Forza Italia party had faced a string of financial and sex scandals which made him the most polarising figure in modern Italy. The sex parties, which involved prostitutes, caused a major scandal in the country.
Well known for his brash and ebullient personality, he led Italy three times from 1994-1995, 2001-2006 and 2008-2011, stepping down as prime minister for the last time in 2011 as Italy came close to a Greece-style debt crisis.
He died after receiving treatment for a lung infection linked to chronic leukaemia.
Obituary: When Berlusconi invited reporters to the ‘bunga bunga’
Other stars and notable figures who died in June 2023 include:
Oscar-winning Argo and Little Miss Sunshine actor Alan Arkin
No Country For Old Men and The Road author Cormac McCarthy
Former Man Utd and Scotland defender Gordon McQueen
Long-time boss of FTSE 100 firm Diageo Sir Ivan Menezes
Hair and Everwood actor Treat Williams
US rapper Big Pokey
The Iron Sheik, WWE star and Hulk Hogan rival
Breaking Bad actor and comedian Mike Batayeh
To The Manor Born and Midsomer Murders actress Angela Thorne
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling songwriter Cynthia Weil
Marvel comics artist John Romita Sr
Britain’s Got Talent star Kerri-Anne Donaldson
British actor Paxton Whitehead, who appeared in Friends and Frasier
Fiddler On The Roof creator Sheldon Harnick
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Irish singer Sinead O’Connor was best known for her 1990 song Nothing Compares 2 U, the track which made her a global star, partly due to its famous video.
She was known as much for her outspoken views, on subjects such as religion, war and feminism, as she was for her music – in 1992, she infamously tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live to protest against abuse in the Catholic Church.
O’Connor converted to Islam in 2018 and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat, but still performed under her old name. Throughout her career she recorded 10 studio albums and was nominated for eight Grammys – winning in 1991 for best alternative musical performance for I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.
She died at the age of 56, her family confirmed, with musicians from Bryan Adams to Ian Brown, as well as Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, paying tribute.
Obituary: Unapologetic and impossible to ignore
Known for his performances with a range of stars from Frank Sinatra to Lady Gaga, legendary pop and jazz singer Tony Bennett sold millions of records around the world and won 20 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award.
One of the last of America’s great crooners, he released his first album in his mid-20s in 1952 and went on to chart in the US in every subsequent decade of his life.
Described by Sinatra as “the best singer in the business”, Bennett kept on performing well into his 90s, even after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His 2011 duet with Amy Winehouse, Body And Soul, was the last song she recorded before her death.
With more than 70 albums to his name, he is perhaps the only artist ever to have had new albums charting in the US in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s – and in 2014, he broke his own record as the oldest living artist to hit the top of the weekly Billboard 200 album chart.
He died at the age of 96, with Lada Gaga among the many paying tribute. “I will miss my friend forever,” she wrote. “I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together.
Obituary: How words from idol Sinatra changed his career
British-French actress and singer Jane Birkin was the woman who inspired the Hermes Birkin designer handbag, who was best known for her hit single Je t’aime… moi non plus”, with her former partner Serge Gainsbourg.
Her acting credits included the 1966 film Blow Up, in which she controversially appeared naked in a threesome sex scene, and crime comedy Kaleidoscope that same year. She also starred in a 1978 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile and mystery film Evil Under the Sun in 1982.
French President Emmanuel Macron led the tributes following her death at 76, writing on social media: “Because she embodied freedom, because she sang the most beautiful words of our language, Jane Birkin was a French icon.
“A complete artist, her voice was as sweet as her engagements were fiery. She bequeaths us tunes and images that will never leave us.”
Newsreader George Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 and spent many years as one of the corporation’s leading foreign correspondents before moving to presenting and becoming the face of the broadcaster’s News At Six in 2007.
Throughout his career, he interviewed central political figures, among them former South African president Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and ex-Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.
Before joining the BBC, Alagiah worked as a print journalist and went on to write a number of books including A Home From Home, which looked at what it means to be British. He also presented other shows such as Mixed Britannia, looking at the UK’s mixed-race population.
He died aged 67 after being battling cancer for several years.
Read more: Newsreader remembered for ‘kindness, empathy and wonderful humanity’
Euphoria star Angus Cloud was best known for playing Fezco opposite Zendaya in the hit HBO drama show.
He was scouted for the role while working in a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.
Following his death from an accidental overdose at the age of 25, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson described the actor as special, talented and “way too young to leave us so soon”.
Zendaya also praised her castmate’s skill, saying: “I’m lucky because I got to experience the most beautiful parts of him.”
Other stars and notable figures who died in July 2023 include:
Yes Minister actor John Nettleton
Britain’s first £1m football player Trevor Francis
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest screenwriter Bo Goldman
Robert De Niro’s grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez
Hawaiian surfer Mikala Jones
Singer and Mulan star Coco Lee
Pee Wee Herman star Paul Reubens
Sir Michael Parkinson, a former journalist, was one of British television’s most famous faces thanks to his talk show Parkinson, which ran on the BBC from 1971 to 1982 before a relaunch in 1998 and a move to ITV in 2004.
Over more than 800 episodes, the TV host affectionately known as Parky interviewed some of the world’s most high-profile figures – including Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John, Tom Cruise, Helen Mirren, David and Victoria Beckham, and George Michael – and helped make comedian Sir Billy Connolly a household name.
Despite his long and illustrious career, it was his 2003 interview with a stony-faced Meg Ryan that went down in history as one of his most memorable shows – along with his run-in with Rod Hull’s Emu.
He was remembered as the “greatest interviewer of our age” following his death at the age of 88.
Obituary: The host that A-listers wanted to share their secrets with
Egyptian-born businessman Mohamed Al Fayed was best known as the former owner of the Harrods department store and Fulham football club.
He built his family’s fortune in real estate, shipping and construction, first in the Middle East and then in Europe. After moving to London in the 1960s, he soon became a friend of royals and high society and purchased high-profile businesses, including the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
The Sunday Times Rich List 2021 reported Al Fayed and his family were worth around £1.7bn.
Al Fayed’s son, the film producer Dodi Fayed, and Princess Diana died on 31 August 1997 when their car crashed in a road tunnel in Paris as they tried to outrun paparazzi photographers on motorbikes. He fought a long campaign after their deaths, alleging the crash was not an accident and that it had been orchestrated by the British security services.
The businessman died at the age of 94 and was buried after at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.
Read more: Casual relationship with the truth held back business achievements
Singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez was an American singer who unknowingly became a star in South Africa.
He was described as “more popular than Elvis” in the country by record shop owner Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, whose nickname comes from Rodriguez’s song Sugarman.
His songs protesting the Vietnam War, racial inequality and the abuse of women were banned by the apartheid regime, but inspired liberals horrified by the country’s racial segregation system.
He became the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man, which tells of two South Africans and their mission to seek out the fate of their musical hero, and made him recognisable to a much larger audience.
He sought unpaid royalties after becoming aware of his fame in the country – with South Africans interviewed in the documentary saying they sent royalty cheques to the US, to his now-defunct former label Sussex Records, run by former Motown executive Clarence Avant.
Clarence Avant, whose work as a record executive, promoter, mentor and dealmaker earned him the nickname “the Godfather of black music”, died at the age of 92 just days after Rodriguez, who was 81.
Mark Margolis appeared in more than 100 TV programmes and films throughout his career on screen, including Scarface, Requiem For A Dream, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
But the image of the actor that will spring to mind for most will be that of the ageing crime boss sitting in his wheelchair, ringing a reception-style bell for communication – Hector Salamanca in Breaking Bad.
Margolis, who was nominated for a best guest actor Emmy in 2012 for his performance in the series, later reprised the role in the prequel series Better Call Saul. He also received acclaim for playing a Sicilian mob boss infected with HIV in prison drama Oz.
He died at the age of 83 following a short illness. Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, who reunited with Margolis in the second series of Your Honor, released earlier in 2023, led the tributes to an actor who was “fun and engaging off the set, and (in the case of Breaking Bad and Your Honor) intimidating and frightening on set”.
Faye Fantarrow was an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Sunderland who was spotted on social media and subsequently signed by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart, a year after winning the Alan Hull award for songwriting – a prize given annually in the North East in memory of the Lindisfarne founder.
Having survived leukaemia twice as a child, she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in August 2022. Along with family and friends, she had been fundraising to cover the costs of treatment in the US, but her illness progressed.
She died in August, aged just 21, with her family paying tribute to a young woman who “gave us joy, laughter, and the gift of her music”.
Other stars and notable figures who died in August 2023 include:
The Exorcist and French Connection director William Friedken
Bletchley Park WW2 codebreaker Margaret Betts
DJ Casper, creator of the Cha Cha Slide
The Kinks former keyboard player John Gosling
The Band lead guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson
Game Of Thrones and EastEnders actor Darren Kent
Little House On The Prairie actress Hersha Parady
WWE star Bray Wyatt
Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden
Dire Straits guitarist Jack Sonni
Sir Michael Gambon was one of the original members of the Royal National Theatre alongside Laurence Olivier n the 1960s, and starred in films including The King’s Speech, Gosford Park and Paddington throughout his lengthy career in entertainment.
He also played French detective Jules Maigret in the ITV series Maigret, as well as starring in the BBC series The Singing Detective.
But Sir Michael was best known for playing Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore in a number of the Harry Potter films, taking over from Richard Harris following his death in 2002. He played the character from the third film, The Prisoner Of Azkaban, through to the eighth, Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – and following his death at the age of 82, fans of the story were encouraged to raise their wands in his honour.
Scottish-born star David McCallum featured in numerous theatre productions including The Lion In Winter and Julius Caesar, but his big break followed a move to America where he was cast in the role of secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Despite initially having only a couple of lines, he was spotted by the producers and boosted as co-star of the spy series alongside Robert Vaughn, receiving two two Emmy Award nominations during the show’s run.
He also starred in classic war films The Great Escape and Mosquito Squadron, as a scientist in the 1975 sci-fi show The Invisible Man, and later as Dr Donald “Ducky” Mallard in NCIS for 20 years.
Following his death at the age of 90, his family paid tribute to the “kindest, coolest, most patient and loving father”, and a “true renaissance man… fascinated by science and culture and would turn those passions into knowledge”.
Comedian and impersonator Mike Yarwood became a household name in the 1960s and 1970s, attracting huge TV audiences for his impersonations of politicians and other public figures.
His initial success came on Sunday Night at the London Palladium, on which he first appeared in 1964, before hosting shows on the BBC under his own name.
The subjects of Yarwood’s impressions included former Labour prime minister Harold Wilson, his Tory rival Ted Heath, political interviewer Robin Day, rugby league commentator Eddie Waring and football manager Brian Clough.
“The Mike Yarwood Show (1977) holds the record for the largest single Christmas Day audience of 21.4 million viewers,” the Royal Variety Charity said in a statement following his death at 82. “He leaves behind an immeasurable void in the entertainment industry.”
California senator Diane Feinstein was the longest-serving female senator, elected in 1992, and the oldest member of the chamber.
Known for fighting for abortion rights and gun control, she was a Democratic Party politician who tried to find common ground with Republicans over three decades in the Senate.
She died last at her home in Washington DC at the age of 90, with President Joe Biden hailing her as a “pioneering American” and a “trailblazer” after learning of her death.
Other stars and notable figures who died in September 2023 include:
Singer-songwriter and billionaire businessman Jimmy Buffett
Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell
Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zoleka Mandela
Sheffield United footballer Maddy Cusack
8 Mile actor and rapper Nashawn Breedlove
Actress Jean Boht, who starred in Bread, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em and Grange Hill
Author, comedian and domestic abuse campaigner Maddy Anholt
Matthew Perry rose to worldwide fame playing Chandler Bing in the 1990s sitcom Friends, alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer.
Behind the scenes, he battled addiction, which he spoke openly about as he released his memoir, Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing, in 2022. He also worked to help others suffering similar troubles.
“When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned – I want helping others to be the first thing that’s mentioned and I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that,” he said in an interview at the time. “Addiction is far too powerful for anyone to defeat alone. But together, one day at a time, we can beat it down.”
Following his death at the age of 54, a foundation to “honour his legacy” and help others “struggling with the disease of addiction” was set up in his name. His five Friends co-stars released a joint tribute, saying: “We were more than just castmates. We are a family.”
Obituary: The one who made everyone laugh
Sir Bobby Charlton was an England World Cup winner and a Manchester United legend. In a 17-year career as a midfielder for the club, he played 758 games and scored 249 goals – both of which were longstanding records until Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney surpassed his feats in 2008 and 2017 respectively.
For England, he played 106 times and scored 49 goals. Renowned for his humility, discipline and sportsmanship, he was never sent off during his time as an England player nor for Manchester United. His wins included the European Cup, three English league titles as well as the FA Cup.
After retiring from playing in 1976, he went into coaching and founded a youth scheme that included David Beckham among its participants. He joined the board of directors at United in 1984, where he remained for 39 years – and persuaded the board in 1986 to appoint Sir Alex Ferguson, who delivered 38 trophies during nearly 27 years in charge.
Following his death at the age of 96, Manchester United paid tribute to a man who was “a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world”.
Obituary: Forever a gentleman of English football
Richard Roundtree‘s turn as streetwise private detective John Shaft in the 1971 thriller made him a star – with the famous musical intro by Isaac Hayes also winning an Oscar.
Shaft is the best known of the 1970s Blaxploitation genre – movies by black crews and actors aimed at black audiences – which later influenced directors such as Quentin Tarantino.
The film sees a Harlem mobster hire Roundtree’s character to rescue his kidnapped daughter and it became a breakthrough hit despite a modest budget. Shaft’s Big Score followed in 1972 and Shaft In Africa in 1973, and there was also a brief TV series. He reprised the role in a 2000 movie of the same name starring Samuel L Jackson as his nephew, as well as a 2019 Netflix film that continued the franchise.
Roundtree worked as a model in his early 20s before joining a black theatre company and landing the Shaft role aged 28. He also appeared in Roots in 1977 – a landmark miniseries based on the US slavery era – and soap opera Generations from 1989 to 1991.
He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 81.
Other stars and notable figures who died in October 2023 include:
Oscar-nominated Rocky actor Burt Young
US poet Louise Gluck, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature
Comic book artist and writer Keith Giffen
Three’s Company actress Suzanne Somers
Actress Haydyn Gwynne, who starred in Drop The Dead Donkey and The Windsors
Days Of Our Lives actor Tyler Christopher
Founding member of The Isley Brothers Rudolph Isley
Massive Attack guitarist Angelo Bruschini
Former Man City star and chairman Francis Lee
Ice hockey player Adam Johnson
Marvel stuntman Taraja Ramsess, and three of his children
Everton chairman and West End producer Bill Kenwright
Dave Courtney, former gangster turned actor and author
Born on 25 December 1957, perhaps it was meant to be that Shane MacGowan would always be associated with Christmas.
Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, the Irish singer-songwriter had hits including Dirty Old Town, The Irish Rover, A Pair Of Brown Eyes and A Rainy Night In Soho with The Pogues – but it’s their 1987 song Fairytale Of New York, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl, which is known across the world and sung during the festive period.
He died at the age of 65 after several periods of ill health in his later years.
“Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life,” his wife Victoria Mary Clarke said as she announced his death, with stars including U2 and Bruce Springsteen among those paying tribute.
Obituary: A wild life and a raw talent
Former England football manager Terry Venables guided the men’s national team to the semi-finals of Euro ’96, where they were knocked out by Germany 6-5 on penalties at Wembley.
During his managerial career, he also was in charge of clubs including Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers and Barcelona.
As a player, Venables represented sides including Chelsea, Spurs and QPR and made more than 500 appearances. He also had two England caps.
But he made his real mark as a coach, winning La Liga with Barcelona in the 1984-85 campaign and then the league cup the following season. On his return to England, he lifted the FA Cup with Tottenham in 1991.
Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Gareth Southgate were among those paying tribute following his death at the age of 80, with Lineker – who played for Venables at Barcelona and Spurs – describing him as “the best, most innovative coach that I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for”.
Read more: A ‘players’ man’ who nearly guided England to glory
Alistair Darling was a Labour party stalwart who served as chancellor under Gordon Brown, becoming a household name when the then-prime minister gave him the keys to the Treasury back in 2007.
He ran the department throughout the global banking crisis and stayed in post until Mr Brown lost the election in 2010.
But he had been a presence in Tony Blair’s government from the start, beginning as chief secretary to the Treasury in 1997 following Labour’s landslide victory, and going on to run a number of departments – including work and pensions, transport and trade.
He died aged 70 after a short spell in Western General Hospital under the “wonderful care” of the cancer team, his family said.
Read more: Westminster stunned by shock death of canny chancellor
TV presenter and former model Annabel Giles hosted the ITV fashion show Posh Frocks And New Trousers in the 1990s and was previously married to the musician and record producer Midge Ure.
Born in Pontypool, Wales, she began modelling in her 20s and gained prominence presenting ITV shows Razzmatazz and Night Network. She also appeared in the 1993 film adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s Riders and featured as a panellist on a number of shows, including Have I Got News For You, Through The Keyhole and Noel’s House Party.
In 2013, she entered the jungle for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Her children announced her death at the age of 64, just months after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger had major influence on American foreign policy under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Born in Germany in 1923, he fled the Nazi regime with his family as a teenager and settled in the US in 1938.
During eight years as a national security adviser and secretary of state, he was involved in major foreign policy events including the first example of “shuttle diplomacy” seeking peace in the Middle East, secret negotiations with China to defrost relations between the burgeoning superpowers, and the instigation of the Paris peace talks seeking an end to the Vietnam conflict.
In 1973, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War. However, Dr Kissinger, along with President Nixon, also bore the brunt of criticism from US allies following the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces in 1975 as the remaining US personnel fled what is now known as Ho Chi Minh City.
He died at the age of 100 at his home in Connecticut, according to a statement from Kissinger Associates Inc.
Read more: A ‘top diplomat’ for some, a ‘war criminal’ for others
Dean Sullivan was the longest-serving member of the Channel 4 soap Brookside, playing Jimmy Corkhill between 1986 and 2003, when the show ended.
The soap became known for its groundbreaking storylines, featuring the UK’s first pre-watershed lesbian kiss in 1994. Stars included Anna Friel, who played Beth Jordache; Claire Sweeney, who played Jimmy’s daughter Lindsey; and The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston (pictured above with Sullivan), who played Bobby and Sheila Grant.
Sullivan, from Liverpool, was a graduate of Lancaster University and a primary school teacher before becoming a professional actor. After joining Brookside, Jimmy became one of the soap’s best-known characters, inviolved in many of the most memorable moments – including the discovery of the body of villain Trevor Jordache under a patio with his dog Cracker.
The man still remembered by millions as Jimmy died peacefully at the age of 68, his agent said, after being diagnosed with cancer in 2018.
Other stars and notable figures who died in November 2023 include:
Pete Garner, original bassist for The Stone Roses
Killing Joke guitarist Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker
The Night Cafe frontman Sean Martin
Veteran magician David Berglas
Former West End star Anne Hart, Ronnie Corbett’s widow
Former Home And Away star Johnny Ruffo
Tyler Christopher, Days Of Our Lives actor and ex-husband of Eva Longoria
Roger Kastel, the artist behind iconic film posters for Jaws and Empire Strikes Back
Sex And The City actress Frances Sternhagen
Mr Big Stuff singer Jean Wright
Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter
Actor Dex Carvey, son of Wayne’s World star Dana Carvey
Kool & The Gang co-founder and drummer George “Funky” Brown
Actor Joss Ackland
Restaurateur, author and Saturday Kitchen chef Russell Norman
Actor Peter Spellos
Goodfellas and Sopranos actress Suzanne Shepherd
British poet, writer and actor Benjamin Zephaniah had 14 collections of poetry and five novels published throughout his career. He also acted, playing the role of Jeremiah Jesus in the hit series Peaky Blinders.
Born and raised in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, he had dyslexia and left school at the age of 13, unable to read or write. But he was given an old, manual typewriter and started performing poetry on the “sound systems of Birmingham”.
He turned down an OBE in 2003, saying the Queen should stop “going on about the empire”.
Zephaniah died at the age of 65, eight weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, with tributes paid to “a true pioneer and innovator”.
Soap veteran Steve Halliwell played Zak Dingle in Emmerdale for nearly three decades, making his first appearance as the family patriarch in October 1994.
The role was not initially intended to be permanent, but he became a central character after winning over viewers and producers.
Known for his flat cap, wellies and wax jacket, the pig farmer featured in a number of dramatic storylines, including divorcing his first wife Nellie, played by Sandra Gough, and later marrying Lisa, portrayed by Jane Cox. There was further trouble in love when he had an affair and married Joanie Wright, played by Denise Black, before later reuniting with Lisa.
He died peacefully at the age of 77, his family said, “making us laugh to the end”.
South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun was best known for his role in the Oscar-winning Parasite, which made history when it became the first foreign language film to be named best picture in 2020.
Lee, who played rich father Park Dong-ik, also won a Screen Actors Guild award, along with his castmates, for his part in the black comedy.
The actor was also known for his leading roles in South Korean movies including the 2012 thriller Helpless and 2014’s All About My Wife, and was the lead in Apple TV+’s Dr Brain – the first Korean-language original series on the streaming platform – for which he received an International Emmy Award nomination.
He died in an apparent suicide, aged 48.
An ardent advocate of post-war European integration, Jacques Delors served as president of the European Commission for three terms – longer than any other holder of the office – from January 1985 until the end of 1994.
The Frenchman, a Socialist, was also the founding father of the European Union’s historic single currency project.
He is best remembered in the UK as the object of of the Sun newspaper’s anger to the rising power of the EU in 1990, summed up in one of its most famous headlines: ‘Up Yours Delors’.
French President Emmanuel Macron called him an “inexhaustible architect of our Europe” and a fighter for human justice following his death at 98.
Other stars and notable figures who died in December 2023 include:
Moody Blues and Wings guitarist Denny Laine
AC/DC’s original drummer Colin Burgess
Honey Boo Boo co-star Anna ‘Chickadee’ Cardwell
US prime-time writer, director and producer Norman Lear
Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andre Braugher
Long-running The Archers star Ian Pepperell
Ryan O’Neal, Oscar-nominated star of Love Story and Bones
Dixie Chicks founding member Laura Lynch
Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? actress Brigit Forsyth
Tyler Goodson, who featured on S-Town podcast
The Entertainer and Alfie actress Shirley Anne Field
Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman on US Supreme Court
Australian chef Bill Granger
Call Of Duty star Kamar de los Reyes
Antiques Roadshow expert Henry Sandon
Doctor Who and Emmerdale actor Richard Franklin
Former German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
Filmmaker David Leland
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK
Picture credits: AP, Reuters, PA, Taylor Jewell/Invision, Warner Bros Entertainment, Victoria Will, Shutterstock, HBO/Eddy Chen, Warrick Page/Sony/AMC/Kobal/Shutterstock, ITV, CTK, Rex/Hammer/Kobal/Shutterstock, Everett/Shutterstock
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