Celebs we've lost in 2019

The entertainment world began 2019 in sad fashion. Three stars passed away on the second day of the year: Wrestling icon "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Bob Einstein, and Daryl Dragon, one half of music group Captain and Tennille. Later that month, the world lost Top Chef star Fatima Ali after a heartbreaking battle with cancer and also Broadway legend Carol Channing, who played the titular role in Hello Dolly! and became a leading lady in film and television. And, in early March, the world was forced to say goodbye to Beverly Hills, 90210 star Luke Perry.

These talented entertainers and household names left an indelible mark on the world, be it through acting, athletics, cuisine, comedy, music, or just high-quality smack-talk. Let's take a moment to honor the stars we've lost in 2019 and to revisit their incredible contributions to the creative arts. 

'Mean' Gene Okerlund

Iconic WWE interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund died at age 75 on Jan. 2, 2019. Okerlund had been suffering from health issues for years, undergoing three kidney transplants, according to ESPN. Okerlund was famous for his insult-heavy wrestling promos for WWE, which peaked in the 1980s with stars such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy "Macho Man" Savage. During the mid-'90s, Okerlund transitioned to WCW. His final major wrestling appearance was on Jan. 22, 2018, for the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw.

The wrestling community was heartbroken over Okerlund's death. WWE CEO Vince McMahon tweeted, "It was impossible not to crack a smile whenever 'Mean' Gene Okerlund entered a room. He was the voice behind so many of WWE's most iconic and entertaining moments, and the WWE family will miss him immensely."

Famed wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin had this to say about Okerlund on Twitter: "As an interviewer, pitch man, announcer, or host, he was untouchable. Simply the best. Total professional with quick wit, sarcasm, humor, and that golden voice."

Daryl Dragon

Daryl Dragon of musical duo The Captain and Tennille died on Jan. 2, 2019. The "Captain" was 76 years old. Dragon was born into a musical family. His father was an Oscar-winning conductor and composer, and his mother was a singer who worked with Bing Crosby, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dragon was classically trained and performed with The Beach Boys before achieving fame with wife partner Toni Tennille in the 1970s. Captain and Tennille's biggest hits were its cover of Neil Sedaka's "Love Will Keep Us Together" and the No. 1 hit "Do That to Me One More Time."

Dragon and Tennille tied the knot in 1975 and divorced in 2014. Following his death, Tennille revealed troubling details about the singer's private live. According to Closer Weekly, she "found out he had Parkinsonian symptoms, including tremors exacerbated by anxiety and PTSD after [allegedly] being beaten from age 4 by his famous dad, bandleader Carmen Dragon." Tennille said she moved to Arizona around 2016 to help care for Dragon. That reportedly meant "firing home health aides whom she said kept him drugged at night, finding him a new place to live with better care and visiting regularly." She was by his side when he passed. "He was a brilliant man," she said, "and I loved him with all my heart."

Bob Einstein

Curb Your Enthusiasm star Bob Einstein died on Jan. 2, 2019, after a battle with cancer, reported Fox News. He was 76 years old. Einstein initially planned on pursuing advertising as a career, but he was discovered by actor and comedian Tom Smothers while performing in a public access show as a favor to a friend. It led to a lucrative comedy writing and acting career, and Einstein won his first Emmy in 1969 for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. In 1979, Einstein created the goofy character Super Dave Osborne, who appeared in various shorts and series for three decades. The New York Times described Osborne as "something of a cartoon character — a witless, deadpan parody of bravado-fueled stuntmen like Evel Knievel."

In 2004, Einstein debuted on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Marty Funkhouser, the "perpetually enraged" pal of  Larry David. "Never have I seen an actor enjoy a role the way Bob did playing Marty Funkhouser on 'Curb,'" David said (via The New York Times). "There was no one like him, as he told us again and again."

Carol Channing

Broadway legend Carol Channing died on Jan. 15, 2019, just shy of her 98th birthday. Channing was best known for her Broadway portrayal of Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello Dolly! According to Playbill, she played that role three separate times within 30 years and won a Tony for the part in 1964

Channing became a stage star with her Tony-winning role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1949, but was replaced for the 1953 film adaptation with Marilyn Monroe, reported Playbill. She made her mark on the silver screen playing nightclub singer Muzzy Van Hossmere in 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie – she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for that role. She later became a television staple, appearing in everything from game shows to Touched by an Angel to Family Guy. Channing was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Tonys and the Drama Critics Circle.

Channing was married four times, but her final wedding in 2003 may have had the sweetest story line. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "In her 2002 memoir, Just Lucky, I Guess, Channing reflected on her first love at Aptos Middle School in San Francisco, saying, 'I was so in love with Harry [Kulijian] I couldn't stop hugging him.' A mutual friend who read the book urged the recently widowed Kullijian … to call Channing. They got engaged two weeks after their reunion and wed three months later." They were together until his death in 2011.

Fatima Ali

Top Chef star Fatima Ali died on Jan. 25, 2019 at just 29 years old after battling a rare form of bone cancer. The New York City chef was featured on the 15th season of the hit Bravo TV show. In October 2018, Ali penned a heartbreaking essay in Bon Appetit revealing that she had only about a year left to live. During that time, she pursued her bucket list, which included meeting Ellen DeGeneres and traveling the world to dine at renowned eateries.

She recalled one particularly special dinner in a subsequent essay for the culinary magazine. A restaurant manager had "made a replica of my food stall, VanPakistan, in the kitchen. Down to the tablecloth. Down to the kind of napkin dispenser I had. The chef made the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth Seekh kebabs I've ever had, with flatbread and pickled onions and green chutney they had made just for me. My mom was in tears, bawling. My older brother was crying. Everyone was hugging each other."

In November 2018, she wrote (via Bon Appetit), "There are days that I'm exceptionally afraid. There are days I sit alone and cry, because I don't want to do it in front of my family. And there are other days that we all sit down and cry together, because it is such a scary thing. But at the same time, you can't let that fear cripple you. It's harder being miserable than it is to be happy."

​Katherine Helmond

Katherine Helmond died at 89 on Feb. 23, 2019 from Alzheimer's complications, The New York Times reported. The Texas native began her career on local stages. After moving to New York City, Helmond and her pals "ran a summer theater in the Catskills" and put on plays themselves. Helmond eventually landed parts on Broadway, nabbing a Tony nomination for her role in The Great God Brown. Soon, she moved to Los Angeles and scored television work on The Bob Newhart Show before landing her breakout role as Jessica Tate on Soap in 1977, for which she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for four Emmys.

After Soap, Helmond starred as the sassy Mona on Who's The Boss? from 1984 to 1992, followed by a recurring role on Coach from 1995 through 1997, then an Emmy-nominated turn as Lois Whelan on Everybody Loves Raymond from 1996 to 2004. Helmond's most recent work included a role on True Blood in 2011, voicing Lizzie in Disney's Cars franchise, and Frank And Ava (2019).

Helmond is survived by husband David Christian, who told The Hollywood Reporter, "She was the love of my life. We spent 57 beautiful, wonderful, loving years together, which I will treasure forever. I've been with Katherine since I was 19 years old. The night she died, I saw that the moon was exactly half-full, just as I am now … half of what I've been my entire adult life."

Lisa Sheridan

Actress Lisa Sheridan died on Feb. 25, 2019 at her New Orleans, La., home. She was 44 years old. Sheridan worked steadily, mostly in television, from the late 1990s until her untimely passing. Her breakout role was as Vivian Winters in Legacy in 1998, then as Chloe Tanner in FreakyLinks in 2000. Sheridan had roles on CSI, CSI Miami and CSI: NY, and NCIS. Her biggest starring roles were in Invasion in 2005 and Journeyman in 2007. In 2014, she starred as Rebecca in Halt And Catch Fire, and her most recent role was in indie thriller Strange Nature (2018). She was previously engaged to actor Ron Livingston, according to People, but they never married.

Sheridan's cause of death was unknown, her manager told Fox News, but said her family vehemently denied any possibility of a suicide. Rumors that the Halt And Catch Fire star may have taken her own life were possibly spawned by an Instagram tribute from her friend, director Michael Dunaway. He wrote in part, "I'm trying to take comfort in knowing your struggles and pain and grief are 'at last, and last behind you.'"

Janice Freeman

The Voice singer Janice Freeman died on March 2, 2019. She was just 33 years old.

Freeman's family said in a statement that she suffered from a blood clot that traveled to her heart as well as from pneumonia at the time of her passing. She reportedly was at home in West Covina, Calif., when she said she couldn't breathe. Her husband performed CPR on her until paramedics arrived; she was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Freeman suffered several other major medical issues throughout her life, including the autoimmune disease lupus, and cervical cancer.

Freeman was on Team Miley during her time on The Voice in 2017 and remained in contact with Miley Cyrus after being eliminated from the top 11. They were so close, in fact, that Freeman revealed that Cyrus paid her rent for six months and helped her find a place to live. Freeman's time on the show focused on her desire to build stability for her family, as well as her overcoming cervical cancer in 2012.

Cyrus honored Freeman on Instagram, writing, "I am no longer your coach, I never was … YOU constantly taught me. You've been my coach on how to love, on how to persevere, on how to fight for what I want and never let even my own body get in the way. Anything is possible if it's being done with faith. You are my world. I will never forget you or stop loving you."

Keith Flint

Keith Flint, frontman of the electronic band The Prodigy, was found dead at age 49 on March 4, 2019. The Guardian reported that police were conducting a welfare check on the singer when they found his body. Police told the outlet that Flint's death was "not being treated as suspicious." The Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett stated on the band's Instagram that Flint had taken his own life.

Flint was candid about his battle with addiction, and how a falling out with the band helped him clean up ahead of their 2009 reunion. "I got bang into coke, weed, drinking a lot," Flint told The Times (via The Mirror). "This made me reclusive, boring and shallow. I'd line up rows of pills and just take them and take them and I'd lose track of how many until I passed out." Flint reportedly said in the same interview that he'd felt suicidal in the past. 

In the years prior to his death, Flint slowed down his hard-charging ways. After marrying his wife, Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai, he reportedly retreated to "a quiet life in the country," where he "ran a genteel country pub" and spent his free time exercising. Of the change of pace, Flint said (per The Mirror), "It's very boring and very un-rock'n'roll to talk about it." The Prodigy released their album No Tourists in November 2018, and were set to kick off their first U.S. tour in over 10 years in May 2019. 

Luke Perry

Luke Perry passed away on March 4, 2019. TMZ reported that the Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale star suffered a massive stroke days earlier. Doctors had sedated the actor in hopes of his brain recovering, but Perry tragically suffered too much damage. He was reportedly surrounded by loved ones at the time of his death. He was 52 years old.

Born Coy Luther Perry III, the Mansfield, Ohio native's breakout role was as Dylan McKay on 90210 in 1990. He had starring roles in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film (1992) and The Fifth Element (1997). After his 90210 heyday, Perry worked steadily in Hollywood, most recently as Archie Andrews' father, Fred, in Riverdale. He also reportedly filmed scenes for Quentin Tarantino's 2019 Manson murders film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Scott Lancer.

Perry's stroke wasn't the only health issue he'd suffered over the years: In 2017, Perry revealed to Fox News that he'd had precancerous growths removed following a colonoscopy. After his experience, he became an advocate for colorectal cancer awareness.

Though Perry wasn't always eager to discuss his iconic role as brooding rich kid Dylan McKay, he once admitted (via The Hollywood Reporter), "I'm going to be linked with him until I die, but that's actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He's mine."

Jan-Michael Vincent

Airwolf star Jan-Michael Vincent died Feb. 10, 2019 at 73 years old, but his passing wasn't reported until nearly a month later, according to TMZ. He was reportedly hospitalized in North Carolina when he died of cardiac arrest. Vincent was once the highest-paid actor on TV, banking $200,000 per episode as a helicopter pilot on the CBS hit Airwolf in the 1980s. Unfortunately, his star burned out rapidly due to his alleged substance abuse. According to The New York Times, "He was known to abuse alcohol and cocaine and was accused of getting into bar fights; he narrowly avoided jail in 1986 by entering a monthlong drug rehabilitation program after breaking probation related to an earlier drunken-driving conviction." In 1996, he reportedly broke his neck and damaged his vocal cords after rear-ending his girlfriend's car, and in 2012, he had to have part of his leg amputated due to an infection. He told 20/20 (via the NYT) in 2000 that he was "hanging on by [his] white knuckles" to his sobriety. 

Despite his struggles, Vincent worked fairly steadily for nearly 30 years, with roles in television series including Gunsmoke and Bonanza and movies such as 1978's Hooper and 1981's Hard Country. His most recent role was in 2002's White Boy.

​Freeda Foreman

Freeda Foreman, daughter of boxing legend George Foreman, died March 9, 2019, in her home near Houston, Texas. She was 42 years old. TMZ reported that Freeda committedsuicide by hanging. A heartbroken George honored his daughter on Twitter: "First Sunday in 42 years without my Freeda. She's With her maker now."

Like her father, Freeda had a career in the ring, though hers was much more brief. According to Entertainment Tonight, she won her first five matches in 2000 but retired after her first loss in 2001. "I've been in boxing since I came into this world," Freeda told The Greenville News. "Anything that's strong and tough, it's what I want to do. It's something I always really loved." George initially disapproved of his daughter's boxing endeavors, reportedly offering her money to forego the endeavor "I asked Freeda not to do it, but I think my mom did the same with me over 33 years ago," he said (via The Greenville News).

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call or chat online with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Richard Erdman

Richard Erdman died at 93 on March 16, 2019. A longtime character actor, Erdman caught the acting bug when he moved to Hollywood from Colorado as a high school student, Variety reported. Erdman's career spanned some 70 years and more than 100 works, beginning with short films in the 1940s and branching into television in the 1950s, with appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Make Room for Daddy as well as a recurring role on Where's Raymond? He had memorable roles in The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Saints and Sinners, The Tab Hunter Show and Lou Grant. Erdman was a prolific voice actor, providing his pipes for everything from Popeye and Son to Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo to The Smurfs.

His most recent role was that of Leonard, an elderly student, on Community from 2009 to 2015. His co-star Yvette Nicole Brown paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing, "I knew the day we'd have to say goodbye to this lovely man would come sooner than any of us were ready. But knowing that doesn't make it any easier. #RichardErdman was JOY walking. Anyone who saw him on @CommunityTV [gleefully] stealing every scene he was in knows that's true."

Denise DuBarry Hay

Actress Denise DuBarry Hay passed away on March 23, 2019, at age 63. DuBarry Hay suffered from a deadly fungus, her husband, Bill Hay, told USA Today. The actress got her start on popular TV series such as CHiPs, The Love Boat and Black Sheep Squadron as well as the Academy Award-nominated film Being There (1979).

When she wasn't acting, DuBarry Hay was a savvy businesswoman. According to Deadline, she co-founded the marketing company Thane International in 1990 and was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998. The company began after DuBarry Hay produced an infomercial for "Play the Piano Overnight," which reportedly led to an entire "Music Overnight" series for the brand. She also served as founder and president of the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television group. DuBarry Hay continued acting, appearing in 2017's Do It or Die! and Walk to Vegas in 2019. 

Yoji Harada

Former Miami Ink star and Japanese tattoo artist Yoji Harada died March 27, 2019 at just 46 years old. According to Inked magazine, he was in Holland at the of his passing, having opened a tattoo shop in Amsterdam around 2011.  At the time of his death, he also ran a T-shirt line, Ruthless and Toothless, with Miami Ink co-star Darren Brass.

Harada was reportedly born in Tokyo, moved to Chicago in 1998, and then landed in New York City. "Harada performed in the punk band 'Big Deal,' before relocating to Miami to be apprenticed by Ami James," the mag reported. From 2005 to 2008, Harada starred alongside James at the Love Hate Tattoo Shop in Florida. Harada made waves on Miami Ink during his journey from apprentice to full-fledged artist. At one point, his colleagues made him walk in his boxers from the city's Little Havana neighborhood to South Beach to complete his "initiation" with the shop. He also conveyed his struggle with work-life balance on the reality series, and his wife, Bridget, revealed in an episode that the tattoo business got in the way of their relationship. They divorced in 2009. 

James launched a GoFundMe for Harada's daughter, Sidney, after Harada's passing. 

Nipsey Hussle

Rapper Nipsey Hussle (real name Ermias Asghedom) died March 31, 2019. He was just 33 years old. The Grammy-nominated "Hussle & Motivate" artist was outside of his clothing store in downtown Los Angeles when 29-year-old Eric Holder allegedly gunned him down. According to the Los Angeles Times, law enforcement claimed Holder had a personal vendetta with Hussle for some time; the men reportedly had an argument a few hours before the shooting.

A memorial was held for the rapper at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, with celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z in attendance. Snoop Dogg, Hussle's longtime girlfriend Lauren London, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, and others delivered speeches in his memory. Even former president Barack Obama wrote a letter remembering Hussle's dedication to improving his Crenshaw neighborhood. During the memorial, Stevie Wonder performed, telling the crowd: "I'm happy that in his short life, he was able to motivate people. And I hope he motivates you to say, 'Enough people being killed by guns and violence.' I hope we don't just talk about it. I hope we'll be about it." 

In her eulogy, London used Hussle's own words to memorialize him: "…he always used to say this: 'The game is going to test you but never fold, stay 10 toes down. It's not on you, it's in you and what's in you they can't take away.' He's in all of us."

Lotte Van Der Zee

Dutch model and former Miss Teenager Universe Lotte Van Der Zee died March 6, 2019, her parents revealed on her Instagram account. Van Der Zee, who won the Miss Teenager Universe title in 2017, suffered a heart attack during a ski trip with her family in Austria and died two weeks later, People reported. According to E! News, she began to feel unwell one afternoon, "suffered sudden cardiac arrest," and "fell into a coma." She had recently celebrated her 20th birthday. 

"It started with her kidneys. She was then put on kidney dialysis, which kept her alive," Van Der Zee's mother told a Dutch paper (via The Evening Standard) that the family was faced with the difficult decision to say good bye. "The last days Lotte's organs started to go, while no more brain activity was measured," she said. Eventually, "it became clear on [March 6] that it would not be okay, she was taken off the machine. Lotte has had to endure a lot over the past few days. We did not want any further suffering."

Nadja Regin

Bond girl Nadja Regin died April 6, 2019, at age 87. Regin was born in Serbia and studied in Belgrade before becoming an actress, Variety reported. She began her career in British movies and TV shows with roles in The Saint and Edgar Wallace Mysteries. She was most famous for her roles as Bond girls Bonita in 1964's Goldfinger and Kerim's Girl in 1963's To Russia With Love. In both films, she starred alongside Sean Connery (see here with Regin), who played Agent 007. 

Regin appeared to have left acting in 1968 after starring in Comedy Playhouse. In the 1970s, she selected scripts for Rank Film and Hammer productions, and in the 1980s, she became became a publisher, co-founding Honeyglen Publishing, reported Variety. Her love for the written word didn't end there: In 2016, Regin published her own novel set in post-World War II Europe, The Victims and the Fools, under her full name, Nadja Podergin.

John Singleton

Director John Singleton passed away on April 29, 2019 at just 51 years old after suffering a massive stroke about two weeks earlier, according to Variety. The outlet also reported that Singleton was both the youngest, and the first-ever African American best director Oscar nominee when he got the nod at just 24 years old for his acclaimed film Boyz N the Hood (1991). He's also known for helming Poetic Justice (1993), the remake of Shaft (2000), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and Michael Jackson's iconic music video for "Remember The Time" starring Eddie Murphy, Iman, and Magic Johnson. He most recently served as an executive producer of the FX series Snowfall and directed American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson in 2016.

Tributes poured out for the late director from everyone from newly-minted Oscar winner Spike Lee, to Jordan Peele, to former President Barack Obama, and Singleton's frequent collaborator Regina King. Singleton's daughter Justice — his spitting image — honored her father on Instagram, and promised to continue his legacy, writing, "I want [to] provide what he can no longer. I am his vessel and he is my captain. I'll share as much of his hopes and dreams. I'll treat those the way he did, with fist bumps and laughter. I sincerely wish he had more time but what he did here is everlasting and within me. I'll always be Justice, his little face."

Peter Mayhew

English-American actor Peter Mayhew, known and beloved for starring as Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise, passed away on April 30, 2019, surrounded by his family and loved ones in his Texas home. He was 74 years old. No cause of death has been revealed at the time of this writing, but The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Mayhew underwent spinal surgery to improve his mobility in 2015.

Mayhew had bit parts and was a full-time hospital orderly before he became the furry co-pilot we all know and love, according to THR. Mayhew was chosen for the role of Chewbacca after actor David Prowse rejected the role in favor of starring as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars, NPR reported. Director George Lucas reportedly chose Mayhew purely for his 7'2" height. He appeared in Star Wars episodes IV, V, VI, and III, as well as several specials and TV guest episodes as the beloved Wookiee. His most recent appearance as Chewbacca was in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. After passing the baton to Joonas Suotamo, he worked as a "Chewbacca consultant" on The Last Jedi.

Lucas summed up Mayhew as the true personification of his hairy onscreen character. "Peter was a wonderful man," Lucas said in a statement (via THR). "He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature… and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend, and I'm saddened by his passing."

Peggy Lipton

Model and actress Peggy Lipton passed away on May 11, 2019. She was 72 years old. Lipton was mother to daughters Kidada and Rashida Jones with her ex-husband, music pioneer Quincy Jones. Rashida and Kidada said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times, "She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side." They continued, "We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her," adding, "We can't put all of our feelings into words right now, but we will say: Peggy was and will always be our beacon of light, both in this world and beyond. She will always be a part of us."

Lipton kicked off her modeling career when she was just 15 years old. She was acclaimed for her acting work as Julie Barnes in The Mod Squad from 1968 to 1973, earning four Emmy nominations and winning a Golden Globe for the role in 1971. She was also a singer, releasing a self-titled album in 1968 (via Variety).

She married Quincy Jones in 1974, then took on smaller roles and bit parts periodically. After divorcing Jones in 1989, Lipton hit the small screen again as Norma Jennings in Twin Peaks, a role she reprised in 2017. In addition to Twin Peaks, Lipton also appeared in daughter Rashida's series Angie Tribeca, appropriately as the mom of Rashida's titular character.

Doris Day

Legendary singer and actress Doris Day passed away on May 13, 2019, as reported by CNN. She was 97.

Day was born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio. She got her start singing as a teen, changing her last name to Day when she started getting radio airplay.

She began acting in musicals in the 1940s, making her debut as Georgia Garrett in 1948's Romance On The High Seas. By the 1950s, she became a household name as America's virginal girl next door, with Calamity Jane (1953) reportedly being her favorite project throughout her career. She also starred in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), for which she recorded what became her signature Oscar-winning song, "Que Será, Será." Three years later, she co-starred with longtime friend Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk, for which she was nominated for the Oscar for best actress.

Unfortunately, Day's personal life wasn't as ideal as the loves she shared onscreen. Day, who welcomed son Terry at 19, was married four times, with three marriages ending in divorce. Her third husband, Martin Melcher, was also her manager. When he died, she was in massive debt and would go on to sue his business partner for fraud (via the Los Angeles Times). Day's son later died of melanoma in 2004, People reported, devastating her.

Day was an animal activist and owned a dog-friendly hotel in Carmel, Calif., and she started her own foundation dedicated to spaying, neutering, and rescuing animals.

Tim Conway

Comedy legend Tim Conway died May 14, 2019. He was 85 years old. Conway's big break was in the role of Ensign Charles Parker on McHale's Navy, followed by his own eponymous show, and then his acclaimed role on The Carol Burnett Show. He won a Golden Globe and four Emmy Awards for his work on the latter, as well as two more Emmys for his guest appearances on Coach and 30 Rock. According to The New York Times, "Younger viewers may know Mr. Conway best as Dorf, a diminutive character with a Mr. Tudball accent who appears in a series of short slapstick films he wrote."He also voiced Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob Squarepants, effectively instilling his legacy across several generations. Conway was happiest in supporting roles, telling the Archive of American Television in 2004: "I would much rather stand in the background and make small funny things than be up at the head of the class."

In August 2018, The Blast reported that Conway was confined to a wheelchair and battling dementia. His wife, Charlene, and daughter Kelly (from his first wife, Mary Anne Dalton) battled in court over who should be his conservator. After his passing, Carol Burnett told Fox News, "I'm heartbroken. He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He'll be in my heart forever."

Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat made the world as miserable as she appeared when she passed away on May 14, 2019. Real name Tardar Sauce, Grumpy cat was 7 years old when she died. Her owners announced on Twitter that Grumpy Cat suffered complications from a urinary tract infection and that treatment from top veterinary professionals wasn't able to save her.

Grumpy Cat became a sensation in 2012, when her owner's brother posted a photo of her on Reddit. According to CNN, Tardar Sauce had feline dwarfism, which likely caused her distinctly curmudgeonly expression and small size. Her viral fame made her a social media and commercial sensation, boasting about 1.6 million Twitter followers, 8.5 million Facebook fans, 2.4 million Instagram followers. She starred in a Christmas special (voiced by actress Aubrey Plaza, who called Tardar Sauce her spirit animal), a Friskies endorsement deal, numerous TV appearances, and a slew of merchandise featuring her adorably cranky likeness.

Ashley Massaro

Former WWE star Ashley Massaro died May 16, 2019, just 10 days short of her 40th birthday, TMZ reported. Massaro won the 2005 WWE "Raw Diva Search," nabbing a $250,000 contract. In 2007, she took on Melina in the WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania, appeared on the cover of Playboy, and competed in Survivor: China. She left the WWE in 2008, returning to the biz with a smaller wrestling outfit in 2017.

The Blast reported "died after apparently taking her own life." She had long been open about her struggles with mental health. Before her passing, Massaro was one of 60 wrestlers to take part in a class action lawsuit against the WWE for allegedly not protecting its talent from the risks of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and TBI (traumatic brain injury). Massaro reportedly blamed her bouts of depression on the head trauma she suffered during her wrestling career and claimed the WWE "used narcotics as a tool to allow me and other wrestlers to perform through our injuries." The organization reportedly did pay for her to go to rehab for her addiction to painkillers. The suit was dismissed in 2018, but an appeal is ongoing at the time of this writing. The WWE claimed Massaro apologized for filing the suit, but Massaro's attorney told the New York Post he wasn't aware of any such apology.

Daniel Wright

The Biggest Loser contestant Daniel Wright passed away on May 26, 2019. He was just 30 years old. Wright appeared on the NBC reality weight loss series in its seventh and eighth seasons, starting when he was just 19. Wright's wellness journey was derailed when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 2017. He fought the disease bravely, even returning to work before a relapse in December 2018, according to People. His wife, fellow Biggest Loser contestant Rebecca Meyer Wright, indicated that he was not doing well on a GoFundMe page shortly before his death. 

Several of Wright's fellow Biggest Loser contestants honored him after his passing, with Danny Cahill posting a particularly moving tribute. "Daniel's light has always been one of grace, encouragement, wisdom, love and honor throughout the time I have known him," Cahill wrote on Facebook. "And I can honestly say that because of him I am a better man. He showed me (by example – not by telling me) how to care for others in a different way, and I thank God for being able to know this man for the 10 years I have known him."

​Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt died at 95 on June 17, 2019, her son Anderson Cooper confirmed to CNN. Born Gloria Laura Madeleine Sophie Vanderbilt in 1924, Vanderbilt was at the center of a custody battle dubbed "The Trial of the Century" after her father's death when she was 18 months old. Vanderbilt's aunt won custody of her after Vanderbilt's mother squandered much of her trust fund.

Gloria modeled in her teens, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and romanced older men, including Errol Flynn and Howard Hughes before marrying Hollywood agent Pat DeCicco. They divorced after four years; Gloria later accused DeCicco of abuse. She married conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1945, sharing sons Stanley and Christopher before splitting 10 years later. She then dated Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando before marrying director Sidney Lumet in 1956. They divorced in 1963, and she married her final husband, writer Wyatt Cooper, with whom she shared sons Anderson and Carter. Wyatt died in 1978, and Carter died by suicide a decade later.

In addition to being a tabloid staple, Gloria was an artist and fashion designer. Her signature denim made her a household name for a new generation. Anderson recalled, "If you were around in early 1980s it was pretty hard to miss the jeans she helped create, but that was her public face — the one she learned to hide behind as a child. Her private self, her real self — that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public."

Beth Chapman

Dog The Bounty Hunter star Beth Chapman, wife of Duane "Dog" Chapman, died on June 26, 2019. She was 51 years old and had been battling throat cancer. Duane revealed the news on Twitter: "It's 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain. Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven. We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side." TMZ reported that Beth's family was by her side at the time of her passing.

Beth met Duane after she was arrested for allegedly shoplifting some lemons (The whole thing was a misunderstanding.) She has joked that she stalked him into submission by getting a job in a bail office and writing "bad bail" to spend time with him. "And it worked," she said in an A&E video. The pair had a tumultuous relationship for years, but by 1997, they were committed to one another. After welcoming daughter Bonnie Jo and son Garry, and starring on their A&E reality series beginning in 2003, they wed in 2006. Beth continued to share her life with her fans throughout her cancer battle, calling it a "test of faith" as she sought alternative treatments.

"This is my ultimate lesson," she told People. "And it will either be taught to me or to you. And I am fine with taking the hit for everyone else. Because I think I know another guy who did the same thing."

Etika

YouTube star Daniel Desmond "Etika" Amofah was found dead in New York City's East River on June 25, 2019. The video game vlogger had reportedly gone missing days earlier after posting what appeared to be a suicidal message on his channel, reported CNN. He was 29 years old. 

According to CNN, the YouTube star's primary channel was deactivated in October 2018 after pornography was allegedly uploaded to the account; he later started a secondary channel. Etika's fans have petitioned to get his channel restored after his passing. According to The Washington Post, Etika's behavior was increasingly erratic leading up to his disappearance. In April 2019, he reportedly alarmed followers with a seemingly suicidal tweet, but later assured his fans that he was okay. That same month, he reportedly livestreamed an encounter with police who had shown up at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. to check on his welfare. 

Though his relationship with online platforms and communities was certainly conflicted, fans have flooded Twitter with messages of grief and support. "Etika was a pillar of the Smash, Nintendo, YouTube, gaming & esports communities. Etika will be remembered as a good man," tweeted Esports consultant Rod Breslau.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Billy Drago

Character actor and master movie villain Billy Drago died June 24, 2019 after suffering a stroke, Variety reported. He was 73. Drago was reportedly born William Eugene Burrows, Jr., in Hugoton, Kan., to an actor-director father and a mother reportedly of Romany origin and whose last name he adopted as his stage name. He began work as a stuntman, then graduated to acting roles in more than 100 movies, making a name for himself as a notable villain. He's well known for playing Mafia henchman Frank Nitti in The Untouchables, landing roles in multiple Chuck Norris projects, mastering the part of the Demon of Fear Barbas on the Charmed TV series, and giving audiences the creeps as Papa Jupiter in The Hills have Eyes. Drago also appeared in the music video for Michael Jackson's 2001 hit "You Rock My World."

One of his first films was playing a shady deputy opposite Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider. "You can't get much better than being killed by Clint Eastwood in a Western," Drago reportedly said in an interview published by The Void magazine in 2011. "I've killed great people and been killed by great people!" 

One of his sons, Darren Burrows, is also an actor and starred in Northern Exposure.

Ross Perot

H. Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who ran for president twice as an independent, died July 9, 2019, The Dallas Morning News reported. He was 89. Known simply as Ross Perot, he was born and raised in Texas and served in the Navy before becoming a salesman for IBM. He left IBM in 1962 to found Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962, followed by Perot Systems, Inc. in 1988. Perot's son, Ross Perot, Jr., succeeded him as CEO before selling the company to Dell in 2009 for a whopping $3.9 billion.

Perot ran for president in 1992 as an independent against incumbent President George H.W. Bush and then-Democratic nominee Bill Clinton. Perot used more than $12 million of his own money for his campaign. Though he didn't win any electoral college votes, he earned 18.9 percent of the popular vote and was famously impersonated on Saturday Night Live by Dana Carvey. The real Ross ran again in 1996 against then-incumbent President Bill Clinton and Republican nominee Bob Dole, but he only received 8 percent of the popular vote his second time around. Though he never ran for public office again, he did endorse George W. Bush for president in 2000.

The father of five children with wife Margot Birmingham, he dedicated the later years of his life to philanthropic efforts. In 2008, his children donated $50 million to help fund a science museum named in his honor in Dallas.

Rip Torn

Elmore Rual "Rip" Torn died July 9, 2019 at 88 years old. The character actor had a whopping 200 credits to his name, beginning on Broadway in the 1950s and earning a Tony Award nomination for his role in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth in 1959. One of Torn's most iconic performances was in the Norman Mailer 1970 docudrama Maidstone, when Torn reportedly attacked Mailer with a hammer during a scene. A scripted fight supposedly became a real one — and the raw footage was included in the final film.

Torn earned an Oscar nod for best supporting actor in 1983's Cross Creek. One of his most popular roles was as producer Artie on The Larry Sanders Show in the 1990s, which earned him six Emmy nominations and one win for best supporting actor. He was also celebrated for his role as Zed, chief of a top secret alien-hunting group in 1997's Men In Black and for his comedic performance as Patches O'Houlihan in Dodgeball in 2004.

Emily Hartridge

YouTube vlogger Emily Hartridge died on July 12, 2019 at 35 years old when her electric scooter collided with a truck in London. A report released by London's Metropolitan Police didn't reveal Hartridge's name, but did note that "a woman in her 30s had suffered severe injuries" and died at the scene of the crash.

Hartridge's Instagram account posted a statement confirming her passing on July 13. In a heartwrenching turn, the clip that would become Hartridge's final YouTube video was published July 8 — and it featured her receiving scooters for her birthday. The Guardian reported that Hartridge's fatal scooter crash was the first on record in the U.K.

Hartridge initially gained popularity for her "10 Reasons Why" video series, which featured provocative titles like "You shouldn't get married…..10 Reasons Why," "You Should Date a Cougar….10 Reasons Why" and "Boobs are AWESOME … 10 Reasons Why." Within the last few years, she gained prominence as a fitness vlogger and influencer with her "Think Outside the Gym" series. Her most recent uploads focused on love and relationships, including her own romance with Jacob Hazell, who posted a heartbreaking video after her death.

Rutger Hauer

Veteran actor Rutger Hauer died at his Netherlands home on July 19, 2019 after a short illness, Variety reported. He was 75 years old. Hauer was best known for his role of Roy Batty, a homicidal replicant in Blade Runner (1982), though he made a name for himself nearly a decade earlier with a role in the Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee Turkish Delight (1973). After several Dutch films, Hauer broke out stateside as a baddie in Sylvester Stallone's Nighthawks (1981). Following Nighthawks (1981), Hauer took on a string of action roles for the next decade.

Though mostly known, at least initially, for action roles, Hauer was a horror figure as well. He starred as Lothos, the ultimate non-Dracula baddie in the original horror-comedy Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1991), as Van Helsing in Dracula 3D (2012), fairy prince Niall Brigant on HBO's vampire drama, True Blood (2013 – 2014), and in the exorcism thriller The Rite (2011). Hauer's most recent projects included The Sisters Brothers (2018) and the TV series Porters.(2017 – 2019).

Though Hauer was a workhorse, he chose his projects carefully. He explained to The Hollywood Reporter in February 2018 that he wasn't too interested in modern blockbusters. "The eye of the director and the point of view of the filmmaker has suffered [in big films] in the past decades," he said. "I look for hard balls. And I don't see much balls in most films today."

Peter Fonda

Peter Fonda died on Aug. 16, 2018 at 79 years old after a battle with lung cancer, Variety reported. Fonda was an iconic on-screen biker, beginning with the Hell's Angels opus Wild Angels (1966), starring alongside Bruce Dern and Nancy Sinatra. Then came the The Trip (1967), followed by his star turn in Easy Rider (1969), which he co-wrote with Dennis Hopper and author Terry Southern. Fonda earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for Easy Rider, though he and Hopper reportedly feuded for years over who came up with the idea. His most notable roles in the 1970s included parts in Futureworld (1976) and Wanda Nevada (1979), in which he co-starred with a young Brooke Shields and his father, Henry Fonda, marking their only shared screen time during their lifetimes. He later appeared with his daughter, Bridget Fonda, in Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993).

After a series of cameos and bit parts, Peter Fonda returned to the big time in John Carpenter's blockbuster Escape From L.A. (1996) with Kurt Russell, followed by Ulee's Gold (1997), for which he was nominated for a 1998 Best Actor Oscar. He continued acting throughout his life, both in film and TV (often as a biker), guest-starring in CSI: NY and Hawaii Five-O. Peter's superstar sister, Jane Fonda, said in a statement, "I am very sad. He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing."