Celebrities Who've Passed Away Through The Years

The following article includes references to addiction and suicide. 

From teen movie stars to iconic character actors, celebrities through the decades have warmed their way into our hearts. They have inspired us, entertained us, and sometimes — on our gloomiest days — even given us that one ray of much-needed light. It's therefore only a given that fans are usually left heartbroken upon learning about the death of one of their favorite stars. Take for instance, when Kobe Bryant tragically died in a 2020 helicopter crash, Whitney Houston's heartbreaking death in 2012, or the sudden loss of Michael Jackson in 2009.

While a lot of celebrity deaths are highly publicized, there are also many more that have largely gone unnoticed by fans for a number of reasons — one being that some of these stars choose to take a step back from the spotlight to live regular lives before they died, and another being that others simply passed away before the heyday of social media. 

Hollywood has lost a number of greats over the years — so many, in fact, that the following deaths of actors, filmmakers, singers, and even athletes may have slipped under your radar. These are the celebs who have passed away through the years.

Michelle Thomas

Born in 1968 to a stage actor mom and musician father, Michelle Thomas' showbiz destiny was seemingly written from the very beginning of her life. Not only did Michelle's parents have their careers in entertainment, but they were more or less the defining factor in her eventual choice of career.  According to The New York Times, Michelle's mom, Phynjuar Thomas, was her first acting coach and presumably remained so for a long time. 

A natural actor, Michelle won the hearts of many after appearing as Justine Phillips, aka Theo Huxtable's girlfriend, on "The Cosby Show" between 1988 and 1990, per IMDb. Her next big project came in 1993 when she was cast as Steve Urkel's girlfriend, Myra Monkhouse, on ABC's "Family Matters." When the show ended in 1998, Michelle went on to appear as Callie Rogers on "The Young and the Restless." Sadly, her relatively successful career was cut short due to health struggles, and she left the soap to go on medical leave in the fall of that year.

Per People, the young actor received her diagnosis of a rare form of stomach cancer called Intra-abdominal Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor in 1997. She would later undergo two surgeries to have tumors removed from her stomach. "She was really fighting that disease with all her heart," her publicist, Kahdijah Bell, told the outlet at the time. "She wanted to live." Sadly, while surrounded by her loved ones, Michelle Thomas died on December 23, 1998. She was 30 years old. 

Bob Hoskins

Television lovers from the '70s will most likely remember Bob Hoskins for his role as Alf Hunt in the TV series "On the Move." Per BBC News, nearly 17 million people tuned into the adult education show, which no doubt gave Hoskins a much-needed shot into the limelight. A few years later, he landed the role of Arthur Parker, an adulterous sheet music salesman, in the fantasy drama "Pennies from Heaven." However, Hoskins' most acclaimed work did not come until the next decade.

In 1980, the character actor appeared in "The Long Good Friday," which has since been ranked as one of the best British movies of all time. Six years later, Hoskins channeled his inner gangster in the crime drama "Mona Lisa," appearing as low-level criminal George. For his stellar performance, Hoskins recorded multiple award nominations, eventually snagging a BAFTA, Golden Globe, and an Oscar nomination in the best actor in a leading role category, per IMDb.

Hoskins would continue gracing the silver screen — perhaps most famously in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" — but sadly, after years of leaving an imprint in the film industry, his career suddenly came to an end: In August 2012, the legendary Brit announced his retirement following a Parkinson's diagnosis. "He wishes to thank all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supported him during a wonderful career," a statement from his agent read in part (via BBC News). Two years later, Hoskins died at the age of 71 following a bout of pneumonia.

Ashleigh Aston Moore

Asleigh Aston Moore is best remembered for her portrayal of Chrissy — the eccentric and simultaneously naive teenager in the 1995 coming of age drama "Now and Then." Although it was both her breakout movie and arguably her most popular project, Moore racked up credits in a few more films throughout the '90s, including "Beyond Obsession," "A Friend's Betrayal," and "The Grave." The child actor also explore television, appearing on shows like "Touched by an Angel" and "Madison."

However, outside of her onscreen success, Moore reportedly led a troubled life and struggled with drug addiction. Though she worked through long periods of sobriety in her teenage years, Moore's excessive drug use extended well into adulthood. In December 2007, she died from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 26, per Life & Style. She was 26.

Despite working in the industry for only a short time, Moore's memory remains in the hearts of many — including her former co-stars. In a 2015 interview with ABC News, Thora Birch — who'd co-starred with Moore on "Now and Then" — recounted her time with the late former child actor. Noting that Moore "had a great personality," Birch said, "She still lives on as Chrissy to me."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Edward Herrmann

With an acting career spanning decades and leading to multiple award nominations and wins, Edward Herrmann was an icon in his own right. While his professional career started in theater, it didn't take long for Herrmann to find his footing on screen. By the late '70s, he became a household name after starring as President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1976 miniseries "Eleanor and Franklin." He would later reprise the role in the 1977 sequel TV movie "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years." Not only did his performances in both earn him back-to-back Emmy nominations, per IMDb, but they also opened him up to more opportunities. 

In the years that followed, Herrmann continued to bring his A-game to the screen, winning the hearts and respect of both viewers and directors alike. The actor's most defining television role, however, came in 2000 when he was cast as family patriarch Richard Gilmore in the hit WB series "Gilmore Girls." While on the show, Herrmann seemingly forged a close relationship with many of his co-stars, including his TV daughter and granddaughter, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel — both of whom publicly grieved his death.

On December 31, 2014, Herrmann died from brain cancer, per TMZ. He was 71. "My friend Ed Herrmann was the kindest, classiest, most talented man," Graham wrote in her tribute on Twitter. "It was an honor and a joy to know him, a devastating blow to lose him."

James Rebhorn

Per The Hollywood Reporter, James Rebhorn was diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, back in 1992. While he would die of complications from the disease in March 2014 at the age of 65, the long illness did not stop him from continuing to pursue his passion for acting. In 1996, Rebhorn appeared as Albert Nimziki, a crooked and corrupt secretary of defense, in "Independence Day." Two years later, he acted as a district attorney in the two-part season finale of the popular NBC sitcom "Seinfeld." 

While the '90s was clearly a great decade for Rebhorn, he would go on to have even better years ahead of him in the industry. Keeping pretty busy as a character actor in the 2000s and 2010s, he appeared as the recurring Reese Hughes, an FBI white collar division chief, in the popular procedural drama series "White Collar" between 2009 and 2013. Around this time, Rebhorn also portrayed the role of Frank Mathison, the father of CIA agent Carrie Mathison in the Showtime series "Homeland."

Inspired by a character he once played, Rebhorn spent his last days coming up with an obituary for himself. Although there were never any doubts as to whether or not he loved his work life as an actor and family life with wife Rebecca and their two daughters, Rebhorn's self-penned obit only reinforced these facts. "Jim was fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved," Rebhorn wrote in part (via Deadline). "... He was a lucky man in every way."

Stuart Scott

Not many journalists make it to celebrity status, but iconic sports journalist Stuart Scott did just that during his decades-long career with ESPN. Per USA Today, the media personality joined the network in 1993, and soon rose to became one of ESPN's most popular and beloved anchors. This, of course, was due in large part to his unique presenting skills and catchphrases, including the popular "Boo-Yah!" However, he was also equally respected for his stellar work in the media industry.

In 2007, following a bout of stomachache that led to an emergency appendectomy, Scott was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer, leading to multiple rounds of chemotherapy treatments and three abdominal surgeries — during which he chose to look ahead for brighter days. "One of the coolest things about having cancer, and I know that sounds like an oxymoron, is meeting other people who've had to fight it," Scott said in a 2008 interview with HuffPost. "You have a bond. It's like a fraternity or sorority."

While accepting the Jimmy V Award at the 2014 ESPY Awards, Scott once again touched on his cancer diagnosis, telling the audience, "When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live." On January 4, 2015, Scott died of cancer complications in his Connecticut home. He was 49.

James Horner

Born in 1953 to Jewish immigrants Joan Ruth and Harry Horner, composer James Horner's eventual success in the arts is barely a surprise. During his lifetime, James' father — an art director and set designer — won two Oscars for his work on "The Heiress" and "The Hustler," released in 1949 and 1961, respectively, as reported by IMDb. As early as age five, James was unknowingly already gearing up to become an Oscar-winning star like his dad. A Royal Music College alumnus, per The Guardian, James made his full-length score debut in Roger Corman's 1979 crime drama "The Lady in Red," remaining busy through the '80s with credits in some of the decade's biggest movies, including 1982's "48 Hrs." and 1984's "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock." 

It was, however, Horner's score on James Cameron's 1986 science fiction film "Aliens" that established him as a major player in the industry, eventually giving him his first Academy Award nomination the following year. A decade later, James and Cameron teamed up again, this time for 1997's "Titanic" — a flick that has gone on to become one of the biggest movies of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. For his work on the movie, James won two Oscars, three Grammys, and two Golden Globes.

On June 22, 2015, while flying his turboprop airplane, Horner died after crashing into the Los Padres National Forest, California, per CNN. He was 61.

Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts, who warmed our hearts with her stellar acting skills, died of natural causes in her sleep on April 17, 2016, ET confirmed. She was 90. With a career dating as far back as the '50s, Roberts started out as a Broadway actor, with credits including William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life" and Terrence McNally's "Bad Habits," according to The New York Times. Having transitioned to film and television, per Variety, Roberts continued racking up credits through the '60s, appearing in "Naked City," 1968's "No Way to Treat a Lady," and Kirk Douglas' "A Lovely Way to Die."

Though Roberts continued to act in the following decades, her most famous role came in 1996 when she was cast to play the role of Marie Barone, the matriarch of the Barone family in "Everybody Loves Raymond." A testament to her excellent performance on the show, Roberts won four Emmy Awards in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series category, per The Washington Post. However, Roberts' first Emmy came years prior — in 1983 — when she was awarded for a guest appearance as a woman experiencing homelessness on "St. Elsewhere." 

Roberts no doubt has left a lasting legacy in Hollywood, and now even in death, she remains widely remembered.

Mindy McCready

Time and time again, Hollywood stars have proved that not all that glitters is gold. Beyond the flashing lights, pretty smiles, and sprawling red carpets is a life we usually are not privy to — one that may be full of struggles. In February 2013, at only 37, country singer Mindy McCready died by suicide on her Arkansas home's front porch, as reported by CNN. The singer's tragic death both mirrored and happened barely a month after her then-boyfriend, David Wilson, was found dead in a similar manner.

Born Malinda Gayle McCready in November 1975, per Biography, McCready — like many other Hollywood stars — started out trying different things. Initially, she trained to be an opera singer, but eventually transitioned to country music after listening to Garth Brooks' records and other country music. "I fell in love with it," she once said (via Biography). "... So when I decided to pursue singing professionally, I wanted to sing country."

And so, in 1996, McCready released her debut album "Ten Thousand Angels," which turned out to be a huge success. Her subsequent albums, however, never garnered as much attention or success, according to Rolling Stone. Sadly, as her fame rose, McCready struggled with her mental health. Between 2005 and 2012, the singer had several run-ins with the law and reportedly attempted suicide a total of four times, per the Daily Mail. Even though several years have passed since her death, the beautiful and undeniably talented Mindy McCready remains loved.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Caroll Spinney

Born in Massachusetts in December 1933, per The New York Times, Caroll Spinney developed a love for puppets during his childhood, enjoying immense support from his mother, Magaret Spinney, who also encouraged him to explore other forms of art. In 1955, Caroll landed his first major puppeteering show, but it was not until 14 years later he got the job that made him a star. 

Between 1969 and 2018, Caroll worked on "Sesame Street," playing the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch — two characters he clearly adored. "I loved playing Oscar. He has a power I never had," he once admitted (via NPR). "I can't believe that Jim [Henson] gave me two such characters that have become iconic and are a part of so many people in America growing up." He also once told The New York Times that "playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life." 

In 2018, Caroll announced his retirement from puppeteering. In December 2019, the beloved puppeteer, who'd been diagnosed with a movement disorder called dystonia, died in his Connecticut home at age 85, per The Guardian. "Caroll Spinney's contributions to 'Sesame Street' are countless," Joan Ganz Cooney, who'd co-founded Sesame Workshop, said in a statement following his death. "We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to 'Sesame Street' and to children around the world."

Bob Einstein

Bob Einstein spent his life and career as one of the comedy cool kids. Son of comedic radio performer Harry Einstein and brother to actor-director Albert Brooks, per Deadline, Bob came into stardom in the '70s and '80s when he played the character Super Dave Osbourne, a daredevil stuntman for whom things hilariously always went wrong. A fixture on television, he starred as the character on the standalone "Super Dave" from 1987 to 1999. Then, between 2002 and 2003, the actor voiced the character of salesman Tony Deloge on several episodes of "Crank Yankers." Throughout the 2000s, Bob continued to rack up more credits, memorably appearing on shows like "Arrested Development" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," where he played Larry Middleman and Marty Funkhouser, respectively.

In addition to acting, Bob had a successful writing career beginning back in the '60s. Per AP News, he won his first Emmy as part of the writing team for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and on the "Van Dyke and Company" show. Though there were a few more nominations in the years that followed, Bob Einstein never won another Emmy. Shortly after a cancer diagnosis, the famed actor-writer died in January 2019, as reported by Deadline. He was 76. 

Natasha Richardson

Born to award-winning actor Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson, per ABC News, Natasha Richardson was — to no surprise — a fantastic actor herself. Making her first credited appearance on the big screen in 1984 in James Scott's "Every Picture Tells a Story," as reported by Aesthetica, she enjoyed success in the years that followed, racking up credits in movies like "Maid in Manhattan," "The Parent Trap," and "A Month in the Country." It was, however, her role as Sally Bowles in the 1998 Broadway revival of "Cabaret" that earned the actor her first and only Tony Award. Richardson also did a little bit of television, with minor roles in shows "Oxbridge Blues," "Tales from the Crypt," and "Theatre Night." Sadly, the momentum in her promising career never truly peaked.

On March 16, 2009, while taking skiing lessons at a resort in Canada, Natasha took a seemingly minor fall, hitting her unprotected head against the snow. Saying she felt fine, per Biography, she went to her hotel room, where the effects of the fall eventually began to show. An x-ray would eventually show severe brain damage, and eventually, the star was declared brain dead. Having been transported to a hospital in NYC, Natasha Richardson was taken off life support on March 18, with her family and loved ones by her side, including husband Liam Neeson. She was 45.

Katherine Helmond

While she had a lengthy film resume that included roles in classics like "Brazil" and "Overboard," Katherine Helmond will likely forever be most remembered for her work as matriarchs on two ABC sitcoms, one critically acclaimed and the other extremely popular. On "Soap" — a classic sitcom — Helmond played the forever-tested Jessica Tate, and a few years later, on "Who's the Boss?" she portrayed Mona Robinson, Angela Bower's randy and elderly mother. After the latter show wrapped up in 1992, Helmond joined the cast of "Coach," taking on the role of Doris Sherman, a football team owner; between 1996 and 2004, Helmond also had a recurring role as Lois Whelan on CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Expectedly, Helmond's stellar work in television earned her a lot of recognition, including seven Emmy nominations, per BBC News. In 1981, she took home the Golden Globe for best performance by an actress in a television series — comedy or musical, for her work in "Soap," and was back in 1989, this time snagging the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for "Who's the Boss?" 

On February 23, 2019, Helmond died following complications from Alzheimer's disease, Variety reported. She was 89.

Danny Aiello

If movie casting agents needed an actor to play a middle-aged tough guy from the New York area in the '80s and '90s, Danny Aiello was probably their first call. Per his IMDb credits, he played a New York police chief in the crime saga "Once Upon a Time in America," a Depression-era lout from New Jersey in "The Purple Rose of Cairo," Cher's sweet but dumb Brooklynite fiancé in "Moonstruck," Madonna's Brooklyn-bred papa in her "Papa Don't Preach" music video, and, perhaps most memorably, the complex racist pizza shop proprietor Sal in Spike Lee's seminal "Do the Right Thing". 

Unsurprisingly, for his fantastic work on "Do the Right Thing," Aiello snagged several awards and accolades, including an Academy Award nomination. Never mind that, per CBS News, Aiello started his career in his 30s — and he was still arguably one of the most sought-after actors of his time. 

On December 12, 2019, Aiello died at the age of 86 following a brief illness, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. A rude shock to many, the actor's passing was met with tributes from his fans and colleagues, including Cher, who described him as a "genius comedic actor" on Twitter. The singer also reminisced on their time together on "Moonstruck," adding, "It was one of the happiest times in my life, & He Was [a part] of that Happy time."

Dana Hill

Per the Los Angeles Times, Dana Hill got her big break in the '80s, playing a victim of child pornography in 1981's "Fallen Angel" and the daughter of a separated couple in Alan Parker's 1982 drama "Shoot the Moon." Further into her career, Hill landed even more roles, appearing in films like "Cross Creek," "National Lampoon's European Vacation," and "Silence of the Heart," as well as wide range of shows, including "The Fall Guy" and "The Two of Us," as listed on her IMDb page.

Sadly, Hill never reached the height of her career as a type 1 diabetes diagnosis at the age of 10 left her with life-long complications, including stunted growth and damaged kidneys, according to People. As a result of the toll it took on her appearance, Hill switched to voice acting, working on several television and film projects, including 1992's "Tom and Jerry: The Movie," 1994's "The Pink Panther," and the animated series "What-a-Mess."

Hill's health condition, however, not only caused her to go out of the public eye, but it also forced her on a sugar-free diet — something she absolutely hated. "I was really mad at first," Hill admitted to People in a 1982 interview. "I didn't want to accept the restrictions." Still, despite the attempt to manage the disease, Hill fell into a diabetic coma in May 1996, and subsequently had a stroke — on July 15 of that year, the young actor died. She was 32.

Cameron Boyce

According to CNN, former child actor Cameron Boyce got a start in entertainment in 2008 after appearing in the music video for "That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)" — a song by pop-rock band Panic! at the Disco. He would later make his movie debut that same year in "Mirrors," a horror flick where he appeared alongside Amy Smart, Paula Patton, and Keifer Sutherland. In 2011, Boyce got his big break when he was cast as one of the lead characters (Luke Ross) in Disney's "Jessie." The actor's biggest projects, however, came in the mid-2010s while starring in the musical fantasy film franchise "Descendants." Some of Boyce's other credits include "Grown Ups," "Grown Ups 2," and "Mrs. Fletcher," with his final posthumous appearance airing in 2021's "Paradise City."

On July 6, 2019, Boyce died suddenly in his sleep following a seizure, BBC News reported, with the Los Angeles County Coroner later confirming (via Today) his cause of death to be epilepsy. He was just 20 years old. "The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him," a spokesman for his family said at the time. Fans and colleagues alike have since continued to remember the young actor's legacy.

Heather O'Rourke

Born on December 27, 1975, Heather O'Rourke broke into the spotlight for her role as Carol Anne Freeling — the youngest Freeling child who served as a conduit for supernatural forces in Steven Spielberg's 1982 horror movie "Poltergeist." Ranked one of the best horror movies of all time by Rolling Stone, "Poltergeist" was critically acclaimed and was one of the most successful horror flicks of that time, making a whopping $1.13 million at the domestic box office, per the NZ Herald

Reprising her role in every movie of the franchise, O'Rourke's chilling performance of "They're heeeere" in the first film and "They're baaaack" in the sequel quickly put her on the radar of many producers and directors. Following her first "Poltergeist" outing, O'Rourke continued to snag up other roles, appearing in two episodes of "The New Leave It to Beaver" and 12 episodes of "Happy Days," per IMDb.

Sadly, while she was seemingly on her way to becoming a Hollywood success, O'Rourke's rise to the top was cut short way too soon. On January 31, 1988, she died in the middle of an operation after going into cardiac arrest. According to the Los Angeles Times, the young actor had been born with a severe bowel obstruction, which grew infected and resulted in septic shock. O'Rourke was just 12 years old.

Michael Clarke Duncan

Though he initially wanted to be a sportsman, Michael Clarke Duncan gave up that dream after persuasion from his mother, per the Daily Trust. His 6'5" frame, however, naturally put him at an advantage, eventually giving way for him to work as a bouncer at clubs and a bodyguard for celebrities, including Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. By this point, the previously aspiring football player had better access to the Hollywood scene and began pursuing another age-long dream of his — acting. Duncan's big break came in 1998 when he appeared in "Armageddon," a science fiction flick that also featured the likes of Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, and Liv Tyler.

The following year, Duncan starred opposite Tom Hanks in "The Green Mile," earning him his first Oscar and Golden Globes nods, as reported by NPR. With a distinct baritone voice, Duncan naturally leaned toward voice acting, with IMDb listing credits in movies like "Kung Fu Panda," "Green Lantern," and "Ultimate Spider-Man." But not only was Duncan successful at acting, he thoroughly enjoyed it. "I always like to work," he told AssignmentX in 2012. "It all depends on what the script calls for, but I love my job and I love doing and being who I am." 

Sadly, Duncan would not stick around long enough to continue enjoying his career. In July of that same year, TMZ reported that the actor was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital following a heart attack. On September 3, 2012, Duncan died from natural causes, according to BBC News. He was 54.

Taylor Negron

In January 2015, actor Taylor Negron died from cancer at the age of 57. Chuck Negron, Taylor's cousin, confirmed the sad news in an emotional YouTube video that was titled, "We just lost a wonderful man, my cousin Taylor Negron." Chuck noted, "His mother, his brother, Alex, and my brother, Rene, and his wife, Julie ... were all there with him. May he rest in peace."

Born on August 1, 1957, per Deadline, Taylor got his start as a teenage stand-up comedian. He got his foot in the showbiz door with extra work on various film sets, in addition to coveted gigs at West Hollywood's iconic The Comedy Store. According to E! News, Negron officially made his acting debut in the early '80s after snagging up a role in "Young Doctors in Love." In the years that followed, Negron would go on to have a relatively successful career on the big screen, with credits in "Angels in the Outfield," Joel Silver's "The Last Boy Scout," and most notably, 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Negron also worked in television, appearing as a guest actor on shows like "My Wife and Kids," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Friends," and "The Hughleys." He was also a playwright and an accomplished painter who somehow managed to merge his life as a public figure with his need for private expression. "My creativity all comes from the same place," Negron once said (via HuffPost). "I wear one very comfortable, large hat."

Andy Hallett

On March 29, 2009, actor Andy Hallett died at the age of 33, five years after a congestive heart disease diagnosis, per E! News. Best known for his role as Lorne in Joss Whedon's show "Angel," Hallett appeared in 76 episodes between 2000 and 2004, per IMDb. Characterized by his unlikely friendly nature, Lorne was a demon who went against stereotypes by constantly helping the titular Angel (David Boreanaz) investigate supernatural mysteries — but that was not all, as he also served as the host and music headliner at a demon bar. Whedon — the show's creator — would later reveal that Lorne was specifically created for Hallett after seeing the actor perform in a karaoke bar. "We interviewed Andy because he was who [the character] was based on, and he was the best of anybody who read for it," Whedon told Entertainment Weekly in 2019.

In the years leading up to his death, Hallett reportedly spent time making music and touring the country, per Entertainment Weekly, but even though his music career never really took off, Hallett will always be remembered for his sense of humor and larger than life personality. Speaking to the outlet a decade after Hallett's passing, former co-star J. August Richards (Charles Gunn) described the late actor as "a beautiful man," noting, "He brought so much to the table. He was the life of the party and made us all laugh."

Earl Hindman

When popular television sitcom "Home Improvement" aired for the first time in 1991, fans were introduced to a number of stellar actors, one of whom was Earl Hindman. Hindman's character — Wilson W. Wilson, Jr. — was the friendly and wise yet unseen neighbor of Tim Allen's Tim Taylor. According to IMDb, Hindman appeared in over 200 episodes of "Home Improvement" until the show came to an end in 1999.

Kickstarting his career decades earlier, per PopCulture, Hindman made his onscreen acting debut in 1967 after landing a role in "Teenage Mother," and subsequently appeared in two major films from the '70s — "The Parallax View" and "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three." In 1975, Hindman landed a longtime part on "Ryan's Hope," playing Detective Lt. Bob Reid on the ABC daytime series. Per The New York Times, Hindman played this role until the series eventually came to an end in 1989. With a career spanning through three decades, this actor no doubt left a lasting legacy in film and television. 

On December 29, 2003, Hindman sadly died of lung cancer complications. He was 61. Paying tribute to his former co-star in a 2021 episode of "Last Man Standing," Allen told Entertainment Weekly, "Earl meant the world to me and everyone at 'Home Improvement.' It was an organic moment to settle on, both on the set and in our hearts."

Bernie Mac

Born Bernard Jeffery McCollough in Chicago, Illinois, actor Bernie Mac — alongside Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, and D.L. Hughley — served as the titular Kings of Comedy in Spike Lee's 2000 stand-up comedy film "The Original Kings of Comedy," according to The Washington Post

Mac's appearance shot him into the spotlight, eventually making it possible for him to land "The Bernie Mac Show," which proved to be a huge success during its 2001 to 2006 run. For two consecutive years, the funnyman was nominated for the outstanding lead actor in a comedy series category at the Emmys — first in 2002, then in 2003, per IMDb. Mac also received Golden Globe nods in 2003 and 2004. But even though "The Bernie Mac Show" was arguably one of his biggest projects, Mac racked up many more credits throughout his career, appearing in films like "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," "Bad Santa," "Transformers," and the "Ocean's 11" trilogy.

Sadly, Mac's successful run in Hollywood was cut short too soon. On August 9, 2008, he died from pneumonia complications, years after being diagnosed with the chronic disorder sarcoidosis, which affects the lungs, per Entertainment Weekly. He was 50. Per the Daily Mail, several of Mac's colleagues paid tribute to the late star and expressed their condolences to his loved ones. "The world just got a little less funny. He will be dearly missed," George Clooney stated. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson said in part, "It goes without saying that Bernie was one of the pre-eminent comedians of our generation."

Richard Griffiths

Perhaps best known for his role as Vernon Dursley, Harry Potter's grumpy uncle from the "Harry Potter" franchise, Richard Griffiths was no stranger to the big screen. Born in the North Riding of Yorkshire, according to The Guardian, the British actor got his big break when he landed a minor part in 1976's "It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet." For the next decade, Griffiths stayed booked and busy, appearing in both multiple films and TV series, before landing the classic cult comedy "Withnail and I" in 1987, where he acted as the rather eccentric Uncle Monty to the titular character. 

A veteran of the stage, as noted by The New York Times, another one of Griffiths' most famous roles came in 2004, as Hector the teacher in the play "The History Boys," which he reprised both on Broadway and in the 2006 film adaptation. The Tony Award winner also famously reunited with his onscreen nephew, Daniel Radcliffe, in the 2008 Broadway revival of Peter Shaffer's "Equus."

On March 28, 2013, Griffiths died at the age of 65 due to complications stemming from heart surgery, as reported by BBC News. The actor's sudden death was followed by an outpour of tributes from several of his fans and Hollywood stars. "You got a great deal of support (as an actor) for having Richard about," British actor and comic Warwick Davis, for example, stated. "He was lovely, he would always make time for his fans, that's what makes a great actor, it's about having a good persona."

Harold Ramis

When you think Hollywood triple threat, Harold Ramis should come to mind. An actor, a celebrated director, and an even more prolific writer, Ramis' career was about as enviable as they come — so much so that his friend and colleague, Tim Kazurinsky, dubbed him "the most successful comedy writer-director of all time" (via the Chicago Tribune). The "Saturday Night Live" alum added, "The number of films that he has made that were successful, that were blockbusters, nobody comes close. Even in light in of that, he was more successful as a human being."

As an actor, Ramis' most memorable projects included 1978's "National Lampoon's Animal House," the 1981 comedy film "Stripes," as well as the 1984 classic "Ghostbusters," where he played Dr. Egon Spengler. But not only did Ramis act in the latter two of these three movies, per The Guardian, he also served as a co-writer on each of them. A talented mix of everything, he also directed and co-wrote other '80s and '90s classics like "Caddyshack" and "Groundhog Day." Through the course of his career, Ramis racked up over 20 acting credits, 44 credits in writing, 16 credits as a producer, and 14 credits as a director, his IMDb page confirms. 

When Ramis died at age 69 on February 24, 2014, from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, Hollywood clearly lost an icon. "His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor, and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him," the star's loved ones wrote in a statement (via BBC News).

James Avery

If you were a fan of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," the name James Avery might sound unfamiliar, but Uncle Phil definitely doesn't. Portraying Philip Banks, Will Smith's no-nonsense but equally loving onscreen uncle in the '90s series, Avery was a fan favorite for many television lovers of that decade. 

A Vietnam War veteran, per ABC News, Avery trained as a writer and poet before kicking off his acting career in 1980 with an uncredited role in "The Blue Brothers." Through the '80s, he racked up many more credits, appearing in shows like 1984's "Hill Street Blues" and 1988's "Beauty and the Beast," as listed on his IMDb page. In addition to his remarkable work appearing onscreen, Avery's deep sweet-toned voice favored him, eventually leading him to the world of voice acting. With several animated TV show credits under his belt, some of the most popular series boasting the actor's voice talents include "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Iron Man," and "The Real Ghostbusters." According to CNN, Avery told the New York Film Academy of his career in 2007, "You can either be a movie star or an actor. I'm an actor. [But] I've done pretty good."

On December 31, 2013, Avery died at age 68 following complications from open heart surgery, per BBC News. Perhaps expectedly, many of Avery's co-stars from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" paid tribute, with Smith posting on Facebook, "Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil."

Chris Penn

Following in brother Sean Penn's footsteps, actor Chris Penn broke into the limelight in 1984 after appearing as Kevin Bacon's best friend in the hit dance movie "Footloose," The Guardian reported. Perhaps his biggest role, however, came in the '90s when he was cast as Nice Guy Eddie in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film "Reservoir Dogs." In addition to these appearances, Chris' IMDb page also lists credits in 1998's "Rush Hour," 2004's "Starsky & Hutch," and the 2006 indie film "Holly," amongst many others. Though not quite as famous as his older brother, Chris managed to make a successful career for himself in Hollywood — one that was cut too soon.

On January 24, 2006, Chris died in his Santa Monica condo. He was 40. Per Variety, officials later confirmed the cause of death to be an enlarged heart with no foul play suspected, while also revealing that Chris had a mix of multiple medications in his body at the time he was found. Though not the primary cause, it is believed to have contributed to the actor's sudden and tragic death. "There is absolutely no indication that this is anything but an accident," Craig Harvey, the chief coroner in the investigation, stated (via CBS News).

Roddy Piper

Born Roderick Toombs in 1974, Roddy Piper's first introduction to wrestling was at the age of 15, when he competed in a professional wrestling match for only $25, according to Biography. The then-teenager then went on to make a name for himself as a villain in the NWA Hollywood Wrestling scene. It was, however, not until 1984, when he joined the WWE, per Variety, that he tapped into his full villain potential. 

Throughout the '80s, briefly in the '90s, and early into the 2000s, Piper was known mainly as Hulk Hogan's biggest rival, with the two wrestlers often meeting in landmark matchups, including the first-ever WrestleMania in history. Ranked one of the top wrestlers of all time by IGN, Piper — otherwise known as "Rowdy" — was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, WWE named him the No. 1 villain in its history in a list containing other wrestling stars, including Kane, Randy Orton, and Batista.

On July 31, 2015, Piper died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 61, per TMZ Sports. "Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial, and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world," WWE's then-chairman Vince McMahon stated in part at the time (via Variety). For his part, Hulk Hogan expressed on Twitter, "Totally lost for words, RIP, Roddy one, and God bless your family, I love you my brother, only love HH."

Lisa Robin Kelly

Lisa Robin Kelly won the hearts of many viewers while playing the recurring role of the sassy Laurie Forman, Topher Grace's older sister on "That '70s Show." But while she brought smiles to the faces of the show's fans, her life behind the scenes read a different script — so much so that, following on-and-off appearances between Seasons 3 and 6, her role on "That '70s Show" was ultimately recast in 2003.

Kelly would later admit to ABC News that her exit from the show was prompted by alcohol addiction. She began drinking excessively after having a miscarriage, and despite making multiple attempts at recovery through the years, Kelly unfortunately continued to struggle with alcoholism, which led to a number of run-ins with the law. In December 2010, Kelly was arrested for driving under the influence, a charge to which she pled guilty, and received an undisclosed fine and one-year of unsupervised probation, per TMZ. Following another arrest for alleged domestic violence two years later — this charge was later dropped — Kelly told ABC News that she was gearing up for a return to acting, explaining, "I am not running from this. I have paid my dues and if I can make it through this, I can make it through anything."

Sadly, Kelly died of accidental multiple drug intoxication while at a Los Angeles County rehab center in August 2013, USA Today reported. She was 43.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Glenn Quinn

Irish actor Glenn Quinn was only around in Hollywood for a short while. Still, in that time, he made quite the mark — one that even now, years later, continues to linger in the hearts of his loved ones and fans. Born in 1970, per Independent.ie, Quinn broke into U.S. television in 1990 when he joined the cast of "Roseanne" as Mark Healy, Becky Conner's boyfriend-turned-husband. 

"If Glenn hadn't got that role it would've been a fleeting character," Michael Fishman (aka D.J. Conner) later told the outlet. "Instead he subtly added heart, kindness, and toughness that was unique Quinny." The following year, Quinn landed a major big screen gig in "Shout," a romantic musical that had him act alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and John Travolta. Though these two projects shot him into the limelight, it wasn't until 1999 that Quinn took on the role of Allen Francis Doyle — a half-human, half-demon character — on "Angel," at which time he truly started enjoying stardom. But as his fame grew, Quinn unfortunately struggled in his personal life.

As confirmed by his sister, Sonya, to Independent.ie, Quinn's excessive substance use began during an ill-fated 1997 trip to his hometown in Ireland. "It was at this time that Glenn's struggles took over," she explained. "We, as a family, were very supportive in helping him. Though there were periods of sobriety, ultimately it consumed him." On December 3, 2003, Glenn Quinn died following an accidental drug overdose, per The Washington Post. He was 32.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Thuy Trang

If you grew up watching television in the '90s, chances are Thuy Trang was a part of your childhood. The Vietnamese-American actor got her big break starring as Trini Kwan, the Yellow Ranger, in the original 1993 show "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers." Per IMDb, between 1993 and 1994, Trang appeared in over 80 episodes. Later in the decade, she worked on two major films — first as a manicurist in "Spy Hard," and then as Kali in the horror flick "The Crow: City of Angels." No doubt, only still in her prime, Trang was nearing mainstream success. But sadly, her talent and fame would never be fully realized. 

In September 2001, while traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles with some friends, Trang died in a car crash, per Entertainment Weekly. She was only 27 at the time. However, in her short time, Trang created a lasting impression on many who crossed her path — including her colleagues. 

"We were really good friends," Trang's "Power Ranger" co-star, Walter Emanuel Jones, later told the outlet in 2018. "Was so proud of the work she was doing in films like 'The Crow'! It hurt my heart to lose her. She was way too young and had so much more to share with the world." The franchise's original Black Ranger added of Trang's personality, "I remember how sweet Thuy was to people. She especially had a way with kids. Her energy drew you in, and her smile made your heart feel safe."