Celebs we've lost in 2020

In the early hours on the very first day of 2020, the world had already said a final farewell to two celebrities — a troubled soul known for dark times, his demons and his connection with the death of a beloved late celebrity's child, and a promising hip-hop ingenue gone too soon. 

Even before January's end, comedic and rock music legends, a fan-favorite reality starlet, a talented television actor, a teen idol-turned bit movie and TV star and a wrestling icon (who spawned one of the biggest blockbuster star's on the planet) had also passed on, and they were all gone too soon ... because it's always too soon. Take a look back at the stars whose light burned out this year, but still shines on in the legacies they've left behind, the loved ones who survive them, and the memories they've given to us all.

Here are the celebrities we've lost in 2020.

Nick Gordon

Nick Gordon, Bobbi Kristina Brown's boyfriend at the time of her own untimely death, died on Jan. 1, 2020. He was 30 years old. Audio from a 911 call (obtained by TMZ) described a black discharge emitting from Gordon's mouth, which the site reported is a possible symptom of opioid overdose. The caller said Gordon wasn't breathing; no official cause of death has been reported pending toxicology results. People reported that Gordon overdosed on heroin, while the Daily Mail claimed that Gordon suffered heart attacks in the hours leading up to his death.

Gordon had a troubled life. He moved in with Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown after what he claimed were disagreements with his mother and stepfather. Though he and Brown reportedly lived like siblings while Houston was alive, their relationship became romantic; Gordon told the Daily Mail that he and Brown almost married at a courthouse before her passing. Brown drowned in a bathtub and fell into a coma in January 2015 after an argument with Gordon. Brown was placed in hospice care before her death in July 2015. A month later, Brown's estate sued Gordon for wrongful death, E! News reported, alleging that Gordon placed an unconscious Brown in the tub after injecting her with a "toxic mixture." People reported Gordon was also accused of physically assaulting Brown. Gordon, who denied the claims, was found legally responsible for Brown's death after failing to meet court deadlines in the case. He struggled with addiction following Brown's death.

Lexii Alijai

Rapper Lexii Alijai died at just 21 years old on Jan. 1, 2020. Born Alexis Alijai Lynch, Lexii had amassed nearly 90,000 Instagram followers and millions of SoundCloud streams. Her debut, Feel Less, dropped in 2014. Weeks after her passing, the Star Tribune reported that Lynch allegedly overdosed on the prescription painkiller Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) in her hotel room. Emergency services were called to check on an unconscious Lynch; she was suspected of possibly suffering cardiac arrest before EMTs arrived and was "cold to the touch." Though revival techniques were attempted, Lynch was pronounced dead at the scene.

Singer Kehlani, who featured Lynch on her song "Jealous," expressed her sorrow at Lynch's passing, tweeting, "Weakest saddest way to start a new year. I'm off this 'happy new year;' please please please please be safe out here. Love on your people please." Lynch's mother, Jessica Owen, told the Star Tribune that Lynch was working on a new album and was supposed to head to the studio the day of her passing. Her completed music will now likely be released posthumously, possibly in February 2020.

Neil Peart

Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, died on Jan. 7, 2020. He was 67 years old. "It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and bandmate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer," Rush told the CBC in a statement.

Peart famously performed with a drum kit that completely surrounded him. He and Rush last toured in 2015, at the conclusion of which he revealed he'd suffered from pain throughout. Peart suffered from two major tragedies in 1997: His 19-year-old daughter Selena died in a car accident, and he lost his wife to cancer just 10 months later. He remarried and is survived by his wife, Carrie, and daughter Olivia. Stars including Slash, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Bryan Adams, Kiss' Paul Stanley, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all paid their respects to Peart on social media, with Trudeau writing, "We've lost a legend. But his influence and legacy will live on forever in the hearts of music lovers in Canada and around the world. RIP Neil Peart."

Buck Henry

Saturday Night Live favorite and screenwriter Buck Henry died on Jan. 8, 2020, Deadline confirmed. He was 89 years old. Henry was acclaimed for his screenplays, scoring an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Graduate and an Emmy win for Get Smart, the spy spoof series he co-created with comedy legend Mel Brooks. Though most screenwriters aren't widely known to audiences, television viewers were familiar with Henry, who hosted SNL numerous times during the NBC staple show's first five seasons. Henry was also an occasional director, helming Heaven Can Wait and First Family.

In addition to appearances on SNL, Henry had small acting roles in several films and TV shows, including parts in Hot In Cleveland, Law & Order: SVU, Franklin & Bash, and as Liz Lemon's dad on 30 Rock. He also served as a guest host for late night shows including The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, The Dick Cavett Show, and The Late Show With David Letterman.

Despite his success in comedy, Henry admitted in the 2009 book And Here's The Kicker (via Vulture) that he doesn't actually watch comedy much. "I just don't find comedy as interesting as the forms that I don't do myself," he said, adding, "It's harder to make me laugh than it is to make me cry."

Edd Byrnes

Edd Byrnes died on Jan. 8, 2020 at 86 years old, The New York Times reported. His son told the outlet that the actor likely suffered a stroke.

Byrnes was born Edward Byrne Breitenberger in New York in 1933, to an alcoholic and alternatively absent and verbally abusive father. When Byrnes was 13, his father died from what was possibly a homicide. Byrnes dropped out of school two years later and began modeling at 17. He claimed to have been lured into male prostitution by older men and photographers. Throughout his life he found solace in movies, though his acting education was unique: He had a friend in the NYPD who'd let him play "bad cop" during interrogations despite not actually being an officer of the law.

He landed bit parts before being cast in Girl On The Run, which was the precursor to 77 Sunset Strip, where he starred as Kookie. He became a heartthrob, getting 15,000 fan letters a week. Unfortunately, he struggled with depression. When his fame began to fade, Byrnes turned to drugs and alcohol to cope; he did a 12-step program in 1982 and went on to recover and become sober.

Aside from starring as Kookie, his other best known role is that of TV host Vince Fontaine in Grease. He also had roles in Murder, She Wrote, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. He is survived by his son Logan, partner Catherine Gross, a sister and a brother.

Alexis Eddy

Alexis Eddy, who appeared in MTV reality series Are You The One?, was found dead in her West Virginia home on Jan. 9, 2020. She was just 23 years old. TMZ obtained audio of a 911 dispatcher who said that Eddy wasn't breathing and was "cold to the touch." Emergency personnel attempted CPR to revive her but failed. It's suspected Eddy suffered cardiac arrest before her death, but no official cause has yet been revealed, as of this writing. 

Eddy was called "The Petty Queen" and "Man Eater" on the dating show, and was notorious for her dramatics as well as for revealing she was related to convicted murderer Sheila Eddy. Alexis was open about her struggles with substance abuse and revealed on Twitter in September 2019 that she and her father were both sober. According to TMZ, the family member who found Eddy believed she was still sober as of the night before her death. She was reportedly engaged to Nate Lee in October 2019, Us Weekly reported, but the pair appeared to have split by December 2019.

Stan Kirsch

Stan Kirsch died on Jan. 11, 2020. He was 51 years old. TMZ reported that Kirsch took his own life. He was discovered by his wife, but paramedics could not revive him.

Kirsch was most famous for starring as Richie Ryan on the original Highlander TV series for six seasons. The TV show's official Facebook account honored Kirsch, writing, in part, that he was "nothing but kind, thoughtful and sincere," adding, "Although Richie Ryan's life was cut short on the show, there was little more to see; Richie Ryan had evolved into his own man, and it was Stan's performance that made it true."

Kirsch, who also starred in JAG and had memorable roles on General HospitalInvincible, and Friends, got his first acting role at just four years old in a Campbell's soup commercial. He was working as an esteemed acting coach in Los Angeles, Calif. at the time of his passing. 

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.

Rocky Johnson

Rocky Johnson, wrestling legend and father to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, died on Jan. 15, 2020. He was 75 years old.

According to TMZ Sports, Johnson first became a professional wrestler in the 1960s, when he took to the ring in the National Wrestling Alliance, but he didn't become a household name until the 1980s, when he joined the WWE (then known as the WWF). Johnson and partner Tony Atlas became the first African American wrestling tag team in the franchise's history as the Soul Patrol. He retired from wrestling in 1991 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.

Johnson was close with son Dwayne, who previously bought Rocky a house and purchased him a car for Christmas in 2016. On Father's Day 2018, Dwayne wrote on Facebook, "Little boys by nature, look up to and idolize their old man. They want to be just like 'em, do whatever they do and are always looking for their approval. Funny thing is, the day I stopped looking for that approval was the day I understood what it meant to be man and more importantly, a father. That shift lifted me to a new level of gratitude for the tough love he always gave. Years later as a man and father of three girls, I know that tough love is a helluva lot better than no love at all. I'll take it. It made me who I am today. Grateful to the original Rock."

Norma Michaels

Actress Norma Michaels died peacefully on Jan. 11, 2020 at her Palm Springs, Calif. home, according to People. She was 95 years old. With her on-screen career spanning more than 60 years, Michaels began acting in 1954 and got her big break ten years later on The Jack Benny Show. She's since appeared on television shows like Modern Family, Lizzie McGuire, iCarly, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Days of Our Lives, Malcolm in the Middle, Everybody Loves RaymondGilmore Girls, and more, but her most famous role was as Josephine alongside Jerry Stiller in the Kevin James-led King of Queens. Michaels also had plenty of silver screen experience, including roles in Easy A, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, and Wedding Crashers, as well as starring most recently as Sally Field's mother in the 2015 flick, Hello, My Name Is Doris.

Michaels' obituary in the Desert Sun reported that in addition to being a star, she was also a renowned counselor. Michaels is survived by several cousins, as well as her manager and close friend, Jasper Cole.

Terry Jones

Terry Jones, co-founder of the Monty Python comedy troupe, died on Jan. 21, 2020, following a long battle with frontotemporal dementia, per The Hollywood Reporter. He was 77 years old. "Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London," his agent stated. "We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades."

Jones met Michael Palin while studying English at Oxford University in the 1960s. The duo began acting in sketches together, before meeting John Cleese, Graham Chapman, and Eric Idle while appearing on Do Not Adjust Your Set. Cleese introduced them to Terry Gilliam, and they soon launched Monty Python's Flying Circus on the BBC. Following its run from 1969 to 1974, Jones co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail and directed Life of Brian and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Jones was also a history buff and opponent of the war in Iraq, publishing a book of essays called Terry Jones' War on the War on Terror in 2004 and nabbing an Emmy nod the same year for Terry Jones' Medieval Lives.

With several celebs reacting to his death, collaborator Cleese tweeted in part, "It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away."

David Olney

Folk singer David Olney died during a performance on Jan. 18, 2020. He was 71 years old. Variety reported that Olney grew silent and slumped on his stool at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida. The audience, as well as his accompanying musicians, reportedly believed at first that Olney was simply pausing until his fellow performers realized what happened.

Musician Amy Rigby, who was performing alongside Olney, wrote on Facebook (via Variety), "Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized, and shut his eyes. He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket [...] we laughed about because it was raining like hell outside the boathouse where we were playing — I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment." Rigby added that there were attempts to revive Olney, but they'd failed.

Olney recorded 20 albums and had other music legends, including Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and his own former roommate Steve Earle, cover his songs. He first gained popularity as a member of The X-Rays, opening for iconic artists like Elvis Costello, before going solo. His final full performance, from earlier in the day on Jan. 18, 2020, is immortalized on YouTube.

Tyler Gwozdz

Tyler Gwozdz, a contestant on Season 15 of ABC's The Bachelorette, died on Jan. 22, 2020. Gwozdz was 29 years old.

TMZ reported that Gwozdz was suspected to have suffered from an overdose at his Boca Raton, Fla., home and was hospitalized on Jan. 13, 2020. He reportedly was treated in an intensive care unit and was in stable but critical condition. His official cause of death has not yet been reported, but the report cited a 911 call in which the caller told a dispatcher that Gwozdz may have used heroin at the time of the incident.

Gwzodz competed for Hannah Brown's final rose (and nabbed a one-on-one date with the former pageant princess) before he left the show with no explanation after three weeks of shooting. At the time, he told Refinery29 in a statement that his exit was "a decision that I came to with producers, and something that I've come to realize what is the best decision that could've been made."

According to Gwzodz's Bachelorette profile, he was a sales manager and entrepreneur who aspired to someday be a clinical psychologist; he also did volunteer work to raise awareness and funds for gun control efforts after a friend's daughter was killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February 2018. He is survived his parents and five younger siblings.

Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer, the founder and longtime anchor of PBS Newshour, died peacefully at home on Jan. 23, 2020, according to PBS. Lehrer was 85 years old.

Lehrer was born in Wichita, Kansas, and attended Victoria College in Texas and studied journalism at the University of Missouri before serving in the Marines. He began his journalism career in Dallas 1959.

In 1975, Lehrer joined forces with Robert MacNeil to cover the Watergate scandal on what was then The Robert MacNeil Report. The show eventually became The MacNeil Lehrer Report and later The MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour. In 1995, MacNeil retired and the show became The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. Throughout Lehrer's 36-year PBS career, he covered just about every major news story, including the Kennedy assassination and Bill Clinton's impeachment. He moderated 12 presidential debates, the most of anyone in history, from 1988 through 2012 (including every debate in the 1996 race, making him the only person to ever to do that). He retired from NewsHour in 2011.

Lehrer was also a writer and the subject and host of the 1986 Emmy-winning documentary My Heart, Your Heart, in which he detailed his 1983 heart attack.

He told The American Journalism Review in 2011 (via The New York Times), "I have an old-fashioned view that news is not a commodity. News is information that's required in a democratic society, and Thomas Jefferson said a democracy is dependent on an informed citizenry. That sounds corny, but I don't care whether it sounds corny or not. It's the truth."

John Karlen

Actor John Karlen died from congestive heart failure on Jan. 22, 2020 while in hospice care, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. He was 86 years old. Karlen was most famous for his role of Willie Loomis in the original Dark Shadows TV series, as well as for starring as Harvey Lacey on Cagney & Lacey, for which he won an Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series Emmy in 1986. He also played Loomis in several Dark Shadows films.

Karlen was born John Adam Karlewicz in Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied at the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts and began his career in 1959 in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Youth. Karlen amassed more than 100 acting credits in his nearly 40-year career. In addition to Cagney And Lacey and Dark Shadows, Karlen also appeared in Charlie's Angels, Hill Street Blues, Mad About You, Hawaii Five-O, and Murder, She Wrote. His final role was a reprisal of Harvey Lacey in Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions in 1996, 10 years after winning his Emmy for the role.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant died at 41 on Jan. 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash over Calabasas, Calif., TMZ reported. The crash also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who Kobe was reportedly taking to basketball practice at the time of the tragic crash.

Bryant, who joined the NBA right out of high school, was widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, winning five NBA championships and being named NBA Finals MVP twice and league MVP in 2008 throughout his celebrated 20-year career. The Los Angeles Lakers retired both of Bryant's jersey numbers 8 and 24. In addition to being one of the most decorated NBA stars of all time, he was also an Oscar winner for his 2018 short animated film Dear Basketball.

In addition to his illustrious career, Kobe was also known for his sometimes tumultuous life off the court. In 2003, Kobe was arrested and charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 19-year-old Colorado hotel employee. The charges were later dropped after the accuser refused to testify against him, and Kobe issued a public apology to the woman for the alleged incident. In 2018, he was removed from a film festival jury over the sexual assault allegation, according to The Washington Post.

Kobe is survived by wife Vanessa, who he married in 2001 after six months of dating. In 2012, Vanessa filed for divorce, but they reconciled in January 2013, per ESPN. Kobe and Gianna are also survived by his three younger daughters (Gianna's sisters), Natalia, Bianca and Capri.

Marj Dusay

Marj Dusay died of natural causes on Jan. 28, 2020. She was 83 years old, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She reportedly passed away peacefully at her home in New York City. The Kansas native was born Marjorie Mahoney and began modeling in the Big Apple during her first marriage in 1956. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles and joined Rob Reiner's improv group, The Session, before getting her big break in Elvis Presley's film Clambake in 1967 and alongside Sandy Dennis in 1968's Sweet November.

Dusay is widely remembered for her guest-starring role in a 1968 Star Trek episode called "Spock's Brain," in which she plays an alien who beams onto the Starship Enterprise and steals — you guessed it — Spock's brain and brings it back to her home planet. She was a soap opera staple, with roles in Capitol, Santa Barbara, All My Children, Days of Our Lives and Guiding Light. She also made memorable appearances in The Odd Couple, Mod Squad, Hart to Hart, Hogan's Heroes, Get Smart, Mannix and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Dusay is survived by her sisters Maryann and Kathleen, brother Timothy, daughter Debra and son-in-law David Blocker.

Kirk Douglas

Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas died on Feb. 5, 2020 at 103 years old.

Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky to a Russian Jewish immigrant family, Douglas had six sisters. His acting career kicked off when fellow Manhattan American Academy of Dramatic Arts student Lauren Bacall helped him land his first movie role. He won two Golden Globes and was nominated for three Oscars in the 1950s, finally receiving an honorary Oscar in 1996. He was best known for Spartacus, for which he hired blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo at the height of McCarthyism's attacks on alleged Communists. "Dalton was in prison because he refused to answer questions, so I decided, the hell with it! I'm going to put his name on it," Douglas told People. "I think that's the thing I'm most proud of because it broke the blacklist."

Douglas survived a helicopter crash in 1991 and a stroke in 1996. He was a proud father of two sons with first wife Diana Dill; the actor Michael Douglas and Joel Douglas. He remarried to Anne Buydens in 1956, with whom he shared producer son Peter Douglas and actor son Eric Douglas, the latter of whom died of a drug overdose in 2004. Kirk and Anne were together until his death.

Michael Douglas said in part in a statement to People, "To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.

Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway died on Feb. 5, 2020 after suffering a heart attack, Deadline reported. He was 77 years old.

New York City native Conway's first breakthrough role was as Roland Weary in Slaughterhouse Five in 1972. He went on to score dozens of film and television credits throughout his career, including One Life to Live, Miami Vice, Thirteen Days, Funny Farm, In the Heat of the Night, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Northern Exposure, The Quick and the Dead, The Black Donnellys, Oz, The Good Wife and an uncredited recurring role as the control voice in The Outer Limits.

Conway had an illustrious stage career as well, winning a Drama Desk Award for an off-Broadway performance in When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? in 1974. He appeared in Indians with Stacy Keach and Raul Julia on Broadway in 1970, starred opposite James Earl Jones in Of Mice and Men on Broadway in 1975 and alongside Philip Anglim in The Elephant Man in 1979.

Conway's most famous role was in 1993 film Gettysburg, and, incidentally, his final credit was as the voice of Daniel Webster in an upcoming documentary called The Gettysburg Address.

Orson Bean

Comedian and actor Orson Bean died on Feb. 7, 2020 after a tragic traffic incident in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was 91 years old. TMZ reported that Bean "was allegedly jaywalking ... when he was clipped by one vehicle and then struck by another." The incident is reportedly currently under investigation, but that it's unlikely the drivers will be charged as no actual illegal activity occurred.

Bean had more than 100 film and screen credits, including Miracle On 34th Street, Being John Malkovich, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, Grace and Frankie, Superstore and The Bold and The Beautiful, as well as more than 200 appearances on The Tonight Show during the Johnny Carson and Jack Parr years.

According to the AP, Bean lived a colorful life off-screen as well. According to the outlet, Bean's father "was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union." During Hollywood's blacklist era, Bean said he was forced out of the industry for a year "because [he] had a cute communist girlfriend." He turned to theater during this time to make ends meet, but eventually resumed his career in the 1970s after moving "to Australia, where he lived a hippie lifestyle."

Bean was married to actress Alley Mills, best known for playing mom Norma Arnold on The Wonder Years, for 27 years until his tragic passing, ABC 7 News reported. He was crossing the street to go to the Pacific Resident Theater where Mills was working when he was killed.

Robert Conrad

Actor Robert Conrad died on Feb. 8, 2020, People reported. He was 84 years old. The Chicago-born actor worked as a milkman and a nightclub singer before moving to Los Angeles to pursue stardom. He broke into the business in 1959 on Hawaiian Eye, then became a star as the titular Secret Service agent James T. West in The Wild Wild West from 1965 through 1969. Conrad's other memorable projects included Baa Baa Black Sheep (syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron), Samurai Cowboy, and Dead Above Ground. Conrad was also a singer in the 1950s and 1960s. He received a Distinguished Service Award in Broadcasting and is a member of the Stuntmen's Hall of Fame.

A consummate tough guy, Conrad performed his own stunts onThe Wild Wild West, which he didn't particularly enjoy, considering he once sustained a skull fracture after falling 15 feet onto concrete while shooting a fight scene.

Conrad is survived by eight children and 18 grandchildren from his two wives, Joan Kenlay and LaVelda Fann, the latter of whom he pursued while he was still married to the former ... and as soon as Fann turned 18 (to his 43). "That wasn't robbing the cradle, it was grand theft," he joked to People in 1988.

Conrad held a similarly breezy view of his on-screen legacy. "I did my acting tongue in cheek," he once said (via The Hollywood Reporter), adding, "I didn't take any of it seriously. The last year, I didn't even read the scripts, I just read my part. And it worked."

Paula Kelly

Dancer and actress Paula Kelly died on Feb. 9, 2020 following years of cardiovascular problems, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kelly was 76 years old. Kelly was a Broadway veteran, making her debut in 1964 musical Something More as Mrs. Veloz. In 1969, she appeared in The Dozens, followed by Paul Sills' Story Theatre in 1971, Ovid's Metamorphoses in 1971 and in Sophisticated Ladies in 1981. She also performed in London, starring in Sweet Charity as well as its film adaptation alongside Shirley Maclaine and Chita Rivera, winning a Best Supporting Actress London Variety Award.

Kelly also appeared in a number of TV specials and shows, including The Golden Girls, Sanford and Son, St. Elsewhere, Kojak, Hill Street Blues, The Richard Pryor Show and Gene Kelly's New York, New York. She earned Emmy nominations for her recurring role of public defender Liz Williams, then again in 1989 for The Women of Brewster Place.

Though acting was a major success for her, dancing is where Kelly's heart was. She said in a 1968 interview (via THR), "The only time I feel complete expression is when I'm dancing. Then, I have no problems, no worries, no hang-ups. I feel I could do anything in the world."

Raphael Coleman

Nanny McPhee star Raphael Coleman died on Feb. 6, 2020, at just 25 years old. Coleman's stepfather, Carsten Jensen, wrote on Facebook that the former child star passed away after collapsing during a jog. Per People, Coleman studied zoology at the University of Manchester, became a biologist, and was an activist for the Extinction Rebellion organization under the moniker Iggy Fox, once writing for The Hourglass, "I realized that as an activist my voice could be far more influential than it had been as a scientist."

His stepfather noted how, at 18, Coleman traveled solo around the world, getting his diving certification in Indonesia, studying at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, and spending a year in the Costa Rican jungle. As revealed in a Wilderlost Media YouTube video posted shortly before his untimely death, Coleman also worked as an independent photographer, director, wilderness medic, and photojournalist. Jensen wrote of Coleman, "He was a child actor in the popular British comedy Nanny McPhee, where he played himself with great talent, a little redhead boy who was always mixing explosive chemical ingredients. He had several roles, was rewarded and could have chosen a career as an actor. But he wanted to be a scientist ... to save the planet."

Liz Jensen, Coleman's mother, wrote on Twitter, "He died doing what he loved, working for the noblest cause of all. His family could not be prouder. Let's celebrate all he achieved in his short life and cherish his legacy."