Caroll Spinney, Big Bird's Longtime Muppeteer, Dies at 85
Spinney was the voice behind the “Sesame Street” icon for 50 years
Here’s a list of some of the notable celebrities and industry professionals in film, TV, music and sports who have passed away in 2019.
The New England broadcaster who appeared in several Oscar-winning films like “Spotlight” and “Mystic River,” died Jan. 1. Stapleton was 55.
Photo: Kenneth Dolin / IMDb
One half of pop duo Captain and Tennille died Jan. 2 of renal failure, according to Reuters. He was 76.
The famed WWE announcer, who frequently interviewed the likes of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant at their peak, died Jan. 2. Okurland was 76.
The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Arrested Development” actor (and brother of actor-filmmaker Albert Brooks) died Jan. 2. Einstein was 76.
The “Animal House” and “The Last Temptation of Christ” actress died Jan. 9. A family spokesperson told USA Today that Bloom died from complications from dementia. Bloom was 80.
The veteran indie film distributer, who was most recently president and CEO of New York-based Paladin Films, died Jan. 12 following a bout with cancer. He was 66.
The legendary Broadway and musical actress (“Hello Dolly,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”) died Jan. 15. Channing was 97.
Photo: Allen Warren
The German bassist and founding member of the seminal Los Angeles-based punk band The Germs, died Jan. 17. She was 61.
The former champion figure skater died by suicide on Jan. 18. The news came days after Coughlin was suspended from the sport over a pending grievance. He was 33.
The Hungarian producer who worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone on some of their most popular films, including “Rambo” and “Total Recall,” died at his home in Budapest on Jan. 20. He was 74.
Rambo: Yoni S.Hamenahem; Vajna: Getty Images
A two-time Pulitzer-winning writer and longtime host of PBS’ “Masterpiece Theatre,” Baker died Jan. 21 in his Lessburg, Virginia, home. Baker was 93.
The director of “The Muppet Movie” and the show “The Monkees,” died on Jan. 22 at his home in Indian Wells, California. He was 82.
The comic and co-creator of “Rel,” the Lil’ Rel Howery-led sitcom on Fox, died Jan. 22 due to a hemorrhage. Barnett was 32.
The French composer who won three Oscars for his songs (“The Windmills of Your Mind”) and film scores (“Summer of ’42,” “Yentl”) died Jan. 26. Legrand was 86.
The singer and songwriter whose hits included “I Don’t Have the Heart,” died Jan. 29. According to TMZ, Ingram died following a battle with brain cancer. He was 66.
The “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” actress who was one of the numerous women who accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct, died of natural causes on Jan. 30. Moritz was 72.
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“The Banjo Man” on Animal Planet’s “Call of the Wildman,” died on Feb. 1 in Kentucky. He was 55.
The actress known for playing the damsel in distress in the 1954 monster movie “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” died Feb. 3. She was 92.
Kristoff St. John
The actor who played the character Neil Winters on the CBS daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless” since 1991, died on Feb. 3. He was 52.
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The British Oscar-nominated actor who starred in “Tom Jones,” “Erin Brockovich” and the “Bourne” movies, died on Feb. 8. He was 82.
The former president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company and son-in-law of company founder Walt Disney, died on Feb. 9. He was age 85.
The actor, who starred in the TV series “Airwolf” and movies like “The Mechanic,” died on Feb. 10 at the age of 74 in North Carolina. According to CBS, the actor died of cardiac arrest.
Photo by American International Pictures/Getty Images
The WWE announced on Feb. 12 that the company’s first-ever “Triple Crown” Champion died. The Puerto Rico native was 76.
The Swiss actor whose work ranged from “Wings of Desire” to the much-memed “Downfall,” died on Feb. 15. He was 77
The legendary fashion designer who served as longtime creative director of major brands such as Chanel and Fendi died on Feb. 19. He was 85
The director of classic musical films like “On the Town” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” died on Feb. 23. He was 94.
The character actress who rose to fame in the 1970s and ’80s with roles on the sitcoms “Soap” and “Who’s the Boss?” and appeared in such films as Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil,” died on Feb. 23 at age 89.
The actress who played the original Marilyn Munster on the iconic 1960s sitcom “The Munsters,” died on Feb. 24. She was 81.
The actress who appeared on a numerous top TV shows including “Halt and Catch Fire,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Invasion,” died on Feb. 25. She was 44.
The lead singer for the 1980s rock band Talk Talk died on Feb. 26. He was 64.
The creator of the iconic ABC series “The Love Boat” died on Feb. 26. She was 96.
Courtesy of Edward Lozzi
The German-American, Oscar-winning musician and composer who worked on the music for 1965’s Best Picture winner “My Fair Lady,” died on Feb. 28. He was 89.
The documentary filmmaker who worked as a cameraman on the Oscar-winning doc “Free Solo” died on March 3. He was 46.
The lead singer of the pioneering 1990s British electronica band The Prodigy, was found dead on March 4. He was 49
The “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Riverdale” actor died on March 5 after suffering a stroke. He was 52.
King Kong Bundy
The wrestling legend whose real name was Christopher Alan Pallies died on March 5. He was 61.
The longtime president and chief operating officer of MCA and Universal Studios who is also credited with discovering and nurturing the career of Stephen Spielberg, died on March 7. He was 84.
Soap opera veteran Jed Allan, best known for playing Don Craig on “Days of Our Lives,” C.C. Capwell on “Santa Barbara” and Rush Sanders on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died on March 9. He was 84.
Known by millennials for his work on “Community” as Greendale’s smart-alecky Leonard Rodriguez died Saturday, March 13. He was 93.
Dr. James “Jim” Raman, an orthodontist who competed on Season 25 contestant of CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” died Monday, March 15. He was 42.
The Hollywood producer who helped transform New Line Cinema into a powerhouse and served as an executive producer on Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, died Sunday, March 21. He was 77.
The pioneering French film director who emerged in the New Wave movement of the 1960s and continued to direct influential work including 2017’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Faces Places,” died Thursday, March 28. She was 90.
The Canadian actor known for his leading voice role as a pilot on the series “Thunderbirds” and appeared in multiple James Bond movies, died Friday, March 29. He was 89.
The Grammy-nominated rapper who appeared in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s semi-autobiographical film “I Tried,” died Sunday, March 31. He was 33.
The actress who played Tilly Masterson in the 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger,” died in late March. She was 77.
The actress who starred in two James Bond films opposite Sean Connery, died at age 87.
The Academy Award-nominated actor who regularly collaborated with Wes Anderson and John Cassavetes died Sunday, April 7. He was 84.
Charles Van Doren
The disgraced ’50s-era quiz show contestant who was found to have received the answers in advance, died Tuesday, April 9. He was 93.
The Kenyan journalist and the former host of CNN’s show “Inside Africa,” died on Thursday, April 11. She was 34.
The Swedish actress, known for her roles in “The Seventh Seal” and “Persona,” died on Sunday, April 14. She was 83.
Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo
The actress who starred as Georgette Franklin on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” between 1972 and 1977, died Friday, April 12 at the age of 70,
The former boxer who made his acting debut in 2017 in Danny Boyle’s “T2 Trainspotting,” died Wednesday, April 17. He was 42.
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The Chicago-based sports broadcaster known locally as “The Godfather of Sports” in the 1980s, died Wednesday, April 17. He was 70.
The famed investigator of paranormal activity who researched the “Amityville Horror” hauntings and was the subject of James Wan’s film “The Conjuring,” died Thursday, April 18. She was 92.
The Oscar-winning film and TV producer of “Spotlight” and founder-CEO of Anonymous Content, died after a battle with cancer Sunday, April 21.
Photo by Christian Alminana/Getty Images
The British film and sound editor who was an Oscar nominee for his work on Best Picture winner “Chariots of Fire” died Tuesday, April 23.
The Canadian model and actress known for work on “CSI: Cyber” and in the rom-com “Valentine’s Day,” died Saturday, April 20. She was 43.
The Oscar-nominated director of “Boyz N the Hood,” the 2000 remake of “Shaft” and “2 Fast 2 Furious,” died Monday, April 29. He was 51.
The 7-foot-2-inch tall actor who portrayed Chewbacca in five “Star Wars” films, died Tuesday, April 30. He was 74.
The storied screenwriter best known for his Academy Award-winning script for “Ordinary People” and his Oscar-nominated “Paper Moon,” died Thursday, May 9. He was 92.
Courtesy of Pam Williams
The star of the iconic TV series “The Mod Squad” and part of the ensemble cast of “Twin Peaks” has died at age 72, her daughters Rashida and Kidada Jones told the Los Angeles Times on May 11.
The actress in popular 1950s and ’60s movies such as “Pillow Talk,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and “Move Over, Darling” died Monday, May 13. She was 97.
20th Century Fox
The Emmy-winning comedian and actor who memorably starred in “McHale’s Navy” in the 1960s and “The Carol Burnett Show” in the ’70s, died Tuesday, May 14. He was 85.
The former Hollywood talent agent and casting director, died on Thursday, April 18, his family announced. He was 81.
Courtesy Jennings family
The former WWE Superstar died on Thursday, May 16 at the age of 39.
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The cat whose perpetually sad expression launched a thousand memes, died on May 17 at the age of 7.
Sammy Shore, the legendary stand-up comedian and co-founder of the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, died on May 18. He was 92.
Courtesy of Suzanne Shore
Gabriel Diniz, a Brazilian pop star, died in a plane crash on May 27. He was 28.
Carmine Caridi, the actor who appeared in a key role in “The Godfather: Part II” as well as “The Godfather: Part III,” died on May 29. He was 85.
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Johnnie Planco, the former WME agent and co-founder of management/production company Parseghian Planco, died on June 2.
Todd Tongen, a longtime anchor and reporter at Florida’s WPLG, died on June 3. He was 56.
The legendary New Orleans-based musician who collaborated with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Christina Aguilera and The Black Keys died on Thursday, June 6. He was 77.
On Saturday, June 8 it was announced that the Endeavor Content TV exec died from a pre-existing heart condition. He was 28.
The two-time Oscar nominee for supporting roles in the Best Picture winner “Midnight Cowboy” and “Farewell, My Lovely” died on Wednesday, June 12. She was 94.
The Mexican telenovela star died early Thursday, June 13, according to reports. She was 54.
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The two-time Oscar nominee best known for his 1968 big-screen version of “Romeo and Juliet,” died on Saturday, June 15. He was 96.
The longtime “60 Minutes” producer who worked closely with Morley Safer during his final years, died Friday, June 14 following a battle with cancer. She was 45.
The fashion designer, actress, heiress, artist and socialite died on Monday, June 17 from “very advanced” cancer in her stomach. She was 95.
One of the last surviving members of the animation team during the Walt Disney Studios golden age, died on Tuesday, June 18. He was 105.
The music manager who shepherded the careers of iconic artists including Joni Mitchell and Neil Young died on Friday, June 21. He was 76.
Beth Chapman, the wife of Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” died on Wednesday, June 26 after suffering from throat and lung cancer. She was 51.
The actor who played Frank Nitti in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” died in Los Angeles on Monday, June 24 from complications of a stroke. He was 73
The producer-distributor who helped launch the careers of David Lynch and the Coen Brothers, died on Wednesday, June 26 in Prague. He was 83.
The Emmy-, Tony- and Peabody Award winner best known as the creator, lyricist and director of the musical “Annie,” died on Wednesday, July 3. He was 84.
The writer who won an Emmy for his work on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” died Wednesday, July 3. He was 90.
The actor best known for his roles in the Disney Channel series “Jessie” and the “Descendants” TV movie franchise died Saturday, July 6. He was 20.
The veteran actor of film, TV and theater best known for his long-running role as Jonathan Kent in the series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” died on Saturday, July 7. He was 84.
The child actress best known for playing Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” died late Wednesday, July 10. She was 62.
Stewart the Dog
The corgi who played Captain Raymond Holt’s dog Cheddar on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” died Monday, July 8. He was 13.
The YouTube personality died Friday, July 12. She was 35.
The producer, co-writer and co-director of “The Lords of Flatbush,” died Saturday, July 13. He was 78.
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The actor who was best known for his work in two James Bond films and on the series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” died Thursday, July 18. He was 92.
The Dutch actor best known for portraying the tragic villain Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic “Blade Runner,” died Wednesday, July 24. He was 75.
The voice actor behind the Disney icon Minnie Mouse in hundreds of projects over the last three decades, died on Saturday, July 27. Taylor was 75.
Walt Disney Co.
Richard A. Fox
The owner of Fox Theaters and the last volunteer president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, died Wednesday, July 28. He was 90.
The producer and director associated with many of the 20th century’s most successful Broadway musical productions died at age 91. As a frequent collaborator with both Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Prince garnered 21 Tony Awards, more than any other individual, over the course of his career. In a traditional gesture, marquee lights on Broadway were dimmed on the night of his death on July 31.
The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee and eight-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion died of lung cancer Aug. 1 at the age of 76.
D. A. Pennebaker
The prolific documentary filmmaker and chronicler of 1960s counterculture died on Aug. 1 at the age of 94.
The novelist, essayist and teacher died from complications of pneumonia at age 88 on Aug. 5. Morrison’s 11 novels earned her a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
The two-time, Oscar-nominated star of “Easy Rider” and more recently films such as “Ulee’s Gold” died on Friday, Aug. 16. He was 79.
The Oscar-winning animator best known for creating Roger Rabbit died on Friday, Aug. 16. He was 86.
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The comedian who frequently appeared on “The Tonight Show” died the week of Aug. 12. He was 75.
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The billionaire industrialist and philanthropist whose family empire has wielded significant political influence in conservative circles died Friday, Aug. 23. He was 79.
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The fashion designer who outfitted former first lady Michelle Obama for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration died Monday, Aug. 26 at the age of 59 from breast cancer.
The former “Mythbusters” star and professional race car driver died on Tuesday, Aug. 27 while attempting to break her own land-speed record. She was 36.
The actress and feminist activist best known for playing groundbreaking sitcom character Rhoda Morgenstern from 1970 to 1978 on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoff “Rhoda,” died Friday, Aug. 30 at 80.
The Emmy-winning writer best known for his work on ’90s animated classics “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Pinky and the Brain” and “Animaniacs,” died on Aug. 30. He was 68.
James Cullen Bressack
The man Arnold Schwarzenegger called “my best friend,” died on Aug. 30 in Sardinia, Italy. He was 78.
The German-born fashion photographer famed for his black-and-white shots of ’90s supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista, died on Sept. 4. He was 74.
The popular fashion designer who appeared on the Bravo series “Project Runway” and crafted costumes for artists including Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce died Thursday, Sept. 5. He was 56.
The veteran character actor best known for voicing Lord Zedd and Finster in the long-running kids TV show “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” died Saturday, Sept. 7. He was 70.
The actor who had guest roles on shows like “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Frasier” and “The Jamie Foxx Show” died on Sept. 7. He was 72.
Mardik Martin, the longtime friend and collaborator of Martin Scorsese whose writing credits included “Mean Streets,” “New York, New York,” and “Raging Bull,” died on Sept. 11. He was 84.
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The “Take Me Home Tonight” singer-songwriter who burst on the music stage in the late ’70s when he charted with singles “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” died on Sept. 13. He was 70.
The lead vocalist of The Cars, which had numerous hits from 1978 to 1988, including “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “You Might Think,” “Magic” and “Tonight She Comes,” died on Sept. 15. He was 75.
The actor who appeared in HBO’s “Carnivale,” “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” and “Beverly Hills, 90210″ among others died on Sept. 13. He was 49.
The host of HGTV’s “House Hunters” from 1999 to 2011 and spinoff “House Hunters International” from 2009 to 2012, died on Sept. 17. She was 56.
Longtime NPR and ABC News journalist died on Sept. 17 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 75.
The Grateful Dead lyricist, who also penned songs for Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and more, died on Sept. 17. He was 78.
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The longtime ICM Partners agent who represented Hollywood legends such as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Shirley MacLaine and Charlton Heston, died on Sept. 19. He was 88.
Opera legend Jessye Norman, one of the great sopranos of the last five decades, died Sept. 30 from complications from a spinal injury. She was 74.
The prolific Hollywood title designer, whose notable works included “The Godfather” sequels, “Total Recall” and “Dick Tracy,” died on Sept. 30. He had over 460 listed credits to his name. He was 89.
The lead singer and songwriter for seminal 90s pop punk band The Muffs died Oct. 2 after a long battle with ALS. Her music was featured on film soundtracks like “Clueless” and “Angus,” and she inspired a character on the HBO sketch comedy series “Mr. Show.”
Oscar-winning hair stylist Paul LeBlanc, who styled Carrie Fisher’s braids in “Return of the Jedi” and Javier Bardem’s bowl cut in “No Country for Old Men” died Oct. 2. He was 73.
The first African American woman to star in a non-servant role on a network TV series died Oct. 4 from cancer. She was 84.
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Ginger Baker, the celebrated drummer and co-founder of the British powerhouse rock band Cream, died Oct. 6. He was 80.
Rip Taylor, the flamboyant confetti-throwing comedian who was the host of “The $1.98 Beauty Show,” died Oct. 6. He was 84.
Robert Forster, the character actor best known for “Twin Peaks” and his Oscar-nominated performance in Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown, died Oct. 11. He was 78.
Sam Bobrick, creator of NBC comedy series “Saved By the Bell” and writer for “The Andy Griffith Show,” died Oct. 11. He was 87.
Scotty Bowers, who was the subject of the documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and was famous for secretly procuring gay sex workers for Tinseltown’s biggest stars in the 1940s, died on Oct. 13. He was 96.
John Clarke, who starred on the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” for 39 years and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the Daytime Emmys in 2005, died of pneumonia on Oct. 16. He was 88.
Courtesy of John Clarke's family
Bill Macy, who starred as Bea Arthur’s husband Walter Findlay on the 1970s sitcom “Maude” and appeared alongside Steve Martin in “The Jerk,” died on Oct. 17. He was 97.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a sitting democratic congressman from Baltimore for 23 years and a civil rights advocate early in his life and career, died on Oct. 17. He was 68.
Robert Evans, the legendary producer of “Chinatown” and “The Godfather” and the former head of production at Paramount, died on Oct. 26 at the age of 89.
John Witherspoon, a prolific character actor best known for a run of comedic turns in acclaimed films and cult classics like “Hollywood Shuffle” and the “Friday” franchise, died on Oct. 29 at the age of 77.
Bernard Slade, an Oscar-nominated writer and playwright and the creator of “The Partridge Family,” died on Oct. 30 from complications from body dementia. He was 89.
Rudy Boesch, one of the finalists on the original season of “Survivor,” died on Nov. 2 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 91. He was a former Navy SEAL, and at 72, was one of the show’s oldest contestants.
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Brian Tarantina, who appeared as a character actor on “Gilmore Girls,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Heroes,” “Law & Order” and “The Good Wife,” was found dead by New York City police on Nov. 2. He was 60.
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Virginia Leith, an actress who appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s first film, “Fear and Desire,” and was the lead in Joseph Green’s “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die,” died on Nov. 4 following a brief illness. She was 94.
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Laurel Griggs, a 13-year-old actress who starred in the Broadway musical “Once” and also appeared in several “Saturday Night Live” sketches, died on Nov. 5 after suffering a severe asthma attack.
William Wintersole, an actor who starred on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” as attorney Mitchell Sherman for 25 years until 2011, died on Nov. 5. He was 88.
Kathy Hutchins/Hutchins Photo
Rick Ludwin, a former NBC executive and the head of the company’s late-night division, died on Nov. 10 following a brief illness. Ludwin was best known for championing “Seinfeld” and helping it become one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. He was 71.
Lawrence G. Paull
Lawrence G. Paull, an Oscar-nominated production designer on films such as “Blade Runner” and “Back to the Future,” died in La Jolla, California on Nov. 10. He was 81.
Photo courtesy of Spooky Stevens
Michael J. Pollard
Michael J. Pollard, an Oscar-nominee for his breakout role in “Bonnie and Clyde,” and also a star of films including “House of 1000 Corpses,” “Dirty Little Billy” and “Scrooged,” died on Nov. 22. He was 80.
Harry Morton, restaurateur and founder of the Los Angeles Mexican food restaurant chain Pink Taco, died Nov. 23. He was 38.
John Simon, a legendary theater, film and literary critic who spent more than 50 years gaining a reputation for stinging reviews and lively prose at New York magazine and other outlets, died Nov. 24. He was 94.
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Goo Hara, the Korean pop singer best known for her work in the K-pop girl group Kara, died Nov. 24. She was 28.
Frank Biondi Jr.
Former HBO, Viacom and Universal Studios chief executive Frank Biondi Jr. died on Nov. 25. He was 74.
Gary Rhodes, a celebrity chef who hosted TV shows including “MasterChef,” “MasterChef USA,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Rhodes Around Britain,” died Nov. 26. He was 59.
Godfrey Gao, the Taiwanese Canadian model-actor who broke stereotypes for Asian men in the worlds of fashion and entertainment, died on Nov. 27 while competing on a Chinese reality TV show. He was 35.
Shelley Morrison, a veteran character actress best known for playing sharp-tongued maid Rosario on “Will & Grace,” died on Dec. 1. She was 83.
A look at the stars in movies, TV, music, sports and media we lost this year so far
Here’s a list of some of the notable celebrities and industry professionals in film, TV, music and sports who have passed away in 2019.
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