Famous People You Did Not Realize Have Died

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Marcia Wallace


Marcia Wallace may best be remembered for her voice acting as Mrs. Krabappel on The Simpsons. However, she also had many other acting roles such as Carol Kester in The Bob Newhart Show and Annie Wilkes on The Young and the Restless. Marcia passed in 2013, a week before her 71st birthday, of pneumonia and sepsis. The Simpsons episode “Four Regrettings and a Funeral” was dedicated to her.

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Chris Penn


Chris Penn is the brother of famed actor Sean Penn. However, Chris also had some amazing roles during his time in Hollywood such as Willard in Footloose, Josh LaHood in Pale Rider, and Clive in Rush Hour. Sadly, Chris died from cardiac irregularities in 2006. However, it is possible that Chris passed from a deadly combination of pills. Sean Penn once said in an interview, he thinks Chris’s obesity may have actually been the reason.

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Laura Branigan


The American singer-songwriter, Laura Branigan, may best be remembered for her musical hits like Gloria, Self-Control, Solitaire, or her biggest hit How Am I Supposed to Live Without You. Her music was also featured on multiple movie soundtracks such as Flashdance and Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, she passed in August 2004, in her sleep, from an previously-undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm.

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Barney Martin


Barney Martin was a comedy writer, actor and New York City Police Department detective. Martin had been doing on camera work since the mid 1950’s, however, he truly entered the Hollywood eye after landing a role in The Producers in 1967. He went on to land many roles, including his most famous, as Jerry Seinfeld’s father, Morty, on Seinfeld. At the age of 82, in 2005, Martin lost his battle to lung cancer.

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Richard Attenborough


Richard Attenborough was an actor, director, producer and politician. He may best be remembered for his acting or directorial roles in Miracle on 34th StreetJurassic Park, and Gandhi. He won 2 Oscars for his work on Ghandi. He was also the President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the British Academy of Film and Television ArtsUnfortunately, Attenborough died of heart complication, in 2014, at the age of 90.

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Michael Clarke Duncan


Before 1999, Michael Clarke Duncan had several roles, in various movies and TV shows. However, his performance as John Coffey in The Green Mile made him a household name. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for that performance. He went on to land roles in films such as The Whole Nine Yards and Sin City. Duncan tragically died from cardiac arrest in 2012, at the age of 54.

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J.T. Walsh


J.T. Walsh was once called “everybody’s favorite scumbag” by media, due to the characters he played throughout his career. Normally being casted as a disliked character, Walsh was always able to give a convincing performance. He appeared in movies such as NixonPleasantvilleGood Morning, Vietnam, and A Few Good Men. Unfortunately, Walsh passed at the age of 54, in 1998, after suffering a heart attack.

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John Spencer


Since the late 1950s, John Spencer had been appearing on the silver screen. However, he may best be remember for his last TV role of Leo McGarry on The West Wing. He played McGarry from 1999-2006, a role for which he won a Primetime Emmy. Sadly, 4 days after his 59th birthday in 2005, Spencer died of a heart attack in a Los Angeles hospital.

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Taylor Negron


Taylor Negron is one of those actors who you can’t exactly put your finger on where you’ve seen him. That’s probably because he’s been in everything. He was Milo in The Last Boy Scout and the Pizza Guy in Fast Time at Ridgemont High. He also had appearances in Party of Five, ER, Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and My Wife and Kids. At the age of 57, in 2015, Negron lost his battle to liver cancer.

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Nicole DeHuff


Nicole DeHuff’s first on screen role may also be her most notable. In 1999, she played the role of Deborah Byrnes in the hit comedy movie Meet the Parents. Her last film appearance was in Unbeatable Harold, which was released in 2006. The film was directed by Nicole’s spouse, Ari Palitz. Unfortunately, Nicole was never able to see the final cut of her last performance as she passed in 2005, of pneumonia, at the age of 30.

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Harold Ramis


“Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” The Ghostbuster film franchise certainly would have not been the same without Harold Ramis’ portrayal of Egon Spengler. He also did some behind the camera work. He directed critically acclaimed films such as CaddyshackNational Lampoon’s Vacation, and Groundhog Day. Ramis passed, in 2014, from an autoimmune inflammatory disease, at the age of 69.

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Earl Hindman


The mysterious, but wise neighbor behind the fence, Wilson, on Home Improvement was played by Earl Hindman. He also played Bob Reid in Ryan’s Hope from 1975-1989, as well as, George Steever aka Brown in the 1974 version of Taking Pelham One Two Three. A longtime smoker, Hindman passed from lung cancer, in 2003 at the age of 61.

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Lisa Robin Kelly


Lisa Robin Kelly is best known for her portrayal of Laurie Forman, the older sister of Eric, on That ’70s Show. Unfortunately, during her time on the show, she admittedly had a drinking problem, which may have lead to her drug addiction. In 2013, she checked herself into a Rehab facility. However, days after she checked herself in, she died of an accidental drug overdose in her sleep. She was 43 years old.

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Leonard Nimoy


One of TV Guide’s greatest TV characters of all time, Spock, was played by Leonard Nimoy. However, he also did some work behind the camera. He directed the hit comedy Three Men and a Baby and The Good Mother. He also had a strong passion for photography. In 2014, he was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which he believe was from his smoking addiction, when he was younger. Unfortunately, he died from complications of the disease in 2015.

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Ellen Albertini Dow


Ellen Albertini Dow played some pretty unforgettable roles. For example, she was the rapping elderly wedding guest in The Wedding Singer and she was the fouled-mouth granny in Wedding Crashers. Ellen took up acting as a hobby to do after her retirement. She didn’t land her first role until she was 72-years-old. She continued to act for almost 30 years after that. She lived an amazing life and passed of natural causes at 101 years old, in 2015.

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Michael Jeter


Michael Jeter made his film debut in the movie adaptation, of the musical, Hair, in 1979. His career flourished and he landed roles in movies such as The Green MileThe Fisher KingAir BudPatch Adams, and True Crime. In 2003, at the age of 50, Jeter passed from a heart attack brought on by an epileptic seizure.

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Alexis Arquette


Alexis Arquette (born Robert) began acting at 12 years old. She was born into the famed Arquette family. Therefore, her acting career was imminent. She had small roles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Last Exit To Brooklyn, and Bride Of Chucky. However, most people remember her for being the worst shot in Hollywood history, after she missed six shots aimed at Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Alexis was also a strong advocate for queer and transgender people. She passed in 2016 from cardiac arrest.

Len Lesser


Since the late 1940s, Len Lesser has been landing roles in Hollywood. However, he is best known for his performance as Bellamy in Kelly’s Heroes or Jerry’s crazy Uncle Leo in the TV series Seinfeld. After performing in over 185 TV series and films, Lesser gave his last performance in 2009, on an episode of Castle. In 2011, at the age of 88, lesser died of pneumonia.

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James Avery


James Avery played Uncle Phil, on the hit 90s TV series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Although sometimes very agitated with Will, Uncle Phil always became the father figure he needed. The love between James Avery and Will Smith also continued off camera, until his death in 2013. Avery passed from complications following heart surgery at the age of 68.

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David Graf


David Graf became a household name after landing the role of gun-fanatic Eugene Tackleberry in Police Academy. A role which he played in all 7 movie installments. After Police Academy, Graf continued to land multiple roles including appearing on TV shows such as Touched By an Angel, JAG, and Becker. Graf unexpectedly passed 9 days after his 51st birthday, at a family wedding, from a heart attack.

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Aubrey Woods


If you’ve seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, you remember this guy as the candy store owner who broke into song, with all the sugar-high children. However, he also played The Controller on Doctor Who, in the 70s. It was reported he stayed in character until his demise, as he liked to go to local hospitals, and be the candy man, passing out candy to whoever wanted. He died at 85 years old, in 2013.

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Wendie Jo Sperber

American Actress, Wendie Jo Sperber may be best remembered for her role of Marty McFly’s sister, Linda, in the Back to the Future films, or Dr. Tina Gassko in Bachelor Party. She also had recurring roles on TV series such as Babes, Hearts AfirePrivate Benjamin, and Bosom Buddies. At the age of 47, in 2005, she lost her battle to breast cancer. Her last role was voice acting a character on American Dad!, which aired after her death. Her character was renamed Wendie Jo, in her honor.

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John Cazale


John Cazale is an actor who was able to claim an honor not many other actors can boast. He was in 5 films, over a 6 year period, all of which were nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture: The GodfatherThe ConversationThe Godfather Part IIDog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. During the filming of The Deer Hunter, Cazale was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He died soon after completing his scenes, for the film, in 1978.

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Gina Mastrogiacomo

Gina Mastrogiacomo was given her big break by the legendary Martin Scorsese. In 1990, she played the role of Janice Rossi, in his critically acclaimed film, Goodfellas. Unfortunately, she was never able to land such a prestigious role the rest of her career. However, she did land appearances on shows such as ER, NYPD Blue, and The X-Files. Gina died at the age of 39, in 2001.

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James Rebhorn


James Rebhorn has multiple memorable performances on both TV and film. Notable film roles were in movies such as Scent of a WomanIndependence DayMy Cousin Vinny, and Meet the Parents. His TV roles include recurring appearances on Big LakeWhite Collar and Homeland. In 2014, he died, in his home, as he was already on hospice care from a melanoma diagnosis. He wrote his own obituary before passing.

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Miss Cleo


The famous infomercial psychic, Miss Cleo, would give advice to desperate callers through her tarot card readings. She was actually born Youree Dell Harris and was born in the U.S., not Jamaica. Sadly, her psychic network did not do so well and was forced to pay $500 million in customer debt. Either way, she is missed on TV screens everywhere as it seemed like she was bringing hope into the lives of many. She died at the age of 53, in 2016, from colon cancer.

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George Gaynes


George Gaynes is best known for a few roles. He played the building manager, Henry Warnimont, who became a foster parent and eventually adoptive father, on the hit show Punky Brewster. His most memorable movie appearances include John Van Horn in Tootsie and Commandant Lassard in all 7 Police Academy films. He retired from acting in 2003. He passed in 2016 at the age of 98.

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Anton Yelchin


Anton Yelchin began his acting career at age 9. His talent was prominent since his debut and it led to a successful acting career. Some of his earlier roles were included in films such as Along Came a Spider and Hearts in Atlantis. However, he may be best known for his portrayal of Chekov in the Star Trek reboots. In 2016, when he was 27 years old, Yelchin was found pinned between a car and a brick pillar. It was labeled a freak accident.

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Ashleigh Aston Moore


Ashleigh Aston Moore, born Ashleigh Rogers, was best known for her portrayal of young Chrissy, in the coming of age film, Now and Then. After Now and Then, she had very few acting credits listed to her name. Later in 1995, she appeared alongside fellow Now and Then star, Christina Ricci in Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain. Her last on-screen appearance was in 1997, in an episode of Touched by an Angel. At the age of 27, in 2007, Ashleigh unexpectedly passed.

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Phife Dawg


Phife Dawg was an original member of the rap group A Tribe Called Quest. Also known as the Five Foot Assassin (due to his 5’3″ stature), Phife was also known for his powerful lyrics. In 1990, Phife was diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, he passed from complications of the disease in 2016. He was 45 years old. In February 2017, it was announced that his posthumous solo album will be released in 2017 and will be titled “Forever.”

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Kenny Baker


You may not recognize his face, but Kenny Baker helped bring to life one of the most iconic characters in Hollywood history, R2-D2. He ran the droid for Episodes I-VI. He consulted on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with the new R2-D2 operator, in 2015. He also appeared in other movies such as LabyrinthThe Elephant Man, and Amadeus. Sadly, Baker died 11 days before his 82nd birthday, in 2016.

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Thuy Trang


Many 90’s babies will definitely remember Thuy Trang. She played Trini Kwan, the original Yellow Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series. She was only on the show for one and half seasons, when she was replaced by Karan Ashley. She had 2 on-screen acting credits after her time as a Power Ranger. She appeared in 2 films in 1996: Spy Hard and The Crow: City of Angels. In September 2001, Trang tragically died in a car accident, when she was 27 years old.

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Tony Burton

Tony Burton is famously known for his role as Tony “Duke” Evers, the trainer, in the Rocky films. He and Sylvester Stallone are the only two characters to appear in every installment of the Rocky franchise (except Creed). Before acting, Burton was a champion boxer, but also a felon. His time in prison is what inspired him to become an actor. On top of the Rocky films, he also had roles in movies such as HookThe Shining, and House Party 2. He died in 2016, from complications of pneumonia.

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Judith Barsi

Judith Barsi was discovered when she was 5 and half years old while in an ice skating rink. Her first commercial was for Donald Duck Orange Juice. She continued to land multiple commercial gigs in the 1980’s and she eventually made her way to TV shows and movies. She appeared in Jaws: The Revenge as Thea and voice acted as Ducky in The Land Before Time and Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go To Heaven. Both she and her mother were killed by her father in 1988. She was only 10 years old.

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Bill Bixby


This stage and film actor had a career that spanned three decades. Some of his most notable performances include Tim O’Hara on My Favorite Martian and Anthony Blake on The Magician. However, his most memorable was as Dr. Bruce Banner or The Incredible Hulk. However, the Dr., in Hulk form, was played by Lou Ferrigno. Unfortunately, in 1993, at the age of 59, Bixby passed from prostate cancer.

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Richard Griffiths


The not so nice uncle of Harry Potter, Vernon Dursley, in the film adaptations of Harry Potter, was portrayed by Richard Griffiths. He played the role in every Harry Potter film, except for the last installment. Griffiths was also very well known in the theater, and even received an Tony award. In 2013, Griffiths needed heart surgery, but, sadly, died from complications from the surgery.

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Paul Gleason


“Mess with the bull, you get the horns,” Paul Gleason’s character, Principal Vernon, famously said to a group of high school students serving Saturday detention, who you might know as The Breakfast Club. At 67 years old, in 2006, Gleason died from a form of lung cancer connected with asbestos. It is believed he came in contact with asbestos as a teen, while working with his father on building sites.

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David Huddleston


David Huddleston is an actor with close to 150 credited roles to his name. He played Olson Johnson in Blazing Saddles and Judge in The Producers. However, he is best known for his role in The Big Lebowski, as the Big Lebowski himself. Sadly, Huddleston died of heart and kidney failure in 2016. He was 85 years old.

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Michelle Thomas


Michelle Thomas made people everywhere laugh weekly from her 2 best performances: Theo’s girlfriend, Justine Phillips, on The Cosby Show and as Myra Monkhouse on Family Matters. She also made the jump from comedy to drama in 1998, when she played the role of Callie Rogers on The Young and The Restless. Tragically, Thomas died from a rare form of cancer at the young age of 29.

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David Margulies


David Margulies was a veteran stage actor before making the jump to the silver screen in the 1970s. He may best be remembered for his role as the mayor of NYC in the Ghostbuster films. He also played Tony Soprano’s sleazy lawyer, Neil Mink. Sadly, Margulies lost his battle to cancer in 2016. He passed away in his home at the age of 78.

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Glenn Quinn


Glenn Quinn may best be remember for his 2 biggest TV roles: Mark Healy on Roseanne and Allen Doyle on Angel. Quinn was delighted when director’s on Angel allowed him to perform with his native Irish accent, as he had been faking an American one for his other roles. His body was found on a friend’s couch when he was visiting Hollywood. Autopsy reports show he died of an accidental drug overdose.

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Jonathan Brandis


Jonathan Brandis played various roles, mainly on TV, before landing his breakout role of Bastian, in the 1990 film The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter. Soon after he landed a lead role in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Jonathan soon began directing short films and screen writing for shows, including one he starred in, SeaQuest 2032. Sadly, Brandis’ career never got to truly flourish, as he committed suicide in 2003, at the age of 27.

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Andrew Koenig

Son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig was actor, writer, and activist, Andrew Koenig. In the late 1980s, he played Richard “Boner” Stabone, best friend to Kirk Cameron’s characters on the ABC series Growing Pains. He also loved behind the scenes work and has many editor credits to his name, with work on short films and documentaries. In 2010, he was found by family and friends, in the middle of the forest of Stanley Park in Vancouver, after committing suicide.

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Abe Vigoda


Abe Vigoda was a long time actor known for multiple notable roles: Tessio in The Godfather, Detective Phil Fish in Barney Miller, and Grandpa in Look Who’s Talking. Ironically, Vigoda was the center of multiple death hoaxes throughout his life. However, he used to just laugh off the ridiculous misinformation. He died of natural causes, at the age of 94, from natural causes, in 2016.

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Brad Renfro


Brad Renfro made his acting debut as Mark Sway in the critically acclaimed film The Client. Unfortunately, that was the climax of his career. A year after the film was released he won The Hollywood Reporter’s Young Star Award, and was nominated as one of People magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30.” Unfortunately, being a child star affected him and led to drug addiction and multiple arrests. He, sadly, died of a drug overdose in 2008, at the age of 25.

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Skye McCole Bartusiak

Skye was best known for her time as a child actor. She played Mel Gibson’s daughter in The Patriot. She also appeared in critically acclaimed movies Cider House Rules and Don’t Say A Word. Her last acting credit was in 2013, in 2 different short films. In 2014, she was found unresponsive. Her mother said she had been having epileptic seizures until that point, however, after an investigation it was ruled an accidental death due to a lethal combination of drugs. She was 21 years old.

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Chyna


Joan Laurer was better known by her stage, Chyna. Chyna was considered the most successfull female wrestlers of all time. She was the first woman to be considered a contender of the WWF (later known as WWE) championship and she defeated several male wrestlers including Chris Jericho, Triple H and Kurt Angle. She was let go from the WWF in 2001, but she remained in the spotlight. She appeared on multiple reality shows. She died of an accidental drug overdose in 2016.

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Heather O’Rourke


Heather O’Rourke was discovered at 5 years old, by famed director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg casted her in his 1982 horror flick, Poltergeist, as Carol Anne Freeling. She would reprise the role in the 2 sequels. She also had a recurring role on Happy Days from 1982-1983. Tragically, she died in 1988, at the age of 12, of cardiac arrest after a misdiagnosed intestinal stenosis.

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