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Famous People We’ve Lost in 2017

A look back at celebrities who have died this year

  • Bob Krist/Corbis/Getty Images

    Don Rickles, actor and comedian, 90

    (May 8, 1926 - April 6, 2017) “Mr. Warmth” was the sarcastic nickname for this master of the comedic insult, a Vegas stand-up fixture who cracked up his audience by making fun of them as well as celebrities (including Frank Sinatra — to his face). It was all just for laughs: “If I were to insult people and mean it, that wouldn’t be funny,” he once said.

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  • Jim Cooper/AP

    Jimmy Breslin, journalist, 88

    (Oct. 17, 1930 – March 19, 2017) The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for The New York Times was renowned for his often-scathing, hard-boiled prose that gave voice to the underdog while criticizing powerful establishments.

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  • Gilles Petard/Getty Images

    Chuck Berry, musician, 90

    (Oct. 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) The seminal musician is considered by many to be the father of rock ’n’ roll, and his influential guitar playing, singing and stage antics influenced legions of rock musicians. His oeuvre includes such timeless hits as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

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  • Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

    Joni Sledge, musician, 60

    (Sept. 13, 1956 – March 10, 2017) She was the second oldest member of the R&B/pop family quartet Sister Sledge, who scored hits in the ’70s and ’80s that included “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” “Lost in Music” and its signature anthem, “We Are Family.”

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  • Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

    Robert Osborne, TV host, 84

    (May 3, 1932 – March 6, 2017) For 23 years, this former TV actor and journalist brought his elegance and love for old movies to his job as host of the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable network.

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  • Galbraith/AP

    Joseph Wapner, judge and TV personality, 97

    (Nov. 15, 1919 – Feb. 26, 2017) Best remembered as the first judge on the TV reality court show The People’s Court, he presided for 12 seasons, between 1981 and 1993. 

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  • Hahn Lionel/AP

    Bill Paxton, 61, actor

    (May 17, 1955 – Feb. 25, 2017) A versatile actor who made memorable appearances in such popular movies as The Terminator, Aliens and Titanic, he also earned an Emmy Award nomination for portrayal of Randolph “Randall” McCoy in the 2012 TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. 

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  • Eligio Paoni/Contrasto/Redux

    Al Jarreau, singer, 76

    (March 12, 1940 – Feb. 12, 2017)  Known as the “Acrobat of Scat,” this seven-time Grammy-winning jazz singer explored a varied idiomatic terrain that included bebop, R&B, pop and Brazilian music, and recorded such hits as “We’re in This Love Together,” “Mornin,’” and the theme song for the TV show Moonlighting. 

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  • ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

    Richard Hatch, actor, 71

    (May 21, 1945 – Feb. 7, 2017)  Best remembered for portraying Capt. Apollo, a space-fighting hero on the 1970s TV show Battlestar Galactica, he also starred as Phillip Brent on the daytime TV soap opera All My Children and as Tom Zarek on the 2004-2009 version of Battlestar Galactica.  

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  • CBS/Getty Images

    Mike Connors, actor, 91

    (Aug. 15, 1925 – Jan. 26, 2017)  Award-winning television actor best known for portraying rugged crime fighters in such series as Mannix, Today’s FBI and Tightrope!    

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  • NBC/Getty Images

    Barbara Hale, actress, 94

    (April 18, 1922 – Jan. 26, 2017)  Emmy Award-winning actress best remembered for portraying legal secretary Della Street on CBS’ long-running courtroom drama television series Perry Mason. 

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  • Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times/Redux

    Mary Tyler Moore, actress, 80

    (Dec. 29, 1936 – Jan. 25, 2017)  Acclaimed television and movie actress, widely regarded as “America’s sweetheart” for her pioneering role as Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also starred on The Dick Van Dyke Show as Laura Petrie, and as Beth Jarrett in the 1980 movie Ordinary People.

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  • Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

    Miguel Ferrer, actor, 61

    (Feb. 7, 1955 – Jan. 19, 2017)  Acclaimed television and movie actor best remembered for his TV roles as Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, Dr. Garret Macy on Crossing Jordan and Albert Rosenfield on Twin Peaks. 

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  • James Veysey/Camera Press/Redux

    John Hurt, actor, 77

    (Jan. 22, 1940 – Jan. 25, 2017)  British actor best known for such roles as John Merrick, the lead part in David Lynch’s 1980 movie The Elephant Man, Kane in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and Max in Alan Parker’s 1978 movie Midnight Express.

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