As we turn the corner toward 2022, let’s take a moment to think back with fondness and gratitude for the fantastic contributions of these 27 stars from film, television, stage and song.
Ed Asner, 91
Left us: Aug. 29 (no cause given)
Most memorable role: The gruff editor with a heart of gold on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later on Lou Grant.
You may not have known: With seven Primetime Emmys — five for portraying Lou Grant and two for performances in miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots — Asner is the most honored male performer in the history of the award.
Ned Beatty, 83
Left us: June 13, from natural causes
Most memorable role: His most famed appearance — as the horrifyingly abused Bobby Trippe in 1972’s Deliverance — was in fact Beatty’s debut feature role.
You may not have known: Having appeared in more than 160 films in a five-decade career, Beatty was known as “the busiest actor in Hollywood.”
Sonny Chiba, 82
Actor and martial artist
Left us: Aug. 18 due to pneumonia caused by COVID-19
Most memorable role: Hattori Hanzo, the retired samurai sword craftsman who runs a sushi restaurant in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 cult film, Kill Bill.
You may not have known: Chiba held black belts in six forms of martial arts.
Michael Constantine, 94
Left us: Aug. 31, after a long illness
Most memorable role: Family patriarch Gus Portokalos in the 2002 hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its 2016 sequel, My Big Fat Greek Life.
You may not have known: The character actor won an Emmy in 1970 for his role as the compassionate principal Seymour Kaufman in the TV series Room 222.
Willie Garson, 57
Left us: Sept. 21 from pancreatic cancer
Most memorable role: Every Sex and the City devotee knows that Garson played agent Stanford Blatch, Carrie Bradshaw’s male best friend in the hit HBO series as well as both SATC films (he had been filming the HBO revival series, And Just Like That, when he died).
You may not have known: While Stanford Blatch was gay, Garson was not and yet did not share that information with the press readily. “For years I didn’t talk about it because I found it to be offensive to gay people,” he told Page Six in 2020. “People playing gay characters jumping up and down screaming that they’re not gay, like that would somehow be a bad thing.”
Watch him here: Sex and the City, on HBO Max
Charles Grodin, 86
Left us: May 18 from bone marrow cancer
Most memorable role: How does one choose the wry creations by this versatile character actor? It’s a three-way tie between thief Nicky Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper (1981), Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukasin in Midnight Run (1988) and canine dad George Newton in Beethoven (1992).
You may not have known: Grodin was an author and playwright in addition to his memorable acting (and talk-show host) career. In 1977 he even nabbed an Emmy as one of the writers on the Paul Simon Special.
David Gulpilil, 68
Left us: Nov. 29, after a two-year battle with lung cancer
Most memorable role: The indigenous Australian actor came to national attention in the United States in 1971 as the star of Nicolas Roeg’s critically acclaimed Walkabout.
You may not have known: A national treasure, Gulpilil was called “a once-in-a-generation artist who shaped the history of Australian film and Aboriginal representation on screen” by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.
Hal Holbrook, 95
Left us: Jan. 23 (no cause given)