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Pop Culture

Remembering the celebrities we lost in 2017

From Mary Tyler Moore to Tom Petty, here are the celebrities we mourned this year.

Image: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore was the modern actress who turned the world on with her smile, in both "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961 to 1966) and her own "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970 to 1977). She was both wholesome and ambitious, hilarious and yet assertively her own person. But she was more than just the funny lady who earned six Emmy Awards over the years; she won her sole Oscar for 1981's "Ordinary People," in which she aggressively played against type as an embittered mother. Moore died on Jan. 25 in Greenwich, Connecticut, of cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia. She was 80.

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Image: Singer Tom Petty Performs in Concert

Tom Petty

Tom Petty, whose memorable pop tunes recalled '60s era folk rock, died in Los Angeles on Oct. 2 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu. Petty was best known for performing in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who enjoyed success starting in the mid-1970s through the 1980s with songs like "Breakdown" and "You Got Lucky." Petty also charted as one of the members of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, and enjoyed a long solo career with songs like "I Won't Back Down" and "Free Fallin'." He was 66.

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Adam West

No Batman has ever been as memorable or enduring as Adam West, who despite a career that began in the 1960s and lasted until death was best known for his campy, tights-wearing rendition of the character in TV's "Batman" (1966-68). The caped crusader wasn't his only prominent job; he co-starred in 1959's "The Young Philadelphians" and guested on shows like "Maverick" and "Fantasy Island." But Batman kept signaling, so he ultimately reprised the character in multiple animated iterations and even in 2003's "Return to the Batcave" movie. West died in Los Angeles on June 9 after a brief battle with leukemia, at age 88. 

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Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton

A presence in a number of action films from the 1980s until his unexpected death this year, Bill Paxton (who started in Hollywood as a set dresser) could be the leavening agent between blasts (1986's "Aliens") or a storm-chasing leading man (1996's "Twister") with genial good cheer. TV fans knew him from HBO's "Big Love" and History's "Hatfields & McCoys" series, and his last appearance was in 2017's "The Circle," which was released two months after his death. Paxton died on Feb. 25 of a stroke following heart surgery in Los Angeles, at age 61.

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Chris Cornell

Grunge-era icon Chris Cornell, who shot to stardom as Soundgarden's singer, died May 18, following a concert in Detroit. Cornell's four-octave range made him a powerful presence on record and onstage, and he ultimately sold over 30 million albums as part of Soundgarden, Audioslave and in his solo career. His death was attributed to suicide by hanging, and a later toxicology report indicated that Cornell, who had been sober for many years, had a number of prescription drugs in his system. He was 52.

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Image: The Gong Show

Chuck Barris

TV show producer and creator-host of "The Gong Show" Chuck Barris died of natural causes at his home in Palisades, New York, on March 21, at age 87. Barris was a colorful and enthusiastic lover of all things television, who created "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game," but put himself on camera as host of the goofy low-level talent "Gong Show," which has run in various incarnations on and off since 1976. His fictionalized "memoir," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," was made into a film starring George Clooney in 2002. 

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Chuck Berry

Early rock 'n' roll progenitor Chuck Berry, who brought the world tunes like "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), died in his Missouri home on March 18. He was 90. He became famous in the early 1950s for his ability to adapt R&B and blues riffs into a new style that became rock 'n' roll and for his famous "duck walk" with his guitar. He was one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.



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Image: The Partridge Family - 1970-1974

David Cassidy

David Cassidy, who reached teen-idol status in the 1970s singing along with his TV siblings and mom in "The Partridge Family," died Nov. 21 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at age 67. He revealed he had dementia early in 2017, and died in November after a hospitalization for organ failure. 

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Della Reese

Della Reese could do it all: During her seven decades in the entertainment business she had a hit single in 1959, "Don't you Know," hosted her own talk show "Della" in the 1960s, appeared in films including 1989's "Harlem Nights," was an ordained minister, and achieved a whole new level of fame in the 1990s TV series "Touched By an Angel." She died in her Los Angeles home on Nov. 19 at age 89; no cause of death was announced, but she'd had Type 2 diabetes for many years.

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Image: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Don Rickles

A classic old-school insult comedian, Don Rickles never found a subject he couldn't properly diss. But that was part of his charm: Those he riffed about were often his biggest fans. Though Rickles (known as "Mr. Warmth") had a long-running stand-up career, he also segued into acting, with a serious role in 1958's "Run Silent, Run Deep" and, less seriously, during the "Beach Party" film series. He appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" over 100 times, had his own TV series ("The Don Rickles Show") and voiced Mr. Potato Head in the "Toy Story" animated films. He died in Beverly Hills, California, of kidney failure on April 6. He was 90.

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Image: Erin Moran

Erin Moran

We all knew her best as little Joanie Cunningham, sister to Richie on "Happy Days," a role Erin Moran first picked up at age 13. A child actor since she was 5, Moran continued in the role on "Joanie Loves Chachi," a spinoff from the show that lasted just one season; she returned to "Happy Days" afterward. In April, she died from throat cancer at 56.

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Image: Fats Domino

Fats Domino

A giant in rock's earliest years responsible for such enduring hits as "Ain't That a Shame" and "Blueberry Hill," Fats Domino died on Oct. 24 at his home in Harvey, Louisiana, of natural causes. Domino's rollicking, piano-heavy tunes influenced musicians like Elvis Presley, and over the course of his career, he sold more than 65 million records. At the time of his death, Domino was 89.

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Image: Singer Glen Campbell Playing Guitar

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell, whose country music hits including "Rhinestone Cowboy" (1975) and "Wichita Lineman" (1968) crossed over on the pop charts, died following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease on Aug. 8 in Nashville, Tennessee. Over his 50 years in music, Campbell released more than 70 albums and sold more than 45 million records around the world – even outselling the Beatles in 1968. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010 and went on a "Goodbye Tour" shortly after that; his final album, "Adios," was released on June 9.

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George A. Romero

George Romero knew what scared audiences, and that native talent was what made him a modern horror master, directing films like 1968's apocalyptic zombie scare-fest "Night of the Living Dead" (and its sequels), 1982's "Creepshow" and 1988's "Monkey Shines." He also created and executive-produced the TV series "Tales from the Darkside," which ran from 1983 to 1988. He died in his sleep on July 16 after battling lung cancer, at age 77. 

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All Allmans Alive! Allman Bros, Saratoga NY 5-15-72

Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman, best known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band starting in 1969 and also for his marriage to Cher from 1975 to 1978, died at his home in Richmond Hill, Georgia, of complications relating to liver cancer on May 27. He was 69. Allman had hits like "Ramblin' Man" (1973) and "I'm No Angel" (1987), but was no stranger to heartbreak: His brother Duane died in 1971 in a motorcycle accident just weeks after the Allman Brothers' breakthrough live album, "At Fillmore East," was released. 

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Image: Portrait Session With The Cast Of \"Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction\"

Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton had one of those unforgettable character actor faces that carried him through a six-decade career that included films like "Repo Man" (1984), "Cool Hand Luke" (1967) and "The Green Mile" (1990). A former Navy cook during WWII, Stanton largely appeared in indie or cult films, and broke through in 1984's "Paris, Texas," a film penned by Sam Shepard, who also died in 2017. His final film, "Lucky," opened in theaters in September. Stanton died in Los Angeles of natural causes Sept. 15, at age 91.

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Image: Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner

At age 27, Hugh Hefner found his life's work in Playboy, a magazine he started with a partial loan from his mom. A magazine largely devoted to commercializing naked images of women, Playboy began in 1953 and also turned out to be a home for quality fiction and original reporting (which led to the oft-told joke of "I read it for the articles"). Embodying both the playboy and Playboy lifestyle as publisher, "Hef" took to wearing a captain's hat, dating innumerable models, and creating a haven for indulgent behavior at his Playboy mansion. He died of natural causes on Sept. 27 in Los Angeles, at age 91.

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Image: US comedian, director and singer, Jerry

Jerry Lewis

Legends didn't come much bigger than Jerry Lewis, who died on Aug. 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada of end-stage cardiac disease and artery disease. He was considered a comic genius by many for his transformative ability and penchant for slapstick comedy, which he displayed in movies including "The Nutty Professor" and "The Bellboy." He also had a long and fruitful career with his comedy partner, Dean Martin, and became well known for his devotion to helping those with muscular dystrophy, hosting Labor Day telethons from 1966 to 2010. Lewis was 91.

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Image: Photo of Geils j Band

J. Geils

The man behind The J. Geils Band, John "J" Geils died in Groton, Massachusetts, on April 11. A former jazz and blues musician, Geils assembled a fresh crew of talent and formed the J. Geils Band, which between 1970 and 1985 released 11 albums. They hit biggest toward the end, charting with "Centerfold" and "Freeze Frame." But the band split, and he filed a lawsuit against the members when they tried to tour using the band's name – without him – in 2012. Geils was 71.

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John Heard

John Heard

Though John Heard had been acting since the 1970s in films ranging from 1985's "After Hours" to 1988's "Big" and "Beaches" (often playing snarky, non-sympathetic characters), his best-known role came as the dad in the "Home Alone" series from the 1990s. He was married four times, including a six-day union with "Superman" actress Margot Kidder. He died of a heart attack on July 21 in a Palo Alto, California, hotel where he was recovering from back surgery. Heard was 71.

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Image: John Hurt

John Hurt

A man with a craggy, lilting voice to match his image, John Hurt was a British character actor whose career spanned six decades of films that included 1978's "Midnight Express," 1980's "The Elephant Man" and wand-maker Mr. Ollivander in multiple "Harry Potter" films. But one might say he truly burst onto the screen with one of moviedom's most memorable exit scenes, as the first victim of the aliens of 1979's "Alien." Hurt died on Jan. 25 at age 77, following a bout with pancreatic cancer.

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Image: Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of \"The Silence of the Lambs,\" in 2007.

Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme, who won a Best Director Oscar in 1991 for "The Silence of the Lambs," died on April 26 in New York City from esophageal cancer complications and heart disease. Demme was critically acclaimed for directing the artful 1984 Talking Heads concert film "Stop Making Sense," and went on to helm both crowd pleasers like 1988's "Married to the Mob" and 1993's "Philadelphia" as well as critically acclaimed crowd pleasers like 2008's "Rachel Getting Married." He was 73.

Image: Judge Joseph A. Wapner Celebrates 90th Birthday With Star On Hollywood Walk

Judge Joseph A. Wapner

The original judicial presence on the long-running "The People's Court," Judge Joseph Wapner, died at his Los Angeles home in his sleep on Feb. 26, officially of respiratory failure. Wapner was first appointed to a judgeship in 1959, ultimately retiring in 1979 – but found national fame by presiding over the reality show "People's Court" from 1981-1993. He also later presided over "Judge Wapner's Animal Court" from 1998 to 2000, and was so well known he became a mantra of sorts for Dustin Hoffman's character in 1988's "Rain Man." Wapner was 97. 

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Image: AC/DC Performs In Minnesota

Malcolm Young

As the co-founder, songwriter and rhythm guitarist for hard rock legends AC/DC, Malcolm Young truly knew how to shake us all night long. Young and his younger brother Angus formed AC/DC in 1983, and ultimately pumped out some of rock's most memorable riffs and loudest tunes, including "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Back in Black." After battling dementia, he died at home in New South Wales, Australia at age 64.

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Image: ED WOOD, Martin Landau, 1994, (C) Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

Martin Landau

Imposing and stern, Martin Landau was a memorable face in film and television since the 1950s; an early role cast him in 1959's "North By Northwest," but he found much of his success in TV, starring in "Space: 1999" and "Mission: Impossible." In 1994 he picked up his first and only Oscar, playing Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood," and acted continuously throughout the rest of his life; his final roles, in "Abe & Phil's Last Poker Game" and "Without Ward," were released this year. Landau died July 15 in Los Angeles after a brief hospitalization. He was 89.

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London, UK, UK. 23rd Nov, 2014. Michael Bond attends The World Premiere of 'Paddington' at Odeon Leciester Square. Credit:  Ferdaus Shamim/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

Michael Bond

Michael Bond, author of more than two dozen "Paddington Bear" books, died of natural causes following a short illness in London on June 27, at age 91. Bond's beloved bear, who debuted in 1958 in "A Bear Called Paddington," became a beloved icon and unofficial symbol of Britain over the years, selling over 35 million copies, and was turned into multiple TV series and movies. Over the years, Bond also created other book series (Olga da Polga and Monsieur Pamplemousse) as well as non-series books.

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Monty Hall

Game-show host and producer Monty Hall was best known for his long-running hosting job on a show he developed, "Let's Make a Deal" (which ran with him hosting between 1963 and 1986 and then in 1991), in which contestants had to choose whether to exchange a prize they already had with a hidden one, a dilemma that became a statistical problem which was ultimately named after Hall himself. Hall died of heart failure on Sept. 30 at age 96 at his Beverly Hills home.


Robert Guillaume

Robert Guillaume's best-known, two-time Emmy-winning role of Benson DuBois started out as a butler on '70s soap opera parody series "Soap," then rose to be the governor's head of household affairs on his own 1980s spinoff "Benson." By the end of the latter show, he was running for governor. Guillaume had a nearly 60-year entertainment career that included Broadway but was largely focused on TV, though he also voiced Rafiki in 1992's "The Lion King." Guillaume died of prostate cancer on Oct. 24 at home in Los Angeles at 89.

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Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington

Singer Chester Bennington first came to prominence at the turn of the century, when his band Linkin Park's debut album "Hybrid Theory" became a hit; later on, he would also front his own band, Dead by Sunrise, and then the already-established Stone Temple Pilots. He died by suicide on July 20 at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California, at age 41. The date coincided with the birthday of his friend, Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, who had died earlier in 2017.

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Image: Image: Roger Moore

Roger Moore

He was a "Saint" and an anti-heroic sinner (as James Bond in seven feature films) but Roger Moore was always suave, debonair and eminently watchable. His career spanned over 70 years, ranging from bit parts in post-WWII Britain to advertising model, to series like "The Saint" (1962-69), "The Persuaders!" (1971-2) and then to replacing Sean Connery as Bond beginning with 1972's "Live and Let Die." His last role was as the voice of Leif in "Troll Hunters," due out in 2018. He died of cancer May 23 in his Crans-Montana, Switzerland, home, at age 89.

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Image: Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard

Prolific playwright and less frequent actor-director Sam Shepard earned his Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for the play "Buried Child," and earned an Academy Award nomination for playing Chuck Yeager in 1983's "The Right Stuff." Described by New York Magazine as the "greatest American playwright of his generation," Shepard wrote 44 plays, plus short stories, essays and memoirs. He died at his home in Kentucky age 73 on July 27, of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).