Alberton Record has compiled a list of ten influential entertainment industry players who died this year.
The brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, actor and director died on 27 July aged 73 after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Shepard was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1983 historical drama The Right Stuff. In the early 70s, he had a widely publisized extramarital affair with Patti Smith and from 1983 he shared his life with Academy Award winner Jessica Lange for almost thirty years.
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Ellis was an American film and television actor and playwright who is best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood. Ellis died of heart failure at age 39 in July. He had been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction for years. Trying to quit alcohol in the days before his death, he suffered from alcohol withdrawal syndrome which led to heart failure.
Sir Roger Moore died of cancer on 23 May in Switzerland aged 89. Moore was the third actor to play James Bond in seven films released between 1973 and 1985, endowing Bond with a sense of humour. He also played Simon Templar in the television series The Saint from 1962 to 1969 and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! from 1971 to 1972 with Tony Curtis.
Sir John Hurt was an English actor whose screen and stage career spanned more than 50 years. He died on 25 January at age 77 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2015. The Alien and Harry Potter actor was nominated for two Oscars during his career for his roles in Elephant Man (1980) and Midnight Express (1978).
Robert Guillaume, best known for his title role in the 1990s series Benson, died at age 89 at his L.A. home on 24 October after battling prostate cancer for several years. Guillaume will also be remembered as the voice of the mandrill baboon Rafiki in The Lion King. In a career that spanned more than 50 years he worked extensively on stage, television and film. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Guys and Dolls and twice won an Emmy for his portrayal of the character Benson DuBois.
The comedy legend died at his Las Vegas home on 20 August after suffering from ill health for many years. Lewis was an American comedian, actor, singer, producer, director, screenwriter and humanitarian. He was known for his slapstick humour in film, television, stage and radio and was nicknamed the “King of Comedy”. From 1946 to 1956, he and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. He raised more than $2.6 billion for muscular dystrophy reseach with his annual Labor Day telethon.
Versatile Indian actor Om Puri, who appeared in Indian, Pakistani, British and Hollywood films, died at age 66 on 6 January from a heart attack at his home in Mumbai. Puri acted in both mainstream and art films and was known for his gritty performances in a number of landmark Indian films in the 1980s. He was awarded an OBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004.
Miguel Ferrer, best known for his role as Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, died of cancer at his home on 19 January at age 61. Ferrer was the son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney, and the cousin of George Clooney.
Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore was an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress, television star and producer known for her roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show (two Emmys) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The Mary Tyler Moore Show – featuring a single, 30-something woman in the working world – started in 1970 and won her three Emmys. Her roles on these classic TV sitcoms have made her one of the most popular actresses in television history. She died on January 25 at the age of 80.
American actor John Hillerman, who won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for playing the snooty, British Jonathan Quayle Higgins III opposite Tom Selleck in the hit series Magnum, P.I., died of natural causes at his home in Houston, Texas on 9 November aged 84. Hillerman beat several British actors to the Higgins role, which he called “the best gig I’ve ever had”.