2020 was a tough year for everyone. At one point, the whole world was under complete lockdown because of the pandemic. The aforementioned pandemic brought tears to many globally. We mourned for the American singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger and many more celebrities.
We witnessed the demise of tons of celebrities in 2020, including the basketball legend Kobe Bryant. Acting legends Kirk Douglas and Sean Connery, the football legend Diego Maradona, the MCU Black Panther Chadwick Boseman and the famous American TV show host Regis Philbin are among the celebs who passed away in the year 2020.
Thus, with a heavy heart, here’s a list of the famous celebrity deaths 2020. Let’s also take a look back at their career and the legacy they all left behind.
Celebrity Deaths In 2020:
1. Kobe Bryant
The basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s demise in a helicopter crash shocked everyone around the globe. The NBA legend and his daughter died when their helicopter crashed in the hills around LA.
Kobe was among the few sportspersons who was known all around the world just by his name alone. The basketball legend was an 18 time NBA All-Star and a 5 time NBA Champion. No doubt he was among the greatest basketball players in history.
Stars including Victoria Beckham, Tiger Woods, and some of the greatest in sports, including Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, were among the many who gave tribute to Kobe.
2. Kirk Douglas
You may not be aware, but the actor’s birth name was Issur Danielovitch. The Russian-Jewish Hollywood legend died at the age of 103. Kirk Douglas was an actor from the Golden Ages. The flamboyant actor has acted in more than 90 films and worked for over 7 decades in total.
In 1959, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Champion. In the 1950s and 60s, he was among the biggest Box Office stars because of his movie hits like The Vikings and Spartacus.
3. Max Von Sydow
You may know Max Von Sydow for his role in The Exorcist, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. He was a very versatile actor who could adapt to any of his roles. The actor was born in Sweden. His career spanned over 70 years.
During his career, Max was nominated for two Oscars. One as Best Supporting Role for his role in Extremely Loud and Extremely Close and the other as Best Actor in Pelle The Conqueror.
Max Von Sydow has made more than 100 appearances in TV Shows and movies. He was also a voice actor for the famous animation series The Simpsons. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 90 in France.
4. Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers was a country music legend. The singer had a music career that spanned six decades. The American musician was born in Houston. Kenny was renowned for his husky voice and silver beard trademark.
The singer sold over 100 million copies of his music and broke through the world of pop music. Rogers also gained fame as an actor. He starred in various TV series and was truly a superstar in the 1970s and 80s.
His hits included The Gambler, Islands In The Stream, Coward Of The County, among many others. The country singer’s first and biggest hit was Lucille. In 1977, Lucille, his sad country ballad, earned him his first Grammy. During his lifetime, Rogers has a total of three Grammy Awards to his name.
Kenny Rogers died peacefully, surrounded by his family at the age of 81.
5. Bill Withers
Bill Withers was a 3 times Grammy winner. He has produced 9 albums and countless numbers of songs that are being played to this day. The famous singer-songwriter is famous for his famous classics, including Just The Two Of Us, Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, among others.
At 81, Bill Withers died due to heart complications. The singer’s death was shocking to everyone, but they found comfort in his songs. Bill Withers had a very brief music career but an impactful one. The singer wanted to stay out of the spotlight and live a private life.
He’s regarded as one of the greatest musicians who had a massive influence and impact on modern-day music. The singer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Stevie Wonders in 2015.
6. Adam Schlesinger
Adam Schlesinger was one of the frontmen of the American band Fountains of Wayne. The superstar has written songs for movies and TV shows too. Adam’s band was famous for their single, Stacy’s Mom.
Schlesinger was awarded the Emmys as well as the Grammys too. The singer also received an Oscar nomination for writing the title track of “That Thing You Do!” which was directed by Tom Hanks. Schlesinger was also nominated for a Tony Award and Golden Globe. He died at the age of 52.
7. Little Richard
Richard Penniman, famously known as Little Richard, was among the founding fathers of Rock & Roll. He shattered the racial segregation in the music industry.
Little Richard was famous for hits, including Long Tall Sally and Tutti Frutti. Alongside Elvis Presley and James Brown, Richard was also among the first to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame.
Richard built his strange presence and music with a blend of gospel music, R&B, and Boogie Woogie. The rockstar sold more than 30 million copies of music worldwide. Through the years, Little Richard has influenced big artists like The Beatles, Prince, and even Elton John. Little Richard died on May 9, 2020, from bone cancer.
8. Jerry Stiller
Jerry Stiller is best known for his role as King of Queens as Arthur Spooner and for his extraordinary acting in Seinfeld.
The actor knew he wanted to enter the film industry when his father took him to watch the classic comedy, Marx Brothers. Later after serving in WW2, Jerry earned a drama degree. Jerry’s career blossomed after meeting his wife, Anne Marie. Stiller performed a popular double act with her.
In the 1960s and 70s, Jerry Stiller starred on various variety shows. The actor also starred in a Broadway show called After-Play. Jerry Stiller died at the age of 92 from natural causes.
9. Ian Holm
The British actor was an absolute star of the film industry. Ian Holm won a BAFTA, TONY, and a Laurence Olivier Award. The superstar was also a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Ian Holm is well known for his role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and Lord of The Ring series. The actor also starred in famous movies like The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Madness Of King George, and The Fifth Element, among others.
Holm earned a nomination in the Oscars for his role in Chariots of Fire. At 88, Ian Holm died peacefully surrounded by his dear ones.
10. Ennio Morricone
The globally-renowned musician is famously known as The Maestro. Ennio was a composer who has composed more than 400 songs.
Morricone got into music at a young age and started writing at the age of 6. In his career that spanned several decades, Ennio worked with elite Hollywood directors such as Gillo Pontecorvo, Quentin Tarantino, and Brian de Palma as well.
Ennio Morricone has many Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAS, Grammys, and several David Di Donatello Awards, which is considered Italy’s highest film honor, all to his name. The musician’s best-known work was a collab with Sergio Leone, the late Italian Film Director. It was the iconic howl that featured in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
At the age of 91, Ennio Morricone died from a fall.
11. Chadwick Boseman
The ecstatic actor won many fans around the world for his role in Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman shattered stereotypes by being the first black superhero. The movie that he starred in became the first superhero film to get an Oscar nomination.
Not only was he famous for T’Challa in Black Panther, but Chadwick also played icons such as James Brown and Jackie Robinson back in his early days. The actor also starred in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Blood in 2020. The last film he made before his death was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
When the Holywood star died at the age of 43, he was at the peak of his acting career. Needless to say, it quite literally shocked the world.
12. Eddie Van Halen
The legend Eddie Van Halen was considered to be among the greatest guitar players. His band, Van Halen, was formed in California. With David Lee Roth on vocals, Michael Anthony on bass, and his brother on drums, the band dominated the music scene for quite some time.
Eddie was best known among the rock audience for their single, Jump. In 1984, the band sold over 10 million copies in the US alone. Later, Van Halen went on to sell over 50 million copies more.
The rockstar’s other hits also include “Runnin’ With The Devil” and “Why Can’t This Be Love.” Michael Jackson also recruited Eddie for the guitar solos in his famous song “Beat It.” At 65, Eddie Van Halen perished after a long battle against cancer.
13. Sean Connery
Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh. The actor was involved in many odd jobs before he finally got into the acting field. To many fans around the world, Sean Connery was considered to be the best and the only James Bond.
Sean Connery took up the acting job when he was offered a role for Dr. No. Later, the star became the first person to say Hollywood’s most famous line, ‘Bond James Bond.’ Sean had a humble beginning, although we all knew him as an absolute legend.
Connery starred as James Bond for 7 films in total. He also starred in Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, Never Say Never Again, and Russia With Love. Sean’s career as an actor spanned over 7 decades before dying peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90.
14. Diego Maradona
There’s no denying the fact that Diego Maradona is among the greatest of all time, and rightly so. The Argentine footballer was a legend. In 1986, he became the savior captain of the Argentina Football team in the World Cup.
Maradona was adored globally. Everyone in the world knew Maradona as the ‘Hand of God.’ In the 1986 World Cup, Diego Maradona scored a goal with his hand, which knocked England out of the competition.
However, Maradona became addicted and struggled against substance abuse during his later years. A documentary was made in 2019 which showed his two personalities. Ultimately, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack at the age of 60.
15. Mary Higgins Clark
Born in the Bronx, Clark had been a natural storyteller since her childhood. The bestselling author was known for her thrillers that were full of suspense. That rightly earned her the ‘Queen of Suspense’ title.
Clark’s literary career spanned over half of her life. Mary Higgins published her first novel in her 40s. Each of her 56 writings has been a bestseller. Clark was the number-one New York Times bestselling author.
During her active years, Clark published a total of 38 suspense novels, a historical novel, two children’s books, and four collections of short stories. Simon & Schuster, her publisher, announced that Mary Higgins Clark died of natural causes at the age of 92.
16. Betty Williams
A woman of great courage and zeal who had a passion for peace, Betty Williams was a great flamboyant activist. In 1976, she formed Peace People along with Ciaran McKeown and Mairead Corrigan Maguire.
The Peace People organization began as a movement against the violence in Northern Ireland during the period of The Troubles. Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire were awarded the Nobel Peace prize for their work.
In 1982, Betty resigned from the Peace People and moved to the US from where she continued her peace work. Williams started lecturing on topics such as Children’s Rights, Education, and Conflict Resolution. The activist died in 2020 of natural causes.
17. Pierre Cardin
Born in Italy, 1922, Pierre Cardin moved to France at a young age. Naturally, the designer started his fashion career in Paris. Pierre Cardin worked for various firms, including Christian Dior. In 1947, the creative designer helped Dior create the New Look Collection.
In 1950, Pierre Cardin set up his own fashion company. The designer cemented his name in the fashion industry with visionary designs like the enigmatic Bubble Dress and “Space Age” collection.
Cardin’s career spanned over 70 long years. In the post-war Golden Age era, Cardin helped usher with his modern styles. He perished at the age of 98.
18. Regis Philbin
Philbin was born on August 25, 1931. Regis Philbin graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School and graduated with a Sociology degree from the University of Notre Dame.
The TV Host had a career that spanned over 60 years. Regin Philbin began his run as the host of “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” in 1988. Philbin also served as the host of the popular show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The popular TV star was also the host for America’s Got Talent and Million Dollar Password.
Regis Philbin got inducted into the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2003. In 2008, the TV celeb also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. The legendary TV host Regis Philbin died at the age of 88. Philbin died due to natural causes.
19. Fred “Curly” Neal
Fred “Curly” Neal was the face of the Globetrotters for a total span of 22 years. In 2008, Neal, with his playful banter, iconic shaved head, and his slick ball-handling skills, became the 5th individual who had his jersey retired.
In 1993, Fred was also presented with the Globetrotters “Legends” ring for taking a huge part and his contributions that led to the success and development of the Globetrotters organization.
Fred Neal played over 6000 games in more than 90 countries. “Curly” Neal died in 2020 at the age of 77.
20. Freddy Cole
Freddy Cole was renowned for his outstanding vocal style. The singer was able to make a great career in Jazz. With his crispy and charming baritone vocals, Freddy Cole dominated the Jazz scene for more than 65 years.
Freddy was able to set the mood while using his unique tone. The jazz singer had to endure a lifetime of comparison between him and his brother, Nat King Cole. In 1991, Freddy Cole released his first album. His song “I’m not my brother, I’m me” playfully put the matter to rest.
Later, Cole became one of the most delightful jazz singers. Freddy Cole maintained a down-to-earth persona which is rare for a person and for an artist of his stature. Freddy Cole passed away at the age of 88.
21. Katherin Johnson
22. Joseph Lowery
23. John Lewis
24. John Le Carré
25. Cecilia Chang
We bid farewell and say goodbye to all the celebrities who left the world in 2020.