December Celebrity Deaths: Carrie Fisher, George Michael Gone Forever

Carrie Fisher, George Michael, and Zsa Zsa Gabor are among the iconic celebrities who passed away this December. Their passing marks the end of the deadliest year on record for celebrities.

According to BBC obituaries editor Nick Serpell, more celebrities died in 2016 than in previous years. 2016 claimed a slew of cultural legends, starting with David Bowie on January 10. The glam icon succumbed to liver cancer and was followed months later by musical artist Prince.

Alan Rickman, Muhammed Ali, Nancy Reagan, and Harper Lee are among those who also died in the first half of the year.

And this December, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, and Zsa Zsa Gabor joined the already painfully long list of celebrities who died in 2016.

Zsa Zsa Gabor died December 2016.
[Image by Baron/Getty Images]

Zsa Zsa Gabor was a Hungarian born actress who was “famous for being famous.” She dropped onto the Hollywood scene in the early 1950’s with her sister, Eva Gabor, and acted in films alongside Ginger Rogers, José Ferrer, and George Sanders. Her trademark accent, charm, and grace made her an emblematic European actress.

But Zsa Zsa was perhaps most famous for her tabloid presence. Fans seemed to delight in consuming information about her personal life, and Zsa Zsa supplied them with scandals and no less than nine marriages to read about. Her husbands were millionaires, and the star was just as famous for her extravagant lifestyle and witty quips.

“How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?’

Zsa Zsa died on December 18 from a heart attack in her Bel Air mansion. She was two months away from being 100-years-old.

George Michael, pop celebrity, died in December.
[Image by MJ Kim/Getty Images]

Tragedy struck on Christmas Day, 2016 when pop star and philanthropist George Michael, 53, died of congestive heart failure in his Oxfordshire bedroom. His partner, celebrity hair stylist Fadi Fawaz, communicated with fans through Twitter about the pain of his loss.

George Michael achieved success in his youth with the 80’s teen heartthrob band Wham! and hits like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” but as the main singer and songwriter he was destined to embark on his own career. He went on to win Grammys for his duet, “I Knew You Were Waiting” performed with Aretha Franklin and for his album, Faith.

George Michael found himself in the public eye for another reason, when he came out as a gay artist, ending years of public speculation.

After his death, multiple charities revealed that George Michael was a philanthropist. He had donated large sums of money during his life, but had done so anonymously to avoid headlines.

Carrie Fisher played Princess Leia and died in December.
[Image by CAP/PLF/MediaPunch/AP Images]

Most recently, on December 27, Carrie Fisher died after being hospitalized following a heart attack she had on a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was 60. Fisher was best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. The success of the Star Wars films solidified Princess Leia as a part of cultural canon, and Carrie Fisher was the actress that brought her to life.

Fisher was a Los Angeles native born to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Although she struggled with bipolar disorder and drug addiction, Fisher was a great writer. She wrote an award-winning novel titled Postcards From the Edge, about a mother-daughter duo working in show business. It drew from her close relationship with her own mother and was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. She also wrote poetry and doctored multiple Hollywood screenplays including Sister Act and Outbreak.

Although Carrie Fisher has died, she published a memoir last month entitled The Princess Diarist, meaning that fans have a chance to read her thoughts and hear the story of her life as she told it just before she passed away.

Her co-star from Star Wars, Mark Hamill, remembered her.

“Carrie was one-of-a-kind who belonged to us all – whether she liked it or not. She was our Princess, damn it, and the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent and ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined and tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her and want her to succeed and be happy.”

[Featured Image by George Brich/AP Images]