The biggest celebrity news of 2016 was the seemingly high number of celebrity deaths this past year. While this big celebrity news of 2016 was largely debunked, with a number of outlets, including CNN, showing that 2016 was a rather average year for celebrity deaths, there were still a lot of celebrities that passed away this year and who we will miss in 2017. On New Year’s Eve, we pay homage to these 16 celebrities who we will miss in 2017. Their loss dominated celebrity news in 2016.
In music celebrity news, 2016 was a difficult year with the loss of many great artists. These are four that we will miss in 2017:
1. George Michael (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016)
Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael’s death was big celebrity news in 2016. This music icon rocked the 80’s as the lead singer of Wham! and ruled the 90’s with catchy tunes and sexy videos featuring supermodels.
2. Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)
Iconic Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, writer, and artist, Leonard Cohen’s soulful final album featured a song that retrospectively seemed prophetic. In “You Want It Darker,” Cohen croons that he is ready to meet god. Closing Cohen’s decades long career, these parting lyrics are poignant.
3. David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)
From Ziggy Stardust to the Goblin King, David Bowie was a man with a persona for every occasion. Like Cohen, Bowie seemed to know that was not long for this world and his final Black Star album foreshadowed his death from liver cancer. The song “Lazarus” was met with both sadness and accolades, making celebrity news in 2016 when Bowie passed away shortly after its release.
4. Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
Prince was best known for his ever-changing identity and his catchy pop hits. The movie and accompanying soundtrack, Purple Rain, are masterpieces that have long been admired. The Prince of Purple will be missed in 2017.
Big celebrity news in 2016 was also the loss of a number of very talented television icons:
5. Alan Thicke (March 1, 1947 – December 13, 2016)
Best known for his role as Jason Seaver, the father on the ABC television series Growing Pains, this Canadian actor died of heart failure earlier this month. He is mourned by his superstar recording artist son, Robin Thicke of “Blurred Lines” fame.
6. Florence Henderson (February 14, 1934 – November 24, 2016)
Florence Henderson will be best remembered for her starring role as the super-mom extraordinaire, Carol Brady, on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. This TV classic is iconic and Henderson’s death was the end of an era.
7. Morley Safer (November 8, 1931 – May 19, 2016)
Sofer was best known for his many decades of reporting on the news magazine 60 Minutes on CBS. After nearly fifty years in television, Morley Sofer’s famous deep voice will be sorely missed in 2017.
Apart from television stars, celebrity news in 2016 also mourned the loss of tremendous talent in the film industry:
9. Carrie Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)
Famous for her historical role in the Star Wars trilogy, Princess Leia’s death just last week was big celebrity news. Carrie Fisher was known for biting humor and superior wit, and her numerous books and films are a testament to her talent.
10. Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016)
Starring as Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain opposite Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynold’s rose to fame in 1952. While she was famous in her own right, Debbie Reynolds was also known for being the mother of superstar actress Carrie Fisher who died just one day before her. The passing of this famous mother and daughter so close together made news in the last week of 2016.
11. Gene Wilder (June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016)
Born Jerome Silberman, Gene Wilder was one of America’s famous funny men. The legendary comic, actor, and writer was most well-known for his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 version of the film, Wilder went on to star in numerous comedies.
12. Alan Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016)
English actor Alan Rickman was an English actor most well-known for his role in the Harry Potter series where he left fans shaking in their boots as the creepy and mysterious Severus Snape.
In celebrity news 2016 we also bid farewell to a number of cultural icons, including sports stars, authors, and an astronaut:
13. John Glenn (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016)
Glenn was an army pilot, astronaut, and United States Senator. In 1962 he was the first American to orbit the Earth. This ground-breaking mission made him an American hero, and a national celebrity.
14. Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016)
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Muhammad Ali was one of the most famous sports figures of the last century. He was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and while his contribution was not without controversy, Muhammad Ali will be remembered for his dedication to the cause of racial equality. This sports celebrity’s death was big news in 2016.
15. Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016)
Most famous for her controversial and racially charged novel To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960, Harper Lee dropped out of the public eye until shortly after her death when her estate released a prequel to her Pulitzer Prize winning American literary classic. The posthumous publication of Go Set A Watchman was big news in 2016.
16. Arnold Plamer (September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016)
The most legendary American professional golfer of all time, Arnold Palmer was known as The King. He was one of golf’s greatest stars, with a career that spanned six decades. This sports celebrity’s death this past fall left fans bereft.
While it may not have been the worst year for celebrity deaths, celebrity news in 2016 was all about the stars who have passed on. These 16 celebrities are just a few from among many who will be sorely missed in 2017.
[Featured Image by AP Images]