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In Memoriam: Television Stars We Lost in 2016

Variety logo Variety 12/30/2016 Lawrence Yee

2016 saw the passing of many notable television actors, including a TV mom and dad that many grew up watching.

Florence Henderson, aka Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” was the mother to the show’s six kids and by extension to multiple generations of TV viewers. The actress, who was also a talented stage performer and singer, died on November 24 at age 82. Earlier that week, she was seen cheering on her TV daughter Maureen McCormick – aka Marcia — on “Dancing With the Stars.” Active well into her golden years, Henderson even participated on the show in 2010. At the time of her death, she was developing another “Brady”-themed project for CBS. (Read her obituary here).

In December, Alan Thicke, the patriarch on “Growing Pains,” died at age 69. He died on December 13 after suffering a heart attack while playing hockey with his youngest son, Carter. A charismatic actor with a distinctive voice, Thicke played the father of four (five if you include Leonardo DiCaprio) on the sitcom, which aired on ABC for seven seasons. Like Henderson, Thicke remained active, appearing in his own series “Unusually Thicke” and “Fuller House.” Thicke was also an accomplished songwriter, having composed the themes to “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life,” as well as several game shows. His son Robin followed in his musical footsteps. (Read his obituary here).

The world of broadcast journalism was hit hard with the death of “60 Minutes” veteran Morley Safer at age 84. Safer retired from the CBS news magazine after 46 years the week before his death on May 19. (Read his obituary here).

In November, longtime PBS journalist Gwen Ifill died after battling cancer. She was 58. The longtime host of PBS’ “Washington Week” and co-anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” Ifill was a mainstay of political coverage. President Obama called her his “friend and extraordinary journalist who defended a strong and free press.” (Read her obituary here).

Sports journalism lost several of it’s brightest stars, including ESPN anchor John Saunders and TNT/TBS sideline reporter Craig Sager.

Other notable television stars who died in 2016 include “Days of Our Lives” arch-villain Joseph Mascolo, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s” Robert Vaughn, and “Everybody Loves Raymond” matriarch Doris Roberts.

Reality TV lost “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie, “Mob Wives” star Angela Joyce Raiola aka “Big Ang,” and WWE’s Joanie Laurer aka Chyna.

On the production side, the TV industry mourned the passings of Garry Marshall, writer-producer of many shows including “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley” and “The Odd Couple,” “NCIS” showrunner Gary Glasberg, and prolific writer/producer Scott Nimerfro. TV biz insiders also felt the loss of the legendary NBC and MTM Enterprises executive Grant Tinker, he of the famous dictum: “First be best, then be first.” (Read his obituary here.)

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© Provided by Variety Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016

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