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Celebrity deaths in 2021: Famous stars we lost this year

logotipo de MamásLatinas MamásLatinas 9/26/2021 Claudya Martinez
Willie Garson © Provided by MamásLatinas Willie Garson

The death of a celebrity is not more significant than the death of a person who isn't famous. It is a death and all deaths are significant because a life, is a life, is a life. What is significant about the death of someone who is famous is that it gets reported and people who may have never met that person will mourn their loss. Some people have a hard time understanding why anyone who didn't know a celebrity would mourn their death, but is it really so hard to understand that someone may have affected us and meant something to us because of their work, their art, or their contributions to society?

More from MamásLatinas: Famous stars we lost in 2020

Take Cicely Tyson for example. The woman was an incredibly talented actor who refused to take roles that demeaned Black people, which has to mean that she passed up a lot of roles in her career because Hollywood does not have the best track record when it comes to portraying people of color with dignity. Or what about Ricardo González, the man who gifted generations of children with the clown Cepillín? He gave us laughter, magic, and wonder. Or Willie Garson, who delighted us as Stanford Blatch on Sex in the City? Those are just a few of the celebrities who died in 2021, among the many.

Willie Garson died on September 21.

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The actor, well-known for his role as Stanford Blatch on *Sex in the City*, appeared in more than 75 films and hundreds of television episodes during his career. He died at the age of 57 from pancreatic cancer.

Norm Macdonald died on September 14.

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The Canadian stand-up comic, actor, and writer was known for his distinctive deadpan style and delivery. He was the "Weekend Update" anchor on *Saturday Night Live* from 1994-1998. “I think Norm was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known and, because he’s Canadian, I’d put him right up there in the top five,” said SNL creator Lorne Michaels. Norm died at the age of 61 after having tried to overcome cancer privately for nine years.

Michael Constantine died on September 8.

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Although actor Michael Constantine had a long and prolific career, it’s hard not to remember him as the Windex-loving Kostas "Gus" Portokalos from *My Big Fat Greek Wedding*. He died at the age of 94.

Anthony Johnson died on September 6.

According to TMZ, comedian and actor Anthony “A.J.” Johnson known for his work of films such as *Friday* and *House Party* "was found lifeless in a store earlier this month in Los Angeles and rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead." He died at the age of 55.

Michael K. Williams died on September 6.

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The actor brilliantly played Omar, one of the most beloved and memorable characters on *The Wire* from 2002 to 2008. He went on to give excellent performances on *Boardwalk Empire* and *Lovecraft County*. He died at the age of 54.

Willard Scott died on September 4.

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Willard Scott was a man of many talents. He was a weatherman, an actor, a clown, a narrator, a comedian, and more. “We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning. Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris,” Al Roker captioned a photo of himself and Scott. “He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit. Willard was a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him.” He died at the age of 87.

Ed Asner died on August 29.

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“We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” read a statement on the actor's Twitter account. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head — Goodnight dad. We love you.” He died at the age of 91.

Michael Nader died on August 23.

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“With a heavy heart, I’m sharing the news of the passing of my beloved, Michael," Michael's wife Jodi Lister said in a statement. "We had 18 wonderful years together with the many dogs we fostered and adopted.” Michael played Dex Dexter on *Dynasty* and appeared on *As the World Turns* and *All My Children*. He died at the age of 76.

Lilia Aragón died on August 2.

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The Mexican actor, politician, and telenovela icon died from complications following intestinal surgery. Her career spanned over six decades with roles in over 20 films. Her telenovela roles have spawned many a meme and will not soon be forgotten. She died at the age of 82.

Markie Post died on August 7.

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The *Night Court* actor was being treated for cancer for four years before her death. She started her career in 1979. In 1998 she played Cameron Diaz’s mother in the movie *There’s Something About Mary*. She died at the age of 70.

Saginaw Grant died on July 28.

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The Native American actor was also an award-winning musician, pow wow dancer, and the hereditary chief of the Sac and Fox Nation. He appeared as Chief Big Bear in the 2013 film *The Lone Ranger* starring Johnny Depp. He died at the age of 85.

Dusty Hill died on July 28.

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Dusty Hill was the bassist for the band ZZ Top. "We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, Texas,” read a statement from his bandmates. “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top.’ We will forever be connected to that 'Blues Shuffle in C.' You will be missed greatly, amigo. Frank & Billy." He died at the age of 72.

Johnny Ventura died on July 28.

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Beloved Dominican singer and former Mayor of Santo Domingo is credited with modernizing merengue music in the 1960s. He died of a heart attack. He died at the age of 81.

Jackie Mason died on July 24.

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The comedian won a Special Tony Award in 1986 for his one-man show *The World According to Me!* He was hospitalized a couple of weeks before his death because he was having a hard time breathing. He died at the age of 93.

Suzzanne Douglas died on July 6.

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"Suzzanne Douglas a beautiful and talented actress made her transition today," wrote Suzzanne’s cousin, Angie Tee, on Facebook. "She warmed our hearts on movie screens and television sets all over the world. This beautiful soul was my cousin." Suzzanne appeared in *Whey They See Us*, *Tap*, and *How Stella Gor Her Groove Back*. She died at the age of 64.

Johnny Solinger died on June 26.

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The singer-songwriter was the lead singer of the band Skid Row from 1999 to 2015. He died a month after sharing that his liver was failing. "We are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger," the Skid Row official account shared. "Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. Godspeed Singo."

Biz Markie died on July 16.

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“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” a rep for the the “Just a Friend” told TMZ. “Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter.” He died at the age of 57.

Charles Robinson died on July 11.

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Charles was a television, theater, and film actor who was probably most recognized for his role on *Night Court*. According to a statement from his family, his death was caused by a heart attack and organ failure due to septic shock. He suffered from adenocarcinoma. He died at the age of 75.

Gift of Gab died on June 18.

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Timothy Jerome Parker or Gift of Gab as he was known by fans was part of the hip-hop duo Blackalicious. He also performed with the hip-hop collective Quannum Projects. “It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear brother, Timothy J. Parker a.k.a. ‘The Gift of Gab,’" Quannum wrote. “Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021. He is survived by two brothers, one sister, many nieces and nephews, countless friends, and fans across the globe. We ask that the family’s privacy is respected as we mourn the tremendous loss of our dear brother.” He died at the age of 50.

Ned Beatty died on June 13.

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Ned Beatty gave memorable performances in films like *Deliverance* and *Superman*. He was in over 150 films throughout his career. His cause of death is unknown. He died at the age of 83.

Paul Mooney died on May 19.

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The comedian and writer was a trailblazer who worked with Richard Pryor, contributed to the show *In Living Color*, worked on *Chappelle’s Show*, and was always vocal about racism and social justice. He died of a heart attack. He died at the age of 79.

Charles Grodin died on May 18.

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Actor Charles Grodin had a long and successful career. He was in many movies including *Midnight Run*, *The Heartbreak Kid*, and *Beethoven*. His cause of death was bone marrow cancer. He died at the age of 86.

Ray Reyes died on April 30.

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The Puerto Rican singer joined Menudo in 1983 and was a member during the bands most popular days. "It is with a great pain in my soul that I inform you of that my beloved brother, Ray Reyes died," Raül Reyes shared in Spanish on Facebook. Raül did not share Ray’s cause of death. He died at the age of 51.

DMX died on April 9.

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Earl Simmons, the rapper known as DMX, died from a heart attack. “Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” this family shared in a statement. “He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him.” He died at the age of 50.

Prince Philip died on April 9.

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"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," read the statement from Buckingham Palace on the day Prince Phillip died. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.” He died at the age of 99.

Jessica Walter died on March 25.

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Jessica Walter began her acting career in the 1960s with roles on various television series. When she was in her 60s, she was cast as Lucille Bluth on *Arrested Development* and created an unforgettable character that fans of the show adore. She died at the age of 80.

George Segal died on March 23.

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The Oscar-nominated actor started his career in dramas, but later in life became known for his comedic performances as well. His death was a result of complications from bypass surgery. He died at the age of 87.

Richard Gilliland died on March 18.

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Richard Gilliland was married to fellow actor Jean Smart, whom he met on the set of *Designing Women*. He was an actor who played many roles on shows that include *Party of Five*, *Desperate Housewives*, and *Criminal Minds*. He died at the age of 71.

Ricardo González died on March 8.

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Known by fans of all ages, the man who created and portrayed Cepillín died of a heart attack. Ricardo was known for combining physical comedy, song, and ventriloquism to entertain and delight as the iconic clown Cepillín. He died at the age of 75.

Rush Limbaugh died on February 17.

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The right-wing radio shock jock died from lung cancer complications. His death was announced on his show by his wife, Katheryn. “I know that I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today,” she said. He died at the age of 70.

Chick Corea died on February 11.

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The legendary keyboardist known for helping to bring about the fusion of jazz and rock had a career that spanned more than five decades. “Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do,” his family shared in a statement. “Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.” He died at the age of 79.

Larry Flynt died on February 10.

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The publisher of *Hustler* and purveyor of pornography died of heart failure. He fancied himself a defender of freedom of the press. “If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me,” he said, “then it will protect all of you. Because I’m the worst.” He died at the age of 78.

Christopher Plummer died on February 5.

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Even though his role as Captain von Trapp in *The Sound of Music* made him a star, he wasn’t the biggest fan of the part. “That sentimental stuff is the most difficult for me to play, especially because I’m trained vocally and physically for Shakespeare,” Christopher Plummer said in a *People* magazine interview in 1982. “To do a lousy part like von Trapp, you have to use every trick you know to fill the empty carcass of the role. That damn movie follows me around like an albatross.” He died at the age of 91.

Dustin Diamond died on February 1.

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The actor who played Screech on *Saved By the Bell* died of complications from small-cell carcinoma. He started acting when he was 8 years old and also appeared on *The Wonder Years*. He died at the age of 44.

Cicely Tyson died on January 28.

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The eminently talented Cicely Tyson spent her entire career playing roles that defied stereotypes. She would not take roles that demeaned Black people, which meant she had to be selective and often chose to go without work. She won a Tony, three Emmy Awards, and an honorary Oscar. She died at the age of 96

Cloris Leachman died on January 27.

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She started off as a Miss American contestant in 1946, went on to win an Oscar in 1972 for her performance in *The Last Picture Show*, and pretty much never stopped giving wonderful performances in role after role. She died at the age of 94.

Larry King died on January 23.

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The celebrity interviewer died after catching COVID-19. He hosted CNN’s *Larry King Live* for 25 years and interviewed some of the most famous and sometimes infamous people in the world. He died at the age of 87.

Hank Aaron died on January 22.

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“With courage and dignity, he eclipsed the most hallowed record in sports while absorbing vengeance that would have broken most people," President Joe Biden said in a statement about the legendary baseball player Hank Aaron. "But he was unbreakable. He stemmed the vicious force of white supremacy, in death threats, hate mail, and in hardened hearts. What I deeply admired and respected about him is that each time he rounded those bases—an astonishing 755 trips home—he melted away more and more of the ice of bigotry to show that we can be better as a people and as a nation.” He died at the age of 86.

Phil Spector died on January 16.

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He will go down in history as both one of the most influential music producers of rock and a convicted murderer. He produced a series of hits in the 1960s and in 2009 started serving jail time for the murder of actor Lana Clarkson in 2003. According to his daughter, Phil died from COVID-19 complications. He died at the age of 81.

Siegfried Fischbacher died on January 14.

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One half of the famed Las Vegas act Siegfried & Roy died just months after his other half died. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world,” Siegfried said in a statement after Roy Horn died at the age of 75 in May of 2020. “There could be no Siegfried without Roy and no Roy without Siegfried.” Siegfried’s death was a result of pancreatic cancer. He died at the age of 81.

Tanya Roberts died on January 4.

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The actress, model, and producer played Midge Pinciotti on *That ‘70s Show*. Long before that she was also on the final season of *Charlie’s Angels* and she was also a Bond girl in the movie *A View to a Kill*. She died at the age of 65.

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