Alan Rickman, one of the most prolific actors of the last two decades, died of pancreatic cancer at age 69 on January 14. Rickman made his big screen debut in 1998’s “Die Hard,” playing the villain Hans Gruber opposite Bruce Willis. From that film on he took on varied roles, from the noble Colonel Brandon in the period piece “Sense and Sensibility” to the faux-alien Dr. Lazarus in the sci-fi comedy “Galaxy Quest.” But most will know him as the antihero Severus Snape from the “Harry Potter” movies. Emma Thompson, who starred with Rickman in five films, called him “the finest of actors and directors.” (Read his obituary here.)
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George Kennedy, who won a Best Supporting Oscar for playing Dragline opposite Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke,” died on February 28 at the age of 91. He was also known for his roles in four “Airport” films, which inspired the satirical “Airplane!” comedies. (Read his obituary here.)
“Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a freak car accident on June 19, just weeks before the release of “Star Trek Beyond.” He was only 27. The young actor had assembled quite an impressive resume up to that point; in addition to the blockbuster “Star Trek” series, Yelchin had roles in films ranging from “Alpha Dog” to “Terminator Salvation” to “The Smurfs.” (Read his obituary here.)
Another prolific actor — Gene Wilder — died on August 29 from complication from Alzheimer’s. Gifted with impeccable comedic timing, Wilder brought the laughs in many memorable roles, including “Young Frankenstein,” “Blazing Saddles,” and the title character in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” He limited his work after the 1989 death of wife Gilda Radner, whom he met in the 1982 movie “Hanky Panky” (he would later direct her in “The Woman in Red”). He later won an Emmy for a guest appearance on “Will & Grace” in 2003. (Read his obituary here.)
As noted above, the mother-daughter duo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher died in late December. Carrie, who famously played Princess — and later General — Leia — in four “Star Wars” films, died after a heart attack at age 60. She had completed filming on her fifth “Star Wars” movie before her death. Throughout her life, she spoke openly about battling addiction and mental illness with her trademark candor and wit. (Read her obituary here.)
Sadly, Fisher’s mother Debbie Reynolds died on December 28, one day after her daughter’s death. She was 84. One of the last surviving stars of the studio system, Reynolds starred in hits like “Singing in the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” She also found herself in the middle of one of the biggest celebrity scandals when husband Eddie Fisher left her for her best friend Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds continued to act and sing for decades, even playing a version of herself on “Will & Grace.” She was also a champion for mental health and preserving Hollywood’s heritage. (Read her obituary here.)
We also lost pop icon Prince, who starred in the 1984 cult classic “Purple Rain,” as well as comedian Garry Shandling and “The Godfather” actor Abe Vigoda.
To see more notable deaths from 2016, check out the gallery below.
|Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016|