Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the megahit Nickelodeon cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died on Nov. 27. He was 57. The cause of death was ALS, which Hillenburg revealed he had been diagnosed with in March of last year.
Bernardo Bertolucci, whose epic “The Last Emperor” won nine Oscars and who influenced generations of filmmakers with other groundbreaking works such as “The Conformist” and “Last Tango in Paris,” in which he explored politics and sexuality through personal storytelling and audacious camera work, died on Nov. 26. He was 77.
Beloved master magician Ricky Jay died Nov. 24 of natural causes. In addition to being a magician, Jay acted in films and TV shows like “Boogie Nights,” “Deadwood,” “House of Games,” and “The X-Files.” He was 72.
Nicolas Roeg, who directed films like “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” starring David Bowie, and horror pic “Don’t Look Now,” died Nov. 23. A daring and influential craftsman, Roeg’s idiosyncratic films influenced filmmakers including Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh. He was 90.
William Goldman, who won Oscars for his original screenplay for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and his adaptation of “All the President’s Men,” died on Friday in his Manhattan home, according to the the Washington Post. He was 87.
Stan Lee, who ushered in a comicbook renaissance by co-creating the iconic superheroes Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men — characters who made the leap to film with often-spectacular results — died on Nov. 12, his daughter’s attorney confirmed to Variety. He was 95.
Marty Balin, a co-founder of Jefferson Airplane and a member of its later incarnation Jefferson Starship, whose high and soulful voice defined many of both groups’ songs, died on Sept. 27, his rep confirmed. He was 76.
Burt Reynolds, one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men during the ’70s and early ’80s with such films as “Deliverance,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “The Longest Yard” and “Semi-Tough,” died on Sept. 6. He was 82.
Craig Zadan, the prolific producer known for his touch with stage, TV and film musicals including NBC’s recent return to live event productions and three Academy Awards telecasts, died on Aug 21. He was 69.
“Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, the eruptive singer who reigned atop the pop and R&B charts in the late ’60s and early ’70s with a succession of albums and singles of unparalleled power and emotional depth, died on Aug. 16. She was 76.