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Celebrities who died in 2020

Remembering some of the notable people we had to say goodbye to in 2020, from "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and more.

Jimmy Heath

@*For 1/4 FANFARE@* Saxophonist JIMMY HEATH in role
Credit: NEWSDAY -SAVE/ARI MINTZ

The Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist and composer who performed with such greats as Miles Davis and John Coltrane before forming the popular family group the Heath Brothers in middle age, died Jan. 19. He was 93.

Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer speaks to the incoming freshman at
Credit: Johnny Milano

The co-founder and nightly host of PBS "NewsHour" who for decades offered a thoughtful take on current events died Jan. 23. He was 85.

Kobe Bryant

FILE - APRIL 4, 2020: Players Kobe Bryant,
Credit: Getty Images/Ronald Martinez

The retired Los Angeles Lakers NBA star died in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter and six others on their way to a youth basketball tournament. He was 41.

Kirk Douglas

5th December 1960: Kirk Douglas and his wife
Credit: Getty Images/Dennis Oulds

The movie star from Hollywood's Golden Age whose films included "Spartacus" and "Lust for Life," died Feb. 5. He was 103. (Douglas is pictured here with his wife, Anne Budyens, ahead of the "Spartacus" London premiere in 1960.)

Ja'Net Dubois

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 31: Actress Ja'net Dubois
Credit: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown

The actress who played the vivacious neighbor Willona Woods on "Good Times" and composed and sang the theme song for "The Jeffersons" died Feb. 17. She was 74, according to her family.

James Lipton

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: James Lipton
Credit: Getty Images/Mark Davis

The longtime host of "Inside the Actors Studio" died March 2 of bladder cancer, according to his wife. He was 93.

Max Von Sydow

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Max von
Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison

The actor known to art house audiences through his work with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman and later to moviegoers everywhere when he played the priest in the horror classic "The Exorcist" died March 8. He was 90.

Lyle Waggoner

Promotional portrait of American actor Lyle Waggoner, circa
Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

The comic foil on "The Carol Burnett Show" who also played a superhero's partner on "Wonder Woman," died March 17 from cancer complications, according to his agent. He was 84.

Kenny Rogers

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 08: Kenny Rogers performs
Credit: Rick Diamond

The smooth, Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country and pop with such hits as "Lucille," "Lady" and "Islands in the Stream" and embraced his persona as "The Gambler" on records and on TV, died March 20. He was 81.

Terrence McNally

Terrence McNally, whose many plays inclued "Master Class,"
Credit: Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro/Ilya S. Savenok

One of America's great playwrights whose prolific career included winning Tony Awards for the plays "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and "Master Class" and the musicals "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman," died March 24 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 81.

Bill Withers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Bill Withers
Credit: Getty Images for The Recording Academy/Rebecca Sapp

Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including " Lean on Me," "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine," died March 30 from heart complications. He was 81.

John Prine

Musician John Prine during a 2014 performance in
Credit: Frazer Harrison

The ingenious singer-songwriter who explored the heartbreaks, indignities and absurdities of everyday life in "Angel from Montgomery," "Sam Stone," "Hello in There" and scores of other indelible tunes, died April 7 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 73.

Brian Dennehy

NEW YORK - MARCH 07: Actor Brian Dennehy
Credit: Getty Images/Peter Kramer

The burly actor who started in films as a macho heavy and later in his career won plaudits for his stage work in plays by William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller died April 15 of natural causes. He was 81.

Andre Harrell

ANDRE HARRELL,UPTOWN RECORDS CREATOR AND NEW YORK UNDERCOVER
Credit: NEW YORK NEWSDAY/VIOREL FLORESCU

The Uptown Records founder who shaped the sound of hip-hop and R&B in the late '80s and '90s with acts such as Mary J. Blige and Heavy D, and launched the career of mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, died May 7 of heart failure, according to his ex-wife. He was 59.

Shirley Knight

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Actress Shirley
Credit: Getty Images/Larry Busacca

The Kansas-born actress who was nominated for two Oscars early in her career and went on to play an astonishing variety of roles in movies, TV and the stage, died April 22. She was 83.

Roy Horn

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Siegfried
Credit: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Horn, of Siegfried & Roy, the duo whose extraordinary magic tricks astonished millions until Horn was critically injured in 2003 by one of the act's famed white tigers, died May 8 from complications of COVID-19. He was 75.

Little Richard

404248 42: Singer Little Richard (L) and the
Credit: Getty Images/Vince Bucci

One of the chief architects of rock 'n' roll whose piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour irrevocably altered popular music while introducing Black R&B to white America died May 9 of bone cancer, according to his lawyer. He was 87.

Betty Wright

FILE - MAY 10, 2020: American soul and
Credit: Getty Images North America/Mychal Watts

The Grammy-winning soul and R&B singer, whose breakout single, "Clean Up Woman," became a hit when she was just 17, died May 10 after suffering endometrial cancer. She was 66.

Jerry Stiller

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Comedian and
Credit: Getty Images for Henri Bendel/Brian Ach

The actor-comedian who launched his career opposite wife Anne Meara in the 1950s and reemerged four decades later as the hysterically high-strung Frank Costanza on the smash television show "Seinfeld," died May 11. He was 92.

Fred Willard

Actor Fred Willard attends "CATstravaganza featuring Hamilton's Cats"
Credit: Getty Images / Emma McIntyre

The comedic actor whose improv style kept him relevant for more than 50 years in films like "This Is Spinal Tap," "Best In Show" and "Anchorman" died May 15. He was 86.

Larry Kramer

FILE - MAY 27: AIDS Activist Larry Kramer
Credit: Getty Images/Cindy Ord

The playwright whose angry voice and pen raised theatergoers' consciousness about AIDS and roused thousands to militant protests in the early years of the epidemic died May 27 of pneumonia. He was 84. 

Carl Reiner

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 07: Honoree Carl
Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer

The ingenious and versatile writer, actor and director who broke through as a "second banana" to Sid Caesar and rose to comedy's front ranks as creator of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and straight man to Mel Brooks' "2000 Year Old Man," died June 29. He was 98.

Hugh Downs

1961: American television host Hugh Downs posing with
Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

The genial, versatile broadcaster who became one of television's most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game and talk shows, died July 1. He was 99.

Charlie Daniels

Musician Charlie Daniels performs at the Long Island
Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

The country music firebrand and fiddler who had a hit with "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" died July 6. He was 83.

Kelly Preston

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 25: Actress Kelly
Credit: Getty Images/Jason Merritt/TERM

The actress who played dramatic and comic foil to actors ranging from Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire" to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Twins" died July 12 after a two-year battle with breast cancer, according to her husband, John Travolta. She was 57.

Naya Rivera

FILE - JULY 08: Actress Naya Rivera, known
Credit: Getty Images North America/Matt Winkelmeyer

The singer-actress who played a gay cheerleader on the hit TV musical comedy "Glee," was found dead July 13 in a Southern California lake after a dayslong search when her four-year-old son was found alone in a rented pontoon boat on the lake. Rivera was 33.

John Lewis

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: U.S. Representative John
Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison

The civil rights icon and longtime U.S. Representative from Georgia died July 17 after battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Regis Philbin

HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 10: Talk show host Regis
Credit: Getty Images/Robert Mora

The genial talk show host who shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades, and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" died July 24. He was 88.

Olivia de Havilland

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 15: Screen legend
Credit: Getty Images/David Livingston

The two-time Oscar winning screen legend best known as the kindly Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" died July 26 at her home in Paris. She was 104.

Wilford Brimley

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 14: Actor Wilford Brimley
Credit: Getty Images/Bryan Bedder

Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included "Cocoon," "The Natural" and "The Firm," died Aug. 1. He'd been sick for two months with a kidney ailment, according to his agent. Brimley was 85.

Chadwick Boseman

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 29: Actor Chadwick Boseman
Credit: Getty Images for Disney/Alberto E. Rodriguez

The actor who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe died Aug. 28 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.

Diana Rigg

English actress Diana Rigg, UK, 14th March 1969.
Credit: Getty Images/Evening Standard

The British actress who became a 1960s style icon as secret agent Emma Peel in TV series "The Avengers," and later starred in "Game of Thrones" died Sept. 10 of cancer, according to her daughter. She was 82.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

WASHINGTON - MARCH 03: U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Credit: Getty Images/Mark Wilson

The Supreme Court Justice, a towering women's rights champion who became the court's second female justice, died Sept. 18 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

Eddie Van Halen

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 30: Musician Eddie
Credit: Getty Images/Kevin Winter

The influential guitarist of rock band Van Halen died Oct. 6 after a long battle with cancer. He was 65.

Johnny Nash

Singer and actor Johnny Nash (born 1940), who
Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

The singer-actor who found fame when he turned from R&B to ska and reggae, and was best known for his 1972 No. 1 hit "I Can See Clearly Now," died Oct. 6. He was 80.

Sean Connery and Honor Blackman

Portrait of James Bond actors Sean Connery and
Credit: Getty Images/Express

Connery, the charismatic Scottish actor who rose to international superstardom as the suave secret agent James Bond and then abandoned the role to carve out an Oscar-winning career in other rugged roles, died in his sleep Oct. 31 after being "unwell for some time," according to his family. He was 90. Connery's "Goldfinger" costar Honor Blackman, a British actress who played Bond girl Pussy Galore, died of natural causes, her family said on April 6. She was 94.

Alex Trebek

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Alex Trebek speaks
Credit: Getty Images/Kris Connor

The longtime "Jeopardy!" host died Nov. 8 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Charley Pride

Charley Pride performs onstage during the CMA Awards
Credit: Getty Images for CMA / Terry Wyatt

The country music superstar, whose rich baritone on such hits as "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died Dec. 12 of complications from COVID-19. He was 86.

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