TAG24 remembers the celebrities and icons who passed away in 2021

In 2021, we had to say goodbye to many celebrities and pioneers in politics, culture, science, and sports. As we prepare to enter a new year, TAG24 remembers the legacies of those who came before us.

Hal Holbrook was a TV show icon.
Hal Holbrook was a TV show icon.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The award-winning actor Hal Holbrook died on January 23 at the age of 95. He earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a father figure in the drama Into the Wild.

He also starred in countless films and series, including Sons of Anarchy, Grey's Anatomy, The Firm, Promised Land, Emergency Room, Hawaii Five O, and many more.

The legendary US talk show host Larry King lost his battle with Covid-19 on January 23 at the age of 87.

Doja Cat nails the Animal Crossing villager voice in her latest TikTok
Celebrities Doja Cat nails the Animal Crossing villager voice in her latest TikTok

The 100-year-old record-breaking fundraiser Tom Moore (Captain Tom) from the UK died on February 2 after contracting Covid-19. Moore raised more than $43 million for coronavirus relief and was a symbol of solidarity.

He was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, and even knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Christopher Plummer passed away at the age of 91 on February 5. The Canadian was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor three times and took home the prize for his work in Beginners, putting him down in history as the oldest Oscar winner at the age of 82.

Captain Sir Tom Moore lived to be 100 years old.
Captain Sir Tom Moore lived to be 100 years old.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

Many celebrities and politicians passed away in 2021

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died at the age of 99.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died at the age of 99.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Larry Flynt was no stranger to courtrooms and outright hatred, and the controversial publisher passed away at the age of 78. The founder of porn magazine Hustler closed his eyes forever on February 10.

George Segal passed away on March 23. The US actor, who lived to the age of 87, became famous for films such as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Bridge of Remagen.

The British actor Paul Knight, best known for the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, died April 5.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's explosive trial ends with intense closing arguments
Johnny Depp Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's explosive trial ends with intense closing arguments

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, passed away at the age of 99. The royal family announced his death on April 9.

Big names

Bernie Madoff passed away at the age of 82.
Bernie Madoff passed away at the age of 82.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, a stockbroker sentenced to 150 years in prison for one of the largest investment fraud cases in financial history, died at age 82 on April 14.

One day later, the musician Barby Kelly of the Kelly Family died. She was only 45 years old.

There was also sad news from England on April 16. The famous actor Helen McCrory passed away at the age of 52.

She starred in Peaky Blinders – Gangs of Birmingham and as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, among other roles.

The football world mourned the passing of John Madden just before the new year. The coaching and commentary legend died on December 28 at the age of 85.

He unexpectedly ended his coaching career in January 1979 at the age of 42.

To this day, he remains the youngest coach to reach 100 wins in the NFL.

Helen McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Helen McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  © PR/Warner Bros. France

Explorers and icons

Astronaut Michael Collins hard at work.
Astronaut Michael Collins hard at work.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The US astronaut Michael Collins died on April 28 at the age of 90.

He was one of the crew members on board the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

English singer Nick Kamen was the on the cover of The Face magazine in 1984, and he sure could sing, dropping 10 hits with songs like With Each Time You Break My Heart and I Promised Myself

He died at the age of 59 on May 4.

Czech actor Libuše Šafránková died June June 9 at the age of 68.

She appeared in a total of almost 150 cinema and television films, and also graced the theater stage in Prague.

She was also well-known for her role as the singer Klara in the 1996 Oscar Award-winning drama Kolya.

Musicians and authors

Bassist Joe Michael "Dusty" Hill (†72) was a band member with ZZ Top for more than 52 years.
Bassist Joe Michael "Dusty" Hill (†72) was a band member with ZZ Top for more than 52 years.  © Mike Mccarn/FR34342 AP/dpa

Blues rock and a razzle-dazzle beard were his trademarks. Dusty Hill was famous for being the bassist and second singer for ZZ Top, which celebrated great successes with songs like Gimme All Your Lovin and Sharp Dressed Man.

Hill was 72 years old when he died unexpectedly on July 27.

One of the most influential musicians of his generation, drummer Joey Jordison, died on July 28 at just 46. He gained fame as part of the metal band Slipknot.

Noah Gordon, author of bestseller The Physician, died at the age of 95 on November 22.

A shock hit the music world again on April 9, when US rapper DMX died after being hospitalized for days in a New York clinic. He only lived to be 50 years old.

DMX is no longer gonna give it to ya.
DMX is no longer gonna give it to ya.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

More artists and icons will be missed

Charlie Watts was the anchor to Rolling Stones ship.
Charlie Watts was the anchor to Rolling Stones ship.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

In August, the music world mourned the loss of Charlie Watts. The drummer of the legendary band The Rolling Stones died peacefully in a London hospital on August 24 surrounded by his family at the age of 80.

He was considered the musical backbone of the band, which ranks second only to the Beatles in British rock.

The Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis became world-famous in 1964 with his music for the movie Zorba the Greek and the Sirtaki dance, specially choreographed just for the film.

His work also included operas, orchestral pieces, choral music, ballets, oratorios, and song cycles.

He died on September 2 at the age of 96. In Greece, he is revered as a folk hero.

The silver screen and the fashion world

Jean-Paul Belmondo rocked the film world of the 1960s.
Jean-Paul Belmondo rocked the film world of the 1960s.  © IMAGO / PanoramiC

In the 60s, Jean-Paul Belmondo was a figurehead in French New Wave cinema and a symbol of rebellion and anarchism. His breakthrough came at the age of 26 with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless.

The acting legend appeared in around 80 films and played more than 40 theater roles. Belmondo died on September 6 at the age of 88.

Willie Garson gained fame with his role as Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City. He starred in all six seasons and also appeared in the remake And Just Like That. On September 21, broadcaster HBO announced the death of the 57-year-old.

James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on Friends, died of prostate cancer on October 24. The actor also appeared in the series Scrubs and Sabrina.

Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh, an icon in the fashion industry, died unexpectedly on November 28th. He was only 41 years old when he lost the fight against cancer.

Willie Garson in his role as Stanford Blatch.
Willie Garson in his role as Stanford Blatch.  © IMAGO / Picturelux

Powerful people

Author Anne Rice passed away at age 80.
Author Anne Rice passed away at age 80.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Anne Rice was one of the most famous gothic novelists. She died on December 11 at the age of 80.

She penned the legendary Interview with a Vampire and wrote erotic novels under a pseudonym.

The acclaimed author, essayist, and screenwriter Joan Didion passed away on December 23 at the age of 87.

The Canadian director and producer Jean-Marc Vallée, who rose to international fame with such works as the Oscar-winning drama Dallas Buyers Club, died December 25 at 58. He won an Emmy for his directorial work on the HBO series Big Little Lies.

South Africa's former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Frederik Willem de Klerk died on November 11 at the age of 85. He was one of the pioneers for the end of apartheid in the country.

The world-renowned South African human rights activist and anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu died on December 26.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and former archbishop of Cape Town turned 90.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was an icon of anti-apartheid efforts in South Africa.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was an icon of anti-apartheid efforts in South Africa.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

It's sad to see the people you might have looked up to go, but having an end is part of what makes life beautiful. Their legacies are sure to live on in 2022 and beyond.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

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