20 Actors You didn’t Realize Passed Away in 2017

Life is short, so they say. Any moment someone can die and when death strikes all we can do is mourn the departed soul and wish that it rest s in eternal peace. Unfortunately, death isn’t selective about who should go and who should remain on earth. Over the past few years, we have lost some of the greatest men and women who brought us unforgettable memories. 2017 hasn’t been any different. Since the beginning of the year, we Hollywood has lost some of its finest stars. From Roger Moore to George Romero, we remember some of the greatest actors that we have had to say goodbye to in 2017.


Nelsan Ellis – (True Blood)


He played the role of Lafayette Reynolds in the movie titled “The True Blood.” According to his manager, Nelson was not only a gifted artist, but he was a very kind human with a gentle soul who cared about everyone he met. He died at a tender age of 39 years after developing complications arising from heart failure.


John Heard


He played very many roles in different movies. In the film titled Home Alone, he played the role of a father while in another one titled Sopranos, he was a great detective. He died on July 21 in a hotel in Palo Alto.


Roger Moore


A veteran and popular British actor commonly referred to James Bond due to the role he placed as secret agent James Bond in seven feature films between 1973 and 1985. According to the family spokesperson, James Moore died after a short battle with cancer on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. He was aged 89 years.

 John Hurt


John announced in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic. He featured in Harry and the Alien films. He also played the role of a lead character in Elephant Man and Midnight Express. During his acting career, he was nominated for two Oscars. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer on January 27 at the age of 77.

Stephen Furst


Furst was best known for his Flounder role he played in the famous 1978 comedy titled Animal House. The great actor died on June 17, 2017. His death was described as a result of complications from diabetes. It was not clear the type of diabetes he was suffering from.

Chester Bennington


The lead singer of Linkin Park had long suffered from depression as illustrated in many of his dark lyrics.  He took his own life, to the despair of many of his fans across the world.

Jerry Lewis


Lewis was one of the greatest comedians in the history of comedy. He was known for his slapstick routines and became enormously famous when he teamed up with Dean Martin in 1946.

George Romero


He greatly featured in many horror films, the most notable one being the Night of the Living Dead. His zombie movies quickly turned into social commentaries with so many people imitating his character and acting skills. He died on July 16, after a long battle with lung cancer. He died aged 77.

June Foray


June Foray was the voice behind so many popular animated characters such as Granny, Witch Hazel in Looney Tunes, Rocky the Flying squirrel in The Rocky, Aunt May in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and Granny. She died on July 26 at the age of 99. She was a great behind-the-scenes actor.

Adam West


Adam West was well known as the best actor in the 1960’s Batman TV series. The fans of the show loved him due to his exceptional acting skills. The great actor died on June 9, 2017.

Michael Nance


He was a great reality star who featured on Emily Maynard’s season 8 of the series titled “The Bachelorette.” He died at the age of 31 on May 29, 2017. He was described as a great actor who was passionate about filmmaking.

Bill Paxton


Do you remember Apollo 13, or Titanic, or Twister? Well, Bill Paxton featured in all these blockbusters. He was a prolific and charismatic actor who always took memorable roles in various films. Apart from featuring in different Blockbusters he also cherished his work in his other low-budget films such as One False Move. He died on February 25 from complications arising from a surgery he had previously had. He was aged 61.

Roger Smith


Roger played the role of Detective Jeff Spencer on the hit series titled “ABC” between 1958 and 1963. At some point, he quit acting to manage the career of his second wife. He also featured in the 77 Sunset Strip movie. He died on June 4 at the age of 84.

Martin Landau


He was widely referred to as the chameleon-like actor. He gained fame when he featured on the TV show titled “Mission Impossible” as the crafty master of disguise in 1960’s. He went on to star in so many movies in an award-filled acting life. He died on July 15th aged 89 after developing “unexpected complications.”

Peter Sallis


He was widely recognized for the role he played in voicing Wallace in the clay animation series titled Wallace and Gromit. Peter died peacefully with his family members beside him on June 2nd aged 96 years.

Mary Tyler Moore


She is probably the most honored actresses in the history of television. She starred in various comedies that once dominated the TV screens in America. She died on January 25, at the age of 80 years.

Erin Moran


Erin shot to fame for her role as Joanie Cunningham on the ‘70s sitcom Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi. She also featured in Joanie Loves Chachi movie alongside Scott Baio although the lifespan of the production was short-lived. On April 22, she was found dead at her Harrison County home. The cause of her death was described as complications from stage IV cancer.

Jeanne Moreau


Her film acting career spun over seven decades and was characterized by award after award.  Winning awards for movies such as ‘Seven Days…Seven Nights’ and ‘Viva Maria!.’ As a result of her great talent, she had the opportunity of working with some of the world’s top directors before dying at the age of 89 on July 31, 2017.

Antonia Gorga


It is believed that Antonia had a long struggle with unknown illness before she finally took her last breath in early March at the age of 66. She greatly featured in Real House wives of New Jersey (Mother of Teresa Giudice).

Judge Joseph Wapner


Joseph rose to fame after starring on the series title The people’s Court for a record 12 seasons between 1981 and 1993.Judge Joseph Wapner died on February 26 aged 97 years. He had been under hospice care for quite a while.

Emannuelle Riva


Emannuelle was an iconic French actress who featured in several TV shows and series. The most famous movies she starred in were 1959’s Hiroshima Mon Amour and 2012’s Amour.  She died on January 27 at the age of 89 years. She was a talented actress who was recognized worldwide.

Sam Shepherd


He was an award-winning author, playwright, director, screenwriter, and actor. His career in the film industry was characterized by various awards and International recognition. He succumbed to complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or what is widely known as the Gehrig’s disease on July 27, 2017, aged 73.

Chris Penn


Some people might not know that Sean Penn’s brother was also an actor. Indeed, Chris Penn turned up in movies as famous as Reservoir Dogs – where he memorably played Nice Guy Eddie – and Footloose. However, both Penn’s career and his 2006 death from cardiomyopathy at the age of just 40 may have been somewhat overshadowed by his more famous sibling’s life and work.

Rob Knox


British star Rob Knox may look familiar thanks to his turn as Marcus Belby in the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He was all set to appear in the franchise’s follow-up film as well but, heartbreakingly, was murdered while backing up his brother during a fracas in 2008. The young actor was only 18 years old.

Lee Thompson Young


At the time of his death, Lee Thompson Young had shaken off his Disney Channel past to shine as detective Barry Frost in TNT cop show Rizzoli & Isles. Behind the scenes, though, Young was afflicted with depression and bipolar disorder – factors that may have contributed to him deciding to take his own life in 2013, aged only 29.

Dana Plato


Dana Plato found fame in ever-popular ’70s and ’80s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, but once her days playing Kimberly Drummond were over, she sadly descended into poverty and substance addiction. A hostile reception from callers when Plato was on The Howard Stern Show in 1999 may have been the final straw, as the day after the broadcast she tragically committed suicide – at the all-too-young age of 34.

Dana Hill


Dana Hill’s voice most likely makes her familiar to anyone who has watched an episode of RugratsGoof Troop or Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. Her role as Griswold child Audrey in National Lampoon’s European Vacation may also be instantly recognizable. What’s less known, however, is that Hill is now dead, having tragically succumbed to complications from diabetes in 1996. She was 32.

Nicole DeHuff


Nicole DeHuff’s acting career got off to a good start when she played Deborah Byrnes in 2000’s smash hit movie Meet the Parents. Sadly, though, the promise shown in that performance and DeHuff’s ensuing string of other minor film and TV roles never saw her make it to the top, as by 2005 the 30-year-old had passed away following a bout of viral pneumonia. At least her character apparently lives on in the Meet the Parents sequels, where Deborah is still alluded to although never seen.

Skye McCole Bartusiak


Skye McCole Bartusiak charmed audiences worldwide as the young daughter of Mel Gibson’s character in 2000’s The Patriot, a role that brought her to prominence at just seven years old. McCole Bartusiak would go on to get various other respectable acting credits to her name. However, fourteen years after her most famous role, she died, aged 21, owing to an accidental drug overdose, making her Patriot screen time even more poignant.

Christopher Pettiet


Cult ’90s comedy Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead made a star out of Christopher Pettiet, who played young Lothario Zach Crandell in the movie. Watching it now, though, may be bittersweet, for the actor passed away in 2000, aged just 24, as a result of an accidental substance OD. A scholarship named for Pettiet at his old acting school has helped keep his name and legacy alive since.

Lisa Robin Kelly


Anyone who watched That ’70s Show during its first five seasons will recognize Lisa Robin Kelly, who as the manipulative Laurie Forman portrayed a character that fans loved to hate. That said, Kelly’s troubled personal life rather than her talent was to the forefront in many obituaries when she passed away in 2013. The cause of the 43-year-old’s death was ruled as “multiple drug intoxication.”

Jonathan Brandis


The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter star Jonathan Brandis was once a teen idol, but as he got older his career started to slide. This turn of events may, it’s said, have contributed to Brandis making the heartwrenching decision to take his own life in 2003, aged 27.

David Graf


In 2004 David Graf’s widow Kathryn debuted a one-woman play in which she spoke about her late husband and her loss – perhaps to the surprise of some, who may not have known that the Police Academy star had even died. The Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry actor – who also had a recurring role in The West Wing – passed away in 2001, aged 50, owing to a heart attack suffered while at the wedding of his brother-in-law.

Windell Middlebrooks


Anyone who has ever watched TV has probably seen Windell Middlebrooks, even if they didn’t know his name, for his acting career took in everything from Hannah Montana to Body of Proof and from Scrubs to those famous Miller High Life beer ads. Fewer people, though, will know that Middlebrooks’ life was cut tragically short in 2015, after the 36-year-old suffered a pulmonary embolism at his San Fernando Valley home.

Marque Lynche


After his time as a Mouseketeer in the ’90s, Marque Lynche popped up on TV again as an adult, getting as far as the semi-finals of American Idol’s third season in 2004. The star’s career also saw him take in time as a Broadway actor, although his full potential was sadly never quite realized owing to his sad early death in 2015 at the age of 34.

Heavy D


Heavy D’s performance at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards was his first to be shown on TV for 15 years, and it could very well have led to a career renaissance. But that wasn’t to be: the ex-Heavy D & the Boyz frontman would collapse at his home less than a month later, in November 2011, then pass away thanks to a pulmonary embolism. He was only 44.

Lynne Thigpen


A generation of children grew up watching Lynne Thigpen on such shows as Bear in the Big Blue House and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? – then, perhaps, when the viewers were slightly more grown-up, on All My Children and The District. But Thigpen’s absence from TV screens in recent years is down to one sad reason: she passed away in 2003 of a cerebral hemorrhage, aged only 54.

Suzanne Crough


Suzanne Crough found the spotlight in the ’70s as The Partridge Family’s adorable Tracy, even if it was a level of fame that she would fail to replicate with future roles. Perhaps Crough decided that acting wasn’t for her, though, as she appeared for the last time on screen in 1980. And that decision to step out of the limelight may have meant that her April 2015 death, at the age of 52 and due to cardiomyopathy, went rather unnoticed by many.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste


Kyle Jean-Baptiste wasn’t a star of the screen but was certainly a rising star of the stage. In fact, when he was cast in the Broadway production of Les Misérables, he became both the first African-American and the youngest person ever to portray Jean Valjean. There’s little doubt, then, that the 21-year-old would’ve gone on to bigger things; tragically, though, he passed away after a fall in August 2015 before ever achieving them.

Bob Peck


Remember Robert Muldoon from Jurassic Park and his iconic “clever girl” scene? The actor who played him, British star Bob Peck, shone as the doomed game warden, which makes it arguably all the sadder that he isn’t gracing movie screens today. Peck died from cancer in 1999 at 53 years old.

Michael Clarke Duncan


Michael Clarke Duncan was incandescent as John Coffey, the falsely accused gentle giant in The Green Mile. Moreover, the power of that performance, and of many of those that followed, perhaps makes it all the more surprising that the actor’s death went by relatively under the radar. In 2012 Duncan sadly passed away in hospital, a few weeks after a heart attack, aged 54.

Michelle Thomas


With The Cosby ShowThe Young and the Restless and Family Matters all on her resume, countless people around the world would have caught at least a glimpse or two of Michelle Thomas during her time on TV. Unfortunately, though, that time was cruelly cut short when Thomas succumbed to a rare sort of stomach cancer in 1998. She was just 29 years old.

Sawyer Sweeten


Everybody Loves Raymond turned out to be a family affair in more ways than one for Sawyer Sweeten: not only did the Geoffrey Barone actor star next to his twin brother Sullivan, who played Michael, but the pair’s older sister Madylin featured alongside them as Ally. And it was Madylin Sweeten who released a heartwrenching statement in April 2015 confirming that, tragically, her little brother had taken his own life a matter of weeks from his 20th birthday.

Natasha Richardson


Natasha Richardson was not only the spouse of an acclaimed actor in Liam Neeson, but also a star in her own right – taking home a Tony Award for playing Sally Bowles in a Broadway production of Cabaret and lighting up the silver screen in the likes of The Parent Trap and Nell. More stellar performances could very well have come from Richardson, then, were it not for the fatal brain injury she suffered after a skiing accident in 2009. The British actress was only 45 years old at the time of her death.

John Dye


John Dye may have played an angel of death in Touched by an Angel, but the actor sadly proved that he was mortal in 2011 by passing away of a heart attack, aged 47. Dye’s career had stalled somewhat since the CBS drama ended in 2003 – and perhaps this contributed to his death having gone somewhat under the radar at the time and, indeed, ever since.

Sarah Danielle Madison


Sarah Danielle Madison’s acting resume took in parts in some big TV shows and movies. 90210House and Jurassic Park III all saw her light up the screen with her presence – and that’s not even to mention her starring role as Dr. Sarah Glass in The WB’s 7th Heaven. Tragically, her death in 2014 curtailed what continued to be a promising career: Madison, who was born Sarah Goldberg, passed away in her sleep at just 40 years old.

Amanda Peterson


Can’t Buy Me Love star Amanda Peterson was an acclaimed young star back in the ’80s and could easily have capitalized on the promise she showed in the 1987 teen comedy. Just seven years later, though, Peterson would retire from acting completely and go back to school. Moreover, from then until her passing in 2015 she lived pretty much out of the spotlight, save for a few headline-making run-ins with the law, and that could be why her death at the age of 43 went unnoticed by many.

Harold Ramis


For such an iconic actor and director, it’s amazing that Harold Ramis’ death has passed a lot of people by. Perhaps, though, some don’t want to remember that Ramis is now gone: after all, he helped bring us beloved movies like Groundhog DayAnimal House and Caddyshack. And, of course, he notably played Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and its 1989 follow-up. His passing in 2014  at the age of 69 was, then, a loss not only to Hollywood but to the world.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper


“Rowdy” Roddy Piper was the man who came up with the oft-quoted line, “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubble gum.” It comes from John Carpenter’s 1988 sci-fi flick They Live, in which Piper starred – one of several screen roles he took on when he wasn’t, well, kicking ass in the wrestling ring. And despite Piper’s death in 2015, aged 61, his larger-than-life presence on the canvas and in movies will live on in the memories of fans across the planet.

Mia Amber Davis


Mia Amber Davis’ best-known screen outing was as Rhonda in 2000 Tom Green comedy Road Trip; however, she also had considerable career success as a plus-size model and motivational speaker. Her death from a blood clot in 2013 therefore devastated the plus-size fashion world, even as it went relatively unreported elsewhere. Davis was only 36 years old at the time.