The entertainment world lost some of its brightest stars in 2015, from the big screen to television to music and beyond.
Omar Sharif landed two of the most iconic roles of the 1960s, first as Sharif Ali in “Lawrence of Arabia,” and then in the title role of “Doctor Zhivago.” Later a world-class bridge player and columnist, Sharif was 83.
Maureen O’Hara was one of the last leading ladies of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Known for roles in “How Green Was My Valley” and the Christmas classic “Miracle on 34th Street,” O’ Hara was 95 when she died in October.
Christopher Lee enjoyed was a successful actor over a nearly 70 year career after serving with distinction in the Royal Air Force in World War II. However it was in his later years that Lee landed his most commercially successful roles, as Saruman in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Count Dooku in Star Wars Episodes II and III. Sir Christopher Lee was 91.
Anita Ekberg was a Swedish beauty queen who became a screen siren in the 1950s and 60s. Best known for her star turn in “La Dolce Vita,” Ekberg was 83.
Rod Taylor came from Australia to strive for his Hollywood dream. Known for his leading roles in “The Time Machine,” “The Birds” and “The Train Robbers,” Taylor was 84.
Alex Rocco enjoyed many roles during a long Hollywood career, but it was his role as casino operator Moe Green in “The Godfather” for which he will always be remembered. Rocco was 79.
Robert Loggia was a successful character actor for decades. Known for his memorable roles in “Scarface,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Independence Day” and “Big,” Loggia snagged an Oscar nomination for his work in “The Jagged Edge.” Loggia later suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and passed away in December. The man with one of the great voices in Hollywood was 85.
Generation X moviegoers remember actress Amanda Peterson for her role in “Can’t Buy Me Love,” opposite Patrick Dempsey. Peterson died of an accidental drug overdose in June. She was 43.
Betsy Palmer was known for two very different things – being a famed panelist on the TV game show “I’ve Got A Secret” and for being the killer in the original “Friday the 13th” film. Palmer was 88.
Behind the camera, few names are more closely associated with horror flicks than director Wes Craven. Craven created the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series and also directed all of the “Scream” movies, among many others. Craven was 76.
Jerry Weintraub was one of the most accomplished producers in Hollywood, putting together classics like “The Karate Kid” and “Oceans 11” and its sequels. Weintraub was 77.
In television, Mr. Spock was one of the most unforgettable characters in history on the sci-fi favorite “Star Trek.” The Vulcan first officer on the USS Enterprise relied on logic over emotion for the duration of the series and then numerous hit movies. Spock was the work of the great Leonard Nimoy, who died in February. He was 83.
It would be hard to find a more different character from Spock than Ellie May Clampett of the “Beverly Hillbillies.” The bubbly was blonde played by Donna Douglas. Later a gospel singer, Douglas was 81.
Marjorie Lord was active in the acting world for more than 70 years but she will always be remembered as Clancy Williams opposite Danny Thomas on “Make Room for Daddy.” Lord was 97.
On Batman, Yvonne Craig brought the character of Batgirl to life on the original “Batman” series. Craig was 78 when she died in August.
Martin Milner starred in two popular series in the 1960s and 70s, first as Tod Stiles on “Route 66” and later as Pete Malloy on “Adam-12.” Milner was 83.
The police work was a little more suspect on the “Dukes of Hazzard.” One of the most memorable characters was the bumbling, corrupt yet somehow endearing Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. Coltrane was the work of actor James Best. Best died in April at age 88.
In the early 1970s, one of the happiest shows on TV was the “Partridge Family.” Fans of the how will remember little Tracy Partridge, played by Suzanne Crough. Crough died in April at age 52.
Al Molinaro played key supporting roles on two of the most beloved comedies of the 1970s, first as Murray the cop on “The Odd Couple” and then as Al Delvecchio, owner and operator of Arnold’s on “Happy Days.” Molinaro was 96.
The most groundbreaking show of the 70s was “All in the Family.” It was the brainchild of Norman Lear, but producer, writer and director Bud Yorkin was critical to making it a major hit. Yorkin died in August. he was 89.
“All in the Family” later spun off into “Archie Bunker’s Place.” Anne Meara played cook Veronica Rooney on the show. However, Meara was best known for her successful comedy act with husband Jerry Stiller, known as Stiller and Meara. She died in May at age 85.
The longest-running comedy in television history is “The Simpsons.” One of the brilliant creators of the series was Sam Simon. He succumbed to cancer in March. He was 59.
It seems Jayne Meadows was always on television. A frequent game show panelist on “What’s My Line?” and “I’ve Got A Secret,” ever-present figure alongside husband Steve Allen, Meadows died in April. She was 95.
In music, few were better known or more beloved than legendary blues guitarist and singer B.B. King. Never far from his beloved guitar “Lucille,” King was 89 when he died in May.
One of the most iconic songs of the 1960s was “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King and it enjoyed a resurgence in the 80s thanks to a movie by the same name. King was 76.
Percy Sledge also died this year. Best known for “When A Man Loves A Woman,” Sledge was 73.
Lesley Gore wasn’t crying too much in the 60s, scoring big on hits like “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” and others. Lesley Gore was 68.
Lynn Anderson was a country star in three different decades. Best known for “(I Never Promised You) A Rose Garden,” Anderson died in July. She was 67.
Most country music fans can’t remember a time when Little Jimmy Dickens wasn’t on stage. Performing since the 1930s and a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1948, Dickens was known for his short stature, big heart and rhinestone jackets. Dickens was 94.
We still don’t really know what the song was about but everyone loves “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen. Lead singer Jack Ely died in April. He was 71.
One of the favorite rock and roll groups in the late 60s and early 70s was Three Dog Night. Lead singer Cory Wells left us in October. He was 74.
Few gospel singers were as talented or beloved as Andrae Crouch. Remembered for “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” and “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory),”Crouch died in January. He was 72.
The Stone Temple Pilots were at the leading edge of grunge music. Lead singer Scott Weiland had that unmistakable gravelly voice. He died of a drug overdose this month. He was just 48.
There are several other famous figures from many walks of life who left us in 2015.
There are now just two remaining Doolittle Raiders from the 80 courageous men who attacked Japan in April of 1942. That’s because two others died this year. Edward Saylor was 94 when he died in January. Robert Hite died in March. He was 95.
Ben Kuroki was of Japanese descent but his service as a combat pilot in Europe led to him becoming the only Japanese-American to fly missions against Japan. Serving in 58 missions overall, Kuroki was 98 when he died in September.
Some of most grisly crimes of the 20th century were the Manson family murders, including the killing of actress Sharon Tate. Vincent Bugliosi is the man who put Charles Manson behind bars. The famed prosecutor died in June at the age of 80.
In religion, Edward Egan had the unenviable task of following John O’Connor as archbishop of New York. But Egan also held a prominent role in the church during the sex abuse scandal and emerged with his reputation intact while other bishops did not. Egan died of cardiac arrest in March. He was 82.
Robert Schuller tried to mix Christianity and self-help. Best known for his Crystal Cathedral, Schuller’s ministry later fell on very hard times. He died in April. He was 88.
When it came to motivational speaking, Wayne Dyer was among the most successful. Dyer died in August at age 75.
John Nash had a beautiful mind. The brilliant mathematician who was later the subject of a feature film, died in a car accident in May. He was 86.
Romance novelist Jackie Collins also died this year. A prolific author, Collins was 77.
And celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme died in October. Best known for his Cajun creations, Prudhomme was 77.