Each year brings the passing of those whose work we loved in the arts and entertainment. From television to the movies to music and more, we bid many final farewells to our favorite stars in 2017.
In television, one of the biggest hits of the 1960’s was “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and a critical factor in that success was Mary Tyler Moore’s portrayal of Laura Petrie. Four years after that show ended, Moore rocketed to superstardom as the star of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The program was a smash hit throughout the seventies, with Moore playing Mary Richards, who tried to maintain sanity at a Minneapolis television station. Mary Tyler Moore, who turned the world on with her smile, died at age 80.
Another iconic program from the sixties was “The Andy Griffith Show,” and one of the great ensemble characters was Gomer Pyle, played by singer and actor Jim Nabors. Pyle was so popular, Nabors started in the spinoff “Gomer Pyle USMC.” Nabors also recorded many albums and famously sang “Back Home in Indiana” each year before the Indianapolis 500. Nabors was 87.
There’s never been a comedian like Don Rickles. After all, how many people feel honored to be insulted? Rickles was known for his good-natured haranguing of celebrities and audience members for decades. Also the star of TV’s “CPO Sharkey,” Rickles was 90 when he died in April.
Perry Mason wouldn’t have won so many cases without the help of his faithful assistant Della Street. Street’s character in the original television series was the work of actress Barbara Hale. She was 94.
“Batman” was only on television for a couple of seasons, but Adam West made a career out of portraying the caped crusader in the campy sixties series and for millions of fans will always be the true Batman. West was 88.
David Cassidy rose to fame as as Keith Partridge on the classic 1970’s television series, “The Partridge Family.” But Cassidy quickly became a teen heartthrob and branched out into a very successful music career most famous for songs like “I Think I Love You.” Cassidy was 67.
Robert Guillame also shot to stardom in the seventies, playing Benson DuBois, first in a supporting role on the racy sitcom “Soap,” and then starring as a government official on “Benson.” Among the first leading black actors on a primetime sitcom, Guillame was 89.
Joe Mannix was one of America’s favorite private eyes in the sixties and seventies. Actor Mike Connors starred as “Mannix.” Connors died in January. He was 91.
Richard Hatch became a household name for his role as Captain Apollo in the original “Battlestar Galactica” series. Hatch was 71.
Erin Moran was America’s little sister in the seventies as she portrayed Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days.” After a long and successful run on that program, Moran starred in the spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachie.” Moran died of cancer in April. She was 56.
On “Magnum P.I.,” Thomas Magnum was the free-wheeling private eye and Higgins was the exact opposite. The uptight character was the work of actor John Hillerman. He was 84.
Anyone who was “Touched By An Angel,” was touched by the acting excellence of Della Reese. Also an accomplished singer, the beloved Della Reese died in November. She was 86.
Jay Thomas was a highly respected comedy actor in the eighties and nineties. Known for his recurring guest appearances on “Cheers” and “Murphy Brown,” Thomas also starred for three seasons on the sitcom “Love and War.” Thomas was 69.
Two legendary game show hosts left us in 2017. Monty Hall usually had a trinket in his pocket and set the stage for contestants to win big or leave the show embarrassed. It was all part of the appeal of “Let’s Make A Deal.” Hall was 96 when he died in September.
Chuck Barris hosted the “Gong Show,” which hosted legitimately talented acts and some real stinkers – who would get gonged off the stage. Later in life, he claimed to have been a CIA assassin for years prior to his time as a game show host. Barris was 87.
Long before there was Judge Judy or any other reality tv court programs, Judge Joseph Wapner ruled over “The People’s Court.” A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge for 18 years prior to his television years, Wapner settled small claims issues in the hugely popular syndicated series. Wapner died in February. He was 97.
June Foray was a voice actor for some of our most beloved animated characters, including both Rocky the flying squirrel and Natasha on “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” as well as Cindy Lou Who from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” June Foray was 99.
At the movies, Jerry Lewis was famous for 60 years. Known for his comedic partnership with Dean Martin and film roles such as “The Nutty Professor,” Lewis later became known for hosting the annual Labor Day telethon for Jerry’s kids at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Jerry Lewis was 91.
No character on the big screen has ever been as smooth as British agent James Bond. In seven installments of the long-running franchise, including “Live and Let Die” and “The Man With the Golden Gun,” Bond was played by actor Roger Moore. Moore died in May. he was 89.
“The Exorcist” remains one of the most terrifying movies ever made. The film was based on the book written by William Peter Blatty. Blatty died in January. He was 88.
Bill Paxton starred in a number of blockbusters, ranging from “Apollo 13” to “Twister” to “Titanic.” Paxton died from surgical complications in February. He was 61.
One director said John Hurt was simply the greatest actor in the world. Best known for his work in “Alien” and “A Man for All Seasons” among many other acclaimed performances, John Hurt died of cancer in January. He was 77.
Martin Landau was a fixture in American cinema for several decades. Highly regarded for his performances in “North by Northwest” and “Tucker: A Man and His Dream,” Landau also won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Ed Wood.”
Stephen Furst did a lot of projects throughout his acting career, including stint on TV’s “St. Elsewhere.” But he’ll always be known as Flounder in “Animal House.” Furst was 62.
Glenne Headly turned heads for her acting ability in films such as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” and “Dick Tracy.” Glenne Headly was 63.
Robert Osborne was best known for talking about movies as extolled the legendary films on Turner Classic Movies. Osborne died in March. He was 84.
In music, rock and roll has had few figures more influential or more famous than Chuck Berry. Known for his stellar guitar playing, his duck walk and classics like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and the Christmas favorite “Run, Run Rudolph,” Berry was 90 when he died in March.
Fats Domino was another figure who transformed the music scene in the early days of rock and roll. Known for classics like “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t That A Shame,” and “I’m Walkin’”, Domino later narrowly survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He died in October. Fats Domino was 89.
Tom Petty’s versatility knew no bounds. Regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the business, Petty thrilled fans for four decades as the leader of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and also for his work with the Traveling Wilburys. Tom Petty was 66.
One of the greatest country music legends also died this year. The Wichita Lineman himself, Glen Campbell, succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 81. During his decades-long career, Campbell was also known for hits like “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Galveston.”
One of the most popular country duos in modern times is Montgomery Gentry. Nashville was stunned in September when Troy Gentry was killed in a helicopter crash. He was 50 years old.
The Allman Brothers drew a huge following in the 1970’s for their easily recognizable sound and hits like “Whipping Post,” “Melissa” and “Midnight Rider,” all of which were written by the talented Greg Allman. Also known for his brief marriage to Cher, Allman was 69 when he died in May.
On the heavy metal scene, no group is as easily distinguishable as AC/DC. Guitarist Malcolm Young was a critical part of the band’s success. Young died in November. He was 64.
Another fan favorite in the early 1980’s was the J. Geils band with hits like “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame.” Guitarist John Geils was the man behind the band’s name. He died in April age age 71.
That’s a look at the famous people we lost in television, film, and music. Please look elsewhere on this site to remember those who passed away in politics, the media, and sports.