If you’re wondering what celebrities died this year, this list of celebrity deaths in 2017 has them all. From actors to singers to athletes, these celebs have passed away this year. Even the rich and famous cannot avoid death, and while the world has lost these celebrities in 2017, their works, performances, and accolades will forever be in our memories. Some of these recent celebrity deaths may shock you because either they left too soon or the celebrity died in an unusual way. The list of celebrities we lost in 2016 seems endless, so let’s hope this year is softer on Hollywood.
Celebrity deaths seem to be happening more often than expected, which is a reminder that celebrities can also die at any moment like this week or even today. A celebrity dying can be a tough time for a fan, but we need to remember that life goes on. There might be many dead celebrities in 2017, so moving on saves pain.
Instead of searching for the latest Hollywood deaths, check this list of celebrities who recently died in 2017. When a notable person dies, the list will be updated to stay current with the celebrities who died this year. There are also photos, short bios, and links to obituaries for each recently deceased celeb. You can also take a look at 2017 musician deaths and the actors and actresses who died in 2017.
On December 30, 2017, activist Erica Garner died at 27 from heart failure. Erica rose to fame as an activist after her father, Eric Garner, was notoriously killed by police on tape when an officer used an unauthorized choke hold. The incident led to widespread outrage and protest, prompting Erica to get involved politically. Shortly before her death, she appeared on a popular political YouTube channel and mentioned the stress of activism was having a toll on her physical health. In the wake of Erica’s untimely death, many civil rights activists and politicians expressed heartfelt condolences online.
Author Sue Grafton died on December 28 at the age of 77. She had been struggling with cancer for two years.
Grafton penned the popular Kinsey Millhone detective novels. The series kicked off in 1982 with A is for Alibi; she planned to write her way through the entire alphabet. Y is for Yesterday was published in August 2017, and though Grafton was reportedly working on Z is for Zero, it likely won’t be published. She didn’t want to use ghost writers, and as her daughter Jamie wrote on Facebook, “as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”
Actress Rose Marie died on December 28 at the age of 94.
Rose Marie entered show business almost as soon as she learned to walk; she won her first amateur talent show at the age of three. She soon moved into radio, and then onto the movies and television. Her best-known role was likely that of comedy writer Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show – she received three Emmy nominations for the part.
On December 26, actor Alfie Curtis passed away at 87. Curtis appeared in many films and television shows, including the 1980 film The Elephant Man, but was best known for a brief appearance in Star Wars: A New Hope. His character was famous for threatening Luke Skywalker at Mos Eisley Cantina.
NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless died at the age of 80 on December 22, 2017. No cause of death was immediately given. McCandless is best-known for being the first human to fly in space untethered; he is the man in the suit in this famous image. The famous space first took place in 1984.
McCandless was born in Boston, MA, and graduated from the Naval Academy in . He also held master’s degrees in electrical engineering and business administration from Stanford University and the University of Houston at Clear Lake, respectively. Among his other NASA achievements are helping to launch the Hubble Telescope, developing the jetpack he wore during his untethered space walk, and serving as the Mission Control capsule communicator during Apollo 11. He is survived by his wife Ellen, two children, and two grandchildren.
In December 2017, famous sportscaster Dick Enberg was found dead in his home at 82. His daughter confirmed the death to the Associated Press and the presumed cause of death is a heart attack.
Enberg was a Hall of Fame broadcaster and famous for the catchphrase “Oh my!”, which he said during big plays. Since 2016, he had been retired from television, but was working on several podcasts at the time of his death.
Kim Jong-hyun, vocalist of the K-pop boy group SHINee, died on December 18. His sister alerted emergency services when she received text messages indicating he was planning on committing suicide. Upon finding coal chips burnt in the kitchen, investigators believe he died from inhaling toxic fumes.
Jong-hyun was selected as a member of the South Korean boy band SHINee when he was 18 years old. Since then, SHINee continued being one of the most popular groups with songs, like “View,” “Dreamgirl,” and “Sherlock.” In 2015, Jonghyun made his solo debut, and later released his first solo studio album, She Is, in May 2016.
Considered to be the first artist of S.M. Entertainment to have participated the most in the writing, organizing, and composing for an album, Jonghyun has frequently been called one of few K-pop artists who have a higher level of musicality.
Pat DiNizio, the lead singer of The Smithereens, died on December 12. The cause of death was not shared; the 62-year-old had suffered numerous health issues in recent years.
The Smithereens enjoyed cult success throughout the ’80s, thanks to songs like “A Girl Like You,” “Top of the Pops,” and “Miles From Nowhere.” Musicians including Kurt Cobain cited the band as an influence, and they opened for artists including Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen.
Outside of music, DiNizio also dabbled in politics. He ran for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey as a Reform party candidate in 2000. He almost made it as a minor league baseball player, too – he tried out for the Somerset Patriots.
Johnny Hallyday, the “French Elvis” died on December 6. The 74-year-old had battled lung cancer.
Born Jean-Philippe Smet, Hallyday decided he wanted to be a performer after watching Elvis Presley. He was credited with introducing rock ‘n’ roll to France in the ’60s, and enjoyed enormous success there. However, Hallyday never really broke through in the United States.
Adult film star August Ames was found dead on December 5. The 23-year-old reportedly hanged herself.
Ames began performing in 2013, and had over 270 credits to her name at the time of her death. She had come under fire a few days before after tweeting that she refused to work with men who had also appeared in gay adult films.
Actor and singer Jim Nabors died on November 30 at the age of 87. His health had apparently been in decline over the previous year.
Nabors’s best known role was that of the lovable, bumbling Gomer Pyle on the sitcoms The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. He starred in a few movies as well, including The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Cannonball Run II. After leaving television, Nabors became a singer; he was a hit on the nightclub circuit, and recorded more than two dozen albums.
Nabors is survived by his husband Stan Cadwallader and two sisters, Freddie and Ruth.
Heather North, the actress who voiced Daphne in Scooby-Doo for nearly two decades, has died aged 71. pic.twitter.com/Og9jkVMf7k
— Global’s Newsroom (@GlobalsNewsroom) December 19, 2017
Actress Heather North, best known as the voice of Daphne in Scooby-Doo, died on November 30. The 71-year-old had reportedly suffered with illness for some time.
The California-born North starred in TV shows like Days of Our Lives and films including The Barefoot Executive. But her most famous role was as the voice of the red-haired Daphne in the Scooby-Doocartoons; she voiced the character from 1970 until 2003.
Pop and new wave songwriter Tommy Keene died on November 22 at the age of 59. According to his website, he “passed unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep.”
Keene found a cult following in the ’80s thanks to songs like “Places That Are Gone.” He frequently collaborated with artists like Robert Pollard, the Goo Goo Dolls, and T-Bone Burnett, and last toured with Matthew Sweet.
Blue-eyed soul singer Wayne Cochran died on November 21 at the age of 78. He had been battling cancer.
Cochran was born in Georgia, and took inspiration from soul singers like Otis Redding and James Brown as he began his own career. He was known for his over-the-top performances and flashy attire, both of which influenced Elvis Presley. Cochran’s most famous song was “Last Kiss,” though its covers arguably enjoyed more success than the original.
Cochran left the music scene in the mid-’80s and became an evangelical minister in Florida.
Actor and singer David Cassidy died on November 22 at the age of 67. He had been admitted to the hospital for organ failure, and had suffered from dementia.
Cassidy was born into a show business family; his mother was an actress, and his father sang and acted as well. It was only fitting that Cassidy found fame as the member of another performing family, this one fictional. Cassidy starred as Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family, and embarked on a successful musical and acting career thanks to the sitcom.
Tennis champion and Olympic medalist Jana Novotna died on November 20 at the age of 49. She had been battling cancer.
Novotna won 100 titles over the course of her career, including 76 doubles titles. She won the Wimbledon women’s singles title in 1998. Novotna retired in 1999.
Charles Manson, the leader of the murderous cult the Family, died of natural causes on November 19. He was 83 years old.
After a difficult childhood and several run-ins with the law, Manson reinvented himself as a guru of sorts in California. He soon had dozens of followers – mainly women – whom he preached to and convinced he was a god. Manson incited his followers to acts of violence in the late 1960s, most notably a string of seven murders around Los Angeles. He was sentenced to prison and denied parole 12 times.
Singer and actress Della Reese died on November 19 at the age of 86.
Reese first broke into the entertainment industry in the 1950s, thanks to the hit single “Don’t You Know.” The Grammy-nominated vocalist soon moved to television; she became the first black woman to host a talk show, and later moved onto series including Chico and the Man and The Royal Family. Her biggest role was that of Tess on the CBS series Touched by an Angel.
Country singer Mel Tillis died on November 19 at the age of 85. His death was likely caused by respiratory issues, though he had been in poor health since 2016.
Over his long career, Tillis wrote over 1,000 songs and recorded more than 60 albums. Tillis’s hits include “Coca Cola Cowboy,” “Southern Rain,” and “Good Woman Blues.” He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2012.
Fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa died of a heart attack in Paris on November 18. He was 82 years old.
Alaïa was celebrated for his figure-flattering gowns and strong, architectural style. His interest in design began in his childhood in Tunisia; he soon took a job at a dressmaker’s shop and honed his sewing skills. Once Alaïa entered the fashion world, his clinging dresses and impeccable taste made him a star.
AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young died on November 18 at the age of 64. He had been living with dementia; the condition forced him to retired from his band.
The Glasgow-born, Sydney-raised Young and his brother Angus founded AC/DC in 1973. The band is widely considered one of the greatest rock outfits of all time, and Young is frequently cited as the driving force behind its success.
Rapper Lil Peep died on November 15 at the age of 21. The suspected cause of death was an overdose of Xanax.
The young rapper, born Gustav Ahr, grew up in Long Island. He quickly grew an underground following thanks to a string of self-released mixtapes; his debut album, Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One), was released in August 2017.
Actor John Hillerman – best known for his role on Magnum, P.I., died on Nov. 9, 2017. He was 84.
Hillerman was born in Texas who took an interest in opera and theater at an early age. After he served with the United States Air Force, he moved to New York City to sty at the American Theatre Wing. He performed more than 100 leading roles on and off Broadway before making the switch to film in 1970. He had roles in several films, including Blazing Saddles, Up the Creek, and Chinatown.
In 1980, he starred in Magnum, P.I., with Tom Selleck. He played British Army Sergeant Major Jonathan Quayle Higgins – Magnum’s landlord. He starred in several other shows and guest starred on other popular programs of the time. He retired from acting in 1999.
He died from undisclosed health problems.
Former professional baseball player Roy Halladay died on November 7. The 40-year-old was piloting a small plane that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. He is survived by his wife Brady and children Ryan and Braden.
“Doc,” as he was known, pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1998-2009 and the Philadelphia Phillies from 2009-2013. After his retirement from baseball, the two-time Cy Young Award winner became a pilot.
Singer Robert Knight died on November 6. The 72-year-old had suffered from a brief, undisclosed illness.
Knight made his debut in the early ’60s with the group the Paramounts. But his biggest break came as a solo artist, thanks to the 1967 hit “Everlasting Love.” He continued recording, but never achieved the same level of success with another single.
After his music career ended, Knight worked as a lab technician and chemistry teacher at Vanderbilt University.
Actor Bradly Bufanda died on November 1. The 34-year-old appeared to have committed suicide by jumping off a building in Los Angeles. A note was found near his body.
Bufanda appeared in multiple TV shows, including Malcolm in the Middle and CSI: Miami; his most recognizable role was likely Felix in Veronica Mars. He had a role in the film A Cinderella Story as well.