As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time to take a look back at the celebrities who died over the previous 12 months. These are stars who made us smile, made us think and made us laugh. These are some of the most notable deaths in 2022.
The Oscar-winning actor and activist for Black rights was 94 when he died. The first Black actor to be nominated for an Oscar for best actor for his performance in 1958’s “The Defiant Ones,” he also was the first Black actor to win the best actor Oscar, for 1963’s “Lilies of the Field.” Poitier died of heart failure, dementia and prostate cancer.
A longtime and well-known activist who pioneered diversity in Hollywood, Poitier is also remembered for triumphant performances in films such as "To Sir, With Love," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "In the Heat of the Night."
The Oscar-nominated director behind such classics as “The Last Picture Show,” “Paper Moon,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Mask” was 82.
His most critically-acclaimed effort was the coming-of-age drama “The Last Picture Show,” which was nominated for eight Oscars, including best picture and best director and best adapted screenplay for Bogdanovich. The movie would win a pair of Oscars, including best supporting actor for Ben Johnson and best supporting actress for Cloris Leachman.
The “Full House” star was 65 at the time of his death, which occurred after he endured a fall. His surprising and unexpected death set off a chain reaction of tributes from his “Full House” co-stars, as well as his friends and family.
In addition to "Full House," the father of three was known for hosting "America's Funniest Home Videos" and narrating "How I Met Your Mother." He was also a longtime stand-up comedian.
“We are devastated to confirm that our beloved Bob passed away today,” his family told TODAY in a statement after he died. “He was everything to us and we want you to know how much he loved his fans, performing live and bringing people from all walks of life together with laughter.”
The singer behind such hits as “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain” with her band, The Ronettes, was 78 when she died from cancer. Spector, who was once married to produce Phil Spector, also enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980s when she joined Eddie Money on his hit song “Take Me Home Tonight.”
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face,” her family said after her death. “She was filled with love and gratitude. Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.”
André Leon Talley
Talley was a fashion journalist who served as Vogue’s first Black creative director. He was 73 when he died. His death was grieved by such legends in the fashion world as Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs
“The loss of Andre is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from,” Wintour said in Vogue after his death.
A comedian who rose to fame in the 1980s with an act that would reference his weight, Anderson died at 68 from cancer. He had small, but memorable roles in “Coming to America” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and won an Emmy for his work on the show “Baskets.”
Born Marvin Lee Aday, Meat Loaf was an unlikely rock star, with a hefty body and a booming voice to match that power ballads that came to define him. He sang such pop classics as “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),“ “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad“ and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and enjoyed a comeback in the early ‘90s with “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” He was 74.
Known to millions for his portrayal of burned-out disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on “WKRP in Cincinnati” and a history teacher who helps a class of gifted students on “Head of the Class,” Hesseman died at the age of 81 after complications from colon cancer, his publicist said. He also had roles in such movies as “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment” and “This Is Spinal Tap.”
“Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death,” her mother said in a statement.
Kryst herself had spoken about the importance of mental health.
“I do a lot to make sure that I maintain my mental health and the most important thing I did was talk to a counselor,” she wrote on World Mental Health Day in 2019 on the Miss USA Facebook page. “She’s really easy to talk to, she gives me great strategies especially if I’m sad or happy or have a busy month ahead of me so I definitely recommend that.”
Kellerman is best remembered for her Oscar-nominated turn as Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in “M*A*S*H.” She also starred in Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” and played a kind-hearted professor who was Rodney Dangerfield’s love interest in the 1986 comedy “Back to School.” Kellerman was 84.
Delgado, who played Luis on “Sesame Street,” died at 81. Delgado first appeared on the show in 1971 and remained until 2016 when his contract was not renewed, sparking protests from fans. He would later return for “Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration” in 2019 and portrayed Luis for other events put on by Sesame Workshop.
The actor, who starred in such films as “Broadcast News,” “Body Heat” and “The Big Chill,” died at the age of 71. A three-time Oscar nominee, he also starred in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” ”Children of a Lesser God.”
“Well, Bill was like my first great mentor,” his “Broadcast News” co-star Holly Hunter told TODAY. “He was an incredibly serious actor. It was sacred to Bill. And that sacredness, I loved that. It was a rare thing to see someone approach work with that vibe. So, I felt safe with Bill.”
The drummer for Foo Fighters died at the age of 50 while the band was touring South America. He joined the band in 1997, replacing original drummer William Goldsmith, and was included when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.
“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever,” the Foo Fighters said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.”
Parker, 33, who was a member of British boy band the Wanted, died less than two years after being diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 33 and left behind a wife and two kids, the younger one of whom his wife was pregnant with when he was diagnosed with the cancer.
Harris, whose shrill voice added texture to her portrayal of hot-tempered Estelle Costanza — mother of Jason Alexander’s George — on “Seinfeld,” was 93 when she died. She also provided the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” movies.
“She is the mother that everybody loves, even though she’s a pain in the neck,” Harris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the character in 1998.
“The joy of playing with her and relishing her glorious laughter was a treat. I adore you, Estelle. Love to your family. Serenity now and always,” Alexander wrote on Twitter. The last line referenced the famous proclamation George Costanza’s father used to remain calm in a ninth season episode of the legendary sitcom.
The comedian with the very distinctive voice died at the age of 67 from a rare heart condition. His death followed Louie Anderson and Bob Saget’s deaths. Ironically, Gottfried posted a photo of the three of them after Saget died.
The comedian had a decorated career, ranging from starring on ‘Saturday Night Live” to providing the voice of the Aflac duck to a countless string of stand-up comedy appearances, including some popular ones on roasts. He also starred as Iago in “Aladdin” and “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” her daughters Wynonna and Ashley said in a statement. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
Judd and daughter Wynonna formed The Judds, a powerhouse country duo that sold more than 20 million albums. Wynonna elected to proceed with her mother-daughter tour solo after her mother died.
“I’m somewhere between hell and hallelujah,” she told TODAY in October when asked how she was doing.
Best known for his searing intensity on the big screen, the “Goodfellas” star was 67 when he died while in the Dominican Republic shooting a movie. Engaged at the time of his death, Liotta also starred in such films as “Something Wild,” Field of Dreams,” “Hannibal” and “Marriage Story.”
The Oscar-nominated star of “The Godfather,” “Misery” and “Elf” was 82 when he died. Caan rose to stardom playing Sonny Corleone in "The Godfather" in 1974, a role that netted him an Academy Award nomination. He would reprise the part in the 1974 sequel and enjoy renewed popularity with the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King's book "Misery," playing Paul Sheldon, a writer held captive by an obsessed after he's in an accident.
Caan also had a memorable role in the 1971 TV-movie "Brian's Song" and appeared in other popular movies such as "Honeymoon in Vegas," "The Gambler," "A Bridge Too Far," "Chapter Two" and "Rollerball."
Sirico was an actor whose greatest success came on the back side of his career when he portrayed Paulie Walnuts on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” He died at 79.
“Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big hearted as anyone I’ve ever known,” "The Sopranos" co-star Michael Imperioli wrote on Instagram. “I was at his side through so much: through good times and bad. But mostly good.”
Sorvino, a veteran actor who starred in “Goodfellas,” was 83 when he died. The father of Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, who referenced him in her acceptance speech, he also earned a Tony nomination for playing Phil Romano in the Broadway show “That Championship Season,” a role he would reprise the role in the big-screen adaptation of the movie. He also appeared in “Nixon,” “Dick Tracy” and “Law & Order.”
The actor who played Wally, the brother of Jerry Mathers' Beaver, on “Leave It to Beaver” was 77 when he died.
“We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man,” read a post announcing his death on his Facebook page. He gave so much to us all and was loved by so many. One fan said it best — ‘It is rare when there is a person who is so universally loved like Tony.’”
Carroll, who was 95 at the time of her death, voiced Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.” She also won an Emmy Award in 1957 for her work on “Sid Caesar’s House” and appeared in scores of TV shows, including “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” “Too Close for Comfort,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Love Boat,” “Designing Women” and “ER.”
Nichols, who played Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the original “Star Trek” series, died at 89 from natural causes. She was one of the first Black women to tackle a lead role on a TV show.
She also took part in one of the most memorable moments in television history when her character locked lips with William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, an interracial kiss that helped change perceptions of what was acceptable on the small screen.
The singer and “Grease” star, who had been treated multiple times over her lifetime for breast cancer, died at the age of 73. Newton-John won four Grammys and was behind such hits as “I Honestly Love You,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” “You’re the One That I Want,” “Magic” and her signature hit, “Physical.”
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” her husband, John Easterling, said in a statement.
An accomplished singer, Newton-John is best remembered for her performance in 1978's smash "Grease," in which she played straight-laced Sandy, who falls for greaser Danny, played by John Travolta.
“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” her husband, John Easterling, said in a statement.
Heche is remembered for starring in the soap opera “Another World,” as well as prime-time series “Chicago P.D.” and “Men in Trees.” She also made the jump to movies, starring in “Donnie Brasco,” “Volcano,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and "Six Days, Seven Nights." She was also a tabloid fixture in the late 1990s for her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.
“Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy," her family said in a statement while she was still on life support. "Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
Queen Elizabeth II
The queen, who was Britain’s longest serving monarch, died Sept. 8 at the age of 96, sparking an outpouring of grief among world leaders and celebrities alike, as well as setting the stage for her son Charles to become king, while establishing her legacy in a historical context.
Fletcher, who left her mark on cinema with her memorable Oscar-winning portrayal of Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” died at the age of 88.
A role that would overshadow most of her other work on the big screen, the American Film Institute ranked Ratched No. 5 on its list of greatest movie villains and second among female villains, trailing only the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz.” She also earned Emmy nominations for roles on "Joan of Arcadia" and "Picket Fences."
The rapper, known for his No. 1 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from the movie “Dangerous Minds,” died at the age of 59.
In addition to rapping, he appeared on shows such as “Martin,” “All That,” and “The Nanny,” as well as movies such as “Batman & Robin,” “Judgment Day,” “Leprechaun in the Hood,” “Get Over It” and “Dracula 3000.”
A pioneering country music icon who sang songs about life in Appalachia, Lynn died at the age of 90. Known for her trademark song “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Lynn also had hits including “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “The Pill” and “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).”
Lynn was also the first woman to win entertainer of the year at the CMA Awards and ACM Awards.
Lansbury was a prolific, enduring and venerated star who died at the age of 96. She is remembered for scores of projects, including the TV series “Murder, She Wrote.” Prior to that, she starred in movies like “Gaslight,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “The Manchurian Candidate,” each of which earned her an Academy Award nomination. She also starred in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and voiced the character Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast.”
She was a master on the stage, as well, winning five Tony Awards for her work “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Mame,” “Dear World,” “Gypsy” and “Blithe Spirit.”
Coltrane, who starred as Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” film franchise, died at 72. He also appeared in the James Bond movies “GoldenEye” and “The World Is Not Enough.”
“Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set," "Harry Potter" co-star Daniel Radcliffe wrote. “I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on ‘Prisoner of Azkaban,’ when we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale up. I feel incredibly lucky that I got to meet and work with him and very sad that he’s passed. He was an incredible actor and a lovely man.”
Jordan was 67 when he died in a car accident. Fans will remember him for his over-the-top portrayal of Beverley Leslie on “Will & Grace,” a role which earned him an Emmy Award. He also appeared on “Hearts Afire” and “American Horror Story” and was starring in Mayim Bialik’s series, “Call Me Kat,” at the time of his death.
“What he lacked in height he made up for in generosity and greatness as a son, brother, artist, comedian, partner and human being,” his spokesman said in a statement. “Knowing that he has left the world at the height of both his professional and personal life is the only solace one can have today.
Jerry Lee Lewis
A pioneer of the rock ‘n’ roll era, Lewis died at the age of 87. Lewis rose to fame in the 1950s with the song “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and continued to entertain audiences with hits such as “Great Balls of Fire,” “Breathless” and “High School Confidential.”
“He was there at the beginning, with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, and the rest,” his publicist said in a statement. “And watched them fade away one by one till it was him alone to bear witness, and sing of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Powell was a food writer who gained fame for cooking more than 500 of Julia Child's recipes and creating the Julie/Julia Project blog, which served as inspiration for the movie “Julie & Julia. She was 49 when she died. Her husband said she died of cardiac arrest, according to the New York Times.
The 28-year-old rapper, born Kirshnik Ball, died during a shooting in Houston bowling alley that left two other people injured. He was part of the Grammy-nominated group Migos, which is behind such songs as “Bad and Boujee” and “MotorSport.”
“Along with my firm, I am devastated by the tragic death of Kirshnik Ball, known to his fans as Takeoff,” his lawyer, Drew Findling, said in a statement to NBC News. “Takeoff was not only a brilliant musical artist with unlimited talent but also a uniquely kind and gentle soul. He will be greatly missed now and always.”
Carter was the younger brother of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter and was a teen pop star in his own right in the ‘90s. As an artist, his biggest hit was 2000's “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” He was 34 when he died.
Carter, who also appeared on the reality show "House of Carters" and "Dancing with the Stars," welcomed a son in 2021 with Melanie Martin, although the couple would break up earlier this year.
“We are extremely saddened and shocked to confirm the passing of Aaron Carter today,” a statement from Carter’s representative said. “At the moment his cause of death is being investigated. We ask that you give the family time and they will have more information when available. We cannot express the outpouring of love coming in.”
The veteran prop comic died at the age of 76. Performing in countless comedy specials over the years, he gained notoriety and a following for his shows in which he smashed watermelons on stage with a sledgehammer dubbed the “Sledge-O-Matic.”
Aniston was an actor who played Victor Kiriakis on “Days of Our Lives” since 1985. His daughter, “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston, announced his death on Instagram.
“Sweet papa John Anthony Aniston,” she wrote, in part. “You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew. I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace — and without pain.”
"Days of Our Lives" announced Aniston's final appearance as Victor will stream on Peacock Dec. 26.
The longtime singer-songwriter and keyboardist with Fleetwood Mac died at the age of 79, spurring a tribute from band member Stevie Nicks. The band had already undergone multiple lineup changes when McVie, who was married to the group's bassist, John McVie, joined, along with Lindsay Buckingham in the 1970s, helping to set the stage for superstardom that would accompany the band's Grammy-winning album, "Rumours."
An original "Sesame Street" cast member, McGrath died at 90. He was with the children's show for more than half a century.
“A founding cast member, Bob embodied the melodies of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performances brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world, whether teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts,” tweeted Sesame Workshop, which produces the show.
The children of the "Cheers" star announced her death. She was 71. Alley had been diagnosed with colon cancer before she died, her manager told TODAY. Alley is best remembered for playing Rebecca on "Cheers," joining the classic sitcom in the middle of its run when she replaced Shelley Long.
She also appeared on shows such as "Veronica's Closet," "Fat Actress," as well as movies "Summer School," "Sibling Rivalry" and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
Stephen 'tWitch' Boss
Boss was 40 when he died by suicide, leaving behind a wife and three kids. Boss first rose to fame finishing as runner-up on the fourth season of "So You Think You Can Dance." In 20114, he was tapped to be the DJ on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," holding the position until the show signed off in May 2022.
“Stephen lit up every room he stepped into," wife Allison Holker Boss said in a statement. "He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com