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Celebrities Who Have Died In 2020

Here's a look back at the careers, legacies, and tributes that followed the celebrities who have died in 2020 from the worlds of music, film, television, fashion, sports, and politics.

Author:Emily Sanchez
Reviewer:Elisa Mueller
Jan 31, 2024
897 Shares
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In 2020, we sadly said goodbye to many notable celebrities. Here's a look back at the careers, legacies, and tributes that followed the celebrities who have died in 2020from the worlds of music, film, television, fashion, sports, and politics.

Charley Pride

Country music pioneer Charley Pride passed away on December 12 from complications related to COVID-19. He was 86 years old.
After being admitted to the hospital in late November with symptoms similar to COVID-19, he has been unable to recover despite the remarkable skill, care, and dedication of his medical team over the past few weeks.
The Pride family—wife Ebby Rozene Cohran, sons Carlton Kraig and Charles Dion, and daughter Angela Rozene—will miss Pride's presence.

Dame Barbara Windsor

At the age of 83, Dame Barbara Windsor passed away on December 11th. Her breakout roles came from her portrayal of Peggy Mitchell on the BBC's East Enders and the Carry On film series. Windsor passed away from Alzheimer's disease. She was an ally of the LGBT+ community and a camp-style icon.
After hearing the news of her passing, Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the UK, paid tribute to Dame Barbara, saying that she had "campaigned for the lonely and the vulnerable—and cheered the world up with her own British brand of harmless sauciness and innocent scandal."

Dieter Laser

In the 2009 shock horror movie The Human Centipede, German actor Dieter Laser played the role of the sadistic surgeon Josef Heiter.
The horrific plot centers on the kidnapping, surgical joining, and subsequent creation of the titular "human centipede" by three separate tourists. Even people who couldn't bring themselves to watch the 18-rated Dutch film can't deny its cultural impact and cult status due to its graphic content.
Along with his roles in Don Quixote's Children (1981), The Elixirs of the Devil (1976), and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975), Laser won a German film award for his 1975 black-and-white film, John Glueckstadt.
He was a "force of nature, an iconic actor, and a unique human being," according to Tom Six, director of The Human Centipede, who praised him after his death at 78 years of age.
German actor Dieter Laser
German actor Dieter Laser

Natalie Desselle-Reid

The B.A.P.S. star passed away on December 7 at the age of 53. "Natalie Desselle, the beautiful, talented actress, passed away this morning," tweeted her manager, Dolores Robinson, confirming the news.
Natalie shone like a torch. She was a fantastic wife and mother, in addition to being a fantastic actress and comedian. Her family is in my thoughts and prayers. Overseeing her professional development was an honor.

Jessica Campbell

On December 29th, at the age of 38, actress Jessica Campbell passed away from an undisclosed cause. She had roles in Election and Freaks and Geeks before becoming a doctor. With Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, Campbell played the role of Tammy Metzler in the 1999 dark comedy Election.
The role garnered Campbell a nomination for Best Debut Performance from the Independent Spirit Awards. A year down the road, she was Seth Rogen's (Ken Miller) romantic interest, tuba player Amy Andrews, in two episodes of the beloved cult series Freaks and Geeks. She retired from Hollywood after working as a camera assistant on the 2003 short film Birth of the Vampire.

Phyllis McGuire

On December 29th, Phyllis McGuire passed away from natural causes. She was the last of the McGuire Sisters to survive. Her age was 89.
Phyllis McGuire's alleged affair with mobster Sam Giancana led to their 1968 breakup, which put an end to the spotlight-stealing McGuire Sisters (Dorothy and Christine McGuire, as well as Phyllis) during the 1950s. Sugartime, an affair film on HBO, starred Mary-Louise Parker as her.

Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quiñones,

At the age of 65, dance legend Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quiñones passed away on December 30th from undetermined causes. He was the star of the cult hit Breakin'. He dabbled in choreography and even had a cameo in the music video for Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" before breaking into film.
He played Ozone in the cult classic Breakin' and returned for Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, his most famous film role to date. In addition to Xanadu, Tango & Cash, and Lambada, he was in several other feature films.

Dawn Wells

On December 30th, at the age of 82, Dawn Wells passed away from COVID-19. She was most famous for her role as Mary Ann Summers on the CBS comedy Gilligan's Island, which aired in the 1960s. Throughout her life, Summers would be linked to the endearing character of the Kansas farm girl.
She would reprise the role in reunion specials and appear in Baywatch and Roseanne episodes. Under the Mary Ann pen name, she co-wrote a cookbook and a memoir/advice book.
Wells had cameo appearances in a number of films, including The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and on television series such as Bonanza, The Love Boat, and Alf.

Joe Clark

Morgan Freeman portrayed Joe Clark, an 82-year-old New Jersey principal, in the movie Lean on Me. He passed away on December 29th from an undisclosed illness.
Clark's real-life experience as an inner-city principal served as the inspiration for John G. Avildsen's novel Lean on Me. In her role, Clark constantly encouraged her students to strive for personal growth through their dedication to education.

Other Celebrities Who Died In 2020

  • Pierre Cardin (Jul 07, 1922 - Dec 29, 2020, Age 98) - Renowned Fashion Designer
  • Chuck Yeager (Feb 13, 1923 - Dec 07, 2020, Age 97) - Aviation Pioneer and Test Pilot
  • Diego Maradona (Oct 30, 1960 - Nov 25, 2020, Age 60) - Legendary Footballer
  • Sean Connery (Aug 25, 1930 - Oct 31, 2020, Age 90) - Iconic James Bond Actor
  • Whitey Ford (Oct 21, 1928 - Oct 08, 2020, Age 91) - Hall of Fame Baseball Pitcher
  • Eddie Van Halen (Jan 26, 1955 - Oct 06, 2020, Age 65) - Guitar Virtuoso and Rock Legend
  • Chadwick Boseman (Nov 29, 1976 - Aug 28, 2020, Age 43) - Beloved Actor, Forever Black Panther
  • Regis Philbin (Aug 25, 1931 - Jul 24, 2020, Age 88) - Television Host Extraordinaire
  • John Lewis (Feb 21, 1940 - Jul 17, 2020, Age 80) - Civil Rights Icon and Congressman
  • Carl Reiner (Mar 20, 1922 - Jun 29, 2020, Age 98)- Comedy Legend and Filmmaker
  • Little Richard (Dec 05, 1932 - May 09, 2020, Age 87)- Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer
  • Kobe Bryant (Aug 23, 1978 - Jan 26, 2020, Age 41)- Basketball Legend and Cultural Icon
  • Vera Lynn (Mar 20, 1917 - Jun 18, 2020, Age 103) - Forces' Sweetheart and WWII Icon
  • Max von Sydow (Apr 10, 1929 - Mar 08, 2020, Age 90)- Esteemed Actor, Known for Roles in Ingmar Bergman Films
  • Katherine Johnson (Aug 26, 1918 - Feb 24, 2020, Age 101)- NASA Mathematician, Calculated Trajectories for Space Missions
  • B. Smith (Aug 24, 1949 - Feb 22, 2020, Age 70)- Trailblazing Model, Restaurateur, and Lifestyle Guru
  • Kirk Douglas (Dec 09, 1916 - Feb 05, 2020, Age 103)- Hollywood Legend, Star of 'Spartacus'
  • Kobe Bryant (Aug 23, 1978 - Jan 26, 2020, Age 41)- Basketball Icon, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Jim Lehrer (May 19, 1934 - Jan 23, 2020, Age 85)- Esteemed Journalist, Co-Anchor of PBS NewsHour
  • Terry Jones (Feb 01, 1942 - Jan 20, 2020, Age 77)- Monty Python Co-Founder, Comedian, and Director

FAQs - Celebrities Who Have Died In 2020

How Did Kobe Bryant Pass Away In 2020?

Kobe Bryant tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California.

What Were Some Of Kirk Douglas' Notable Contributions To Cinema Before His Death In 2020?

Kirk Douglas, who passed away on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103, was a legendary actor known for his roles in classics like "Spartacus" and "Paths of Glory."

Which Iconic NASA Mathematician Left Us In 2020, And What Was Her Significant Achievement?

Katherine Johnson, known for her vital contributions to space missions, passed away on February 24, 2020, at the age of 101.

What Is B. Smith's Legacy, And How Did She Influence The Culinary World Before Her Death In 2020?

B. Smith, a trailblazing model and restaurateur, passed away on February 22, 2020, leaving a lasting impact on the lifestyle and culinary industry.

Can You Provide Details About Max Von Sydow's Illustrious Career In Acting Prior To His Death In 2020?

Max von Sydow, who passed away on March 8, 2020, at the age of 90, was a highly regarded actor, particularly known for his roles in Ingmar Bergman films like "The Seventh Seal" and "The Virgin Spring."

Final Words

The world mourned celebrities who have died in 2020 from the fields of sports, entertainment, and science, including basketball legend Kobe Bryant and acting legends Kirk Douglas and Max von Sydow.
These figures left indelible marks on their respective industries, leaving a lasting impact on our lives. As we reflect on their departures, we remember the profound impact they had on our lives.
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Emily Sanchez

Emily Sanchez

Author
Emily Sanchez, a Fashion Journalist who graduated from New York University, brings over a decade of experience to her writing. Her articles delve into fashion trends, celebrity culture, and the fascinating world of numerology. Emily's unique perspective and deep industry knowledge make her a trusted voice in fashion journalism. Outside of her work, she enjoys photography, attending live music events, and practicing yoga for relaxation.
Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller

Reviewer
Elisa Mueller, a Kansas City native, grew up surrounded by the wonders of books and movies, inspired by her parents' passion for education and film. She earned bachelor's degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Kansas before moving to New York City, where she spent a decade at Entertainment Weekly, visiting film sets worldwide. With over 8 years in the entertainment industry, Elisa is a seasoned journalist and media analyst, holding a degree in Journalism from NYU. Her insightful critiques have been featured in prestigious publications, cementing her reputation for accuracy and depth. Outside of work, she enjoys attending film festivals, painting, writing fiction, and studying numerology.
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