Celebrities Who Passed Away Without You Noticing
It’s always a sad day when you wake up to the news and hear about a celebrity passing away. Death is a natural part of life, and while everyone dies at some point, it’s tragic to hear that so many celebrities die at such a young age and from unnatural causes. When a celebrity is hugely popular and beloved by all, the media will spend days covering their passing. For example, if you remember when Michael Jackson passed away, it was covered by the media for weeks and everybody knew about it. Not everyone gets that much attention, however. Here are several celebrities that you might not know had passed away:
1. Marcia Wallace
You may not recognize Marcia Wallace just by looking at her, but you’re sure to remember her voice! Wallace is best known for playing the lusty and hilarious Mrs. Krabappel, Bart’s teacher and Principal Skinner’s lover, on the animated comedy show, The Simpsons.
In 1992, Wallace even won an Emmy for her voice work as the yellow animated character! Wallace died several years ago, in 2013, only one week before her 71st birthday from pneumonia and sepsis. However, she also had been suffering from metastatic breast cancer. After Wallace’s death, the role of Mrs. Krabappel was retired.
2. Paul Gleason
Paul Gleason had a very long and successful career, but he will forever be remembered as the somewhat nasty disciplinarian, Assistant Principal Richard Vernon, in the iconic 80’s film, The Breakfast Club.
Gleason passed away in 2006 at the age of 67. He died from pleural mesothelioma, a lung cancer that is often contracted after exposure to asbestos, which he likely got after being exposed to the substance while working on building sites as a teenager alongside his father.
3. Laura Branigan
Laura Branigan was one of the most powerful female vocalists of the 80’s, and racked up a long list of hits and radio-toppers, such as “Self Control” and the ever-famous “Gloria.” She also recorded songs for some of the most iconic 80’s films, including Flashdance and Ghostbusters.
Branigan unfortunately passed away in 2004 at the age of 47 from a previously undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm. It was a sad day for music lovers everywhere!
4. James Avery
“Your movin’ with your Auntie and Uncle in Bel Air…” And that uncle is James Avery! Avery is best known for his role as Uncle Phil from the hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
James Avery sadly passed away a couple of years ago in 2013 at age 68 after some severe complications following an open heart surgery he had just had.
5. Michelle Thomas
Michelle Thomas was in several big television shows back in the day, including The Cosby Show, where she played Theo’s girlfriend, and Family Matter, where she played Myra. But, this wasn’t all! She also starred in The Young and the Restless and a couple of music videos back in the day.
Unfortunately, Michelle Thomas died at the very young age of 29 in 1998. She tragically suffered from a rare type of small round-call cancer.
6. Michael Jeter
Michael Jeter had a great career that included roles in many films, including The Green Mile, Fisher King, and Zelig. And these are just three of the many films that he was a part of! (He was also Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street!)
Michael Jeter was born in 1952 and suffered from epilepsy all of his life. He received treatment for his condition, but unfortunately, in 2003 he had a lethal epileptic seizure and died at the age of 51.
7. Nicole DeHuff
Nicole DeHuff had just gotten her career started out when she passed away. She only worked on a couple of films in her short career, but they were huge hits. You may recognize her from films such as Meet The Parents, See Arnold Run, and The Court.
The last film that DeHuff worked on in her career was Unbeatable Harold, which was directed by her husband, Ari Palitz, and released 4 years after her death from pneumonia.
8. Jonathan Brandis
Jonathan Brandis got started out as a children’s model, then went on to work as a child actor in movies such as the terrifying It and The NeverEnding Story II and television series seaQuest DSV.
Brandis was never entirely happy about his career, which led him to commit suicide by hanging himself in 2003. He was only 27 years old at the time.
9. John Spencer
John Spencer had roles on all types of movies or television shows, but perhaps his biggest role was as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the political drama West Wing, for which he won an Emmy award.
In 2005, Spencer died of a heart attack, only 4 days before his 59th birthday. His death was written onto the show, and Martin Sheen read a special tribute to him before the series finale.
10. Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan was a fantastic actor, best known for his role as John Coffey in The Green Mile, which left him with several nominations for his superb acting. He also acted in other films, like Armageddon, The Scorpion King, and Brother Bear.
In 2012, Michael Clarke Duncan passed after suffering from a heart attack at age 54. His death was highly mourned by many.
11. Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough, David Attenborough’s older brother, was a British actor, director, and producer, and was also President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), as well as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). He was best known for his work in the films Ghandi, Miracle on 34th Street, and Jurassic Park.
In 2014, Richard Attenborough sadly passed away only a few days before his 91st birthday. He had a heart disease which tragically brought him to his end.
12. Sunny Johnson
Sunny Johnson was a crowd favorite back in the 80’s. Many may remember her for her role as Jeanie in the movie Flashdance!
Unfortunately, Sunny Johnson had a very short career, as she passed away at the young age of 30 in 1984 from a burst blood vessel in her brain.
13. Harold Ramis
Harold Ramis was a well-known actor, writer, and director, who was best known for his role as Egon Spengler in the fan-favorite 80’s movie, Ghostbusters, as well as its sequel.
Ramis passed away in 2014 at age 69, from an infection that he had contracted from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. He was mourned by many.
14. Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths was a fantastic stage actor, who acted in plays such as The History Boys, for which he won 4 awards, including a Tony. He also worked in film, and is best known for his role as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter series.
Griffiths passed away in 2013 at the University Hospital Coventry in England, following complications from a heart surgery. He was 65 years old.
15. Thuy Trang
Thuy Trang was a Vietnamese born actress who appeared in several small roles in various films, but was best known for her role as Trini Kwan, the original Yellow Ranger from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television show.
Thuy Trang tragically passed away when she was only 27 years old in an automobile accident near Bakersfield, California in 2001.
16. Wendie Jo Sperber
Wendie Jo Sperber was an actress during the 80’s that is best known for her roles on the films Bachelor’s Party and as Marty McFly’s sister in the classic film Back to the Future.
Sperber was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, and struggled with the disease, eventually passing away in 2005 at the age of 47.
17. Glenn Quinn
This Irish actor moved to the United States back in 1990, when he was only 20 years old. From there, he landed roles in the television series Roseanne, Angel, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Unfortunately, Glenn Quinn passed away in 2002 at the age of 32 on a friend’s couch in California. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental heroin overdose.
18. Trevor Goddard
Trevor Goddard was an English actor who was best known for his roles as Kano in the first movie adaptation of the Mortal Kombat games and Lieutenant Commander Mic Brumby in the television show JAG.
Goddard passed away in 2003 when he was only 40 years old from a drug overdose of heroin, cocaine, temazepam, and vicodin.
19. Andrew Koenig
Andrew Koenig was the son of the beloved Star Trek actor Walter Koenig, who also grew up to become an actor starring in television series such as Growing Pains, and later becoming a film director, writer, editor, and activist.
Andrew Koenig always had a troubled life, and in 2010, he was reported missing by friends and family. A few days later in 2010, his body was found hanging from a tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver. He was only 41 years old.
20. J.T. Walsh
J.T. Walsh was an iconic American actor who’s work in films such as A Few Good Men, Good Morning Vietnam, Nixon, and The Negotiator is highly remembered as “everybody’s favorite scumbag.”
J.T. Walsh passed away in 1998 in Lemon Grove, California from a heart attack. He was 54 years old. At the following Academy Awards, Jack Nicholson dedicated his award to him.
21. Len Lesser
Len Lesser had several iconic roles, such as the American soldier in the Clint Eastwood film Kelly’s Heroes and, of course, the role of Jerry Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo on the television comedy Seinfeld. He was a busy guy, though, and appeared in more than 180 television shows and films!
Len Lesser passed away in 2011 in Burbank, California, at the ripe age of 88. The cause of death was cancer-related pneumonia.
22. Barney Martin
Barney Martin began his entertainment career as a writer for Steve Allen, but then was discovered by Mel Brooks, who cast him in the 1968 comedy film, The Producers. He had a very vibrant acting career, though he may be best known for his role as Jerry Seinfeld’s dad on the comedy series Seinfeld!
Barney Martin passed away in 2005 at Los Angeles, California at the ripe age of 82. He had previously been diagnosed with lung cancer.
23. Sahara Davenport (born Antoine Ashley)
Sahara Davenport, born Antoine Ashley, became an American drag queen in his teens, when he took on the name of Sahara. He was a performer who became best known for his role on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Davenport passed away in 2012 at the tragically young age of 27 from heart failure.
24. David Graf
You may remember David Graf as the evil (sort of) Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry in the comedy film Police Academy, as well as various other movies and television shows.
David Groff passed away in 2001 of a heart attack during a family wedding. It was only a week shy of his 51st birthday! Poor guy.
25. James Rebhorn
James Rebhorn was a tremendous and busy actor, appearing in over 100 movies and television shows during his lifetime. His works include the hit series 24 and Homeland, where he played Carrie Mathison’s dad.
Rebhorn passed away in 2014 at the age of 65 from melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Prior to his own death, he wrote his own obituary.
26. Gina Mastrogiacomo
Gina Mastrogiacomo was discovered by the man himself, Martin Scorsese for his iconic 1990 film Goodfellas. After this, she went on to act in The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear.
Unfortunately, Mastrogiacomo passed away in May of 2001 from a brain embolism. She was only 39 years old at the time.
27. Lisa Robin Kelly
Lisa Robin Kelly was a young, bright actress who was best known for her role as Laurie Forman, Eric’s sister, on the hit show That 70’s Show.
Kelly tragically passed away in 2013 when she was only 40 years old. She suffered from a drug addiction problem that she was trying to work out in rehab, but she overdosed while staying at a rehabilitation center.
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