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Deaths Of 2017

Deaths of 2017

The following post contains a list of celebrities who passed in 2017 that in some way meant something to me. It’s not an exhaustive list of all celebrity deaths, nor does it contain anyone who passed away that I knew in my personal life (of which there were a couple).

For a while I’ve thought to create a list like this as sort of a memorial to those who touched my life in some way. This list is largely from memory and a few online lists. I’m sure I missed some people.. but this is what I have.

As humans, we tend to carry our dead with us… and through the passage of years, the weight gets unbearable. So let this be a chance to unburden yourself.. make your peace and move on. At least that’s how I choose to view it.


Gene Cernan the eleventh person to walk on the Moon and the last person as of 2017 to have walked on the Moon.  Died January 16th, 2017.
John Hurt passed away on January 25th of 2017.  A phenomenal actor who played some amazing roles such as Kane (Alien), John Merrick (The Elephant Man), John Hurt (Spaceballs [Parodying himself from Alien])… He even played The War Doctor on Doctor Who The Time War.  Just an amazing actor.. Love John Hurt.
Mary Tyler Moore passed away on January 25th of 2017. A trailblazing actress that advanced the role of the lead woman with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.
Richard Hatch passed away February 7th, 2017. Well known for playing the role of Apollo on the cult sci-fi series “Battlestar Galactica”. While others forgot about the property, Richard never lost focus.. He tirelessly worked to bring the story back to relevance. A heartfelt salute to you Captain Apollo!
Bill Paxton passed away February 25th, 2017. Just an amazing actor that brought about some of the best characters to hit the silver screen. Who can forget William Hudson from Aliens or Chet Donnelly from Weird Science. Timeless classics to enjoy again and again.. the game is never over.
Chuck Berry passed away March 18th, 2017. The first rock guitar god. Unbounded energy and creativity. The legend that gave us “Roll Over Beethoven“, “Rock and Roll Music” and “Johnny B. Goode” just to name a few.
Actor and comedian Don Rickles passed away April 6th, 2017. Known for his gruff style of comedy and lightning quick whit. Don stayed active from his start in the early 40’s all the way up to the year of his death. Always a trooper!
John Warren Geils Jr. passed away on April 11th, 2017. I was always a fan of the J. Geils band. Responsible for such pop hits as “Freeze Frame“, “Centerfold” and “Love Stinks“.
Charlie Murphy passed away on April 12th, 2017. Actor and Comedian Charlie Murphy was the older brother of Eddie Murphy. Best known for his work on the Dave Chappelle show as the narrator of the Rick James and Prince skits.
Erin Moran, best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, passed away on April 22nd, 2017. Truly a tragic life.. but one that is sure to have touched all of ours if you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s.
Singer/Songwriter Chris Cornell passed away on May 18th, 2017. Singer and guitarist for the breakout grunge/rock band Soundgarden. Chris was one of the great male vocalists of our time. Just an angelic voice.. A tortured talent gone too soon. Some favorites include Black Hole Sun, Outshined and Like A Stone.
Actor Roger Moore passed away on May 23rd, 2017. You always remember your first Bond.. and for me, that was Roger Moore. I’ve very fond memories of seeing Moonraker with my father back in ’79. Also, who can forget Moore in Cannonball Run as Seymour just two years later.. Excellent!
Legendary frontman Gregg Allman passed away on May 27th, 2017. Known for writing many of the Allman Brothers most famous songs such songs as “Whipping Post“, “Melissa“, and “Midnight Rider“. Gregg was a master of blues rock.. but not immune to its demons… much of which is laid out in his 2012 memoir “My Cross to Bear”. A salute to you Gregg!
Adam West passed away on June 9th, 2017. This was a very hard one for me. To me he is Batman. He brought humor, flavor and soul to the role like none after him. Never taking himself too seriously and shrugging off the “Leading Man” mantle that Hollywood tried to foist on him early in his career. Adam blazed his own trail… and for that, we love you Adam. A genuine human being in a sea of pretenders.
Geroge A. Romero passed away on July 16th, 2017. George Romero was an iconic horror movie visionary. He created numerous horror classics.. some of his best well known would be Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Zombies- You owe this man for your pop culture status.
Haruo Nakajima (中島 春雄) passed away on August 7th, 2017. Harou was the Japanese actor best known for portraying Godzilla for twelve consecutive films ranging from the original Godzilla (1954) to Godzilla vs Gigan (1972). I’ve always been a massive Godzilla fan.. so thanks to you Harou for all of the great childhood memories.. sitting cross-legged on the floor watching channel 48’s Creature Double Feature!
Dick Gregory passed away on August 19th, 2017. He was a stand-up comic as well as a human rights activist who tackled various issues over the course of his life ranging from racial injustice to protesting the Vietnam War. A thoughtful man of laughter who, more importantly, knew when not to laugh.
Jerry Lewis passed away on August 20th, 2017. He was a man of many talents which ran the gamut from comedy, acting, singing and writing.. but probably best known for the amazing amount of humanitarian work he did via his MDA telethons. All that, and he was a god in France. Who knew?
Walter Becker passed away on September 3rd, 2017. Becker was a seminal member of one of my favorite bands, Steely Dan. He went on to become an avocado rancher and raise a family before finally getting back into the music scene. A legend.
Harry Dean Stanton passed away September 15th, 2017. Stanton was a legendary actor with a career which spanned over six decades.. Some of his works includes Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heroes, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Escape from New York, Christine, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink and The Green Mile.
Tom Petty passed away on October 2nd, 2017. Singer songwriter extraordinaire- Tom Petty was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and went on to be a founding member of the great, yet seemingly cursed, super-group The Traveling Wilburys. A shining light snuffed out too soon.. Early memories include watching music videos of the nascent MTV in the late 70’s early 80’s with my sisters. Some of my favorites include You Got Lucky, Don’t Come Around Here No More, Here Comes My Girl.
Robert Guillaume passed away on October 24th, 2017. Robert was an accomplished award winning actor with many credits to his name.. But for me, it was his portrayal of the wise-cracking butler Benson DuBois from the TV sitcom Benson. If you were a child of the 80’s… you loved Benson. Simple as that.
Richard Gordon passed away on November 6th, 2017. Dick Gordon flew as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 12 in November of 1969 and became one of the few people to have ever flown to the moon.
Roy Halladay passed away on November 7th, 2017. Now I’m not a baseball fan, but I include him on my list because he was a bit of a local celebrity and quite a talented guy. His death was an utter tragedy- Dying in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico at the tender age of 40. Too soon.
John Hillerman passed away on November 9th, 2017. Best known from playing Higgens on the TV show Magnum, P.I. He appeared in numerous films such as Chinatown and Blazing Saddles.
Malcolm Young passed away on November 18th, 2017. Malcolm was a founding member of the Australian rock band AC/DC and is credited for creating many of the bands iconic guitar riffs. Stricken by early onset dementia, Malcolm stepped down from the band in 2014. Some of my favorite Malcolm Young songs include Highway to Hell, Hells Bells, High Voltage and Whole Lotta Rosie.
David Cassidy passed away on November 21st, 2017. Best known for playing the role of Keith Partridge on the TV sitcom The Partridge Family– Cassidy went on to become one of the 70’s early teen idols.
Jim Nabors passed away on November 30th, 2017. Jim Nabors is most well known for playing the lovable country bumpkin Gomer Pyle back in the 1960’s. But acting was not his only talent.. he, of course, was also well known for his singing.
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