It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially to the ones you love. 2021 was a rough year, and it took many important people from us, including those who touched our hearts with their talent. These celebrities made us laugh and cry with them, and they deserve to be remembered. So let’s gather here and say our last goodbye to the actors, musicians, filmmakers, and other pop culture icons who passed away in the last year.
They were an inspiration and entertainment that many of us have grown up with. They might be gone, but their legacies will forever live on.
1. Betty White
Source: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
One of the biggest losses of 2021 must be the death of the beloved comedic actress Betty White. Her television career began in the late 1930s. She became a household name through shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland. The actress won many awards in her life, including Emmy Award and the Golden Globes. Her career also expanded to films and soap operas.
Betty White was the oldest host of Saturday Night Live. She wrote several books and was a long-time animal activist. The legendary actress passed away just a few days before her 100th birthday.
2. Charlie Watts
Source: Getty Images
Charlie Watts was born in London in 1941 and he grew up to be a hardcore jazz fan. He started playing drums at 14. Watts joined the Stones early in 1963 and stayed as one of their members for over the next 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest-lasting member. It’s not hard to see why people call him the backbone of the band.
His rhythmic drumming helped to bring the group into the spotlight, with multiple albums landing on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of greatest albums of all time. He was an important piece of Rolling Stone, and his fan was heartbroken when they found out they wouldn’t get a chance to see him on the band’s tour in September 2021. Weeks later, the legendary drummer of The Rolling Stones, died peacefully in hospital on Aug. 24 at the age of 80.
3. Larry King
The legend of Television shows Larry King has a 60-plus-year career in broadcasting and conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews during his lifetime. From 1985 to 2010, King was a nightly fixture on CNN. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan, and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
He was given many awards, including two Peabody awards. His show had many guests, including Elizabeth Taylor, Mikhail Gorbachev, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Lady Gaga. He passed away on Jan. 23, at age 87. Although he is no longer here with us, King will forever be remembered as one of the great interviewers in Television history.
4. Helen McCrory
You might know her as Narcissa Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise, or Aunt Polly in the Peaky Blinders series, but Helen McCrory’s career was much longer than those two roles. McCrory starred in Penny Dreadful, Vampires of Venice, Doctor Who, and the James Bond film Skyfall. She also played former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, in The Queen and The Special Relationship.
There is no denying that she was an amazing English stage and screen actor. Sadly, she lost the battle with cancer and passed away on April 16 at the age of 52.
5. Christopher Plummer
Source: Lionsgate Studio
If you are a fan of classic Hollywood movies, then you will know how great the 1965 movie The Sound of Music is. And we have to admit, Canadian actor Christopher Plummer totally charmed many of us as Captain Von Trapp in the film.
His other iconic roles include Shakespeare’s King Lear, Hal Fields in Beginners, and many more. He also had more than 100 other film credits to his name, including Malcolm X, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Knives out. Plummer received many awards such as Oscar, Tony, Golden Globe, and Emmy. The actor passed away on Feb. 5 at the age of 91.
Source: Getty Images
DMX’s real name is Earl Simmons. He started his career with his first album in 1998, which put his name on No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart. DMX didn’t stop there and continued to make four more albums, all topped the U.S. charts. This made him one of the best-selling rappers of all time.
Aside from music, he also acted in TV shows and films. The rapper starred in Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave, and had his own reality TV series on BET in 2006. He died on April 9 at the age of 50.
7. Cicely Tyson
Source: Getty Images
Cicely Tyson is the pioneering Black actor who gained many awards in her life. The model-turned-actor had an amazing career. She created her path when roles for black women were scarce and changed Hollywood history. Tyson had seven decades of active in show business and won many prizes including three Emmys, one Tony, four Black Reel Awards, a Peabody, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Although she passed away at the age of 96 last year, she will forever live in our hearts as the star in Sounder, and as the main lead of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
8. Virgil Abloh
Virgil Abloh was the first African American that held the position of Artistic Director of menswear in Louis Vuitton history. He changed the industry after earning his degrees in civil engineering and architecture, along with an internship at the Rome office’s prestigious Fendi company. This opportunity brought him to collaborate with Kanye West. His works were impressive as well as inspirational. Sadly, he passed away due to cardiac angiosarcoma at 41.
9. Willie Garson
Willie Garson had an impressive career with hundreds of appearances on TV and in motion pictures, but he was best known as Stanford Blatch, Carrie Bradshaw’s friend in Sex and the City and its sequels. He also featured in many big hits such as White Collar, NYPD Blue, Hawaii Five-0, and Supergirl. The 57-year-old actor passed away due to pancreatic cancer. He died on Sept. 21.
10. Stephen Sondheim
Source: Getty Images
If you’re a fan of Broadway, chances are you have heard of Stephen Sondheim. He is a legend in the Broadway world. Some of Sondheim’s most well-known works include Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, West Side Story, and Gypsy. He received nine Tony Awards, an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom throughout his career. Sondheim passed away peacefully at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, on Nov. 26, at the age of 91.
11. Mary Wilson
Source: Publicity Picture
Mary Wilson is a founding member of The Supremes and one of the most iconic singers in music history. Her name was known through hit songs such as Baby Love and Stop, In the Name of Love. She and her band played a big role in Motown Records’ success, and in changing the music industry.
On Feb. 8, Wilson passed away at her home in Las Vegas. She was 76 years old.
12. Jessica Walter
Source: 20th Television
Jessica Walter’s career lasted six decades, and she charmed her way into our hearts. Her best performance was Lucille Bluth in the television show Arrested Development. She also played Malory Archer in the Archer series. Her talent brought her an Emmy. Jessica Walter passed away on Mar. 24 at the age of 80.