Swayze was the son of a dance instructor and an engineering drafter and one of five children. He engaged in a number of artistic pursuits starting in childhood, including dance, ice skating, acting, and gymnastics. He made his film debut as Ace in Skatetown, U.S.A. Eight years later, after considerable movie and television work, including choreography for Grandview, U.S.A. (1984), he received a Golden Globe nomination for his role as dance instructor Johnny Castle in the smash hit Dirty Dancing. He received a second nomination for his portrayal of the ghost Sam Wheat in another box office champion, Ghost. He was a solidly established box office star throughout the nineties. In January 2008, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought the illness for well over a year and was able to continue working.
Born Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett, she is best known for her role as Jill Munroe from the television series Charlie's Angels. She made a major comeback when she starred in the searing story of a battered wife in The Burning Bed, based on a true story. Farrah was diagnosed with anal cancer After going through countless treatments, her health deteriorated rapidly, and she passed away on June 25, 2009, aged 62.
Dom DeLuise (August 1, 1933 - May 4, 2009)
Born Dominick DeLuise, he graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts and attended Tufts University. He began acting in the late 1950s and became a fixture in films, television and plays, often working on comedies with Mel Brooks and Burt Reynolds. Suffering from various physical ailments in later years, some of which were exacerbated by his chronic obesity and diabetes, Dom's health declined, and he died in 2009 at age 75.
Bea Arthur had a stage and television career that covered more than 60 years, she earned both Tony and Emmy Awards. Born Bernice Frankel (she took her stage name from a brief marriage), she was raised in New York City, moved with her family to Maryland at 11, and received a degree in medical technology from Blackstone College in Virginia. Returning to New York, she enrolled in a drama course at the New School, and began her show business career at the Cherry Lane Theatre, off-Broadway. Arthur broke into television with the Kraft Television Thratre, which ran from 1951 to 1958, and the early Studio One (1951 to 1953). She starred in a the sitcom The Golden Girls. Bea died of Cancer at the age of 86.
Born Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino in Mexico City, Mexico the son of Spanish immigrants Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán. He and his brother moved to America as a high school students, attending Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. He starred in the hit TV show Fantasy Island in 1978, and it ran for six seasons. He died of congestive heart failure in 2009 at the age of 88.
Best known for his work in the 1970's television series Kung Fu and more recently in the movie Kill Bill. Eldest son of legendary character actor John Carradine. He appeared in more than 100 feature films and was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award. He was found dead from accidental asphyxiation at the age of 72 in Bangkok, Thailand.
A versatile performer mainly in supporting roles, he appeared in nearly one hundred motion pictures, television programs and theatre productions since the late 1930's. He was born Mladen George Sekulovich to Yugoslavian parents and raised in Gary, Indiana. He has shown himself to be a consummate performer, whether tackling roles that had to be delivered with great moral weight or those requiring none whatsoever, like that of Father Corrigan in On the Waterfront or the Southern lecher Archie Lee in Baby Doll. Karl died of natural causes, he was 97.
He is best remembered for his film appearances in the 1954 science fiction classic Them, and as Admiral William F. Halsey in the 1970 motion Picture Tora, Tora, Tora. A graduate of Yale University, he was a member of its exclusive Skull and Bones secret society. Following college he served in World War II as a member of the United States Marine Corps. He died of lung cancer at the age of 88.
In a career that spanned over six decades, he was a memorable character peformer in motion pictures, television and theatre. Born Martin Patterson Hingle in Denver, Colorado, he was educated at the University of Texas and served in the United States Navy during World War II. Hingle has played Commissioner Gordon in the Batman movies. He died of blood cancer at the age of 84.
Natasha Richardson (May 11, 1963 - March 18, 2009)
Natasha Richardson (May 11, 1963 - March 18, 2009)
She is best remembered for her role of Sally Bowles in the Broadway musical Cabaret and as Elizabeth James in the movie The Parent Trap. A member of the acting Redgrave family, she was born Natasha Jane Richardson, the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director/producer Tony Richardson, and niece of actress Lynn Redgrave and actor Colin Redgrave. On March 16, 2009, she fell while taking a skiing lesson at the Mount Tremblant Resort in Quebec, Canada. Initially, she appeared fine, but within several hours she complained of a massive headache, and was taken to a local hospital. Her condition was quickly diagnosed and she was immediately transferred to a hospital in nearby Montreal, admitted about seven hours after the injury. The next day, she was flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where she died on March 18, due to an epidural hematoma (blood vessel rupture in the head due to blunt force trauma). Her death has been ruled an accident. She left behind husband Liam Neeson and two children. She was 45.
Brenda Joyce (February 25, 1917 - July 4, 2009)
Brenda Joyce (February 25, 1917 - July 4, 2009)
She appeared in more than twenty feature films from 1939 until 1949 and is best remembered for her role as Jane in the Tarzan film series appearing opposite Johnny Weissmuller and Lex Barker. Born Betty Graffina Leabo, she attended UCLA. She died of natural causes at the age of 92.
Known primarily for comedy, his nearly 50 year career will probably be best remembered for the nonsense verse he deadpanned on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Born James Bateman, he was raised in Philadelphia, and started acting from around age eight. After earning his degree from Catholic University of America in 1957, he served as a US Air Force Intelligence officer (in France), then formed a comedy duo with his college friend Jon Voight. He died of cancer just shy of his 74th birthday.
Actor & Director. He achieved international stardom during the 1960s for his role of John Drake in Danger Man (also known as Secret Agent) and as Number Six in the classic cult series The Prisoner. He was born Patrick Joseph McGoohan in Astoria, New York. As a child, he moved with his family to Ireland and later England. He was educated at Ratcliffe College and later worked at numerous jobs. He died in Santa Monica, California at the age of 80.
John Hughes (February 18, 1950 - August 6, 2009)
Motion Picture Director, Screenwriter, Producer. He is best known for the 1980's comedy and teenager films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He wrote the screenplay for the popular 1990 film Home Alone. Raised in Chicago, Hughes was an advertising copywriter and later joke writer for Chicago-area comedians. A stint as editor of National Lampoon Magazine would lead to his Hollywood career. His big screen writing credits include Mr. Mom, National Lampoon's Vacation, Pretty in Pink, Uncle Buck, Dutch and Beethoven. He died of a heart attack at the age of 59.
Actress and Singer. She will probably be best remembered for the 1950s television series My Little Margie. Born Josephine Cottle, she was raised in Texas and was active in local and school theater. In 1939, she was encouraged by her teachers to enter the CBS-sponsored Gateway to Hollywood contest, in which she won an RKO contract, and the name "Gale Storm". She died of natural causes at the age of 87.
He was a veteran performer, best known for his role as Detective Adam Flint in the TV series Naked City, which he was twice nominated for an Emmy Award. He began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse at age 19 and landed his first leading role as Dr. Noah McCann in NBC's live television series Noah's Ark in 1957. Spending much of his career on television, he appeared in numerous shows to include The Lone Ranger and Dragnet. He died of leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 83.
Mollie Sugden (July 21, 1922 - July 1, 2009)
Actress best remembered as Mrs. Slocombe on the British comedy Are You Being Served? Mollie Sugden was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire. She attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her first television role came in 1962 with the series Hugh and I, which ran for four season. She died of natural causes just shy of her 87th birthday.
Cinematographer, Film Pioneer. In 1953, with partner Robert Gottschalk, he developed the wide-screen projection 65mm lenses for showing CinemaScope films in theaters and founded Panavision Inc. For his innovated contribution, he received the Scientific and Engineering technical Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1960. After leaving Panavision, Moore had a career as a Hollywood cinematographer, with credits including The Wild Angels, The Scalphunters, Winning, and The Reivers, He died of natural causes at the age of 83.
Television Pitchman. He was notable for the products he advertised such as OxiClean, Orange Glo, and Mighty Putty. He died of heart disease just shy of his 51st birthday.
Born John William Saunders III, he made acting debut in 1968 on an episode of Bonanza. Hs hulking build and unsubtle facial features typed him in villainous roles, sometimes for comic effect. He is probably best remembered as Cholla, the bumbling leader of a motorcycle gang in the Clint Eastwood vehicles Every Which Way But Loose. He died of natural causes at the age of 71.
Ron Silver (July 2, 1946 - March 15, 2009)
Actor, director, producer, and political activist. Born Ronald Arthur Silver , he was raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, graduating from Stuyvesant High School. He then went to the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he graduated with a BA in Spanish and Chinese. Silver began his acting career with a small role in Tunnel Vision. For the next two years, he played the role of Gary Levy, Rhoda's downstairs neighbor, in the television sitcom, Rhoda. He died of esophageal cancer at the age of 62.
Comedy Screenwriter, Producer. Born Larry Simon Gelbart, he is best known for developing the landmark TV series M*A*S*H. He began his career in the 1940s, writing for radio shows starring Eddie Cantor, Joan Davis, Jack Paar, Jack Carson and Bob Hope. He earned an Acadamy Award nomination for Tootsie. He died of cancer at the age of 81.
Born Cheryl Lynn Phelps. Her film credits include A Summer Place, Life With Archie, and The Flintstones In Viva Las Vegas. Although she had many credits to her name, it would be her roles as one of the mouseketeers in the original Mickey Mouse Club from 1956 to 1959, and that of Julie Foster on the classic television series, Leave It To Beaver from 1959 to 1963, that audiences would most remember her for. She passed away from lung cancer in Santa Monica, at the age of 64.
Model and Actress. Initially a model who appeared on Ivory Snow boxes holding a baby, she moved into acting and appeared in primarily pornographic films. She had also been a 2004 vice-presidential candidate on the Personal Choice Party ticket. Of the 34 films in which she appeared, she is best remembered for her role in the 1972 film Behind the Green Door. She died of a stroke ten days before her 57th birthday.
He was a versatile character performer, best remembered for his role as Dean Rutherford on the television series The Paper Chase. He began his career in the 1940s in musicals on Broadway and voiced parts on classic radio shows such as The Green Hornet and The Shadow. He died of natural causes at the age of 93.
He is best known for his role as Detective Sergeant Ed Brown on the television series Ironside. He began his career during the early 1960s in the soap opera The Secret Storm and became a regular presence on the small screen into the 1990s. He died at the age of 71 due to complications from a stroke.
Wendy Richard (July 20, 1943 - February 26, 2009)
She played the often-troubled Pauline Fowler in the long-running BBC soap opera EastEnders. Born Wendy Emerton, she was raised in London from an early age. Educated at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Hertfordshire, she decided on a theatre career by age 14. She had a cameo in the Beatles movie Help. She died from breast cancer which she fought for 13 years. She was 66.
He appeared in more than one hundred motion pictures beginning as a child during the silent film era. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, he moved with his parents to California at the age of four and was brought to the attention of Cecil B. De Mille who put him under contract. He made his big screen debut in the picture Daredevil Jack and appeared in a series of films throughout the 1920's under the name "Junior" Coghlan. He played the part of James Cagney's character as a youth in the 1931 picture Public Enemy. He would make the transition from child to adult actor and appear in a string of roles ranging from minor to moderate in such films as The Little Red Schoolhouse, Charlie Chan at the Race Track, Gone with the Wind and The Adventures of Captain Marvel. He died of natural causes at the age of 93.
He appeared in the TV series Lost in Space playing the Robinson family's loyal robot. Although he did not provide the robot's distinctive voice (announcer Dick Tufeld did), he developed a following of fans who sought him out at memorabilia shows. He also appeared in numerous films and TV shows such as The Time Tunnel, McHale's Navy and The Red Skelton Show. He died of congestive heart failure at the age of 69.
A gifted comedian, he is best known for his impersonations of such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Jack Nicholson and many others. He began his professional career performing on the Las Vegas stage during the early 1970's. He died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 66.
Phil Carey (July 15, 1925 - February 6, 2009)
Born Eugene Joseph Carey, he was best known for his longtime role as business tycoon Asa Buchanan in the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, beginning in 1980 and ending with his character's death in August 2007. During his acting career he appeared in 46 movies and had numerous television appearances. He died of lung cancer at the age of 83.
He was the son of Frances Dee and Joel McCrea, both famous Hollywood actors. He starred with his father in the TV Western series Wichita Town in 1959. McCrea retired from acting in 1970 to become a rancher in New Mexico. He died in Roswell, N.M., at the age of 74 after suffering a heart attack.
Born Edward Leo Peter McMahon, Jr. He was raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. He joined The Tonight Show in 1962, and for more than 30 years, McMahon introduced each night's episode with a drawn-out "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" and served as the on air sounding board for Carson's jokes. For many years he co-hosted the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He died at the UCLA Medical Center after treatment for pneumonia and other health problems, he was 85.