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Beloved Boomer Celebs Who Died This Year

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Gone But Not Forgotten

Age is all a matter of perspective, with many fans shocked at celebrity deaths no matter how old the star is. But baby boomers, those born 1946-1964, seem to take losing one of their own particularly hard, including those featured in this roundup.


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Christine McVie
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Christine McVie

Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie died Nov. 30 after a brief illness, her family reported on her Instagram account. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was 79. She, along with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, was the voice of the band and sang a soulful lead on more of the band's hits than anyone else. They include "Everywhere" and "You Make Loving Fun," which was reportedly about an affair she had with the band's lighting director. "There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie," a statement posted on the Fleetwood Mac Twitter account said. "She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life."


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Clarence Gilyard
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Clarence Gilyard

Clarence Gilyard lit up the silver screen with his roles in "Die Hard" and "Top Gun" and TV screens with "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Matlock." In 2006, Gilyard stepped away from his acting career and began teaching in the film department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he also directed productions for the university's theater. His Nov. 28 death was announced by the university in an Instagram post. “His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him,” Dean Nancy Uscher said. “He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely well-known in the university through his dedication to teaching and his professional accomplishments.”


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Irene Cara
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Irene Cara

Oscar and Grammy-winning Irene Cara died unexpectedly Nov. 25 at age 63 in her Florida home, though the cause of death wasn’t revealed. The ‘80s pop star was best known for the theme songs of "Flashdance" and "Fame," but she was also an actress who starred alongside the likes of Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, and Mr. T.

Leslie Jordan
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Leslie Jordan

Veteran actor and comedian Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace,” “Call Me Kat”) was also a noted writer and singer, and in most recent years, a social media sensation thanks to his popular Instagram posts. It was a shock when, on Oct. 24, the Tennessee native known for his Southern accent and sassy delivery was killed at age 67 in a car crash after reportedly suffering a medical episode.

Ray Liotta
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Ray Liotta

Forever associated with his role in “Goodfellas,” actor and film producer Ray Liotta died at age 67 on May 26. The New Jersey native also famed for his turn in “Field of Dreams” was in the Dominican Republic filming a new movie, “Dangerous Waters,” at the time when he died in his sleep.

Olivia Newton-John
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Olivia Newton-John

Forever known as Sandy from the blockbuster musical film “Grease,” the Australia-raised singer and actress Olivia Newton-John was a country and pop star who went on to become a worldwide pop-culture star. She also was candid with her fans, sharing her life’s tragedies, including her repeated cancer fights, this last one taking her life at age 73 on Aug. 8.


Coolio
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Coolio

Rapper Coolio achieved worldwide fame with his music, including the seminal “Gangsta’s Paradise” in 1995, boosted by its appearance in the hit movie “Dangerous Minds.” He’d also gain further recognition thanks to his “Rollin’ With My Homies” appearing in “Clueless.” Considered an icon of West Coast hip hop, the artist born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. died Sept. 28 at age 59. The cause was a heart attack.

Bob Saget
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Bob Saget

The shocking death of Bob Saget, the edgy comic who rocketed to fame as the good-hearted patriarch Danny Tanner on the sitcom “Full House” (reprising the role on “Fuller House,”) took many by surprise. Saget had a career filled with contrasts — he offered a decidedly “adults-only” brand of stand-up comedy but also hosted the wholesome “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” While on a comedy tour earlier this year, the 65-year-old Saget was found dead Jan. 9 in his hotel room and was determined to have suffered accidental head trauma.

Andy Fletcher
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Andy Fletcher

Many boomers on the younger side of the spectrum were gutted to hear of the May 26 death of Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher. The 60-year-old was the original keyboardist and a founding member of the iconic New Wave/synth-pop band best known for songs including “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Personal Jesus.” Bandmates would later say that Fletch died from a heart-related condition called aortic dissection.

Robbie Coltrane
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Robbie Coltrane

The “Harry Potter” juggernaut isn't to be ignored. No matter how many roles an actor has, he or she is always associated with the franchise. It was the same for the veteran Scottish actor and comic Robbie Coltrane. Coltrane, known for portraying Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” films, died at age 72 on Oct. 14, reportedly from multiple organ failure.

Ivana Trump
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Ivana Trump

Socialite, entrepreneur, former model and competitive skier, fashion designer, and first wife of former President Donald Trump, Ivana Trump died July 14 at age 73. It was determined that she died in an accident at home, suffering injuries consistent with a fall on the stairs.


Naomi Judd
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Naomi Judd

Legendary country singer Naomi Judd, who rose to worldwide fame with her daughter Wynonna as The Judds, died April 30 at age 76, just days before she was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. At the time, the family said that Judd was lost to the disease of mental illness. Appearing on “Good Morning America” with Diane Sawyer less than two weeks later, Judd’s other daughter, actress and activist Ashley Judd, confirmed Naomi Judd's cause of death.

Gilbert Gottfried
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Gilbert Gottfried

The veteran comedian with a distinctive voice and an edgy approach that earned him fans and detractors alike, Gilbert Gottfried was part of the Hollywood fabric for decades. Branching out into acting (and later, podcasting) he was memorably cast as the parrot Iago in Disney’s “Aladdin.”  Gottfried died April 12 at age 67, after a long, heart-related illness.


William Hurt
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William Hurt

From “Body Heat” to “The Big Chill” to “Kiss of the Spider Woman” to “Broadcast News,” movies in which William Hurt played the leading man were many. The Academy Award-winning actor died March 13 at age 71 from complications from prostate cancer.

Louie Anderson
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Louie Anderson

The veteran stand-up comic, actor and game show host Louie Anderson had a wide-ranging career, perhaps most notably earning an Emmy Award for his unexpected role as the matriarch on the TV show “Baskets.” He Jan. 21 death at age 68 was caused by complications from cancer.


Meat Loaf
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Meat Loaf

The force behind the rock opera “Bat Out of Hell,” Meat Loaf — the famed Grammy Award-winning singer and actor born Marvin Lee Aday (who later changed his first name to Michael) — died Jan. 20 at age 74. No official cause of death was revealed, though TMZ reported he died from complications of COVID-19.

Ivan Reitman
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Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman was a Hollywood heavy hitter, a Czechoslovakia-born producer and director whose association with films ranged from “Animal House” to “Meatballs,” “Stripes” to perhaps most famously, the original “Ghostbusters.” His family told The Associated Press that Reitman died Feb. 12 in his sleep at age 75.


Denise Dowse
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Denise Dowse

Boomers might not readily know the name Denise Dowse, but any fan of “Beverly Hills, 90210” would find it hard to forget the character she played on the iconic series. The onetime Mrs. Teasley would go on to continue acting (“The Guardian,” “Insecure”) and directing until her Aug. 13 death at 64. She had contracted meningitis and fallen into a coma from which she wouldn't recover.

Gary Brooker
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Gary Brooker

Frontman of the iconic 1960s group Procul Harum, Gary Brooker was the co-writer and voice of the band’s most famous song, the worldwide hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The band would continue for decades. Brooker died from cancer at age 76 on Feb. 19.

André Leon Talley
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André Leon Talley

Vibrant, opinionated, talented – and yes, larger than life – André Leon Talley was a force in the world of fashion, a writer, editor and groundbreaking personality who lived a life many could only imagine. He got his start working with the iconic Diana Vreeland and would go on to be long associated with Vogue, and its polarizing editor, Anna Wintour. After years of failing health, he died at 73 on Jan. 18 from a heart attack and complications of COVID-19.

Morgan Stevens
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Morgan Stevens

Some actors become forever associated with particular roles. In the case of Morgan Stevens it was his turn in “Fame,” as teacher Mr. Reardon, that put him on the map. He’d also appear in “Melrose Place” and “A Year in the Life,” as well as TV shows in guest roles. He died Jan. 26 at age 70. People magazine revealed his death of natural causes from arteriosclerosis cardiovascular disease.

Judy Tenuta
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Judy Tenuta

The 1980s comic Judy Tenuta – she of the brash persona and ever-present accordion – was known for paving the way for female comics in the male-oriented field with her quirky act. She died at age 72 on Oct. 6 from ovarian cancer.

Peter Robbins
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Peter Robbins

Though he had, perhaps, zero name recognition, Peter Robbins’ iconic voice was beloved by generations of children. That’s because he was the actor who first voiced the “Peanuts” cartoon character Charlie Brown. According to NPR, Robbins would go on to struggle with addiction and bipolar disorder and took his own life Jan. 18 at age 65.