In 2022, we are mourning the loss of actors, musicians, and directors—many of who were pioneers in the entertainment world and made an unforgettable impact on the industry as a whole.
The A.V. Club provides a look back at those we lost in 2022, from Bob Saget to Sidney Poitier, from Meat Loaf to Louie Anderson, from Ivan Reitman to Gaspard Ulliel, and many others.
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July 30, 1939 – January 6, 2022
Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar-nominated director of The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, and Paper Moon, died at 82. The filmmaker’s daughter Antonia Bogdanovich confirmed her father’s death to The Hollywood Reporter.
[The Last Picture Show] earned Oscars for supporting turns from Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson, made big-screen stars of showbiz scion Bridges and model Cybill Shepherd, and moved Bogdanovich to the forefront of a band of young directors whose morally complicated, formally experimental, and auteur-driven pictures re-energized a flagging American film industry. [Erik Adams]
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February 20, 1927 – January 6, 2022
Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, died on January 6. His death was confirmed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Bahamas. Poitier was one of the last living members of the Golden Age of Hollywood, a trailblazer who helped open doors for Black actors.
In addition to his historic Academy Award win, Poitier was also given an honorary Oscar at the 2001 ceremony. President Barack Obama awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In 1981, he received the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award award, and in 1999 he was awarded the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974. [Victoria Edel]
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May 17, 1956 – January 9, 2022
Bob Saget, star of Full House, host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and a veteran stand-up comic who took great glee in skewering his own family-friendly image, died on January 9. Saget was found dead in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Orlando, Florida. He was 65.
Saget spent 2o-plus years of his career bouncing between the two sides of his public persona, performing raucous stand-up shows in which he cracked crude Full House jokes one night, and then lending a voice to Casper’s Scare School the next. [William Hughes]
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August 10, 1943 – January 12, 2022
As the lead singer of pivotal ’60s girl group The Ronettes, and later an influential solo artist in her own right, Ronnie Spector spent 60 years charting her own course in the music industry, powered by a career-long “bad girl” vibe, and a voice that stayed powerful and clear across the decades. Her death was announced on her personal web site, along with a note that read, “In lieu of flowers, Ronnie requested that donations be made to your local women’s shelter or to the American Indian College Fund.” She was 78.
Ronnie Spector never broke—in voice, or spirit. The “bad girl of rock and roll” just kept singing, fueling a career marked with a combination of grace, wit, heartache, and, above it all, a voice that never stopped soaring. She, her sister, and her cousin were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007. [William Hughes]
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25 November 1984 – 19 January 2022
Gaspard Ulliel, the French actor perhaps best known to US audiences for his roles in Hannibal Rising and for his upcoming role in Disney+’s Moon Knight, died after a ski accident in France. The news was confirmed by AFP. He was 37.
During the late ’90s and early ’oos, Ulliel appeared in a slew of made-for-TV movies and began solidifying his role in the French acting world. However, he achieved international success in 2007 with Hannibal Rising, his first English-language film. Ulliel was thrice nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actor in 2002, 2003, 2004, when he won for his role in A Very Long Engagement with Audrey Tautou. In 2017, he won the César Award for Best Actor for his role in Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End Of The World. [Shanicka Anderson and Victoria Edel]
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André Leon Talley
André Leon Talley
October 16, 1948 – January 18, 2022
André Leon Talley, former Vogue creative director and pioneering fashion industry icon, died on January 18. His death was confirmed with a statement posted to his official social media accounts. He was 73.
Talley began his iconic career at Vogue first as a Fashion News Director in 1983. He then became Vogue’s first Black Creative Director in 1988, staying in the role until 1995. Though he briefly left Vogue to work at W, he returned to Vogue as an editor-at-large in 1998, where he remained until 2013. [Tatiana Tenreyro and Victoria Edel]
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February 27, 1940 – January 29, 2022
Howard Hesseman, a character actor and influential improv comedy performer best known for his role as disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati, died from complications related to colon surgery. That news was confirmed by his wife, Caroline Ducrocq, to The Hollywood Reporter. Hesseman was 81.
Hesseman appeared in Rhoda, Mannix, Sanford And Son, Soap, and The Bob Newhart Show—where he had a years-long recurring gig as Craig Plager, a member of the show’s regular therapy group. In 1978, he joined the cast of WKRP In Cincinnati as John “Dr. Johnny Fever” Caravella, whose off-beat persona played off of Hesseman’s history of hippie-type roles and actual DJ experience. [Sam Barsanti]
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September 27, 1947 – January 20, 2022
The singer and actor born Marvin Lee Aday, and better known to the worlds of both music and acting by his stage name Meat Loaf, died on January 20. The Grammy winner, who pulverized sales records with his 1977 debut album Bat Out Of Hell, and who starred in films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club, was 74.
Meat Loaf occupied a perpetually strange place in the pop culture ecosystem, with a legacy that was, frankly, marred by far more failed albums than successes. He often bemoaned, not wholly inaccurately, that he’d never really been taken seriously by anyone. And yet: When he and Steinman (and Rundgren, and Foley, and all their other collaborators across the years) hit, they did so like a freight train, propelled by a voice that could somehow make the corniest anthems and ballads ring undeniable and true. [William Hughes]
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March 24, 1953 – January 21, 2022
Louie Anderson, Emmy-winning actor and comedian died on January 21. His publicist Glenn Schwartz confirmed his death to Deadline. The actor had large B cell lymphoma, a form of cancer, and was hospitalized in Las Vegas. He was 68.
After his first TV appearance, his onscreen career really took off. In 1986, he had small roles in Quicksilver, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Ratboy, and became a regular on The New Hollywood Squares. In 1988, he got a sizable role in Coming To America.
He created the animated series Life With Louie in 1994. He won two Daytime Emmys for the show in 1997 and 1998. Anderson also had his own live-action sitcom, The Louie Show, that premiered in 1996 and became the host of Family Feud in 1999. Anderson continued to get steady work throughout his career and won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series for his role in Baskets as Christine Baskets in 2016. [Tatiana Tenreyro]
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April 8, 1942 – February 7, 2022
Douglas Trumbull, the visual effect pioneer behind some of the most groundbreaking work in motion picture history, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, died from complications with mesothelioma. His daughter Amy confirmed his death on Facebook, writing that he had a brain tumor and a stroke during a two-year struggle with cancer. He was 79.
2001 was a breakthrough not just for cinema but also for the young Trumbull. Following 2001, Trumbull took a job doing the effects for Robert Wise’s Michael Crichton adaptation, The Andromeda Strain. The film was one of the biggest box office successes of the year and earned two Academy Award nominations. It also allowed Trumbull to finance ambitious 1972 sci-fi environmentalism film Silent Running, which he directed on a shoestring budget. While Silent Running flopped, it did cement his reputation as an effects master who could turn in top-notch work on a tight budget. [Matt Schimkowitz]
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October 27, 1946 – February 12, 2022
Ivan Reitman, the comedy icon who had a hand in some of the most beloved movies of all time—Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Space Jam, and Stripes, just to name a few—died on February 12. Per the Associated Press, a statement from his children confirmed that he “died peacefully in his sleep.” No specific cause of death was given, but the statement says his death was “unexpected,” and “We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world.” Reitman was 75.
Working with his comedy buddies to produce Animal House effectively made him (and everyone else involved) a star, and he parlayed that success into opportunities to direct the goofy “Bill Murray goes to camp” movie Meatballs and the goofy “Bill Murray joins the army” movie Stripes, both of which were big hits, but they were nothing compared to Reitman’s next directing gig, a goofy “Bill Murray hunts ghosts” movie—which, obviously, is now one of the most iconic comedy films of all time. [Sam Barsanti]
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September 9, 1961 - February 14, 2022
Brenda Deiss, the actor who made her debut in Sean Baker’s Red Rocket as Lexi’s no-nonsense mom Lil, died on February 14 in Clear Lake, Texas. Her cause of death was due to complications from a stroke she had in January. Her death was confirmed to Variety by a spokesperson.
Like many of the stars in Baker’s films, Deiss didn’t have prior experience acting. Variety reports that she never moved away from Texas and had a career as a secretary. She even worked at NASA for a while.
Red Rocket was released at the end of 2021, however, Deiss never got the chance to watch the film. According to Variety, though, she told those involved in the production that she was proud of the scene in which she performs “Hallelujah Square.” The use of the song was something she suggested herself. [Tatiana Tenreyro]
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The Amazing Johnathan
The Amazing Johnathan
September 9, 1958 – February 22, 2022
John Edward Szeles, the magician and stand up comedian better known by his stage name, The Amazing Johnathan, died on February 22. His death, confirmed by his wife, fellow performer Anastasia Synn, was the result of a critical heart condition, a diagnosis he struggled with since 2007. He was 63.
Szeles’ magic was not for the faint of heart. A mix of brazen, aggressive comedy and subversive illusions, The Amazing Johnathan’s bag of tricks appealed to Vegas tourists and magic aficionados alike. His work was riotous, violent, and frenetic. With machine-gun precision, he rattled off bits, tricks, and jokes that left stages covered in faux body parts and audiences in stitches. [Matt Schimkowitz]
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November 25, 1964 – February 22, 2022
Mark Lanegan, the singer for the Screaming Trees, frequent musical collaborator, and prolific solo artist, died on February 22. News of the musician’s death came via a post on Twitter from his official account, saying Lanegan passed away at his home in Killarney, Ireland. He was 57.
Lanegan rose to fame as the singer of Seattle rock band Screaming Trees, releasing seven albums and five EPs over the course of the group’s 16-year career, before disbanding in 2000. Starting in 1990 with The Winding Sheet, Lanegan also carved out an impressive discography as a solo artist, releasing 12 albums including the most recent, 2020’s Straight Songs Of Sorrow. He also frequently collaborated with other musicians, including a recurring role in Queens Of The Stone Age, three albums’ worth of material with singer Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian, and his team-up with Greg Dulli from The Afghan Whigs, The Gutter Twins. His most recent release was a collaboration with former The Icarus Line member Joe Cardamone, called Dark Mark Vs. Skeleton Joe. [Alex McLevy]
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June 2, 1937 – February 24, 2022
Sally Kellerman, a veteran actor and musician best known for her starring role in Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, died on February 24. Kellerman was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of regulation-loving head nurse Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the 1970 film. She died in an assisted care facility in California, as reported by her son, Jack; she was 84.
Kellerman originally tried to break into the business as a singer, scoring a potential record contract with Verve when she was only 18. Instead, though, she pivoted into acting, with a notable run of TV guest star appearances throughout the late ’50s and ’60s.
But despite a few early film roles, Kellerman didn’t break out until M*A*S*H, Altman’s chaotic, sometimes meandering comedy about surgeons in the Korean War. The film’s treatment of her character is unambiguously misogynistic and cruel, but Kellerman’s haughty dignity in the part nevertheless shines through.
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September 28, 1926 – February 26, 2022
Ralph Ahn, who played Nick Miller’s elderly friend Tran in New Girl, died on February 26. He was 95. The news of his death was announced by The Korean American Federation of Los Angeles (KAFLA) on social media.
While Tran became his most recognizable character, Ahn had small roles in various other hit TV shows, including Gilmore Girls, The King Of Queens, The Golden Girls, and The Good Life. His last time onscreen was for the New Girl series finale in 2018. [Tatiana Tenreyro]
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February 2, 1963 – February 28, 2022
A veteran voice actor (often credited under the stage name Bo Williams), Kirk Baily was best remembered by live-action audiences for his role on Nickelodeon’s ’90s sitcom Salute Your Shorts, where he played angry, frequently put-upon camp counselor Kevin “Ug” Lee. Per Deadline, Baily died from lung cancer. He was 59.
Although Salute Your Shorts wasn’t Baily’s first job in the world of non-anime TV or film production—he’s got a credit as a sound coordinator on cult classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space—it was one of his most prominent, and enduring. As “Ug,” Baily created a character who was both deeply antagonistic and deeply relatable to the kids watching the show, lording his incredibly tiny amounts of power over the campers under his care. Half drill sergeant, half clown, he is, if nothing else, the reason that we’ll never forget that giraffe’s tongues are black. [William Hughes]
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March 20, 1950 — March 13, 2022
William Hurt, the authoritative actor who won an Academy Award for Kiss Of The Spider Woman and landed nominations for Children Of A Lesser God, Broadcast News, and A History Of Violence, has died. The news comes from a statement shared by his family (via Deadline), which says simply that Hurt died “peacefully, among family, of natural causes” today. No specific cause of death has been given, but he reportedly had undergone treatment for prostate cancer in 2018. Hurt was 71.
To a specific subset of movie fans these days, he is probably best known for playing General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in The Incredible Hulk, which turned into a few glorified cameos (and a new gig, as Secretary Of State in the MCU) in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Widow. Though he still had a few projects in the works, his final project released before his death was the long-delayed fantasy filmThe King’s Daughter [Sam Barsanti]
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Taylor Hawkins, who served for 25 years as the legendary drummer for rock band Foo Fighters, has died. The band released a statement, announcing his “tragic and untimely loss.” No cause of death has been revealed. Hawkins was 50.
In addition to his drumming, Hawkins was also a deeply involved member of Foo Fighters, period, sharing songwriting duties, taking on vocals, and becoming a huge part of the group’s identity throughout his long tenure with it. He is, in other words, a huge part of how the band transformed from a Grohl solo project into a cohesive and hugely influential rock band—even beyond being a man talented enough for Grohl to cede custody of the drum part on “Everlong” to him. [William Hughes]
In addition to his comedy career, Gottfried had a long and prolific run as a voice actor, famously in the Aladdin movies as the parrot Iago and as the duck in the Aflac commercials. [Tatiana Tenreyro]
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April 10, 1929 — April 15, 2022
Liz Sheridan has died. A veteran TV, film, and stage actor, Sheridan was best known for the 20 or so appearances she made on landmark TV comedy Seinfeld in the 1990s, playing Jerry Seinfeld’s well-meaning mother, Helen. (She had a similar recurring but pivotal role on the same network in the ’80s as nosy neighbor Raquel Ochmonek on ALF.)
Liz Sheridan had a long, strange, and exciting career, one that transcended the two roles she’s almost certainly best known for—which, it’s worth remembering, arrived 10 and 20 years, respectively, into even the most high-profile portions of her long body of work. As Helen Seinfeld, she embodied a very specific incarnation of the “I don’t want to be a bother” type of TV mothering, while also imbuing the role with comic timing that perfectly matched the tone of one of the most successful comedies in TV history. [William Hughes]
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January 11, 1946 — April 30, 2022
Naomi Judd has died. As the senior half—with her daughter, Wynonna—of legendary mother-daughter country duo The Judds, Judd was one of the most successful country artists of the 1980s, winning multiple Grammys, charting more than a dozen No. 1 singles, and ultimately being inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Per Variety, Judd’s death today was announced publicly by her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley. Judd was 76. [William Hughes]
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May 10, 1954 – April 29, 2022
Michael Hagerty—the veteran character actor and sketch comedian, known for his thick Chicago accent, thick Chicago mustache, and talent for bringing Midwestern charm to any number of blue-collar roles—has died. Hagerty appeared on many of the most popular TV comedies of the last four decades—Cheers, Friends, Community, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and more.
Per Variety, Hagerty’s death was announced on social media today by Bridgett Everett, whose HBO series Somebody Somewhere was Hagerty’s last major role. He was 67. [William Hughes]
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Ward, best known for roles in Tremors, The Right Stuff, and more, was born in San Diego and led a handful of different lives before breaking into acting in the ’70s. The California native lasted six months as an actor in New York before hitting the road and taking on jobs as a logger in Alaska, working construction in California, and even spending time as a boxer, where he broke his nose three times.
His role as Gus Grissom—the second American to fly into space—in the Oscar-winning true story of the U.S. Space program, The Right Stuff elevated his profile.