Skip to content

Year in review - In Memoriam 2021

Some of the entertainers, innovators, news makers and people of note the world lost in 2021
2021-12-31 Betty White Barack Obama
President Barack Obama meets with Betty White during an Oval Office drop by, June 11, 2012.

Now that the year is finally done, we at Village Media would like to take pause and remember those the world lost in 2021.

Here are just some of the entertainers, innovators, news makers, and people of note that left us this year (in no particular order):

Betty White - actress and comedian whose career spanned seven decades. She was the first woman to produce a sitcom (Life with Elizabeth), which contributed to her being named honorary Mayor of Hollywood in 1955. She is beloved for her roles in The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She died just shy of her 100th birthday.

Shock G (AKA Humpty Hump) - rapper best known as the lead vocalist of the hip hop group Digital Underground and the hit single The Humpty Dance. He's also responsible for 2Pac's breakthrough single I Get Around, and was co-producer of 2Pac's debut album 2Pacalypse Now.

Jean-Marc Vallee - Canadian filmmaker whose credits include The Young Victoria, Dallas Buyers Club, and the TV drama series Big Little Lies.

Larry King - radio and television broadcaster who hosted more than 50,000 interviews. His career spanned six decades. King was awarded the Peabody Award in 1982, won 10 Cable Ace Awards and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.

Cicely Tyson - actress whose career spanned more than seven decades. Throughout her career, she received three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Tony Award, an honorary Academy Award, and a Peabody Award. Credits include Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Help, and House of Cards.

Gerry Marsden - leader and founding member of Gerry and the Pacemakers

Christopher Plummer - film, television and stage actor. Throughout a career that spanned more than seven decades, Plummer received various awards for his work, including an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a British Academy Film Award. He is one of the few performers to have received the Triple Crown of Acting, and the only Canadian. His numerous credits include The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King, Somewhere in Time, 12 Monkeys, National Treasure, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Remember, and Knives Out.

Siegfried Fischbacher - magician and entertainer who was one half of Siegfried and Roy.

Cloris Leachman - actress and comedienne whose career ran from 1942 through to 2021. Her credits include The Last Picture Show, Young Frankenstein, History of the World: Part I, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Raising Hope.

Michael Apted - director and producer whose credits include Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, Nell, and The World Is Not Enough.

Barbara Shelley - actress best known for appearing in horror films, including Village of the Damned, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and Rasputin: the Mad Monk.

Phil Spector - record producer who died in prison after he was convicted in the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson. The musicians from his de facto house band, later known as The Wrecking Crew, rose to industry fame through his hit records. He produced material for The Beatles, The Crystals, Darlene Love, Ike and Tina Turner, The Ramones, Leonard Cohen, The Righteous Brothers, and many others.

Johnny Briggs - actor best remembered as Mike Baldwin on Coronation Street.

Dustin Diamond - actor best remembered as Samuel "Screech" Powers on Saved By the Bell.

Rush Limbaugh - radio personality and political commentator, known for controversial views regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental science, the citizenship of former President Barack Obama, feminism, race, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Larry Flynt - founder of Hustler magazine who fought numerous high-profile battles involving the First Amendment. He was paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained in a 1978 assassination attempt by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.  

Stephen Sondheim - musical theatre composer and lyricist, famous for his work on West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Follies, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Merrily We Roll Along, and Into the Woods. His many accolades include eight Tony Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2008), an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mary Wilson - singer and original member of The Supremes.

Chick Corea - jazz musician who began his career as a member of Miles Davis's band in the 1960s.

Hank Aaron - professional baseball player widely regarded as one of the best to ever play the game. He played 23 seasons in MLB. His 755 career home runs broke the long-standing MLB record set by Babe Ruth and stood as the most for 33 years.

Murray Walker - English Formula One television commentator from 1976 to 2001.

Yaphet Kotto - actor whose credits include Homicide: Life on the Street, Alien, The Running Man, Live and Let Die, and Midnight Run.

Bunny Wailer - Grammy Award-winning reggae musician and founding member of The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Jessica Walter - actress best remembered as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development and as the voice of Malory Archer on the animated series Archer. Other credits include Play Misty for Me, Love American Style, The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, and Saving Grace.

George Segal - actor whose credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Touch of Class, Look Who's Talking, Just Shoot Me, and The Goldbergs.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh - husband of Queen Elizabeth II and was the consort of the British monarch from Elizabeth's accession on Feb. 6, 1952 until his death, making him the longest-serving royal consort in history.

Helen McCrory - British actress most recently remembered for portraying Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders. Other credits include Hugo, Fearless, Skyfall, The Count of Monte Cristo, Penny Dreadful, and as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series.

DMX - rapper who was the first artist to debut an album at No. 1 five times in a row on the Billboard 200 charts. He sold over 74 million records worldwide throughout his career.

Les McKeown - Scottish musician and lead singer of The Bay City Rollers.

Jim Steinman - record producer whose credits include Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell, Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Celine Dion's cover of It's All Coming Back to Me Now.

Charles Grodin - award-winning actor and comedian who began his career in 1954. His credits include Catch-22, Heaven Can Wait, The Great Muppet Caper, Midnight Run, Beethoven, and While We're Young. He also mad numerous appearances on both The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman.

Eric Carle - author and illustrator best remembered for The Very Hungry Caterpillar which was translated into 66 languages.

Samuel E. Wright - actor and singer best known for voicing Sebastian in Disney's The Little Mermaid.

Gavin MacLeod - actor best remembered as Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, and Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Olympia Dukakis - actress who performed in more than 130 stage productions, more than 60 films and in 50 television series. Her credits include Moonstruck – for which she won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe – and Steel Magnolias which earned her a nomination for the American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

Ned Beatty - actor who appeared in more than 160 films. Throughout his career, Beatty gained a reputation for being described as "The busiest actor in Hollywood." His film appearances included Deliverance, All the President's Men, Network, Superman, Rudy, Shooter, and Toy Story 3.

Clarence Williams III - actor best remembered as Linc Hayes in the TV series The Mod Squad.

Dusty Hill - musician and bassist for ZZ Top whose hits include Gimme All Your Lovin, Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, and La Grange.

Richard Donner - director whose film credits include The Omen, Superman, The Goonies, Ladyhawke, Lethal Weapon, and Scrooged.

Joey Jordison - drummer and founding member of Slipknot. He was also the guitar player for Murderdolls.

Biz Markie - rapper, often referred to as 'The Clown Prince of Hip Hop', whose 1989 single Just a Friend became a Top 40 hit in numerous countries. The single was included on VH1's list of the 100 greatest hip hop songs of all time.

Charlie Watts - drummer of The Rolling Stones from 1963 until his death in 2021. At the time of his death, he along with Jagger and Richards, were the only members of the band to have performed on every one of the band's studio albums.

Sonny Chiba - Japanese actor and martial artist whose breakthrough role was in 1974's The Street Fighter. He was one of the first actors to achieve stardom through his skills in martial arts.

Ed Asner - actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild. He's best remembered for portraying Lou Grant on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same character in both a comedy and a drama.

Michael K. Williams - actor who played Omar Little on The Wire and Albert "Chalky" White on Boardwalk Empire.

Norm Macdonald - stand-up comedian and actor. He spent five seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live including the Weekend Update segment. He became a favourite guest for many late night talk show hosts, and was also a voice actor, best known for providing voice roles in Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Orville, and the Dr. Dolittle films.

Halyna Hutchins - cinematographer who was accidentally shot and killed on the set of Rust in October 2021.

James Michael Tyler - actor best remember as Gunther on the TV series Friends.

Paddy Moloney - musician and founding member of the Irish band The Chieftains.

Dean Stockwell - actor of stage and screen whose career spanned more than 70 years. His credits include Edmund Tyrone in the film version of Long Day's Journey into Night, for which he won two Best Actor Awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Dune, Paris Texas, To Live and Die in LA, Married to the Mob, and Albert "Al" Calavicci in Quantum Leap.

Michael Nesmith - musician and member of The Monkees. His songwriting credits include Different Drum, which became a hit for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu - South African Anglican bishop and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist.

Anne Rice - author best known for her series The Vampire Chronicles which includes Interview with the Vampire.

Steve Bronski - front man and founding member of Bronski Beat who scored a huge hit in the '80s with Smalltown Boy.

Drakeo the Ruler - rapper who the Los Angeles Times called "the most original West Coast stylist in decades."

Bob Dole - American politician who served 27 years in the Senate. He was the Republican presidential candidate in 1996.

Colin Powell - American politician and diplomat who became the first African-American Secretary of State in 2001 under George W. Bush.

Tommy Lasorda - professional baseball pitcher and manager. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Hal Holbrook - actor whose credits include The Fog, Creepshow, Wall Street, The Firm, Into the Wild, and Lincoln. In 2003, Holbrook was honoured with the National Humanities Medal by President George W. Bush.

John Madden - professional football coach and sportscaster who lead the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl championship in 1977. He also lent his name and commentary to a popular video game series.