A year of mourning: All the tragic celebrity deaths of 2020
While most of us are more than ready to say goodbye to 2020, there are some goodbyes that just aren’t as easy.
In a year highlighted by the coronavirus, nationwide lockdowns, a Presidential election, and wildfires across the globe, we’ve also had to deal with the passing of many revered celebrities.
We lost a King, a five-time NBA champion, a cherished judge, a family game show host, a rock legend, and many, many more.
Born on November 29th, 1976, in Anderson, SC, American actor Chadwick Boseman scored his first major role on Persons Unknown as a series regular, having previously studied directing at Howard University. Boseman first earned major recognition for portraying sport’s icon, Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42, and a music icon, James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.
Boseman would go on to helm the Wakandian crown in the role of King T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther, playing the titular character for four Marvel Cinematic Universe films including two Avengers films.
In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, an illness that he hid from the public eye until his tragic passing on August 28th, 2020, due to complications related to cancer.
F*** cancer. Boseman forever.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)
Born on March 15th, 1933, RBG served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 to her passing on September 18th, 2020.
Ginsburg’s list of accomplishments is nearly endless, having fought over the course of her lifetime against gender discrimination, even co-founding the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union in 1973, eventually becoming the project’s general counsel.
Ginsberg passed from complications due to metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.
Canadian-American game show host Alex Trebek was the legendary face behind TV’s Jeopardy!, a game show he hosted for thirty-seven seasons.
Trebek, born in 1940, in Greater Sudbury, Canada, began hosting the television program upon its revival in 1984, all the way up until his passing on November 8th, 2020, at the age of 80.
Trebek was known for his calm and relaxing demeanor, paired with his endless knowledge and quick wit. Nearly three generations of Jeopardy! viewers got to take in the talents of this iconic host, leaving behind shoes that will take more than a correct “daily double” to fill.
“The Black Mamba”, born on August 23rd, 1978, in Philadelphia, PA, was an NBA basketball legend, playing the position of shooting-guard. aBryant was a natural-born leader for the entirety of his 20-year professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe Bryant would go on to assert himself as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, earning five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, fifteen all-star game appearances, and even an Academy Award for his work on the animated short, Dear Basketball.
On January 26, 2020, Bryant and his thirteen-year-old daughter Gigi were part of a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA, which also claimed the lives of seven others.
Eddie Van Halen
American musician and songwriter Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on January 26th, 1955. In his lifetime, Van Halen co-founded the legendary rock band, called Van Halen, in 1972 with his brother, Alex. The band is responsible for many hit songs, including “Jump”, “Hot for Teacher”, and “Panama”.
After enduring a life filled with health-related complications due to a variety of drug and alcohol issues, Van Halen was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer, claiming his life a few years later on October 6th, 2020.
While Eddie may be gone, his music and legacy will live on forever.
Sir Sean Connery was born on August 25th, 1930, in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, UK. The Scottish actor lived to create one of the most impressive IMBD pages in Hollywood history, kicking it all off with his run as the titular character James Bond in which he helmed the black tux and pistol seven different times, from 1962 to 1983.
Other noteworthy performances include the roles of Henry Jones Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, John Mason in The Rock, King Arthur in First Knight, Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October, and Jim Malone in The Untouchables.
Connery retired from acting in 2003 to enjoy the remaining years of his life, eventually passing from complications of pneumonia and heart failure on October 31st, 2020 at the age of 90.
John Robert Lewis was born on February 21, 1940, in Alabama. Lewis was an American statesman as well as civil rights leader who would go on to serve in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s fifth congressional district, starting from 1987 all the way up to his passing on July 17th, 2020.
John Lewis was awarded more than fifty honorary degrees in his lifetime. He is perhaps most recognized for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as well as leading the police-halted march that took place in Selma, Alabama in 1965.
More talent lost
Other noteworthy celebrity passings in 2020 include former NBA Commissioner David Stern, Spartacus actor Kirk Douglas, James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio, actor/comedian Jerry Stiller, Broadway actor Nick Cordero, actress Kelly Preston, actress Naya Rivera, Rev. C.T. Vivian, talk show host Regis Philbin, politician Herman Cain, and many, many others.
Many in the field of music have also left us, including Kenny Rogers, Bill Withers, Roy Horn of Vegas’ ‘Siegfried & Roy’, Little Richard, Charlie Daniels, and composer Ennio Morricone.
2020 was/is a rough year, and while there may be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, remember to recognize the lights that were sadly blown out behind us. Rest in peace, power, and love to all who’ve lost their lives in 2020.