2020 celebrity deaths: The saddest and most shocking ones so far
Every passing year induces a sense of sad nostalgia when we’re forced to read about the deaths of celebrities that have been an integral part of our lives. 2020 was no exception, and with a handful of months to go, we have lost scores of stars who have become household names.
Here are a few of the saddest and most shocking celebrity deaths so far – if you don’t recognize their names, you’ll surely remember their faces.
Grant Imahara (July 13)
Grant Imahara is best remembered for starring in the Mythbusters TV series, as well as his work behind the scenes as a visual effects artist and engineer for Lucasfilms. His creative genius was part of many popular films – from Star Wars and The Lost World: Jurassic Park to the Matrix.
Although you may not have realized you were watching one of Imahara’s creations, his work touched the lives and imaginations of many. Grant died unexpectedly and tragically at age forty-nine after suffering a brain aneurysm.
Naya Rivera (July 13)
Remembered for starring as cheerleader Santana Lopez on the hit TV show Glee, Naya Rivera was a kind-hearted and much beloved actress. She also made appearances on fan-favorite shows Baywatch and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Rivera was reported missing on July 8 on a lake in California, when her four-year old son Josey was found asleep in the boat alone. Authorities searched the lake in a tireless effort, finding Rivera’s remains on July 13. They speculated that Rivera died in an accidental drowning after using the last of her strength to save her son.
Kelly Preston (July 12)
Beloved actress Kelly Preston succumbed to her multi-year battle with breast cancer this summer at the unfortunate age of fifty-seven. Known was known for her roles in many of the cheesy 80s and 90s films we came to adore – Twins, Jerry Maguire, and What a Girl Wants to name a few.
Preston’s last film appearance was beside her husband John Travolta in 2018’s Gotti. She also leaves behind her daughter Ella and young son Benjamin.
Carl Reiner (June 29)
At the ripe age of ninety-eight, Carl Reiner would admit himself that he didn’t have long to go – but that didn’t make the announcement of his death any less sad for fans who have seen Reiner in over six decades of comedy, movies and TV.
Reiner’s accolades included nine Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and the Mark Twain Prize for Humor. Best friends with other comedy legend Mel Brooks, one of Reiner’s last appearances was an interview describing how he and Mel would keep each other company by watching TV together remotely via webcam; He died of natural causes.
Jerry Stiller (May 11)
Another dead of natural causes at age ninety-two, fans were shocked to hear about the sudden passing of Jerry Stiller, the hilarious comedy TV legend and father of Ben Stiller.
Probably best known for his roles as a passionate, screaming, and hilarious TV dad in Seinfeld and The King of Queens, Jerry Stiller – like Betty White – seemed to stand still in time with as much energy and charisma as he had in the 80s.
Irrfan Khan (April 29)
Irrfan Khan was a prolific Bollywood actor whose career led him to find success in both American and British film industries. You’ll likely recognize him from his roles in blockbuster films like Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, and Jurassic World.
Sadly, Khan succumbed to his lengthy battle with cancer, and the actor died in hospital in India at age fifty-three – it’s undoubted he still had many successful film years ahead of him.
Logan Williams (April 2)
The sudden death of Logan Williams was certainly one of the more shocking of 2020. The Canadian actor who portrayed a young Barry Allen on the CW’s The Flash TV series died from a reported drug overdose at the age of sixteen.
Fans of The Flash may also remember Williams from his appearances on Supernatural or The Whispers, and his role as Miles Montgomery in When Calls the Heart.
Lexii Alijai (January 1)
Alexis Lynch, better known by her stage name Lexii Alijai, may not have been a nationwide star – yet. That’s only because the young female rapper was still on the rise, putting out viral remixes of songs by Drake and Nas.
Alijai was found dead in her Minneapolis hotel room at the age of twenty-one, and we have no doubt that with viral content on the rise, she still had a lot to offer the music industry.
Mary Pat Gleason (June 2)
Mary Pat Glesson may not be a household name, but chances are slim you’ve never see her face.This character actress stacked up an impressive number of credits, appearing in a wide number of popular shows – Saved by the Bell, Desperate Housewives, Will & Grace, and Sex and the City to name only a few.
Her most recent string of success came in a recurring role on CBS’s Mom. Sadly Gleeson died this year from her battle with uterine cancer at the age of seventy.
Nick Cordero (June 8)
Nick Cordero rose to fame on Broadway, where the Tony Award-nominated actor had starring roles in productions like Waitress, Rock of Ages, and Bullets Over Broadway.
Cordero spent his final months in and out of consciousness, in critical hospital care on ventilators, and even having his right leg amputated all due to complications from COVID-19. His final days were saturated with somber, heartfelt social media posts from his wife Amanda Kloots. He finally passed at the age of forty-one.
Kobe Bryant (January 26)
To say basketball legend Kobe Bryant will be missed is the understatement of the year. Spending twenty years in the NBA and winning five NBA Championships, Bryant was one of the greatest to ever play the game. He was also a legend off the court, making guest appearances in films and working as a notable philanthropist.
Tragically, Bryant died at the age of forty-one, along with his young daughter Gianna and several other passengers in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles hills. The group were on their way to participate in a youth basketball tournament.
With the loss of so many bright stars this year, it’s impossible to include them all. These were the only few of the celebrity deaths that made a big impact on us for the careers and contributions they left behind. Here’s hoping the rest of 2020 brings us some less saddening news.