Home Celebrity Celebrities Who Unfortunately Passed Away In 2023

Celebrities Who Unfortunately Passed Away In 2023

Monica December 13, 2023

Celebrities have a special place in our hearts, especially ones we grow up with and come to love on screen. There’s nothing more heartwarming than watching your favorite celebrity act in your favorite movies or shows, year after year. But just like us, celebrities grow old too. It’s so heartbreaking when they pass away since it marks the end of a beautiful era. These beloved celebrities unfortunately passed away this year. We’ll remember their name and fame for the rest of our lives.


Matthew Perry

Perhaps the most heartbreaking celebrity passing of this year was Matthew Perry from Friends. He was found dead in his home in Los Angeles on October 28th at the young age of 54. You probably know him as Chandler Bing, who was a mainstay on all 10 seasons of Friends. He also starred on Studio 60 on Sunset Strip, Fools Rush In, and 17 Again. Before he passed away, he published a memoir titled Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, where he was honest about his drug and alcohol addictions and how he spent $9 million to get sober (via Newsweek). Countless celebrities and fans remembered how Perry positively impacted their lives in many heartfelt tributes after he passed.


Peter White

You likely know Peter White from his groundbreaking roles in The Boys and the Band and All My Children. After battling melanoma, he died at the age of 86 this year. He started his acting career in soaps, and in 1968 made his first big appearance. In the Soap Opera Digest of 2008, White recalled, “I started on the show around 1974. When Eileen [Herlie] came on and we all realized we were going to have our storylines together … forgive me for saying this, but that’s when soaps — [including] All My Children — were really good.” From there, his fame grew and he became an established celebrity (via People).

Rolling Stone

George “Funky” Brown

Longtime drummer Kool & the Gang co-founder George ‘Funky’ Brown died in November after battling cancer. He was age 74. Brown was able to retire nearly 60 years after forming Koll & the Gang. Unfortunately, he was addicted to prescription pills and battled depression, but found happiness whenever he performed on stage.

He’s previously said, “You know, when it was time to go on stage, it’s, OK, let’s become Kool & the Gang,” he said. “You know, that’s what we do. So when it was time to do it, we did it… Everything else goes to the side. I’m just totally honored that… producers around the world said, ‘Hey, we like this.’ I’m honored and I’m taken aback by it,” he said. “But I don’t walk around with that type of head, like, ‘Let me do some research and see who’s sampling me.’ I never thought that type of stuff was necessary till this very day. We’re artists and just trying to bring happiness to people. It’s a blessing.” He lived his life until the very end, despite his battles (via Rolling Stone).


Denny Laine

As a co-founder of The Moody Blues and Wings back in 1964, Laine passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 79. He spent two years with the band and sang his first hit “Go Now,” and went on to sing in more groups, including Paul and Linda McCartney’s post-Beatles group. Laine continued to sing as a solo artist and released his last album in 2008. He died because of Interstitial Lung Disease, an unpredictable and aggressive disease. His wife, Elizabeth Hines, wrote, “He fought every day. He was so strong and brave, never complained.”

Earlier this year, Laine was in an interview with Guitar World and said, “If Paul was on piano, I’d have a bit more freedom to find my guitar part. It was quite easy to do that with him,” he said. “You have to remember – he and I grew up with the same musical tastes. We listened to all the same bits, so we have a very similar style.” He’s remembered for his talent and wonderful sense of humor (via CNN).

Hollywood Reporter

Joss Ackland

At the advanced age of 95, Joss Ackland passed away after eight decades of television, music, theater, and film. He was mostly known for his role in Lethal Weapon 2 but had more than 130 film and TV credits that spanned numerous genres. He passed away peacefully amongst his family and friends. In a family statement, they said, “With his distinctive voice and commanding presence, Ackland brought a unique intensity and gravitas to his role. He will be remembered as one of Britain’s most talented and beloved actors.” He passed away with six children, 32 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. His legacy will live on forever (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The Hollywood Reporter

Norman Lear

Legendary television producer behind The Jeffersons and All in the Family, Normal Lear, died at age 101. He was born back in 1922 and is famous for revolutionizing sitcoms in the 1970s. This is when he spoke about many taboo topics that most people shied away from, including abortion, birth control, religion, menopause, homosexuality, and mate-swapping. Before he passed away, he said, “At close to 99, I can tell you that I’ve never lived alone, I’ve never laughed alone, and that has as much to do with my being here today as anything else I know.” His family was deeply important to him throughout his entire life (via NBC News).


Kevin Turen

This Emmy-nominated producer was known for his work on HBO’s Euphoria. He died at the young age of 44 from multiple heart issues, while driving his car in California when acute cardigan dysfunction and coronary artery atherosclerosis struck him. Turen produced Euphoria, which won the trio Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series in 2022. A close friend of Turen’s, Jay Penske, said, “Despite his many achievements in Hollywood, Kevin’s greatest passion was his family and friends. He was so proud of his children, and he and his wife, Evelina, were resolved that their children grow up with great values and ensured they make a difference in the broader world.” He was pronounced dead at the hospital (via TMZ).


Angus Cloud

Most notably known for his role as Fez in Euphoria, Angus Cloud passed away after an accidental drug overdose, sparked from his father’s passing. He was only 25 years old when he passed away, and the news brought a lot of heartache to his family and fellow cast members from Euphoria. Cloud had intensely struggled with the loss of his father. In a statement, his family said, “The only comfort we have is knowing Angus is now reunited with his dad, who was his best friend. ” Co-star Zendaya said, “I’m so grateful I got the chance to know him in this life, to call him a brother, to see his warm kind eyes and bright smile, or hear his infectious cackle of a laugh. I know people use this expression often when talking about folks they love… ‘they could light up any room they entered’ but boy let me tell you, he was the best at it. I’d like to remember him that way.” He’s remembered for the kindness and love he gave to everyone around him (via BBC).

USA Today

Jean Knight

The big hit “Mr. Big Stuff” made its way to the ears of fans around the world back in 1971. It was all thanks to Jean Knight, who unfortunately passed away in November because of natural causes. She launched her R&B career straight out of high school and kept working to record songs that eventually helped her make her way to fame. Her family wrote, “Her concerts were not just performances but celebrations of the enduring bond she shared with those who appreciated her music. Whether in the intimate venues of the French Quarter or on the grand stages of global music festivals, Ms. Knight made every fan a cherished part of her extended musical family.” Her legacy lives on not only because of her music, but also because of her love for her hometown, her art, and her fans (via USA Today).


Peter Spellos

Known for his role on NBC’s American Dreams, Peter Spellos died in November at age 69. He’s also known for his copious voiceover work on Transformers and guest starring on shows like News Radio, Growing Pains, and The Wonder Years. His producer friend Fred Olen Ray wrote, “Many of you knew Peter personally. He had more loving friends than there are stars in the sky. A gentler giant never existed. A talented actor, teacher, and wise old owl. He always made me laugh. I cannot even recall how many movies we made together, but they would probably fill a book… maybe someday they will. Goodbye, pal.” He passed away from pancreatic cancer, which inspired a GoFundMe page (via People).

NY Post

Tyler Christopher

You might recognize Tyler Christopher from his work on General Hospital. He died from a cardiac event at the age of 50. He started his career back in 1996 and continued to work on other projects throughout his acting career. Co-star Maurice Benard wrote, “Tyler was a truly talented individual that lit up the screen in every scene he performed and relished bringing joy to his loyal fans through his acting. Tyler was a sweet soul and wonderful friend to all of those who knew him,” after confirming the unfortunate news of his death on Instagram. He struggled with alcoholism and bipolar disorder, which he spoke openly about, in the hopes of helping others who also struggled with the same thing (via NY Post).

TV Insider

Conny Van Dyke

Famous singer-songwriter Conny Van Dyke died from complications due to vascular dementia at the age of 78. She started her career in the entertainment industry at age 15 and worked her way to fame and stardom from there. In 1961, she signed with Motown Records and became one of the first white artists on the label. Before she passed away, she recalled her days in the recording studio, saying, “I had Marvin Gaye playing the piano for me, Stevie Wonder playing the bongos. He was 12 years old. And then I some backup singers, some girls I learned a lot from. They were a couple of years older than me, not much older. … The Supremes and also Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.” She eventually released a self-titled LP through Barnaby Records (via TV Insider).


Evan Ellingson

Former child actor Evan Ellingson is known for his role on CSI: Miami and the 2009 film My Sister’s Keeper. He died at the young age of 35 from an accidental fentanyl overdose inside his bedroom in California. His father said the star struggled with addiction. He’s remembered by others as being a kind, funny, caring person. Abigal Breslin, who co-starred with Ellingson, said “Evan was a genuinely thoughtful person who cared so much about turning in the best performance, which he accomplished. Some of his scenes in MSK still give me chills. He was also silly, funny, a prankster, a lover of Red Bull (I hated the smell of Red Bull) and he was energetic and the life of the party.” He had an unremarkable talent and charisma that his family and friends will remember forever (via People).

Washington Post

Aaron Spears

Grammy-nominated drummer Spears who was most notably recognized for his work with Usher, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga, unfortunately passed this year at the young age of 47. He played drums starting at a young age and went on to earn a Grammy nomination thanks to his work with Usher’s album Confessions. Producer Questlove wrote, “You’ve seen Aaron drum probably 5-10 times in your life if you attend concerts & sometimes without knowing. That’s how much in demand his services were.” He had a talent that was unlike any other, and unfortunately, his cause of death is unknown (via Washington Post).


Andrea Fay Friedman

Back in the 90s, Friedman broke ground with her portrayal of Amanda Swanson in Life Goes On. She died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the young age of 53. She’s well-known for her contributions to people with Down Syndrome. She also appeared in Family Guy. Beyond her acting, she also worked as an assistant teacher at UCLA’s Pathways program, where she worked closely with students with intellectual disabilities (via EW).


Brandi Mallory

As a makeup artist and dancer who made it to the ABC series Extreme Weight Loss, Brandi Mallory died at age 40. She went through serious weight loss during her time on the show, losing roughly 150 pounds. Later on in her life, she ran a fitness and makeup Instagram account with hundreds of thousands of fans. Unfortunately, she passed away from natural complications as a result of her obesity while sitting in her car in the Chipotle parking lot. Kim Wiliams Maxile paid tribute to her, saying “You truly made an impact on this world with your zest and your passion for body positivity. I’m blessed to have gotten to experience you in this world.” She’s remembered for her motivation and hard work to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle (via People).


Shane MacGowan

You might recognize Shane MacGowan from Fairytale of New York as the Pogues frontman and singer. Unfortunately, he died at age 65 from complications from pneumonia. During his career, he completely transformed Irish traditional music. You’ve likely heard his song “Dirty Old Town” and probably rocked out to it a couple of times. He was known as an amazing artist and musician, and especially known for being Irish abroad and touching the lives of so many people (via Aljazeera).


Benjamin Zephaniah

This famous poet and Peaky Blinders actor Zephaniah passed away in December at age 65. He published his first poetry collection in 1980 and later on released the album Rasta, which was famously backed by Bob Marley’s band the Wailers. But his success didn’t stop there, he also wrote poetry for children and published five other books. In a statement announcing his death, it said, “Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator. He gave the world so much. Through an amazing career including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television, and radio, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.” He was unfortunately diagnosed with a brain tumor eight weeks before his death (via BBC).


Suzanne Shepherd

You likely recognize Suzanne Shepherd from Goodfell and The Sopranos. Sadly, she passed away in her NYC home at the age of 89. She made her way to fame in her mid-50s. Actor Tom Titone remembers her, saying “I studied with Suzanne as a young actor. She saw in me what I could not yet see in myself, she introduced me to my husband. She was the officiant of our marriage under a beautiful gazebo in Central Park with a gathering of family and friends. For this, I will always be grateful.” Others remember her for roaring at life and for her big personality (via NY Post).


Ralph Cirella

Longtime friend and stylist to Howard Stern, Ralph Cirella died at the age of 58. Unfortunately, he died from a rare lymphoma that made his heart give out during a procedure. In a recent statement, Stern said, “I think this is the toughest part of loving someone — when you lose them. Lord knows I loved Ralph. My wife said to me last night, ‘You and Ralph have a secret language’ and it’s true … we had a great chemistry, and we had a great friendship, and Ralph was one of my bros. I came to think of Ralph as family.” He felt sad and angry because the star never truly took care of himself, and thanked him for being the reason he met his current wife (via People).


Marty Krofft

Nicknamed the “King of Saturday Mornings,” Marty Krofft passed away at age 86 in 2023. He’s well-known for the trippy, vivid, colorful puppets and children’s shows like Land of the Lost. Unfortunately, he passed away from kidney failure. Back in 2015, he acknowledged his success, and said, “To make another hit at this time in our lives, I’ve got to give ourselves a pat on the back.” He went on to say he had no interest in stepping back from the show biz, and even commented, “What am I gonna do — retire and watch daytime television and be dead in a month?” At the very least, he lived his life to the fullest (via USA Today).

TV Insider

Janet Landgard

Janet Landgard passed away at 75 this year following a brain cancer diagnosis. She made her famous debut on The Donna Reed Show and played a girl named Sabrina. Sadly, no one knew how sick she was. Co-star Paul Peterson said, “She never told me how gravely ill she was from the cancer that took her life earlier this week. Typical behavior from the best TV girlfriend my alternate ego, Jeff Stone, ever had on the last three years of The Donna Reed Show. Janet was gorgeous, inside and out… a flawless Scandinavian beauty that stunned jaded Hollywood types into silence.” She’s known for her beauty and good looks that are easy on the eyes, and her stellar performances in Hollywood (via TV Insider).


Judy Nugent

A former child actress known for her performance on Adventures of Superman died at age 83 from cancer. She made her Hollywood debut in 1947, in the film It Had to Be You. She’s also well-known for her role in the Daily Planet contest Around the World With Superman, which first aired in 1953. Other note-worthy shows she’s starred in include The Life of Riley, Lassie, The Millionaire, and Rawhide. She passed away peacefully in her Montana home, surrounded by her family (via Economic Times).

NBC News

Richard Roundtree

Known for playing John Shaft in five Shaft movies, Richard Roundtree became famous throughout his entire life, until he died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. The Shaft movies were seen as some of the first ones to popularize the “blaxploitation” genre, of the 1970s. He’s also performed in Steel, Moving On, George of the Jungle, and Speed Racer. His manager, Patrick McMinn, said, “His trailblazing career changed the face of entertainment around the globe and his enduring legacy will be felt for generations to come.” He’s remembered for his unmatchable success (via NBC News).

The Guardian

Haydn Gwynne

Haydn Gwynne passed away at the young age of 66. You might know her from The Crown. She starred in the UK sitcom Drop the Dead Donkey and several other shows. She started off her career by acting abroad, saying, “I felt that because I hadn’t been to drama school, an acting career was out of the question and that if I didn’t work abroad after university then I never would, so I went to Italy.” From there, her acting career developed into something that touched the lives of thousands of people (via Marca).


Richard Moll

You might recognize Richard Moll from his deep voice, as he played the lovable bailiff “Bull Shannon” on nine seasons of Night Court. Sadly, he passed away at age 80. He also starred in Batman: The Animated Series, Mighty Max and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, The Flintstones Ghost Shark, and Scary Movie 2 (via Forbes).


Mars Williams

Mars Williams passed away at the age of 68 following a battle with ampullary cancer. He was a saxophonist for the Psychedelic Furs and the Waitresses, as he had grown up listening to jazz music, he loved experimenting with his music, especially in experimental ways. He struggled with alcoholism but had been sober for 20 years, helping other people with similar struggles as him to overcome their hardships (via Variety).


Dex Carvey

Sadly, Dex Carvey passed away from an accidental drug overdose at the young age of 32. You probably recognize him from SNL and the Netflix special Straight White Male. His family put out a statement that said, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Dex loved life. And when you were with him, you loved life too. He made everything fun. But most of all, he loved his family, friends, and girlfriend Kaylee.” They hope that through his death, they can help other people struggling with addiction overcome it (via CNN).


Ross McDonnell

At the young age of 44, Ross McDonnell passed away. He was an Emmy-winning Irish cinematographer and director. While cycling in Brooklyn, he disappeared for several nights until his body was discovered. Authorities assume he went for a swim and drowned, and the rocks and marine life tore up his body for two weeks before it was discovered (via Entertainment Weekly).

USA Today

Frances Sternhagen

At the age of 93, Frances Sternhagen passed away. You might know her from her performances on Sex and the City and further performances which earned her seven Tony nominations and three Emmy awards. In an Instagram post, her son wrote, “On Monday night, Nov 27, she died peacefully at her home, a month and a half shy of her 94th birthday. I will post more soon, but for now, I just want to give thanks for the remarkable gift of an artist and human being that was Frances Sternhagen. She was beloved by many. I’m very lucky I was able to call her my mom, my friend, my song and dance partner.” In previous statements, she expressed how lucky she felt to have acting roles and a career (via USA Today).