This year has been a tragic one for celebrity deaths. 2023 saw the loss of many beloved figures from the entertainment industry and beyond. From beloved singers to iconic actors, the impact was hard this past year as we said goodbye to some of our favorite stars. We were not ready to say farewell to stars like Lisa Marie Presley or Gangster Boo, who died relatively young, and news of their passing shocked the world.
As we take a look back at the celebrity deaths of 2023, we encourage you to revisit the works that made them famous in the first place. Celebrate their memories by watching their iconic performances, revisit an odds-defying win of a game, or listen to the songs that became a soundtrack for a generation. Thankfully these famous folks left behind legacies so that we will never truly forget them.
Treat Williams‘ agent Barry McPherson broke the news on June 12 that the actor had died at the age of 71 as a result of a motorcycle crash.
“He was killed this afternoon. He was making a left or a right [and] a car cut him off,” McPherson told People in a statement. “I’m just devastated. He was the nicest guy. He was so talented.”
Breaking Bad star, Mike Batayeh died in his sleep on June 12 after suffering a heart attack. The actor was 52.
“He will be greatly missed by those who loved him and his great ability to bring laughter and joy to so many,” his family explained to TMZ in a statement.
The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and 700 Club personality, Pat Robertson, died on June 8 at 93. He famously was a homophobe who blamed the LGBTQIA+ community for causing Hurricane Katrina, among other maladies.
The Iron Sheik
Professional wrestler Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, better known by his ring name “The Iron Sheik,” died at age 81 in June.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of The Iron Sheik, but we also take solace in knowing that he departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come,” a Twitter statement posted to his account said. His cause of death has not been made public.
Bling Empire‘s Anna Shay died on June 5 at the age of 62 following a stroke.
“It saddens our hearts to announce that Anna Shay, a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star, and our brightest ray of sunshine, has passed away at the early age of 62 from a stroke,” the celebrity’s surviving family shared in a statement. “Anna taught us many life lessons on how not to take life too seriously and to enjoy the finer things. Her impact on our lives will be forever missed but never forgotten.”
John Beasley, the beloved actor who starred in such classics as Rudy and The General’s Daughter, passed away in Omaha, Nebraska on May 30 at the age of 79.
“Man … you know this is a part of life … but that doesn’t make it any easier,” Beasly’s son Michael Beasley shared via Facebook. “I lost my best friend today. They say you shouldn’t ever meet your heroes because they don’t turn out to be who you thought they were. That is so wrong. My hero was my father. Thank you for everything. I hope I made you proud. Love you more.”
George Maharis who famously starred in Route 66, died on May 25 at the age of 94. He had been battling Hepatitis for over 60 years. In addition to his acting career, Maharis also was a successful recording artist and his best-known track was “Teach Me Tonight.”
Legendary performer and inspirational figure, Tina Turner, died at home at the age of 83. She died of natural causes but it was documented that she had been battling kidney disease for decades.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” a statement shared on the star’s Instagram account said. “Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly.”
One of the greatest running backs of all time, Jim Brown died at the age of 87 on May 17. The NFL superstar is also remembered as an activist.
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my husband, Jim Brown. He passed peacefully last night at our LA home,” Monique Brown wrote on Instagram announcing the NFL Hall of Famer’s death. “To the world he was an activist, actor and football star. To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.”
Longtime fixture on General Hospital, Jacklyn Zeman died following a battle with cancer on May 9 at the age of 70.
“On behalf of our @GeneralHospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved @JackieZeman,” the soap’s executive producer, Frank Valentini, shared on May 10 via Twitter. “Just like her character, the legendary Bobbie Spencer, she was a bright light and true professional that brought so much positive energy with her to work. Jackie will be greatly missed, but her positive spirit will always live on with our cast and crew. We send our heartfelt sympathy to her loved ones, friends, and family, especially her daughters Cassidy and Lacey.”
After cancelling tour dates in the US and Canada weeks beforehand, Gordon Lightfoot passed away on May 1 at the age of 84. He was an extremely influential artist who helped bring folk music to new heights in the 1960s and ’70s. He died of natural causes.
Controversial daytime talkshow host, Jerry Springer, died on April 27 due to a longterm illness.
“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” a spokesperson shared. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”
Singer, actor, and activist, Harry Belafonte died April 27 aged 96 of congenital heart failure. He is best-known for his classic songs “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” “Jump In the Line,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Jamaica Farewell,” and so many more.
Dancing with the Stars fixture Len Goodman died on April 22 at the age of 78.
“A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him,” his agent shared in a statement on April 24.
Barry Humphries AKA Dame Edna Everage
Actor and drag performer Barry Humphries died on April 22 in Sydney, Australia following complications stemming from a hip surgery. He was 89. Humphries was beloved for his drag persona Dame Edna Everage. He won a Tony Award in 2000 for Dame Edna: The Royal Tour on Broadway.
“He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit,” a statement from his family said. ”With over 70 years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up until the last year of his life and planning more shows that will sadly never be.”
Barton Fink actor Michael Lerner died at the age of 81 following complications from brain seizures on April 8.
“We lost a legend last night,” the celebrity’s son, Sam Lerner, wrote on April 9. “It’s hard to put into words how brilliant my uncle Michael was, and how influential he was to me. His stories always inspired me and made me fall in love with acting. He was the coolest, most confident, talented guy, and the fact that he was my blood will always make me feel special. Everyone that knows him knows how insane he was— in the best way. I’m so lucky I got to spend so much time with him, and we’re all lucky we can continue to watch his work for the rest of time. RIP Michael, enjoy your unlimited Cuban cigars, comfy chairs, and endless movie marathon ????.”
Prolific actor Lance Reddick died on March 17 at age 60 from natural causes.
“Acclaimed actor Lance Reddick passed away suddenly this morning from natural causes,” his agent shared in a statement in March. “He is survived by his wife Stephanie Reddick and children Yvonne Nicole Reddick and Christopher Reddick. Donations in his memory can be made to momcares.org in Baltimore, his hometown. Lance will be greatly missed. Please respect his family’s privacy at this time.”
Soul singer behind the mega hit “What You Won’t Do for Love,” Bobby Caldwell passed away on March 14 at the age of 71. He had been suffering health issues for several years.
“Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken,” his wife, Mary Caldwell, shared on Twitter. “Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years.”
Robert Blake, one of the first child actors to successfully transition to adult roles, died of heart disease on March 9. He is best known for playing a detective in the TV show Baretta. However, his fame as a celebrity was eclipsed later in life when he was charged with the murder of his wife. He was acquitted. Later, his children filed a wrongful death lawsuit and were awarded millions at its conclusion. He was 89.
Tom Sizemore, who mastered the art of playing the tough guy in films starting in the 1980s, died March 4, two weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm resulting from a stroke. Some of his best-known roles are in films like Saving Private Ryan, where he played Sgt. Horvath, and Black Hawk Down, Passenger 57, Heat, True Romance, Natural Born Killers, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Relic, and Strange Days. He was 61.
Actor Richard Belzer passed away at his home in France on February 19. He was best known for portraying steadfast cop John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He was 78.
Stella Stevens, who starred alongside Elvis Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls! and with Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor died February 17 in Los Angeles. She passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease and was 84.
On February 15, actor and sex symbol Raquel Welch died after suffering a brief illness, her family confirmed. She was known for films like One Million Years B.C. and Three Musketeers. This was one of the celebrity deaths that shocked us as many of us had not heard from the star in years. She was 82.
Legend of pop music, Burt Bacharach, died on February 8. He wrote many hits, including I Say A Little Prayer, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, What the World Needs Now Is Love, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again. He died of natural causes at 94.
Motown sensation, Barrett Strong, was behind such classic hits like “Money (That’s What I Want” and he co-wrote “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” He died on January 29 at the age of 81.
Annie Wersching, who is best known for her roles in 24, Bosch, Timeless, and Star Trek: Picard, passed away on January 29 after a 30-month battle with cancer. She was just 45 years old, leaving behind a loving husband, Stephen Full, and three sons – Freddie, Ozzie, and Archie – between the ages of 12 and 4.
Punk rock icon Tom Verlaine redefined guitar in rock music in the 1970s with his band, Television. He died on January 28 and was 73. He died as a result of a long battle with prostate cancer.
Lisa Loring was an actor best known for originating the role of Wednesday Addams in the sitcom, The Addams Family. As Mamas Uncut reported at the time, Loring died on January 30 at 64, following a “massive stroke brought on by smoking and high blood pressure.”
Cindy Williams, best known for her role as Shirley Feeney in the 1970s hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley, sadly passed away on January 25 following a brief illness. She was 74. This celebrity death hit lovers of classic television particularly hard.
Lance Kerwin was an actor best remembered for his early roles in James at 15 and as Mark Petrie, the teen who becomes a vampire hunter in Stephen King‘s mini-series Salem’s Lot. He died on January 24 and was 62. His cause of death has not been made public.
Legendary rock musician David Crosby passed away on January 19 after a long illness – he was 81 years old. He will forever be associated with bands The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.
Gina Lollobrigida, who was considered a 1950s Italian bombshell, was best known for the movies Fanfan la Tulipe, Beat the Devil, Trapeze, and Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell. She passed away on January 19 at 95. A cause of death has not been made public, but she was in a Roman clinic when it happened.
Lisa Marie Presley
Arguably the most shocking celebrity death of 2023 when it happened, Lisa Marie Presley died on January 12 following a cardiac arrest. She was just 54.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” her mother, Priscilla, shared at the time. “She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”
Robbie Bachman co-founded and played drums for the 1970s Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. He died on January 12 at the age of 69.
Best known for her appearances on Lucille Ball’s television series The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy, Mildred Francis Cook, professionally known as Carole Cook, was an energetic actor on screen and stage whose career spanned many decades. She died on January 11 following heart failure and was 98.
Ben Masters is remembered for starring in the soapy daytime show Passions. He had been battling dementia for several years before contracting COVID-19 this year. He died on January 11 and was 75.
Jeff Beck was one of the most innovative and exciting guitarists of the 1960s. He died on January 10 and was 78. We learned that he and celebrity Johnny Depp had lived together for months after his death.
Known for her roles in A Christmas Story, Magnolia, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Melinda Dillon died on January 9 at the age of 83. She enjoyed great success, including being nominated for a Tony and Oscar.
Fred White was an American musician and songwriter and one of the early members of Earth, Wind & Fire. He was one of the two drummers for the soul group at the time of their greatest success. White died on January 9 at 67.
Adam Rich, also known as ‘America’s little brother’ for his portrayal of Nicholas Bradford on the popular TV sitcom Eight Is Enough, died inside his Los Angeles home on January 7. The former child actor was 54 years old at the time of his death, having last appeared in a film nearly 20 years ago. This is one of the celebrity deaths caused by an apparent overdose.
Gangsta Boo, a rapper and former member of the hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, died on January 1, our first major celebrity death of 2023. While her cause of death has not been officially announced, a source claimed that she also died of an overdose. Sadly, she was just 43.
As you have seen, 2023 has been a sad year for celebrity deaths. The more surprising, the more unfortunate they feel. Keep the spirit of these individuals alive by celebrating the art they created. RIP to all of these bright celebrity stars.
- 1 Treat Williams
- 2 Mike Batayeh
- 3 Pat Robertson
- 4 The Iron Sheik
- 5 Anna Shay
- 6 John Beasley
- 7 George Maharis
- 8 Tina Turner
- 9 Jim Brown
- 10 Jacklyn Zeman
- 11 Gordon Lightfoot
- 12 Jerry Springer
- 13 Harry Belafonte
- 14 Len Goodman
- 15 Barry Humphries AKA Dame Edna Everage
- 16 Michael Lerner
- 17 Lance Reddick
- 18 Bobby Caldwell
- 19 Robert Blake
- 20 Tom Sizemore
- 21 Richard Belzer
- 22 Stella Stevens
- 23 Raquel Welch
- 24 Burt Bacharach
- 25 Barrett Strong
- 26 Annie Wersching
- 27 Tom Verlaine
- 28 Lisa Loring
- 29 Cindy Williams
- 30 Lance Kerwin
- 31 David Crosby
- 32 Gina Lollobrigida
- 33 Lisa Marie Presley
- 34 Robbie Bachman
- 35 Carole Cook
- 36 Ben Masters
- 37 Jeff Beck
- 38 Melinda Dillon
- 39 Fred White
- 40 Adam Rich
- 41 Gangsta Boo
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