Celebrity deaths in 2021: Remembering the stars who died this year

30 December 2021, 19:16 | Updated: 1 January 2022, 16:02

James Michael Tyler, Prince Philip and Carlos Marin are among the famous faces to have died in 2021
James Michael Tyler, Prince Philip and Carlos Marin are among the famous faces to have died in 2021. Picture: Alamy

By Tom Eames

We look back at the famous faces we've sadly said goodbye to in 2021.

From actors to musicians to athletes, here are some of the most high-profile and inspirational stars who have passed away this year so far.

  1. Gerry Marsden

    Gerry Marsden
    Gerry Marsden. Picture: Getty

    Gerry Marsden scored many hits for Gerry & the Pacemakers, including the song 'You'll Never Walk Alone', in the 1960s.

    He died on January 3, aged 78.

  2. Larry King

    Larry King
    Larry King. Picture: Getty

    Talk show icon Larry King died on January 23, aged 87, after contracting coronavirus.

    He was one of the most-respected and longest-running talk show hosts in the US. He hosted his Larry King Live show on CBB from 1985 to 2010.

  3. Dustin Diamond

    Dustin Diamond
    Dustin Diamond. Picture: Getty

    Actor Dustin Diamond died on February 1, aged 44, after a battle with cancer.

    He was most famous for playing Screech in classic teen sitcom Saved By The Bell.

  4. Captain Sir Tom Moore

    Captain Tom Moore
    Captain Tom Moore. Picture: Getty

    Captain Sir Tom Moore died in hospital on Feb 2, aged 100.

    The WW2 veteran and fundraiser died after a brief battle with Covid-19 and pneumonia.

    Capt Sir Tom's fundraising saw him walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32 million for the NHS.

  5. Christopher Plummer

    Christopher Plummer
    Christopher Plummer. Picture: Getty

    Hollywood icon Christopher Plummer died on February 5, aged 91.

    His long career saw him take on many roles, perhaps most famously as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound Of Music.

  6. Mary Wilson

    Mary Wilson
    Mary Wilson. Picture: Getty

    Singer Mary Wilson died on February 8, aged 76.

    The Motown legend found fame after co-founding The Supremes aged just 15 alongside Diana Ross and Florence Ballard.

  7. Johnny Briggs

    Johnny Briggs
    Johnny Briggs. Picture: Getty

    Actor Johnny Briggs died on February 28, aged 85, following a long illness.

    He played Mike Baldwin on Coronation Street for three decades, appearing in 2,349 episodes since his debut in 1976.

  8. Trevor Peacock

    Trevor Peacock
    Trevor Peacock. Picture: Getty

    Actor Trevor Peacock died on March 8, aged 89, from a dementia-related illness.

    His most famous role was of Jim Trott in classic sitcom The Vicar of Dibley.

  9. Murray Walker

    Murray Walker
    Murray Walker. Picture: Getty

    Motorsport commentator Murray Walker died on March 13, aged 97.

    He became the most iconic voice of Formula 1, appearing from 1976 to 2001.

  10. Jessica Walter

    Jessica Walter
    Jessica Walter. Picture: Getty

    Actress Jessica Walter died on March 24, aged 80.

    Appearing in many TV shows and films, her most famous role was of matriarch Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development.

  11. Paul Ritter

    Paul Ritter
    Paul Ritter. Picture: Getty

    Actor Paul Ritter died on April 5, aged 54, from a brain tumour.

    In recent years he had become best known for playing quirky father Martin on the sitcom Friday Night Dinner.

  12. Les McKeown

    Les McKeown
    Les McKeown. Picture: Getty

    Former Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown passed away aged 65 on April 20.

    The Scottish pop singer fronted the Edinburgh group during their most successful period in the 1970s.

  13. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip
    Prince Philip. Picture: Getty

    Prince Philip died on April 9, aged 99.

    The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving consort in British history.

    Philip was also father to Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew and had been married to the Queen for 73 years.

  14. Helen McCrory

    Helen McCory
    Helen McCory. Picture: Getty

    Actress Helen McCrory died on April 16, aged 52, from breast cancer.

    She starred in many films and TV shows, including Peaky Blinders, Skyfall and the Harry Potter franchise.

  15. Jim Steinman

    Jim Steinman
    Jim Steinman. Picture: Getty

    Songwriter Jim Steinman died on April 19, aged 73.

    He was best known for writing many of Meat Loaf's biggest hits, including the Bat Out of Hell album.

  16. Tom O'Connor

    Tom O'Connor
    Tom O'Connor. Picture: Getty

    British comedian and TV presenter Tom O’Connor passed away aged 81, on July 18.

    The comic was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 14 years ago.

  17. Dusty Hill

    Dusty Hill
    Dusty Hill. Picture: Getty

    ZZ Top's bassist and founding member Dusty Hill died aged 72, on July 28.

    He performed with the legendary rock band alongside Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard since the 1970s.

  18. Una Stubbs

    Una Stubbs
    Una Stubbs. Picture: Getty

    Una Stubbs died aged 84 on August 12.

    The actress was known for he roles in TV shows such as Worzel Gummidge, Till Death Us Do Part, Sherlock and EastEnders.

  19. Sean Lock

    Sean Lock
    Sean Lock. Picture: Getty

    Sean Lock died from cancer, at the age of 58 on August 18.

    The stand-up comedian and writer was best known for appearances on panel shows such as 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

  20. Don Everly

    Don Everly
    Don Everly. Picture: Getty

    Don Everly was the last surviving member of The Everly Brothers, best known for hits like 'All I Have to do is Dream' and 'Wake Up Little Susie'.

    Don passed away on August 21, aged 84.

  21. Charlie Watts

    Charlie Watts
    Charlie Watts. Picture: Getty

    Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died aged 80 on August 24.

    He was the band's long-running drummer, performing with the iconic group since its beginning.

  22. Sarah Harding

    Sarah Harding
    Sarah Harding. Picture: Getty

    Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding died aged 39 on September 5, after a battle with breast cancer.

    The singer was a member of one of the UK's biggest girlgroups, with hits including 'Sound of the Underground' and 'The Promise'.

  23. John Challis

    John Challis
    John Challis. Picture: Getty

    Only Fools And Horses actor John Challis died "peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer" on September 19, aged 79.

    The star was best known for playing Terrance 'Boycie' Boyce in the classic sitcom.

  24. Jimmy Greaves

    Jimmy Greaves
    Jimmy Greaves. Picture: Getty

    Tottenham Hotspur's record goalscorer Jimmy Greaves died aged 81, on September 19.

    The striker was also a member of England's World Cup winning squad, and later became a leading broadcaster.

  25. Roger Hunt

    Roger Hunt
    Roger Hunt. Picture: Getty

    England's World Cup winning hero and Liverpool legend Roger Hunt died aged 83, on September 27.

  26. Deon Estus

    Deon Estus
    Deon Estus. Picture: Getty

    Musician Deon Estus died on October 11, aged 65.

    He was best known for playing as Wham! and George Michael's guitar player.

  27. James Michael Tyler

    James Michael Tyler
    James Michael Tyler. Picture: Getty

    Actor James Michael Tyler died on October 24, aged 59, following a battle with prostate cancer.

    He was best known for playing Gunther in Friends in all seasons of the show.

  28. Lionel Blair

    Lionel Blair
    Lionel Blair. Picture: Getty

    Entertainer Lionel Blair died on November 4, aged 92.

    The dancer and actor was one of the most-seen personalities on stage and screen for many decades.

  29. Dean Stockwell

    Dean Stockwell
    Dean Stockwell. Picture: Getty

    Hollywood actor Dean Stockwell died aged 85 on November 7.

    He was best known for his role as Al Calavicci on the sci-fi show Quantum Leap.

  30. Stephen Sondheim

    Stephen Sondheim
    Stephen Sondheim. Picture: Getty

    Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim died aged 91 on November 26.

    He was one of the titans of musical theatre, writing songs for the likes of West Side Story, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd among many others.

  31. John Miles

    John Miles
    John Miles. Picture: Getty

    Musician John Miles died aged 72, on December 5.

    He was best known for his hit single 'Music' and for working with many other artists including Tina Turner.

  32. Michael Nesmith

    Mike Nesmith Of The Monkees
    Mike Nesmith Of The Monkees. Picture: Getty

    The Monkees star Michael Nesmith died on December 10, aged 78.

    He was one of the founding members of legendary group The Monkees, and went on to have a successful solo career.

  33. Carlos Marin

    Carlos Marin
    Carlos Marin. Picture: Getty

    Singer Carlos Marín died aged 53 on December 19, after contracting Covid-19.

    He was best known for being a member of the highly-successful vocal group Il Divo.

  34. Sally Ann Howes

    Sally Ann Howes
    Sally Ann Howes. Picture: Getty

    Actress Sally Ann Howes died aged 91, on December 22.

    The Broadway and West End performer was best known for starring as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang alongside Dick Van Dyke.