Saturday 31 December 2016 – Some famous people who’ve died in 2016

It seems to have been widely accepted that this year has been unusually bad for “celebrity” deaths.Whether this is true or not is debatable, but this year we have certainly lost a lot of great names in music, the movies, politics, literature, sport, and many other areas of life. The BBC looked into the number of the deaths this year, asking whether they were up on previous years. They concluded they were, but largely due to a surge in the first three months of 2016 with the remaining months of the year being similar to recent years. Read the article HERE. I have researched 92 of those who have died this year. The 92 are listed below. Where you see highlighted dates, click on them to  listen to an archive edition of the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs featuring the person. Desert Island Discs has been broadcasting since 1941 and interviews famous people and asks them to select eight pieces of music which they would take with them if stranded alone on a desert island. They also get to choose a book and a luxury item.


On a local level here in Liverpool, 2016 has seen the loss of four men who will be forever associated with The Beatles. Their legendary record producer, Sir George Martin died on 8 March, aged 90, followed on the 14 May by their press officer Tony Barrow, who was 80. The Beatles’ early gig promoter, Sam Leach, died on 21 December aged 81. He was influential through his work in the development of the Merseybeat sound which was led by The Beatles. Finally, on 30 December, The Beatles first manager Alan Williams died aged 86. Williams was a local club owner in Liverpool when he took on The Beatles after he allowed them to perform at his club The Jacaranda – providing they decorated the place first.

000 long john hunter 

4 January
Long John Hunter, 84, American Blues singer & musician



001 ed stewart

9 January
Ed Stewart, 74,
British TV & Radio broadcaster



002 david bowie

10 January
David Bowie, 69, British singer-songwriter, musician & actor



002b david margulies

11 January
David Margulies, 78, British actor



003 alan rickman

14 January
Alan Rickman, 69, British actor (Truly Madly Deeply, Harry Potter)



003b dan heggerty

15 January
Dan Haggerty, 74, American actor (The Life Of Grizzly Adams)



004 glenn frey

18 January
Glen Frey, 67, American songwriter, musician (The Eagles) and actor



005 cecil parkinson

22 January
Baron (Cecil) Parkinson, 84, British politician/cabinet minister



006 Colin-Vearncombe

26 January
Colin Vearncombe, British singer-songwriter (Black)



007 frank finlay

30 January
Frank Finlay, 89, British actor (Othello, Casanova)



008 terry wogan

31 January
Sir Terry Wogan, 77, Irish-British broadcaster (Eurovision Song Contest, Children In Need)

21 May 1983 | 9 October 1988 | 1 January 2012



009 edgar mitchell

4 February
Edgar Mitchell, 85, American Apollo 14 astronaut



010 maurice white

4 February
Maurice White, 74, American songwriter, musician (Earth, Wind & Fire)




6 February
Dan Hicks, 74, American singer-songwriter (“I Scare Myself”, “Canned Music”)



012 margaret forster

8 February
Margaret Forster, 77, British novelist (Georgy Girl)

4 December 1994

012 boutros boutros ghali

16 February

Boutros Boutros Ghali, 93, Egyptian politician & diplomat (Secretary General of the United Nations 1992-1996)

013 umberto echo

19 February
Umberto Eco, 84, Italian philosopher, novelist (The Name Of The Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum)

12 November 1995



Harper Lee to publish Mockingbird sequel

19 February
Harper Lee, 89, American author (To Kill A Mockingbird)




21 February
Peter Marlow, 63, British news photographer (Magnum Photos)



016 frank kelly

28 February
Frank Kelly, 77, Irish actor (Father Ted)



017 george kennedy

28 February
George Kennedy, 91, American actor (Cool Hand Luke)



018 tony warren

1 March
Tony Warren, 79, British TV screenwriter, producer (Coronation Street)



019 ray tomlinson

5 March
Ray Tomlinson, 74, American computer programmer (developed first email system and assigned use of @ symbol)



020 nancy reagan

6 March
Nancy Reagan, 94, wife of President Ronald Reagan, American First Lady (1981-89) and actress (The Next Voice You Hear, Donovan’s Brain)



021 george martin

8 March
Sir George Martin, 90, British record producer (The Beatles), composer

31 July 1982 | 19 November 1995



022 keith emerson

10 March
Keith Emerson, 71, British rock keyboardist (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)



023 peter maxwell

14 March
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 81, British composer & conductor

25 June 1983 | 30 January 2005



024 sylvia anderson

15 March
Sylvia Anderson, 88, British TV producer, voice actress (Thunderbirds)

058 clif michelmore

16 March

Cliff Michelmore, 96, British TV producer & presenter (Tonight, UK General Elections, Investiture of the Princes of Wales)



025 asa briggs

15 March
Asa Briggs, 94, British historian, code breaker

16 December 1968



026 frank sinatra jr

16 March
Frank Sinatra jr, 72, American singer and actor



026 paul daniels

17 March
Paul Daniels, 77, British magician & television personality

026 barry hines

18 March

Barry Hines, 76, British author (A Kestrel For A Knave)



027 garry shandling

24 March
Garry Shandling, 66, American comedian, actor, writer (The Larry Sanders Show)



028 james noble

28 March
James Noble, 94, American actor (Benson)



029 john king

30 March
John King, 77, British football player (Everton, Tranmere Rovers), manager (Tranmere Rovers)



030 ronnie corbett

31 March
Ronnie Corbett, 85, British comedian, actor (The Two Ronnies, Sorry)

29 May 1971 | 21 October 2007



030b denise robertson

31 March
Denise Robertson, 83, British writer, breakfast TV  agony aunt

27 May 2012



031 david gest

12 April
David Gest, 62, American TV producer (Michael Jackson – The 30th Anniversary Celebration)



032 gareth thomas

13 April
Gareth Thomas, 71, Welsh actor (Blake’s 7)



032 doris roberts

17 April
Doris Roberts, 90, American actress (Everybody Loves Raymond), author



HTRA073 VV040

20 April
Guy Hamilton, 93, French-born British film director (James Bond [inc. Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever] , Battle of Britain)



034 victoria wood

20 April
Victoria Wood, 62, British comedian and actress (Wood & Walters, The Dinner Ladies)

8 February 1987 | 23 December 2007



035 prince

21 April
Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson), American singer-songwriter, musician



036 billy paul

24 April
Billy Paul, 81, American R&B singer (“Me And Mrs Jones”)



037 papa wemba

24 April
Papa Wemba, 66, Conoglese singer



038 reg grundy

6 May
Reg Grundy, 92, Australian TV mogul (Neighbours)



039 tony barrow

14 May
Tony Barrow, 80, British press officer (The Beatles)



040 burt kwouk

24 May
Burt Kwouk, 85, British actor (The Pink Panther, Last Of The Summer Wine)



041 carla lane

31 May
Carla Lane, 87, British TV writer (The Liver Birds, Butterflies, Bread)

28 February 1981



042 muhamad ali

3 June
Muhammad Ali, 74, American boxer (Olympic & World Heavyweight titles)

042 sir peter shaffer

6 June

Sir Peter Shaffer, 90, British playwright & screenwriter (Black Comedy, Equus, Amadeus)

24 November 1979



042a jox cox

16 June
Jo Cox, 44, British politician



042b anton yelchin

19 June
Anton Yelchin, 27, Russian-born American actor (Star Trek, Like Crazy)



042c  caroline aherne

2 July
Caroline Aherne, 52, British actress, writer, comedian (The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show)



043 kenny baker

13 August
Kenny Baker, 81, British actor (Star Wars, Time Bandits, Flash Gordon)



044 gene wilder

29 August
Gene Wilder, 83, American actor (The Producers, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein)

2 February 1997




11 September
Alexis Arquette (born Robert Arquette), 47, American actress (I Think I Do, Children Of The Corn V, Sometimes They Come Back… Again), underground cartoonist, activist.

044 arnold palmer

25 September

Arnold Palmer, 87, American professional golfer (US Open 1960, The Open 1961, 1962, PGA 1964, 1968, 1970, Masters 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964)



045 shimon peres

28 September
Shimon Peres, 93, Polish-born Israeli statesman



046 steve byrd

2 October
Steve Byrd, 61, English guitarist (Gillan, Kim Wilde, ZZebra)



047 neville marriner

2 October
Sir Neveille Marriner, 92, British conductor (Amadeus)

13 December 1980



048 jean alexander

14 October
Jean Alexander, 90, English actress (Coronation Street, Last Of The Summer Wine)



049 pete burns

23 October
Pete Burns, 57, British singer-songwriter (Dead Or Alive)



050 jimmy perry

23 October
Jimmy Perry, 93, British actor, screenwriter (Dad’s Army, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Hi-Di-Hi)



051 bobby vee

24 October
Bobby Vee, 73, American Pop singer (“Rubber Ball”)



052 leonard cohen

7 November
Leonard Cohen, 82, Canadian singer-songwriter



053 jimmy young

7 November
Sir Jimmy Young, 95, British radio personality and singer

053 robert vaughn

11 November

Robert Vaughn, 83, American actor (The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Protectors, The Magnificent Seven, Hustle)



054 andrew sachs

23 November
Andrew Sachs, 86, Gernman-born British actor (Fawlty Towers)

054 fidel castro

25 November

Fidel Castro, 89, Cuban Prime Minister, then President, 1959-2008

054 ron glass

25 November

Ron Glass, 70, actor (Barney Miller, Firefly, Serenity)



055 peter vaughan

6 December
Peter Vaughan, 93, British actor (Porridge, Game of Thrones)



056 greg lake

7 December
Greg Lake, 69, British singer, musicians (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)



057 john glenn

8 December
John Glenn, 95, American astronaut & Senator



058 a a gill

10 December
A. A. Gill, 62, British writer, restaurant critic

20 August 2006

058 ian mccaskill

10 December

Ian McCaskill, 78, British meteorologist &  BBC TV weatherman

059b michael nicholson


11 December

Michael Nicholson, 79, British war correspondent for ITN (Vietnam, fall of Saigon, the Falklands, the Balkans, Iraq)

059 walter swinburn

12 December

Walter Swinburn, 55, British jockey, winner of Derby on Shergar in 1981

060 alan thick

13 December

Alan Thicke, 69, Canadian actor (Growing Pains) and TV composer (Different Strokes)

henry heimlich

17 December

Dr Henry Heimlich, 96, American thoracic surgeon & inventor of the “Heimlich Manoeuvre” for helping people who are choking

zsa zsa gabor

18 December

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, Hungarian-American actress, also well-known for her nine marriages between 1937 and 1986, when she married Frederic Prinz von Anhalt who survives her.


lionel blue

19 December

Lionel Blue, 86, British Reform Rabbi, noted for being the first openly-gay British Rabbi. A regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought For The Day programme

29 May 1988

sam leach

21 December

Sam Leach, 81,  Liverpool music promoter (The Beatles)

rick parfitt

24 December

Rick Parfitt, 68, British rock guitarist and songwriter (Status Quo)

liz smith

24 December

Liz Smith, 95, British actress (A Private Function, The Royle Family)

9 March 2008


25 December

George Michael, 53, British singer-songwriter (Wham!)

30 September 2007

richard adams

27 December

Richard Adams, 96, British author (Watership Down)

5 November 1971

carrie fisher

27 December

Carrie Fisher, 60, American actress (Star Wars, When Harry Met Sally), writer & mental health advocate

debbie reynolds

28 December

Debbie Reynolds, 84, American actress (Singin’ In The Rain, Will & Grace), mother of Carrie Fisher who died yesterday

alan williams

30 December

Allan Williams, 86, British music manager (The Beatles), Liverpool club owner (The Jacaranda, Blue Angel). He founded the Jacaranda and both clubs still exist today

willam christopher

31 December

William Christopher, 84, American actor (Father Mulcahy in M*A*S*H)

This list is not a definitive list of famous people who have died in 2016 by any means. Wikipedia does a comprehensive list of people who have died each year – listing everyone from actors, musicians, politicians, sports stars to writers, journalists, scientists, religious figures and just about all sectors of public life.  My list features people I have heard of and therefore is at times British-centric with some names that may be unknown to most people outside the UK. Feel free to add in the comments anyone you might have added to the list. I will be compiling a list of famous people who die in 2017 and will post it to my blog on a regular basis.