Ron Lester, the “Varsity Blues” actor, died in Dallas at the age of 45. Lester was hopitalized for four months due to liver and kidney problems. Lester played the role of Billy Bob in the 1999 football movie “Varsity Blues." The Georiga-born actor also appeared in “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Good Burger.”
Country music legend Merle Haggard who was known for hits like "Okie From Muskogee" and "Mama Tried" died on his 79th birthday.
Patty Duke, who won an Oscar as a teen for "The Miracle Worker" and maintained a long and successful career throughout her life, died. She was 69. Duke’s agent confirmed her death to the Associated Press saying she died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine.
Comedian Garry Shandling, known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” died. He was 66.
Phife Dawg, a masterful lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, died from complications resulting from diabetes. He was 45. Born Malik Isaac Taylor, he was known as the "Five Foot Assassin" because he was 5 feet 3 inches tall.
Actor Ken Howard, who starred in the 1970s series "The White Shadow" and served as president of SAG-AFTRA, died at age 71. Howard's career spanned four decades in TV, theater and film. In the CBS series "The White Shadow," which aired from 1978 to 1981, he starred as a white coach to an urban high school basketball team — a part, one of Howard's best known, that drew on the personal history of the 6 feet 6 inch tall actor, who played basketball growing up on Long Island in New York and at Amherst College.
Rita Gam, who had a lengthy acting career on film, television and stage, died of respiratory failure. She was 88.
John Schnabel, of the Discovery Channel reality series "Gold Rush" who owned the Big Nugget mine in Porcupine Creek, Alaska, died at 96.
Joe Santos, who played Lieutenant Dennis Becker on "The Rockford Files," died at 84. Santos' career spanned more than four decades, from a guest shot on "Naked City" in the early 1960s through a recurring role on "The Sopranos." But he was best known as Lieutenant Becker, the pal and grudging helpmate of L.A. private eye Jim Rockford (James Garner) on NBC's "The Rockford Files," which aired from 1974 to 1980 and scored him an Emmy nomination.
Larry Drake, who earned back-to-back Emmy Awards for his sensitive portrayal of mentally challenged character Benny Stulwicz in "L.A. Law," died. He was 66.
Paul Daniels, best known for The Paul Daniels Magic Show that regularly attracted 15 million TV viewers in Britain and was sold to 43 countries, died after suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. He was 77.
Frank Sinatra Jr., who carried on his famous father's legacy with his own music career and whose kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father's legendary life, died at 72. The younger Sinatra died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Music producer Sir George Martin, best known for his work with the Beatles, died at the age of 90. He had been dubbed "The Fifth Beatle" for his work with the legendary rock band. He signed the Beatles to EMI's Parlophone record label in 1962 and went on to produce some of the most popular and influential albums of modern times -- "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Revolver," "Rubber Soul," "Abbey Road". Along the way, Martin and the Beatles elevated rock LPs from ways to cash in on hit singles to art forms, "concepts."
George Kennedy, the hulking, tough-guy character actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a savage chain-gang convict in the 1960s classic "Cool Hand Luke," died of old age at 91.
Actor Tony Burton died at 78. Burton, originally from Flint, Michigan, was best known for his roles in the "Rocky" movies. He was one of four actors who appeared in the first six films.
Country singer Sonny James, who recorded romantic ballads like "Young Love" and turned pop songs into country hits died at 87. The singer born in Hackleburg, Alabama, was known as the "Southern Gentleman" because of his gentle, respectable demeanor. He was also a songwriter as well as a guitarist and fiddler. James was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
A former Miss America contestant died at 24, a week after her car spun off a New Jersey highway and crashed into trees.
Alabama-born author Harper Lee, whose book "To Kill a Mockingbird" became one of the most beloved, widely-read and best-selling novels of the 20th century, died at the age of 89.
Angela Raiola, known to fans of the VH1 reality show "Mob Wives" as "Big Ang" died of cancer. She was 55.
George Gaynes, who starred in all seven “Police Academy” movies and had a lead role in the 1980s sitcom “Punky Brewster,” died. He was 98.
Vanity, a Prince protege who renounced her sexy stage persona to become a Christian minister, died at 57.
Daniel Gerson, who co-wrote several Walt Disney animated films including "Monsters, Inc." and "Big Hero 6," died at 49. Gerson's family said in a statement that he died at his Los Angeles home after battling brain cancer. Gerson was a frequent contributor for Pixar Animation, co-writing both 2001's "Monsters, Inc." and its 2013 sequel, "Monsters University."
Dan Hicks, a musician whose work in the 1960s helped define San Francisco's psychedelic sound, died at 74. The singer, songwriter and bandleader who led the musically eclectic band Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks died after a two-year battle with throat and liver cancer, his wife, CT Hicks, said.
Veteran X Games biker Dave Mirra died at age 41. Mirra's body was found with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums and made hits like "September," ''Shining Star" and "Boogie Wonderland," died at 74.
Joe Alaskey, best known for providing the iconic voices of "Looney Tunes" legends Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester and Marvin the Martian, died after a battle with cancer. He was 63.
British actor Frank Finlay, who was Academy Award-nominated for his work alongside Laurence Olivier in "Othello," died at 89.
Signe Toly Anderson, a vocalist and original member of the Jefferson Airplane who left the band after its first record and was replaced by Grace Slick, died at 74.
Paul Kantner, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal San Francisco band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship, died at age 74.
Character actor Abe Vigoda, whose leathery, sunken-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather," died at age 94.
Glenn Frey, a founding member of the rock band the Eagles, died at 67. Frey succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.
Dan Haggerty, best known for his role in "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams," died at 74. The '70s star died of cancer. Haggerty starred as the loveable mountain man first in the 1974 movie and later in the TV series by the same name. Haggerty's character, James Capen "Grizzly" Adams, was best friends with a grizzly bear in the 1977 show.
British actor Alan Rickman, a classically-trained stage star and sensual screen villain in the "Harry Potter" saga and other films, died at 69 after a battle with cancer. Trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Rickman was often cast as the bad guy; with his rich, languid voice he could invest evil with wicked, irresistible relish. Rickman is survived by his partner of 50 years, Rima Horton, whom he married recently.
David Margulies, a veteran actor of the stage and screen, whose career spanned decades on Broadway and numerous film roles including the mayor in "Ghostbusters," died at 78.
Michael Galeota, star of Disney Channel’s "The Jersey" and "Clubhouse Detectives," died at 31. "It is with tremendous heartfelt sadness to announce the passing of Michael James Galeota on January 10th. He died peacefully at home," the family wrote on a GoFundMe page.
David Bowie, a rock and roll icon who sustained a chart-topping career for five decades with hits including "Fame", "Heroes" and "Let's Dance", died at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle against cancer. Bowie died two days after the release of "Blackstar", his 29th album, which had been timed to coincide with his birthday. The singer had kept a low profile in recent years after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s, and it had not been widely known that he was struggling with cancer.
Pat Harrington Jr., who memorably played the superintendent Dwayne Schneider on “One Day at a Time,” died at 86. Harrington was raised in New York City, where his father was a Broadway actor. Following in his dad’s footsteps, he became an actor after college, beginning his career at NBC. In 1975, he landed his role on “One Day at a Time,” a CBS sitcom starring the late Bonnie Franklin as a single mother raising her two children.
Nicholas Caldwell, co-founder and singer with the California R&B group The Whispers died of congestive heart failure at 71.
Country singer Craig Strickland of the group Backroad Anthem died at 29 of hypothermia. Strickland and a friend had been reported missing in late 2015 after going on a hunting trip. His body was recovered several days later.
Robert Stigwood, who managed the Bee Gees at the peak of their career and produced one of the defining films of the 1970s in "Saturday Night Fever", died of a heart attack at the age of 81.
Wayne Rogers, whose Trapper John McIntyre alongside Alan Alda's Hawkeye Pierce brought mischief, martinis and meatball surgery to the masses in the 1970s every week on "M.A.S.H.," died at 82 of complications from pneumonia. Rogers' army surgeon Trapper John was one of the most beloved characters -- and half of one of the most beloved duos -- in TV history, despite the actor's appearing in only the first three of the show's 11 seasons on CBS.
We remember some of the great actors, singers and celebs that we have lost.