When a celebrity passes away the news of his/her passing generally spreads rather quickly. The 2016 calendar year saw a number of iconic celebrities pass away, such as Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Arnold Palmer, Prince, Nancy Reagan and Janet Reno. We lost athletes; we lost actors and actresses; we lost comedians; we lost musicians; we lost politicians; quite frankly, we lost celebrities from all realms. We also lost Fidel Castro, but something tells me that not many are in uproar about that. While the passing of the aforementioned names is known by practically any and everyone, there are those deaths that catch one by surprise.
There are deaths that catch persons off guard considering the age of the one who has passed; there are deaths that are overshadowed as a result of another death(s); there are deaths that one simply forgets about whether willingly or unwillingly; there are deaths that are baffling because the person who passed appeared on the surface to be as strong as a bull (or ox take your pick); there are deaths that just seem unreal.
With 2016 coming to a close we take a look back at those celebrities that we have lost this year. However, we aren’t taking a look at names such as Ali and Prince that everyone and their mother is aware of. On the contrary, here, we take a look at fifteen lesser known Hollywood tragedies of 2016.
15. Daniel Patrick Harrington Jr.
Daniel Patrick Harrington Jr. was best known for his role as a superintendent named Schneider on Indianapolis based CBS sitcom, One Day At A Time. Harrington was a native New Yorker who completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the Rose Hill section of the Bronx at Fordham University. Asides from his role in One Day At A Time, Harrington was a member of Steve Allen’s ‘Men on the Street’ comedic group, appeared on The Danny Thomas Show and appeared on The Jack Paar Show on multiple occasions. Harrington passed away at the age of eighty-six in Los Angeles, California after an unfortunate fall. Harrington had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and had fallen in November of 2015. Due to the fall Harrington suffered a brain hemorrhage. After spending multiple weeks in both a hospital and a nursing home, Harrington was pronounced dead on January 6th, 2016, as a result of the brain hemorrhage he had suffered. He is survived by his second wife and four children.
14. Michael Galeota
The name Michael Galeota may not ring a bell if you weren’t a fan of the Disney Channel. Galeota was best known for his role as Nick Lighter in Disney’s The Jersey which had run from 1999-2004. Asides from appearing in The Jersey, Galeota also hit the big screen as both a child and as an adult as he appeared in films such as Secret Santa, Bushwhacked, Clubhouse Detectives and Can’t Be Heaven. Galeota was born in the Suffolk County section of Long Island, New York in the town of Smithtown. In January of 2016 Galeota complained about experiencing abdominal pain. He was hospitalized but refused to undergo treatment. Sadly, this decision would prove to be fatal. On January 10th, 2016, Galeota was found dead in his Glendale, California home by a friend. In September of 2016 it was revealed that Galeota died due to heart disease and hypertension at the age of 31.
13. Dan Haggerty
Dan Haggerty’s face is iconic as it is synonymous with The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams where he played the role of James “Grizzly” Adams. Asides from the forenamed The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Haggerty had roles both small and large in a number of films such as Easy Rider, Angels Die Hard, Hex, Americana and Terror Night. Haggerty also received his coveted gold star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984. In August of 2015, Haggerty went in to see doctors to receive back surgery. Sadly, back surgery wouldn’t be the only thing Haggerty would be going in for on this day. Haggerty received unfortunate and troubling news when doctors had discovered a tumor on his spine which meant he had spinal cancer. Five months later, the spinal cancer ended up taking Haggerty’s life on January 15th, 2016. Haggerty was seventy-three and is survived by his six children.
12. Joe Alaskey
Joe Alaskey isn’t a name that any and everyone is aware of; moreover, many aren’t aware of Alaskey. However, this isn’t because Alaskey hasn’t been instrumental in his roles; instead, it is because he’s a voice actor responsible for voicing some of the most prominent cartoons of all-time. Alaskey is responsible for being one of the voices behind a wide array of Looney Tunes characters such as, but not limited to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Pepe La Pew, Porky Pig and Taz. Alaskey has also been involved with Nickelodeon’s animated series Rugrats, as he has been the voice behind Grandpa Lou Pickles and in video games such as Spider-Man 2 where he has been the voice of Curt Connors and Spongebob Squarepants: Lights, Camera, Pants! where he voices the role of superhero, Mermaid Man. Alaskey passed away on February 3rd, 2016 after losing a battle with cancer at the age of sixty-three.
It’s no secret that Prince died in 2016; however, what many likely aren’t aware of is the fact that someone close to him, better yet one who could be looked at as Prince’s protege passed away two months prior to when Prince had. Vanity’s most recognized for being the lead singer of Vanity 6 and for the group’s hit song ‘Nasty Girl’. Vanity had also previously been in a relationship with Prince which lasted from 1980-1983. After being linked to Prince, Vanity dated Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx from 1983-1986. She never married either but married former Oakland Raider Anthony Smith, in 1995, but the couple divorced the following year. Vanity had battled an addiction to crack cocaine in the early nineties before becoming a Born Again Christian. Vanity passed away at the age of fifty-seven due to kidney failure on February 15th, 2016, as a result of kidney failure. Regrettably, Vanity’s prior addiction to crack cocaine played a vital role in her demise.
10. Lex McAllister
The Bachelor is consistently responsible for doing exceptionally well in the ratings department as it caters to a number of viewers. However, if you aren’t familiar with The Bachelor, you likely aren’t familiar with Lexie McAllister. McAllister competed on Season 14 of the show in the season that featured Jake Pavelka in the role of the bachelor. Ironically and tragically, McAllister wasn’t the first contestant from this season to take her own life, as fellow contestant Gia Allemand committed suicide in 2013. McAllister had a history of mental illness and three days prior to her demise she had sent a text to a friend indicating that she wanted to take her own life. The friend had stopped by on the 13th to check on McAllister and had found multiple empty bottles of prescription pills. On February 16th, 2016, McAllister was pronounced dead at the age of thirty-one as a result of overdosing on prescription pills.
9. Harper Lee
The Monroeville, Alabama-born Harper Lee is responsible for being the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, which has been a staple in American classrooms for close to half a century. Amazingly, Lee only has one other work to her name (Go Set a Watchman), which released fifty-five years after her first novel. Yet, her success with such a small catalog is simply unparalleled. To add to the astonishment, Go Set a Watchman was actually a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you look at it, Lee essentially made her career literally based on one story (discounting articles she has had published). Lee passed away in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama at the age of eighty-nine in her sleep. Lee was never the flashiest of names as she tended to stay out of the spotlight, yet her To Kill A Mockingbird novel is responsible for being one of the greatest pieces of American literature ever.
8. Rob Ford
The former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was about as polarizing a character anyone has ever seen. There were those that loved the man based on his carefree attitude; then again there were those that hated the man based on his carefree attitude. Ford served as the 64th Mayor of Drake’s hometown of Toronto from 2010-2014. Ford had initial plans to run for re-election in the 2004 mayoral race but had to put that to the wayside due to health issues. Ford made headlines by admitting to the usage of crack cocaine while in office. On September 17th, 2014, two months before his exit from office, it was announced that Ford had cancer by way of pleomorphic liposarcoma.
7. Doris Roberts
Doris Roberts was born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 4th, 1925. Roberts had appeared in a number of shows and films (the woman has a total of six Emmys to her name along with numerous nominations) such as The Honeymoon Killers, Hester Street, Rabbit Test and Simple Justice. However, while all of Roberts’ forenamed appearances were between 1969 and 1989, the work she is most known for actually occurred after that. Roberts is best known for her role in the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond where she played the role of Ray’s mother. She also appeared in popular comic Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection. Roberts had been married twice, with her first marriage ending in divorce and with her second marriage ending with the passing of her husband in 1983. Roberts died at the age of ninety as a result of suffering a stroke on April 17th, 2016. Roberts leaves behind one child.
Sunny is often referred to as WWE’s first female diva, yet she wasn’t anywhere near as close as revolutionary of a woman as Chyna was. Chyna first appeared in WWE in the late nineties in a managerial/bodyguard role for then real life boyfriend Hunter Hearst Helmsley or simply Triple H. However, Chyna would find herself out of the WWE once Triple H started seeing Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon. Chyna and Triple H’s relationship is a ‘he said she said’ type of story as Chyna says HHH cheated on her with Stephanie, while HHH claims the two were no longer involved. Once out of the WWE, Chyna’s life began to spiral out of control. She entered p*rn; she battled drug addiction; she was involved in a domestic dispute. Chyna passed away on April 20th, 2016 at the hands of a drug overdose at the age of forty-six in Redondo Beach, California.
5. Rickey Smith
The singing competition show American Idol has bought us the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, who have gone on to have great success as musicians. The show has also bought us the likes of Fantasia and Jordin Sparks, who have gone on to have moderate success. The show has also bought us the likes of Ruben Studdard and Lee DeWyze who have struggled to find their footing in music. In season two, one of the contestants was a man by the name of Rickey Smith from Oklahoma. Smith didn’t make it too far as he was eliminated eighth overall. On May 5th, 2016, Smith was killed in a head-on car accident in Oklahoma. Smith was struck by a vehicle that was driven by a man who was driving on the wrong side of the highway and was under the influence. Smith was only thirty-six years old.
4. Morley Safer
60 Minutes is a show that is watched by the masses and if you’re a viewer of the program you’re more than likely aware of the passing of Morley Safer; if you aren’t a viewer, then his passing may come as a surprise. Safer was a reporter first and foremost and discovered that was his calling at nineteen as he dropped out of college in his native Toronto in order to pursue a career as a reporter. It’s safe to say that Safer made a wise decision! Safer appeared on 60 Minutes for a whopping forty-six years as he began in 1970 and concluded in 2016. Ironically, one week after Safer retired from 60 Minutes, he passed away. Safer’s death came at the hands of pneumonia. Safer was eighty-four years old and passed away at his Manhattan, New York residence. Safer leaves behind his wife, a daughter and three grandchildren.
3. Miss Cleo
In the late 1990s it was damn near impossible to watch television and not see an advertisement (or a half dozen) featuring Miss Cleo. Miss Cleo claimed to be a psychic born and bred in the Caribbean island of Jamaica. In reality, Miss Cleo was from Los Angeles, California. As a result of Miss Cleo being exposed as an American and not one who was born and raised in Jamaica a number of lawsuits were thrown her way. Many of those which stated that Miss Cleo never actually spoke to the callers that called in. Miss Cleo appeared in other advertisements as well, such as one for French Toast Crunch and one for a Florida car dealership. Miss Cleo passed away in Palm Beach County, Florida at the hands of colon cancer on July 26th, 2016 at the age of fifty-three. Miss Cleo had battled colon cancer for a number of years and it was eventually responsible for her demise.
2. Andre Courreges
For the fashion aficionados the passing of Andre Courreges in 2016 is something that is likely still fresh in their minds. For those who aren’t fans of upper echelon clothing, or clothing at all for that matter, the name Andre Courreges probably screams “who?” Andre Courreges got his start in the fashion industry as he began working for Balenciaga in 1948 at the age of twenty-five. Thirteen years later Courreges opened his own fashion house named- drum roll please- Courreges. Courreges was the head of his own brand up until 2011 when he was eighty-seven years old. At this time, Courreges and his wife had decided to step away from the brand and it was sold to a pair of advertising executives. Courreges passed away on January 7th, 2016 in his homeland of France. Courreges had endured agonizing pain at the hands of Parkinson’s for the last thirty years of his life. Courreges leaves behind his wife and daughter.
1. Alexis Arquette
Alexis Arquette may be one of the most renown transgender Hollywood stars of all time, yet considering her line of work has severely diminished in the past decade many may not be aware of her passing. Arquette hasn’t had a prominent role since 2014 in the film Blended, featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. It also may be her only prominent role of this decade (depending on what side of the fence you’re on). Arquette wore a number of hats as she was an actress, musician and cartoonist. Arquette was born a male but lived most of her life as a transgender female. Arquette passed away at the age of forty-seven in Beverley Hills, California on the fifteenth anniversary of the saddest day in American history, September 11th, 2016. The cause of death was cardiac arrest. She leaves behind her mother, father, two brothers and two sisters.