We want them to live forever, for them to practice their craft for as long as possible, for them to remain in the prime of their lives even as we grow old and gray. They are celebrities whose stars shone upon us through the entertainment and show business.
No matter the reason for their passing, their leaving is always viewed as a loss and misfortune. Here is a list of the top 10 unfortunate celebrity deaths in 2013 so far, though it is hoped that no one else will follow.
Ray Manzarek was a musician, singer and producer best known as the founding keyboardist of the band called The Doors from 1965 to 1973. He also helped found Nite City in 1977. He was also part of Manzarek-Krieger from 2001 until his death this year. He succumbed to bile duct cancer last May 20. He was 74 years old.
Those old enough to have seen the age of flower power know Richie Havens as the guy who opened the iconic Woodstock Festival in 1969. He was known for his rhythmic guitar style that combined elements of folk, soul and rhythm and blues. He also provided some of the most soulful covers of pop and folk songs. On April 22, 2013, he suddenly suffered a heart attack in Jersey City. He was 72 years old.
Younger fans know him as the guy who played Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter series of films. Richard Griffiths also played King George II in the Johnny Depp movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Back in the 80's, he was in the Ben Kingsley-starrer called Gandhi, where he played a British journalist. He was so well-loved that Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Harry Potter, said that Griffiths’ mere presence was enough to double the fun and intelligence of any room he entered. Griffiths died from complications after heart surgery on May 28. He was 65 years old.
Roger Ebert was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times. He was the first critic to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. His reviews were published in more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad. He also partnered with Gene Siskel in several popular televised film review programs, even claiming the trademark for the term “two thumbs up” given to movies that got positive remarks from both critics. He was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands in 2002, and he died on April 4, 2013. He was 70 years old.
Shain Gandee was part of the reality television series on MTV that was called Buckwild. The series showed how he and other young adults in West Virginia found ways to enjoy the rural life. It was actually renewed for a second season, but it was overtaken by the untimely death of Gandee. He died on April 1 of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a truck along with two other friends. He was only 21 years old.
Chris Kelly was one half of the 90's rap duo called Kris Kross. He was the Mac Daddy, as opposed to the Daddy Mac of his partner, Chris Smith. The two got a hit in 1992 with the song “Jump,” which was certified to be double platinum after spending eight straight weeks at the number one spot in the Billboard chart. He had an extensive history of drug abuse however. After his last rehab, he was found unresponsive at his home on May 1. He was only 34 years old.
Mindy McCready was a country singer known for the number one hit called “Guys Do It All the Time” and for other popular songs like “Ten Thousand Angels” and “A Girl’s Gotta Do (What a Girl’s Gotta Do).” She released five albums, including the double platinum record called Ten Thousand Angels. In January 2013, her boyfriend committed suicide that left McCready devastated. A month later, she took her own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was only 37 years old.
Lisa Robin Kelly was a television actress who appeared in shows like Married…with Children, Charmed and Silk Stalkings. She also appeared in movies like Amityville Dollhouse, Late Last Night and Jawbreaker. She was best known for her role in That ‘70s Show, where she played the promiscuous older sister of Topher Grace. Her drinking problem forced her out of the show, however, and also led to troubles with the law. She died in her sleep while at rehab on August 14. She was only 43 years old.
He will always be known as Tony Soprano, the crime boss of the huge television hit called The Sopranos. James Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two Golden Globes for his performance in the show. He also had prominent roles in movies like True Romance, Get Shorty and Where the Wild Things Are. He was also a true patriot, producing two documentaries related to wars, namely Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq and Wartorn: 1861-2010. While on vacation in Rome, he suffered a heart attack and died on June 19. He was 51 years old.
Cory Monteith will always be remembered as Finn Hudson, the football jock turned glee club singer in the huge television hit called Glee. He also appeared in movies like Monte Carlo and Sisters & Brothers. He had a history of substance abuse, however, that started when he was only 12 years old. At 19, he had been sent to a drug rehabilitation center. He tried to seek treatment, but a combination of heroin and alcohol finally did him in last July 13 in Vancouver. He was only 31 years old.