Everything with a beginning has an end. We all know this but find it hard to accept, especially when it comes to people we love and the things we care about most. The same case applies to bad experiences or low periods in your life where nothing seems to work out in your favor. Therefore, regardless of how terrible your day might be or how long your night might seem, you can always hope for a fresh new start tomorrow.
When it comes to the people we care about, celebrities have special places in our hearts, regardless of whether we've ever personally interacted with them or not. We get to see them on TV and in films, we watch and listen to their interviews on air, and we even read all the gossip and news concerning them. Having so much information about these people makes us feel as if they are part of us, which is the reason we usually feel so devastated when we lose any of them, especially to death.
Like the rest of us, celebrities die, and unlike us, it seems as if the whole world mourns for them. Our favorite celebrities can also leave us when they choose to retire, a loss many of us handle better compared to death. When a celebrity retires from the occupation that made him or her rich and famous, he or she gets to spend more time with family and friends. Retirement is also a sign that a celebrity is feeling as if age is catching up with them. Here are celebrities who left us this year. Some of them have died, whereas others have chosen to retire. In all cases, we feel the loss.
15 Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce is arguably the best basketball player to retire this year so far, after spending 19 seasons in the NBA, 15 of which with the Boston Celtics. Boston Celtics drafted him back in 1998, as the 10th overall pick. He quickly became the star and the captain of the team, earning 10 All-Star nods. In 2007, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett combined forces with Pierce to lead the Celtics to a championship win in 2008, with Pierce receiving the Finals MVP.
Since he scored over 20,000 points for the Celtics alone, he joined the league of John Havlicek and Larry Bird, the only other players to have surpassed the 20,000 points mark for the Celtics. No other Celtics player has ever made as many three-pointers or steals as Pierce has, and he is the second-highest scorer and the seventh-highest rebounder. After the Celtics, Pierce played for the Brooklyn Nets, then the Washington Wizards, and finally the Los Angeles Clippers, where he retired at the end of the 2016-2017 season.
14 Hugh Hefner
Playboy, businessman, and magazine publisher Hugh Hefner makes it to this list, following his demise on September 27 of this year. He was 91 years old. Hefner's death was the result of natural causes, after undergoing cardiac arrest, followed by respiratory failure. Back in 1992, Hefner bought a burial spot next to where they laid Marilyn Monroe in the Corridor of Memories Mausoleum for $75,000, which is where he was laid to rest three days after his death.
Hefner was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Playboy magazine, which he founded and first published back in 1953. This men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine was and continues to be so popular because of its scandalous images that appear in its centrefolds. Other attractive features of the magazine include short stories from notable novelists, full-page color cartoons from notable cartoonists, and monthly interviews of celebrities and public figures.
13 Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz became a star back in 1994 when she starred in The Mask, and a few years later in My Best Friend's Wedding and There's Something About Mary. Other very successful films she has been a part of include Charlie's Angels and its sequel, In Her Shoes, What Happens in Vegas, Knight and Day, Bad Teacher, The Other Woman, Annie, and many others.
Diaz's films have grossed over the $7 billion mark in worldwide revenue, and over $3 billion in the U.S. box office, coming in third after Emma Watson's and Scarlett Johansson's films. In 2013, Diaz was Hollywood's highest paid actress over 40 and has won numerous awards and nominations, including four Golden Globe Award nominations.
It was terrible news for Diaz's fans when early this year she said she had retired from acting. One of the reasons she gave for her decision to retire was the frequent traveling which wore her out.
12 Adam West
If you are a fan of Batman, then you've heard of Adam West or seen him in action. West was one of the first people to play the role of Gotham's caped crusader, and he was good at it. Apparently, West got the chance to play the role after producer William Dozier saw his performance in a Nestlé Quick television ad, where he played a Bond-like character called Captain Q.
Although he appeared in different films, in 1977 he got another opportunity to play Batman, when he voiced the character in The New Adventures of Batman. More recently, he voiced Batman in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) as well as in Batman vs. Two-Face (2017). He also did voice work in shows such as The Fairly OddParents (2003-2008), The Simpsons (1992, 2002), and Family Guy (2000-2017).
On June 9, this year, West died peacefully at the age of 88 surrounded by his loving family. He left behind his wife, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
11 Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr.
Putting Floyd Mayweather Jr. on this list is a risk because we are sure he will get back in the ring for one more fight if it will promise him hundreds of millions of dollars in winnings. Mayweather's professional record stands at 50-0, meaning he has won 50 straight fights with no loss, which is outstanding, to say the least.
The money he makes from his fights have seen him top the list of the highest paid athletes in the world on several occasions. The interesting thing is that all his money comes from winnings, no endorsements included.
After his fight with Conor McGregor this August, he promised that his victory was the last time he would fight, but time will tell. Mayweather claimed to have retired after his fights with De La Hoya and Hatton back in 2007, as well as after beating Berto in 2015. However, for now, we can assume he has retired from the boxing scene.
10 Sir Daniel Day-Lewis
People regard Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, the English actor, as the greatest screen actor of his generation. In his earlier years, he excelled as an actor on the National Youth Theatre in London, before attending three years at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Sir Day-Lewis is on this list because this year in June he announced he was retiring from acting. This was the saddest announcement his fans have received so far, and still hope to this day that he will decide to return after a short break.
He is one of the best method actors today. It's hard to find anyone else who commits so much time, energy, and research into roles before and during each project he's involved in. Sir Day-Lewis remains in character throughout the shooting schedule, regardless of the effect it may have on his health or other areas of his life. Unlike most other actors, he has a reputation for being too selective when it comes to the films he will appear in, and he does all he can to protect his private life.
9 Tara Palmer-Tomkinson
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson was a TV personality and socialite, who appeared in TV shows including I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. Last year, Tara was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and a pituitary tumor, but on February 8 of this year, she died as a result of a perforated ulcer.
A few weeks before her death, some people saw her visiting a friend in the hospital and said she looked ill and thin. It's likely she couldn't eat properly owing to the excruciating holes in her mouth, which were the result of years of drug abuse.
Her friends believed she had accepted her fate, since she once said death came to everyone, and she had accepted that, and no one had control over it, despite having relapsed into what they referred to as "a dark place." Before she died, Tara had a debt of £200,000, resulting from huge overheads from her fashion line. Her cleaner found her body in her London apartment.
8 Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
If you love wrestling and have been following the WWE for many years now, then you know how great a wrestler Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka was. Snuka used to be a bodybuilder in the early 1960s but switched to wrestling in the 70s. Snuka used to be one of the greatest fighters when legends such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Macho Man Randy Savage were rising to fame; he was arguably the biggest star before Hulk Hogan.
Although Snuka had numerous memorable moments in wrestling, his feud with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is one of the most interesting and made him a fan favorite. The episode where Piper smashed a coconut on Snuka's head was the most infamous one he had been involved with, since everyone, including Piper, thought Snuka wouldn't have survived.
In December 2016, Snuka was admitted to hospice care due to a life-threatening stomach cancer he had been diagnosed with back in August 2015. Snuka died in Pompano Beach, Florida on January 15. He was 73 years old.
7 Aretha Franklin
Early this year, Aretha Franklin announced she would retire, despite recording her last full album and touring in concerts. She said she intended to reduce the number of performances she makes, after her new album hits the shelves, because according to her, "this is it." Her album will be multi-directional since she will have Stevie Wonder on board to assist as well as produce some of her songs.
Franklin believes her legacy is intact because she was satisfied with where her career is right now, compared to where she started. So far she has won 18 Grammy Awards and over 75 million record sales, making her one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and in 2005 into the UK Music Hall of Fame. In 2012 she was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked her number one out of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
6 Sir John Hurt
David Lynch once described Sir John Hurt as "the greatest actor in the world," while many other people around the world regarded him as the finest actor in Britain. Such comments and compliments were true, and his over 50 years in acting more than prove his skills.
Some of his memorable roles are in films such as A Man for All Seasons (1966), 10 Rillington Place (1971), Alien (1979), The Elephant Man (1980), the Harry Potter film series (2001–11), the Hellboy films (2004 and 2008), and many others. His distinctive voice gave rise to a very successful career in voice acting in various animations, such as the animated The Lord of the Rings, The Plague Dogs, The Black Cauldron, Dogville, and more.
Before his death on January 25 of this year, Hurt had received numerous awards and nominations, including a BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to cinema in 2012. He was 77 years when he died.
5 Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has been married to Queen Elizabeth II since November 20, 1947, so they will be celebrating their 70th anniversary this month. This is the point you start wondering why we are referring to Philip as Prince and not King, since he married Elizabeth even before she became Queen.
Prince Philip was born a prince in the Greek and Danish royal families, but when he was an infant, his family was exiled and he grew up in France, Germany, and the UK. Before his marriage to the then Princess Elizabeth, Phillip renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a British subject. After 10 years of marriage, his wife, Queen Elizabeth II formally made him a Prince. Prince Phillip is not a king because kings always reign, unlike in the case of a Queen, a title which can be symbolic.
This year, at 96 years of age, Prince Philip announced he was stepping down from his royal duties, having personally accomplished 22,219 royal engagements. These days, he enjoys spending time with his great-grandchildren in Windsor Castle.
4 Sir Roger Moore
Sir Roger Moore is one of the most talented actors who left us this year. He is most well-known for playing the role of James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. Some of his other famous roles include Simon Templar in The Saint (1962-1969) and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! (1971-1972). Moore is so far the longest-serving Bond, a record which Daniel Craig has signed up to quash.
The "Sir" in his name results from being knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to charity. His other achievements include being appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador back in 1991, receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007, and being appointed Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Moore succumbed to cancer on May 23 of this year while in Switzerland. The disease had spread to his lungs and liver.
3 Novella Nelson
Novella Nelson was an amazing singer and actress, whose career was both in cabaret-style locales, and on and off-Broadway. For 10 years, since 1961, Nelson had a successful performing, producing, and directing stage career in New York. In 1970, she played the leading role in Purlie, she directed La Femme Noire, a play at The Public Theater in 1975, and stood in for Pearl Bailey in her role in Hello, Dolly!.
In 1977, Nelson began her film career, appearing in films such as An Unmarried Woman, and as Mrs. Tate in the film Antwone Fisher, which is arguably the role we remember her most for. In recent years, she appeared in different TV shows including Law and Order: SVU, The Devil’s Advocate, One Life to Live, and S*x and the City.
Last year, New York’s New Federal Theatre honored Nelson for her contribution to film and African-American theatre. She died on September 1, 2017, as a result of cancer. She was 77 years old.
2 Barbara Cook
Barbara Cook was an actress and singer who rose to fame back in the 1950s. Her leading roles in Plain and Fancy, Candide, and The Music Man were some of her earliest and most notable works on Broadway. From the mid-1970s, Cook began cabaret and concert singing, the second phase of her career, which led her to make numerous recordings and performances.
Her beautiful lyric soprano voice, as well as her wide range, vocal agility, emotive interpretations, and warm sound, made her stand out from all other singers. Even when she continued to grow older, her voice grew darker and maintained its clarity, expressiveness, and richness.
In 2011, President Obama presented Cook with the Kennedy Center Honors. She had overcome depression, obesity, alcoholism, and a broken marriage to become a successful renowned singer whose interpretation of the Great American Songbook was most emotive. On August 8, 2017, Cook succumbed to respiratory failure at her home in Manhattan. She was 89 years old.
1 Barbara Weldens
Although it would be inaccurate to claim one person's death is more painful than another's, Barbara Weldens' death is sure to be extremely sad and unexpected. Barbara was an up-and-coming French singer who died on 19 July this year.
Apparently, Barbara was electrocuted while performing on stage at a church in Gourdon, where she collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest at about midnight. Emergency services couldn't revive her. She was on tour and was set to perform in concerts in Belgium and France in the months following her performance that fateful night. Barbara liked to perform barefoot on stage, and it's believed she trod on defective electrical equipment, which led to her electrocution.
Barbara had won numerous awards during her short career, including the 2016 Jacques Brel Festival Young Talent Award and had just released her first album this February. The Mediapart website praised the softness of her melodies, as well as the interesting combination of femininity and masculinity in her music. She died at age 35.
Sources: townandcountrymag.com, rollingstone.com, variety.com, dailymail.co.uk, theguardian.com, rollingstone.com, bbc.com, usatoday.com, nytimes.com, usmagazine.com, nba.com, msn.com, hollywoodreporter.com, pulselive.co.ke