The 15 Most Influential People Killed By 2016

For those of us who love the celebrity world, show business, music and film, 2016 was one of the most difficult years imaginable. It seemed like every week, some great and fabled legend was dying, and then just when we thought we were clear of it around the December holidays, tragedy struck faster and more furious than ever before. Some people have gone as far as saying that 2016 was the reckoning for celebrities. It did seem like an abnormal amount of well-known celebs were passing away. Death got greedy. But it's done now. All we can do is hope that it was an anomaly and that 2017 and the years to follow will be much kinder to the famous. We're not completely naïve. We do expect that someone great will die each year, but, please, keep it to a minimum if you can, oh Death. Give us some more time to honor our legends before you take them from us.

With only 15 spots to give on this list, and a very clear bias for the film and television stars we lost, there were some greats left off the final tally. Since we tried to focus most on celebrities from show business, we were forced to exclude the incredible Muhammad Ali, Merle Haggard, John Glenn and Sir George Martin among others. There were also some brilliant actors who were left off, including Alan Thicke from Growing Pains and Abe Vigota from The Godfather. With that said, let's take a look at the stars who did make this horrible list. Here are the 15 most influential stars killed by 2016.

15 Doris Roberts

14 Florence Henderson

13 Leonard Cohen

12 Agnes Nixon

11 Anton Yelchin

10 Zsa Zsa Gabor


9 George Michael

8 Garry Shandling

7 Garry Marshall

6 Alan Rickman

5 Prince

via Billboard

4 David Bowie

3 Carrie Fisher

2 Debbie Reynolds

1 Gene Wilder

In terms of film comedy, you would be hard pressed to find someone who had a greater impact on the genre than Gene Wilder. Though he had pulled back from the industry in the years leading up to his death, Wilder's impression on comedy and film in general was always seen and will be forever felt. From Blazing Saddles to Young Frankenstein to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wilder's work touched people of all ages across multiple generations. More than that, he changed the way comedy is written, how it's filmed and how it's performed. Nearly every comedy in the last 20-30 years has the markings of Wilder. We see him in the delivery of comics and we hear him in the jokes. Wilder may have famously said that he didn't understand the comedy of today, but he sure as hell is one of the main reasons it is what it is. It may seem rather ridiculous to "rank" the deaths of 2016, and to be honest, that's not what we've done here. BUT, when it comes to film, there may be no greater loss than this. On August 29, 2016, at age 83, Wilder passed away of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Sources: Syracuse, Wikipedia

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The 15 Most Influential People Killed By 2016