Within days recently two iconic artists passed away, and they were related to each other. Debbie Reynolds was 84 and her daughter Carrie Fisher was 60. Carrie was best known as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies. Debbie and Carrie were major Hollywood actresses at the same age – 19. She starred in many musicals including Singing In The Rain with Gene Kelly.
I met the engaging Debbie during a November 1989 appearance at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre. She was here promoting her show The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and she had much to say about her life, the Hollywood system of yore and her relationship with her kids.
They were among the last in a long list of favourites we lost in 2016.
Gary Russell, former VP/GM of Z95 and CISL at 67 on January 2.
Abe Vigoda, character actor in The Godfather and Barney Miller, at 94, January 26
Bob Elliott, one half of legendary TV-radio comedy duo Bob and Ray with Ray Goulding, February 2 at 92
Charlie Tuna, LA radio personality and TV host, February 19 at 71
George Kennedy, tough-guy character actor best known for Cool Hand Luke and the Naked Gun movies, February 28 at 91
Senator Ed Lawson, second longest-serving member of the Canadian Senate, at 86 on February 29
Ron Jacobs, program director of KHJ/Los Angeles and producer of The History of Rock and Roll at 79, March 8
Norman Sedawie, Former Sun/Province reporter and Emmy award-winning producer, March 12 at 87
Tammy Moyer, CKWX news anchor, March 18 at 46
George McLean, CBC national newscaster at 92 on March 16
Rob Ford, Former Toronto mayor, March 22 at 46
Garry Shandling, comedian and The Larry Sanders Show star, March 24 at 66
Wally Crouter, CFRB/Toronto radio host for 50 years, March 28 at 83
Patty Duke, Oscar and Emmy-winning actress, former child star, March 29 at 69
Jim Howe, sound guy, Vancouver supper club owner and record producer, April 13 at 86
William Schallert, Patty Duke’s TV dad and actors’ union leader, May 8 at 93
Morley Safer, CBS News correspondent, at 84 on May 19, days after retiring from 60 Minutes
Alan Young, star of TV’s Mister Ed and the voice of Scrooge McDuck on Duck Tales, May 19 at 96
Stanley Burke, TV journalist and CBC News anchor, May 28 at 93
Muhammad Ali, boxing legend and activist, born Cassius Clay, June 3 at 74
Gordie Howe, four-time Stanley Cup champion and NHL legend known as “Mr. Hockey,” June 10 at 88
Jack Braverman, the highest billing salesman in Vancouver radio history, at 88 on June 26.
Bert Gordon, who worked at CFOX in the early 80’s, then CFMI and CKNW, at 70 on July 13.
Garry Marshall, legendary writer, director and actor whose credits include Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, July 19 at 81
Tom Gould, who built CTV News into a top rated operation, July 21 at 84
David Cassady, former CKWX/Vancouver news reader, August 14th at 86
Steven Hill, Law & Order and Mission Impossible actor, August 23 at age 94
Gene Wilder, comedy legend who starred in Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, August 28 at age 83
Hugh O’Brian, best known for starring on TV’s The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, September 5 at 91
W.P. Kinsella, author whose book Shoeless Joe was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams, September 16 at 81
Dave Broadfoot, 90, Canadian comedian (Royal Canadian Air Farce), November 1
Robert Vaughn, Oscar-nominated actor who starred on TV’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., November 11 at 83
Florence Henderson, beloved Brady Bunch mom, November 24 at 82
John Glenn, pioneering American astronaut and politician, December 8 at 95
Rick Klassen, BC Lions defensive lineman, December 10 at 57
Tom Moffatt, Hawaiian radio legend and Elvis concert promoter, December 13 at 85
Alan Thicke, Canadian actor, talk show host and songwriter, December 13 at 69
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, Hungarian-born American actress and socialite, December 19
Carrie Fisher, 60, American actress, novelist and screenwriter, December 27
Debbie Reynolds, 84, American actress and singer, December 28
William Christopher, Father Mulcahy on the hit TV show M*A*S*H, December 31 at 84
Next: we remember some notable losses in the music world last year.