Damn you 2016. Damn you to hell. This year has not been a good one for millions. So as a way to signal the end of this damned year, I’m taking a look at those we’ve lost. More fixating on those that meant something to me though, the ten that made such an impact on my life. The people on this list have all passed away in 2016 and have all had an impact on my work or my life in general. It’s in no particular order.
Gene Wilder: 1933 – 2016
Kicking off the list with one of the greatest actors I’ve ever had the absolute pleasure of watching. Many will know him as Willy Wonka, I know him as that, it’s one of my all time favourite films. But not only that, if we look beyond Willy Wonka. Arguably his most famous work was Willy Wonka, but his other performances are just as incredible in my eyes.
When I learnt of Wilders passing, I actually cried. Now, I’m not one to cry over the loss of a celebrity, but one who meant a lot to myself and my childhood I couldn’t help it.
Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are just a few of the titles he starred in. On top of that, he’s written novels, I haven’t had the chance to read them yet though but I’m sure they’re good.
Alan Rickman: 1946 – 2016
Another actor that impacted my life so greatly. I’m presuming you’ve guessed that his role as Professor Snape was what formed my childhood. Harry Potter, the books and the films were what formed my childhood and many others around the world. To make such an impact as an anti-hero that was Snape is phenomenal. Another death that made me cry, simply because for seventeen years he had formed my childhood.
When Rickman passed, I watched some more of his other films, I’d never seen Die Hard so thought I’d put that on. Until that point, I had never understood how versatile and brilliant of an actor Rickman was. He can play the villain (Die Hard) and he can play a lovable comic character (Love, Actually). A damn shame that we lost him.
Andrew Sachs: 1930 – 2016
Many probably know Andrew Sachs as a comedy legend. This is because he was a comedy legend. He brought life to Fawlty Towers character, Manuel, a lovable Spanish butler. He starred in arguably the greatest BBC sitcom of all time, and above all he starred and created so much more.
Fawlty Towers was the work he is most remembered for, it’s what shot him into the hearts of the public. But he did appear in other projects, his final being Alice: Through the Looking Glass, although he wasn’t credited for his role.
David Bowie: 1947 – 2016
I’ve never been a big fan of much music, but David Bowie is one of the greatest musicians I have ever listened to. Literally right now as I write this, I’m listening to Moonage Daydream, a song that features in Guardians of the Galaxy. Bowie was a phenomenal musician with so many hit songs I couldn’t possibly mention them in this article. But I have to make special mention for Space Oddity and Let’s Dance. Those two songs really showed how much Bowie could do.
On top of that, he was in a great number of movies and TV Shows. Extras, Labyrinth and Twin Peaks are just a few shows that Bowie graced with his presence.
Ronnie Corbett: 1930 – 2016
Ronnie Corbett was a comedy legend. Even after the death of his long time comedy partner, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett had kept in the spotlight of comedy. At 85, Ronnie Corbett’s death was primarily a remembrance of all he brought the world. The Two Ronnies both now lay at rest, but they produced some fine comedy in their time.
Not only that, but Corbett was a frequent panellist on numerous shows, including Would I Lie To You. His features in movies were few and far between however, primarily as a soldier in Burke and Hare.
Terry Wogan: 1938 – 2016
For those who don’t know, Terry Wogan was the voice of Radio and the face of Children in Need. He still holds the record for most listened to radio show. Wake up with Wogan often climbed to eight million listeners, a feat nobody has managed to beat.
Wogan received countless awards, recognition for his work and above all he was loved by everyone. When he passed, a public funeral was impossible due to the number of people wanting to pay their respects. Truly remarkable, and a great loss to us all.
Frank Kelly: 1938 – 2016
Best known for his portrayal as Father Jack Hackett in Father Ted, Frank Kelly passed in February. The man was a brilliant example of how to live life. Not only that, but it was a genuine shock when he died of a heart attack. He had previously survived bowel and skin cancer, however announced he had Parkinsons disease in late 2015.
A bloody shame, Frank Kelly was a hilarious comedy actor. I remember the day he died, a channel did a Father Ted marathon. I watched every one of those episodes. Honestly the list just highlighted why Kelly was so funny. Even more so, why it’s such a tragic loss to everyone.
Liz Smith: 1921 – 2016
A lot of you probably wont know who this is. That’s fine, she’s arguably not the most recognisable face on this list. However she does hold a dear place in the hearts of those who have seen her work. She may be most known for her role as “Nana” on The Royle Family. I know her as the woman who featured in an episode of Bottom.
However you remember her, remember her for her talent. She featured in hundreds upon hundreds of shows and movies. Not only that, but she’s a figurehead of women everywhere. She brought up her two children alone, and if that isn’t worth recognition then I don’t know what is.
Carrie Fisher: 1956 – 2016
This is a genuine tragedy. Most of the others on this list had passed the prime of their life by a number of years. Carrie Fisher was only 60. The prime of her life just wrapping up. At the time of writing (28/12/2016) she’s the most recent celebrity to part with us all.
Obviously people will all know her from her performance as Princess Leia in Star Wars. But I more fondly remember her for being a character in Drop Dead Fred, a Rik Mayall film released in the 90s.
And there we have it. That’s a wrap on 2016 and lets hope never to repeat it. But for those who think like me, we know 2017 is going to be hell. More celebrity deaths, more of the same horrific terrorist attacks and more brutally stupid politicians in power. Good luck everyone.