When someone famous dies it’s usually impossible not to hear about it. All of a sudden it’s on every news outlet, TV station, and it’s what everyone is talking about. Not only does everyone hear about it, but it can also be very shocking and saddening for many fans. After all, these are people that we often feel like we know personally after spending our time watching their movies and TV shows, listening to them on the radio, and reading their interviews.
With some celebrities, it feels like we’ve only just begun to get to know them and their work before they pass away, and with others, we might not even hear about their passing till much later.
Here’s a list of celebs that have passed away that you might not have known heard about or known very well.
I honestly didn’t realize that #5 on this list had died.
#12 Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy most famously starred as Spock in Star Trek, and through that role and his personality he became beloved by many Trekkers around the world. Besides acting, he also wrote poetry, music, and was an activist. He passed away in February 2015 at 83. His death was said to be due to a smoking-related condition. Fortunately, he leaves behind a long legacy and huge body of work for his many fans to reflect on.
#11 Michael Clarke Duncan
Not only was Michael Clarke Duncan a physically huge man, he also had a larger than life personality. He was known for his size and deep voice which were on full display in films like Armageddon, Daredevil, and The Green Mile. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 54. His cause of death was a heart attack.
#10 Chris Penn
Chris Penn might’ve been a little less famous than his brother Sean, but it still came as a huge shock when he died from heart disease in 2006 at 40-years-old. Penn’s most notable role was in the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs where he played Nice Guy Eddie. It rattled many of his fans when he passed away so young.
#9 Jean Stapleton
If you ever watched All In The Family then you likely remember Jean Stapleton who starred as Edith, Archie Bunker’s wife. Although Jean died of natural causes at the ripe old age of 90 in 2013, it was still very sad for many as the show, character, and actress had a tender spot in their heart for years.
#8 John Spencer
There’s never a good time for someone to pass away, but John Spencer had literally just received a lead role on The West Wing when he suffered a heart attack and passed away in 2005 at 58-years-old. The show continued to include his name in the credits for the remainder of the series in his memory.
#7 Lisa Robin Kelly
Many people most likely were familiar with Lisa Robin Kelly from her role as Eric’s hot older sister in the popular sitcom, That 70’s Show. What was less commonly known was Kelly’s severe drinking and drug problem that eventually cost her life. She died at the age of 40 when she overdosed while staying in a rehab facility.
#6 James Avery
James Avery was best known as “Uncle Phil” in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, an iconic sitcom starring Will Smith. His character was Will Smith’s uncle, and he was extremely popular among viewers. Many expressed their sorrow when he passed away at age 68 while undergoing heart surgery.
#5 Earl Hindman
If you ever watched the TV show Home Improvement starring Tim Allen then you definitely remember everyone’s favorite neighbor — Wilson, who was played by Earl Hindman. He sadly passed away due to lung cancer in 2003. He was only 61-yearas-oldold, and with his passing went a fixture of our generation’s sitcom world.
#4 James Rebhorn
Films like Small Soldiers and TV shows like Homeland are only a couple of the hundreds that James Rebhorn had roles in. It was an impressive accomplishment and something that people could take a small measure of comfort in when he passed at the age of 65. He died due to melanoma in 2014.
#3 Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy starred in a number of movies including Newlyweds, Clueless, and 8 Mile, among others. Her death was eventually discovered to be entirely accidental in nature with the cause being a combination of pneumonia and legal drugs she was taking. She died in 2009 at the very young age of 32.
#2 Philip Seymour Hoffman
The world lost an amazingly talented actor when Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away in 2015. He had already won an Oscar and had critically acclaimed roles in The Master, Capote, and Charlie Wilson’s War. He was actively involved in the filming of The Hunger Games when he died at 46 due to a suspected drug overdose.
#1 Cory Monteith
Cory Monteith was a very talented actor, singer, and performer that is most well known for his starring role on Glee which was an ensemble television show about a high school glee club and their singing competitions. He passed away in 2013 due to an overdose of heroin and alcohol. It was later revealed that he had been struggling with addiction issues for a long time.
As sad as all of these celebrities deaths were and still are, we can take some comfort in appreciating their work while they were here. The unique thing about a life spent in the public spotlight is that once they’ve passed on there’s still a massive footprint left behind in their wake, and these celebrities have certainly all left their mark on the world.