21 stars who left the stage in 2015

From B.B. King to Anita Ekberg and Leonard Nimoy, here are some of the stars who passed away in 2015.

Notable deaths from the world of arts and entertainment

Clockwise from left: Anita Ekberg, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, Omar Sharif, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Chris Hyndman and Ron Hynes. (Clockwise: Getty Images, Canadian Press, AP, Canadian Press, CBC, AP)

From Hollywood icons to the young, dead before their time, following is a look at some of the stars from the world of arts and entertainment who died this year.

Anita Ekberg

La Dolce Vita actress Anita Ekberg, immortalized bathing in the Trevi fountain in Federico Fellini's 1960 tribute to the good life, died on Jan. 11 at age 83. 

Swedish film star Anita Ekberg starred in the iconic 1950s film La Dolce Vita. (Keystone/Getty)

Her role in  La Dolce Vita — where she played a movie star — shot the Swedish-born actress to stardom. The movie came to define the wild and carefree days of the early 1960s and made Ekberg a sex-symbol of the 1950s and '60s.

In La Dolce Vita Ekberg plays a glittering starlet who charms a young Italian playboy and gossip columnist played by Marcello Mastroianni. (eOne Films)

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, the actor, author and director best known as Spock in the TV series Star Trek, died on Feb. 27 at the age of 83. Nimoy was featured in the original Star Trek series from 1966 to 1969 and resurrected the iconic character in movies, video games and cameo appearances spanning decades. 

Actor and director Leonard Nimoy is best known for playing Mr. Spock in the media franchise Star Trek. (Jerry Mosey/AP)

Nimoy continued to work as an actor and director well into his 70s and also published books of poems, children's stories and his own photographs. However, its his enduring role as the ultra-logical half-human Vulcan that has made him a cultural icon.

Leonard Nimoy played the impeccably logical Mr. Spock in Star Trek. (Paramount Pictures/Getty)

Lesley Gore

Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 with her ode to teenage angst It's My Party — and followed it up with the hits Judy's Turn to Cry and the feminist anthem You Don't Own Me — died Feb. 16. She was 68.

Singer Lesley Gore celebrates her 18th birthday at a party at the Delmonico Hotel in New York in 1964. (Marty Lederhandler/AP)

Terry Pratchett

British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, who authored the Discworld series set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork, was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and died on March 12. He was 66. 

Author Sir Terry Pratchett in 2010. (Oli Scarff/Getty)

B.B. King

The King of the Blues, B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans, died on May 14 at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and received the Songwriters Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.

Blues legend B.B. King at the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2011. (Valentin Flauraud/Reuters)

King's Grammy Awards include best male rhythm 'n' blues performance in 1971 for The Thrill Is Gone, best ethnic or traditional recording in 1982 for There Must Be a Better World Somewhere and, in 2009, best blues album for One Kind Favor.

B.B. King holds up his 1991 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Recording, one of 15 Grammys he won during his recording career (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee, the prolific, aristocratic British actor known for his dramatic gravitas — his on-screen villains include the wicked wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, James Bond's enemy Scaramanga and the Sith Lord Count Dooku — died on June 7. He was 93. 

Actor Christopher Lee, in 1948. (Baron/Getty)

Lee appeared in more than 250 movies but for many he will forever be known as the vampire Count Dracula in a slew of Hammer Film's productions — the hugely popular gory, gothic thrillers churned out by the British studio in the 1950s and 1960s.  

Christopher Lee and Veronica Carlson in the 1968 Hammer film Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. (Keystone/Getty)

James Horner

James Horner's film scores earned the composer 10 Academy Award nominations and two wins, both for 1997's hit Titanic. My Heart Will Go On, sung by Celine Dion, and topped charts around the world. His scores for Alien, Apollo 13, Field of Dreams, Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind, House of Sand and Fog and Avatar also earned Oscar nods. Horner was killed on June 22 when his plane crashed in Southern California. ​

James Horner holds up two Oscars after winning for Best Original Song and Original Dramatic Score for his work on the movie Titanic at the 1998 Academy Awards. (Blake Sell/Reuters)

Omar Sharif

Already a star of Egyptian cinema, Omar Sharif made his English-language debut in David Lean's sprawling 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, opposite Peter O'Toole. The role earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor and instantly shot him to international fame. 

Egyptian actor Omar Sharif Sharif made his English-language debut in David Lean's sprawling 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, opposite Peter O'Toole. (The Associated Press)

He teamed up with Lean again in 1965, taking the romantic title role in Doctor Zhivago, co-starring Julie Christie. He also played Fanny Brice's husband, Nicky Arnstein, in Funny Girl alongside Barbra Streisand. Sharif died on July 10 after suffering a heart attack in Cairo.

Omar Sharif earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in Lawrence of Arabia. (Columbia Photos/AP)

Jon Vickers

Canadian opera singer John Vickers, nicknamed "God's tenor" for his voice and Christian beliefs, was born in Prince Albert, Sask., and made his Royal Opera debut in 1957. Vickers became one of the world's leading Wagnerian performers and from 1960 he was a regular at New York's Metropolitan Opera. Vickers retired in 1988 and passed away on July 10.

Jon Vickers studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and made his Royal Opera debut in 1957.

Bobbi Kristina Brown

Bobbi Kristina Brown, whose mother, Whitney Houston, died under similar circumstances a year earlier. (Jordan Strauss/Associated Press)

Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, died on July 26 after being kept in a medically induced coma for months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub. She was 22 years old.

E.L. Doctorow

A heavyweight author of the 20th century, E.L. Doctorow enjoyed critical and popular success over his 50-year career. He won the National Book Award for fiction in 1986 for World's Fair and the National Book Critics Circle award twice: in 1989 for Billy Bathgate and in 2005 for The March. U.S. President Barack Obama praised Doctorow on Twitter as "one of America's greatest novelists." Doctorow died from complications of lung cancer on July 21, at age 84. 

Author E.L. Doctorow is best-known for his award-winning novel Ragtime. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper

The kilt-wearing trash talker known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper headlined the first WrestleMania. Piper became a household name as a professional wrestler and starred in the movie They Live. The Saskatchewan-born entertainer also hosted the Winnipeg Comedy Festival in 2006. He died on July 31 at 61.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper gets the crowd going at a World Wrestling Entertainment event. (WEE/Canadian Press)

Chris Hyndman

Co-workers, friends and fans across the country were quick to share their condolences when Chris Hyndman, the co-host of CBC TV's Steven and Chris, was found without vital signs in an alley in Toronto on Aug. 3. He was 49. 

Chris Hyndman was the co-host of the CBC daytime lifestyle series Steven and Chris. (Dustin Rabin/CBC)

Hyndman and his partner of 25 years, Steven Sabados, hosted the CBC daytime show between 2008 and 2015 and was among the first openly gay television hosts.

Comedian Rick Mercer says news of fellow-Newfoundlander Christopher Hyndman's death came as a terrible shock. Mercer appeared on Hyndman's show in 2013. (CBC)

Marguerite McDonald

Marguerite McDonald, the inaugural host of CBC Radio's political affairs show The House passed away in Ottawa on Aug. 24, after a battle with cancer. She was 73. In 1983, McDonald was appointed social affairs correspondent for CBC-TV, making her the public broadcaster's first female national news TV reporter based in Ottawa. In 1990, she returned to her broadcasting roots to host Open House, a show about religion and spirituality. She retired from the CBC in 1996.

CBC journalist Marguerite McDonald was the first host of the political radio program The House.

Wes Craven

Prolific horror filmmaker Wes Craven, who directed the slasher classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, died on Aug. 30 at the age of 76. The original Elm Street, which cost less than $2 million US to make, starred Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger: a clawed villain who torments a group of youths through their dreams. It was a box office bonanza and spawned eight sequels as well as a television series and novels.

Director Wes Craven in 2009. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

In 1996, Craven struck box office gold again with Scream, another teens-in-peril slasher film but one that also satirized the genre. Craven went on to direct three more Scream films over the next 15 years.

Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins, who wrote bestselleing novels about characters driven by lust, power and greed, died of breast cancer on Sept. 19. She was 77. Collins sold more than 500 million copies of her books in 40 countries, with about 30 titles making the New York Times bestseller list. In 2013, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for "services to fiction and charity."

Author Jackie Collins holds her first book, The World Is Full Of Married Men, at her apartment in London. (AP)

Michael Burgess

Michael Burgess, Canada's Jean Valjean, passed away on Sept. 28 at age 70. During the 1980s, he played the role of Valjean in more than 1,000 performances of Les Misérables at the historic Royal Alex Theatre in Toronto and on tour across Canada. He also appeared in the production's 10th anniversary concert at Royal Albert Hall in London. 

Michael Burgess appears at Toronto's Massey Hall in 1993.

Other performance credits include the title role in Man of La Mancha, television productions of H.M.S. Pinafore, You Must Remember This, The Beggar's Opera and The Sandy Bottom Orchestra, as well appearances on shows including Street Legal, Border Town and E.N.G. 

For hockey fans, Burgess was known as the singer of the national anthem at Toronto Maple Leafs home games for many years. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

However, hockey fans will best remember Burgess as the singer of the national anthem at Toronto Maple Leafs home games for many years. In 1992, he become the first person to sing O Canada at a World Series baseball game.

Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara, the red-haired Irish movie star who appeared in classics ranging from Miracle on 34th Street to the grim How Green Was My Valley, died on Oct. 24 at age 95. 

Maureen O'Hara poses by her cast chair on the set of a television movie filming in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2000. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

She became a screen success in 1941 with How Green Was My Valley, which went on to win five Oscars including best picture and best director for John Ford, famously beating out Orson Welles and Citizen Kane.

Ron Hynes

Legendary Newfoundland singer-songwriter Ron Hynes, who documented hope and heartbreak with songs such as Sonny's Dream and Atlantic Blue, died Nov. 19 at the age of 64. 

Ron Hynes performs at a song writers circle during the East Coast Music Awards in Halifax on Feb. 18, 2007. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Hynes, known as "the man of a thousand songs," released seven solo albums, starting in 1972 with Discovery, which holds the distinction of being the first album comprising all-original material from a Newfoundland artist. His songs have been covered by more than 100 artists worldwide.

Scott Weiland

Scott Weiland, whose powerful vocals fuelled mega-selling bands Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver as he fought a very public battle with drug addiction, died on Dec. 3 at age 48. 

Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland performs at the 2001 Annual KROQ Weenie Roast at the Verizon Amphitheatre in Irvine, Ca. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

Weiland first found fame with Stone Temple Pilots, which he formed in San Diego with Erik Kretz and brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo. The band was a stalwart on alternative and rock radio in the 1990s. He later hooked up with former Guns 'n' Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum to serve as frontman for their super group Velvet Revolver. At the time of his death, Weiland was on tour with his latest band, the Wildabouts.

U.S. rock star Scott Weiland performs as part of the band Velvet Revolver at the 2005 Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in London. (Stephen Hird/Reuters)

Lemmy Kilmister

​Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, the growling, whisky-drinking, mutton-chops wearing frontman of U.K. heavy metal band Motörhead, died on Dec. 28 at age 70, two days after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.

This June 26, 2015 file photo shows Lemmy from performing at the Glastonbury Music Festival at Worthy Farm, in Glastonbury, England. (Joel Ryan/Invision/The Associated Press)

After cutting his teeth in beat bands in the 1960s, Lemmy formed Motörhead with guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, and proceeded to tear through a string of albums that fed off the energy of punk rock and helped inspire thrash metal. Motörhead would record 22 studio albums in all.


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