To quote the amazing Dame Helen Mirren: “I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a big pile of shit.” We lost just too many popculture icons way too young, too sudden and too soon. While we can only hope that 2017 will just take away those legends who had a long and fulfilled life, let’s look back at the popculture icons we sadly lost in 2016. We salute them and raise our glass in thanks for all they did.
David Bowie (69 years, died in January 2016)
The year was hardly two weeks old when the very sad news of Bowie’s passing came to us. The popmusic icon was loved by all and leaves us with everlasting hits like Space Oddity, Rebel Rebel, Let’s Dance, Golden Years, Heroes and China Girl. His music will forever live on, but this was such a sad and startling way to start the year.
Alan Rickman (69 years, died in January 2016)
Potterheads will know Alan Rickman the best from his excellent portrayal of Severus Snape in all Harry Potter movies. Rickman’s other works include Die Hard, Love Actually, Galaxy Quest, Sense and Sensibility and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Same as Bowie, Rickman died from cancer and never made his illness known to the world. ‘Always’ will forever have an even sadder meaning.
Prince (57 years, died in April 2016)
Another musical legend, another very unforeseen death. Who doesn’t know his well known hits Purple rain, Let’s go crazy, Kiss and The Most Beautiful Girl in the World? And let’s not forget his mad guitar skills. And we will always remember how he changed his stagename to (the Symbol). Prince died from an overdose fentanyl, which is a pain medication.
Anton Yelchin (27, died in June 2016)
By far the youngest death on this list, perhaps this is even the saddest, as Yelchin was crushed to death by his own car in a freak accident. The promising actor stars in hits like Charlie Bartlett, Terminator Salvation, Star Trek (and its sequels) and Fright Night. Let’s remember Anton in 2017 by living by his Star Trek character’s most famous quote: “I can do zat!”
Gene Wilder (83, died in August 2016)
Gene Wilder was Willy Wonka. Let’s just forget the terrible remake with Johnny Depp and always remember Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory from 1971. If you haven’t seen it, go see it during the holidays right now. Though he had a long life, his death still was sudden and we will never forget this great actor.
George Michael (53, died in December 2016)
Almost at the end of the year we lost another popmusic icon and terrific human being, George Michael. This holiday season, you will have surely heard Last Christmas a million times. Who knew that this would be Michael’s last Christmas ever? Other hits by this philanthropist (seriously, there are stories popping up everywhere as to how generous this man was, go look them up) include Faith, Father Figure, Outside and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.
Carrie Fisher (60, died in December 2016)
Everyone’s favorite princess and popculture icon. Princess Leia Organa, no, GENERAL Organa, is no more. Fisher died from complications after suffering from a heart attack on board a plane. While a huge filmstar, Fisher was also known as a spokesperson for mental illness and a feminist. She was also known for her wicked sense of humour. When receiving the Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from Harvard, they noted “her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy.” It was sadly made known that Fisher’s mother, the legendary Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds, died just a day after her own death.
While this blog is too short to honour all beloved popculture icons, we sadly also lost these legends in 2016: Christina Grimmie, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, Malik Taylor, Billy Paul, John Berry, Bud Spencer, David Huddleston, Toots Thielemans, Leonard Cohen, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kenny Baker, Peter Vaughan, Andrew Sachs, Ron Glass, Alexis Arquette, Pete Burns and Richard Adams. Thank you all, and may your work, thoughts, quotes and memories keep blessing us far into the future.