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October 8, 2015

Top TV Stories of 2009: People we lost

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 13th 2009 4:03PM
So we come to that time of year when we list all of the TV celebrities that have died over the past year. We hear about these people passing away at various points of the year (sometimes a few the same week), but it's really odd to see them all listed together at once like you'll see after the jump.

It's like 40% of pop culture dies every year.

There's always a week or a month when two or three major celebs die (I think the saying goes that celebrities die in threes) and that time in 2009 was the last week of June, when Ed McMahon (June 23) and Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett (both on June 25) passed away. Actually, it would have been news that McMahon died that week but then his death was quickly overshadowed by massive media coverage when Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died the same day. ABC even had to rush to put together tribute shows that week for Jackson and Fawcett.

But a lot of other famous people died in 2009 too, including Golden Girls star Bea Arthur, CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, Kung Fu star David Carradine. Every year we look back and say "wow, a lot of famous people died this year!" and then the very next year we're saying the same thing.

While the deaths of people who were up there in age (Cronkite, McMahon, Don Hewitt, Soupy Sales, Gale Storm, Patrick McGoohan) don't really come as any surprise, we're always shocked by the deaths of celebrities who died way before their time, like game show host Ken Ober, commercial king Billy Mays, and actor Ron Silver. You could also add Jackson and Patrick Swayze to that latter list, but Swayze was sick for a long time and Jackson, well, he was only 50 but you had the feeling that something weird could happen to him at any moment.

So here are the celebrities who died in the past twelve months. I'm sure one or two more will die before the month of December is over and I'll make sure to add them to the list. (Note: when you're talking about an entire year, you're bound to miss a few here and there, so if you think of any names to add, please tell us in the comments along with a link to an obituary if you have one, and check out our obituary category for all of these obituaries and other stories).

Michael Jackson
Bea Arthur
Walter Cronkite
Farrah Fawcett
Ed McMahon
David Carradine
Don Hewitt
Dom Deluise

Soupy Sales
Ken Ober
Dennis Cole
Edward Woodward

Edward Woodward

David Lloyd
Oral Roberts
Carl Ballantine
Paul Wendkos
Captain Lou Albano
Lou Jacobi
Linda Day
Billy Mays

Billy Mays

Patrick Swayze
Henry Gibson
Larry Gelbart
Army Archerd
Gale Storm
James Whitmore
Robert Novak
Frank Aletter
Les Lye
Mollie Sugden
Karl Malden
Fred Travalena
Andy Hallett
Harry Harris
Ron Silver

Ron Silver

Clint Ritchie
Phil Carey
Harve Presnell
Ricardo Montalban
Paul Burke
Dominick Dunne
Robert Ginty
Harvey Frand
Gene Barry
Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan

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Just \'nother dude

Yet we still have wilfred brimley. there is no justice.

January 09 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The media claimed he wasn't fit to do those concerts and then watching the 'This Is It' movie what a surprise they couldn't have been more WRONG than they already were and now i'll always look back and laugh at how stupid they were and even some people who actually believed that crap. In the words of jerry seinfeld "People who read tabloids deserve to be lied to."

December 15 2009 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jason's comment

I agree. We do tend to believe too much what the media says about famous people without ever really knowing the true story.

December 16 2009 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"and Jackson, well, he was only 50 but you had the feeling that something weird could happen to him at any moment." Yeah if you're a misinformed person who believes everything you hear or read....

December 15 2009 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Rest in peace to all and thanks to them for informing us and entertaining us so well.

December 14 2009 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You mentioned Mollie Sugden, but don't forget Wendy Richard (both she and Mollie were in "Are You Being Served" and they both died this year).

December 13 2009 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree. I've always felt that celebrities who die in the last two weeks of the year really get shortchanged as far as receiving recognition.

December 13 2009 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't mean to sound morbid, and I hope we don't have any more "notable deaths" between now and January 1st, but why do lists like these always have to come out before the year is over?

Last year, for example, we lost the legendary Eartha Kitt on Christmas Day.

Unfortunately, a lot can happen in three weeks.

December 13 2009 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some of those were so early in the year I thought to myself, "that was this year?".

December 13 2009 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Wow, all familiar names. Makes an early baby boomer like me feel older by the day. Walter Cronkite, in particular. Like millions of others, I was there with him in my living room when so many historical moments occurred. Many of the others remembered from favorite old TV shows. Notice that there are only five women in the bunch.

Rest in peace, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for the news commentary, laughs and entertainment you provided.

December 13 2009 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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