The Departed: Those We Lost in 2008


(from left) Paul Newman, Bernie Mac, George Carlin, Estelle Getty, Roy Scheider and Heath Ledger

For the past two years I have started doing a recap of a select group of notable names we lost from the entertainment world (and a few others) over the past year. This is by no means an all-encompassing list, but I think it’s a pretty good representation of the cream of the crop when it comes to the people that left us in 2008, and I must say, we lost A LOT of big names this year… A LOT!

  • Brad Renfro (Died January 15, 2008) – Former child star who began his career aged 12, playing the boy at the centre of 1994 mafia drama The Client. He died of a reported accidental heroin overdose.
  • Bobby Fischer (Died January 17, 2008) – Reclusive chess champion who died of kidney failure who became as well known for his chess as he was for his anti-American and anti-Semitic statements.
  • Heath Ledger (Died January 22, 2008) – Star of such films as Brokeback Mountain and the 2008 hit The Dark Knight Ledger died of a reported accidental prescription drug overdose.
  • Roy Scheider (Died February 10, 2008) – Best known for his role in All That Jazz and as Police Chief Martin Brody in the Jaws franchise. Died of multiple myeloma.
  • Anthony Minghella (Died March 18, 2008) – Director of The English Patient and Cold Mountain. Died after a hemorrhage following surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck.
  • Paul Scofield (Died March 19, 2008) – Best-known for playing Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. Died of leukemia.
  • Charlton Heston (Died April 5, 2008) – Best known for myriad of film roles including Ben Hur and Planet of the Apes. He died of symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Ollie Johnston (Died April 14, 2008) – The last surviving animator from “Disney’s nine old men” responsible for such classics as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. He died of natural causes.
  • Sydney Pollack (Died May 26, 2008) – Acclaimed actor, director and producer who won the Oscar for Out of Africa. He died of cancer.
  • Bo Diddley (Died June 2, 2008) – Famous R&B guitarist I know best from his Nike commercials with Bo Jackson in 1989. He died of heart failure.
  • Tim Russert (Died June 13, 2008) – Well known political analyst and host of “Meet the Press”. Died of a heart attack.
  • Stan Winston (Died June 15, 2008) – Award winning special effects master who won four Oscars for his work on Jurassic Park, Terminator 2 and Aliens. He died of multiple myeloma.
  • George Carlin (Died ) – Famed comedian who wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind. Best known for his seven dirty words among other notable bits. He died of a heart attack.
  • Estelle Getty (Died July 22, 2008) – Best known for playing Sophia on “The Golden Girls” and while playing the oldest on the show she was second youngest to Rue McClanahan of the four main characters. She died of Lewy body disease.
  • Bernie Mac (Died August 9, 2008) – Best known for his hilarious stand-up and his role in the Ocean’s trilogy and the primetime sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show”. He died due to complications from pneumonia.
  • Isaac Hayes (Died August 10, 2008) – Perhaps best known as the first African American composer to win an Oscar for Best Original Song with the theme song from Shaft in 1972 and later become known as Chef on “South Park”. Died of a stroke.
  • Don LaFontaine (Died September 1, 2008) – Best known as the voice of movie trailers who made the phrase “In a world…” a regular occurrance. You can watch a tribute of his work here. He died due to a collapsed lung.
  • Paul Newman (Died September 26, 2008) – Paul Newman was a well-respected Oscar award winning actor and philanthropist who starred in such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke and The Color of Money. He died due to lung cancer.
  • Michael Crichton (Died November 4, 2008) – Acclaimed novelist who wrote “Jurassic Park” as wel as created the hit TV drama “ER”. He died due to cancer.
  • Sam Bottoms (Died December 16, 2008) – Had small but memorable roles in the 1970s classics Apocalypse Now and The Last Picture Show. Died of brain cancer.
  • Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (Died December 18, 2008) – The original voice of the “Star Trek” Enterprise. Died of leukemia.
  • Eartha Kitt (Died December 25, 2008) – Often believed to be the best Catwoman of them all. Died of colon cancer.

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