In Memoriam: Those We Lost In 2017

Remembering the people we lost this year – Gone But Never Forgotten


Alfie Curtis

The Sun

Was a British actor best known for his role as Dr. Evazan in Star Wars (1977), the deformed man at the Mos Eisley Cantina whom Luke Skywalker is confronted by (“I have the death sentence on twelve systems”), prompting Obi-Wan Kenobi to intervene and resulting in the franchise’s first use of a lightsaber in combat. Curtis died on November 30 at the age of 87.

Heather Lindsay North

Scoobypedia – Fandom

Was an American television and voice actress, best known for voicing Daphne Blake in the ‘Scooby-Doo’ franchise. North died on November 30 at age 71 from an undisclosed illness she had reportedly been battling for some time.


Jim (Thurston) Nabors

The New York Times

Was an Actor, Singer, and Comedian best-known for his character Gomer Pyle on TV shows; “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Gomer Pyle USMC”. Nabors was also known for singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” prior to the start of the Indianapolis 500, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend. He sang the unofficial Indiana anthem almost every year from 1972 until his final time performing the song in 2014, except for occasional absences due to illness or scheduling conflicts. Jim passed away at his home in Hawaii on November 30 at age 87

Julio Oscar Mechoso


Mechoso was a Cuban, American, character actor in both television and film. He appeared in several high-profile films, such as GrindhouseBad Boys, and the controversial Ken Park. His television credits included Miami ViceCoachSeinfeld, and Greetings from Tucson. He appeared in two Martin Lawrence films, Bad Boys and Blue Streak. He played a Police Detective in both. Mechoso died on November 25 at age 62 from a heart attack.


Rance Howard


born Harold Rance Beckenholdt was an American actor who starred in film and on television. He was the father of actor and filmmaker Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, and grandfather of the actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard. Howard appeared in many notable films such as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Chinatown (1974), Splash (1984), Ed Wood (1994), Apollo 13(1995), Independence Day (1996), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Cinderella Man (2005), Frost/Nixon (2008), Nebraska (2013) and Max Rose (2016). Rance died on November 25 at the age of 89.

Wesley L. Fox, Colonel USMC (retired)

Was a United States Marine Corps colonel with 43 years of service (1950-1993). Fox received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War and is considered to be one of the Marine Corps’ legendary heroes. Fox wrote a book about his experiences in the military, Marine Rifleman: Forty-Three Years in the Corps (ISBN 1-57488-425-5), and was featured on the 2003 PBS program American Valor. Fox resided in Blacksburg, Virginia, with his wife, Dotti (formerly Dotti Lu Bossinger). They have three daughters. He died in Blacksburg on the evening of November 24, 2017, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Dmitri Aleksandrovich Hvorostovsky

New York Times

Дми́трий Алекса́ндрович Хворосто́вский was a Russian critically acclaimed operatic baritone who had a devoted following around the world for his burnished voice, uncanny breath control, and rueful expressivity. Hvorostovsky died on November 22, 2017, in London after a two-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer. A service was held in Moscow on Nov. 27. He was 55.

David Cassidy

Today Show

David Bruce Cassidy was an American actor, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was known for his role as Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge (played by his stepmother Shirley Jones), in the 1970s musical sitcom The Partridge Family, which led to his becoming one of pop-culture’s teen idols and pop singers of the 1970s. He later had a career in both acting and music. On November 18, 2017, it was announced that Cassidy had been hospitalized suffering from liver and kidney failure, and was critically ill in a medically induced coma. He came out of the coma two days later, remained in critical but stable condition. Doctors hoped to keep Cassidy stable until a liver became available for transplant, but he died of liver failure on November 21 at aged 67.

Della Reese


(born Delloreese Patricia Early) was an American jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister. Her career spanned seven decades. Reese’s long career began as a singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single “Don’t You Know?”. In the late 1960s, she hosted her own talk show, Della, which ran for 197 episodes. She also starred in films beginning in 1975, including Harlem Nights (1989), A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) and Expecting Mary (2010). She achieved continuing success in the television religious supernatural drama Touched by an Angel (1994–2003), in which Reese played the leading role of Tess. Reese died on November 19, at age 86. No cause was given, although she had suffered from Type 2-diabetes.

Mel Tillis (Lonnie Melvin Tillis)

Was an American country music singer and songwriter, who recorded songs since the late 1950s, his biggest success occurred in the 1970s, with a long list of Top 10 hits. Tillis’ biggest hits include “I Ain’t Never”, “Good Woman Blues”, and “Coca-Cola Cowboy”. On February 13, 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts for his contributions to country music. He also won the Country Music Association Awards’ most coveted award, Entertainer of the Year. Additionally, he was known for his speech impediment, which didn’t affect his singing voice. Mel died on November 19th of respiratory failure at 85. He is survived by his six children.


Jana Novotná

Los Angeles Times

Was a professional tennis player from the Czech Republic. She played a serve and volley game, an increasingly rare style of play among women during her career. She won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1998 and was runner-up in three previous Grand Slam tournaments. Novotná also won 12 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, four mixed doubles titles, and three Olympic medals. She reached a career-high singles ranking of world No. 2 in 1997 and held the No. 1 ranking in doubles for 67 non-consecutive weeks. The Czech tennis star died on November 19th from cancer at age 49.

Malcolm Young


Was a Scottish musician and songwriter, best known as a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC. Except for a brief absence in 1988, he was with the band from its November 1973 beginning until retiring in 2014 due to health reasons. Young and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Young died on November 18, at the age of 64.

Earle Hyman

Sitcoms Online

Was an American stage, television, and film actor. Hyman was known for his role on ThunderCats as the voice of Panthro and various other characters. He also appeared on The Cosby Show as Cliff’s father, Russell Huxtable. Hyman died on November 17 from natural causes. He was 91.

Liz Smith (Mary Elizabeth Smith)


Was an American journalist and gossip columnist was known as “The Grand Dame of Dish.” During her career, she wrote columns for the New York Daily NewsThe Washington Post, and Cosmopolitan. She worked exclusively with Fox Broadcasting Company with Roger Ailes. From 1995 to 2005, Smith worked with Newsday. Smith died on November 12 of natural causes. She was 94.

John Hillerman

John Benedict Hillerman was an American actor best known for his starring role as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on the television show Magnum, P.I. that aired from 1980 to 1988. For his role as Higgins, Hillerman earned five Golden Globe nominations, winning in 1981, and four Emmy nominations, winning in 1987. He retired from acting in 1999. He also appeared in Chinatown and Blazing Saddles). Hillerman died on November 9 at age 84.

Fred Cole

Willamette Week

American rock singer and guitarist who played with several bands since the 1960s, most notably The Lollipop Shoppe, Dead Moon, and Pierced Arrows. He was associated mainly with the garage punk genre though he was also influenced by hard rock, blues, country, and folk music. Fred died on November 9th from liver disease. He was 69.

Roy Halladay

ABC13 Houston

Harry Leroy Halladay III, nicknamed “Doc”, was an American professional baseball player who pitched in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies between 1998 and 2013. His nickname, coined by Toronto Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek, was a reference to Wild West gunslinger “Doc” Holliday. Halladay died on November 7 when an aircraft he was flying that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He is survived by his wife and two kids. Halladay was 40 years old.

Brad Bufanda

Brad Bufanda, best known for his role as Felix in Veronica Mars, died of an apparent suicide in Los Angeles on November 1. He was 34.


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