Actors Who’ve Sadly Died So Far In 2019

2019 has seen the loss of a myriad of hugely
talented actors with a range of different backgrounds, from movies to television to
the Broadway stage. But while they may have made their names in
different worlds, they are all connected by a true dedication to their craft, and by the
many fans who will miss them dearly. Three years after the death of R2-D2 actor
Kenny Baker, the man who brought Chewbacca to life in the original Star Wars trilogy
also passed away. In a statement, the family of Peter Mayhew
confirmed that the towering actor died at his Texas home on April 30th 2019. The statement celebrated Mayhew’s life, focusing
on the experiences and lifelong friendships that came from his time as part of the Star
Wars family. It read: “As the films released and became more well-known
he had his eyes opened to the possibilities of what he could achieve. For more than 30 years Peter traveled all
over the world spending time with his fans and friends.” “Laugh it up, fuzzball.” But Mayhew did a lot more than just the convention
circuit. Over the years, he became heavily involved
with the 501st Legion, Wounded Warriors, Make-A-Wish, and other non-profit organizations. In a tribute tweet, Mayhew’s Star Wars co-star
Mark Hamill wrote: “He was the gentlest of giants. A big man with an even bigger heart who never
failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly. I’m grateful for the memories we shared and
I’m a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete.” Against all odds, the previously wheelchair-bound
Mayhew returned to play Chewbacca in 2015’s The Force Awakens, his final on-screen appearance
as the iconic Wookiee. He is survived by his wife, Angie Mayhew,
and their three children. He may have been just 20 when he passed away
in his sleep following a seizure, but, according to Disney, Cameron Boyce was, quote, “already
a veteran to show business.” The actor played the mischievous Luke Ross
in almost 100 episodes of the Disney series Jessie, and later portrayed Carlos De Vil
in the Descendants franchise. Boyce also popped up in a number of more adult-oriented
projects, he was in K-horror remake Mirrors, and also appeared in the Adam Sandler comedy
Grown Ups as well as its 2012 sequel. Boyce’s final project was Mrs. Fletcher, an
HBO comedy series that’s due for release in Fall 2019. On behalf of Boyce’s family, a Disney Channel
spokesperson told CNN: “From a young age, Cameron Boyce dreamed of
sharing his extraordinary artistic talents with the world. He was an incredibly talented performer, a
remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated
son, brother, grandson and friend. We offer our deepest condolences to his family,
castmates and colleagues and join his many millions of fans in grieving his untimely
passing. He will be dearly missed.” Those who knew Boyce professionally took to
social media to share their shock and grief. Adam Sandler wrote: “Too young. Too sweet. Too funny. Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent
kid around. Loved that kid.” Though he played founding MiB member Zed in
1997’s Men in Black and dozens of other roles, Rip Torn will always be remembered as Artie
from The Larry Sanders Show. After Torn’s passing in July 2019, Variety
wrote: “The Emmy-winning performance was perhaps
the best representation of Torn’s unusual blend of toughness and tender sentimentality,
a turn that was as often profane as it was unexpectedly moving.” Torn was nominated for an Emmy for every single
season in which he appeared on The Larry Sanders Show, and he got another nod in 2008 after
a memorable guest appearance on 30 Rock, playing Jack Donaghy’s high-flying boss, Don Geiss. “Oh, hair like a Viking. God bless you.” His work on the big screen was lauded, too,
with the multi-talented Torn nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category
after portraying Mary Steenburgen’s shotgun-happy father in 1984’s Cross Creek. According to his publicist, the Texas-born
actor passed away peacefully at his home in Connecticut. He was 88. Best-known to international audiences for
his engrossing performance as Blade Runner antagonist Roy Batty, Rutger Hauer passed
away in July 2019 after a short illness. He was 75. Blade Runner was Hauer’s second American movie,
though he was already a veteran in the Netherlands by that point. The towering Dutchman entered the industry
after serving in the military, striking up a fruitful working relationship with his fellow
Dutchman, Paul Verhoeven. The auteur cast him in the eponymous role
for his TV series Floris, and they would later work together on period drama Katie Tippel,
WWII epic Soldier of Orange, and art-house drama Spetters. And while 1982’s Blade Runner was a critical
flop upon release, the movie soon went on to become a cult classic. Hauer’s “tears in rain” monologue, which he
wrote himself, is now considered an iconic moment in the history of cinema, and a perfect
example of his “gentle giant” nature. “All those moments will be lost in time.” After Hauer’s passing, Blade Runner director
Ridley Scott said: “I don’t know who was more nervous on that
first morning of the first day on set. We helped each other through the entire process
because it was very challenging. I’ll miss him.” Hauer became a prolific character actor in
the years that followed, popping up in Sin City, Batman Begins, True Blood and countless
genre films. He is survived by his wife of 50 years and
his daughter. Actress and former model Peggy Lipton, who
first made a name for herself in the late ’60s playing hippie cop Julie Barnes on The
Mod Squad, passed away from cancer in May 2019. In a statement, Lipton’s daughters, Parks
and Recreation actress Rashida Jones and her sister Kidada, said that their mother passed
away surrounded by family at the age of 72. The statement read: “She made her journey peacefully with her
daughters and nieces by her side. We feel so lucky for every moment we spent
with her. We can’t put all of our feelings into words
right now but we will say: Peggy was, and will always be our beacon of light, both in
this world and beyond.” Despite winning a Golden Globe for her work
on The Mod Squad, Lipton once took a long break from acting, sitting out most of the
’80s. She appeared back on the scene in 1990, however,
when she appeared as Norma Jennings in David Lynch’s surreal TV series Twin Peaks. Speaking to the Georgian Journal in 2017,
the year she reprised the role on the show’s critically-acclaimed comeback, Lipton recalled
her first meeting with Lynch. She said: “I arrived and he and Mark Frost, his co-writer
and producer, sat at a large table with nothing on it but my photo. I shot the pilot and the feeling inside me
was pure excitement. I loved being Norma.” Maine-born actress Stephanie Niznik passed
away unexpectedly in California on June 23rd, 2019, at the age of 52. Niznik majored in Russian and theater and
would go on to hone her acting skills at the California Institute of the Arts. After graduating from Cal Arts she landed
a part in the Dan Aykroyd led comedy Exit to Eden, her feature film debut. Niznik became a TV regular in the years that
followed, and is perhaps best-known for her time on the WB show Everwood, in which she
portrayed caring next door neighbor Nina Feeney. In a joint statement after her passing, Everwood’s
creators said: “She continued that role off-screen by being
an incredible friend, a nurturing mother figure to our younger cast members and an artist
who brought warmth, compassion and humor to every episode and our set. Everyone who was lucky enough to know and
work with her will miss her dearly.” Niznik was also well-known to Star Trek fans;
she played Trill Starfleet Ensign Kell Perim in 1998 feature film Star Trek: Insurrection. She also later popped up in the Star Trek:
Enterprise TV series, appearing as a humanoid Wraith in the season one episode “Rogue Planet”. Famed New York socialite and two-time Oscar
nominee Sylvia Miles passed away in June 2019. She was 94. Speaking to Page Six, actress Geraldine Smith
revealed that Miles had recently moved out of a care home. Smith, a longtime friend of Miles, said: “She didn’t want to die there. We went out for a big lunch to celebrate her
coming home. She was very excited and telling us to order
whatever we wanted. ‘Order drinks; order desserts!’ We had a wonderful time.” Miles was well-known for being the life of
the party and was frequently spotted at swanky social events with fellow New York resident
Andy Warhol. Speaking to People in 1976, Miles revealed
that she was always on the guest list for the top shindigs, because she knew how to
have a good time. She explained: “I get invited because I’m fun. I have a good sense of humor. I look good. I’m not bad to have at a party.” One of her most notable films, 1972’s Heat,
was produced by Warhol, but Miles will no doubt be best remembered for her sassy turns
in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy and 1975’s Farewell, My Lovely. Amazingly, she was nominated in the Best Supporting
Actress category for both movies, despite only being onscreen for a combined total of
11 minutes. Manhattan-born railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt
passed away at her New York home in June 2019, having recently been diagnosed with an advanced
form of stomach cancer. She was 95. Vanderbilt began her acting career in 1957,
but she was already well-known by the time she made her debut. She was just 10 years old when she became
the subject of a high-profile court battle between her widowed mother, Gloria Morgan
Vanderbilt, and her paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, both of whom sought custody
of her and control over her trust fund. After that, Vanderbilt set out to prove she
was more than the “poor little rich girl” portrayed by the newspaper headlines. She landed roles on several Golden Era anthology
shows during the late ’50s and early ’60s, quickly establishing herself as an actress. She also appeared in Adventures in Paradise,
an exotic ABC show about a Korean War vet living in the Pacific, and The Love Boat,
a cruise ship-set comedy that ran from 1977 to 1987. She was known for much more than her acting,
however, becoming particularly known as a fashion designer. Her son, Anderson Cooper, was keen to highlight
this in his statement after her passing. He said: “Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman,
who loved life, and lived it on her own terms. She was a painter, a writer, and designer
but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend.” Canadian actress Stefanie Sherk, wife of Oscar-nominee
Demian Bichir, passed away “peacefully” in April 2019. The actor confirmed his wife’s death in a
heartbreaking Instagram post, calling it “the saddest and toughest time” of his life. He wrote: “We don’t know how much time it will take
for us to overcome this pain. Stefanie’s beautiful, angelical and talented
presence will be immensely missed.” The cause of death was soon confirmed as suicide. After the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner
made the information public, Bichir went into more detail about the “invisible affliction”
that Sherk had been dealing with. In a second Instagram post that has since
been deleted, he wrote: “It was our hope that we would have some time
to heal and grieve before we could talk about this issue that affects way too many people
around the globe. Depression has taken the lives of so many
beautiful, wonderful, talented people such as my beloved wife, Stefanie.” Sadly, these aren’t the only actors who have
left us in 2019. Here are some of the other stars who enhanced
our lives before leaving us all too soon. Russi Taylor Carmine Caridi Geneviève Waïte Barbara Perry If you or anyone you know is having suicidal
thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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