Saturday, December 30, 2023



Date of death: 21 July 2023

Age at death: 96

  • Bennett, was an American jazz and traditional pop singer who received many accolades, including 20 Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards.
  • Bennett sold more than 50 million records worldwide and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Bennett began singing at an early age. He fought in the final stages of World War II as a U.S. Army infantryman in the European Theater. Afterward, he developed his singing technique, signed with Columbia Records and had his first number-one popular song with "Because of You" in 1951. Several popular tracks such as "Rags to Riches" followed in early 1953.
  • He then refined his approach to encompass jazz singing. He reached an artistic peak in the late 1950s with albums such as The Beat of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings. In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco".
  • His career and personal life experienced an extended downturn during the height of the rock music era.
  • Bennett staged a comeback in the late 1980s and 1990s, putting out gold record albums again and expanding his reach to the MTV Generation while keeping his musical style intact.
  • Bennett continued to create popular and critically praised work into the 21st century. He attracted renewed acclaim late in his career for his collaboration with Lady Gaga, which began with the album Cheek to Cheek (2014); the two performers toured together to promote the album throughout 2014 and 2015. With the release of the duo's second album, Love for Sale (2021), Bennett broke the individual record for the longest run of a top-10 album on the Billboard 200 chart for any living artist; his first top-10 record was I Left My Heart in San Francisco in 1962.
  • Bennett also broke the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to release an album of new material, at the age of 95 years and 60 days.
By the way:
  • A firm believer in the Civil Rights Movement, Bennett participated in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. He performed in the "Stars for Freedom" rally the night before Martin Luther King's "How Long, Not Long" speech. At the conclusion of the march, Bennett was driven to the airport by Viola Liuzzo, a mother of five from Detroit, who was murdered later that day by the Ku Klux Klan.
  • In February 2021, Bennett revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. Due to the slow progression of his illness, he continued to record, tour, and perform until his retirement from concerts due to physical challenges, which was announced after his final performances on August 3 and 5, 2021, at Radio City Music Hall.
Cause of death: Bennett died at his home in New York City on July 21, 2023, following a seven-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.


Date of death: 26 July 2023

Age at death: 56

  • O'Connor was an Irish singer, songwriter, and activist.
  • Her debut studio album, The Lion and the Cobra, was released in 1987 and achieved international chart success. Her 1990 album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, was her biggest commercial success, selling over seven million copies worldwide. Its lead single, "Nothing Compares 2 U", was honoured as the top world single of the year at the Billboard Music Awards.
  • Her career encompassed songs for films, collaborations with numerous artists, and appearances at charity fundraising concerts. O'Connor's memoir, Rememberings, was released in 2021 and became a bestseller.
By the way:
  • Consistently, O'Connor drew attention to issues such as child abuse, human rights, racism, organised religion, and women's rights.
  • During a Saturday Night Live performance in 1992, she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II to protest against abuse in the Catholic Church, sparking controversy.
  • Throughout her musical career, she openly discussed her spiritual journey, activism, socio-political viewpoints, and her experiences with trauma and struggles with mental health.
  • After converting to Islam in 2018, she adopted the name Shuhada' Sadaqat while continuing to perform and record under her birth name.
Cause of death:
  • On 26 July 2023, O'Connor was found unresponsive at her flat in Herne Hill, South London, and confirmed dead at the age of 56. The cause of death was not stated. The following day, the Metropolitan Police reported that O'Connor's death was not being treated as suspicious.
  • A private funeral was held on 8 August in Bray, County Wicklow. It was attended by the president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. O'Connor's family invited the public to pay their respects at the seafront where the funeral cortege passed. Thousands attended bearing signs and tributes.


Date of death: 30 July 2023

Age at death:70

  • Reubens was an American actor and comedian, widely known for creating and portraying the character Pee-wee Herman.
  • After a failed audition for Saturday Night Live, Reubens debuted a stage show starring Pee-wee, The Pee-wee Herman Show, in 1981. Pee-wee became an instant cult figure and, for the next decade, Reubens was completely committed to his character, doing all of his public appearances and interviews as Pee-wee.
  • He produced and wrote a feature film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), directed by Tim Burton, which was a financial and critical success.
  • Its sequel, Big Top Pee-wee (1988), was less successful. Between 1986 and 1990, Reubens starred as Pee-wee in the CBS Saturday-morning children's program Pee-wee's Playhouse.
  • Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida in 1991. The arrest set off a chain reaction of national media attention, though he received support from people in the entertainment industry. The arrest postponed Reubens's involvement in major projects until 1999, when he appeared in several big-budget projects including Mystery Men (1999) and Blow (2001). Reubens subsequently started giving interviews as himself rather than as Pee-wee.
By the way:
  • Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida in 1991. The arrest set off a chain reaction of national media attention, though he received support from people in the entertainment industry. The arrest postponed Reubens's involvement in major projects until 1999, when he appeared in several big-budget projects including Mystery Men (1999) and Blow (2001). Reubens subsequently started giving interviews as himself rather than as Pee-wee.
  • His father fought as a pilot during World War II, first for Britain's Royal Air Force and then for the United States Air Force. He was also one of the first pilots to fly in the Israeli Air Force.
  • He was friends with the late Robin Williams.
Cause of death: 
  • Acute hypoxic respiratory failure.
  • At the time of his death he was diagnosed with both myelogenous leukemia and metastatic lung cancer. He had been diagnosed six years earlier, but had not revealed his diagnosis to the public.

Date of death: 16 August 2023

Age at death: 88

  • Parkinson was an English television presenter, broadcaster, journalist and author.
  • He presented his television talk show Parkinson from 1971 to 1982 and from 1998 to 2007, as well as other talk shows and programmes both in the UK and internationally.
  • He also worked in radio and was described by The Guardian as "the great British talkshow host".
By the way:
  • He was called up for National Service in 1955 and took part in the Suez operation. At the age of 19, he became the youngest Captain in the British Army.
  • His favorite entertainers of all time were Ken Dodd, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Barry Humphries, Fred Astaire, George Best, Billy Connolly, Louis Armstrong, David Attenborough and Muhammad Ali.
Cause of death: Not disclosed


Date of death: 23 August 2023

Age at death: 62

  • Prigozhin was a Russian mercenary leader and oligarch. who led the Wagner Group private military company, was a close confidant of Russian president Vladimir Putin until launching a rebellion in June 2023.
  • Prigozhin was sometimes referred to as "Putin's chef" because he owned restaurants and catering businesses that provided services to the Kremlin.
  • Once a convict in the Soviet Union, Prigozhin controlled a network of influential companies whose operations, according to a 2020 investigation, were "tightly integrated with Russia's Defence Ministry and its intelligence arm, the GRU".
  • In 2014, Prigozhin reportedly founded the Wagner Group to support pro-Russian paramilitaries in Ukraine. Funded by the Russian state, it played a significant role in Russia's invasion of Ukraine and supported Russian interests in Syria and in Africa.
  • In November 2022, Prigozhin acknowledged his companies' interference in United States elections.
  • In February 2023, he confirmed that he was the founder and long-time manager of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company running online propaganda and disinformation campaigns.
  • Prigozhin openly criticized the Russian Defense Ministry for corruption and mishandling the war against Ukraine. Eventually, he said the reasons they gave for invading were lies.
  • On 23 June 2023, he launched a rebellion against the Russian military leadership. Wagner forces captured Rostov-on-Don and advanced toward Moscow. The rebellion was called off the following day, and the criminal charges against Prigozhin were dropped after he agreed to relocate his forces to Belarus.
Cause of death:
  • On 23 August 2023, exactly two months after the rebellion, Prigozhin was killed along with nine other people when a business jet crashed in Tver Oblast, north of Moscow.
  • The Wall Street Journal cited sources within the US government as saying that the crash was likely caused by a bomb on board or "some other form of sabotage". Since then, researchers and other analysts have reached the conclusion that an on-board bomb or explosive likely downed the plane.

Date of death: 26 August 2023

Age at death: 99

  • Barker was an American media personality and animal rights advocate.
  • He hosted CBS's The Price Is Right, the longest-running game show in North American television history, from 1972 to 2007.
  • He also hosted Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975.
  • Barker began hosting The Price Is Right in 1972. He became an advocate for animal rights and of animal rights activism, supporting groups such as the United Activists for Animal Rights, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In 2007, Barker retired from hosting The Price Is Right after celebrating his 50-year career on television.
By the way:
Barker had a black belt in karate. He also earned a red belt in tang soo do karate under Chuck Norris.

Cause of death:
Barker died at his home following several years with Alzheimer's disease, a condition that Burnet and Barker's publicity team had kept hidden from the public. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hypothyroidism were listed as secondary causes of death.


Date of death: 13 September 2023

Age at death: 87

  • Whittaker was a British singer-songwriter and musician.
  • His music was an eclectic mix of folk music and popular songs, he being best known for his baritone singing voice and trademark whistling ability as well as his guitar skills.
  • Despite not having sustained chart success, he gained a large international following through TV appearances and live performances, with fan clubs in at least 12 countries (including Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States). One admirer was US president George H. W. Bush, at whose home he was invited to perform.
  • Whittaker is best known internationally for his 1971 single "The Last Farewell", which charted in 11 countries. In the United States, where the song was released four years later, it became his only entry in the Billboard Hot 100, and reached number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  • In total, he sold an estimated 50–60 million records during his career.
By the way:
After doing national service in Kenya, he went to medical school at the University of Cape Town, while singing in local clubs. He left med school after 18 months and decided to go into teaching, attending the University of Bangor in Wales. He composed some songs and sent a demo track to a music publisher. Soon he was recording his first single, The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Cause of death: Not disclosed


Date of death: 25 September 2023

Age at death: 90

  • McCallum was a Scottish actor and musician who gained wide recognition in the 1960s for playing secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • His other notable television roles include Simon Carter in Colditz (1972–1974) and Steel in Sapphire & Steel (1979–1982).
  • Beginning in 2003, McCallum gained renewed international popularity for his role as NCIS medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the American television series NCIS, which he played for 20 seasons until his death. On film, McCallum notably appeared in The Great Escape (1963).
By the way:
  • In an interview for a retrospective television special, he told of a visit to the White House during which, while he was being escorted to meet the U.S. president, a Secret Service agent told him, "You're the reason I got this job.".
  • While making The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), McCallum received more fan mail than any other actor in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's history, including such popular MGM stars as Clark Gable and Elvis Presley.
Cause of death: Natural causes


Date of death: 27 September 2023

Age at death: 82

  • Gambon was an Irish-English actor who started his acting career with Laurence Olivier as one of the original members of the Royal National Theatre.
  • Over his six-decade-long career, he received three Olivier Awards and four BAFTA TV Awards. In 1998, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to drama.
  • Gambon appeared in many productions of works by William Shakespeare such as Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth and Coriolanus.
  • Gambon was nominated for thirteen Olivier Awards, winning three times for A Chorus of Disapproval (1985), A View from the Bridge (1987), and Man of the Moment (1990).
  • In 1997, Gambon made his Broadway debut in David Hare's Skylight, earning a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play nomination.
  • Gambon made his film debut in Othello (1965). His other notable films include The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), The Wings of the Dove (1997), The Insider (1999), Gosford Park (2001), Amazing Grace (2006), The King's Speech (2010), Quartet (2012), and Victoria & Abdul (2017). He also acted in the Wes Anderson films The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). He gained wider recognition through his role of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series from 2004 to 2011, replacing Richard Harris following his death in 2002.
  • For his work on television, he received four BAFTA Awards for The Singing Detective (1986), Wives and Daughters (1999), Longitude (2000), and Perfect Strangers (2001).
By the way:
Gambon was a qualified private pilot. His love of cars led to his appearance on the BBC series Top Gear. He raced the Suzuki Liana so aggressively that it went around the last corner of his lap on two wheels. The final corner of the Top Gear test track has been named "Gambon Corner" or simply "Gambon" in his honour. He appeared on the programme again on 4 June 2006 and set a time in the Chevrolet Lacetti of 1:50.3, a significant improvement on his previous time of 1:55.

Cause of death: Gambon died following a bout of pneumonia

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