There will be a separate Australian list at the end of this series.
Siegfried Fischbacher (June 13, 1939 – January 13, 2021), age 81:
Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher with their white lion
- Siegfried Fischbacher was one half of the magician team of Siegfried & Roy — known for their glittering costumes and extravagant illusions involving tigers, lions and other animals, which made them among the most popular and highest-paid entertainers in Las Vegas.
- From February 1, 1990,until Horn's career-ending injury on his birthday on October 3, 2003, the duo performed at the Mirage Resort and Casino, which was regarded as the most-visited show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- During a show at the Mirage on Horn's birthday on October 3, 2003, a seven-year-old white tiger named Montecore attacked Horn. As trainers rushed in from offstage to assist, Montecore bit into Horn's neck and dragged him offstage. Trainers got the tiger to release Horn by spraying him with CO2 fire extinguisher canisters, the last resort available. The attack severed Horn's spine, resulted in massive blood loss, and severely injured other parts of his body, permanently impairing his motor and verbal abilities. He also had a stroke either before or after Montecore dragged him offstage. The incident prompted the Mirage to close the show.
On January 11, 2021, Fischbacher announced he had terminal pancreatic cancer. He died in Las Vegas two days later, on January 13, 2021, at the age of 81.
(Horn had died at the age of 75 on May 8, 2020 from complications related to Covid).
Phil Spector (December 26, 1939 – January 16, 2021), age 81:
Phil Spector, 1965
- American record producer, musician, and songwriter who is best known for his innovative recording practices and entrepreneurship in the 1960s, followed decades later by his two trials and conviction for murder in the 2000s.
- Spector developed the Wall of Sound, a production style that he described as a Wagnerian approach to rock and roll.
- He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in pop music history and one of the most successful producers of the 1960s.
- In the early 1970s, Spector produced the Beatles' Let It Be and several solo records by John Lennon and George Harrison. By the mid-1970s, Spector had produced eighteen U.S. Top 10 singles for various artists. His chart-toppers included the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road", and Harrison's "My Sweet Lord". Following one-off productions for Leonard Cohen (Death of a Ladies' Man), Dion DiMucci (Born to Be with You), and the Ramones (End of the Century), Spector remained largely inactive amid a lifestyle of seclusion, drug use, and increasingly erratic behavior.
- In 2009, after spending three decades in semi-retirement, he was convicted for the 2003 murder of the actress Lana Clarkson and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison. He died in prison in 2021.
- Spector testified in a 2005 court deposition that he had been treated for bipolar disorder ("manic depression") for eight years, saying, "No sleep, depression, mood changes, mood swings, hard to live with, hard to concentrate, just hard—a hard time getting through life, I've been called a genius and I think a genius is not there all the time and has borderline insanity."
- In the first criminal trial for the Clarkson murder, defense expert and forensic pathologist Vincent DiMaio asserted that Spector might be suffering from Parkinson's disease.
In September 2014, it was reported that Spector had lost his ability to speak, owing to laryngeal papillomatosis.
Spector's daughter Nicole attributed her father's death to complications of COVID-19, with which he was diagnosed in December 2020.
2014 mug shot
Hal Holbrook (February 17, 1925 – January 23, 2021), age 95:
- American actor, television director, and screenwriter.
- Portrayer of Mark Twain for 63 years, a role for which he earned a Tony Award, and also was the shadowy Deep Throat in “All the President’s Men,” among more than 100 other film and TV roles.
- In 2003, President George W. Bush honored Holbrook with a National Humanities Medal for "charming audiences with the wit and wisdom of Mark Twain as Twain's outlook never fails to give Holbrook a good show to put on".
Holbrook died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, on January 23, 2021, at age 95; no cause was given.
As Mark Twain
Larry King (November 19, 1933 – January 23, 2021), age 87
- American television and radio host, writer.
- Awards included two Peabodys, an Emmy and ten Cable ACE Awards.
- Over his career, he hosted over 50,000 interviews.
- He was an impresario of cable television whose popular CNN interview program — with its guest-friendly questions and conversational banter — was a premier haven for the famous and infamous to spill their secrets, hype their projects and soften their image.
Although he had recovered from COVID-19, he died of sepsis as a complication on January 23, 2021, at the age of 87.
Cloris Leachman (April 30, 1926 – January 27, 2021), age 94:
- American actress and comedienne whose career spanned more than seven decades.
- Won numerous awards including eight Primetime Emmies from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated and, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, most awarded performer in Emmy history. She won an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award.
- Leachman won additional Emmys for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; television film A Brand New Life (1973); the variety sketch show Cher (1975); the ABC Afterschool Special production The Woman Who Willed a Miracle (1983); and the television shows Promised Land (1998) and Malcolm in the Middle (2000–06).
On January 27, 2021, Leachman died in her sleep at her home in Encinitas, California, at the age of 94. The cause of death was a stroke with reports that COVID-19 was a contributing factor.
Christopher Plummer (December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021), age 91:
- Canadian actor whose career spanned seven decades, gaining recognition for his performances in film, television, and stage.
- His vast range of roles extended from King Lear to a Klingon villain.
- Plummer remains widely known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), which made cinematic history by becoming the all-time top-grossing film, eclipsing Gone with the Wind, but which he hated. He found all aspects of making the film unpleasant, except working with Andrews, and he avoided using its name, instead calling it "that movie", "S&M", or "The Sound of Mucus".
Plummer died at his home in Weston on February 5, 2021, at the age of 91, two-and-a-half weeks after a fall that resulted in a blow to the head. A statement released by the family announced that Plummer had died peacefully.
Mary Wilson (March 6, 1944 – February 8, 2021), age 76:
- Wilson was an American singer who gained worldwide recognition as a founding member of The Supremes, the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and the best-charting female group in U.S. chart history, as well as one of the best-selling girl groups of all-time.
- The trio reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 with 12 of their singles, ten of which feature Wilson on backing vocals.
- Wilson later became a New York Times best-selling author in 1986 with her best-selling memoirs about her experiences in the group.
On February 8, 2021, Wilson died in her sleep from hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Larry Flynt (November 1, 1942 – February 10, 2021), age 78:
- One of America’s most notorious pornographers and self-proclaimed champions of First Amendment freedoms, who built his business interests on the hardcore raunch and grotesque parody of Hustler magazine.
- Flynt fought several high-profile legal battles involving the First Amendment, and unsuccessfully ran for public office. He was paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained in a 1978 assassination attempt by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.
Larry Flynt in his gold-plated wheelchair in 2009.
Flynt died of a heart attack.
Rush Limbaugh (January 12, 1951 – February 17, 2021), age 70:
- American radio personality, conservative political commentator, author, and television show host.
- He deployed comic bombast and relentless bashing of liberals, feminists and environmentalists to become the nation’s most popular radio talk-show host and lead the Republican Party into a politics of anger and obstruction.
- Limbaugh garnered controversy from his statements on race, LGBT matters, feminism, sexual consent, and climate change.
- Despite being a polarizing figure, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
- During the 2020 State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Limbaugh, a cigar and former cigarette smoker, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on January 20, 2020. Death was attributed to complications of his lung cancer.
To be continued