Entertainment From royalty to rock ‘n’ roll legends, TND looks back at the stars we lost in 2021
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From royalty to rock ‘n’ roll legends, TND looks back at the stars we lost in 2021

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The world said goodbye to some towering entertainment giants in 2021. Photo: TND
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The entertainment industry mourned the best and the brightest stars of the stage and the screen, but the world stopped in its tracks for just that bit longer to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

History now records the Duke as Britain’s longest-serving royal consort.

He died of old age at 99 on April 9, and was husband to Queen Elizabeth II for more than seven decades.

People from all over the world paid their respects to the former BAFTA president and patron of more than 800 organisations, with the Duke laid to rest in a scaled-down funeral amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.

The small turnout wouldn’t have bothered him, though. He never really liked all the “fuss and bother”.

“Ironically, it is probably how he would have liked [it],” former palace spokeswoman Ailsa Anderson told People in April.

“No fuss, no bother. Right through his life, he never knew what all the fuss was about.”

In a separate interview with Today in the US, Ms Anderson said the Duke was a charming conversationalist who knew how to make people laugh.

“If you could go to a reception at Buckingham Palace, when there’s always a corner where people are laughing, you know that would be the corner where Prince Philip was,” Ms Anderson said.

“He was like a lighthouse beacon. If he spoke to you, you would think you were the only person in the room. You were the most special person.

“He had extraordinary charm, extraordinary kindness. He was one of a kind. He was the queen’s Prince Charming, but I think he was Prince Charming to all of us.”

Unfortunately, the Duke was one of many famous, notable and high-achieving people to lose their lives this year.

TND takes a celebratory look back at the stars we lost in 2021.

Dieter Brummer, 45, played heart-throb Shane Parrish in Home and Away in the 1990s, and also briefly appeared on Neighbours, Underbelly and Winners and Losers. He died on July 24 and NSW police confirmed his death was not suspicious. Photo: Getty
Bert Newton was larger than life. A presence on our television sets for more than 50 years, Newton’s life was celebrated at a state funeral in Melbourne on November 12. He died after having his leg amputated in May. He was 83. Photo: AAP
Our hearts collectively ached when David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM (Storm Boy, The Tracker, Crocodile Dundee) passed away on November 29 after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017. He was honoured with this year’s AACTA Longford Lyell Award for his outstanding contributions to Australian cinema on December 8. Photo: AAP
Often described as the matriarch of Australian showbiz and a pioneer in the television industry, Lorrae Desmond was best known for playing Shirley Gilroy in A Country Practice. The Gold-Logie winning singer, actor and playwright died on May 23 at the age of 91. Photo: Getty
Best friend to many and an icon of the entertainment industry, John ‘Strop’ Cornell died aged 80, surrounded by his family at his Byron Bay home on July 23 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Best known as Paul Hogan’s loveable sidekick, the Australian actor was also an astute businessman and manager who helped to mastermind Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket and produce the Crocodile Dundee films. Photo: Nine
Legendary Nine Network news anchor Brian Henderson died on August 5, aged 89, after multiple cancer battles. He was remembered as being part of the fabric of Australian media. He said last year he was not afraid of death: ‘I’ve had a wonderful life. How blessed can you be?’ Photo: Nine

Other notable entertainment industry greats to lose their lives this year included radio and television presenter Jonathan Coleman, who died aged 65 after a battle with prostate cancer.

We also paid tribute to actor and flamenco dancer Trader Faulkner (93), Neighbours and Sullivans actor Reg Gorman (89), comedian and radio host Ernie Sigley (82), ABC journalist Paul Murphy (77) and Nine and Seven Network executive David Leckie (70).

Halyna Hutchins Alec Baldwin
Ukrainian cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after being shot in the chest with a live round on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust. The police investigation continues into her death on October 21. Her husband, Matthew, told Deadline “Halyna was the love of my life, and our loss of her has devastated our family’s dreams”. Photo: Getty
Moonstruck Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis was known for playing characters that were worldly wise and “world weary”, according to the New York Times. She died aged 89 in her home in Manhattan, and when The Toronto Sun asked her in 2003 whether she was planning to retire, she answered: “From what? I love this chaotic, contradictory, loving mess that has been my life.” Photo: Getty
Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, who died in February aged 91, was best known for playing singing anti-Nazi Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music in 1965. According to Deadline, Plummer’s long-time friend and manager of 46 years, Lou Pitt, said: “Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old-fashioned manners, self-deprecating humour and the music of words. He was a national treasure … his legendary life will endure for all generations to come. He will forever be with us.” Photo: Getty
New York only recently honoured Stephen Sondheim’s services to Broadway with the coveted Freedom of the City. He passed away aged 91, best known as theatre’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century, and the driving force behind some of Broadway’s most beloved and celebrated shows including West Side Story. Photo: Getty
Kevin Clark played drummer Freddy ‘Spazzy McGee’ Jones in the 2003 film School of Rock, featuring Jack Black. He was remembered as a “beautiful soul” after reportedly being struck and killed by a car while riding his bike, the ABC reported. Clark, aged 32, was cycling through the Chicago neighbourhood of Avondale, when he was hit by a car, according to Chicago Sun-Times. Photo: Getty
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The quiet unshakeable one, the darling of the Rolling Stones, drummer Charlie Watts didn’t make it to the US to continue the No Filter 2021 tour. He passed away aged 80 in August. Rolling Stone said after the tour ended, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and several members of the band met on December 6 at the tiny London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, to honour Watts with a special tribute show. Photo: Getty
English actor Helen McCrory, best known for her roles in Harry Potter, The Queen and Peaky Blinders, died in April, aged 52, after a battle with cancer. BBC director of drama Piers Wenger said “Helen was one of the finest actresses this country will ever see”, while her husband, Damian Lewis (Homeland), wrote on Twitter: “She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you”. Photo: Getty
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who built an adult entertainment industry empire, died in February in his Hollywood home, aged 78, after battling years of drug and alcohol addiction. Flynt was confined to a wheelchair after being shot by a sniper in 1978 and was paralysed from the waste down. The ABC reported he used a $17,000 gold-plated wheelchair for the rest of his life. Photo: Getty
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Friends star James Michael Tyler died in October after battling cancer for several years. Tyler, who was 59, played Central Perk barista Gunther on the hit show for 10 years.
He revealed his diagnosis in mid-June, about three years after his treatment began in 2018. Photo: Getty
MGM singing star and icon of old Hollywood Jane Powell died aged 92 from natural causes. Powell starred with Fred Astaire in Stanley Donen’s Royal Wedding in 1951. She also starred in dozens of musicals, soap operas, theatre productions, and television commercials. She married five times and was one of Elizabeth Taylor’s bridesmaids. Photo: Getty

Michael K Williams (Boardwalk Empire, The Wire), Una Stubbs (Sherlock), award-winning television host Larry King, and UB40 founding member and saxophonist Brian Travers also left the entertainment world.