Last year we were saddened by the number of celebrity deaths, losing far too many familiar figures and famous faces including David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and George Michael. 

The news that rock and roll legend Chuck Berry has died at the age of 90 adds to a list of several notable names from the world of entertainment, sport and politics that have died in 2017.


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Graham Taylor, 72, English football player and manager 


Graham Taylor managed England from 1990 until 1993.

He was a club manager at Lincoln, Watford, Aston Villa and Wolves, and in recent years a pundit on the BBC and BT Sport.

He died from a heart attack at the age of 72.

William Peter Blatty, 89, American novelist and screenwriter


William Peter Blatty was an American writer and filmmaker best known for his 1971 novel The Exorcist and for the Academy Award-winning screenplay of its film adaptation. He also wrote the screen adaptations of Legion and Exorcist III.

He died at the age of 89 from a form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma.

Peter Sarstedt, 75, English singer-songwriter

Peter Sarstedt was a singer-songwriter who achieved world-wide fame in the late sixties. His success came with 'Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?', a UK number one in 1969 for four weeks which also topped the charts in Europe and Australia.

The song won Sarstedt an Ivor Novello award, which he shared with David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

He died at the age of 75 fter suffering from progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare neurological condition. 

Lord Snowdon, 86, photographer and former husband of Princess Margaret


The 1st Earl of Snowdon, born Anthony Armstrong-Jones, was a photographer of the first rank with more than 100 portraits in the National Gallery, an artistic advisor to magazines and galleries, film-maker, campaigner for the disabled and a gifted designer, who was responsible for the aviary at London Zoo.

Lord Snowdon's chief claim to fame came from his turbulent marriage to HRH Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, from 1960 until their divorce in 1978. The marriage was the first for many years by a senior member of the Royal Family to someone who was not royal, or a member of the British aristocracy. 

He died peacefully at his home at the age of 86.

Philip Bond, 82, actor

Philip Bond was a British actor best known for playing Albert Frazer in 24 episodes of the 1970s BBC nautical drama The Onedin Line. He also appeared in episodes of The Saint, Doctor Who, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Avengers, Only Fools and Horses, Casualty.

He died at the age of 82 while on holiday in Madeira.

Miguel Ferrer, 61, American actor


Miguel Ferrer was an American actor best known for villainous roles, notably his breakthrough role as the OCP Vice-president Bob Morton, the designer of the title character in RoboCop (1987). His other notable roles include Dr Garret Macy on Crossing Jordan, NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, Vice President Rodriguez in Iron Man 3, and FBI forensic pathologist Albert Rosenfield in Twin Peaks.

He died at the age of 61 at his LA home following a battle with throat cancer.

Gorden Kaye, 75, actor


Gorden Kaye was best known for his role as cafe owner, Rene Artois, in the long-running BBC sitcom, ‘Allo ‘Allo.

He starred in all 85 episodes and also made more than 1,000 appearances as Rene in stage productions of the show, which took him as far afield as Australia.

During the 1970s he appeared on various other television shows, including Till Death Us Do Part, Sykes, It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum and as several different characters on Are You Being Served?, which was written by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, the team that also created ‘Allo ‘Allo.

He died in a care home at the age of 75.

Mary Tyler Moore, 80, American actress


Mary Tyler Moore enjoyed great success on television in the 1960s and 1970s, playing bright, breezy modern women. 

Her greatest television success came from playing producer Mary Richards in the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77). Her character challenged sexual stereotypes – although some feminists found her bland. And the show brought Mary Tyler Moore four of her seven Emmy awards.

Her production company MTM, whose logo poked fun at the MGM logo, with a pussy cat instead of a lion, made Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele and St Elsewhere. It was eventually sold off and swallowed up by 20th Century Fox.

She died at the age of 80 from cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia.

Sir John Hurt, 77, actor


Sir John Hurt was one of Britain's most treasured actors, who rose to fame playing flamboyant gay icon Quentin Crisp and went on to star in films such as The Elephant Man, Alien and 1984.

The British actor was nominated for two Academy Awards, for The Elephant Man and Midnight Express, and won four Bafta Awards, including a lifetime achievement recognition for his outstanding contribution to British cinema in 2012.

The Oscar-nominated actor passed away at his home in Norfolk at the age of 77 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Geoff Nicholls, 68, musician


Geoff Nichols was a musician and keyboardist, and longtime member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, until 2004. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Geoff played lead guitar for the Birmingham band Johnny Neal and the Starliners.

Until his death, he played keyboards with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, in his band Tony Martin's Headless Cross.

He died at the age of 68 from lung cancer. 

Barbara Hale, 94, American actress


Barbara Hale was an Emmy Award-winning actress best known for her role as legal secretary Della Street on more than 270 episodes of the long-running Perry Mason television series. 

She died at the age of 94 at her home in California of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Sir Tam Dalyell, 84, Scottish politician and framer of the West Lothian Question


Sir Tam Dalyell was one of the most principled, honourable and dogged politicians of his generation.

He was that rarity: an Old Etonian with a near aristocratic background who became a left-wing Labour MP, although he remained a fervent monarchist throughout his career.

And when he took up causes, whether it was the sinking of the Argentine warship the General Belgrano during the Falklands conflict, the Lockerbie atrocity, the Peruvian rain forests, his opposition to the Kosovo bombing in 1999 or the invasion of Iraq, he did so with a single-mindedness and thoroughness that exasperated his critics.

He died at the age of 84 after a short illness.


Desmond Carrington, 90, British actor and broadcaster


Desmond Carrington was a broadcaster who presented one of Radio 2’s longest-running shows, The Music Goes Round. His radio career began in the Second World War and spanned more than 70 years.

He died at the age of 90 on February 1, the day Radio 2 had been due to broadcast a programme celebrating his broadcasting career. 

Gordon Aikman, 31, Motor Neurone Disease campaigner​


Gordon Aikman was a fundraiser and campaigner for patients with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). He himself was diagnosed with this most cruel of conditions at the age of just 29.

Not long after receiving the devastating news that he had MND, Mr Aikman set up his Gordon’s Fightback campaign, which not only called for funding to find a cure for the disease – the average life expectancy following diagnosis is 14 months - but demanded specialist nursing care for those living with the condition.

His fundraising efforts raised more than £530,000 for MND research.

He died aged 31.

Alec McCowen, 91, actor

Alec McCowen was an English actor best known for his work in numerous film and stage productions including A Night to Remember, Frenzy and Gangs of New York. He died at the age of 91.

 Richard Hatch, 71, American actor, Battlestar Galactica 


Richard Hatch was best known for playing Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica television series, which ran from 1978 to 1979, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance on the show

He died at the age of 71 with his son Paul by his side following a battle with pancreatic cancer

Alan Simpson, 87, scriptwriter


Alan Simpson was a scriptwriter famous for writing hits including Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe And Son. He was famous for his writing partnership with Ray Galton.

He died at the age of 87 after a long battle with lung disease.

Simpson was famous for his writing partnership with Ray Galton.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, 45, socialite 


Tara Palmer-Tomkinson wsa a former London socialite and the god-daughter of the Prince of Wales.

She had been diagnosed with a brain tumour last year. She died at the age of 45.

Al Jareau, 76, American singer and musician 


Alwin Lopez Jarreau was better known by his stage name Al Jarreau.

He won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for over a dozen more. He is best known for having sung the theme song of the 1980s television series Moonlighting, and as a performer in the 1985 charity song "We Are the World".

The singer died just days after announcing his retirement from touring because of exhaustion.

Sara Coward, 69, actress, The Archers 


Sara Coward played Caroline Sterling on the much-loved BBC Radio 4 drama, The Archers, since 1977.

Sara was also a writer and stage actor, and spent eight years working for the Samaritans charity in Stratford-upon-Avon.

She was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016 when she found a lump on her neck and swelling in her right arm, shortly after recovering from breast cancer and a mastectomy.

She spent the last months of her life trying to leave the world “a kinder place” as she launched a social media campaign urging people to smile at each other more.

Warren Frost, 91, American actor, Twin Peaks


Fans of Twin Peaks, David Lynch's cult 1980s television drama, will recognise Warren Frost as Dr Will Hayward. He also played the character in the upcoming sequel.

Frost, who was the father of the cult drama's co-creator Mark Frost, also had recurring roles on comedy show Seinfield and legal drama Matlock.

He died after a lengthy illness.

Bill Paxton, 61, American actor


Bill Paxton was a character actor who developed a cult following for his memorable supporting performances in some of the biggest movies of the 1980s and 90s, particularly Aliens, the 1986 sequel to Alien, in which he played the nervous, drunken soldier with a talent for one liners.

The actor also worked behind the camera, directing feature films The Greatest Game Ever Played and Frailty.

He died due to complications from surgery at the age of 61.


Tommy Gemmell, 73, footballer and Lisbon Lion


Tommy Gemmell was arguably the best full-back in the world at his peak. He played football not so-much with a smile on his face, more with a huge grin. He loved the game, he loved playing it and his attacking, cavalier style was an integral part of the Lisbon Lions legend.

His goal got Celtic back on terms with Inter Milan in that unforgettable night in Lisbon in May, 1967 when they won the European Cup.

Not content with one European Cup Final goal, he would score another, Celtic's counter in their losing final against Feyenoord in 1970.

He died after a long battle with illness at the age of 73.

Ann Beach, 78, actress, Fresh Fields


Ann Beech (right), pictured with Julia Kenzie in Fresh Fields

Her face may have been most familiar in the mid-1980s television sitcom Fresh Fields, written by John Chapman and starring Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgersas a well-off married couple in Barnes, London, learning to cope with empty-nest syndrome; Ann played their nosy neighbour, Sonia Barrett, guaranteed to drop in at tricky moments saying the wrong thing.

Ann married the French-Canadian television producer Francis Coleman in 1966. He predeceased her in 2008, as did their first daughter, the actress Charlotte Coleman, in 2001.

Chuck Berry, 90, American Hall of Fame rock and roll musician


Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Chuck Berry was one of the founding heroes of rock ‘n’ roll who blasted onto the scene in the 1950s with a distinctive form of rebellious and intelligent rock. His music inspired a generation of musicians, including Elvis, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. “If you tried to give rock and roll another name,” John Lennon once said, “you might call it Chuck Berry."

Unlike those that followed him, Berry did not have a particularly long recording career – partly because of his complicated and controversial personal life which included spells in prison. In fact, his core repertoire was some three dozen songs, including Roll Over Beethoven, his tribute to rock itself, his signature tune Johnny B Goode, and his only number one, My Ding-a-Ling.

He received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984 and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

He was found unresponsive at his home and pronounced dead a short tim later, he was 90.