Celebrity deaths in 2021 – Prince Philip, Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding & comedian Sean Lock among stars we lost this year

FROM our sovereign’s beloved Prince to kings and queens of sport, showbiz and public life, Mike Ridley says goodbye to those who have died this year.

Prince Philip, 99 – April 9, 1992 portrait of Duke posted on social media by the Royal Family as his death was announced

Prince Philip, 99 – April 9: THE Queen’s rock for 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh died two months short of his 100th birthday.

Born on Corfu, the son of Prince Andrew of Greece, he was sent to school in the UK and joined the Royal Navy, serving in World War Two.

He married Princess Elizabeth in 1947.

He was a patron, president or member of more than 780 organisations, including the World Wide Fund For Nature, and was chairman of youth awards programme The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.


Corrie’s Mark Eden, 92

Mark Eden, 92: PLAYED villainous Alan Bradley, whose eight years on Coronation Street ended when the character was killed by a tram. Married to Sue Nicholls, Corrie’s Audrey Roberts. He died on Jan 1 suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Singer Gerry Marsden, 78

Gerry Marsden, 78: LEAD singer of ’60s band Gerry And The Pacemakers, whose hits included I Like It and their 1963 version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which became a Liverpool FC anthem. Died on Jan 3 from heart problems.

Tanya Roberts, 65: ONE of Charlie’s Angels in the hit TV series, the US actress played Bond girl Stacey Sutton – after first choice Priscilla Presley turned the role down – in 1985’s A View To A Kill. Died of ­sepsis on Jan 4.

Albert Roux, 85: ALONG with brother Michel, the French chef started a culinary revolution in 1960s Britain. Their London restaurant Le Gavroche – now run by Michel Roux Jr – was the first in UK to have three Michelin stars. Died Jan 4.

Michael Apted, 79: DIRECTED Gorillas In The Mist and Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. Created groundbreaking ITV series Up, following the lives of people from age seven, filming them every seven years, for 55 years. Died in LA on Jan 7.

Phil Spector, 81: INVENTOR of the Wall Of Sound studio style, the US music producer worked with The Beatles. Jailed in 2009 for the murder in 2003 of actress Lana Clarkson. In a jail hospital since 2013, he died with Covid on Jan 16.

Larry King, 87: A TITAN of US talk shows, he started his career in radio before going on to interview the world’s most famous figures on his CNN TV programme for 25 years. He died on Jan 23 after contracting Covid.

Cicely Tyson, 96: ACTRESS portrayed strong African-American women in films such as Sounder. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the US’s highest civilian honour – in 2016. Died on Jan 28.


Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, 91

Leon Spinks, 67: US BOXING heavyweight won a gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, then two years later beat Muhammad Ali – in one of the sport’s biggest upsets – to become world champion. Died on Feb 5 after battling cancer.

Christopher Plummer, 91: CANADIAN actor famous as Captain von Trapp in musical The Sound Of Music, but famously hated the film. He was still working up until the time of his death following a fall and blow to the head on Feb 9.

Larry Flynt, 78: AMERICAN porn baron known for magazines such as Hustler and adult TV channels and videos. Paralysed from the waist down after a 1978 assassination attempt. Died in Los Angeles on Feb 10 from heart failure.

Ronald Pickup, 80: PLAYED Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 2017 film Darkest Hour as well as appearing with Judi Dench in both The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films. Also featured in TV’s Midsomer Murders. He died on Feb 24.

Glenn Roeder, 65: A CLASSY defender for Newcastle, Arsenal and QPR, he became player-manager at Gillingham before stints managing West Ham and Newcastle. Glenn died on Feb 28 after an 18-year battle with a brain tumour.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, 100 February 2

Captain Sir Tom Moore, 100 February 2: ALMOST single-handedly lifting the nation’s lockdown gloom, the World War Two veteran walked 100 laps of his garden to raise £38million for the NHS – and capture the nation’s hearts.

He also became the oldest person to top the UK charts, with his cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball. The Queen knighted Captain Tom in July 2020. He died with Covid.

Mary Wilson, 76 – February 8: SINGER co-founded soul legends The Supremes with Diana Ross at just 15. They would become Motown’s most successful group of the Sixties.

Mary, who many fans consider to have had the best voice in the group, sang on all 12 of the trio’s chart-topping hits from 1964 to 1969. She was also considered the force that held The Supremes together. Died from coronary artery disease.

Johnny Briggs, 85 – February 28: LONDON-born actor Johnny appear- ed in various TV shows and several Carry On films, then found fame as Cockney knicker factory owner Mike Baldwin in 2,349 episodes of Coronation Street from 1976 to 2006.

For 30 years he played the philandering Underworld boss and Ken Barlow’s love rival. In 2007, a year after retiring, he was awarded an MBE. He died following a long illness.


Diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2014, Jimmy Greaves died on March 1 after a long illness

Ian St John, 82: EX-LIVERPOOL and Scotland striker in the Sixties, he went on to present ITV’s Saint And Greavsie alongside Jimmy Greaves in the 1980s. Diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2014, he died March 1 after a long illness.

Nicola Pagett, 75: ACTRESS whose TV roles included Elizabeth Bellamy in ITV drama Upstairs Downstairs. Played title role in BBC’s 1977 series Anna Karenina and starred in TV comedy A Bit Of A Do. Died of a brain tumour on March 3.

“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, 66: UNDISPUTED middleweight champion from 1980 until 1987, he was a great in an era of outstanding middleweight boxers. Changed his name to Marvelous in 1982. Died on March 13 of natural causes.

Murray Walker, 97: FOR decades he was the voice of Formula One. The commentator’s infectious enthusiasm for motorsport led to the odd gaffe but these “Murrayisms” only endeared Walker even more to F1 fans. Died Mar 13.

Sabine Schmitz, 51: GERMAN racing driver known as Queen of the Nurburg- ring after a series of big wins at the notoriously tricky track. A regular on Top Gear, she died on March 16 after fighting cancer for several years.

Frank Worthington, 72: A MAVERICK on and off the pitch, the flamboyant Leicester and England striker made 757 league appearances. He is remembered as “the working man’s George Best” due to his playboy lifestyle. Died on March 22.

George Segal, 87: COMEDY films such as Fun With Dick And Jane and A Touch Of Class were his trademark, but he was no stranger to serious roles, starring in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Died on March 23 after heart surgery.


Brit actor Paul Ritter, 54

Paul Ritter, 54: ENGLISH actor played Martin Goodman in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner. Also appeared in Bond film Quantum Of Solace and Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. He died on April 5 from a brain tumour.

Nikki Grahame, 38: A POPULAR contestant on the 2006 series of Big Brother, she was best known for her epic tantrums and constantly asking “Who is she?” in anger. For years she fought anorexia, before dying from the illness on April 9 this year.

Dame Shirley Williams, 90: A TRAILBLAZING MP for more than 50 years, she   was Labour Education Secretary in the 1970s then one of the Gang Of Four founders of the SDP party. Later president of the Lib Dems. Died April 11.

Helen McCrory, 52: ACTRESS who played Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders and was in Bond movie Skyfall and two Harry Potter films. Married to actor Damian Lewis, she was awarded an OBE in 2017. Died of breast cancer on April 16.

Walter Mondale, 93: THE US Democrat senator was Jimmy Carter’s vice-president between 1977 and 1981. Stood for president in 1984 but suffered a landslide defeat to incumbent Ronald Reagan. He died on April 19.

Les McKeown, 65: LEAD singer of huge 1970s band Bay City Rollers, who were known for wearing tartan. Hits included Shang-a-Lang and Bye Bye Baby. The Scot died from cardiac arrest at his home in London on April 20.

Michael Collins, 90: PART of the first moon landings in 1969, he orbited on Apollo 11 while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface. Above the moon’s far side he said: “I am alone now, truly alone.” He died on April 28.


Ivor ‘ Nick’ Kamen, 59

Nick’ Kamen, 59: IVOR “Nick” Kamen shot to fame when he stripped to his boxer shorts for Levi’s famous 1985 TV ad. His first single, Each Time You Break My Heart, co-written with Madonna, got to No 5. He died on May 4 from cancer.

Eric Carle, 91: US author and illustrator of more than 70 children’s books, he was famous for his 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which sold more than 50million copies. He died from kidney failure on May 23.


Actor Ned Beatty, 83

Ned Beatty, 83: ACCLAIMED for his roles in Superman and Deliverance, the US star was dubbed “the busiest actor in Hollywood”, appearing in more than 160 films. He also voiced evil teddy Lotso in Toy Story 3. Died of natural causes on June 13.

Donald Rumsfeld, 88: US Secretary of Defense when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The ­abrasive politician was the architect of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He died on June 29 from cancer.


Boxer Sebastian Eubank, 29

Sebastian Eubank, 29: NICKNAMED the Alka Lion, the boxer son of Chris Eubank had started a new life in Dubai. He died from a heart attack on July 9, just days before his 30th birthday and a month after becoming a father.

Andy Fordham, 59: DARTS ace known as “The Viking” hit a career high in 2004, winning the Lakeside World Championship. Andy, who regularly drank 24 bottles of lager before a contest, died on July 15 after suffering major organ failure.

Tom O’Connor, 81: SHOT to fame as a stand-up on TV talent show Opportunity Knocks. Merseyside ex-teacher Tom also hosted quiz Crosswits, Name That Tune and his own comedy show. He had Parkinson’s disease when he died on July 18.

Dusty Hill, 72: BASSIST with US rock trio ZZ Top for more than 50 years, selling 25million albums. He and the band were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004 by Keith Richards. He died in his sleep on July 28.


Comedian Sean Lock, 59

Una Stubbs, 84 – August 12: DANCER shot to fame in British movie Summer Holiday in 1963 alongside Cliff Richard then became a household name as an actress with telly roles in Till Death Us Do Part, In Sickness And In Health, Worzel Gummidge – in which she played Aunt Sally – and latterly Sherlock, playing Holmes’ landlady Mrs Hudson. Una was also a regular on hit TV charades show Give Us A Clue. She died after a long illness.

Sean Lock, 59: HIS deadpan comic style and quick wit made him a stand- up favourite and he became a team captain on Channel 4 comedy panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats. Surrey-born Sean died of lung cancer on August 16.

Austin Mitchell, 86: FOR 37 years, the Eurosceptic Labour MP represented Great Grimsby. He won compensation for the town’s fishermen who lost their jobs in the 1970s Cod War dispute. He died on August 18 after heart surgery.

Don Everly, 84: AMERICAN singer was the surviving member of rock ’n’ roll duo The Everly Brothers, whose hits included Bye Bye Love and All I Have To Do Is Dream. Don, above right, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 21.

Brian Travers, 62: CO-FOUNDER of UB40, he wrote and played saxophone for the Brummie reggae band, who had more than 40 hits including Red, Red Wine and (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You. He died from cancer on August 22.

Mary Cook, 92: THE Bristol pension­er and her pal Marina Wingrove became much-loved regulars on Channel 4’s ­Gogglebox with their hilarious quips. The twice-widowed great-gran, who died on August 23, always saw life’s funnier side.

Ed Asner, 91: US actor played ­journalist Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Lou Grant. Ed, who won seven Emmy awards, died at home in California on August 29.

Lee “Scratch” Perry, 85: JAMAICAN record producer and singer nicknamed Scratch, he was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music. He worked with Bob Marley, The Clash and Beastie Boys. He died on August 29.

Charlie Watts, 80, August 24: THE Rolling Stones drummer was often described as the sensible one of the band but he once punched frontman Mick Jagger in the face when they were in Amsterdam after Jagger called him “my drummer”. Some say Charlie added: “You’re my f***ing singer.”

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee loved cricket, jazz and smart suits and was married to Shirley for nearly 60 years.


Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, 39

Sarah Harding, 39 September 5: THE singer became part of what would become Britain’s biggest-selling all-female group of the 21st Century, Girls Aloud, via 2002 telly show Popstars: The Rivals. The band had 21 UK Top Ten singles, 20 of them consecutive, including four No1s.
Sarah won Celebrity Big Brother in 2017. In August 2020 she revealed she had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, and in March 2021 told how her condition was terminal.

Michael K Williams, 54: EMMY-nominated US actor played gangster Omar Little in hit TV series The Wire and starred in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. He died from a drug overdose in his New York home on September 6.

Robert Fyfe, 90: SCOTTISH actor played Howard Sibshaw in TV sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine from 1985 to 2010, often sneaking off from wife Pearl to enjoy an affair with Marina. He died from kidney disease on September 15.

Sir Clive Sinclair, 81: INVENTOR of the pocket calculator and famous home computers such as the ZX Spectrum. But his pocket TV and the C5 – a quirky electric vehicle – didn’t catch on. He died of an illness related to cancer on September 16.

John Challis, 79 – September 19: KNOWN to millions as “Boycie” on much-loved BBC sitcom Only Fools And Horses, the stage and film actor played his dodgy used-car salesman character to perfection. He starred as Terrance Aubrey Boyce in Only Fools from 1981 to 2003, and then in the spin-off series The Green Green Grass, at his own mansion in Hereford-shire. John, who also appeared as Monty Staines in ITV hit Benidorm, died of cancer.

Jimmy Greaves, 81 – September 19: THE striker netted more than 400 times for club and country, including a record 357 times in England’s top flight. He is still Spurs’ all-time leading scorer. Greavsie helped England win the World Cup in 1966, despite an injury which kept him out of the final. After beating alcoholism in the 1970s he became a popular TV pundit alongside Ian St John on Saint And Greavsie, and was also a Sun columnist for 30 years.

Willie Garson, 57: AMERICAN actor appeared in more than 75 films and at least 300 television episodes. He also played Stanford Blatch in Sex And The City. He died from pancreatic cancer on September 21 in Los Angeles.

Roger Hunt, 83 – September 27: LIVERPOOL legend known as “Sir Roger” to fans and a member of the 1966 World Cup-winning England team. Capped 34 times for his country, and his record 285 goals for the Reds stood for 23 years until Ian Rush beat it in 1992. Died after a long illness.


Deon Estus, 65

Deon Estus, 65: US bass player with Wham! who collaborated on George Michael’s first two solo albums. Played with a host of stars including Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Annie Lennox and Frank Zappa. He died on October 11.

Sir David Amess, 69: TORY MP for Southend West in Essex was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery on October 15. He had campaigned for Southend to become a city – a move that was granted in tribute soon after his death.

Colin Powell, 84: GENERAL who led the Allied forces after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991. He was the first black US Secretary of State, under President George W Bush. He died from complications with Covid on October 18.

James Michael Tyler, 59: AMERICAN actor who played Gunther, the deadpan manager of Central Perk cafe in US sitcom Friends. He later appeared in the comedy Episodes. Died of prostate cancer on October 24.

Walter Smith, 73: FORMIDABLE football manager led Glasgow Rangers to ten titles, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups. Was a success as Scotland coach from 2004 to 2007. The father of two died from cancer on October 26.


Lionel Blair, 92

Lionel Blair, 92: SONG and dance man’s stage and TV career lasted 80 years. He learned to dance watching Fred Astaire at the cinema. On TV, he was a judge on New Faces and team captain on Give Us A Clue. He died on November 4.

Terence Wilson, 64: KNOWN by his stage name Astro, he was a founding member of British reggae band UB40, adding vocals to hits including Red Red Wine. He died in his home town of Birmingham on November 6 after a short illness.

FW de Klerk, 85: THE South African president ended the hated apartheid regime and paved the way for the presidency of Nelson Mandela – with whom he jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. He died from cancer on Nov 11.

Graeme Edge, 80: DRUMMER with English rockers The Moody Blues, whose hits included Nights In White Satin, Tuesday Afternoon and I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band). He died at his home in Florida on November 11.

Stephen Sondheim, 91: BEST known for the song Send In The Clowns in his 1973 musical A Little Night Music and as the lyricist for West Side Story. The Oscar- winning US Broadway legend died on November 26.

Virgil Abloh, 41: FASHION trailblazer started his career with Fendi, where he interned with Kanye West, before becoming creative director at Louis Vuitton as the brand’s first black designer. He died from cancer on November 28.

Sir Frank Williams, 79: HIS F1 team won nine world titles with aces Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Damon Hill but tragedy struck when Ayrton Senna died in a Williams car in 1994. Paralysed in a 1986 crash, Frank died on Nov 28.

David Gulpilil, 68: INDIGENOUS Australian actor starred in 1971 movie Walkabout aged 15. In 1976 he won awards for his part in Storm Boy and in 1986 appeared in Crocodile Dundee. He died of lung cancer on November 29.

Ray Kennedy, 70: THE powerful midfielder became a Liverpool legend after joining from Arsenal and helped win three European Cups and five league titles. He died on November 30, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984.

John Sillett, 85: MANAGED Coventry City between 1986 and 1990 and led the Sky Blues to FA Cup glory in 1987, when Tottenham were beaten 3-2 in a classic Wembley final. His family said he died of “age and illness” on Nov 30.


Sir Antony Sher, 72

Sir Antony Sher, 72: PRINCE Charles’s favourite actor had many great Shakespearean roles during his career, from King Lear to Shylock. His Richard III won him an Olivier Award in 1985. He died from cancer on Dec 2.

Steve Bronski, 61: STEVE was a founding member of ’80s British synthpop band Bronski Beat, whose hits include I Feel Love and Smalltown Boy. Suffered a stroke three years ago and died on Dec 7 following a fire at his London flat.

Mike Nesmith, 78: HAVING left the US Air Force, he played guitar in clubs and was recruited to TV band The Monkees. His wool hat became a trademark and his TV show of pop clips later became MTV. Died of heart failure on Dec 10.

Geoffrey “Jethro” Rowe, 73: CORNISH comic and musician famous for his strong West Country accent and risque routines. He retired from live stage performances in 2020 and died on Dec 14 after contracting Covid.

John Morgan, 80: THE beat behind bands Scrumpy and The Wurzels for more than 40 years, he was dubbed “the oldest drummer in captivity”. Died of Covid on Dec 17 after a gig with the band, who sang the novelty hit Combine Harvester.

Richard Rogers, 88: ITALIAN-British architect who designed the Millennium Dome, the Lloyd’s building in the City of London, the Welsh Parliament, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and Strasbourg’s Court of Human Rights. He died on Dec 18.

Carlos Marin, 53: SHOT to fame in classical singing four-piece Il Divo, put together in 2003 by Simon Cowell. The group went on to sell more than 30million records. Spanish baritone Carlos died from Covid on Dec 19.

Sally Ann Howes, 91: ENGLISH actress played Truly Scrumptious in hit movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Her career on stage, screen and TV spanned more than six decades. She died peacefully in her sleep in Florida on Dec 19.

Joan Didion, 87: US writer’s career began after winning an essay contest. Her 2005 book and play The Year Of Magical Thinking is about the deaths of her husband and daughter. She died from Parkinson’s in New York on Dec 23.

Ray Illingworth, 89: FORMER England and Yorkshire cricket captain from Pudsey, West Yorks, led England to a 2-0 Test series win over Australia in 1970-71, and won 12 of the 31 Test matches he led. He died of cancer on Christmas Eve.

Desmond Tutu, 90: FORMER Archbishop of Cape Town won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end the apartheid regime in South Africa. The father of four had prostate cancer for two decades and died on Boxing Day.

Janice Long, 66 – December 25: BROADCASTER was a trailblazer with the BBC, where she was the first woman to have her own daily radio show, and she presented Top Of The Pops on TV. The sister of the late children’s TV presenter Keith Chegwin, Janice died after a short illness.