2021 in Review: Celebrating those who left us

2021
(clockwise: Larry King, Joan Didion, Halyna Hutchins, Michael K. Williams, Biz Markie, Markie Post, Richard Donner)

They made us laugh. They made us love. They made us sing. They made us cry. They made us think. Some entertained. Some were just there when we needed them. Some showered us with their creativity. Others, some made us think differently. All in all, the people whom we lost in 2021 made some sort of impact on us. It’s the kind of impact that will last lifetimes, even if these icons aren’t anymore.

Covid-19 took too many in 2021. The year began for us with the death of legendary talk show host and journalist, Larry King. He was a victim of the insidious disease. COVID also took the life of singer, Carlos Marín — a member of the international quartet Il Divo. Former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, also succumbed to the disease. COVID would also take the lives of Bridgerton hairstylist Marc Pilcher, who was double vaccinated and had just won the Creative Arts Emmy.

Others who would lose the battle with COVID in 2021 include Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard drummer Kenny Malone, martial arts legend, Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba, conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, singing voice behind 80s band Milli Vanilli, John Davis, NBA reporter and analyst Sekou Smith and incarcerated “Wall of Sound” music producer Phil Spector.

When actor Ed Asner died in August, one of the younger Reel 360 team members lamented that she remembered the actor as Santa in the classic film, Elf. For older 360 members, Asner will always be the tough-talking News producer turned editor, Lou Grant.

2021 also took brilliant comedian and SNL Weekend Update host, Norm MacDonald to cancer in September. F*ck cancer. Girls Aloud star, Sarah Harding, died aged 39 on September 5, just over a year after going public with her advanced breast cancer diagnosis.

Add to the list of those we lost in 2021 iconic director Richard Donner, sex kitten Tawny Kitaen and most recently, legendary writer Joan Didion.

Three princes left us in 2021, Prince Philip, Fat Boys’ rapper Prince Markie Dee and a prince of a guy Charles Grodin.

The brutal murder of music legend Clarence Avant’s wife, Jackie, was tragic and shocked us all. And the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, reverberated through all of us.

Advertising legends Cliff Freeman and John McGarry also left us in 2021 as did popular creative Josh Hurley.

At Reel 360, we don’t mourn their passings. Instead, we celebrate who they were and still are, as their contributions will live on in our hearts and memories. Each one below is truly Resting in Power and resting in a little place in our hearts:

  • diamond
  • Beatts
  • DMX
  • silla
  • Richard Donner
  • Rapper Biz Markie
  • Ed ASner
  • Post
  • Norm
  • Garson
  • Melvin Van Peebles
  • Michael K. Williams
  • Freeman
  • McGarry
  • Hutchins
  • Avant
  • nesmith
  • Madden

REELated: 2021 in Review: The stories that caught our readers’ attention


There are so many more we could have covered in 2021, but as we expand we find we have to pick and choose what we cover. But as we expand our audience, we will also expand our resources.


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If you’d like to read many of their full 2021 obituaries, CLICK HERE.

Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at colin@reel360.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1

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