By Molly Gray, A&E Editor
One of the many unexpected losses in 2020 was Chadwick Boseman, who passed away at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer for four years. Boseman was an actor, director and playwright. He proved his talent through many exceptional performances on screen, including Jackie Robinson in the movie “42” and T’Challa, aka Black Panther, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). His final film, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” was released on Netflix in Nov. 2020, and Boseman was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. With his high odds of winning, Boseman is close to joining the small group of Hollywood actors who won a Golden Globe after their passing. Members of this crowd include Heath Ledger, Peter Finch, James Dean and Raúl Juliá.
Naya Rivera, best known for her role as Santana Lopez on the musical television show “Glee,” passed away suddenly in the summer of 2020. After a boating incident on Lake Piru in California, Rivera managed to save her son before disappearing into the water. Police and Rivera’s family searched the lake but couldn’t find anything to show she was still alive. She was declared dead on July 13, 2020 after a week of searching. At just 33 years old, Rivera already had an impressive number of achievements under her belt. She starred on “Glee” as a main character from the show’s beginning in 2009 to its ending in 2015. She was awarded the ALMA Award for Favorite TV Actress in a comedy series in 2012, as well as the ALMA Award for Favorite Female Music Artist in both 2011 and 2012. Days after her funeral, fans gathered at Lake Piru for a memorial, playing her music and sitting together remembering her and all that she did during her life.
In early 2019, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek revealed to fans that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Trebek promised to fans that he was going to keep fighting and continued to work on “Jeopardy,” filming up until Oct. 29, 2020, nearly a week before he passed away. At 80 years old, and after hosting the trivia game show for 37 years, Trebek died on Nov. 8, 2020. Fans, co-workers, celebrities and fellow show hosts shared their love and memories all over social media, looking back on his long career as a TV personality. After 8,200 episodes, Trebek appeared as the host on “Jeopardy” until Christmas Day in 2020, and is currently being succeeded by guest hosts, including one of his closest friends and the record holder for longest “Jeopardy” winning streak, Ken Jennings.
“Game of Thrones” (GOT) star Dianna Rigg passed away during Sept. of 2020 at 82 years old, shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer earlier last year. Playing Olenna Tyrell in GOT led to several Emmy nominations for herself, although that is hardly a fraction of the nominations and awards she received over her long and successful career. Performing both on the stage in live theater and on the screen in movies and television, Rigg was awarded Emmy, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and Tony awards for her performances in TV series like “Rebecca” and “Mother Love” as well as the play “Medea.” Following her death, GOT co-stars as well as many people she had worked with over the years took to social media, where they posted pictures and shared stories from her years spent in the arts industry.
Betty Wright, the soul and R&B singer/songwriter, died from cancer on May 10, 2020. Starting her career as a singer in her family’s gospel group, Echoes of Joy, Wright became popular as a solo artist in the 70s. With hits like “Clean Up Woman,” recorded when she was just 17 years old, and “Where Is The Love,” for which she won a Grammy in 1976, her career really went into full swing and she quickly earned respect and admiration from fellow musicians and performers. Her fame only continued to grow over her decades spent writing and recording songs, going on tours and making appearances on TV shows such as “Making the Band,” where she mentored young singers. In 2016, she was a featured artist on multiple DJ Khaled songs, including “Holy Key,” where she sang alongside Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean. Passing away at 66, Wright’s nearly 50 year-long career has left a lasting impact on the R&B community and music industry as a whole.
Designed By Jared Garelick