Prince Philip, Sir Tom Moore and Sir David Amess among those mourned in 2021

Helen McCrory, Virgil Abloh, Desmond Tutu and Janice Long were among the famous faces we lost in 2021. Credit: PA/AP

The nation mourned with the Queen this year as she said a final, dignified farewell to her husband of more than 70 years.

The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving consort in British history and died in April, just weeks before he would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

Another much admired charity supporter who had reached that milestone and received the traditional greetings from the Queen was Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died in February.

Sir Tom’s fundraising efforts raised more than £32 million for the NHS when he walked 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April 2020, and he remained an inspiration in the months which followed.

The charity work and public service of Sir David Amess was also remembered in tributes to the Southend West MP after he was fatally stabbed during a constituency surgery in October.

Sir David, 69, who was described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, had been an MP since 1983 and Southend was granted city status in his memory.

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Here are some of the other well-known people who died in 2021.


Gerry Marsden

The Gerry and the Pacemakers star, singer of the Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone, died at the age of 78.

Sir Paul McCartney was among those who paid tribute to his fellow Merseyside singer and “long-time friend.”

Tanya Roberts

Former Bond girl Roberts died at the age of 65, several hours after her publicist incorrectly announced her death.

Multiple outlets initially incorrectly reported the death of the actress, who starred as Stacey Sutton opposite Sir Roger Moore in his final Bond film, A View To A Kill in 1985.

Tanya Roberts starred alongside Roger Moore and Grace Jones in the 007 movie, A View To A Kill Credit: AP

Larry King

Veteran US talk show host King died at the age of 87 after he was in hospital with Covid-19.

The news was shared on his Twitter page by Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded in 2012.

Cicely Tyson

Actress Cicely Tyson died at the age of 96. The former fashion model was known for playing strong Black characters in films and had a glittering career spanning seven decades.

She gained an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecropper's wife in the 1972 film Sounder, won a Tony Award in 2013 at the age of 88 and won two Emmy's for plaing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 TV drama The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

She also appeared in the 2011 film The Help.


Peter Lawrence

The father of Claudia Lawrence died aged 74 without ever knowing what had happened to his daughter who went missing in 2009.

Mr Lawrence campaigned for the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill, also known as Claudia’s Law, which was passed in April 2017 and allows relatives to take control of their missing loved ones’ financial matters after they have disappeared for 90 days or longer.

Christopher Plummer

The Sound Of Music star died at his home in Connecticut, in the US, aged 91.

In 2012 Plummer became the oldest actor to win an Oscar, and tributes were paid following his death by celebrities including his co-star Dame Julie Andrews, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.

Maureen Colquhoun

The UK’s first openly lesbian MP died at the age of 92.

After it emerged that she was in a relationship with a woman, her constituency party tried to deselect her as a candidate for the next General Election and, although her appeal against the move was upheld, she lost her Northampton North seat to the Conservatives in 1979.

Johnny Briggs

The Coronation Street actor, known for his role as Mike Baldwin in the long-running ITV soap, died age 85 after a long illness.

Cast members described Briggs as a “lovely man” who they all “adored.”


Trevor Peacock

The actor, known for playing stuttering Jim Trott in The Vicar Of Dibley, died at the age of 89.

Co-star Dawn French remembered him as “the funniest, twinkliest, cleverest, warmest, cheekiest chap ever,” adding, “he was so easy to love.”

Trevor Peacock's character was famous for his repetition of the word “No” and his frequent sexual references. Credit: PA

Murray Walker

Murray Walker, the voice of Formula One, died aged 97.

Walker, whose broadcasting career spanned more than 50 years, worked for the BBC and ITV, before he retired from commentating in 2001.

Bunny Wailer

Reggae star Bunny Wailer, who was the last surviving member of The Wailers, died at the age of 73.

The baritone singer, whose birth name was Neville Livingston, formed The Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in 1963. They rose to international fame with the album Catch a Fire.

The three-time Grammy winner died at the Andrews Memorial Hospital in Jamaica.


Paul Ritter

The Friday Night Dinner and Chernobyl actor died at the age of 54 with a brain tumour.

Simon Bird, who played Ritter’s on screen son in the sitcom, described him as “unfailingly generous” and “undeniably cool.”

Helen McCrory

News of the death of the “beautiful and mighty” actress from cancer aged 52 was shared by her “heartbroken” husband Damian Lewis.

McCrory, who starred in hit crime drama Peaky Blinders, James Bond film Skyfall and as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, died peacefully at home.

Helen McRory attending the BFI London Film Festival Awards Credit: Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

Dame Cheryl Gillan

The Chesham and Amersham Conservative MP and former Welsh secretary died at the age of 68.

Dame Cheryl found herself centre stage of Tory politics when she was acting joint chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs in 2019 and helped to preside over the Tory leadership contest to elect a successor to Theresa May – a contest Boris Johnson won.

Nikki Grahame

The television star, who rose to fame on Big Brother, died at the age of 38.

Despite finishing fifth in Big Brother 7, Grahame became one of its most recognisable characters that helped her launch a television career. Prior to finding fame on Big Brother, Grahame, then an aspiring actress, appeared as an extra in the BBC soap opera EastEnders and played a footballer’s wife in Sky One’s Dream Team.

She also appeared as a contestant on ITV dating show Blind Date and competed in the 2004 Miss Hertfordshire pageant.

After entering the Big Brother house dressed as a Playboy bunny, Grahame became known for her temper tantrums and Diary Room histrionics, including an infamous “who is she?” rant.

Nikki Grahame


Rapper DMX, real name Earl Simmons, died aged 50.

The Grammy-nominated artist had suffered a “catastrophic cardiac arrest" on April 2.

In a statement, his family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days."


Max Mosley

The former motorsports boss whose high-profile court battle with a tabloid newspaper turned him into a privacy campaigner, died aged 81.

Mr Mosley, who served as president of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), became an advocate for tighter press regulation in the wake of a 2008 privacy High Court battle against the now-defunct News Of The World after the newspaper wrongly reported he had attended a “Nazi-themed” sex party.

Nick Kamen

Model and singer Kamen, who was considered a protege of Madonna, died at the age of 59 after a long illness.

She led the tributes to Kamen – also known for his Levi’s 501 advert set in a laundrette – along with Boy George and comedian Matt Lucas.

Eric Carle

Eric Carle, author of well-known children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, died aged 91.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, published in 1969, was welcomed by parents and delighted kids with its story of the metamorphosis of a green and red caterpillar with a touch of blue and brown to a proudly multi-coloured butterfly.

Joe Lara

Actor Joe Lara who was best known for starring in the Tarzan TV series was killed in a plane crash in Tennessee.

The star, 58, was one of seven people to die when a small jet crashed into the lake near Smyrna.


Paul Lamb

The assisted dying campaigner, who was left paralysed after a car accident, died at the age of 65.

The father-of-two from Leeds, who took on several legal challenges including one at the Supreme Court, left a “fierce legacy of campaigning” Humanist UK’s chief executive Andrew Copson said.

Ned Beatty

Ned Beatty, who starred in 1972 thriller film Deliverance, died at the age of 83. Deliverance was the actor's first film role and it launched him on a long and accomplished career.

After years in regional theatre, Beatty played Bobby Trippe in Deliverance, the happy-go-lucky member of a male river-boating party terrorised by thugs.

Pete McGarry

Gogglebox star Pete McGarry died aged 71 following a short illness.

McGarry, along with wife Linda and her son, George Gilbey, originally joined the Channel 4 programme, made by production company Studio Lambert, for its second series in 2013.

Pete McGarry Credit: PA


Andrew Devine

The 97th Hillsborough victim died aged 55, more than 32 years after he suffered serious injuries at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Mr Devine was posthumously awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.

Dilip Kumar

National treasure and one of Hindi cinema's greatest actors, Dilip Kumar, died at the age of 98 following a long-term illness.

India's prime minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to "a cinematic legend".


Una Stubbs

Best known for her roles in the film Summer Holiday and BBC shows Till Death Us Do Part and Sherlock, Stubbs died aged 84 .

Summer Holiday co-star Sir Cliff Richard hailed her as “gorgeous” and “wonderful.”

Una Stubbs in 1968. Credit: PA

Sean Lock

When the comedian died of cancer at the age of 58 he received a mountain of tributes from other comedy greats such as Lee Mack, Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard.

Lock was known for his surreal content and deadpan style, and was a team captain on Jimmy Carr’s Channel 4 comedy panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats and the spin-off, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones star was hailed as “one of the greatest drummers of his generation” following his death at the age of 80.

He had been a member of the rock group since 1963 and played on classic tracks including (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Paint It Black, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Brown Sugar.

Andy Michael

Gogglebox star Andy Michael died at the age of 61 following a short illness.

The family first appeared on Gogglebox in the debut episode in 2013, but announced in 2014 that they were leaving because Mr Michael was running for Ukip in the general election.

After he failed to secure the Hastings and Rye seat, the family returned for future episodes.

Mary Cook

Tributes also flooded in for Gogglebox star Mary Cook who died aged 92.

The former hospitality worker from Bristol joined the Channel 4 programme in 2016 alongside friend Marina Wingrove.


Sarah Harding

The Girls Aloud singer died aged 39 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Famous names from the worlds of music and television, including, Alesha Dixon, Davina McCall and Geri Horner, shared their condolences and memories of working with the “shining star” after her death was announced.

Singer Sarah Harding died from breast cancer in September aged 39. Credit: PA

Terry Lubbock

Stuart Lubbock’s father began a 20-year campaign for justice following his son’s death at entertainer Michael Barrymore’s then home in Roydon, Essex, in March 2001.

Mr Lubbock, who died aged 76, had been fighting for a fresh inquest into his son’s death.

Michael K Williams

The Wire actor was found dead aged 54 at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

Williams, who had a distinctive facial scar from a bar fight on his 25th birthday, was best known for playing the charismatic Omar Little in the acclaimed HBO crime drama, as well as for his role in gangster series Boardwalk Empire.

Michael K Williams played one of the most memorable characters in TV history in The Wire Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Maria Mendiola

Mendiola, known for her rendition of the 1977 disco anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, died aged 69.

The song became the unofficial anthem of Scotland football fans in 2015.

John Challis

The Only Fools And Horses star died from cancer at the age of 79.

His portrayal of unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom won him many fans, and he was described by members of the industry as a “true gentleman” and “beloved friend.”

Willie Garson

Sex And The City actor Willie Garson died aged 57 after reportedly being diagnosed with cancer.

He was best known for playing talent agent Stanford Blatch, the close friend of Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie Bradshaw.


James Brokenshire

The Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, who had been suffering from lung cancer, died aged 53.

He had served as Northern Ireland secretary and security minister.

James Michael Tyler

The Friends actor, known for his role as quirky coffee shop manager Gunther, died aged 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Jennifer Aniston, whose character Rachel was the subject of Gunther’s unrequited love said the show “would not have been the same” without him.

James Michael Tyler was well known for his role as Gunther in Friends. Credit: Carlo Allegri/Invision/AP


Lionel Blair

The showbusiness veteran died aged 92 following a seven-decade career.

The actor, tap dancer, presenter and choreographer was declared a “showbiz trooper” and received tributes from members of the industry such as Bonnie Langford and Julian Clary.

Austin Currie

He was one of the founding members of the SDLP, won a seat in Dublin West for Fine Gael in 1989 and pursued a career as TD and minister until he retired in 2002.

Mr Currie, who died aged 82, was a key figure at the beginning of Northern Ireland’s civil rights movement.

Virgil Abloh

Louis Vuitton designer Abloh died aged 41 after a private cancer battle.

A host of celebrities including Hailey Beiber, Kanye West and Drake all paid tribute to the pioneering designer after the news was announced.

Tributes poured in for Virgil Abloh after his death. Credit: AP

Stephen Sondheim

Tributes poured in for American composer Stephen Sondheim, creator of musicals including Sweeney Todd, who died aged 91.

Theatrical producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said: “The theatre has lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers."

Sondheim influenced several generations of theatre songwriters with his work, which included other musicals such as Company and Follies.

His ballad Send in the Clowns has been recorded hundreds of times, including by Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins.

Sondheim poses after being awarded the Freedom of the City of London at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London in 2018. Credit: AP



Comedian Jethro died after contracting Covid.

Geoffrey Rowe - known by his stage name Jethro - died on 14 December. His family issued a statement saying their lives "will never be the same without him".

He was best known for his observational comedy, which included pieces about living in Cornwall. One of his most well-known sketches was about trains not stopping at Camborne on Wednesdays.

Antony Sher

The Prince of Wales and Dame Judi Dench led tributes to Sir Antony Sher, one of British theatre's most acclaimed actors, who died the age of 72.

The Olivier Award-winning actor and director was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.

Sir Antony starred in a number of RSC productions, including a role in 2016 in King Lear, as well as playing Falstaff in the Henry IV plays and Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman.

He was the Prince of Wales’ favourite actor – a fact the royal revealed during his 2017 Commonwealth Tour.

Lord Rogers

The architect responsible for the Millennium Dome, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Lloyd’s of London building died aged 88.

Richard Rogers’s designs, which also include the Senedd building in Cardiff and Strasbourg’s European Court of Human Rights, won critical acclaim with the Royal Gold Medal and the Pritzker Prize.

Michael Nesmith

Nesmith, singer and guitarist with American pop quartet The Monkees, died at the age of 78.

The group achieved international fame in the 1960s, but Nesmith was also a successful novelist and businessman.

Carlos Marin

The singer from the male quartet group Il Divo died at age 53.

The German-born Spanish baritone’s bandmates paid tribute to their “friend and partner” and said there would “never be another voice or spirit like Carlos.”

Steve Bronski

Steve Bronski, who co-founded 1980s synthpop group Bronski Beat, died at the age of 61.

The keyboardist formed the band with Somerville and Larry Steinbachek in 1983 and they went on to release hits including Smalltown Boy and Why?

The trio were known for campaigning on LGBT+ rights and their debut album, The Age Of Consent, featured the consent age for males in various countries around the world on its inner sleeve as a protest about gay rights in particular.

Joan Didion

The revered American author and essayist, died aged 87.

Her provocative social commentary and detached, methodical literary voice made her a uniquely clear-eyed critic of a uniquely turbulent time. She once observed that "I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests."

Or, as she more famously put it: "Writers are always selling somebody out."

Archbishop Desmond Tutu after he received an honorary degree from the University of Leicester in 2011 Credit: University of Leicester/PA

Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu died aged 90 on Boxing Day.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for racial justice and LGBT+ rights was an uncompromising foe of apartheid in South Africa, working tirelessly and peacefully for its downfall. He was also vocal in his support for Palestine.

Janice Long

Radio presenter Janice Long, best known for working on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and Top of the Pops, died aged 66 after a short illness.

Janice Long's career spanned five decades. She presented Top of the Pops for five years, the first woman to do that. She was also the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1.