In Memoriam: Remembering the TV stars we lost in 2020

Looking back at the actors, creators, comedians and musicians who made television great.

Images: The Everett Collection

As we reach the end of the year, we want to take a moment to reflect upon the beloved television talent that passed away in 2020.

Over the past 12 months, we have had to say goodbye to sitcom creators, theme-song singers, soap scene-stealers, sci-fi standouts, cowboy character actors, and more. Thankfully, their wonderful work lives on.

Here are some of the losses that hit the TV industry in 2020. Visit our remembrances page to read more obituaries.

Carl Reiner, legendary creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show

The mind behind some of Hollywood's funniest moments was 98.

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Alex Trebek, the beloved longtime host of Jeopardy!

The legendary game show host died at the age of 80.

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Robert Conrad, star of The Wild Wild West and Black Sheep Squadron

The tough television action hero was 84.

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David Lander, Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley

The iconic sitcom actor was 73.

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Lyle Waggoner of The Carol Burnett Show and Wonder Woman

He also nearly played Batman.

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Ja'Net Dubois, singer of The Jeffersons theme song and star of Good Times

She worked with a young Janet Jackson and created a timeless theme song.

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Tom Lester, friendly farmhand Eb Dawson of Green Acres

The humble Mississippi native and farmer was 81.

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Ken Osmond, who played best buddy Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver

Osmond later became a police officer. He was 76.

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Conchata Ferrell of 'L.A. Law' and 'Two and a Half Men' and much more

The three-time Emmy nominee was 77.

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Jerry Stiller, who took his comedy from The Ed Sullivan Show to Seinfeld

The sitcom icon and half of the legendary Stiller and Meara comedy duo was 92.

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Kellye Nakahara, who played Nurse Kellye on 10 seasons of M*A*S*H

She appeared in more than 150 episodes of the classic Korean War sitcom.

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Edd Byrnes, the hip Kookie of 77 Sunset Strip

The comb-loving actor was 87.

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Linda Cristal, the Golden Globe-winning star of The High Chaparral

The Argentinian actress was 89.

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James Drury, star of The Virginian and TV Western icon

The prolific Western actor also appeared in movies alongside Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

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Honor Blackman, Sixties spy stunner of Goldfinger and The Avengers

The actress known as Dr. Cathy Gale and Pussy Galore was 94.

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Bill Withers, R&B legend and ''Ain't No Sunshine'' singer

The "Lovely Day" and "Lean on Me" hitmaker was 81.

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James Lipton, who went from soap operas to host of Inside the Actors Studio

The Detroit native also played the Lone Ranger's nephew and produced Bob Hope specials.

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Jack Burns, the man who replaced Barney on The Andy Griffith Show

The comedian began as George Carlin's partner and later voiced a famous crash test dummy.

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Diana Rigg, Emma Peel of 'The Avengers' and James Bond's wife

The former Bond Girl and Dame of the British Empire was 82.

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Terry Jones, founding member of Monty Python

The actor, director, and screenwriter was 77 years old.

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Buck Henry of Get Smart and Saturday Night Live fame

The Oscar-nominated writer came up with "the cone of silence." He was 89.

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Gene Dynarski, who went from Star Trek and Batman henchman to Seinfeld

The actor also appeared in two Spielberg films. He was 86.

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John Ericson, costar of Ann Francis on Honey West

The actor played Sam Bolt on the hip Sixties detective show. He was 93.

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Richard Herd of T.J. Hooker, Star Trek: Voyager and Seinfeld

The actor also played a memorable captain on M*A*S*H. He was 87.

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Marge Redmond, the friendly Sister Jacqueline on The Flying Nun'

She was also the narrator in the Sally Field sitcom and a Cool Whip spokesperson. She was 95.

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Anthony James, actor in Gunsmoke and Return to Witch Mountain

The frequent onscreen villain became an artist later in life.

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Peggy Pope, TV character actress and Margaret from 9 to 5

She started on Broadway then transitioned to movies and television in a career that spanned more than five decades.

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Mary Pat Gleason, comedic talent in everything from Mama’s Family to Mom

The prolific TV and film actress also won an Emmy for writing.

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Johnny Mandel, Grammy winner and composer of M*A*S*H theme song

He played in jazz bands and studied at Julliard before composing for film and TV.

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Image: Associated Press

Danny Goldman, who went from M*A*S*H to voicing Brainy Smurf

He played a Beatnik on Happy Days, too.

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Timothy Brown, the NFL star who became a M*A*S*H surgeon

After ten years as a football pro, he joined Hawkeye and Trapper. He was 82.

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Forrest Compton, who played Col. Edward Gray on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

He also starred on a soap opera inspired by Perry Mason.

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Julie Bennett, Yogi Bear voice actress and Dragnet regular

The voice actress, also heard on Spider-Man: The Animated Series and The Banana Splits, was 88 years old.

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David Schramm, airline owner Roy Biggins on Wings

The Julliard graduate and prolific stage actor was 73.

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Image: CBS Television Distribution

Fred ''Curly'' Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters

The basketball legend and Gilligan's Island visitor was 77.

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Stuart Whitman, star of Cimarron Strip and Highway Patrol

The TV Western and war movie actor was 92.

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Claudette Nevins, sitcom wife to Andy Griffith, M*A*S*H guest star and JAG regular

She (briefly) played the wife of Major Winchester on M*A*S*H.

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Ben Cooper, a familiar face from dozens of TV westerns and the Twilight Zone

He played a foil to both Lucas McCain and Matt Dillon. He was 86.

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Helen Reddy, Seventies pop icon and ''I Am Woman'' singer

The Australian-born singer appeared on Carol Burnett several times and starred in Pete's Dragon.

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Paula Kelly, dancer and Night Court star

She earned Night Court its first Emmy nomination.

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Orson Bean, voice of The Hobbit and Twilight Zone star

The Dr. Quinn and Being John Malkovich star was 91 years old.

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Gene Reynolds, who went from The Little Rascals to co-creator of M*A*S*H

Reynolds was also the man who moved into the Ricardos apartment and directed "Mayberry on Record."

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Marj Dusay, soap actress and the alien who stole Spock's brain

The actress gave us the iconic line "Brain and brain—what is brain?!"

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Monique van Vooren, Batman and Tarzan villainess

The actress also gave Christopher Walken his stage name.

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John Karlen, star of Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey

The actor, frequently seen on police shows, was 86 years old.

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Carol Serling, the wife of Rod Serling who made a cameo in Twilight Zone: The Movie

The caretaker of the Twilight Zone legacy was 91.

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Natalie Trundy, who went from Perry Mason client to Planet of the Apes regular

The actress was married to the Planet of the Apes franchise in more than one way. She was 79.

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Martin West, who went from Perry Mason client to Assault on Precinct 13

The soap star had recurring roles on General Hospital and As the World Turns. He was 82.

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Warren Berlinger, frequent Happy Days guest star and Joey Bishop Show funnyman

He memorably received a heart transplant on 'Emergency!' and raced in 'The Cannonball Run.'

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Abby Dalton, star of The Joey Bishop Show and Falcon Crest

She also appeared in fantastic episodes of The Rifleman, Maverick and Rawhide — not to mention hundreds of game shows.

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Norm Crosby, comedian who always knew the wrong words to say

He performed for Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson and guest starred on Adam-12 three times.

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The Amazing Randi, the popular magician who appeared on Happy Days

He appeared on TV from kids' shows to late-night and toured with Alice Cooper.

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Tom Kennedy, hard-working game show host of the 1970s and '80s

He hosted Password, Name That Tune and The Price Is Right.

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Mac Davis, singer, actor and variety show host

He wrote songs for Elvis and Dolly Parton along with his own number one hit.

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Kevin Dobson, star of Kojak and Knots Landing

He served in the army and worked as a railroad conductor before becoming an actor.

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Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Doo

He also gave us Hanna-Barbera characters like Jabberjaw and Dynomutt.

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Lori Nelson, costar of both Barbara Eden and the Creature from the Black Lagoon

This Svengoolie favorite also played the daughter of Ma and Pa Kettle. She was 87.

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Jacqueline Scott, who played both the Fugitive's sister and Festus' love interest

She also played Dennis Weaver's wife in 'Duel'. She was 89.

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Brandis Kemp, Fridays cast member and onetime Klinger nemesis

She worked alongside Larry David and Michael Richards in late-night comedy.

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Hugh Downs, who once held the record for most hours on network television

His sidekick role on The Tonight Show led to gigs hosting Concentration and 20/20.

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Marvyn Roy, the Ed Sullivan Show magician nicknamed ''Mr. Electric''

He was famous for his light bulb tricks on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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Mary Hartline, star of classic kids' shows 'Super Circus' and 'Princess Mary's Castle'

She was a staple of Chicago television and one of the earliest TV Guide cover stars.

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217 Comments

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white903 22 days ago
Thanks for posting. Many of these actors/actresses I grew up with and sad to see them passed away. I always watch the Emmys and Oscars in memoriam segment, sadly only a few of the ones posted here will be mentioned.
september9 24 days ago
Seems like a lot more celebrities than other years. They will all be remembered
Maryblabens 25 days ago
It seems as though we lost an even bigger slice of our childhoods this year.😔
JHP 25 days ago
Diana Rigg - Yum-a-roni RIP:(

happy new year to all
DMZABO 26 days ago
The thing about getting older is having to watch you favorite t v stars passing away. Life is so cruel that way. But at least when you watch your favorite re-runs those same stars are forever young. Unlike you & I.
JHP 26 days ago
hate to say it Me-TV will you have a PT #2? 2021 cant get here early enuf (hope its better)
MadMadMadWorld 26 days ago
https://deadline.com/2020/12/dawn-wells-dead-gilligans-island-covid-19-complications-1234662935
Dawn Wells "Mary Ann Summers" on "Gilligan's Island" died Wed. morning Dec. 30, at 82.
Tina Louise (now 86) is the last survivor of the 7 iconic members in "Gilligan's Island" cast.
R.I.P. Dawn Wells, 82 (Oct. 18, 1938 Reno, NV - Dec. 30, 2020 Los Angeles, CA).

Thank you for the info. I did not know Dawn Wells passed away...R.I.P. "Mary Ann" 🙏🏻
How sad. Stinking Covid.
JohnDavid 26 days ago
Oh, Wow! So many beloved Actors & Actresses may RIP 💐🌹💐
Thanks Me TV for doing a wonderful job for your viewers. I am 64, I grew up watching these shows and lots of them I was seeing the first time released for the public. These shows send me to memory lane and that very much makes me feel happy. I appreciate your service with tremendous Gratitude. I watch Me TV more than anything else these days. The shows were clean without all those sexual unwanted one liners and violence kids should never see. Children of today end their Childhoods way to early by knowing things that certainly should wait until their adults. I think kids should stay at home until they finish College. I feel sorry for them. They miss out to much on Family togetherness way to young. I believe most people wish they would of made better choices when they were young. It’s not always the parents fault! I think it’s to much exposure to things they do not need. Advanced technology is not helping either. Kids always want what looks forbidden or to dangerous for their own good. There should laws requiring kids not to have or use smart phones until their at least 18, unless it’s just at school under supervision. Just my opinion!
I do wish everyone a wonderful, safe, and Healthy HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021. LOLOL ☃️❄️🌈☀️🌝✨🌟✨☮️💕❤️🌹🤞Help stop the spread! Please follow protocol and wear that mask please!!!
DMZABO JohnDavid 26 days ago
I totally agree with those old tv shows being of a more family friendly nature. And that’s what made em so special.
JHP JohnDavid 25 days ago
man you it said all - you really did - will raise a toast to you tonight
_leah621_ JohnDavid 24 days ago
You know I’m 15 and honestly I agree with every single thing you just said. I wish My childhood wasn’t cut off early because of technology and all of the new media. I can’t stand anything modern today it’s awful, especially when people make fun of you for liking classic and family friendly things. And I don’t know the fact I know all of these actors will slowly pass away and no one will be around from that time anymore is just something to really think about even if we don’t want to .
JHP JohnDavid 9 days ago
Im lutheran but Id vote for you to be Pope
NevaMo 26 days ago
Wow!No Regis Philbin?
DMZABO NevaMo 26 days ago
Loves Regis on who wants to be a millionaire
Mark091 27 days ago
BATMAN RIP
Batman and BRUCE WAYNE
Adam West
Alfred Pennyworth
Alan Napier
Aunt HARRIET MADGE BLAKE
Commissioner Gordon
Neil HAMILTON
CHIEF O HARA
STAFFORD REEP
BATGIRL
YVONNE CRAIG
Mark091 28 days ago
ALICE RIP
Mel Sharples Vic Tayback
Vera Gorman Beth Howland
Carrie Martha Raye
Elliot Novak Charles Levin
Tommy PHILIP MCKEON
HENRY Marvin Kaplan
Andy PAT CRANSHAW
DOUG Doug Robinson
EARL HICKS Dave MADDEN
ARTIE TONY LONGO
Guests
Wendall David Rounds
Mark091 Mark091 28 days ago
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN
RIP
Superman Clark Kent George
Reeves
Jimmy OLSON Jack Larson
Perry White John Hamilton
LOIS LANE Noel Neill
INSPECTOR Bill Henderson
Robert Shayne
PROFESSOR PEPPERWINKLE
Phillips TEAD
Veronica 30 days ago
I didn't know that John Karlen, Harvey on "Cagney and Lacey," had died. My mom loved that show.
Mob39 30 days ago
Wow! Didn’t realize we lost so many people… How sad… RIP🙏🏻
Bowlertom61 1 month ago
Don't forget Chad and Jeremy played themselves on the Batman television series as well
JHP Bowlertom61 26 days ago
and dick van dyke
Chad Stuart passed away at 79 on Dec. 20, after suffering a fall and then developed pneumonia. Jeremy Clyde is alive, and will be 80 next Mar. 22 (2021).
Wilbur88 1 month ago
Lot of M*A*S*H & Seinfeld connections. Makes me sad.
damadpea 1 month ago
HELLO Happy New year
Just a TAD early there.
JBelinda1948 1 month ago
THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ARTICLE. I REMEMBER MOSTLY ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL ACTORS. THEY WERE PIONEER'S OF EARLY TELEVISION, A VERY ENJOYABLE TIME, WITH WONDERFUL MEMORIES OF MEMORABLE SHOWS. THANKYOU SO VERY MUCH.
Wilbur88 1 month ago
Reading this just breaks my heart.
Eloise 1 month ago
Wow, and the year isn't over yet.
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