In Memoriam: The famous names who left us in 2016 (part two)

Anna Dove takes a look back at those we have lost in 2016, with part one of our In Memoriam series, from July to December

Cuban President Fidel Castro. Picture: AFP/Getty Images


Caroline Aherne, Comedian, Actress And Writer

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24 December 1963 - 2 July, 2016 AGED 52

Actress Caroline Aherne. Picture: PA

The creator and star of The Royale Family, the Mrs Merton Show and narrator of Gogglebox , Aherne died after a battle with throat cancer. As Mrs Merton, she famously asked Debbie McGee: “What was it that first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”

Jimmy Gilbert, television producer/director

5 May 1923 - 7 July 2016, aged 93

Gilbert’s television successes included Fawlty Towers, Yes Minister, The Good Life and Last of the Summer Wine. The Frost Report in 1966 began his career in the media. Born in Edinburgh, he often appeared in pantomimes at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.

Singer Leonard Cohen. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Anton Yelchin, actor

11 March 1989 - 19 June 2016, aged 27

Russian-American best known in the recast role of Pavel Chekov in JJ Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek movie series – a role he reprised in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond.

Dick Donnelly, goalkeeper and journalist

Actress Caroline Aherne. Picture: PA

11 September 1941 - 21 July 2016, age 74

Dubbed Dundee’s “voice of football”, there was nothing Donnelly did not know about in Tayside’s football orbit. He joined Radio Tay at its inception in 1980 just before Dundee United was to become a force in Europe and chronicled such adventures as a first-leg victory over AS Roma in the European Cup semi-final in 1984.

Marni Nixon, singer

22 February 1930 - 24 July 2016, aged 86

Singer Leonard Cohen. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

The unsung hero of Hollywood, Nixon had starring roles in some of the greatest film musicals ever made. She sang the lead for Natalie Wood in West Side Story (1961) and for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964). She also provided the singing voice for Scottish actress Deborah Kerr in the film version of The King and I.

Maggie Macdonald, Gaelic singer

17 November 1952 - 26 July 2016, aged 63

Born in Glasgow, Macdonald belonged to the Campbells of Greepe on Skye - one of the best-known families of traditional Gaelic singers in Scotland. Her talents included “mouth music” and she sang for leading group Cliar.


Moira Knox, councillor

18 September 1930 - 4 August 2016, aged 85

One of the best-known names on the Edinburgh Fringe, she could generate ticket sales like few other performers. It was not that Knox ever had a show in the festival, but a few words of outrage from the Conservative councillor could have audiences flocking to whichever production attracted her wrath next.

Kenny Baker, actor

24 August 1934 - 13 August 2016, aged 81

English actor best known for playing R2-D2 in Star Wars. Born with dwarfism, he played the part in the first three Star Wars films and its later prequel series. He went on to star in many significant films both in full-body costume and in parts where he was recognisably himself.

Gene Wilder, actor

11 June 1933 - 29 August 2016, aged 83

The frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as Willy Wonka, the neurotic accountant in the Producers and the mad scientist of Young Frankenstein. Wilder started his career on stage but millions knew him for his work on the big screen. Hid his dementia so that children - fans of Willy Wonka - would not find out.


Arnold Palmer, golfer

10 September 1929 - 25 September 2016, aged 87

Palmer ranked among the most important figures in golf history and it went well beyond his seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins. Beyond his golf, he was a pioneer in sports marketing, paving the way for scores of other athletes to reap in millions from endorsements. Some four decades after his last PGA Tour win, Palmer ranked among the highest earners in golf.

Lord Ronald King Murray, politician and lawyer

15 June 1922 - 27 September 2016, aged 94

Murray was at the forefront of Scottish public life for decades as a politician, eminent lawyer and latterly judge in the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary. He was strongly identified with the anti-nuclear weapons movement, which he championed through a number of avenues including the World Court Project.

Shimon Peres, president of Israel

2 August 1923 - 28 September 2016, aged 93

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate held every major office in Israel, including president and prime minister. He was welcomed like royalty in world capitals but only at the end of his political career did he finally win the widespread admiration of his own people. Peres assumed the presidency at the age of 83.

Mike Towell, boxer

12 September 1991 - 30 September 2016, aged 25

Dundee-born rising star of British boxing. The former scaffolder was inspired by freedom fighter Che Guevara and boxing legends including Mike Tyson. He raised funds on social media to take time off work to train in London and fought 12 times before he was fatally injured while competing for the British welterweight title.


Angus Grant, fiddler

14 February 1967 - 9 October 2016, aged 49

One of Scotland’s greatest fiddlers, Grant played with the ground-breaking Scottish band Shooglenifty. He infused the music of his native west Highlands with contemporary influences to create the genre that became known as “acid croft”.

Richard Callan, actor and comedian

28 December 1961 - 11 October 2016, aged 54

Humour was a way of life for Callan - no matter how grim it became. He immersed himself in the world of professional performers as an actor, comedian and voiceover artists. One of Scotland’s best-known character actors, he was brought up in Penicuik and was a regular performer in musicals and pantomimes at The Brunton in Musselburgh and in Kirkcaldy.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s monarch

5 December 1927 - 13 October 2016, aged 88

Revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval at home and abroad. Bhumibol was the world’s longest reigning and richest 

Jimmy Perry, scriptwriter

20 September 1923 - 23 October 2016, aged 93

It was while struggling to find acting work in the 1960s that the inventive Perry started sketching out a sitcom based on his experiences as a teenager in the Home Guard. His script – Dad’s Army –was soon pulling in audiences of more than 18 million on the BBC.

Pete Burns, singer

5 August 1959 - 23 October 2016, aged 57

Known for his non-conformist style, Burns was considered a pop icon. His first band was The Mystery Girls, which only made a real impact when the name was changed to Dead Or Alive. Burns had hit singles as frontman of the band including You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) which went to number one.

Bobby Vee, singer

30 April 1943 - 24 October 2016, aged 73

Vee became a teenage idol in the early 1960s with infectious hits like Take Good Care of My Baby and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. One of a crop of dreamboat singers promoted by the music industry at the time, his show-business baptism came at the age of 15 when he filled in for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper after they died in a plane crash in 1959.

Carlos Alberto, footballer

17 July 1944 - 25 October 2016, aged 72

Captain of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup winning side, Alberto was a “great character” and “outstanding footballer”, according to former England international Francis Lee, who played against the defender in Mexico. He scored one of the most iconic goals in the history of the World Cup when he sealed the 4-1 win over Italy in the 1970 final in Mexico City.


Sir Jimmy Young, broadcaster

21 September 1921 - 7 November 2016, aged 95

Young could count royals and prime ministers among his millions of listeners on BBC Radio 2 but he will forever be known as the “housewives’ choice”. Started his career as a successful crooner with two number one records to his name.

Leonard Cohen, singer-songwriter

21 September 1934 - 10 November 2016, aged 82

The baritone-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter who seamlessly blended spirituality and sexuality in songs including Hallelujah, Suzanne and Bird on a Wire. Cohen was also renowned as a poet, novelist and aspiring Zen monk. He remained wildly popular into his eighties.

Robert Vaughn, actor

22 November 1932 - 11 November 2016, aged 83

The Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in US TV spy show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The show was an immediate hit when it debuted on NBC in 1964 and he starred alongside Scots actor David McCallum.

Andrew Sachs, actor

7 April 1930 - 23 November 2016, aged 86

The German-born British actor became famous for his role as the bungling Spanish waiter Manuel in the BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers but his repertoire extended far beyond that iconic comic figure. Sachs played Dr Watson in a Sherlock Holmes series and Jeeves in PG Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters.

Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader

13 August 1926 - 25 November 2016, aged 90

During almost half a century in power, Castro stood up to no fewer than ten more-or-less hostile US presidents. Admired or despised around the world in almost equal measure, he was the world’s longest-serving political leader when he handed over the presidency to his younger brother Raúl in 2008.


John Glenn, astronaut

18 July 1921 - 8 December 2016, aged 95

Glenn was the ultimate all-American hero - the first American to orbit the Earth, a war hero fighter pilot, a record-setting test pilot, a long-time senator, a presidential candidate and a man who defied age and gravity to go back into space at 77.

AA Gill, columnist

28 June 1954 - 10 December 2016, aged 62

Newspaper and magazine columnist, restaurant reviewer and television critic, whose work divided opinion as much as it inspired deep admiration.

Walter Swinburn, jockey

7 august 1961 - 12 December 2016, aged 55

Known as the Choirboy for his youthful looks, he was one of the most renowned jockeys of his generation. Swinburn partnered Shergar to glory in the 1981 Derby at the age of 19.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, actress

6 february 1917 - 18 December 2016, aged 99

Hollywood actress and socialite, probably better known for her complicated private life than her work.

Ian McCaskill, TV weather man

28 July 1938 - 10 December 2016, aged 78

He started at the Met Office in 1961 and began presenting the BBC TV weather forecasts in 1978. He soon became a household name because of distinctive, cheery Glaswegian delivery on screen.

Rick Parfitt, musician

12 October 1948 - 24 december 2016, aged 68

The singer and guitarist for Status Quo, one of the most successful uk bands of all time, racked up more than 60 uk hit singles in career spanning almost half a century.

George Michael, singer and songwriter

25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016, aged 53

The former Wham! frontman and solo singer sold more than 80 million records in a career spanning nearly 40 years. His turbulent private life saw a arrests for offences including possession of class A and C drugs, “engaging in a lewd act” and driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

Carrie Fisher, actress

21 October 1956 - 27 December 2016, aged 60

Best known for playing princess leia in the star wars films, but fisher was also a screenwriter, author, producer, and speaker.