13 Departed Actors The World Misses
March 15th, 2014 12:00pm EDT
While their lively characters and stories split our sides and ignited our waterworks, it's still hard to belive that these talented actors and comedians have come and gone. Taken much too soon, these film icons made an indelible mark on Hollywood and the world at large. Even though they may be gone, their performances will never be forgotten. These are the 13 departed actors the entertainment industry, and all of us at home, dearly miss.
Chris Farley was one of the most popular players on SNL during the 1990's, giving hilarious displays of raw physical comedy including his motivational speaker and Chippendale's sketch. Farley also made his mark on movies with hits like "Tommy Boy," "Black Sheep," and "Beverly Hills Ninja." Always reliable for a hilarious performance, Farley's on screen presence still shines brightly today.
Phil Hartman: Hartman made his mark on SNL, earning the nickname of “The Glue” for his ability to keep the entire show afloat. Hartman also voiced Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz on several occasions in "The Simpsons," before his life was taken much too soon in 1998. Still considered to be a brilliant comedic innovator long after his passing, Hartman's funny stylings are still the stuff of legend.
Harold Ramis: You may know him best as the stern rational scientist Egon Spengler in “Ghostbusters,” but are probably unaware of everything Ramis accomplished behind the screen. Writing and directing comedy classics like “Caddyshack” and “Groundhoug Day” cemented Ramis as one of the top funny talents of our time.
John Candy: Hailing from the Canadian comedy scene, Candy made a name for himself at the Second City theatre in Toronto while going on to star in “Stripes,” “Spaceballs,” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” More reserved than Chris Farley but still as hilarious, Candy's performances in the 80's and 90's rank up there alongside co-stars Bill Murray and Steve Martin.
Heath Ledger: One of only two actors to be awarded an acting Oscar posthumously, Ledger gave one of the most memorable villainous performances as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s masterful “The Dark Knight.” Years after its release and Ledger’s take as the Joker still ranks amongst the greatest evil characters in cinema history.
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Hoffman’s talents ranged from the quiet and reserved to the flamboyant and asinine. Always full of trademark charisma and angst, Hoffman stole the show nearly everytime he appeared on screen. Hoffman won the best picture Oscar for his creepily identical take as brilliant novelist Truman Capote.
James Gandolfini: All of the masterful dramatic television series you see on television today are descendents of HBO’s groundbreaking mob drama “The Sopranos.” And that show would have not succeeded if it weren’t for James Gandolfini’s iconic take as moody mobster Tony, navigating his career and personal conflicts while avoiding getting whacked. Gandolfini appeared in many other roles prior to his untimely death in 2013, but he’ll be most remembered for his brash Jersey tough guy Tony Soprano.
Dick Clark: Whether you were standing amongst thousands in Times Square or counting down with family and friends at home, New Years Eve just isn’t quite the same without Dick Clark. The legendary television personality made his mark on show’s like "American Bandstand and $10,000 Pyramid. Always a friendly and commanding presence, any Dick Clark production was the sign of quality television entertainment.
Sydney Pollack: This multi-talented director and actor gave us cinematic treasures like “Tootsie” and “Out of Africa”. But Pollack's talents weren't confined to solely behind the camera as the director gave encore worthy performances in brooding thrillers like "Michael Clayton" and "Eyes Wide Shut". A filmmaker’s filmmaker, Pollack was equally treasured amongst the Hollywood elite and casual moviegoers alike.
Paul Newman: Old blue eyes accomplished more than 10 men could ever hope to in their life times. Oscar winner, passionate philanthropist, successful businessman and concerned social activist, Newman was an undeniable force in Hollywood and across the global landscape. Movie highlights include “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting,” and “Cool Hand Luke,” amongst many, MANY others.
Michael Clarke Duncan: This gentle giant is most remembered for his touching and endearing role in “The Green Mile.” With enough strength to crash through walls but enough sincerity to never hurt a fly, Michael represented the best of Hollywood and humanity.
Leslie Nielsen: It was a great loss to the comedy world when Leslie Nielsen passed away in 2010. Surely the absurd actor’s takes in “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” series are the the stuff of comedy legend, just as long as you didn’t call him Shirley. Holding that same trademark silver hair and clueless attitude, seeing Nielsen on screen always guaranteed a laugh.
Patrick Swayze: Swayze was one of the biggest stars of the late 80’s and early 90’s, with his most famous roles as the suave dancer Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing” and departed lover Sam Wheat in “Ghost.” But Swayze also made one great final dramatic performance as Agent Charles Barker in the critically-acclaimed “The Beast” before passing away in 2009.
Here is a bonus classic SNL clip of Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley:
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