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In Memoriam: Remembering the TV stars we lost in 2020

By: H&I Staff    Posted: July 1, 2020, 12:28PM

Images: The Everett Collection

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

Over the past six 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.

1

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

The tough television action hero was 84.

2

Lyle Waggoner of The Carol Burnett Show and Wonder Woman

He also nearly played Batman.

3

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

The Argentinian actress was 89.

4

Carl Reiner, legendary creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show

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

5

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.

6

Tom Lester, friendly farmhand Eb Dawson of Green Acres

The humble Mississippi native and farmer was 81.

7

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

Osmond later became a police officer. He was 76.

8

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.

9

Edd Byrnes, the hip Kookie of 77 Sunset Strip

The comb-loving actor was 87.

10

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.

11

James Drury, star of The Virginian and TV Western icon

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

12

Honor Blackman, Sixties spy stunner of Goldfinger and The Avengers

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

13

Terry Jones, founding member of Monty Python

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

14

Stuart Whitman, star of Cimarron Strip and Highway Patrol

The TV Western and war movie actor was 92.

15

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

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

16

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.

17

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

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

18

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.

19

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.

20

Buck Henry of Get Smart and Saturday Night Live fame

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

21

John Ericson, costar of Ann Francis on Honey West

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

22

Anthony James, actor in Gunsmoke and Return to Witch Mountain

The frequent onscreen villain became an artist later in life.

23

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.

24

Fred ''Curly'' Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters

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

25

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.

26

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.

27

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.

28

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

He played a Beatnik on Happy Days, too.

29

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.

30

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.

31

David Schramm, airline owner Roy Biggins on Wings

The Julliard graduate and prolific stage actor was 73.

Image: CBS Television Distribution

32

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?!"

33

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.

34

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.

35

Monique van Vooren, Batman and Tarzan villainess

The actress also gave Christopher Walken his stage name.

36

Paula Kelly, dancer and Night Court star

She earned Night Court its first Emmy nomination.

37

Orson Bean, voice of The Hobbit and Twilight Zone star

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

38

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."

39

John Karlen, star of Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey

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

40

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.

41

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.

42

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.