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Remembering the TV stars we have lost so far in 2019

By: H&I Staff    Posted: July 2, 2019, 11:25AM

As we reach the midyear point, we want to take a moment to reflect upon the beloved television stars that passed away in 2019.

This year, we have had to say goodbye to sitcom scene-stealers, sketch-comedy pioneers, silly stuntmen, animal handlers and heartthrobs. Thankfully, their wonderful work lives on.

Here are some of the losses that hit the TV industry in 2019.


Doris Day, legendary singer, movie icon and star of The Doris Day Show

The Hollywood legend and animal activist passed away at the age of 97. Apart from her iconic work in movies and on record, Day also shone brightly on TV with that blonde bob, as the star of The Doris Day Show, where viewers were memorably treated to performances from the singer, too. "Que Sera," her most famous song was featured, of course. In Christmas episodes, she sang classics like "Silver Bells" and "Silent Night," still cherished episodes for Day's biggest fans.

Image: The Everett Collection


Tim Conway, comedy legend of The Carol Burnett Show and McHale's Navy

Where does one start with Tim Conway? It's impossible to pick his funniest performance. Measuring the laughter he induced is some astronomical math. On The Carol Burnett Show, he crafted brilliant characters like The Oldest Man and Mr. Tudball. Those who were fortunate enough to grow up in the black-and-white television days as the dopey second-in-command Ensign Parker on McHale's Navy. Or rewinding the clock a bit further, how about his sketch-comedy work on The Steve Allen Show in the early 1960s? The man who brought us Dorf passed away at 85. 

Image: The Everett Collection


Peggy Lipton

The 1960s recall a time of flower power, love beads, bright colors and laidback cool. No one epitomized that like Mod Squad actress and fashion icon Peggy Lipton, who seemed to float through the '60s with an air of sophistication and easy elegance special to a certain type of California girl. Though her career in acting mostly started and ended with The Mod Squad — she stepped away from the limelight in the '70s to raise her daughters and didn't really come back until the '90s — Julie Barnes remains an important cultural fixture.

Image: The Everett Collection


Peter Tork of The Monkees

In the band and on TV, Tork played keyboards and also bass (despite being much more proficient at guitar), lending a distinct charm with each offbeat bassline. You can thank him, though, for other key musical contributions, including that piano intro on "Daydream Believer" and the picking banjo on "You Told Me." His songwriting credits include "For Pete's Sake" off Headquarters and the goofy "Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" off Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. On February 21, Peter Tork passed away at the age of 77.

Image: AP Photo / Ray Howard


Georgia Engel, the adorable Georgette Franklin Baxter of The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Over her career, Engel earned five Emmy nominations — two for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and three for Everybody Loves Raymond. On Mary Tyler Moore, the sweet and ditzy Georgia, with her flipped-out blonde hair and round cheekbones, became a love interest for the bull-headed Ted Baxter. She passed away at the age of 70.

Image: The Everett Collection


Carol Channing, the bubbly Broadway star turned TV darling

In 2016, Carol Channing appeared on the season finale of RuPaul's Drag Race. Few people on the planet were better versed at rocking a boa than the nonagenarian actress. It turned out to be her final television appearance, at it came nearly seven decades after her first appearance on the small screen. A frequent guest aboard The Love Boat, the boa-loving actress died at the age of 97.

Image: The Everett Collection


Luke Perry, heartthrob star of Beverly Hills, 90210

The Ohio native began his acting career as an adolescent in the 1980s. He landed an early gig in the 1985 Twisted Sister music video "Be Chrool to Your Scuel." That opened the door to stints on daytime soap operas Loving and Another World. Perry's leap to stardom arrived in 1990, when Aaron Spelling cast the young man to portray Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. In recent years, Perry played Archie's dad on Riverdale. He died at the age of 52 after suffering a stroke.

Image: The Everett Collection


Jan-Michael Vincent of Airwolf and The Banana Splits Adventure Hour

Jan-Michael Vincent starred as ace pilot String Hawke, who flies the futuristic stealth helicopter known as Airwolf. The hit 1984–87 series was a highlight in that "guys and their awesome vehicles" genre that became so popular in the Reagan Era, which included action spectaculars like Blue Thunder, Top Gun, Knight Rider, Street Hawk, Riptide, etc. Back in 1969, the actor, then simply billed as Michael Vincent, landed his first regular role as "Link" on Danger Island, a live-action serial from Hanna-Barbera that aired as a segment of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.

Image: The Everett Collection / Warner Bros.


Katherine Helmond of Soap, Who's the Boss? and Coach

It would be impossible for fans of Helmond's to recall the actress' work without thinking of the twinkle in her eye that came with characters like Jessica on Soap and Mona on Who's the Boss? But the actress was better known in her earlier days for dramatic work on shows like Gunsmoke, Mannix and The Bionic Woman. On February 23, Helmond passed away at the age of 89.

Image: The Everett Collection


Max Wright, who played TV dad Willie Tanner on ALF

The '80s sitcom star was 75 years old. Before and after his role on ALF (not to mention a brief stint as the manager of Central Perk on Friends) Wright was an acclaimed stage actor, acting in a Tony-winning play early in his career and earning a Tony nomination himself later in life.

Image: AP Photo / Nick Ut


Kaye Ballard of The Mothers-in-Law

Frank Sinatra was not the first to sing "Fly Me to the Moon." Ol' Blue Eyes turned the tune into a hit in 1964 as America was giddy from the space race.
But ten years earlier, not long after Bart Howard wrote the song, Kaye Ballard recorded the first commercial release. She later starred in the zany sitcom The Mothers-In-Law. The Sixties star died at the age of 93.

Image: The Everett Collection


Bob Einstein, better known as Super Dave Osborne

Einstein is a big name to live up to, especially if your first name is Albert. No wonder comedian Albert Einstein changed his name to Albert Brooks when entering showbiz at the age of 19. Albert's older brother, Bob, also went Hollywood but kept the family surname. Still, you likely know Bob Einstein better as Super Dave Osborne. Super Dave, a spoof of Evel Knievel, first appeared on The John Byner Comedy Hour in 1972. With his star-spangled jumpsuit, Super Dave was just like Evel Knievel — only his stunts never succeeded. The joke was, he always seems to suffer some terrible injury. You always rooted for the guy, even if you knew he'd fail. He was 76 years old.

Image: The Everett Collection


Beverley Owen, the original Marilyn Munster and first Munster ever seen onscreen

Beverley Owen was the original actress to take the part of Marilyn Munster, making her the first Munster we ever saw on-screen. She'd remain in the role for 13 episodes of the show before leaving the cast, replaced by Pat Priest for the duration of the 1960s series. On February 21, the actor passed away at the age of 81.

Image: The Everett Collection


Jim Fowler, Wild Kingdom host

The Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom star — and frequent guest on late-night talk shows — was 89. In one of the more memorable final-season Seinfeld episodes, Fowler brings a bird of prey to Kramer's apartment, after Kramer digs the old set from The Merv Griffin Show out of the trash.

Image: The Everett Collection