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 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.

Carl Reiner, legendary creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show

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

READ MORE

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

The tough television action hero was 84.

READ MORE

Lyle Waggoner of The Carol Burnett Show and Wonder Woman

He also nearly played Batman.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Tom Lester, friendly farmhand Eb Dawson of Green Acres

The humble Mississippi native and farmer was 81.

READ MORE

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

Osmond later became a police officer. He was 76.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Edd Byrnes, the hip Kookie of 77 Sunset Strip

The comb-loving actor was 87.

READ MORE

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

The Argentinian actress was 89.

READ MORE

James Drury, star of The Virginian and TV Western icon

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

READ MORE

Honor Blackman, Sixties spy stunner of Goldfinger and The Avengers

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

READ MORE

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

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

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Terry Jones, founding member of Monty Python

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

READ MORE

Buck Henry of Get Smart and Saturday Night Live fame

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

READ MORE

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

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

READ MORE

John Ericson, costar of Ann Francis on Honey West

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

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

1. 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.

READ MORE

Anthony James, actor in Gunsmoke and Return to Witch Mountain

The frequent onscreen villain became an artist later in life.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Image: Associated Press

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

He played a Beatnik on Happy Days, too.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

David Schramm, airline owner Roy Biggins on Wings

The Julliard graduate and prolific stage actor was 73.

READ MORE

Image: CBS Television Distribution

Fred ''Curly'' Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters

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

READ MORE

Stuart Whitman, star of Cimarron Strip and Highway Patrol

The TV Western and war movie actor was 92.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Paula Kelly, dancer and Night Court star

She earned Night Court its first Emmy nomination.

READ MORE

Orson Bean, voice of The Hobbit and Twilight Zone star

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

READ MORE

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."

READ MORE

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?!"

READ MORE

Monique van Vooren, Batman and Tarzan villainess

The actress also gave Christopher Walken his stage name.

READ MORE

John Karlen, star of Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey

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

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

62 Comments

Post a comment
Artsynanna 2 days ago
I thought about sending this page to my brothers and my mother but I think it would probably be depressing for them they would start dwelling on their own ages. I can understand that. But don’t we all have to try to except that that’s just another part of the cycle of life. I try to remember that.
SteveThames 8 days ago
Robert Conrad should be recognized for starting in Hawaiian eyaaaaaaaaaa as one of the boys in 77 ss; starred in 3 series; heys, wwww, black sheep squadron
BubbaPacha77511 28 days ago
@DrAlbrecht.....what show was terrible?
bsemenza 1 month ago
These actors and actresses that have past in 2020 can never be replaced. They are the group that made television great. They will be missed.
clubmedjim 1 month ago
TV shows can never be written the way they used to be today’s actors have a lot to be desired compared to the list above
Eurocycleguy 1 month ago
So sad to review this list and remember all the wonderful memories that this people gave us. As said below the year is only half over, who will be next? Also said below "Who is replacing these people?" no one as far as I am concerned. MeTV thank you for compiling this list please add to list or compile another list with for the last half of 2020.
bewest169 1 month ago
Please Me Tv replace Three Stoogies back to Wild Wild West or Combat or Blackseep squadron
The Stooges are classic and timeless they deserve to be on here for sure!
gregglov1 1 month ago
Wow! We lost a generation of legends.
jmartin1964 1 month ago
Prayers 🙏 to there family's they were all great actors
rodee 1 month ago
I'm so glad I was able to see these legends at work
terpau 1 month ago
I’m so glad to have been a part of tv time that was so much more wholesome.
glconn46 1 month ago
It's sad Growing old and watching all the people you grew up watching leave this world. 😔😔😔
ELEANOR 1 month ago
It is concerning that almost all of the stories this week involve a loss of someone who are near and dear to our hearts. So many memories concerning Carl Reiner, Orson Bean, and almost 40 other dears. We will miss them all.
countdavid 1 month ago
All of these dear people mean a lot to me. I fondly remember the late John Karlen, who played Willie Loomis on Dark Shadows. Poor Willie was the one who unleashed Barnabas Collins from his chained coffin to terrorize the town of Collinsport in the late 20th Century. The thing is that Willie became Barnabas' conscience. He started out as the vampire's hapless slave, but gained strength, maturity and even wisdom as the saga progressed. He stood up to Barnabas and turned his master around from being a monster into a valiant hero. Willie was responsible for the making of Barnabas Collins. And Mr. Karlen brought Willie to life, adding that dimension to his character. As a child I came to admire Barnabas, but as an adult I came to admire Barnabas' slave cum savior, the indomitable Willie Loomis--as personified by the incredible Mr. John Karlen. Rest in peace, sir. XXX
harlow1313 countdavid 1 month ago
Dark Shadows made a deep imprint on my boy brain. Barnabas's angst over his vampiric condition, and Josette's death jump from Widow's Hill were powerful. Also, that mournful theme song is discomforting, even if I hear it today.

I don't think a show can affect me that way anymore, but it certainly did back then, and those feelings formed so long ago live on inside me.
MichaelKarberg 1 month ago
God bless them all! Eddie Haskell was awesome! We had "Eddie Haskells" in our neighborhood that we liked but had to keep an eye on while raising our son!
CouchPotato987 1 month ago
Death has a tight grip on 2020. This is a terrible year for deaths, and the year is just half over. 😢
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?