2019 saw us once again farewell many from the celebrity world.
From homegrown talent such as Shortland Street‘s Pua Magasiva to international names like Riverdale and Beverly Hills 90210 icon Luke Perry, there have been plenty of people we’ve sadly said goodbye to.
These are just some of the celebrities – international and local – whom we farewelled this year.
JOHN “COCKSY” COCKS (February 6, 2019)
TV show handyman John ‘Cocksy’ Cocks died after a long battle with cancer in February this year. He was 52.
A death notice for Cocks described him as “NZ’ s much loved builder and handyman” and that he died “peacefully, at his special place in Tairua, with the people who he loved” on February 6.
Cocks, who starred on TV show My House, My Castle, was given a terminal diagnosis early in 2016.
KARL LAGERFELD (February 20, 2019)
Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the past 50 years, died in February this year. He was around 85 years old.
Such was the enigma surrounding the German-born designer that even his age was a point of mystery for decades, with reports he had two birth certificates, one dated 1933 and the other 1938.
He never married and had no children but Karl Lagerfeld had one important love in his life: his cat, Choupette.
LUKE PERRY (March 5, 2019)
Fans of actor Luke Perry were left shocked when the 52-year-old died from a stroke after being rushed to hospital in February this year.
He was best known for his roles in Beverly Hills 90210 and Riverdale (where he played the father of Kiwi actor KJ Apa’s character Archie Andrews).
His publicist revealed at the time that when he passed, he was surrounded by family.
“”He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends.”
KEITH FLINT (March 5, 2019)
The Prodigy’s fiery lead singer Keith Flint died aged 49 in March this year, stunning fans of the band’s ferocious music and live show prowess.
Flint, best known for hits such as Breathe and Firestarter, was one of the key faces of 1990s rave music in the UK.
He was the stage persona of a band which fused techno, breakbeat and acid house music and sold 30 million records.
The band’s final show had been in Auckland, at the Trusts Arena in Auckland on February 5, just one month prior to his death.
ANZAC WALLACE (April 8, 2019)
Wallace was an actor and activist, a staunch trade unionist and advocate for Māori. He gained prominence not only for his acting, which critics lauded, but also his criticism of our criminal justice system among other social issues.
PETER MAYHEW (May 3, 2019)
Star Wars‘ Chewbacca actor, Peter Mayhew, died aged 74 in May this year.
Mayhew’s family shared the news on their Twitter, saying: “The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away.”
Mayhew had also been involved in the charity side of the convention circuit, and heavily supported the 501st Legion, a Star Wars cosplay group who did work for charity.
He was last seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
PUA MAGASIVA (May 11, 2019)
Samoan- born star Pua Magasiva was found dead in Wellington in May this year.
The 38-year-old was best known for his role as Shortland Street nurse Vinnie Kruse, who he played for more than seven years.
His death provoked an international response as he was also known for his time on Power Rangers as well as well as appearing in more than 450 Shortland Street episodes, and for his roles in Sione’s Wedding, and television series Auckland Daze and Outrageous Fortune.
He leaves a daughter from his first marriage and wife Lizz Sadler, who he married last year.
DORIS DAY (May 13, 2019)
Doris Day, the honey-voiced singer and actress whose film dramas, musicals and innocent sex comedies made her a top star in the 1950s and 1960s and among the most popular screen actresses in history, died in May this year.
She was 97.
With her lilting contralto, wholesome blonde beauty and glowing smile, she was a top box office draw and recording artist known for such films as Calamity Jane, Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink and for such songs as Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much.
RIP TORN (July 10, 2019)
Rip Torn, the free-spirited Texan who overcame his quirky name to become a distinguished actor in theatre, television and movies and win an Emmy in his 60s for his comedy turn on TV’s The Larry Sanders Show, died aged 88.
Torn died at his home with his wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page by his side, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez.
No cause of death was given.
RUTGER HAUER (July 19, 2019)
Rutger Hauer, who was best known as the murderous android in Blade Runner, died in July this year.
However, the news wasn’t announced until 6 days after he’d passed at 75 years old.
The actor, who specialised in menacing roles, was preliminarily known as Roy Batty who took on Harrison Ford’s detective in post-apocalyptic, 21st-century Los Angeles.
JEFFREY EPSTEIN (August 10, 2019)
Jeffrey Epstein, the US millionaire who was arrested in July on child sex-trafficking charges, died of suspected suicide in August this year.
He was found dead in his lower Manhattan jail cell in the US. Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14, from at least 2002 to 2005.
His association with Prince Andrew has seen plenty of fallout for the Royal Family as questions continue about Andrew’s conduct.
RAY HENWOOD (August 27, 2019)
New Zealand actor Ray Henwood, who spent a lifetime inhabiting the lives of others playing the likes of Albert Einstein, Joseph Stalin, Dylan Thomas and Winston Churchill, died in August this year.
He became the household face of the Moro Man in the 1960s.
Son and comedian Dai Henwood led the tributes to his father, saying “Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane. (A mighty Totara has fallen in the forest of Tane Mahuta).”
JESSI COMBS (August 29, 2019)
Jet-car speed racer and Mythbusters star Jessi Combs, known by fans as the “fastest woman on four wheels”, died in a crash in Oregon’s Alvord Desert in the US.
She had been trying to break a speed record at the time.
Combs was widely known in the niche sport of jet-car racing and was attempting to break the Women’s Land Speed Record of 823kmh set in 1976 by Kitty O’Neil when she died.
CLIVE JAMES (November 24, 2019)
Renowned Australian writer and broadcaster Clive James died aged 80 last month.
The multi-talented cultural critic who informed, challenged and entertained for two generations had been battling a range of serious illnesses including leukemia, kidney failure and lung disease since 2010.
He presented travel shows, Formula One shows (motorsport and tango dancing were two of his enthusiasms), a Paris fashion show and an eight-episode documentary, Fame in the 20th Century (1993), which was broadcast by the BBC in Britain and the ABC in Australia.
GARY RHODES (November 26, 2019)
The British celebrity chef died in Dubai, where he lived, “with his beloved wife Jennie by his side”, according to a family statement.
London-born Rhodes was known for his spiky hair and his TV work, including the British Masterchef and celebrity show Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.
MARIE FREDRIKSSON (December 9, 2019)
Marie Fredriksson, the female half of the Swedish pop duo Roxette, died at age 61 earlier this month.
Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986. The two released their first album the same year and went on to achieve international success in the late 1980s and 1990s with hits including The Look and It Must Have Been Love.
Fredriksson died of the consequences of a long illness.