Once again we come to that time of year when we remember & honor those #SciFi & #Fantasy artists that we lost over the past year. 2018 has proven to be a rather deadly year as the deaths began on Jan 1 and continued through to Dec. 30. A total of 25 deaths were recorded, making it a much higher number of deaths than the past 2 years.
While these artists may be gone, their legacies will never be forgotten.
The sci-fi & fantasy franchises impacted by these deaths are listed below. A lot more different franchises were touched this year than in past ones that we have recorded.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Babylon 5
- Battlestar Galactica
- The Big Bang Theory
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
- D.C. Comics (Batman, The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman)
- Doctor Who
- Earth Final Conflict
- Fantasy Island
- Harry Potter
- I Dream of Jeannie
- Marvel Comics (Ant-Man, Black Panther, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-man, Thor, X-Men)
- Mork & Mindy
- Sid & Marty Krofft (Bugaloos, Lidsville, Pufnstuf)
- Six Million Dollar Man
- Space 1999
- Spirited Away
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
- Total Recall
- The Wizard of Oz
Our condolences to all of the families, friends & fans of the following artists that we lost in 2018.
Jon Paul Steuer died on Jan. 1 at the age of 33. He was the 1st actor to portray Alexander Rozhenko (Worf’s son) in #StarTrek #TNG. He was also known as the musician Jonny P. Jewels in Portland, OR, where he formed the band Soda Pop Kids.
Donnelly Rhodes (1937-2018) died at age 80 on Jan. 8, 2018. He played Dr. Sherman Cottle in #BattlestarGalactica, Grandpa Flynn in #TronLegacy, Father Simon / Mr. Shaw in #Supernatural, Agent Smith in #TheFlash, Milash in #Smallville, Gen. Eiger / Senator in #TheOuterLimits, & much much more. Fans of the sitcom #Soap will remember him as Dutch Leitner.
Acclaimed #SciFi & #Fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) has died at the age of 88 on Jan. 23, 2018. She wrote more than 20 novels (including her acclaimed novel “The Left Hand of Darkness” & the #Earthsea series), as well as a dozen books of poetry, over 100 short stories (collected in multiple volumes), seven collections of essays, 13 books for children & five volumes of translation, including the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu and selected poems by the Chilean Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral. He works also include a guide for writers.
Her novels were translated into more than 40 languages and often delved into themes of sorcery & dragons, or spaceships & planetary conflict. Her novels include the following:
From the Earthsea series:
- “A Wizard of Earthsea”, 1968 (Lewis Caroll Shelf Award list in 1979)
- “The Tombs of Atuan”, 1971 (Newbery Silver Medal Award)
- “The Farthest Shore”, 1972 (National Book Award)
- “Tehanu: the Last Book of Earthsea”, 1990 (Nebula Award)
- “Tales from Earthsea”, 2001
- “The Other Wind”, 2001 (World Fantasy Award)
From the Hainish science fiction series:
- “Rocannons World”, 1966
- “Planet of Exile”, 1966
- “City of Illusions”, 1967
- “The Left Hand of Darkness”, 1969 (Hugo Award, Nebula Award)
- “The Dispossessed”, 1974 (Nebula Award)
- “The Word for World is Forest”, 1976 (Hugo Award)
- “Four Ways to Forgiveness”, 1995
- “The Telling”, 2000
- “The Lathe of Heaven”, 1971
- “The Winds of Twelve Quarters”, 1975
- “Orsinian Tales”, 1976
- “The Eye of the Heron”, 1978
- “The Beginning Place”, 1980
- “The Compass Rose”, 1982
- “Always Coming Home”, 1985
- “Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand”, 1991
- “Animals of the Western Shore”, 2004-2007 (Nebula Award)
- “Lavinia”, 2008
Actor Mickey Jones died on Feb. 7, 2018 at the age of 76. He played Chris Farber in #V, Donzo in #Galactica1980, trucker in #Starman, burly miner in #TotalRecall, & more.
Actor Reg E. Cathey died on Feb. 9, 2018 at age 59. He played Morag in #StarTrek #TNG, Dr. Franklin Storm in #FantasticFour (2015), & much more.
David Ogden Stiers (1942-2018) died at age 75 on Mar. 3, 2018. He played Timicin in #StarTrek #TNG, Oberoth in #StargateAtlantis, Kamaji (voice, English version) in #SpiritedAway, the announcer (voice) in #THX1138, & much more, including a lot more voice work. He also played the character Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester, III in the long-running sitcom #MASH.
Brilliant physicist & cosmologist Sir Stephen Hawking (Jan. 8, 1942 – Mar. 14, 2018) passed away at the age of 76. He played himself in #StarTrek #TNG, #BigBangTheory & more.
Debbie Lee Carrington (1959-2018) died on March 24, 2018 at the age of 58. She played Romba Ewok in “#StarWars VI: #ReturnOfTheJedi”, a drone in #InvadersFromMars, Thumbelina in #TotalRecall, Emperor Penguin in #BatmanReturns, alien father in #MenInBlack, a creature in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer, & much more.
Actor Tim O’Connor died on April 5, 2018 at the age of 90. He played Dr. Elias Huer in #BuckRogersInThe25thCentury, Ambassador Briam in #StarTrek #TNG, Andros / Col. Robert Elliot in #WonderWoman, Kogen in #Sssssss, Paul Tanner / voice in enemy helmet / Maj. Clint Anderson in #TheOuterLimits, Col. Sloane in #TheTwilightZone, & more.
Verne Troyer died on April 21, 2018 at the age of 49. While he played Griphook in “#HarryPotter and the #SorcerorsStone“, he will likely be mostly remembered for playing Mini-Me in the #AustinPowers films.
Actress Margot Kidder died at the age of 69 on May 13, 2018. She played Lois Lane in #Superman & appeared in #EarthFinalConflict, #Smallville & much more.
Actor Jerry Maren has died at 98 on May 24, 2018. He was the world’s last living Munchkin from #TheWizardOfOz, having played a member of the Lollipop Guild (the green one). He also played a gremlin in #Bewitched, a child ape in #PlanetOfTheApes, Boris / Rah-Rah in #Lidsville, & had uncredited roles in #Tron, #Spaceballs; & much more.
#ScienceFiction author Harlan Ellison died on June 28, 2018 at the age of 84. He wrote the Emmy Award-winning #StarTrek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”. He was also a creative consultant on #Babylon5 and wrote 2 of its episodes, as well as #TheTwilightZone TV series and #TheSixthSense TV series. (He also wrote several Twilight Zone episodes.) He also created the short-lived TV series #TheStarlost under the name “Cordwainer Bird” and wrote one of its episodes. He also wrote several comic book issues of #Daredevil along with an issue of Detective Comics, and contributed ideas to several #Avengers stories written by Roy Thomas. He also curated Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, a comic book anthology series which adapted his short stories.
Steve Ditko, the comic-book writer & illustrator who co-created #SpiderMan with Stan Lee in 1961, died at age 90 at the end of June, 2018. He was born on Nov. 2, 1927. Spider-Man’s look — the costume, the web-shooters, the red and blue design — all came from Ditko. Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy No. 15. and was an unexpected hit, which lead to the spin-off The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko also helped create such Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin.
In 1963, Ditko created Doctor Strange, who debuted in Strange Tales No. 110. Ditko continued on that series until issue No. 146 in 1966.
After a dispute with Stan Lee in 1967, Ditko left Marvel Comics and worked for DC Comics and several others before returning to Marvel in 1979. where he worked on Machine Man and the Micronauts. Among his last creations was Squirrel Girl in 1992.
During his period away from Marvel, Ditko created Mr. A in 1967. He also created The Question, Hawk and Dove and the Creeper for DC Comics.
Actor Fredd Wayne died at the age of 93. He played Benjamin Franklin in #Bewitched; Ben Franklin in #Voyagers; J.J. MacConnell in #WonderWoman (TV series); Paul Malloy / Barney Kamener in #TheTwilightZone; & more.
Actor Bill Daily died on Sept. 4, 2018 at the age of 91. He will likely be best remembered for his portrayal of Major Roger Healy in the 1960’s fantasy sitcom #IDreamOfJeannie, as well as his for being in 140 episodes of the “The Bob Newhart Show”.
Legendary actor Burt Reynolds died at the age of 82 on Sept. 6, 2018. Born Feb. 11, 1936, most of his work was not in #SciFi or #fantasy, but he did play Rocky Rhodes in an episode of #TheTwilightZone, and Mentor in two #UniversalSoldier TV movies.
Burt Reynolds also turned down the opportunity to portray Han Solo in #StarWars: the role was offered to him before Harrison Ford. While Burt Reynolds said later that he regretted not taking the role, it is interesting to speculate how different the “Star Wars” franchise would be had he been part of it.
We will, however, acknowledge some of his other works for which he will likely always be remembered:
- Quint in “Gunsmoke” (1962-1065).
- Lewis in “Deliverance” (1972).
- Paul Crewe in “The Longest Yard” (1974).
- The Bandit in “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977).
- J. J. McClure in “Cannonball Run” (1981).
- Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd in “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (1982).
Actress Zienia Merton died on Sept. 14, 2018 at the age of 72. She played Sandra Benes in #Space1999, Ping-Cho in #DoctorWho & more, a registrar in #TheSarahJaneAdventures, a teacher in #Dinotopia, and much more.
Actress Celeste Yarnall died at the age of 74. She played Yeoman Martha Landon in #StarTrek #TOS, a student nurse in #Bewitched, Miss Devine in #TheWildWildWest, & more.
Actor Douglas Rain died on Nov. 12, 2018 at the age of 90. He voiced the computer HAL-9000 in #2001ASpaceOdyssey, and later reprised the role in #2010TheYearWeMadeContact. He also voiced several robot butlers & the evil computer in the sci-fi comedy #Sleeper, & more.
#MarvelComics legend Stan Lee died on Nov. 12, 2018 at the age of 95. In addition to the many cameo appearances he in Marvel films, he the co-created a significant number of Marvel characters, including:
- #Thor (The Mighty Thor)
- And many more.
His huge impact on the worlds of science fiction, fantasy & comic books will never be forgotten.
Actor Ken Berry died on Dec. 1, 2018 at the age of 85. He played 7 different characters in 7 episodes of #FantasyIsland, Frank in #TheCatFromOuterSpace, and much more, including numerous roles in multiple TV sitcoms.
Actress & director Penny Marshall died on Dec. 17, 2018. She played Laverne DeFazio in #MorkAndMindy, and directed the movie #Big, among her many accomplishments.
Composer & lyricist Norman Gimbel died on Dec. 28, 2018 at the age of 91. He composed music & song lyrics used in a significant number of films & TV series, including (but not limited to) “V for Vendetta”, #Logan, #WonderWoman (TV series), #Pufnstuf, #DarkCity, #TheLastAmericanHero, #TheBugaloos, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and much more. Many of his credits are for the use of the song “The Girl from Ipanema”, for which Gimbel wrote the English lyrics. The song has been used in the following films & TV series (but not limited to): #PacificRimUprising, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”, #MyLittlePony, #TheBigBangTheory, #TheInvasion, #TheCatInTheHat, #IDreamOfJeannie, and more.
Actress Dame June Whitfield has died at the age of 93. While mostly a comedic actress, she appeared in 2 episodes of #DoctorWho as Minnie Hooper; but she’ll likely be remembered primarily for portraying the mother of Edina Monsoon in the British TV sitcom #AbsolutelyFabulous (#AbFab).