Celebrities Who Passed Away in 2020: Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy


Chadwick Boseman, Diana Rigg, Grant Imahara, Max Von Sydow

Chadwick Boseman, Diana Rigg, Grant Imahara, Max Von Sydow
Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney, Chris Jackson/Getty Images, Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic, ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Year In ReviewYear In ReviewWe look back at the best, worst, and most significant moments of the year, and look forward to next year.

Losing folks you don’t personally know, but who have influenced your life in a major way thanks to their creative contributions, can be pretty upsetting. While 2020 was terrible for a whole host of reasons, io9 wants to take another look back at the losses in our community to pay tribute to all the wonderful moments of joy they brought us over the years.


Shozo Uehara 

Tokusatsu superhero writer Shozo Uehara was one of the key voices behind Ultraman, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, and Toei’s Spider-Man. He debuted as a junior writer on Ultra Q, eventually moving to The Return of Ultraman and forming the base of what eventually became the second generation of Ultraman. Uehara later joined Toei Production to help create Himitsu Sentai Gorenger and the Super Sentai franchise. And then, of course, there’s Spider-Man—whose place as a tokusatsu superhero is everlasting. The voice of modern-day tokusatsu has Uehara’s voice, work, and legacy to thank.

Stan Kirsch

Highlander: The Series wouldn’t have been the same without Richie Ryan, played by Stan Kirsch. Richie was introduced in the pilot episode as a petty thief with a heart of gold, whose life was changed forever when he met Duncan MacLeod and learned about the existence of Immortals. He became Duncan’s apprentice and confidant in the first season, providing the occasional comic relief along the way. Eventually, Richie grew hardened from his experience and he left to find his own path, returning to the show as a recurring character over the course of four more seasons—as well as the series finale.

Christopher Tolkien 

J.R.R. Tolkien crafted one of the most incredible fantasy worlds we’ve ever read, seen, or experienced, and we can thank his son Christopher Tolkien for his role in safeguarding the gift that is The Lord of the Rings. Christopher Tolkien spent decades as the literary executor of J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate and became the definitive voice and scholar of Tolkien lore (no surprise, seeing as how he grew up with the stories of Bilbo Baggins and The Lord of the Rings).

It’s because of Christopher Tolkien that we got The Silmarillion, which he compiled, completed, edited, and published years after his father died. He was also responsible for Unfinished Tales, The Fall of Gondolin, The History of Middle-earth, and so many others, as well as creating the maps that fleshed out the world of Middle-earth. Decades later, the world is filled with Tolkien experts, scholars, and creators who were inspired by his works—but no one will ever hold a candle, or a ring, to Christopher Tolkien.

Terry Jones 

“Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam!” Terry Jones helped define modern British comedy as one of the stars of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, crafting some of the greatest characters and one-liners of his time. But his genius wasn’t just in front of the camera. He co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam, and later went on to direct Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. He also branched out beyond Monty Python as the screenwriter for Labyrinth, which endures as one of the top fantasy films of the 1980s. Whether he’s reminding us of the babe or biting his thumb to insult an intruder, Jones’ insight and humor will last generations.

Lynn Cohen

Lynn Cohen
Photo: Jason Merritt (Getty Images)

Lynn Cohen

Lynn Cohen gets the three-fingered salute as the actress who played tribute Mags Flanagan on The Hunger Games sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Mags may have been unable to speak, but Cohen managed to convey every bit of her love, strength, and determination as she helped Katniss and the others survive the Hunger Games. Cohen was also featured on Sex and the City, Across the Universe, Munich, and many other films and shows.

Jens Nygaard Knudsen 

Toy designer Jens Nygaard Knudsen may not be a household name, but his creation certainly is: He’s behind the Lego minifigure with moveable (and interchangeable) arms and legs, which has endured as the premier Lego figure ever since it came out in 1978. According to his widow, Nygaard Knudsen (who worked for the company from 1968 to 2000) wanted Lego sets to be filled with people instead of empty, hence why he designed a minifigure that could live inside them. In addition to designing Lego’s character model, Nygaard Knudsen developed some of Lego’s most-famous themes for its sets, including Space and Pirates.

Kazuhisa Hashimoto

There’s one phrase that’s universal among video game developers and fans: “Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A.” It’s the Konami Code, created by game developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto when he worked for Konami in the 1980s. He said in a 2003 interview that he created it because he was having trouble beating Gradius (while working on a Nintendo Entertainment System version) and wanted to give himself a way to make it easier. Hashimoto may have thought the Konami Code would be for him and him alone, but decades later it’s become an Easter egg in countless games seeking to help players who need a little leg up.

Barbara Remington

Illustrator Barbara Remington is a famous (and infamous) part of Lord of the Rings history, having designed the paperback cover art for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. She created her hand-drawn illustrations without having read the books—leading to some consternation from Tolkien, who did not care for them and even insisted certain elements be removed, like a lion (since they don’t exist in Middle-earth). Her works, which were later compiled into a poster, may not have captured the details of life in Middle-earth but they managed to convey, well, something. It’s why Remington’s illustrations have endured in the world of Tolkien, even if the man behind Middle-earth was not a fan.

Max von Sydow

Max von Sydow is not only a prolific actor who played one of the most-famous chess games of all time, he’s also been in some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy franchises the world has ever known. Von Sydow debuted in 1958’s The Seventh Seal as Antonius Bock, a disillusioned knight who challenges Death to a chess game so he can be spared from the plague. He also appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, David Lynch’s Dune, Flash Gordon, and Minority Report, and he played the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones.

Lyle Waggoner 

Before Chris Pine, there was Lyle Waggoner. He played Steve Trevor alongside Lynda Carter’s Diana of Themyscira in the Wonder Woman television show. It started as a 1940s period piece on ABC before shifting to modern day and moving to CBS, and Waggoner played Steve Trevor on both versions—taking on the role of his son, crime-fighting operative Steve Trevor Jr., in the latter version. Waggoner was also the person behind Star Waggons, a service that rents trailers for use on movie and TV sets (a business that actually got its start on Wonder Woman). Star Waggons is now one of Hollywood’s top trailer rental companies, raking in millions of dollars per year.

Albert Uderzo

Albert Uderzo
Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Albert Uderzo 

French illustrator and writer Albert Uderzo was the creator of Asterix, a famous comic strip series that’s endured for decades. Asterix tells the story of a Gallic warrior who fights Julius Caesar as he and his soldiers are trying to take over his village—using different spells and potions from the local druids to give himself an edge over the Roman army. The comic strip series started in 1958 and has spawned 38 volumes, several television shows, and live action movies, and it’s been translated into over 100 languages around the world.

Stuart Gordon

The horror genre sure would have been a lot less fun without Gordon, who got his start in experimental theater and applied that outrageous energy to his films, beginning with a hell of a debut: 1985’s Re-Animator, an H.P. Lovecraft-inspired mad-scientist tale that now has a permanent spot on any self-respecting list of best cult movies. Though Gordon will be forever known for Re-Animator and the horrors that followed (including 1986’s From Beyond, another Lovecraft riff), we can’t leave out his contribution to an entirely different (but just as weird) realm: family-friendly sci-fi. He co-wrote the story for 1989 Disney smash Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and went on to produce its sequel.

Krzysztof Penderecki 

Krzysztof Penderecki knew how to set a mood, and it was terrifying. The Polish composer’s work, known for its haunting complexity even in its quietest moments, has been featured in some of the most-iconic horror films, including Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. One of his most-famous pieces, “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima,” has been featured in works ranging from 1991’s The People Under the Stairs by Wes Craven and 2006’s Children of Men.

Andrew Jack

When building a fantasy or sci-fi movie’s world, it’s not enough to create excellent dialogue–you have to help the actors speak it. That’s where dialect coach Andrew Jack came in. He crafted the accents for the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as recent Star Wars films like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He also played General Calaun Ematt, a Resistance officer who worked alongside General Leia Organa during the rebellion. Jack was working on Matt Reeves’ The Batman before his passing.

Honor Blackman

If you were a fan of action and adventure in the 60s then Honor Blackman needs no introduction. Famous to most people for playing the fantastically named Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, Blackman was more than her role in perhaps the most imitated Bond film. She was also Cathy Gale, John Steed’s first woman partner in The Avengers, and Hera in Jason and the Argonauts, one of the best Harryhausen films produced. Blackman really typified blond British badasses in the 60s.

Mort Drucker 

The iconic cartoonist behind some of Mad Magazine’s most biting satirical comics, to be captured in Mort Drucker’s style was a sign you’d made it in popular culture. A master of caricature, Drucker’s work defined Mad’s visual appeal for decades, leaving behind a powerful legacy of vibrant art and pitch-perfect satire.

Brian Dennehy 

Anyone who watched movies in the ‘80s or ‘90s knew and loved Brian Dennehy. Cocoon, First Blood, Tommy Boy, Silverado, and so many made-for-TV movies, he got six Emmy nominations out of them. Dennehy was an Award-winning actor with range that made him believable as the most evil person imaginable, or the kindest. Anytime he was in a movie or TV show, he lit it up with his big personalty with bigger talent.

Paul Haddad

Resident Evil 4 might have been when rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy came into his element in the zombie gaming franchise, but his debut in Resident Evil 2 still hits your nostalgic heart thanks to Paul Haddad’s earnest, at times gloriously cheesy performance as Leon. While he was best known for Resident Evil, the actor also had a killer turn as X-Men: The Animated Series’ Quicksilver that’s not to be missed.

Irrfan Khan 

Most American audiences were first introduced to Irrfan Khan in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, where he played the cop trying to get to the bottom of a potential scam. His visibility in that role got him more blockbuster work in films like The Amazing Spider-Man, Life of Pi, Inferno and Jurassic World. The dude literally owned Jurassic World. All of which is pretty excellent on its own, but that was only near the end of a career that spanned decades and the world. He was a notable cricket player and established Indian star going as far back as the mid-Eighties. Though we lost him too soon, it’s nice to think that he finally got the credit he deserved.

Martin Pasko

Martin Pasko’s work at DC Comics was undeniably fundamental. As a writer, he laid the groundwork for Alan Moore’s seminal run on Swamp Things’ revival, and helped shape the likes of Justice League and Superman as DC navigated the evolving times of the ‘70s comics industry. But Pasko became a DC legend as a story editor on Batman: The Animated Series, helping to shape one of the definitive takes on a pop culture icon—and delivering one of the Dark Knight’s finest cinematic outings in co-writing Mask of the Phantasm.

Charley Lippincott 

George Lucas might be the father of Star Wars, but Charley Lippincott is the uncle. Before the film hit theaters it was Lippincott who started the film’s publicity campaign and decided to market the movie directly to the sci-fi fans. The Fan Club was his idea. Show up at comic book conventions was a movie was his idea. Basically, he’s responsible for creating Star Wars fandom before fandom, or Star Wars, were a thing. You might not know his name, but he was the first grain of sand on the beach that is Star Wars today.

Denny O’Neil 

Though darker, brooding takes on superheroes have since become the norm, when Denny O’Neil first brought that energy back to DC’s Batman comics following the character’s turn towards camp in the late 60s, it was something fresh and new that brought the Dark Knight back to his narrative roots. O’Neil found ways to use inner turmoil to further deepen our conceptualizations of beloved characters, all the while never letting them become so mired in their strife that we lost sight of the light that originally drew us to them.

Joel Schumacher

Joel Schumacher
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (Getty Images)

Joel Schumacher

The Bat-nipples. We know. Put those out of your mind for a minute and appreciate the career of a veteran director who, yes, did make a pair of campy Batman movies (remember the 1990s, when Batman was allowed to be campy?), but also created many other beloved films—across an impressive array of genres—that were well-served by his visual flair, his arch sense of humor, and his undeniable appreciation for the spooky and wonderful. This includes The Wiz (which he wrote for director Sidney Lumet), Flatliners, and that perpetual io9 favorite, The Lost Boys. Schumacher’s filmography sometimes contained some perplexing choices (here’s a non-Bat one: Gerard Butler as the title character in The Phantom of the Opera?), but no matter what, he always aimed to excite the viewer with his stylish point of view.

Joe Sinnott 

Joe Sinnott singlehandedly made it impossible to ignore just how much power and gravity inkers bring to comics as part of the larger process that ultimately leads to books shining when the right creative teams are brought together. Though Sinnott’s become legendary for his Marvel work and the role he played in giving some of the publisher’s books their most iconic aesthetics, his vision and skill were always sharp and immediately recognizable, and will continue to be so as artists follow in his footsteps.

Earl Cameron

The pioneering black actor—one of the first black actors on British TV— was a hallmark of classic British film and TV, building a career out of starring turns in the likes of Pool of London to bit parts on classic Doctor Who. But most recently people will remember Cameron for his final movie role in Inception.

Ennio Morricone 

Throughout cinematic history, there have only been a handful of composers whose signature themes become so well-known they are woven into the fabric of pop culture itself. Morricone is definitely at the top of that pyramid. While the first association with his name might be his iconic scores for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns like Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly—the latter’s “waah, waah, waah” refrain is now acceptable shorthand for a dramatic showdown in any context—the versatile musician wrote hundreds of scores, many of them celebrated and considered timeless, spanning a range of titles that include John Carpenter’s The Thing, Dario Argento’s The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, and Roland Joffé’s The Mission. Somehow it took Hollywood until 2016 (Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight) to give Morricone his first competitive Oscar, but with a career spanning some 60 years, his influence and legacy had already long since eclipsed any mere awards-show honor.

Grant Imahara 

Best known for his work with the Mythbusters crew, Grant Imahara was truly a geek among geeks. His passing away suddenly at just 49-years-old hit our small community pretty hard. Imahara was a role model, a friend to many, a cosplay and crafter enthusiast, and of course, an extremely talented electrical engineer. He famously built robots for the Star Wars prequels and worked on animatronics for movies like Galaxy Quest and The Matrix sequels, and was also known to sneak in a few acting roles here and there—especially if it had to do with Star Trek.

Joanna Cole

Joanna Cole’s Magic School Bus series of books played a pivotal role in the educations of millions of children over the years as the series grew and branched out into a variety of other media. As more authors and publishers develop new ways to make the idea of learning fun to children, it’s never long before elements of Ms. Frizzle’s magic works its way into the mix because of just how much a part of our cultural fabric that Cole’s work became.

John Saxon

A dashing actor who could play intense and goofy with equal elan, Saxon had a lengthy filmography that didn’t stick to one genre but was elevated by standout roles in sci-fi and horror movies that went on to become cult classics. He played the father of Freddy Krueger target Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3; the serial killer-chasing cop (he played a lot of cops and detectives) in the original Black Christmas; the doomed, jaunty-hat-wearing book agent in Dario Argento’s giallo Tenebre; and, well, it doesn’t get much cooler than co-starring in Enter the Dragon. He also had an extensive TV career, with guest roles on network staples like Wonder Woman, Starsky and Hutch, The Six Million Dollar Man, The A-Team, and Fantasy Island.

Wilford Brimley

His work on behalf of diabetes education meant he achieved rare heights of meme fame late in life, but Brimley’s acting career is what will really cement his legacy. He was a multitalented character actor who always projected gravitas and intelligence, often with a distinctive mustache, whether he was playing a scientist who realizes with growing horror that a hostile alien has invaded his research station (in John Carpenter’s The Thing)—or a retiree who encounters an altogether different kind of alien (in Ron Howard’s Cocoon, a role that required him to play a man 20 years older than he actually was).

Jiro Kuwata

Were it not for Jiro Kuwata’s deft hand and deep love for Batman, Bat-Manga! wouldn’t have been nearly as much of a heartfelt and carefully crafted celebration of the strange phenomenon of the Dark Knight becoming wildly popular in Japan during the 60s. Kuwata’s illustrations captured the comforting, simpler tone and style of Batman’s throwback adventures that made you appreciate where the character’s been and why its important to hold onto those elements of the character’s essence even when they aren’t centered in any particular story.

Ben Cross

A British stage and screen legend, Ben Cross will forever be remembered as Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire. But genre fans will note his brilliant, brief turn stepping into the shoes of Sarek, Spock’s father, in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, bringing a nuanced and emotional performance to a Vulcan torn between two radically different cultures as much as his son was.

Lori Nelson 

Universal Monsters icon Lori Nelson is best known for being carted away by the Creature from the Black Lagoon in Revenge of the Creature, but the ‘50s starlet had a career across screens big and small that lasted decades, including turns in Ma and Pa Kettle, Underwater!, and more.

Joe Ruby

Long after Scooby-Doo creator had already taught an entire generation of meddling kids to question all things, but especially shady prospectors, the Hanna-Barbera exec was still hard at work dreaming up new ideas and putting them to paper, as the man was a well of raw creativity. Like many of the minds behind legendary series, Ruby was always originally skeptical whether projects like Scooby-Doo would last very long, but looking back at his early work, it’s clear that his brilliance was always going to lead to a greatness that won’t soon be forgotten.

Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman
Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney (Getty Images)

Chadwick Boseman 

Just seeing his name on this list still hurts. It feels unbelievable, especially now. Boseman’s final year on Earth was also one of his biggest. He’s getting Oscar-buzz for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods. He was preparing to film the sequel to one of the biggest movies ever, Black Panther 2. And yet, as all that was happening, Boseman’s pride in himself and respect for his craft meant he hid a sickness that quietly took him from us. Boseman was a man among men. A stunning talent with charisma and heart. A generational inspiration whose lost we will continue to mourn for a long, long time.

Norm Spencer 

For so many people, there is one Cyclops outside of the comics: the Scott Summers of X-Men: The Animated Series, voiced by Norm Spencer. Burned into the ears of Marvel fans in the ‘90s, Spencer’s grand, suitably nerdy yet perpetually dramatic (ah, the Cyclops we know and love!) performance as the X-Men’s leader in the field transcended the animated show—and guest appearances in other series—into video games as well, becoming the go-to sound of Scott Summers.

Diana Rigg 

Diana Rigg’s signature wit and withering gazes were assets that she brought with her into every role that she played throughout her storied career, whether she was portraying lethal super spies or politically-savvy matriarchs with a taste for vengeance. As Hollywood’s tastes and sensibilities shifted over the decades, Rigg’s timelessness made it possible for her to remain a fixture in people’s minds, and gave us all the chance to experience her at the height of her talents for decades.

Rob Cobb 

Here’s a list of films that Rob Cobb worked on. Star Wars, Alien, Back to the Future, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Conan the Barbarian, The Abyss, The Last Starfighter, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To name a few. And he didn’t just “Work” on them. He helped design some of their most memorable props or ships. From the Delorean to the Nostromo, Cobb’s imagination and talent knew no bounds. And when teamed with some of the most famous filmmakers of all-time, well, they often got the credit. But Cobb was a key part in making all of those films and franchises the classics they are today.

Michael Chapman 

Oscar nominee Chapman career in cinematography is unlike anything in Hollywood, a scope and breadth that just seems impossible to comprehend. His collaboration with Martin Scorcese helped bring the lens of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Waltz to life; his work on Invasion of the Body Snatchers remains iconic. But Chapman’s work behind the camera was not just restricted to the DP role: as a cameraman himself, helped bring everything from Jaws to The Godfather to the big screen.

Terry Goodkind 

Best-known for his epic, 17-part Sword of Truth fantasy series—which inspired the Sam Raimi-produced TV show Legend of the Seeker—Goodkind didn’t launch his writing career until he was in his mid-40s. That all changed when the first Sword of Truth novel, Wizard’s First Rule, sparked a bidding war among publishers ahead of its 1994 release. Over his career, the outspoken Goodkind ventured beyond Sword of Truth, writing the Nicci Chronicles series and even several non-genre thrillers, building a prolific bibliography and selling tens of millions of volumes along the way.

Clark Middleton

Clark Middleton may not have been a household name but he was certainly one of the most famous faces for actors with disabilities, having started his career back in 1983. His face popped up often, both on the small and big screen—Fringe, Twin Peaks the Return, Kill Bill, Sin City, just to name a few. Outside of his prolific acting career, Middleton also started The Young Mels, a community support group for others diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, and taught acting in New York City.

Marge Champion 

It’s easy to link animated characters solely to the people who gave them voices. After all, that’s a real person. But in the early days of animation, especially at Disney, animators used real references for the characters too. So while Snow White didn’t actually exist, the closest person to actually being her was Marge Champion. You see, Champion was the dance reference for Snow White as well as tons of other early Disney characters, such as the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio. She was crowned a Disney Legend in 2007 and lived to be 101 years old.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery was the great actor other great actors aspired to be. Oh sure, he made huge hit movies and played some of the most iconic, legendary roles ever. But beyond just being James Bond or Henry Jones, Connery was larger than life. Smooth, intense, hilarious, and shocking easy to look at. He somehow seemed to get more distinguished and better with age, working in massive hit films all the way into his 70s. Then he retired in 2003 and just lived his life, detached from the legacy he’d curated. Talk about confidence. Talk about excellent. Talk about Connery.

Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek
Photo: Amanda Edwards (Getty Images)

Alex Trebek

Most people wouldn’t allow a family member into their house every single night with open arms let alone a stranger. But they did that for Alex Trebek. As the longtime host of Jeopardy, Trebek showed up on TV every single night and became as a staple of popular culture throughout the world. His humor, wit, and intellect kept audiences engaged and entertained for decades. He took a show about mostly useless knowledge, and turned it into an unmissable learning tool. Later his fight with cancer would inspire millions and show a side of Trebek we’d always assumed was there: the selfless fighter. And though it was a battle he ultimately lost, Trebek is a person we’ll tell our children we were lucky enough to watch every single day.

Ken Spears 

As with his co-creator Joe Ruby, who also sadly passed this year, Spears’ role in bringing one of the most iconic Hanna-Barbera legends to life in Scooby Doo cannot be understated, nor can his collaboration with Ruby that gave us Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, and Jabberjaw—and even beyond Hanna-Barbera to give us the likes of the Thundarr the Barbarian and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Kirby Morrow

Voice actors have a special place in fans’ minds because of how their performances truly do come to define characters in profound ways, and that’s very much the case with Kirby Morrow. Morrow became a memorable part of many people’s lives through the many roles he played across a bevy of beloved animated series like X-Men: Evolution and Inuyasha, each of which solidified the way iconic characters like Cyclops and Miroku sounded in people’s minds.

David Hemblen 

While sci-fi fans will remember Hemblen for his turn as Earth: Final Conflict’s resistance hero Jonathan Doors, to a whole generation of X-Men fans he will forever be one of the most compelling comics villains of all time: the booming voice behind the Master of Magnetism himself, X-Men: The Animated Series’ Magneto. Hemblen’s Magneto was never a railing villain or an outlandishly camp evil, but a measured, nuanced, and thrilling character.

David Prowse

David Prowse
Photo: Thierry ZOCCOLAN / AFP (Getty Images)

David Prowse

When David Prowse got the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars, he’d already been a successful actor for 20 years. Doctor Who, Little House on the Prairie, A Clockwork Orange, his imposing screen presence was well documented. But then he got the role of a lifetime, embodying maybe the greatest villain ever. And while James Earl Jones may the headlines for providing the voice, David Prowse made Darth Vader. And by making Darth Vader, he made Star Wars. It was his physicality, imposing presence, and evocative body language that made the character at first frightening and later sympathetic. And just when he finally got a chance to show his face, another actor took the credit. Prowse was never seen on screen in Star Wars but true fans don’t mind. He’s as big a part of the galaxy as anyone.

Ben Bova

A prolific writer and editor in the sci-fi field, Bova’s body of work gave us ‘zine classics in the likes of Amazing Stories, Analog Science Fact and Fiction, Galaxy Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and more, and his later novels series like The Grand Tour. But Bova will be equally remembered for his daunting task taking over from John W. Campbell Jr. to edit the legendary Analog, expanding the magazine’s reach as it published iconic stories.

Daria Nicolodi

Italian horror and giallo star Nicolodi brought a spark to everything she was associated with, even if she didn’t appear on camera—she co-wrote the screenplay for Suspiria with its director (and her partner at the time) Dario Argento, infusing its ballet-school terrors with an atmosphere of fairy-tale nightmares that helped elevate it to masterpiece status. Though she didn’t act in that film, her performances, particularly in Argento’s films, are marked by a vivacity despite whatever grim storyline her character had to endure, including Inferno, Tenebre, and especially Deep Red. She also starred in Shock, the final film from another Italian horror legend, Mario Bava, and had a small role playing the main character’s mother in Scarlet Diva, the semi-autobiographical directorial debut of her daughter, Asia Argento.

Hugh Keays- Byrne

It’s been said many times since his passing but we truly hope British-Australian actor Hugh Keays, Byrne rides eternal, shiny and chrome. Yes, we may know him best as Immortan Joe and Toecutter from the Max Max film series—and to Farscape fans, he was the underhanded Grunchlk—but he was a classically trained actor with numerous titles on his resume. At the time of his passing a friend of his wrote, “He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable. His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity.”

Richard Corben 

Richard Corben’s love of all things eerie and grotesque shaped his artistic eye and went on to fundamentally define comics’ approach to horror follow his jump from the indie comix industry over into the mainstream.

Tommy Tiny Lister

Even if you don’t know the name, you know the face. Tiny Lister was the villain in No Holds Barred. Friday. The president in The Fifth Element. He worked with Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Adam Sandler and Austin Powers. The go-to guy for either a terrifying on the outside, or lovable on the inside, role. Or perhaps both at the same time. Anytime Lister appeared on screen he was unforgettable and you were always happy to see him and thanks to a long, fruitful career, he’ll always be remembered.

Jeremy Bulloch

A day after Jeremy Bulloch died, Lucasfilm announced it was making a Boba Fett TV show. And though it was unplanned, that was the perfect tribute to the late actor. Like David Prowse, Bulloch didn’t get the fame of his fellow Star Wars co-stars, but he created an icon. As the man inside Boba Fett’s costume his body language oozed cool and confident. He said everything with a nod or how he held a blaster. In doing so, he turned an inanimate costume into something more. Something 40 years later, that would be getting its own TV show. It’s just extra sad that Bulloch won’t be around to be a part of the show he unknowingly made possible decades prior.

Peter Lamont

Lamont inspired countess other creatives within the industry to follow in his example of never losing sight of the little things that make the big picture shine. Lamont’s legendary eye for detail and his expansive imagination are what cemented his status as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished production designers. To look solely at the list of Lamont’s awards without actually taking the time to appreciate the films he worked on would be to miss just what sort of magic production designers work to make these stories truly come to life.

David Giler

The Alien franchise has influenced a generation (or more) of fans and creators, and writer-producer David Giler was vital in its making. At 77 years old, he actually had a hand in all of them but you may also know him as the screenwriter of the wonderful Tom Hanks/Shelley Long comedy, The Money Pit.

James E. Gunn

Though James E. Gunn never truly stopped writing and shaping new, wondrous worlds full of mystery, he never missed an opportunity to express to the public how difficult he found the creative process, an invaluable bit of reality that everyone would do well to bear in mind. Despite often finding his craft tedious and exhausting, Gunn never wavered in his belief that writing was important and vital to his existence, something that he made apparent on the page in a way that can’t be denied.


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