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This horrible year did give us some good things: Dolly Parton as world savior, two vaccines, all of the cardboard dogs in the audience at the 2020 National Dog Show.

But it also took a lot from us, and in terrifying, previously unfathomable ways.

We lost quite a few people in 2020 to whom we often turned when things are bad and we need cheering up in our own lives, from Alex Trebek of Jeopardy, to Chadwick Boseman of Black Panther.

Here’s a look back on just a few of those in the public eye whom we lost this year.

Chadwick Boseman, actor, 43

Chadwick Boseman looking at the camera


Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

Chadwick Boseman at the London premiere of “Black Panther.”

Christo, artist and sculptor, 84

Man in denim jacket in a field with blue umbrellas behind him


Kurita Kaku / Getty Images

The installation The Blue Umbrellas Of Christo In Japan In October, 1991.

Eddie Van Halen, musician and songwriter, 65

Man playing electric guitar on stage with bright lights


Koh Hasebe / Shinko Music / Getty Images

Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen striking a pose at a concert in Tokyo, June 1978.

Alex Trebek, game show host, 80

Alex Trebek on blue background looking off to side of camera


Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Alex Trebek, circa 1984.

Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist and educator, 85

Man at a piano on stage with a crowd behind him


David Redfern / Getty Images

Ellis Marsalis at the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

Phyllis Lyon, author and lesbian rights activist, 95

Two older women in their living room with a pride flag in the background


Deanne Fitzmaurice / Getty Images

Phyllis Lyon, top right, and her wife Del Martin, in their home in San Francisco, California in 2008. Lyon and Martin were the first couple to be married when same-sex couples were granted the right to marry in California. They had been together since 1952.

Kelly Preston, actor, 57

Woman with curly hair (Kelly Preston) holding on to the arm of John Travolta


The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

John Travolta and Kelly Preston, who were married for 28 years before her death after a battle with breast cancer.

Joseph Lowery, minister and leader in the civil rights movement, 98


Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Many prominent civil rights activists cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a reenactment of the Selma to Montgomery march on the 20th anniversary in 1985. Civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson, Joseph Lowery (fourth from right), and John Lewis lead the march.

Grant Imahara, electrical engineer and co-host of MythBusters, 49

Man testing out a bamboo blowpipe in a workshop


Fresno Bee / Getty Images

Grant Imahara tests his bamboo blowpipe in preparation for the upcoming ninja myth segment for the cable television show “MythBusters” in 2008.

Diego Maradona, professional soccer player, 60

Man on a field about to kick a soccer ball


Ullstein Bild / Getty Images

Maradona in action at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

Malik B. (also known as Malik Abdul Basit), rapper, singer, and a founding member of the Roots, 47

The three members of the Roots outside, looking at the camera, wearing t shirts and jeans


T. Eric Monroe

The Original Roots Crew, “Do You Want More”, photographed in New York in 1994. Malik B is on the left.

John Lewis, politician and civil rights activist, 80

A close up picture of a young John Lewis looking down


Robert Elfstrom / Getty Images

Close-up of Lewis, then chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), in an office, New York, 1964.

Sean Connery, actor and James Bond star, 90

Sean Connery leaning on a car in a suit


Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Scottish actor Sean Connery on the set of Goldfinger.

Ja’Net Dubois, actor and singer–songwriter, 74

Woman in a purple sweater looking and smiling at camera


Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Ja’Net Dubois, circa 1975.

John Prine, country and folk music singer-songwriter, 73

John Prine on stage with bright lights on him holding a guitar


Paul Natkin / Getty Images

Musician John Prine performs on stage in Chicago in 1985.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court Justice, 87

Ruth Bader Ginsburg in robes and in front of a bookcase


Bettmann / Getty Images

Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her chambers in 1977.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant, basketball superstar and daughter, 41 and 13

Kobe Bryant holding his daughter Gianna  and laughing with her as she looks up at him


Elsa / Getty Images

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant warming up on the court during the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto in 2016.

Fred Willard, actor and comedian, 86

Fred Willard in a shirt and tie in front of televisions on the Ron Burgundy set


Cbs Photo Archive / Getty Images

Willard in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”, directed by Adam McKay.

Chi Chi DeVayne, American drag queen and reality television personality, 34

Woman smiling at the camera in a sparkly dress and with full makeup


Santiago Felipe / Getty Images

Chi Chi DeVayne at “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 8 Premiere in 2016 in New York City.

Olivia de Havilland, actor and Gone with the Wind star, 104

An actress in a movie (Gone with the Wind) in a full dress on a staircase


Sunset Boulevard

Olivia de Havilland on the set of the 1939 movie ‘Gone with the Wind.”

Kenny Rogers, singer-songwriter, 81

Kenny Rogers in a velvet suit singing into a microphone on stage with lights behind him


David Redfern / Redferns

Kenny Rogers performing on stage in 1978.

Naya Rivera, actor, singer and model, 33


Rich Polk / WireImage

Naya Rivera in 2013. The actress had her breakthrough in “Glee” playing cheerleader Santana Lopez.

Katherine Johnson, NASA Administrator whose involvement in the Space Race was told in Hidden Figures, 101

A woman in glasses and a short sleeve suit at a desk with paper, typewriter


Getty Images

NASA space scientist, and mathematician Katherine Johnson poses for a portrait at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1966.

Irrfan Khan, actor, 53

Irrfan Khan in a black suit seated at a table, staring at the camera


Taylor Jewell / Shutterstock

Khan in 2018.

Jerry Stiller, comedian and actor, 92

Man with curly hair and a checked suit smiling at camera


Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Jerry Stiller in 1975 at The Longacre Theater in New York City.

C.T. Vivian, early civil rights organizer, 95

Barack Obama awarding C.T. Vivian the an award in front of an American flag


Jacquelyn Martin / AP

President Barack Obama awards minister and civil rights activist Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 at the White House.

Betty Wright, soul and R&B singer-songwriter, 66

A woman with long earrings, braids, and her hair done up, with her shoulders bare


Gilles Petard / Redferns

Betty Wright in a studio portrait in 1973.

John le Carré (pen name of David John Moore Cornwell), spy novel author, 89

John Le Carre, an older man with white hair, posing for the camera


Bob Riha Jr / Getty Images

John le Carré in Los Angeles in 1996.

Helen Reddy, singer, songwriter and activist, 78

Helen Reddy in a halter top singing on stage looking at the audience


Tony Russell / Getty Images

Reddy in 1975.

Roy Horn, one half of entertainment duo Siegfried & Roy, 75

Two men seated outside, one man has a small white tiger on his lap that he is holding up for the camera


Aaron Rapoport / Getty Images

Siegfried Fischbacher, left, and Roy Horn in 1997.

Bill Withers, singer-songwriter and musician, 81

Bill Withers with his hands clasped in front of a studio backdrop


Anthony Barboza / Getty Images

Studio portrait of American Soul and R&B musician Bill Withers in New York in1971.

Regis Philbin, TV anchor and game show host, 88

Regis Philbin in a trench coat with a microphone during a parade


Walt Disney Television Photo Arc / ABC

Philbin as host during the 1981 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Anthony Chisholm, actor on film and stage, 77

Anthony Chisholm in a fedora and jacket playing chess outdoors in NYC


Everett Collection

Anthony Chisholm in Wu-Tang: An American Saga.

Hosni Mubarak, former Egyptian president and strongman, 91

Hosni Mubarak looking grim as people salute him


David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

Former Egyptian President Mubarak arriving at Orly airport in 1986 for an official visit to France.

Little Richard, musician, singer, and songwriter, 87

Little Richard on stage performing under pink lights


Cbs Photo Archive / Getty Images

Little Richard performing in 2009.

James Lipton, host of Inside the Actors Studio, 93

James Lipton alone among many empty seats in a theater.


Jean-christian Bourcart / Getty Images

TV host James Lipton poses in the Actors Studio Theater November 15, 2002 in New York City.

Herman Cain, business executive and Republican politician, 74

Herman Cain on stage among stars, gesturing as he speaks


Steve Pope / Getty Images

Potential GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, speaks in Iowa in 2011.

Conchata Ferrell, actor, 77

Concata Ferrell with curly hair looking at the camera


Getty Images

Conchata Ferrell from L.A. Law.

Nick Cordero, actor and Broadway star, 41

Nick Cordero on a dark stage, looking off to the right


Walter Mcbride / Getty Images

Nick Cordero at the Broadway After Party for ‘Waitress’ in April 24, 2016 in New York City.

Honor Blackman, actor, 94

Honor Blackman in a vest on a movie set


Getty Images

Honor Blackman in 1964.

This story is part of our series on the year 2020. To read more, click here.


Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty Images



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