Hollywood deaths in 2012

Every year the film world loses more of its luminaries, and 2012 was no different. Though more exciting new talent emerges every year, it is a poorer place for the loss of these writers, actors, directors and designers who made a visit to the cinema something wonderful.

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Top Gun... Tony Scott (Credit: Wenn)
Tony Scott (1944 - 2012)

Tony Scott's crowd-pleasing filmography sits at stark odds with the tragic circumstances of his death. Born in North Shields and brother of fellow director Ridley Scott, he took his own life by jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles on August 19.

His death rocked the movie world, particularly as he was poised to make a sequel to his 1986 smash 'Top Gun' with Tom Cruise. He had been scouting locations just days before his death.

But Scott will be remembered for a slew of hits, from 'True Romance' and 'Beverly Hills Cop II' to 'Days of Thunder' and 'The Last Boy Scout'.

Gentle giant... Michael Clarke Duncan (Credit: Wenn)
Michael Clarke Duncan (1957 - 2012)

Tributes for Michael Clarke Duncan showered the man-mountain (he was a towering 6ft 5in) with praise for his kindness and generosity on his death of a heart attack in September.

The Chicago-born actor - a former bodyguard for the likes of Will Smith and the Notorious B.I.G. - made his name playing the colossal Bear in 'Armageddon', but quickly went on to his iconic performance as convict John Coffey in 'The Green Mile' alongside Tom Hanks. Other notable performances came in 'Sin City' and 'The Island', as well as solid voice work in 'Kung Fu Panda' and 'Family Guy'.

“He was magic. He was a big love of man, and his passing leaves us stunned,” said Hanks at his memorial.

Scribe... Nora Ephron (Credit: Wenn)
Nora Ephron (1941 - 2012)

Nora Ephron was born to screenwriting, growing up in Beverly Hills with her screenwriter parents Phoebe and Henry Ephron.

Her life too featured brushes with the cinematic – her second husband was Carl Bernstein, one of the journalists who uncovered the Watergate scandal. Her work, however, spoke for itself.

She was nominated three times for Oscars; for the Meryl Streep-starring 'Silkwood', 'Sleepless in Seattle', and probably her most famous script, 'When Harry Met Sally'.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, and died of pneumonia on June 26. She was 71.

The man behind Matlock... Andy Griffiths (Credit: Wenn)
Andy Griffith (1926 - 2012)

American actor and singer Andy Griffith began his career as a comedian but quickly proved his chops as an actor, taking the starring role in Elia Kazan's 'A Face in the Crowd' in 1957.

He was best known in the US for his TV work, in 'The Andy Griffith Show' and then in 'Matlock' through the 80s and 90s, which made him a household name - as did his Grammy-winning recording career. But his film roles were also of note, appearing in 'Savages', 'Hearts of the West' and 'Waitress' in 2007.

He passed away after a heart attack at his home in North Carolina, aged 86.

Oscar winner... Ernest Borgnine (Credit: Wenn)
Ernest Borgnine (1917 - 2012)

Born to Italian parents, Ernest Borgnine took on a number of iconic roles through his career, notably his big break playing Judson in 'From Here to Eternity' opposite Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift.

He later won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in 1955's 'Marty', beating competition from Sinatra, James Dean, Spencer Tracy and James Cagney.

He was also known for his TV work, on shows like 'Magnum P.I.' and 'Airwolf', and then at the grand age of 92, in 'ER'. He earned an Emmy for his role in the final two episodes of the medical drama.

Rather brilliantly, he also voiced elderly superhero Mermaid Man in 'Spongebob Squarepants'. He died aged 95

Soap royalty... Larry Hagman (Credit: Wenn)
Larry Hagman (1931 - 2012)

Larry Hagman will always be best known as the scheming Texan oil baron J.R. Ewing, the head of the Ewing clan in US series 'Dallas', a part which he played to the hilt from 1978 to 1991, and then again when the series was reinvigorated in 2012.

But Hagman, the son of actress Mary Martin, made his name on US TV with sitcom 'I Dream of Jeannie', while his film career included roles in 'Fail-Safe' with Henry Fonda, 'Nixon' with Anthony Hopkins and war thriller 'The Eagle Has Landed' with Donald Sutherland and Michael Caine.

A reformed heavy drinker and smoker, he had a liver transplant in 1995, but died following complications with throat cancer in November, aged 81.

Academic superstar... Gore Vidal (Credit: Wenn)
Gore Vidal (1925 - 2012)

Essayist, novelist, commentator and wit, Gore Vidal has been called the 20th century's answer to Oscar Wilde.

He was also a playwright, screenwriter and occasional actor. Among his writing credits for the big screen were the Oscar-winning epic 'Ben Hur', 'Billy The Kid' and 'Suddenly, Last Summer'.

He made various appearances on-screen, in films including 'Gattaca', 'Bob Roberts' and 'Igby Goes Down', as well as voicing himself in 'The Simpsons' and 'Family Guy'.

He passed away at his Hollywood home on July 31 from pneumonia, aged 86.

Dreyfus... Herbert Lom (Credit: Wenn)
Herbert Lom (1917 - 2012)

Czech-born actor Herbert Lom fled the Nazi occupation of his native Prague for England in 1939, having starred in a number of Czech films.
In the UK, his career took off and he starred alongside Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in the Ealing classic 'The Ladykillers', and with Robert Mitchum and Jack Lemmon in 'Fire Down Below'.

He became best known for his role of Inspector Charles Dreyfus, the brilliantly insane boss of Inspector Clouseau in the 'Pink Panther' films. His career spanned 60 years and nearly 100 films.

He died in his sleep on September 27, aged 95.

FX master... Carlo Rambaldi (Credit: Rex)
Carlo Rambaldi (1925 - 2012)

Italian special effects legend Carlo Rambaldi was the man who designed 'E.T.' for Spielberg's classic 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial'.

He also won an Oscar for his work on the alien heads in Ridley Scott's 'Alien', as well as working on features including the 1976 version of 'King Kong', 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and 'Dune'.

So realistic was his work, that the director of one of his films, 'A Lizard in a Woman's Skin', was arrested and almost prosecuted for animal cruelty. It was only when Rambaldi proved that it was special effects being used in the scene that Lucio Fulci was released.
Rambaldi died in Calabria on August 12, aged 86.

Beastie Boy... MCA (Credit: Wenn)
Adam Yauch - a.k.a. MCA (1964 - 2012)

Most would know him as one third of New York rap crew the Beastie Boys, but MCA – real name Adam Yauch - was also a founder of Oscilloscope Laboratories, a film distribution company which released a wealth of foreign-produced and US independent films, including Samantha Morton's directorial debut 'The Unloved' and the BAFTA-winning 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'.

He had been suffering cancer since 2009, but still the entertainment world was stunned when he died on May 4, 2012. He was just 47.

Sci-fi mind... Ralph McQuarrie (Credit: Tumblr)
Ralph McQuarrie (1929 - 2012)

Without Ralph McQuarrie, the original 'Star Wars' trilogy would have been entirely different to the iconic sci-fi series we know and love.
McQuarrie designed many of the key characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO. It was his sketchings that helped to persuade 20th Century Fox that they should take a punt on George Lucas's grand vision.

He also worked on 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Cocoon', for which he won an Oscar. Though he was offered the role of designer on the prequel trilogy, he declined saying that he had 'run out of steam'. He died aged 82 from complications related to Parkinson's Disease.

Iconic... Sylvia Kristel (Credit: Wenn)
Sylvia Kristel (1952 – 2012)

Although Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel starred in over 50 films through her career, it was for one recurring role that she was best known – Emmanuelle. She played the sexually liberated woman in four of the seven 'Emmanuelle' films, including the first iconic production in 1974. In its native France, it racked up nearly nine million admissions, and grossed $100 million from its modest $500,000 budget.

She also had key roles in films like 1981 comedy 'Private Lessons' and 'The Fifth Musketeer', where she met her second husband, actor Ian McShane. She was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. She succumbed to lung and esophageal cancer in June this year and died in her sleep, aged 60.

Cult zombie... Bill Hinzman (Credit: Wenn)
Bill Hinzman (1936 – 2012)

Pennsylvania-born Samuel William 'Bill' Hinzman was working as an assistant cameraman when his career took an odd turn on taking a job with George A. Romero. Romero ended up also casting him as (probably) the first movie zombie in his 1968 benchmark 'Night of the Living Dead'. Fans referred to him as 'zombie number one'. He also had roles in 'Legion of the Night' and 'Evil Ambitions', as well as directing horror films including 'The Majorettes' in 1986 and 'Flesheater' in 1988. He died of cancer at his home, aged 75.