ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

As 2014 draws to a close, it only seems appropriate to spare a moment for the stars we have tragically lost along the way.

We've shared many sad moments in the Moviepilot office over the last twelve months and spent hours sharing anecdotes about how the celebrities who have passed helped to shape our love of film and television.

In the tribute below, staff members from our Berlin office remember the deaths that personally affected them the most.

Richard Attenborough

August 29, 1923 - August 24, 2014

Remembered by Matt Carter

This year saw us sadly bid farewell to legendary British actor Richard Attenborough. Dickie began his acting career way back in 1942 starring in classics such as Brighton Rock and The Great Escape. He was also an award-winning director, nabbing an Oscar in 1982 for the epic Gandhi.

But my defining memory of him is his role as John Hammond, the mad, genius creator of Jurassic Park. It was Attenborough's first acting role for more than a decade and it introduced him to an entirely new generation of movie lovers. It was a performance of warmth and wild-eyed wonder, a visual representation of the childlike joy and optimism I felt when I saw the movie for the first time - and every single time I've watched it since.

He once said:

And I believe we need heroes, I believe we need certain people who we can measure our own shortcomings by.

Richard Attenborough will always be a hero to me.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

July 23, 1967 - February 2, 2014

Remembered by Mark Newton

Now, it's not fair to qualify one death above another, but the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman earlier this year may be one of the biggest blows to cinema for some time. Hoffman was a powerhouse of acting - whether it was portraying the heartbreakingly tragic Caden in Synecdoche, New York or the confident and enigmatic Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games series - few actors can claim to hold as pristine a record as Hoffman.

I will always remember him as Brandt in the peerless The Big Lebowski - the movie which introduced me to two of my loves: White Russians and Creedence Clearwater Revival. His delivery of certain simple lines of dialogue, especially with Jeff Bridge's the Dude ("This is our concern, Dude", "Her life is in your hands, Dude"), still almost inexplicably crack me up. Thus was Hoffman's brilliance.

Skye McCole Bartusiak

September 28, 1992 - July 19, 2014

Remembered by Jancy Richardson

There have been many sad celebrity deaths, but it was the tragic passing of child star Skye McCole Bartusiak that was truly shocking to me.

Skye, who appeared as a child actor in The Patriot and The Cider House Rules, died from an epileptic seizure in July, despite successfully battling her condition for a long time. More recently, the young actress appeared in CSI and 24, leaving a bright legacy for her 21 years.

You can read Jancy's original obituary here

Elizabeth Peña

September 23, 1959 - October 14, 2014

Remembered by Karly Rayner

If I'm honest, I had totally forgotten about Elizabeth Peña until I saw her burst onto our screens as Pilar in [Modern Family](series:201500) armed with killer comic timing and a passion for the the name 'Fulgencio.'

As soon as I saw Peña I instantly recognized her as the pregnant single mother from one of my favorite childhood movies, *batteries not included and Detective Tania Johnson from the cult comedy classic, Rush Hour. With my memory jogged, I vowed to watch more of Peña's movies and I loved what I saw in Transamerica and her spirited performance in the 1987 rock n' roll biography, La Bamba.

When I heard Peña had died aged just a mere 55 in October, I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. She was an actress bursting with talent who also seemed warm and accessible on screen, and I'll miss her for that.

You can read my original obituary here

Carol Ann Susi

February 2, 1952 - November 11, 2014

Remembered by Kit Simpson Brown

When it comes to the celebrities we've lost this year, Carol Ann Susi might not be everyone's first thought. She wasn't the most famous actress around, and the defining moment of her career was one in which we never even got to see her face. However, that role - Mrs. Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory - didn't just bring laughter to millions. It also showcased the remarkable comedic talent of a woman who died far too young.

Susi passed away back in November, and though no-one who laughed along with her already-legendary performance as Mrs. Wolowitz is ever likely to forget her, it's perhaps the words of her co-star Kunal Nayyar that will echo strongest, for me at least: "My heart is broken. I will miss your smile. Your spirit is forever with us."

You can read Kit's original obituary here

Robin Williams

July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014

Remembered by Allanah Faherty

The celebrity death which hit me, and many others, hardest this year was that of Robin Williams. Williams' acting career spanned so many years and genres that it seems everyone has their own favorite Robin Williams role. To some he is the alien Mork from Ork, to others he is the Scottish nanny Mrs. Doubtfire, the inspiring school teacher in Dead Poets Society, the enigmatic giant blue genie from Aladdin or perhaps Dr. Sean Maguire from Good Will Hunting.

Luckily for those of us not ready to say goodbye we still have his last films to look forward to; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb where he will reprise his role as Teddy Roosevelt, and the 2015 film Absolutely Anything for which he was a voice actor.

One thing is for sure, Robin Williams' enormous legacy in film and comedy will live on and continue to inspire for years to come.

You can read one of Allanah's original tributes here.

Lauren Bacall

September 16, 1924 - August 12, 2014

Remembered by Rob Harris

The iconic model-cum-movie star Lauren Bacall sadly passed away this summer, just a month shy of her 90th birthday. The sultry American actress famously starred alongside - and eventually married - Humphy Bogart in noir classics such as The Big Sleep and Dark Passage.

Although she was often on screen with one of the greatest male stars in the history of American cinema, she was never outdone, demanding audiences' attentions with her piercing stare and trademark husky voice. Though she's no longer with us, Bacall's influence on the Golden Age of cinema ensures her place in the industry will never be forgotten.

Bob Hoskins

October 26, 1942 - April 29, 2014

Remembered by Marlon McDonald

I remember the first time I saw Bob Hoskins frolicking around on the screen...I was sat in the living room with my family one Christmas watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit. From the moment of seeing Hoskins, a true British treasure, hanging out with an animated rabbit I was sold. BEST ACTOR EVER. Best Mario ever and, lest we forget, his terrifying turn out in The Long Good Friday. A hero of mine, he will never be forgotten.

Sleep well, Bob!

We would like to invite our readers to post their own personal tributes in the comments below.


Which celebrity death has affected you the most this year?


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