We pay tribute to the film stars and directors from around the world who sadly passed away in 2016.

Hector Babenco

Hector Babenco

Argentine-born Brazilian director Hector Babenco died on July 13 at 70-years-old.

He found international success with Brazilian slum drama Pixote (1981), going on to make Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1985), for which he earned a best director Oscar nominee and William Hurt earned an Oscar win for best actor.

Babenco went on to direct Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson in Ironweed (1987) and Tom Berenger and John Lithgow in At Play In The Fields Of The Lord (1991).

After undergoing cancer treatment in the 1990s, he returned to the director’s chair for films including Brazilian prison drama Carandiru (2003) and his final film My Hindu Friend (2015) starring Willem Dafoe, which remains unreleased in every territory outside Brazil.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Musician, actor, and style icon David Bowie passed away at the age of 69 on January 1 after an 18 month battle with cancer.

Born in London, Bowie’s breakthrough came in 1972 with his album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust. He went on to find great success as a rock star, performing hits including “Space Oddity,” “Let’s Dance”, and “Heroes.” The Grammy-winner’s music featured in more than 450 titles across film and television.

Alongside work in music, Bowie appeared in memorable films including sci-fi flick The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976), fantasy horror The Hunger (1983) and cult musical fantasy Labyrinth (1986). He also made cameo appearances in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) and comedy Zoolander (2001).

Bowie received a Golden Globe nomination alongside Giorgio Moroder for best original song for motion picture Cat People (1982) and a BAFTA TV nomination for best original television music for The Buddha Of Suburbia (1994).

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher

The actress, writer and producer passed away on December 27 aged 60 after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

Fisher was the daughter of Hollywood stars Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and started performing when she was just 15 in the Broadway musical Irene.

Her film debut was the classic comedy Shampoo, opposite Warren Beatty, Julie Christie in 1975, but it was her next role in Star Wars: A New Hope that made her a global superstar. Fisher’s spirited turn as the no-nonsense Princess Leia helped make Star Wars the highest grossing film of all time at the box office in 1977, and she would reprise the role for three sequels.

During the next decade she appeared in The Blues Brothers, Woody Allen’s Hannah And Her Sisters and When Harry Met Sally…, and also became a bestselling author with her classic semi-autobiographical novel Postcards From The Edge.

Fisher was candid about her bipolar disorder and addictions to cocaine and prescription medication, and earned an Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from Harvard for her mental health activism.

Patty Duke

Patty Duke

Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke passed away on March 29 at the age of 69.

Duke came to fame in 1959 in the original Broadway production of drama “The Miracle Worker” in the role of Helen Keller. She reprised the part in the 1962 Hollywood film adaptation, for which she won an Oscar for best supporting actress and was at the time the youngest-ever Academy winner.

The young star also appeared on ABC sitcom The Patty Duke Show, garnering a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination for her role, though her exploitation as a child star led to struggles with drug addiction and mental illness.

She took a drastic turn from her part in the family sitcom by taking a role as an alcoholic singer in Mark Robson’s campy drama Valley Of The Dolls (1967).

The TV actress eventually found stability in her role as head of the Screen Actors Guild, where she served as president from 1985 to 1988. She remained active in TV throughout the remainder of her career, guest starring on Glee and Hawaii 5-0.

Guy Hamilton

Guy Hamilton

James Bond film director Guy Hamilton passed away at the age of 93 on April 20.

The British filmmaker is best known for directing Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live And Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974).

Making his start as a director’s assistant for Carol Reed on films such as The Third Man (1949), the filmmaker eventually earned a BAFTA nomination for his A Touch Of Larceny (1961) screenplay. After directing Michael Caine in The Battle Of Britain (1969) and Harrison Ford in Force 10 From Navarone (1978), Hamilton continued his film work until the late 1980s.

Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson

Brady Bunch matriarch Florence Henderson passed away at the age of 82 on November 24.

Henderson began her career on Broadway in the 1952 musical “Wish You Were Here,” but her role as Mrs. Brady on The Brady Bunch gained her international fame. She continued to reprise her role of the “lovely lady” throughout TV and film revivals.

Outside of her famous TV role, Henderson guest starred on shows such as Ally McBeal and 30 Rock, and was the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show in 1969. More recently, the actress headed two talk shows, Who’s Cooking With Florence Henderson and The Florence Henderson Show, earning an Emmy nomination for the latter.

The actress’ only major film role was in Song Of Norway (1970), where she played the wife of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

Garry Marshall

Garry Marshall

Comedy writer-director Garry Marshall, best known for TV series Happy Days and Pretty Woman, died on July 19 at the age of 81 due to complications related to pneumonia.

Marshall got his start at a comedy writer for The Tonight Show in 1960 before moving to Hollywood and co-creating hit sitcoms like Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Emmy-nominees The Odd Couple and Mork & Mindy.

In addition to directing for the stage and opera, Marshall directed features such as Beaches (1988), best film BAFTA-nominee Pretty Woman (1990), Runaway Bride (1999) and The Princess Diaries (2001).

He is survived by his wife, his children and his sisters actress-director Penny Marshall and producer Ronny Hallin.



Legendary performer and music icon Prince died on April 21 at the age of 57.

As a seven-time Grammy-winner, the R&B icon was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.

In 1985, Prince received an Oscar for best original song for Purple Rain (1984). The film, featuring music from the hit album of the same name, featured Prince as a character known as “The Kid.” The feature was a box office success and, for a week, Prince claimed number one song, album, and film in the country.

Prince went on to famously direct and star in critical flops rock musicals Under The Cherry Moon (1986) and Graffiti Bridge (1990).

As one of the best-selling musicians of all time, Prince released soundtracks for Tim Burton’s blockbuster Batman (1989) and Spike Lee’s film Girl 6 (1996). He won a Golden Globe for his best original song “The Song Of The Heart” for animation Happy Feet (2006).

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman in Glasgow

Alan Rickman, the British actor and director, passed away in London on January 14 aged 69 after a battle with cancer.

Beginning his acting career in theatre, where he picked up a Tony nomination for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Rickman’s feature debut came alongside Bruce Willis as villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988). The actor went on to appear in over 40 films, including fan favourites the Harry Potter franchise, Love Actually (2003) and Sweeney Todd (2007).

Rickman was awarded a BAFTA for his role in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991), and received nominations for Truly Madly Deeply (1990), Sense And Sensibility (1995) and Michael Collins (1996).

In 1997, Rickman made his directorial debut with The Winter Guest starring Emma Thompson, and directed and co-wrote his second feature A Little Chaos in 2014, in which he also starred.

Jacques Rivette

Jacques Rivette

French New Wave director Jacques Rivette passed away at the age of 87 on January 29.

The experimental filmmaker is best known for titles including Celine And Julie Go Boating (1974) and La Belle Noiseuse (1991), which won the jury grand prize at Cannes. Often noted for the length of his films, his longest feature Out 1 (1971) ran for a total of 729 minutes and has become a cult classic for international film lovers.

Rivette was a notable director in the 1950s and 60s movement alongside peers François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard and served as film critic for the influential journal Cahiers du Cinéma.

Ettore Scola

Ettore Scola

The acclaimed Italian writer-director behind A Special Day passed away on January 19 at 84.

Scola’s career spanned three decades, featuring titles such as Ugly, Dirty and Bad (1976), which won him best director at Cannes. Three of the director’s films –Viva Italia! (1977), Le Bal (1983) and The Family (1987) – were Oscar nominated for best foreign language film.

His drama A Special Day (1977), starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, was nominated by the Academy for best foreign language film and best actor. The feature took home the Golden Globe for best foreign film.

Andrzej Wajda

Andrzej Wajda

Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda passed away on October 9 at 90-years-old. His latest feature film Afterimage is Poland’s entry for the foreign language feature film category at this year’s Academy Awards.

Wajda’s career spanned more than 60 years, including other best foreign language film Academy nominees The Promised Land (1975), The Maids Of Wilko (1979), Palme d’Or winner Man Of Iron (1981) and Katyn (2007). In 2000, the Polish director received an honourary Academy Award for five decades of extraordinary film direction.

His debut feature A Generation (1954), which became the first film in his wartime trilogy including Canal (1956) and Ashes And Diamonds (1958), introduced Wajda to an international audience. The veteran filmmaker was recently celebrated at an exhibition at the Polish Film Festival in an exhibition celebrating his 40 feature films.

His legacy will include the Wajda School, which he founded in 2001 with Wojciech Marczewski, and the Wajda Studio, established in 2011, which focuses on auteur film projects.

Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds

Reynolds died on December 28 after reportedly suffering a stroke, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher.

Reynolds was born in 1932 in Texas and became a beauty queen at the age of 16 before launching into acting.

Singin’ In The Rain was her breakout role in 1952 opposite Gene Kelly at the age of 19, but it was her performance in The Unsinkable Molly Brown 12 years later that garnered her an Academy Award nomination.

Her film roles included The Catered Affair, Divorce American Style and Mother among many others and there were notable TV appearances on Will & Grace, for which she earned an Emmy nod, and Roseanne.

She married Eddie Fisher in 1955 and the couple had two children before their divorce - Carrie and Todd. She remarried and divorced two more times, to Harry Karl and Richard Hamlett.

While they were close at the end of their lives, Reynolds and Fisher had a stormy relationship before patching things up. Their relationship inspired Fisher to write the acclaimed memoir Postcards From The Edge.

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder, the wide-eyed American comedy actor, passed away on August 29 at the age of 83.

He made his film debut as a kidnap victim in Bonnie And Clyde (1967) before being propelled to fame as Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks’ The Producers (1968), for which he earned a supporting actor Academy nomination.

Wilder went on to play a collection of colourful characters in Hollywood films including the title role in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factor (1971), a doctor in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask (1972), and appearing alongside lifetime friend Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy (1980).

In 1975, Wilder earned an original screenplay Oscar nomination with co-writer Brooks for cult comedy Young Frankenstein (1974). In addition to screenwriting, Wilder pursed playwriting and novels.

Wilder survived non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1989, but ultimately passed on from complications related to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Anton Yelchin

Anton Yelchin

Rising star Anton Yelchin was found dead on June 19 at the age of 27 after a freak accident involving his car.

The Russian-born actor sprung to fame in early films including Hearts In Atlantis (2001), Alpha Dog (2006) and Charlie Bartlett (2007). He went on to appear in features such as the Star Trek franchise, Like Crazy (2011) and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), among others.

Yelchin is due to appear in completed upcoming features including family drama We Don’t Belong Here, sci-fi mystery Rememory and thriller Thoroughbred.

Vilmos Zsigmond

Vilmos Zsigmond

Hungarian cinematographer Vilmos Zsignmond died aged 85 on January 1.

The director of photography fled Budapest in 1956 with hidden footage of Soviet forces crushing the Hungarian Revolution. In America, Zsigmond shot B-movies before rising to fame.

In 1978, Zsigmond won an Oscar for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), and scored nominees for The Deer Hunter (1978), The River (1984), and The Black Dahlia (2006), on which he worked with frequent collaborator Brian De Palma.

He earned a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 1999.

The cinematographer also worked on films including Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz (1978), and Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda (2004) and You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (2010).

Michael Cimino

Michael Cimino Locarno

US director collects Locarno Film Festival’s Pardo d’onore

Michael Cimino, the Oscar-winning Hollywood writer-director best known for The Deer Hunter and Heaven’s Gate, died in early June aged 77.

Cimino started his career in television commercials and as a screenwriter, with credits including 1972 sci-fi tale Silent Running and 1973 Clint Eastwood crime thriller Magnum Force. He made his directing debut on 1974 Eastwood comedy drama Thuderbolt and Lightfoot, which he also wrote.

He rose to prominence as director of 1978 Vietnam war story The Deer Hunter, on which he also got a story credit. The film won five Oscars, including best picture and best director for Cimino himself.

Two years later, however, Cimino’s reputation took a hit when Heaven’s Gate, which he wrote and directed, ran over schedule and over budget (as chronicled in the 1985 book Final Cut). Though it was selected for the competition at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, the epic western turned out to be a critical and commercial flop.

During the eighties and nineties Cimino made only a handful of films, among them Year of the Dragon and Desperate Hours. His most recent credit was as director of a segment of 2007 portmanteau film To Each His Own Cinema (Chacun son cinema).

In 2012, Cimino won the Venice film festival’s Persol Award.