The stars who died in 2021: Sean Lock, Helen McCrory, Sarah Harding and more

Comedian Sean Lock, actress Helen McCrory and singer Sarah Harding were among the notable stars who died in 2021.

A year still blighted by the global pandemic saw several shocking and unexpected deaths of much loved celebrities.

Here are some of the high-profile figures who were mourned during the last 12 months:

King of Hearts Awards Gala – Los Angeles
Veteran US talk show host Larry King died at the age of 87, after having been in hospital with Covid-19 (Ian West/PA)


Gerry Marsden

The Gerry and the Pacemakers star, singer of the Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone, died at the age of 78.

Sir Paul McCartney was among those who paid tribute to his fellow Merseyside singer and “long-time friend”.

Tanya Roberts

Former Bond girl Roberts died at the age of 65, several hours after her publicist incorrectly announced her death.

Multiple outlets initially incorrectly reported the death of the actress, who starred as Stacey Sutton opposite Sir Roger Moore in his final Bond film, A View To A Kill in 1985.

Michael Apted

The acclaimed British director, whose work included the Up series which followed seven-year-olds through their lives, as well as the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, died aged 79.

Tributes to Apted came from from the Director’s Guild of America, Bafta and the Bond franchise.

Larry King

Veteran US talk show host King died at the age of 87 after he was in hospital with Covid-19.

The news was shared on his Twitter page by Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded in 2012.


Christopher Plummer

The Sound Of Music star died at his home in Connecticut, in the US, aged 91.

In 2012 Plummer became the oldest actor to win an Oscar, and tributes were paid following his death by celebrities including his co-star Dame Julie Andrews, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.

The 84th Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles
Christopher Plummer, who became the oldest actor to win an Oscar in 2012, died aged 91 (Ian West/PA)

Christopher Lee

Historian and author Lee died at the age of 79 after contracting coronavirus.

Lee was widely known as the writer behind the BBC’s This Sceptred Isle radio series, and died at his home in Sussex surrounded by his family.


Johnny Briggs

The Coronation Street actor, known for his role as Mike Baldwin in the long-running ITV soap, died age 85 after a long illness.

Cast members described Briggs as a “lovely man” who they all “adored”.

Trevor Peacock

The actor, known for playing stuttering Jim Trott in The Vicar Of Dibley, died at the age of 89.

Co-star Dawn French remembered him as “the funniest, twinkliest, cleverest, warmest, cheekiest chap ever,” adding, “he was so easy to love”.

TV Awards Peacock
Trevor Peacock was best known for his role of Jim Trott in the BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley (William Conran/PA)

Jessica Walter

Emmy Award-winning Walter, known for Arrested Development and Archer, died aged 80.

Co-stars including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Tony Hale were among the many celebrities who paid tribute to the “one of a kind” actress.


Paul Ritter

The Friday Night Dinner and Chernobyl actor died at the age of 54 with a brain tumour.

Simon Bird, who played Ritter’s on screen son in the sitcom, described him as “unfailingly generous” and “undeniably cool”.

Helen McCrory

Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London
News of McCrory’s death was shared by her husband actor Damian Lewis (Matt Crossick/PA)

News of the death of the “beautiful and mighty” actress from cancer aged 52 was shared by her “heartbroken” husband Damian Lewis.

McCrory, who starred in hit crime drama Peaky Blinders, James Bond film Skyfall and as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, died peacefully at home.


Marcel Stellman

The creator of long-running gameshow Countdown died aged 96, with tributes paid by former host Carol Vorderman and Dictionary Corner’s Susie Dent.

Belgian-born Stellman was also a record producer and lyricist who wrote songs for stars including Cilla Black, Petula Clark, Charles Aznavour, The Shadows and Tony Bennett.

Nick Kamen

Model and singer Kamen, who was considered a protege of Madonna, died at the age of 59 after a long illness.

She led the tributes to Kamen – also known for his Levi’s 501 advert set in a laundrette – along with Boy George and comedian Matt Lucas.


Richard Donner

The Hollywood director, whose credits include The Goonies and the original Superman film, died aged 91.

He was remembered as an “incredible director and storyteller,” with tributes paid by Steven Spielberg and Mel Gibson.

Joey Jordison

One of the founding members of metal band Slipknot, Jordison died aged 46.

The drummer established the group with percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray in 1995 and they went on to global and chart success.


Una Stubbs death
Best known for her roles in the film Summer Holiday and BBC shows Till Death Us Do Part and Sherlock, Una Stubbs died aged 84 (PA)

Una Stubbs

Best known for her roles in the film Summer Holiday and BBC shows Till Death Us Do Part and Sherlock, Stubbs died aged 84

Summer Holiday co-star Sir Cliff Richard hailed her as “gorgeous” and “wonderful”.

Sean Lock

When the comedian died of cancer at the age of 58 he received a mountain of tributes from other comedy greats such as Lee Mack, Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard.

Lock was known for his surreal content and deadpan style, and was a team captain on Jimmy Carr’s Channel 4 comedy panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats and the spin-off, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Sean Lock death
Sean Lock (PA)

Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones star was hailed as “one of the greatest drummers of his generation” following his death at the age of 80.

He had been a member of the rock group since 1963 and played on classic tracks including (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Paint It Black, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Brown Sugar.


Sarah Harding

The Girls Aloud singer died aged 39 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Famous names from the worlds of music and television, including, Alesha Dixon, Davina McCall and Geri Horner, shared their condolences and memories of working with the “shining star” after her death was announced.

Sarah Harding death
Sarah Harding (PA)

Michael K Williams

The Wire actor was found dead aged 54 at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

Williams, who had a distinctive facial scar from a bar fight on his 25th birthday, was best known for playing the charismatic Omar Little in the acclaimed HBO crime drama, as well as for his role in gangster series Boardwalk Empire.

Maria Mendiola

Mendiola, known for her rendition of the 1977 disco anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, died aged 69.

The song became the unofficial anthem of Scotland football fans in 2015.

John Challis

The Only Fools And Horses star died from cancer at the age of 79.

His portrayal of unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom won him many fans, and he was described by members of the industry as a “true gentleman” and “beloved friend”.


James Michael Tyler

The Friends actor, known for his role as quirky coffee shop manager Gunther, died aged 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Jennifer Aniston, whose character Rachel was the subject of Gunther’s unrequited love said the show “would not have been the same” without him.

Lionel Blair

Lionel Blair death
Showbusiness veteran Lionel Blair died aged 92, following a seven-decade career (PA)

The showbusiness veteran died aged 92 following a seven-decade career.

The actor, tap dancer, presenter and choreographer was declared a “showbiz trooper” and received tributes from members of the industry such as Bonnie Langford and Julian Clary.


Stephen Sondheim

Sondheim, creator of demonic musical Sweeney Todd, was hailed as one of theatre’s “greatest geniuses” following his death aged 91.

Phantom Of The Opera creator Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber was among those who paid tribute, describing him as a “musical theatre giant of our times, an inspiration not just to two but to three generations”.

Virgil Abloh

Louis Vuitton designer Abloh died aged 41 after a private cancer battle.

A host of celebrities including Hailey Beiber, Kanye West and Drake all paid tribute to the pioneering designer after the news was announced.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala – New York
Virgil Abloh (Aurore Marechal/PA)

Sir Anthony Sher

Theatre star Sir Antony died at the age of 72 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.

Sir Antony was the Prince of Wales’s favourite actor – a fact the royal revealed during his 2017 Commonwealth Tour, with Charles describing the actor as “a giant of the stage” following his death.

Prince of Wales visit to Warwickshire
Sir Antony Sher was the Prince of Wales’s favourite actor (Joe Giddens/PA)


Michael Nesmith

Nesmith, singer and guitarist with American pop quartet The Monkees, died at the age of 78.

The group achieved international fame in the 1960s, but Nesmith was also a successful novelist and businessman.

Carlos Marin

The singer from the male quartet group Il Divo died at age 53.

The German-born Spanish baritone’s bandmates paid tribute to their “friend and partner” and said there would “never be another voice or spirit like Carlos”.