by FilmGordon Staff
Remembering the celebrities who died this year.
Sidney Poitier (February 20, 1927 – January 6, 2022) was an American actor, film director, and diplomat. In 1964, he was the first black actor and the first Bahamian to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. He received two competitive Golden Globe Awards, a competitive British Academy of Film and Television Arts award (BAFTA), and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. Poitier was one of the last major stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
Sonya Eddy (June 17, 1967 – December 19, 2022) was an American actress.
Betty Davis (born Betty Gray Mabry; July 26, 1944 – February 9, 2022) was an American singer, songwriter, and model. She was known for her controversial sexually-oriented lyrics and performance style and was the second wife of trumpeter Miles Davis.
Johnny Brown (June 11, 1937 – March 2, 2022) was an American actor and singer. He was most famous for his role as building superintendent Nathan Bookman on the 1970s CBS sitcom, Good Times. Brown portrayed Bookman until the series was canceled in 1979.
Taurean Blacque (born Herbert Middleton Jr.; May 10, 1940 – July 21, 2022) was an American television and stage actor, best known for his role as Detective Neal Washington on the series Hill Street Blues.
Mary Alice Smith (December 3, 1936 – July 27, 2022), known professionally as Mary Alice, was an American television, film, and stage actress. Alice was known for her roles as Leticia “Lettie” Bostic on the sitcom A Different World (1987–1989) and Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her recurring role on the series I’ll Fly Away. Alice also performed on the stage and received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her appearance in the 1987 production of August Wilson’s Fences.
Roger Earl Mosley (December 18, 1938 – August 7, 2022) was an American actor, director, and writer best known for his role as the helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin in the CBS television series Magnum, P.I., which originally aired from 1980 until 1988.
Denise Yvonne Dowse (February 21, 1958 – August 13, 2022) was an American actress and director. She was best known for her roles as Mrs. Yvonne Teasley in the television series Beverly Hills, 90210 (1991–2000), Judge Rebecca Damsen in The Guardian (2001–2004), and Dr. Rhonda Pine in Insecure.
Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (August 1, 1963 – September 28, 2022), known professionally as Coolio, was an American rapper. First rising to fame as a member of the gangsta rap group WC and the Maad Circle, Coolio achieved mainstream success as a solo artist in the mid-to-late 1990s with his albums It Takes a Thief (1994), Gangsta’s Paradise (1995), and My Soul (1997). He is best known for his 1995 Grammy Award–winning hit single “Gangsta’s Paradise“, as well as other singles “Fantastic Voyage” (1994), “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” (1996), and “C U When U Get There” (1997).
Clarence Alfred Gilyard Jr. (December 24, 1955 – November 28, 2022) was an American university professor, actor, and author. As a performer, he appeared in film, television, and stage productions; some sources give his middle name as Alfred. Gilyard was known for his roles as a second private investigator and right-hand man Conrad McMasters to Ben Matlock (played by Andy Griffith) on the legal drama series Matlock from 1989 to 1993; Pastor Bruce Barnes in the first two Left Behind movies; Cordell Walker’s (played by Chuck Norris) Texas Ranger partner, James “Jimmy” Trivette, in the 1990s crime drama Walker, Texas Ranger; Theo, the terrorist computer expert in Die Hard; and Lieutenant (junior grade) Evan “Sundown” Gough in Top Gun.
Stephen Laurel “tWitch” Boss (September 29, 1982 – December 13, 2022) was an American freestyle hip-hop dancer, choreographer, actor, television producer, and television personality. In 2008, he finished second place on the American version of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). From 2014 to May 2022, he was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a repeated guest host and he was also a co-executive producer of the program. He was featured in Ellen’s Game of Games as a sidekick to DeGeneres.
Thomas Randolph Bell (January 26, 1943 – December 22, 2022) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, pianist, and composer known as one of the creators of Philadelphia soul in the 1970s. He found success as a producer and songwriter for the Delfonics, Stylistics, and Spinners. In June 2006, Bell was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2016, Bell was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
David A. Arnold (March 15, 1968 – September 7, 2022) was an American stand-up comedian, sitcom writer, producer, and actor.
Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Dell Nichols; December 28, 1932 – July 30, 2022) was an American actress, singer, and dancer best known for her portrayal of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and its film sequels. Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura was groundbreaking for African American actresses on American television. From 1977 until 2015, Nichols volunteered her time to promote NASA’s programs and recruit diverse astronauts, including some of the first female and ethnic minority astronauts. Nichols trained in dance and began her career as a dancer, singer, and model in Chicago. She went into stage acting and had a television and film career.
Irene Cara Escalera (March 18, 1959 – November 25, 2022) was an American singer, songwriter, and actress of Black, Puerto Rican, and Cuban descent. Cara rose to prominence for her role as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical film Fame, and for recording the film’s title song “Fame“, which reached No. 1 in several countries. In 1983, Cara co-wrote and sang the song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (from the film Flashdance), for which she shared an Academy Award for Best Original Song and won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1984. Before her success with Fame, Cara portrayed the title character Sparkle Williams in the original 1976 musical drama film Sparkle.