The year 2020 might be remembered as the one where Covid-19 brought a halt to nearly everything; from cinema to sports, everything came to a halt. However, what didn’t stop was the departure of some of the biggest names in the field of entertainment and sports. From the world’s most famous footballer to renowned test cricketers, from Hollywood’s iconic actors to the first actor to play James Bond, many breathed their last in the last 12 months.
Hollywood lost Oscar winners, TV actors, and James Bond
The year began and ended for Hollywood on a sad note; it lost some of the biggest names and TV and Films starting from two-time Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland to multiple-time Oscar nominee Kirk Douglas. While the former was 104 years old, the latter was 103 years old, and with their death Hollywood’s Golden Era lost two of its brightest stars.
The original James Bond and star of many blockbusters Sean Connery bade farewell to his countless fans at the age of 90 as did his Never Say Never Again co-star Max Von Sydow who spent 70 years entertaining the audience.
Actress Honor Blackman who became popular as Pussy Galore through James Bond’s Goldfinger and Diana Rigg, the only actress to play Mrs. James Bond also passed away at the age of 94 and 82 respectively.
There was master composer Ennio Morricone who saddened many with his final bow and left a huge legacy of compositions that will keep his name alive. Rockstar Eddie Van Halen also breathed his last at 65 while film and TV actor Reni Santoni left his fans sad with his demise at 82. Chadwick Boseman the Black Panther of Marvel Cinematic Universe succumbed to cancer at 43, leaving the entire world shocked.
For film and TV veterans Ian Holm, Carl Reiner, Brian Dennehy, and Richard Herd, it was the end of the road too for they passed away during the 12 months of the ill-fated year. Director Joel Schumacher also couldn’t make it to 2021 and was joined by veteran novelist John Le Carre whose many novels have become blockbuster flicks during the last fifty years.
A sad, sad, sad year for Bollywood
The year 2020 left Bollywood poorer as it took some of the biggest names in the Indian film industry. Starting from the indomitable Irrfan Khan who made his name in both Bollywood and Hollywood and died due to cancer at the age of 53. His D-Day co-star Rishi Kapoor, a heartthrob in the 70s and the 80s, also succumbed to leukaemia at the age of 67 a day later.
Yesteryear actors Jagdeep and Ranjit Chowdhry who became famous for their comic roles in the 70s and the 80s also breathed their last in 2020. Film actresses Nimmi and Kum Kum also separated from their fans at the age of 87 and 86, and left behind a legacy of films and songs for their fans to cherish.
The apparent suicide of prominent actor Sushant Singh Rajput at 34 shocked many in India since he was a rising star with a bright future that was cut short for an undisclosed reason. Veteran playback singer SP Balasubramaniam also died from Covid-19 complications at the age of 74, while veteran choreographer Saroj Khan passed away due to a sudden cardiac arrest at 73.
Music director Wajid Khan of Sajid-Wajid fame breathed his last at 43 and passed due to COVID-19 complications while veteran filmmaker Basu Chatterjee died of natural causes at 93 during the last 12 months.
Pakistan lost actors, supermodel and Tariq Aziz
Pakistan TV and film industry was dealt a huge blow with the demise of Tariq Aziz, the man who announced the arrival of TV in the country in 1964. He also hosted the popular Neelam Ghar for 45 years and was considered an icon when it came to hosting TV shows.
Another legend Athar Shah Khan also died after a prolonged illness during 2020; the 76-year-old playwright and actor who became popular as his alter ego Jaidi worked on Radio, TV, and theatre whereas directed a film as well.
Talking of films and we come to the shocking demise of veterans Sabiha Khanum and Firdous Begum at 84 and 73 respectively.
While Sabiha Khanum rules the screens first as a leading lady in the 1950s and the 1960s and later as a character actress till the 1990s, Firdous Begum was part of mostly Punjabi cinema and was known as Heer for she acted in the blockbuster Heer Ranjha in 1970.
Budding model Zara Abid had her life cut short as he passed away in the horrific plane crash in Karachi at the age of 28; Guest House famed Tariq Malik aka Murad and Mirza Akhtar Shirani who was famous for theatre dramas with Umar Sharif also breathed their last during the year.
Veteran TV and film actor Mirza Shahi passed away due to COVID-19 while another comedian Amanullah Khan made his final bow early in the year. Veteran lyricist Shakeel Sohail who mostly collaborated with music composer Shiraz Uppal breathed his last at the age of 55, leaving behind a legacy of songs for his fans to cherish.
From World Cup winners, Olympic Gold medalist to test cricketers, 2020 took away all!
This year was also bad for sports fans as they lost many great players – the death of Basketball giant Kobe Bryant was the most tragic death as the 41-year-old died in a helicopter crash earlier in the year. Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona bade farewell to his fans in the latter part of the year, passing away from heart failure at the age of 60.
Another World Cup winner, Italian footballer Paolo Rossi also died at 64 from lung cancer while Pakistani legend hockey player and Olympic Gold medalist Abdul Rasheed Junior breathed his last at the age of 79 this year.
Cricket enthusiasts especially Australians and Pakistanis were saddened when their most-loved Dean Jones suddenly passed away from a heart attack at the age of 59.
The former World Cup-winning batsman was not just a great batsman but was serving as the Head Coach of Karachi Kings in Pakistan Super League and his team won the event that was completed after his death.
Former Australian Wicket Keeper and Captain Barry Jarman also left his countrymen saddened with his departure at the age 84 whereas Graeme Watson who played five Test for Australia between 1966 and 1972 also took his bow at 75.
There were many other renowned and lesser-known Cricketers who bade farewell to their fans with their final act. West Indian legend and member of the three Ws Sir Everton Weekes lost his life at the age of 95; his opponent on the field former New Zealand captain John Reid also couldn’t make it past 2020 as he died at 92.
The member of the first Pakistani Test squad Waqar Hasan also breathed his last this year, moving to his heavenly abode at the age 87. His teammate for two Tests Khalid Wazir also passed away during the year at the age of 84, and although he played just two matches, people knew him as Indian Test Cricketer Wazir Ali’s son. Former Test Cricketer and one of the first really quick bowlers produced by Pakistan Mohammad Munaf also died during 2020 at the age of 84.
It was a sad year for Indian Cricket as they lost both Bapu Nadkarni and Chetan Chauhan at the age of 86 and 73 respectively. Both played 40 odd Tests for their country and were quite instrumental after their retirements.
English all-rounder David Capel also died of a brain tumour at the age of 57 while it was also the end of the road for former English opener John Edrich who represented England in as many as 77 Tests between 1963 and 1977.