The year 2022 was another big one for celebrity losses, between Queen Elizabeth II, Bob Saget, and Kirstie Alley, just to name a few. But there were many more whose deaths slipped under the radar, overshadowed by other events. Here are seven celebrities, sports icons, and musicians who died in 2022 and no one seemed to notice.
Actress Sally Kellerman is arguably best known for her role as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the film M*A*S*H, a role which saw her nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. After this, Kellerman went on to have an impressive career in television and film that lasted for more than 60 years. Other notable works included the television shows 90210, Star Trek, Bonanza, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone.
Additionally, she did a handful of movies, such as Back to School and Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and released a few music albums. Her songs were used in the soundtracks for many different movies. Kellerman died at the age of 84 on February 24, 2022. She experienced heart failure, passing away at her Los Angeles home.
Guy “The Flower” Lafleur was considered one of the most electrifying players in NHL history. He was drafted to the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 but would go on to play for the New York Rangers and the Quebec Nordiques as well during his 20-year career. In six consecutive seasons he scored 50 goals, making him the first player to do so, as well as the first to score 50 goals and 100 points.
Lafleur eventually retired from the NHL but was always remembered as a hockey icon. In 2017 he was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history. Only two years later, however, he began to have serious health issues, eventually receiving a lung cancer diagnosis in October 2020. He was named to the Order of Hockey in Canada in early 2022, only to succumb to his illness shortly after at the age of 70 on April 22, 2022.
Bobby Rydell was one of the big singing sensations of the late 1950s into the ’60s, earning himself teen idol status. He released many hit songs, with the most popular including “Wild One” and “Wildwood Days.” While at his peak, he also had a role in the film Bye Bye Birdie. By the end of the 1960s, Rydell had numerous records on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
When his individual popularity waned, he joined Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte, two other popular teen idols, in creating a touring act called The Golden Boys. The trio continued to tour for many years and Rydell, in particular, was still touring until his death. In the years prior, his health had been declining due to a period of heavy drinking and he eventually had to have multiple organ transplants. On April 5, 2022 he passed away from pneumonia at the age of 79.
Ivan Reitman directed many popular comedy films in the 1980s and ’90s. These included the first two Ghostbusters films, Kindergarten Cop, Meatballs, and Junior. Aside from directing, he also worked as a producer for other iconic works like National Lampoon’s Animal House and Space Jam.
He passed away in his sleep at his family home in California on February 12, 2022 at the age of 75. His children released a statement at the time of his death, saying, “Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life. We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world.”
American author Julie Powell is best known for the film Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, which was adapted from her 2005 book, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. The project began as a blog where she chronicled her attempts to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Despite Child allegedly being “unimpressed” with Powell, her work became extremely popular with the public.
She released a second work, titled Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession in 2009. By 2022 she was again writing for Salon, which is where she’d published her initial blog. Sadly, Powell passed away in her New York home after having a heart attack on October 26, 2022. She was only 49.
Bernard Shaw, journalist and lead news anchor for CNN, had a long and distinguished career. He first started working in broadcasting in 1964 as an anchor for WNUS in Chicago. Briefly, he worked as the White House correspondent for Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. Shaw eventually settled in with CNN where he worked from 1981 to his retirement in 2001
His reporting on the 1981 assassination attempt on US President Ronald Reagan is often cited as one of the reasons CNN became a reliable news network. Aside from this, Shaw covered many other major events of the 20th century including the Persian Gulf War and the death of Princess Diana. Shaw died from pneumonia on September 7, 2022, at the age of 82.
The name Peter Robbins might not be immediately recognizable, but he is certainly well-known for his voice. He was the man behind the first Charlie Brown in Peanuts, and was a famous child actor in the 1960s. His career later in life was interrupted by his struggles with bipolar disorder and legal issues.
Robbins attributed many of his problems to mental illness, finally seeking correct treatment in 2020. Sadly, he took his own life on January 18, 2022, at the age of 65.