7. Louis Zamperini
The subject of Angelina Jolie’s war drama film Unbroken, Louis Zamperini was an Olympic distance runner, a World War II veteran, and a prisoner of war. Though he did not win the 5000-meter distance race that took place in the 1936 Olympics, he caught the eye of none other than Adolf Hitler who became interested in quickly meeting the athlete. The German Führer shook his hands and said,
“Ah, you’re the boy with the fast finish.”
Zamperini thought about other ways to make his country proud and enlisted himself in the United States Army Air Forces where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Following his imprisonment at a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, the veteran took on motivational speaking until his death at the age of 97.
6. James Brady
Everyone remembers when the loony John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan and believed that actress Jodie Foster would fall in love with him if he succeeds. That is where James Brady comes in as he served as an assistant to the White House Press Secretary and the President.
Having shot President Reagan and his associates with serious but non-fatal injuries, it was Brady who suffered the most injuries as the wounds left him with slurred speech and partial paralysis that made him permanently bound to a wheelchair. His death, 33 years after the attempted assassination, was ruled a homicide due to gunshots.
5. Richard Attenborough
Best known as Professor John Hammond from Jurassic Park, Richard Attenborough was much more than a mere actor. A genius when it comes to film-making, Attenborough was the man behind the biographical films Chaplin and Gandhi, winning two Academy Awards for the latter.
Serving as the President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Attenborough was a revered individual in the world of entertainment. Following several heart problems since 2008, the acclaimed filmmaker died at age 90, just five days before his ninety-first birthday.
4. Alfredo Di Stéfano
It was a sad day for football fans when the legendary Argentine-Spanish coach and ex-footballer died due to his second heart attack. Often regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Stéfano is the fifth-highest scorer in Spain’s top division and is the second-highest goal scorer in the history of El Clásico behind none other than Lionel Messi.
Even after his retirement, Stéfano was a vital part of the sport as he became a coach to Argentine clubs and was also named Honorary President of Real Madrid. Legendary footballers such as Sandro Mazzola, Pelé, Eusébio, John Charles, and Luis Suárez have claimed him to be:
“the most complete footballer in the history of the sport.”
3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman
While the current generation may only remember him for his role as Plutarch Heavensee in the Hunger Games franchise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman stands out as one of the most iconic actors in Hollywood and is best known for the intensity of the remarkably contrasting characters he portrays in his movies. Starting his career in minor supporting roles, the actor remained steadfast and eventually bagged an Academy Award along with three nominations.
At the age of 46, the veteran became a victim of acute mixed drug intoxication involving cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, and benzodiazepines. The fact that a syringe was in his arm when he was found dead gives a lesson to not only his fellow actors but everyone that drugs may make you feel relaxed but they will definitely kill you.
2. Shirley Temple
Beginning her acting career at the tender age of three years, Shirley Temple proved to be perhaps the most talented and enthralling performer for her young age and as she grew, so did her success as she remained Hollywood’s number one box office draw from 1935 to 1938. Starring in one hit after another, Temple became the most treasured child star of her time.
Winning several awards including a special Juvenile Academy Award, Temple was simply born to act but resorted to politics as an adult and became a diplomat; even serving as the United States Ambassador to Ghana at one point in her new career.
Gone but not forgotten, Temple had a fair share of success in politics as well. At the age of 85, the former Hollywood star died due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by her lifelong smoking.
1. Robin Williams
One of the most emotionally motivated performers of his time, Robin Williams was an amazing actor and an even better human being. Responsible for creating so many childhood memories in the lives of billions of people, his improvisational skills knew no bounds and established an awestruck career in stand-up comedy, movies, and television.
His fans fell into a state of shock after finding out that Williams died by his own actions as he committed suicide in his own home.
Hanging by tying a belt around his neck and dying from asphyxiation, the legendary actor had been suffering from an immense increase in paranoia during his final days. It was not only one of the most tragic losses in the field of entertainment but also the most devastating death of the entire year.
Honorable Mention: Phillip Hughes
The Australian cricketer had a lot of dreams in his life. Not only he dreamt of them but he also worked hard to achieve them. Having scored his first Test century in his second match at the mere age of 20, everyone knew that the new kid on the block was set to make a name for himself and the left-handed batsman discovered that his time to shine is only beginning.
Unfortunately, fate had something else in mind for the young cricketer. In a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales, the unsuspecting Hughes was strongly hit by a bouncer ball on his neck while batting. Despite being rushed into Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital for intensive medical care, the cricketer never pulled through his coma and died, just three days before his twenty-sixth birthday.
Did we miss any famous stars we lost in 2014 on this list? Feel free to leave a comment below!