For this, we counted Emmy winners and nominees in the biggest acting categories -- drama and comedy series only -- over the last 11 years. We lost eight of these Emmy winners in 2016, including everyone's favorite neurotic talk-show host, Garry Shandling. When it comes to TV-star deaths that only ties 2014 as the deadliest year of the past decade. That cruel year, we said farewell to Sid Caesar, James Garner and -- no, not Alice! -- "The Brady Bunch's" Ann B. Davis.
Sports Illustrated has been naming its Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year -- a worthy yardstick of sports excellence and fame -- since 1954. In 2016, we lost three of them -- boxer Muhammad Ali, golfer Arnold Palmer and hoops coach Pat Summitt. No other year in the last decade has seen the death of more than one.
Walk of Fame
Some celebrities, such as TV's Florence Henderson, achieved huge fame without winning an Emmy, Oscar or Grammy. So we also took a look at stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and you'll see lots of recently departed names immortalized in the sidewalk -- 15 of them from this year, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was famous for ... being famous. But 2016 is only the third-deadliest year for Walk of Fame recipients, behind 2012 and 2006. In 2006 alone, we lost 18 stars, among them comedian Red Buttons, talk-show host Mike Douglas and Don Knotts, better known as bumbling Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show."
Yep, 2016 was indeed one Grim Reaper of a year. We lost at least 34 celebrities by our admittedly unscientific count, which factor in such Oscar- and Grammy-winning celebs such as Debbie Reynolds who appear in multiple categories. But it's not quite the worst ever. (In 2009, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died on the SAME DAY!)
When it comes to sheer numbers, this year is edged out by 2006, when some 36 celebs died -- including "City Slickers'" Jack Palance and James Brown, the Hardest-Working man in Show Business, who for all we know may still be playing gigs in heaven. So the next time someone complains about 2016 killing all our heroes, tell them it could be worse. It has been worse.