Notable deaths of 2022: The influential people we lost this year

From the death of Britain's longest reigning monarch to the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the world said goodbyes to a host of influential people in 2022. 

Here is a look back at the actors, athletes, entertainers, creators and politicians who died this year.

Shinzo Abe


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at the prime minister official residence on August 28, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Franck Robichon - Pool/Getty Images)

Shinzo Abe was Japan’s longest serving prime minister. He was also perhaps the most polarizing, complex politician in recent Japanese history. Abe was fatally shot July 8 during a campaign speech. He was 67 years old. 

Marvin Lee Aday, "Meat Loaf"


Meat Loaf Backstage at the Manchester Apollo, England 1981 (Sony Music Archive via Getty Images/Terry Lott)

The rock superstar known as "Meat Loaf" was loved by millions for his "Bat Out of Hell" album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as "Paradise By the Dashboard Light," "Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad," and "I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)." He died Jan. 20 at 74 years old. 

Madeleine Albright


State Secy. Madeleine Albright (L) raising hand, being sworn-in by VP Al Gore (R) w. her (unident.) daughter & Pres. Bill Clinton (C) in witness, in White House Oval Office ceremony. (Photo by Diana Walker/Getty Images)

Madeleine Albright was a child refugee from Nazi- and then Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe who rose to become the first female secretary of state and a mentor to many current and former American statesmen and women. She died March 23 at 84 years old. 

Kirstie Alley


Actress Kirstie Alley attends the "Kirstie" premiere party at Harlow on December 3, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Alley, a two-time Emmy winner whose roles on the TV megahit "Cheers" and in the "Look Who’s Talking" films made her one of the biggest stars in American comedy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, died Dec. 5. She was 71.

Louie Anderson


Comedian/actor Louie Anderson at the Rampart Casino at The Resort at Summerlin on March 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Louie Anderson’s four-decade career as a comedian and actor included his unlikely, Emmy-winning performance as mom to twin adult sons in the TV series "Baskets." He died Jan. 21 at 68 years old. 

Sonny Barger


Portrait of American biker and founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels Sonny Barger (born Ralph Barger) as he sits at a table, San Francisco, California, January 1979. (Photo by Janet Fries/Getty Images)

Sonny Barger was a leather-clad fixture of 1960s counterculture and figurehead of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who was at the notorious Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway. He died June 29 at 83 years old.

Pope Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI presides over his general weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican (Photo by Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis via Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI, the shy German theologian who tried to reawaken Christianity in a secularized Europe but will forever be remembered as the first pontiff in 600 years to resign from the job, died Dec. 31. He was 95.

Stephen 'tWitch' Boss


NBCUniversal Portrait Studio, January 2018 -- Pictured: Stephen 'tWitch' Boss -- (Photo by Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Stephen "tWitch" Boss, a dancer and choreographer best known as the DJ and sidekick on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show, died Dec. 13 in Los Angeles. He was 40 years old. 

James Caan


File photo of actor James Caan at his home in Los Angeles, Calif. on 9/29/88. (Photo by Bob Riha Jr/WireImage)

James Caan was the curly-haired tough guy known to movie fans as the hotheaded Sonny Corleone of "The Godfather" and to television audiences as both the dying football player in the classic weeper "Brian’s Song" and the casino boss in "Las Vegas." He died July 6 at 82 years old. 

Aaron Carter


Aaron Carter is seen arriving to the Celebrity Boxing Face Off between Lamar Odom & Aaron Carter on April 10, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)

The singer-rapper, brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter, began performing as a child and had hit albums starting in his teen years. Aaron Carter died Nov. 5 at 34 years old. 

Ash Carter


U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in Berlin, Germany, 2015. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Ash Carter was a former defense secretary who opened combat jobs to women and ended a ban on transgender people serving in the military. He died Oct. 24 at 68 years old. 



Portrait of American rapper, actor and producer Coolio (Artis Ivey), Amsterdam, Netherlands 3rd November 1995. (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)

 The rapper was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including "Gangsta’s Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage." Coolio died Sept. 28 at 59 years old. 

Betty Davis


Photo of Betty DAVIS; Posed studio portrait of Betty Davis (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

Betty Davis was a bold and pioneering funk singer, model and songwriter of the 1960s and ‘70s who was credited with inspiring then-husband Miles Davis’ landmark fusion of jazz and more contemporary sounds. She died Feb. 9 at 77 years old.

Robert Durst


New York real estate scion Robert Durst appears in the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Branch for a pre-trial motions hearing involving witnesses that are expected to testify before the trial January 6, 2017 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times ).

The wealthy New York real estate heir and failed fugitive was dogged for decades with suspicion in the disappearance and deaths of those around him before he was convicted last year of killing his best friend. Robert Durst died Jan. 10 at 78 years old. 

Queen Elizabeth II

a3527e12-The Queen Visits West Sussex

Queen Elizabeth II is seen at the Chichester Theatre while visiting West Sussex on November 30, 2017 in Chichester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century. In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernize the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals. For most Britons, she was the only monarch they had ever known. She died Sept. 8 at 96 years old. 

Louise Fletcher


American actress Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest', directed by Milos Forman, 1975. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Louise Fletcher was a late-blooming star whose riveting performance as the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" set a new standard for screen villains and won her an Academy Award. She died Sept. 23 at 88 years old. 

Jason David Frank


Jason David Frank of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers attends the Saban's Power Rangers Legacy Wars tournament at New York Comic Con 2017 - Day 1 on October 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images for Saban Brands)

The actor played the Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver on the 1990s children’s series "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers." Jason David Frank died Nov. 19. He was 49 years old. 



American comedian Gallagher (born Leo Gallagher Jr) performs at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, July 10, 1981. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

The long-haired, smash-’em-up comedian left a trail of laughter, anger and shattered watermelons over a decades long career. Gallagher died Nov. 11 at 76 years old. 

Mikhail Gorbachev


Soviet ldr. Mikhail Gorbachev poised outside, speaking during summit arrival ceremony at WH. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)

The last leader of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev set out to revitalize it but ended up unleashing forces that led to the collapse of communism, the breakup of the state and the end of the Cold War. He died Aug. 30 at 91 years old.

Gilbert Gottfried


Comedian Gilbert Gottfried speaks onstage during the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne Barr at Hollywood Palladium on August 4, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The actor and legendary standup comic was known for his raw, scorched voice and crude jokes. Gottfried died April 12 at 67 years old.

Estelle Harris


Actor Estelle Harris listens to a question during panel discussion for the Disney/ABC Cable Network Group 2005 Television Critics Winter Press Tour at the Hilton Universal Hotel on January 12, 2005 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Frederick M

Estelle Harris hollered her way into TV history as George Costanza’s short-fused mother on "Seinfeld" and voiced Mrs. Potato Head in the "Toy Story" franchise. She died April 2 at 93 years old.

Orrin Hatch


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) waits in the Senate President pro tempore office for the arrival of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the U.S. Capitol July 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Orrin Hatch was the longest-serving Republican senator in history and a fixture in Utah politics for more than four decades. He died April 23 at 88 years old.

Taylor Hawkins


Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters performs onstage at the after party for the Los Angeles premiere of "Studio 666" at the Fonda Theatre on February 16, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

For 25 years, Taylor Hawkins was the drummer for Foo Fighters and best friend of frontman Dave Grohl. He died March 25 at 50 years old. 

Anne Heche


Anne Heche attends the 74th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards at The Beverly Hilton on March 12, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

The Emmy-winning film and television actor saw a dramatic Hollywood rise in the 1990s and had an accomplished career contrasted with personal chapters of turmoil. Anne Heche died Aug. 14. She was 53 years old. 

Howard Hesseman


American actor Howard Hesseman (as 'Dr. Johnny Fever' Caravella) talks into a microphone in a broadcast booth in a scene from an unidentified episode of the television comedy 'WKRP in Cincinnati,' 1980. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Howard Hesseman played the radio disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" and the actor-turned-history teacher Charlie Moore on "Head of the Class." He died Jan. 29 at 81 years old. 

William Hurt


Actor William Hurt attends the "Winter's Tale" world premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on February 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)

William Hurt’s laconic charisma and self-assured subtlety as an actor made him one of the 1980s foremost leading men in movies such as "Broadcast News," "Body Heat" and "The Big Chill." He died March 13 at 71 years old. 

Olivia Newton-John


Olivia Newton-John during the annual Wellness Walk and Research Runon September 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Olivia Newton-John was a Grammy-winning superstar who reigned on pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts with such hits as "Physical" and "You’re the One That I Want" and won countless hearts as everyone’s favorite Sandy in the blockbuster film version of "Grease." She died Aug. 8 at 73 years old. 

Leslie Jordan


Leslie Jordan attends the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for GLAAD)

The Emmy-winning actor's wry Southern drawl and versatility made him a comedy and drama standout on TV series including "Will & Grace" and "American Horror Story." He died Oct. 24 at 67 years old. 

Naomi Judd


Singer Naomi Judd visits the SiriusXM Studios on December 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Naomi Judd's family harmonies with daughter Wynonna turned them into the Grammy-winning country stars The Judds.  Her other daughter is actor Ashley Judd. Naomi Judd died April 30. She was 76 years old. 

Mark Lanegan


Mark Lanegan performs on stage, Lowlands festival, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands, 19 August 2012. (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)

Mark Lanegan’s raspy baritone and darkly poetic songwriting made Screaming Trees an essential part of the early Seattle grunge scene and brought him an acclaimed solo career. He died Feb. 22 at 57 years old.

Angela Lansbury


Honoree Angela Lansbury accepts honorary award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The scene-stealing British actor kicked up her heels in the Broadway musicals "Mame" and "Gypsy" and solved endless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series "Murder, She Wrote." Angela Lansbury died Oct. 11 at 96 years old.

Jerry Lee Lewis


1970 Photo of Jerry Lee Lewis Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The untamable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer's outrageous talent, energy and ego collided on such definitive records as "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On." He sustained a career otherwise upended by personal scandal. Lewis died Oct. 28 at 87 years old.

Ray Liotta


Actor Ray Liotta unveils his cabin sign as a tribute for his career along the Promenade des Planches during the 40th Deauville American Film Festival on September 9, 2014 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The actor was best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in "Goodfellas" and baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams." Ray Liotta died May 26 at 67 years old.

Loretta Lynn


Loretta Lynn attends The 12th Annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, on January 28, 1985. (Photo by Lester Cohen/ Getty Images

The Kentucky coal miner’s daughter sang frank songs about life and love as a woman in Appalachia, which pulled her out of poverty and made her a pillar of country music. Loretta Lynn died Oct. 4 at 90 years old.

Robert McFarlane 


Former US National Security Advisor (under President Ronald Reagan) Robert C McFarlane (1937 - 2022) testifies before the joint US Senate and US House committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, July 14, 1987. (Phot

The former White House national security adviser was a top aide to President Ronald Reagan who pleaded guilty to charges for his role in an illegal arms-for-hostages deal known as the Iran-Contra affair. Robert McFarlane died May 12 at 84 years old.

Charles McGee


Shoulders-up portrait of Pilot and Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles Edward McGee (US Air Force, retired), who spoke at a US Department of Agriculture program honoring Tuskegee airmen, Washington, DC Image courtesy Lance Cheung/USDA, 2014. (Photo via S

Charles McGee was a Tuskegee Airman who flew 409 fighter combat missions over three wars and later helped to bring attention to the Black pilots who battled racism at home to fight for freedom abroad. He died Jan. 16 at 102 years old. 

Nichelle Nichols


Nichelle Nichols attends the Ovation TV premiere screening of "Art Breakers" on October 1, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Ovation)

Nichelle Nichols broke barriers for Black women in Hollywood as communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original "Star Trek" television series. She died July 30 at 89 years old. 

P.J. O’Rourke


Portrait of American political satirist and journalist P. J. O'Rourke leaning on a table, 1980s. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

P.J. O’Rourke was a prolific author and satirist who re-fashioned the irreverence and "Gonzo" journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a distinctive brand of conservative and libertarian commentary. He died Feb. 15 at 74 years old.



Miami, Florida: Head and shoulders portrait of the New York Cosmos soccer sensation Pele standing on the field in New York Cosmos uniform. The crowd can be seen in the background.

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé was a record three-time World Cup winner and a standard-bearer for "the beautiful game." He died Dec. 29 at 82 years old. 

Sidney Poitier 


Sidney Poitier during 2006 Cannes Film Festival - Opening Night Gala - Inside at Palais de Festival in Cannes, France. (Photo by Toni Anne Barson/WireImage)

Sidney Poitier played roles of such dignity and intelligence that he transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, becoming the first Black actor to win an Oscar for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw. He died Jan. 6 at 94 years old.

Bill Russell


Former Boston Celtic and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell presents the 2013 W.E.B. Du Bois Medal to NBA Commissioner David Stern at a ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre on October 2, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marott

The NBA great anchored a Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years — the last two as the first Black head coach in any major U.S. sport — and marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. Bill Russell died July 31 at 88 years old.

Bob Saget


Bob Saget attends the Women's Guild Cedars-Sinai Annual Gala at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on November 03, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

The actor-comedian was known for his role as beloved single dad Danny Tanner on the sitcom "Full House" and as the wisecracking host of "America’s Funniest Home Videos." Bob Saget died Jan. 9 at 65 years old.

Bernard Shaw


View of American broadcast journalist Bernard Shaw as he smiles at unidentified others during an unspecified event, New Orleans, Louisiana, between August 15 - 18, 1988. (Photo by Ed Lallo/Getty Images)

Bernard Shaw was CNN’s chief anchor for two decades and a pioneering Black broadcast journalist. He is best remembered for calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 as missiles flew around him in Baghdad. Shaw died Sept. 7 at 82 years old. 

Tony Sirico


American actor Tony Sirico at his home in Bensonhurst, New York City, 17th May 1990. (Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images)

Tony Sirico played the impeccably groomed mobster Paulie Walnuts in "The Sopranos" and brought his tough-guy swagger to films including "Goodfellas." He died July 8 at 79 years old. 

Paul Sorvino


Paul Sorvino sings a special night of opera at Saban Theatre on November 11, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Joe Kohen/WireImage)

Paul Sorvino was an imposing actor who specialized in playing crooks and cops like Paulie Cicero in "Goodfellas" and the NYPD sergeant Phil Cerreta on "Law & Order." He died July 25 at 83 years old. 

Ronnie Spector


Posed portrait of Ronnie Spector, window (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

The cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as "Be My Baby," "Baby I Love You" and "Walking in the Rain" as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes died Jan. 12. She was 78.

Kenneth Starr


Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on impeachment inquiry 19 November on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. (Photo by LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Ken Starr was a former federal appellate judge and a prominent attorney whose criminal investigation of Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment and put Starr at the center of one of the country’s most polarizing debates of the 1990s. He died Sept. 13 at 76 years old. 



Rapper Takeoff of Migos performs at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre on May 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

The rapper best known for his work with the Grammy-nominated trio Migos. Takeoff was killed in a shooting in Houston on Nov. 1. He was 28 years old. 

Ivana Trump


Ivana Trump poses for photos at the book launch and reception for Ivana Trump and Gianluca Mech's "The Italiano Diet" at The Oak Room at the Plaza on June 13, 2018 in New York, New York. (Photo by Rebecca Smeyne/Getty Images)

Ivana Trump was a skier-turned-businesswoman who formed half of a publicity power couple in the 1980s as the first wife of former President Donald Trump and mother of his oldest children. She died July 14 at 73 years old. 

Grant Wahl


Grant Wahl with a world cup replica trophy, in recognition of their achievement of covering 8 or more FIFA World Cups, during an AIPS / FIFA Journalist on the Podium ceremony at the Main Media Centre on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Bre

Grant Wahl, a renowned sports journalist known who helped grow the popularity of soccer in the United States and reported on some of the biggest stories in the sport, died Dec. 9 while covering the World Cup in Qatar. He was 49 years old. 

Barbara Walters


Television personality Barbara Walters arrives at the New Amsterdam theater for the Dana Reeve Memorial Service April 10, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Clarence Elie-Rivera/Getty Images)

Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, anchor and program host who blazed the way as the first woman to become a TV news superstar during a career remarkable for its duration and variety, died Dec. 30. She was 93.

Fred Ward


Actor Fred Ward speaks at Telluride Film Festival held at the Galaxy Theatre on September 4, 2009 in Telluride, Colorado.

Fred Ward was a veteran actor who brought a gruff tenderness to tough-guy roles in such films as "The Right Stuff," "The Player" and "Tremors." He died May 8 at 79 years old. 

Don Young


Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, conducts a news conference on January 26, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Alaska congressman was the longest-serving Republican in the history of the U.S. House. Don Young died March 18 at 88 years old. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.