June 2020 Celebrity Death Recap
Take a read at the life stories of celebrities and notable individuals we lost in June of 2020.
Sir Ian Holm
Actor, played Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.
Sept 12, 1931 — June 19, 2020
Ian Holm, most famous for playing Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, passed away at the age of 88. The death was a result of Parkinson’s disease.
Holm was born in a psychiatric hospital in Goodmayes, Essex on September 12, 1931. Holm’s father was the superintendent of the hospital and was a pioneer in electric shock. While attending private school, Holm struggled with bullying and anxiety. He took haven in his love for drama.
Before entering cinema, Holm became an outstanding theatre actor. He landed his first job with the Royal Shakespeare Company where he took on roles that included Donalbain in MacBeth, The Fool in King Lear, and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Holm won a Tony Award for his role as Lenny in Harold Pinter’s play, The Homecoming. In 1976, an episode of stage fright during The Iceman Cometh effectively ended his stage career.
Holm then shifted his focuses to on-screen. In 1981, his role as Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He also had notable roles in The Fifth Element, Alien, and Ratatouille. Overall, Ian Holm had more than 100 roles in both television and film. Although Holm often held supporting roles, he was commended for the wide range of roles he played.
Holm married four times and had five children. In 1989, he was awarded with the Order of the British Empire, and in 1998 he was knighted for his contributions to drama and the theater.
August 29, 1939 — June 22, 2020
After a year of battling cancer, Joel Schumacher, fashion designer and film director, passed away in New York City at the age of 80.
Schumacher is best known as a filmmaker, but he started his career in fashion. Schumacher studied at Parsons the New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After moving to Los Angeles, Schumacher entered showbiz as a costume designer where he was involved in the films Play It as It Lays (1972), Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973), and Neil Simon’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975).
After gaining recognition in Hollywood, Schumacher was given some opportunities to write scripts and direct. His first two films, The Incredible Shrinking Woman and D.C. Cab, did not garner much attention. However, he gained distinction for his directing of St. Elmo’s Fire. With a cast that included Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, Schumacher was praised for his take on the challenges life brings after college. Schumacher had another hit with his next movie, The Lost Boys. The horror-comedy became a favorite with young people.
In 1993, Warner Bros. selected Schumacher as the director of the Batman franchise. His first of the franchise, Batman Forever, starred Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, and Nicole Kidman. It received mixed reviews but was very successful financially, grossing more than $300 million worldwide. Schumacher’s second Batman movie, Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger, received even worst reviews than the first.
Schumacher’s other films include A Time to Kill, Flawless, The Number 23, and Falling Down.
June 9, 1939 — June 16, 2020
Charles Webb, best known for his 1963 novel The Graduate and its mega hit film adaptation in 1967, passed away on June 16 in Eastbourne, England.
The Graduate was Webb’s first and most successful book. He went on to write eight more other novels. Webb and his wife, Eve Rudd, lived their lives in poverty by choice. The Webbs lived a non-materialistic lifestyle and gave away any money and possessions that came their way. They chose to work odd jobs, and move between different campgrounds and trailer parks.
Famously, Webb sold the film rights to The Graduate for a one-time $20,000 fee. He could’ve earned millions of dollars by just taking a small percentage of the movie profits but chose not to.
Caroline Dawnay, who was Webb’s agent in the early 2000s, said, “He had a very odd relationship with money. He never wanted any. He had an anarchist view of the relationship between humanity and money.”
Comic Book Artist for Marvel
October 16, 1926 — June 25, 2020
Joe Sinnott, the comic book artist for the Fantastic Four and the Avengers in the 1960s, passed away at the age of 93. Sinnott’s family shared the news on his Facebook account.
In 1950, Sinnott became an illustrator after a short stint in the Navy. Sinnott is best known for his role as an inker at Marvel Entertainment. He developed a great partnership with penciller, Jack Kirby. This partnership remains as one of the most distinguished in American comic history. The duo was best known for their work in the Fantastic Four, but also worked together on Captain America, The Inhumans and the graphic novel, The Silver Surfer. Sinnott had a very original inking style and really defined the Marvel look-and-feel.
Sinnott officially retired from the comic book industry in 1992, however he continued to work in the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip until March 2019.
Singer & Songwriter
July 11, 1950 — June 8, 2020
Bonnie Pointer, an American singer and songwriter, passed away due to cardiac arrest at the age of 69. She is best known for being a member of the Pointer Sisters music group.
Bonnie, originally named Patricia, was born in West Oakland, California. She was the third daughter of two church ministers, Elton and Sarah Pointer. Bonnie’s parents encouraged her and her sisters to sing gospel at their church.
In 1969, Bonnie joined by her sisters, June and Anita, officially formed the Pointer Sisters. The trio started as back-up singers for a variety of San Francisco area rock musicians. In 1971, the sisters signed with Atlantic Records. This is when the sisters began to find their style. Their range was amazing. They incorporated 1930s and 1940s elements of jazz, blues, country, and funk. This style extended to their fashion as well. They were noted for dressing in 1940s styles and picking up their clothes from thrift stores.
In 1972, the oldest sister, Ruth, joined the trio. The group was dropped by Atlantic Records but were picked up by Blue Thumb where the group began turning out some hits. Their singles Yes We Can, Fairytale, and How Long (Betcha’ Got a Chick on the Side) all reached the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The group won their first Grammy in 1974 for Fairytale in the category of best country performance by a duo/group.
In the late 1970s, Bonnie left the group to pursue a solo career. In 1978, she signed with Motown and in the same year she released her biggest hit as a solo artist, Heaven Must Have Sent You. In all, Bonnie released three albums as a solo artist. At Motown she also met and married producer Jeffrey Bowen.
March 29, 1956 — June 5, 2020
Kurt Thomas, a U.S. gymnast, died at 64 from complications of a stroke he suffered on May 24. International Gymnast confirmed the death from Thomas’ wife. He was the first American male to win gold at a world championship. Thomas was described as an entertaining gymnast who competed with flair.
At Indiana State University, he captured five individual NCAA championships and led his team to the 1977 team title. In 1978, Thomas broke a near 50-year drought for the U.S. by capturing a major international title at the world championships in Strasbourg, France. He won gold in floor exercise. The next year, Thomas defended his world championship floor exercise gold in Fort Worth. In total, he took home six medals at the Fort Worth championships, including a gold in the horizontal bar and a silver medal in the all-round competition. He unfortunately missed his best chance to capture Olympic gold when the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow.