©2020 Kari Carlisle
With a combined filmography surpassing 700, it could take you years to watch the shows and movies these five icons of television and cinema alone produced. Likely, you only know them from a handful of roles. Sadly, we lost these long-lived actors in 2019, though there may be a few 2020 releases coming out to watch for that feature their talents.
Rutger Hauer 1944-2019
After seeing Rutger Hauer in Ladyhawke back in the 80s, I couldn’t get enough of him. With a filmography in the triple digits, I’ve seen only a selection, though. These include a couple of his interesting choices such as Flesh+Blood and The Blood of Heroes, both of which forged deep impacts in my psyche, even if they were not great movies. And of course, he is best known for his bad-guy roles in Blade Runner and The Hitcher.
Rene Auberjonois 1940-2019
Playing one of my favorite Star Trek characters, Odo in Deep Space Nine, Rene Auberjonois fascinated me as a shape-shifting alien that could take different forms. Odd that he couldn’t quite perfect the human face. Nevertheless, he brought an acting professionalism to the role that made Odo completely believable to me, so much that I quickly forgot growing up watching him in his role in the sitcom, Benson.
Peter Mayhew 1944-2019
With only a handful of credits outside his iconic role, Peter Mayhew made a career out of playing a single character, and we never saw his face. He will be forever known and adored as Chewbacca. Even hidden inside his big, furry suit, the role still requires some acting chops, and fortunately, Peter Mayhew famously trained his replacement when he retired.
Katherine Helmond 1929-2019
A comedic genius, Katherine Helmond perfected the not-to-be-underestimated ditsy redhead in TV sitcoms like Soap and Benson (alongside Auberjonois) and used her perfect timing in the dark comedy sci-fi movies, Time Bandits and Brazil.
Rip Torn 1931-2019
A fantastic character actor who did tons of TV, movie, and voice-over work, Rip Torn will be remembered best for protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe in the Men in Black franchise as the gruff agent father figure, Zed. R.I.P., Rip.
How will you remember these actors best? Tell us in the comments…