Notable people who died in 2021

Among the many talented folk who passed away in 2021, we have selected a few memorable names, some famous and some not so well known, from royalty, actors, comics, musicians and even a presidential pet. We recognise and pay our respect to all those who have passed during the year 2021.



On January 26, Cloris Leachman, multi-award winning American film, theatre and TV actress, who featured in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, passed away at age 94.



Known for his romantic landscapes, dramatic floral works and probing portraits, Australian prize-winning artist and frequent Archibald finalist Jason Benjamin was found dead at age 50.


Bunny Wailer, who founded The Wailers with fellow reggae legends Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, died at 73 on March 2 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Also passed on March 2, at 68, music promoter and Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski who signed Australian artists such as Skyhooks, Kylie Minogue and Split Enz.


On April 3, highly successful Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti died at age 78 in Sydney following a fall at Mrs Macquarie’s Point.

Married to Queen Elizabeth II since 1947, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died at 99 years old on April 9 at Windsor Castle, two months before his 100th birthday.

Known for her roles in the Harry Potter films, Peaky Blinders and The Queen, actress Helen McCrory died on April 16 at age 52.


Best known for her part as Shirley Gilroy in the long-running soap, ‘A Country Practice’, actress, singer, presenter and performer Lorrae Desmond died on May 23 on the Gold Coast at age 91.


On June 19, at age 12, German shepherd Champ, beloved pet of US presidential family Joe and Jill Biden, died peacefully at home in Wilmington, Delaware.


Star of Australian TV series including Home & Away, Neighbours, Underbelly and Winners and Losers, Australian actor Dieter Brummer, died on July 24 in Sydney at age 45.


Legendary deadpan drummer for British rock band The Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts died on August 24 in London at 80 years old.

British comedian Sean Lock, who was a regular funny man on TV shows such as QI and 8 Out of 10 Cats, died on August 16 at 58.



Olympic gold-medal-winning Australian field hockey player and later Hockeyroos coach Kathleen Partridge, died on September 13 at age 57.


On October 12 Eddie Jaku, Australian holocaust survivor and author of The Happiest Man on Earth, a book about his experiences, died at the age of 101.

Enduring icon of Australian screens and radio Bert Newton, who scooped four gold Logies during his long career, died in Melbourne at age 83 on October 30.


On November 27 multiple Tony award winning composer and songwriter Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and other musicals, died at age 91 at his Connecticut home.



On December 5, Peter Cundall, Tasmanian gardening expert and chirpy host of ABC TV’s Gardening Australia for 18 years until 2008, died after a short illness at age 94.