Saying Goodbye to 27 of TV's Most Enduring Actors and Actresses (PHOTOS)

Aubry D'Arminio

Mark Mann/August

Leonard Nimoy

March 26, 1931-February 27, 2015

Nimoy will always be known as Spock, the Vulcan and second-in-command to Shatner's Capt. James T. Kirk, from the original Star Trek TV series. It was a role that he reprised in the Star Trek movie reboot and in The Big Bang Theory (as the voice of Sheldon's toy Spock). George Takei, who played Sulu, remembers the late actor as someone "brilliant" who had "integrity." Read Takei's full tribute to Nimoy.

Dearly Departed

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Donna Douglas

September 26, 1932–January 1, 2015

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana–born beauty queen broke hearts throughout the 1960s on The Beverly Hillbillies as busty tomboy Elly May Clampett—a fellow Southern belle doing her best out west.

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Stuart Scott

July 19, 1965–January 4, 2015

He may have popularized the expression booyah, but ESPN talking head Scott—who appeared in music videos for LL Cool J and Luke—made sports commentary funny, surprising and even a bit literary. To paraphrase the man himself, “Just call him butter, ’cause he was on a roll!”

Dearly Departed

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Bob Simon

May 29, 1941–February 11, 2015

The CBS reporter earned 27 Emmys, won four Peabodys, spent 40 days as a captive during the Persian Gulf War and saw more battle (in Saigon, Grenada, Somalia and Haiti) than many soldiers. He was in his 19th year as a 60 Minutes correspondent when he died in an auto accident.

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Harris Wittels

April 20, 1984– February 19, 2015

Recognizable as Parks and Recreation’s animal-control guy, Wittels was also one of the show’s producers. He coined the term “humble brag” and, before his death, wrote episodes of Parks and costar Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series, Master of None.

Sam Simon

June 6, 1955–March 8, 2015

The cartoonist (Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids) and sitcom writer (Taxi) helped Matt Groening shape The Simpsons as an executive producer. He left the show after four seasons (on bad terms) and became a man for all seasons, managing heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster, playing in the World Series of Poker and supporting animal rights and other charities (to which he left $100 million).

Dearly Departed

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Gene Patton

April 25, 1932–March 9, 2015

The NBC stagehand—and first African-American member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees—became famous in the 1970s for his signature shuffle as The Gong Show’s Gene Gene the Dancing Machine.

Dearly Departed

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Richard Dysart

March 30, 1929–April 5, 2015

The actor, best known for playing founding partner Leland McKenzie on L.A. Law, had a knack for portraying politicos. His résumé includes performances as J. Edgar Hoover, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Harry S. Truman two times each.

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

James Best

July 26, 1926–April 6, 2015

The Kentucky native began acting in a military theater troupe during World War II and appeared in several TV Westerns before becoming bungling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, who could never quite catch those good old Duke boys on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Dearly Departed

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Suzanne Crough

March 6, 1963–April 27, 2015

Crough had only a single credit (a Barbie commercial) before landing the role of The Partridge Family’s tambourine-playing youngest, Tracy. After the show’s cancellation, she starred in the Oscar-winning short film Teenage Father and later owned a bookstore.

Dearly Departed

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Marty Pasetta

June 16, 1932–May 21, 2015

The college dropout helmed every Oscar telecast from 1972 to 1988, including the 1974 show, when a streaker sprinted behind Elizabeth Taylor and David Niven—an event Pasetta swore up and down was not planned.

Anne Meara

September 20, 1929–May 23, 2015

Meara performed on stage before she and husband Jerry Stiller became a comedy duo (their son is actor Ben Stiller). But she is perhaps most recognizable as Miranda’s (Cynthia Nixon) dementia-plagued mother-in-law on Sex and the City.

Courtesy Everett Collection

Dick Van Patten

December 9, 1928–June 23, 2015

A Broadway vet by 10, Van Patten played dad Tom, the center of the Bradford clan on Eight Is Enough, from 1977 to ’81. Little-known fact: He founded the pet food company Natural Balance.

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Patrick Macnee

February 6, 1922–June 25, 2015

The suave Englishman fought crime with verbal wit and a black umbrella (albeit one that concealed a sword) as secret agent John Steed on 1960s U.K. import The Avengers (and its 1976 reboot, The New Avengers). He reprised the role in 1996 (sans hat) for Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger” music video.

©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Roger Rees

May 5, 1944–July 10, 2015

The Welsh actor and stage director (who began as a scenery painter) conquered TV as millionaire Robin Colcord on Cheers and as British ambassador Lord John Marbury on The West Wing.

Dearly Departed

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Alex Rocco

February 29, 1936–July 18, 2015

Treasured for his role as casino owner Moe Greene in The Godfather, Rocco was a regular TV guest star for five decades, most recently as a dying agent on Maron.

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Frank Gifford

August 16, 1930–August 9, 2015

One of football’s first celebs, the Hall of Famer and ex-Giant helped make Monday Night Football must-see TV when he entered the broadcast booth in 1971—where he remained until 1998. He had been married to Kathie Lee Gifford since 1986.

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Yvonne Craig

May 16, 1937–August 17, 2015

Craig started as a dancer (just look at those legs), but acting was her calling. She guest-starred on over three dozen TV shows before joining Batman in 1967 as the Caped Crusader’s purple-clad female ally (who was actually the daughter of Neil Hamilton’s Police Commissioner James Gordon). After the show’s cancellation a year later, Craig returned to guesting, most notably as a slinky green slave girl who nearly seduces Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in a 1969 episode of Star Trek. When acting roles dried up, she became a real-estate broker. But Craig couldn’t stay away forever, and from 2009–11, she voiced the role of the adventurous bovine grandmother on Nickelodeon’s animated Olivia.

Dearly Departed

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Bud Yorkin

February 22, 1926–August 18, 2015

The producer was in London when he saw an episode of the U.K. TV series Till Death Us Do Part, which he convinced partner Norman Lear to adapt into All in the Family—changing American sitcoms forever. The pair also made Maude, The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son.

Dearly Departed

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Wes Craven

August 2, 1939–August 30, 2015

The horror auteur’s original TV dramas Nightmare Cafe and The People Next Door were short-lived. But his popular movie franchises A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream both became successful series—the latter of which he was executive producer of when he died.

Dearly Departed

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Judy Carne

April 27, 1939–September 3, 2015

The Brit appeared on Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Gidget and had her own sitcom (Love on a Rooftop) before becoming unforgettable as Laugh-In’s “Sock It to Me” Girl.

Dearly Departed

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Martin Milner

December 28, 1931–September 6, 2015

He had a thing for automobiles: After achieving stardom as a traveling bachelor on Route 66, Milner played an L.A. cop patrolling the streets with his partner from their titular car in Adam-12.

Dearly Departed

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Jack Larson

February 8, 1928–September 20, 2015

Superman’s first TV Jimmy Olsen was also a playwright and librettist who wrote the book for Virgil Thomson’s final opera, Lord Byron.

Dearly Departed

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Al Molinaro

June 24, 1919–October 30, 2015

Known for commercials and as diner owner Al on Happy Days (catchphrase: “Yup, yup, yup, yup”), Molinaro made another contribution to TV: suggesting that unknown stand-up Robin Williams guest star on Days as alien Mork.

Dearly Departed

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Fred Dalton Thompson

August 19, 1942–November 1, 2015

The former senator and Republican presidential candidate played gruff New York City DA Arthur Branch on 141 episodes of the Law & Order franchise.

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David Canary

August 25, 1938–November 16, 2015

The Ohio-bred actor played football for the University of Cincinnati and turned down an offer from the Denver Broncos before spending 30 years (and earning five Emmys) as twins Adam and Stuart Chandler on All My Children.

Dearly Departed

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Robert Loggia

January 3, 1930–December 4, 2015

The actor began his career as a TV guest star (Naked City, The Untouchables) and returned to the tube often, most notably as “original gangster” Feech La Manna on The Sopranos.

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