While many people will say goodbye to 2018 with parties or other festivities, New Year's Eve is also a time for reflection. Looking back over the year, it's natural to consider the best things of the year but it's also a time to remember those we said goodbye to.
To quote Tony Stark from the Avengers: Endgame trailer, part of the journey is the end and in 2018 we came to the end with many familiar faces, bright lights, and even a few legends, all of whom will be deeply missed even as the new year begins.
From Stan Lee to Margot Kidder to Steve Ditko to Stephen Hawking and so many more, we here at ComicBook.com are taking a moment to remember those we lost in 2018 and whose influence, contributions, and creations will continue to shape the world for years to come.
Star Trek actor Jon Paul Steuer died January 1, 2018 at age 33.
Steuer rose to fame by portraying Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko in a 1990 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled, "Reunion." His largest role came a couple of years later, when he acted in 73 episodes of Grace Under Fire.
One of the original Mouseketeers on Disney's Mickey Mouse Club, Doreen Tracey also passed away in January. She was 74.
Tracey was born in London in 1943 to two American performers, and the family made their way back to the United States shortly after Doreen was born. At the age of 12, in the year 1955, she became one of the first-ever Mouseketeers on Disney's Mickey Mouse Club, which first aired on ABC.
The performer appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club for four years, and eventually appeared in Annette Funicello's spinoff series, Annette. The work with the Mickey Mouse Club eventually landed Tracey a role in Disney's Westward Ho the Wagons!, which was released in 1956 and starred Fess Parker. Tracey went on to appear in various other TV programs before touring American military bases in Thailand and South Vietnam.
Battlestar Galactica actor Donnelly Rhodes passed away in January at the age of 80.
The veteran TV actor, with more than 100 acting credits to his name, will be recognized by most viewers as Dr. Sherman Cottle from Syfy's Battlestar Galactica series in 2004. Rhodes appeared in 36 episodes of the series, from 2004-2009.
In addition to Battlestar Galactica, Rhodes had a habit of appearing on many different shows that have become an integral part of geek culture. The actor had small roles in Smallville, The X-Files, The Dead Zone, Pysch and Supernatural. He also appeared in 2010's Tron: Legacy. His most recent role was in 2016's Arrowverse crossover event, "Invasion!" where he played Agent Smith in two episodes.
Peter Wyngarde, the actor best known for roles on Jason King, Doctor Who, and Flash Gordon, passed away in January. He was 90.
Besides his genre work, Wyngarde appeared in Robert Rossen’s Alexander the Great (which starred Richard Burton) and Jack Clayton’s horror classic The Innocents. Wyngarde (and Jason King) was a partial inspiration for the character of Austin Powers, a pastiche of '60s and '70s British spies.
Wyngarde has an unexpected comics legacy thanks to John Byrne's affection for the British TV series The Avengers: The X-Men villain Jason Wyngarde (Mastermind) was partially inspired by Jason King and Peter Wyngarde.
The actor's final performance as Luke Cage's father in the second series of the Netflix series was described as "magic" by Marvel.
"Everyone at Marvel Television is deeply saddened by the loss of Reg E. Cathey," the statement read. "It was an honor to work with him and to know him. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. In Marvel's Luke Cage season 2, Reg played James Lucas, Luke's father. We were lucky enough to experience the magic that was Reg in his final performance."
Star Trek actor David Ogden Stiers died in March at the age of 75.
Stiers played Dr. Timicin in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Four episode “Half a Life,” which originally aired on May 6, 1991. Timicin was a scientist from Kaelon II. The Kaelon culture determined that, at a certain age, its citizens must undergo the Resolution, a form of ritual suicide that allowed the old to pass on to make room for the young to take charge.
Timicin’s participation in the Resolution was put in doubt when he came aboard the Enterprise-D and fell in love with Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana Troi, played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. “Half a Life” remains a highly-regarded episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation for its powerfully emotional story that gave Barrett-Roddenberry uncharacteristically serious material to work with as Lwaxana. It is also remembered for being a rare Star Trek episode that focuses almost entirely on its guest stars, and for the brilliant performances given by both Stiers and Barrett-Roddenberry.
Stiers will remain best known for his role on MASH, but his performance on Star Trek: The Next Generation and his many voice-acting roles for DC Comics and Disney animated productions won’t be soon forgotten either.
Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking passed away in March at the age of 76.
While most of the world remembers Hawking for his work which has changed science forever, Hawking wasn't just a brilliant mind. He was also a pop culture icon all his own with Hawking appearing as himself in shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and Futurama. Hawking even battled Ant-Man star Paul Rudd in an epic game of quantum chess in a promotional video for Caltech's Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, his various appearances giving a human face to serious science. Not only did Hawking bring humor to his appearances, but he also brought science to the common man simply by showing that even the brightest among us could have a sense of humor.
WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant passed away in April at the age of 71.
Valiant, real name John L. Sullivan, first began his wrestling career in a Detroit territory promotion run by The Shiek as a wrestler and referee. He worked as a midcarder for the World Wide Wrestling Federation beginning in 1969 and went on to win to become a tag team wrestler with "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant as the Valiant Brothers. He won the WWF Tag Team Championship first in 1974 and held onto it for over a year, then took home to gold again in 1979 alongside "Gentleman" Jerry Valiant with Captain Lou Alabano as his manager.
Valiant moved on to working as a manager following his second tag title run, first in the AWA and then in the WWF starting in 1985. His list of wrestlers managed includes Brutus Beefcake, Hulk Hogan, The Spiler, Greg Valentine, Dino Bravo, Demolition and The Destruction Crew. His managing career took him all the way to the first WrestleMania in 1985, where he was in Beefcake's corner as his client took on David Sammartino with the legendary Bruno Sammartino in his corner. The match ended in double disqualification in just under 12 minutes.
Austin Powers star Verne Troyer passed away in April at the age of 49.
Troyer was born with a genetic disorder known as achondroplasia dwarfism and was recorded as one of the shortest men in the world at 2-feet-8-inches.
Growing up in Michigan, Troyer said his parents always treated him the same as any of his average-sized siblings. He began his acting career in 1994 as a stunt double in Baby's Day Out, and went on to star in such films as Jingle All the Way, Men in Black, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the second and third installments in Austin Powers.
Lois Lane actress Margot Kidder passed away in May at the age of 69.
Kidder played Lois Lane in the original Superman: The Movie released in 1978, starring alongside Christopher Reeve, and its subsequent sequels. She also starred as Kathy Lutz in the successful horror film The Amityville Horror. She also appeared alongside Reeve in the small-screen Superman adaptation Smallville as Bridgette Crosby.
Kidder appeared on Broadway in a production of The Vagina Monologues in 2002, and has had roles on television series such as The L Word and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She also won an Emmy award in 2015 for Outstanding Performer in Children’s Programming for her role in R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour.
Jerry Maren, who played a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, died in June at age 98.
Maren was the only surviving actor to play a Munchkin in the iconic 1939 film at the time of his death. He was a member of the Lollipop Guild in the film and was notably the Munchkin who presented Dorothy with a lollipop after her arrival in Oz.
His Wizard of Oz role was his most famous on-screen appearance. However, he made both credited and uncredited appearances in numerous classic shows and films, including Seinfeld, TRON, The Beverly Hillbillies, Planet of the Apes, The Wild Wild West, Bewitched, The Bob Hope Show, Lidsville, The Twlight Zone and Spaceballs, among others.
Eunice Gayson, the actress who played the first Bond Girl, died in June at the age of 90.
Gayson played Sylvia Trench in two James Bond films -- Dr. No and From Russia With Love. She was already and established actress when she took the role, having appeared in The Revenge of Frankenstein a few years earlier. Her portrayal of the mysterious woman set the tone for decades of spy thrillers, and she established the template that all future "Bond Girls" would model their characters after.
Legendary comic book creator Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee, died in July at the age of 90.
Ditko is responsible for imagining Spider-Man’s iconic red and blue costume as well as his trademark webshooters. With Lee, Ditko penned such enduring foes as the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and the Vulture, all of whom have appeared in numerous Spider-Man movies that have earned a lifetime total of nearly $5 billion worldwide.
After the pair teamed on Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s first appearance, a newly-launched Marvel Comics spun the character off into his own book, The Amazing Spider-Man, which has published more than 800 issues since its first issue in 1963.
Lee and Ditko then conjured up psychedelic crime-fighter Doctor Stephen Strange in the pages of Strange Tales #110. Doctor Strange made his live-action big screen debut in the 2016 Marvel Studios blockbuster that proved a worldwide hit, with the character going on to reappear in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, where Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) famously teamed as they have so many times in the Marvel comic books.
Cultural icon Burt Reynolds, who starred in popular films like Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run, and Boogie Nights, passed away in September at the age of 82.
Reynolds began taking over as one of Hollywood's top leading men in the late 1970s, when he became the number one box-office attraction for five consecutive years. The actor became well known amongst audiences for his fun-loving, good-ol'-boy roles.
He was nominated for an Oscar in 1997, for his portrayal of porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights. While Reynolds ended up losing the award to Good Will Hunting's Robin Williams, he did take home a Golden Globe.
Even in his older years, Reynolds continued his work in both film and television. The actor recently appeared in the indie film The Last Movie Star, which told the story of an aging acting legend. Reynolds was currently shooting Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. That film is scheduled to be released in 2019.
The Walking Dead star Scott Wilson passed away in October at the age of 76.
Wilson played the role of Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead. His other recent roles include Hostiles, The OA, Damien, and Bosch. The 76-year-old actor's resume extends across dozens of impressive roles, with the first coming in 1967's In the Heat of the Night. He has, however, long been known for his 1980 role in The Ninth Configuration.
Legendary comic book writer and editor Stan Lee passed away in November at the age of 95.
Lee, the most celebrated figure in American comics, began his comics career in the 1940s and is widely credited with revolutionizing superhero storytelling by co-creating (largely with the late Jack Kirby) the Marvel Comics Universe in the 1960s.
Lee had a hand in the creation of Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men and hundreds of other characters for Marvel and other publishers during the course of his career. As the face of the publisher for decades, Lee cultivated an image as the godfather of comics, and became the ambassador between comics and the outside world. As a result of his Marvel pedigree, Lee is also one of the highest-grossing film producers of all time, having been kept on as an executive producer for Marvel Studios films as well as those from Fox and Sony which feature characters from Marvel.
Ricky Jay, a prolific actor and magician, passed away in November at the age of 72.
Born Richard Jay Potash, Jay is believed to be the youngest magician to perform a full magic act on television, appearing on the 1950s program Time for Pets at the age of seven. Jay developed a passionate following of magic fans, performing sleight-of-hand tricks that even his contemporaries couldn't figure out.
Jay also is known for his unique acting career, which included roles as Kurt Longjohn in Boogie Nights, Milton in The Prestige, Burt Ramsey/Narrator in Magnolia, and appearances in several David Mamet films. He also served as a magical consultant on a slew of films, and co-created a firm called "Deceptive Practices" which helped develop practical illusions for films like Forest Gump and Congo.
SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away in November at the age of 57.
Hillenburg gained notoriety while working as a director on Rocko's Modern Life. By the time the show's final season came around, in 1995, Hillenburg was promoted to creative director.
From there, Hillenburg went on to create SpongeBob SquarePants for Nickelodeon, one of the most popular series in the history of the network. On the air for nearly a decade, SpongeBob just concluded its eleventh season, with Season 12 set for 2019.
William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride book and screenplay died in November at the age of 87.
While Goldman's The Princess Bride is probably the major work that will have fans mourning his loss, the Oscar-winning screenwriter had a pretty prolific body of acclaimed screenplay work. His list of film credits include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (which won him the Oscar), All the President's Men, The Ghost and the Darkness, The Stepford Wives, A Bridge Too Far, Maverick (1996), The General's Daughter, Dreamcatcher and Misery - to name a few. Needless to say he was a significant talent in multiple genres of cinematic storytelling, who will be missed.
Film and television star Ken Berry, known for a variety of projects including Herbie Rides Again and Mama's Family died in December. He was 85.
Berry had a long career as beloved characters in some of television's classic programs, including Captain Wilton Parmenter on F Troop, town councilor Sam Jones on The Andy Griffith Show spinoff Mayberry R.F.D., and the clumsy, affable Vinton Harper on Mama's Family. He also had a small role in The New Batman Adventures as well as larger roles in Disney's Herbie Rides Again and The Cat from Outer Space.
Actress and filmmaker Penny Marshall, famous for her role as Laverne in the beloved sitcom Laverne & Shirley, passed away in December at the age of 75.
Marshall become widely known for her starring turn in Laverne & Shirley, where she starred for 178 episodes from 1976 to 1983. Actress Cindy Williams co-starred as Shirley in 158 of the series episodes. She also appeared several episodes of The Odd Couple and Happy Days.
In addition to her work on sitcoms, Marshall broke ground as a feature film director. After directing multiple TV episodes and the Whoopi Goldberg-starring Jumpin' Jack Flash, Marshall helmed the beloved comedy Big, starring Tom Hanks. Not only was the film a hit with viewers, but it became a substantial financial success as well. With Big, Marshall became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million at the box office.
Oscar-nominated actress Sondra Locke passed away in December at the age of 74.
Born Sandra Louise Smith, Locke broke into the acting world in 1967, when she won a talent search to star alongside Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The film ultimately earned Locke an Academy Award nomination, as well as a pair of Golden Globe nominations.
Actor Steve Dash, who played the adult Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 2, passed away in December at the age of 74.
While audiences never saw Dash's face in the Friday the 13th sequel, the film marks the first time that we actually saw Jason Voorhees as a killer in the franchise, forging a new path for the series' future.0comments
The original film depicted a group of coeds attempting to revive a closed summer camp, only to be picked off one at a time by an unknown killer. We ultimately learned that it was Mrs. Voorhees, the mother of a boy who drowned in the lake, who was killing the potential counselors so that no future campers could die due to negligence on their part.
Mrs. Voorhees was killed in the film's finale, with the sequel depicting an adult Jason stalking the woods with a burlap bag as a mask, likely to keep his facial disfigurements a secret from anyone he encountered. It wouldn't be until the third film that Jason earned his iconic hockey mask, establishing the visage of the character indefinitely.