Stars Who Died In 2024 And No One Noticed

Stardom means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and for many, it means a way to be remembered and to leave a lasting legacy in the world. That said, it's important to remember that's not always the case: Sometimes, that legacy and that mark is there, but when it comes time to shuffle off this mortal coil into the great unknown, there's still a chance that no one will notice. The deaths of many stars might be covered in scores of media publications, outlets might report on the circumstances and causes, the tributes, and sometimes, it might mean a new generation rediscovers old works. Sometimes? Not so much. Sometimes, announcements get lost in the grueling and unforgiving news cycle.

And that's a weird thing. It's strange to think that even those who have made invaluable contributions to the cultural landscape are forgotten, announcements of their deaths getting a mention in maybe a few places before the media moves on to the next thing. Sad? Absolutely.

With that in mind, let's take a look at stars who have passed away in 2024, and who didn't get much attention at all — unlike the death of stars like Matthew Perry, whose passing sparked a renewed interest in the details of his life, his relationships, and even his autopsy report. These stars got barely a mention in mainstream media, so let's take a minute and remember them — and their contributions — after their 2024 deaths.

Anthony Walker

The musical landscape of the 1980s was a vast and varied free-for-all of experimentation, creativity, and downright incredible sounds. Fans of the R&B/funk scene will remember the Gap Band, the groundbreaking group that got their start performing in Tulsa's Pentecostal church scene. Topping the charts in the late 1970s led to crossing over into the pop scene in the 1980s, and the band continued to put out genre-defining music in the following decades.

Anthony Walker joined in 1979, and was known as Baby Gap. He died on March 4, 2024, and it wasn't until March 12 that TMZ picked up on an announcement that the band had made on March 8. When they reached out to the family, they confirmed that Walker had died after experiencing complications from surgery. No specifics were given, beyond the fact that he had been hospitalized for something involving his neck.

In addition to his work with the Gap Band, Walker was a 70s-era break-dancing superstar who founded the group Tidal Wave. He was deeply mourned by his longtime bandmates, who wrote on Instagram, "Gone too soon. We will never forget you!!!"

Fritz Wepper

When Fritz Wepper died on March 25, 2024, his passing was picked up by only a handful of media outlets in the United States. That's both surprising and not surprising. Most of his recent credits — the last of which was 2021 — were in European productions, but the German actor's most famous role is in a film that's as beloved as it is well-known to Americans: He starred with Liza Minnelli in the Oscar-winning "Cabaret," as the love-struck man advised in matters of romance and courtship by Minnelli's Sally Bowles. 

The 82-year-old actor was diagnosed with sepsis — a full-body infection that was deemed life-threatening — in 2023, had entered hospice care, and ultimately passed away from the prolonged illness. He was survived by his brother, wife, and daughters. Although Wepper's death might not have gotten much attention in the U.S., it's worth noting that in his home country, he was a multi-award-winning actor, the star of several long-running television shows broadcast in more than 100 countries, and a cultural icon for GenX.

M. Emmet Walsh

M. Emmet Walsh has been a cornerstone of the entertainment industry since getting his start in the 1960s. He's one of those actors that everyone knows and everyone has seen, usually in a supporting but key role. He's most famous for "Blade Runner," which is sort of hilarious. Why? In 2017, he told The Hollywood Reporter that when the cast and crew saw the finished product for the first time, they were all completely baffled by it: "We didn't know what to say or to think or do! We didn't know what in the hell we had done! The only one who seemed to get it was Ridley [Scott]." The conversation came around the release of "Blade Runner 2049," and even more hilariously, he said, "If someone sends me a free ticket, I would probably go see it, but I don't know if I would spend $11 or whatever it is to see it."

Walsh had well over 200 credits to his name, and worked right up to his death in 2024. It's safe to say that when he died, Hollywood lost one of their great go-to character actors. (He was also in "Knives Out" and "The Righteous Gemstones" in his last years.)

His death was covered by a handful of publications, but given his massive contributions to the industry, the coverage wasn't nearly enough. When he died on March 19, he was just a few days from celebrating his 89th birthday. The official cause of death was cardiac arrest.

James Kottak

There are some songs that everyone is just sort of born knowing: The Scorpions' "Rock You Like A Hurricane" is one of those songs. Formed in 1965, the band has gone through an almost ridiculous number of lineup changes, with only one member staying (rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker). James Kottak was the drummer from 1996 — joining just after questions were raised about whether or not the CIA was behind of the Scorpions' hits — until he was fired from the band in 2016. At the time he was fired, guitarist Matthias Jabs made a public statement about his alcohol addiction, saying (via Deadline), "We reached the point — or he reached the point — where it was just not worth it. (Kottak has denied that his alcohol use had anything to do with his parting of ways with the group.)

Kottak died on January 9, 2024. The following day, Kottak's Kingdom Come bandmate, Keith St. John, appeared on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk" and confirmed his death, and clarified that no cause was immediately given. He did say that Kottak had recently completed rehab, adding (via Blabbermouth), "He went through his ups and downs, obviously. And in the end, it seemed like he was really trying to pull it back together."

In addition to the Scorpions and Kingdom Come, Kottak also toured with Warrant and Dio, and was married to the sister of Motley Crue's Tommy Lee. St. John lauded his musical abilities, likening his skills to "the second coming of [John] Bonham."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Charles Dierkop

Charles Dierkop had more than 100 acting credits to his name, and although he was working well into the 21st century and as late as 2018, he was most famous for this work decades prior. In addition to being an occasional guest star on shows like "The Fall Guy," "Fantasy Island," and "MacGyver," he was a regular star of Angie Dickinson's "Police Woman," and had major roles in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Sting," and fans of cult classic horror will be familiar with him, too: He was Santa in "Silent Night, Deadly Night." (He's pictured above with Stacy King in "The Sweet Ride.")

Dierkop passed away on February 25, 2024. The official cause of death was a heart attack that he suffered after developing a severe case of pneumonia, and he passed away with his daughter at his side. She told Entertainment Weekly," I got to spend most of his last day with him in the hospital and was able to thank him for showing me how to live life in the most loving way."

He also starred in a 1967 episode of "Star Trek," and in 2017, he spoke with He said that he was happy to be able to pick and choose what roles he did take, that he remained a big fan of the theater, and although he tended to pass on big events and conventions, he always appreciated fans — and was shocked the first time he realized people recognized him from his one-episode appearance as Morla.

W.C. Clark

Would the world have had Stevie Ray Vaughan if there had been no W.C. Clark? Perhaps not — although the fact that he was Vaughan's mentor was not the only reason that Clark's 2024 death should have gotten much more coverage than it did. Clark was perhaps best known as the Godfather of Austin Blues, playing in a host of blues bands that included his own, the W.C. Clark Blues Revue. When he passed away on March 2, he was 84 years old and had played his final show just about two weeks prior.

His manager confirmed to the Austin Chronicle that he died just days after being diagnosed with cancer (although that wasn't immediately identified as the cause). He was still regularly performing until not long before his death, not only holding the occasional show, but sitting in residency at an Austin venue called Giddy Ups. 

In a 1998 interview, Clark shared his thoughts on what he believed was the secret to incredible music: Respect, studying the history of the genre, and learning from those who had gone before. He explained that it was key, and needed "to create the unity you need to play with each other, and have a smile on your face when everything's over."

Pamela Salem

The acting resume of Pamela Salem reads like a what's-what of British television, and includes "Doctor Who," "EastEnders," Blake's 7," and "All Creatures Great and Small." Most interestingly, she's also a major part of one of the strangest parts of James Bond lore: She played Miss Moneypenny in "Never Say Never Again," the Sean Connery Bond film that isn't considered to be technically a canon Bond film. There's a whole host of strangeness that happened behind to get that film to the screen — including Connery getting his wrist broken by Steven Seagal — and it remains one of the most interesting of the Bond films in terms of behind-the-scenes machinations. When it came to casting, Salem said in an interview with 007 Magazine that it was Connery who suggested her for the part after they worked together in "The Great Train Robbery."

Although Salem had confirmed that yes, she would love to play Moneypenny again, that came with a caveat: Who was Bond? She explained, "I mean, I like Roger Moore as Bond, but I am an original Connery fan." Of course, more Connery-led Bond movies weren't in the cards, but Salem remained incredibly popular, wrapping up her career with voice work reprising her original roles for 2019's "Doctor Who: The Legacy of Time."

Salem died on February 21, 2024. She was 80 at the time of her passing, and although reports were picked up by a handful of news outlets, there were few details released.

Ron Harper

There are some classic TV and movie titles that will bring a wave of nostalgia with their mere mention. Anyone from GenX will remember Ron Harper as the star of three massively popular television shows: "Land of the Lost," "Garrison's Gorillas," and "Planet of the Apes." He had a slew of other credits going back to the late 1950s, and when he died on March 21, 2024, it was at the completely respectable age of 91. His death was ruled as stemming from natural causes.

In 2015, Harper (left) sat down for an interview with Classic Film & TV Cafe, who shared some pretty interesting stories about him. His career as an actor almost didn't happen, as he enrolled in Princeton with the goal of becoming an attorney. He dabbled in theater during his time there, and his life goals were completely derailed by a backstage visit and conversation with none other than Albert Einstein, who advised him, "You'll have a good life if you decide to do what you love." So, acting it was!


Although Lichelle "Bo$$" Laws was a pioneering, ground-breaking artist, her death was surprisingly not covered too far outside of the industry. Those in and following rap news lauded her for her contributions to the genre: When she was signed to Def Jam in 1992, she became one of their first female rappers signed during the golden age of rap — and she hit the scene in a big way. The Detroit-born Laws headed to Los Angeles to get her career off the ground, but when she spoke with the Los Angeles Times after scoring a hit with "Born Gangtaz," she said that was only the start of her plans for her career — she wanted to open the door for other female rappers. Specifically, she wanted to see more of those artists who embraced the genre in the same way she did.

"I'm the first female gangsta to do stuff men can relate to," she said. "That's crucial in rap. I talk from a woman's point of view, but I talk hard and tough. And I'm convincing. ... my heart, soul, and everything else is in my raps. That's why I'm as bad as any of these male gangsta rappers."

When the 54-year-old Laws died on March 11, 2024, it was revealed that the official cause was kidney failure. Laws had suffered from severe health issues for some time, and after suffering a stroke in 2017, she was diagnosed with renal disease.

Harry Johnson

There are some stars that have resumes that make mere mortals wonder if, somehow, they were just given more hours in the day than most people get. Harry Johnson was one of those people, and even though he has around 70 official credits to his name, it's worth mentioning that's only a small part of his work. It's also worth noting here, too, that only a small fraction of his roles featured him on screen ... although it's pretty much a guarantee that anyone who's watched TV in the last few decades has seen (or at least heard) his work. 

After starting out in the original "Battlestar Galactica" television show, he appeared in shows like "BJ and the Bear, and "M*A*S*H," all the way through "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Cold Case." ("Battlestar Galactica," incidentally, sparked this question: Which TV shows should never get the reboot treatment?) And that's just credited work. He was also a prolific voice actor, and in addition to doing work on various video games, and advertisements, his voice was used in more than 2,000 episodes of various television shows. 

Johnson died on January 2, 2024, at the age of 81. Details about his death — including the official cause — weren't apparently released when his representative confirmed his passing to the media.

Ewen MacIntosh

News coverage of Ewen MacIntosh's death was bigger in the UK than in the U.S., and while it makes sense ... that doesn't make it right. MacIntosh was best known as one of the original cast members of "The Office," playing the hilariously deadpan accountant "Big Keith" Bishop. Unfortunately, post-show life wasn't as successful for him as it was for some of his costars, and he was pretty straightforward about losing out on jobs that were even advertised as being Keith-like.

MacIntosh declared bankruptcy in 2016, in spite of making a handful of appearances in various British comedies like "Little Britain," Miranda," and Ricky Gervais's "After Life." In interviews, he was honest about feeling both fortunate to have played Keith, and pigeonholed into forever being the beloved character.

When it was announced that MacIntosh had passed away on February 19, 2024, it was also announced that he had been facing health issues for some time. In 2022, he posted on social media to say that he had been hospitalized with undisclosed health issues, and his cause of death wasn't specified. He was 50 years old at the time of his death, making him a tragic addition to the list of celebrities who died in their 50s.