From early 2013 till the evening of December 31 these 10 important television stars, who passed away during the year, made an indelible impact whether in breakthrough shows, kids programs, sitcoms, dramas, talk shows, soap operas, sports, and musicals. Here’s who we lost throughout 2013 with their names and TV contributions followed by other celebrity mentions.
Roger Ebert - He’s best known as a movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, but it was his popular TV program “At The Movies,” along with Chicago Tribune film critic Gene Siskel, who defined film critiques as entertaining viewing for television audiences.
Annette Funicello - Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, and Ryan Gosling have this original Mouseketeer from “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1950s) to thank. Funicello became the most famous Mouseketeer, along with many of her fellow cast mates, on this pioneering children’s program.
Bonnie Franklin - At a time when single moms were not even acknowledged, much less portrayed, on primetime sitcoms, along comes Franklin’s TV character, Ann Romano, to shatter the typical 1950s housewife standard. “One Day at a Time’ dealt with many issues previously taboo, while raising two teenage daughters. The actress playing one of her daughters is currently on TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland,” Valerie Bertinelli.
Conrad Bain - The star of the NBC sitcom “Different Strokes” he portrayed a wealthy Park Avenue businessman, who is white, adopts two young African-Americans from Harlem. Those two young actors, Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, became famous child stars, but faced enormous problems as adults. Bain was born in Canada.
Jonathan Winters - Robin Williams paid tribute to this extraordinary comedian at the 2013 Emmy Awards. Winters had appeared on countless talk shows, variety programs, games shows such as “The Hollywood Squares,” and in episodic television shows.
Jeanne Cooper - Since 1973 until her death in 2013 she appeared on the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless” as Katherine Chancellor. Cooper is survived by her son Corbin Bernsen from the 1980s TV drama “L.A. Law.”
David Frost - This English journalist and talk show host is famous for his series of interviews with former President Nixon. He also interviewed a very young Paul McCartney during the height of Beatlemania in 1964. One statement he made to McCartney, "Well, it will be a great pleasure to watch Paul McCartney in retirement, but it will probably be in the year about 2010 I should think."
Jean Stapleton - She was the calm to Archer Bunker’s constant storm of political incorrectness on the 1970s breakthrough sitcom “All in the Family.” Her characterization of Edith Bunker was devoted, but could always diffuse her husband’s off-the-cuff remarks.
James Gandolfini - It was Tony Soprano who would make the phrase “Fuhgeddaboudit” an icon. It came from the HBO drama “The Sopranos?” Gandolfini will always be known as the New Jersey Mafia boss.
Corey Monteith - Another Canadian-born actor who portrayed a high school quarterback in Lima, Ohio on the hit FOX series “Glee.” His TV character, Finn Hudson, later became a member of the show choir. Monteith was only 31 when he passed away.
James Avery - On New Year’s Eve, while undergoing open heart surgery, the actor best known as Uncle Phil on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” died at the age of 67.
Other Mentions: These include Pat Summerall - TV sportscaster for the NFL, Dr. Joyce Brothers - frequent talk show guest on Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson, Marcia Wallace - 1970s “Bob Newhart Show,” Steve Forrest - 1970s crime drama “S.W.A.T,” and Dennis Farina from “Law & Order” fame.