It's common to feel a bit saddened when he hear of the passing of a celebrity we enjoyed and admired, even though we didn't know them personally. But sometimes, there are certain celebrities that, after a few years, we may have forgotten were no longer with us, usually because their creative output may have been fewer and far between in the years leading up to their death. Below are five such celebrities that you may have forgotten have gone to the great beyond.
Robert Palmer, 1949-2003
Robert Palmer is best remembered for his iconic 80s rock song and video "Addicted to Love," with Palmer standing at the microphone, while several young ladies clad in black with ruby red lipstick and their hair in tight buns "play" instruments behind him. He would also have success as a member of the supergroup Power Station, featuring members of Duran Duran. Palmer would later return to his roots as a blue-eyed soul singer. Palmer passed away of a heart attack at the age of 54.
Laura Branigan, 1957-2004
The only female on my list, Branigan was a pop music success in the early to mid-80s, making it big with her cover of the 1979 Italian-language song "Gloria," followed by contributions to the soundtracks of the films Flashdance and Ghostbusters, then having her biggest international hit with the song "Self-Control." She also was the first person to record Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," making him a rising songwriting star. She took some time off during the 90s and didn't have the same success in America that she had in the 80s, but she was still in demand in other countries. Branigan died of an undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm in August 2004.
Bernie Mac, 1957-2008
I'm breaking my own rules here a bit, as Mac was still a big star when he died of pneumonia in 2008 at the age of 50. Mac had become famous as part of the "Original Kings of Comedy Tour" alongside friends Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley. Mac also made appearances in films such as the remake of Ocean's Eleven, Mr. 3000, and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. He had his biggest success with his TV series The Bernie Mac Show, a mixture of comedy and drama about taking in his troubled niece to live with his family. Mac would frequently break the fourth wall to talk directly to the viewer about what he was thinking at any point in each episode. (Language in clip NSFW)
Robert Pastorelli, 1954-2004
Pastorelli, a New Jersey native, had his eyes on a career as a boxer until a car accident ended his chances, so he turned to acting. He eventually landed the role of Eldin Bernecky, the house painter who never seemed capable of finishing, on the hit sitcom Murphy Brown. He also had a brief stint as the titular Cracker, an American version of the British series that starred Robbie Coltrane. Pastorelli died of a drug overdose in 2004, the same time police were reopening the fatal shooting of a girlfriend of his that occurred years earlier, leading some to speculate that he committed suicide.
Bruno Kirby, 1949-2006
Kirby was a popular character actor remembered for his short stature, high-pitched voice, and strong New York accent. He first gained fame in The Godfather Part II and later had memorable roles in This is Spinal Tap, Good Morning, Vietnam, When Harry Met Sally, and his biggest role in City Slickers. Kirby died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 57.