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2022 Passages: Stuart Margolin, Kirstie Alley, and More Stars We Lost

Grand Daddy I.U., the Long Island rapper who rose to prominence in the early 1990s, died on December 14, according to I.U’s business representative. He was 54. There was no mention of a cause of death.

I.U. got his big break in music when his demo tape was discovered by fellow rapper Biz Markie, who signed him to Cold Chillin’ Records in 1989, a label that also featured emcees Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap.

In 1990, the rapper released his debut album “Smooth Assassin,” which was followed by his sophomore effort “Lead Pipe” in 1994. “P.I.M.P. (Paper Is My Priority),” I.U.’s final album, was released in February 2015.

Salsa singer Lalo Rodríguez died Dec. 13, The Associated Press reported. The 64-year-old musician was discovered dead in a Puerto Rican public housing project, according to police. While there were no visible signs of violence on Rodriguez’s body, police said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

The singer, born Ubaldo Rodrguez Santos, had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years and had previously been charged with cocaine possession. Rodrguez was a member of Eddie Palmieri’s band at one point and is best known for his 1988 hit “Ven, Devórame Otra Vez” (“Come, Devour Me Again”).

Stuart Margolin, best known for his role as Angel Martin on “The Rockford Files,” passed away on December 12. He was 82.

On December 14, his stepdaughter Michelle Martini told USA TODAY that the actor died after a decade-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Max Martini, Margolin’s stepson, paid tribute to him on Instagram on December 12, sharing a black-and-white photo of a framed picture of Margolin. “The two most profound moments in my life… the birth of my children and being by my stepfather’s bedside as he passed this morning,” Martini wrote, describing Margolin as a “profoundly gifted stepfather.” “Pappy, rest in peace. Keep them cool.”

Margolin made his acting debut in 1961 on “The Gertrude Berg Show,” and he later appeared on “Nichols,” “Love, American Style,” and “Tom Stone.” His most recent role was as a voiceover in the dramatic short “Home,” which was released in May 2022.

Kirstie Alley, best known for her roles in “Look Who’s Talking” and NBC’s hit sitcom “Cheers,” died on December 5 of cancer, the cause of which was not disclosed. She was 71 years old. Alley’s career took off in 1987, when she joined “Cheers” as Rebecca Howe, Sam’s new foil, in the sixth season. She then starred as a fashion mogul in the NBC comedy “Veronica’s Closet” (1997-2000, pictured), created by the same people who created “Friends,” and co-starred with John Travolta in 1989’s “Look Who’s Talking.”

“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother,” said Alley’s children, True and Lillie Parker, in a statement announcing her death.

Bob McGrath, who played friendly music teacher Bob Johnson on “Sesame Street” for over four decades, died at the age of 90. On December 4, the Sesame Workshop confirmed McGrath’s death in a statement shared with USA TODAY and on Twitter. There was no mention of a cause of death.

“Sesame Workshop mourns the death of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years,” said the statement.

“As a founding cast member, Bob embodied Sesame Street’s melodies like no one else, and his performances brought joy and wonder to generations of children worldwide.”

Cliff Emmich, star of “Little House on the Prairie” and “Payday,” died on Nov. 28 at his California home after “losing his long battle with lung cancer,” according to his publicist and longtime friend Steve Stevens. He was 85.

“He loved being an actor and gave back to the acting Community whenever he could,” Stevens said. “His favourite role was ‘Little House On The Prairie,’ which Micheal Landon wrote specifically for Cliff.”

Brad William Henke, a former NFL player turned actor best known for his role in “Orange Is the New Black,” died on December 2 at the age of 56, according to his publicist.

On “Orange Is the New Black,” Henke played corrections officer Desi Piscatella, for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2016. He has a long list of film and television credits, including recurring roles in “”The Stand,” “Manhunt,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Justified,” “Lost,” “October Road,” and “Dexter” are among the titles.

Christine McVie, the soulful British musician who sang lead on many of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits, died on November 30 at the age of 79, according to the band.

Kristen Foster, a representative for Fleetwood Mac, confirmed McVie’s death to USA TODAY. McVie “passed away peacefully at (the) hospital following a short illness,” according to her family.

“There are no words to express our sorrow at Christine McVie’s passing,” Fleetwood Mac members said in a social media statement. “She was truly unique, special, and gifted beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band, as well as the best friend anyone could have. We were extremely fortunate to share our lives with her. We cherished Christine deeply, both individually and collectively, and are grateful for the wonderful memories we have. She will be greatly missed.”

Clarence Gilyard Jr., known for his roles in “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Matlock,” and “Die Hard,” has passed away. He was 66. Gilyard’s death was announced in a press release by the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he was a stage, screen, and film acting professor. It did not go into detail about the cause. Gilyard’s Hollywood career spanned TV and film, beginning in 1981 with two episodes of “Diff’rent Strokes,” according to IMDb. In 1986, he landed his first major film role in “Top Gun,” playing Marcus “Sundown” Williams.

“I share this news with profound sadness,” UNLV College of Fine Arts Dean Nancy J. Uscher said in a statement.

“His students, as well as everyone who knew him, were deeply inspired by him.

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