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LGBT celebrities who died in 2018

Nick Duffy December 30, 2018
Tab Hunter, Ellen Joyce Loo and Dale Winton, all of whom are LGBT celebrities to die in 2018

Tab Hunter, Ellen Joyce Loo and Dale Winton (Getty)

PinkNews takes a look back at the LGBT celebrities who sadly died in 2018.

These LGBT celebrities passed away this year due to various tragedies. They will all be missed and mourned by the rainbow community.

Dale Winton

Dale Winton on Supermarket Sweep, who died in 2018
Dale Winton on Supermarket Sweep, one of the LGBT celebrities who died in 2018.

The popular television host, who was best known for long-running daytime game show Supermarket Sweep, died in his home on April 18, aged 62.

The out TV star’s long time agent Jan Kennedy, confirmed in August that “the coroner investigating the death of Dale Winton has found death by natural causes.”

Friends of the star say he had been suffering from a number of ailments for some time. Other LGBT celebrities paid tribute to Winton.

Graham Norton wrote: “Dale Winton gave me the best bit of showbiz advice I ever got – Don’t quit the hit! Thank you Dale. X”

Winton was a staple on television sets in the 1990s with Supermarket Sweep from 1993 to 2001, as well as a reboot in 2007. He also appeared on Dale Winton’s Florida Fly Drive on Channel 5.

Pete Shelley

Musicians Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks
Musicians Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks perform onstage during day 2 of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Karl Walter/Getty)

English singer, songwriter and guitarist Pete Shelley passed away on December 6, aged 63.

The bisexual singer was most famous as lead singer of the Buzzcocks, releasing single “Ever Fallen in Love.”

Shelley later revealed the song was about a same-sex lover, Francis Cookson, who he lived with for about seven years.

Although he attracted less attention than out pop stars, the punk singer did not hide his sexuality. He told Outpunk: “It didn’t really matter what you were, what sexual persuasion you were from or what gender you were.

“It didn’t really matter, it didn’t raise eyebrows if someone was gay.”

Ellen Joyce Loo

Hong Kong singer Ellen Joyce Loo, who died in 2018
Hong Kong singer Ellen Joyce Loo arrives to the 28th Golden Melody Awards in Taipei in June, 2017. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty)

Hong Kong-based singer Ellen Joyce Loo died on August 4, aged 32. Her death was treated as a suicide.

Loo, an out lesbian, was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1986, but emigrated to Hong Kong when she was four.

She started a group called at17 with fellow musician Eman Lam in 2001, which was signed by the music production company People Mountain People Sea.

Apart from writing songs for her own group, Loo was also involved in the production and song writing of other artists’ albums such as Kay Tse, Miriam Yeung and Sally Yeh.

The group released several albums – including Meow Meow Meow (2002) and KissKissKiss (2003) – before splitting in 2010.

Sophie Gradon

Sophie Gradon of Love Island was one of the LGBT celebrities to die in 2018
Sophie Gradon was one of the LGBT celebrities to die in 2018 (Love Island)

Sophie Gradon passed away on June 20, two years after making history as the first out LGBT+ person to appear on Love Island.

The model was open about her bisexuality during her time on Love Islandwhich has faced criticism for its lack of LGBT representation previously.

The TV star had a relationship with glamour model Katie Salmon in Love Island’s first same-sex pairing.

Her death was treated as a suicide, with her fellow ex-contestants criticising the show’s aftercare. Gradon had previously spoken out about her battles with anxiety and depression.

Craig Zadan

Filmmaker Craig Zadan and film producer Neil Meron
Filmmaker Craig Zadan and film producer Neil Meron (Frederick M. Brown/Getty)

The celebrated producer behind several, hugely successful movies and musicals including Hairspray, Footloose and Chicago died on August 20 at the age of 69.

Zadan, who was openly gay, passed away following complications with a shoulder replacement surgery.

A statement from NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatts said: “On behalf of his life partner, Elwood Hopkins, and his producing partner, Neil Meron, we are stunned that the man behind so many incredible film, theater, and television productions – several of them joyous musicals – was taken away so suddenly.”

Hubert de Givenchy

French aristocrat and fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, who died in 2018
French aristocrat and fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy poses on July 27, 1978 in Paris. (PIERRE GUILLAUD/AFP/Getty)

Fashion legend Hubert de Givenchy, aged 91, died in his sleep at his home near Paris on March 10.

The famed French fashion designer dressed many iconic women including Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich.

He also founded The House of Givenchy haute couture fashion label.

Givenchy was survived by his long-time partner and former designer Philippe Venet.

Tab Hunter

US actor Tab Hunter who died in 2018
US actor Tab Hunter (HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty)

Among the LGBT celebrities who passed away this year, Hollywood legend Tab Hunter died on July 6, aged 86.

The actor, who rose to fame in the 1950s, was known for starring in movies such as Track of the Cat, Battle Cry, and The Burning Hills. 

He later became one of the few LGBT celebrities from the era to open up about his sexuality.

Hunter faced years of speculation about his sexuality before he came out in 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which became a New York Times best seller.

“[Life] was difficult for me, because I was living two lives at that time,” he wrote. “A private life of my own, which I never discussed, never talked about to anyone. And then my Hollywood life, which was just trying to learn my craft and succeed.”

Hunter had serious relationships with actor Anthony Perkins and figure skater Ronnie Robertson, later settling down with film producer Allan Glaser, his partner of more than 35 years.

Bob Smith

Gay comedian Bob Smith, who died in 2018
Comedian Bob Smith passed away in 2018

The first out gay comic to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Bob Smith, died on January 20 aged 59 from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

As well as being the first out gay man to appear on The Tonight Show, he was the first to star in his own HBO Comedy half-hour special.

He also appeared in a number of other TV shows, and wrote a collection of essays titled Openly Bob, which won the Lambda Literary Award for humour.

Smith died after a long battle with ALS, his partner Michael Zam wrote on Facebook.

Gary Beach

The Producers actor Gary Beach, who died in 2018
Actor Gary Beach arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of The Producers on December 12, 2005. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

Tony-winning The Producers actor Gary Beach died on July 17 aged 70, survived by his husband Jeffrey Barnett.

In 1994, Beach originated the role of Lumiere in the Broadway adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, earning a Tony nomination.

In 2001, he won the Tony for Featured Actor in a Musical for the role of Roger DeBris in Mel Brooks’ The Producers. He reprised the role for the 2005 film of the musical.

Beach was also nominated for a Tony in 2004 for the his portrayal of Albin in La Cage aux Folles.

Timmy Matley

The Overtones
The Overtones perform in October 2015 in London, England. (Tabatha Fireman/Getty)

The Overtones star Timmy Matley died on April 9, after falling from a balcony.

The surviving members of The Overtones said in a statement: “‘It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce that our dear friend and brother Timmy has passed away.

“We know this news will be as heartbreaking for you all as it is for us… We appreciate your love and support at this difficult time.”

Timmy was one of three band members who identified as gay.

Dick Leitsch

Dick Leitsch, an American LGBT rights activist who died in 2018
Dick Leitsch, an American LGBT rights activist

Gay rights pioneer Dick Leitsch passed away on June 22 after a battle with liver cancer.

Leitsch was head of the New York Chapter of the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights group that was active in the 1960s prior to the Stonewall riots.

Inspired by the civil rights movement, the Society sought a policy of non-discrimination in New York City, and held a number of protests at bars seeking the right to be served.

During the 1966 ‘Sip In’ protests, activists attempted to challenge state policy that could see venues’ licenses revoked if they served gay people, who were deemed to be “disorderly.”

Leitsch was also the first gay journalist to report on the 1969 Stonewall Riot, filing copy in a Mattachine publication that was later picked up by The Advocate.

More: best of 2018, Celebrities, Dale Winton, death, Gay, LGBT, Tab Hunter

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