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10 MCU Actors You Didn't Know Passed Away


The Marvel films and TV shows are filled with wonderful and memorable actors. Sadly, some have passed away.

From natural causes to drug overdoses. From security guards to senators. Here are the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) actors who have left us with a heavy heart but a smile. 

1. Harry Dean Stanton as Security Guard


First Appearance: The Avengers (2012) 
Harry Dean Stanton played a security guard who meets Bruce Banner after he transforms. Director Joss Whedon said he wanted the scene to be surreal and cast Stanton since he was known for the surreal television show "Twin Peaks".

He was born July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Kentucky, USA. Stanton is best known for Alien (1979), Lucky (2017), and The Green Mile (1999). He was a prolific character actor thanks to his weathered face and appeared in over 100 films, and 50 TV episodes.

Harry Dean Stanton was such a beloved actor that the late Roger Ebert created the "Stanton-Walsh Rule" which said that "no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad." Stanton died September 15, 2017, Los Angeles, California, from natural causes.


2. Bill Paxton as John Garrett


First Appearance: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
William "Bill" Paxton played Jonathan "John" Garrett in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Garrett was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who joined HYDRA. After he was injured in a mission he became the first subject of the "Deathlok" cyborg program.

Paxton was born on May 17, 1955, in Fort Worth, Texas. He was best known for roles in The Terminator (1984), Weird Science (1985), and Aliens (1986). Paxton died February 25, 2017, at age 61 due to complications from surgery.

3. Charles Bradley as Himself


First Appearance: Luke Cage
Charles Edward Bradley played himself in an episode of the Netflix series "Luke Cage" as a singer in Cottonmouth's club. He was a funk/soul/R&B singer known for songs like "Take It As It Comes" and "Stay Away". He was born on November 5, 1948, in Gainesville, Florida, USA. Bradley got a late start in his music career.

Bradley was discovered as a James Brown impersonator and released his first album "No Time For Dreaming"  in 2011. He was 62.

Bradley was known as "The Screaming Eagle of Soul" to vintage R&B fans. Bradley passed away on September 23, 2017, of stomach cancer in Brooklyn, New York. He was 68-years old.

4. DJ AM as Himself


First Appearance: Iron Man 2 (2010)
Adam Michael Goldstein, known professionally as DJ AM, played Tony Stark's disc jockey at his party. He was born on March 30, 1973, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. DJ AM's music lit up the world but his addictions sadly led to his death.

His accidental death was caused by "acute intoxication" from a combination of cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, lorazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, diphenhydramine, and levamisole.

Goldstein died August 28, 2009, at age 36. The film was dedicated to his memory.

5. Eugene Lazarev as Anton Vanko


First Appearance: Iron Man 2 (2010)
There are no small roles and this is a great example. Eugene Lazarev played Anton Vanko, the father of Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash. Evgeniy Nikolaevitch Lazarev was born on March 31, 1937, in Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, USSR. He was known for his roles in The Sum of All Fears (2002), Lord of War (2005), and Duplex (2003).

Lazarev was only on screen for a short time but his performance was powerful. There's a reason why. The actor is renowned in Russia and was honored with the prestigious "People's Artist of Russia" award. It's the highest award a Russian performer can get.

He died on November 18, 2016, in Russia at age 79.

6. Garry Shandling as Senator Stern


First Appearance: Iron Man 2 (2010)
Garry Shandling first played Senator Stern questioning Tony Stark about his Iron Man technology. He later appeared in several movies. While he seemed like a jerk in his first appearance he was later revealed to be a sleeper agent of HYDRA.

Garry Emmanuel Shandling was born on November 29, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was a popular stand-up comedian, writer, and actor, known for The Larry Sanders Show (1992), It's Garry Shandling's Show (1986), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

He died on March 24, 2016, in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack.

7. James Colby as Brian Jones


First Appearance: Jessica Jones
James Colby played Jessica's father, Brian Jones, in the Netflix series "Jessica Jones" episode "AKA WWJD?". He's best known for his Broadway role as Stan in Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Sweat" and roles in shows like Blind Spot and Limitless.

James Colby was no stranger to comic book roles. He played Lead Officer in the Sony film The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He portrayed Lt. Bill Cranston in the Batman prequel series Gotham.

He died February 23, 2018, at 56-year old.

8. Joan Rivers as Herself


First Appearance: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Joan Rivers played herself in Iron Man 3 hosting her show "Fashion Police". She hilariously mocked War Machine's rebranding as "Iron Patriot". "Same suit, but painted red white and blue," she quipped. "Look at that. And they also renamed him 'Iron Patriot'. You know, just in case the paint was too subtle."

Joan Rivers was born on June 8, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Rivers was her stage name. Her birth name was Joan Alexandra Molinsky. She was a comedian, writer, and actress, known for Spaceballs (1987), Iron Man 3 (2013) and Rabbit Test (1978). Rivers wrote 12 best-selling books and three-LP comedy albums. Rolling Stone ranked her sixth on its list of the "50 best stand-up comics of all time". She was inducted into the "Television Academy Hall of Fame" in 2017.

Rivers died at 81 on September 4, 2014, in New York City. Her cause of death is listed as "Anoxic encephalopathy".

You can watch her clip below:


9. Miguel Ferrer as President Rodriguez


First Appearance: Iron Man 3 (2013)

In a role that surprised no one, Miguel Ferrer played the treacherous Vice President Rodriguez in Iron Man 3. Ferrer was known for playing evil roles thanks to his cold sneer and gravelly voice. But under all that was a heart of gold.

Ferrer was born February 7, 1955, in Santa Monica, California, the USA as Miguel José Ferrer. He was best known for Traffic (2000), Crossing Jordan (2001) and RoboCop (1987).

The actor also did extensive voice work for Marvel and DC like voicing Silvermane in The Spectacular Spider-Man. Miguel Ferrer was nominated for Best Spoken Word Album for Children in Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Read-Along (1999) at the 41st Grammy Awards.

Besides being a prolific actor he was also a notable writer of Marvel comics. He penned stories for Comet Man and Wolverine in the 1980s. Sadly his smoking habit caught up with him too soon. On January 19, 2017, Ferrer tragically died of throat cancer at the age of 61.

10. Powers Boothe as Gideon Malick


First Appearance: The Avengers

This actor kept working right up until the end.  Powers Boothe starred as one of the shadowy "World Council" leaders in Avengers. But he went on to play the played the "notorious man whose loyalties remain a mystery" named Gideon Malick on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It would become his last role.

Powers Allen Boothe was born June 1, 1948, in Snyder, Texas as a sharecropper's son. He was the first member of his family to attend a university. Boothe studied acting at Southern Methodist University which earned him a degree in Fine Arts. While he mainly played tough guys his acting career started with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His breakthrough role was in his Emmy winning performance as Jim Jones in the 1980 miniseries Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.

He's best known for his role on Avengers but also his roles in Tombstone (1993) and Sin City (2005). Besides his Marvel role, he also played characters on DC. Boothe did the voice of Gorilla Grodd in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and Lex Luthor in Superman: Brainiac Attacks.

Sin City director Robert Rodriguez said he was "a towering Texas gentleman and world class artist". Powers Boothe died in his sleep from cardiopulmonary arrest at age 68 on the morning of May 14, 2017.

While these actors have passed away, their work continues to entertain. We'll always have their memories.

Which is your favorite actor who's died?

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