Inspiring quotes from 14 celebrities who died in 2016

These prominent figures will live on through their kind spirits and wise words.

From left to right: Anton Yelchin, Star Trek 2009. Paramount Pictures | Alan Thicke, Growing Pains, 1985. ABC | Debbie Reynolds, Singin' in the Rain, 1952. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer |

As we look forward to the new year ahead, it’s worth taking a moment to remember the prominent people we lost in 2016: beloved authors, athletes, actors, musicians, and more. Because even though we can’t take them into 2017 with us, we can keep their wise words alive in our hearts and minds. Can’t commit them to memory? We made it easy. All you need to do is save these quotes to Pinterest, so you’ll know where to find them when you need a reminder.

Harper Lee

The famous author of To Kill A Mockingbird had so many lessons of compassion and community for the world, but these words stand out to many of her fans:

Debbie Reynolds

Beloved actress Debbie Reynolds (mother to Carrie Fisher who also passed this year) was talented, gorgeous, and walked her own path.

While she’s perhaps most famous for her film Singin’ in the Rain, we love this quote from one of her lesser known movies made in her senior years, Halloweentown. (If you’re a child of the ’80s, you’ll probably remember it from your days of watching the Disney channel.)

Carrie Fisher

Daughter of the late, great Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher was a talented actress in her own right: the Star Wars princess we’ll never forget. Off the silver screen, she struggled with many personal troubles, but she used them to become an outspoken advocate for others. And she also had a smart thing or two to say about aging gracefully:

Muhammad Ali

The famous athlete was well known for his determination and fighting spirit. He taught us that we have as much to learn from our losses as we do from our victories. It’s the ability to pick ourselves back up, and aiming to win next time that matters.

Doris Roberts

The Everybody Loves Raymond actress was the lovable (if slightly nosy and overbearing) sitcom TV mother and grandmother of an entire generation. While she said countless hilarious things on the show, we want to remember these sweet, unscripted words:

David Bowie

The historic musician will be missed by many. Here, we leave you with two pieces of advice for both the older generation, and the new:

Gene Wilder

The comedic actor, famous for many films such as Blazing Saddles, certainly knew how to deliver a line on and off screen. We love this little gem that reminds us to be honest:

But we couldn’t resist also giving you one more line to live by, spoken by Gene’s most famous character, Willy Wonka:

Arnold Palmer

The man, the golfer, the legend, Arnold Palmer (nicknamed, “The King,” on the golf course) was not only a fantastic athlete, but much of what he said was valuable even if you don’t know a 9-iron from a driver.


The world mourned when we lost the iconic artist in April of 2016. Though he had many beautiful lyrics, it’s these words that we hope people will continue to share:

Anton Yelchin

The death of young actor Anton Yelchin, best known for his role as Pavel Chekov in the new Star Trek series, left us all stunned. But even in his young career, Anton showed wisdom beyond his years:

Florence Henderson

The Brady Bunch is a TV classic that will never be forgotten. And we hope these words, spoken by the show’s lead actress, won’t be either:

Leonard Cohen

The immensely talented musician, lovingly remembered for his song ‘Hallelujah‘, died this year at age 82, but his faithful words and soulful lyrics will live on:

Alan Rickman

The respected actor will be remembered for so many more roles than just Harry Potter (though there’s no denying he knocked it out of the park as the layered character of Severus Snape). So very many, in fact, that we couldn’t resist giving you more than one quote for you to pin or share:

Alan Thicke

The Canadian star was a true staple of American TV. Best known for his Growing Pains role, it’s only fitting we keep some of his fatherly-sounding advice:

MORE TO READ: Watch Alan Thicke and Kirk Cameron’s best father-son moments on Growing Pains (VIDEO)

Natalie van der Meer
Natalie van der Meer

Senior Editor Natalie van der Meer is a former editor for Redbook, Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest and Allure, covering fashion, beauty, travel, family, book reviews, and much more. She lives in New York City.

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