Stars who earned major award nominations posthumously
Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the stars who earned major recognition for their work after their deaths — from Heath Ledger and Carrie Fisher to David Bowie and Amy Winehouse. Keep reading to get the scoop on celebs who earned major award nominations posthumously, starting with the late Chadwick Boseman. The “Black Panther” actor passed away on Aug. 28, 2020, at 43 after a private four-year battle with colon cancer. In 2021, his final two films, “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” earned him a slew of 2021 award season best actor nominations — including an Oscar nod — as well as wins for his work in the latter film at the 2021 Golden Globes, 2021 SAG Awards and 2021 Critics’ Choice Awards.
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Australian actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose at 28 on Jan. 22, 2008. The former teen heartthrob, who earned his first Oscar nomination in 2006 for his work in “Brokeback Mountain,” scored a posthumous Academy Award nomination in 2009 for his performance as The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Ultimately, he won the Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and a BAFTA Award — all posthumously — for his impressive turn in the Batman movie.
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Carrie Fisher died of complications from a heart attack at 60 on Dec. 27, 2016. The following year, the “Star Wars” actress earned a posthumous Emmy nomination (her third ever) for her work on the British sitcom “Catastrophe.” Carrie also earned a posthumous Grammy nomination for best spoken word album for the audiobook of her memoir “The Princess Diarist.”
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David Bowie died of liver cancer at 69 on Jan. 10, 2016. A little more than a year later, he posthumously won all four Grammys for which his “Blackstar” album had been nominated, including best alternative music album and best rock song and best rock performance for the title track. Before 2017, he’d only claimed one Grammy: best short form video in 1985. (The Recording Academy also honored the rock superstar with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.)
James Gandolfini died of a heart attack at 51 on June 19, 2013. The following year, he earned posthumous SAG Award and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations for his performance in the romantic comedy “Enough Said.”
Joan Rivers died during surgery for a minor throat procedure at 81 on Sept. 4, 2014. The following year, the comedy legend posthumously won a Grammy for best spoken word album for the audiobook of her memoir “Diary of a Mad Diva.”
Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning at 27 on July 23, 2011. The following year, the powerhouse singer, who won five Grammys in previous years, earned one more posthumously: best pop/duo group performance for a collaboration with Tony Bennett on a remake of his hit “Body & Soul.” The following year, she earned yet another posthumous Grammy nomination: best rap/sung collaboration for the Nas track “Cherry Wine,” on which she sang. In 2016, “Amy” — a documentary about her life — won an Oscar and a BAFTA Award for best feature-length documentary, as well as a Grammy for best music film.
James Dean was just 24 when he died in a car accident on Sept. 30, 1955. A few months later, he earned his first-ever Academy Award nomination for his performance in “East of Eden.” (It was the first time an actor had earned an Oscar nomination posthumously.) The following year, James earned an Academy Award nomination for his work in “Giant,” making him the only actor ever to receive two posthumous Oscar nominations for acting in consecutive years.
Ingrid Bergman died of breast cancer on her 67th birthday, Aug. 29, 1982. Less than a month later, the three-time Oscar winner posthumously won an Emmy (her second ever) for her work as Golda Meir in “A Woman Called Golda.” The following year, she earned a Golden Globe (her fourth) for her performance in the made-for-TV movie.
Richard Burton died of a brain hemorrhage at 58 on Aug. 5, 1984. The following month, the seven-time Oscar nominee earned his first and only Emmy nomination for his work on the CBS miniseries “Ellis Island.”
Ray Charles died of complications from acute liver disease at 73 on June 10, 2004. The following year, he won five of the seven Grammys for which he’d earned posthumous nominations, including record of the year for his track “Here We Go Again” and album of the year for “Genius Loves Company.”
John Ritter died during surgery to repair an aortic dissection at 54 on Sept. 11, 2003. The following year, he earned a posthumous Emmy nomination (his sixth overall) for his performance on “8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter.”
Phil Hartman was 49 when his third wife shot and killed him as he slept on May 28, 1998. A few months later, the “Saturday Night Live” alum earned a posthumous Emmy nomination for his work on “NewsRadio.”
Chris Cornell died by suicide at 52 on May 18, 2017. A few months later, the Audioslave frontman, who won two Grammys with his band Soundgarden in 1995, earned a posthumous Grammy nomination for his charity single “The Promise,” which he wrote for the film of the same name.
Raúl Juliá died of complications from a stroke at 54 on Oct. 24, 1994. A few months later, the star of “The Addams Family” posthumously won his first Golden Globe, as well as his first SAG Award, for his performance in “The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story.” Later that year, he won his first Emmy for his work in the HBO made-for-TV movie.
Jerry Orbach died of prostate cancer at 69 on Dec. 28, 2004. Less than two months later, he posthumously won his first SAG Award for his performance on “Law & Order.”
George Carlin died of heart failure at 71 on June 22, 2008. A few months later, he earned a posthumous Emmy nomination for his comedy special “George Carlin… It’s Bad for Ya!” The following year, the funnyman posthumously won a Grammy for the audio recording of the same comedy special.
“Patton” star George C. Scott died of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm at 71 on Sept. 22, 1999. A few months later, the Oscar winner earned a posthumous SAG Award nomination (his second) for his performance in the made-for-TV movie “Inherit the Wind.”
Kathryn Joosten died of lung cancer at 72 on June 2, 2012. A few months later, the two-time Emmy winner earned her fourth Emmy nomination for her work as Karen McCluskey on “Desperate Housewives.”
Otis Redding died in a plane crash at 26 on Dec. 10, 1967. More than a year later, the soulful singer posthumously won two Grammys for his hit “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.”
Walt Disney took home more than 20 Academy Awards between 1932 and 1969. He posthumously won his final Oscar — best animated short for “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day,” which he produced — more than two years after he died from complications of lung cancer at 65 on Dec. 15, 1966.
Sydney Pollack died of cancer at 73 on May 26, 2008. The actor-director won two Oscars for “Out of Africa,” which he directed and produced, in 1986 and also earned nominations for his work on “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” in 1970, “Tootsie” in 1983 and “Michael Clayton” in 2008, mere months before his death. In 2009, he earned a posthumous Academy Award nomination for “The Reader,” which he produced.
Playwright August Wilson died of liver cancer at 60 on Oct. 2, 2005. He earned his first Oscar nomination more than a decade later: best adapted screenplay for the 2016 movie version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fences,” in which Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred.
Nicholas Colasanto died of a heart attack at 61 on Feb. 12, 1985. A few months later, he posthumously earned his third Emmy nomination for his work as Ernie “Coach” Pantusso on “Cheers.”
Marion Lorne died of a heart attack at 84 on May 9, 1968. Just 10 days later, she posthumously won her first Emmy (after four nominations in previous years) for her performance as Aunt Clara on “Bewitched.”
Jim Davis died of cancer at 71 on April 26, 1981. Later that year, he earned a posthumous nomination for his first and only Emmy for his work as Jock Ewing on “Dallas.”
Michael Conrad died of urethral cancer at 58 on Nov. 22, 1983. The following year, the two-time Emmy winner earned his fourth Emmy nomination for his work as Phil Esterhaus on “Hill Street Blues.”
Jack Albertson, who won an Oscar in 1969 and took home two Emmys in the ’70s, died of colon cancer at 74 on Nov. 25, 1981. The following year, the “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” actor earned a posthumous Emmy nomination for his work in the made-for-TV movie “My Body, My Child.”
Nancy Marchand, who won four Emmys for her work on “Lou Grant,” died of lung cancer and emphysema at 71 on June 18, 2000. A few months later, she earned a posthumous Emmy nomination for her performance as Livia Soprano on “The Sopranos.” Earlier in 2000, she won her first Golden Globe for her work on the HBO drama.
Colleen Dewhurst died of cervical cancer at 67 on Aug. 22, 1991. Just three days later, the esteemed actress was up for two awards during the 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards: outstanding guest actress in a drama series for her work on “Road to Avonlea” and outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her work on “Murphy Brown.” Ultimately, she won the latter.
Will Geer died of respiratory failure at 76 on April 22, 1978. A few months later, he earned a whopping three posthumous Emmy nominations: best guest actor in a supporting role for an appearance on “Eight Is Enough,” best guest actor in a lead role for his work on “The Love Boat” and best supporting actor in a drama series for his performance on “The Waltons.”
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