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Remembering Icons: Notable Deaths in 2023

The passing of individuals who have left a mark on society is always a moment of reflection and remembrance. As we bid farewell to the year 2023, we take a moment to honour the legacies of some notable figures who have left us.

From entertainment to sports, business to culinary arts, these individuals made significant contributions to their respective fields. Some had even gone on to become global names known in households around the world.

Here we remember some of the most notable deaths in 2023 in Australia and further afield.

Barry Humphries

The world lost an iconic comedian and performer with the passing of Barry Humphries. Best known for his alter ego, Dame Edna Everage, Humphries was a master of satire and observational humour. With his flamboyant and acerbic character, he charmed audiences globally for decades. Beyond Dame Edna, Humphries was a versatile artist, having contributed to theatre, film, and literature. His wit and irreverence earned him a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide, making his departure a significant loss to the world of comedy.

Ron Barassi

The Australian rules football community mourned the loss of a legend with the passing of Ron Barassi. As one of the most influential figures in the sport’s history, Barassi’s impact extended far beyond the field. Not only did he have a stellar playing career, but he also achieved success as a coach, leaving an enduring legacy. Barassi’s commitment to the game and his leadership qualities made him an icon in Australian rules football, and his passing marked the end of an era for fans and players alike.

Jock Zonfrillo

Renowned Australian chef Jock Zonfrillo, known for his dedication to preserving Indigenous Australian food culture, left a lasting impression on the culinary world. Founder of Orana Foundation, Zonfrillo worked tirelessly to promote native Australian ingredients, earning accolades for his commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing. His legacy lives on not only through his restaurants but also through the impact he had on fostering appreciation for Indigenous cuisines.

Matthew Perry

The world bid farewell to a beloved actor with the passing of Matthew Perry. Best known for his iconic role as Chandler Bing in the hit TV series “Friends,” Perry’s wit and comedic timing made him a fan favourite. Beyond his sitcom success, Perry’s career included diverse roles in film and theatre. His contributions to the entertainment industry and the laughter he brought to millions will forever be remembered.

Richard Roundtree

The film industry lost a trailblazer with the passing of Richard Roundtree. A legendary actor, Roundtree achieved iconic status with his portrayal of John Shaft in the “Shaft” film series. Breaking barriers as one of the first African-American action heroes, Roundtree’s impact extended beyond the silver screen. His legacy paved the way for greater diversity in film, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.


The indigenous community this year mourned the loss of Yunupingu, an acclaimed political and indigenous rights activist. Such was the loss to the country that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was a man with authority, grace and power and that he “walked in two worlds”.

With a Western education yet still closely connected to his cultural heritage, Yunupingu fought tirelessly for indigenous land rights. Yunupingu was also a popular musician and artist.

James Hardy

Sir James Hardy is an Australian American Cup hero and Championship-winning sailor. Sir James was known as a fierce competitor, yet his mild nature gave him the nickname “Gentleman Jim”. Hardy grew up in a sailing family and lost his father at a young age, at which point he received a 12-foot sailboat his father had left him. Sir Hardy was named “Australian Sportsperson of the Year” in 1981, the same year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Simon Crean

Australian politics bid farewell to a seasoned politician with the passing of Simon Crean. With a career spanning several decades, Crean served as a Member of Parliament and held ministerial positions, contributing significantly to the Labor Party. His dedication to public service and commitment to social justice made him a respected figure in Australian politics.

Joy Chambers-Grundy

The world of television and production mourned the loss of Joy Chambers-Grundy, a pioneering figure in the entertainment industry. As a television producer, she made significant contributions to the success of iconic soap operas like “Neighbours” and “Prisoner.” Her influence extended beyond the screen, as Chambers-Grundy’s work played a crucial role in shaping the landscape of Australian television.

Johnny Ruffo

The entertainment industry grieved the loss of Johnny Ruffo, a multi-talented artist known for his contributions to music, television, and acting. Rising to fame through his participation in reality shows, Ruffo showcased his versatility and charisma. His journey from a contestant on “The X Factor” to a successful entertainer exemplified his passion for the arts, making his untimely passing a poignant moment for fans.


The loss of celebrities and other notable people is a stark reminder that mortality applies to all of us. And while it can be difficult to lose a celebrity or somebody else you’ve looked up for so long, it is usually much harder when the deceased is somebody close to you.

If you have recently lost somebody close to you and need assistance, the team at Family Funerals will be happy to help however we can. We offer a wide range of funeral services and our team will be looking forward to your call.