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2023 Grim Reaper Wrap-Up

What with one thing and another, quite a few celebrity deaths in 2023 slipped through AAA’s bony fingers, unremarked and unmourned.  As the last dregs of the old year are drained from the cup, let’s pause to remember those we’ve lost.  The list below is of necessity incomplete, and for the sake of brevity, we’ll not be doing any full-on Aster-Obits or birth charts, just taking a look at how asteroids representing the dear departed interacted with celestial death indicators on the dates of their passing.

Taking this in chronologic order, let’s start with actress Melinda Dillon, who made her close encounter with mortality on 9 January 2023.  Perhaps best remembered as Ralphie’s longsuffering mother in the perennial yuletide classic, “A Christmas Story” (1983), Dillon received accolades early in her career, earning a Tony Award nomination for her 1963 debut role in the original Broadway production of “Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?” and an Oscar nomination for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977). 

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Melinda Dillon ended her “Story” with asteroid Melindakim conjunct the Sun (spotlight) and Mercury (news), squared asteroid Rip (death, as RIP)

PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) for Dillon include Dillon 78393 and Melindakim 55815, the only CNA (Compound-Name Asteroid, one with first and last names strung together as one word, which can be separated and used for either) which incorporates Melinda.  At her passing, asteroid Melindakim at 14 Capricorn was conjoined the Sun at 19 Capricorn and Mercury at 13 Capricorn, placing her in the spotlight (Sun) and news (Mercury) one last time.  Melindakim is also exactly squared to asteroid Rip 7711 (which functions as a death indicator in the form of the acronym RIP, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription) at 14 Libra, and lies on the midpoint, roughly semisquare to each, of asteroids Requiem 2254 at 26 Scorpio (named for the funeral mass for the dead) and Atropos 273 at 26 Aquarius (named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death).  Asteroid Dillon at 4 Sagittarius is exactly semisquare the Sun, reinforcing the spotlighting effect, and sextile asteroid Osiris 1923 at 5 Libra, named for the Egyptian god of the dead.

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Cindy Williams (right) schlemieled with asteroid Cynthia squared asteroid Atropos and asteroid Williams sesquiquadrate Pluto, modern lord of death

Actress Cindy Williams crossed the Rainbow Bridge just weeks later, on January 25th.  Best known as the irrepressible Shirley Feeney on the popular 1970s sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley,” Williams also passed under a solar activation, with asteroid Williams 1763 at 15 Virgo, sesquiquadrate to the 5 Aquarius Sun.  Williams is also sesquiquadrate Pluto at 28 Capricorn, modern lord of death, and in a Grand Trine with Mercury at 11 Capricorn and Uranus (television) conjunct asteroid Cynthia (her given first name) at 14 and 15 Taurus, for a double hit to being newsworthy (Mercury) on the day.  Cynthia is also inconjunct asteroid Rip at 16 Libra and widely squared Atropos at 23 Aquarius.  But the cosmos remembered her as Shirley also, with asteroid Shirley 5624 at 27 Cancer, closely opposed Pluto at 28 Capricorn, trine asteroid Anubis 1912 at 26 Scorpio (named for the ancient Egyptian deity governing funerary rites) and inconjunct Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 25 Aquarius.

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Burt Bacharach walked on by into eternity with asteroid Burt opposed asteroid Osiris and trine asteroid Anubis

February 8th saw the death of pianist and composer Burt Bacharach, noted as one of the most influential figures in popular music in the twentieth century.  Bacharach wrote 73 US Top 40 hits, including “Walk On By,” “The Look of Love,” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” and his music formed the soundtrack for millions of lives in the 1960s and ‘70s.  Asteroid Burt 6078 at 0 Aries is appropriately sandwiched between Neptune, ruling music, at 23 Pisces and Jupiter, ruling fame and celebrity, at 7 Aries.  Connections from Burt to death indicators include a semisextile to Atropos at 1 Pisces, trine to both Anubis at 29 Scorpio and Requiem at 7 Sagittarius, and opposition to Osiris at 7 Libra.

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Raquel Welch slipped into something more comfortable with asteroid Rachele conjunct Atropos and Lachesis, opposed asteroid Welch, in a T-Square with asteroids Anubis and Requiem

Actress and sex symbol Raquel Welch passed a week later, on February 15th.  Welch’s breakout role came in “One Million Years BC” (1966), where despite being limited to three lines of dialog, Welch became an international sensation with a bestselling poster of her in a doe-skin bikini.  The apotheosis of her career came in 1974 when she won a Golden Globe for her role in “The Three Musketeers”, but Welch descended into self-parody fairly quickly, and rarely achieved critical acclaim.  When she took her final bow, asteroid Rachele 674 (closest to Raquel) at 6 Pisces conjoined asteroids Atropos at 4 Pisces and Lachesis 120 at 9 Pisces (named for Atropos’ sister Fate who determines the span of life), opposed asteroid Welch 2405 at 2 Virgo, in a T-Square with asteroids Anubis and Requiem at 1 and 9 Sagittarius.  Rachele is also inconjunct Osiris at 7 Libra, with Welch opposing the spotlighting Sun at 26 Aquarius and deadly Saturn at 27 Aquarius.

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Drag performer Barry Humphries, AKA Dame Edna, made up for the last time with asteroid Barry conjunct the Sun and squared Pluto, asteroid Humphreys conjunct Anubis, and asteroid Edna conjunct Requiem, in a T-Square with Osiris and Neptune

One of the more colorful figures to depart this planet in 2023 was Barry Humphries, better known in his drag persona of Dame Edna Everage.  Originating the character in 1955, Humphries was instrumental in bringing drag out of the closet, though the actor himself was heterosexual, with four children from four marriages.  When Humphries tucked into eternity on April 22nd, asteroid Barry 1703 at 3 Taurus conjoined the 2 Taurus Sun, for that final illumination, in square to Pluto at 0 Aquarius, inconjunct Rip at 4 Libra, and exactly semisextile Anubis at 3 Aries.  Asteroid Humphreys 10172 (alternate spelling) at 12 Sagittarius widely conjoined Anubis at 3 Sagittarius, and opposes Venus with asteroid Drago 25115 (for drag) at 13 and 17 Gemini, a last homage to the drag (Drago) entertainer (Venus).  As with Cindy Williams, Humphries’ alter ego is also celestially represented, with asteroid Edna 455 at 22 Sagittarius closely conjoined Requiem at 21 Sagittarius, in a T-Square with Neptune (illusion) at 26 Pisces and Osiris at 24 Virgo.

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Jerry Springer’s exit interview came with asteroid Geraldina conjunct the Sun and square Pluto, and asteroid Jerold conjunct Rip, opposed Lachesis and Atropos

Notoriety of another sort was displayed by Jerry Springer, once mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, who morphed into one of the most outlandish and controversial tabloid talk show hosts in US history.  The eponymous “Jerry Springer” show ran from 1991 through 2018, and has been acknowledged as a formative agent in the emergence of “trash TV.”   When Jerry Springer passed on April 27th, asteroid Geraldina 300 (feminine form of his given first name Gerald) at 29 Aries conjoined the Sun at 7 Taurus, squared Pluto at 0 Aquarius and widely trine Requiem at 20 Sagittarius (which also squares asteroid Cincinnati 1373 at 16 Pisces, announcing the death of its former mayor).  Asteroid Jerold 33544 (alternate form) at 6 Libra conjoins Rip at 3 Libra and opposes a Lachesis/Atropos pairing at 4 and 0 Aries. 

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Televangelist Marion “Pat” Robertson went to his reward with asteroid Marion conjunct asteroids Lachesis and Atropos, at the Apex of a Yod with Anubis and Osiris

Noted conservative icon and televangelist Pat Robertson went to meet his maker on June 8th.  Founder of CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network), Regent University and the Christian Coalition, an ultraconservative political organization, he hosted “The 700 Club” for 55 years, even running for president in 1988.  Born Marion Robertson, at his passing, asteroid Marion 506 at 22 Aries was bookended by asteroids Lachesis and Atropos at 17 and 29 Aries, widely squared Pluto at 0 Aquarius and at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to Osiris at 27 Virgo and Anubis at 25 Scorpio.  Asteroid Roberts 3428 (closest to Robertson) at 8 Aries is opposed asteroids Rip with Christian 192158 at 2 and 7 Libra, and semisextile Saturn at 7 Pisces, also trine Requiem at 13 Sagittarius.

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Author Cormac McCarthy found that it was, indeed, no planet for old men, with asteroid McCarthy in a Grand Cross with asteroid Requiem, Mercury (writers) and Saturn, ancient lord of death

Cormac McCarthy penned his epitaph on June 13th, when the Pulitzer prize-winning author submitted his final draft.  Best known for “No Country for Old Men,” which became a Best Picture Oscar winner, McCarthy authored twelve novels, two plays and five screenplays.  His initial popular success came with “All the Pretty Horses” (1992), which won the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award, followed up by “The Road” (2006), which garnered him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; both were also adapted for the wide screen.  At his death, asteroid McCarthy 106537 at 12 Virgo was enmeshed in a loose Grand Cross with Mercury (writing) at 4 Gemini, Saturn (death) at 7 Pisces and asteroid Requiem at 11 Sagittarius.  McCarthy also appears at the Apex of a Thor’s Hammer, a fated pattern similar to a Yod, with sesquiquadrate aspects to Pluto at 29 Capricorn and Atropos at 1 Taurus.

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Glenda Jackson’s final bow came with asteroid Jackson squared asteroid Atropos, inconjunct Saturn, and trine Requiem; her breakout role as Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth R” may be accounted for by asteroid Elisabetha closely conjunct her Sun, affording an authentic performance

Glenda Jackson was one of my favorite actresses; her bravura performance in the title role of “Elizabeth R” in the ‘70s cemented my love of history, and her pairing with Walter Matthau in 1980’s “Hopscotch” ranks among my top twenty films.  Sadly, I failed to note her final curtain call on June 15th, but the cosmos was more attentive, with asteroid Jackson 2193 at 6 Leo conjunct Venus (entertainer) at 9 Leo, squared Jupiter (fame) with Atropos at 6 and 2 Taurus, semisquare the Sun at 24 Gemini, inconjunct Saturn at 7 Pisces, trine Requiem at 11 Sagittarius, sextile both Mercury (news) at 6 Gemini and asteroid Rip at 2 Libra.

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Inga Swenson burnt the toast with asteroid Inge conjunct the Sun, opposed Pluto and squared Lachesis, and asteroid Swanson in a T-Square with Atropos and Anubis

Inga Swenson was an accomplished actress and singer, with two Tony nominations, but is perhaps best remembered as the acerbic cook Gretchen Kraus in the 1980’s sitcom “Benson.”  When she passed on July 23rd, asteroid Inge 2494 (closest to Inga) at 3 Leo conjoined the spotlighting 0 Leo Sun, squared Lachesis at 27 Aries, opposed Pluto at 29 Capricorn, and trine Requiem at 6 Sagittarius.  Asteroid Swanson (closest to Swenson) at 19 Aquarius lies on the fulcrum of a T-Square with asteroids Atropos at 16 Taurus and Anubis at 22 Scorpio.

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Paul Reubens, AKA Pee-wee Herman, knew you were dead, but what was he? when he passed, with asteroid Paul in a T-Square with Atropos and Anubis, asteroid Rubin squared Rip, trine Saturn and inconjunct Requiem, and asteroid Hermann trine Lachesis and inconjunct Pluto

Actor Paul Reubens, better known as Pee-wee Herman, left this playhouse on 30 July, with asteroid Paul 3525 at 17 Leo, just within orb of opposition to the spotlighting Sun at 7 Leo.  More to the point, Paul is T-Squared asteroids Atropos at 18 Taurus and Anubis at 22 Scorpio, with asteroid Hermann 10239 (for his alter ego Pee-Wee Herman) filling in a wide Grand Cross from 26 Leo.  Hermann is also trine Lachesis at 28 Aries and semisquare Rip at 10 Libra.  Asteroid Rubin 5726 (phonetically closest to Reubens) at 2 Cancer is semisquare Atropos, squared Rip, inconjunct Requiem at 6 Sagittarius and trine Saturn at 5 Pisces.

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Bob Barker paid the final price with asteroid Barker at station, in a T-Square with asteroids Roberto and Rip

It seemed to many that Bob Barker would never die, and in fact, he just missed his centenary by a few months when he passed on 26 August.  The iconic game show host helmed “Truth or Consequences” for almost twenty years, then went on to “The Price Is Right,” which he hosted for 35 years more.  Hard to believe that self-defining gig came to him when he was already fifty!  When he passed, asteroid Barker 7868 at 14 Capricorn was at station, having turned direct just two days prior, indicating a major change of direction.  From there, Barker formed a T-Square with opposition to asteroid Roberto 96257 (Spanish form of Robert, his given name) at 10 Cancer and asteroid Rip at 17 Libra.  Asteroid Roberta 335 (feminine form of the name) at 5 Libra also joins the T-Square, though it’s not within orb of Rip, just squaring the Roberto/Barker axis.  Roberta is also inconjunct Saturn at 3 Pisces, and at the Apex of a Yod with Lachesis at 29 Aries.

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Roger Whittaker’s swan song came with asteroid Whitaker sextile Osiris and trine Lachesis

Singer Roger Whittaker passed on 13 September; the Kenyan-British performer was noted for his rich baritone, guitar expertise and whistling skills.  Although Whittaker was more of a “niche” performer, never reaching superstar status, he nevertheless garnered more than 250 gold, silver and platinum records over his career.  At his death, asteroid Whitaker 7948 (alternate spelling) at 2 Capricorn was sextile to both asteroid Osiris at 0 Scorpio and Saturn at 2 Pisces, roughly on their midpoint, as well as trine Lachesis at 28 Aries.

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Lara Parker broke the spell of mortality with asteroid Parker conjunct Pluto, squared Lachesis and trine Atropos, and asteroid Laura conjunct Rip and trine Saturn

Lara Parker was another personal favorite, the actress who played the witch Angelique on the iconic ‘60s Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows.”  I’d race home from the school bus stop every weekday afternoon to be sure not to miss the latest round in her feud with Barnabas Collins, whom she eventually transformed into a vampire.  When she passed on October 12th, asteroid Parker 5392 at 28 Capricorn was closely conjunct Pluto, modern lord of death, at 27 Capricorn, also squared Lachesis at 23 Aries and trine Atropos at 26 Taurus.  Asteroid Laura 467 (closest to Lara) at 2 Scorpio conjoined asteroid Rip with Mars at 0 Scorpio, trined Saturn at 0 Pisces.  Asteroid Angelica 965 (closest to Angelique) joined the homage; at 22 Leo it is involved in a Grand Trine with asteroids Requiem at 25 Sagittarius and Lachesis.

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Actor Richard Roundtree got the Shaft with asteroid Richard inconjunct the Sun and asteroid Rip, and squared asteroid Requiem, with asteroid Rountree squared Saturn
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Actor Richard Moll passed two days later, under the same asteroid Richard configuration

Two famous Richards passed within two days of each other, while asteroid Richard 3972 was inconjunct a Sun/Mercury/Rip conjunction and squared asteroid Requiem.  Actor Richard Roundtree, best remembered as “Shaft,” died on October 24th, and Richard Moll, noted as bailiff “Bull” Shannon on the 1980s NBC sitcom “Night Court,” died on the 26th.  Asteroid Richard remained embedded at 6 Aries, while the Sun/Mercury/Rip trio passed from 0, 3 and 4 Scorpio for Roundtree to 2, 4 and 6 Scorpio for Moll.  Requiem moved from 1 to 2 Capricorn during the period, still squaring Richard.  Richard Roundtree is also represented by asteroid Rountree 22082 (alternate spelling), which at 0 Sagittarius is exactly semisextile the 0 Scorpio Sun, also opposed asteroid Atropos at 24 Taurus and exactly squared Saturn at 0 Pisces.

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Matthew Perry, “Friends”‘ Chandler Bing, drowned in his hot tub, with asteroid Perry in a T-Square with Atropos and Osiris, asteroid Mathieu opposed Saturn and trine a pairing of Requiem with asteroid Ophelia (drowning), and asteroid Chandler exactly conjunct the Sun with asteroid Rip

Matthew Perry’s death on October 28th, at age 54, shocked “Friends” enthusiasts across the globe, as they mourned the passing of the actor who portrayed Chandler Bing on the iconic ‘90s sitcom.  Perry had struggled with addiction most of his adult life, and was found drowned in his hot tub, with high levels of ketamine in his system.  Asteroid Perry 5529 at 23 Leo was at the fulcrum of a T-Square with Atropos at 23 Taurus and Osiris at 20 Scorpio, also trine Lachesis at 20 Aries.  Asteroid Mathieu 1592 (alternate form of Matthew) at 7 Virgo was opposed Saturn at 0 Pisces, sextile asteroid Rip at 5 Scorpio, squared Anubis at 14 Sagittarius, and, perhaps most telling, trine to a pairing of asteroids Requiem and Ophelia 171 at 2 and 6 Capricorn.  Requiem is named for the funeral mass for the dead, and Ophelia is named for the tragic “Hamlet” character who drowns herself.  Most improbable of all, asteroid Chandler 43500 is an exact match for the spotlighting Sun at 4 Scorpio, also conjunct Rip at 5 Scorpio and Mercury at 10 Scorpio, trine Saturn at 0 Pisces, and squared asteroid Actor 12238 at 6 Leo, for news (Mercury) of the death (Rip, Saturn) of the performer (Actor) best known as Chandler Bing (Chandler).

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Norman Lear’s last production came with asteroid Norman conjunct Atropos and opposed Rip

Television mainstay Norman Lear died on December 5th, at age 101.  Over the course of his long career, Lear produced, wrote, created, or developed over 100 shows, including such iconic ‘70s sitcoms as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son,” “One Day at a Time” and “The Jeffersons.”  Asteroid Norman 16707 at 10 Taurus conjoined Atropos at 13 Taurus and Jupiter (fame) at 6 Taurus, opposing Rip at 16 Scorpio.  Norman was also inconjunct the Sun at 13 Sagittarius, semisquare Neptune at 24 Pisces, reflecting his long association with television, and sesquiquadrate Anubis at 28 Sagittarius.

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There was no love lost as Ryan O’Neal passed with asteroid Ryan opposed the Sun, inconjunct Rip, and sextile Lachesis

Actor Ryan O’Neal passed on December 8th; the Oscar-nominated star of “Love Story” (1970) got his start in the ABC nighttime soap opera “Peyton Place” in 1964.  He went on to roles in popular films such as “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972) with Barbra Streisand, “Paper Moon” (1973), “Barry Lyndon” (1975) and “A Bridge Too Far” (1977), working with such notable directors as Bogdanovich, Kubrick and Attenborough.  At his death, asteroid Ryan 21936 at 17 Gemini opposed the 16 Sagittarius Sun for his final bow, as well as asteroid Osiris at 8 Sag, also exactly inconjunct asteroid Rip at 17 Scorpio and closely sextile Lachesis at 16 Aries.

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Tommy Smothers (right) cracked his last joke with asteroid Thomas squared Lachesis and sextile Rip

Comedian Tommy Smothers, of the offbeat ’60s variety show “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” with brother Dick, died on 26 December 2023, rounding out our catalog of mortality for the year.  Asteroid Thomas 2555 (his given name) appears at 22 Capricorn, conjunct Pluto at 29 Capricorn, squared Lachesis at 17 Aries, and exactly sextile Rip at 22 Scorpio.

In closing, I would just like to note that these names were chosen by myself from a list of celebrity deaths in 2023, mostly for name recognition or particular fondness on my part.  Names were not prescreened for astrological suitability, nor rejected for nonconformity to typical celestial rules of passing.  The latter was unnecessary, as I hope this article reveals – for when Death comes knocking, the cosmos is always ready to answer.

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

3 comments, add yours.


This was great, Alex, you covered some of my favourites who sadly passed this year. Hope you consider doing this in future years. They’re all amazing although some are more amazing than others. I always check my own PNA against death indicators as soon as I read these pieces, lol. Thanks and Happy New Year, Alex!

    Alex Miller


    don’t panic, Laurien! since these little bits spin around the sun every 3-5 years, we’re all constantly interacting with them, and usually it’s not an indicator of imminent death. like the Tarot card, Death in this context is normally signaling change. what it takes for physical death, astrologically, is multiple indicators active at once and interacting with death indicators in the birth chart as well. that said, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye peeled. :^)

Charlotte Wagner

This is so excellent, Alex, thank you.
I just wish it were twice as long (greedy me…).

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