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Friday, October 23, 2020

‘Big Brother’ Contestants Who Have Died


The sun illuminates a grave stone in the churchyard of St Giles in the village of Imber.

Throughout its 25 seasons, over 300 people have entered the Big Brother house either in the regular game or on the celebrity edition. Here is a tribute to those members of the Big Brother family we’ve lost over the years.

Cassandra Waldon, season 1

Waldon was a contestant on the first season of Big Brother — in fact, she was the very first person to ever enter the Big Brother house. She ended up finishing in sixth place after being the first person ever to be evicted and then return via a twist in the game.

In September 2019, Waldon was killed in a car accident at the age of 56. A source at the United Nations, which is where Waldon worked, told TMZ at the time that she was hit by a car while in Rome in July of that year and suffered a head injury from which she never regained consciousness.

When the news broke in the U.S., host Julie Chen wrote on Instagram, “Verified
Rest In Peace Cassandra. Your light will continue to shine in this world because of the way you lived your life: with class and grace. May your family and loved ones find solace and peace. Thank you for bringing your intelligence, warmth, and wisdom to the Big Brother house Season 1. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers. May God Bless your soul.”

Kent Blackwelder, season 2

Kent Blackwelder, who finished in seventh place in the second season of the show, passed away in December 2017 at the age of 62. Robyn Kass, the casting director for the show, confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, “Just heard the very sad news of the passing of #BB2 @KentBlackwelder. Sending love to the Blackwelder family.”

And fellow houseguest Bill “Bunky” Miller wrote a beautiful tribute on Facebook about how they were very different people who became unlikely allies and friends.

“I visited Kent Blackwelder and his amazing family in 2003 at their home in Knoxville TN on my way to CA. Then this past October, after 14 years, I went back there to see Kent and his family. It was a great reunion. Lots of love and laughs,” wrote Miller. “And I was so proud and honored to attend the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’s Lavender Pen Tour concert in Knoxville with them. I never dreamed this would be the last time I would see Kent. My heart is broken. Kent and I were 2 completely different men who built a bridge. And Kent came a lot farther across that bridge than me. Thank you for your love, respect, and friendship, you Old Fart. Love, the Big Homo.”

Big Brother UK Deaths

Fortunately, those are the only two deaths that the U.S. version of Big Brother has had. But the U.K. version has also had a few.

Among their regular edition players, Jade Goody from season three died in 2009 and Sophia Brown from season 10 died in 2012; Goody went on to appear on the celebrity edition as well. From the celebrity version, Jackie Stallone and John McCririck from season three, Pete Burns from season four, Ken Russell from season five, Verne Troyer from season six, Keith Chegwin from season 15, David Gest from season 17, and Derek Acorah from season 20 have all passed away.

Big Brother 22 is currently airing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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