Died Today in History ›
Getty Images / NBCU Photo Bank / Chris Haston
Published: 11 months ago
Jerry Orbach was a versatile actor who starred in many productions on Broadway including "Chicago" and in movies such as the classic "Dirty Dancing," in which he played Baby's father. Most fans will remember him best for his iconic role as Detective Lennie Briscoe on TV's "Law & Order." We remember Orbach's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2015: Lemmy, British musician and singer who founded and was the lead singer of the popular heavy metal band Motorhead, dies at 70.
Born Ian Fraser Kilmister, Lemmy founded Motorhead, a band that has had an enormous influence on the heavy metal genre, largely because of Kilmister's furious bass playing, guttural vocals, and innovative songwriting. Read more
2015: John Bradbury, British percussionist known best as the drummer for the ska band the Specials, dies at 62.
2014: Frankie Randall, U.S. singer and actor who starred in the beach party movie "Wild on the Beach," dies at 76.
2013: Alfred Marshall, U.S. businessman who founded the Marshall's chain of discount stores, dies at 94.
He founded Jazzmobile in the 1960s to bring free music to urban followers. He was host of a popular jazz show on NPR, and he profiled musicians for CBS' "Sunday Morning" show, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2004: Susan Sontag, U.S. author and filmmaker, dies of complications of acute myelogenous leukemia at 71.
The 1964 piece "Notes on Camp," which established her as a major new writer, popularized the "so bad it's good" attitude toward popular culture, applicable to everything from "Swan Lake" to feather boas, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. In "Against Interpretation," this most analytical of writers worried that critical analysis interfered with art's "incantatory, magical" power. Read more
2004: Jerry Orbach, U.S. actor who played detective Lennie Briscoe on "Law & Order," dies of cancer at 69.
For 12 seasons, Orbach played one of the greatest TV detectives of all time. Orbach's "Law & Order" Briscoe was smart, tough, jaded, sarcastic … and awesome. We loved watching Orbach get the bad guy, and we would have continued watching for many more seasons, if he hadn't died just as he was beginning a run on the spinoff "Law & Order: Trial by Jury." Read more
1999: Clayton Moore, U.S. actor who starred as the Lone Ranger, dies of a heart attack at 85.
1991: Cassandra Harris, Australian actress who appeared in "For Your Eyes Only" and was the wife of actor Pierce Brosnan, dies of cancer at 39.
1990: Kiel Martin, U.S. actor known best for his role as Detective LaRue on the TV police series "Hill Street Blues," dies of cardiovascular collapse caused by lung cancer at 46.
1984: Sam Peckinpah, maverick U.S. film director who directed "The Wild Bunch," dies of cardiac arrest at 59.
"Hey, surfing's getting really big. You guys ought to write a song about it." – Dennis Wilson, to his brother Brian and cousin Mike Love, in 1961. Read more
1983: William Demarest, curmudgeonly U.S. character actor known best as Uncle Charley on the TV classic "My Three Sons," dies at 91.
1983: Jimmy Demaret, U.S. professional golfer and the first three-time winner of the Masters Tournament, dies at 73.
1978: Harry Winston, U.S. jeweler for the "rich and famous," dies at 82.
1976: Freddie King, influential U.S. blues guitarist and singer, dies at 42.
1967: Katharine McCormick, U.S. women's rights activist, dies at 92.
1961: Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, U.S. first lady from 1915 to 1921 as the wife of President Woodrow Wilson, dies of congestive heart failure at 89.
1952: Fletcher Henderson, U.S. jazz bandleader considered one of the founders of swing music, dies at 55.
1946: Carrie Jacobs-Bond, U.S. songwriter who became the first woman to sell 1 million copies of a song with her composition "I Love You Truly," dies at 84.
1945: Theodore Dreiser, U.S. novelist who wrote "An American Tragedy," dies at 74.
1938: Florence Lawrence, Canadian film star during the silent era who was known as the First Movie Star, dies by suicide at 48.
1937: Joseph-Maurice Ravel, French composer known best for his composition "Bolero," dies at 62.