Died Today in History ›
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Published: 11 months ago
Barbara McNair possessed many talents including singer, actress and television personality. She was one of the first African-American women to host a television variety show. "The Barbara McNair Show" ran from 1969 until 1971. She appeared on many television shows and starred in the 1970 movie “They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!” We remember her life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2013: Reg Presley, English rocker who was the lead singer of the Troggs who had the hit song "Wild Thing," dies at 71.
The Troggs, part of the British invasion spurred by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, perfected a simple, hard-driving approach to the three-minute rock song that was miles away from the lyrical art-rock of the Beatles or the poetic songs of Bob Dylan. This was rock music at its "boy meets girl" basics, with a caveman's approach to romance — and it created such a powerful image that Presley and the band played these songs to appreciative (if smaller) audiences until illness intervened. Read more
2012: Robert Daniel, U.S. politician who was a five-term congressman from Virginia, dies at 75.
2009: Lux Interior, U.S. founder and lead singer of the garage-rock band the Cramps, dies at 62.
McNair was a woman of many talents: A singer and an actress, she also hosted a TV variety show, becoming one of the first African-American women to do so. "The Barbara McNair Show" lasted three seasons, from 1969 to 1972, and featured big names including Sonny and Cher, the Righteous Brothers, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, and more. McNair, as talented as her guests, often sang on the show. Read more
2007: Steve Barber, U.S. Major League Baseball pitcher who played the majority of his career with the Baltimore Orioles and was a two-time All-Star, dies at 68.
2006: Myron Waldman, U.S. animator who worked on shows such as "Betty Boop" and "Casper the Friendly Ghost," dies at 97.
2006: Betty Friedan, U.S. writer, activist, and feminist, dies at 85.
"Gradually, without seeing it clearly for quite a while, I came to realize that something is very wrong with the way American women are trying to live their lives today," Friedan wrote in her 1963 book, "The Feminine Mystique." "I sensed it first as a question mark in my own life, as a wife and mother of three small children, half-guiltily, and therefore half-heartedly, almost in spite of myself, using my abilities and education in work that took me away from home." Read more
2005: Ossie Davis, U.S. actor whose notable movies include "The Hill" and "Do the Right Thing," dies at 87.
In later years, Davis and his wife, fellow actor and activist Ruby Dee, were recognized for their talents and contributions over the decades. They were named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in 1989, and in 1995 received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton. In 2004, the couple were presented with one of the most prestigious awards in entertainment, a Kennedy Center Honor. Read more
2002: George Nader, U.S. film and television actor who appeared in many movie and TV roles in the 1950s and '60s, dies at 80.
2001: J.J. Johnson, U.S. jazz trombonist who was considered one of the leading trombonists of the post-swing era, dies at 77.
2000: Doris Coley, U.S. singer who was a member of the rhythm and blues group the Shirelles, dies at 58.
1989: Kenneth "Jethro" Burns, U.S. country singer and mandolin player who was part of the comedy music duo Homer and Jethro, dies at 68.
1987: Liberace, U.S. world-famous pianist who was a major celebrity, dies at 67.
From the marvelous costumes to the silly banter, to the grandiose and bombastic playing style, everything about Liberace was beloved by his fans (most of them women, as he joked). Although childhood piano teachers would have railed against his finger position (not nearly arched enough) and his playing style (a little sloppy and a lot overblown) – and music critics firmly agreed with their assessments – those things didn't matter a whit to his fans. They thought his persona was a delight and his music magnificent. They loved the rhinestone-encrusted suits, too. Read more
1983: Karen Carpenter, U.S. singer and drummer who formed the popular duo the Carpenters with her brother, Richard, dies of anorexia nervosa at 32.
It's not easy to come to terms with the fact that what we love best from an artist isn't necessarily what she wanted to do. But perhaps there's some common ground for Carpenter and her fans: the drums. Carpenter often looked happiest behind a drum kit, whether she was singing along with a favorite ballad or just providing intricate rhythms and impressive solos. She always seemed to drum with a smile on her face, and that smile was contagious. Read more
1983: Jim Ameche, U.S. actor known mainly for radio work who was the brother of actor Don Ameche, dies at 67.
1982: Sue Carol, U.S. actress and talent agent whose discoveries included actress and singer Julie London, dies at 75.
1975: Louis Jordan, U.S. musician and bandleader who was a pioneer of R&B music and was extremely popular in the 1930s and '40s, dies at 66.
In the 1940s, no self-respecting jukebox would have been complete without at least a few records by Jordan. The pioneering bandleader-singer-saxophonist was one of the top hit-makers of the day, making African-American and white audiences alike move their feet to his uniquely infectious tunes. Along the way, he created some of the earliest precursors to rock 'n' roll and rap, and his wild success on the charts – as well as in diners, dance clubs, and drive-ins – led fans to dub him the King of the Jukebox. Read more
1968: Neal Cassady, U.S. writer who was a major figure of the Beat Generation and whom Jack Kerouac used to model his character Dean Moriarty in his novel "On the Road," dies at 41.
1943: Frank Calder, first president of the NHL, dies at 65.