Died Today in History ›
Published: 10 months ago
Actress Anne Francis made her mark in science fiction, starring in the groundbreaking film "Forbidden Planet." She moved on to another groundbreaking production when she starred on TV's "Honey West," the first program with a female detective's name in the title. Other notable projects for Francis included "The Blackboard Jungle," "Funny Girl," and a recurring role on TV's "Dallas." We remember Francis' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2015: Little Jimmy Dickens, U.S. country music singer famous for his humorous novelty songs such as "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed," dies at 94.
A native of Buffalo, New York, and a Navy pilot during World War II, Wertimer had one-off roles on dozens of TV shows from the early 1960s through the late '80s, including "Car 54 Where Are You?" and "Mary Tyler Moore," according to his obituary by The Associated Press. But he was known best by far as Ralph Hart, the uniformed, mustachioed doorman at the luxury apartment building on "The Jeffersons," the "All in the Family" spinoff that ran from 1975 to 1985. Read more
2012: William Carey, U.S. businessman and philanthropist who donated funds to establish the Carey Business School, dies at 81.
Carey reportedly gave $30 million in 2011 to the University of Maryland Law School, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He also made a $50 million bequest in 2006 to Johns Hopkins University to found the Carey School of Business at that Maryland university. And in 2003, the business leader and philanthropist also gave $50 million to Arizona State University in 2003 to found its W.P. Carey School of Business. Read more
2012: Gordon Hirabayashi, U.S. sociologist and civil rights activist, dies at 93 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Hirabayashi was in his senior year when he refused to get on a bus that was taking Japanese-Americans to internment camps on the West Coast. "I wasn't a rebel looking for a cause," Hirabayashi said at the time, as cited in his obituary by The Associated Press. "In fact, I was preparing to go. But in the days before I was supposed to leave, I realized that I couldn't do it." He said he knew his parents might be in jeopardy, as they had not been eligible for naturalization when they immigrated to the United States. "But the second generation, my generation, were U.S. citizens," Hirabayashi said. "We had constitutional rights. I didn't think anything could happen to us. We had a rude awakening." Read more
2012: Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, U.S. guitarist who for a time was a member of the band Iron Butterfly, dies at 63.
2011: Anne Francis, U.S. actress who starred in the science-fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" and the TV series "Honey West," dies at 80.
Originally conceived as a lightweight piece for one of the B-movie studios, "Forbidden Planet" was pitched to MGM – a pitch that was expected to be a lost cause. But studio heads liked what they saw and gave the filmmakers a starting budget of $1 million, which later was nearly doubled. This unlikely support allowed the film's creators to craft the classic we know and love today – in the process, creating a blueprint for the entire sci-fi genre … and helping to ensure Francis' status as a fan favorite. Read more
2011: Pete Postlethwaite, English actor who appeared in such films as "The Usual Suspects" and "In the Name of the Father," dies of cancer at 64.
Postlethwaite, according to his obituary by The Associated Press, had little going for him when he started in an industry where good looks – think Robert Redford or George Clooney – are valued. He had few connections and a name that was hard to pronounce, and he could distinguish himself only by his talent. It was a subtle talent, hard to define, marked by an ability to completely inhabit a role, to convey a deep sense of burden with a glance or a shrug. There were no pyrotechnics; nothing was overstated. But he had a powerful presence and authenticity on screen and stage. Read more
2011: Richard "Dick" Winters, the Easy Company commander whose World War II exploits were made famous by the book and television miniseries "Band of Brothers," dies at 92.
"He was one hell of a guy, one of the greatest soldiers I was ever under," said Edward J. Heffron, who had the nickname "Babe" in the company, according to Winters' obituary by The Associated Press. "He was a wonderful officer, a wonderful leader. He had what you needed, guts and brains. He took care of his men; that's very important." Read more
2007: Don Massengale, U.S. PGA tour golf professional, dies of a heart attack at 69.
2000: Nat Adderley, U.S. jazz trumpet player, dies at 68.
1997: Randy California, U.S. guitarist who founded the rock group Spirit and played in an early Jimi Hendrix-led band, drowns while saving his son at 45.
1995: Nancy Kelly, U.S. actress who was a leading lady in the 1930s, dies at 73.
1994: Dixy Lee Ray, U.S. politician who was Washington state's first female governor, dies at 79.
1990: Alan Hale Jr., U.S. actor known best as the Skipper on the TV comedy series "Gilligan's Island," dies of cancer at 68.
1986: Bill Veeck, U.S. former owner of MLB's Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, dies at 71.
1986: Una Merkel, U.S. actress who was featured in "42nd Street" and "Destry Rides Again," dies at 82.
1977: Erroll Garner, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who wrote "Misty," dies of a heart attack at 53.
Two of the most famous singing cowboys were Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and even John Wayne dabbled (though his vocals had to be dubbed). You didn't necessarily have to be a great singer to star as a singing cowboy, but the best-loved ones provided their own golden tones. And up there among the greatest genuine singing cowboys was Ritter, multitalented star of movies, radio, and beyond. Read more
1963: Jack Carson, Canadian actor who was a very popular character actor during Hollywood's golden age and co-starred in the film "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," dies of cancer at 52.
1963: Dick Powell, popular U.S. entertainer and filmmaker and husband of actress June Allyson, dies at 58.