Died Today in History ›
Published: 10 months ago
Coretta Scott King was the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was also so much more. While her husband was alive, she worked by his side as one of the leaders of the civil rights movement. After King's assassination in 1968, she carried on his legacy, working toward equality for African-Americans as well as other groups. She became a prominent figure, not only in the rights movements for women, but also for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. She advocated the dismantling of apartheid and worked for world peace. When King's birthday became a federal holiday in 1986, it came about largely as a result of his widow's tireless efforts on his behalf. All her life, she worked to make the world a better place for all people. We remember King's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died today in history.
2013: Patty Andrews, U.S. singer who along with her sisters formed the vocal group the Andrews Sisters, who sold more 75 million records and had the hit song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," dies at 94.
Youngest sister and lead singer Patty was just 7 when they started the group and only 12 when they won a local talent contest. Soon after, the girls hit the road, performing on the vaudeville circuit to help support their family. By 1940, the trio had several hit records, and the Andrews Sisters were household names. Their strong voices in tight harmony were intended to sound like the blare of three trumpets, and the successful imitation brought them a long string of hit records – like their best-known song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Read more
2009: Ingemar Johansson, Swedish heavyweight professional boxing champion of the world from 1959 to 1960 who had three memorable title fights against Floyd Patterson, dies at 76.
Johansson knocked out Floyd Patterson in the third round at Yankee Stadium June 26, 1959, to win the heavyweight title. He floored the American seven times in the third round before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight 2:03 into it, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Back home, hundreds of thousands of Swedes listened to the live radio broadcast at 3 a.m. as Johansson became only the fifth heavyweight champion born outside the U.S. His feat earned him The Associated Press' Male Athlete of the Year in 1959, only the second Swede to win the award. Read more
2007: Sidney Sheldon, U.S. author and screenwriter who created the TV series The Patty Duke Show and I Dream of Jeannie and wrote best-selling novels including The Other Side of Midnight, dies at 89.
"I try to write my books so the reader can't put them down," Sheldon explained in a 1982 interview, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. "I try to construct them so when the reader gets to the end of a chapter, he or she has to read just one more chapter. It's the technique of the old Saturday afternoon serial: Leave the guy hanging on the edge of the cliff at the end of the chapter." Read more
2006: Coretta Scott King, U.S. civil rights activist and wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., dies at 78.
Afriend introduced her to King while she was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. "She said she wanted me to meet a very promising young minister from Atlanta," she reflected with a laugh. "I wasn't interested in meeting a young minister at that time." Coretta Scott might have been reluctant, but that young minister knew he'd found his true love. On their first date, he told her, "You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday." Read more
2005: Wes Wehmiller, U.S. musician who played bass for Duran Duran on their tours from 1997 to 2001, dies at 33.
1999: Ed Herlihy, U.S. radio and television announcer whose voice was heard on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows and Woody Allen movies, dies at 89.
1999: Huntz Hall, U.S. actor known for his roles in the Dead End Kids and The Bowery Boys movie series, dies at 78.
1996: Bob Thiele, U.S. record producer who worked with such jazz greats as John Coltrane and Earl Hines, dies at 73.
1996: Dan Duva, successful U.S. boxing promoter who ran many championship bouts through his company, Main Events, dies at 44.
1991: John McIntire, U.S. character actor who appeared mostly in Western-themed films and TV series and had a starring role on the TV series Wagon Train, dies at 83.
1983: Mack Reynolds, U.S. science fiction writer who was very popular from the 1950s until the 1970s with readers of science fiction magazines, dies at 65.
1982: Lightnin' Hopkins, U.S. blues singer-songwriter and guitarist who is included among Rolling Stone's 100 greatest guitarists of all time, dies at 69.
Hopkins was one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time, and he didn't have to make any deals with the devil to get there. He learned as a soloist how to sound like a band – often playing lead, rhythm, bass and percussion all on one instrument, while singing as well. It was a distinctive style, one that required massive skill. Read more
1982: Stanley Holloway, English actor who played Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady, dies at 91.
1980: Professor Longhair, U.S. blues singer and pianist whose most popular song was "Go to the Mardi Gras," dies at 61.
1951: Ferdinand Porsche, German auto engineer who founded the well-known automotive company that bears his name, dies at 75.
1948: Orville Wright, U.S. aviation pioneer who along with brother Wilbur is credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane, dies at 76.
1948: Mahatma Gandhi, Indian civil rights leader, is assassinated at 78.
For decades, Gandhi has inspired peaceful people all over the world. We admire him for his ideas: social justice, civil rights, nonviolence. We applaud his actions as the leader of the nonviolent revolution that brought about India's independence from British rule. And we're inspired by his words: Some of the most-shared and best-loved quotes can be traced back to Gandhi's lips. Read more
1948: Herb Pennock, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, dies at 53.
1934: Frank Nelson Doubleday, well-known U.S. publisher, dies at 72.
1836: Betsy Ross, seamstress widely credited with making the first U.S. flag, dies at 84.