Died Today in History ›
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Published: 11 months ago
Bette Davis was one of the great legends of the golden age of Hollywood, widely considered one of the best actresses of all time. She won two Academy awards, for "Dangerous" and "Jezebel," and was nominated for eight more, becoming the first actor to receive 10 nominations. Today's audiences may remember her better for later films such as "All About Eve" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." She appeared in almost 100 movies in a career that spanned 58 years. She was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the first woman to win a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute. We remember Davis' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2015: Kevin Corcoran, U.S. child actor who appeared in many Disney projects in the late 1950s to early 1960s, dies at 66.
2014: Marian Seldes, U.S. actress known best as a Broadway star, who won a Tony Award for "A Delicate Balance," dies at 86.
Seldes made her Broadway debut in 1947 in a production of "Medea," starring the versatile actress Judith Anderson, and later appeared in hits such as "Equus" and "Deathtrap." Her most recent Broadway outing was in Terrence McNally's "Deuce" in 2007, starring opposite Angela Lansbury. Seldes was nominated for a Tony five times, for her performances in "A Delicate Balance," "Father's Day," "Deathtrap," "Ring Round the Moon," and "Dinner at Eight." She won in 1967 for "A Delicate Balance" and won her second Tony in 2010 for lifetime achievement. Read more
2012: Nick Curran, U.S. singer and guitarist who played for a time with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, dies of oral cancer at 35.
O'Neil began his professional baseball career in 1937 with the Negro American League's Memphis Red Sox, but soon was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs. He would spend nearly two decades with K.C., serving as their longtime first baseman and then later as coach. After the Monarchs were sold in 1955, O'Neil became a scout for the Chicago Cubs. When he was promoted to Cubs coach in 1962, he made history, becoming the first black person to coach Major League Baseball, echoing Jackie Robinson's history-making move to the Majors just 15 years earlier, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2000: Richard Farnsworth, U.S. actor and stunt performer who was nominated twice for an Academy Award, most notably for his role in "The Straight Story," dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 80.
1997: Johnny Vander Meer, U.S. left-handed professional baseball player who became the first – and only – pitcher to throw two consecutive no-hitters, dies of an abdominal aneurysm at 82.
1996: Ted Bessell, U.S. actor who played Marlo Thomas' boyfriend on television's "That Girl," dies of an aortic aneurysm at 61.
1993: Larry Walters, U.S. truck driver from California known for flying a lawn chair with 42 helium-filled weather balloons, dies by suicide at 44.
Walters was sent aloft in an uncontrolled ascent as soon as the first rope tether was cut. The remaining tethers immediately snapped and Walters shot into the open air, reaching 16,000 feet. He sent an emergency message out over his citizens band radio as his chair began to float through Long Beach Airport's airspace, and was spotted by TWA and Delta pilots who, understandably, were not expecting to see a man in a lawn chair in their flight path. Read more
There was no denying Davis' stardom – she appeared in more than 100 films, won the Academy Award twice, set a record by being nominated 10 times, was the first woman to be given a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute, and was the first to serve as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But it’s safe to say Davis made a few enemies along the way. Read more
1985: Nelson Riddle, U.S. arranger, composer, and bandleader who worked with Frank Sinatra and Linda Ronstadt, dies of heart and kidney failure at 64.
1979: Elizabeth Bishop, U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, dies of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm at 68.
1969: Walter Hagen, U.S. golfer and two-time U.S. Open winner, dies of throat cancer at 76.
1962: Tod Browning, U.S. film director, actor, and screenwriter who directed the movie "Dracula" starring Bela Lugosi, dies at 82.
Browning spent his formative years touring the country with sideshows and carnivals, first as a ballyhoo artist (carnival barker) charged with luring patrons in to witness "The Wild Man of Borneo." He later worked as a clown, an escape artist, a contortionist, a blackface comedian, and as The Hypnotic Living Corpse, a live burial act that sometimes required him to remain underground for up to 48 hours at a stretch. Read more
1951: Will Keith Kellogg, U.S. breakfast cereal pioneer who was the founder of the Kellogg Co., dies of a circulatory illness at 91.
1892: Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet laureate of Great Britain and Ireland, dies at 83.