Died Today in History ›
Getty Images / Photo by Derek Hudson
Published: 10 months ago
Benazir Bhutto was born into Pakistani politics. The daughter of a former prime minister and leader of the Pakistan People's Party, Bhutto made history in 1988 when she became the first woman to lead a Muslim nation. Her strength as prime minister earned her the nickname Iron Lady, bolstered by her survival in 1995 of an attempted coup d'état against her government. In the 1990s, corruption in her government led to her removal from office and nine years of self-imposed exile. Her return to Pakistan in 2007 heralded a new beginning for Bhutto, who was a leading opposition candidate in the elections that year. However, an assassin's bomb took her life after a political rally, ending her life of public service. We remember Bhutto's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2015: Meadowlark Lemon, U.S. basketball player who was one of the most popular players with the Harlem Globetrotters, dies at 83.
Lemon dreamed of becoming a Harlem Globetrotter when he was a boy. He was named to the team in 1955 after he attended Florida A&M University and served in the U.S. Army during the early 1950s. He played with the Globetrotters until 1980, when he left to join a Globetrotters knock-off team, the Bucketeers. Read more
2015: Dave Henderson, U.S. Major League Baseball center fielder who won the World Series in 1989 with the Oakland A's, dies at 57.
2015: Ellsworth Kelly, prominent U.S. painter and sculptor known for his hard-edge painting, dies at 92.
2015: Stevie Wright, Australian lead singer and one of the founders of the popular Australian band the Easybeats, dies at 68.
2012: Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., U.S. Army general who led the United States in the Persian Gulf War, dies at 78 of complications that arose from a bout of pneumonia.
He liked ballet, as more than one of his obituaries noted. He dressed as a clown to the delight of his three children, relaxed by listening to Pavarotti, and called Brenda, his wife of 44 years, twice a week during his deployments. After his retirement in 1992, he was an active supporter of various charities including, appropriately, one devoted to the welfare of grizzly bears. Read more
2012: Harry Carey Jr., U.S. veteran character actor who appeared in more than 90 films, dies of natural causes at 91.
While he lacked the leading-man stature of longtime friend and co-star John Wayne, Carey's boyish looks and horse-riding skills earned him roles in many of John Ford's films, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He and fellow character Ben Johnson famously learned to stand simultaneously on two galloping horses — a trick known as roman riding — for the 1950 film "Rio Grande" starring Wayne. Read more
2008: Delaney Bramlett, U.S. musician, singer-songwriter, and producer known best for his group Delaney & Bonnie & friends, dies at 69 of complications from gall bladder surgery.
2007: Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, is assassinated at 54.
In 1988, Bhutto was the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim state. She served twice, from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. She was expelled from office both times by the president of Pakistan for alleged corruption. Bhutto left Pakistan voluntarily in 1999. She returned in October 2007, and, during her homecoming parade, a suicide bomber detonated in the crowd. More than 140 people were killed. Bhutto survived, noting at the time, "We will not be deterred," according to media reports. During a rally a few months later, she shouted, "Bhutto is alive!" Read more
2003: Iván Calderón, Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player, is murdered at 41.
2003: Alan Bates, English actor who appeared in "Zorba the Greek" and "The Fixer," dies of pancreatic cancer complications at 69.
2002: George Roy Hill, U.S. film director whose movies included "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting," dies at 81 of complications of Parkinson's disease.
1997: Ewart G. Abner Jr., U.S. record executive who was a president of Motown Records, dies at 74.
1992: Kay Boyle, award-winning U.S. writer who published more than 40 books, dies at 90.
1988: Hal Ashby, U.S. director whose movies included "Shampoo," dies of liver and colon cancer at 59.
Twenty-six years after Ashby's death, his work continues to cast a long shadow over cinema. The unassuming director got his start as an editor, part of the generation of New Hollywood filmmakers who revitalized the film industry in the late 1960s and '70s. His eye for story and narrative construction quickly earned him a shot at the director's chair with 1970's "The Landlord." The film showcased Ashby's light touch, his willingness to take on serious topics, and his fearlessness as a storyteller. Read more
1987: Priscilla Dean, U.S. actress popular in silent movies and the theater, dies at 91.
1985: Dian Fossey, U.S. zoologist known for her study of gorillas in Rwanda, Africa, is murdered at 53.
Fossey's international reputation wasn't gained just by unlocking the secrets of the gorilla. She was just as well-known for her conservation efforts and her fight against poachers. Fossey found that when it came to protecting gorillas, playing nice didn't work – so she mirrored the dirty tactics of the poachers by destroying their traps, capturing and humiliating the poachers, even setting fire to their camps. Read more
1982: John Leonard Swigert Jr., U.S. astronaut on Apollo 13, dies of respiratory failure at 51. He also had cancer.
1981: Hoagy Carmichael, U.S. composer, bandleader, actor, and songwriter who composed "Stardust," dies of cardiac problems at 82.
1978: Chris Bell, U.S. guitarist and singer-songwriter who was in the band Big Star, dies in a car crash at 27.
1974: Amy Vanderbilt, U.S. authority on etiquette, dies at 66 after falling from a second-story window of her New York residence.
1836: Stephen Fuller Austin, colonist who is considered the Father of the State of Texas, dies at 43.