Died Today in History ›
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Published: 10 months ago
Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Not just fellow jazz musicians were inspired by his music (though plenty were, and continue to be) – his music also influenced the development of rock 'n' roll. His 1959 classic, "Kind of Blue," is the best-selling jazz album of all time and was honored by the U.S. House of Representatives on the recording's 50th anniversary in 2009. His style evolved seamlessly as times changed, moving from the bebop of the 1940s through hard bop in the '50s and '60s, and incorporating elements of funk, rock, and pop in later years. We remember Davis' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2016: Shimon Peres, former prime minister and president of Israel who won a Nobel Peace Prize, dies at 93.
In 2007, Peres became president of Israel, a position elected by members of the Knesset. The presidency required him to resign the Knesset seat he had held for more than 47 years, making him the longest serving legislator in the country’s history. He was 90 when his presidential term ended in 2014, and he retired from active government service. Read more
2016: Agnes Nixon, U.S. creator of the popular soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," dies at 93.
2016: Gloria Naylor, U.S. award-winning novelist who authored "The Women of Brewster Place," dies at 66.
2012: Michael O'Hare, U.S. actor known best for playing Cmdr. Jeffrey Sinclair on the television series "Babylon 5," dies at 60.
In 1963, Beene opened his own company in a Champagne-colored showroom on Seventh Avenue in New York City, and the business was an instant success, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. In its first year, Geoffrey Beene Inc. sold $500,000 worth of clothes, a figure that would quadruple in just two years. In 1964, Beene won the first of eight Coty Fashion Critics Awards. His work is exhibited in museums around the world. Read more
2003: Elia Kazan, U.S. director who was a co-founder of the Actors Studio and introduced audiences to then-unknown actors, including Marlon Brando and James Dean, and whose movies included "On the Waterfront," "East of Eden," and "Splendor in the Grass," dies at 94.
In 1947, Kazan co-founded the Actors Studio, a school with a new approach to teaching acting. The Method approach would soon become legendary, but when Marlon Brando enrolled as one of Kazan's first students, it was still new and unusual. As Kazan worked with Brando, he soon discovered the depth of the young actor's talent and drive. Brando, determined to play Stanley Kowalski in Kazan's upcoming stage version of "A Streetcar Named Desire," sought out Kazan at his summer home to request an audition. Kazan was impressed and cast Brando in the play – and again in the film version in 1951. It wasn't Brando's first movie, but it was a stunning performance that catapulted him to fame. Read more
2003: Althea Gibson, U.S. tennis player who won five Grand Slam titles and was the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tournament, dies at 76.
In the 1950s, Althea Gibson joined the ranks of trailblazers such as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Jesse Owens when she became the first black woman to compete on the world tennis tour. Her 1956 grand slam win marked a crucial step in ushering in the integration of professional sports. Read more
1991: Miles Davis, U.S. jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and whose classic 1959 album, "Kind of Blue," has sold more than 4 million copies, dies at 65.
Davis is widely regarded as one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, being at the cutting edge of bebop, hard bop, and fusion, just to name a few of the jazz movements he helped shape. Along the way, he influenced generations of musicians, including many sidemen who would enjoy influential and successful careers of their own. Read more
1982: Mabel Albertson, U.S. actress known best as Darrin Stephens' meddling mother on the sitcom "Bewitched," dies at 81.
1978: Pope John Paul I, Italian pope who reigned for only 33 days until his death, dies at 65.
1975: Sidney Fields, U.S. actor known best for his featured role on "The Abbott and Costello Show," dies at 77.
1973: Norma Crane, U.S. actress known best for her role as Golde in the movie version of "Fiddler on the Roof," dies of breast cancer at 44.
1972: Rory Storm, English musician and vocalist who was the singer and leader of the band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, whose drummer was Ringo Starr before he left to join the Beatles, dies at 34.
1966: Eric Fleming, U.S. actor remembered for his starring role as Gil Favor on the Western television series "Rawhide," drowns while filming a movie in Peru at 41.
1964: Harpo Marx, U.S. comedian and actor who was the second oldest of the Marx Brothers and never spoke during performances, dies at 75.
1956: William Boeing, U.S. aviation pioneer who founded the Boeing Co., dies at 74.
1953: Edwin Hubble, U.S. astronomer regarded as one of the most important of the 20th century, dies at 63.
1914: Richard Sears, U.S. businessman who was a co-founder of Sears, Roebuck and Co., dies at 50.
1895: Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist known for his discovery of pasteurization, dies at 72.
1891: Herman Melville, U.S. author known best for his novel "Moby-Dick," dies at 72.