Died August 15

Will Rogers, known affectionately as Oklahoma's Favorite Son, was a leading comedic voice during the Progressive Era in the early 20th century. He was an early vaudeville star who went on to star in 50 silent films and 21 "talkies" during his career. Rogers satirized politics and popular culture at the time through his wildly popular syndicated newspaper column and frequent tours on the lecture circuit as well as radio broadcasts. He traveled the world three times, sharing his experiences and promoting commercial aviation expansion. Rogers died along with aviation pioneer Wiley Post in a plane crash in the Alaska Territory while surveying a new air route. After his death, Rogers was honored with a statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol building. We remember Rogers' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including legendary chef Julia Child.

2015: Julian Bond, U.S. civil rights activist and longtime board chairman of the NAACP, dies at 75.

2013: August Schellenberg, Canadian actor who had roles in the movies "Free Willy" and "Eight Below," the latter with Paul Walker, dies of lung cancer at 77.

August Schellenberg(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)Schellenberg appeared in numerous television roles and acted in all three "Free Willy" movies. In 2007, he was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." The actor's agent, Jamie Levitt, told The Associated Press that one of Schellenberg's last notable works was in 2012, playing the lead in Shakespeare's "King Lear" in an all-Canadian cast at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Read more

 

 

 

2012: Biff Elliot, U.S. actor who starred in the movie adaptation of Mickey Spillane's "I, the Jury" and appeared on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Star Trek" television programs, dies at 89.

2012: Bob Birch, U.S. bassist who was a highly regarded session musician and a member of Elton John's touring band, dies at 56.

2009: Virginia Davis, U.S. child actor who starred in the Walt Disney movie serial "Alice Comedies," dies at 90.

2008: Jerry Wexler, U.S. music journalist and record producer who signed and produced some of the biggest music artists including Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Dylan, dies at 91.

Wexler earned his reputation as a music industry giant while a partner at Atlantic Records, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Atlantic provided an outlet for the groundbreaking work of African-American performers in the 1950s and '60s. Later, it was a home to rock icons like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. He later helped Bob Dylan win his first Grammy by producing his 1979 "Slow Train Coming" album. Read more

 

 

 

1995: John Cameron Swayze, U.S. news commentator and game show panelist who was the anchor for NBC's first TV newscast, dies at 89.

1982: Ernie Bushmiller, U.S. cartoonist known best for creating the daily comic strip "Nancy," dies at 76.

1974: Edmund Cobb, U.S. actor who appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows, especially Westerns, including the movie "Son of Zorro," dies at 82.

1971: Paul Lukas, Hungarian-born U.S. actor who won an Oscar for best actor for his role in "Watch on the Rhine" and starred in the Elvis Presley movie "Fun in Acapulco," dies at 80.

1966: Seena Owen, U.S. actress who starred in many silent movies, including "The Lamb" with Douglas Fairbanks, dies at 71.

1935: Will Rogers, U.S. actor, humorist, cowboy, and social commentator who was in more than 70 movies, wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, and was one of the most famous figures of his era, dies in a plane crash at 55.

1935: Wiley Post, U.S. aviator who was famous during the golden age of aviation and was the first pilot to fly solo around the world, dies in a plane crash along with passenger Will Rogers at 36.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including legendary chef Julia Child.