Getty Images / Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

Died August 26

Laura Branigan's powerful voice was a staple of early 1980s radio. Her hit single "Gloria" shot to the top of airplay charts all over the world in 1982 and 1983, setting a record as it remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 36 weeks, more than any other song by a female artist at the time. Other hits included "Self Control" and "Solitaire," as well as songs Branigan contributed to the soundtracks for "Flashdance," "Baywatch," and "Ghostbusters." She dabbled in acting, with guest spots on TV shows like "CHiPs" and "Knight Rider" as well as a few movie and stage roles. We remember Branigan's 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 Mother Teresa.

2017: Tobe Hooperdirector of the horror film classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” dies at 74.

2009: Dominick Dunne, U.S. author and journalist whose books included "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "An Inconvenient Woman," who also wrote many stories for Vanity Fair magazine, dies of bladder cancer at 83.

Dominick Dunne (AP Photo)From the gritty world of the courtroom during the day, he would move into the glamorous realm of high society at night, dining with the rich and famous, charming them with his inside stories of the O.J. Simpson trial. He was a colorful raconteur and his stories mesmerized listeners, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He was a much sought after dinner guest on both coasts and in the glamour capitals of Europe where he frequently traveled. He was a regular at the Cannes Film Festival, interviewing members of royalty and movie stars. Read more




2004: Laura Branigan, U.S. singer-songwriter and actress known best for her 1980s hit songs "Gloria" and "Self Control," dies of a cerebral aneurysm at 52.

Branigan's biggest hits occupied a slightly awkward musical moment between the end of disco and the rise of new wave in America, when dance clubs didn't have an obvious style and when Atlantic Records couldn't decide quite what to do with a young woman who wanted to sing Americanized versions of Italian pop songs. In that climate, a less talented singer could have slipped through the cracks, becoming a footnote rather than a chart-topper. Read more




1989: Irving Stone, U.S. author known best for his autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh, "Lust for Life," dies of heart failure at 86.

1986: Ted Knight, U.S. actor known best for his roles as Ted Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Henry Rush on "Too Close for Comfort," and Judge Smails in the movie "Caddyshack," dies of surgical complications at 62.

Knight easily could have been typecast as an incompetent buffoon, thanks to his masterful performance on seven seasons of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." But the actor had skills beyond playing convincingly dumb – most notably his rich and unmistakable voice. It got him gigs, such as a season as announcer on Saturday morning TV staple "The Super Friends." Read more





1981: Lee Hays, U.S. folk singer and songwriter known best for singing bass with the Weavers and who co-wrote the song "If I Had a Hammer," dies of a heart attack at 67.

Hays was a key part of the folk music revolution in America. Born 101 years ago March 14, the singer-songwriter performed with the Almanac Singers and the Weavers, two of the great folk groups of the 1950s and '60s that influenced music for decades. Throughout his life, his path intertwined with Pete Seeger's. Both men were in both groups, they were roommates for a time, and they were both blacklisted during the McCarthy era. They wrote together, too. Read more




1981: Roger Nash Baldwin, U.S. activist who was one of the co-founders of the American Civil Liberties Union, dies of heart failure at 97.

1980: Tex Avery, U.S. animator, voice actor, and director who created Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Droopy, dies at 72.

1978: Charles Boyer, French actor who received four Academy Award nominations for best actor and starred in the movies "Conquest" and "Love Affair," dies by suicide at 78, two days after his wife's death.

1977: H.A. Rey, German illustrator and writer known best for creating the "Curious George" children's book series with his wife, Margret, dies at 78.

H.A. Rey (Photo by Elsa Dorfman)The Reys escaped Paris on bicycle just two days before German tanks advanced into Paris. Forced to leave almost all their possessions behind, they nonetheless took with them their manuscript titled "The Adventures of Fifi" as they pedaled south. They sought shelter in farmhouses and barns, working their way on foot, by bicycle and rail to Normandy, then Spain, then Portugal before securing passage back to Brazil. Their Brazilian passports proved crucial to their escape – and so was the little monkey who would one day become Curious George. One official, suspicious that they might be spies because of their German accents, insisted on searching Margret Rey's bag. Finding only drawings intended for children, he decided the couple were harmless. Read more


1976: Warner Anderson, U.S. actor known best for his role as newspaper publisher Matthew Swain on the TV series "Peyton Place," dies at 65.

1974: Charles Lindbergh, U.S. aviator and author who became famous as the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris in 1927, dies of cancer of the lymphatic system at 72.

1968: Kay Francis, U.S. actress who was the top female star for Warner Brothers Studio from 1930 until 1936 and starred in "Trouble in Paradise," dies at 63.

1963: Larry Keating, U.S. actor known best for his roles as Harry Morton on "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" and as Roger Addison on Mister Ed, dies of leukemia at 64.

1946: Jeanie MacPherson, U.S. film actress in the silent era and screenwriter who was a popular actress during the 1910s, dies of cancer at 59.

1930: Lon Chaney Sr., U.S. film actor during the silent era who starred in the classic movies "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Phantom of the Opera," dies after a long series of illnesses at 47.

1908: Tony Pastor, U.S. vaudeville performer and theater owner known as the Father of Vaudeville, dies at 71.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including Mother Teresa.