Died December 12
By: Legacy Staff
9 months ago
Peter Boyle made audiences laugh throughout his Emmy-winning acting career. Playing a comical monster in one of his earliest films, Mel Brooks's "Young Frankenstein," he tap-danced his way into our hearts. And he became our favorite crank as he played Frank Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond." After his death in 2006 from multiple myeloma, his friends and loved ones formed a memorial fund that has raised more money for the International Myeloma Foundation than any other fundraising effort. We remember Boyle's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2013: Audrey Totter, U.S. actress whose movies included "The Postman Always Rings Twice," dies at 95.
Totter was under contract with MGM starting in 1944. After landing a small part in "The Postman Always Rings Twice," Totter went on to a series of roles as tough-talking blondes, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Her breakthrough came with "Lady in the Lake," the 1947 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe detective tale. She also appeared in the thriller "The Unsuspected" and the boxing drama "The Set-Up." Read more
2013: Mac McGarry, U.S. announcer who was the longtime host of the television quiz show "It's Academic," dies at 87.
2013: Tom Laughlin, U.S. actor, director, and screenwriter known best for his series of "Billy Jack" movies, dies at 82.
"Billy Jack" was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the low-budget, self-financed movie, a model for guerrilla filmmaking, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He wrote, directed, and produced Billy Jack and starred as the ex-Green Beret who defends a progressive school against the racists of a conservative Western community. The film became a counterculture favorite, and the theme song, "One Tin Soldier," was a hit single for the rock group Coven. Read more
2012: Eddie "Guitar" Burns, U.S. guitarist and singer-songwriter who was deemed second in stature for Detroit bluesmen behind John Lee Hooker, dies at 84.
2008: Van Johnson, U.S. actor who was a matinee idol in the 1940s and appeared in such movies as "The Caine Mutiny" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," dies at 92.
During the height of his popularity, Johnson was cast most often as the all-American boy, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He played a real-life flier who lost a leg in a crash after the bombing of Japan in "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." He was a writer in love with a wealthy American girl (Elizabeth Taylor) in "The Last Time I Saw Paris." He appeared as a post-Civil War farmer in "The Romance of Rosy Ridge." Read more
2007: Ike Turner, U.S. singer and former husband of Tina Turner, dies at 76.
Turner, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife and icon Tina Turner, managed to rehabilitate his image somewhat in his later years, touring around the globe with his band the Kings of Rhythm and drawing critical acclaim for his work, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He won a Grammy in 2007 in the traditional blues album category for "Risin' With the Blues." Read more
2006: Peter Boyle, U.S. actor known for his role as Frank Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond," dies at 71 of multiple myeloma.
Just two years after "The Candidate" came one of Boyle's signature performances, an inspired Frankenstein's monster. As he said of his interpretation, "The Frankenstein monster I play is a baby. He's big and ugly and scary, but he's just been born, remember, and it's been traumatic, and to him the whole world is a brand new alien environment. That's how I'm playing it." Read more
2006: Paul Arizin, U.S. NBA Hall of Fame player, dies at 78.
Despite losing two years in his prime to the Korean War, "Pitchin' Paul" forged a sensational pro career on the strength of his jump shot, a recent evolution of the game, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Arizin perfected the style playing on slippery gym floors and averaged 22.8 points in his 10-year career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978. Read more
2002: Dee Brown, U.S. novelist who wrote "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," dies at 94.
2000: George Montgomery, U.S. actor specializing in Westerns, dies at 84.
1999: Joseph Heller, U.S. author who wrote "Catch-22," dies at 76.
In 1953, when Heller began writing his satire, the Korean conflict was just ending and World War II was still fresh in the minds of Americans. Heller himself had served in WWII and used that war as the setting for "Catch-22." By the time the book was published in 1961, America was nearly a generation removed from WWII, but the war in Vietnam was escalating. ... "Catch-22" excited its readers, especially students angry about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and Korea before that, by piling ridiculous situations onto each other until suddenly, in its final chapters, concluding with tragedy and horror. Read more
1998: Lawton Chiles, governor of Florida (1991-1998), dies of a heart attack while in office at 68.
Chiles was known as "Walkin' Lawton" for walking the length of the state – 1,003 miles from Pensacola to Key West – over 91 days in his successful 1970 campaign for the United States Senate. ... He was re-elected twice to the Senate, retiring in 1989. He was persuaded to enter the 1990 Florida governor's race, defeating Republican incumbent Bob Martinez. In 1994, he won a second term against challenger Jeb Bush. Read more
1994: Stuart Allen Roosa, U.S. astronaut on Apollo 14, dies of pancreatitis at 61.
1985: Ian Stewart, Scottish keyboardist who was an original member of the Rolling Stones and served as the band's road manager, dies of a heart attack at 47.
Stewart played piano and organ for the Rolling Stones, both in recordings and onstage, for years. He also served as tour manager, roadie, and inspiration. "Stu was the one guy we tried to please. We wanted his approval when we were writing or rehearsing a song. We'd want him to like it," Mick Jagger remembered after his death. Read more
1985: Anne Baxter, U.S. actress known for films such as "All About Eve" and "The Ten Commandments," dies at 62.
1978: Clifton Chenier, U.S. accordionist specializing in zydeco music, dies of complications from diabetes at 62.
1976: Jack Cassidy, U.S. actor and father of David and Shawn Cassidy, dies in a fire at 49.
During his lifetime, the Tony Award-winning performer married twice – first to actress Evelyn Ward and later to stage and screen star Shirley Jones. Each marriage produced a son who would become a teen idol, surpassing both dad and mom in fame and adulation – David Cassidy (with Ward) and Shaun Cassidy (with Jones). Read more
1968: Tallulah Bankhead, U.S. actress known for her flamboyant personality, dies of pneumonia at 66.
Decades ago, Mae West was known for her pithy, raunchy quotes ("I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."). Few could equal her bawdy wit … but Tallulah Bankhead, her less-well-known contemporary, was one of them. Anyone who's ever tossed off the quote, "I'm as pure as the driven slush," can thank Bankhead for the turn of phrase. And that's just one of many. Read more
1965: Johnny Lee, U.S. actor known for his role as Calhoun on "Amos 'n' Andy," dies at 67.
Born in 1907 to a Coeur d'Alene mother, Bailey spent her childhood on a reservation. But when she left at age 13 – and a few years later, moved to Seattle to pursue a singing career – she may have felt she needed to downplay her heritage in order to succeed. Just as black entertainers of the day were confronted with extreme prejudice and racism, so too were Native Americans. Read more
1939: Douglas Fairbanks, U.S. actor known best for his swashbuckling movies such as "The Mark of Zorro," "The Three Musketeers," and "Robin Hood," dies at 56.