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Died December 13

It is never too late to follow your passion. Grandma Moses, born Anna Mary Robertson in 1860, was living proof of that notion. The renowned painter did not become famous until she was 80. Over the next 20 years, she completed more than 1,000 paintings as her fame continued to grow. We remember Grandma Moses' 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 civil rights pioneer Ella Baker.

2016: Alan Thicke, Canadian actor best known for his role as the father on the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains," dies from a heart attack at 69.

In his star vehicle, “Growing Pains,” which ran on ABC from 1985 through 1992, Thicke portrayed Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who works from home while his wife goes to work as a reporter. The show launched the career of actor Kirk Cameron, and in its final season featured a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Read more

 

 

 

2011: Russell Hoban, U.S. author known best for writing the Frances series of books for children ("Bread and Jam for Frances," "A Bargain for Frances," et al.) and the novel "Riddley Walker," dies at 86.

Russell Hoban (Richard Cooper via Wikimedia Commons)Hoban turned to adult fiction in the 1970s, writing several novels before producing "Riddley Walker," the work many regard as his masterpiece, in 1980, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The novel is set 2,000 years in the future after a nuclear war has destroyed much of the world. The book relies on a language Hoban created, based on English, that characterizes the near-death of the human spirit. "He wrote 10 or more drafts, and in each draft he degraded the language, trying to imagine a sort of de-created language," said Bill Swainson, his editor. "It was an amazing thing to do." Read more

 

 

2010: Richard Holbrooke, influential U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador to the United Nations, dies after undergoing surgery at 69.

Richard Holbrooke (AP Photo)Holbrooke served under every Democratic president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama in a lengthy career that began with a foreign service posting in Vietnam in 1962 after graduating from Brown University, and included time as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. His sizable ego, tenacity, and willingness to push hard for diplomatic results won him both admiration and animosity. "If Richard calls you and asks you for something, just say yes," former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said. "If you say no, you'll eventually get to yes, but the journey will be very painful." Read more

 

 

2007: Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Sioux country music singer, political activist, and actor, dies of leukemia at 71.

Perhaps his most memorable movie role was in Kevin Costner's 1990 Western epic, "Dances With Wolves." He played the Sioux leader Ten Bears, who befriends Costner's character, according to Westerman's obituary by The Associated Press. Westerman was also well-known as an activist for environmental causes, the rights of American Indians and other indigenous people. Read more

 

 

 

2006: Lamar Hunt, U.S. sports executive who founded the American Football League (AFL) and owned the Kansas City Chiefs, dies at 74.

Hunt remained interested in the day-to-day operations of the Chiefs but was never known as a meddlesome owner, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. "On Sunday nights after a game, he would always call," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "It would be about 9:30 or 10 o'clock and the phone would ring and I knew it was Lamar. He always said, 'Am I bothering you?' Is he bothering me? What a great man, as humble a man as you will ever meet." Read more

 

 

 

2005: Timothy Jordan II, U.S. musician and touring member of the All-American Rejects, dies by suicide at 24.

2003: William V. Roth Jr., U.S. senator from Delaware who served from 1971 to 2001, dies at 82.

2002: Zal Yanovsky, Canadian musician and founding member of the Lovin' Spoonful, dies of a heart attack at 57.

Referring to their sound as "good-time music," the Lovin' Spoonful captured the zeitgeist of the mid-1960s with groovy tunes made for singing along. A talented and versatile guitarist ("He could play like Elmore James, he could play like Floyd Cramer, he could play like Chuck Berry," said Spoonful co-founder John Sebastian), Yanovsky helped build that signature sound. Read more

 

 

 

1995: Nancy LaMott, U.S. singer popular on the cabaret circuit, dies of uterine cancer at 43.

1992: Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, U.S. businessman and heir, dies at 93.

1990: Alice Marble, U.S. tennis player and winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, dies at 77.

1986: Heather Angel, English actress who appeared in "The Three Musketeers" and "The Last of the Mohicans," dies at 77.

1986: Ella Baker, U.S. civil rights activist who worked alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., dies on her 83rd birthday.

Since Baker was most in her element behind the scenes, she didn't become as well-known as some other civil rights leaders. It appeared that this was fine by her –– indeed, it was what she preferred. In her own words, "You didn't see me on television, you didn't see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come." Read more

 

 

 

1969: Raymond A. Spruance, U.S. admiral during the battle of Midway, dies at 83.

1962: Harry Barris, U.S. singer and songwriter who was a member of the Rhythm Boys, dies at 57.

1961: Grandma Moses, born Anna Mary Robertson Moses, U.S. painter known for her folk art, dies at 101.

As the world began to take notice of her work, they were charmed by what they saw. As a self-taught artist, Moses is categorized as part of the primitive school or as a folk artist, but that didn't matter much to the regular folks who saw and loved her work. They also didn't care that Moses' work included distinctively nonartistic traits like a lack of perspective, a greeting card style … and her love for sprinkling glitter on a snowy scene to make it sparkle. These qualities that may have made her work a little questionable to the art establishment were the same things that captured the hearts of everyone else. Read more

 

 

1958: Tim Moore, U.S. actor known best for his role as George "Kingfish" Stevens in "Amos 'n' Andy," dies at 71.

1944: Vassily Kandinsky, influential Russian abstract artist, dies at 77.

1934: Thomas A. Watson, U.S. assistant to Alexander Graham Bell whose name was spoken by Bell during the first use of the telephone, dies at 80.

1924: Samuel Gompers, English-born organizer of the American Federation of Labor, dies at 74.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including civil rights pioneer Ella Baker.