Died December 16
By: Legacy Staff
10 months ago
Ray Price had one of the best voices in the history of country music. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Price continued to record and tour well into his 80s. Some of his best-known songs include "Release Me," "For the Good Times," and "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me." We remember Price as well as other notable people who died this day in history.
2014: Wendy Rene, U.S. soul singer who recorded for Stax Records in the 1960s, dies at 67.
Perhaps known best for his version of the Kris Kristofferson song "For the Good Times," a pop hit in 1970, the velvet-voiced Price was a giant among traditional country performers in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, as likely to defy a trend as he was to defend one, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He helped invent the genre's honky-tonk sound early in his career, then took it in a more polished direction. Read more
2011: Nicol Williamson, Scottish-born British actor described by many critics as the Hamlet of His Generation, dies of esophageal cancer at 75.
Known best for his role as the wizard Merlin in the 1981 film "Excalibur," Williamson had dozens of film credits to his name but won more plaudits for his stage acting, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Playwright John Osborne once described him as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando." Read more
Although he generally stayed out of the spotlight, Roy Disney didn't hesitate to lead a successful campaign in 1984 to oust Walt Disney's son-in-law after concluding he was leading the company in the wrong direction, according to Roy Disney's obituary by The Associated Press. Nearly 20 years later, he launched another successful shareholders revolt, this time against Michael Eisner, the man he'd helped bring in after the previous ouster. Read more
2007: Dan Fogelberg, U.S. singer-songwriter from Peoria, Illinois, whose hits include "Longer," "Same Old Lang Syne," and "Leader of the Band," dies of advanced prostate cancer at 56.
He dominated the Top 40 and adult contemporary charts in 1980 with the tender love song "Longer," but it wasn't just romantic relationships that inspired Fogelberg. His hit from the following year, "Leader of the Band," was written about his father, a musician and a high school band director. Fogelberg's father died just months after the single was released. Read more
2005: John Spencer, U.S. actor from New York who won an Emmy Award for playing White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the television political drama "The West Wing," dies of a heart attack at 58.
In a sad parallel to life, his character suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his White House job. ... The actor mirrored his character in several ways: Both were recovering alcoholics and both, Spencer once said, were driven. "Like Leo, I've always been a workaholic, too," he told The Associated Press in a 2000 interview, according to his AP obituary. "Through good times and bad, acting has been my escape, my joy, my nourishment. The drug for me, even better than alcohol, was acting." Read more
2001: Stuart Adamson, English-born Scottish singer-songwriter who played in the bands Skids and Big Country, dies by suicide at 43.
When "In a Big Country" was in heavy rotation on MTV, a friend convinced me that even though Adamson played a guitar in the video, there wasn't actually one in the recorded song. My seemingly knowledgeable friend assured me that the razor-sharp, ringing sound in the Celtic-flavored solo was in fact produced by an electric bagpipe. ... In reality, it was just a guitar – albeit one run through a bevy of effects – but Adamson produced such a unique tone one could be forgiven for thinking it was issued from some exotic instrument hitherto unheard in the annals of rock 'n' roll. Adamson hated the bagpipe comparison, and would do much to distance himself from it in the latter stages of his career, but it may be one reason that he was recently voted Scotland's best guitarist ever in a recent online poll. Read more
1997: Nicolette Larson, U.S. singer who notched a hit singing Neil Young's "Lotta Love," dies at 45 of brain swelling linked to liver failure.
1993: Moses Gunn, U.S. actor from Missouri whose films include "Ragtime," "Rollerball," and "Firestarter," dies of asthma complications at 64.
In the 1960s, he helped expand opportunities for African-American actors when he co-founded the Negro Ensemble Company, which boasts among its alumni notables like Denzel Washington, Sherman Hemsley, Esther Rolle, and Cleavon Little. In his own career, he played iconic roles both big and small, earning an Obie, or Off-Broadway Theater Award, and an NAACP Image Award, as well as nominations for a Tony and an Emmy. From Othello on Broadway to beloved sitcoms like "The Cosby Show," Gunn was always a star. Read more
1993: Charles Hicks, U.S. hip-hop master of ceremonies from California whose stage name was Charizma, is shot to death in a mugging at 20.
1989: Lee Van Cleef, U.S. actor from New Jersey whose films include "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," dies of a heart attack at 64.
1989: Aileen Pringle, U.S. film actress from California during the silent era whose works include "The Age of Consent," "Convicted," and "Night Parade," dies at 94.
1988: Sylvester James Jr., U.S. disco singer from California whose albums include "Call Me," "All I Need," and "Mutual Attraction," dies at 41 of complications of AIDS.
1985: Paul Castellano, U.S. criminal and organized-crime boss from New York, is shot to death at 70 outside a New York City steak restaurant.
1980: Harland Sanders, aka Colonel Sanders, U.S. business operator from Indiana and founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain, dies at 90 of complications of pneumonia and leukemia.
1978: Blanche Calloway, African-American singer and bandleader from New York and the older sister of singer Cab Calloway, dies of breast cancer at 76.
1965: William Somerset Maugham, English author whose works include "Of Human Bondage," "The Razor's Edge," and "The Letter," dies at 91.
1935: Thelma Todd, U.S. actress from Massachusetts whose films include the Marx Brothers' "Horse Feathers" and "Monkey Business," dies of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning at 29.
1859: Wilhelm Grimm, German writer who popularized such stories as "Snow White," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Cinderella" along with his brother, Jacob, dies of an infection at 73.