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Died December 17

Jennifer Jones won an Oscar for her portrayal of Christian mystic Bernadette Soubirous in 1943's "The Song of Bernadette." It was just one highlight of a career that included many great films, such as "Duel in the Sun," "A Farewell to Arms," and "The Towering Inferno." In her personal life, Jones championed mental health issues and education after the suicide of her daughter from her marriage to producer David O. Selznick. Today we remember Jennifer Jones and other celebrities who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including blues musician Paul Butterfield.

2012: Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. politician and Democratic U.S. senator from Hawaii, dies of respiratory complications at 88.

Inouye was a World War II hero and Medal of Honor winner who lost an arm to a German hand grenade during a battle in Italy. He became the first Japanese-American to serve in Congress, when he was elected to the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. He won election to the Senate three years later and served there longer than anyone in American history except Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who died in 2010 after 51 years in the Senate. Read more




2011: Kim Jong-il, supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea from 1994 until 2011, dies of a heart attack at 70.

2010: Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, U.S. experimental composer, musician, and painter from California, dies at 69 of complications of multiple sclerosis.

By shunning commercial success and a more accessible sound, Van Vliet became a role model for subsequent generations of musicians. His music is cited as an influence on the rise of punk, post-punk, and new wave. Van Vliet is also claimed as a kindred spirit by free-jazz musicians and avant-garde classical composers. Read more




2010: Walt Dropo, U.S. Major League Baseball first baseman, dies of natural causes at 87.

In 1950, Dropo beat out New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford to win American League Rookie of the Year honors after batting .322 with 34 home runs and a league-best 144 RBIs in 136 games. He also made his only All-Star team that year. "Walt Dropo was one of the greatest players the Red Sox had in the post-World War II era," said Dick Bresciani, the team's vice president of publications and archives. Read more




2009: Chris Henry, U.S. NFL wide receiver from Louisiana, dies at 26 of injuries after falling out of the back of a pickup truck.

2009: Jennifer Jones, U.S. actress from Oklahoma who won an Academy Award for best actress for "The Song of Bernadette," dies of natural causes at 90.

Jones, the widow of museum founder Norton Simon, was deeply involved in overseeing the Simon during her later years. She was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1940s and '50s, appearing in such films as "Duel in the Sun," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," and "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit." Read more





2008: Sammy Baugh, U.S. NFL player from Texas and a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, dies at 94 after battling Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems.

While he was noted for his passing, Baugh was one of the best all-around players of his day. One season he led the league in passing, defensive interceptions, and punting. In one game, he threw four touchdown passes and intercepted four passes. He threw six touchdowns in a game — twice — and kicked an 85-yard punt. Read more





2003: Otto Graham, U.S. NFL quarterback, dies of a heart aneurysm at 82.

1999: Grover Washington Jr., U.S. saxophonist whose albums include "Inner City Blues," "Time Out of Mind," and "The Best Is Yet To Come," dies of a massive heart attack at 56.

1999: Rex Allen, U.S. actor and singer-songwriter who also narrated many Walt Disney nature and Western film productions, dies of a heart attack at 79.

1993: Janet Margolin, U.S. actress whose films include "Annie Hall," "David and Lisa," and "Take the Money and Run," dies of ovarian cancer at 50.

1992: Dana Andrews, U.S. actor whose films include "Laura," "The Best Years of Our Lives," and "Where the Sidewalk Ends," dies of congestive heart disease and pneumonia at 83.

1978: Don Ellis, American jazz trumpeter and bandleader from California, dies of a heart attack at 44.

1975: Frank Sully, U.S. actor who appeared in more than 240 films including "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Funny Girl," dies at 67.

1975: Noble Sissle, U.S. jazz musician, dies at 86.

1973: Charles G. Abbot, U.S. astrophysicist and an inventor of several solar energy devices, dies at 101.

1917: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, English medical doctor and the first female surgeon in Britain, dies at 81.

1830: Simón Bolívar, South American revolutionary and president of Colombia who fought for Latin American independence from Spain, dies of tuberculosis at 47.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including blues musician Paul Butterfield.