Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection

Died December 19

Hope Lange found stardom in her performance as Selena Cross in "Peyton Place," earning her first Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and making a name for herself in Hollywood. Although she started on Broadway, Lange would spend the bulk of her career, more than 40 years, in Hollywood. She appeared in dozens of films and television shows, and she took home an Emmy for her beloved work as Carolyn Muir in "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir." On the big screen, she built a diverse body of work, turning up in everything from action and horror films to blockbusters, art films, romances, and everything in between. Her diverse roles always kept her safe from typecasting, and always kept audiences guessing as to where they would find her next. We remember Lange'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 French chanteuse Edith Piaf.


2015: Dickie Moore, Canadian NHL Hall of Fame left wing who won two scoring titles, dies at 84.

2013: Ned Vizzini, U.S. author of young adult books including "It's Kind of a Funny Story," dies by suicide at 32.

Ned Vizzini (Wikimedia/Masterorb)"It's Kind of a Funny Story," praised by The New York Times as "insightful and utterly authentic," was published in 2006 and told of a high school student who considers jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge and ends up in a psychiatric ward, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The movie version was released in 2010 and starred Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, and Viola Davis. Vizzini's other books included "Be More Chill" and "The Other Normals," both of which told of young people who feel like outsiders. Read more




2012: Robert Bork, U.S. legal scholar, failed U.S. Supreme Court nominee, and a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, dies of complications of heart disease at 85.

Robert H. Bork (Associated Press Photo)Brilliant, blunt, and piercingly witty, Bork enjoyed a long career in politics and the law that took him from respected academic to a totem of conservative grievance, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Along the way, Bork was accused of being a partisan hatchet man for Richard M. Nixon when, as the third-ranking official at the Justice Department, he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973. Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned rather than fire Cox. The next in line, William Ruckelshaus, refused to fire Cox and was himself fired. Read more



2012: Larry Morris, U.S. NFL linebacker, dies of complications of dementia at 79.

2009: Laurence Kim Peek, prodigious U.S. savant from Utah who served as the inspiration for the 1988 film "Rain Man" starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, dies of a heart attack at 58.

LAURENCE PEEK ObituaryDuring the last 21 years of his life, Kim, with his dad, Fran, interacted with some 6 million people and flew more than 3 million air miles. Quoting Kim: "Dad and I have shared the same shadow for more than 25 years." Read more




2008: James Bevel, U.S. civil rights leader during the 1960s and beyond, dies of pancreatic cancer at 72.

2008: Dock Ellis, U.S. Major League Baseball pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates when the team won the 1971 World Series, dies of a liver ailment at 63.

Ellis went 138-119 with a 3.46 ERA from 1968-79, spending most of his career with the Pirates, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He went 19-9 in 1971 when Pittsburgh won the World Series, and made his only All-Star appearance that summer — and what a show it was. Ellis was tagged for one of the most memorable home runs in All-Star history, Reggie Jackson's monster shot off the light tower at Tiger Stadium. Read more




2005: Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, U.S. boxer and Mafia member, dies of natural causes at 77.

2003: Hope Lange, U.S. actress whose performance as Selena Cross in the 1957 film "Peyton Place" earned her an Academy Award nomination, dies at 70.

The year after Lange's movie debut, she was cast in what was arguably her greatest film, "Peyton Place." Playing Selena Cross, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is being abused by her stepfather, Lange turned in a heartbreaking performance. The film stoked considerable controversy at the time of its release because of strong sexual themes in the book on which it was based. The story was toned down for the television version, making it more of a melodrama than a scandalously racy tale. Read more




2003: Les Tremayne, English-born U.S. actor whose films include "North by Northwest" and "The War of the Worlds," dies of heart failure at 90.

2000: Rob Buck, U.S. guitarist and a founding member of the band 10,000 Maniacs, dies of liver disease at 42.

2000: Milt Hinton, U.S. jazz double bassist from Mississippi who was dubbed the Dean of Jazz Bass Players, dies at 90.

2000: John Lindsay, U.S. politician and lawyer who was a U.S. congressman and mayor of New York City, dies at 79.

2000: Roebuck "Pops" Staples, U.S. gospel singer and patriarch of the Staple Singers, dies at 85 after falling at his home.

1998: Mel Fisher, chicken farmer turned treasure hunter who found a Spanish shipwreck and part of its cache estimated at $450 million, dies at 76.

1997: Jimmy Rogers, Mississippi-born Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, dies of colon cancer at 73.

1996: Marcello Mastroianni, Italian film actor whose movies include "La Dolce Vita," "8½," and "Divorce, Italian Style," dies of pancreatic cancer at 72.

1995: Janet Wilder, U.S. model and performer of film stunts, dies at 29 in an accident during the filming of the motion picture "Gone Fishin'," starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover.

1994: Noel Pointer, U.S. jazz violinist whose compositions include "Classy Lady" and "Direct Hit," dies one week before his 40th birthday.

1993: Michael Clarke, U.S. musician who was the drummer for the Byrds, dies of liver failure at 47.

1991: Joe Cole, U.S. author and a roadie for the rock groups Black Flag and Rollins Band, dies at 30, the victim of an armed robbery.

1986: Cleo Virginia "V.C." Andrews, U.S. novelist whose works include "Flowers in the Attic" and "Seeds of Yesterday," dies of breast cancer at 63.

Writes's Linnea Crowther: "When I was in junior high, it was the ultimate in bookish-girl chic to be seen clandestinely carrying around a V.C. Andrews novel. Around our parents and teachers, we read Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle, maybe J.D. Salinger if we wanted to seem daring and sophisticated. But when we were among friends, 'Flowers in the Attic' came out of our backpacks." Read more




1977: Nellie Tayloe Ross, Missouri-born politician in Wyoming and the first female governor of a U.S. state, dies at 101.

1968: Norman Thomas, U.S. Presbyterian minister and pacifist who was a six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America, dies at 84.

1848: Emily Jane Bronte, English poet and writer of the classic novel "Wuthering Heights," dies at 30.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including French chanteuse Edith Piaf.