Died December 23

Oscar Peterson was called the Maharajah of the Keyboard by Duke Ellington, but simply O.P. by his friends. The Canadian jazz pianist released over 200 recordings and won eight Grammy Award statues. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists. He played thousands of concerts worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.We remember Peterson's remarkable 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 actor Corey Haim.

2011: Denise Darcel, born Billecard, French actress whose films include "Vera Cruz," "Dangerous When Wet," and "Tarzan and the Slave Girl," dies at 87 following surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm.

Denise Darcel (AP Photo, file)After coming to the U.S. in 1947, Darcel starred opposite several leading men in a string of films in the '50s, including "Battleground" with Van Johnson, "Tarzan and the Slave Girl" with Lex Barker, "Westward the Women" with Robert Taylor and "Young Man With Ideas" with Glenn Ford, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. She most famously played a vivacious double-crossing countess in 1954's "Vera Cruz" opposite Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper. Read more

 

 

 

2007: Michael Kidd, born Milton Greenwald, U.S. film and stage choreographer whose credits include "Hello, Dolly!" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," dies of cancer at 92.

To moviegoers, Kidd was known best for the 1954 film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," in which a bunch of earthy backwoodsmen (some of them really stage dancers) prance exuberantly with their prospective brides, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He also directed dances for Danny Kaye in "Knock on Wood," took Fred Astaire out of his top hat to play a private eye in a Mickey Spillane spoof in "The Band Wagon," and taught Marlon Brando how to hoof for "Guys and Dolls." Read more

 

 

 

2007: Oscar Peterson, Canadian jazz pianist and composer who won eight Grammy awards, dies of kidney failure at 82.

Called the Maharajah of the Keyboard by Duke Ellington, he blazed a trail by playing with a racially integrated trio, and passed his knowledge on to a new generation as a respected teacher. He played with many of the biggest names in jazz – Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day, Fred Astaire, Count Basie, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie ... and the list goes on and on. Read more

 

 

 

2005: Norman D. Vaughan, U.S. explorer and dogsled driver who took part in Richard Byrd's first expedition to the South Pole, dies at 100.

2004: Anne Truitt, U.S. artist from Maryland whose works include "A Wall for Apricots" and "Sandcastle," dies at 83 of complications from abdominal surgery.

2000: William J. Bertanzetti, diminutive U.S. actor whose stage name was Billy Barty, dies of heart failure at 76.

2000: Victor Borge, Danish-born U.S. comedian and concert pianist, dies in his sleep at 91.

One famous gag had the elegant, tuxedo-clad Borge approaching the piano and going about a number of self-serious adjustments – fiddling with the score, checking the height of the bench, minutely inspecting the keyboard – but never actually playing a piece of music before rising triumphantly and taking a bow. "Look at a symphony concert on TV and turn off the sound," he once said. "If you have the slightest sense of humor, you will laugh yourself silly – the musicians look and act absolutely ridiculous." Read more

 

 

 

1993: Gertrude "Trudi" Duby Blom, Swiss journalist, anthropologist, and photographer who documented Mayan cultures across five decades, dies at 92.

1992: Eddie Hazel, U.S. funk musician who played lead guitar for Parliament-Funkadelic, dies of liver failure at 42.

1979: Peggy Guggenheim, U.S. art collector and socialite, dies at 81 after a stroke.

1973: Irna Phillips, U.S. actress and writer who created radio and TV soap operas including "Guiding Light," "As the World Turns," and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," dies at 72 of undisclosed causes.

1973: Gerard Kuiper, Netherlands-born U.S. astronomer who discovered a satellite of Uranus and one of Neptune's, dies at 68.

1972: Angelo Siciliano, aka Charles Atlas, Italian-born U.S. bodybuilder and hawker of fitness programs aimed at the "97-pound weakling," dies of heart failure at 80.

1970: Charles S. "Charlie" Ruggles, U.S. comic actor from California whose film roles include "Trouble in Paradise" and "The Parent Trap," dies of cancer at 84.

1969: Donald Foster, U.S. actor who appeared on several TV series in the 1950s and '60s including "Perry Mason," "The Monkees," and "Hazel," dies at 80.

1959: Lester Lonergan Jr., actor on the TV sitcom "The Growing Paynes," dies at 65.

1959: Edward F. L. Wood, aka Lord Irwin, English politician who was British ambassador to the U.S. during World War II, dies at 78.

1938: Robert Herrick, U.S. writer from Massachusetts whose novels include "Clark's Field" and "The Web of Life," dies of a heart attack at 70.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including actor Corey Haim.