Getty Images / Redferns / David Redfern

Died December 6

Roy Orbison, also known as the Big O, added a uniquely dark and mysterious voice to the early days of rock 'n' roll. He belted out dozens of Top 40 hits throughout the 1960s while enduring deep personal tragedies. His popularity waned in the '70s, causing him to doubt his own talent before a string of popular covers of his songs revived his career in the '80s. He collaborated with everyone from k.d. lang to Glenn Danzig, and he was part of the rock supergroup the Traveling Wilburys shortly before his sudden death at 52. We remember Orbison'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 rock guitar legend Randy Rhoads.

2013: Kate Williamson, U.S. character actress known best for her role on "Ellen," dies at 82.

Kate Williamson (Associated Press)Williamson died … less than a month after the death of her husband of nearly 60 years, veteran character actor Al Ruscio. "They were the epitome of true and forever sweethearts," said her manager, Judy Fox, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Williamson also appeared on dozens of TV shows going back to the 1970s, including "7th Heaven," "JAG," "NYPD Blue," "Home Improvement," and "Ellen." Read more

 

 

2013: Louis Waldon, U.S. actor known for appearing in Andy Warhol films, dies of stroke complications at 78.

2012: Ed Cassidy, U.S. drummer who co-founded the band Spirit, dies of cancer at 89.

2011: Dobie Gray, U.S. singer and songwriter whose hit song "Drift Away" sold more than 1 million copies, dies of complications of cancer surgery at 71.

2007: Katy French, Irish supermodel and socialite, dies of brain damage from drug use at 24.

2000: Werner Klemperer, German-born U.S. actor who played Colonel Wilhelm Klink on the TV sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," dies of cancer at 80.

1996: Alvin "Pete" Rozelle, former NFL commissioner, dies of brain cancer at 70.

1994: Alun Owen, British TV screenwriter who also wrote the screenplay for The Beatles' 1964 motion picture, "A Hard Day's Night," dies at 69.

1997: Eliot Daniel, U.S. composer who composed the theme song for the TV show "I Love Lucy," dies at 89.

1993: Don Ameche, U.S. actor whose films include "Cocoon" and "Trading Places," dies at 85.

The trifecta of Ameche's dapper good looks – including his trademark skinny mustache – his resonant velvety voice and his all-around likeability led him to an almost 60-year career in three branches of show business: radio, television, and feature films. Just when it looked as if his career might be finished, he made two comebacks. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame –– one for radio, another for TV. Read more

 

 

 

1989: Frances Bavier, U.S. actress known best as Aunt Bee on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Mayberry R.F.D.", dies at 86, two days after being released from a hospital heart-care unit.

1989: Sammy Fain, Academy Award-winning U.S. composer whose popular music works include the songs "Secret Love" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," dies of a heart attack at 87.

1988: Roy Orbison, U.S. singer-songwriter known for hits including "Only the Lonely," "Crying," and "Oh, Pretty Woman," dies of a heart attack at 52.

Orbison claimed he first heard "In Dreams" in, well, a dream he was having, wherein he was listening to the radio and a disc jockey had just announced it as Elvis Presley's new single. Orbison then woke up and wrote the entire song in 20 minutes. Shortly after its 1963 release, Orbison found himself on tour in Britain with a young new band called the Beatles. Read more.

 

 

 

1985: Burr Tillstrom, U.S. puppeteer and creator of the TV puppet show "Kukla, Fran, & Ollie," dies at 68.

1983: Lucienne Boyer, French singer known for the song "Speak to Me of Love," dies at 80.

1959: Len Doyle, U.S. actor whose credits include the film "Dead to the World" and the "Mr. District Attorney" radio and TV drama, at 66.

1955: Johannes "Honus" Wagner, U.S. Major League Baseball shortstop who was one of the first five members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, dies at 81.

1951: Harold Ross, U.S. magazine editor-in-chief and founder of The New Yorker magazine, dies at 59 of heart failure during a cancer operation.

1949: Lead Belly, aka Huddie William Ledbetter, U.S. folk and Delta blues singer-guitarist, dies at 61 after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

1873: Manuel Acuna, Mexican poet whose works include "Nocturno (Night)" and "Entonces y Hoy (Then and Now)", dies by suicide at 24.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including rock guitar legend Randy Rhoads.