Wikimedia Commons / William Gottlieb

Died February 17

Thelonious Monk was a jazz legend known for his unique improvisations on the piano. Some of his memorable compositions include "Round Midnight" and "Blue Monk." Monk was known for his distinctive style, wearing suits, berets and sunglasses. Monk made records for Blue Note and Prestige Records and played with greats such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins.  We remember his 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 singer Gene Pitney.

2014: Bob Casale, U.S. musician who played guitar and keyboards with the new wave band Devo, dies at 61.

Bob Casale (AP Photo/Katy Winn, File)The Ohio-based Devo introduced themselves to the world in 1977 by making a frenetic version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." The new wave band released its Brian Eno-produced debut, "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!", in 1978 and reached platinum status with 1980's "Freedom of Choice," which featured the single "Whip It." Read more


2013: Mindy McCready, U.S. country singer who had a hit record with the song "Guys Do It All the Time," dies by suicide at 37.

The country singer, who found early fame with songs such as "Ten Thousand Angels" and "Guys Do It All the Time," had long struggled with substance abuse problems. She had publicly tried –– and ultimately failed –– to get sober on "Celebrity Rehab." Her once-promising career had stalled, and she only made headlines when she encountered legal problems, including custody issues concerning her sons, fraudulently attempting to get prescriptions medications, and driving under the influence. Read more


2010: Kathryn Grayson, U.S. actress and singer who starred in MGM musicals of the 1940s and 1950s including "Anchors Aweigh," "Show Boat," and "Kiss Me Kate," dies at 88.

"I thought they were wasting their time and money," Grayson recalled of her first days at the studio. "I even told (studio boss) Louis B. Mayer that. He said he knew a lot more than a 16-year-old girl who is and who isn't good material for pictures." Read more


2009: Conchita Cintrón, Chilean bullfighter who was one of the most famous female bullfighters of all time, dies at 86.

2007: Mike Awesome, U.S. professional wrestler who was part of the World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation tours, dies at 42.

2006: Ray Barretto, Puerto Rican jazz musician who won a Grammy, dies at 76.

2005: Dan O'Herlihy, Irish actor who starred in many Hollywood films and was nominated for an Academy Award for his leading role in "Adventures of Robinson Crusoe," dies at 85.

1998: Bob Merrill, U.S. composer and lyricist who wrote well-known songs including "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window" and "Honeycomb," dies at 76.

1994: Randy Shilts, pioneering U.S. gay journalist who wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle and whose book "And the Band Played On" brought him national fame, dies of AIDS at 42.

1990: Hap Day, Canadian NHL Hall of Fame player and coach who won seven Stanley Cup championships as a player, coach, and assistant manager, dies at 88.

1989: Lefty Gomez, U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher who won five World Series titles with the New York Yankees, dies at 80.

1987: Verree Teasdale, U.S. actress who appeared in many movies in the 1930s, dies at 83.

1986: Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian speaker and writer who became one of the 20th century’s leading religious philosophers, dies at 90.

Only months after moving to Adyar, Krishnamurti was discovered by influential Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater, a self-proclaimed clairvoyant impressed by Krishnamurti’s aura of unselfishness. He was convinced the boy – dismissed as a simpleton by so many others – would grow up to be a great orator and teacher. In 1911, he founded The Order of the Star in the East to prepare the world for the coming of the next World Teacher. Read more



1986: Paul Stewart, U.S. character actor known for playing villains and mobsters, dies at 77.

1984: Lucille Benson, U.S. actress who had a role on the sitcom "Bosom Buddies" as the manager of a hotel, dies at 69.

1982: Thelonious Monk, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who is one of the giants of jazz and whose compositions include "Round Midnight," dies at 64.

Everything about Monk's performances was jaw-droppingly hip. He pounded heavily at the piano's keys like a little kid who's never had a lesson – but Monk's ham-handed style brought beauty from the instrument, not dissonance. Critics called him "the elephant on the keyboard," but jazz fans loved his spiky, percussive sounds. And when he was done crashing his way through another hot solo, Monk didn't fade into the background while his bandmates took their turns. Instead, he would jump up from his piano bench and look on, shuffling his feet to the beat. His enthusiasm made the music all the more infectious. Read more

1982: Lee Strasberg, U.S acting coach who is considered the Father of Method Acting and is the father of actress Susan Strasberg, dies at 80.

1980: Jerry Fielding, U.S. film and television composer who composed the theme songs for "Hogan's Heroes" and "The Bionic Woman," dies at 57.

1962: Joseph Kearns, U.S. actor known for his role as Mr. Wilson on the TV series "Dennis the Menace," dies while still on the show at 55.

1909: Geronimo, a prominent leader of the Apache tribe of Native Americans, dies at 79.

A leader of the resistance in his younger years, in his old age Geronimo appeared at fairs including the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, where he reportedly rode a Ferris wheel and sold photographs of himself as souvenirs. Despite his celebrity, he was not allowed to return to the land of his birth. When he died at the Fort Sill hospital in 1909, he was still a prisoner of war. Read more




Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including singer Gene Pitney.