Died July 11

Lady Bird Johnson was the first lady of the United States as the wife of 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson. Born Claudia Alta Taylor, she earned her nickname for being, as her childhood nurse put it, "purty as a ladybird." As the first lady, she was known for her beautification and conservation projects, stemming from her belief that "where flowers bloom, so does hope." She began by improving Washington, D.C., with millions of flowers planted, and she promoted and inspired the passage of the Highway Beautification Act, removing billboards from roadsides and adding plantings in their place. She was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Rachel Carson Award, and a Congressional Gold Medal – she was the first wife of a president to be awarded that final honor. We remember Johnson'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 actor Yul Brynner.

2014: Tommy Ramone, born Erdelyi Tamas, Hungarian-American musician who was the drummer for the Ramones and the last surviving member of the band, dies of bile duct cancer at 65.

Tommy Ramone (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)Since its debut album in 1976, the band struggled for commercial success, but they left a formidable imprint on the rock genre. Though they never had a Top 40 song, the Ramones influenced scores of followers, including bands such as Green Day and Nirvana. Even Bruce Springsteen was moved. After seeing the Ramones in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Springsteen wrote "Hungry Heart" for the band. His manager, however, swayed him to keep the song for himself. It became a hit single. Read more

 

 

 

2012: Donald J. Sobol, U.S. author known best for his children's book series "Encyclopedia Brown," dies of gastric lymphoma at 87.

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. SobolThe "Encyclopedia Brown" concept – which the solutions to the mysteries are shown after the story – came to Sobol while he was researching an article at the New York Public Library, and a clerk mistakenly handed him a game book, with puzzles on one side and the solutions on the other. Sobol decided to write a mystery series with the same premise, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He earned an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the "Encyclopedia Brown" series. Read more

 

 

 

2011: Rob Grill, U.S. musician who was the lead singer and bassist for the Grass Roots, who had two gold albums and two platinum albums including the hit song "Midnight Confessions," dies at 67.

Rob Grill (Bobby Bank/WireImage)The Grass Roots were a Los Angeles-based band with roots in San Francisco's music scene. They formed in the mid-1960s and went through three incarnations, with band members leaving and others joining, before they recorded a series of hits. Grill joined in 1967, and the group disbanded in 1975, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. One of the members was Creed Bratton, who played the exceedingly eccentric Creed on the TV sitcom "The Office." Read more

 

 

 

2010: Bob Sheppard, U.S. announcer who was the public address announcer for the New York Yankees for 56 years, announcing his last game at the age of 96, dies of natural causes at 99.

Bob Sheppard (AP Photo)On May 7, 2000, after 50 years and two weeks on the job, the team honored him with "Bob Sheppard Day" and put a plaque in his honor in Monument Park, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Fans gave Sheppard a standing ovation, and legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite read the inscription. Berra, Reggie Jackson, and Don Larsen were among those who stood on the field during the ceremonies. "The voice of Yankee Stadium," read the plaque. "For half a century, he has welcomed generations of fans with his trademark greeting, 'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium.'" Read more

 

 

2008: Michael DeBakey, U.S. cardiac surgeon whose innovations revolutionized the treatment of heart patients, dies at 99.

While still in medical school in 1932, he invented the roller pump, which became the major component of the heart-lung machine, beginning the era of open-heart surgery. The machine takes over the function of the heart and lungs during surgery. It was the start of a lifetime of innovation, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The surgical procedures that DeBakey developed once were the wonders of the medical world. Today, they are commonplace procedures in most hospitals. He also was a pioneer in the effort to develop artificial hearts and heart pumps to assist patients awaiting transplants, and helped create more than 70 surgical instruments. Read more

 

 

2007: Lady Bird Johnson, U.S. first lady of the United States from 1963 until 1969, dies of natural causes at 94.

As first lady, she was perhaps known best as the determined environmentalist who wanted roadside billboards and junkyards replaced with trees and wildflowers. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to beautify Washington, D.C. The $320 million Highway Beautification Bill, passed in 1965, was known as the Lady Bird Bill, and she made speeches and lobbied Congress to win its passage, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Read more

 

 

 

2006: Barnard Hughes, U.S. actor whose many film and television appearances include "Doc Hollywood," "Oh God!", and "All in the Family," dies at 90.

2005: Frances Langford, U.S. singer and actress who was popular during the golden age of radio and appeared in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" with James Cagney, dies of congestive heart failure at 92.

Langford, a recording artist, radio star, and actress from the 1930s to 1950s, joined Bob Hope's troupe to boost wartime morale at military bases and hospitals in Great Britain, Italy, North Africa, and the South Pacific. She also entertained new generations of soldiers in Korea and Vietnam. Even with her hair swept up in a bandanna, the 5-foot-1 singer was a glamorous vision of home and became known as the Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Read more

 

 

 

1999: Helen Forrest, U.S. jazz singer who was the female lead vocalist at one time in three of the most popular big bands of the swing era, performing with Artie ShawBenny Goodman, and Harry James, dies of congestive heart failure at 82.

1995: Don Starr, U.S. actor known best for his role as oil baron Jordan Lee on the TV series "Dallas," dies of injuries following a fall at 77.

1989: Laurence Olivier, English actor considered one of the greatest of the 20th century, whose movies include "Wuthering Heights" and "The Boys From Brazil," dies of kidney failure at 82.

He dazzled both onstage and on screen for more than 60 years, with memorable turns as Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" and Maxim de Winter in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca," to name just two. British playwright Charles Bennett once remarked that Olivier delivered lines in Shakespeare as if "he were actually thinking them." Appropriately, Olivier served as lead actor and director for three films based on the Bard's plays: "Henry V," "Hamlet," and "Richard III." Read more

 

 

 

1973: Robert Ryan, U.S. actor who appeared in "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Wild Bunch," dies of lung cancer at 63.

1965: Ray Collins, U.S. actor known best for his regular role on "Perry Mason" as Lieutenant Arthur Tragg, dies of emphysema at 75.

1948: King Baggot, U.S. actor, director, and screenwriter who was an internationally famous movie star of the silent era, known as the King of the Movies, dies of a stroke at 68.

1937: George Gershwin, U.S. composer and pianist who wrote many popular songs, whose works included "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Porgy and Bess," dies of a brain tumor at 38.

1936: James Murray, U.S. actor known best for starring in the King Vidor classic silent movie "The Crowd," dies in an accidental drowning at 35.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including actor Yul Brynner.