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Died July 20

Bruce Lee's accomplishments as an actor and martial artist continue to inspire fans decades after his death. His martial art style, Jeet Kun Do, is still taught in dojos around the world and his hit film "Enter the Dragon" is widely regarded as one of the greatest martial arts movies of all time. He is also remembered as Kato on the television adaptation of "The Green Hornet," a role that brought him great fame overseas. Just 32 when he died, Lee had starred in five feature films and cemented his legacy as a cinematic legend. We remember Lee's life today as well as other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including Hollywood legend Natalie Wood.

2017: Chester Bennington, lead singer of the popular rock band Linkin Park, dies at 41.

2015: Theodore Bikel, U.S. actor, folk musician, and activist, dies at 91.


The Austrian-born Bikel was noted for the diversity of the roles he played, from a Scottish police officer to a Russian submarine skipper, Jewish refugee, Dutch sea captain, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He sang in 21 languages. "No one loved theater more, his union better, or cherished actors like Theo did. He has left an indelible mark on (a) generation of members past and generations of members to come," Actors' Equity Association, which Bikel led as president from 1973-1982, said in a statement. Read more

 

 

 

2013: Helen Thomas, U.S. journalist, news service correspondent, and author known best as a member of the White House press corps, dies at 92.

Helen Thomas (Associated Press/Ron Edmonds)Thomas was at the forefront of women's achievements in journalism, noted her obituary by The Associated Press. She was one of the first female reporters to break out of the White House "women's beat" – the soft stories about presidents' children, wives, their teas, and their hairdos – and cover the hard news on an equal footing with men. She became the first female White House bureau chief for a wire service when United Press International named her to the position in 1974. She also was the first female officer at the National Press Club, where women had once been barred as members, and she had to fight for admission into the 1959 luncheon speech where Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev warned: "We will bury you." Read more

 

 

 

2012: Simon Ward, English actor whose movie appearances included "Supergirl" and who had a regular role on the television series "The Tudors," dies after a long illness at 70.

2008: Artie Traum, U.S. guitarist, songwriter, and producer who produced and recorded with artists including Richie HavensPete Seeger, and the Band, dies at 65.

2007: Tammy Faye Messner, U.S. evangelist, singer, and television personality who founded the PTL club with her then-husband Jim Bakker, dies of metastatic colon cancer at 65.

Throughout all her life's many ups and downs, Messner maintained a cheerful outlook and a sense of humor. Ten years before her death, she reflected, "When I was a little girl, I used to pray: 'Dear God, please don't let my life be boring.' I found that you have to be careful what you pray for." Read more

 

 

 

2005: James Doohan, Canadian actor known for his role as Scotty on the television show and in the film series "Star Trek," dies of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease at 85.

Doohan was enjoying a busy career as a character actor when he auditioned for a role as an engineer in a new space adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years in radio, he tried seven different accents, noted his obituary by The Associated Press. "The producers asked me which one I preferred," Doohan recalled 30 years later. "I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding. So I told them, 'If this character is going to be an engineer, you'd better make him a Scotsman.'" Read more

 

 

 

1999: Sandra Gould, U.S. actress known best for playing Gladys Kravitz on the sitcom "Bewitched," dies of a stroke at 82.

1989: Mary Treen, U.S. character actress who had a recurring role on "The Joey Bishop Show," dies of cancer at 82.

1987: Richard Egan, U.S. actor who starred in the films "Love Me Tender" with Elvis Presley and "A Summer Place" with Dorothy McGuire, dies of prostate cancer at 65.

1986: Helen Craig, U.S. actress whose television appearances included "The Waltons" and "Kojak," dies at 74.

1983: Frank Reynolds, U.S. broadcast journalist who was a co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight," dies of hepatitis-induced liver failure at 59.

1977: Carter DeHaven, U.S. actor who starred in many comedy film shorts in the silent era, dies at 90.

1974: Allen Jenkins, U.S. actor whose movie appearances included "Destry Rides Again," who also appeared on television series including "I Love Lucy" and "The Ernie Kovacs Show," dies of lung cancer at 74.

1973: Bruce Lee, Hong Kong-American martial artist and actor who was one of the most influential martial artists of all time and starred in the classic martial arts-themed movie "Enter the Dragon," dies of a cerebral swelling at 32.

How did Lee accomplish so much in such a short life? Perhaps it helped that he was born a Dragon. His birth Nov. 27, 1940, occurred both in the year and the hour of the Dragon, according to Chinese zodiac tradition – an incredibly fortuitous combination. Though Lee was born in San Francisco, his parents were Hong Kong natives and he grew up in Kowloon, China. In Chinese tradition, dragons are thought to be powerful, lucky, and intelligent, capable of doing absolutely anything. Read more

 

 

 

1969: Roy Hamilton, U.S. singer who had major success on the rhythm and blues chart in the 1960s, including the top-10 pop hit "Unchained Melody,” dies after having a stroke at 40.

1944: Mildred Harris, U.S. film actress who was a popular leading lady during the silent era and was the first wife of Charlie Chaplin, dies of pneumonia at 42.

1941: Lew Fields, U.S. comedian and actor who was a vaudeville star as one-half of the comic duo Weber and Fields, dies at 74.

1923: Pancho Villa, Mexican general who was well-known as one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution, is assassinated at 45.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including Hollywood legend Natalie Wood.