Died July 30
By: Legacy Staff
11 months ago
Claudette Colbert took home an Oscar for her work on "It Happened One Night" and built a reputation as Hollywood's go-to leading lady for screwball comedies. Her range extended beyond the comedic, with roles in dozens of films across many genres, including period pieces like 1934's "Cleopatra," "Private Worlds," and "Since You Went Away." She was a prolific stage and television actor as well, earning a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination for "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" in 1987 and a Tony nomination in 1959 for "The Marriage-Go-Round." She was able to command high salaries in the 1930s and '40s, affording her the opportunity to largely retire from Hollywood in the 1950s, dividing her time between luxury homes in France, Barbados, Manhattan, and Los Angeles. We remember Colbert's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2016: Gloria DeHaven, U.S. singer and actress who starred in a number of MGM musicals, dies at 91.
MGM signed her to a contract in the early 1940s. While she never became a big Hollywood star, she played memorable film roles in "Best Foot Forward" (1943), "The Thin Man Goes Home" (1944), "Scene of the Crime" (1949), and "Summer Stock" (1950). She played her own mother, Flora Parker DeHaven, in "Three Little Words" (1950), which starred Fred Astaire. Read more
2015: Lynn Anderson, U.S. country music singer who had a hit song with "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," dies at 67.
And it was "Rose Garden" that sealed her country music legacy, earning her a Grammy Award and Country Music Association's female vocalist of the year award in 1971. "It was popular because it touched on emotions," she told the AP. "It was perfectly timed. It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years, and a lot of people were trying to recover. Read more
Widely regarded as the master in his field, Smith helped pioneer such now-standard materials as liquid foam latex and make special effects more realistic and spectacular. He was also known and loved for his generosity, whether exchanging letters about his craft with a teenage J.J. Abrams or mentoring a future Oscar-winner, the special effects artist Rick Baker, who in 2011 presented Smith his honorary statuette. Read more
2013: Ossie Schectman, U.S. professional basketball player credited with scoring the first basket in what eventually would become the NBA, dies at 94.
Schectman scored the opening basket of a game in what was then known as the Basketball Association of America Nov. 1, 1946, for the Knicks against the Toronto Huskies, a layup after cutting down the center of the lane. The Knicks wound up winning that game at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens 68-66, and Schectman went on to average 8.1 points that season, his only one with the franchise. The significance of scoring the first points in league history was lost on Schectman and others for decades, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2013: Harry Byrd Jr., U.S. politician who represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate from 1965 until 1983, dies at 98.
He made a career of preaching the value of fiscal restraint, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He claimed Congress could balance the budget if it could just hold annual spending increases to the 3 percent to 5 percent range and even criticized President Reagan’s military buildup as "giving the Pentagon the impression it has a blank check." When he retired in 1982, Byrd said he was leaving public service with his convictions and integrity intact, but with regret that Congress "refuses to obey its own law which mandates a balanced budget." Read more
2012: Bill Doss, U.S. musician known as a member of the indie band the Olivia Tremor Control, dies at 43.
2007: Bill Walsh, U.S. NFL Hall of Fame head coach of the San Francisco 49ers who led the team to three Super Bowl victories, dies of leukemia at 75.
2007: Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director and screenwriter considered one of the most influential filmmakers in history, whose movies include "The Seventh Seal" and "Through a Glass Darkly," dies at 89.
Through more than 50 films, Bergman's vision encompassed all the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, the gentle merriment of glowing summer evenings, and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years. Bergman, who approached difficult subjects such as plague and madness with inventive technique and carefully honed writing, became one of the towering figures of serious filmmaking, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2007: Michelangelo Antonioni, Italian director and screenwriter whose movies were critically acclaimed and included "Blowup" and "The Passenger" starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider, dies at 94.
2003: Sam Phillips, U.S. record label owner and producer who created Sun Records and Studios in Memphis in the 1950s and discovered early rock 'n' roll legends including Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, dies of respiratory failure at 80.
Phillips was just 26 in 1950 when he opened his first recording studio in Memphis – the musical city that had fascinated him since he first visited as a teen. Just a year after the Memphis Recording Studio opened, it would make history. Phillips recorded "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, widely considered to be the first rock 'n' roll song. The group's singer-songwriter was a 19-year-old named Ike Turner. Read more
1998: Buffalo Bob Smith, U.S. disc jockey, singer, and musician known best for hosting the popular children's program "The Howdy Doody Show," dies of cancer at 80.
Smith initially juggled morning radio appearances with producing and hosting the televised "Howdy Doody," appearing with such unforgettable characters as Clarabell the Clown (played first by Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo, and later by Lew Anderson) and Mayor of Doodyville Phineas T. Bluster, not to mention the Peanut Gallery, the live audience of children (boys in jackets and ties!) singing, "It's Howdy Doody Time!" Read more
1996: Claudette Colbert, U.S. actress who was a star in the 1930s and '40s and was known for screwball comedies, winning an Oscar for her performance in "It Happened One Night," dies at 92.
1992: Joe Shuster, Canadian comic book artist known best for creating "Superman" with writer Jerry Siegel, dies of congestive heart failure and high blood pressure at 78.
1989: Lane Frost, U.S. professional bull rider who became a world champion in 1987 and was critically injured while riding a bull during competition, whose life story was told in the movie "8 Seconds," dies at 25.
1983: Lynn Fontanne, English actress who was a star on the Broadway stage who often appeared with her husband, Alfred Lunt, dies of pneumonia at 95.
1983: Howard Dietz, U.S. songwriter and librettist who wrote the songs "Alone Together" and "That's Entertainment," dies of Parkinson's disease at 86.
1980: Charles McGraw, U.S. actor known best for the film noir genre, who had roles in "Spartacus" and starred on the television series "Adventures of the Falcon," dies at 66 after slipping and falling through a glass shower door in his home.
1962: Myron McCormick, U.S. actor known for his role as Charlie, the partner of Paul Newman's character, in the movie "The Hustler," dies of cancer at 54.
1918: Joyce Kilmer, U.S. writer and poet most well-known for his poem "Trees," dies in battle during World War I at 31.