Died June 15

Ella Fitzgerald's voice spanned three octaves, and her popularity was even more wide-ranging. She spent nearly 60 years as a recording artist, releasing more than 70 albums and picking up 14 Grammy awards in the process. She was honored twice by U.S. presidents, and over the years she sold more than 40 million records, making her one of the all-time best-selling jazz artists. In addition to her musical career, Fitzgerald was also a fixture in film and on television for decades as a guest-star and frequent guest on evening talk shows. We remember Fitzgerald'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 outlaw country music star Waylon Jennings.

2016: Lois Duncan, U.S. author of suspense novels for young adults whose books include “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” dies at 82.

2015: Kirk Kerkorian, U.S. businessman and philanthropist who developed the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, dies at 98.

2015: Mighty Sam McClain, U.S. Grammy-nominated soul and blues singer, dies at 72.

2014: Casey Kasem, U.S. disc jockey who was well-known for his "American Top 40" weekly countdown program, dies at 82.

From 1970 to 2009, anyone who loved pop songs knew to tune in every week to hear Casey count 'em down. Sometimes a Long Distance Dedication made us think of someone we were missing, for a while we waited every week to see if Casey's prediction of the next week's No. 1 song would come true, and we always learned a little something about the artists we were hearing as Casey presented a bit of back story in his unmistakable voice. Read more

 

 

 

2014: Daniel Keyes, U.S. author known best for his novel "Flowers for Algernon," dies at 86.

Daniel Keyes (Photo via the author's website)First published as a short story in 1959, and later as a novel, "Algernon" is a series of journal entries by a low-IQ laborer named Charlie Gordon who participates in experiments that triple his intelligence just as researchers did with a laboratory mouse named Algernon. As the protagonist reaches the height of his brainpower, the mouse's progress begins to reverse until he dies, a harbinger of what's to come for Charlie. The very makeup of the book's entries follows the ascension and decline of the main character, whose writings are filled with spelling and grammatical errors at the start, then soar to sophistication before regressing. Read more

 

 

2013: Stan Lopata, U.S. Major League Baseball catcher who was a two-time All-Star for the Philadelphia Phillies, dies of heart complications at 87.

2012: Barry MacKay, U.S. professional tennis player who was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in 1960 and went on to a long career as a broadcaster for professional tennis on HBO and the USA Network, dies after a long illness at 76.

2008: Stan Winston, U.S. special effects artist who won three Oscars for his work in the movies "Aliens," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," and "Jurassic Park," dies after battling multiple myeloma at 62.

Working with such directors as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and Tim Burton in a career spanning four decades, Winston created some of the most memorable visual effects in cinematic history, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He helped bring the dinosaurs from "Jurassic Park," the extraterrestrials from "Aliens," the robots from "Terminator," and even "Edward Scissorhands" to the big screen, and was a pioneer in merging real-world effects with computer imaging. Read more

 

 

2007: Sherri Martel, U.S. professional wrestler who won the World Wrestling Federation women's championship and then managed various wrestlers, including Randy Savage, dies of a drug overdose at 49.

2003: Hume Cronyn, Canadian-born U.S. actor who often appeared in movies alongside his wife, Jessica Tandy, and whose other film appearances included "Lifeboat" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice," dies at 91.

Cronyn, known for his roles in the 1980s "Cocoon" movies, made his theater debut in 1931 as a paperboy in "Up Pops the Devil," according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He played a variety of characters onstage, including a janitor in "Hippers' Holiday," in his Broadway debut in 1934; the gangster Elkus in "There's Always a Breeze," in 1938; and Andrei Prozoroff, the brother in Chekhov's "Three Sisters," in 1939. He made his film debut in 1943 as the detective story addict Herbie Hawkins in Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt." Read more

 

 

1996: Ella Fitzgerald, Grammy Award-winning U.S. jazz singer referred to as the Queen of Jazz, who also was known for her scat singing, dies at 79.

"I know I'm no glamour girl, and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I've got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing." – Ella Fitzgerald. We've got to beg to differ with Ella. Read more

 

 

 

1993: James Hunt, English professional Formula One race car driver who won the world championship in 1976 and whose story was dramatized in the movie "Rush," dies of a heart attack at 45.

1991: Happy Chandler, U.S. politician who served as governor of Kentucky as well as the commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1945 until 1951, during which time baseball's color line was broken with the signing of Jackie Robinson, dies at 92.

1989: Victor French, U.S. actor known best for starring with Michael Landon in two series, "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven," dies of lung cancer at 54.

On "Highway to Heaven," Landon played a would-be angel named Jonathan, seeking to do right to enter heaven. French was Mark Gordon, his mortal sidekick. In a 1985 interview with The Associated Press, French described his role this way: "I'm the guy on the street who responds as the audience does. I'm a little sour on the world. He quit the police force because he felt criminals were getting the best of the system. He's closest to me. We share most of the same values. I don't have to make up stuff, the feelings are mine. I'm as moved by injustice, prejudice, and pain as he is." Read more

 

 

1989: Ray McAnally, Irish actor who performed in the movies "My Left Foot" and "We're No Angels," dies of a heart attack at 63.

1984: Meredith Willson, U.S. composer, songwriter, flutist, and playwright known best for writing the book, music, and lyrics for the hit Broadway musical "The Music Man," dies of heart failure at 82.

1984: Ned Glass, U.S. character actor who appeared in numerous movies and on television shows including "Charade," "The Three Stooges" serials, and "The Love Bug," dies at 78.

1976: Jimmy Dykes, U.S. Major League Baseball infielder and manager who was a two-time All-Star, won the World Series twice, and batted over .300 five times in his career, dies at 79.

1968: Wes Montgomery, U.S. jazz guitarist who was considered one of the major jazz guitarists and greatly influenced younger guitarists such as George Benson and Pat Metheny, dies at 45.

1968: Sam Crawford, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder who was one of the most feared hitters of the dead-ball era and had a career batting average of .309, who still holds the MLB record for most career triples, dies at 88.

1849: James K. Polk, U.S. politician who was the 11th president of the United States from 1845 until 1849, dies of cholera at 53.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including outlaw country music legend Waylon Jennings.