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Died October 13

Ed Sullivan was one of the stars who shaped television. His long-running variety program, "The Ed Sullivan Show," debuted in 1948 when not even 1 percent of U.S. homes had televisions. By the time his show ended in 1971, Sullivan had helped spark Beatlemania, brought new racial integration to TV, and created one of the most enduring "really big shews" of all time. We remember Sullivan'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 comic pioneer Lenny Bruce.

2016: Dario Fo, Italian playwright who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997, dies at 90.

2012: Gary Collins, U.S. actor who appeared on television series such as "The Love Boat" and "Charlie's Angels," dies at 74.

Gary Collins  (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)As an actor, he appeared in numerous movies and was a fixture on television in the 1960s and 1970s, playing a variety of guest roles on comedies and dramas including Perry Mason, The Love Boat and Ironside, among others, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He also starred in regular series including The Wackiest Ship in the Army and The Iron Horse in the 1960s and The Sixth Sense in the 1970s. He kept acting for decades, appearing as late as 2009 in an episode of the TV show Dirty Sexy Money. Read more

 

 

 

2009: Al Martino, U.S. singer and actor who played Johnny Fontane in the movie "The Godfather," dies at 82.

Starting in 1952, Martino was known for hit songs including "Here in My Heart," "Spanish Eyes," "Can't Help Falling in Love," and "Volare." Besides acting in the Marlon Brando classic "The Godfather," Martino sang the 1972 film's title score, "The Love Theme From 'The Godfather,'" according to his obituary by The Associated Press. His Fontane character is a singer and occasional actor and is the godson of Brando's Mafia boss character, Don Vito Corleone. Read more

 

 

 

2002: Stephen Ambrose, U.S. historian and author whose best-known book was "Band of Brothers," dies at 66.

1996: Beryl Reid, English actress who appeared in "Yellowbeard" and "Psychomania," dies at 77.

1995: Henry Roth, U.S. novelist whose best-known work was "Call It Sleep," dies at 89.

1993: Gwen Welles, U.S. actress whose films include "Nashville" and "California Split," dies of cancer at 42.

1992: James Marshall, U.S. children's book illustrator and author known best for the George and Martha books and "The Stupids," dies at 50.

1990: Douglas Edwards, U.S. network news reporter who was the first to anchor a TV news show, dies of cancer at 73.

1974: Ed Sullivan, U.S. host of "The Ed Sullivan Show," which was the longest-running variety show in TV history, dies at 73.

His eponymous show, the longest-running variety program of all time, highlighted musicians, comics, acrobats, even trained animals, all in the name of family entertainment. Elvis scandalized some of those families with his gyrating hips. The Beatles made their teenage daughters scream when they made their American debut on Sullivan's stage. He was a star-maker decades before programs like "American Idol" and "Top Chef" took on that role. Read more

 

 

 

1968: Bea Benaderet, actress who starred on the TV sitcom "Petticoat Junction" and provided the voice of Betty Rubble on "The Flintstones," dies of lung cancer at 62.

1966: Clifton Webb, U.S. actor, dancer, and singer who starred in "The Razor's Edge," dies at 76.

1945: Milton S. Hershey, U.S. founder of the Hershey Chocolate Co., dies at 88.

1917: Florence La Badie, U.S. film actress who was popular during the silent era, dies in a car accident at 29.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including comic pioneer Lenny Bruce.