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Died September 2

Bob Denver was an icon of 1960s television, thanks to his role as hapless sailor Gilligan on the classic sitcom "Gilligan's Island." Add that to a role as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on another '60s favorite, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," and it's clear that Denver was a major sitcom staple of the era. It was as Gilligan that he was most memorable, and he reprised the role on other TV shows and in public appearances for many years. We remember Denver'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 astronaut Christa McAuliffe.

2015: Brianna Lea Pruett, U.S. singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and filmmaker who released a well-regarded folk music album in 2013, dies at 32.

2008: Bill Melendez, U.S. animator, director, and voice actor known best for directing the "Peanuts" television specials and movie features and providing the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock, dies at 91.

Melendez met "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz in 1959 while creating Ford Motor Co. TV commercials featuring "Peanuts" characters. The two became friends and Melendez became the only person Schulz authorized to animate his characters, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Melendez founded his own production company in 1964 and with his partner Lee Mendelson went on to produce, direct, or animate some 70 "Peanuts" TV specials, four movies, and hundreds of commercials. Read more



2006: Bob Mathias, U.S. decathlete who won two gold medals in the decathlon in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics and later represented California in U.S. Congress, dies of cancer at 75.

Mathias became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in a track and field event in 1948 in London, when he won the decathlon at 17. It was only his third decathlon competition, having qualified for the Olympics by winning two events in the United States, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. At the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, he became the first athlete to repeat as Olympic champion in the decathlon. Earlier that year, he played fullback for Stanford in its Rose Bowl appearance. Though the Washington Redskins drafted him, he never signed. Mathias also won the 1948 Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Read more


2005: Bob Denver, U.S. actor known best for his classic role as Gilligan on the sitcom "Gilligan's Island," dies at 70.

Denver played the bumbling "Little Buddy" for just three seasons, but his character became iconic and "Gilligan's Island" became a TV classic. TV fans loved Gilligan – and his friends on the island – so much that the roles were reprised many times. Gilligan and friends starred in several TV movies after the original series … like "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island." Read more




2001: Troy Donahue, U.S. actor who was a sex symbol in the late 1950s and early '60s, starring in the movie "A Summer Place" and on the TV series "Surfside 6," dies after a heart attack at 65.

Donahue's good looks made him a top teen idol in the 1950s and '60s, and the fact that his acting skills were a bit lacking didn't seem to matter much when balanced against his blond hair and sunny smile. Donahue was a hit with women, on screen and off. His fans loved him, as did his four wives and one fiancée. And his leading ladies were among Hollywood's loveliest. Read more




1998: Allen Drury, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author known best for "Advise and Consent," which landed on The New York Times best-seller list, dies at 80.

1982: Tom Baker, U.S. actor who was part of Andy Warhol's Factory and was a close friend of the Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, dies of a drug overdose at 42.

1982: Jay Novello, U.S. character actor who appeared on many television series including "I Love Lucy," "The Donna Reed Show," and "The Andy Griffith Show," dies at 78.

1977: Stephen Dunne, U.S. actor who appeared on the television shows "Petticoat Junction" and "Batman," dies at 59.

1975: Mabel Vernon, U.S. activist who was a national leader in the U.S. women's suffrage movement, dies at 91.

1973: J.R.R. Tolkien, English author who wrote the classic fantasy novels "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, dies at 81.

The influences on "The Lord of the Rings" go far beyond literature – from Tolkien's Roman Catholic faith to the mythology of Northern Europe, from his experiences fighting in World War I to his work in philology (the study of the historical development of languages). Tolkien returned the favor by influencing countless minds that came after him. Elements of "The Lord of the Rings" can be seen in a huge variety of fantasy and science fiction writing, in George Lucas' "Star Wars" movies, in the game "Dungeons and Dragons" and in any number of fantasy-quest video games, in the music of Rush, Enya, and Led Zeppelin. Read more



1969: Sue Hamilton, U.S. model and actress who had roles in several beach party movies, dies by suicide at 23.

1964: Alvin C. York, U.S. Army sergeant known better as Sergeant York, who was one of the most decorated soldiers in World War I, dies at 76.

1964: Morris Ankrum, U.S. actor who appeared in numerous movies and on TV series, including "Vera Cruz" with Burt Lancaster and the cult classic "Invaders From Mars," dies at 68.

1934: Russ Columbo, U.S. singer, violinist and actor who appeared in "The Texan" with Gary Cooper and composed the pop standard "Prisoner of Love," dies in a freak gunshot accident at 26.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including astronaut Christa McAuliffe.