Today in History View More

Died April 11

Published: 4/11/2015
Content Image

Jonathan Winters (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Actor and comedian Jonathan Winters was an incredibly prolific performer, releasing comedy albums in five decades and appearing in dozens of films and TV series throughout his long career. He brought his surreal sensibility to projects as diverse as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Hollywood Squares, and is perhaps remembered best for his work as the charming man-baby Mearth on Mork & Mindy, as well as his voice acting work in Scooby-Doo movies and the holiday special Frosty Returns. He was a hero, mentor and friend to Robin Williams, with whom he starred in Mork & Mindy. We remember Winters' 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.

2014: Jesse Winchester, U.S. singer-songwriter whose songs include "Yankee Lady" and "Say What," dies at 69.

Jesse Winchester (Associated Press)Winchester was a protégé of the Band's Robbie Robertson, who produced and played guitar on Winchester's self-titled debut album and brought Band-mate Levon Helm along to play drums and mandolin. Winchester's second album, 1972's Third Down, 110 to Go, featured tracks produced by Todd Rundgren. He continued to release material at a steady clip until 1981's Talk Memphis, after which he took a seven-year break from recording. That album, however, contained Winchester's biggest U.S. hit, "Say What." Read more


2013: Jonathan Winters, U.S. comedian and actor who appeared in many movies and television series including Mork & Mindy and The Garry Moore Show, dies at 87.

Generations of audiences have enjoyed the quirky characters brought to life by Winters, who began in the early 1950s and was still going strong at the time of his death; he had just completed work on Smurfs 2 as the voice of Papa Smurf. Over the course of a long and rich career, Winters did a little bit of everything. Read more




2013: Maria Tallchief, U.S. ballerina who was considered America's first prima ballerina and the first Native American to hold the rank, dies at 88.

Maria Tallchief (Associated Press Photo)Tallchief danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1942 to 1947, but her career was most associated with the New York City Ballet, where she worked from 1948 to 1965. George Balanchine, the Russian-born dance genius, was not only the company's director; in 1946, he also became Tallchief's husband for some years. Read more




2013: Grady Hatton, U.S. professional baseball player and manager who managed the Houston Astros in the 1960s, dies at 90.

Grady Hatton (Associated Press/Houston Astros)Hatton hit .254 with 91 home runs and 533 RBIs in 1,312 major league games in 12 seasons from 1946 to 1960 with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. He had a 164-221 record as Houston's manager from 1966-68. Read more




2013: Don Blackman, U.S. pianist and singer-songwriter who played with Parliament/Funkadelic; Earth, Wind and Fire; and Roy Ayers, dies at 59.

2011: Larry Sweeney, U.S. professional wrestler who appeared mostly on the American independent circuit, dies at 30.

2007: Kurt Vonnegut, U.S. author well-known for his novel Slaughterhouse-Five, dies at 84.

"He was sort of like nobody else," said fellow author Gore Vidal. "Kurt was never dull." A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against institutions that he believed were dehumanizing people. Read more



2007: Roscoe Lee Browne, U.S. actor known for his recurring role as Professor Foster on The Cosby Show, dies at 81.

On TV, he had several memorable guest roles. He was a snobbish black lawyer trapped in an elevator with bigot Archie Bunker in an episode of the 1970s TV comedy All in the Family and the butler Saunders in the comedy Soap. He won an Emmy in 1986 for a guest role as Professor Foster on The Cosby Show. In 1992, Browne returned to Broadway in Two Trains Running, one of August Wilson's acclaimed series of plays on the black experience. It won the Tony for best play and brought Browne a Tony nomination for best featured (supporting) actor. Read more


2006: June Pointer, U.S. R&B singer who was a member of the Pointer Sisters and sang the lead on the hit song "He's So Shy," dies at 52.

Pointer was a member of a very special group of musicians: women who made their mark on the music world alongside their sisters. She was still a teen when she formed the Pointers-A Pair with her sister Bonnie. Sister Anita soon joined them and they became the Pointer Sisters, joined by sister Ruth in 1972. Read more



2006: Proof, U.S. rapper who was a childhood friend of Eminem and was known for being a member of the group D12, dies at 32.

1996: Jessica Dubroff, U.S. child pilot who was attempting to become the youngest person to fly an airplane across the country with her flight instructor and her father, dies at age 7 when the plane crashes.

1992: James E. Brown, U.S. actor known best for his role as Lieutenant Ripley "Rip" Masters in The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, dies at 72.

1991: Walker Cooper, U.S. Major League Baseball catcher who was an eight-time All-Star and won two World Series championships, dies at 76.

1987: Primo Levi, Italian chemist and writer whose best-known works include If This Is a Man and The Periodic Table, dies at 67.

1987: Erskine Caldwell, U.S. author known best for his novel Tobacco Road, dies at 83.

1983: Dolores del Rio, Mexican actress who enjoyed great success in Hollywood in the 1920s and '30s, including the movie Bird of Paradise, dies at 77.

1970: John O'Hara, U.S. author and screenwriter whose best-known works are BUtterfield 8 and Pal Joey, dies at 65.

1970: Cathy O'Donnell, U.S. actress known for her many film-noir movie roles, dies at 46.

1962: George Poage, U.S. athlete who was the first African-American to win a medal at the Olympic Games when he won two bronze medals at the 1904 games in St. Louis, dies at 81.

1953: Kid Nichols, U.S. Hall of Fame baseball pitcher who won 361 games in his career, which is to this day the seventh best win total in baseball history, dies at 83.

1906: James Bailey, U.S. businessman and entertainer who formed the Barnum and Bailey Circus with P.T. Barnum, dies at 53.

1890: Joseph Merrick, English man who had severe deformities and was exhibited as a human curiosity known as the Elephant Man, dies at 27.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history.

comments powered by Disqus
Our Picks