Today in History View More

Died April 19

Published: 4/19/2015
Content Image

Guru (Al Pereira / Contributor / Getty Images)

You might know Keith Edward Elam better as Guru, a rapper and producer who was a member of Gang Star along with partner DJ Premier. The two were highly influential in the East Coast hip-hop scene and released singles including "Words I Manifest" and "Jazz Thing." As a solo artist, Guru experimented with blending jazz and hip-hop in his Jazzmatazz series, and he contributed to Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool in support of raising awareness and funds to fight the AIDS epidemic in the African-American community. He was 48 when he died of cancer. We remember Guru'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.

2013: Al Neuharth, U.S. businessman and founder of the newspaper USA Today, dies at 89.

Al Neuharth (Associated Press)Neuharth changed the look of American newspapers by filling USA Today with breezy, easy-to-comprehend articles, attention-grabbing graphics and stories that often didn't require readers to jump to a different page. Read more




2013: E.L. Konigsburg, U.S. author known for her children's books including From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, dies at 83.

Image via Amazon.comShe won the John Newbery Medal in 1997 for her book The View From Saturday and in 1968 for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The Newbery is one of the top honors for children's literature. Her family says she wrote 16 children's novels and illustrated three picture books. Read more




2013: Alan Arbus, U.S. actor known best for his role as Dr. Sidney Freedman on the TV series M*A*S*H, dies at 95.

Allan Arbus (Associated Press)Arbus didn't begin acting until his 40s. He was a TV regular who appeared on several series but was known best as Freedman, who counseled shell-shocked U.S. Army surgeons on a dozen episodes of M.A.S.H. between 1973 and 1983. Read more




2012: Levon Helm, U.S. drummer and vocalist for the influential group the Band who were known for songs including "Up on Cripple Creek" and who also were Bob Dylan's backing band for many years, dies at 71.

As the drummer and one of the lead singers for the Band, Helm helped drive a roots-rock revival that's still going strong today. In a year when the charts were full of psychedelic rockers and funky rhythm and blues, the band blended country with rock to create something very different. Music From Big Pink, their debut album, was a slice of Americana that didn't storm the charts, but quietly crept into our consciousness until, today, it's regarded as one of the best and most important rock albums of all time. Read more


2012: Greg Ham, Australian musician who played multiple instruments as a member of the band Men at Work, dies at 58.

Greg Ham (Associated Press)Ham was perhaps known best for playing the famous flute riff in the band's smash 1980s hit "Down Under." But the beloved tune came under intense scrutiny in recent years after the band was accused of stealing the catchy riff from the children's campfire song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree." The publisher of "Kookaburra" sued Men at Work, and in 2010 a judge ruled the band had copied the melody. The group was ordered to hand over a portion of its royalties. Read more



2011: Elisabeth Sladen, English actress known best for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in the TV series Doctor Who, dies at 65.

Elisabeth Sladen (Photo by   Keystone/Stringer/Hulton Archive)Sladen joined the broadcast in 1973 as Doctor Who's assistant Sarah Jane Smith, opposite Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. Sladen went on to star in spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures, four series of which were carried on the BBC's children's channel, CBBC. Read more




2010: Guru, U.S. rapper who was a member of the rap duo Gang Starr with DJ Premier, dies at 48.

2005: Ruth Hussey, U.S. actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role opposite James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, dies at 93.

Her first movie role, in the 1937 Tracy film Big City, was uncredited. Three years later, she was Tracy's leading lady in Northwest Passage. She received an Oscar nomination for supporting actress for playing Elizabeth Imbrie, the sassy photographer who accompanies Stewart to cover a socialite's wedding in The Philadelphia Story. Read more



2004: Norris McWhirter, English writer who co-wrote The Guinness Book of Records with his brother Ross, dies at 78.

1998: Octavio Paz, Mexican poet, writer and diplomat who won the 1990 Nobel Prize in literature, dies at 84.

1994: Larry Davis, U.S. blues singer and guitarist known best for co-writing the song "Texas Flood," dies at 57.

1989: Daphne du Maurier, English author and playwright whose best-known works include Rebecca and The Birds, which were both turned into successful movies, dies at 81.

1987: Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum, U.S. singer and actor known best for his role as Mr. Green Jeans on the children's TV show Captain Kangaroo, dies at 77.

1986: Alvin Childress, U.S. actor known best for his role as Amos in the TV comedy Amos 'n' Andy, dies at 78.

1980: Tony Beckley, English character actor whose movie and TV appearances included Get Carter and Doctor Who, dies at 50.

1949: Ulrich Salchow, Swedish figure skater who won the World Championships a record 10 times and created the popular "Salchow jump," dies at 71.

1882: Charles Darwin, English naturalist and geologist well-known for his theory of evolution, dies at 73.

1824: Lord Byron, English poet who is considered one of the great poets and remains widely read and influential, dies at 36.

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

comments powered by Disqus
Our Picks