Groucho Marx (Getty Images / John Kobal Foundation)
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx and his brothers were comedy superstars, starting our performing in vaudeville shows before starring in classic films like Duck Soup, Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera. The Marx Brothers appeared in over a dozen films together, blending broad physical comedy, social satire and song and dance, winning over audiences and critics at the time. Groucho's rapid-fire jokes, razor-sharp wit and unique delivery made him a legend on screen, and helped turn the Marx Brothers' movies into timeless classics. Groucho also had long career in television, hosting the popular show You Bet Your Life for years, coaxing contestants to "say the secret word." We remember Groucho Marx today as well as other notable people who died on this day in history.
2013: Cedar Walton, U.S. jazz pianist with Art Blakey's band whose compositions such as "Mosaic" have become jazz standards, dies at 79.
2013: Lee Thompson Young, U.S. actor known for playing the title character in the series The Famous Jett Jackson and for his regular role on the series Rizzoli & Isles, dies by suicide at 29.
2013: Donna Hightower, U.S. jazz, soul, and rhythm and blues singer who recorded for Capitol Records and toured with B.B. King, Johnny Mathis and Quincy Jones, dies at 86.
2012: Tony Scott, English movie director whose films included Top Gun, True Romance and Unstoppable, dies by suicide at 68.
The British-born Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, California, was producer and director Ridley Scott's younger brother. Distinct visual styles mark both siblings' films — Ridley Scott mastering the creation of entire worlds with such films as Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien and 2012's Prometheus, Tony Scott known for hyperkinetic action and editing on such films as his most recent, the runaway train thriller Unstoppable, starring regular collaborator Denzel Washington. Scott was a thrill-seeker himself in his personal life, an avid rock climber who also liked driving fast cars and motorcycles, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Still, filmmaking was his real thrill. Read more
2009: Don Hewitt, U.S. television news producer who created the popular news program 60 Minutes, dies of pancreatic cancer at 86.
He made his mark in the late 1960s when CBS agreed to try his idea of a one-hour broadcast that mixed hard news and feature stories. The television newsmagazine was born Sept. 24, 1968, when the 60 Minutes stopwatch began ticking. He dreamed of a television version of Life, the dominant magazine of the mid-20th century, where interviews with entertainers could coexist with investigations that exposed corporate malfeasance, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. "The formula is simple," he wrote in a memoir in 2001, "and it's reduced to four words every kid in the world knows: Tell me a story. It's that easy." Read more
2008: LeRoi Moore, U.S. saxophonist most well-known as a founding member and saxophone player for the Dave Matthews Band, dies at 46.
As a young man, he played with the John D'earth Quintet, performing weekly at a Charlottesville, Virginia, bar named Miller's. That's where he met South African-born Dave Matthews, who was tending bar there in 1991. Matthews was blown away by Moore's sound and approached him to play on some demos. Skeptical at first, Moore eventually agreed to give it a shot. It proved a great decision and marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship – within three years, the band would release Under the Table and Dreaming and catapult to fame. Read more
2001: Betty Everett, U.S. soul singer and pianist most well-known for "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)," a Billboard Top 10 hit in 1964, dies at 61.
1997: Cathleen Cordell, U.S. actress whose many appearances on television included Perry Mason and Dragnet, dies at 82.
1994: Linus Pauling, U.S. chemist and peace activist who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, dies of cancer at 93.
1987: Hayden Rorke, U.S. actor known best for his regular role as Col. Alfred E. Bellows on the TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, dies of cancer at 76.
1986: Hermione Baddeley, English actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Room at the Top, dies of complications from strokes at 79.
1979: Dorsey Burnette, U.S. rockabilly singer who formed the Rock and Roll Trio with younger brother Johnny Burnette, dies at 46.
1977: Groucho Marx, U.S. comedian and movie and television star known for his movies with his siblings, known collectively as the Marx Brothers, and hosting the game show You Bet Your Life, dies of a respiratory ailment at 86.
The Marx Brothers began their vaudeville careers as singers … but they didn't make much of a splash. At an early performance, when the audience clearly wasn't buying what they were selling, the brothers began to amuse themselves by joking around onstage. Much to their surprise, the audience loved it, and their comedy act was born. Read more
1977: Peter Dyneley, English actor most well-known for providing the voice of Jeff Tracy in the 1960s British science fiction series Thunderbirds, dies at 56.
1976: Alastair Sim, Scottish character actor known for playing Scrooge in the 1951 movie A Christmas Carol, dies at 75.
1975: Mark Donohue, U.S. professional race car driver who won the 1972 Indianapolis 500, dies of injuries sustained in a crash at 38.
1959: Blind Willie McTell, U.S. Piedmont blues singer and guitarist who was highly influential and whose songs have been covered by Bob Dylan and the White Stripes, dies at 61.