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Died January 20

Published: 1/20/2015
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Audrey Hepburn (Paramount Pictures / Handout / Getty Images)

Decades after her death, Audrey Hepburn remains an icon of unparalleled style, beauty and talent. She earned her first Oscar for Roman Holiday in 1953, and with a posthumous Grammy in 1994 she became the fifth person to win the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. In addition to her amazing work in such films as Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady, Hepburn was a longtime supporter of UNICEF, becoming increasingly devoted to the organization in her later years. Unfortunately, cancer of the appendix claimed her life at 63, just one month after winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a UNICEF good-will ambassador. We remember her remarkable life today and the lives of other notable people who died on this day in history.

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

2012: Etta James, U.S. singer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, dies of complications of leukemia at 73.

James was known best for the lovely song that's been played at countless weddings and special occasions, including Barack Obama's inaugural ball. "At Last" has been recorded by dozens of artists, from Nat King Cole to Stevie Nicks to Beyonce, but James' rendition far outshines all the others. Read more.

 

 

 

2009: David "Fathead" Newman, U.S. jazz saxophonist known for the hard bop style, dies of pancreatic cancer at 75.

David Newman (AP photo)Newman played and recorded with a wide range of jazz and soul luminaries, such as Herbie Mann, Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He also enjoyed a successful solo career. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1990 for his work with Art Blakey and Dr. John. Read more.

 

 

 

2004: Guinn Smith, U.S. Olympian who won the gold medal for pole vaulting at the 1948 Olympics, dies at 83.

2003: Nedra Volz, U.S. actress who guest-starred in numerous television shows, dies at 94.

2003: Al Hirschfeld, U.S. caricaturist best known for his black-and-white portraits of celebrities, dies at 99.

2002: Carrie Hamilton, U.S. actress and singer who was the daughter of actress Carol Burnett, dies at 38.

1998: Bobo Brazil, U.S. African-American professional wrestler who was a pioneer in breaking down racial barriers in the sport, dies at 73.

1997: Curt Flood, U.S. centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals who was a three-time All-Star and an early pioneer of baseball free agency, dies of throat cancer at 59.

1996: Gerald Joseph Mulligan, jazz baritone saxophonist and composer who was one of the greats of cool jazz, dies at 68.

1993: Audrey Hepburn, U.S. actress who starred in Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's, dies of stomach cancer at 63.

Hepburn landed her breakout role opposite Gregory Peck in a part originally written for Elizabeth Taylor. Jean Simmons also was high on director William Wyler's list, but Hepburn landed the role after a screen test. More impressive to the director than the scene she performed was her demeanor when candidly speaking to him afterward (unbeknown to her, the cameras were still rolling). The first Hollywood movie to be filmed entirely on location in Italy also was Audrey Hepburn's first major role. Her co-star Peck was so sure she would win an Oscar for the performance that he told the studio they should put her name above the title (they did, and Hepburn won). Read more.

1990: Barbara Stanwyck, U.S. actress who starred in the film Christmas in Connecticut and the TV series The Big Valley, dies at 82.

1984: Johnny Weissmuller, German-American competitive swimmer and actor who won five Olympic gold medals and starred in the Tarzan films of the 1930s and '40s, dies at 79.

Beginning with 1932's Tarzan the Ape Man, Weissmuller would portray the loin-clothed king of the jungle 12 times. He appeared in almost all of those films with Maureen O'Sullivan playing Jane, while no fewer than eight different chimpanzees portrayed Cheetah over the years. The massive success of the films allowed Weissmuller to build himself an 8,700-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles that included a 300-foot serpentine swimming pool; famous later residents included Marion Davies and Mick Jagger. Read more.

1983: Garrincha, Brazilian soccer player who is considered one of the all-time greats and who won two World Cups, dies at 49.

GarBobby Fullerrincha, as adoring soccer fans know him, was born Manuel Francisco dos Santos in a slum of Rio de Janiero. Burdened with a series of birth defects, he was a child few would have pegged to become a world-class athlete. In addition to a deformed spine and a right leg that bent inward, his left leg was fully 6 centimeters shorter than his right. A childhood operation designed to treat the condition only made it worse. Read more.

 

1971: Gilbert M. Anderson, U.S. actor who is considered the first cowboy movie star, appearing as Bronco Billy, dies at 90.

1965: Alan Freed, U.S. disc jockey considered the "Father of Rock 'n' Roll" who came up with the name "rock 'n' roll" for the new music style combining blues, country and R&B in the 1950s, dies of alcoholism at 43.

Freed was a disc jockey at WJW in Cleveland, playing R&B music on his groovily named show, "The Moondog House," when he coined the term "rock 'n' roll" and went on to organize the world's first rock 'n' roll concert. The 1952 Moondog Coronation Ball drew tens of thousands of music lovers – far more than the venue could hold – and was shut down by the authorities after just one song. It proved a fitting beginning for the genre. Read more.

 

1957: James Connolly, U.S. athlete who won the first gold medal awarded in the modern games in the 1896 Olympics in Athens in the triple jump, dies at 88.

1947: Josh Gibson, U.S. Negro League baseball player and Baseball Hall of Famer who was considered one of the great power hitters of all time, dies of a brain tumor at 35.

1936: King George V, king of England from 1910 to 1936, dies at 70.

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

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