Judy Garland (Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Silver Screen Collection)
Judy Garland entertained the world for over 40 years with her movies and music, earning a reputation as one of the most beloved performers from Hollywood's golden age. She charmed audiences in The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis and dozens of other films, including nine with co-star Mickey Rooney. At age 39, she became the youngest person in history to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement, and she picked up additional Oscar nominations for both A Star is Born and Judgment at Nuremberg, demonstrating her incredible versatility as an actress. We remember Garland's remarkable life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died on this day in history.
2013: Gary David Goldberg, U.S. television producer and writer known for creating the hit sitcom Family Ties, dies of brain cancer three days before his 69th birthday.
Goldberg's films included "Dad" (1989), starring Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson, as well as "Bye Bye Love" (1995) and "Must Love Dogs" (2005), which he wrote as well as directed. His own dog, Ubu, contributed the name of his production company and was widely known from the onscreen credit where viewers heard the command, "Sit, Ubu, sit," then a bark, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2008: Dody Goodman, U.S. character actress known for her role as the mother on the television show Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, dies at 93.
Goodman, with her pixyish appearance and Southern-tinged, quavery voice, had an eclectic show-business career, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. She moved easily from stage to television to movies, where she appeared in such popular films as "Grease" and "Grease 2," playing Blanche, the principal's assistant, and in "Splash." It was on "The Tonight Show" when Jack Paar was the late night TV program's second host in the late 1950s that Goodman first received national attention, the obituary said. Her quirky, off-kilter remarks inevitably got laughs and endeared audiences. Read more
2008: George Carlin, U.S. comedian, actor and writer who won five Grammy awards for his comedy albums and starred in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, dies of heart failure at 71.
His 1972 "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" got Carlin arrested, prompted a U.S. Supreme Court censorship case, and endeared Carlin to a baby boomer audience that was ready to push the boundaries of good taste in the name of free speech. Profanity made Carlin famous, but as his earliest fans grew up and got serious, he used a new tactic to attract new generations: good, clean fun. Read more
2007: Nancy Benoit, U.S. professional wrestling manager who at one time managed top wrestlers such as Ric Flair and Randy Savage, dies in a double murder-suicide at 43.
2002: Eppie Lederer, U.S. advice columnist known by her pen name Ann Landers, whose readership numbered 90 million, dies months after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma at 83.
"Ask Ann Landers" was popular under Ruth Crowley's care, but it became a sensation in the hands of Lederer. The advice veteran (she and her twin sister, Pauline "Dear Abby" Phillips, wrote a similar column for their college paper, and Pauline's daughter Jeanne carries on the family tradition as the current Dear Abby) helped the lovelorn, the upset and the confused, expanding the column's syndication from just a few newspapers to hundreds. Read more
1997: Don Henderson, English actor known for playing General Tagge in the first Star Wars movie, dies at 65.
1993: Pat Nixon, first lady of the United States from 1969 until 1974, who was the wife of President Richard Nixon, dies at 81.
Richard Nixon met Pat Ryan while they were acting together in a community theater, and on their first date Richard asked Pat to marry him. She later reflected, "I thought he was nuts or something!" Richard wasn't prepared to give in, and he courted her for two years while gaining her friendship – he even drove her on dates with other men. As time went on, Pat was wooed by his drive and ambition… and his sense of fun. "Oh but you just don’t realize how much fun he is! He’s just so much fun," she once said. Read more
1992: Chuck Mitchell, U.S. actor known best for his role as Porky in the cult classic movie Porky's, dies of cirrhosis of the liver at 64.
1990: Kripp Johnson, U.S. singer who was an original member of the doo-wop group the Del-Vikings, who had a hit song in 1957 with "Come Go with Me," dies at 54.
1988: Dennis Day, U.S. singer and actor known best as a regular cast member on the long-running Jack Benny Program on radio and television, dies of Lou Gehrig's disease at 72.
1988: Bramwell Fletcher, English actor whose appearances included Svengali and The Mummy, dies at 84.
1987: Fred Astaire, U.S. dancer, singer and actor known as a major star of Hollywood musicals who formed a successful duo on film with Ginger Rogers, dies at 88.
Though Fred and Ginger danced beautifully together, Astaire was initially reluctant to be her regular partner. Having grown up dancing, he knew what it was like to be one-half of a dance team – he and his sister Adele danced together for more than 20 years on stages from London to Broadway. When that partnership ended upon Adele's marriage, Astaire didn't want to be tied on one partner again. Eventually he relented, and Astaire and Rogers became staples of the silver screen. Read more
1984: Joseph Losey, U.S. director best known for his films M and The Damned, dies at 75 after a brief illness.
1981: Lola Lane, U.S. singer and actress who performed in a singing group with her sisters called the Lane Sisters and then acted in movies such as Four Daughters and Gangs of Chicago, dies of arterial disease at 75.
1979: Emory Parnell, U.S. character actor known best for his recurring role as "Hank Hawkins" on The Life of Riley, dies of a heart attack at 86.
1969: Judy Garland, U.S. actress and singer known for playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, dies of an unintentional overdose of barbiturates at 47.
Though she appeared in more than 40 films, won Golden Globe awards, received Oscar and Emmy nominations, won a special Tony Award and two Grammys during her lifetime, Garland is still remembered best as the simple Kansas farm girl swept away to the magical, frightening land of Oz. Read more
1965: David O. Selznick, U.S. movie producer known best for his films Gone With the Wind and Rebecca, dies at 63.
Selznick (who'd added the "O." to his name on a whim) was behind Gene Kelly's first Hollywood contract, as well as that of Fred Astaire. He gave Katharine Hepburn and Joan Fontaine their breakout roles, brought Ingrid Bergman and Louis Jourdan from Europe, and cast Vivien Leigh in what would be not only his biggest picture, but also one of the most popular of all time, 1939's Gone With the Wind. Read more
1928: George Siegmann, U.S. actor who was successful in the silent-film era, appearing in more than 100 films, including Birth of a Nation, dies at 46.