Robert Culp, circa 1968. (Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Images)
With a career spanning more than 50 years, actor Robert Culp built a very diverse body of work. From early work in Westerns to sci-fi, spy thrillers and comedies, he was at home in practically any genre. He was a frequent guest star on television throughout the 1970s, appearing as three different murderers on Columbo, and found renewed popularity in the 1980s as a tough FBI agent in The Greatest American Hero. In addition to acting, he also proved himself as a writer and director on several episodes of his hit show I, Spy. We remember Robert Culp's life today and the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2013: Deke Richards, U.S. music producer and songwriter who co-wrote some of the Jackson 5's hits, including "I Want You Back" and "ABC," dies at 68.
2013: Peter Duryea, U.S. actor who appeared in many TV shows including The Fugitive and The Outer Limits, dies at 73.
2010: Johnny Maestro, U.S. lead singer for Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge who had a hit song with " The Worst That Could Happen," dies at 70.
After beginning his career in the 1950s with the Crests, Maestro joined a local New York group, the Del-Satins. It merged with a Long Island band, the Rhythm Method, to form Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge in 1968. Hits by the rock 'n' roll and doo-wop group included "The Worst That Could Happen," which band member Les Cauchi said earned "gold record" status with a million sales. Read more
2010: Robert Culp, U.S. actor well-known for his role as Kelly Robinson in the TV series I Spy, dies at 79.
Culp followed I Spy with his most prestigious film role, in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. The work of first-time director Paul Mazursky, who also co-wrote the screenplay, lampooned the lifestyles of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Bob and Carol (Culp and Natalie Wood) introduced wife swapping to their best friends, Ted and Alice (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon). Culp also had starring roles in such films as The Castaway Cowboy, Golden Girl, Turk 182! and Big Bad Mama II. Read more
2009: George Kell, U.S. Hall of Fame third baseman who had a career batting average over .300 and was a 10-time All-Star and later became a popular baseball broadcaster, dies at 86.
Kell played from 1943-1957 with the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. He batted more than .300 each year from 1946-53. He played for the Tigers during his batting duel with Ted Williams. After he retired, Kell broadcast Tigers games from 1959 to 1996. Read more
2008: Richard Widmark, U.S. actor who starred in classic film noir movies including Kiss of Death and Panic in The Streets, dies at 93.
After a career in radio drama and theater, Widmark moved to films as Tommy Udo, who delighted in pushing an old lady in a wheelchair to her death down a flight of stairs in the 1947 thriller Kiss of Death. The performance won him an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor; it was his only mention for an Oscar. "That damned laugh of mine!" he told a reporter in 1961. "For two years after that picture, you couldn't get me to smile. I played the part the way I did because the script struck me as funny and the part I played made me laugh. The guy was such a ridiculous beast." Read more
2008: Neil Aspinall, English music executive who started out as a friend of the Beatles' Paul McCartney and George Harrison and then became their road manager and later the head of the Beatles' Apple Corp., dies at 66.
As the band's popularity grew in the early 1960s, they found that their usual method of riding public transit to shows was getting unwieldy. Aspinall was willing to buy a van (a famously red and grey beast that soon became a graffitied masterpiece) and drive the band around, so he became their first road manager. As the years went on, Aspinall's contributions grew. Read more
2008: Chalmers Alford, U.S. guitarist who won three Grammys and played on songs by the Bee Gees and John Mayer, dies at 52.
1999: Birdie Tebbetts, U.S. Major League Baseball catcher and then manager who was a four time All-Star, dies at 86.
1997: Dr. Bill Miller, U.S. professional wrestler who won the World Wrestling Association's tag team championship with Dick the Bruiser, dies at 69.
1994: Tommy Benford, U.S. jazz drummer who played with jazz greats including Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins, dies at 88.
1990: Ray Goulding, U.S. comedian who formed a popular comedy duo with Bob Elliott called Bob and Ray, dies at 68.
1986: Sarah Cunningham, U.S. actress known best for her role as Nurse Andrews in Trapper John M.D. and appeared in TV shows including Vega$ and Dallas, dies of a heart attack while attending the Academy Awards at 67.
1984: Sam Jaffe, U.S. actor who appeared in classic movies including Ben Hur and The Asphalt Jungle, dies at 93.
1968: Alice Guy-Blache, French film director who was the first woman director in the film industry and directed Hollywood movies including the silent film The Pawnshop with Charlie Chaplin, dies at 94.
1905: Jules Verne, French author who was well-known for his popular adventure novels including Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days, dies at 77.
In 1863, Verne wrote a novel depicting a futuristic 1960s Paris that featured skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, computers and a worldwide telegraphic communication network. His publisher declined it and Verne put the manuscript in a drawer. It was discovered by his great-grandson in 1989 and finally published in 1994. Read more
1882: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, U.S. poet whose works are highly regarded and include the poem Evangeline, dies at 75.
"Now I know that I must be very ill, since you have been sent for."
Last words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, spoken to his sister. Find more last words here