Danny Kaye (Getty Images / FPG / Henry Gris)
Danny Kaye sang, danced and charmed moviegoers in some of the greatest movie musicals from Hollywood's golden age. He turned up in films such as White Christmas, hosted his own variety show, and spent his free time pursuing some rather interesting hobbies. He was an enthusiastic and revered chef, earning France's Les Meilleurs Ouvriers de France culinary award for his contributions to the culinary arts. He also was a licensed pilot and vice president of the Lear Jet Corp. He even managed to become an honorary member of the American College of Surgeons, despite never having finished high school. We remember Kaye's extraordinary life today and the lives of other notable people who died on this day in history.
2013: Bobby Rogers, U.S. vocalist who was well-known as a member of the Motown group the Miracles, dies at 73.
Rogers formed the group in 1956 with cousin Claudette Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and William "Smokey" Robinson. Their hits included "I Second That Emotion" and "The Tears of a Clown." Rogers and the Miracles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Read more
2012: Leonardo Cimino, U.S. actor who appeared in Dune and The Monster Squad, dies at 94.
2012: Alex Webster, U.S. NFL running back and coach for the New York Giants who was elected to two Pro Bowls, dies at 80.
Webster, a native of Kearny, N.J., played his entire NFL career with New York. He ran for two touchdowns and had five catches for 76 yards in the Giants' 47-7 victory over the Chicago Bears in the 1956 NFL championship game. Read more
2012: Ronnie Montrose, U.S. rock guitarist who formed the band Montrose and also played with Sammy Hagar and Edgar Winter, dies of prostate cancer at 64.
Besides forming his own band in 1973, Montrose performed with a number of rockers, including Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs and the Edgar Winter Group. "The guy was such a legendary figure for so many people," said his agent, Jim Douglas. "He influenced so many bands." Douglas described Montrose as "one of the founding farmers of rock and roll," while Montrose's wife, Leighsa, noted his work ethic. Read more
2004: Cecily Adams, U.S. actress and casting director who was the daughter of actor Don Adams, dies at 46.
2003: Horst Buchholz, German actor who is remembered for playing Chico in the movie The Magnificent Seven, dies at 69.
2002: Harlan Howard, U.S. country music songwriter who penned hits for artists including Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich, dies at 74.
2001: Louis Edmonds, U.S. actor who played Langley Wallingford on All My Children, dies at 77.
1998: Fred Friendly, U.S. broadcast executive who was president of CBS News, dies at 82.
1993: Carlos Montoya, Spanish flamenco guitarist who was very influential in the development of modern flamenco music, dies at 89.
1991: Arthur Murray, U.S. dance instructor who created the popular chain of dance studios, dies at 95.
1988: Lois Wilson, U.S. actress who was popular in the silent-film era, dies at 93.
1987: Danny Kaye, U.S. comedian, singer and actor who was very popular and appeared in the movies White Christmas and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, dies at 74.
Just as deserving of accolades as his career in the entertainment world was his humanitarian work. For decades, Kaye was the celebrity face of UNICEF. He was one of the first celebrities to represent a charitable organization, starting a trend that has grown over the years to the point that almost every celebrity we can name is associated with one cause or another – though in most cases we'd be hard-pressed to come up with the specific cause. But not so with Kaye. He was inextricably linked with UNICEF – and his involvement and advocacy helped children around the world. Read more
1974: Frank Wilcox, U.S. character actor who appeared in more than 150 movies and played oil executive John Brewster in The Beverly Hillbillies, dies at 66.
1966: William Frawley, U.S. actor who was well-known for his role as Fred Mertz in the I Love Lucy series, dies at 79.
1966: Alice Pearce, U.S. comedienne and actress who was known for playing the role of Gladys Kravitz in the series Bewitched for the first two seasons, dies of ovarian cancer at 48.
1959: Lou Costello, U.S. comedian and actor who was a member of the popular comedy duo Abbott and Costello, dies of a heart attack at 52.
It was hard not to like Lou Costello, the comic to Bud Abbott's straight man during dozens of performances that took them from the vaudeville stage to film to the new medium of television. Abbott and Costello were arguably the country's most popular comedy duo for more than a dozen years in the 1940s and '50s. Read more
1953: James J. Jeffries, U.S. Heavyweight boxing champion from 1899-1905 and who is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, dies at 77.