Search Obituaries
Today in History View More

Died on December 18

Published: 12/18/2013
Content Image

Chris Farley, 1996 (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Chris Farley left far too soon: he was just 33 when he died on this date in 1997. The bombastic comedian won our hearts as a cast member of Saturday Night Live and kept up the laughs in movies like Wayne's World and Tommy Boy. His greatest characters live on, from the Chicago Bears Superfan to motivational speaker Matt Foley, from king of "air quotes" Bennett Brauer to a highly enthusiastic Chippendale's dancer. Today we remember Chris Farley and other celebrities and notables who died this day in history.


2008: Majel Barrett, U.S. actress and producer of Star Trek as well as the widow of franchise creator Gene Roddenberry, dies of leukemia at 76.

From the original series through The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, Roddenberry provided the voices of the onboard computers of Federation starships. And she brought the role to the movies too, voicing the computer in most of the original run of films and bringing continuity to the reboot with her familiar voice. Read more



2008: Mark Felt aka “Deep Throat,” U.S. FBI official and whistleblower during the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation, dies at 95.

For more than 30 years, W. Mark Felt kept his secret. He was the Nixon administration insider known to the world as "Deep Throat." It was Felt, a high-ranking FBI official, who provided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with information about the Watergate scandal, information that would eventually bring down President Richard Nixon. Read more

2007: William Strauss, U.S. writer and historian from Chicago who coined the term “Millennials” with fellow generational researcher Neil Howe, dies of pancreatic cancer at 60.

2006: Joseph Barbera, U.S. animator whose production company with William Hanna created such iconic cartoon characters as the Flintstones, Yogi Bear Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound, dies of natural causes at 95. Read more

Hanna and Barbera were more than just coworkers – their 60-year partnership was based on a deep respect for each other, both as friends and as animators. And it showed in their work: over and over, we see buddies at the forefront of their cartoons. One of Hanna-Barbera’s earlier cartoons provides a classic example of best pals. There's no friendship quite like the stone-age friendship of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.

2006: Ruth Bernhard, German-born U.S. photographer whose books of works include Gift of the Commonplace and The Big Heart, dies at 101.

2002: Wayne Owens, a former U.S. representative from Utah, dies of a heart attack at 65.

2000: Kirsty MacColl, English singer and songwriter whose albums included Titanic Days and Galore, dies at 41 after being hit by a speedboat in Mexico.

English singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl's career was cut tragically short 13 years ago today, silencing one of pop music's most unique voices. MacColl had several hits, including her top 10 single They Don't Know, recorded in 1979. Read more


1999: Robert Bresson, influential French film director whose works includeThe Trial of Joan of Arc and A Gentle Woman, dies at 98.

1997: Chris Farley, U.S. comedian from Wisconsin who shot to stardom as a cast member of the television sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live, dies of a cocaine and morphine overdose at 33.

1993: Sam Wanamaker, U.S. actor from Chicago whose films included The Spiral Staircase and Billy Jack Goes to Washington, dies of prostate cancer at 74.

1992: Mark Goodson, U.S. radio and television game show producer who formed Goodson-Todman Productions with partner Bill Todman, dies of pancreatic cancer at 77.

If you're even a casual fan of television game shows, you've probably heard the words "A Mark Goodson Television Production" before. Read more




1991: June Storey, Canadian-born U.S. actress who played the leading lady role in 10 of Gene Autry’s films, dies of cancer at 73.

1991: George Abecassis, English Formula One race car driver, dies at 78.

1990: Anne Revere, U.S. actress from New York who won the Academy Award for best actress for her role in National Velvet that starred Elizabeth Taylor, dies of pneumonia at 87.

1977: Cyril Ritchard, Australian actor who played Captain Hook in the Peter Pan musical production starring Mary Martin, dies at 80 after suffering a heart attack.

1977: Louis Untermeyer, U.S. poet from New York and a panelist on the TV quiz show What’s My Line, dies at 92.

1974: Harry Hooper, U.S. Major League Baseball right fielder who won election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, dies at 87.

1971: Bobby Jones Jr., U.S. lawyer from Atlanta and the most successful amateur golfer who in 1930 won all four major professional golf tournaments in a single calendar year, dies at 69.

1971: Diana Lynn, U.S. actress and piano prodigyfrom California whose film credits include An Annapolis Story, Easy Come, Easy Go and Bedtime for Bonzo, dies at 45 after suffering a stroke.

1931: John T. "Legs" Diamond, U.S. gangster from Philadelphia during the Prohibition era, is murdered in an Albany, N.Y., rooming house at 34.

1919: John Alcock, English Royal Air Force captainwho piloted the first nonstop transatlantic flight, dies in a flying accident at 27.

Our Picks and its newspaper affiliates publish obituaries for approximately 75 percent of people who die in the U.S. – updated continuously throughout each day – as well as government records for all U.S. deaths. Find an obituary, sign a Guest Book or build an interactive memorial. Get directions to a funeral home, order flowers or donate to charity. Read advice from experts or participate in online discussions. Thanks for visiting – Where life stories live on. We welcome your feedback.