Roy Scheider, 1984. (Photo by Bob Riha Jr/WireImage)
Roy Scheider was one of the most versatile actors of his generation, equally at home in campy sci-fi such as seaQuest DSV, thrillers such as Jaws and The French Connection or even musicals, as he proved in All That Jazz. His work on screen earned him two Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe Award, but early in life Scheider was more focused on Golden Gloves and his boxing career. As an amateur boxer, Scheider racked up an amazing record of 14 wins to 1 loss. He would later avenge himself against the one man who beat him, before retiring from the ring and turning his talents to the big screen. We remember Roy Scheider's remarkable life today and the lives other notable people who died on this day in history.
2012: Jeffrey Zaslow, U.S. author and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, dies in a car accident at 53.
Zaslow, who had an affinity for stories of heroism and resilience, worked on memoirs of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt, and airline pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who was praised for his skill after safely ditching a plane in New York's Hudson River in 2009. Read more
2010: Fred Schaus, U.S. NBA player and coach and college basketball coach, dies at 84.
Born in Newark, Ohio, Schaus became the first Mountaineers player to score 1,000 career points. He was drafted by the Fort Wayne Pistons of the NBA and also played for the New York Knicks from 1949-54. He compiled a 127-26 record as head coach at West Virginia from 1954 to 1960, including six straight NCAA tournament berths. His Mountaineers advanced to the NCAA championship game in 1959, losing to California 71-70. Read more
2010: Charles Wilson, U.S. politician who represented Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives and who was portrayed in the movie Charlie Wilson's War, dies at 76.
"Charlie was perfect as a congressman, perfect as a state representative, perfect as a state senator. He was a perfect reflection of the people he represented. If there was anything wrong with Charlie, I never did know what it was," said Charles Schnabel Jr., who served for seven years as Wilson's chief of staff in Washington and worked with Wilson when he served in the Texas Senate. Read more
2009: Jeremy Lusk, U.S. freestyle motocross racer who won two X Games medals, dies while performing a flip in competition at 24.
2008: Steve Gerber, U.S. comic book writer who created the Marvel character Howard the Duck, dies at 60.
2008: Roy Scheider, U.S. actor known best for his role as Martin Brody in the movie Jaws, dies at 75.
2006: Dick Harmon, one of the top U.S. golf instructors, who worked with pro golfers Fred Couples and Lanny Wadkins, dies at 58.
2006: J Dilla, influential U.S. rapper and producer who worked with such groups as De La Soul, dies at 32.
2005: Arthur Miller, U.S. playwright who wrote Death of a Salesman, dies at 89.
Miller's career was marked by early success. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman in 1949, when he was just 33. His marriage to Marilyn Monroe in 1956 further catapulted the playwright to fame, though that was publicity he said he never pursued. In a 1992 interview with a French newspaper, he called her "highly self-destructive" and said that during their marriage, "all my energy and attention were devoted to trying to help her solve her problems. Unfortunately, I didn't have much success." Read more
2003: Ron Ziegler, U.S. press secretary for President Richard Nixon, dies at 63.
2002: Dave Van Ronk, U.S. folk singer who was an important figure in the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene, dies at 65.
2001: Abraham Beame, U.S. politician who was the mayor of New York City from 1974 to 1977, dies at 94.
2000: Jim Varney, U.S. comic actor known best for his Ernest character, dies at 50.
1992: Alex Haley, U.S. author who is well-known for writing the book Roots telling the story of his family, dies at 70.
Haley grew up listening to his grandmother’s stories of life as the daughter of an emancipated slave, woven through with family history. As an adult, his memories of these tales inspired him to challenge the notion that African-Americans couldn’t trace their ancestries beyond a few generations. The complexities of slavery certainly made it difficult: forcible name changes, separation of families, bad or nonexistent record keeping. But Haley believed he could learn more from the powerful medium of oral history. Read more
1984: David Von Erich, U.S. professional wrestler who was known as "The Yellow Rose of Texas," dies at 25.
1983: Eduard Franz, U.S. actor who appeared in many movies including The Jazz Singer and the TV series Zorro, dies at 80.
1966: Billy Rose, U.S. songwriter and theater producer who wrote "Me and My Shadow" and owned the New York club the Diamond Horseshoe, dies at 66.
1957: Laura Ingalls Wilder, U.S. author who was well-known for her Little House on the Prairie series, dies at 90.
Wilder has taught generations about the hardships of living on the frontier – as well as the joys. Her Little House series chronicled her family's real-life moves around the Midwest in the waning years of the 19th century. Readers have come to know the various locales Wilder described, but only what they were like more than 100 years ago. We wondered, what are these towns like today? We're taking a modern-day look at a few of the places she described in her books. Read more