Teddy Pendergrass, in 2000 (Associated Press/Suzanne Plunkett)
Teddy Pendergrass rose to fame as a rhythm and blues singer in the 1970s with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, but found more success as a solo artist and left the band in 1977. His career, and his life, were nearly cut short by a car accident in 1982 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. After the accident Pendergrass devoted himself to helping others with spinal injuries through the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, and he rededicated himself to making music. He officially retired in 2006 but returned for a few special television appearances before his death in 2008. We remember his life today and the lives of other notable people who died on this day in history.
2010: Jay Reatard, U.S. garage punk musician who was signed to Matador Records, dies of an accidental overdose at 29.
Reatard started recording songs in his bedroom as a teenager and was playing Memphis clubs by age 15. Soon after, local independent label Goner Records began releasing his singles. He would go on to release more than 70 records, with some of the rarer ones now fetching hundreds of dollars on eBay. Read more
2010: Teddy Pendergrass, U.S. R&B and soul musician who is known for his song "Love TKO" and who was paralyzed in 1982 in a car accident, dies at 59.
Pendergrass was more than just a great singer – he was an inspiration. After a 1982 car accident, the R&B star was paralyzed from the waist down. But he didn't give up, and he didn't stop singing. His career and his determination remained strong after his injury – he continued recording and performing live; he received more Grammy nominations after the accident than before it; and he branched out to do good deeds beyond the music world, creating The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance to help people with spinal cord injuries. Read more
2009: William De Witt Snodgrass, U.S. poet under the pseudonym S. S. Gardons who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1960, dies at 83.
2009: Nancy Bird Walton, Australian aviator and pioneer who became the first Australian woman to obtain a pilot's license, dies at 93.
2009: Patrick McGoohan, U.S. actor and producer best known for producing and starring in the television series The Prisoner, dies at 80.
McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama Columbo, and more recently he appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film, Braveheart. But he was best known as the title character No. 6 in The Prisoner, a surreal 1960s British series in which a former spy is held captive in a small village and constantly tries to escape. Read more
2008: Johnny Podres, U.S Major League Baseball pitcher who helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win a World Series in 1955, dies at 75.
The left-hander was picked for four All-Star games and was the first Most Valuable Player in World Series history. He became a hero to every baseball fan in Brooklyn when the Dodgers ended decades of frustration by beating the Yankees to win the Series. It marked the first time a team had won a best-of-seven Series after losing the first two games, and it was Brooklyn's only Series victory. Read more
2007: Danny Oakes, U.S. Hall of Fame midget racecar driver, dies at 95.
2007: Michael Brecker, U.S. jazz saxophonist who won 15 Grammy awards, dies of leukemia at 57.
Throughout his career, Brecker recorded and performed with numerous jazz and pop music leaders, including Herbie Hancock, James Taylor, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, according to his website. His most recently released recording, Wide Angles, appeared on many top jazz lists and won two Grammys in 2004. Read more
2005: Nell Rankin, U.S. mezzo-soprano well known for her time with the Metropolitan Opera, dies at 81.
2003: Norman Panama, U.S. screenwriter and director who worked with Bob Hope and Groucho Marx, dies at 89.
2002: Ted Demme, U.S. film director who directed such movies as Blow and Beautiful Girls, dies of a heart attack at 38.
One of Demme's earliest gigs was launching the comedy career of chain-smoking ranter Dennis Leary. Demme directed a series of short black-and-white spots in which Leary railed on pop-culture topics from Cindy Crawford to the royal family to R.E.M. This grew into an ongoing collaboration between Leary and Demme, with Demme directing Leary in comedy specials No Cure for Cancer and Dennis Leary: Lock 'n Load, as well as feature films including Monument Ave. and The Ref, in which jewelry thief Leary winds up playing marriage counselor to combative couple Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis. Read more
2001: Michael Cuccione, Canadian child actor and singer who appeared on an episode of Baywatch, dies at 16.
1989: Joe Spinell, U.S. character actor who appeared in Rocky and The Godfather, dies of an accident at his home at 52.
1985: Carol Wayne, U.S. actress best known for her many appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as the Matinee Lady character, dies in an accidental drowning at 42.
1983: Arthur Space, U.S. actor best known for his role as Doc Weaver on the television series Lassie, dies at 74.
1979: Donny Hathaway, U.S. jazz, blues and soul singer whose collaborations with Roberta Flack scored on the charts, commits suicide at 33.
1978: Joseph V. McCarthy, U.S. Hall of Fame baseball manager for the New York Yankees from 1931 to 1946, dies at 90.
1978: Hubert H. Humphrey, U.S. politician who served as vice president to Lyndon B. Johnson and lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon in 1968, dies at 66.
1962: Ernie Kovacs, U.S. influential comedian who was the husband of actress Edie Adams, dies in a car crash at 42.
1941: James Joyce, Irish novelist who achieved fame for books such as Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, dies at 58.
1929: Wyatt Earp, U.S. Marshal who took part in the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral, dies at 80.
1864: Stephen Foster, U.S. composer of classics such as "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Oh! Susanna," dies at 37.