Carroll O’Connor helped to redefine television comedy in the 1970s as Archie Bunker, using the medium to tackle issues of race relations, women’s rights, and other serious topics. On “All in the Family,” and later “Archie Bunker’s Place,” O’Connor spent years as the bigoted, reactionary Bunker, clashing hilariously with the changing world around him. In the 1980s and 1990s, O’Connor starred in the television adaptation of “In the Heat of the Night” and later appeared in a recurring role on “Mad About You.” Following the death of his son, Hugh, in 1995, O’Connor devoted himself to raising awareness about drug addiction, recording public service announcements and lobbying to pass legislation holding drug dealers financially liable for damages resulting from their sales. We remember O’Connor’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
1961: Pete de Freitas, Trinidadian drummer who was a member of new wave group Echo and the Bunnymen, is born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
1959: Johnny Kemp, Bahamian singer who had a hit song in 1988 with “Just Got Paid,” is born in Nassau, Bahamas.
1951: Andrew Gold, U.S. singer-songwriter who had hits with “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You for Being a Friend,” is born in Burbank, California.
1944: Jim Capaldi, English drummer who was a co-founder of the rock band Traffic, is born in Evesham, England.
1943: Max Wright, actor who played Willie Tanner on “Alf,” is born in Detroit, Michigan.
1941: Doris Coley, U.S. singer who was a member of the Shirelles, is born in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
1939: Wes Craven, U.S. director and writer known best for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” film series, is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
Craven helped reinvent the teen horror genre with 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” The movie and its indelible, razor-fingered villain Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund) led to several sequels, as did his 1996 success, “Scream.” “He was a consummate filmmaker and his body of work will live on forever,” said Weinstein Co. co-chairman Bob Weinstein, whose Dimension Films produced “Scream.” ”My brother (Harvey Weinstein) and I are eternally grateful for all his collaborations with us.” Read more
1937: Billy Cannon, legendary LSU running back, is born in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
1935: Hank Cochran, U.S. country music singer-songwriter who had a hit with “Sally Was a Good Old Girl,” is born in Isola, Mississippi.
He co-wrote the following No. 1 hits: Patsy Cline‘s “I Fall to Pieces”; George Strait’s “Ocean Front Property”; and “Set ’em Up Joe” by Vern Gosdin. He also wrote these No. 1 hits: “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me” by Ronnie Milsap; “He’s Got You” by Cline and Loretta Lynn; “I Want To Go With You” by Eddy Arnold; and “That’s All That Matters to Me” by Mickey Gilley. Read more
1932: Peter O’Toole, English actor well-known for roles in films including “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” is born in either Connemara, Ireland, or Leeds, England.
O’Toole was nominated eight times for the best actor Academy Award. He never won, making him the most-nominated actor never to win. He initially declined the lifetime achievement Oscar that academy officials offered him in 2003, noting it seemed to imply his career was over. O’Toole, then 70, asked the academy to hold the award for 10 years or so, writing, “I am still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright.” He decided to accept the honor, however, after learning Henry Fonda was among the acting greats who went on to win “the lovely bugger outright” after his honorary nod. (Fonda received his lifetime achievement statue in 1980 and won the best actor Oscar the following year for “On Golden Pond.”) Read more
1932: Lamar Hunt, U.S. businessman who founded the American Football League and Major League Soccer, is born in El Dorado, Arkansas.
When NFL owners rebuffed Hunt’s attempt to buy a franchise and move it to Dallas, Hunt – ignoring his father’s advice – founded the AFL. He owned one of the AFL’s eight original teams from the inaugural 1960 season, the Dallas Texans. The Texans, however, struggled in head-to-head competition with the expansion Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Convinced that both franchises would suffer as long as Dallas remained a two-team city, Hunt moved the Texans to Kansas City in 1963. “I looked around and figured Kansas City could be a success,” he told The Associated Press. “By our fourth or fifth year, we started to succeed. The Cowboys of course did very well too.” Read more
1924: Carroll O’Connor, U.S. actor known best for playing Archie Bunker on “All in the Family” and “Archie Bunker’s Place,” is born in Manhattan, New York.
1924: James Baldwin, U.S. author of well-known works including the novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” is born in Manhattan, New York.
1922: Betsy Bloomingdale, U.S. widow of department store heir Alfred Bloomingdale, is born in Los Angeles, California.
1915: Gary Merrill, U.S. actor who starred in “All About Eve” and was married to Bette Davis, is born in Hartford, Connecticut.
1914: Beatrice Straight, U.S. actress who won an Academy Award for her performance in “Network” as well as a Tony Award for “The Crucible,” is born in Old Westbury, New York.
Loy was not just a pretty face, and she was realistic about the difference between real life and the roles she played. Because of her role in “The Thin Man” and subsequent parts as a doting mother in “The Best Years of Our Lives” and “Cheaper by the Dozen,” she was termed “the perfect wife,” to which she said, “Some perfect wife I am. I’ve been married four times, divorced four times, have no children, and can’t boil an egg.” Read more
1900: Holling C. Holling, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books including “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” is born in Jackson County, Michigan.
1892: Jack L. Warner, Canadian-American film executive who was a co-founder and president of Warner Bros. Studios, is born in London, Ontario.
1834: Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty, is born in Colmar, France.