Bon Scott was the face of the hard rock band AC/DC in their earliest days of fame. We remember Scott’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
We remember AC/DC singer Bon Scott and other celebrities who died this day, February 19, in history.
2020: Pop Smoke, up and coming rapper known for his 2019 hit song “Welcome to the Party,” dies at 20.
Larry Coryell, the Texas-born jazz guitarist who was known as the Godfather of Fusion, dies at 73.
Harper Lee, U.S. author widely known for her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” dies at 89. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was an immediate and massive success, shooting to the tops of best-seller lists and garnering great critical acclaim. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel, and less than three years after the novel’s publication, the movie adaptation premiered to widespread praise. Starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Atticus Finch (who was written based on elements of Lee’s father, also a lawyer), the movie is considered one of the all-time classic courtroom dramas and one of the best-loved films in history. Read more
Samuel Willenberg, Polish Jewish man who was the last survivor of the August 1943 Treblinka prisoners revolt and later became a painter and sculptor, dies at 93.
Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and philosopher known for his book “The Name of the Rose,” dies at 84.
Harris Wittels, U.S. actor, writer and producer known best for his work on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” dies at 30.
Dale Gardner, U.S. astronaut who flew two space shuttle missions, dies at 65. Gardner flew two shuttle missions, in 1983 and 1984. He logged 337 hours in space and 225 Earth orbits, and he went on two spacewalks totaling 12 hours. The 1983 mission, in the Challenger, was the first night launch and first night re-entry for the shuttle program. The 1984 mission salvaged two satellites that were stuck in the wrong orbits and brought them back to Earth. After Gardner helped retrieve one of them, a Western Union communications satellite, he posed for a photo outside the shuttle with a “for sale” sign, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
Steve Kordek, U.S. pinball machine designer who is considered the Father of the Modern Pinball Machine and whose innovations include the dual flippers and multiple ball play, dies at 100.
Ollie Matson, U.S. Hall of Fame running back who also won two sprinting medals at the Olympics, dies at 80. As a senior at the University of San Francisco, Matson led the nation in rushing yardage and touchdowns while leading the Dons to an undefeated season. He was the No. 1 pick of the Chicago Cardinals and third overall in the 1952 NFL draft, and went on to share Rookie of the Year honors with Hugh McElhenny of the 49ers. Matson played with the Cardinals from 1952-58 before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams for nine players. He made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1957. Read more
Kelly Groucutt, English bassist for the band Electric Light Orchestra, dies at 63.
Janet Blair, U.S. actress who appeared in many movie and television roles and starred on “The Smith Family” TV series with Henry Fonda, dies at 85. Blair languished in second-rate pictures until Rosalind Russell recommended her for the title role in the comedy “My Sister Eileen.” She won praise from critics, and her roles quickly improved. She appeared opposite George Raft in the gangster movie “Broadway,” and she co-starred with Cary Grant and a dancing caterpillar in the 1944 comedy-fantasy “Once Upon a Time.” She was the love interest in “The Fabulous Dorseys,” starring bandleaders Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, and appeared opposite Red Skelton in the 1946 sleeper hit “The Fuller Brush Man.” Read more
Celia Franca, founder of the National Ballet of Canada, dies at 85. She performed with several ballet companies and created the first two ballets ever commissioned by the BBC (“Eve of St. Agnes” and “Dance of Salome”) before moving to Canada in 1951 on the insistence of a group of ballet enthusiasts who wanted her to found a classical ballet company. Working as a file clerk at Eaton’s in Toronto, Franca was able to come up with the funding and a group of dancers to form the National Ballet of Canada. Their first performance took place Nov. 12, 1951, at Toronto’s Eaton Auditorium. Read more
Johnny Paycheck, U.S. country music singer-songwriter who had a hit with the song “Take This Job and Shove It,” dies at 64. Paycheck had a long string of country hits, but none inspired fans quite like his 1977 ode to voluntary unemployment, “Take This Job and Shove It.” The song rocketed to No. 1 and became a long-lasting rallying cry for anyone feeling overworked and undervalued. Read more
Stanley Kramer, U.S. film director known for making “message movies” such as “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” dies at 87. Some of the most important movies of the 20th century owe their creation to one committed filmmaker — Kramer. The producer and director devoted much of his career to making “issue films” that inspired us, educated us and made us think about the hot-button issues of the mid-century. Through his films, Kramer helped shape our nation’s conversations. Read more
Grandpa Jones, U.S. country music singer and banjo player who was a regular on the country music-oriented variety TV show “Hee Haw,” dies at 84.
Leo Rosten, U.S. screenwriter and humorist whose movies include “The Velvet Touch,” dies at 88.
Charles O. Finley, U.S. former owner of baseball’s Oakland Athletics franchise that won the World Series in 1972, ’73 and ’74, dies at 77.
Calder Willingham, U.S. novelist and screenwriter who co-wrote the classic movie “The Graduate,” dies at 72.
Peggy Mondo, U.S. actress who had a regular role on the TV series “To Rome With Love,” dies at 63.
Ina Ray Hutton, U.S. jazz musician who formed an all-female big band, dies at 67.
Alice White, U.S. actress who was popular in the 1920s and ’30s, dies at 78.
Bon Scott, Australian lead vocalist for the band AC/DC from 1974 until his death, dies of alcohol poisoning at 33. Scott was responsible for one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest bagpipe solos. Yes, that’s really him piping in “It’s a Long Way to the Top.” Although he was a member of his father’s Fremantle Scots Pipe Band as a kid, he didn’t learn the bagpipes there — he was one of their drummers. He learned to play just for the 1975 song. Read more
Tedd Pierce, U.S. animator and cartoon writer who wrote many of the Bugs Bunny episodes of “Looney Tunes,” dies at 65.
Ralph Dunn, U.S. actor who appeared in multiple “Three Stooges” episodes, dies at 67.