Comedian Stan Laurel is known better as one-half of the classic film duo Laurel and Hardy. We remember Laurel’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Comedian Stan Laurel is known better as one-half of the classic film duo Laurel and Hardy. For decades, Laurel and his comedy partner, Oliver Norvell Hardy, created a string of timeless classics, including the Oscar-winning “The Music Box.” After Hardy’s death in 1957, Laurel retired from the screen, spending his time answering fan mail and speaking to anyone who cared to dial up his home telephone, as he had the number listed in the Los Angeles telephone book. He starred in nearly 190 films, both silent and talkie, and received an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1961. We remember Laurel’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2014: Alice Herz-Sommer, Czech pianist and music teacher who survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp and became the subject of the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” dies at 110.
Herz-Sommer, her husband, and her son were sent from Prague in 1943 to a concentration camp in the Czech city of Terezin – Theresienstadt in German – where inmates were allowed to stage concerts in which she frequently starred. An estimated 140,000 Jews were sent to Terezin and 33,430 died there. About 88,000 were moved on to Auschwitz and other death camps, where most of them were killed. Herz-Sommer and her son, Stephan, were among fewer than 20,000 who were freed when the notorious camp was liberated by the Soviet army in May 1945. Read more
2013: Paul McIlhenny, U.S. business executive who was the CEO of the family business that makes the Tabasco brand of hot sauce, dies at 68.
2008: Douglas Fraser, U.S. union leader who was the former president of the United Auto Workers, dies at 91.
Fraser was popular with the union’s rank and file, who appreciated his candor and accessibility. Everyone called him Doug. Yet he also was a shrewd and pragmatic negotiator who won the respect of Big Three executives, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. In the 1960s and ’70s, he helped win such benefits as comprehensive health care, uncapped cost-of-living allowances, and improved working conditions. Fraser considered his finest achievement the UAW’s campaign to obtain $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for Chrysler in 1979, which saved the automaker from bankruptcy. Read more
2007: Donnie Brooks, U.S. singer who was elected to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, dies at 71.
2004: Don Cornell, U.S. pop singer who was popular in the 1940s and ’50s and sold more than 50 million records, dies at 84.
2003: Howie Epstein, U.S. rock musician who was the bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, dies at 47.
2000: Ofra Haza, Israeli singer who achieved international success and was considered the Madonna of Israel, dies at 42.
Haza’s fame reached an international level when she was chosen as Israel’s representative in the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest. Her performance was a symbolically charged moment, as the competition was staged in Munich, Germany – where 11 years previously, Israeli Olympians were taken hostage and killed by a Palestinian terrorist organization – and her song “Chai” featured the lyric “Israel is alive.” Haza took second prize and the song became an international hit. It also brought her an unprecedented level of stardom in her home country. Read more
1999: Rick Wilson, U.S. professional wrestler who was known as the Renegade and was at one time the World Championship Wrestling champion, dies by suicide at 33.
1998: Philip Abbott, U.S. actor known best for his role as Arthur Ward on the TV series “The F.B.I.,” dies at 74.
1997: Tony Williams, U.S. jazz drummer who was at one time a member of Miles Davis‘ band and is considered one of the most influential jazz drummers to come out of the 1960s, dies at 51.
1995: Melvin Franklin, U.S. singer who was a member of the Temptations, dies at 52.
1995: James Herriot, English author known for writing “All Creatures Great and Small,” dies at 78.
1992: Jacquelyn Hyde, U.S. actress who had roles in Sydney Pollack’s “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” and Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run,” dies at 60.
1983: Adrian Boult, English conductor who was the chief conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, dies at 93.
1976: Fuzzy Knight, U.S. actor who was very popular as a cowboy sidekick in Westerns, dies at 74.
1974: Harry Ruby, U.S. composer and screenwriter who co-wrote the song “I Wanna Be Loved by You” and wrote some of the Marx Brothers movies, dies at 79.
1965: Stan Laurel, English comedian who was well-known as Laurel in the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, dies at 74.
1821: John Keats, English Romantic poet known for poems including “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” dies at 25.