Teddy Pendergrass rose to fame as an R&B singer in the 1970s with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. We remember Pendergrass’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Teddy Pendergrass rose to fame as an R&B 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 chest 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 Pendergrass’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2017: Dick Gautier, comedic actor who played Hymie the Robot on “Get Smart,” dies at 85.
2016: Brian Bedford, British actor who won a Tony Award in 1971, dies at 80.
2016: Jim Simpson, U.S. sportscaster who worked for ESPN and NBC, dies at 88.
2010: Jay Reatard, U.S. garage and 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, Tennessee, 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 known for his song “Love TKO,” 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 chest 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 of lung cancer 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, versatile U.S. actor and producer known best for producing and starring in the 1960s television series “The Prisoner,” dies after a brief illness at 80.
McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama “Columbo,” and he later appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film, “Braveheart.” But he was known best as the title character Number Six 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, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. 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 MVP 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 race car 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 album “Wide Angles” appeared on many top jazz lists and won two Grammys in 2004, according to his obituary by the AP. Read more.
2005: Nell Rankin, U.S. mezzo-soprano well-known for her time with the Metropolitan Opera, dies of a bone marrow disease at 81.
2002: Ted Demme, U.S. film director who directed such movies as “Blow” and “Beautiful Girls,” dies of a heart attack while playing basketball at 38.
One of Demme’s earliest gigs was launching the comedy career of chain-smoking ranter Denis 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 “Denis 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 after an accident at his home at 52.
1985: Carol Wayne, U.S. actress known best for her many appearances on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” as the Matinee Lady character, dies at 42 in an accidental drowning while vacationing in Mexico.
1983: Arthur Space, U.S. actor known best for his role as Doc Weaver on the television series “Lassie,” dies of cancer at 74.
1979: Donny Hathaway, U.S. jazz, blues, and soul singer whose collaborations with Roberta Flack scored on the charts, dies by suicide at 33.
1978: Joseph V. McCarthy, U.S. Hall of Fame baseball manager for the New York Yankees from 1931 to 1946, dies of pneumonia 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 M. Nixon in 1968, dies of cancer at 66.
1962: Ernie Kovacs, influential U.S. 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 such classics as “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Oh! Susanna,” dies at 37.