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Died January 16

by Legacy Staff

Carole Lombard was one of Hollywood’s top stars in the 1930s – and for a time, she was the highest paid of all actors. We remember Lombard’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Carole Lombard was one of Hollywood’s top stars in the 1930s – and for a time, she was the highest paid of all actors. Her high energy made her a beloved star of screwball comedies, and her romance with fellow star Clark Gable helped keep her in the spotlight. Lombard’s top films include My Man Godfrey, Made for Each Other and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Lombard was traveling home from a war bonds rally when she was killed in a plane crash at only 33. Gable was devastated, and though he remarried twice, he was buried next to Lombard. We remember Lombard’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including singer and actress Aaliyah.


2020: Christopher Tolkien, youngest son of “Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien, who edited and published his father’s work in the years after his death, dies at 95.

2018: Jo Jo White, Boston Celtics legendary guard who helped lead the franchise to two NBA championships, dies at 71.

2017: Eugene “Gene” Cernan, Astronaut was the commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972, the last moon mission to date, Cernan and his Apollo 17 crew member Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt spent more than 73 hours on the moon’s surface. he died at the age of 82.

2016: Ted Marchibroda, U.S. NFL quarterback and head coach who was the head coach for the Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, dies at 84.

2014: Russell Johnson, U.S. actor known best for playing the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, dies at 89.

Russell Johnson (ABC Television)He played high school science teacher Roy Hinkley, known to his fellow castaways as the Professor. There was seemingly nothing he couldn’t do when it came to building generators, shortwave radios and other contraptions from scraps of flotsam and jetsam he found on the island. But, as Russell would joke years later, the one thing the Professor never accomplished was figuring out how to patch the hole in the bottom of the S.S. Minnow so the group could get back to civilization. Read more

2014: Dave Madden, U.S. actor who portrayed Reuben Kincaid on TV’s The Partridge Family, dies at 82.

Dave Madden (ABC Television)As the band’s road manager, Reuben Kincaid, Madden followed the family through four seasons of music and high jinks. His long career as an actor also included appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Boy Meets World and practically everything in between. He is remembered fondly by his friends, co-stars and fans on the Internet. Read more

2014: Ruth Duccini, U.S. actress who was the last surviving female Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz, dies at 95.

Ruth Robinson Duccini (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)“It was long hours and heavy costumes. We didn’t have much time for ourselves. It was all new to me then, and I loved being a part of what is now a classic,” she said in a statement released around the time of her death. Duccini met her husband while working at MGM, and the two had a son and daughter. She worked as a “Rosie the Riveter” in Santa Monica, California, during World War II, using her short stature to squeeze into hard-to-reach parts of planes. She also appeared in the spoof Under the Rainbow starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher. Read more

2013: Pauline Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, popular U.S. advice columnist who wrote “Dear Abby,” dies at 94, more than 10 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Van Buren left behind a massive legacy of good advice. Some of her advice was funny, some sassy, some very serious. And some of it was just plain weird … but only because some of the questions she was asked were equally weird. Many of these were immortalized in Van Buren’s The Best of Dear Abby collection, and some of them are too strange to believe. Read more

2012: Jimmy Castor, U.S. pop and funk musician known best for his million-selling song “Troglodyte,” dies of heart failure at 71.

Castor’s music spoke for itself thousands of times in riffs and samples by such groups as N.W.A., the 2 Live Crew, Kanye West, Ice Jimmy Castor (Photo by James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)Cube and Mos Def, as well as acts including the Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera and Madonna. His son, Jimmy Castor Jr., 45, a filmmaker from Redondo Beach, California, told The Associated Press he’s seen instant recognition hundreds of times at the first saxophone chords of “It’s Just Begun,” even before the lyrics begin. (“Watch me now. Feel the groove. Into something. Gonna make you move.”) Read more

2009: Andrew Wyeth, U.S. artist and one of the best-known painters of the 20th century who worked in the realist style, dies in his sleep at 91.

A Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006 drew more than 175,000 visitors in 15½ weeks, the highest-ever attendance at the museum for a living artist, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, a converted 19th-century grist mill, includes hundreds of works by three generations of Wyeths. Wyeth even made “Peanuts,” in a November 1966 comic strip: After a fire in his dog house destroys his van Gogh, Snoopy replaces it with an Andrew Wyeth. Read more

2007: Benny Parsons, U.S. NASCAR driver and commentator who won the 1973 Winston Cup championship, dies of complications of lung cancer at 65.

A member of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers, Parsons retired from racing in 1988 and moved into the broadcasting booth. He spent six years as a commentator on NBC and TNT, and continued to call races from the booth during the time he was being treated for cancer. “Benny was a beloved and widely respected member of the NASCAR community, and of the NBC Sports family,” said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports. Read more

2007: Ron Carey, U.S. actor known best for his role as Officer Levitt on TV’s Barney Miller, dies at 71.

2006: Stanley Biber, U.S. physician who was a pioneer of transgender surgery, dies at 82.

2005: Marjorie Williams, U.S. columnist for Vanity Fair and The Washington Post, dies of cancer at 47.

2000: Will “Dub” Jones, U.S. bass vocalist for the Coasters, dies at 71.

1997: Ennis Cosby, son of Bill Cosby, is killed in an attempted robbery at 29.

1996: Marcia Davenport, U.S. author and music critic for The New Yorker, dies at 92.

1993: Glenn Corbett, U.S. actor known best for his role as Lincoln Case on the TV series Route 66, dies of cancer at 59.

1989: Trey Wilson, U.S. actor who played manager Joe Riggins in the movie Bull Durham, dies of a cerebral bleed at 40.

1987: Joyce Jameson, U.S. actress who played one of the “fun girls” on The Andy Griffith Show, dies after an overdose of pills at 54.

1987: Earl Wilson, U.S. columnist known for his column about Broadway called It Happened Last Night, dies at 79.

1979: Ted Cassidy, U.S. actor known best as Lurch on TV’s The Addams Family, dies after heart surgery at 46.

Lurch was a cult icon. A dance named after him can still be seen on YouTube. The character appeared on other television shows without the rest of the Addams family, even popping up on an episode of Batman. The entire Addams clan was immortalized on trading cards and as figurines. Current eBay listings offer a 6-inch Lurch for $84, while a four-card set including an image of Cassidy fetches $54.38. Read more

1972: David Seville, U.S. actor and singer who created Alvin and the Chipmunks, dies of a heart attack at 52.

1971: Kermit Maynard, U.S. actor who appeared in more than 200 films, dies at 73.

1942: Carole Lombard, U.S. actress known for her roles in screwball comedies of the 1930s, dies in a plane crash at 33.

Lombard was one of the top movie stars of her era, acting in her first silent film when she was just 12. As talkies took over, Lombard’s fame grew, and she played opposite stage legend John Barrymore in her first big hit, Twentieth Century. Released in 1934, the movie is considered a prototypical screwball comedy – one of the first and best. All the classic elements of the screwball comedy were there: rapid-fire dialogue, a charming hero and a lovely heroine (both of whom suffer from a bit of goofiness from time to time), slapstick humor and situations that played the different social classes off each other. It set the stage for a decade of imitators. Read more

1935: Ma Barker, U.S. criminal whose family was known as the Barker Gang, dies in a shootout with FBI agents at 61.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including singer and actress Aaliyah.

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