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Died January 17

by Legacy Staff

Actor Richard Crenna had a long career in the movies and on television. We remember his life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Actor Richard Crenna had a long career in the movies and on television. He was in World War II right after high school and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. His first major role was on the sitcom “Our Miss Brooks” playing high school student Walter Denton and  he later starred on the sitcom “The Real McCoys.”  He had memorable supporting roles in the movies “The Flamingo Kid” and “Rambo.” We remember his 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 boxing legend Muhammad Ali.


2013: Robert F. Chew, U.S. actor who starred in the HBO drama The Wire as Proposition Joe, dies of a heart attack at 52.

2012: Marty Springstead, U.S. Major League Baseball umpire in the American League from 1966 to 1985, as well as an umpire supervisor, dies of a heart attack at 74.

Marty Springstead (Asspcoated Press Photo)“For a quarter-century, Marty mentored a new generation of our umpires, not only in the major leagues but around the world,” Commissioner Bud Selig said, according to Springstead’s obituary by The Associated Press. “Marty was an avid teacher, a great storyteller and a friend to countless people around our game. Like so many of my colleagues, I always appreciated his wonderful sense of humor and the pride he had for his profession.” Read more




2012: Johnny Otis, U.S. rhythm and blues musician and talent scout known as the Godfather of R&B, dies at 90.

Johnny Otis (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)The influence of Otis was felt most through his ability to recognize and promote talent. He wove into his bands such diverse and legendary R&B vocalists as Etta James, Hank Ballard, Big Mama Thornton and the Robins, the latter a group that would evolve into the Coasters, according to Otis’ obituary by The Associated Press. He produced Thornton’s original recording of “Hound Dog,” a song that would later become an even bigger hit for Elvis Presley. Read more.




2011: Don Kirshner, U.S. rock music producer and manager who worked with the Monkees and the Archies, dies of heart failure at 76.

Kirshner was behind the TV show Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1972, and he gave national exposure to musicians including Billy Joel and the Police. He also boosted the careers of comics including Billy Crystal, Arsenio Hall and David Letterman, according to Kirshner’s obituary by The Associated Press. Read more




2010: Gaines Adams, U.S. NFL defensive lineman who played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears, dies of a heart defect at 26.

Gaines Adams (AP Photo)Adams was selected fourth overall in the 2007 draft by Tampa Bay. He had not been able to live up to expectations that he would revive the Buccaneers’ once-feared pass rush, and had just 17 tackles and one sack in 15 games — 10 with Chicago — in his final season, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He was traded to the Bears in October for a second-round pick in the 2010 draft. “Gaines was a quiet, humble kid and is far too young to be gone,” Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber said. Read more




2008: Allan Melvin, U.S. actor known best for his recurring role as Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch, dies of cancer at 84.

The jowly, jovial Melvin spent decades playing a series of sidekicks, second bananas and lovable lugs, including Archie Bunker’s friend Barney Hefner on All in the Family, and Sergeant Bilko’s right-hand man, Corporal Henshaw, on The Phil Silvers Show, according to Melvin’s obituary by The Associated Press. But his place in pop culture will be fixed as butcher and bowler Sam Franklin, the love interest of Brady family maid Alice Nelson, who was played by Ann B. Davis. Melvin played the role from 1970 to 1973. Read more




2008: Ernie Holmes, U.S. NFL player who was a defensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ “Steel Curtain” defense of the 1970s, dies in a car crash at 59.

2008: Bobby Fischer, U.S. chess prodigy and grandmaster who was later denied a U.S. passport for his anti-American statements, dies in exile in Iceland at 64.

In 1992, Fischer agreed to restage the “Match of the Century” in an unsanctioned event controversially held in Yugoslavia, which was then under international embargo. The U.S. government warned Fischer that playing would violate an executive order signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Fischer played anyway, netting a $3.5 million prize for defeating Boris Spassky again. An arrest warrant was issued, but Fischer never returned to the United States. Read more




2007: Art Buchwald, U.S. humorist known for his column in The Washington Post, dies of kidney failure at 81.

Often called the Wit of Washington during his years in the city, Buchwald found that his name became synonymous with political satire, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He was well-known, too, for his wide smile and affinity for cigars. Among his more famous witticisms: “If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.” Read more




2005: Virginia Mayo, U.S. actress who was Warner Bros.’ biggest box office draw in the late 1940s, dies at 84.

Her honey blond hair and creamy, flawless face made Mayo ideal for the Technicolor musicals, Westerns and adventures that were the rage in Hollywood in the 1940s and ’50s, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Starting as a chorus girl, she quickly advanced to co-star status, appearing opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate in 1944. She went on to make five films with Danny Kaye before signing a contract with Warner Bros., where she became one of the studio’s biggest stars. Read more




2004: Noble Willingham, U.S. actor known for his role as C.D. Parker on Walker, Texas Ranger, dies of natural causes at 72.

2004: Harry Brecheen, U.S. Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher who won two World Series championships with the St. Louis Cardinals, dies at 89.

2003: Richard Crenna, U.S. actor who appeared in many films including Rambo and The Flamingo Kid, dies of heart failure at 76. He also had pancreatic cancer.

Crenna was an actor who was blessed with career longevity as few others – for more than 65 years, from radio to TV to movies, he created memorable characters. With his first radio role coming when he was just 11 – and his final TV role ending only with his death – Crenna was a lifelong star. Read more




1999: Robert Eads, U.S. transsexual who was the subject of the award-winning documentary Southern Comfort, dies of ovarian cancer at 53.

1997: Clyde William Tombaugh, U.S. astronomer who discovered Pluto, dies at 90.

1996: Amber Hagerman, U.S. child whose abduction and murder led directly to the creation of the Amber Alert System, is found dead at 9.

1996: Barbara Charline Jordan, U.S. politician and civil rights leader, dies of viral pneumonia at 59.

1992: Charlie Ventura, U.S. jazz saxophonist who started with Gene Krupa, dies of lung cancer at 75.

1980: Barbara Britton, U.S. actress known for her role as Pamela on the TV series Mr. and Mrs. North, dies of pancreatic cancer at 60.

1972: Rochelle Hudson, U.S. actress who played Natalie Wood‘s mother in Rebel Without a Cause, dies at 55.

1970: Billy Stewart, U.S. singer and piano player who had a hit song with I Do Love You, dies in an auto accident at 32.

1967: Evelyn Nesbit, popular U.S. chorus girl and artist model, dies at 82.

1893: Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president of the United States from 1877 to 1881, dies at 70.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

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