James Garner brought life to two great TV characters: Bret Maverick of “Maverick” and Jim Rockford of “The Rockford Files.” We remember Garner’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
We remember actor James Garner and celebrities who died this day in history, as well as other notable deaths of July 19.
2019: Rutger Hauer,Dutch actor who starred in the science fiction cult classic “Blade Runner,” dies at 75.
Garry Marshall, U.S. writer, director, and producer who created “Happy Days” and “Laverne and Shirley,” is born in The Bronx, New York. “Happy Days” was Marshall’s breakout hit, his first successful solo project after years of writing for popular television shows including “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Lucy Show.” His creation, a gently silly story of idealized teen life in the 1950s and ’60s, traded on nostalgia for 11 seasons and was among the top-three rated shows for three of those seasons. Read more
James Garner, U.S. actor who starred on TV’s “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files,” dies at 86. There’s no better display of Garner’s everyman majesty than the NBC series “The Rockford Files” (1974-80). He played an L.A. private eye and wrongly incarcerated ex-con who seemed to rarely get paid, or even get thanks, for the cases he took, while helplessly getting drawn into trouble to help someone who was neither a client nor maybe even a friend. He lived in a trailer with an answering machine that, in the show’s opening titles, always took a message that had nothing to do with a paying job, but more often was a complaining call from a cranky creditor. Through it all, Jim Rockford, however down on his luck, persevered hopefully. He wore the veneer of a cynic, but led with his heart. Putting all that on screen was Garner’s magic. Read more
Skye McCole Bartusiak, U.S. actress known best for her performance in “The Patriot,” dies of an accidental drug overdose at 21. Bartusiak made her acting debut on the television miniseries “Storm of the Century” in 1999 and also had a role on “24” in 2002-2003. She made her film debut in the “The Cider House Rules” in 1999 and starred with Michael Douglas in “Don’t Say a Word” in 2001. Her most recent movie was “Sick Boy” in 2012. Bartusiak was known best for her role in Gibson’s Revolutionary War epic, “The Patriot,” where she played the daughter of militia leader Benjamin Martin who struggles to speak with her father. Read more
Poncie Ponce, U.S. actor known best for his starring role as cab driver Kazuo Kim on the detective series “Hawaiian Eye,” dies of heart failure at 80.
Sylvia Woods, U.S. restaurateur known for her landmark soul food restaurant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood called Sylvia’s, dies at 86. Woods and her husband, Herbert, natives of South Carolina who met as children, started Sylvia’s Restaurant in 1962, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. The restaurant became a Harlem fixture, with tourists and locals coming there for cornbread, ribs, collard greens, fried chicken, and other staples of Southern cooking. Politicians made frequent visits while on the campaign trail. One of those politicians, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, said he celebrated his 2012 victory in the Democratic primary for Congress at the restaurant, which is in his district and which he described as “a magical place that brought the community together.” Read more
Tom Davis, U.S. comedian and writer known best for his partnership with Al Franken in the comedy duo Franken and Davis that was featured on “Saturday Night Live,” dies of throat and neck cancer at 59. Davis is known best as the thinner, taller partner in Franken and Davis, the off-kilter comedy duo who performed in the early years of the show, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. They also were among the first writers hired for the new show in 1975 and helped create memorable work such as the “Coneheads” skit with Dan Aykroyd and what evolved into the “Nick the Lounge Singer” skit starring Bill Murray performing lounge-lizard versions of songs including the “Star Wars” theme. Read more
Frank McCourt, U.S. author and teacher known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, “Angela’s Ashes,” dies of melanoma at 78. “Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood,” was McCourt’s unforgettable opening, noted his obituary by The Associated Press. “People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty, the shiftless loquacious father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests, bullying schoolmasters; the English and all the terrible things they did to us for 800 long years.” Read more
Jack Warden, U.S. character actor whose many movie appearances included “Shampoo,” “Heaven Can Wait,” and “Used Cars,” dies at 85. Warden was nominated twice for best supporting actor Oscars in two Warren Beatty movies. He was nominated for his role as a businessman in 1975’s “Shampoo” and the good-hearted football trainer Max in 1978’s “Heaven Can Wait.” He won a supporting actor Emmy Award for his role as Chicago Bears coach George Halas on the 1971 TV movie “Brian’s Song” and was twice nominated in the 1980s for best leading actor in a comedy for his show “Crazy Like a Fox.” Warden, with his wild white hair, weathered face, and gravelly voice, was in demand for character parts for decades. Read more
Edward Bunker, U.S. author, screenwriter, and actor who co-wrote the screenplay for the movie “Runaway Train” and whose acting appearances included “Reservoir Dogs,” dies at 71.
Dave Carter, U.S. folk singer-songwriter known best for being one-half of the duo Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer and who toured with Joan Baez shortly before his death, dies of a heart attack at 49.
Eddie Quillan, U.S. actor who had a long career with appearances in movies such as “The Grapes of Wrath” and TV series including “The Addams Family” and “Little House on the Prairie,” dies of cancer at 83.
Gene Roth, U.S. actor who appeared in more than 200 films, including many of the Three Stooges serials, dies at 73.
Lefty Frizzell, U.S. country music singer-songwriter who had many hit songs on the country music charts and became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, dies of a stroke at 47.
Joe Flynn, U.S actor known best for his role as Captain Binghamton on the sitcom “McHale’s Navy,” who also appeared in many Disney comedy movies, dies in a drowning accident at 49.