Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award twice. She developed the theory of radioactivity and the discovery of the elements polonium and radium. She died of anemia as a result of the exposure from radiation during her research. We remember Curie’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2014: Richard Mellon Scaife, U.S. businessman who was the owner and publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, dies at 82.
The intensely private Scaife became widely known in the 1990s when first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said her husband was being attacked by a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” White House staffers and other supporters suggested Scaife was playing a central role in the attack. Several foundations controlled by Scaife gave millions of dollars to organizations run by critics of Clinton, including $1.7 million for a project at the conservative American Spectator magazine to dig up information about his role in the Whitewater real estate scandal. Read more
2009: Steve McNair, U.S. NFL quarterback for the Tennessee Titans who was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, is killed by his girlfriend at 36.
McNair began his career in 1995 with the Houston Oilers, who eventually became the Titans, and finished with 31,304 yards passing and 174 touchdowns. McNair played with pain for several years, and the injuries ultimately forced him to retire, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The highlight of his playing time might have been a five-game stretch at the end of the 2002 season when he was so banged up he couldn’t practice. McNair started all five games and won them all, leading the Titans to an 11-5 finish and a berth in the AFC championship game for the second time in four seasons, the obituary said. Read more
2009: Drake Levin, U.S. guitarist known best for his time as the lead guitarist for the popular 1960s group Paul Revere & the Raiders, dies of cancer at 62.
2009: Brenda Joyce, U.S. actress who mostly appeared in B movies and was known best for playing the role of Jane opposite Johnny Weissmuller in four “Tarzan” movies after Maureen O’Sullivan left the series, dies at 92.
After a few minor roles at Paramount, she appeared in “Gone With the Wind” and then moved to Columbia, where her career blossomed, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Keyes gave a frank account of her romances and marriages in her 1977 autobiography, “Scarlett O’Hara’s Younger Sister.” Her role in the 1939 classic led to a contract at Columbia Pictures and stardom. Among her notable roles: as Robert Montgomery’s lover in “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” (1941), the Ruby Keeler role as Al Jolson’s wife in “The Jolson Story,” (1946) and as Dick Powell’s wife in “Mrs. Mike” (1949). Read more
2008: Jesse Helms, U.S. politician and five-term Republican U.S. senator from North Carolina, dies of dementia at 86.
Early on, his habit of blocking nominations and legislation won him a nickname of Senator No, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He delighted in forcing roll-call votes that required Democrats to take politically difficult votes on federal funding for art he deemed pornographic, school busing, flag-burning, and other cultural issues. Read more
2007: Bill Pinkney, U.S. singer who was an original and longtime member of the Drifters, dies of a heart attack at 81.
Pinkney, born in Dalzell, South Carolina, wasn’t with the Drifters when they recorded their biggest hits. He left in the band in 1958 because of an argument over cash, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. His distinctive bass voice can be heard on the group’s version of the holiday classic ”White Christmas.” Even though he left the group, Pinkney didn’t let go of the Drifters’ name. He fought for laws allowing performers or bands to claim an affiliation with a classic group like the Drifters or the Coasters only if at least one member recorded with the original group. Read more
2005: Hank Stram, U.S. NFL head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs who led them to a win in Super Bowl IV, dies of diabetes complications at 82.
2003: Barry White, U.S. singer-songwriter and three-time Grammy Award-winner known for his deep bass singing voice, dies at 58.
Back in the ’70s, White’s songs were the gold standard for setting a romantic mood. We can’t help but think of a candlelit, soft-focus rendezvous when we hear a song like “Never Ever Gonna Give You Up.” But White did more than help along countless relationships. He also ushered in the disco era with his innovative blend of R&B and classical music, set to a driving and danceable beat. At the helm of the Love Unlimited Orchestra, he became one of the first disco chart-toppers. Read more
1997: Charles Kuralt, U.S. journalist who was the anchor for “CBS News Sunday Morning” for 15 years and hosted the popular “On the Road” segments for “The CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite,” dies of complications from lupus at 62.
“Green Acres” was a TV staple for six years, from 1965 to 1971. Gabor played Lisa Douglas – glamour-girl-turned-good-sport – who, on the whim of her husband (played by Eddie Albert), was whisked from the high life in Manhattan to a rather bizarre farm. Viewers loved seeing the glamorous Gabor do farm chores wearing city finery and giggled as her character made hotcakes for every meal. Read more
1995: Bob Ross, U.S. painter and public television personality who hosted “The Art of Painting” on PBS, dies of lymphoma at 52.
1993: Anne Shirley, U.S. actress who appeared in many movies including “Stella Dallas” before she retired from films at 26, dies of lung cancer at 75.
1938: Suzanne Lenglen, French tennis player who won eight Grand Slam titles and was one of the first international female sports stars, dies after being diagnosed with leukemia at 39.
1934: Marie Curie, Polish physicist and chemist who was a pioneer in studying radioactivity and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, dies of radiation exposure at 66.
1826: Thomas Jefferson, U.S. politician who was the third president of the United States, dies at 83.
1826: John Adams, U.S. politician who was the second president of the United States, dies on the same day as Thomas Jefferson at 90.