We remember celebrities who died today, June 18, in history, including saxophonist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
2020: Vera Lynn, singer, songwriter, and actress known for the wartime hit songs “We’ll Meet Again” and “White Cliffs of Dover,” dies at 103.
2018: Big Van Vader, WWE wrestling legend, dies at 63.
2018: XXXTentacion, controversial rapper whose song “Sad” was a top ten hit, dies at 20.
2014: Horace Silver, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who was a pioneer of hard bop, dies at 85.
Songs like “The Preacher,” “Song for My Father,” and the evocatively titled “Filthy McNasty” showed the possibilities of jazz when leavened with other sounds, and his experimentation would not end there. He eventually began to include lyrics with his works and explored social and political themes in his music in the 1960s and ’70s, even dabbling in what he described as cosmic philosophy. Read more
2013: David Petitjean, U.S. actor and humorist whose appearances include the movie “The Big Easy” and the television series “In the Heat of the Night,” dies at 85 after developing Alzheimer’s disease.
2013: Michael Hastings, U.S. journalist who was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a reporter for BuzzFeed, dies in a high-speed, one-car crash at 33.
Hastings was described by many of his colleagues as an unfailingly bright and hard-charging reporter who wrote stories that mattered. Most recently, he wrote about politics for the news website BuzzFeed, where the top editor said colleagues were devastated by the loss. “Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians,” said Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
Spinetti won a Tony Award in 1965 for his Broadway performance in “Oh! What a Lovely War.” He also appeared in three Beatles movies, “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” and “Magical Mystery Tour.” Spinetti was born to an Italian-Welsh father and Welsh mother in South Wales. He moved to London to develop his acting career. Read more
2011: Clarence Clemons, U.S. tenor saxophonist known for being a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, dies of stroke complications at 69.
Even after Bruce Springsteen disbanded the E Street Band in 1989, Clemons continued to work with his old bandmate throughout his life. And he played with other top artists as diverse as the Grateful Dead and Lady Gaga. Indeed, some of Clemons’ last great music was made with Gaga, as he was featured on her 2011 album, “Born This Way.” Clemons’ comment on working with her summed up his love for his work: “I’m surprised I’m getting paid for this. I would have done it for free. I can never believe something that feels so good earns me money.” Read more
2007: Hank Medress, U.S. singer and record producer who was a member of the doo-wop group the Tokens, who had a No. 1 hit in 1961 with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” dies of lung cancer at 68.
2006: Vincent Sherman, U.S. director whose movies included “The Young Philadelphians” and “Adventures of Don Juan,” dies at 99.
2003: Larry Doby, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder and seven-time All-Star who started in the Negro Leagues and became the first black to play in the American League when he signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians, dies of cancer complications at 79.
2002: Jack Buck, U.S. sportscaster who was well-known as the longtime play-by-play announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, dies at 77.
2000: Nancy Marchand, U.S. actress who had a long career but is probably known best for her later role co-starring with James Gandolfini on “The Sopranos,” dies of lung cancer and emphysema at 71.
1992: Peter Allen, Australian singer-songwriter who co-wrote the theme song for the movie “Arthur,” which won him an Academy Award, dies of AIDS-related throat cancer at 48.
Though Allen was a recording artist, he found his greatest success as a songwriter. Both on his own and in collaboration with songwriting greats like Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, Allen gave us some of our favorite soft-rock hits of the 1970s and ’80s. The three songwriters, along with Christopher Cross, won an Oscar for their theme song to the hit Dudley Moore movie “Arthur.” Read more
1991: Joan Caulfield, U.S. actress who was in the movie “The Unsuspected” with Claude Rains and on TV series such as “The High Chaparral,” dies of cancer at 69.
1984: Alan Berg, U.S. lawyer and liberal talk show host on the radio who was murdered by members of a white nationalist group in a crime that provided the basis for the movie “Talk Radio,” dies at 50.
1982: John Cheever, U.S. short-story writer and novelist whose well-known works include the novel “Falconer,” dies at 70.
1980: Terrence Fisher, English director who was well-known for his gothic horror films such as “The Curse of Frankenstein,” dies at 76.
1959: Ethel Barrymore, U.S. actress who was a member of the Barrymore family of actors and won an Oscar for her role in “None but the Lonely Heart,” dies of cardiovascular disease at 79.
1928: Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer who led the first men to set foot on the South Pole in 1911, dies at 55 after his plane disappears during a rescue mission.