Richard Dawson became one of America’s favorite British imports when he took a role on TV’s “Hogan’s Heroes.” We remember Dawson’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Richard Dawson became one of America’s favorite British imports when he took a role in “Hogan’s Heroes.” The wacky World War II sitcom brought him recognition, but it was on game shows that Dawson became a star. Beginning on “Match Game” and rising to true fame as the host of “Family Feud,” Dawson kept the games light and fun … and made sure to kiss the female contestants. In fact, Dawson met his second wife when she was a “Family Feud” contestant. We remember Dawson’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2017: Peter Sallis, British television actor who provided the voice of the cheese-obsessed Wallace in the Oscar-winning “Wallace and Gromit” clay animation comedy films, dies at 96.
2013: Rob Morsberger, U.S. singer-songwriter who worked as a sideman and arranger with musicians including Patti Smith, Crash Test Dummies, and Marshall Crenshaw, dies at 53.
2012: Kathryn Joosten, U.S. actress known best for her regular role as Karen McCluskey on the television series “Desperate Housewives,” dies at 72.
Joosten won two Emmies for her portrayal of Mrs. McCluskey, who kept a close eye on her Wisteria Lane neighbors on “Desperate Housewives.” The hit show ended its eight-year run on ABC in May 2012 with a series finale in which Joosten’s character died. Her character’s battle with cancer was a storyline in the show. Read more
2012: LeRoy Ellis, U.S. NBA center who played for 14 seasons and scored more than 10,000 points in his career, dies of prostate cancer at 72.
2012: Richard Dawson, English actor and TV game show host who was well-known for playing Newkirk on “Hogan’s Heroes” and later for hosting the game show “Family Feud,” dies at 79.
Not long after the six-year run of “Hogan’s Heroes” came to an end, Dawson began a five-year stint as a regular panelist on “Match Game.” The always-funny Dawson had the prominent bottom-center spot on the show’s grid of celebrities, putting his face and his laughs on display. Read more
Ferrer’s most-impressive film role came in 1953 in “Lili.” He played a disabled carnival puppeteer with whom a French orphan (played by Leslie Caron) falls in love. He also won critical acclaim as Luis Bello in Robert Rossen’s 1951 depiction of the public and private life of a bullfighter in “The Brave Bulls,” based on a Tom Lea book, and starred opposite Hepburn in 1956’s “War and Peace.” Read more
2008: Bo Diddley, U.S. rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter whose sound influenced numerous rock ‘n’ roll bands such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and The Who, and whose songs include “Who Do You Love” and “I’m a Man,” dies at 79.
Diddley was one of the great musical pioneers who helped create rock ‘n’ roll. His influence can be felt all across the modern music world – in rock and hip-hop, in cover versions, in songs inspired by his songs, and, especially, in rhythms. Diddley’s rhythms laid the groundwork for more than 50 years of popular music. Read more
2006: Vince Welnick, U.S. keyboardist who was a member of the band the Tubes and then became a member of the Grateful Dead, dies at 55.
With long, frizzy hair and tie-dyed clothes, Welnick clearly looked the part of a member of a band that was born in 1965 in San Francisco, then the cradle of the country’s emerging psychedelic counterculture. But the fact was he was largely unfamiliar with the band’s music when he joined, and he recalled years later that he was so nervous he could barely play at his first show with the band in Cleveland. He was quickly put at ease when the audience gave him a warm welcome. Read more
2003: Freddie “Classie” Blassie, U.S. professional wrestler and later manager who worked in the World Wrestling Federation and managed Jessie Ventura and Hulk Hogan, dies at 85.
2001: Joey Maxim, U.S. boxer who was the light heavyweight champion of the world and defeated Sugar Ray Robinson in a memorable title fight at Yankee Stadium in 1952, dies at 79.
2001: Imogene Coca, U.S. actress and comedian remembered best for starring on “Your Show of Shows” with Sid Caesar and playing Aunt Edna in “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” dies at 92.
1998: Junkyard Dog, U.S. professional wrestler who was very popular in the World Wrestling Federation and feuded with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, dies in a car accident at 45.
1997: Doc Cheatham, U.S. jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader who played with Cab Calloway’s band in the 1930s and won a Grammy at age 90, dies at 91.
1996: Ray Combs, U.S. comedian and game show host who was well-known as host of “Family Feud” from 1988 until 1994, dies by suicide at 40.
1993: Johnny Mize, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman who was a 10-time All-Star, hit 359 career home runs, and had a career batting average over .300, dies at 80.
1992: Phillip Dunne, U.S. screenwriter and director known best for writing “How Green Was My Valley” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” and who also directed Elvis Presley in “Wild in the Country,” dies at 84.
1990: Rex Harrison, English actor who won an Oscar for his role as professor Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady,” dies at 82.
1987: Andres Segovia, Spanish classical guitarist who was called the Father of Modern Classical Guitar and is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, dies at 94.
1987: Sammy Kaye, U.S. big bandleader whose Sammy Kaye Band was very popular in the 1930s and ’40s, dies at 77.
1979: Jim Hutton, U.S. actor who starred on the television series “Ellery Queen” and was the father of actor Timothy Hutton, dies of liver cancer at 45.
He appeared in several notable series and films during his career, including comedies such as “Bachelor in Paradise” with Bob Hope and Lana Turner and “The Honeymoon Machine” with Steve McQueen and Paula Prentiss. Read more
1977: Stephen Boyd, Irish actor known best for his role as Messala in “Ben-Hur,” dies of a heart attack at 45.
1969: Leo Gorcey, U.S. actor who starred as “Slip” Mahoney in the popular movie series “The Bowery Boys,” dies at 51.
1956: Jean Hersholt, Danish-born U.S. actor who appeared in 140 films and played Shirley Temple‘s grandfather in the movie “Heidi,” dies at 69.
1941: Lou Gehrig, U.S. Hall of Fame first baseman for the New York Yankees who had a career batting average of .340 and led the Yankees to six World Series championships, dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, at 37.
The season after Gehrig hit his record-breaking grand slam was when the illness that came to be known as Lou Gehrig’s disease took baseball away from him. He played eight games in 1939. As the ninth game of the season began, he told his manager he’d stay on the bench, breaking his streak of 2,130 consecutive games. Read more