Carroll O’Connor helped to redefine television comedy in the 1970s as Archie Bunker. We remember O’Connor’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Carroll O’Connor helped to redefine television comedy in the 1970s as Archie Bunker, using the medium to tackle issues of race relations, women’s rights, and other serious topics. On “All in the Family,” and later “Archie Bunker’s Place,” O’Connor spent years as the bigoted, reactionary Bunker, clashing hilariously with the changing world around him. In the 1980s and 1990s, O’Connor starred in the television adaptation of “In the Heat of the Night” and later appeared in a recurring role on “Mad About You.” Following the death of his son, Hugh, in 1995, O’Connor devoted himself to raising awareness about drug addiction, recording public service announcements and lobbying to pass legislation holding drug dealers financially liable for damages resulting from their sales. We remember O’Connor’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2018: Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist and TV pundit, dies at 68.
2015: Gunther Schuller, U.S. composer and jazz musician known as a leader of the Third Stream movement fusing jazz and classical music, dies at 89.
2013: Elliot Reid, U.S. character actor who had a leading role in the Marilyn Monroe classic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” dies of heart failure at 93.
2013: Jerry Dexter, U.S. actor who had a recurring role on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and was the voice of Alan for the cartoon “Josie and the Pussycats,” dies of injuries sustained in a fall in his home at 78.
2008: Kermit Love, U.S. puppeteer known best for his work with the Muppets, particularly on “Sesame Street,” dies of congestive heart failure at 91.
2007: Bob Evans, U.S. businessman known best as the founder of the Bob Evans restaurant chain, dies of stroke complications at 89.
Evans complained that he could not get good sausage for the restaurant he started after World War II in Gallipolis, in southeast Ohio, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Starting with $1,000, a couple of hogs, 40 pounds of black pepper, 50 pounds of sage, and other secret ingredients, he opted to make his own, relying on the hog’s best parts as opposed to the scraps commonly used in sausage. He began selling it at the restaurant and mom-and-pop stores, and peddled tubs of it from the back of his pickup truck. Read more
2003: Leon Uris, U.S. author well-known for his novels “Exodus” and “Trinity,” dies of kidney failure at 78.
2001: Carroll O’Connor, U.S. actor known best for his role as Archie Bunker on the sitcom “All in the Family,” dies of a heart attack at 76.
2001: John Lee Hooker, U.S. blues singer-songwriter and guitarist who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and whose songs were covered by such artists as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Doors, dies in his sleep at 83.
Just three years after Hooker released “Boom Boom,” it got swept up in the British Invasion when London rockers the Animals took it on. Their version reached an audience that might never have heard Mississippi-born bluesmen like Hooker, and it helped cement the song’s status as a blues-rock classic. Read more
1990: June Christy, U.S. singer known for her work in cool jazz, who sang the hit song “Tampico” as the lead singer for the Stan Kenton Orchestra, dies of kidney failure at 64.
1985: Ettore Boiardi, Italian-born chef known as the founder of the Chef Boyardee line of canned Italian foods, dies of natural causes at 87.
1973: Frank Leahy, U.S. college football coach known as the head coach at Notre Dame, leading them to four national titles, who also previously won a national title as head coach at Boston College, dies at 64.
1969: Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly, U.S. tennis player who won nine grand slam singles titles and whose career was cut short at the young age of 19 from a horseback riding accident, dies of ovarian cancer at 34.
1964: Michael Schwerner, U.S. civil rights advocate, is killed at 24 by the Ku Klux Klan in response to his work promoting voter registration among blacks in Mississippi.
1964: Andrew Goodman, U.S. civil rights advocate, is killed at 20 by the KKK in response to his work promoting voter registration among blacks in Mississippi.
1964: James Chaney, U.S. civil rights advocate, is killed at 21 by the KKK in response to his work promoting voter registration among blacks in Mississippi.
1957: Donald McBride, U.S. character actor who appeared in over 100 films, including “Here Comes Mr. Jordan,” dies at 63.
1934: Thorne Smith, U.S. author known best for his novel “Topper,” which was made into a film starring Cary Grant, dies of a heart attack at 42.