We remember Robert Culp and other notable people who died this day in history.
With a career spanning more than 50 years, actor Robert Culp built a very diverse body of work. From early work in Westerns to sci-fi, spy thrillers, and comedies, he was at home in practically any genre. He was a frequent guest star on television throughout the 1970s, appearing as three different murderers on “Columbo,” and found renewed popularity in the 1980s as a tough FBI agent in “The Greatest American Hero.” In addition to acting, he also proved himself as a writer and director on several episodes of his hit show “I Spy.” We remember Culp’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2016: Garry Shandling, U.S. comic, writer, and producer who received critical acclaim for “The Larry Sanders Show,” dies at 66.
In 1993, NBC offered Shandling $5 million to take over the talk show “Late Night” when host David Letterman announced his highly publicized move to CBS, but he declined. He was also offered “The Late Late Show” but also turned it down in favor of continuing on “The Larry Sanders Show.” The show spoofed NBC’s efforts to find a Letterman successor. Read more
2016: Johan Cruyff, Dutch football legend widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of soccer, dies of cancer at 68.
“With his anticipation and acceleration, Cruyff seemed to own the entire field of play. Only nominally a centre-forward, he was both orchestrator and predator, at one moment collecting a rolled ball from his keeper to start a move – one arm pointing as he barked orders to his team-mates – and the next materialising at the other end in front of goal for the coup de grace. For opponents it was like trying to pin down air.” Read more
2015: Passengers and crew of Germanwings Flight 9525. All 150 people aboard were killed when the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane, en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, into a mountainside in the French Alps. Read more
2013: Deke Richards, U.S. music producer and songwriter who co-wrote some of the Jackson 5’s hits, including “I Want You Back” and “ABC,” dies at 68.
2013: Peter Duryea, U.S. actor who appeared on many TV shows including “The Fugitive” and “The Outer Limits,” dies at 73.
2010: Johnny Maestro, U.S. lead singer for Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge who had a hit song with “The Worst That Could Happen,” dies at 70.
After beginning his career in the 1950s with the Crests, Maestro joined a local New York group, the Del-Satins. It merged with a Long Island band, the Rhythm Method, to form Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge in 1968. Hits by the rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop group included “The Worst That Could Happen,” which band member Les Cauchi said earned “gold record” status with a million sales. Read more
2010: Robert Culp, U.S. actor well-known for his role as Kelly Robinson on the TV series “I Spy,” dies at 79.
Culp followed “I Spy” with his most prestigious film role, in “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.” The work of first-time director Paul Mazursky, who also co-wrote the screenplay, lampooned the lifestyles of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Bob and Carol (Culp and Natalie Wood) introduced wife swapping to their best friends, Ted and Alice (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon). Culp also had starring roles in such films as “The Castaway Cowboy,” “Golden Girl,” “Turk 182!”, and “Big Bad Mama II.” Read more
2009: George Kell, U.S. Hall of Fame third baseman who had a career batting average over .300 and was a 10-time All-Star and later became a popular baseball broadcaster, dies at 86.
Kell played from 1943-1957 with the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. He batted more than .300 each year from 1946-53. He played for the Tigers during his batting duel with Ted Williams. After he retired, Kell broadcast Tigers games from 1959 to 1996. Read more
2008: Richard Widmark, U.S. actor who starred in classic noir films including “Kiss of Death” and “Panic in the Streets,” dies at 93.
After a career in radio drama and theater, Widmark moved to films as Tommy Udo, who delighted in pushing an old lady in a wheelchair to her death down a flight of stairs in the 1947 thriller “Kiss of Death.” The performance won him an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor; it was his only mention for an Oscar. “That damned laugh of mine!” he told a reporter in 1961. “For two years after that picture, you couldn’t get me to smile. I played the part the way I did because the script struck me as funny and the part I played made me laugh. The guy was such a ridiculous beast.” Read more
2008: Neil Aspinall, English music executive who started out as a friend of the Beatles‘ Paul McCartney and George Harrison and then became their road manager and later the head of the Beatles’ Apple Corp., dies at 66.
As the band’s popularity grew in the early 1960s, they found that their usual method of riding public transit to shows was getting unwieldy. Aspinall was willing to buy a van (a famously red and grey beast that soon became a graffitied masterpiece) and drive the band around, so he became their first road manager. As the years went on, Aspinall’s contributions grew. Read more
2008: Chalmers Alford, U.S. guitarist who won three Grammy awards and played on songs by the Bee Gees and John Mayer, dies at 52.
1999: Birdie Tebbetts, U.S. Major League Baseball catcher and then manager who was a four-time All-Star, dies at 86.
1997: Dr. Bill Miller, U.S. professional wrestler who won the World Wrestling Association’s tag-team championship with Dick the Bruiser, dies at 69.
1994: Tommy Benford, U.S. jazz drummer who played with jazz greats including Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins, dies at 88.
1993: John Hersey, U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of American journalism of the 20th century, dies at 78.
1990: Ray Goulding, U.S. comedian who formed a popular comedy duo with Bob Elliott called Bob and Ray, dies at 68.
1986: Sarah Cunningham, U.S. actress known best for her role as Nurse Andrews on “Trapper John M.D.” and appeared on TV shows including “Vega$” and “Dallas,” dies at 67 of a heart attack while attending the Academy Awards ceremony.
1984: Sam Jaffe, U.S. actor who appeared in classic movies including “Ben-Hur” and “The Asphalt Jungle,” dies at 93.
1971: Arne Jacobsen, Danish architect and designer known for his simple but effective chair designs, dies at 69.
1968: Alice Guy-Blache, French film director who was the first female director in the film industry and directed Hollywood movies including the silent film “The Pawnshop” with Charlie Chaplin, dies at 94.
1915: Margaret Lindsay Huggins, Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer who was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy, dies at 66.
1905: Jules Verne, French author who was well-known for his popular adventure novels including “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and “Around the World in Eighty Days,” dies at 77.
In 1863, Verne wrote a novel depicting a futuristic 1960s Paris that featured skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, computers, and a worldwide telegraphic communication network. After his publisher declined it, Verne placed the manuscript in a drawer. His great-grandson discovered the work in 1989; he finally published it in 1994 as “Paris in the 20th Century.” Read more
1882: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, U.S. poet whose works are highly regarded and include the poem “Evangeline,” dies at 75.