We remember Buck Owens and other notable people who died this day in history.
Singer-songwriter Buck Owens scored 21 No. 1 country hits during his 61-year career, propelling Owens into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. A pioneer of the California-inspired Bakersfield Sound, Owens was equally at home in Nashville, where he co-hosted “Hee Haw” with Roy Clark from 1969 to 1986. His songs have been covered by the likes of the Beatles, Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakam, and Ben Gibbard, inspiring artists from across the spectrum of rock, pop, and country, a testament to Owens’ incredibly wide appeal. We remember Owens’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2016: Shannon Bolin, U.S. actress whose main notable role was in the movie “Damn Yankees,” dies at 99.
2014: Ralph Wilson, U.S. businessman who founded the Buffalo Bills, dies at 95.
Wilson’s one regret was the Bills’ inability to win a Super Bowl. They came close in the early 1990s, when the Marv Levy-coached and Jim Kelly-quarterbacked teams won four consecutive AFC championships from 1990-93, but lost each time. The Bills, however, have not made the playoffs since 1999, and their 14-postseason drought ranks as the NFL’s longest active streak. What Wilson never lacked was his sense of humor. In 2010, with the Bills 0-5, Wilson began an interview with The Associated Press with an apology. “I want to apologize for this phone system,” Wilson said, with a familiar chuckle. “It’s almost as bad as my team.” Read more
2013: Jean Pickering, British track and field athlete and European champion who won a bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, dies at 83.
2013: Anthony Lewis, U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times columnist credited with creating the field of legal journalism, dies at 85.
2012: Bert Sugar, U.S. writer who was well-known as one of the leading writers on boxing history, dies at 74.
Sugar was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. According to the hall’s website, Sugar wrote more than 80 books, including “The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time.” He also appeared in a handful of films, including “The Great White Hype” starring Samuel Jackson. Read more
2012: Larry Stevenson, U.S. inventor and skateboard pioneer who revolutionized the sport by inventing the kick tail, which is the bent-upward, back end of the board, dies at 81.
2012: Edd Gould, British animator and artist known for creating “Eddsworld,” dies at 23.
2009: Dan Seals, U.S. musician who gained fame as one half of duo England Dan and John Ford Coley, dies at 61.
With England Dan and John Ford Coley, Seals had hits including “I’d Really Like to See You Tonight” and “Nights Are Forever,” both in 1976. His country hits in the ’80s and ’90s included “Bop,” “You Still Move Me,” “Love on Arrival,” and a duet with Marie Osmond, “Meet Me in Montana.” “I’ve loved to play and sing from the moment I knew what it was,” he told The Associated Press in 1992. Read more
2008: Herb Peterson, U.S. advertising executive and McDonald’s franchisee who invented the Egg McMuffin, dies at 89.
He began his career with McDonald’s Corp. as vice president of the company’s advertising firm, D’Arcy Advertising, in Chicago. He wrote McDonald’s first national advertising slogan, “Where Quality Starts Fresh Every Day.”Peterson came up with idea for the signature McDonald’s breakfast item in 1972, as a way to introduce breakfast to McDonald’s restaurants. The Egg McMuffin made its debut at a restaurant in Santa Barbara, California, that Peterson co-owned with his son, David Peterson. Read more
2008: Gene Puerling, U.S. vocal performer and arranger who won a Grammy Award for best vocal arrangement, dies at 78.
2008: Abby Mann, U.S. screenwriter and producer who won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Stanley Kramer’s “Judgment at Nuremberg” and was the creator of “Kojak,” dies at 80.
Mann also won multiple Emmys, including one in 1973 for “The Marcus-Nelson Murders,” which created a maverick New York police detective named Theo Kojak. The film, starring Telly Savalas, gave birth to the long-running TV series “Kojak.” Read more
2008: Ben Carnevale, U.S. Hall of Fame college basketball coach who was the coach at Navy for 20 years, dies at 92.
2006: Buck Owens, U.S. country music singer and guitarist who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country charts with his band the Buckaroos and was the co-host of the TV show “Hee Haw” for many years, dies at 76.
His career was one of the most phenomenal in country music, with a string of more than 20 No. 1 records, most released from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. They were recorded with a honky-tonk twang that came to be known throughout California as the Bakersfield Sound, named for the town 100 miles north of Los Angeles that Owens called home. Read more
2006: Richard Fleischer, U.S. movie director of such movies as “The Jazz Singer” and “Doctor Doolittle,” dies at 89.
2005: Paul Henning, U.S. television producer and writer who created “The Bob Cummings Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “and Petticoat Junction,” dies at 93.
2000: Helen Martin, U.S. actress known best for her role as Pearl Shay on the sitcom “227,” dies at 90.
1999: Cal Ripken Sr., U.S. Major League Baseball player and manager of the Baltimore Orioles who was the father of baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., dies at 63.
1992: Nancy Walker, U.S. actress known best as Ida Morgenstern, the mother of Rhoda on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show“ and “Rhoda,” and for playing Rosie in Bounty paper towel commercials for 20 years, dies at 69.
1988: Robert Joffrey, U.S. dancer who was a co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, dies at 57.
1983: Bob Waterfield, U.S. Hall of Fame quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams who led them to NFL Championship titles in 1945 and 1951, dies at 62.
1969: Max Eastman, U.S. writer and poet who was a key figure in the left-leaning Greenwich Village community of the early 20th century, dies at 86.
1969: Billy Cotton, English bandleader and entertainer, dies at 69.
1951: Eddie Collins, U.S. Hall of Fame second baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago White Sox who had a career batting average of .333 and won six World Series championships, dies at 63.
1931: Ida B. Wells, U.S. journalist and activist who was one of the founders of the NAACP, dies at 68.
Before she co-founded the NAACP, before she was an acclaimed journalist and a passionate and articulate advocate for African-Americans and women, Ida B. Wells was held captive in slavery. Read more
1918: Claude Debussy, French composer who was very influential in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dies at 55.