One of the greatest stars of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra charmed us for decades with his talents. We remember Sinatra’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
One of the greatest stars of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra charmed us for decades with his talents. He sang in an effortlessly rich voice that made hits like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Strangers in the Night” enduring classics. He acted, earning an Academy Award for his performance in “From Here to Eternity” and delighting fans with lighter fare including musicals and comedies. He was feted with John F. Kennedy Center honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a Congressional Gold Medal, among numerous other awards and recognition for his unmatched career. We remember Sinatra’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2019: Tim Conway, one of the stars of “The Carol Burnett Show,” delighting audiences of the 1960s and ’70s with hilarious characters including Mr. Tudball and The Oldest Man, dies at 85.
2018: Tom Wolfe, author known for “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” dies at 88.
2017: Powers Boothe, the actor who excelled in playing evil characters, including his role on the hit TV show “Deadwood,” dies at 68.
2016: Darwyn Cooke, Canadian award winning comic book artist and writer who worked on an updated “Catwoman,” dies at 53.
2015: B.B. King, U.S. blues guitarist and singer whose songs include the 1970 hit “The Thrill Is Gone,” is born in Itta Bena, Mississippi.
For generations of blues musicians and rock ‘n’ rollers, King’s plaintive vocals and soaring guitar playing style set the standard for an art form born in the American South and honored and performed worldwide. After the deaths of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters decades ago, King was the greatest upholder of a tradition that inspired everyone from Jimi Hendrix and Robert Cray to the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. King played a Gibson guitar he affectionately called Lucille, with a style that included beautifully crafted single-string runs punctuated by loud chords, subtle vibratos, and bent notes, building on the standard 12-bar blues and improvising like a jazz master. Read more
2012: Belita Woods, U.S. singer who was a member of the funk group Parliament-Funkadelic, dies at 63.
2006: Lew Anderson, U.S. actor and musician who was well-known for playing Clarabell the Clown on “Howdy Doody,” who also formed a popular jazz orchestra called the Lew Anderson All-American Big Band, dies at 84.
Long mute as Clarabell, Anderson broke the clown’s silence in the show’s final episode in 1960. With trembling lips and a visible tear in his eye, he spoke the show’s final words: “Goodbye, kids.” With the Peanut Gallery looking on, Anderson used bicycle horns to give yes and no answers. For more expressive moments, he wielded a bottle of seltzer. Read more
2004: Anna Lee, U.S. actress well-known for her role as Lila Quartermaine on the soap opera “General Hospital,” dies at 91.
2003: Robert Stack, U.S. actor known best for his role as Elliot Ness on the TV series “The Untouchables” and later as the host of “Unsolved Mysteries,” dies at 84.
Although he had a lengthy film career beginning in 1939 with “First Love,” Stack’s greatest fame came with the 1959-63 TV drama “The Untouchables,” in which he played Chicago crime buster Eliot Ness and won a best actor Emmy. That role, coupled with his job as host of the reality series “Unsolved Mysteries,” created an enduring good-guy image. Read more
2003: Wendy Hiller, English actress who won an Academy Award for her role in the movie “Separate Tables” opposite Burt Lancaster, dies at 90.
2003: Dave DeBusschere, U.S. NBA Hall of Fame forward who was an eight-time All-Star and helped lead the New York Knicks to two NBA championships, dies at 62.
DeBusschere’s exploits in the world of sports also included a stint as commissioner of the then-American Basketball Association and parts of two seasons as a major league pitcher with the Chicago White Sox in 1962-63. But it was in basketball that DeBusschere excelled. He gave up baseball after two seasons and a 3-4 record in 36 games to concentrate on his NBA career. By 1964, he was player-coach of the Detroit Pistons, becoming at age 24 the youngest to guide a team. He played six full seasons for the Pistons before being traded in 1968 to the Knicks. Read more
1998: Frank Sinatra, U.S. singer and actor who is considered one of the greatest vocalists of all time and whose acting career included an Academy Award for his role in “From Here to Eternity,” dies at 82.
Also known as Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Chairman of the Board, Sinatra became an icon of cool in postwar America. He sold millions of records during a recording career spanning seven decades, and continues to sell records more than 20 years after his retirement in 1995. Read more
1998: Marjory Stoneman Douglas, U.S. journalist and environmentalist known for her defense of the Everglades against land-development efforts, dies at 108.
1997: Harry Blackstone Jr., U.S. stage magician and television performer who also created the special effects for concert tours for Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper, dies at 62.
1997: Thelma Carpenter, U.S. jazz singer who played with Count Basie and was in the movie “The Wiz,” dies at 75.
1992: Lyle Alzado, U.S. NFL defensive end who was known for his intensity on the field and was a three-time All-Pro, dies of cancer at 43.
In the 1940s, Hayworth was box office gold when she partnered with Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly – and she was the first dancer to partner with both superstars on film. Hayworth loved that period in her career – when she looked back years later, she noted, “I guess the only jewels of my life were the pictures I made with Fred Astaire.” Read more
Beaumont played “Leave It to Beaver’s patriarch,” Ward Cleaver, husband of Barbara Billingsley‘s June Cleaver. Ward Cleaver spent six seasons corralling his sons, Wally and Beaver, and gently reprimanding them for their weekly misbehavior. Read more
1976: Keith Relf, English musician who was the lead singer and harmonica player for the Yardbirds who had numerous hit songs including “For Your Love,” is accidentally electrocuted while playing an improperly grounded electric guitar at 33.
1959: Sidney Bechet, U.S. jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who was one of the first notable saxophone players in jazz and played with Louis Armstrong, dies at 62.
1919: Henry J. Heinz, U.S. businessman and founder of the H.J. Heinz Co., dies at 74.