Gilda Radner was one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players, the very first comedians to make “Saturday Night Live” hilarious. We remember Radner’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Gilda Radner was one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players, the very first comedians to make “Saturday Night Live hilarious” … in fact, she was the first cast member ever hired for the show. Fans of SNL’s early years loved her well-known characters, including Roseanne Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa, and Emily Litella. After leaving SNL, she launched a one-woman show on Broadway and went on to a movie career with hits including “Hanky Panky” and “Haunted Honeymoon.” Her death at 42 of ovarian cancer devastated friends and fans alike. We remember Radner’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2013: Zach Sobiech, U.S. singer-songwriter whose performance video on YouTube of his song “Clouds” received extensive attention, dies of bone cancer at 18.
Sobiech began writing songs of farewell to family and friends in the fall of 2012. His first song, “Clouds,” has received more than 10 million YouTube hits. The catchy tune inspired tributes and covers, including a celebrity video. Read more
2013: Ray Manzarek, U.S. keyboardist and singer-songwriter who was well-known as a founding member of the Doors, dies at 74.
Manzarek’s death brought to an end a career that included innovating the ’60s sound, producing other famous rock acts, writing novels, and much more. The fans missing Manzarek today are probably remembering and listening to the classic Doors tracks that feature his unmistakable keyboards, such as “Light My Fire.” Read more
2012: Robin Gibb, English musician and singer-songwriter who was well-known as a member of the Bee Gees alongside his brothers Maurice and Barry, dies at 62.
Robin Gibb was the second of the Brothers Gibb to die – his fraternal twin brother, Maurice, died more than 12 years ago. But Gibb and his brothers leave a musical legacy as few others. Their music dominated the disco era, both the songs they performed and those they penned for others. Indeed, after John Lennon and Paul McCartney, they’re the second most successful songwriting team in the history of British music. Read more
2011: Randy “Macho Man” Savage, U.S. professional wrestler who was one of the stars of the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling circuits, dies at 58.
In the ring, Savage – a second-generation wrestler whose father, Angelo Poffo, was a favorite in the 1950s and ’60s – was an intense athlete and showman. Managed by “Miss Elizabeth,” he wrestled with and against some of pro wrestling’s other great names, exciting his fans with big matchups … such as his win against the massive Andre the Giant. Read more
2009: Lucy Gordon, English model and actress who was a face of CoverGirl and who played reporter Jennifer Dugan in “Spider-Man 3,” dies by suicide at 28.
Gordon appeared in a dozen films, including as reporter Jennifer Dugan in “Spider-Man 3.” She portrayed British singer and actress Jane Birkin in the 2010 biopic “Serge Gainsbourg (A Heroic Life)” by Joann Sfar. Read more
2008: Hamilton Jordan, U.S. politician known best as chief of staff to President Jimmy Carter, dies at 63.
During Carter’s administration, Jordan participated in the Camp David Egyptian-Israeli peace talks and “worked tirelessly” during the Iranian hostage crisis, said Gerald Rafshoon, who was Carter’s chief of communications. Jordan viewed Carter as “the right man for the times, after Watergate, Vietnam. He saw somebody not from Washington, not in Congress, not tarred from the sins of the past and understood American people better than anybody in that campaign,” Rafshoon said. Read more
2000: Malik Sealy, U.S. NBA forward who was a first-round draft choice of the Indiana Pacers and was playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2000, dies of injuries sustained in an auto accident at 30.
1996: Jon Pertwee, English actor who played the third Doctor on the TV series “Doctor Who,” dies at 76.
Pertwee discovered his Doctor’s unique style when he was told to “play Jon Pertwee” –– that is, give his portrayal of the Doctor his own characteristics. What emerged was a Doctor of action, much more eager to jump into the fray than his predecessors. The third Doctor became known as “the Dandy Doctor” for his penchant for ornate clothing – velvets and silks, smoking jackets, cravats, and an accessory that also would find a home around Doctor No. 11’s neck: bow ties. Read more
1989: Gilda Radner, U.S. comedian and actress who was well-known as one of the original cast members of “Saturday Night Live,” dies of ovarian cancer at 42.
In 1978 Radner’s work on “Saturday Night Live” won her an Emmy Award for outstanding continuing or single performance by a supporting actress in variety or music. In her memoir, “It’s Always Something,” Radner said NBC offered her own prime-time variety show in 1979. She turned it down and remained a Not Ready for Prime Time Player on “Saturday Night Live.” Read more
1985: George Memmoli, U.S. actor who was in Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” and had a regular role on the sitcom “Hello Larry,” dies at 46.
1964: Rudy Lewis, U.S. rhythm and blues singer who was a member of the Drifters, dies at 27.
1939: Joseph Carr, U.S. NFL Hall of Famer who was the president of the NFL from 1921 until 1939, dies at 58.
1506: Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer who was one of the first Europeans to explore the Americas, dies most likely at 54.