Died May 25

by Legacy Staff

Charles Nelson Reilly was a one-man show. We remember Reilly’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Charles Nelson Reilly was a one-man show. Reilly was a successful Broadway star, picking up a Tony for “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and appearing in the original productions of “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Hello, Dolly!” He also was a prolific television actor, appearing on such game shows as “Match Game” and guest-starring in a string of classic TV shows from “The Patty Duke Show” to “The X-Files.” A prolific voice-over actor, he lent his distinctive vocal style to programs like “Goof Troop” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” We remember Reilly’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including actress Dixie Carter.


2019: Claus von Bulow, Danish-British socialite who became the subject of a sensational 1980s court case when he was accused, then convicted, then acquitted of attempting to kill his American wife, Sunny von Bülow, dies at 92.

2014: Bunny Yeager, U.S. photographer and pinup model known best for her photos of Bettie Page, dies at 85.

Bunny Yeager (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)Yeager became famous for making everyday women, from stay-at-home mothers to airline attendants, feel comfortable enough to bare it all. Her photos of Page in a leopard-print bathing suit standing next to a real cheetah are still well-known today. They all wanted to model for me because they knew that I wouldn’t take advantage of them,” Yeager told The Associated Press during a 2013 interview. “And I wouldn’t push them to do nude if they didn’t want to do nudes. It wasn’t a day when nude photography was prevalent.” Read more

2013: Marshall Lytle, U.S. bassist who was a member of Bill Haley and His Comets from 1952 until 1955 and played on their rock ‘n’ roll hit “Rock Around the Clock,” dies at 79.

Marshall Lytle (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)Lytle was a guitar player working at a radio station in Chester, Pennsylvania, in the early 1950s when Bill Haley, who worked at a different station, hired him to replace the stand-up bass player in his band. It was an odd choice as Lytle, still a teenager, didn’t play bass. But as he explained in many interviews, Haley gave him a 30-minute lesson, showing him the slap-bass technique, in which the strings are smacked against the fingerboard. Such playing was a feature of country music, which was the specialty of Haley’s band, then known as Bill Haley and the Saddlemen. Read more

2007: Charles Nelson Reilly, U.S. actor and comedian known best as a regular on the game show “Match Game,” dies at 76.

He gained fame by becoming what he described as a “game show fixture” in the 1970s and ’80s. He was a regular on programs like “Match Game” and “Hollywood Squares,” often wearing giant glasses and colorful suits with ascots. His larger-than-life persona and affinity for double-entendres also landed him on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” more than 95 times. Read more

2007: Laurie Bartram, U.S. actress known best for playing Brenda in the horror film “Friday the 13th,” dies at 49.

2006: Desmond Dekker, Jamaican reggae musician whose band the Aces notched some of the earliest reggae hits, including “007 (Shanty Town)” and “Israelites,” dies at 64.

Dekker’s 1969 song “Israelites,” a top-10 single in both Britain and the U.S., was the first international hit produced by Jamaica’s vibrant music scene. With its haunting vocals and irresistible rhythm, it introduced the world to ska, a precursor to reggae. Other hits included “007 (Shanty Town)” – featured on the soundtrack of the seminal Jamaican film “The Harder They Come” – and “Rudie Got Soul.” Read more

2004: Roger Williams Straus Jr., U.S. businessman who was the co-founder and chairman of the publisher Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, dies at 87.

2003: Sloan Wilson, U.S. author known for his best-selling books including “A Summer Place” and “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” dies at 83.

1996: Bradley Nowell, U.S. guitarist and singer who founded the ska-punk band Sublime and had hit songs with “Santeria” and “What I Got,” dies of a heroin overdose at 28.

1995: Dany Robin, French actress who starred in “Follow the Boys” with Connie Francis and in Alfred Hitchcock‘s “Topaz,” dies at 68.

1995: Dick Curless, U.S. country music singer who pioneered trucking music and had 22 songs in the country Top 40, dies at 63.

1993: Dan Seymour, U.S. actor known best for playing villains in such movies as “Key Largo,” dies at 78.

1990: Vic Tayback, U.S. actor known best for his role as diner owner Mel Sharples on the sitcom “Alice,” dies at 60.

1982: Larry J. Blake, U.S. actor who starred on the 1950s sitcom “The Pride of the Family,” which also starred a teenage Natalie Wood, dies at 68.

1981: Roy Brown, U.S. rhythm and blues singer-songwriter who was an influence on early rock ‘n’ roll and whose original song “Good Rocking Tonight” was covered by Elvis PresleyRicky Nelson, and the Doors, dies at 55.

1974: Donald Crisp, British-born U.S. actor who won an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in “How Green Was My Valley,” dies at 91.

1965: Sonny Boy Williamson, U.S. blues harmonica player and singer-songwriter who was highly influential and had his songs covered by other artists including Led Zeppelin and The Who, dies most likely at 53.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including actress Dixie Carter.

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