Lena Horne’s voice started toes tapping for generations, even as her career was undermined by Hollywood blacklisting during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. We remember Horne and other celebrities who died this day, May 9, in history.
2015: Elizabeth Wilson, U.S. actress who won a Tony Award in 1972 for her role in “Sticks and Bones,” dies at 94.
2013: Ottavio Missoni, Italian fashion designer who founded the Missoni label, dies at 92.
The Missonis, who often wore their own creations in everyday life, first showed their collection in Milan in 1966. The next year, a show in Florence of transparent tops sparked outrage, but they were ahead of a fashion trend that would later sprout in Europe. Their signature fashions have a reputation for wearability and for surviving many seasons of changing fashion whims. Among the exhibits honoring them was one by the Whitney Museum in New York. New York’s Metropolitan Museum has also showcased their creations. Read more
2013: Alan Abelson, U.S. journalist who wrote the “Up and Down Wall Street” column in Barron’s magazine, dies at 87.
Abelson graduated with degrees in chemistry and English from City College of New York, and earned a master’s degree from the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. He joined Barron’s in 1956 and became managing editor nine years later. During his years as editor, Abelson was noted for his training and mentoring of dozens of financial reporters and editors. Read more
2012: Vidal Sassoon, English hairdresser who became an internationally known hairstylist and started a successful hair product business, dies at 84.
When Sassoon picked up his shears in the 1950s, styled hair was typically curled, teased, piled high, and shellacked into place. Then came the 1960s, and Sassoon’s creative cuts, which required little styling and fell into place perfectly every time, fit right in with the fledgling women’s liberation movement. Read more
2010: Lena Horne, U.S. singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist whose movies included “Stormy Weather” and who headlined nightclubs including the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, dies at 92.
Horne’s voice started toes tapping for generations, even as her career was undermined by Hollywood blacklisting during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. After leaving Hollywood behind, Horne was a prolific nightclub performer and Grammy Award-winning recording artist. In 1963, she took part in the historic March on Washington and was a vocal champion of the civil rights movement. She was in Jackson, Mississippi, supporting Medgar Evers the weekend before he was assassinated. She also sang at many civil rights rallies, including one held in Alabama after 1965’s Selma to Montgomery walk.
Later in life, Horne appeared in a one-woman Broadway show and continued to perform throughout the 1980s and 1990s, disappearing from the spotlight in 2000 after a 67-year career.
2009: Chuck Daly, U.S. NBA Hall of Fame coach who led the Detroit Pistons to consecutive NBA championships in 1989 and 1990 and led the U.S. team to a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, dies at 78.
He was renowned for his ability to create harmony out of diverse personalities at all levels of the game, whether they were Ivy Leaguers at Pennsylvania, Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, or Pistons as dissimilar as Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars. Read more
2004: Alan King, U.S. comedian and actor whose movie appearances included “Casino” and “Memories of Me,” dies at 76.
King, who until then had been using worn-out one-liners, found his new material at home after his wife persuaded him to forsake his native Manhattan, believing the suburban atmosphere of the Forest Hills sections of Queens would provide a better environment for their children. Soon he was joking of seeing people moving from the city to the suburbs “in covered wagons, with mink stoles hanging out the back.” Read more
2002: Dan Devine, U.S. football coach who led Notre Dame to the NCAA national championship in 1977, dies at 77.
1998: Rommie Loudd, U.S. professional football player who went on to become the first African-American assistant coach in the AFL and the first to be a senior executive of a major league sports team with the Florida Blazers, dies at 64.
1989: Keith Whitley, U.S. country music singer who had 19 songs on the Billboard country charts, dies of alcoholism at 34.
1986: Tenzing Norgay, Nepalese Sherpa who was one of the first two individuals to reach the summit of Mount Everest, along with Edmund Hillary, dies at 71.
1986: Herschel Bernardi, U.S. actor who played Lieutenant Jacoby on the television series “Peter Gunn,” dies at 62.
1985: Edmond O’Brien, U.S. actor who won an Academy Award for his role in “The Barefoot Contessa” and who also appeared in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” with John Wayne and “The Wild Bunch” with William Holden, dies at 69.
1981: Nelson Algren, U.S. author known for his novels “The Man With the Golden Arm” and “A Walk on the Wild Side,” dies at 72.
1968: Marian Lorne, U.S. actress who received her greatest fame at the end of her career for her role as Aunt Clara on the sitcom “Bewitched,” dies at 84.
1968: Harold Gray, U.S. cartoonist who created the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, dies at 74.
1952: Canada Lee, U.S. actor who pioneered roles for African-Americans, who was in many New York theater productions as well as the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Lifeboat,” dies at 45.
1914: C.W. Post, U.S. businessman who created Post cereals, dies by suicide at 59.