Jack Palance had a screen presence like no other, and his path to stardom proved just as amazing. We remember Palance’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Jack Palance had a screen presence like no other, and his path to stardom proved just as amazing. Among his many roles before becoming an actor were coal miner, professional boxer, U.S. Air Force pilot, short order cook, and photographer’s model. His big break came in 1947 when he debuted on Broadway, and by 1950, he had made the move to the big screen. We remember him now for his comedic skills, but the Oscar-nominated Palance made his career in horror, action, and Westerns, and he played some of the most charming villains in film history. We remember Palance’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2010: Dino De Laurentiis, Italian film producer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror films, dies at 91.
Film producer and entrepreneur De Laurentiis enjoyed a prolific career that included groundbreaking Italian neorealist films, spaghetti Westerns, literary epics, B-movie camp classics, low-budget horror films, big-budget action films, and cutting-edge dramas. There was virtually no genre he shied away from. De Laurentiis had a hand in the making of nearly 150 movies during a career that spanned over six decades. Read more
2010: Dave Niehaus, U.S. sportscaster, play-by-play baseball announcer and National Baseball Hall of Fame member, dies of a heart attack at 75.
Niehaus was the voice of the Mariners from their first game April 6, 1977, through the end of the 2010 season with his golden Midwestern voice punctuated by his trademark “My oh My!” and “It will fly away!” calls, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He was the recipient of the 2008 Ford C. Frick award and was inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Read more
2007: Norman Mailer, U.S. novelist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize whose works include “The Naked and the Dead” and “The Executioner’s Song,” dies of acute kidney failure at 84.
Perhaps no career in American literature has been as brilliant, varied, public, lengthy, productive, controversial, and misunderstood. Mailer was the key innovator in the new wave of participatory journalism that took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. As chronicler of and commentator on many of the major events and figures during the last half of the 20th century, Mailer provided daring ideas and insights on everything from the space race to McCarthyism to the Cold War to Picasso, Hitler, and Madonna. Read more
2007: Laraine Day, U.S. actress who was a star in the 1940s and played nurse Mary Lamont seven times in “Dr. Kildare” films, dies at 87.
2006: Jack Palance, U.S. Academy Award-winning actor, dies of natural causes at 87.
1950’s “Panic in the Streets” was Palance’s first movie, and his career continued for 53 years until 2003’s “Between Hitler and Stalin.” He was nominated for three Oscars for best supporting actor, and his lone win – for 1991’s “City Slickers” – was memorable. In the middle of his acceptance speech, he famously dropped to the floor and performed a set of one-handed pushups. Read more
2006: Gerald Levert, U.S. rhythm and blues singer, dies of an accidental prescription-drug overdose at 40.
Levert’s early death – the singer was just 40 – was unexpected and devastating to his fans. A glance at his online Guest Book shows how much his fans loved and respected him, and how much they miss him to this day. Read more
2003: Irv “Kup” Kupcinet, Chicago-based U.S. newspaper columnist, television talk-show host, and radio personality, dies at 91.
“Kupcinet was one of a kind. My father, David Condon, wrote for the Tribune for 30 years. He always told me that the first column he checked in the morning was Kup. He told me that Kup said more in the first paragraph than some writers said in their entire column. It will take me quite a while to stop turning to the page where Kup’s column was, still expecting to see it.” Read more
2001: Ken Kesey, U.S. writer, countercultural figure and author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” dies of surgical complications at 66.
1997: Tommy Tedesco, U.S. guitarist who was a renowned session player who played on the themes for “Batman” and “Bonanza” and recorded with Ricky Nelson, Frank Zappa, and Elvis Presley, dies of lung cancer at 67.
1994: Carmen McRae, influential U.S. jazz vocalist in the 20th century, dies at 74.
1992: Chuck Connors, U.S. actor, writer, and professional baseball and basketball player, dies of pneumonia related to lung cancer at 71.
How different would the entertainment world have been if Connors – who had played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bears (who drafted him, though he never suited up for a single football game) – had decided to continue his career in sports? It certainly would have been short one fine cowboy. We’re glad Connors made the switch. Read more
1975: SS Edmund Fitzgerald, The entire crew of 29 on the SS Edmund Fitzgerald were lost at sea when the ship sank during a storm on Lake Superior.
1973: David “Stringbean” Akeman, U.S. banjo player and comedian known for his role on “Hee Haw,” dies at 57 along with his wife, Estelle, after burglars shoot them at the couple’s rural Tennessee home.
1964: Jimmie Dodd, U.S. actor who hosted the 1950s Walt Disney TV series “The Mickey Mouse Club” and wrote the show’s theme song, dies of cancer at 54.