Jimmy Ruffin soared to the top of the charts with soulful singles including “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold On (to My Love).” We remember Ruffin’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Jimmy Ruffin soared to the top of the charts with soulful singles including “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold On (to My Love).” In addition to recording his own hits, the Motown artist wrote songs that became hits for others, including “Maria (You Were the Only One),” made famous by Michael Jackson, and “Everybody Needs Love,” a hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips. In addition to his solo career, Ruffin also recorded with his brother, David Ruffin of the Temptations. In later years, he found success in Great Britain, collaborating with artists there including Paul Weller and Heaven 17. We remember Ruffin’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2015: David VanLanding, U.S. rock music singer who played with the Michael Schenker Group, dies in an auto accident at 51.
He was signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, and had a string of hits in the 1960s, including “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which became a top-10 pop hit. He had continued success with songs such as “I’ve Passed This Way Before” and “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got,” but Ruffin marked a comeback in 1980 with his second top-10 hit, “Hold on to My Love.” The song was produced by Robin Gibb, the Bee Gees member who died in 2012. Read more
2013: Doris Lessing, English Nobel Prize-winning author whose books included “The Grass Is Singing,” dies at 94.
She remains best known for “The Golden Notebook,” in which heroine Anna Wulf uses four notebooks to bring together the separate parts of her disintegrating life, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. The novel covers a range of previously unmentionable female conditions — menstruation, orgasms, and frigidity — and made Lessing an icon for women’s liberation. But it became so widely talked about and dissected that she later referred to it as a “failure” and “an albatross.” Read more
2013: Syd Field, U.S. screenwriter known for his popular books on screenwriting, dies at 77.
Field’s book “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” has been required reading in Hollywood since it was published in 1979. It has been translated into 23 languages and used in universities around the world, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Field wrote eight books on screenwriting and lectured across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Read more
2008: Pete Newell, U.S. college men’s basketball coach for the University of San Francisco, Michigan State University, and the University of California at Berkeley, dies at 93.
Among Newell’s biggest admirers was Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, whose teams practiced Newell’s style of patient, disciplined offense and tenacious, hardworking defense. “Three coaches had the most influence on college basketball in terms of tactics, both offensively and defensively,” Knight once said. “Clair Bee, Hank Iba, and Pete. And I think Pete had the greatest total grasp. He really studied it and kept abreast of it, both professional and collegiate. He was truly remarkable,” according to Newell’s obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2008: George Stephen Morrison, U.S. Navy rear admiral and father of the Doors’ lead singer, Jim Morrison, dies at 89.
2006: Bo Schembechler, U.S. college football coach at Miami University and then the University of Michigan, dies at 77.
In 1969, the University of Michigan thought about it for just 15 minutes before hiring Schembechler as head coach. That same year, Schembechler’s Wolverines went head to head with the Ohio State Buckeyes, with Michigan stomping OSU 24-12. His old mentor, OSU coach Woody Hayes, took it well, remaining lifelong friends with Schembechler. Read more
2006: Ruth Brown, U.S. rhythm and blues singer who had a number of hit songs in the 1950s including “So Long,” dies at 78.
Brown’s soulful voice produced dozens of hits for Atlantic Records, cementing the fledgling record label’s reputation as an R&B powerhouse, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Trained in a church choir in her hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia, Brown sang a range of styles from jazz to gospel-blues in such hits as “So Long” and “Teardrops in My Eyes.” She later crossed over into rock ‘n’ roll with some success with “Lucky Lips” and “This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’,” a song she co-wrote with Bobby Darin. Read more
2003: Don Gibson, U.S. country musician and songwriter who penned the country standard “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” dies at 75.
1998: Esther Rolle, U.S. actress who played Florida Evans on the CBS television program “Maude” and starred on the sitcom’s spinoff, “Good Times,” dies of diabetic complications at 78.
In the history of television sitcoms, there have been many memorable mother figures. Some are nurturing and gentle (think June Cleaver on “Leave It to Beaver,”), while others follow more of a “tough love” approach (the saucy Sophia on “Golden Girls,” for example). But the best, perhaps, are the moms who manage to do a little of both. As Florida Evans, matriarch of the classic 1970s sitcom “Good Times,” Rolle was just such a mom. She worked hard to keep her family afloat, could be serious and stern at times – but she got in some good jokes, too. Read more
1988: Sheilah Graham, English-born U.S. gossip columnist, dies of congestive heart failure at 84.
1987: Ireene Wicker, U.S. actress who delighted young radio listeners as the Singing Lady, dies at 86.
1985: Jimmy Ritz, U.S. actor and a member of the Ritz Brothers comedy trio, dies of heart failure at 81.
1982: Duk Koo Kim, South Korean boxer, dies at 23 after a bout with Ray Mancini.
1981: Bob Eberly, big band singer with the Jimmy Dorsey Band, dies of a heart attack at 65.
1979: John Glascock, English bass guitarist with rock bands Carmen and Jethro Tull, dies at 28 after heart surgery.
1975: Kay Johnson, U.S. actress and mother of actor James Cromwell whose credits include roles in “The Spoilers” and “Of Human Bondage,” dies at 70.
1955: James Johnson, U.S. pianist and composer who was a pioneer in the stride style of jazz piano, dies at 61.
1917: Auguste Rodin, French sculptor whose works include “The Thinker” and “The Kiss,” dies at 77.