Wild Bill Elliott was one of the smoothest cowpokes to ever grace the silver screen. We remember Elliott’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Wild Bill Elliott was one of the smoothest cowpokes to ever grace the silver screen. Starring in hundreds of movies throughout his career, Elliott made a name for himself as the Red Ryder in 16 films based on the popular Wild West comic strip. He rode high on his popularity in Western films for years before finishing up his cinema career, retiring to Las Vegas, and working as a television host and spokesman. We remember Elliott’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2018: Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the popular animated series, “SpongeBob SquarePants,” dies at 57.
2016: Fritz Weaver, U.S. character actor who appeared on “The Twilight Zone” and “The Big Valley,” dies at 90.
2015: Guy Lewis, U.S. college basketball coach for the University of Houston who led the Cougars to five Final Four appearances in the NCAA tournament, dies at 93.
2013: Jane Kean, U.S. actress known best for playing Trixie Norton on the 1960s version of “The Honeymooners,” dies at 90 after a fall that resulted in a stroke.
After jumping to TV, Kean stayed on “The Honeymooners” for five years before leaving to pursue other avenues, including guest appearances, performing in Las Vegas, and doing voice work, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. In 1977, she worked on the children’s movie “Pete’s Dragon” – behind-the-scenes work that the usually glamorous actress joked she didn’t like because she didn’t need to wear makeup, her niece said. Late in her career, she provided the voice of Aunt Ida in the new children’s film “Abner the Pig,” said her publicist, Alan Eichler. Read more
2008: Edna Parker, U.S. supercentenarian from Indiana, dies at 115 years, 220 days.
Parker had been a widow since her husband, Earl Parker, died in 1939 of a heart attack. She lived alone in their farmhouse until age 100, when she moved into a son’s home and later to the Shelbyville nursing home. Although she never drank alcohol or tried tobacco and led an active life, Parker didn’t offer tips for living a long life. Her only advice to those who gathered to celebrate when she became the oldest person was “more education.” Read more
2008: De’Angelo Wilson, U.S. actor and hip-hop artist whose films include “8 Mile” and “Antwone Fisher,” dies by suicide at 29.
2007: Mel Tolkin, Ukraine-born U.S. television writer who headed up the comedy writing team for “Your Show of Shows,” dies at 94.
2005: Stan Berenstain, U.S. writer and co-author of “The Berenstain Bears” children’s book series with his wife, Jan, dies of cancer at 82.
In more than 200 books, “The Berenstain Bears,” written and illustrated by Stan and Jan Berenstain, helped children for 40 years cope with trips to the dentist, new babies in the family, eating junk food, and cleaning their messy rooms. The first “Berenstain Bears” book, “The Big Honey Hunt,” was published in 1962, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The couple developed the series with children’s author Theodor Geisel – better known as Dr. Seuss, then head of children’s publishing at Random House – with the goal of teaching children to read while entertaining them. Read more
2003: Soulja Slim, U.S. rapper who wrote the No. 1 hit song “Slow Motion,” dies at 26.
1995: Charles Warrell, English headmaster and writer of the “I-Spy” series of spotters’ guidebooks for children, dies at 106.
1994: Nimrod Workman, U.S. folk singer and former coal miner whose albums include “Mother Jones’ Will,” dies at 99.
1982: Dan Tobin, U.S. actor whose film credits include “Woman of the Year” and “The Big Clock,” dies at 72.
1980: Rachel Roberts, Welsh actress who brought passion to her roles in “This Sporting Life,” and “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” dies by suicide at 53.
1973: John Rostill, English bassist and a member of the Shadows rock group, dies at 31 after being electrocuted by his guitar.
1965: Wild Bill Elliott, U.S. cowboy actor whose credits include “Red Ryder” and “The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok,” dies of lung cancer at 61.
1956: Tommy Dorsey, U.S. jazz trombonist, composer, and big bandleader aka the Sentimental Gentleman of Swing, chokes to death while sleeping at 51.
1943: Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, U.S. Navy pilot and Medal of Honor recipient, dies at 29 after his plane is shot down during World War II.
O’Hare served in combat operations in the Pacific. On Feb. 20, 1942, he was called upon to defend the aircraft carrier USS Lexington from an attack by nine Japanese “Betty” bombers. With the rest of the carrier’s fighters engaged elsewhere and his wingman’s gun jammed, O’Hare had to face down the bombers alone. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, O’Hare succeeded in shooting down five bombers; the rest were brought down by the Lexington’s anti-aircraft guns. After landing back aboard the Lexington, O’Hare discovered that through the entire dogfight, his plane had only been struck by one bullet. Read more