Harvey Milk was the epitome of the “late bloomer,” entering politics at age 40 and quickly becoming an icon for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights movement. We remember Milk’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Harvey Milk was the epitome of the “late bloomer,” entering politics at age 40 and quickly becoming an icon for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights movement. Milk was gunned down, however, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone by a former city supervisor in November 1978. Milk’s tragic death, at the start of what promised to be an amazing career in public service, transformed him into a martyr for the gay community and a source of inspiration for countless leaders who came after him. We remember Milk’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2014: P.D. James, English crime writer known for her series of detective novels starring police commander and poet Adam Dalgliesh, dies at 94.
Her novel “The Children of Men” was the basis for the feature film “Children of Men” (2006), directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine. Despite substantial changes from the book, James was reportedly pleased with the adaptation and proud to be associated with the film. Read more
2012: Marvin Miller, influential U.S. union leader and executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, dies at 95 after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
Miller, who retired in 1982, led the first walkout in the game’s history 10 years earlier, a fight over pension benefits, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. On April 5, 1972, signs posted at major league parks simply said: “No Game Today.” The strike, which lasted 13 days, was followed by a walkout during spring training in 1976 and a midseason job action that darkened the stadiums for seven weeks in 1981. Miller led players through three strikes and two lockouts, and baseball has had eight work stoppages in all. Read more
2012: Mickey Baker, U.S. guitarist who worked with Ray Charles and Ivory Joe Hunter, dies of heart and kidney failure at 87.
Kershner already had made a number of well-received movies when he was hired by George Lucas to direct “Empire,” which was the second produced but fifth in the “Star Wars” chronology, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. The 1980 production was a darker story than the original. In it, hero Luke Skywalker loses a hand and learns that villain Darth Vader is his father. The movie initially got mixed reviews but has gone on to become one of the most critically praised. Read more
2007: J. Robert Cade, U.S. medical doctor and kidney specialist who led the research team that invented the sports drink Gatorade, dies of kidney failure at 80.
Cade’s researchers determined a football player could lose up to 18 pounds – 90 to 95 percent of it water – during the three hours it takes to play a game, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Players sweated away sodium and chloride and lost plasma volume and blood volume. Using their research and about $43 in supplies, they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football. The first batch was not exactly a hit. “It sort of tasted like toilet bowl cleaner,” said Dana Shires, one of the researchers. “I guzzled it and I vomited,” Cade said. Read more
2006: Bebe Moore Campbell, U.S. author whose New York Times best-sellers were “Brothers and Sisters,” “Singing in the Comeback Choir,” and “What You Owe Me,” dies of complications of brain cancer at 56.
2005: Jocelyn Brando, U.S. actress who was the older sister of Marlon Brando and who starred in the movie “The Big Heat,” dies of natural causes at 86.
2000: Len Shackleton, English footballer known as the Clown Prince of Soccer, dies at 78.
1998: Barbara Acklin, U.S. soul singer-songwriter whose biggest hit was “Love Makes a Woman,” dies of pneumonia at 55.
1997: Buck Leonard, Negro Leagues first baseman and a member of the Hall of Fame, dies at 90.
1990: David White, U.S. actor well-known for his role as Larry Tate on the sitcom “Bewitched,” dies of a heart attack at 74.
1988: John Carradine, prolific U.S. actor whose work includes “The Grapes of Wrath” and “The Ten Commandments,” dies at 82.
1988: Angela Aames, U.S. actress whose credits include “Scarface,” “The Lost Empire,” and “Basic Training,” dies of a heart problem at 32.
1978: Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first openly gay person in California to be elected to public office, is shot to death at 48 by a former fellow supervisor.
In the mid-1970s when homosexuality was considered a mental illness by some and criminal by others, Milk prepared for his first run for public office as an openly gay man. His nephew Stuart was 15 at the time. He remembers telling his uncle, “I don’t know if you need to be so loud.” Milk’s reply? Being out and proud was the only way to fight the lies and myths about homosexuality. Read more
1978: George Moscone, American attorney and 37th mayor of San Francisco, is shot to death at 49 by a former city supervisor.
1975: Ross McWhirter, English co-founder of “The Guinness Book of Records,” is assassinated at 50.
1973: Frank Christian, U.S. jazz trumpeter from New Orleans, dies at 86.
1953: Eugene O’Neill, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. playwright from New York whose plays include “Anna Christie,” “Strange Interlude,” and “The Iceman Cometh,” dies at 65.
1934: George “Baby Face” Nelson, aka Lester J. Gillis, U.S. bank robber and murderer from Chicago, dies at 25 in a shootout with the FBI.
1901: Clement Studebaker, U.S. wagon and carriage manufacturer and car’s namesake, dies at 70.
1895: Alexandre Dumas, French writer, playwright, and son of the French author of the same name, dies at 71.