Leslie Nielsen was surely a master of deadpan comedy. We remember Nielsen’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Leslie Nielsen was surely a master of deadpan comedy. With the charm and charisma of a traditional leading man, Nielsen was the ideal of the “straight man” for some of the 20th century’s zaniest comedies. His career started with serious roles in epics such as “Forbidden Planet” and “The Poseidon Adventure” before finding his true calling in a series of wacky spoofs on television and in films throughout the 1980s and ’90s. We remember Nielsen’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2016: Columbia plane crash, Most of the Chapecoense Soccer team from Brazil along with others die in a plane crash near the city of Medellin.
2015: Marjorie Lord, U.S. actress known best for playing Danny Thomas’ wife on “Make Room for Daddy,” dies at 97.
2013: Danny Wells, Canadian actor who played the recurring role of Charlie, the bartender on “The Jeffersons,” dies at 72.
2012: Don Rhymer, U.S. screenwriter whose movies included “Big Momma’s House” and “Rio,” dies of cancer at 51.
2010: Leslie Nielsen, Canadian-born actor whose films include “The Naked Gun” and “The Poseidon Adventure,” dies of complications of pneumonia at 84.
In 1980, the movie “Airplane!” not only spawned the entire spoof genre but also launched Nielsen’s career as America’s funniest straight man, a role he would play for the next 30 years in the “Airplane!” sequels, the “Police Squad” TV show, the “Naked Gun” movies, and others. But these only tell half the story, as Nielsen previously enjoyed a long, if undistinguished, TV and movie career. Read more
2003: Antonia Forest, British children’s author whose works include “The Marlows and the Traitor,” “Falconer’s Lure,” and “End of Term,” dies at 88.
1994: Ronald “Buster” Edwards, British criminal and part of the gang that committed the $7 million Great Train Robbery in 1963, dies at 63.
1994: Jerry Rubin, U.S. anti-war activist and co-founder of the Youth International Party, dies at 56 after having been struck by a car two weeks earlier.
1993: Jerry Edmonton, Canadian drummer for the rock band Steppenwolf, dies in a car accident at 47.
After a decade of various radio gigs, including a joint show with Jimmy Durante, Moore was given his own one-hour variety show on CBS Radio. It did so well that he moved on to a 30-minute evening show in 1950. He also hosted the game shows “I’ve Got a Secret,” on which blindfolded panelists tried to identify the guest, and “To Tell the Truth.” But it was “The Garry Moore Show” that introduced so many stars-to-be to audiences: Alan King, Don Knotts, Jonathan Winters, Carol Burnett, and Dorothy Loudon, to name just a few. Read more
1983: Christopher George, U.S. actor who starred on the TV series “The Rat Patrol,” dies of a heart attack at 52.
1976: Rosalind Russell, U.S. actress from Connecticut whose films include “Auntie Mame,” “His Girl Friday,” and “The Velvet Touch,” dies of breast cancer at 69.
1963: Karyn Kupcinet, U.S. actress and daughter of Chicago Sun-Times newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet whose guest-star credits included “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Wide Country,” and “Going My Way,” is a homicide victim, killed by strangulation at 22.
1960: Richard N. Wright, African-American author of “Native Son” and “Black Boy,” dies of a heart attack at 52.
1954: Enrico Fermi, Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist who worked on the first nuclear reactor, dies of stomach cancer at 53.
1945: Dwight Davis, U.S. tennis player who served as U.S. secretary of war and founded the Davis Cup international tennis competition, dies at 66.
1859: Washington Irving, U.S. author whose well-known short stories include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” dies of a heart attack at 76.
“Well, I must arrange my pillows for another weary night! When will this end?”
– Last words of Washington Irving. See more last words from famous authors in our quiz.
1939: James Naismith, Canadian-born U.S. sports coach and creator of the sport of basketball, dies at 78 after suffering an earlier brain bleed.
Faced with keeping his young YMCA charges indoors during the harsh New England winters, Naismith was tasked by his boss with coming up with an “athletic distraction” to keep them exercised and occupied. His boss stipulated that the game could not be too rough and must take place within the confines of a small gym. Naismith analyzed the most popular games at the time – rugby, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, and football – in hopes of taking the best from each sport and including it in his game. Read more