Bing Crosby’s unforgettable voice and impeccable comic timing earned him a place among the all-time Hollywood greats. We remember Crosby’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Bing Crosby’s unforgettable voice and impeccable comic timing earned him a place among the all-time Hollywood greats. From his hilarious road trips with Bob Hope to his touching, posthumous duet with David Bowie, Crosby never failed to entertain. He won an Oscar for his performance in “Going My Way” and was the first recipient of the Grammy Award for global achievement. His recording of the holiday classic “White Christmas” is the best-selling single of all time. We remember Crosby’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2019: Sulli, K-Pop star and actress who was a member of the girl group f(x), dies at 25.
2014: Elizabeth Peña, actress and director who appeared in the movies “Lone Star” and “La Bamba” and on the sitcom “Modern Family,” dies at 55.
2012: Arlen Specter, U.S. politician who was a senator representing Pennsylvania for 30 years, dies at 82.
Specter rose to prominence in the 1960s as an aggressive Philadelphia prosecutor and as an assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He developed the single-bullet theory that posited just one bullet struck both President Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally – an assumption critical to the argument that presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The theory remains controversial and was the focus of Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie “JFK.” Read more
2012: Kyle “Butter” Bennett, U.S. professional bicycle motocross racer, dies in a truck crash at 33.
It was in 1983 that Albano gained a whole new audience – one that sported brightly colored hair and listened to edgy tunes. Singer Cyndi Lauper, who had met Albano on a plane a few years before, needed someone to play her father in the video for her new single. Initially reluctant, Albano was persuaded to take the gig, and it was the beginning of both an acting career and a lifelong friendship with Lauper (who would return the favor by joining Albano in the ring and in charity work). Read more
2009: Collin Wilcox, U.S. actress who played Mayella in the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird,” dies at 74.
2007: Big Moe, U.S. rapper from Houston, Texas, dies at 34.
2006: Freddy Fender, U.S. musician known for the hit song “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” dies of lung cancer at 69.
Fender first recorded “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” in 1959, garnering some attention at the time. But then Fender was arrested for marijuana possession in Baton Rouge and spent nearly three years at the Angola prison farm. After his release, he worked as a mechanic and took some college classes. When he returned to the music world full time, he re-recorded his first successful song and rose to the top of the chart. Read more
1998: Frankie Yankovic, U.S. accordionist dubbed America’s Polka King, dies of heart failure at 83.
1997: Harold Robbins, U.S. novelist who wrote 25 best-sellers including “The Carpetbaggers,” dies of heart failure at 81.
1990: Leonard Bernstein, U.S. composer and conductor who was the music director for the New York Philharmonic, dies of a heart attack at 72.
1989: Michael Carmine, U.S. actor who starred in “Batteries Not Included,” dies of heart failure at 30.
1986: Keenan Wynn, U.S. character actor in “Dr. Strangelove” and “Nashville,” dies of pancreatic cancer at 70.
1983: Paul Fix, U.S. film and TV actor whose credits include such Westerns as “The Rifleman,” dies of kidney failure at 82.
1977: Bing Crosby, U.S. singer and actor who was one of the top-selling recording artists of the 20th century, dies of a heart attack at 74.
Crosby’s recording of “White Christmas” was massively popular when it was released in 1941, and then the following year when it was featured in the hit film “Holiday Inn” starring Crosby and Fred Astaire. The song was so popular, in fact, that within six years, the master recording was completely worn out after being duplicated so many times. In 1947, Crosby had to re-record the song, striving to come as close as possible to the original. The subtle changes didn’t hurt the song’s success, and by 1955 it had become the world’s best-selling single. Read more
1959: Errol Flynn, Australian actor who played swashbuckler roles in movies such as “Captain Blood,” dies at 50.
Flynn was born in Tasmania, where his father worked as a biology professor. Though Flynn often claimed he was the descendant of a mutineer from the HMS Bounty, there’s little evidence to suggest the notion is anything but an attempt to explain his lifelong love of the sea. (In addition to being famed for “Captain Blood” and “The Sea Hawk,” Flynn would spend much time in his waning years onboard his yacht.) Read more
1911: John Marshall Harlan, U.S. Supreme Court justice nicknamed the Great Dissenter, dies at 78.