We remember Tom Petty’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Tom Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) had finished the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 40th anniversary tour when he passed away a week later from a cardiac arrest. He left fans who attended one of the concerts on that tour a true goodbye gift, the Heartbreakers live show was special. Petty wrote about life experiences most fans could relate to – “she was an American girl, raised on promises…” And he skillfully blended the styles of his biggest rock ‘n’ roll idols – Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Rolling Stones – to create his own brand of timeless American rock. We remember his amazing life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2017: Tom Petty, Rock and Roll legend dies at the age of 66.
2013: Hilton A. Green, U.S. producer whose movies included “Sixteen Candles” and “Home Alone 3,” dies at 84.
Sullivan learned guitar as a teenager and turned professional when he was just 16. He played with many of the biggest names in British pop at the height of the “Swinging London” era. Along with Jimmy Page, who would later star in Led Zeppelin, Sullivan was one of the most in-demand session guitarists of his era, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. His website lists sessions with Tom Jones, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and many others. He claimed to have played on more than 1,000 singles that entered the British charts. Read more
2006: Tamara Dobson, U.S. actress and model known best for playing the title role in the movie “Cleopatra Jones,” dies at 59.
At 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters) tall, Dobson was striking as the kung-fu fighting government agent Cleopatra Jones in 1973. She reprised the role in 1975’s “Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold,” according to her obituary by The Associated Press. “She was not afraid to start a trend,” said her brother, Peter Dobson, of Houston. “She designed a lot of the clothing that so many women emulated.” Read more
2005: August Wilson, U.S. playwright who received two Pulitzer Prize awards for drama, dies at 60.
Wilson thought big. His plays were often epic, filled with rich, idiosyncratic language and memorable characters, steeped in the past, trying to survive in the present and wondering about the future, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. It took Wilson more than two decades to complete his cycle, one play for each decade. He grapples with major themes – from the effects of slavery on those who could still remember the Civil War to a burgeoning middle-class on the cusp of the 21st century. Read more
2005: Nipsey Russell, U.S. comedian known best for his appearances as a guest panelist on game shows including “Match Game,” “Password,” and “Hollywood Squares,” dies at 87.
Russell was a fixture of television, appearing all over – as a guest host for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” as a regular on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” as a policeman on “Car 54, Where Are You?” and on game shows such as “To Tell the Truth,” “Match Game,” and “What’s My Line?” Read more
1998: Gene Autry, U.S. singer and actor who gained fame as a singing cowboy in the movies, whose signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again,” dies at 91.
A few years before he died of lymphoma at 91, Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans estimated Autry’s worth at $320 million, a fortune he amassed through entertainment, real estate (including a 110-acre ranch in California used for Western movie locations), and ownership of radio and television stations, hotels, oil wells, and Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels. Read more.
1994: Harriet Nelson, U.S. actress and singer who starred with her husband on the classic sitcom “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” dies at 85.
Bandleader Ozzie Nelson and his lead vocalist, Harriet Hilliard, married in 1935. In 1944, they began broadcasting the radio version of “Ozzie and Harriet” based on their experiences raising young children; the long-running television series aired from 1952 to 1966 and featured their real-life sons, David and Ricky. Harriet Nelson had the talent and poise to have become a star in her own right, but she preferred the domestic life. Although it was never shown on TV, Harriet was known to enjoy good off-color jokes and an evening cocktail. Read more
1987: Madeleine Carroll, English actress who had most of her success in the 1930s, starring in “The 39 Steps” and “The Prisoner of Zenda,” dies at 81.
1985: Rock Hudson, U.S. actor who was a popular leading man in the 1950s and ’60s, starring in “Giant” and “Pillow Talk,” dies at 59.
In the last months of his life, and the decades since, Hudson’s career and talent became eclipsed by the sensational nature of his death. As the first major celebrity to die of AIDS, Hudson created endless controversy and gossip fodder with the announcement of his illness. There was a period when it seemed all the entertainment media could talk about was Hudson’s diagnosis … and his sexuality. Somewhere along the way, we forgot about his career. Read more
1985: George Savalas, U.S. actor who played Sergeant Stavros on his brother Telly Savalas‘ television show, “Kojak,” dies at 60.
1981: Hazel Scott, U.S. jazz and classical pianist and singer who was the first woman of color to have her own television show, called “The Hazel Scott Show,” dies at 61.
1973: Paavo Nurmi, Finnish middle- and long-distance runner called “The Flying Finn” who won nine Olympic gold medals during his career, dies at 76.
1973: Paul Hartman, U.S. character actor and dancer known best for his role as the handyman Emmett Clark on The Andy Griffith Show and “Mayberry R.F.D.,” dies at 69.
1968: Marcel Duchamp, French painter and sculptor who was highly influential in the plastic arts, dies at 81.
1956: George Bancroft, U.S. actor who was one of the top movie stars in the 1920s, dies at 74.