Jerry Reed, the musician behind hits such as “Guitar Man,” “A Thing Called Love,” and “East Bound and Down,” was also the actor who brought gruff charm and swagger to such films as “Smokey and the Bandit.” We remember Reed’s life today as well as other notable people who died on this day in history.
Jerry Reed, the musician behind hits like “Guitar Man,” “A Thing Called Love,” and “East Bound and Down,” was also the actor who brought gruff charm and swagger to films like “Smokey and the Bandit” and its two sequels, “Stroker Ace” and “The Waterboy.” During his long and varied career, he briefly hosted his own variety show in the 1970s and also made guest appearances on “Alice,” “Evening Shade,” “Dolly,” “Mama’s Family,” and other television shows. His music has even turned up in video games from the “Grand Theft Auto” series and continues to appear in movies and on television years after his death in 2008. We remember Reed’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2015: Dean Jones, U.S. actor known best for starring in Disney films such as “That Darn Cat!” and “The Love Bug,” dies at 84.
“The Love Bug” (1969) was the most successful of the genre, with Jones playing a struggling race car driver who acquires a Volkswagen that wins races for him. The Bug, named Herbie, has hidden human traits, and when it feels unappreciated it disappears. Jones must rescue Herbie from the hands of his nefarious rival and issue the car an apology before it wins the big race for him. Read more
2013: Tommy Morrison, U.S. professional boxer who was the WBO heavyweight champion and starred in the movie “Rocky V” with Sylvester Stallone, dies at 44.
In 1993, Morrison beat George Foreman to win the WBO heavyweight title, only to lose it to unheralded Michael Bentt in a defeat that scuttled a showdown with Lennox Lewis. Morrison would fight Lewis a couple of years later, getting knocked out in the sixth round in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Morrison, nicknamed the Duke, never reached the status of such contemporaries as Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, but it was surely a full career, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2012: Hal David, U.S. lyricist known best for collaborations with Burt Bacharach, a partnership that created many timeless songs including “Walk on By,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” dies of stroke complications at 91.
A writer by trade – and a journalist by education – David had a knack for encapsulating love, earnestness, and a wry sense of humor into a melody that was just a few minutes long, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” the 1960s earworm he wrote with Burt Bacharach, was a rhyming how-to for gals looking to snag a man. With a wink, it snagged a new generation of fans when it opened the 1997 Julia Roberts film “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Read more
2008: Jerry Reed, U.S. country music singer, guitarist, and actor whose songs included “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and who starred in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies with his friend Burt Reynolds, dies of emphysema complications at 71.
As a singer in the 1970s and early 1980s, Reed had a string of hits that included “Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “East Bound and Down,” “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft),” and “The Bird.” In the mid-1970s, he began acting in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, usually as a good ol’ boy, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. But he was an ornery heavy in “Gator,” directed by Reynolds, and a hateful coach in 1998’s “The Waterboy,” starring Adam Sandler. Read more
2008: Don LaFontaine, U.S. voice actor whose voice was well-known from the thousands of movie trailers and television commercials he worked on during his career, dies at 68.
In a rare on-screen appearance in 2006, he parodied himself on a series of national television commercials for a car insurance company where he played himself telling a customer, “In a world where both of our cars were totally under water…” In a 2007 interview, LaFontaine explained the strategy behind the phrase, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. “We have to very rapidly establish the world we are transporting them to,” he said of his viewers. “That’s very easily done by saying, ‘In a world where … violence rules.’ ‘In a world where … men are slaves and women are the conquerors.’ You very rapidly set the scene.” Read more
2005: R.L. Burnside, U.S. blues singer-songwriter and guitarist known for his electric delta blues sound, whose career was revitalized in the 1990s when he recorded with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, dies at 78.
1992: Morris Carnovsky, U.S. actor who appeared in the movies “Rhapsody in Blue” and “The Life of Emile Zola,” dies at 94.
1989: A. Bartlett Giamatti, U.S. former Major League Baseball commissioner who was involved in the decision to ban Pete Rose from big league baseball for his role in a gambling scandal, dies of a heart attack at 51.
1986: Murray Hamilton, U.S. actor who played Mr. Robinson in “The Graduate” and the mayor in “Jaws,” dies of lung cancer at 63.
1984: Howard Chamberlain, U.S. actor with a long career who appeared in the movie “The Best Years of Our Lives” and played a judge in the movie “Kramer vs. Kramer,” dies at 73.
1981: Ann Harding, U.S. actress who was a leading lady in the 1930s and starred in “The Animal Kingdom” and “Holiday,” dies after a long illness at 79.
1979: Doris Kenyon, U.S. film actress who was a star in the silent era, appearing with Rudolph Valentino in “Monsieur Beaucaire,” whose career continued for many years in supporting roles, dies at 81.
1977: Ethel Waters, U.S. singer and actress who began her career singing the blues and then also performed jazz and pop music, whose best-known recordings include “Stormy Weather” and “Heat Wave,” dies at 80.
1955: Philip Loeb, U.S. actor who starred on the sitcom “The Goldbergs,” dies by suicide at 64 in response to being blacklisted under McCarthyism.
1838: William Clark, U.S. explorer who helped lead the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean in 1803, dies at 68.