Bill Monroe has influenced generations of musicians moved by the unmistakable sound of bluegrass music. We remember Monroe’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Bill Monroe has influenced generations of musicians moved by the unmistakable sound of bluegrass music, which he helped to create and define in post-World War II America. Monroe himself performed with more than 150 different artists during his nearly 60 years with his seminal band, the Blue Grass Boys, seeking out talented young musicians who went on to make names for themselves in the genre. He was made an honorary Kentucky colonel for his contributions to the state’s culture, inducted into both the Country Music and Nashville Songwriters Halls of Fame, and even joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. He is one of only five performers to be inducted into all three. We remember Monroe’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2013: Patricia Blair, U.S. actress who starred as Rebecca Boone on the NBC television series “Daniel Boone,” dies of breast cancer at 80.
Her first movie was “Jump Into Hell” (1955), about the battle of Dien Bien Phu in French Indochina. She appeared in the horror film “The Black Sleep” (1956), which starred Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr., and the 1959 film “City of Fear” before turning to television. Her last role was in the 1979 Robert Redford-Jane Fonda movie, “The Electric Horseman.” Read more
2007: Hughie Thomasson, U.S. guitarist and songwriter who was a founding member of the Southern rock band the Outlaws and was later a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies of a heart attack at 55.
2004: Ernie Ball, U.S. musician and entrepreneur who founded the Ernie Ball Co., which sells guitar strings, accessories, and apparel, and is famous for the innovative slinky guitar strings used by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Jimmy Page, dies at 74.
2003: Larry Hovis, U.S. actor well-known for his role as explosives expert Sergeant Andrew Carter on the classic television sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” dies of throat cancer at 67.
1999: Ruth Roman, U.S. actress who starred in the title role in the serial “Jungle Queen” and in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” dies in her sleep of natural causes at 76.
1999: James “Catfish” Hunter, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher who was an eight-time All-Star and won five World Series championships, dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease at 53.
1997: Burgess Meredith, U.S. actor remembered for his roles as the Penguin on the television series “Batman” and as Mickey, Rocky Balboa’s trainer in the “Rocky” movies, dies at 89.
Meredith starred in four “Twilight Zone” episodes, tying with Jack Klugman for the most roles on the show. He played a nerdy book lover in the classic “Time Enough at Last.” And in another episode, he played the devil himself. Read more
1997: Richie Ashburn, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder who played most of his career for the Philadelphia Phillies and had a career batting average of .308, dies at 70.
1996: Bill Monroe, U.S. mandolin player and singer-songwriter who was the leader of the band the Blue Grass Boys and is considered the Father of Bluegrass music, dies after a stroke earlier in the year at 84.
Monroe and his brothers formed the Monroe Brothers band, and he was barely out of his teens when they were playing radio spots and landing a record deal with RCA Victor. In 1939, he started a new band – the Blue Grass Boys. It was with this group that Monroe would innovate, moving from old-time country music to the fast tempos, instrumental solo breakdowns, and tight vocal harmonies that would come to be known as bluegrass. Read more
1994: Patrick O’Neal, U.S. actor mostly seen as a guest star on television series including “Columbo” and “Murder, She Wrote,” dies of respiratory failure at 66.
1993: Helen O’Connell, U.S. singer and actress who was featured in the Jimmy Dorsey Band and was co-host of the Miss USA pageant with Bob Barker during the 1970s, dies of cancer at 73.
1989: Tim Hovey, U.S. child actor who was in “The Private War of Major Benson” and later was the road manager for the Grateful Dead, dies at 44.
1978: Jack Warner, U.S. movie executive who co-founded Warner Brothers Studios with his brothers, dies at 86.
1976: Mao Zedong, Chinese leader who was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, dies after a long illness at 82.
1975: John McGiver, U.S. character actor who was known for his performances in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Midnight Cowboy,” dies at 61.
1975: Minta Durfee, U.S. film actress in the silent era who starred in the popular movie “Mickey” and was married to silent-film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, dies of a heart ailment at 85.
1966: Nestor Paiva, U.S. actor known best for his recurring role as Theo Gonzales on the TV series “Zorro,” dies at 61.
1951: Gibson Gowland, English actor who starred in the silent film “Greed,” which is regarded by some as one of the greatest films of all time, dies at 74.