Stephen Sondheim was one of the most popular and best-known American composers of the 20th century. His many musicals included West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd. He won nine Tony Awards, an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Glen Campbell was the son of a sharecropper who went from childhood poverty to wealth and world fame as a country singer, but he spent his last several years suffering from dementia and died from its complications at age 81 on August 8, 2017.
During World War II, Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill saved the free world with his inspirational speeches and by refusing to hand Britain over to Hitler, even though some members of the royal family and Parliament wanted to surrender their country.
Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard sang together to form "The Carpenters", one of the leading singing groups in the 1970s. When she died of heart failure at age 32, she made the world painfully aware of a disease called anorexia nervosa.
Clark Gable had just about every known lifestyle risk factor for the heart attack that killed him at the very young age of 59. Perhaps best known for his role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939), he was the leading man in more than 60 motion pictures and was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Colin Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State, the 16th U.S. national security advisor and a 4-star general who was the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He died from COVID-19 because he had multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer that prevented his immune system from functioning normally.
Halloween is a good time to think about ghosts and spooky deaths. I think that the greatest poem for Halloween is The Raven, written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1845. It’s my favorite poem. Every sentence is a metaphor to teach us about philosophy, sadness, death, fatalism and life. Every word has a musical tone.
On October 7, 1959, singer Mario Lanza died suddenly at age 38 of a heart attack just as he was getting ready to check out of a medical clinic in Rome. He didn't mean to kill himself, but his entire adult life was full of behaviors and actions that are known to cause heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and premature death.
George Jones lived and sang about sorrow and poverty, and became one of the greatest country music singers of all time, He recorded more than 900 songs and charted the most country hits, paying the price of spending a tremendous amount of time on the road,
Alice Coachman should have been one of the most famous female athletes of all time. She was the 1948 Olympic high jump champion and the winner of 25 national track and field championships, including ten consecutive U.S. high jump championships and five national outdoor 50 meter sprint championships, and was the star guard on...
A huge number of studies have shown that running helps to prevent heart attacks, so I couldn't believe the news that running guru Jim Fixx had died of a heart attack at age 52 after his daily run in Hardwick, Vermont. He was the guy who made running popular, healthful, and desirable.
Ed Asner was an American actor and television star whose most famous character was Lou Grant, who first appeared on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1970. He was so well-liked that when the series ended in 1977, he was given his own show based on the same character for five more years.
Charlie Watts was the drummer for 58 years with The Rolling Stones, arguably the top hard rock band in the world with an estimated 250 million records sold. The Rolling Stones won three Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Mary Tyler Moore was one of the most famous female television stars in North America, first as a wife and mother on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966) and then as a single working woman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) where she became a role model admired by women all over the world.
As one of the most versatile American singers of all time, Aretha Franklin was best known for singing soul music and popular and gospel songs, but with less than two hours’ notice, she was able to use her powerful mezzo-soprano voice to sing a great opera aria when she stepped in to replace Luciano Pavaroti at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
John Wayne was one of the best-paid actors in Hollywood for more than 40 years, appeared in more than 170 films and starred in 142 films, mostly westerns. His size (6'4" and 225 pounds) and pugnacious behavior helped him to be cast a cowboy, lawman, soldier and athlete, but for most of his life he had a cancer-promoting lifestyle.
Harold Connolly was born with only one functioning arm. Because of that he had to fight to be accepted, so he worked harder than everyone else. He became such a fierce competitor in the hammer throw that he won a gold medal in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. He was the first American to...
At the 1960 Rome Olympics, Wilma Rudolph, a polio survivor, became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. More than 80,000 spectators watched the 5-foot-11, 130 pound beauty win the 100-meter dash by more than three yards in a world-record 11 seconds.
Fifty years ago, Jim Henson created the Muppets, the world's most famous puppets, for the children's educational television show, Sesame Street. He won two Emmy Awards for his work, and sold his company to Walt Disney for $150 million. The beloved show has produced more than 4500 episodes.
Cass Elliot was “Mama Cass”, the close-to-300 pound contralto lead singer of The Mamas and Papas, a dominant folk rock vocal group in the late 1960s. They sold more than 40 million records, with six of their albums making it to the Billboard top ten.
Babe Ruth was arguably the greatest baseball player who ever lived. When he retired from baseball in 1935, he held the record for most home runs (714), had a batting average of .342, batted in 2,213 runs, had a slugging percentage of 690, got on base 47.4 % of the time he batted, scored 2,174 runs, hit for 5,793 total bases, and was walked 2,062 times. Forget about what goes on today. Ruth did all this without taking anabolic steroids.
Roger Bannister was the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes, even though his training was totally inadequate for world-class competition because he was a full time medical student who trained on a single 30-minute workout per day, compared to today's runners who train twice a day for as much as three hours.
We lost one of the greatest comics and actors of our time when Robin Williams took his own life at his home in California on August 11, 2014. When his brain was examined, he was found to have suffered from Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), which has no known cause and no effective treatment.
Twenty years ago, Korey Stringer died of heat stroke at age 27. He was 6' 4" tall, weighed 335 pounds and was an All American tackle at Ohio State University. He became an All Pro lineman for the Minnesota Vikings in 1995.
Hammerin' Hank Aaron was regarded as one of the greatest baseball players ever. He hit 755 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s record, hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and in 1982, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for holding the Major League Baseball records for the most career runs batted in (2,297), most extra base hits (1,477), and most total bases (6,856).
Elvis Presley sold more records than anyone else in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, and has been inducted into virtually every music hall of fame. He died at the tragically young age of 42. In the last years of his life, he suffered from obesity, drug addiction, depression, chronic insomnia, glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic constipation and an enlarged colon.
Every physician eventually is asked to treat patients who fake illness, usually to get attention or for personal gain. In 1951, British physician Dr. Robert Asher described three patients who went from doctor to doctor with multiple fictional symptoms, many unexplained hospitalizations, and multiple scars from surgeries that never should have been performed in the first place. Their stories sounded so real that they convinced honest doctors to operate on them for no good reason.
From the 1860s through 1922, there were no laws to limit the use of cocaine and it was a common ingredient of patent medicines, including the original Coca-Cola, which was developed by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton. Two famous doctors of that time used cocaine regularly and experimented with its medicinal uses. and a third doctor described its use by his beloved fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Harry Houdini was probably the most famous escape artist, magician, and stunt performer of all time. He usually appeared in a long coat and tie, and was one of the cockiest performers ever to appear on stage. He died at age 52 from a ruptured appendix, reportedly caused by being punched in the stomach.