ON THIS DAY in 1899,
radio actor Freeman Gosden (pictured, left) was born in Richmond, Virginia.
He was “Amos” on the famed, longrunning “Amos ‘n’ Andy” radio show (1928-1960), and played a host of other characters on the show including “The Kingfish.” He died of heart failure Dec. 10 1982 at age 83.
In 1900, The Billboard, a magazine for the music and entertainment industries, began weekly publication after six years as a monthly. The name was later shortened to Billboard.
In 1908, actor Rex Harrison was born in Lancashire England. Besides his many successes on the stage & in film he performed 8 times on TV’s Ed Sullivan Show; among his several TV dramatic assignments were appearances on The US Steel Hour, The Dow Hour of Great Mysteries & Omnibus, plus two TV movies. He died of pancreatic cancer June 2 1990 at age 82.
In 1912, actor Bret Morrison was born in Chicago. He was best remembered as the radio actor who played “The Shadow” (and Lamont Cranston) for ten of the years between 1943 and 1954, longer than any other actor. He died of a heart attack suffered during a Southern California heat wave Sept. 25 1978 at age 66.
In 1915, actress/singer Alice Faye was born Alice Jeanne Leppert in New York City.
Besides leaving her mark on the big screen, she co-starred for 9 years on NBC Radio’s Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, and guest starred on TV variety shows, including three spots each on The Dean Martin Show & the Hollywood Palace. She died of stomach cancer May 9, 1998 just days after her 83rd birthday.
Also in 2015, actor Ben Wright was born in London. Emigrating to the US after WWII he quickly became active in the Hollywood radio talent pool, supplying crisp, erudite diction as the radio incarnation of Sherlock Holmes (1949–1950) and Inspector Peter Black on Pursuit (1951–1952). As a dialectician, he played Indian servant Tulku on The Green Lama, Chinese bellhop Hey Boy on the radio version of Have Gun Will Travel, various dialect roles on Nightbeat, and the anthology series Escape. Other radio credits include Gunsmoke, Crime Classics, and Suspense. He had many supporting TV roles over a 40 year period. Wright died July 2 1989 at age 74 after undergoing heart surgery.
In 1929, Canadian National Railways introduced two-way radio conversations with moving trains.
In 1935, the radio program, Rhythm at Eight, made its debut. The star of the NBC show was 24-year-old Ethel Merman.
Though Merman would become a legend years later, she didn’t fare so well on radio. Her show was taken off the air after 13 weeks and the brassy-voiced one returned to her first love, Broadway.
In 1942, country diva Tammy Wynette was born Virginia Wynette Pugh on her grandfather’s farm in Mississippi. She married her childhood idol George Jones in 1968; for the next 7 years they lived, sang, wrote, recorded and performed in a romantic, stormy, much-publicized relationship. Her megahit “Stand By Your Man” was one result of that marriage; it stands as the single selling single in country music history. Her songs hit #1 on the country charts an incredible 35 times! She died Apr. 6, 1998 after suffering a blood clot at age 55.
In 1956, “Hot Diggity” by Perry Como topped the charts .. but only for the one week.
In 1960, Monument Records released Roy Orbison‘s “Only the Lonely,” which would soon become his first major hit.
In 1962, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Soldier Boy” by The Shirelles. It remained on top for 3 weeks.
Also in 1962, in Los Angeles, 19-year old Chris Montez recorded “Let’s Dance.” Released two months later it would peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1968, actor Albert Dekker, who guest starred on episodic TV drama for almost 20 years, died of accidental suffocation at age 62.
Also in 1968, Toronto rocker Neil Young played his final show with Buffalo Springfield in Long Beach Calif.; he and Steven Stills would join David Crosby and Graham Nash, while Jim Messina would team up with Kenny Loggins.
Still in 1968, Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Bad Moon Rising” was released.
In 1969, Stevie Wonder was at the White House to receive the Distinguished Service Award from President Nixon, because he was an inspiration to people with handicaps.
In 1970, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman and the Winnipeg-based Guess Who rocketted to the top of the US charts with their No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit, “American Woman.”
Also in 1970, in New York City Perry Como recorded “It’s Impossible.” When it peaked a few months later at #10 on the pop music chart, it meant Perry had notched hits in four consecutive decades – the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. He added another hit single in 1973 with his recording of Don McLean’s “And I Love You So,” which peaked at #29.
In 1973, 56,800 fans paid $309,000 to see Led Zeppelin at Tampa Stadium. This was the largest paid crowd ever assembled in the U.S. to see a single musical act. The concert topped The Beatles 55,000-person audience at Shea Stadium in New York ($301,000).
Also in 1973, Elvis Presley went to No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite’.
In 1979, “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb topped the charts and stayed there for 4 weeks.
In 1979, the 300th episode of syndicated TV’s “Soul Train” was aired.
In 1982, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis. The performer, whose real name is Evangelos Papanthanassiou, won an Academy Award for the score to the film “Chariots of Fire.”
In 1983, actor John Williams, best remembered as the second Mr. French on TV’s Family Affair, as well as for a longrunning infomercial for a classical music package, died from an aneurism at age 80.
Also in 1983, bass singer Clarence Quick of the Dell-Vikings (Come Go With Me) died after a heart attack at age 46.
In 1986, Cleveland was named as the future site for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It opened nine years later.
Also in 1986, Michael Jackson signed his second contract with Pepsi, who agreed to pay him $15 million and sponsor his solo world tour.
In 1987, Ontario-born rocker Bryan Adams opened a 16-date tour of the US southeast in Shreveport Louisiana.
In 1988, the 100th episode of “Night Court” aired on NBC.
In 1990, a tribute concert to John Lennon organized by his widow Yoko Ono drew less than one-third of the expected 45,000 fans in Liverpool, England.
In 1992, country singer Tammy Wynette was hospitalized on her 50th birthday with a bile duct infection.
Also in 1992, the Beach Boys played themselves in the “Captain Video” episode of the ABC-TV sitcom “Full House.”
In 1993, the final episode of “Quantum Leap” starring Scott Bakula aired on NBC.
In 1995, former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler was arrested on a felony count of possession of heroin, as well as two misdemeanour drug charges.
In 1996, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliot and his girlfriend were arrested for allegedly beating each other up. That same week, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen was charged with beating up his wife at the Los Angeles airport.
Also in 1996, Rage Against The Machine went to No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘Evil Empire’.
In 1997, “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. topped the charts and stayed there for 3 weeks.
Also in 1997, the sitcom “Married With Children” aired its final episode on Fox TV.
Still in 1997, Dolores Hope (the wife of Bob Hope) received a star for recording on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1999, at the 34th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, Garth Brooks was named artist of the decade, the Dixie Chicks’ critically acclaimed multiplatinum debut “Wide Open Spaces,” was named album of the year, and Faith Hill won top female vocalist, as well as single and video of the year honors for “This Kiss.”
In 2000, the final episode of “Boy Meets World” aired on ABC.
Also in 2000, Rod Stewart had a one-hour throat operation at Cedar Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles to remove a growth on his thyroid. Fortunately the growth turned out to be benign.
In 2001, the 200th episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger” starring Chuck Norris. aired on CBS.
Also in 2001, singer Blake Shelton made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry, singing his first country chart topper “Austin.” He would wait another nine years to be inducted as an Opry member.
In 2002, Kenny Chesney was at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘No Shoes, No Shirt.’
In 2003, two disc jockeys from Denver’s KRFX-FM, Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax, cut short a live radio interview with Detroit rockerTed Nugent after he uttered derogatory terms for Asians and Blacks. The station received dozens of complaints.
In 2005, singer/actor Justin Timberlake underwent surgery at Los Angeles’ Cedars Sinai Hospital to have nodules removed from his throat. He was advised not to sing for at least three months.
In 2008, singer Jerry Wallace, with hits How the Time Flies (1958 ), Primrose Lane (1959) and In the Misty Moonlight (1964), died of congestive heart failure at age 79.
In 2009, actress Ola Ray, a former Playboy Playmate, filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson and his production company, alleging she had not been paid royalties due for her work in the video for “Thriller.”
Also in 2009, Slash (of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver fame) was the mentor to the finalists during Rock Week on Fox TV’s “American Idol.”
In 2010, Sonny and Cher‘s only child, who was born Chastity Sun Bono, appeared in a Santa Monica court to have a judge sign documents that would officially change her gender and name. The judge ruled that the gender reassignment was complete, and that Chastity would henceforth be known as a man named Chaz Bono.
In 2011, in Florida, one of the co-founders of the 1960′s folk-rock band Spanky And Our Gang, guitarist Nigel Pickering, who played on their hit tracks Like To Get To Know You, Lazy Day, and Sunday Will Never Be The Same, lost his battle with liver cancer at age 81.
In 2012, the Toronto-based band Rush were in Ottawa to receive the 2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, a recognition of lifetime artistic achievement. The award included $25,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a commemorative medallion struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.
In 2015, Deep Purple topped a Rolling Stone magazine readers’ poll of acts that should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Electric Light Orchestra landed at #2 with Yes at #3.
In 2016, Montreal-born singer-songwriter Andy Kim was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Also in 2016, The Rolling Stones demanded that presidential candidate Donald Trump stop playing their music (“Start Me Up,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Brown Sugar”) at his rallies.
In 2017, actress Quinn O’Hara, a former Miss Scotland who starred in the 1960’s on the big screen, who was featured in an NBC music series The Lively Ones (1962-63), and appeared repeatedly on TV’s Dallas, Burke’s Law and Trapper John MD, plus a score of shows for a few guest spots each, died at age 76 due to multiple health challenges.
In 2018, Justify won the Kentucky Derby televised by NBC, becoming the first horse in 136 years to score victory after not racing as a 2-year-old.
Actress/comedienne Pat Carroll (Laverne & Shirley, Red Buttons Show, Caesar’s Hour) is 93.
Actor Will Hutchins (Sugarfoot, Blondie, Hey Landlord) is 90.
Actor Michael Murphy (American Experience narrator, The Bridge, Tanner ’88) is 82.
Actor Lance Henriksen (Millennium, B.A.D. Cats) is 80.
Actor Marc Alaimo (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Hill Street Blues) is 78.
Comedian-actor Michael Palin (Monty Python) is 77.
Actor John Rhys-Davies (Sliders, The Untouchables) is 76.
MTV News correspondent Kurt Loder is 75.
Drummer Bill Ward of Black Sabbath is 72.
Actor/voicist Nicholas Guest (Sons of Anarchy, Batman: The Brave & the Bold, The Mummy: Secrets of the Medjai) is 69.
Actress Melinda Culea (Brotherly Love, Knots Landing, Glitter, The A Team) is 65.
Actor Jimmy Mathers (Ichabod & Me) is 65.
Actress Lisa Eilbacher (The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries) is 64.
Actor Richard E. Grant (Dig, Downton Abbey, Girls) is 63.
Singer Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen is 61.
MSNBC news anchor Brian Williams (formerly of NBC) is 61.
Writer/director Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy, The Shield) is 60.
Actress Rebecca Bush (Sydney, Growing Up Brady) is 52.
Actor Manny Perez (Homeland, Shots Fired, Thurd Watch, 100 Huntley Street) is 51.
TV game show host Todd Newton (Family Game Night) is 50.
TV personality Kyan Douglas (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) is 50.
Actor Darrin Dewitt Henson (Soul Food) is 48.
Actress Tina Yothers (Family Ties) is 47.
Singer Raheem DeVaughn is 45.
Actor Santiago Cabrera (Heroes, Empire) is 42.
Actor Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men, Casual, Angel) is 41.
Singer Craig David is 39.
Actress Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World) is 39.
Actor Brendan Bradley (Frankenstein M.D., Q.V.G., Video Game Reunion) is 37.
Actor Henry Cavill (The Tudors) is 37.
Bassist Josh Smith of Halestorm is 37.
Actor Clark Duke (Greek, I’m Dying Up Here, Hearts Afire, The Office) is 35.
TV personality/actress Brooke Hogan (Hogan Knows Best, Brooke Knows Best, China Il.) is 32.
Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 32.
Singer/songwriter Adele is 32.
Singer Chris Brown is 31.
Model/TV host Hannah Jeter (Project Runway Junior) is 30.
Actor Devon Gearhart (The Brooke Ellison Story, Warm Springs) is 25.
Actor Bobby Coleman (Surface, Family Man) is 23.
Ontario-born actor Jonathan ‘Jonny’ Gray (Max and Shred) is 21.
If – Perry Como
Mockingbird Hill – Patti Page
Would I Love You – Patti Page
The Rhumba Boogie – Hank Snow
Stuck on You – Elvis Presley
Sixteen Reasons – Connie Stevens
The Old Lamplighter – The Browns
He’ll Have to Go – Jim Reeves
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In – The 5th Dimension
It’s Your Thing – The Isley Brothers
Hair – The Cowsills
Galveston – Glen Campbell
Night Fever – Bee Gees
If I Can’t Have You – Yvonne Elliman
Can’t Smile Without You – Barry Manilow
Every Time Two Fools Collide – Kenny Rogers & Dottie West
(I Just) Died in Your Arms – Cutting Crew
Looking for a New Love – Jody Watley
La Isla Bonita – Madonna
Don’t Go to Strangers – T. Graham Brown
Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey
Ironic – Alanis Morissette
You’re the One – SWV
You Win My Love – Shania Twain
Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Let Me Go – 3 Doors Down
It’s Getting Better All the Time – Brooks & Dunn