Entries in Died (21)


Whitney Houston Dead at 48

Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Whitney Houston, the most awarded female music artist of all time, has died, ABC News Radio has confirmed.  She was 48.  

The Beverly Hills Police Department issued a statement that declared, in part, "At 3:43, the Beverly Hills PD got an emergency call from the Beverly Hills hotel. ...At 3:55 this afternoon, Houston was pronounced dead at the hotel. ...No obvious signs of criminal intent at this time." 

Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston, as well as her cousin, Dionne Warwick, spoke to Whitney by telephone less than a half-hour before her death, according to  They reportedly talked about Houston's scheduled appearance at record exec Clive Davis' annual Grammy part Saturday night and Houston seemed "fine," according to TMZ, which also describes Cissy Houston as "hysterical" and Warwick as "an absolute mess."

Despite Houston's death, a spokesperson for RCA records tells ABC News Radio that Davis' Grammy party is scheduled to go on as planned. 

WATCH: ABC's David Muir reports on Whitney Houston's death for World News:

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Houston was seen on Thursday at another pre-Grammy party and the Hollywood Reporter  says she was described as acting "belligerent."  On Friday, news broke that she was being approached for a seat on the judges' panel on The X Factor.  A source close to Clive Davis, who discovered Houston, told the Hollywood Reporter, "This is a sad day and it will be a sad Grammys weekend." 

Aretha Franklin also issued a statement expressing shock at Houston's passing.  "I just can't talk about it now," says Franklin.  "It's so stunning and unbelievable.  I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen.  My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby [Brown]."

New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ, where Houston sang in the choir when she was younger, will hold a special prayer service Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET.  Church Pastor Joe A. Carter called Houston "A treasure on a global scale and, on a personal note, with our church family."

SLIDESHOW: Whitney Houston Dies: Icon Through the Years

In her storied career, Houston sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide, and won six Grammy Awards, two Emmys and countless other honors.  The cousin of Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of Aretha Franklin, Whitney grew up singing in the church, and as a teenager, she worked as a backing vocalist, sometimes appearing onstage with her mother, singer Cissy Houston.  In the early '80s, Houston became a model but continued to sing; Clive Davis signed her to Arista Records in 1983 after he saw her perform in a nightclub.

Whitney's 1985 self-titled debut album was a massive hit, as was the follow-up, 1987's Whitney. Together, they produced massive hits like "How Will I Know," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," "The Greatest Love of All," "So Emotional," "Saving All My Love for You" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go."

Houston branched out into acting with The Bodyguard, and scored her signature hit "I Will Always Love You" from that movie's soundtrack. Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife followed.  She had recently wrapped filming on Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, in which she portrayed the mother of an up-and-coming singer played by Jordin Sparks. The film is set to be released in August. 

Houston married singer Bobby Brown in 1992, a move many felt was controversial, due to his "bad boy" image.  They had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and finally divorced in 2007 after a tumultuous relationship.

EARLIER: Watch ABC's David Muir break the news of Whitney Houston's death:

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Houston's struggles with substance abuse, which she owned up to in various interviews over the past decade, often overshadowed her musical accomplishments.  She went to rehab twice and declared herself drug-free in 2010.  Her 2009 album I Look to You was hailed as her comeback album, but her performances to support it were disappointing, with some fans walking out of shows.

Whitney Houston influenced a generation of musical performers, including Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and nearly every female singer who ever appeared on American Idol.  Mariah Carey tweeted Saturday night, "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston. My heartfelt condolences to Whitney’s family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Drift Away' Singer Dobie Gray Dead at 71

Singers Dobie Gray (L) and Uncle Kracker appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on May 5, 2003. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- Dobie Gray, the singer who scored with the smash hit "Drift Away" in 1973, has died.  He was 71. A note on his official website announced his passing, but no cause of death was listed.

Gray's music was introduced to a new audience in 2003, when Uncle Kracker recorded a duet version of the song with Gray.  The single hit the top ten and topped the Adult Contemporary charts for a record 28 weeks.

"My heart goes out to Dobie's family this evening," Kracker tweeted Tuesday night. "RIP Dobie Gray. Thank you for the music. You will not be forgotten.”

Dobie Gray, whose birth name has been reported as Lawrence Darrow Brown and Leonard Victor Ainsworth, was given his stage name by Sonny Bono, who supposedly named him after the then-popular TV show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Gray's first hit single was "The In Crowd," a top-15 hit in 1965, but it was "Drift Away" that cemented his legacy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Tommy' Director Ken Russell Dies at 84

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(LONDON) -- British director Ken Russell, who directed The Who-inspired 1975 musical film Tommy, has died, according to Britain's The Guardian.  He passed away Sunday in his sleep at the age of 84.  Additional details had not been released as of early Monday.

In addition to Tommy, Russell also directed 1975's Lisztomania.  Inspired by the life of classical composer Franz Liszt, it starred The Who's Roger Daltrey, and featured Ringo Starr and Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, the latter of whom also provided the film's score.

Russell's other credits include 1969's Women in Love, for which he received an Oscar nomination, as well as 1970's The Music Lovers and 1980's Altered States.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Family Circus' Creator Dead at 89

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz.) -- Bil Keane, the creator of Family Circus, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, according to The Washington Post.  He was 89 years old.

Keane first drew the one-panel cartoon featuring Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, P.J. and their parents in February 1960, and the comic, which is now drawn by his son Jeff, is currently featured in nearly 1,500 newspapers across the country.

Bil Keane’s first cartoon was published in 1936 in the Philadelphia Daily News.  He served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945, and was president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1981 to 1983.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Longtime Oscar Telecast Producer Gil Cates Dead

Toby Canham/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Producer Gilbert Cates, a man whose name is nearly synonymous with the modern Academy Awards telecast, has died.

Cates, who produced 14 shows over 18 years between 1990 and 2008, was found Monday evening on UCLA's campus, but emergency personnel were unable to revive him, according to a statement from the university.  Cates was the Founding Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and was a professor there as well.  He was 77.

In a statement, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak said of Cates, "He was a consummate professional who gave the Academy and the world some of the most memorable moments in Oscar history. His passing is a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry, and our thoughts go out to his family."

Cates' most memorable contributions to the Oscar telecasts arguably were the hosts who took the stage on his watch.  He was responsible for first bringing hosts Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart to Oscar's stage, the Academy explained.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio


Bob Hope's Widow, Dolores Hope, Dead at 102

Ron Galella/WireImage(TOLUCA LAKE, Calif.) -- The widow of legendary comedian Bob Hope has died.

Dolores Hope, a singer and philanthropist, passed away Monday at her home in Toluca Lake, Calif., of natural causes.  She was 102 years old.

Hope performed under the name Dolores Reade before she tied the knot in 1934 to Bob Hope, who died in 2003 at the age of 100.  She joined him on many of his tours to entertain U.S. troops, performing songs such as "Silent Night" and "White Christmas."  She also recorded several albums.

Actress Carol Channing said of Dolores Hope on Monday, "She was the First Lady of the USO.  They didn't come any more patriotic, caring or talented than Dolores."

Comedian Rip Taylor recalled, "I'll never forget what a wonderful singer she was.  In fact, that's how Bob and Dolores met.  It seems to me that they were always laughing."

The Hopes adopted four children during their marriage.  Dolores Hope, whose birth name was Dolores DeFina, is survived by a daughter, a son and several grandchildren.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jimmy Kimmel's 'Uncle Frank' Dead at 77

ABC/MICHAEL DESMOND(NEW YORK) -- Jimmy Kimmel's "Uncle Frank" died early Tuesday at the age of 77.

Frank Potenza, a former New York City police officer, joined his real-life nephew's ABC late-night program in 2003 as a security guard, and frequently made appearances in comedy segments.  A cause of death has not been released.

A statement released by Jimmy Kimmel Live! says Potenza's "kindness and humor will be missed by everyone he touched."  The show is on hiatus until Sept. 6.

Kimmel wrote on Twitter to his followers, "Thank you for your kind words about a very kind man -- my Uncle Frank -- who passed away this morning."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Amy Winehouse's Dad 'Speechless' over Her Death

Simone Joyner/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The distraught parents of Amy Winehouse returned to her north London home Monday, calling themselves "devastated and speechless."

"Amy was about one thing, and that was love," musician Mitch Winehouse said to the fans and media gathered at the makeshift shine outside his daughter's home. "Her whole life was devoted to her family, friends, and to you guys as well. So we're devastated, and I'm speechless."

The five-time Grammy winner was found dead, alone in her bed, at her London apartment Saturday afternoon by a bodyguard. She was 27. Medical authorities who responded to the scene said she had been dead for several hours, and that there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in her apartment.

Winehouse's family said the singer had visited the doctor as recently as Friday and received a clean bill of health. There were also reports that she had entered treatment again as recently as last month.

Winehouse was working on an album before she died but canceled her latest tour last month after a Serbia show in which she stumbled, mumbled, and got booed by the crowd.

Winehouse's death follows a lifetime of substance abuse. Though she sought treatment for her drug and alcohol addiction numerous times, even those closest to her could not save her.

Winehouse's relationships with her friends and family -- particularly her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, and father, Mitch Winehouse -- were fraught at best.

Winehouse's mother, Janis Winehouse, also failed to get her the help she needed. In a statement released Sunday, Janis told Us Weekly that she believed her daughter's death had been "only a matter of time" when they met 24 hours earlier. "She seemed out of it," Janis said. "But her passing so suddenly still hasn't hit me."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Charlie Sheen Not Dead, Despite Internet Rumors

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Despite Internet rumors claiming his death, actor Charlie Sheen is very much alive.

A virus spread primarily through Facebook claimed that Sheen was dead, then rumor spread to Twitter.

Sheen denied the claim, writing on his Twitter page, "(warlock: long nap...very much alive)."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Brady Bunch,' 'Gilligan's Island' Creator Dead

The Brady family, from the television series, 'The Brady Bunch'. Top row (left to right) Maureen McCormick, Florence Henderson, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight; bottom row: Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland, Robert Reed and Susan Olsen. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Sherwood Schwartz -- the man who created two of the most iconic shows in television history in The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island -- has died at 94 years old.

Schwartz, who got his start in radio, and wrote episodes of the pre-TV permutation of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, won an Emmy for his work on the longrunning Red Skelton Show, and also produced the 1980s sitcom Harper Valley PTA, in addition to various Brady-related projects like 1988's A Very Brady Christmas

A member of his household staff told ABC News that Schwartz died at his home Tuesday morning.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio