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Don Knotts - Barney Fife, Ralph Furley, dies of lung cancer (81)

 1961 The Andy Griffith Show1961 The Andy Griffith Show1961 The Andy Griffith Show1961 The Andy Griffith Show1961 The Andy Griffith Showyear 2000

Comedian Lung CancerJesse Donald Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an American comedic actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (a role which earned him five Emmy Awards), and as landlord Ralph Furley on the television sitcom Three’s Company in the 1980s.

Death of Don Knotts
Don Knotts died at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California from pulmonary and respiratory complications related to lung cancer. He had been undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the months before his death, but had gone home after he reportedly had been getting better. Long-time friend Andy Griffith visited Knotts’ bedside a few hours before he died. His wife and his daughter stayed with him until his death.

Knotts’ obituaries cited him as a huge influence on other entertainers. Musician and fan J.D. Wilkes said this about Knotts: “Only a genius like Knotts could make an anxiety-ridden,passive-aggressive Napoleon character like Fife a familiar, welcome friend each week. Without his awesome contributions to television there would’ve been no other over-the-top, self-deprecating acts like Conan O’Brien or Chris Farley.”

Knotts is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

His hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, has begun creation of a statue of the actor that will be placed in a special memorial park along the river and Don Knotts Boulevard.

Don Knotts - Funniest Moments as Barney Fife

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Early life
Knotts was born in the university town of Morgantown, West Virginia, the son of Elsie L. (née Moore) and William Jesse Knotts. His father’s family had been in the United States since the 17th century, originally settling in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.His father had been a farmer, but suffered a nervous breakdown and lost his farm. The family (including Don’s two brothers) was supported by Don’s mother, who ran a boarding house in town. Knotts’ father suffered from schizophrenia and alcoholism and died when Don was 13 years old. Some time later, Knotts graduated from Morgantown High School.

At 19, Knotts was drafted into the Army and served during World War II as part of a traveling GI variety show and as a nurse, including in the Pacific Theater.

Early roles
After performing in many venues (including a ventriloquist act with a dummy named Hooch Matador), Knotts got his first major break on television in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow where he appeared from 1953 to 1955. He came to fame in 1956 on Steve Allen’s variety show, as part of Allen’s repertory company, most notably in Allen’s mock “Man in the Street” interviews, always as a man extremely nervous. The laughs grew when Knotts stated his occupation -- always one that wouldn’t be appropriate for such a shaky person, such as a surgeon or explosives expert.

In 1958, Knotts appeared in the movie No Time for Sergeants alongside Andy Griffith. The movie, based on the play and book of the same name, began a professional and personal relationship between Knotts and Griffith that would last for decades.

Andy Griffith Show
In 1960, when Griffith was offered the opportunity to headline in his own sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), Knotts took the role of Barney Fife, the deputy — and originally cousin — of Sheriff Andy Taylor (portrayed by Griffith). Knotts’ five seasons portraying the deputy on the popular show would earn him five Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Comedy.Andy Griffith Show

Personal life
The actor was married to college sweetheart Kathryn (Kay) Metz from 1947-64 and to Loralee Czuchna from 1974-83. He had two children from his first marriage, Karen and Thomas. He was married to actress Francey Yarborough at the time of his death.
 

Filmography

Film
No Time for Sergeants (1958)
Wake Me When It's Over (1960)
The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) (cameo)
Move Over, Darling (1963)
The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
The Reluctant Astronaut (1967)
Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968)
The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)
The Love God? (1969)
How to Frame a Figg (1971)
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
No Deposit, No Return (1976)
Gus (1977)
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978)
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979)
The Prize Fighter (1979)
The Private Eyes (1981)
Cannonball Run II (1984)
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
Big Bully (1996)
Cats Don't Dance (1997)
Pleasantville (1998)
Tom Sawyer (2000)
Chicken Little (2005)
Air Buddies (2006)

Television
Search for Tomorrow (1953-1955)
The Steve Allen Show (1956-1960)
The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1965, 1966, 1967)
The New Steve Allen Show (1961-1963)
The Don Knotts Show (1970-1971)
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1972)
The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)
I Love a Mystery (1973)
Steve Allen's Laugh Back (1975)
Fantasy Island (1978-1979)
Three's Company (1979-1984)
The Little Troll Prince (1985)
Return to Mayberry (1986)
Johnny Bravo
Matlock (1987-1995)
What a Country (1987)
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
Timmy's Gift: A Precious Moments Christmas (1991)
Jingle Bells (1999)
Quints (2000)
Hermie: A Common Caterpillar (2003)
Odd Job Jack (2003)
8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter (2003)
Hermie and Friends (2004)
Robot Chicken (2005)
That 70's Show (2005)
Las Vegas (2005)

Dale Earnhardt - NASCAR Legend - Race car driver

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Dale Earnhardt NASCAR driverRalph Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (April 29, 1951 – February 18, 2001) was an American race car driver, best known for his career driving stock cars in NASCAR's top division. Earnhardt had four children, Kerry, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Dale Jr., and Taylor Earnhardt. His widow, Teresa Earnhardt (whom he married in 1982) is the owner of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the race team and merchandising corporation Earnhardt founded with her in February of 1980.

Death of Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt died in a last-lap crash during the 2001 Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt was 49 years old at the time of his death.

Earnhardt is known for his success in the Winston Cup Series, now known as the Sprint Cup Series. He won seventy-six races (including his only Daytona 500 victory in 1998), and his seven championships are tied for most all-time with Richard Petty. His highly aggressive driving style made him a fan favorite and earned him the nicknames "Ironhead", "Mr. Restrictor Plate", "The Man in Black" and most famously, "The Intimidator."

Dale Earnhardt Crash, 2001

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Douglas Fairbanks, Jr - Actor, Gunga Din, (2 stars at walk of fame)

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr

Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr., KBE, DSC, K.st.j. (December 9, 1909 – May 7, 2000) was an American actor and a highly decorated naval officer of World War II.

Birth of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was born in New York City, the son of actor Douglas Fairbanks and his first wife, Anna Beth Sully. His parents divorced when he was ten years old. He lived with his mother in California, Paris, and London.

Death of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. died of a heart attack in New York.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was 90 years old at the time of his death. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, in the same crypt as his father.

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Hollywood
Largely on the basis of his name, he was given a contract at age fourteen with Paramount Pictures. After making some undistinguished films, he took to the stage, where he impressed his father, his stepmother Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin, who encouraged him to continue with acting.

He began his career during the silent era. He was exceptionally handsome and initially played mainly supporting roles in a range of films featuring many of the leading female players of the day, Belle Bennett in Stella Dallas (1925), Esther Ralston in An American Venus (1926)and Pauline Starke in Women Love Diamonds (1927). In the last years of the silent period he was upped to star billing opposite Loretta Young in several pre-Code films, and Joan Crawford in Our Modern Maidens (1929). He supported John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in Woman of Affairs (1929). Progressing to sound, he played opposite Katharine Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role in the film Morning Glory (1933).

With Outward Bound (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), Little Caesar (1931), and Gunga Din (1939), his movies began to have more commercial success.

Marriages
His first notable relationship was with the actress Joan Crawford, whom he began to seriously date during the filming of their film Our Modern Maidens. On June 3, 1929, at City Hall in New York City, Crawford and Fairbanks married. He was technically underage, so one year was added to his birth (giving him 1908 as his year of birth), and Crawford shed three years from her age, which would remain shed until long after her death, giving her the same year of birth that Fairbanks had created for himself, 1908.

They went on a delayed honeymoon to England, where he was entertained by Noel Coward and George, Duke of Kent. He became active in both society and politics, but Crawford was far more interested in her career and her new affair with Clark Gable. The couple divorced in 1933.

Despite their divorce, Fairbanks and Crawford maintained a good relationship. In his later years, Fairbanks was quick to defend Crawford when her adopted daughter Christina Crawford, published Mommie Dearest, a scathing biography of Crawford's personal life. He firmly stated, "The Joan Crawford that I've heard about in Mommie Dearest is not the Joan Crawford I knew back when."

On April 22, 1939, he married Mary Lee Hartford (née Mary Lee Epling), a former wife of George Huntington Hartford, the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company heir. Douglas and Mary Lee were happily married for nearly fifty years, until Mary Lee died in 1988. They had three daughters, Daphne (married David Weston), Victoria (married Barend Van Gerbig) and Melissa (married Richard Morant). Douglas and Mary Lee had eight grandchildren:Anthony, Nicholas, Dominic and Natasha Weston; Barend and Eliza Isabella O Van Gerbig and Joseph and Crystal Morant. Their great grandchildren are:Benji, Hugo and Alfie Weston; Georgina and Eliza Weston; Aislinn and Charlie Weston; Violette Stymmel-Morant.

World War II
In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him a special envoy to South America.

Although celebrated as an actor, Fairbanks most enduring legacy was a well-kept secret for decades. At the onset of World War II, Fairbanks was commissioned a reserve officer in the United States Navy and assigned to Lord Mountbatten's Commando staff in England.

Having witnessed (and participated in) British training and cross-channel harassment operations emphasizing the military art of deception, Fairbanks attained a depth of understanding and appreciation of military deception then unheard of in the United States Navy. Lieutenant Fairbanks was subsequently transferred to Virginia Beach where he came under the command of Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, who was preparing U.S. Naval forces for the invasion of North Africa.

Fairbanks was able to convince Hewitt of the advantages of such a unit, and Admiral Hewitt soon took Fairbanks to Washington, D.C. to sell the idea to the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Ernest King. Fairbanks succeeded and ADM King issued a secret letter on 5 March 1943 charging the Vice Chief of Naval Operations with the recruitment of 180 officers and 300 enlisted men for the Beach Jumper program.

The Beach Jumpers mission would simulate amphibious landings with a very limited force. Operating dozens of kilometers from the actual landing beaches and utilizing their deception equipment, the Beach Jumpers would lure the enemy into believing that theirs was the location of the amphibious beach landing, when in fact the actual amphibious landing would be conducted at another location. Even if the enemy was less than 100-percent convinced of the deception, the uncertainty created by the operations could conceivably delay enemy reinforcement of the actual landing area by several crucial hours.

United States Navy Beach Jumpers saw their initial action in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Throughout the remainder of the war, the Beach Jumpers conducted their hazardous, shallow-water operations throughout the Mediterranean.

For his planning the diversion-deception operations and his part in the amphibious assault on Southern France, Lieutenant Commander Fairbanks was awarded the United States Navy's Legion of Merit with bronze V (for valor), the Italian War Cross for Military Valor, the French Legion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre with Palm, and the British Distinguished Service Cross. Fairbanks was also awarded the Silver Star for valor displayed while serving on PT boats.

He was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 1949.

It is not a stretch to say that Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was the father of the United States Navy's Information Operations. As for the Beach Jumpers, they changed names several times in the decades following World War II, expanded their focus, and are currently known as the Navy Information Operations Command. Fairbanks stayed in the Naval Reserve after the war and ultimately retired a captain in 1954.

Many of the Navy's most important information operations since World War II remain classified, but it is clear that the U.S. military retains its interest in this art of war.

Post-war years
Fairbanks returned to Hollywood at the conclusion of World War II and enjoyed success as host of the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Theater in the early years of television.

Fairbanks was a confirmed Anglophile and spent a good deal of his time in Britain, where he was well known in the highest social circles. Between 1954 and 1956 he also made a number of half-hour movies for television at one of the smaller Elstree film studios. The College of Arms in London granted Fairbanks a coat of arms symbolising the U.S. and Britain united across the blue Atlantic Ocean by a silken knot of friendship.

It has been claimed that Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was one of the naked men in the incriminating photos which were used as evidence in the divorce trial of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll in 1963.

He was good friends with legendary English stage and screen actor Sir Laurence Olivier, and was one of the contributors to a documentary of Olivier's life The South Bank Show Laurence Olivier: A Life.

He was the celebrated godfather of actor, John Bouvier Slatton, a relationship that he was proud of and cherished in his later years. Upon Slatton's death in an airplane accident, several months before his own death, Fairbanks was distraught with grief.

He died of a heart attack in New York at the age of 90. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, in the same crypt as his father.

Legacy
Fairbanks has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6318 Hollywood Boulevard and one for television at 6665 Hollywood Boulevard.

Partial filmography
American Aristocracy (1916)
The Three Musketeers (1921)
Stephen Steps Out (1923)
The Air Mail (1925)
Wild Horse Mesa (1925)
Stella Dallas (1925)
The American Venus (1926)
Padlocked (1926)
Broken Hearts of Hollywood (1926)
Man Bait (1927)
Women Love Diamonds (1927)
Is Zat So? (1927)
A Texas Steer (1927)
Dead Man's Curve (1928)
Modern Mothers (1928)
The Toilers (1928)
The Power of the Press (1928)
The Barker (1928)
A Woman of Affairs (1928)
 Hollywood Snapshots #11 (1929) (short subject)
The Forward Pass (1929)
The Jazz Age (1929)
Our Modern Maidens (1929)
Little Caesar (1931)
Catherine the Great (1934)
Man of the Moment (1935)
The Amateur Gentleman (1936)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Joy of Living (1938)
The Rage of Paris (1938)
Having Wonderful Time (1938)
Gunga Din (1939)
Green Hell (1940)
Angels Over Broadway (1940)
The Corsican Brothers (1941)
Sinbad the Sailor (1947)
The Exile (1947)
Ghost Story (1981)

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Prncess Diana (Frances) - August 31, 1997

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Princess DianaDiana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances July 1, 1961 – August 31, 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Their sons, Princes William and Henry (Harry), are second and third in line to the thrones of the United Kingdom and fifteen other Commonwealth Realms.

Death of Princess Diana
On 31 August 1997, Diana died after a high speed car accident in the Pont d'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with Dodi Al-Fayed and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was instructed to drive the hired Mercedes-Benz through Paris secretly eluding the paparazzi. Their black 1994 Mercedes-Benz S280 (registration no. 688 LTV 75) crashed into the thirteenth pillar of the tunnel. The two-lane tunnel was built without metal barriers between the pillars, so a slight change in vehicle direction could easily result in a head-on collision with a tunnel pillar. None of the four occupants wore seatbelts.

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