• Frank Wess

    1922 - 2013

    Frank Wess (1922 - 2013)

    Frank Wess was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of a principal father and a schoolteacher mother. He began with classical music training and played in Oklahoma in high school. He later switched to jazz on moving to Washington, D. C. and by nineteen was working with big bands. His career was interrupted by World War […]

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  • Shirley Scott

    1934 - 2002

    Shirley Scott (1934 - 2002)

    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shirley Scott was an admirer of Jimmy Smith, Jackie Davis (American soul jazz singer, organist and bandleader), and Bill Doggett (American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist; and played piano and trumpet before moving to the Hammond organ, her main instrument, though on occasion she still played piano. In the 1950s she became known for her […]

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  • Cedar Walton

    1934 - 2013

    Cedar Walton (1934 - 2013)

    Cedar Walton was drafted into the U.S. Army, and stationed in Germany, cutting short his rising status in the after-hours scene. While in the Army, he played with musicians Leo Wright, Don Ellis, and Eddie Harris. Upon his discharge after two years, Walton picked up where he left off, playing as a sideman withKenny Dorham (on whose 1958 album This […]

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  • Mickey Roker

    1932 - 2017

    Mickey Roker (1932 - 2017)

    Mickey Roker was born into extreme poverty in Miami to Granville (Sr.) and Willie Mae Roker. After his mother died (his father never lived with them), when he was only ten, he was taken by his grandmother to live in Philadelphia with his uncle Walter, who gave him his first drum kit and communicated his […]

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  • Jack O’Neill

    1923 - 2017

    Jack O’Neill (1923 - 2017)

    Jack O’Neill grew up in Oregon and southern California, where he began body surfing in the late 1930s. He was a Navy pilot during World War II. O’Neill later moved to San Francisco in 1949 and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at San Francisco State University. In 1952, he founded the O’Neill brand […]

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  • Jimmy Piersall

    1929 - 2017

    Jimmy Piersall (1929 - 2017)

    Jimmy Piersall was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1954 and 1956. By the end of the 1956 season, in which he played all 156 games, he posted a league-leading 40 doubles, scored 91 runs, drove in 87, and had a .293 batting average. The following year, he hit 19 home runs and […]

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  • Roger Smith

    1932 - 2017

    Roger Smith (1932 - 2017)

    Roger Smith served with the Naval Reserve and was stationed in Hawaii with the Fleet All-Weather Training Unit-Pacific, a flight training unit near Honolulu. After a chance meeting with actor James Cagney, he was encouraged to try a career in Hollywood. (Cagney had also encouraged other young actors, including Don Dubbins, for whom he found […]

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  • Isaac Burns Murphy

    1861 - 1896

    Isaac Burns Murphy (1861 - 1896)

    Isaac Burns Murphy rode in eleven Kentucky Derbies, winning three times: on Buchanan in 1884, Riley in 1890, and Kingman in 1891. Kingman was owned by Jacobin Stables (co-owners, Preston Kinzea Stone and Dudley Allen) and trained by Dudley Allen, and is the first horse co-owned by an African-American to win the Derby. Murphy is […]

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  • George Stovey

    1866 - 1936

    George Stovey (1866 - 1936)

    In 1907, black player-turned-sportswriter Sol White alluded to a supposed effort in 1887 by New York to sign George Stovey. White, writing in a baseball book bearing his name, stated that “arrangements were about completed for his transfer from the Newark club, when a brawl was heard from Chicago to New York. Cap Anson, with […]

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  • Larry Doby

    1923 - 2003

    Larry Doby (1923 - 2003)

    Lawrence Eugene Doby (December 13, 1923 – June 18, 2003) was an American professional baseball player in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) who was the second black player to break baseball’s color barrier. A native of Camden, South Carolina and three-sport all-state athlete while in high school in Paterson, New Jersey, Doby […]

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  • Moses Fleetwood Walker

    1856 - 1924

    Moses Fleetwood Walker (1856 - 1924)

    Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker (October 7, 1856 – May 11, 1924) was an American professional baseball catcher who is credited with being one of the first black men to play in Major League Baseball (MLB). A native of Mount Pleasant, Ohio, and a star athlete at Oberlin College as well as the University of Michigan, […]

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  • Cap Anson

    1852 - 1922

    Cap Anson (1852 - 1922)

    Adrian Constantine Anson (April 17, 1852 – April 14, 1922), nicknamed “Cap” (for “Captain”) and “Pop”, was a Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman. Including his time in the National Association (NA), he played a record 27 consecutive seasons. Cap Anson was regarded as one of the greatest players of his era and one of […]

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  • Tris Speaker

    1888 - 1958

    Tris Speaker (1888 - 1958)

    Tristram Edgar Speaker (April 4, 1888 – December 8, 1958), nicknamed “The Grey Eagle”, was an American baseball player. Considered one of the best offensive and defensive center fielders in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), he compiled a career batting average of .345 (sixth all-time). His 792 career doubles represent an MLB career […]

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  • Honus Wagner

    1874 - 1955

    Honus Wagner (1874 - 1955)

    Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner (/ˈhɒnəs ˈwæɡnər/; February 24, 1874 – December 6, 1955) was an American baseball shortstop who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1897 to 1917, almost entirely for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Honus Wagner won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history with Tony Gwynn. He also […]

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  • Christy Mathewson

    1880 - 1925

    Christy Mathewson (1880 - 1925)

    Christopher “Christy” Mathewson (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1925), nicknamed “Big Six”, “The Christian Gentleman”, “Matty”, and “The Gentleman’s Hurler” was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher who played 17 seasons with the New York Giants. He was among the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, and ranks in the all-time top ten in […]

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  • Bill Tilden

    1893 - 1953

    Bill Tilden (1893 - 1953)

    William Tatem Tilden II (February 10, 1893 – June 5, 1953), nicknamed “Big Bill,” was an American male tennis player. He is often considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Tilden was the World No. 1 player for six years from 1920 through 1925. He won 15 Major singles titles including ten […]

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  • Frank Deford

    1938 - 2017

    Frank Deford (1938 - 2017)

    Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Deford III (December 16, 1938 – May 28, 2017) was an American sportswriter and novelist. Over the course of four decades, he was a regular sports commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition radio program (from 1980 to 2017). Frank Deford wrote for Sports Illustrated magazine from 1962 until his death in 2017, and […]

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  • Tom Graham

    1950 - 2017

    Tom Graham (1950 - 2017)

    Thomas Lawrence Graham (April 15, 1950 – May 30, 2017) was an American football linebacker in the National Football League. From 1972 until 1978, he played for the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers, and the Buffalo Bills. He played college football at the University of Oregon. From 1969-71, linebacker Tom […]

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  • Elena Verdugo

    1925 - 2017

    Elena Verdugo (1925 - 2017)

    Elena Verdugo made numerous film appearances through the 1940s, including several Universal horror films. While filming the Abbott and Costello comedy Little Giant (1946), she met and married screenwriter Charles R. Marion, who also wrote for the comedy team’s radio show. Verdugo starred with Gene Autry and Stephen Dunne in the movie The Big Sombrero […]

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  • Jack McCloskey

    1925 - 2017

    Jack McCloskey (1925 - 2017)

    Jack McCloskey played one game for the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA during the 1953 season, scoring 6 points in that game. He served as head coach of the University of Pennsylvania from 1956 to 1966, and of Wake Forest from 1966 to 1972. Following that, he served as the head coach of the Portland […]

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  • Coy Wayne Wesbrook

    1958 - 2016

    Coy Wayne Wesbrook (1958 - 2016)

    According to his testimony, Coy Wayne Coy Wayne Wesbrook went to visit his ex-wife, Gloria Jean Coons, at her home in Channelview, Texas, in the Greater Houston area. He was invited to a party at Coons’ apartment along with other friends Diana Ruth Money, and three other males. Wesbrook had gone there with hopes of […]

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  • Adam Kelly Ward

    1982 - 2016

    Adam Kelly Ward (1982 - 2016)

    Adam Kelly Ward (August 11, 1982 – March 22, 2016) was an American convicted murderer executed by the state of Texas by lethal injection. On June 13, 2005, Adam Ward encountered Michael Walker, a code enforcement officer, taking photographs of Ward’s home in Commerce, Texas. Ward was washing a car at the time, and he […]

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  • Ledell Lee

    1965 - 2017

    Ledell Lee (1965 - 2017)

    Ledell T. Lee (July 31, 1965 – April 20, 2017) was an Arkansas death row inmate executed for the 1993 murder of his neighbor, Debra Reese. He was convicted in 1995 and the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the conviction in 1997. Reese, 26-years-old at the time of her death, was found dead in her home […]

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  • Pablo Vasquez

    1977 - 2016

    Pablo Vasquez (1977 - 2016)

    On April 18, 1998, Pablo Vasquez went to a party in Donna, Texas, with his 15-year-old cousin, Andres Rafael “Andy” Chapa. During the party he became intoxicated with cocaine and alcohol. At the party he met Cardenas, and while walking from the party to a house, Vasquez hit Cardenas on the head with a pipe […]

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  • Christopher Wilkins

    1968 - 2017

    Christopher Wilkins (1968 - 2017)

    Christopher Chubasco Wilkins (September 29, 1968 – January 11, 2017) was a Texas inmate sentenced to death and executed for a 2005 double murder. On October 27, 2005, Christopher Wilkins shot and killed Willie Freeman and Mike Silva. Freeman had allegedly cheated Wilkins in a drug deal; Silva was with Freeman at the time and […]

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  • Frances Marion

    1888 - 1973

    Frances Marion (1888 - 1973)

    Frances Marion worked as a journalist and served overseas as a combat correspondent during World War I. She documented women’s contribution to the war effort on the front lines, and became the first woman to cross the Rhine after the armistice. On her return home, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired as a […]

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  • Maurice Tourneur

    1876 - 1961

    Maurice Tourneur (1876 - 1961)

    Born Maurice Thomas in the Epinettes district (17th arrondissement) of Paris, France, his father was a wholesaler. As a young man, Maurice Thomas first trained as a graphic designer and a magazine illustrator but was soon drawn to the theater. In 1904, he married the actress, Fernande Petit. They had a son, Jacques (1904–1977), who […]

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  • Alice Terry

    1900 - 1987

    Alice Terry (1900 - 1987)

    Alice Terry started in films as an extra during her mid-teens. For two years she worked in cutting rooms at Famous-Players-Lasky. This work would help her later on when she worked with her husband. Alice Terry was married to Rex Ingram, a prominent director. One of her biggest problems in her career was being the […]

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  • Frank Keenan

    1858 - 1929

    Frank Keenan (1858 - 1929)

    Frank Keenan (April 8, 1858 – February 24, 1929) was an American stage and film actor and stage director and manager during the silent film era. He was among the first stage actors to star in Hollywood, and he pursued work in film features a number of years. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Keenan acquired his […]

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  • Reginald Baker

    1886 - 1945

    Reginald Baker (1886 - 1945)

    Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Reginald Barker’s family moved to Scotland when he was an infant and then to the United States. Living in California, Reginald Barker wrote, produced, and acted in his first play at the age of sixteen following which he acted and handled stage manager duties with a traveling stock company. At […]

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