On this day, June 15, 1996 the “First Lady of Song”, “Queen of Jazz”, and “Lady Ella”, American jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald died. With a vocal range spanning three octaves (D♭3 to D♭6), she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
A notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook, over the course of her 59-year recording career, Fitzgerald sold 40 million copies of her 70-plus albums, won 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.
1945 – Nicola Pagett (actress: An Awfully Big Adventure, Privates on Parade, Oliver’s Story, There’s a Girl in My Soup, Upstairs Downstairs)
1949 – Jim Varney (actor: The Beverly Hillbillies, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Saves Christmas; died Feb 10, 2000)
1954 – Jim Belushi (actor: Saturday Night Live, Trading Places, The Man with One Red Shoe, Little Shop of Horrors, The Principal, Who’s Harry Crumb?, Diary of a Hit Man, Destiny Turns on the Radio, Mighty Ducks the Movie: The Face-Off, Retroactive, Wag the Dog, K-911; John Belushi’s brother)
1955 – Julie Hagerty (actress: Airplane!, Airplane II: The Sequel, Women of the House, Noises Off, What About Bob?, Reversal of Fortune, Lost in America, The House of Blue Leaves)
1963 – Helen (Elizabeth) Hunt (Academy Award-winning actress: As Good As It Gets ; Emmy Award-winning actress: Mad About You [1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999]; Swiss Family Robinson, It Takes Two, The Fitzpatricks, Amy Prentiss, Twister, Kiss of Death, Next of Kin, Peggy Sue Got Married, Quarterback Princess, Desperate Lives, The Spell, My Life and Times)
1964 – Courteney Cox (actress: Friends, Family Ties, Ace Ventura Pet Detective)
1970 – Leah Remini (actress: The King of Queens, Living Dolls, Glory Daze, Follow Your Heart)
1971 – Jake Busey (actor: Starship Troopers, Shimmer, Twister, Contact, Enemy of the State, Shasta McNasty; son of actor Gary Busey)
1973 – Neil Patrick Harris (actor: Doogie Howser, M.D., Clara’s Heart, Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story, My Antonia, Starship Troopers, The Next Best Thing)