Charlie Daniels, 83, the singer, songwriter and bandleader known for his brash down-home persona and his blazing fiddle work on hits like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” died Monday in Nashville. The cause was a hemorrhagic stroke.
A force in country and rock for more than five decades, Daniels first made his mark as a session musician. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he played guitar, bass, fiddle and banjo on Nashville recordings by Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr and Leonard Cohen. He also produced albums for the Youngbloods, including the group’s 1969 folk-rock touchstone, “Elephant Mountain,” during this period.
But his greatest acclaim came as the leader of the Charlie Daniels Band, a country-rock ensemble that hosted the Volunteer Jam, the freewheeling Southern music festival established in 1974 that featured Roy Acuff, Stevie Ray Vaughn, James Brown and the Marshall Tucker Band.
Ennio Morricone, 91, the Ocar-winning Italian composer who created the theme for the iconic Spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and often haunting soundtracks for such classic Hollywood gangster movies as “The Untouchables” and the epic “Once Upon A Time In America,” died Monday. The Maestro, as he was known, died in a Rome hospital of complications following a recent fall in which he broke a leg.
During a career that spanned decades and earned him an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2007, Morricone collaborated with some of Hollywood’s and Italy’s top directors, including on “The Untouchables” by Brian De Palma, “The Hateful Eight” by Quentin Tarantino — which brought him the Oscar for best original score in 2016 — and “The Battle of Algiers” by Gillo Pontecorvo. In total, he produced more than 400 original scores for feature films.
Morricone was credited with reinventing music for Western movies through his partnership with the late Italian film director, Sergio Leone. Their partnership included the “Dollars” trilogy starring Clint Eastwood as a quick-shooting, lonesome gunman: “A Fistful of Dollars” in 1964, “For a Few Dollars More” in 1965 and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” a year later.
Mary Kay Letourneau, 58, a teacher who married her former sixth-grade student after she was convicted of raping him in a case that drew international headlines, died Monday, not Tuesday as previously reported, according to her lawyer, David Gehrke. Letourneau had been living in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines and died of advanced colon cancer.
Nick Cordero, 41, a Broadway actor who appeared in the Broadway productions “Rock of Ages,” “Waitress,” “Bullets Over Broadway” and “A Bronx Tale: The Musical,” died July 5 after a long and difficult battle with COVID-19, since March.
Cordero got his start on Broadway in the 2012 production of “Rock of Ages” in which he played Dennis and Record Company Man. He earned a Tony nod and a Drama Desk nomination two years later for his role as Cheech in the musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway.” He also played Earl in “Waitress” and Sonny in “A Bronx Tale: The Musical,” which earned him an additional Drama Desk nomination.
Saroj Khan, 71, Bollywood choreographer whose film career spanned more than 60 years and who created some of the industry’s most famous dance scenes in the 1980s and ’90s, died July 3 at Guru Nanak hospital in Mumbai. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, a hospital spokesman said. As the first female choreographer, she was a Bollywood pioneer, one of the few women working behind the camera when nearly all the technicians were men.
Ola Mae Spinks, 106, a librarian and descendant of slaves who went to the Library of Congress in 1972 to bring order to a vast but scattered archive of interviews with former slaves, thus helping to preserve them for scholars, died on June 16 at her home in Southfield, Michigan
Spinks was a middle-school librarian in Pontiac, Michigan, when she and Phyllis Williams, a friend and fellow librarian, spent the summer of 1972 as volunteers at the Library of Congress collating and indexing a daunting trove of paperwork about slavery in Alabama and Arkansas.