Today in Entertainment History

On Dec. 8, 1956, 11-year-old Brenda Lee released her first single, “I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus.”

In 1961, the Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’,” was released.

In 1969, a supreme court in Toronto found guitarist Jimi Hendrix not guilty of possession of heroin and hashish. Hendrix had testified he had previously used drugs but had given them up.

In 1976, The Eagles released their “Hotel California” album.

In 1980, John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan. He and wife Yoko Ono were returning home from a recording session. Lennon was 40.

In 1982, country singer Marty Robbins died of heart disease in Nashville at the age of 57.

In 1983, character actor Slim Pickins died in Modesto, California, at age 64.

In 1984, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil crashed a sports car on a California highway, killing his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle Dingley.

In 1991, actor Gregory Peck and country legend Roy Acuff were honored at the Kennedy Center Honors. Acuff was the first country artist to receive the award.

In 1995, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead announced they were breaking up, after Jerry Garcia’s death the previous August.

In 2003, Ozzy Osbourne was seriously injured while riding a quad bike around his English estate. He hit an object and the bike landed on top of him.

In 2004, guitarist Dimebag Darrell, formerly of Pantera, was shot and killed during a show with his new band, DamagePlan, in Columbus, Ohio. Three others also were killed before a police officer shot and killed the gunman. Darrell was 38.

In 2019, rapper Juice WRLD (WORLD) died of cardiac arrest in Chicago’s Midway International Airport after being treated for opioid use during a police search. He was 21.

Also in 2019, “Big Bird” creator Caroll Spinney died at his home in Connecticut at the age of 85.

Today’s birthdays: Singer Jerry Butler is 81. Flute player James Galway is 81. Drummer Bobby Elliott of The Hollies is 79. Actor Mary Woronov (“Eating Raoul,” “The Munsters” films) is 77. Actor John Rubinstein (“Family,” ″Crazy Like a Fox”) is 74. Actor Kim Basinger is 67. Guitarist Warren Cuccurullo (Duran Duran, Missing Persons) is 64. Guitarist Phil Collen of Def Leppard is 64. Country singer Marty Raybon (The Raybon Brothers, Shenandoah) is 61. Guitarist Marty Friedman (Megadeth) is 58. Actor Wendell Pierce (“The Wire,” “Treme”) is 57. Actor Teri Hatcher is 56. Actor David Harewood (“Supergirl,” ″Homeland”) is 55. Singer Sinead (shuh-NAYD’) O’Connor is 54. Actor Matthew Laborteaux (LAH’-bor-toh) (“Little House on the Prairie”) is 54. Guitarist Ryan Newell of Sister Hazel is 48. Actor Dominic Monaghan (“Lost,” ″Lord of the Rings”) is 44. Actor Ian Somerhalder (“The Vampire Diaries,” ″Lost,”) is 42. Singer Ingrid Michaelson is 41. Singer Chrisette Michele is 38. Country singer Sam Hunt is 36. Singer Kate Voegele (VOH’-gehl) (“One Tree Hill”) is 34. Drummer Jen Ledger of Skillet is 31. Actor Wallis Currie-Wood (“Madam Secretary”) is 29. Actor AnnaSophia Robb (film’s “Race to Witch Mountain,” TV’s “The Carrie Diaries”) is 27.

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