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American singer Janis Joplin, who was known for her fierce and uninhibited musical style, died of an accidental overdose of heroin.
Janis Joplin, (born January 19, 1943, Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.—died October 4, 1970, Los Angeles, California), American singer, the premier white female blues vocalist of the 1960s, who dazzled listeners with her fierce and uninhibited musical style.
After an unhappy childhood in a middle-class family in southeastern Texas, Joplin attended Lamar State College of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin before dropping out in 1963 to sing folk songs and especially the blues in Texas clubs. After a long sojourn in San Francisco (during which she abused alcohol and amphetamines), she went back to Texas, only to return to San Francisco in 1966 to become the vocalist for Big Brother and the Holding Company at the recommendation of hippie impresario Chet Helms. Buoyed by Joplin’s raucous, bluesy vocals, the hard-rocking band released an album on independent Mainstream Records, then stunned audiences at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 with a legendary performance highlighted by Joplin’s rendition of “Ball and Chain” (a rhythm-and-blues classic by Big Mama Thornton). Big Brother’s first album for major label Columbia, Cheap Thrills (1968), went to number one (the single “Piece of My Heart” reached number 12), and onetime ugly duckling Joplin continued her transformation into a strong-willed, sexually aggressive rock icon.
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Charlton Heston, original name John Charles Carter, (born October 4, 1923, Evanston, Illinois, U.S.—died April 5, 2008, Beverly Hills, California), American actor who was known for his chiseled features and compelling speaking voice and for his numerous roles as historical figures and famous literary characters.
Heston decided to become an actor after impulsively auditioning for a high-school play. His stage experience in high school resulted in a scholarship to Northwestern University. In 1946 he moved to New York City, and he made his Broadway debut in Antony and Cleopatra (1947). Soon thereafter he landed roles in live television productions. He first appeared in a Hollywood film in a starring role in William Dieterle’s Dark City (1950). Although he was still relatively unknown, his performance impressed director Cecil B. DeMille, who cast him as the circus manager in The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). The film won the Oscar for best picture, and Heston received good notices for his performance. He later starred as U.S. Pres. Andrew Jackson in The President’s Lady (1953), the first of many historical roles he would undertake.
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