Apple founder Steve Jobs died on Wednesday. But so did civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth, guitarist and songwriter Bert Jansch, and actor Charles Napier.
Their stories are unlikely to be told as frequently, or as loudly, as Jobs' will be over the next few days. That's okay! It's the way the world works. But when you mark Jobs' passing, think of these men, too.
The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement, died in Birmingham. Shuttlesworth, a cofounder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was famously single-minded in his dedication—"we're determined to either kill segregation or be killed by it," he told CBS in 1961, and he almost was, several times over: he was hospitalized after being hit with a blast from a fire hose, a bomb was detonated underneath his bedroom (Shuttlesworth emerged with only a small head injury), and he was beaten with chains and baseball bats after enrolling his children in a white school. Even so, Shuttlesworth maintained an unwavering commitment to nonviolence, and his courage was renowned: "I think God created Fred Shuttlesworth to take on people like Bull Connor," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery. "I don't know of anyone else that could have led the movement in Birmingham." [image via]
Bert Jansch, legendary guitarist and singer-songwriter, died in London of lung cancer. Starting with his self-titled LPs in 1965, Jansch released a string of unbeatable albums, under his own name and as a member of the group Pentangle, all in the unique blend of blues, jazz, and traditional British folk music that would influence everyone from Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page to the Smiths' Johnny Marr. (We're particular fans of the vaguely countrified Mike Nesmith-produced L.A. Turnaround.) Jansch struggled with alcoholism but managed a late-career resurgence with the rise of younger freak-folk artists like Devendra Banhart and Beth Orton, both of whom he collaborated with; he spent much of last year opening for Neil Young, who once called him the Jimi Hendrix of acoustic guitar.
Charles Napier, the well-known character actor seen in this clip beating Larry David with a towel, died in Bakersfield. Immediately identifiable by his square jaw and military bearing, Napier made his name playing soldiers, cops and tough guys like the redneck musician Tucker McElroy in Blues Brothers; he was a favorite of director Jonathan Demme, who gave him an extremely memorable role in Silence of the Lambs. A former soldier himself, Napier first started working in film while "making mischief" with a bunch of out-of-work actors—Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Harry Dean Stanton—before landing himself a bit part on Mission: Impossible and then a hilarious role as a hippie alien on Star Trek. His last movie was The Goods.