Actor Charles Middleton was born on October 3, 1874 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. During a film career that began at age 46 and lasted almost 30 years, Middleton appeared in nearly two hundred films and is best remembered for his performance as Ming the Merciless opposite Buster Crabbe in the 1930s Flash Gordon serial. His career as a character actor came into full flower with the advent of sound movies. His ominous baritone voice was perfect for villainous roles, and he became an excellent foil for some of the legends of comedy. Charles Middleton died from a heart attack in Los Angeles on April 22, 1949 and was buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Who died on this date:
On October 3, 1998, actor Roddy McDowall died. He was born on September 17, 1928in Herne Hill, England. He made his film debut at the age of 12 in How Green was my Valley (1941). This role made him a household name and he then starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), a movie that introduced a girl who would become his lifelong friend, Elizabeth Taylor. He then appeared in My Friend Flicka (1943), The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). McDowall continued his career successfully into adulthood, but it was usually in character roles in films and television, such as Cleopatra (1963), It! (1966), The Planet of the Ape movie series (1968-1973), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Dirty Mary, and Crazy Larry (1974), Fright Night (1985), and Overboard (1987). McDowall died on October 3, 1998 from lung cancer at his home in Studio City and his ashes were scattered at sea.