As football fans settle into their beanbag chairs on Sunday to drink more Pabst than their livers can handle and watch the Rams stuff the Patriots, their minds should also remember one of the greatest NFL players ever: Hall of Fame defensive back Dick “Night Train” Lane, who died on Jan. 29 of a heart attack. He was 73.
Why should jazz fans care about Night Train? Because he was a big jazz fan and because he was once married to singer Dinah Washington. Granted, Lane was but one of seven husbands that Washington loved and lost before her tragic death on Dec. 14, 1963, in Detroit, Mich., at the age of 39 from an accidental combination of diet pills and alcohol. But Lane’s marriage to Washington helped solidify his love of jazz. Terry Yates, the personal care worker who helped Lane for the last two years at the Five-Star Personal Care facility in Austin, Texas, told the Associated Press that Lane was listening to jazz the night he died.