Born Today in History ›
Published: 11 months ago
Actress Marlene Dietrich started out as a star of silent movies in her native Germany. Signed to Paramount Pictures, she capitalized on her exotic looks to become one of the top draws of Hollywood's golden era. She starred in such classics as "Shanghai Express" and "Desire." We remember Dietrich's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1975: Heather O'Rourke, U.S. child actress known best for her role in "Poltergeist," is born in San Diego, California.
1969: Chyna, born Joan Laurer, U.S. professional wrestler and reality television personality, is born in Rochester, New York.
Laurer starred in the World Wrestling Federation in 1997, taking the ring name Chyna and promoting herself as the Ninth Wonder of the World. Andre Roussimoff, another professional wrestler known as Andre the Giant, had been billed the Eighth Wonder of the World. She performed in WWF – also known as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE – until 2001, wrestling sporadically in two other venues. Read more
1942: Thomas Menino, U.S. politician who was Boston's longest-serving mayor, holding the office from 1993 to 2014, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
Menino was first elected in 1993 and built a formidable political machine that ended decades of Irish domination of city politics, at least temporarily, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He won re-election four times. He was the city's first Italian-American mayor and served in the office for more than 20 years before a series of health problems forced him, reluctantly, to eschew a bid for a sixth term. Read more
1915: William Masters, U.S. gynecologist known best as one-half of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team, is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
1915: Mary Kornman, U.S. child actress who was a star of the "Our Gang" film series, is born in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
1901: Marlene Dietrich, German-born U.S. actress and singer whose greatest movies include "Shanghai Express" and "Destry Rides Again," is born in Schöneberg, Germany.
But Dietrich was much more than a sex symbol. When World War II rolled around, she did her part and then some, earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom and Legion d'Honneur for her work. Though a native of Germany, Dietrich was staunchly anti-Nazi. She became a U.S. citizen in 1939 and was one of the first celebrities to support the war effort, selling war bonds and tirelessly entertaining the troops in the U.S., the Pacific, and Europe. She also helped the U.S. prevail over Germany in a way that was unique. Read more
1879: Sydney Greenstreet, English actor known for roles in "Casablanca" and "The Maltese Falcon," is born in Sandwich, England.
1822: Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist who discovered the principles of vaccination and pasteurization, creating the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax, is born in Dole, France.
1571: Johannes Kepler, German scientist whose laws of planetary motion laid the groundwork for Isaac Newton's laws of gravity, is born in Weil der Stadt, Germany.