Born Today in History ›
Published: 10 months ago
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx and his brothers were comedy superstars, starting out performing in vaudeville shows before starring in classic films like "Duck Soup," "Animal Crackers," and "A Night at the Opera." The Marx Brothers appeared in over a dozen films together, blending broad physical comedy, social satire, and song and dance, winning over audiences and critics at the time. Groucho's rapid-fire jokes, razor-sharp wit, and unique delivery made him a legend on screen and helped turn the Marx Brothers' movies into timeless classics. Groucho also had a long career in television, hosting the popular show "You Bet Your Life" for years, coaxing contestants to "say the secret word." We remember Marx's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1973: Proof, born DeShaun Holton, U.S. rapper who was a member of the hip-hop group D12 along with Eminem, is born in Detroit, Michigan.
D12, whose members include Eminem, has been around since the mid-1990s, when members of the rap group met at Detroit's Hip-Hop Shop, a clothing store by day and a hip-hop club by night. Proof was the best man at Eminem's wedding in January 2006 and often appeared alongside the superstar rapper at concerts and public appearances. Read more
1948: Chris LeDoux, U.S. country music singer and world champion bareback rodeo rider who had a 1992 country hit with "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy," is born in Biloxi, Mississippi.
By 1989, LeDoux had released 22 albums. They were mostly cassettes produced by his parents that he sold at concerts and rodeos. He had a loyal, if limited, fan base. But that all changed that year when Garth Brooks had a hit with "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)," which included the line: "A worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze/seem to be the only friends I've left at all." The song came at a time when LeDoux's career was sputtering with an independent label and no marketing. Read more
1942: Steve Sabol, U.S. filmmaker who co-founded NFL Films, is born in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Sabol received 35 Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing, and producing. No one else had ever earned that many Emmys in as many different categories. He began his career as a cinematographer under his father. He was the perfect fit for the job: an all-Rocky Mountain Conference running back at Colorado College majoring in art history. The Sabols treated sport as film and changed the way Americans watched and perceived games. Their advances included everything from reverse angle replays to setting highlights to pop music. Read more
1937: Johnnie Cochran, U.S. lawyer known best as the leader of O.J. Simpson's defense team in his 1994-95 trial, is born in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Fond of rhymes, Cochran liked to remind people that he worked "not only for the O.J.s but also the no Js." Though later known for his celebrity client roster that included Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Jim Brown, and Snoop Dogg, Cochran did spend a lot of time defending the have-nots. Long before he was appearing on "Court TV," he'd become the first African-American assistant district attorney in Los Angeles County, and spent the early years of his private practice waging difficult-to-win civil rights and police brutality lawsuits. Read more
1929: Moses Gunn, U.S. actor who had notable roles in "Shaft" and "Roots," is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
In the 1960s, he helped expand opportunities for African-American actors when he co-founded the Negro Ensemble Company, which boasts among its alumni notables like Denzel Washington, Sherman Hemsley, Esther Rolle and Cleavon Little. In his own career, he played iconic roles both big and small, earning an Obie, or Off-Broadway Theater Award, and an NAACP Image Award, as well as nominations for a Tony and an Emmy. From "Othello" on Broadway to beloved sitcoms like "The Cosby Show," Gunn was always a star. Read more
1928: George McFarland, U.S. actor well-known for playing Spanky in the "Our Gang" series, is born in Denison, Texas.
1915: Chuck Williams, U.S. founder of the high-end home goods empire Williams-Sonoma, is born in Jacksonville, Florida.
1904: Graham Greene, English author whose works include "The Power and the Glory," is born in Berkhamsted, England.
1897: Bud Abbott, U.S. comedian who was one-half of the well-known comedy team Abbott and Costello, is born in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
In the early 1930s he met Lou Costello, a fellow burlesque performer, and the two teamed up in 1936 with magical results. By 1938 they were performing nationally on Kate Smith's radio show and in 1940 they made their first film, "One Night in the Tropics." You may be forgiven for not having seen the film, but even the most casual comedy fan knows the classic routine that helped Abbott and Costello steal the movie: "Who's on First?" Read more
1890: Groucho Marx, U.S. comedian who was one of the Marx Brothers and hosted TV's "You Bet Your Life," is born in New York, New York.
The Marx Brothers began their vaudeville careers as singers … but they didn't make much of a splash. At an early performance, when the audience clearly wasn't buying what they were selling, the brothers began to amuse themselves by joking around onstage. Much to their surprise, the audience loved it, and their comedy act was born. Still, the musical talent remained – as evidenced when Groucho had the chance to sing in a movie. Read more
1879: Wallace Stevens, U.S. poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1955, is born in Reading, Pennsylvania.
1869: Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader known for his civil disobedience in the quest for Indian independence, is born in Porbandar, British India.
For decades, Mahatma Gandhi has been an inspiration to peaceful people all over the world. We admire him for his ideas: social justice, civil rights, nonviolence. We applaud his actions as the leader of the nonviolent revolution that brought India to independence from British rule. And we’re inspired by his words: Some of the most-shared and best-loved quotes can be traced back to Gandhi's lips. Read more
1800: Nat Turner, U.S. slave who led a well-known rebellion in 1831, is born in Southampton County, Virginia.