Born Today in History ›
Published: 11 months ago
Charlton Heston won an Oscar for his role in "Ben-Hur" and is well-known for his political activism, which spanned six decades and took him from one end of the spectrum to the other. Often overlooked is his military service in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army Air Forces. He worked as a radio operator and aerial gunner in Alaska, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. After the war, Heston lent his unique voice to narrate classified U.S. Department of Energy films, including those related to nuclear weapons. Because of the sensitive nature of his work, Heston was required to hold Q clearance, the nation's highest level of security, to work on the films. We remember Heston's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1942: Christopher Stone, U.S. actor who appeared in the movie "Cujo" and had a regular role on the television series "The Interns," is born in Manchester, New Hampshire.
1937: Jackie Collins, British romance novelist whose books sold over 500 million copies, is born in London, England.
Collins burst onto the writing scene in 1968 with her debut novel, "The World Is Full of Married Men." A tale of infidelity set in the Swinging '60s, the novel, with its blue language and racy themes, was decried as pornographic by many in the writing establishment and was banned in Australia and South Africa. But the scandal turned the book into a best-seller and Collins into a rising literary star. Read more
1937: Gail Gilmore, Canadian actress known best for appearing in beach-themed movies of the 1960s, including "Girl Happy" with Elvis Presley, "The Girls on the Beach," and the cult classic "Village of the Giants," is born in Edmonton, Alberta.
1929: Scotty Beckett, U.S. child actor who was in the "Our Gang" series and starred in "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger" as an adult and appeared in movies with Errol Flynn and Greta Garbo, is born in Oakland, California.
1924: Donald J. Sobol, U.S. author known best for his children's book series "Encyclopedia Brown," is born in New York, New York.
The "Encyclopedia Brown" concept – which the solutions to the mysteries are shown after the story – came to Sobol while he was researching an article at the New York Public Library, and a clerk mistakenly handed him a game book, with puzzles on one side and the solutions on the other. Sobol decided to write a mystery series with the same premise, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He earned an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the "Encyclopedia Brown" series. Read more
1923: Charlton Heston, U.S. actor who won an Academy Award for his role in "Ben-Hur" and was known for starring in "The Ten Commandments" and "Planet of the Apes," is born in Wilmette, Illinois.
With his large, muscular build, well-boned face and sonorous voice, Heston proved the ideal star during the period when Hollywood was filling movie screens with panoramas depicting the religious and historical past. "I have a face that belongs in another century," he often remarked, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Publicist Michael Levine, who represented Heston for about 20 years, said the actor's passing represented the end of an iconic era for cinema. "If Hollywood had a Mount Rushmore, Heston's face would be on it," Levine said. "He was a heroic figure that I don't think exists to the same degree in Hollywood today." Read more
1916: George Sidney, U.S. movie director whose films included "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Viva Las Vegas," is born in Long Island City, New York.
1916: Jan Murray, U.S. comedian and game show host who hosted the game show "Dollar a Second," is born in New York, New York.
1895: Buster Keaton, prolific U.S. comedic actor and director whose film "The General" is considered one of the great movies of all time, is born in Piqua, Kansas.
1880: Damon Runyon, U.S. newspaperman and author whose short stories served as the basis for the play "Guys and Dolls," is born in Manhattan, Kansas.
1822: Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president of the United States who served from 1877 to 1881, is born in Delaware, Ohio.