Born Today in History ›
Getty Images / AFP / Bertrand Guay
Published: 10 months ago
B.B. King went down in history as one of the greatest guitarists of all time – Rolling Stone named him No. 6 on their list, while Time ranked him No. 3. The 15-time Grammy winner was the King of the Blues, a superstar of the genre from the 1950s on. Playing his electric guitar, which was famously named Lucille, King had crossover hits including "The Thrill Is Gone" and was beloved by fans of rock 'n' roll, blues, and many other genres. He continued to play live shows until just months before his death. We remember King's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1934: Ronnie Drew, Irish singer-songwriter who was a founding member of the Dubliners, is born in Dublin, Ireland.
Drew, born in Dublin in 1934, formed the Dubliners in 1962 with Luke Kelly, Ciaran Bourke, and Barney McKenna. Their songs include "The Molly Maguires," "Dirty Old Town," and "Seven Drunken Nights." The Dubliners also recorded with the Pogues, and together they had a hit with "The Irish Rover." Drew also released a string of solo albums. Read more
1930: Anne Francis, U.S. actress known best for roles in the movie "Forbidden Planet" and on TV's "Honey West," is born in Ossining, New York.
Just as in "The Tempest," the daughter in "Forbidden Planet" – Francis' character, named Altaira – falls in love with one of the crewmen from the ship. The actor who plays him? It's none other than a young Leslie Nielsen in a rare serious role, years before he became known as one of the kings of the screwball comedy. Read more
1927: Peter Falk, U.S. actor who starred on "Columbo" as well as in movies including "Murder by Death" and "Pocketful of Miracles," is born in New York, New York.
For 35 years, Falk wore Columbo's unmistakable rumpled trenchcoat as he shuffled his way through the lives of the rich and famous, casually unraveling seemingly perfect murders. From 1968 to 2003, Falk starred in 69 movie-length episodes of "Columbo," despite briefly leaving the show in 1974 over a late paycheck from the studio, according to the Toledo (Ohio) Blade newspaper. Read more
1927: Jack Kelly, U.S. actor who played Bart Maverick on TV's "Maverick," is born in Queens, New York.
1926: Robert H. Schuller, U.S. televangelist who founded the Crystal Cathedral and presented the "Hour of Power" TV program, is born in Alton, Iowa.
As the car culture flourished in post-World War II California, the brash Iowa-born pastor began preaching from the roof of a concession stand at a drive-in movie theater, displaying a passion – and a marketing genius – that established him as a father of the megachurch movement that would soon sweep the nation. But Schuller didn't stop there. In 1970, he reached out to the masses beyond his home base in the Los Angeles suburbs with his "Hour of Power" television program, which was broadcast into millions of homes every Sunday over the next two decades. He also constructed the soaring, glass-paned Crystal Cathedral that became the touchstone of his storied ministry. Read more
1926: John Knowles, U.S. author known best for his novel "A Separate Peace," is born in Fairmont, West Virginia.
1925: B.B. King, U.S. blues guitarist and singer whose songs include the 1970 hit "The Thrill Is Gone," is born in Itta Bena, Mississippi.
For generations of blues musicians and rock 'n' rollers, King's plaintive vocals and soaring guitar playing style set the standard for an art form born in the American South and honored and performed worldwide. After the deaths of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters decades ago, King was the greatest upholder of a tradition that inspired everyone from Jimi Hendrix and Robert Cray to the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. King played a Gibson guitar he affectionately called Lucille, with a style that included beautifully crafted single-string runs punctuated by loud chords, subtle vibratos, and bent notes, building on the standard 12-bar blues and improvising like a jazz master. Read more
1924: Lauren Bacall, U.S. actress whose notable films include "The Big Sleep" and "The Shootist," who was the wife of actor Humphrey Bogart, is born in the Bronx, New York.
She was less than half Bogart's age, yet as wise and as jaded as him. Her sly glance, with chin down and eyes raised, added to her fame; she was nicknamed The Look. Bogart and Bacall married amid headlines in 1945, and they co-starred in three more films, "The Big Sleep" (1946), "Dark Passage" (1947), and "Key Largo" (1948). Their marriage lasted until his death from cancer in 1957. She appeared in movies for more than a half-century, but not until 1996 did she receive an Academy Award nomination — as supporting actress for her role as Barbra Streisand's mother in "The Mirror Has Two Faces." Although a sentimental favorite, she lost to Juliette Binoche for her performance in "The English Patient." Read more
1922: Guy Hamilton, British film director who directed four James Bond movies, is born in Paris, France.
1898: H.A. Rey, German-American author and illustrator who created the "Curious George" series of books along with his wife, Margret Rey, is born in Hamburg, Germany.
The Reys escaped Paris on bicycle just two days before German tanks advanced into Paris. Forced to leave almost all their possessions behind, they nonetheless took the "Fifi" manuscript with them as they pedaled south. They sought shelter in farmhouses and barns, working their way on foot, by bicycle and rail to Normandy, then Spain, then Portugal before securing passage back to Brazil. Their Brazilian passports were crucial to their escape – and so was the little monkey who would one day become Curious George. One official, suspicious that they might be spies because of their German accents, insisted on searching Margret's bag. Finding only drawings intended for children, he decided the couple were harmless. Read more
1888: W.O. Bentley, English engineer who founded Bentley Motors Limited, is born in Hampstead, England.
1877: Jacob Schick, U.S.-Canadian businessman who patented the first electric razor and founded the Schick Dry Shaver Inc. razor company, is born in Ottumwa, Iowa.
1875: James Cash Penney, U.S. businessman who founded the J.C. Penney department store chain, is born in Hamilton, Missouri.