Born April 27

Coretta Scott King was the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was also so much more. While her husband was alive, she worked by his side as one of the leaders of the civil rights movement. After King's assassination in 1968, she carried on his legacy, working toward equality for African-Americans as well as other groups. She became a prominent figure in the rights movements for women and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. She advocated the dismantling of apartheid and worked for world peace. When King's birthday became a federal holiday in 1986, it came about largely as a result of his widow's tireless efforts on his behalf. All her life, she worked to make the world a better place for all people. We remember Coretta Scott King's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including disco singer Vicki Sue Robinson.

1947: Pete Ham, Welsh singer and guitarist with Badfinger, who had hits including "No Matter What" and "Day After Day," is born in Swansea, Wales.

Started in 1961 and originally known as the Iveys, Badfinger got the attention of the Beatles when roadie Mal Evans saw them play and loved what he heard. He brought their demo tapes to the Beatles, and they made the Iveys the first act other than the Beatles to be signed to Apple Records. Soon the band had a name change ("Badfinger" was suggested by Beatles' road manager Neil Aspinall) and a lead single, "Come and Get It," written by none other than Paul McCartney. Badfinger seemingly couldn't lose. Read more

 

 

 

1945: August Wilson, U.S. playwright who won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his play "Fences," is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Wilson thought big. His plays were often epic, filled with rich, idiosyncratic language and memorable characters, steeped in the past, trying to survive in the present and wondering about the future. It took Wilson more than two decades to complete his cycle, one play for each decade. He grapples with major themes – from the effects of slavery on those who could still remember the Civil War to a burgeoning middle class on the cusp of the 21st century. Read more

 

 

 

1937: Sandy Dennis, U.S. actress who won an Academy Award for her performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", is born in Hastings, Nebraska.

1932: Casey Kasem, U.S. radio disc jockey well-known for creating and presenting "American Top 40" from 1970 to 2009, is born in Detroit, Michigan.

Casey Kasen (Associated Press)Kasem's "American Top 40" began July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles. The No. 1 song on his list then was "Mama Told Me Not To Come," by Three Dog Night. The show continued in varying forms — and for varying syndicators — until his retirement in 2009. In his signoff, he would tell viewers: "And don't forget: Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." Read more

 

 

 

1927: Coretta Scott King, U.S. civil rights leader and author who was the wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is born in Marion, Alabama.

A friend introduced her to Martin Luther King Jr. while she was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. "She said she wanted me to meet a very promising young minister from Atlanta," she reflected with a laugh. "I wasn't interested in meeting a young minister at that time." Coretta Scott might have been reluctant, but that young minister knew he'd found his true love. On their first date, he told her, "You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday." Read more

 

 

 

1922: Jack Klugman, U.S. actor who starred on the TV shows "The Odd Couple" and "Quincy, M.E.," is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As a Los Angeles County medical examiner, Jack Klugman's Dr. Quincy investigated suspicious deaths, often coming into conflict with police and colleagues in his quest for justice. Perhaps less well-known was the social commentary that often wove through Quincy, M.E. The show took on eating disorders, weak drunken driving laws, and airline safety issues. Most notably, the show and its star addressed rare, so-called "orphan" diseases. On screen and in real life, Klugman rallied support for a law to encourage and facilitate the creation of drugs to treat these diseases. The result? The Orphan Drug Act of 1983. Read more

 

 

1916: Enos Slaughter, U.S. professional baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals who was a 10-time All-Star, is born in Roxboro, North Carolina.

Enos SlaughterWhen World War II broke out, Slaughter served three years in the U.S. Army Air Force. He returned to the Cardinals and would play for them until 1954. Slaughter was a key member of their 1942 World Series winning team, and his run that helped the Cardinals bring home the Series in 1946 remains one of the most memorable in Series history, going down in baseball lore as "Slaughter's Mad Dash." Read more

 

 

 

1899: Walter Lantz, U.S. cartoonist and animator who created Woody Woodpecker, is born in New Rochelle, New York.

Lantz got his start as an artist as a teenager, studying at the Art Students League in New York while also working as an office boy at William Randolph Hearst's New York American newspaper. There he observed and learned from the comic artists who produced the paper's "funny pages" every day. When Hearst opened an animation studio, Lantz jumped at the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. He taught himself animation by tracing the frames of a Charlie Chaplin film, one at a time, until he understood how the medium worked. Within two years, Lantz was promoted to full-fledged animator. He was still a teenager. Read more

 

 

1822: Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. Army general and politician who was the 18th president of the United States, serving from 1869 to 1877, is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

1791: Samuel Morse, U.S. painter and inventor who invented Morse code, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1759: Mary Wollstonecraft, English writer and philosopher who wrote "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" and was the mother of author Mary Shelley, is born in London, England.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including singer Vicki Sue Robinson.