Born August 7

Carl Switzer will forever be remembered as Alfalfa in the "Little Rascals" movie serials. He was one of the most popular characters in the series. Carl and his brother Harold were known around their hometown of Paris, Illinois, for their singing and dancing. While visiting Hal Roach Studios on a family trip to Los Angeles, the brothers did an impromptu performance in the cafeteria. Roach was there and was impressed enough to sign them to contracts. Alfalfa was known for his off-key singing performances even though Carl could sing. Adult roles were hard to come by, however, as Switzer was typecast. He died of a gunshot wound in a dispute over money; he was 31. We remember Switzer'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 TV journalist Peter Jennings.

1963: Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, U.S. son of President John F. Kennedy who lived only two days, is born in Bourne, Massachusetts.

1942: Carlos Monzon, Argentine boxer who was world middleweight champion and is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, is born in San Javier, Argentina.

1928: Herb Reed, U.S. singer who was a founding member of the Platters, is born in Kansas City, Missouri.

Herb Reed (AP Photo/Balboni Communications Group LLC)Reed founded the Platters in 1952 and sang bass on the group's four No. 1 hits, including "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time," and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Read more

 

 

 

1928: Romeo Muller, U.S. actor and screenwriter who wrote the popular holiday TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," is born in the Bronx, New York.

1927: Carl Switzer, U.S. actor known best for playing Alfalfa in the "Our Gang" series, is born in Paris, Illinois.

1926: Stan Freberg, U.S. comedian and voice actor whose many projects included the comedy album series "Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America," is born in Pasadena, California.

Stan Freberg (ABC Photo Archives / Contributor / Getty Images)He won nearly two dozen CLIO awards, advertising's equivalent of the Oscar, leading the industry publication Advertising Age to declare, "No one label fits Stan Freberg. But the father of the funny commercial seems a fitting epithet." Indeed, Freberg commercials were never just ads but entire comedy shows. One 1958 radio commercial titled "Omaha" was an elaborate, eight-minute musical production. The ad was for Butternut Coffee, but the product wasn't even mentioned until the very end. Instead, radio listeners heard what sounded like a Broadway musical relating the story of a young man kidnapped by Gypsies who returns to his fun-loving hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, (where it turned out Butternut Coffee was based), intent on ruining the lives of everyone. Read more

 

 

1916: Kermit Love, U.S. actor and puppeteer who worked with Jim Henson and the Muppets on "Sesame Street," is born in Spring Lake, New Jersey.

1911: Nicholas Ray, U.S. film director whose notable movies include "Rebel Without a Cause," is born in Galesville, Wisconsin.

Despite being cited by international directors like Martin Scorsese, Jean-Luc Goddard, Francois Truffaut, and Wim Wenders, Ray remains at best a cult figure in the United States, a favorite of film noir aficionados and lovers of weird cinema but a director who remains on the fringes of cinematic history. Born in Wisconsin as Raymond Nicholas Kienzle, Ray was an early student of Frank Lloyd Wright before he moved to New York and became involved with the Theatre of Action in the 1930s. Ray's greatest commercial success came with 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause," which, among other things, is remembered for its excellent use of color. Read more

 

 

1903: Louis Leakey, Kenyan-English paleoanthropologist who fostered research into human evolution from early primates, is born in Kabete, British East Africa.

1884: Billie Burke, U.S. actress who played Glinda the Good Witch in "The Wizard of Oz," is born in Washington, D.C.

1876: Mata Hari, born Margaretha Zelle, Frisian exotic dancer, courtesan, and spy known as one of history's most famous femmes fatales, is born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including TV journalist Peter Jennings.