Born December 10
By: Legacy Staff
10 months ago
Michael Clarke Duncan dreamed of acting from an early age, but he was compelled to defer his plans to support his family and ailing mother. Before his screen debut, the future Oscar and Golden Globe nominee worked as a ditch digger and bouncer, capitalizing on his larger-than-life frame. After moving to Hollywood, Duncan worked in personal security for celebrities, some of whom he would later work alongside in film and television. His breakthrough performance in "Armageddon" was followed quickly by his critically lauded turn in "The Green Mile," launching his film and television career in earnest. Still using his massive build to its full advantage, Duncan played a succession of giants, gentle or otherwise, in films such as "Daredevil," "The Whole Nine Yards," "The Scorpion King," and many others, as well as voice-acting work where his distinctive tones brought life to animated films like "Brother Bear" and "Kung Fu Panda" as well as a number of popular video games. We remember Duncan's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1972: Puff Johnson, U.S. singer who opened for Michael Jackson on his 1997 European tour, is born in Detroit, Michigan.
1970: Kevin Sharp, U.S. country music singer who had a No. 1 Billboard country hit in 1997 with "Nobody Knows," is born in Redding, California.
Sharp gained fame with the release of "Nobody Knows," a single on his 1996 debut album, "Measure of a Man." He released two other albums, "Love Is" in 1998 and "Make a Wish" in 2005, according to his April 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. … Sharp was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, as a high school senior. He overcame it after two years of chemotherapy and radiation. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Sharp's wish to meet Grammy Award-winning music producer David Foster, who gave him tips to help jump-start his career. Read more
1957: Michael Clarke Duncan, U.S. actor known best for his role in the movie "The Green Mile" is born in Chicago, Illinois.
The hulking actor was young – only 54 – when he died of a heart attack in 2012. And though he wasn't in the top echelon of stars, his solid career kept him in the public eye for the 13 years since his breakout role in "The Green Mile." The role of the imposing but gentle death-row convict John Coffey seemed tailor-made for Duncan, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Read more
1946: Douglas Kenney, U.S. writer and actor who co-founded the National Lampoon humor magazine and co-wrote the screenplays for the movies "Animal House" and "Caddyshack," is born in West Palm Beach, Florida.
1941: Tommy Rettig, U.S. actor known best for his role as Jeff Miller on the "Lassie" TV series, is born in Queens, New York.
1928: Barbara Nichols, U.S. actress who appeared in "The Pajama Game" and "Where the Boys Are" and on many television shows including "The Beverly Hillbillies," is born in Queens, New York.
1928: Dan Blocker, U.S. actor known best for his role as Eric "Hoss" Cartwright on the Western series "Bonanza," is born in De Kalb, Texas.
1925: Jean Byron, U.S. actress known best for her role as the mother of Patty Duke on "The Patty Duke Show," is born in Paducah, Kentucky.
1923: Harold Gould, U.S. actor remembered for his regular role as Rhoda's father, Miles, on the sitcom "Rhoda," is born in Schenectady, New York.
Gould had a prolific career on screens both big and small, according to his 2010 obituary by The Associated Press. He appeared in such films as "Harper," "Love and Death," "Freaky Friday," and "Patch Adams." On television, he played Betty White's boyfriend on "The Golden Girls" and made guest appearances on "Soap," "Perry Mason," and most recently "Nip/Tuck." Read more
1922: Agnes Nixon, U.S. producer and writer who created the soap opera's "All My Children" and "One Life To Live," is born in Chicago, Illinois.
Nixon, who won five Daytime Emmys and five Writers Guild awards, was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2010. "I am devastated to learn that we have lost Agnes,” said actress Susan Lucci in a news statement. Lucci starred on “All My Children” as Erica Kane. “I adored her and admired her and I am forever grateful to her! May this liveliest and loveliest of women rest in peace." Read more
1918: Anne Gwynne, U.S. actress of the 1940s who was known as one of the first "scream queens" because of her numerous appearances in horror films, who was also one of the most popular pinups of World War II and the grandmother of actor Chris Pine, is born in Waco, Texas.
1911: Chet Huntley, U.S. newscaster known best for hosting "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" on NBC, is born in Cardwell, Montana.
Huntley became a household name in 1956, thanks to the presidential nominating conventions. Along with his co-host, David Brinkley, Huntley was soon anchoring the evening news for NBC as one-half of the long-running "Huntley-Brinkley Report." For 14 years, he delivered the news in an impartial, straightforward style. Read more
1909: Hermes Pan, U.S. choreographer and dancer remembered best as the choreographer for the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, is born in Memphis, Tennessee.
1903: Una Merkel, U.S. actress who was featured in "42nd Street" and "Destry Rides Again," is born in Covington, Kentucky.
1889: Ray Collins, U.S. actor known best for his regular role on "Perry Mason" as Lieutenant Arthur Tragg, is born in Sacramento, California.
1830: Emily Dickinson, U.S. poet who is considered one of the great American poets, is born in Amherst, Massachusetts.