Born December 15

Disc jockey Alan Freed was one of the first in the country to promote the mix of blues, country, and rhythm and blues music. Freed is credited with creating the phrase rock 'n' roll for the new genre. He was among the first DJs to play music by African-American artists and he arranged concerts in the 1950s attended by mixed-race audiences. We remember Freed'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 actress Joan Fontaine.

1928: Ernest Ashworth, U.S. country music singer and star of the Grand Ole Opry whose hit singles include "Talk Back Trembling Lips," is born in Huntsville, Alabama.

1927: Jerry Wallace, U.S. singer known for his No. 1 hit, "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry," is born in Guilford, Missouri.

1925: Kasey Rogers, U.S. actress who played the second Louise Tate on "Bewitched," is born in Morehouse, Missouri.

1923: Uziel Gal, German gun designer who created the Uzi submachine gun, is born in Weimar, Germany.

1921: Bob Todd, English actor who was a regular on "The Benny Hill Show," is born in Faversham, England.

1921: Alan Freed, U.S. disc jockey who coined the phrase "rock 'n' roll," is born in Windber, Pennsylvania.

Freed was a disc jockey at WJW in Cleveland, playing rhythm and blues music on his groovily named show, "The Moondog House," when he coined the term "rock 'n' roll" and went on to organize the world's first rock 'n' roll concert. 1952's "Moondog Coronation Ball" drew tens of thousands of music lovers – far more than the venue could hold – and was shut down by the authorities after just one song. It was a fitting beginning for the genre. Read more

 

 

 

1919: Max Yasgur, U.S. farmer who owned the site where Woodstock was held, is born in New York, New York.

1918: Jeff Chandler, U.S. actor most popular in the 1950s, who played Cochise in "Broken Arrow," is born in Brooklyn, New York.

1916: Buddy Cole, U.S. jazz pianist and bandleader who recorded with artists including Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby, is born in Irving, Illinois.

1912: Ray Eames, U.S. designer known for the iconic architecture and furniture she designed with her husband, Charles Eames, is born in Sacramento, California.

Furniture design proved the perfect way to meld Ray's painterly sense of shape and color, Charles' architectural sense of form and their joint fascination with the materials and methods of construction. The Eameses started with a line of molded plywood chairs, followed by fiberglass chairs and then by build-it-yourself storage units. In 1956 came their most famous piece, the plywood and leather Eames Lounge Chair – as receptive, as Charles once put it, as "a well-used first baseman's mitt." Read more

 

 

 

1911: Stan Kenton, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who greatly influenced jazz and big band music, is born in Wichita, Kansas.

1910: John Hammond, U.S. record producer and talent scout who helped launch and further the careers of notable musicians including Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, is born in New York, New York.

1892: J. Paul Getty, U.S. industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Co. and was among the richest Americans of his time, is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1832: Gustave Eiffel, French civil engineer and architect who co-designed the Eiffel Tower, is born in Dijon, France.

37: Nero, Roman leader known as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned," is born in Antium, Italy.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including actress Joan Fontaine.