Born December 17

Paul Butterfield learned to sing the blues as a teenager in Chicago by hanging out at the city's well-known blues haunts. There, he sat in with such legends as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. He later formed the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which pioneered the growing blues-rock movement. He died of a heroin overdose at 44. We remember Butterfield'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 Jennifer Jones.

1942: Paul Butterfield, U.S. blues singer and harmonica player who led the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and performed at Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival, is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1939: Eddie Kendricks, U.S. singer-songwriter who co-founded the Temptations, singing lead vocals on songs including "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "Get Ready," is born in Union Springs, Alabama.

1937: John Kennedy Toole, U.S. author known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning, posthumously published novel "A Confederacy of Dunces," is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1935: Cal Ripken Sr., U.S. Major League Baseball player, coach, and manager for the Baltimore Orioles, and the father of Cal Ripken Jr., is born in Aberdeen, Maryland.

1931: Dave Madden, Canadian-born U.S. actor known for playing Reuben Kincaid on "The Partridge Family," is born in Sarnia, Ontario.

As the band's road manager Reuben Kincaid, Madden (who died in January 2014) followed the family through four seasons of music and high jinks. His long career as an actor also included appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Boy Meets World," and practically everything in between. He is remembered fondly by his friends, co-stars, and fans on the internet. Read more




1929: William Safire, U.S. author, columnist, and presidential speechwriter known for his columns in The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, is born in New York, New York.

Safire spent more than 30 years writing on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. In his "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine and 15 books, Safire traced the origins of words and everyday phrases such as "straw-man," "under the bus," and "the proof is in the pudding," according to his 2009 obituary by The Associated Press. Safire penned more than 3,000 columns, aggressively defending civil liberties and Israel while tangling with political figures. Bill Clinton famously wanted to punch the curmudgeonly columnist in the nose after Safire called his wife "a congenital liar." Read more



1929: Jacqueline Hill, English actress who played the first companion on "Doctor Who," Barbara Wright, and spoke the first words ever uttered on the series, is born in Birmingham, England.

1928: George Lindsey, U.S. character actor who played Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show," "Mayberry R.F.D.," and "Hee Haw," is born in Fairfield, Alabama.

George Lindsey (Associated Press/Reed Saxon)Lindsey was the beanie-wearing Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1964 to '68 and its successor, "Mayberry R.F.D.," from 1968 to 1971. He played the same jovial character — a service station attendant — on "Hee Haw" from 1971 until it went out of production in 1993. "America has grown up with me," Lindsey said in an Associated Press interview in 1985, according to his 2012 AP obituary. "Goober is every man; everyone finds something to like about ol' Goober." Read more




1928: Marilyn Beck, U.S. popular syndicated Hollywood columnist, is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1927: Richard Long, U.S. actor who had lead roles on TV shows "The Big Valley," "Nanny and the Professor," and "Bourbon Street Beat," is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1926: Patrice Wymore Flynn, U.S. actress and wife of Errol Flynn, is born in Miltonvale, Kansas.

Patrice Wymore Flynn (AP Photo, Collin Reid)She met her future husband when she was cast as the female lead in the 1950 Western "Rocky Mountain," according to her March 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. When they began filming near Gallup, New Mexico, the young actress knew little of the handsome Flynn, then an established 41-year-old star known for his roles in "Robin Hood" and "Captain Blood." Their 1950 marriage in France was her first and his third. Read more




1913: Burt Baskin, U.S. businessman who co-founded the Baskin-Robbins chain of ice cream parlors, is born in Streator, Illinois.

Perhaps their most important innovation was their dedication to differentiation. In other words, Baskin-Robbins has a lot of flavors. Their belief in new flavors came about thanks to Burt's service in World War II. He ran a Navy PX in the South Pacific, where he obtained an ice cream freezer from an aircraft carrier supply officer and started experimenting with exotic fruits to create new and exciting flavors. He brought his love of flavor experimentation back to his civilian life, where he was always creating new tastes for his customers. Read more




1903: Erskine Caldwell, U.S. author known for novels including "Tobacco Road" and "God's Little Acre," is born in Moreland, Georgia.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including actress Jennifer Jones.