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Born December 18

Betty Grable was one of the biggest stars of the golden age of Hollywood, and her triple-threat skill at acting, singing, and dancing made her perfect for musicals as well as comedies and dramas. Some of her most notable films include "How To Marry a Millionaire," in which she starred alongside Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall, "Moon Over Miami," and "Down Argentine Way." Just as memorable as Grable's movies was her iconic pinup photo that showed off her "million-dollar legs" and was the most popular pinup photo of the World War II era. We remember Grable'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 comedian Chris Farley.

1946: Stephen Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist known as a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement after his death while in police custody, is born in Ginsberg Township, South Africa.

1943: Bobby Keys, U.S. saxophonist who recorded with the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, and other prominent musicians, is born in Slaton, Texas.

Bobby Keys (Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Keys, one of the few rock saxophonists to become a name in his own right, was a heavy-set man with jowls to match and had a raw, piercing sound, according to his December 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. The Lubbock, Texas, native was born the same day as Keith Richards — Dec. 18, 1943 — and the Stones guitarist would often cite Keys as a soul mate and favorite musician. On "Brown Sugar," he needed little time to seal his history with the band, which had decided a saxophone would work better than a guitar for the solo spotlight. Read more.

 

 

1941: Sam Andrew, U.S. guitarist and founding member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, is born in Taft, California.

1938: Chas Chandler, English bassist for British Invasion group the Animals, who also managed Jimi Hendrix, is born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

1917: Ossie Davis, U.S. actor, director, and civil rights activist known for films including "The Hill" and "Do the Right Thing," who was the longtime husband of actress Ruby Dee, is born in Cogdell, Georgia.

When Davis (who died in 2005) began his acting career in 1939, the available roles for black men were few and far between – and they were none too appealing. Stereotypical servant characters were often all that were offered the young actor. Davis disliked these roles, but he wanted to be an actor and he worked to give his characters dignity. Slowly, he found success on his own terms, playing roles of which he could be proud. Read more

 

 

 

1916: Betty Grable, U.S. actor, dancer, and singer who starred in movies including "How To Marry a Millionaire" and "Moon Over Miami," is born in St. Louis, Missouri.

Throughout the 1940s she churned out Technicolor musicals – "Moon Over Miami," "Springtime in the Rockies," "My Blue Heaven," "Mother Wore Tights" (Grable's personal favorite) – at a rate of two to four per year. "I Wake Up Screaming," based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich, provided the only straight dramatic role of her entire career, while the delightfully titled "Four Jills in a Jeep" was a re-creation of the USO tour undertaken by Kay Francis, Martha Raye, Carole Landis, Carmen Miranda, and a few other Jills. (Grable died in 1973.) Read more

 

 

 

1904: George Stevens, U.S. director of award-winning movies including "A Place in the Sun," "Giant," and "Shane," is born in Oakland, California.

1888: Gladys Cooper, English actress whose career spanned seven decades and included roles in "My Fair Lady" and TV's "The Twilight Zone," is born in London, England.

1886: Ty Cobb, U.S. Major League Baseball outfielder with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics who set 90 records during his career and was among the first group of players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, is born in Narrows, Georgia.

1879: Paul Klee, Swiss-German painter whose works were influenced by expressionism, cubism, and surrealism, is born in Bern, Switzerland.

1870: Hector Hugh Munro, aka Saki, Burmese-British author and playwright known for stories including "The Quest" and "Reginald at the Theatre," is born in Sittwe, Myanmar.

1863: Franz Ferdinand, Austrian archduke whose assassination sparked World War I, is born in Graz, Austrian Empire.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including comedian Chris Farley.