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Born December 19

Edith Piaf was one of France's greatest international stars. The cabaret singer is widely recognized as France's national chanteuse. Her autobiographical songs focused on loss, love, and heartbreak. One of her best-known songs is "La Vie en Rose." We remember Piaf'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 Hope Lange.

1961: Reggie White, U.S. football player who played defensive end and defensive tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Carolina Panthers, and became one of the most decorated players in NFL history, is born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

White's fame spanned five teams, starting with his college team, the Tennessee Volunteers, and professionally with the Memphis Showboats, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Carolina Panthers. As a defensive end, White, who died in 2004, was a big man, standing 6 feet 5 and weighing 300 pounds. Read more

 

 

 

1947: Jimmy Bain, Scottish bass player who was in the band's Dio and Rainbow, is born in Highland, Scotland.

1946: Robert Urich, U.S. actor who starred on TV's "Spenser: For Hire," is born in Toronto, Ohio.

Urich earned his first television role on the 1973 comedy series "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice." He also appeared on the TV series "S.W.A.T." before being cast as Peter Campbell on "Soap," according to Urich's 2002 obituary by The Associated Press. One of his most recognizable roles came as private detective Dan Tanna in "Vega$." He later starred on another detective series, "Spenser: For Hire," which was based on Robert Parker's novels. Late in his acting career, Urich appeared on "The Lazarus Man" and the brief NBC sitcom "Emeril." Read more

 

 

 

1944: Zal Yanovsky, Canadian musician who played guitar and sang for the Lovin' Spoonful, is born in Toronto, Ontario.

Referring to their sound as "good-time music," the Lovin' Spoonful captured the zeitgeist of the mid-1960s with groovy tunes made for singing along. A talented and versatile guitarist ("He could play like Elmore James, he could play like Floyd Cramer, he could play like Chuck Berry," said Spoonful co-founder John Sebastian), Yanovsky, who died in 2002, helped build that signature sound. Read more

 

 

 

1944: Alvin Lee, English guitarist and singer with blues-rock band Ten Years After, is born in Nottingham, England.

Alvin Lee (Associated Press/Courtesy Ron Rainey)Lee founded the band Ten Years After in 1967. The group first toured the U.S. in 1967, but its popularity exploded following Lee's rousing performance of the song "I'm Going Home" at Woodstock in 1969. Lee's epic and electrifying solos on his Gibson guitar for the 11-minute performance were immortalized in the documentary film about the legendary festival, according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. Read more

 

 

 

1941: Maurice White, U.S. founder and co-lead singer of the popular R&B/Funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, is born in Memphis, Tennessee.

Maurice White was the band's main songwriter and record producer, and was co-lead singer along with Philip Bailey. White won a total of seven Grammys and was nominated for 21 Grammys in total. He is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Read more

 

 

 

1940: Phil Ochs, U.S. protest singer-songwriter known for songs including "I Ain't Marching Anymore," is born in El Paso, Texas.

Before his decline and death in 1976, Ochs inspired and motivated a restless generation with his folk music. While others labeled him a protest singer, he preferred to call himself a "singing journalist" who wrote "topical songs" (based on stories he read in Newsweek) – not protest songs. Yet songs like "Here's to the State of Mississippi" and "I Ain't Marching Anymore" touched the hearts and minds of young people who were weary of the Vietnam War and eager for the U.S. to embrace civil rights. Ochs may not have been trying to write protest songs, but he inspired protest nonetheless. Read more

 

 

1935: Joanne Weaver, U.S. right fielder with the Fort Wayne Daisies in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, who was player of the year in 1954 with a record-setting .429 batting average, is born in Metropolis, Illinois.

1935: Bobby Timmons, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who played with Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderly, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1926: Bobby Layne, U.S. NFL quarterback with the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, and more, is born in Santa Anna, Texas.

1925: Robert B. Sherman, U.S. songwriter and screenwriter who teamed up with his brother, Richard, as the Sherman Brothers and wrote songs for musicals including "Mary Poppins" and "The Jungle Book," is born in New York, New York.

Robert B. Sherman (AP Photo,File)The Sherman Brothers won two Academy awards for Walt Disney's 1964 smash "Mary Poppins" – best score and best song, "Chim Chim Cher-ee," according to Robert Sherman's 2012 obituary by The Associated Press. They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score. Their hundreds of credits as joint lyricist and composer also include the films "Winnie the Pooh," "The Slipper and the Rose," "Snoopy Come Home," "Charlotte's Web," and "The Magic of Lassie." Their Broadway musicals included 1974's "Over Here!" and stagings of "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" in the mid-2000s. Read more

 

 

1924: Gary Morton, U.S. stand-up comedian who was the second husband of Lucille Ball, is born in New York, New York.

1924: Doug Harvey, Canadian NHL defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens who earned six Stanley Cup championships, is born in Montreal, Quebec.

1920: Little Jimmy Dickens, U.S. country musician who was a longtime star of the Grand Ole Opry, is born in Bolt, West Virginia.

1915: Edith Piaf, French cabaret singer known best for her signature song, "La Vie en Rose," is born in Paris, France.

When Piaf first wrote "La Vie en Rose," nobody thought much of it. The delicate ode to a lifelong love was dismissed by Piaf's friends and songwriting team, who considered it slight in comparison to the rest of her repertoire and unlikely to pique audiences' interest. How wrong they were. The song would become Piaf's signature and best-known song, dear to the hearts of postwar Europeans and beloved by generations to come. Read more

 

 

 

1906: Leonid Brezhnev, Russian leader of the Soviet Union, is born in Kamenskoye, Ukraine.

1902: Ralph Richardson, English actor known for roles in films including "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Doctor Zhivago," is born in Cheltenham, England.

1899: The Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., U.S. pastor and missionary who was the father of the Rev. Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr., is born in Stockbridge, Georgia.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including actress Hope Lange.