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Born February 20

Kurt Cobain skyrocketed into the spotlight as lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for grunge superstars Nirvana. Their album Nevermind was a driving force for bringing alternative music into the mainstream, and its songs, largely written by Cobain, spoke to a generation of young people who had never before heard voices like their own on the radio. Cobain was hailed as a new spokesman for Gen X, but it was a role he found uncomfortable – and one that may have ultimately brought about his early death. But his music lives on, through a handful of albums and through millions of fans worldwide. We remember Cobain'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 Sandra Dee.

1967: Kurt Cobain, U.S. singer and guitarist who was the frontman for grunge band Nirvana, is born in Aberdeen, Washington.

Cobain loved to cover songs of artists he admired, both in concert and in the studio. Through his covers, he helped introduce his fans to the Vaselines, Meat Puppets, Fang and Lead Belly. In Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance, recorded half a year before Cobain's death, the band closed the show with a powerful rendition of Lead Belly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" The show's producers wanted the band to follow it with an encore but Cobain refused, knowing he had ended with the perfect performance and couldn't top it. Read more




1951: Randy California, U.S. singer and guitarist with the band Spirit, is born in Los Angeles, California.

1951: Edward Albert, U.S. actor who won a Golden Globe for his performance in Butterflies Are Free, is born in Los Angeles, California.

1950: Walter Becker, the co-founder, co-songwriter and guitarist of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Steely Dan, is born in Queens, New York.

1946: John Geils Jr., the guitarist known as J. Geils founded the J. Geils Band, well-known for the hits "Love Stinks," "Freeze Frame." 

1945: Brion James, U.S. character actor known best for playing Leon Kowalski in Blade Runner, is born in Redlands, California.

1937: Nancy Wilson, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer who sang many styles of music but who is most closely associated with jazz, is born in Chillicothe, Ohio.

1929: Amanda Blake, U.S. actress who portrayed Miss Kitty Russell for 19 seasons on Gunsmoke, is born in Buffalo, New York.

From 1955 until 1974 – 19 of the series' 20 seasons – Blake charmed audiences as the kindhearted proprietress of the Long Branch Saloon. The role was her longest lasting and most notable, though she also appeared in a dozen movies and a generous handful of TV shows, from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents to a five-episode arc on a soap opera, The Edge of Night. Read more




1927: Ibrahim Ferrer, Cuban musician with Buena Vista Social Club, is born in San Luis, Cuba.

1927: Roy Cohn, U.S. attorney known for his prominent role in the Army-McCarthy hearings, is born in New York, New York.

1926: Richard Matheson, U.S. author known best for his novel I Am Legend, is born in Allendale, New Jersey.

Richard Matheson (Associated Press/Los Angeles Times, Beatrice de Gea)With a career spanning more than 60 years, Matheson crafted stories that deftly transitioned from the page to both the big and small screens, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Several of his works were adapted into films, including 1953's Hell House, 1956's The Shrinking Man, 1958's A Stir of Echoes and 1978's What Dreams May Come. Matheson's 1954 sci-fi vampire novel, I Am Legend, inspired three different film adaptations: 1964's The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price, 1971's Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and 2007's I Am Legend starring Will Smith. Read more



1925: Robert Altman, U.S. film director whose well-known movies include M*A*S*H and Nashville, is born in Kansas City, Missouri.

A five-time Academy Award nominee for best director, including 2001's Gosford Park, he finally won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2006. "No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," Altman said while accepting the award. "I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition." Read more




1920: Karl Albrecht, German businessman who co-founded Aldi, is born in Essen, Germany.

Karl Albrecht (Wikimedia Commons, splitting the company into two, the brothers in 1962 rebranded the group Aldi – a contraction of "Albrecht Discount" – with Karl Albrecht leading Aldi South, and Theo Albrecht taking Aldi North. They still worked together, using their combined bargaining power to negotiate lower purchasing prices. Their motto was "concentrating on the basics: a limited selection of goods for daily needs," and their formula sold well. Read more




1914: John Daly, U.S. game show host known best for hosting What's My Line?, is born in Johannesburg, South Africa.

1906: Gale Gordon, U.S. actor known for roles on several of Lucille Ball's TV programs, including The Lucy Show, is born in New York, New York.

1902: Ansel Adams, U.S. photographer renowned for his black-and-white landscapes of the American West, is born in San Francisco, California.

AdaAnsel Adamsms initially sought to be a concert pianist before photography slowly took over his life. Though now considered one of America's greatest ever photographers, for much of his career, Adams had trouble making ends meet. At times he relied on commercial photo work in New York to earn a living, and he often depended on the National Park Service to fund his forays into the American wilderness. He didn't limit himself to Yosemite and the High Sierra, but captured the natural beauty of New Mexico, Death Valley, Hawaii, Yellowstone and the Tetons. Read more




Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including actress Sandra Dee.