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Born January 22

Sam Cooke was the King of Soul, a pioneer of the genre who inspired many greats who came after him. His hits include "You Send Me" and "Twistin' the Night Away," but his legacy extends far beyond his popular tunes. Cooke was also an activist in the civil rights movement, writing the powerful protest song "A Change Is Gonna Come" and performing it at sit-ins and marches. He was also a pioneer of the concept of the musician as businessman, one of the first African-American musicians to found a record label and a publishing company for his own music. We remember Cooke'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 Hollywood star Heath Ledger.

1986: Daniel Wayne Smith, U.S. reality TV personality who was the son of actress and model Anna Nicole Smith, is born in Mexia, Texas.

Daniel Smith had small roles in her movies "Skyscraper" and "To the Limit." He also appeared several times on the E! reality series "The Anna Nicole Show." Read more





1960: Michael Hutchence, Australian singer-songwriter and frontman for INXS, is born in Sydney, Australia.

1948: Northern Calloway, U.S. actor known best for playing David on "Sesame Street," is born in New York, New York.

1946: Malcolm McLaren, English singer-songwriter and manager who managed the Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow, is born in London, England.

McLaren called the Sex Pistols an art project that he was responsible for: "I decided to use people, just the way a sculptor uses clay." And he orchestrated some memorable performances and stunts for the band. At McLaren's urging, they famously played the scathing "God Save the Queen" on a boat in the River Thames (which passes governmental buildings) during Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee celebrations. It was a stunt that got McLaren arrested … and brought fantastic publicity to the Sex Pistols. Read more




1945: Jophery Brown, U.S. Major League Baseball pitcher with the Chicago Cubs and stuntman who won awards for stunts in "Bad Boys II" and "Wanted," is born in Grambling, Louisiana.

Brown was an American hero, professional baseball player, pioneer stuntman, leader, husband, father, brother, grandfather, and friend. His legacy will forever be remembered in the hearts of his family, friends, and the homes of America's most beloved and iconic action films. Read more




1940: John Hurt, English actor who starred in "The Elephant Man," dies at 77. 

1939: Jeff Smith, U.S. chef and author who hosted "The Frugal Gourmet" on the Public Broadcasting Service, is born in Tacoma, Washington.

1934: Bill Bixby, U.S. actor known for starring roles on TV's "My Favorite Martian," "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," and "The Incredible Hulk," is born in San Francisco, California.

Bixby was a nice guy, known to personally deliver autographed pictures to children who had written him, the Los Angeles Times noted in his obituary. He wasn't a "Hollywood type," once saying that he didn't go to parties because he struggled at social events. People wanted to talk to him as one of the TV characters he played, not as a person, he said. "I've come to accept that," he was quoted as saying. "I used to hope that someone would want to talk to me, to Bill, but I've learned it won't happen." Read more




1931: Sam Cooke, U.S. singer-songwriter whose hits include "You Send Me" and "A Change Is Gonna Come," is born in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Cooke was one of America's most influential popular musicians, and the man credited as the inventor of soul music as a genre. As an innovator and creator, Cooke gave the world hits such as "You Send Me," "Cupid," and "Twistin' the Night Away," building incredible crossover popularity at a time when African-American artists suffered terrible discrimination. Half a century after his death, Cooke's voice still echoes through American music. Read more




1923: Diana Douglas, U.S. actress who appeared in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" and who was the mother of actor Michael Douglas, is born in Devonshire, Bermuda.

1918: Elmer Lach, Canada NHL Hall of Famer for the Montreal Canadiens who led the NHL in scoring twice in his career, is born in Nokomis, Saskatchewan.

1909: Ann Sothern, U.S. actress whose notable movies include "Maisie" and "The Whales of August," and whose credits include providing the voice of the starring car on TV's "My Mother the Car," is born in Valley City, North Dakota.

1906: Robert E. Howard, U.S. author of pulp novels who created the character Conan the Barbarian, is born in Peaster, Texas.

1904: George Balanchine, Russian choreographer who founded the New York City Ballet, is born in St. Petersburg, Russia.

1897: Rosa Ponselle, U.S. operatic soprano who is considered to be one of the greatest sopranos of the 20th century, is born in Meriden, Connecticut.

1897: Blind Willie Johnson, U.S. blues singer and guitarist whose songs include "John the Revelator" and "It's Nobody's Fault but Mine," is born in Brenham, Texas.

1875: D.W. Griffith, U.S. film director known best for his films "The Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance," is born in LaGrange, Kentucky.

1788: Lord Byron, English poet whose works include "Don Juan" and "She Walks in Beauty," is born in London, England.


1561: Francis Bacon, English philosopher and scientist who pioneered the scientific method, is born in London, England.

1552 or 1554: Sir Walter Raleigh, English writer and explorer who sailed in search of a legendary City of Gold in South America, is born in East Budleigh, England.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including Hollywood star Heath Ledger.