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Born July 20

Natalie Wood achieved stardom as a child, a teen, and an adult, making graceful career transitions to achieve a feat that's difficult for any actor. Co-starring in "Miracle on 34th Street" when she was just 8, she received her first Academy Award nomination in her teens, for her iconic role in "Rebel Without a Cause." As she grew up in front of the moviegoing public, she took further starring roles in films including "West Side Story," "Splendor in the Grass," and "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice." Her tragically early death by drowning at 43 is a case that remains unsolved decades later. We remember Wood'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 martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

1964: Chris Cornell, lead singer for the Seattle grunge group Soundgarden and later Audioslave, is born in Seattle, Washington. 

 

1958: Billy Mays, U.S. salesman known for his televised pitches for products including OxiClean, is born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

Billy Mays (AP Photo)Mays developed his style demonstrating knives, mops, and other "As Seen on TV" gadgets on Atlantic City's boardwalk. For years, he worked as a hired gun on the state fair and home show circuits, attracting crowds with his booming voice and genial manner. After meeting Orange Glo International founder Max Appel at a home show in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s, Mays was recruited to demonstrate the environmentally friendly line of cleaning products on the St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network, now known as HSN. Read more

 

 

 

1944: Mel Daniels, U.S. Basketball Hall of Fame center for the Indiana Pacers who was a seven-time ABA All-Star, is born in Detroit, Michigan.

1938: Natalie Wood, U.S. actress whose well-known films include "Rebel Without a Cause" and "West Side Story," is born in San Francisco, California.

How did she do it? Maybe it was her mother's influence – Russian immigrant Maria Stepanovna made it clear to her daughter that she was going to be a star and, as Wood said, "I believed everything my mother told me." Maybe it was her stunning beauty, one that bewitched the public and attracted many a Hollywood leading man. Over the years, Wood was connected to Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, Tony Curtis, Warren Beatty, and more, including future husband Robert Wagner. Or maybe it was her notable talent – when Orson Welles directed the 7-year-old in "Tomorrow Is Forever," he said that the young actress was "so good, she was terrifying." Read more

 

 

1933: Buddy Knox, U.S. singer-songwriter known best for his 1957 song "Party Doll," is born in Happy, Texas.

1930: Chuck Daly, U.S. basketball coach who was the head coach of the 1992 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team, known as the Dream Team, is born in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.

He was renowned for his ability to create harmony out of diverse personalities at all levels of the game, whether they were Ivy Leaguers at Pennsylvania, Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, or Pistons as dissimilar as Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars. "It's a players' league. They allow you to coach them or they don't," Daly once said. "Once they stop allowing you to coach, you're on your way out." Daly was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA's first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to win both an NBA title and Olympic gold. Read more

 

 

 

1924: Thomas Berger, U.S. author known best for his novel "Little Big Man," is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1920: Elliot Richardson, U.S. politician who served as U.S. attorney general and resigned during the Watergate scandal, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1919: Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand explorer who, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, was the first climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest, is born in Auckland, New Zealand.

Scaling the world's tallest mountain was just one of many accomplishments for the mountaineer, explorer, and humanitarian, who used his influence as the conqueror of Everest to help the people of Nepal. After Everest, he devoted most of his life to helping the Sherpa people through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts, many schools and hospitals were built in Nepal. Read more

 

 

 

1822: Gregor Mendel, Czech scientist and Augustinian monk who founded the science of genetics, is born in Heinzendorf bei Odrau, Austrian Empire.

1304: Petrarch, Italian poet known as the Father of Humanism, is born in Arezzo, Italy.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including martial arts legend Bruce Lee.