Born July 21

Robin Williams was one of the most popular funnymen of the past 40 years. From frenetic stand-up to hilarious star turns on the big screen, cartoon voices and even several acclaimed dramatic performances, he was an audience favorite and a legend in his own time. Getting his start playing affable alien Mork on TV's "Mork & Mindy," he moved on to star in beloved movies including "Good Will Hunting," for which he won an Academy Award, "Mrs. Doubtfire," and "Good Morning, Vietnam." He provided the voice of Genie in Disney's "Aladdin" and appeared on "Late Night With David Letterman" more than 50 times. He was a co-founder of Comic Relief USA, raising funds to combat homelessness, and he supported St. Jude's Children's Hospital. We remember Williams' 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 NASA astronaut Alan Shepard.

1958: Dave Henderson, U.S. Major League Baseball center fielder who won a World Series championship with the Oakland A's in 1989, is born in Merced, California.

1951: Robin Williams, U.S. actor and comedian who starred in movies including "The World According to Garp," "Good Will Hunting," and "Good Morning, Vietnam," is born in Chicago, Illinois.

Williams, who died Aug. 11, 2014, at 63, exploded into popular culture in the 1970s as Mork from Ork, first on "Happy Days" and then on his own spinoff series, "Mork & Mindy." With his absurd style of rapid-fire comedy, he quickly became one of Hollywood's most sought-after stars. Williams appeared on television throughout his career, most recently as the star of the sitcom "The Crazy Ones," and in 70 feature films, including "Good Morning Vietnam," "Dead Poets' Society," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Aladdin," and "Good Will Hunting," for which he won an Academy Award for best supporting actor. Read more

 

 

1944: Paul Wellstone, U.S. politician who represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate from 1991 until 2002, is born in Washington, D.C.

Outspoken and opinionated, Wellstone was popular among his colleagues in the Senate and back at home in Minnesota. "He was the pied piper of modern politics – so many people heard him and wanted to follow him in his fight. His loss is monumental," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. Wellstone also was known for his sense of humor. When he made a brief and futile run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1998, he said conspiratorially to an Associated Press reporter that he really didn't think he had a chance to win. The reporter asked why, and Wellstone whispered: "I'm short, I'm Jewish, and I'm a liberal." Read more

 

 

1943: Edward Herrmann, U.S. actor known best for his performances in "Eleanor and Franklin" and "Gilmore Girls," is born in Washington, D.C.

Edward Herrmann (Getty Images / Mark Sullivan / Contributor)The towering, 6-foot-5 actor with the melodious voice made his mark onstage, on screen, and as the narrator of a number of documentaries. He also provided the voice for Franklin D. Roosevelt in Ken Burns' documentary series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," which aired on the Public Broadcasting Service earlier in 2014. Read more

 

 

 

 

1939: Kim Fowley, U.S. rock 'n' roll producer and manager who was the manager of the Runaways, is born in Los Angeles, California.

"Even from a hospital bed, Kim worked all the time," said his wife, Kara Wright Fowley. "He gave the world over 55 years of entertainment that still exists ... from 'Nutrocker' to 'Alley-Oop' to the Runaways to KISS to Helen Reddy to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' ... and was respected all the way. Kim was also one of the most caring people in the universe." Read more

 

 

 

1938: Janet Reno, U.S. former United States attorney general who served under President Bill Clinton, is born in Miami, Florida.

Reno became the first female attorney general after President Clinton nominated her Feb. 11, 1993. Just a month later, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Upon her retirement Jan. 20, 2001, she became the second longest-serving attorney general after William Wirt. Read more

 

 

 

1935: Moe Drabowsky, Polish-American professional baseball player who won World Series titles in 1966 and 1970 with the Baltimore Orioles, is born in Ozanna, Poland.

1926: Paul Burke, U.S. actor who starred on TV in "Naked City" and "Twelve O'Clock High," is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1924: Don Knotts, U.S. actor known best for his roles on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Three's Company," is born in Morgantown, West Virginia.

His big break came in 1960 when he was offered the chance to play the role that would make him famous and remain his best-known persona: Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show." The show's creators originally intended Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, to be the show's source of humor, with Knotts as Fife playing the straight man … but it soon became evident that Knotts was better suited for comic relief. Read more

 

 

 

1899: Ernest Hemingway, U.S. Nobel Prize-winning author whose well-known works include "The Sun Also Rises" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," is born in Oak Park, Illinois.

1899: Hart Crane, U.S. poet known for poems including "The Bridge," is born in Garrettsville, Ohio.

1898: Sara Carter, U.S. singer-songwriter who was the lead singer of the Carter Family, is born in Copper Creek, Virginia.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including NASA astronaut Alan Shepard.