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Born July 25

Walter Payton distinguished himself as one of the greatest running backs ever to play in the NFL. His career included many high points, but the greatest is clearly his work with the 1985 Chicago Bears in their record-breaking season and Super Bowl victory. He is remembered today not just for his phenomenal performance on the field, but also his advocacy on behalf of organ donation programs. Payton succumbed to a rare liver disorder in 1999, and spent much of his time and energy before his death recording public service announcements promoting the lifesaving benefits of organ donation. We remember Payton's life as well as the lives of other notable figures who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including country singer Charlie Rich.

1982: Brad Renfro, U.S. actor whose movies include "The Client," "Sleepers," and "Apt Pupil," is born in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Renfro's film career began when he was 12, acting opposite Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones in "The Client." His other credits included "Sleepers," "Deuces Wild," "Apt Pupil," and "The Jacket." Renfro recently completed a role in "The Informers," a film adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis novel that stars Winona Ryder, Brandon Routh, and Billy Bob Thornton. Read more

 

 

 

 

1954: Walter Payton, U.S. professional football player who was a running back with the Chicago Bears from 1975 to 1987 and helped them to a Super Bowl victory in 1985, is born in Columbia, Mississippi.

Known as Sweetness, Payton played for the Chicago Bears for 13 seasons and boasted an incredible list of career accomplishments: an All-American at Jackson State University, a nine-time Pro Bowl selectee, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, a two-time MVP, and the No. 5 NFL player of all time as ranked by NFL.com. During his career, he held the records for most career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, and more. And he helped lead the Bears to their one and only Super Bowl win in 1985. Read more

 

 

 

1954: Lynne Frederick, English actress whose films include "Nicholas and Alexandra," who was the wife of actor Peter Sellers, is born in Hillingdon, England.

1948: Steve Goodman, U.S. singer-songwriter who wrote the Grammy-winning song "City of New Orleans," made famous by Arlo Guthrie, is born in Chicago, Illinois.

Oh, and one more thing Chicagoans tend to have strong opinions about? Our sports teams. And whether you pledge allegiance to North Side or South, if you live in Chicago, you probably have something to say about the Cubs. Goodman wrote several Cubs-related songs, the first couple written from the standpoint of the long-suffering Cubs fan. But when he was called out for the depressing nature of "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request," he sarcastically wrote a more positive song for the Lovable Losers … and it became perhaps his best-known composition. If you've ever watched the Cubs win a game (hey, it happens), you've heard Goodman's "Go, Cubs, Go" play while the fans celebrate. Read more

 

 

1941: Emmett Till, U.S. teenager whose murder in 1955 was a catalyst for the U.S. civil rights movement, is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1936: August Schellenberg, Canadian actor known for roles in "The New World" and "Free Willy," is born in Montreal, Quebec.

August Schellenberg(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)Schellenberg appeared in numerous television roles and was in all three "Free Willy" movies. In 2007, he was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." Agent Jamie Levitt says one of Schellenberg's last notable works was in 2012, playing the lead in Shakespeare's "King Lear" in an all-Canadian cast at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Read more

 

 

 

1934: Don Ellis, U.S. jazz trumpeter and composer who wrote the score for the movie "The French Connection," is born in Los Angeles, California.

1932: Paul Weitz, retired NASA astronaut who commanded the first flight of the space shuttle Challenger and also piloted the Skylab in the early 1970s, is born in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

1925: Jerry Paris, U.S. actor known best for playing dentist Jerry Helper on "The Dick Van Dyke Show," is born in San Francisco, California.

1925: Benny Benjamin, U.S. drummer who was a member of the Funk Brothers, the studio band for Motown Records, is born in Mobile, Alabama.

1924: Frank Church, U.S. politician who represented Idaho in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1981, is born in Boise, Idaho.

1923: Estelle Getty, U.S. actress known best for playing Sophia Petrillo on "The Golden Girls," is born in New York, New York.

As "The Golden Girls" came to a close, Getty starred on the big screen opposite Sylvester Stallone in "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot." The movie has been pretty much universally panned – it's got an abysmal 4 percent rating at RottenTomatoes.com, and Getty's performance won her the Golden Raspberry Award for worst supporting actress. But it has its share of fans – especially among those who love campy early-'90s comedies (hey, we're out there). Read more

 

 

 

1915: Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., U.S. naval aviator who was the oldest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. and Edward M. Kennedy, is born in Hull, Massachusetts.

1914: Woody Strode, U.S. football player and actor who had a notable role in "Spartacus," is born in Los Angeles, California.

1907: Jack Gilford, U.S. actor who was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting performance in "Save the Tiger," is born in New York, New York.

1894: Walter Brennan, U.S. actor who won Academy awards for "Come and Get It," "Kentucky," and "The Westerner," is born in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including country singer Charlie Rich.