Born July 4
By: Legacy Staff
19 days ago
Two of the most famous advice columnists of all time were twin sisters: Eppie Lederer and Pauline Phillips, aka Ann Landers and Abigail "Dear Abby" Van Buren. The sisters grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, and attended college together, where they co-wrote a gossip column. As adults, they went their separate ways and sometimes clashed as their advice columns competed for audiences. "Ask Ann Landers" was a staple of the Chicago Sun-Times as well as syndication, while "Dear Abby" was entirely syndicated. After Lederer's death, "Ask Ann Landers" was discontinued, but Phillips' daughter, Jeanne Phillips, continues to write "Dear Abby" after her mother's retirement and death. We remember Lederer's and Phillips' lives today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1981: Will Smith, U.S. NFL defensive end who played for the New Orleans Saints, is born in Queens, New York.
Smith played nine seasons with the Saints and last played in 2012. He ranks fourth in Saints history in quarterback sacks, and he was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2006. Read more
1943: Alan Wilson, U.S. guitarist and singer with Canned Heat, whose "Going up the Country" became the unofficial anthem of Woodstock, is born in Arlington, Massachusetts.
1931: Stephen Boyd, Irish-American actor who played Messala in "Ben-Hur," is born in Glengormley, Northern Ireland.
1930: George Steinbrenner, U.S. businessman who was the longtime owner of the New York Yankees, is born in Rocky River, Ohio.
New York was 11 years removed from its last championship when Steinbrenner headed a group that bought the team from CBS Inc. Jan. 3, 1973, for about $10 million. He revolutionized the franchise – and sports – by starting his own television network and ballpark food company. Forbes now values the Yankees at $1.6 billion, trailing only Manchester United ($1.8 billion) and the Dallas Cowboys ($1.65 billion). "He was an incredible and charitable man," his family said in a statement. "He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again." Read more
1929: Al Davis, U.S. football coach and owner who was the principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders from 1971 to 2011, is born in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Davis was charming, cantankerous, and compassionate – a man who when his wife suffered a serious heart attack in the 1970s moved into her hospital room. But he was best known as a rebel, a man who established a team whose silver-and-black colors and pirate logo symbolized his attitude toward authority, both on the field and off. Davis was one of the most important figures in NFL history. That was most evident during the 1980s when he fought in court – and won – for the right to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. Even after he moved them back to the Bay Area in 1995, he went to court, suing for $1.2 billion to establish that he still owned the rights to the L.A. market. Read more
1928: Neil Simon, prolific playwright and screenwriter known for his comical works such as "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "The Odd Couple," is born in New York, New York.
1920: Leona Helmsley, U.S. businesswoman and hotelier who had a reputation as the Queen of Mean, is born in Marbletown, New York.
1918: Eppie Lederer, aka Ann Landers U.S. advice columnist who wrote "Ask Ann Landers" for decades, is born in Sioux City, Iowa.
She wrote America's most famous advice column for 47 years, but she wasn't the first Ann Landers. The pseudonym was created by Ruth Crowley, Lederer's predecessor at the Chicago Sun-Times. Crowley offered advice as Ann Landers for nine years before her death in 1955, always being careful not to reveal her true identity. She made the advice column so popular that after her death, her editors wanted it to go on – with the same pseudonym offering continuity to loyal readers. Read more
1918: Pauline Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, U.S. advice columnist who wrote "Dear Abby" for decades, is born in Sioux City, Iowa.
Van Buren left behind a massive legacy of good advice. Some of her advice was funny, some sassy, some very serious. And some of it was just plain weird … but only because some of the questions asked of her were equally weird. Many of these were immortalized in Van Buren's "The Best of Dear Abby" collection, and some of them are too strange to believe. Read more
In her youth, Stuart was a blond beauty who starred in B pictures as well as some higher-profile ones such as "The Invisible Man," Busby Berkeley's "Gold Diggers of 1935" and two Shirley Temple movies, "Poor Little Rich Girl" and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm." But by the mid-1940s she had retired. She resumed acting in the 1970s, doing occasional television and film work. But Stuart's later career would have remained largely a footnote if James Cameron had not chosen her for his 1997 epic about the doomed luxury liner that struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Read more
1902: George Murphy, U.S. actor and politician who was a leading man in a number of big-screen musicals before being elected a U.S. senator from California, is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
1902: Meyer Lansky, Belarusian-American organized crime figure who helped create the National Crime Syndicate with Charles "Lucky" Luciano, is born in Grodno, Russian Empire.
1895: Irving Caesar, U.S. lyricist whose popular songs include "Crazy Rhythm" and "Tea for Two," is born in New York, New York.
1883: Rube Goldberg, U.S. cartoonist, engineer, and inventor known best for his cartoons depicting complicated machines, is born in San Francisco, California.
1884: Louis B. Mayer, Belarusian-American film producer who co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, is born in Minsk, Russian Empire.
The transformative event that would make Mayer a movie mogul happened in 1924 when exhibitor magnate Marcus Loew, who already owned Metro Pictures, bought Goldwyn Pictures and needed someone to oversee the large new operation. He bought Louis B. Mayer Pictures and put its namesake in charge of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which through the merger had become one of Hollywood's biggest players. With producer Irving Thalberg, the first movie Mayer made as head of MGM (aside from two projects he inherited) was the Lon Chaney vehicle "He Who Gets Slapped," which was a commercial and critical hit. Mayer and Thalberg proved a successful pairing, producing hits including Academy Award-winners "The Broadway Melody," "Grand Hotel," and "Mutiny on the Bounty." Read more
1872: Calvin Coolidge, U.S. politician who was the 30th president of the United States, serving from 1923 to 1929, is born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
1804: Nathaniel Hawthorne, U.S. author well-known for his novel "The Scarlet Letter," is born in Salem, Massachusetts.