Born June 17

M.C. Escher is famous for his art, mind-bending landscapes that convince our eyes to see things that couldn't possibly exist in real life. Stairs twist like Moebius strips, two hands draw each other, birds metamorphose into fish. The artist strove to make his subjects pop out of the page with a 3-D effect, and he challenged our perceptions as much as any latter-day Magic Eye drawing or Imax movie. We remember Escher'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 legend Cyd Charisse.

1982: Marek Svatos, Slovakian hockey player who played in the NHL for the Colorado Avalanche, is born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia.

1945: Art Bell, radio host best known for a paranormal-themed nightly show syndicated on hundreds of stations in the 1990s, is born in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 

1933: Harry Browne, U.S. politician and writer who was the Libertarian Party's nominee for president in 1996 and 2000, is born in New York, New York.

1932: John Murtha, U.S. politician who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1974 until his death in 2010, is born in New Martinsville, West Virginia.

John Murtha (AP Photo)Murtha was an officer in the Marine Reserves when he was elected in 1974. Ethical questions often shadowed his congressional service, but he was known best for being among Congress' most hawkish Democrats. He wielded considerable clout for two decades as the ranking Democrat on the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending. Murtha voted in 2002 to authorize President George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq, but his growing frustration over the administration's handling of the war prompted him in November 2005 to call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Read more




1929: Bud Collins, U.S. sportscaster known best for his insightful tennis commentary, is born in Lima, Ohio.

Collins went on to cover tennis for CBS Sports for four years. He covered Wimbledon for NBC Sports in 1972, remaining with NBC for 35 years. After NBC dropped him in 2007, he began covering tennis on ESPN. At ESPN, he covered all of the major tennis tournaments with Dick Enberg, his former partner when they were at NBC. Read more




1929: James Shigeta, U.S. actor whose notable movies included "Flower Drum Song" and "Die Hard," is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Shigeta made a name for himself as one of Hollywood's first prominent Asian-American leading men. After studying drama at New York University and serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, Shigeta found fame in America through such films as "Midway," "Flower Drum Song," the first "Die Hard," and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." Shigeta's distinctive voice also brought him great success in Japan, despite his inability to speak the language when he first arrived, earning the actor-crooner the nickname the Sinatra of Japan. Read more




1927: Wally Wood, U.S. artist and comic book writer who was one of the founding cartoonists for Mad magazine, is born in Menahga, Minnesota.

1915: David "Stringbean" Akeman, U.S. country music banjo player who was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a cast member of "Hee Haw," is born in Annville, Kentucky.

1914: John Hersey, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist whose account of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima is considered one of the best pieces of journalism of the 20th century, is born in Tianjin, China.

1910: Red Foley, U.S. country singer who had a 1951 hit with "Peace in the Valley" and hosted TV's "Ozark Jubilee," is born in Blue Lick, Kentucky.

1907: Charles Eames, U.S. designer known particularly for the Eames chairs he designed with his wife, Ray Eames, is born in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Eameses started with a line of molded plywood chairs, followed by glass fiber chairs, and then by build-it-yourself storage units. In 1956 came their most famous piece, the plywood and leather Eames Lounge Chair – as receptive, as Charles once put it, as "a well-used first baseman's mitt." When Eero Saarinen asked them to develop seating for his Dulles airport terminal, the result was a sleek wedding of chrome and black leather, found today in departure lounges around the world. The Eameses' connection with Herman Miller is one of their most enduring legacies: The company still makes and sells nearly all of their furniture designs. Read more



1904: Ralph Bellamy, U.S. actor who was Oscar-nominated for his performance in "The Awful Truth," is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1903: Ruth Graves Wakefield, U.S. chef who invented the chocolate chip cookie, is born in East Walpole, Massachusetts.

1898: M.C. Escher, Dutch artist known for his mind-bending illustrations and woodcuts, is born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

1882: Igor Stravinsky, Russian composer whose well-known ballets include "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird," is born in Oranienbaum, Russia.

1880: Carl Van Vechten, U.S. photographer and writer known for portraits of celebrities including Billie Holiday, Orson Welles, and Alvin Ailey, is born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

1871: James Weldon Johnson, U.S. writer and early civil rights activist who was a leader of the NAACP, is born in Jacksonville, Florida.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including Hollywood legend Cyd Charisse.