Born March 24

Steve McQueen was the King of Cool, an action hero so dedicated to action that he dropped out of the movie business to race motorcycles. Before he did that, he was one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and '70s, becoming the world's highest-paid actor in 1974. The classic films in which he starred include The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt and The Towering Inferno. McQueen's legacy includes his grandson, actor Steven R. McQueen of TV's The Vampire Diaries. We remember McQueen'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 the suave actor Robert Culp.

1970: Erica Kennedy, U.S. journalist and author whose novel Bling made The New York Times best-seller list, is born in Queens, New York.

Erica Kennedy (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)Throughout her career, Kennedy worked as a fashion publicist, journalist, blogger, brand consultant and social media connector. She also wrote two novels, Bling and Feminista. Read more

 

 

 

1949: Steve Lang, bass player for April Wine, is born in Montreal, Quebec.

1945: Curtis Hansen, U.S. director, producer and screenwriter known for "L.A. Confidential" and "8 Mile," is born in Reno, Nevada.

1937: Lynn Borden, U.S. actress known best for playing Barbara Baxter on the final season of the sitcom Hazel, is born in Detroit, Michigan.

1937: Billy Stewart, U.S. singer whose scat-singing was popular during the 1960s, is born in Washington, D.C.

1936: Don Covay, U.S. singer-songwriter whose hits included "Mercy, Mercy" and "See-Saw," is born in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

1931: Connie Hines, U.S. actress known best for her role on Mister Ed, is born in Dedham, Massachusetts.

1930: Steve McQueen, U.S. actor known for action roles in movies including The Thomas Crown Affair and Bullitt, is born in Beech Grove, Indiana.

From his earliest roles – TV's Wanted: Dead or Alive and his big-screen breakthrough Never So Few – to his biggest triumphs – iconic movies such as Bullitt and The Great Escape – McQueen captivated audiences whenever he stepped in front of a movie or TV camera. Just as fascinating was his personal life; his love for fast bikes and faster cars, combined with the devil-may-care attitude he projected, made him just about the coolest guy around in the 1960s and '70s. Read more

 

 

 

1924: Norman Fell, U.S. actor known best for playing Mr. Roper on Three's Company and its spinoff, The Ropers, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Fell is remembered best for his role as one of television's wackiest of wacky neighbors, landlord Stanley Roper on Three's Company and The Ropers. His work as Mr. Roper was a cultural touchstone for TV audiences, thanks to the ubiquity of the shows in reruns in the years since they went off the air. But Fell's career was surprisingly diverse, if largely overshadowed by that one role. Read more

 

 

 

1916: Donald Hamilton, Swedish-American author who wrote the long-running Matt Helm series of spy novels, is born in Uppsala, Sweden.

1912: Dorothy Height, U.S. civil rights activist who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, is born in Richmond, Virginia.

Dorothy Height (AP Photo)Height became president of the National Council of Negro Women in 1957 and held the post until 1997, when she was 85. She remained chairman of the group. "I hope not to work this hard all the rest of my life," she said at the time. "But whether it is the council, whether it is somewhere else, for the rest of my life, I will be working for equality, for justice, to eliminate racism, to build a better life for our families and our children." Read more

 

 

 

1911: Joseph Barbera, U.S. animator and director who co-founded Hanna-Barbera, is born in New York, New York.

His name might not be too recognizable on its own, but what about when you pair it with that of his good friend, William Hanna? A bell should be ringing now – or perhaps a whistle blowing at the prehistoric rock quarry – reminding you of the yabba-dabba duo who brought us the town of Bedrock, Jellystone Park and the Mystery Machine. Read more

 

 

 

1909: Clyde Barrow, U.S. criminal who was notorious as one-half of the crime-spree couple Bonnie and Clyde, is born in Ellis County, Texas.

1901: Ub Iwerks, U.S. animator who co-created Mickey Mouse with Walt Disney, is born in Kansas City, Missouri.

1887: Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, U.S. actor and comedian who was a mentor to Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope, is born in Smith Center, Kansas.

1886: Edward Weston, U.S. photographer whose images of the American West were highly influential, is born in Highland Park, Illinois.

1874: Harry Houdini, Hungarian-American illusionist and escape artist who was one of the most famous stage magicians of all time, is born in Budapest, Hungary.

Harry Houdini (Wikimedia Commons)Houdini gained worldwide fame in his day as a magician and daredevil escape artist, one whose death-defying feats baffled audiences throughout his career. Though he was known best as a stage performer and noted spiritualist debunker, Houdini also starred in feature films and wrote a number of literary works – including a collaborative story with horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. But the depth of his lasting cultural impact can perhaps best be judged by the incredible wealth of material he inspired, appearing as a character in countless films, television shows and books since his death in 1926. Read more

 

 

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including the suave actor Robert Culp.