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Born May 12

George Carlin was a giant of comedy, widely considered among the very best stand-up comedians of all time. He was seen frequently on "The Tonight Show" and HBO specials, and he hosted the first episode of "Saturday Night Live." His "seven dirty words" routine provided a template for a generation of profane comics, but Carlin could play it clean, too, as when he starred in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and narrated the children's show "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends." In 2008, just after his death, he became the first posthumous honoree of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. We remember Carlin'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 actor Robert Reed from "The Brady Bunch."

1975: Jonah Lomu, rugby player from New Zealand who was considered one of the first global superstars of rugby union, is born in Pukekohe, New Zealand.

1963: Charles Pettigrew, U.S. R&B singer who was one-half of the duo Charles & Eddie, who had a hit in 1992 with "Would I Lie to You?", is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1945: Ian McLagan, English musician who was a member of Small Faces and Faces, is born in Hounslow, England.

Ian McLagan (Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)McLagan was a member of the British pop group Small Faces in the 1960s. The band changed its name to Faces when Rod Stewart and Ron Wood joined in 1969. McLagan went on to record and perform with the Rolling Stones, playing on the band's 1978 album "Some Girls," including the organ solo on the hit single "Miss You." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Read more

 

 

 

1942: Ian Dury, English singer-songwriter with Ian Dury and the Blockheads, is born in Harrow, England.

1937: George Carlin, U.S. comedian and actor well-known for his stand-up and for roles in movies including "Outrageous Fortune" and "Cars," is born in Manhattan, New York.

Profanity made Carlin famous, but as his earliest fans grew up and got serious, he used a new tactic to attract new generations: good, clean fun. Though Carlin continued doing stand-up throughout his life – and his stand-up never did clean itself up – he began a second career as a genial silver-screen funnyman when he took on a series of family-friendly roles. Read more

 

 

 

1925: Yogi Berra, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame catcher who played 18 seasons with the New York Yankees, winning 10 World Series championships, is born in St. Louis, Missouri.

Signing with the Yankees in 1946, Berra joined a team that was recovering from losing some of its best players to World War II – Berra himself had served in the U.S. Navy. A catcher, he became one of the stars of the team's postwar years, alongside teammates including Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. These were spectacular years for the Yankees: In Berra's 18 seasons with the team, they went to the World Series 14 times and won 10 times. Berra holds the records for most World Series appearances as well as most World Series wins. Read more

 

 

1918: Mary Kay Ash, U.S. businesswoman who founded Mary Kay Cosmetics, is born in Hot Wells, Texas.

Ash approached business with an unusually high respect for her salespeople, from the top-earning pink Cadillac drivers to the newest and greenest. She was a motivator, gaining the devotion of her employees by showing them she cared about them. Read more

 

 

 

1918: Julius Rosenberg, U.S. engineer who was convicted of espionage when he shared information about the atomic bomb with the Soviet Union, is born in New York, New York.

1907: Katharine Hepburn, U.S. actress who is considered one of the greatest stars of Hollywood's golden age and received a record-setting four Academy awards for best actress, is born in Hartford, Connecticut.

Like many icons of her era, Hepburn's legendary status isn't a testament to her acting range – she invariably spoke in a lock-jaw accent, never put on flab for a role. Her box-office appeal was spotty (she had plenty of flops) and she once characterized acting as an idiot's profession. Nevertheless, over six decades she crafted an unconventional, multifaceted persona, one Hollywood never quite knew how to deal with yet ultimately embraced. Read more

 

 

 

1907: Leslie Charteris, English author known best for his series of novels about the criminal Simon Templar, aka the Saint, is born in Singapore.

1899: Indra Devi, Latvian yoga teacher whose students included Greta Garbo and Eva Gabor, is born in Riga, Russian Empire.

1889: Otto Frank, German businessman who was the father of Anne Frank and arranged for the publication of her diary after her death, is born in Frankfurt, Germany.

1850: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. politician who was the first U.S. Senate majority leader, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1820: Florence Nightingale, English nurse and social reformer who is considered the founder of modern nursing, is born in Florence, Italy.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including actor Robert Reed from "The Brady Bunch."