Born May 16
By: Legacy Staff
3 months ago
Liberace was one of the glitteriest, most fabulous entertainers of the 20th century. The pianist and singer known as Mr. Showmanship delighted his audience with his flashy playing style and even flashier outfits, and his charmingly silly banter between songs made him all the more beloved. Liberace's style is perfectly summed up by his motto, "Too much of a good thing is wonderful." We remember Liberace's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1947: Darrell Sweet, English-Scottish drummer who was a founding member of Nazareth, is born in Bournemouth, England.
1931: Jack Dodson, U.S. actor who played Howard Sprague on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Mayberry R.F.D.," is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1929: Adrienne Rich, U.S. poet and author known for her feminist writings, is born in Baltimore, Maryland.
Through her writing, Rich explored topics such as women's rights, racism, sexuality, economic justice, and love between women. Rich published more than a dozen volumes of poetry and five collections of nonfiction. She won a National Book Award for her collection of poems "Diving Into the Wreck" in 1974. In 2004, she won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for her collection "The School Among the Ruins." Read more
1929: Betty Carter, U.S. jazz singer who was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1997, is born in Flint, Michigan.
The legendary chanteuse entered the jazz world late, toward the end of the era when big bands were king, but her timing allowed her to stand out. One of the last great big band vocalists, she became known for her breathy style and masterful scatting. And she was more than a Grammy-winning singer – she was a businesswoman who founded her own record label, Bet-Car Records, and an educator who loved sprinkling lessons about jazz history into her concerts at colleges and universities. Read more
1921: Harry Carey Jr., U.S. actor who appeared in movies including "Red River" and "Rio Grande," is born in Santa Clarita, California.
While he lacked the leading-man stature of longtime friend and co-star John Wayne, Carey's boyish looks and horse-riding skills earned him roles in many of John Ford's films. He and fellow character Ben Johnson famously learned to stand simultaneously on two galloping horses — a trick known as roman riding — for the 1950 film "Rio Grande" starring Wayne. Read more
1919: Liberace, born Wladziu Valentino Liberace, U.S. pianist and singer known for his flamboyant style, is born in West Allis, Wisconsin.
From the marvelous costumes to the silly banter to the grandiose and bombastic playing style, everything about Liberace was beloved by his fans (most of them women, as he joked). Though music critics considered his playing style sloppy and overblown, Liberace fans thought his persona was a delight and his music magnificent. They loved the rhinestone-encrusted suits, too. Read more
1913: Woody Herman, U.S. jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who was a popular bandleader in the 1930s and '40s, is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1912: Studs Terkel, U.S. author and radio host who won a Pulitzer Prize for "The Good War: An Oral History of World War II," is born in New York, New York.
Terkel, known for his daily attire of a red-and-white checked shirt, red knit tie and red socks, also often sported a well-chewed cigar. He never learned to drive but always rode the bus, where he was known to hand out to strangers copies of articles he thought interesting enough to share. Read more
1906: Margret Rey, German author and illustrator known best for creating the "Curious George" series along with her husband, H.A. Rey, is born in Hamburg, Germany.
1905: Henry Fonda, U.S. actor famous for films including "The Grapes of Wrath," "12 Angry Men," and "On Golden Pond," is born in Grand Island, Nebraska.
But with all his cinematic success, through a long career that rarely slowed down, Fonda never won an Oscar … until his very last film. "On Golden Pond" premiered less than a year before Fonda's death and it was a triumph, a major hit that won him the Academy Award for best actor (his co-star, Katharine Hepburn, won best actress, too, and Fonda's real-life daughter Jane was nominated for her supporting role). At 76, he was the oldest best actor winner, and the performance was widely considered his greatest role – a fitting way to cap an acting career that stands among the all-time best. Read more