Born May 17

We remember Bill Paxton'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 disco queen Donna Summer.

1955: Bill Paxton, U.S. actor who starred on the HBO series "Big Love," is born in Fort Worth, Texas.

Paxton finally found his way to a leading role when, in 1996, he starred in “Twister.” He devoted himself to the role of tornado-chaser Bill “The Extreme” Harding, diving into his character research by going on the road with a group of tornado chasers in Texas. Read more

1955: David Townsend, U.S. guitarist with the R&B band Surface, who had a hit in 1991 with "The First Time," is born in Inglewood, California.

1950: Howard Ashman, U.S. playwright and lyricist who wrote songs for Disney films including "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin," is born in Baltimore, Maryland.

1944: Jesse Winchester, U.S. singer-songwriter whose songs include "Yankee Lady" and "Say What," is born in Bossier City, Louisiana.

Jesse Winchester (Associated Press)Winchester was a protégé of the Band's Robbie Robertson, who produced and played guitar on Winchester's self-titled debut album and brought Band-mate Levon Helm along to play drums and mandolin. Winchester's second album, 1972's "Third Down, 110 To Go," featured tracks produced by Todd Rundgren. He continued to release material at a steady clip until 1981's "Talk Memphis," after which he took a seven-year break from recording. That album, however, contained Winchester's biggest U.S. hit, "Say What." Read more


1938: Pervis Jackson, U.S. singer with the R&B group the Spinners, is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1936: Dennis Hopper, U.S. actor and director whose notable films include "Easy Rider," "Blue Velvet," and "Apocalypse Now," is born in Dodge City, Kansas.

"Blue Velvet" cast Hopper in the role of a psychopath. His character was despicable, but his performance was marvelous – and it won him multiple awards – an Independent Spirit Award, as well as awards from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics. Read more



1934: Earl Morrall, U.S. professional football player who was a quarterback for the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins, among other teams, is born in Muskegon, Michigan.

Earl Morrall (Associated Press)When Bob Griese broke his ankle in 1972, Morrall came off the bench and started the final nine games of the regular season for the Dolphins. Morrall won praise from coach Don Shula for his willingness to step aside when Griese returned for the AFC championship game. Griese started in the Super Bowl to help Miami finish 17-0. That remains the only perfect season in NFL history. Read more



1918: Birgit Nilsson, Swedish operatic soprano who was one of the greats of her era, is born in Västra Karup, Sweden.

1911: Maureen O'Sullivan, Irish-American actress known best for playing Jane in a number of "Tarzan" films, is born in Boyle, Ireland.

One of her big early roles was playing Jane opposite a loinclothed Johnny Weissmuller in 1932's "Tarzan the Ape Man," a film that also marked the debut of Cheeta the chimpanzee. O'Sullivan reputedly didn't get along too well with the chimp, referring to him privately as "that ape son of a (beep)." It didn't stop her working with the primate on other projects, though, and over the next 20 years she would appear in "Tarzan and His Mate" (which featured a controversial nude swimming scene), "Tarzan Escapes," "Tarzan Finds a Son!", "Tarzan's Secret Treasure," and "Tarzan's New York Adventure." Nor were her appearances with chimps limited to "Tarzan" flicks – she also appeared in "Bonzo Goes to College." Read more

1903: James "Cool Papa" Bell, U.S. professional baseball player in the Negro Leagues who is considered one of the fastest players in baseball history, is born in Starkville, Mississippi.

1889: Dorothy Gibson, U.S. actress who was a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and went on to play herself in "Saved From the Titanic," the first movie about the disaster, is born in Hoboken, New Jersey.

1866: Erik Satie, French composer and pianist whose best-known works are the "Gymnopédies," is born in Honfleur, France.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including disco queen Donna Summer.