Getty Images / Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Hulton Archive

Born May 20

Jimmy Stewart starred in many unforgettable films such as "Rear Window," "Vertigo," and "It's a Wonderful Life." He was a five-time Oscar nominee, winning once and taking home a lifetime achievement award as well. He was noted for his distinctive voice and highly natural acting style, which lent realism to his portrayals of middle class America. He was also a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, having served in World War II and the Vietnam War. We remember Stewart'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 SNL comedian Gilda Radner.

1959: Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, U.S. singer and ukulele player known for his medley, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"What a Wonderful World," is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1946: Bobby Murcer, U.S. Major League Baseball player who was an outfielder with the New York Yankees and later became a sportscaster for the team, is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The only person to play with Mickey Mantle and Don Mattingly, the popular Murcer hit .277 with 252 home runs and 1,043 RBIs in 17 seasons with the Yankees, San Francisco, and the Chicago Cubs. He made the All-Star team in both leagues and won a Gold Glove. Read more




1944: Joe Cocker, English singer-songwriter whose hits include "With a Little Help From My Friends" and "You Are So Beautiful," is born in Sheffield, England.

Cocker catapulted to fame in the U.K. in 1968 with his distinctive cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," later used as the theme song for American television show "The Wonder Years." His 1969 performance at Woodstock introduced him to American audiences, who helped make Cocker's 1975 single "You Are So Beautiful" a No. 5 hit. Read more




1931: Ken Boyer, U.S. Major League Baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals and other teams, who was an 11-time All-Star, is born in Liberty, Missouri.

1923: Edith Fellows, U.S. child actress who starred in "Pennies From Heaven" with Bing Crosby, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Edith Fellows (Amy Graves/WireImage)Fellows' mother abandoned her as an infant, and she was raised by her grandmother, who brought her to Hollywood. She made about 50 movies in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, including the 1936 film "Pennies From Heaven." She later turned to the stage and TV. Fellows was 13 when her mother sued for custody. Fellows testified that she wasn't "used to loving strangers" and remained with her grandmother. Read more




1919: George Gobel, U.S. actor and singer known best for starring on "The George Gobel Show," is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1911: Gardner Fox, U.S. comic book writer who created characters including Sandman and Hawkman, is born in Brooklyn, New York.

1908: James Stewart, U.S. actor well-known for movies including "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Philadelphia Story," is born in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Stewart put his successful film career on hold to serve in World War II. He was drafted, but was then rejected because he fell 5 pounds short of the minimum weight requirement. But Stewart was eager to serve, and he bulked up in the gym until he was fit enough. A skilled pilot before he joined up, he served with distinction, earning medal after medal and rising from private to colonel in just four years. He remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for many years after the war, eventually gaining the rank of major general. Read more




1851: Emile Berliner, German-American inventor of the phonograph, is born in Hanover, Germany.

1799: Honore de Balzac, French writer known best for "La Comedie Humaine," is born in Tours, France.

1768: Dolley Madison, U.S. first lady who was the wife of President James Madison and famously saved a portrait of President George Washington from fire in the White House, is born in Guilford County, North Carolina.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including SNL comedian Gilda Radner.