Library of Congress / William Gottlieb

Born October 10

Thelonious Monk was a jazz legend known for his unique improvisations on the piano. Some of his memorable compositions include "Round Midnight" and "Blue Monk." Monk was known for his distinctive style, wearing suits, berets and sunglasses. Monk made records for Blue Note and Prestige Records and played with greats such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins. On his 100th birthday, we remember his 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 Christopher Reeve.

1965: Chris Penn, U.S. actor who appeared in movies such as "Footloose" and "Reservoir Dogs" and who was the brother of actor Sean Penn, is born in Los Angeles, California.

Penn's credits included "Mulholland Falls," "Rumble Fish," "All the Right Moves," "Footloose," and "Rush Hour." He also played Nice Guy Eddie Cabot in the 1992 Quentin Tarantino crime drama, "Reservoir Dogs." Read more




1963: Anita Mui, Chinese singer and actress who sold out concerts throughout Europe and who was known as the Madonna of Asia, is born in Hong Kong, China.

1959: Kirsty MacColl, English singer-songwriter whose albums included "Titanic Days" and "Galore," is born in Croydon, England.

Content ImageMacColl had several hits, including her top-10 single "They Don't Know," recorded in 1979. Throughout the 1980s, legal problems with her record label kept MacColl from recording her own albums, but she found steady work as a session musician, providing vocals for groups such as the Smiths, Robert Plant, and the Pogues. Read more



1933: Jay Sebring, U.S. hairstylist who was a stylist for celebrities including Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, and Jim Morrison, is born in Birmingham, Alabama.

1930: Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize-winning British playwright and screenwriter whose works include "The Birthday Party," "The Homecoming," and "The Betrayal," is born in Hackney, England.

His writing featured cool, menacing pauses in dialogue that reflected his characters' deep emotional struggles and spawned a new adjective found in several dictionaries: "Pinteresque."

"Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles," the Nobel Academy said. "With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of interlocution." Read more



1927: Dana Elcar, U.S. actor well-known for his regular role as Peter Thornton on the popular television series "MacGyver," is born in Ferndale, Michigan.

1926: Richard Jaeckel, U.S. character actor whose many film appearances included "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "The Dirty Dozen" and who also appeared on TV's "Spenser: For Hire," is born in Long Beach, New York.

1926: Oscar Brown, U.S. singer-songwriter and civil rights advocate who worked with Mahalia Jackson and Max Roach, is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1924: Edward D. Wood Jr., U.S. film director known for low-budget movies such as "Plan 9 From Outer Space," is born in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Ed Wood and Dolores Fuller in a still from 'Glen or Glenda' (Getty Images)Despite the poor quality of Wood's work, the director and his movies are, for the most part, looked upon with fondness by film buffs. It's hard to resist Wood's obvious enthusiasm for the movies – even when his films are laughably bad, some of those laughs are shared by the filmmaker. Ed Wood loved movies, and the joy he got from making them shines through his iffy plots and dollar-store special effects. Read more


1921: James Clavell, Australian author and screenwriter who wrote the film "The Fly," and whose other movies included "The Great Escape" and "To Sir, With Love," is born in Sydney, Australia.

1917: Thelonious Monk, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who is one of the giants of jazz and whose compositions include "Round Midnight," is born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Content ImageEverything about Monk's performances was jaw-droppingly hip. He pounded heavily at the piano's keys like a little kid who's never had a lesson – but Monk's heavy-handed style brought beauty from the instrument, not dissonance. Critics called him "the elephant on the keyboard," but jazz fans loved his spiky, percussive sounds. And when he was done crashing his way through another hot solo, Monk didn't fade into the background while his bandmates took their turns. Instead, he would jump up from his piano bench and look on, shuffling his feet to the beat. His enthusiasm made the music all the more infectious. Read more


1915: Harry "Sweets" Edison, U.S. jazz trumpeter who was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra and played with Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, is born in Columbus, Ohio.

1914: Ivory Joe Hunter, U.S. rhythm and blues singer-songwriter and pianist whose best-known song was "Since I Met You Baby," is born in Kirbyville, Texas.

1908: Johnny Green, U.S. composer and arranger whose songs include the jazz standards "Out of Nowhere" and "Body and Soul," is born in New York.

1900: Helen Hayes, U.S. actress whose career spanned almost 80 years and who won two Oscars, is born in Washington, D.C.

1901: Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer known mostly for his operas, is born in Le Roncole, Italy.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including actor Christopher Reeve.