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Born October 12

Luciano Pavarotti was one of the most successful tenors in the history of opera, enjoying popularity in mainstream music and a level of notoriety outside of the opera hall. His recordings remain popular thanks to his incredible vocal range and unparalleled tones. As a member of the Three Tenors, Pavarotti brought opera to wider audiences through televised concerts and CDs, performing around the world and making guest appearances on popular television shows. He was also a noted humanitarian, famous for his work with the International Red Cross. In addition, Pavarotti starred in feature films, but an overwhelmingly negative response from critics put an end to his film career. We remember Pavarotti'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 musician and actor John Denver.

1966: Jonathan Crombie, Canadian actor known best for his role as Gilbert Blythe in "Anne of Green Gables," is born in Toronto, Ontario.

Jonathan Crombie (Ryan Miller / Contributor / Getty Images)Crombie won viewers' hearts as he played the schoolmate, boyfriend, and eventual husband of Anne Shirley, the heroine of the CBC-TV miniseries. Though he achieved acclaim for other works, including a starring role in the Broadway play "The Drowsy Chaperone," he never rejected the legacy of his role as Gilbert Blythe – in fact, when recognized by fans on the street, he'd happily respond to his character's name, his sister recalled. Read more

 

 

 

1963: Lane Frost, U.S. professional bull rider who became a world champion in 1987, was critically injured while riding a bull during competition and whose life story was told in the movie "8 Seconds," is born in La Junta, Colorado.

1948: Rick Parfitt, British rhythm guitarist, singer and songwriter for the band Status Quo, is born in Woking, England.

1945: Dusty Rhodes, born Virgil Runnels, U.S. professional wrestler and trainer who was a member of the World Wrestling Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling halls of fame, is born in Austin, Texas.

Dusty Rhodes (Bob Levey / WireImage / Getty Images)Runnels, who also went by the nickname "The American Dream," was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, and held the National Wrestling Alliance championship three times. He became famous during the height of wrestling's popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, appearing in signature yellow polka dot tights with his sidekick "valet," Sapphire. Read more

 

 

 

1942: Melvin Franklin, U.S. singer who was a member of the Temptations, is born in Montgomery, Alabama.

1938: Larry Scott, U.S. bodybuilder who won the first two Mr. Olympia contests, is born in Blackfoot, Idaho.

1935: Luciano Pavarotti, Italian operatic tenor who crossed over into popular music, becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors in history, is born in Modena, Italy.

Though Pavarotti routinely performed before tens of thousands, for longtime Pavarotti pianist and conductor Leone Magiera, one of the tenor's best performances took place in a deserted opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. The Teatro Amazonas opera house was built by a rubber baron in the late 19th century (Werner Herzog's film "Fitzcarraldo" is based on its creation) and Pavarotti insisted on singing there, as he was convinced Enrico Caruso had done so. Finding the theater in disuse, Pavarotti still sang, running through a couple of Tosca arias to an audience of about five people. Read more

 

 

 

1934: James "Sugar Boy" Crawford, U.S. rhythm and blues musician who wrote the song "Jock-A-Mo," which was re-created as "Iko Iko," becoming a hit song for the Dixie Cups, is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1929: Nappy Brown, U.S. R&B singer whose hits included "Don't Be Angry" and "Night Time Is the Right Time," is born in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Brown built his reputation in the mid-1950s. Among his hits, he rolled his L's in the lyrics to "Don't Be Angry," according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He also climbed the R&B charts with "It Don't Hurt No More" and "I Cried Like a Baby." Born Napoleon Brown Culp in 1929 in Charlotte, the musician grew up singing in a church choir with his father. Read more

1924: Doris Grau, U.S. actress who appeared on "Cheers" and was the voice of the lunch lady Doris on "The Simpsons," is born in Brooklyn, New York.

1923: Jean Nidetch, U.S. businesswoman who co-founded Weight Watchers, is born in Brooklyn, New York.

Jean Nidetch (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)She was carrying 214 pounds on her 5-foot-7 frame when she went to an obesity clinic sponsored by the New York City Board of Health in 1961 and began picking up the tips that slowly seemed to work. No skipping meals. Fish five times a week. Two pieces of bread and two glasses of skim milk a day. More fruits and vegetables. She took off two pounds the first week but disliked the way the clinic's leader imparted information and how little the obesity group's members shared. So she gathered six overweight friends in her Queens living room to share what she'd learned and talk about their own food compulsions. She found it a relief to share her struggle with others, and they did too. Read more

 

 

1921: Art Clokey, U.S. pioneer in stop-motion clay animation who co-created Gumby and created Davey and Goliath, is born in Detroit, Michigan.

Gumby grew out of a student project Clokey produced at the University of Southern California in the early 1950s called Gumbasia. That led to his making shorts featuring Gumby and his horse friend Pokey for "The Howdy Doody Show" and several series through the years, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He said he based Gumby's swooping head on the cowlick hairdo of his father, who died in a car accident when Clokey was 9. And Clokey's wife suggested he give Gumby the body of a gingerbread man. Read more

 

 

 

1906: Joe Cronin, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop and manager who was a seven-time All-Star and batted .301 for his career, is born in San Francisco, California.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including musician and actor John Denver.