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Born October 21

Carrie Fisher came to fame as an actress in her memorable role as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Fisher was the daughter of  Hollywood couple Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. She made her movie debut in "Shampoo" opposite Warren Beatty. Still a teenager, she was cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars and became a movie icon. Later Fisher became an author and won fans with her honest autobiographical portraits of her struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. We remember her 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 beat novelist Jack Kerouac.

1956: Carrie Fisher, U.S. actress and author well known for her role as Princess Leia in "Star Wars," is born in Burbank, California.

1952: Brent Mydland, U.S. keyboardist known best as a member of the Grateful Dead from 1979 until 1990, is born in Munich, Germany.

1946: Lux Interior, U.S. founder and lead singer of the garage rock band the Cramps, is born in Akron, Ohio.

1935: Derek Bell, Irish harpist and pianist who was a member of the Chieftains, is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

He joined the Chieftains in 1972 and soon became an integral part of its quest to reclaim the tradition of Irish sounds. He also pursued a successful solo career while working with the band. Read more

1925: Celia Cruz, Cuban salsa singer who had 23 gold albums and was known internationally as the Queen of Salsa, is born in Havana, Cuba.

Content ImageGrowing up in Cuba in the 1930s, Cruz was urged in very different directions by her various family members. Her father wanted to see her finish her education and become a teacher. Her aunt, meanwhile, knew musical talent when she heard it and encouraged her niece to pursue a singing career. When one of Cruz's teachers noted that she could make a lot more money with her voice than as a teacher, her career path was clear. Read more

 

 

1924: Julie Wilson, U.S. singer and actress known for roles in Broadway shows including "Legs Diamond" and "The Pajama Game," is born in Omaha, Nebraska.

Wilson's most famous stage role was the 1988 Peter Allen musical, "Legs Diamond," for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Her other Broadway credits include "Park" in 1970 and "The Girl in the Freudian Slip" in 1967, and she was a replacement for the role of Babe Williams in the original run of "The Pajama Game." But it was as a singer — known for her interpretations of such songwriters as Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill, and Cole Porter — that made the biggest impressions, from such recordings as "Julie Wilson Sings the Cy Coleman Songbook" to her live sets at the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel.

 

 

1917: John B. "Dizzy" Gillespie, U.S. jazz trumpeter considered one of the all-time greats, is born in Cheraw, South Carolina.

Content ImageWhat was the story with Dizzy's horn? According to Gillespie, things got a little rowdy at a 1953 birthday party for his wife, and a pair of dancers fell on the instrument. Out of necessity, Gillespie finished the night's performance with the damaged instrument … and he found that he liked the sound the banged-up trumpet created. He had it straightened the next day, but he couldn't forget the bent horn's tone. So he commissioned a reproduction of the damaged trumpet, and that was what he played for the rest of his career. Read more

 

 

1912: Georg Solti, Hungarian orchestral and operatic conductor who served as the music director of the prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is born in Budapest, Hungary.

1895: Edna Purviance, U.S. film actress during the silent era who was the leading lady in many Charlie Chaplin movies, is born in Paradise Valley, Nevada.

1833: Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and founder of the Nobel Prize, is born in Stockholm, Sweden.

AP PhotoThe Swedish-born Nobel was a trained chemical engineer with more than 300 patents to his name. He began experimenting with nitroglycerin in the early 1860s. In 1864, a lab explosion in Stockholm killed Nobel's younger brother, Emil, and four others. A local newspaper mistakenly thought Alfred had died, and published an obituary that noted his inventions had made it possible for humans to kill each other more easily. "What he read horrified him: The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived," Rabbi Dov Greenberg wrote in "The Man Who Changed His Life After Reading His Obituary," an article on chabad.org. Read more

 

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including beat novelist Jack Kerouac.