Wikimedia Commons / General Artists Corporation / photo by Van Dyck

Born October 24

The Big Bopper helped shape rock 'n' roll as one of the genre's pioneers. Born J.P. Richardson, he rose to fame on the strength of his super-cool look, big personality, and deep, charismatic voice that was perfect for hit songs like "Chantilly Lace." Richardson also wrote songs made famous by other performers, including George Jones' "White Lightning" and Johnny Preston's "Running Bear." Richardson was on the plane leaving Clear Lake, Iowa, with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens when it crashed, killing all its passengers. The tragedy was immortalized as the Day the Music Died. We remember Richardson'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 civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

1948: Dale Griffin, British drummer who was a founding member of the glam rock band Mott the Hoople, is born in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.

1946: Jerry Edmonton, Canadian drummer known best as the drummer for the rock band Steppenwolf, is born in Oshawa, Ontario.

1942: Maggie Blye, U.S. actress who starred in the original "The Italian Job" opposite Michael Caine, is born in Houston, Texas.

1936: David Nelson, U.S. actor, director, and producer known best for the family sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," is born in New York, New York.

David Nelson (AP Photo)Nelson was the last remaining member of the Nelson TV family, which included actor/bandleader Ozzie, his singer wife, Harriet Hilliard, and his teen idol brother Rick, according to his 2011 obituary by The Associated Press. The show originated on radio in 1952 as "Here Come the Nelsons," then ran for 320 episodes on TV from 1952 to 1966 as "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" with some of the story lines taken from the stars' own lives. David Nelson also directed and produced numerous episodes of the show throughout its run. Read more

 

 

 

1936: Jimmie Dawkins, U.S. blues guitarist and singer who was an integral part of the Chicago blues scene, is born in Tchula, Mississippi.

Jimmy Dawkins (Associated Press/Sun-Times Media-Joe Puchek)An only child, Dawkins taught himself to play guitar before moving to Chicago in the 1950s. Delmart Records owner Bob Koester says Dawkins began playing Chicago's blues clubs in the 1960s, gaining a reputation as an excellent side man and playing with such notables as Otis Rush and Buddy Guy, according to Dawkins' 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. Read more

 

 

 

1934: Sammy Petrillo, U.S. comedian and actor known best as a Jerry Lewis lookalike, is born in the Bronx, New York.

1930: Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., aka the Big Bopper, U.S. rocker who had the hit song "Chantilly Lace," is born in Sabine Pass, Texas.

The Big BopperOnly 19 of The Big Bopper's recordings survive, and though "Chantilly Lace" went gold during his lifetime, he had less than $100 in his bank account and never even had a chance to pick up his gold record plaque when he died at age 28. He would have three No. 1 hits posthumously, two more than Buddy Holly and three more than Richie Valens during their lifetimes. Read more

 

 

 

1925: Willie Mabon, U.S. rhythm and blues singer-songwriter and pianist who had numerous hit songs in the early days of rock 'n' roll, is born in Hollywood, Tennessee.

1925: Al Feldstein, U.S. writer, editor, and artist known best as the editor of Mad magazine, is born in Brooklyn, New York.

Al Feldstein (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey)Building on a character used by Mad founding editor Harvey Kurtzman, Feldstein turned the freckle-faced Alfred E. Neuman into an underground hero — a dimwitted everyman with a gap-toothed smile and the recurring stock phrase, "What, me worry?" Neuman's character was used to skewer any and all, from Santa Claus to Darth Vader, and more recently in editorial cartoonists' parodies of President George W. Bush, according to his April 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. Read more

 

 

 

1915: Bob Kane, U.S. comic book artist and co-creator of DC Comics superhero "Batman," is born in New York, New York.

In 1939, Kane breathed life into a comic book hero who became a modern myth, thrilling the imaginations of generations of readers and fans. Kane's creation, known as Bat-Man, Batman, or Bruce Wayne (to a select few), began as an attempt to grab a share of the new market for superheroes. Read more

 

 

 

1911: Sonny Terry, U.S. harmonica player known for his energetic blues style, is born in Greensboro, Georgia.

1901: Gilda Gray, U.S. actress and dancer who popularized a dance called the "shimmy," which became fashionable in 1920s films and theater productions, is born in Krakow, Poland.

1838: Annie Edson Taylor, U.S. adventurer who, on her 63rd birthday, Oct. 24, 1901, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel, is born in Auburn, New York.

A little after 4 p.m. Oct. 24, 1901, Taylor climbed into her barrel and headed down the Niagara River, starting about a mile upstream from the falls. The barrel drifted toward Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side, and it plummeted over the brink about 20 minutes after it first started floating. It would be another breathless 20 minutes for onlookers – and presumably Taylor, inside her barrel – before rescue boats could get close enough to snag the barrel and let Taylor out. Everyone was able to sigh with relief when the top was cut off the barrel and Taylor emerged, alive. What did she say about the experience? "No one ought ever do that again." Read more

 

 

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including civil rights activist Rosa Parks.