Luther Vandross brought romance to the airwaves from the early 1980s until his untimely death in 2005. His rich, soulful tenor was uniquely smooth, earning him the nickname the Velvet Voice. As a solo artist, Vandross shone on hit singles including “Never Too Much” and “Here and Now.” He also was in great demand as a duet partner, collaborating with Mariah Carey on “Endless Love,” “The Closer I Get to You” with Beyonce, and “The Best Things in Life Are Free” with Janet Jackson, among others. We remember Vandross’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1984: Harris Wittels, U.S. writer and actor who not only wrote episodes of “Parks and Recreation,” but also appeared on the show, is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Wittels was a co-executive producer and writer on “Parks and Recreation,” and he also had a few acting appearances on the show. He performed stand-up comedy and also wrote for TV shows including “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Eastbound & Down.” Read more
1962: Henry Nasiff Jr., U.S. entertainer who made frequent appearances on “The Howard Stern Show” as Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf, is born in Fall River, Massachusetts.
1951: Luther Vandross, U.S. R&B singer known for hit singles including “Stop To Love” and “Here and Now,” is born in New York, New York.
Vandross’ first solo single took the R&B world by storm in 1981, hitting No. 1 on the soul singles chart. “Never Too Much” is a classic example of his catchy songwriting and smooth voice. The next time Vandross made it to the No.1 spot was in 1986, with the equally bouncy – and equally romantic –”Stop To Love.” Read more
1949: Toller Cranston, Canadian figure skater who won a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics, is born in Hamilton, Ontario.
1943: Edie Sedgwick, U.S. socialite, heiress, and member of artist Andy Warhol’s clique of “superstars,” is born in Santa Barbara, California.
1928: Robert Byrne, U.S. chess grandmaster who was the chess columnist for The New York Times from 1972 to 2006, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1925: Elena Verdugo, actress is best known for her role as as nurse Consuelo Lopez on the “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” is born in Paso Robles, California.
1924: Nina Foch, Dutch-American actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in “Executive Suite,” is born in Leiden, Netherlands.
Although she never achieved star status, Foch became a distinguished supporting player, often as “the other woman” or figures of wealth and connivance. She was nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actress for “Executive Suite” in 1955. Other film credits included “The Ten Commandments,” “Spartacus,” “Rich and Famous” and “Sliver.” Read more
1923: Mother Mary Angelica, U.S. Roman Catholic nun who founded the global religious television network EWTN, is born in Canton, Ohio.
1923: Tito Puente, U.S. musician known for playing the timbales and popularizing mambo and Latin jazz, is born in New York, New York.
Most of us would be hard pressed to name another well-known timbales player, and that’s due in large part to Puente’s incredible talent. He was such a virtuoso on the drums that no one else could hold a candle to him, thus his nickname, el Rey de los Timbales, or the King of the Timbales. Though the instrument is Cuban in origin, Puente wasn’t, though many fans understandably may have thought him to be. Puente was in fact Puerto Rican, born and raised in New York City. Read more
1908: Lionel Hampton, U.S. jazz vibraphonist and bandleader who was awarded the National Medal of Arts, is born in Louisville, Kentucky.
Hampton began his musical career as a drummer, but the drums weren’t how he would eventually distinguish himself. It was when he took up the vibraphone that he found his niche, becoming one of the most acclaimed jazz musicians of all time. Read more
1904: Bruce Cabot, U.S. actor who starred as Jack Driscoll in “King Kong,” is born in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
1893: Joan Miró, Spanish painter known for his surrealist works, is born in Barcelona, Spain.
1893: Harold Lloyd, U.S. actor who was one of the greatest film stars of the silent era, is born in Burchard, Nebraska.