We remember beloved country music icon and actor Kenny Roger’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1992: Bryce Dejean-Jones, U.S. NBA player who played for the New Orleans Pelicans, is born in Los Angeles, California.
1967: Stéphane Charbonnier, aka Charb, French cartoonist and journalist for magazine Charlie Hebdo, killed in a January 2015 terrorist attack, is Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France.
Known professionally as Charb, he was chief editor of Charlie Hebdo, as well as one of its top cartoonists and a stout defender of its provocative approach. He was in charge when the paper’s offices were destroyed by a firebomb in 2011 after it had proposed inviting the Prophet Muhammad to be a guest editor. Read more
1961: Stephen Hillenberg, creator of the very popular “SpongeBob SquarePants” animated series, is born in Lawton, Oklahoma.
1952: Joe Strummer, English singer-songwriter and guitarist who co-founded the pioneering punk band the Clash, is born in Ankara, Turkey.
The Clash navigated the contradictions better than most, managing not to immediately implode like many of their contemporaries (the Sex Pistols, X Ray Specs, the Slits, Subway Sect) in part because they were more ambitious. While they could do concussive, three-chords-and-a-stomp-box rock with the best of them, they also incorporated elements of reggae, ska, funk, and rockabilly. And though many punk bands in the early U.K. scene espoused an adolescent brand of shock value nihilism, the Clash members were, at their core, left-wing idealists bold enough to believe rock music and youth culture could make a positive impact on the world. Rather than just sing about what was happening on Piccadilly Circus, Strummer delivered lyrics that were outward gazing. Read more
1943: Jonathan Schell, U.S. journalist and author whose work primarily dealt with campaigning against nuclear weapons, is born in New York City.
1938: Kenny Rogers, iconic country music singer whose hit song “The Gambler” propelled him to Grammy-winning superstardom, is born in Houston, Texas.
1938: Ernie Maresca, U.S. singer-songwriter who wrote hits including “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” both made famous by Dion, is born in the Bronx, New York.
1937: Robert Stone, U.S. author known best for his novel “Dog Soldiers,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
Stone’s books also included the novel “Damascus Gate,” another story of a wayward journalist, this time in the Middle East; “Children of Light,” the fictional saga of a drunken screenwriter in Mexico; and a memoir about his years with Ken Kesey and friends, “Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties.” He helped write screenplays for adaptations of “Hall of Mirrors” (retitled “WUSA” and starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward) and “Dog Soldiers” (released as “Who’ll Stop the Rain” starring Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld). Read more
1936: Wilt Chamberlain, U.S. professional basketball player who is the only NBA player ever to score more than 100 points in a single game, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1930: Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, British royal who was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, is born at Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland.
1930: Frank Perry, U.S. stage and film director whose movies include “Mommie Dearest,” is born in New York, New York.
1928: Art Farmer, U.S. jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player who was a founding member of the Jazztet, is born in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
1924: Jack Weston, U.S. actor who had notable roles in movies including “Wait Until Dark” and “The Four Seasons,” is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
1924: Jack Buck, U.S. sportscaster who was the longtime play-by-play announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, is born in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
1920: Christopher Robin Milne, English bookseller who was the son of author A.A. Milne and the inspiration for his character Christopher Robin in the “Winnie-the-Pooh” books, is born in London, England.
1906: Isadore “Friz” Freleng, often credited as I. Freleng, U.S. animator known for his work on the Warner Bros. cartoon series Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, is born in Kansas City, Missouri.
1904: Count Basie, U.S. jazz pianist who led a popular jazz orchestra and became known for songs including “One O’Clock Jump,” is born in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Basie knew what his band’s formula for greatness was. “I think the band can really swing when it swings easy, when it can just play along like you are cutting butter,” Basie wrote in his autobiography. And, man, could Count Basie swing… Read more