We remember Metallica bassist Cliff Burton and other notable people born this day in history.
As the bassist for Metallica, Cliff Burton rocked as few bassists have rocked before. Sought after by the band after they first heard him performing with his previous band, Trauma, Burton used a wah-wah pedal and other effects not commonly heard with bass, bringing a unique sound to tracks including “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” His style and technical skill led Rolling Stone readers to vote him ninth among the greatest bassists of all time. Burton was with Metallica for their classic first three albums before his untimely death in a bus accident while on tour. We remember Burton’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1962: Cliff Burton, U.S. musician who played bass for Metallica on their first three albums, is born in Castro Valley, California.
1944: Peter Allen, Australian singer-songwriter who co-wrote “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” and was the first husband of Liza Minnelli, is born in Tenterfield, Australia.
All these years later, Allen’s legacy endures. In 2013, the National Film and Sound Archives added his song “I Still Call Australia Home” to its “Sounds of Australia” collection. And in 2003, more than a decade after his death, Allen made it to Broadway, when the jukebox musical “The Boy From Oz” (first staged in Sydney in 1998) made its American debut. Fellow Australian Hugh Jackman won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Allen. Read more
1930: E.L. Konigsburg, U.S. author who wrote children’s books including “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” and “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth,” is born in Manhattan, New York.
She won the John Newbery Medal in 1997 for her book “The View From Saturday” and in 1968 for “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” The Newbery is one of the top honors for children’s literature. Her family says she wrote 16 children’s novels and illustrated three picture books. Her first book, “Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth,” was also a Newbery honor book in 1968, making her the only author to be a winner and runner-up in the same year. Read more
1929: Jerry Goldsmith, U.S. composer and conductor who wrote scores for films including “The Omen,” “Total Recall,” and “Mulan,” is born in Los Angeles, California.
1906: Lon Chaney Jr., U.S. actor known for portraying the main character in “The Wolf Man,” as well as other movie monsters including the mummy and Frankenstein’s monster, is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Just as his father, Lon Chaney, had done in the early, silent days of cinema, starring in classics like “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the younger Chaney found his niche not as the handsome leading man, but in portraying the far more interesting characters lurking in the shadows. Despite being the son of a star, Chaney Jr. came to acting late. He first pursued a successful business career, and it was only after his father’s death in 1930 that Chaney Jr. began his movie career. Read more
1905: Chick Webb, U.S. jazz drummer and bandleader, is born in Baltimore, Maryland.
1904: John Farrow, Australian-born U.S. film director whose movies include “Around the World in Eighty Days,” and the father of Mia Farrow, is born in Sydney, Australia.
1901: Stella Adler, U.S. actress and acting teacher who founded the well-known Stella Adler Studio of Acting, is born in New York, new York.
In 1931, Adler became one of the founding members of The Group Theater, along with Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, and Lee Strasberg. It would go on to become arguably the most influential ensemble in the 20th century, its influence extending beyond theater and into cinema. Three years into her tenure with The Group, Adler left with her then-husband Clurman for an intensive five-week study with director and actor Constantin Stanislavski, becoming the only American to undergo direct tutelage by the Russian master. Those five weeks would dramatically change her life, just as her first encounter with Stanislavski had done 12 years earlier. Read more
1898: Bertolt Brecht, German playwright known for “The Threepenny Opera” and other works, is born in Augsburg, Germany.
1893: Jimmy Durante, U.S. actor, singer, and comedian known as the Great Schnozzola, is born in Manhattan, New York.
1890: Boris Pasternak, Russian author of novels including “Doctor Zhivago,” is born in Moscow, Russia.