We remember Norman Rockwell and other notable people born this day in history.
Norman Rockwell was one of the most popular American artists of the 20th century, and his folksy, realistic paintings are immediately recognizable. He provided iconic cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post for decades, and he produced illustrations for Boy Scouts of America publications for 64 years. Rockwell’s amazing body of work includes more than 4,000 paintings, some of which have been displayed in the White House and the Guggenheim Museum, as well as in the workspaces of movie directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. We remember Rockwell’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1969: Beau Biden, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s son who served in the Iraq War and also was an attorney and politician, is born in Wilmington, Delaware.
1961: Jay Adams, U.S. skateboarder who was among the original Z-Boys, and one of the most influential skateboarders in the history of the sport, is born in Los Angeles, California.
Adams rocketed to fame in the 1970s as a member of Z-Boys, the legendary group of surfers turned skateboarders who came together in a rundown, beachfront section of Southern California known as Dogtown. Although the sport made him a legend, Adams said its early wild years led him to numerous bad choices that resulted in years in prison in the 1980s and ’90s, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
1960: Kerry Von Erich, U.S. professional wrestler with World Class Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation, is born in Niagara Falls, New York.
1949: Arthur Kane, U.S. bassist with the New York Dolls, is born in the Bronx, New York.
1943: Dennis Edwards, lead singer of the Temptations from 1968 until 1977, is born in Fairfield, Alabama.
1941: Howard Phillips, U.S. politician who was a founding member of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, and who ran for president in 1992, 1996, and 2000, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1939: Michael Cimino, Academy Award-winning U.S. director of “The Deer Hunter,” is born in New York, New York.
Cimino’s crowning achievement in film was “The Deer Hunter” (1978). Starring Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep, the movie tackled the effects of the Vietnam War on a band of friends from western Pennsylvania. It won five Academy awards, including best picture, best director for Cimino, and best actor in a supporting role for Christopher Walken. Cimino himself was a mysterious figure. He often gave conflicting information about his background. He is believed to have been born in New York City in 1939, though he may have been older. Read more
1938: Victor Buono, U.S. actor who played the villain King Tut on the “Batman” TV series, is born in San Diego, California.
1935: Johnny “Guitar” Watson, U.S. blues and soul singer and guitarist whose hits include “I Need It” and “Superman Lover,” is born in Houston, Texas.
1932: Peggy Ann Garner, Academy Award-winning U.S. child actress whose notable films include “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “Jane Eyre,” is born in Canton, Ohio.
1925: Shelly Berman, the comedian was popular in the 1950s and 1960s and later to a new generation playing Larry David’s father in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1920: Henry Heimlich, U.S. physician known best for inventing the anti-choking Heimlich maneuver, is born in Wilmington, Delaware.
In 1974, while working as the director of surgery at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, he published an article detailing the treatment for choking victims that bears his name. The technique calls for rescuers to apply abdominal thrusts, forcing air out of the lungs to push the obstruction out of the windpipe. Although others have claimed Heimlich was not solely responsible for the creation of the life-saving treatment, the name “Heimlich maneuver” stuck and has often been portrayed movies and TV shows. Read more
Away from the Rat Pack, Bishop starred in two TV series, both called “The Joey Bishop Show.” The first, an NBC sitcom, got off to a rocky start in 1961. Critical and audience response was generally negative, and the second season brought a change in format. The third season brought a change in network, with the show moving to ABC, but nothing seemed to help and it was canceled in 1965. In the first series, Bishop played a TV talk show host. Then, he really became a TV talk show host. His program was started by ABC in 1967 as a challenge to Johnny Carson‘s immensely popular “The Tonight Show,” according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
1918: Helen Stephens, U.S. sprinter who won double gold at the 1936 Olympics, is born in Fulton, Missouri.
1910: Robert Earl Jones, U.S. actor known for roles in movies including “The Sting” and “The Cotton Club,” and the father of actor James Earl Jones, is born in Senatobia, Mississippi.
1907: James Michener, U.S. novelist whose best-known works include “Tales of the South Pacific” and “Centennial,” is born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
1904: Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, U.S. bank robber known for his exploits in the 1930s, is born in Adairsville, Georgia.
1894: Norman Rockwell, U.S. painter known best for his cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, is born in New York, New York.
In 1999, art critic Peter Schjeldahl wrote in ArtNews: “Rockwell is terrific. It’s become too tedious to pretend he isn’t.” That was more than 20 years after Rockwell’s death in 1978. The recognition and validation was a long time coming. The Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York held a Rockwell exhibition in 2001. One of Rockwell’s paintings, “Breaking Home Ties,” sold at auction for $15.4 million in 2006. Masses of enthusiastic viewers crowded museums in 12 cities on a well-received U.S. tour of Rockwell’s work in 2008. Read more
1874: Gertrude Stein, U.S. author known best for her memoir, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” is born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.
1821: Elizabeth Blackwell, pioneering British-born physician who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, is born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England.
1811: Horace Greeley, U.S. journalist and politician who was editor of the New-York Tribune and ran for president in 1872, is born in Amherst, New Hampshire.
1809: Felix Mendelssohn, German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period, is born in Hamburg, Germany.