We remember Carmen Miranda and other notable people born this day in history.
Carmen Miranda may be known best for wearing fruit on her head, but she was much more than an attention-getting hat. Known as the Brazilian Bombshell, she was a singer, dancer, and actress who shined on the silver screen in films including “Down Argentine Way” and “The Gang’s All Here,” and she was a pioneer for Latin-Americans in Hollywood. She was the first Latin-American star to add her handprints and footprints to the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and she was the first South American with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She helped popularize Brazilian music and opened the doors for other Latin performers to follow her lead. We remember Miranda’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1947: Major Harris, U.S. singer with the Delfonics who also charted solo hits including “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” is born in Richmond, Virginia.
He joined the Delfonics in the early 1970s, replacing Randy Cain in the group known for their hits “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” Harris left the group in 1974 to pursue a solo career, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. He recorded a string of R&B singles, including “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” which peaked at No. 5 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified as a gold record by the Recording Industry Association of America. The song was covered by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams in 1994 and again by Luther Vandross on his 1988 album “Any Love.” Read more
1937: Clete Boyer, U.S. Major League Baseball player with the Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves, is born in Cassville, Missouri.
Cletis Leroy Boyer was a career .242 hitter with 162 home runs and 654 RBIs. Decent stats, but it was fielding that became his signature, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Boyer added an air of flamboyance to a Yankees team that otherwise played with a conservative precision. “In all my years of playing with him, he only made one bad throw to me,” former Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson said. Read more
1936: Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canadian singer whose songs, including “The Hockey Song,” were played at NHL games, is born in Saint John, New Brunswick.
The musician, rarely seen without his signature black cowboy hat and stomping cowboy boots, was best known for songs “Sudbury Saturday Night,” “Bud the Spud,” and especially “The Hockey Song,” a fan favorite played at hockey arenas around North America. Those three songs are played at every Toronto Maple Leafs home game. At Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, many fans took to their feet as “The Hockey Song” was played after Connors’ death was announced. Read more
1926: Garret FitzGerald, Irish politician who twice served as prime minister of Ireland, is born in Ballsbridge, Dublin.
1923: Tonie Nathan, U.S. politician who ran for vice president in 1972 with Libertarian presidential nominee John Hospers, and was the first woman and the first Jewish person to receive an electoral vote in a U.S. presidential election, is born in New York, New York.
1922: Kathryn Grayson, U.S. actress who starred in movies including “Anchors Aweigh” and “Show Boat,” is born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Like Lana Turner, Esther Williams, Donna Reed, and other MGM newcomers, Grayson was given a tryout as Mickey Rooney‘s sweetheart in the studio’s popular “Hardy Family” series. She played the title role in “Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary” and sang Strauss’ “Voices of Spring.” Mayer was convinced that he had a future star. She was cast in three minor films, including a musical with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, then played Gene Kelly‘s girlfriend in a wartime revue that included major MGM stars, “Thousands Cheer,” according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
1914: Bill Veeck, U.S. businessman who as owner and team president of the Cleveland Indians in 1947 signed Larry Doby, thus beginning the integration of the American League, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1914: Ernest Tubb, U.S. country music singer whose hits included “Walking the Floor Over You,” is born in Crisp, Texas.
1909: Dean Rusk, U.S. diplomat who served as Secretary of State under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, is born in Cherokee County, Georgia.
1901: Brian Donlevy, Irish actor known for roles in noir films and for starring on the 1952 TV series “Dangerous Assignment,” is born in Portadown, Northern Ireland.
1874: Amy Lowell, U.S. poet who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926, is born in Brookline, Massachusetts.
1773: William Henry Harrison, U.S. politician who was the ninth president of the United States, serving for 32 days in 1841, and was both the first president to die in office and the president who served the shortest term, is born in Charles City, Virginia.
1737: Thomas Paine, English-born U.S. political activist whose pamphlet “Common Sense” inspired the American revolutionaries, is born in Thetford, Norfolk, England.