“Smokin’ Joe” Frazier was one of the greatest boxers of all time, defeated by only two opponents in his 11-year professional career. We remember Frazier’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
“Smokin’ Joe” Frazier was one of the greatest boxers of all time, defeated by only two opponents in his 11-year professional career. Muhammad Ali beat Frazier once, but not until after Frazier won the “fight of the century” against him in 1971. And George Foreman beat Frazier, taking away his title of world heavyweight champion. But those few defeats didn’t lessen a great career, one that began with Olympic gold in 1964 and included a stint as a trainer and appearances on TV’s “The Simpsons” and in the film “Rocky.” We remember Frazier’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1987: Naya Rivera, actress best known for her role as Santana Lopez in the hit musical TV series “Glee,” is born in Valencia, California.
1951: Chris Bell, U.S. who sang and played guitar with Big Star and recorded influential solo tracks including “I Am the Cosmos,” is born in Memphis, Tennessee.
During his more than 40-year career, Duke appeared on a number of Zappa’s albums and played in the Don Ellis Orchestra and Cannonball Adderley’s band, according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. He played keyboard on Michael Jackson‘s multiplatinum 1979 album, “Off the Wall,” and was a producer for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, and Natalie Cole. He also released more than 30 solo albums. Read more
1944: Joe Frazier, U.S. boxer who won Olympic gold in 1964 and went on to become world heavyweight champion, is born in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Frazier was sent to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as a replacement for heavyweight Buster Mathis, who had injured himself. Frazier distinguished himself quickly, knocking out his early competitors with ease. In the semifinal against Russian Vadim Yemelyanov, Frazier broke a thumb in the second round … but he still managed to knock out his competitor. With no more medical assistance than soaking the thumb in Epsom salts, Frazier went on to win the final. The gold medal was his. Read more
1944: Cynthia Robinson, U.S. trumpeter and vocalist for Sly and the Family Stone, is born in Sacramento, California.
1941: “Long John” Baldry, English-Canadian musician and voice actor known for songs including “Let the Heartaches Begin” and for his role as Dr. Robotnik in “Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog,” is born in East Haddon, England.
1930: Tim Horton, Canadian hockey player with the Toronto Maple Leafs and others, who co-founded the Tim Hortons chain of coffee shops, is born in Cochrane, Ontario.
Horton opened his first coffee shop in 1964 and even created two of the treats – the apple fritter and the Dutchie, both of which remain popular, according to thecanadianencyclopedia.com. His partner in the venture, Canadian billionaire Ron Joyce, bought the Horton family’s shares when Horton died and set up the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, which sends underprivileged children to camp. Read more
1926: Ray Price, U.S. country music singer-songwriter whose hits include “Release Me” and “Crazy Arms,” is born in Perryville, Texas.
Perhaps best known for his version of the Kris Kristofferson song “For the Good Times,” a pop hit in 1970, the velvet-voiced Price was a giant among traditional country performers in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, as likely to defy a trend as he was to defend one, according to Price’s 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. He helped invent the genre’s honky-tonk sound early in his career, then took it in a more polished direction. He reached the Billboard Hot 100 eight times from 1958-73 and had seven No. 1 hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country chart from 1952 to 1989. Read more
1923: Ira Hayes, U.S. Marine who helped raise the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima, is born in Sacaton, Arizona.
1920: James Farmer, U.S. civil rights activist who organized the 1961 Freedom Ride and founded the Congress of Racial Equality, is born in Marshall, Texas.
Once dismissed as hippie mysticism, the Hindu practice of mind control that Maharishi taught, called transcendental meditation, gradually gained medical respectability, according to his 2008 obituary by The Associated Press. He began teaching TM in 1955 and brought the technique to the United States in 1959. But the movement really took off after the Beatles visited his ashram in India in 1968, although he had a famous falling out with the rock stars when he discovered them using drugs at his Himalayan retreat. Read more
Rainer, who lived to be 104, may well have sobbed herself to her first Oscar, playing actress Anna Held, wife of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, in “The Great Ziegfeld,” according to her December 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. The film featured a classic telephone scene during which Anna, tears running down her face, congratulates her now ex-husband on his marriage to another actress. Her next Oscar was for playing a virtuous Chinese peasant in the screen adaptation of Pearl S. Buck‘s epic novel “The Good Earth.” Read more
He was a founding member of the Country Music Association, and he worked to form the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In 1964, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame – the first singing cowboy in its ranks. Next up was a gig at the Grand Ole Opry, where he became a lifetime Opry member. Ritter worked outside of country music and movies as well. He helped found United Cerebral Palsy after his son Thomas was diagnosed with the illness. He dedicated time and money toward raising awareness and advocacy. And in 1970, Ritter made a bid – ultimately an unsuccessful one – for Tennessee’s Republican nomination for U.S. senator. Read more
1884: Texas Guinan, U.S. actress and entrepreneur known for her Prohibition-era speakeasy The 300 Club, is born in Waco, Texas.
1876: Jack London, U.S. author of novels including “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang,” is born in San Francisco.