Andy Rooney was one of the world’s favorite curmudgeons. For more than three decades, he presented “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney” on “60 Minutes,” sharing his thoughts on the topic of the week. We remember Rooney’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Andy Rooney was one of the world’s favorite curmudgeons. For more than three decades, he presented “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney” on 60 Minutes, sharing his thoughts on the topic of the week. More often than not, the topic was something that annoyed Rooney … and his grumpy rants made us smile. But Rooney was more than just a grump: His political commentary was incisive, and his writing was so notable as to have won five Emmy awards. We remember Rooney’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1940: Julian Bond, U.S. civil rights activist who was chairman of the NAACP and the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is born in Nashville, Tennessee.
1938: Allen Toussaint, U.S. musician, songwriter, arranger and record producer, who was an influential figure in New Orleans R&B from the 1950s to the end of the century, is born in Gert Town, Louisiana.
Toussaint had numerous hits to his name. He penned the 1966 Lee Dorsey classic “Working in the Coal Mine” and produced Dr. John’s 1973 hit “Right Place, Wrong Time” and 1975’s “Lady Marmalade” by the vocal trio Labelle. Read more
1934: Richard Briers, English actor who had notable roles in BBC programs including The Good Life and Monarch of the Glen, is born in Raynes Park, England.
In later life, he became well-known for Shakespearean roles, according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. He joined director Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company in 1987 after deciding that he “had gone as far as I could doing sitcoms,” he said. For Branagh he took on roles including King Lear, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and the buffoon Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He also appeared in several Branagh-directed films, including Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter’s Friends and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Read more
1923: Gerald Arpino, U.S. dancer and choreographer who was a co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, is born in Staten Island, New York.
According to Arpino’s 2008 obituary by The Associated Press, the Joffrey has became known for commissioning groundbreaking young choreographers, performing socially relevant pieces and reconstructing “lost” ballets of the early 20th century. In its previous base of New York, the Joffrey often struggled for funding in the shadow of the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. It moved to Chicago in 1995. Read more
1925: Jean-Claude Beton, Algerian businessman who founded the soft drink company Orangina, is born in Boufarik, French Algeria.
1924: Guy Williams, U.S. actor known best for his roles as TV’s Zorro and as Dr. John Robinson in Lost in Space, is born in New York, New York.
1919: Andy Rooney, U.S. radio and television writer known best for his incisive commentary on 60 Minutes, is born in Albany, New York.
Rooney was crotchety, sour and sarcastic – and we loved it. Even when he struck a too-raw nerve – as he sometimes did while opining about subjects like race, sexuality and suicide – his public generally accepted his explanation and apology, and tuned in for his next rant. We tolerated Rooney even when we disagreed with his views … but we liked him best when he expressed the super-curmudgeonly version of our own feelings. Read more
1915: Mark Goodson, U.S. television producer whose programs included The Price Is Right, What’s My Line? and Family Feud, is born in Sacramento, California.
If you’re even a casual fan of television game shows, you’ve probably heard the words “A Mark Goodson Television Production” before. TV viewers heard some variation of those words for more than half a century – and that’s because Goodson was behind an amazing array of game shows. Beginning in 1946 with his partner, Bill Todman, and then on his own after Todman’s 1982 death, Goodson produced some of the longest-running and best-loved TV contests of skill, smarts and speed. Read more
1914: Harold Russell, Canadian-American World War II veteran who won an Academy Award for his role in The Best Years of Our Lives, making him one of only two nonprofessional actors to win Oscars, is born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
1909: Joseph Losey, U.S. film director known for movies including M, The Damned and Modesty Blaise, is born in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
1906: William Bendix, U.S. actor who portrayed Babe Ruth in The Babe Ruth Story, is born in Manhattan, New York.
1896: John Dos Passos, U.S. author best known for novels including The 42nd Parallel, 1919 and The Big Money, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1892: Hal Roach, U.S. actor, director and producer known best for producing the Our Gang and Laurel and Hardy film series, is born in Elmira, New York.
Born and raised in rural New York, he traveled to the wilds of Alaska and worked as a wrangler and a gold prospector. Trading one frontier for another, in 1912 he made his way to Hollywood where the fledgling cinema industry was just beginning to take off. He found work as an extra in film comedies but knew from the outset that he was better off behind the camera. A fortunate inheritance gave him the opportunity to set up his own studio, the aptly named Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California, where he would work with stars such as Harold Lloyd, Will Rogers, Laurel & Hardy … and a few pint-sized actors soon to be big names: Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Darla and Porky. Read more
1741: Benedict Arnold, U.S. general known for defecting to the British army during the Revolutionary War, is born in Norwich, Connecticut.
83 B.C.: Mark Antony, Roman politician known for his support of Julius Caesar and for his affair with Cleopatra, is born in Rome, Italy.