John Belushi was one of the legends of comedy, thanks to his seemingly never-ending energy and imagination. We remember Belushi’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
John Belushi was one of the legends of comedy, thanks to his seemingly never-ending energy and imagination. The list of characters he played on “Saturday Night Live” reads like the show’s list of greatest hits: Samurai Futuba, Jake Blues, Joe Cocker, and many more. He moved on to big-screen success, starring in “The Blues Brothers,” “Animal House,” and other box office hits. Belushi was only 33 when he died of an overdose, and he had a number of projects in the works that his fans wish they could have seen. We remember Belushi’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1965: Mike Awesome, born Michael Alfonso, U.S. professional wrestler with World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation, is born in Tampa, Florida.
1949: John Belushi, U.S. actor and comedian famous for roles on “Saturday Night Live” and movies including “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers,” is born in Chicago, Illinois.
Belushi’s impression of Joe Cocker was an early career catalyst, with Belushi performing it circa 1971 with Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe. A National Lampoon magazine staffer caught wind of Belushi’s energetic, slightly deranged impression and visited Chicago to see it. He was so impressed that he offered Belushi a job with the Lampoon’s “Lemmings” show in New York. Anyone who hasn’t seen Joe Cocker’s live performances would be excused if they thought Belushi’s performance a little (or a lot) strange. But those in the know can’t stop laughing at Belushi’s bizarre but dead-on take. Read more
1947: Warren Zevon, U.S. singer-songwriter known best for his hit song “Werewolves of London,” is born in Chicago, Illinois.
BBC Radio 2 listeners rated the opening line of “Werewolves of London” the best opening song lyric of all time: “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, walkin’ through the streets of Soho in the rain …” Read more
1943: Sharon Tate, U.S. actress and model who starred in “Valley of the Dolls” and was among the victims of the Manson family murders, is born in Dallas, Texas.
1942: Gary Hart, U.S. professional wrestler who was a star of World Class Championship Wrestling in the 1980s, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1927: Marvin Kaplan, U.S. comedic character actor who had a recurring role on the sitcom “Alice” and appeared on many television shows, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1925: Maria Tallchief, U.S. dancer who was the first Native American to hold the rank of prima ballerina, is born in Fairfax, Oklahoma.
Tallchief created roles in many of George Balanchine’s ballets, including “Orpheus,” in 1948, and “Scotch Symphony,” in 1952. She was the Sugar Plum Fairy in his original production of “The Nutcracker” in 1954. In the 1970s, Tallchief served as artistic director of the Lyric Opera Ballet in Chicago. She later founded and was artistic director of the Chicago City Ballet. In 1996, Tallchief became one of five artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors for their lifelong contributions to American culture. Read more
1918: Oral Roberts, U.S. televangelist who founded Oral Roberts University, is born in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma.
By the 1960s and ’70s, he was reaching millions around the world through radio, television, publications and personal appearances. He remained on TV into the new century, co-hosting the program, “Miracles Now,” with son Richard. He published dozens of books and conducted hundreds of crusades. A famous photograph showed him working at a desk with a sign on it reading, “Make no little plans here,” according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
The Associated Press obituary for Borgnine led with a statement about the Oscar-winning actor’s usual character – the “heavy” – and called him a “beefy screen star known for blustery, often villainous roles.” But the performances his fans are remembering in the wake of his death July 8, 2012, are more than just the tough-guy parts. Borgnine’s career was varied indeed, with memorable roles in comedy, romance, and even children’s TV – and that’s why his fans loved him. Read more
1915: Robert Motherwell, U.S. painter in the New York School, is born in Aberdeen, Washington.
1888: Vicki Baum, Austrian writer known best for her novel “People at a Hotel,” which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning movie “Grand Hotel,” is born in Vienna, Austria.
1862: Edith Wharton, U.S. author known best for novels including “Ethan Frome” and “The Age of Innocence,” is born in New York, New York.
1670: William Congreve, English playwright who coined famous phrases including, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” is born in Bardsey, England.