Ginger Rogers was one of the great triple threats of cinema history, singing, acting, and dancing her way into the hearts of moviegoers again and again. We remember Rogers’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Ginger Rogers was one of the great triple threats of cinema history, singing, acting, and dancing her way into the hearts of moviegoers again and again. Though she’s most frequently associated with Fred Astaire, her regular dance partner with whom she made 10 popular films, she also found success on her own. She won the Academy Award for best actress for her performance in “Kitty Foyle,” and in the early 1940s, she was Hollywood’s highest-paid performer. We remember Rogers’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1956: Jerry Doyle, U.S. actor known best as a star of the sci-fi TV series “Babylon 5, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1941: Desmond Dekker, Jamaican reggae singer who had hits with “Israelites” and “You Can Get It if You Really Want,” is born in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica.
Dekker’s 1969 song “Israelites,” a top-10 single in both Britain and the United States, was the first international hit produced by Jamaica’s vibrant music scene. With its haunting vocals and irresistible rhythm, it introduced the world to ska, a precursor to reggae. Other hits included “007 (Shanty Town)” – featured on the soundtrack of the seminal Jamaican film “The Harder They Come” – and “Rudie Got Soul.” Read more
1939: Corin Redgrave, English actor who was the brother of Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave and appeared in movies including “In the Name of the Father” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” is born in London, England.
Known also for his radical political stands, Redgrave was a Marxist who protested against the Iraq War, campaigned for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and spoke out in defense of political dissidents. He was a longtime member of the tiny Workers Revolutionary Party, and along with his sister Vanessa in 2004 founded the Peace and Progress Party, which ran several candidates in the 2005 national election. Read more
1939: Denise LaSalle, singer known as the “Queen of the Blues,” is born in Leflore, Mississippi.
1932: Max McGee, U.S. professional football player with the Green Bay Packers who helped the team to five NFL championships and scored the first touchdown in the first Super Bowl, is born in Overton, Texas.
1932: Dick Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General as well as the former governor of Pennsylvania, who guided the state through the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1924: Bess Myerson, U.S. politician, model, and actress who was the first Jewish Miss America, is born in the Bronx, New York.
The Bronx-born Myerson was hailed as a Jewish, feminist Jackie Robinson – a groundbreaker for her religion and sex – after parlaying her stunning 1945 Miss America victory into national celebrity. The 5-foot-10, dark-haired beauty, unlike her predecessors, accentuated her intelligence. Myerson landed a series of television jobs, from game show hostess to on-air reporter, before her appointment as New York City’s chief consumer watchdog in 1969. Read more
1911: Ginger Rogers, U.S. dancer, actress, and singer known for movies including “Top Hat” and “Stage Door,” is born in Independence, Missouri.
Anything Astaire threw at her, she handled gracefully, and that impressed the man who was accustomed to reducing other dancers to tears. As Astaire later reflected, “All the girls I ever danced with thought they couldn’t do it, but of course they could. So they always cried. All except Ginger. No, no, Ginger never cried.” High praise indeed from a dancer and choreographer who pushed his partners with superhuman rehearsal schedules and an expectation for each dance to be more perfect than the last. And Ginger Rogers lived up to it. Read more
1907: Barbara Stanwyck, U.S. actress who starred in movies including “Double Indemnity” and on TV shows including “The Big Valley,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1907: Orville Redenbacher, U.S. businessman who founded a popcorn empire, is born in Brazil, Indiana.
1888: Percy Kilbride, U.S. actor known best for playing Pa Kettle in the “Ma and Pa Kettle” series, is born in San Francisco, California.
1887: Shoeless Joe Jackson, U.S. professional baseball player who was an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox and is known for his role in the Black Sox scandal, is born in Pickens County, South Carolina.
1872: Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer who led the first expeditions to the North and South poles, as well as the first expeditions to cross the Northwest Passage, is born in Borge, Norway.
1862: Ida B. Wells, U.S. journalist who was a leader in the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements, is born in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
1821: Mary Baker Eddy, U.S. religious leader who was the founder of Christian Science, is born in Bow, New Hampshire.