Freddie Prinze was only 22 when he died, but he made his mark and then some, with a successful stand-up career and a hit sitcom. We remember Prinze’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Freddie Prinze was only 22 when he died, but he made his mark and then some, with a successful stand-up career and a hit sitcom. Known on the stand-up circuit for his jokes about his “Hungarican” ancestry (half Hungarian, half Puerto Rican – in reality, Prinze’s father was German, not Hungarian), Prinze took his act to “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Midnight Special.” These breakthroughs led to his starring role on “Chico and the Man” for three seasons until his untimely death. Prinze’s legacy continues with his son, actor Freddie Prinze Jr., a ’90s teen idol who continues to work as an actor, voice actor, and producer. We remember Prinze’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1954: Freddie Prinze, U.S. comedian and actor who starred on TV’s “Chico and the Man,” is born in New York, New York.
Prinze’s onstage success led to an appearance on “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson,” where he was discovered by TV producer James Komack. Komack was creating a new show and thought Prinze would be perfect for one of the title roles – and so began Prinze’s three-year stint on what would be his final gig, “Chico and the Man.” Read more
1951: Craig Gruber, U.S. bass player performed with Black Sabbath and Rainbow, is born in Cortland, New York.
1947: Pete Maravich, U.S. professional basketball player who remains the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer, is born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
1947: Octavia E. Butler, U.S. author of science fiction novels including “Kindred,” is born in Pasadena, California.
Bradley – the first African-American television correspondent to cover the White House – was known for all kinds of news reporting, from covering big news such as war and politics, to incisive pieces on topics such as AIDS in Africa, to lighter fare in entertainment and sports. Perhaps best remembered are his interviews with celebrities from all points of the spectrum: Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Timothy McVeigh, George Burns, and many more. Read more
“The Waltons,” which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1981, starred Waite as John Walton, and Richard Thomas played his oldest son, John-Boy, an aspiring novelist. The gentle family drama was set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. His co-stars, reacting to his death, praised both the actor and the man. “I am devastated to announce the loss of my precious ‘papa’ Walton, Ralph Waite,” said Mary McDonough, who played daughter Erin Walton. “I loved him so much; I know he was so special to all of us. He was like a real father to me. Goodnight Daddy. I love you.” Read more
1922: Bill Blass, U.S. fashion designer who founded Bill Blass Limited, is born in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1921: Barbara Perry, character actress who appeared on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” is born in Norfolk, Virginia.
1921: Barbara Vucanovich, U.S. politician who was the first woman to represent Nevada in the U.S. House of Representatives, is born in Camp Dix, New Jersey.
Vucanovich was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 – the same year as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – and she served from 1983 until her retirement in 1997. Her tenure included stints on the House Interior, Natural Resources, and Appropriations committees, and the Subcommittee on Military Construction. Among the bills she authored and saw enacted as law was the repeal of the 55 mph speed limit and the source tax, which prevented more than one state from collecting taxes on pension and retirement benefits of retirees – many of whom moved to Nevada. Read more
1920: Paul Frees, U.S. actor who provided the voice of Boris Badenov on “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” is born in Chicago, Illinois.
Gossip magazines at the time characterized the relationship as tempestuous, but later in life, Taylor herself said, “I was happiest with Mike Todd,” according to ABC News. The couple welcomed a daughter, Liza, in August 1957, six months after their wedding. Todd was a prolific Broadway producer, moving from project to project, embracing new ideas and opportunities. Read more
1909: Katherine Dunham, U.S. dancer and choreographer who was a pioneer of African-American modern dance, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
Dunham was perhaps known best for bringing African and Caribbean influences to the European-dominated dance world. In the late 1930s, she established the first self-supporting all-black modern dance group in the United States. “We weren’t pushing ‘Black Is Beautiful,’ we just showed it,” she later wrote. During her career, Dunham choreographed “Aida” for the Metropolitan Opera and musicals such as “Cabin in the Sky” for Broadway. She also appeared in several films, including “Stormy Weather” and “Carnival of Rhythm.” Read more
1906: Billy Wilder, Austrian-American film director whose many hit movies include “Double Indemnity,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “Some Like It Hot,” is born in Sucha, Austria-Hungary.
Part the genius of Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” is how it uses real-life references to create a plausible world for what is otherwise a nightmarish noir melodrama. To help ground the film in reality (or what passes for it in Hollywood), the script name-checked a huge number of Hollywood figures including Bebe Daniels, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Betty Hutton, Barbara Stanwyck, Rudolph Valentino, Pearl White, and a host of others. Read more
1906: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, U.S. author and aviator who wrote “Gift From the Sea” and was the wife of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh, is born in Englewood, New Jersey.
As if being a role model to generations of female pilots wasn’t enough, Lindbergh was also an award-winning author and prolific writer of poetry and nonfiction. Her “Gift From the Sea” became a classic of inspirational literature. Written six decades ago, its meditations on life, generated by shells picked up at the beach, still captivate readers today. Read more
1903: John Dillinger, U.S. bank robber who was one of the most notorious gangsters of the 1930s, is born in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1898: Erich Maria Remarque, German author known best for his novel “All Quiet on the Western Front,” is born in Osnabrück, Germany.
1856: H. Rider Haggard, English author of adventure tales including “King Solomon’s Mines” and “Allan Quatermain,” is born in Bradenham, England.