Slim Pickens started his career as a rodeo performer, where he became a well-known rodeo clown. We remember Pickens’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Slim Pickens started his career as a rodeo performer, where he became a well-known rodeo clown. His experience with horses led to an acting career playing cowboys in numerous Western movies. One of his best-known roles, though, was not in a Western. He played a gung-ho pilot in Stanley Kubrick’s classic satire, “Dr. Strangelove.” He also had a memorable role as Harvey Korman’s evil sidekick in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles.” We remember Pickens’ life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1943: Little Eva, born Eva Boyd, U.S. singer known best for her hit single “The Loco-Motion,” is born in Belhaven, North Carolina.
As legend has it, the song “The Loco-Motion” was born when married songwriting team Carole King and Gerry Goffin saw their baby-sitter, Eva Boyd, doing a unique dance while taking care of some chores. They wrote a song about her funny dance and looked for someone to record it. Magically, they discovered that the baby sitter could sing as well as dance, so they asked her to record the song … and just like that, the world got a No. 1 hit, dance craze, and new singing sensation in the form of Little Eva. An amazing series of events! Read more
1941: Stokely Carmichael, Trinidadian-American civil rights activist who was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panther Party, is born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
1936: Harmon Killebrew, U.S. professional baseball player with the Minnesota Twins known for his power hitting and his many home runs, is born in Payette, Idaho.
The 11-time All-Star was the American League’s MVP in 1969 after hitting 49 home runs with 140 RBIs and 145 walks, all team records that stand to this day. “I found out early in life that I could hit a baseball farther than most players and that’s what I tried to do,” Killebrew said. Behind their soft-spoken slugger nicknamed the Killer, the Twins reached the World Series for the first time in 1965 and back-to-back AL Championship Series in 1969 and 1970. Read more
1934: Corey Allen, U.S. actor who played Buzz Gunderson in “Rebel Without a Cause,” is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
1920: Ray Harryhausen, U.S. special effects creator whose movies include “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” and “Clash of the Titans,” is born in Los Angeles, California.
Harryhausen was captivated by dinosaurs and the world of fantasy at an early age and encouraged by his parents to follow that passion, according to the biography on his official website, www.rayharryhausen.com. “They never tried to discourage me in any way from my obsession, and could just as easily have said, ‘Get out there and be a doctor or a lawyer or follow some other profession that is going to bring you in money.’ Fortunately, they didn’t,” he said. Read more
1919: Slim Pickens, born Louis Lindley, U.S. actor known best for roles in “Dr. Strangelove” and “Blazing Saddles,” is born in Kingsburg, California.
Pickens had serious roles and comic ones. He could be the sidekick, the villain, or, as in “Dr. Strangelove,” a sort of anti-hero. In that, his most famous role, “his character, a wild-eyed, boisterous Texan elated over the prospect of personally dropping the bombs that will help annihilate civilization, was appropriately named Maj. T. J. ‘King’ Kong,” The New York Times said. The movie set a new course for his career, The Los Angeles Times said in his obituary: “After Dr. Strangelove, my salary jumped five times,” he said. “And assistant directors started saying, ‘Hey, Slim’ instead of, ‘Hey, you.'” Read more
1916: Ruth Warrick, U.S. actress who played Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on “All My Children” from 1970 until 2005, is born in St. Joseph, Missouri.
In “All My Children,” which debuted in 1970, Warrick played Phoebe Tyler Wallingford, the grande dame of the fictitious affluent town of Pine Valley. She portrayed the meddlesome and over-the-top personality so believably that her fans often had trouble distinguishing between the stylish actress and her fictitious, equally sophisticated character. Twice nominated for an Emmy for the role, Warrick often talked about how Phoebe Tyler had become an integral part of her life. Read more
1911: Bernard Herrmann, U.S. composer for films including “Psycho,” “Citizen Kane,” and “Taxi Driver,” is born in New York, New York.
“Citizen Kane” would become arguably the most revered film of all time, and its composer was rightly given his share of the credit for crafting an operatic score that earned an Oscar nomination. Herrmann would also work with Welles on “The Magnificent Ambersons,” an experience that both men would regret. Welles didn’t get final cut, and RKO trimmed over 40 minutes from the film and reshot the ending. They also edited Herrmann’s score so heavily he insisted his name be removed from the credits. Parts of the excised music were later repurposed in the score for an opera version of “Wuthering Heights.” Read more
1910: Frank Loesser, U.S. composer who wrote the songs for “Guys and Dolls” and “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” is born in New York, New York.
1901: Nelson Eddy, U.S. singer and actor who performed onstage as an operatic baritone as well as in movies including “Rose Marie” and “Phantom of the Opera,” is born in Providence, Rhode Island.
1900: Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French pilot and author known best for his novella “The Little Prince,” is born in Lyon, France.
1861: William James Mayo, U.S. physician who co-founded the Mayo Clinic, is born in Le Sueur, Minnesota.