Spalding Gray was known best for his monologues, autobiographical tales that ranged from hilarious stories to intense rants. We remember Gray’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Spalding Gray was known best for his monologues, autobiographical tales that ranged from hilarious stories to intense rants. His monologue style was captured in performances including “Gray’s Anatomy” and “Monster in a Box,” but he also was known for his acting, having appeared in a wide variety of movies and TV shows. “The Killing Fields” provided the inspiration for his monologue “Swimming to Cambodia,” and other projects included “Beaches,” “The Paper,” and a nine-episode arc on TV’s “The Nanny.” We remember Gray’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1981: Jade Goody, English reality TV star who was a contestant on “Big Brother” and other shows, is born in London, England.
Goody gained fame at 21 in 2002, when she joined the reality television show “Big Brother,” in which contestants live together for weeks and are constantly filmed. Loud and brash, she became a highly divisive star – initially mocked as an ignorant slob, then celebrated as a forthright everywoman by a hungry tabloid press. It was a pattern of praise and condemnation that followed her for the rest of her life. Goody became a national touchstone who sparked debate about race, class, and celebrity in Britain. Read more
1961: Mary Kay Bergman, U.S. voice actress who provided voices for cartoons including “South Park” and “The Fairly OddParents,” is born in Los Angeles, California.
1950: Daniel von Bargen, U.S. actor known for his role as Mr. Kruger on “Seinfeld,” is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1947: Tom Evans, English musician who was a member of Badfinger, is born in Liverpool, England.
1941: Spalding Gray, U.S. actor known for monologues including “Swimming to Cambodia,” is born in Providence, Rhode Island.
Gray’s riveting live performances generally featured only a desk and a glass of water as props. Usually wearing his trademark plaid flannel shirt, the performer would never move from the desk as he read in a soft, New England-flecked accent. He worked in underground theater in Manhattan, eventually co-founding the Wooster Group in 1979. There, he wrote an autobiographical trilogy of plays about life in Rhode Island. Read more
1928: Tony Richardson, English director who won an Academy Award for best director for “Tom Jones” and was the husband of actress Vanessa Redgrave and the father of actresses Joely and Natasha Richardson, is born in Shipley, England.
In the early 1960s, at the time he and Vanessa were married, Richardson’s film career was ramping up. He directed his father-in-law in 1962’s “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” Richardson’s masterpiece “Tom Jones,” starring Albert Finney, Susannah York, and Diane Cilento (among many others), followed in 1963 and featured the director’s sister-in-law Lynn and mother-in-law Rachel. For his work, Richardson took home the Oscars for best picture and best direction, showing just what a director could do with a scene free of dialogue. Read more
1922: Sheila Sim, British actress who was the wife of actor Richard Attenborough, is born in Liverpool, England.
1920: Marion Motley, U.S. professional football player with the Cleveland Browns who was one of the first African-Americans to play professionally, is born in Leesburg, Georgia.
1919: Richard Scarry, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books known for his “Busytown” series, including “Best Word Book Ever,” is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1916: Eddie Joost, U.S. professional baseball player and manager who was the last manager of the Athletics before they moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City, is born in San Francisco, California.
1895: William Boyd, U.S. actor known best for playing Hopalong Cassidy in movies as well as on radio and television, is born in Belmont County, Ohio.
1878: Pancho Villa, Mexican general who was a major figure in the Mexican Revolution, is born in San Juan del Rio, Mexico.
1850: Pat Garrett, U.S. lawman in the Wild West known best for killing Billy the Kid, is born in Cusseta, Alabama.
1723: Adam Smith, Scottish philosopher and economist who is considered the father of modern economics, is born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.