We remember Alexander McQueen and other notable people born this day in history.
Alexander McQueen was one of England’s hottest fashion designers at a young age. He won the first of four British Designer of the Year awards in 1996 when he was 27. He also designed the wardrobe for David Bowie’s tour in 1996, and one of his clients was Prince Charles. We remember McQueen’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1976: Stephen Gately, Irish singer-songwriter who was a lead singer of the pop group Boyzone, is born in Dublin, Ireland.
Boyzone was one of the biggest acts to come out of Ireland in the 1990s. Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said Gately’s death was “a huge tragedy to Irish entertainment, Irish music, and further afield as well.” “Boyzone and Stephen, they’ve all been part of Irish life and far wider than that, the last 15 years, and so successful, so it’s a huge, huge tragedy. It’s so sad,” Ahern said. Boyzone sold millions of records and topped the British charts with six No. 1 singles during the 1990s, including “All That I Need” and a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Words.” Read more
1975: Andrew Martin, Canadian wrestler better known as Test, is born in Whitby, Ontario.
1969: Alexander McQueen, English fashion designer who was chief designer at Givenchy before founding his own label, is born in London, England.
McQueen consistently found inspiration in unusual places — one collection was called “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims.” Another was inspired by the Salem witch trials. He presented theatrical designs that featured unconventional materials such as shells, animal horns, and human hair. His runway shows were over the top, sometimes breathtaking. In one show, his models worked a raised catwalk puddled with black ink while being showered by golden rain. In another, the models were suspended from ropes over a spiked runway during the finale. Read more
When Kalpana Chawla emigrated to the United States from India in the 1980s, she wanted to design aircraft. The space program was the furthest thing from her mind. “That would be too far-fetched,” the 41-year-old engineer said in an interview. But “one thing led to another” and she was chosen as an astronaut in 1994. Read more
Reeve won worldwide admiration for her support of her husband, the one-time Hollywood “Superman” turned activist for spinal cord research after a horseback riding accident in 1996. She served as chairwoman of the Christopher Reeve Foundation and founded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center. Read more
1953: Chuck Muncie, U.S. football player who was a running back for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers, is born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
“He was star on the football field but his most impressive work was done in the second chapter of his life where he lived his life with great transparency,” said Muncie’s former wife, Robyn Hood. “He simply wanted others to learn from his mistakes. He carried that message with him everywhere he went. And as a result, he changed the lives of hundreds of kids. He made a difference.” Read more
1950: Michael Been, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist who was the frontman for the band the Call, is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The Call was formed in Santa Cruz in 1979 and went on to enjoy some hits during the ’80s – “The Walls Came Down,” “Everywhere I Go,” and “I Still Believe (Great Design).” Their 1989 song “Let the Day Begin” hit No. 1 on rock radio charts (and was later used by the 2000 Al Gore campaign) but, because of a change in management, the record company did little to promote the album. Trouble with labels, legal wrangling, and an admittedly eclectic output perhaps kept the Call from reaching the wider audience their fans – among them Bono, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan – thought they deserved. Read more
1943: Don Mitchell, U.S. actor who was a star on the TV series “Ironside” from 1967 to 1975, is born in Houston, Texas.
He played the role of Mark Sanger on the series, which ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975. He reprised the role in the made-for-TV reunion film “The Return of Ironside” in 1993 – his last TV appearance. Other TV credits included appearances on “McMillan & Wife,” “Wonder Woman,” and the soap opera “Capitol.” Read more
1941: Paul Kantner, U.S. singer, guitarist and songwriter who was a founding member of the band Jefferson Airplane, is born in San Francisco, California.
Jefferson Airplane released their debut album in 1966 and quickly began developing a sound that would profoundly influence the psychedelic rock scene of the late 1960s. Their second album and first success, 1967’s “Surrealistic Pillow,” is one of the great classics of psychedelia. It included the two songs most often associated with the band: “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love.” Read more
1938: Zola Taylor, U.S. singer who was an original member of the Platters, is born in Los Angeles, California.
1938: Rudolf Nureyev, Soviet dancer who was one of the most celebrated dancers of the 20th century and defected to the West to escape Soviet rule, is born in Irkutsk, Soviet Union.
1931: Patricia Breslin, U.S. actress known for her philanthropic work as the wife of NFL mogul Art Modell, is born in New York, New York.
1930: Paul Horn, U.S. jazz musician who played flute and sax and was an early pioneer of new age music, is born in New York, New York.
1927: Betty Allen, U.S. singer who was one of the first African-American opera singers to rise to prominence, is born in Campbell, Ohio.
1919: Nat King Cole, U.S. singer known for his smooth baritone vocals, who was one of the first African-Americans to host a TV variety show, “The Nat King Cole Show,” is born in Montgomery, Alabama.
Cole refused to play segregated venues (and in fact refused to play anywhere in the South after he was assaulted onstage by white supremacists in 1956 at a show in Birmingham, Alabama), sued hotels that refused to lodge Cole and his band, and insisted on living in a then-all-white section of Los Angeles amid threats from the local Ku Klux Klan. Despite all this, he was sometimes criticized for not contributing more to the civil rights movement. Read more
1914: Sammy Baugh, U.S. football player with the Washington Redskins who was one of the first players named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is born in Temple, Texas.
When Baugh entered the NFL, the forward pass was so rare that it was unveiled mostly in desperate situations. But Baugh passed at any time. As a rookie in 1937, Baugh completed a record 81 passes (about seven a game) and led the league with 1,127 yards. At the time, only six passers averaged three completions a game that year. He went on to lead the league in passing six times. Baugh still holds Redskins records for career touchdown passes (187) and completion percentage in a season (70.3). His 31 interceptions on defense are third on the team’s career list. He still owns the league mark for single-season punting average (51.4). Read more
1912: Bayard Rustin, U.S. activist who was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement, is born in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Among the key tenets of Rustin’s vision for civil rights was a truly integrated America. He didn’t support the Black Power movement, believing it was important that we work together, regardless of race or color. This was one of several aspects of Rustin that made him unpopular among some leading civil rights activists. Another was his open homosexuality, in an era when homosexual behavior was still a criminal act throughout the United States. Read more
1901: Alfred Newman, U.S. composer who won nine Academy awards, more than any other composer, is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
1881: Walter Rudolph Hess, Swiss physiologist who won the 1949 Nobel Prize for mapping the areas of the brain involved in the control of internal organs, is born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland.
1849: Cornelia Clapp, U.S. zoologist, marine biologist, and educator, is born in Montague, Massachusetts.
1846: Kate Greenaway, English children’s book illustrator whose drawings gave rise to fashion trend in the 1880s and ’90s, is born in Hoxton, London, England.